Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 Sea Wheeze Half Marathon Race Report, Part 3: The Race

2013 Sea Wheeze Half Marathon Race Report, Part 1: Travel to Vancouver and the Expo

2013 Sea Wheeze Half Marathon Race Report, Part 2: The Merchandise

I enjoyed this Sea Wheeze just as much as last year. The weather was very similar, maybe a touch more humid (though my friends from the Southeastern US say it wasn't at all humid to them). It stayed overcast with some sprinkles of rain. The next day it was about ten degrees colder with a stiff wind so we lucked out for the race.

Once again, Chip was on our timing chip and there were no bibs. I like  having no bibs. I hate messing with them and I never buy my race photos anyway.

Check out who we spotted when we were walking down Burrard to the Convention Centre.

We passed the start arch on our way to the corrals - there was a Skull Candy guy cranking tunes at the start/finish arch. 

The dynamic warm up just got over. Sorry for the hazy photo, my fingers gunked up my phone lens.

In the crowds walking down to the corrals. I wonder what this woman did with her jacket, no way she ran in it.

The entertainment started even before you got on the course - this was by the portapotties. That's my niece in the top photo. We wore Power Purple and Aquamarine striped Power Ys as our "team" outfit. It worked out well since only a handful of other ladies did, too, so it was easy to spot each other when the course doubled over on itself. My sister wore a Lilac High Noon Dot Power Y in the race last year which made her equally easy to spot so, note to self - pick out a cute print/pattern next year for easy visibility.

Back in the 2:30-3:00 corral. Where's the start arch?
Like last year, we started in the 2:30-3:00 hour corral again. This one lined up next to the Urban Fare grocery store at the corner of Cordova and Bute. Can't see the start arch from here.

These people look like they should have had some pre-race coffee.
View looking back to the end of the corrals. 

Start arch comes into view. The race was supposed to have a 7:00 am start but didn't get off until 7:30 am. People were definitely entering the corrals at 7:00 and streaming in late.

And, we're off!

Heading up the first hill. My sister didn't consider this much of a hill but since I train on as flat a surface as I can find to minimize issues with my ITB and achilles this one kind of sucked. My quads were sore for two days after just like last year and they weren't sore for either Disney half I've run so I think the hills must be a factor.

And, heading down the first hill towards the Dunsmuir Viaduct.

On the viaduct.

Tai Chi group. They were here last year.

Not sure where these guys were but it was early in the race. (Thanks to Ms. S. for the photo.)

Down near the False Creek area of the race but not sure where. I am awful about knowing where I am in a race.

Heading up the Burrard Street Bridge. This is probably my favorite part of the course (well, the hill part sucks) because the race loops here and you can spot your friends who run faster/slower. I spotted my sister here and some eds from one of my stores spotted me.

The Ivivva cheer group right at the bottom of Cornwall. Last year they were in purple. They were probably the largest cheer group out there and very cute. They deleted the awful hill by the original store for this year's race.

View from the Burrard Street bridge heading back. The halfway point of the race is along the bridge though I must have missed the sign.

 Still on the bridge - it's a long, slow climb.

 Paddle boarders on the bay. They were there last year, too.

Mermaids on the rocks, right when you head out of Stanley park. They are probably my favorite entertainment since they are close to the end of the race.

I didn't take anymore photos from this point, I was just hunkered down for the finish.

The medal was a wooden disk that opens up to a photo frame. It's a cute idea but it's very lightweight and has no heft to it. It honestly feels like something you'd get for a 5K or 10K race. I am used to Disney medals that weigh close to half a pound and are a bit blingy. I much preferred last year's Sea Wheeze medal to this year's. In addition, the brown stain on the edges came off on my sweaty tank and I'm having trouble getting the marks out after three pre-treatments and washes. The glass in my sister's medal was missing, too. To me, this year's medal was a low note in an otherwise very well-planned event.

