Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sea Wheeze Race Report - It Was So Fun!!!

Lots of bright colors at the race!
I think I couldn't have chosen a more fun race to run for my first half marathon. Everyone was dressed so brightly, the route was gorgeous, the weather was great, and I felt great. Overall I had an awesome time. My sister said this was probably the best half marathon she has run yet (I think this one made number eleven for her). She loved the energy and the route. We both said we'd like to come back for the 2013 Sea Wheeze.


This is the medal. I think it's a key chain (or bag tag) with a pair of shoe laces, that say Sea Wheeze at the tips, as the neck strap. I like it - it's different and practical.

Some photos of the racers heading to the corrals and one of the corrals. I wanted to show how brightly every one was dressed. There was tons of people in Ray, Flash, Paris (bleeding be-damned!), Power Purple, Pow Pink, Currant, and the new Sea Wheeze gear colors - lime, the orangey red, and the blue. As a lululemon fan, it was super neat that nearly everyone, probably 98%, was wearing lululemon. I decided on a different race outfit myself than I had planned on. Originally I was going to wear a Caspian Blue Swiftly tank but decided to go with Paris Pink since I was kind of sleep deprived and wanted a bright color to pump me up. Everyone else obviously had the same idea and being surrounded by so much bright color was very energizing. One other very different thing about this race was that there were no race bibs. We just had our timing chips and a wristband. That made the clothes the star of the race. I really liked not wearing a bib. I thought it was kind of a pain in the 10K I ran and I didn't have to stress about putting pinholes in my pricey lululemon clothes. The downside is that there were no race photos since there is no way to recognize anyone. My husband was taking photos so it didn't matter to me. My sister said she kind of liked it, too, since she always looks bad in her race photos and never buys them since they are so pricey. I would definitely vote for keeping the race no bibs again next year.

Instead of starting in the back, my sister talked me into starting in the 2:30 corral - she is a 2 hour racer - so we could start together. We also found Lulumum so we all started together. I was run walking so they dropped me fairly quickly but I spotted them on the Burrard Street Bridge. I actually caught up to Lulumum at about 11 miles and ran/walked the rest of the race with her. I was really pleased with my time considering how much I walked - there were two long hills that I mostly walked. I think my training really paid off because I felt really good at 10 miles and I started passing people that had passed me earlier in the race. The weather was in the low 70s but felt hotter at times because of the humidity. It didn't bother me too much since I did a lot of my long training runs in temps in the low 80s. Quite a bit of the course was in the shade, which was wonderful. Logistically, I thought the race went pretty well. The only glitch was that the first water station at 5K didn't have cups. They handed me a liter bottle of water which I poured into my water bottles (I was wearing a hydration belt) and then left at the side of the road. We passed the station again on the way back and it had cups on the return. There was quite a bit of entertainment on the course - from a choir, to a dj, to mermaids (see below). I never really spent much of the race thinking about the distance - there was lots to look at and the time seemed to go fast. However, the last couple miles went kind of slow. I ran without a GPS and all the signs were in kilometers so I was having trouble figuring out how far we had to go (I know, I'm an idiot).  My sister said her GPS clocked the course in a bit long - at 13.5 miles - and she thought she didn't weave an extra 0.4 miles. All in all, I would do this race again in a hearbeat.

The brunch was gone by the time I made it back but I figured it would be. My sister and I headed back into the store to get her some race souvenirs (photos and details below). Since she is a 2/4 there was a little more selection than in the other sizes but it was really picked over. We also ended up skipping the concert in favor of taking our kids to the Second Beach pool in Stanley Park so I don't have any info on the concert.

Chip firing off the starting gun



Crossing the Burrard Street bridge was one of my favorite parts of the race. Well, not the long uphill aspect of it, but I liked seeing the racers heading back. I passed my sister on the bridge.

One of the big cheer stations along the route.

Mermaids on the rocks towards the very end of the race.

My sister's haul - She was able to snag a Nothin But Run Jacket in the Bright Lime. I don't know where it appeared from because I thought the jackets were sold out last night. Those jackets came in the blue, I think the red, and the cream color with polka dots. I saw lots of people wearing them around Vancouver yesterday. She bought my niece a Light As Air skirt in the lime and herself one in black. She also bought herself two pairs of the Run Shorty Shorts in the blue and the lime. She got herself a cream racing length Cool Racerback. Since she is petite those work well for her.

I also got myself a Run in the Sun LS in the lime. I wanted one race item that had the Sea Wheeze runner girl logo on it.

