So, I feel like I should preface this recap with a few thoughts:
- I am a lululemon fan. I have been since discovering them, the same year I discovered my love for running, in 2010.
- I first heard rumors about Seawheeze in late 2011/early 2012ish (?) for their inaugural event in 2012. I thought the idea sounded super awesome, but I did not have an opportunity to register/plan a trip to Vancouver until this past year, so I was super excited to finally fulfill this “bucket list” experience.
- I am a lululemon fan. No, I am not repeating myself, but I DO want to emphasize that, after this weekend, I have truly discovered that I am just a fan, but not to the level of fandom that I need to drop lots of cash, wait in long lines, or get hyped about special edition merchandise. Maybe I am just too thrifty, maybe I am just too impatient, but I had no desire to wait overnight/many hours for special items. We DID stop by the lulu outlet in Burlington, WA on the way back to possibly pick up a fun race reward, but I didn’t find anything I *needed* there either, so I’m more than happy with just my race shorts that came with the registration.
…whew. Now, that I have that all off my chest, let me go on.
I was thankful to be able to register for this event this year, and even help my sister secure a
race bib (scratch that, there are no bibs at this race – but I am getting ahead of myself here) so I was super stoked for my first visit to Vancouver, and another opportunity to run a half with my sis (we ran Tink earlier this year together). We both were coming off pretty hectic schedules so we knew this wasn’t going to be a PR-setting venture, but we would still have fun, stick to her intervals, and shoot for something around 2:35. As race day approached, we were a bit nervous about air quality issues, and supposed warmer weather, but those fears became unfounded, fortunately, race morning, with a welcome “green flag” for conditions.
Now, I’d like to once again emphasize that I had a good experience. With this being my 27th half marathon, I’d rank it mid-low-range of my favorite 13.1’s, but there were many issues that would prevent me from recommending this race, namely:
- The registration process – now, this is not a total negative, as I was afforded a chance to register, despite missing the initial window, after the site that lululemon used crashed under pressure on opening day (I had made it through the entire process, including credit card input, when my page errored out). After getting a 48-hour grace period to go back in and complete my registration, it was a success and I was happy about the outcome. HOWEVER, this is the 6th year of the race, and it seems to be a common issue – and I get it. It’s popular. But, I think there could be better ways to go about registration more efficently – it’s a 10,000 capacity race – not small, but nowhere near the size of larger races, that seem to have much better systems.
- Course/participant logistics – the course, which I have read, has changed over the years – is GORGEOUS. However – it was cramped, and much too narrow for the field size of participants. I am not sure if this is due to the self-seeding (generally something I am a fan of) or just the nature of the course, but at the pace we were traveling, I was surprised to never find any thinning out of the course, from start to finish. On that note…
- Surprising lack of race etiquette/politeness – now, this is not the race organizers fault (in fact, I had stellar experiences with volunteers and course marshals) but I was SHOCKED at the lack of awareness of fellow runners. Despite the narrow course, there were multiple occasions in which race participants were walking three abreast, speaking on their cellphones, wearing headphones, or swinging their arms, seemingly unaware of others around them. This posed a big problem on what should have been the prettiest part of the course (running the sea wall in Stanley Park) when there’d just be a wall of people. I would call out a friendly, “on your left!” which would be returned with either NO REACTION, or a disgusted look. I even heard a few, “what’s the issue? It’s not like we’re racing here.” Um. Wait a minute…
- Finish line faux pas – The end of the race was lovely – through shaded trees, excited spectators and volunteers, epic views – then…a dead stop. The slow slog started before we even received our medals, and did not end for more than 45 minutes as we painstakingly loped over an incline toward the brunch area (which I had been told was awesome). When we finally reached the end, we were presented plastic boxes with one nectarine, a small square of chocolate, banana bread and an overnight oats parfait. To be fair – the parfait was good. Also to be fair – this was not my idea of brunch, and certainly would have been fine to skip. Maybe I am too spoiled by events with hot food options at the end, but this was just…anti-climatic.
- Other miscellaneous weird stuff that someone might be able to explain to me – no bib? So, no pictures? Did I miss a memo (to be fair – maybe I did?) I didn’t feel overheated or dehydrated, but it seemed like we went a pretty far way before the first water stop, too. Oh, and no other drinks post-race other than water afterward? I could have used a juice. Or soda. Or…I don’t know, something? Oh, and I liked the sunglasses, but I missed the other swag thing.
Again, there were positive parts too – loved seeing otters (yes, real otters), enthusiastic spectators (the spinners, boxers, firefighters, cops, and ivivva girls were awesome) and those mermaids were cool, too.
tl:dr? It was fun to run with my sister, the views/course were gorgeous, but this was a one and done for me.