One of the best things at the end of the race is that we were handed cold, wet washcloths. They were heaven. Heaven!!! I would like those at the end of every warm weather race from now on. Just a fantastic idea and I hope it's repeated next year.

 Runners also got a little gift of peppermint oils. This bag was clipped onto our medal.

We also got some earbuds from Skull Candy.

I stole this photo off the Sea Wheeze video but it shows the yummy brunch we got - a waffle with blueberry compote, a mini quiche, a muffin, and some fruit. Even a slowpoke like me got some brunch and they were giving away leftover waffles and muffins so my sister was able to take some back to the kids in the hotel room. The food was delicious and very filling. They controlled who got the brunch by marking your wristband with a check mark. A wonderful improvement over last year where they ran out of brunch food early.

Photo booths near the Convention Centre. We skipped these.

I ended up taking ten minutes off my time from last year and making a PR so I was very pleased with how I ran.  

I ran with a GPS, a Garmin 610, this year and clocked the race in at 13.45 mi. Last year my sister clocked it at 13.7 so they took a little length out.

The water and aid stations were fantastic. They added one more station this year (perfect!) and they were well-manned and fully stocked with water, electrolyte, banana pieces, and orange slices even for a back-of-the-packer like me. Last year, the stations had oranges but I can't remember whether they had bananas, too. I had the bananas at a couple of the stations and hardly used any of the gel blox I brought with me. The potty situation was great. When I ran the Walt Disney World half marathon I had to wait until mile ten until there was no line for the bathroom but this race had plenty of portapotties. The entertainment was just as plentiful and varied as last year.  All in all, it was a very well-planned event where I felt we got lots of nice extras throughout the whole weekend. My sister and I are planning to do it again next year.

Did you go? What did you think?

FYI - Cute Lululemon video of the weekend/race.


Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't a stupid question but how many people do a run/walk combo for the Sea Wheeze? Is everyone pretty much a seasoned runner? Do most run the entire course?I would love to do this but I am a Yogi not a runner and I'm trying to gauge if I need to start training now if I have any hope of being able to run this next year?

Shelley said...

I agree with you, I much preferred last year's medal. Everyone I've talked to though loved this years. And I also loved the cold wet towel, heaven. :)

The race did start at 7am, they just released it in waves, about 5m lapse between corrals. I did fine on the hills u til the bridge, that's the one that I did not like at all. Going to have to do more hill training for next yr.

LuluAddict said...

@Shelley - I didn't think we started moving forward until at least 7:30 but you could be right. I was in the back so couldn't hear until we got closer.

@ anon 8:19 pm - I ran walked it. My niece did, too, and one of my friends that started with me did, also.

There were plenty of walkers on the course, especially in the back. Last year was my first Sea Wheeze and I started training in January with the Couch to 5K plan and then switch to Hal Higdon Novice 1 Half Marathon training and I was ready by July.

Anonymous said...

I ran it this year and loved it. It was my 3rd 1/2 (3 more planned for 2013) and its definitively on my list for next year. Were there things that could have been done better? Yes... But still very well run with great volunteers, a beautiful setting and a great city to spend the weekend in. I hadn't been to Vancouver in 10 years...since we had the wrist bands it was easy to spot who was there as part of the race and we seemed to be everywhere which was also fun.

Thie year I ran with my sister and my husband and her fiancé were spectators...I foresee a big girls weekend happening next year.

Anonymous said...

Woohoo! Strong work, LLA! Congratulations on your new PR! You smoked it! 10 minutes for a half is almost a minute per mile faster than your last year's time! You rawked it!

Meg said...

Great report, LLA! Congrats on finishing and setting a PR!

Jen said...

I was in corral #1, planning to run between 1:40-1:45 (finished in 1:40:57). At about 6:55, they announced that the race was going to start 5 min late. At about 6:58, in come all of the pace beavers. Not sure if that had anything to do with it, but, it was an interesting coincidence.

The weather was perfect, if a little warm (I like 40s-50s). When I was coming around the seawall, we were treated to a little rain as well. That was heaven since it was the same location the sun was beating down on us last year.

