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Race Report: Seawheeze Half Marathon, Part 1

Posted Aug 16 2012 8:52pm
Last Saturday I ran the inaugural Seawheeze Half Marathon presented by Vancouver's very  own Lululemon ...

The much-lamented itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny polka dotted
Seawheeze shorts!
Despite being a little wild compared to the rest of my running wardrobe, they really were beautifully designed - lovely, soft fabric, pockets in just the right places and even if not my style, a cute, fun print.  Inside the waistband they even screen printed silicone-y silhouettes of the famous Vancouver landmarks runners would pass along the route - a way to help hold the shorts in place...

It's hard to capture in a photo but there are waves and the lion's gate
bridge, elsewhere were BC Place stadium and inukshuks...

Unfortunately, the shorts were just far to short for this mama runner and while they totally represented the quirky, fun spirit Lulu was creating for their event, I know many runners were disappointed that the shorts were really only appropriate for the youngest and fittest.  I love the creativity and "enthusiasm" that the Seawheeze shorts embodied but I wish they would have been designed to fit and flatter the more average runner's figure...

Oh yes, that is most definitely some butt cheek peeking
out the bottom of my Seawheeze shorts!  Who wears short
shorts?  Not THIS runner!

On the Friday before the race I headed downtown to pickup my package and to spend some time shopping in the much-anticipated Seawheeze Showcase Store.  Just outside the convention centre, they had set up a Seawheeze Class of 2012 (the creative way they had been referring to the group of registered runners) "goals wall" where runners could write their goals for the race... 

It was really cool to read everyone's goals!



After posting my goal, I got inside the convention centre and package pickup was excellent.  I arrived at about 11:30 to basically no lineup and sailed right up to the counter.  Our packages came in these cool Seawheeze bags that would also serve as our gear check bags the next day...


The packages were pretty streamlined and included only the basics (so nice for a change) - chip, wristband, showcase store coupon (15% off to make up for the public outcry over the polka dot shorts!) and a bottle of water.  We also got fitted for a pair of cool, custom-designed Seawheeze flip flops made by local shoe designers Native Shoes .  Very cool and so comfortable (helps make up for the shorts!)...


After this I headed over to the crazy line to get into the much-anticipated Seawheeze Showcase Store.  For months Lulu had dropped hints about the exclusive clothing that was being specially designed just for Seawheeze.  Since the shorts were a bomb for me I was excited to at least buy myself some official gear...

Sneak peek of the exclusive Seawheeze gear that would be available
at the Showcase Store.  LOVE the stripes and coral shorts!
This run expo was very different from every other one I have ever been to - there were no external vendors at all, just package pickup and the showcase store.  I waited in line for about 1.5 hours but the other runners were super friendly and Seawheeze volunteers were handing out delicious watermelon fruit popsicles while we waited.  The time went by pretty quickly.

Chatting with other friends who had been at the store closer to when it opened, I was told stories of people scooping up entire piles of the most popular items in all sizes, entire displays of tank tops and armfuls of duffel bags (the store was open to the public as well as registered runners) when the store first opened.  One of my friends asked the lady in front of her why she was buying so much stuff and the woman openly admitted she was going to turn around and sell it on ebay.  When I heard this I was worried there would be nothing be left and sadly, that was the case when I finally got into the store.

Sure there were some items left in my size, but all of the signature pieces (the colourful striped tank tops, the cute shorts that were advertised and the specialty items like running jackets and duffel bags) were all sold out and the store had only been open for about 4 hours.  It was a huge disappointment to not be able to buy any official merchandise, especially knowing that it was due, if only in part, to scalpers selling on ebay and Craigslist.  Sure enough, if you search ebay for Seawheeze today there are shorts being sold for $200 (originally retailed around $50), tank tops for $210 and a headband for $70!  Yes, $70!  Shameful. 

It was a disappointing end to the day before Seawheeze but I tried to remain optimistic about the actual event.  Now that it's done I can say all kinds of great things about this race, but Friday night I sure wasn't feeling very excited or pumped.  The shorts were a flop, the so-called "exclusive" merchandise was sold out and although the flip flops were super cool, I left that day feeling like my $128 registration   barely got me anything.  After months of training, discipline and hard work, it is usually visiting the expo that gets me inspired and psyched for the race and I was sad that this wasn't the case for the Seawheeze.

What was really neat however, was the afternoon yoga session that was hosted in the Jack Pool Plaza (where the 2010 Olympic cauldron sits permanently) just outside the convention centre.  I am so not into yoga, but it was pretty neat to see so many people practising together in a huge session that was open to everyone, mats provided...

So with no official merchandise in my hands, I headed home and out for dinner with a good friend.  We had a lovely evening and as I crawled into bed, gear all organized and laid out for the morning, I started to feel just a tiny bit excited again.  Race day really did turn out to be an amazing experience so I'll write about that in my next post...
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