48 comments:

NicoleC said...

Awesome... thanks so much for the update! It looks like everyone had an amazing time and I'd absolutely love to go next year! Congratulations on completing your first half marathon!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your first half marathon, LLA! You did it! And have the loot to prove it...who needs a picture? :o)
Your training blog and the last two postings have been the final push I needed to start running. I'm aiming for a half marathon in fall 2013. I hope you'll keep us posted on Sea Wheeze 2013 training once you start. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go to Sea Wheeze. But I'm willing to bet that there will be enough LLA blog followers to make a run group. The first LLA group training exercise would be snagging clothing at the Sea Wheeze store.

Anonymous said...

Congrats & thanks for sharing!!! That looks like a super fun race to participate in, and especially your first 1/2. Do you ever have issues with snagging or abrasion with your fuel belt & LLL materials? I've been afraid of wearing one and rulning my tops.

Anonymous said...

Hey LLA, love your blog, post and you so please do 't think I am trolling. Since you're new to running, there is no way you could have possibly known this so as a runner, I feel it is my duty to share: in the running work it is considered extremely poor etiquette to start in a faster corral than the one you are assigned to. This is because while you only cared about finishing and having a good time (which is fine), a lot of people are running for a specific time. Note how you said you got dropped really quickly; by your slowing down slower than the corral pace, you were inhibiting faster runners behind you. In the future, stick to your corral. This doesn't make you a terrible person, just a new runner! Thanks!

Rachael said...

Funny! You snapped a picture of my friends and I :o).

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Luluaddict and to all those who ran! You are an inspiration. I may train for next year!

MonkeyGirl said...

Thanks for the race report- it sounds like a wonderful time! Your sister's haul is fantastic, especially considering all that was picked over. What a shame there weren't shirts of lulu style with the name and the date on it for sale. I love that you and lulumum ran part of the race together!

Focus said...

Congratulations LLA!!! What wonderful photos, and memories! Thanks for taking time out of your adventure to post for us.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! I did the Disney Princess Half Marathon & the Disney Marathon and they are both so fun. Lots of women dressed as princesses and some men too! Thanks for sharing your experience....now I'm thinking about doing this next year. I hope you are not too sore today =)

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 4:06 - I know it was bad etiquette to start in a higher corral but my sister convinced me it was ok to start together (I'm pinning some of the blame on her since we had tried to get her to start farther back with lulumum and me ;-) ). Although the start looks very crowded it was pretty roomy and I stayed well over to the right to not be a major hindrance to faster runners. The race did not give out any medals for places at all - a fact my sister noted and thought made the vibe very fun and more relaxed than other races she has done.

Jellybean said...

Congratulations to you! Very exciting.... the best part is going out for dinner after and (hopefully) eating whatever you like!

Are you going to take some time off running for now? After my first half (which was only 6 months ago) I went down to 10 km (6 miles) and am now building up for a fall half marathon. Just wondering....

Anonimouse said...

Well done you! You make me want to start running myself, shame my poor abused knees won't take the strain any more.

Anonymous said...

No body was assigned a corral. We got to choose and there was plenty of room to pass reeeeelax

Anonymous said...

As an "over-forty" athlete trying to start distance running, I am so proud of you! Wonderful job and I'm so glad that you had such a fun first half experience. Can't wait to hear more ;-).

chantelletries said...

The next time you race and you HAVE to wear a race number just use a "race belt." The race number is pinned to the belt and not your expensive LL attire. The belt is lightweight and does not really take a lot of getting used to. There is a company called ZOOT who makes a lot of triathlon-specific clothing and they sell race belts in PINK!

Jessica said...

Congratulations LLA and everyone who ran! It looks like a beautiful and great time! Thank you so much for sharing! Cute stuff there..... Interesting to see what might be coming for us from Lulu...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great time! And I LOVE the lime green Run in the Sun LS shirt you got! I hope that color comes out for us non Sea Wheeze runners.

Pink Peony 4 said...

I would be the one to go with my group instead of staying in my corral. If that was me running my first race I would prefer to start with people I know than my speed. My daughter, niece and brother in law also plan to go next year. It will be such fun. Love the brightness of the whole race and the occasional splashes of quirkiness that is so Lululemony.

Laura Strate Madsen said...

