We decided to start around the 2:15 pace bunny (sorry Seawheeze, I refuse to call them pace beavers...) and once we were in our corral we did the usual - take pictures and hang out.
We were lucky (or unlucky) enough to be entertained by a fully naked guy hanging out on a hotel balcony (and I guess I do mean hanging out!) It was kind of gross but everyone was in a really good mood which always makes the wait at the start so much better.
A couple final shots to be Instagrammed and sent to friends starting other races in the province and we started to move up to the start line.
It was finally our turn so we started our watches and off we went. Krista and I had talked about it and we wanted to run together so our plan was to take it easy, more like a training run. Turns out this was a great strategy because it was just the kind of race where we had lots to stop for and lots of people to meet and greet along the way!
Our first friend we were watching out for was Kendall, who I've met through Twitter. She is a fantastic supporter and cheerperson and was one of my favorite finish line hugs from the Run for Water events. She was volunteering and we knew she'd be around the 5km mark and sure enough, there she was! Big hugs all around.
The weather was perfect. Overcast and just a nice little wind. So much better than the scorcher we had last year. Phew! By this point we had already made our way down to the seawall around Yaletown and False Creek and had kind of found a rhythm to our run.
We wound our way around a bit, past the Burrard Street Bridge...
And we eventually found our way to these lovely ladies as we headed up and looped around to go over the bridge ourselves...
Many of our Vancouver races go over the Burrard Bridge but it seems lately all the ones I've done have us running over the bridge in the opposite direction. As we ran across I realized we'd actually be going both ways with a little loop through Kitsilano in the middle.
Last year we ran up 4th Avenue and past the big Lululemon offices/store up there. I was glad to see they actually took that loop out this year because it was a huge hill! We stayed closer to the beach and did an out-and-back along Cornwall before heading back to the bridge.
Krista and I were faring pretty well and still had plenty of gas in the tank by the time we ran back over the Burrard Street Bridge. It was nice to get to the other side though because then all we'd have left was the seawall around Stanley Park.
We got down to the beach just outside of Stanley Park and I couldn't deny the urge to pee that I'd been dealing with for several kilometres. I had to make a pit stop and joined a port-potty lineup that was pretty short. People were taking their sweet time however and this stop took forever! I hate wasting time in the middle of race! Krista opted for a little lay down while she waited for me...
With the potty ordeal (and the stinky porta-potties) behind us we carried on into Stanley Park and hit the seawall. I find I either love or hate the seawall during races. I've run events where I've hated every step and others where the seawall is a gem in the middle of the race. I was feeling a bit tired when we started the seawall but somewhere around 15km I feel like I got a massive second wind and felt awesome! I could have put my nose down and flown away at that point.
It really is a beautiful place to run but it's always nice when you pass under the Lion's Gate Bridge and see the lighthouse because you know you're getting close to downtown again. The Seawheeze route took us up through the park before hitting the lighthouse to cut back into town. They had a spray tent this year but with the cooler temperatures it didn't do much for me.
Our next stop to visit was Brandi and we knew she'd be somewhere along the home stretch. We came around a corner and there she was! Brandi is on an amazing weight-loss journey and is such a determined and hard working runner. It was so nice to see her out there cheering loud and proud. More hugs all around!
We had a half marathon to finish however, so off we went. The route kind of winds its way around a few residential blocks before finally hitting the final stretch to the finish. I was tired and ready to be done. I knew it wasn't my fasted half marathon but I was happy with our easy pace.
As we crossed the finish line we were handed our cool wooden medals. We noticed that they opened like a locket and had a picture frame in them but after asking several volunteers nobody could tell us if there was something specific that was supposed to go in them. We found out after getting home that there were photo booths at the finish area so I was bummed to have missed that.
We wanted to hit the lineup and grab some of the delicious food but in the end we decided not to. The lineups were ridiculously long and we decided to skip the food after all. Instead, we went to sit down by the Olympic torch and wipe ourselves down with the luxurious chilled cloths we were given at the finish. We were also given customized Skullcandy headphones and Saje aromatherapy kits. Nice finish line treats!
In the end our time was 2:25:59 and while I was happy to take all the photo ops and visit with friends who were volunteering, it bugged me that my potty break wasted so much time in the middle. It was after the race and I was trying to look up our results that I finally realized why my wristband said "Nicole" instead of "Nikki". My legal name is Nicole but I never use it but I didn't realize there had been a mistake until I checked the results and there was no data for Nikki Scott of Langley.
However, I looked up my wristband number and sure enough there were my results. Turns out they gave me Nicole Scott of Burnaby's wristband. Awesome.
Altogether, this year's Seawheeze was so much better than last year. I think the planning team worked out a lot of the kinks from their first year which made things a whole lot more enjoyable for us as runners. There were still a few things I think could have used a bit more thought but overall the event was fantastic and I would highly recommend it to anyone who a) loves half marathons b) wants to see Vancouver c) loves Lululemon or d) all of the above.
Seawheeze is definitely one of the most unique and fun-filled events I've ever been a part of. The entire weekend is full of fun events, yoga sessions in parks and beaches and a great concert to cap off the day. And while I'm not part of the yoga scene so haven't taken part and didn't stay for the concert either year, I still think this is a neat event and I am so proud it's here in Vancouver.