Monday 9 September 2019

21.1 KM SeaWheeze 2019 Complete

My body hurts, my ankle is swollen, but I finished the SeaWheeze Half Marathon and I would do it again! This was my second time running a half marathon. I had done the Seawheeze in 2017 and it still remains a fabulous half marathon experience for non-runners and runners alike. Just do not let the Yoga - Fun - Party - tagline fool you because 21.1 Kilometers is no easy feat.

Lululemon goes out of their way to make the SeaWheeze a 3-day event which is completely free and open to registered runners. The energy that surrounds it is positive and everyone is in amazing spirits. This and many more reasons are why the SeaWheeze will probably remain the only half marathon that I am willing to my body through this much pain. 

For the two days leading up to race day, Jack Poole Plaza and the Convention Center are given a glorious makeover and are the site for pre-race events. There are lots of free swag up for grabs and complimentary services like massage and hair braiding. Not to mention lots and lots of yoga! 

The morning of race day, complimentary bag check is available for runners. Not sure if this service is offered at other amateur half marathons. Many runners come dressed up in from costumes. I would say this year's most memorable attire was the large group os "Waldos" and I so wished I was part of their cool Waldo gang. Along the course, there are several companies and local authorities that set up cheer stations. Some of them include the drag queens, mermaids on the beach, the fire department and a spin biking company (forgot the name!). After you cross the finish line, the most beautiful medal is placed around your neck and you are guided up to Jack Poole Plaza. As you make your cool down walk to the plaza, you are handed more freebies and moist towels to wipe off all the sweat. Each runner is given a nutritious brunch that consisted of berry compote coconut chia pudding, banana bread, and fresh grapes. No lame granola bars here! In the afternoon there are busses shuttling runners to Lululemon's infamous Sunset Festival which is where the party aspect of the race begins!
A quick breakdown of the course: This year's course was the same as 2017's and I am assuming it remains the same year to year. You begin a block up from Jack Poole Plaza/ The Convention Center in Downtown Vancouver and first head east toward's BC place and over the viaduct to Chinatown. The course then makes a quick left and goes towards the False Creek Seawall. The course passes underneath Granville and Burrard Street bridge and at Bute Street, you make a short, but steep incline to Pacific Street. At Pacific Street, you turn right and this is where the course becomes "two-way traffic" so you will be passing runners heading in the opposite direction aka those that are I think 2.5 KM ahead of you! The course goes over the Burrard Street Bridge, west along Cornwall Avenue and once it hits Balsam Street, you turn around and head back over the bridge down Pacific Street and straight past Bute street (now it is back to a single direction course), to the English Bay Seawall. You are about 12 KMs into the marathon now. You follow the seawall into Stanley Park and I believe just past the tea house is when the course goes through the park itself and you go past the aquarium and pop out onto the Coal Harbour Seawall. This is the last and final few KM stretch of the marathon and it finishes at the end of the Coal Harbour Seawall, just before the Convention Center.

I am NOT a runner by any means and this time around, I really did not train much. Sure I went to the gym a few times in a MONTH and did a couple 8-mile sessions on the treadmill, but it does not equate to proficient training for a half marathon. I was comfortable for the first 12 KMs or so, but once I hit English Bay, that is when the hurt started to set in. I started to struggle as the muscles in my legs began to ache and tighten. I developed an uncomfortable blister on the sole of my right foot and every step I took felt heavier and heavier. The last five KM's so halfway through the Stanley Park Seawall is when things got even worse and I just got tired. Trying to switch from a walk to a jog became difficult because my legs felt heavy and my hip started to hurt and my mid-back ached. Also at the 18th KM mark, I was starving and thankfully a KM later they were handing out bananas. I quickly crammed two halves into my mouth. Never has a banana tasted so good in my life.

Obviously, I finished the half marathon because no duh, I got a medal and everything, but it was not without pain and suffering in the second half. What keeps you going is seeing everyone else around you pushing through that exact same pain and feeling. It took me nearly 3 1/2 hours to complete this half marathon which is not the most stellar time. However, I was not alone because many runners finished after me too! The course remains open for a total of 4 hours, so do not fret! The Seawheeze is definitely a non-runner friendly half marathon because everyone is there to have a good time and to just complete it without injury.

Did anyone else run the SeaWheeze this year or has in the past? Fingers crossed that I get in next year!


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