Great job on your race! I'm curious now -- did they actually assign corral times? I race a lot (30+ races a year), and have never seen corrals used on a half. I don't think you should the slightest bit of guilt starting in the 2:30 corral. :) I say it's only poor form if you're getting in the way of people aiming to win.

Anonymous said...

I get the whole "start in the right corral" thing but really it sounds like you weren't too off base if you caught up later on! plus, you were kind and stayed right! I def wouldn't encourage it for all races but this race was all about fun and solidarity if you want times and corrals to be real crazy then do a rock n roll crowded ass half marathon Lol those are pretty crowded! I'm proud of you for doing this race!

Jen said...

Congrats on your race! It was a wonderful day, a little warm for my liking (I like to run distance in 40degree temps), and I was hurting by mile 9 from going out to fast (with the 1:40 pace beavers), but the run around Stanley Park is so gorgeous, it's easy to forget how much you hurt! :)

I talked with some lll folk about the no bibs ... Their response was, "we don't want you to have to pin anything to your shirt." I always pin my bib to my skirt anyway, but seeing so many swiftlys, I understand their logic. The 1:40 pacer made mention that she wondered how much $$ was spent on all the lulu gear folks were wearing in the race. A lot!

My only con was the gear check. Horrendous line at 7am because they didn't have preprinted labels and were trying to organize on the spot. My advice ... Preprinted labels in each bag and organize during the race. The CIM does this very well. I didn't make the concert either, but could hear it from my hotel (Westin). Oh! Another nice perk, they gave everyone on the SeaWheeze hotel rate a goody bag at check in, complete with band aids, black nail polish, Epsom salts, sunscreen, lip balm and a six pack of lulu hair ties!! That was a nice surprise!

Congrats again! I'm planning on 2013 already!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your first half marathon!

Trisarahtops said...

YAY LLA!!! So glad to hear everything went well and that you had a blast! This sets a great tone for the rest of your running career =). Wishing you many more successful races!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on completing the half marathon and thank you so much for keeping us updated along the way! Loved your posts about the new items and colors and what it was like to be there. I definitely want to do this next year!!!! It seems like all the reviews I have read are great. Love the fun, less competitive atmosphere!!!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Congratulations on the run!!!

yogibabe said...

Yippeee LLA! Congratulations to you for completing your first half. For me, just the thought of scoring those exclusive goodies is motivation enough for next year! (lol...I know, racing for the wrong reasons! heehee! but it's racing, nonetheless!) It seemed like lululemon did a wonderful job of being the 'hostess with the mostest"! Well worth the entry fee and all. :)

Anonymous said...

SPI belt to attach your race bib and also hold things like your phone and gels is also a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your run LLA! That's awesome. I'm pretty depressed that I didn't get to run - I signed up and did all the training but then I moved away from Vancouver and couldn't afford to fly back. Interestingly it looks like I wasn't the only one, the email from Lululemon said 7500 people ran it but the results say 5858 people timed in. I guess me and 1641 others had trouble making it... or some of the chips didn't work?

Anyway wish I was there but it's great to see all these pics! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a great time, LLA! Looks like Ebay madness had started:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=lululemon+sea+wheeze&_sacat=0

Sandra said...

Congrats!!!!! I'm soooo envious! And I'm so inspired to go next year!

AZ Lulu Fan said...

Congratulations LLA! You've inspired me and my workout buddy to sign up next year. She introduced me to
LLL before there were any stores in AZ when she brought a few pieces back with her from a Whistler ski trip.

I'm a 5K treadmill runner, but with 12 months training and Allegra-D, I'll be ready for the next Sea Wheeze.

Liz8 said...

Congratulations!!!! Looks like it was a blast- I'll definitely put it on my list for next year. And I love all the merchandise!! Those are the colors I've been waiting for!!! I took a peek at ebay last night- there are already items listed at pretty high starting bids (and people bidding on them!).

Anonymous said...

LLA- great recap post! it was such a fun weekend. It was my first half marathon too.

I didn't see you mention the patch and release kit that we were given at check in! (sun block, lulu hair ties, lip balm, Epsom salts, blister band aids, & black Essie nail polish). Lululemon really went above and beyond!!!

LuluAddict said...

@ Jellybean - I don't plan to take too much time off - maybe another day or two. I am signed up for the Disney World Half Marathon in January - only super-fun halfs for me! - and I don't want to have to deal with building up my running again. I'll have to ask around as to how much weekly running I should do. I was thinking probably 5 miles 3x a week at least.