My only comment to them about the course will be to move the water station at just before mile 12 to the top of the hill. At this point, you have to climb a hill to get off the seawall and having a water station in the middle of the hill slows you down, and it's tough to get back going up to speed when you're going uphill.

We were lucky and got into the massages, photo booth and brunch before the lines got too long. When we left the area at 11am, the lines for brunch were all the way to the street! Thankful that fruit was all-you-can-eat. I think my consumption of watermelon was into the double digits again this year.

I like the medal, but agree that it's nothing too special. I would have liked them to include shoelaces like last year. Thought that was a nice touch in 2012. I gave the headphones to my husband since I don't run with headphones. Loved the cold peppermint towels! And the oils!

I'll be back for next year. It's a fun race, a good course, great atmosphere. And for us lulu fans, it's like our own pilgrimage to Mecca.

Seattlite said...

I just moved this year to Florida from a town north of Seattle (a town that has a lulu outlet ;) )
I always wanted to try the seawheeze but I am not much of a runner.. But have started a half training plan now to help me with tris and to work towards doing actual halfs!
This is now on my bucket list for next year (of course, just as I move away.. lol).
August/Sept are my favorite months in the PNW and they SUCK here in FL so I think it'll be a perfect excuse to run home to the fam for a while!

Wow now I'm just rambling.. lol Sorry!
My point is WHEN DO THEY OPEN REGISTRATION?!! I want to sign up asap when they do. I realize that this just ended so it won't be for a bit.. but I want to sign up before they sell out. When did Registration open this year? (so I can gauge)

Congrats on finishing! You rock! Thank you so much for all the pictures!! :) Do you love your seawheeze shorts?

Taryn13 said...

@Anon 8:19 - I had to walk it this year due to an injury. NO running at all! :( There were still lots of people behind us when we finished in 3:30 exactly. Unfortunately for us not ONE station had anything but water, vega drink and the odd one had bananas. Everything was gone! We did however see lots of full vega gels littered on the ground throughout the course that people had dropped, thrown away, etc. We could have used that energy!! That was my biggest complaint of the event - the volunteers should only give one per runner at each station since they are every 3km anyhow and save some for the guys in the back! :) So if you are planning on signing up for next year, bring you own, but do sign up because you will have a great time.

Sadly we also saw lots of people "cheating" in a few areas. The main one was right when you go over the Burrard bridge near LLL HQ there was the water station and porta potties on the other side of the race route coming back. So people were going to the bathroom and then turning around and heading back rather than doing the extra few km. Not sure what the point of that was. I want to be able to say I did every step, walk or run! Anyhow ....

Not knowing how fast we could walk it, we started in the back of the 2:30-3:00 corral and we crossed the start line at 0734hrs, so it certainly took a bit to get us all through the start line!
We ended the race with little only a fanfare ... although it was funny to come across the finish line with them announcing our names! haha. I also loved Saje oils they gave as a gift and the cool towels but we didn't get any headphones (didn't even know they were giving the out because there was nobody around past the towels!!) I preferred the medals from last year as well, but still happy to have earned mine!

We chose not to stand in the 20+ min line for brunch because we needed food !! so we wandered over to the Cactus Club restaurant right next to the event and had the best sangria I've even had! (And not just because we just completed a race! :)

I love the course overall. I live in/near a beautiful city but even I find it amazing when I take a look at it like that! The weather was cool and cloudy that day compared to the weather we have been experiencing this summer, but it was perfect for the race. And I'm sorry but my favorite cheer section is the drag queens!! LMAO I love those gals and got some great pics of them!!!
My other pic I laugh at is the Lulu sign in the porta potty that said "breathe deeply" but then the words are crossed out. Made me laugh.

A great weekend and I will definitely be signing up next year. Hopefully no injuries this time, though!

LuluAddict said...

