Last month, I had the opportunity to run the Lululemon 10K in Edmonton, which is apparently a scaled down version of the Seawheeze Half Marathon… or so I’d been told.
That put my expectation level pretty dang high for this to be an epic race experience!! So did it live up to my expectations? Was it the big deal I’d been hoping for after applying to the lottery for 4 years with no luck?!
In a word: kindasortaprobablydependsonyourgoals.
But 100% make it a weekend with friends and you will enjoy this as an EXPERIENCE over just a race.
Per usual, let’s dive in to this the way I do all race review reports!! The basic details of the race followed by my list of pro’s and con’s, finally rounding things out with my actual race report.
Pre-Race Highs and Lows
Ok rarely would I spend much time talking about what happens before the race, but Seawheeze just isn’t a normal race.
The lottery system was a little screwy this year. It was possible to not be selected in the first round, but then find out weeks later you did get a spot because someone didn’t claim theirs…and I heard a lot of folks who had gone ahead and picked out other races.
Ok this was the biggest headache for me because I didn’t understand what was happening.
- In April, I got my confirmation email that I was in the race.
- In June, they mail out bracelets which you are not supposed to do anything with until like July…or something?! And then you need to take it with you to Canada in August.
- There is no additional email warning you that a bracelet should be arriving.
- But if you don’t report it until after the deadline to activate it, you have an issue. OYE
What the heck is the bracelet?!! It allows you to register in advance for things like the pop up shop or other events apparently happening prior to the race day.
- Nails – photo below, not my nails
- Hair braiding — even the folks who registered for this often had it cancelled because they overbooked
- Required to get in to the pop up shop — WOHOAAA this was absolutely banana city. It was hours in line and hours in the store…so this was not on my agenda.
It was all very confusing to me and a headache when I realized I did not have said bracelet until a friend asked me if I had registered for anything. I had no idea what she meant.
All right, I swear I’m basically done with my complaints, but I feel like everyone just gives you the roses and how is that an accurate representation of the real experience?!
- There are free yoga classes to help you relax or warm up as needed pre-race
- There are free classes for meditation and foam rolling
- There’s a class for vision boarding (which your bracelet would let you register for)
- The Boob Truth was all about getting you in the right sports bra
- We didn’t take advantage of a ton because we were just enjoying the day, but you can certainly spend your entire day in this area enjoying the atmosphere
There isn’t a standard expo where you have other vendors or can buy things like the Clif Shot Bloks you might have forgotten. Instead it’s really all about the activities I mentioned above then Pop Up shop noted below.
So what do you get in terms of swag:
- Tube of Nuun
- Bottle of Lululemon dry shampoo or deodorant
- Coupon for free Wiiv insoles
- Saje essential oil tube
- Race shorts
- Finisher trucker cap
What is the Seawheeze Pop Up Shop?
If you love your Lulu gear (and really who doesn’t?) then this might be just the most exciting thing ever.
- Same standard product lines, but in designs they will never sell in the stores.
- You definitely can try things on and you will find some Seawheeze themed things, but lots are standard Lulu just in the unique patterns
- The only place they sell their reflective line (eh hemm tights are $300)
- You must have registered for a time slot with the bracelet.
- Absolutely go as EARLY as you can. You will wait in line.
- By 9:00 am they were out of many sizes
- People are hoarding piles of clothing and then bartering and swapping with each other. So just mentally be prepared for it to be more than a normal expo shopping experience.
Thanks to Jetsetsarah for this show in her IG Stories!
Seawheeze Half Marathon Review
Let’s start at the top, the Seawheeze route! When picking this race as another attempt to keep coming back strong post surgery, I was obviously excited by the aspect of going to sea level and running in the absolutely stunning Vancouver area.
For me this is the kind of race vacation course I love because it takes you through so many great areas and it’s not a straight out and back, which keeps my mind happy. You do run back past each other a few times and I think that’s an added energy boost because they’re short moments.
A few notes on the Seawheeze course:
- It does have a decent number of turns which can make for slightly slower running.
- It starts on a big downhill which can easily burn you later in the race.
- Where you’ll find an equal sized uphill leading in to the last 1/3 of the race.
- Consider it gently rolling hills, not flat! We were all a tad surprised by that.
- I plugged this Seawheeze elevation in on MapMyRun and the biggest hill takes you 400 feet above sea level over about a 1/2 mile period.