@ anon 10:45 am - a local ed told me that 40% of the runners were lululemon employees so I am wondering if a lot of them bailed on coming. I know a few people who couldn't make it.

I just read an interesting rumor that lulu is going to offer runners the option of ordering the fish Sea Wheeze CRBs and Lung Tree Sea Wheeze Swiftly tops that the employees were wearing. That would be super awesome but I'm not going to hold me breath. If they do, I am definitely getting both of them.

LuluAddict said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LuluAddict said...

Good to know Jen! Maybe we will try to stay at the lulu-affiliated hotel next time. We had to stay at a bigger place because we brought our kids but we're talking about coming without them next year.

Anonymous said...

@ LLA 8:40 pm - We received the patch and release kit when we checked into the hotel (along with the route map/event schedule). They said it was a welcome gift fom lulu? We are not ambassadors or anything special

vics said...

I ran this yesterday too and had a good time :) I DO wish they would've given runners first/priority access to the store, especially since it's upsetting to see SeaWheeze merchandise already cropping up on ebay for ridiculously inflated prices, but I got a pair of plaid groovy run shorts and the same long sleeve run in the sun top as you, so I'm pretty content with my swag (really wish I could've scored one of the striped headbands in blue/white though!)

Oh, and just as an aside - the training program I generally follow has me running 5x/week with Friday and Sundays as rest days. All programs are different though and I would say take one or two days off and then get back in it if you're not wanting to take a break. I've been a short distance (3-4 mile) runner for over 5 years, and began training for long distance running last December. SeaWheeze was my 2nd half marathon and I actually got a new pace record of 2:14! :) It should also be noted that many people's GPS trackers had the overall course distance as a bit over the typical 13.1 distance (reports are falling between 13.4 - 13.8) so, you might've run some bonus distance there!

Congratulations on all of your hard work!

Jen said...

LLA - I just booked it for hubby and I next year (we won't bring our son). Great location - about a 10-15 min stroll to the convention center and a great view. Planning to switch my reservation to the SW rate when it's announced.

And, random celeb sighting - Ted Danson!

Anonymous said...

LLA - What did your race time end up being? I've never been a runner, but seeing all these Sea Wheeze pictures makes me want to give it a try! But I don't know what a realistic goal time/pace would be? I know you mentioned that you started in a 2:30 time block, but I think that would be a pretty ambitious goal for someone like me who isn't already a runner! Is there a max time where they start to shut down the course?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your sister. My GPS said 13.5 as well. At 16K, my watch just ticked over to 10 miles, so I know the watch was fairly accurate up to that point.

I found it amazing that Lulu had enough clout in Vancouver that they were able to close the entire sea wall just for the runners. The view was breathtaking.

I do think that they could have used maybe 1 or 2 more water stations though. I know this was a fun run and an inaugural one at that, but I feel the water stations volunteers were kind of at a loss. They didn't seem to pour the water until people came up for it. Maybe they were under-staffed and couldn't catch up with the demand. From previous experience, I was always handed water so I could keep going and not have to stop and wait for someone to pour.

I really do hope the rumor is true that they will offer the Sea Wheeze CRB and Swiftly to the runners. I would wear them loud and proud.

It's a shame that non-runners were able to purchase event exclusive merchandise before runners got a crack at it. I was through registration pick up and into the store by 8:30 and a few things on my list were already sold out.

So even though there were hiccups throughout the event, the experience was wonderful for me. I hope the Lulu people take note of what they can improve on next year. I'm ready to sign up for 2013!

LuluAddict said...

From the comments that were made to my husband and me in Vancouver be assured that lululemon reads this blog and comments pretty closely so if you have suggestions for the 2013 post them.

Beside having more waffles for late runners it would be nice to have packet pickup for friends. My sister hit some heavy traffic north of Seattle and so made the 9 pm cutoff with only 30 minutes to spare. We were sweating whether she would be in time. The Disney races allow you to pick up friend's packets with a copy of their ID and a release form. It would be nice to have that for next year.

I agree about a couple more water stations.

@ anon 9:13 pm - Don't judge your time by me. I am an extremely slow runner. When I am tooling at the gym I am only going 5 mph. My sister's first half was 2:30 and she has since pulled it back to the 2 hour mark. I don't want to get into specifics on my time for privacy reasons but I'll say I met my goal.

There were quite a few people walking the course and I believe the alloted time given was 4 hours. I think lululemon closed the course 4 hours after the start time.

There were no place medals so this race was more about fun and exercise and not competition. I know my sister remarked what a nice vibe it gave the race compared to others she has run.