@Taryn - I started in the same corral and only finished about 10 mins ahead of you and saw bananas at every station. I didn't look for vega gels, though, since I didn't train with them and don't eat anything I haven't trained with. I know in Disney races they only hand out gels at around mile 9 (god knows why they wait that long, I don't get it, seems like mile 6 might be the perfect place) so maybe the gels were only given out later in the race? I did see a woman picking up a pack of energy beans off the ground in the WDW half. I thought that was funny - scrounging for energy. I was able to get water and the vega electrolyte drink at every station but did not see the gels. I had two pockets full of Cliff Energy Blox with me which is my standard training fuel but I really enjoyed having bananas instead. I usually have a banana as my meal before a race anyway.

Lol on the cheating - I swear I saw someone cut across the course in the Burrard area, too.

My garmin had me crossing the start line at 7:36 am and my GPS was only 3 seconds off my official time.

The drag queens were probably my favorite cheer group, too. I didn't get a photo of them, though, since they were on a downhill part and I wanted to take advantage of every downhill section in the course.

Anonymous said...

@Taryn - perhaps directions by volunteers could have been clearer, but I only finished 3 minutes before you (3:27) and they had plenty of everything. The second to last station didn't have oranges out, but that could be because someone hadn't brought them out to the table as some volunteers were cleaning up the massive piles of cups alongside the road. Otherwise, there was still plenty of food. I didn't see vega gels anywhere but on the's quite possible they were not handing these out, but that people had brought their own & just tossed them on the ground when they were done. As for the headphones, the big trailer blasting music right after the Saje station was where you got them. Perhaps next year they should have volunteers pushing you that way, but since I had seen Lulu's hint of getting them, me and other runners waited outside that area. The brunch line only took me 5 minutes to get through, too, at that point. Sorry you missed out on a few things, but from what I saw, they still had stuff for us people near the end. :/

Anonymous said...

I volunteered for 20 hours over the weekend and had so much fun! I got involved in most of the events. The race did start late, I heard they started to move at 7:20. I am so impressed with the entire event, and plan to volunteer again and also run next year. It was a pleasure to help all the runners visiting have a blast in Vancouver, and I hope to get in on more fun as a runner next year! This is definitely an amazing city for running. They will be opening registration for next year during January 2014.

Taryn13 said...

Anon @ 9:26am - I'm glad you did not experience the same shortness of food/energy options that we did, I can only speak to what happened with us at all the stations, not just one or two. I do know that the gels were being handed out early on and not simply brought by participants - I saw them at the now popular Burrard Bridge "cheat" point ! :) We actually started to ask at the stations about 1/2 of the way through if there was anything other than water/juice - and was told nope, they were out. A few half dozen people we kept pace with through the race had the same issues. Given the fact that we were only powerwalking, one extra energy boost would have been plenty. And I'm glad the brunch line didn't take 20 minutes like the volunteer with the "Brunch This Way" sign said it was going to be ... we just didn't want to wait and we were thrilled with our yummy sandwiches and alcoholic drinks at CC! Yup, it would have been nice if volunteers were directing us to the runners swag, especially since we didn't see the Lulu hint until after the weekend. After speaking with Sea Wheeze organizers this week I guess there are a lot of unhappy people that missed out on this little gift ... like over 500 I was told! So perhaps next year they will make sure that doesn't happen because I'd hate to handle all of those complaints! LOL

LLA - OMG I laughed when I read about the woman you saw at the WDW Half because my BF also considered picking up one of the unopened Vega gels along the route!

Anyhow enough about the things that made the weekend a bit frustrating! Like I said live and learn! And overall the event went incredibly well and I'll certainly happily sign up again next year!!

Nicole said...

@Anon 9:26am I finished in 2 hours and they were handing out Vega gels along with the drinks, the water and the fruit.

@Taryn Let me assure you the Vega gels were absolutely disgusting and you did not miss anything. I took a gel at one station because I was trying to conserve my Shot Bloks and I regretted it immediately. My stomach got queasy and I was almost puking over the Seawall.