Seawheeze Medal and Shorts
The Lululemon 10K gives you an incredibly cute racerback tank, which is one of the few race shirts that I actually wear frequently now to workout! I am down for a super expensive race giving me gear that I actually need.
Some folks were not so hot on the women’s shorts because of the yellow pattern, but once on I thought they looked pretty great on everyone. Not maybe the shorts you’ll wear ALL the time like black, but decent.Charlie is rocking the yellow race shorts (so you don’t get a top, just the shorts and then a hat at the finish line). This is definitely a race to experience with friends so I’m thrilled she was there along with Courtney and Taylor.
Now moving on to my favorite part, the easy to skim Pro’s and Con’s of the race.
Why you’d want to make the trip for this race:
- Friendly for first time runners
- Pretty running around the Seawall and Stanley Park
- So many crazy cheer stations to really keep you pumped up (bikers, balloons, people on stilts, music)
- Actual food post race: banana bread, yogurt parfait oatmeal, grapes, Vega Protein Bar
- Incredible recovery options post race: massage, theragun, rollers, Saje oils, Normatec boots, chill areas
- Plenty of porta potties at the start area
- Love the moment of gratitude to start the race
- If you thought this was a female only race, nope friends it was at least 40% male!
What you need to know in advance:
- Super crowded course and there are no corrals, so if you want a time be prepared to dodge and weave
- There are more hills that you might assume
- Clearly it’s going to be marked in KM and not miles, so if that conversion weirds you out, maybe print out a pace band
- You’ll be hoping up and down curbs and watching for barriers and cones and things throughout
- We all noticed at the top of the biggest hill they had some easy jazz band playing…that did not pump us up, ha!!
- Course narrows in many places so it’s easy to get stuck behind a group running slower than your pace
- It’s going to be hard to run a consistent pace on this course (which is the way most of us actually run our best PR times)
- Vancouver hotels and AirBNBs are pricey. Again go with friends!
Click here to see how it compares to the Lululemon 10K >>>
After the race things aren’t quite done yet! They have an entire night of partying lined up, which is included in your race registration (or friends can buy tickets to join you).
This is another area where they don’t post too much information on the website, so I think a lot of us were wondering what’s going on and what is necessary.
- Your race registration gets you access to the festival
- Friends and family can purchase tickets to join you
- They provide free shuttles from the convention center or it’s roughly 1.3 miles to walk along the water over there, which was super pretty and chill
- Yoga is performed in the grass, which is why they recommend you bring a yoga mat
- There is NO FREE food, but there are food vendors with everything from Poutine to Beyond Burgers and seafood (and yes beer and wine)
- There is another Lulu pop up shop, but not with the reflective gear and crazy items from the other store. This has basically 1 or 2 Seawheeze shirt designs in a couple colors. But again people mob it at the start, so go while everyone is doing yoga.
- There is a small little area of local vendors with things like bracelets, essential oils, and such
- After yoga they’ll move on to some bands and a DJ for you to dance hard and let loose. This year was Kaskade which had some insane graphics and though I’m not really big on EDM, a pretty cool experience.
Great photos up close from Kmchiole
Seawheeze Race Report
As always the information you want first:
- Official time: 1:52:31 – 13.35 miles by my watch (Still whittling away at my post surgery times.)
- 1228 out of 9025 finishers (over 10,000 registered so hmmmm)
- 598 out of 6811 of females
All right friends and family, gather round for a very short story.
I only beat my previous race by 30 seconds, but it took every bit of will power I had to keep myself pushing through the end. There is absolutely frustration for me that I ran that extra .25 miles because I nailed it at 13.1 in the last race, sooo that’s added time.Early in the race I was trying to take advantage of all the downhills and so I was running 8:06 paces and holding steady, but maybe that was too aggressive…I don’t know.
I only had one mile that was over 9 minutes and most that were just faster than my actual goal pace. I was doing a lot of mental gymnastic to keep telling myself not to just slow down and turn it in to a fun race, but looking at my watch I thought I was so on point to hit 1:50.
And I guess I was if I’d hit right on 13.1, but that doesn’t happen in lots of races, so I need to just LET IT GO!
I hit paces consistently I haven’t since surgery.
I now know I can push harder and that’s a confidence boost for next time.
I had so much sun seeing friends.
I now get to enjoy Vancouver!!!
Have you ever done a Lululemon race?
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