Anonymous said...

LLA & Lulumum also, I'm super-impressed! Well done - it sounds like it was a lot of fun :))

Anonymous said...

Gah, I wish they would do a larger release of that gorgeous LIME color! It's been far too long since they've done green!!!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS LLA on your first half marathon!

I loved that the race started with a guest singer singing "Oh Canada"!

This race was great. I'm a hardcore runner (not from Van) so for anyone who is not a runner and/or who has not run this course and is planning to next year: you'd better hill train your a** off. Again, I'm very practiced and I was shocked by how hilly they chose to make the first 11K of this race. They weren't joking when they stated they made it challenging! As for seeding/race corrals: LLA I don't judge you at all for being in an earlier corral. When you got dropped off, you stayed right and out of the way, so you knew race etiquette.

LLL allowed runners to self seed and go in any corral you want. In other races you cannot do that and they will block you off: your big tag must match your corral. It's fine that LLL allowed self seeding. Getting into the corrals was easy which I appreciated. Sometimes when it's too strict, it's a nightmare getting in the one entrance to a corral and so many people.

Agreed: not enough water stations. Halfs I've been in they are every 3 kms. I looked at the map and knew there weren't enough. I brought a 500ML water bottle with me for insurance, and I never run with anything extra for a race. Water stations: not enough people manning them LLL! They were not organised and not handing out water fast enough. Some stations were too FAR back from the race course AND your volunteers were not calling out 'water' vs 'energy bev' (whatever the brand was again) to distinguish what they had. They need to be more vocal/specific and more on point with water ready and enough people manning the stations.

I stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront which is a great hotel (I would LOVE to stay at the Fairmont Pacific Rim). There are MANY hotels in downtown Vancouver. Not sure but Westin may have been a host hotel for the race? I didn't need to check a bag as I was so close to the start line, which is awesome. Just helps with the whole ease of race morning.

@ 10:45 AM...the number of people who ran keeps/keep getting updated. Thanks LLL for using Sportstats as the timing company so the race shows up with the majority of the races I've run...it's a long list!

I loved the wristband instead of bib! Loved being around the city for the rest of the day and we all still had it on. I had to get it cut off at the hotel the next day as I didn't have scissors haha.

The post race food by Bearfoot Bistro was fantastic! I would pay for THAT everytime vs boring bananas, bagels, apples. We had: waffles with blueberries, little quiche, fresh fruit skewers (melons & pineapple, VERY fresh) and watermelon. Big bottle of water and coconut water by Zico.
That would be awesome if we (who ran) got to order the CRB with the fish - I would love that!

I am disappointed at what I witnessed at the store with people hoarding gear and LLL not limiting # of items. I did manage to get a striped CRB but that was with some focused lingering on stuff coming back on the floor, and even then I had given up. LLL you need for more checkouts/cashiers for that store: an hour to wait in line is ridiculous!

Race kit: loved the bag and the Native Shoe Co. flip flops are AWESOME. I'm spoiled now and they're all I want to wear, def. the only ff I want now. Please no polka dot shorts...they look like men's boxers. Something solid colour with the SW logo or images...even the INSIDE waistband with the images is prettier than the exterior polka dots etc.

And get with LARABAR as a sponsor etc. and throw some of those babies in there: cashew and peanut butter flavours are the best!

Happy Running! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

congratulations reading this post really makes me want to run a half marathon. I would love to get ahold of some of the sea wheeze items, but I am not willing to get ripped off on e-bay. to bad.

RunningOnCoffee said...

Congrats on your first half marathon!! And you're already thinking about doing it again next year :) Your sister picked up some nice goodies.

Eliott said...

This was a very well organized race, with GREAT volunteers and medical team, for the most part. The swag we got was fantastic. Flip flops, shorts and a medal, all high quality. As a few have pointed out course was long about 300 meters to 600 meters. That can mean a 1 to 4 min difference in time so it does make a difference in official times.
My main issue was I had to drink my water very quickly after the race as I was not smart and ran too fast near the end to get a personal best, due to long course. After exiting the medical tent and waiting for my wife to finish, I went looking for more water and was refused. Told only one bottle per finisher. I have never seen this before at a race, even grassroots races. Most larger races have a table with all the water or sports drink available in the food section. It felt kind of cheap for such a well run race and after feeling so good about the weekend my last impression was of someone telling me I should not have recycled my water bottle and tough luck.