Sea Wheeze Half Marathon

On Thursday August 21, 2014 the world lost one of the ‘greats’; Keith Cryderman. A mentor, husband, father, grandfather, friend, and follower of christ. I ask for your prayers for his family in the months to come as he will be greatly missed. “Love deeply…Laugh often…Cherish each moment…Live passionately.” –Kerri Cryderman on behalf of Keith Cryderman. Possibly the most important lessons to be learned in life. Have a great time flying with the angel’s up there, Keith!

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In short, this was the best race of my life, but I have compiled a list of pros and cons at the end of this so can can compare for yourself and decide if on September 10, 2014 you would like to battle the crowds to sign up for next year’s race!

We spent six days in Vancouver in total. The first day was spent wandering around on foot exploring our downtown neighbourhood. We ventured down to Whole Foods to pick up some snacks and necessities…and to fall in love! Gah! I hope one gets built closer to home. We spent some time at the pool and outdoor patio at our hotel, we relaxed, we ate. 

Day two the Race Expo and package pick up started at 7am. We slept in a bit and joined the crowds at 8:30am. After walking around lost for about 40 minutes, we found the right place (we walked by it) and joined the line to enter the showcase store which featured all of the limited edition Sea Wheeze clothing and gear. We waited in line for 45 minutes-1 hr and finally got to check out the store. Everything was sorted into sizes. There were tons of items in 4-6, and NOTHING in 10, 12. We waited around and finally discovered that we just needed to wait as people put things back after trying them out. So we waited, and waited, and followed people around trying to get the jackets and pants. I ended up buying a striped tank, a white tank with green outline of the mountains and a pair of running capris. I would have loved to pick up a rain jacket or yoga mat bag but they sold out right away.

After the store, we got into another long line for the package pick up-this line moved pretty quickly and package pick up was a breeze. The only complaint I have at this part is that we had bought an extra festival ticket with my package but the staff seemed to have NO clue where I could get this. After some finagling with the staff they finally just gave us a ‘complementary’ pass since they couldn’t find ours in the computer and we were off. The race package was a cute athletic-type bag and inside there was a voucher for free coffee at JJ Bean as well as a water bottle and a braided headband which held our race number on for the bag-drop race day.

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By the time we finished here, it was nearly 1:30pm and I was already exhausted from waiting in line all day. We grabbed some quick lunch at the food court (gluten free/dairy free was VERY difficult to find within a 10 minute walk of this area) and headed back for the final portion of the expo-tattos, hair braiding, nail painting and music. I only made it though the line for the tattoos before it all started to shut down. We finished up around 4pm, cancelled our dinner plans with friends to head back to the hotel and rest legs-my calves were SO tight from the hills and my feet were hurting, so afraid it would affect my race. For dinner I ate a burrito bowl-rice, chicken, veggies, sauce from a quick place down the road.

Race day I woke up at 5:30 and got dressed while putting back about a litre of water. My calves were MEGA tight (as in, I had to roll pre-race), I was very worried. The temperature was forecasted at 23C, but was only 9 degrees for the race start. I ate two bananas and a hand full of dill pickles. Warm up was at 6:20, so we headed out from the hotel at 6:05. I arrived and decided to skip warm up (full on aerobics) in favour of saving my strength for the race, and walked to my corral-about 2.5-3 blocks back from the starting line. Once our corral finally got started, I quickly fell into a groove-with my watch pinned on the back of my running belt so I couldn’t see. I ran my fastest first 5km in quite a while (34 minutes) and the first half was mostly uphill. I hit 10km at 1:14, also coming back up hill. Beyond this it was smooth sailing downhill and then onto the flat sea wall. There were wonderful aid stations and port-a-potties every 3 km. I fortunately didn’t need the potties-there were big lines! The aid stations were fabulous and would fill up one of my water bottles at each station (in total I went though 8 cups of water on this race)-they had vega gels, sports drinks, and lots of banana and orange slices too. Had they not been so congested, I feel I might have PR’d on this race. I only partook in the water however as I had dried mango in my belt. I ate a few pieces of dried mango at every other aid station (I didn’t feel hungry, but knew I’d need it). Around 18km I started getting tired, but I knew I could press on, so I took a walk break to eat some pickles from my belt, and a few mango slices and carried on. I walked again around 20km-knowing that I needed to run 7min/km to the end to get a PR. Unfortunately I just didn’t have the kick in me to pick it up and watched myself miss a PR by 3 minutes. It didn’t matter though, and dosen’t-I was killer for 5 and 10km, and I never battled myself mentally the entire race. The race was so scenic and beautiful, and had so many awesome cheer teams along the way. I was in the second last corral, but there were still thousands of people behind me, so I never felt-‘back of the pack’-I also passed quite a few people which NEVER happens and felt awesome! I was greeted in the final stretch by my friends, Cailey, Kyle, and Steph…as well as my super husband-who asked me if I needed a banana literally 300m from the finish line…hahahaha!  I crossed the finish line in 2:48:12-three minutes short of a PR feeling AMAZING. I will definitely be returning for this race-the BEST race of my life. I had so much fun and smiled practically the entire way through. It felt more like 12km than 21.1km! The finishers received a metal, some run recovery essential oils from Seja and a black lululemon trucker-style hat. I waited about 20 minutes in the brunch line before giving up to go find my own food. It appears that people were munching on waffles and fruit though!

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After resting and showering up we ventured out to the Sea Wheeze Festival in Stanley Park-there were chartered buses to get everyone there and they ran very smoothly-no lines. The food at the festival was catered, and expensive (as per all festivals) but was clearly  marked ‘vegan’ or ‘gluten free’ which was a breath of fresh air. I partook in some homemade guac, salsa and chips as well as some handmade roasted marshmallows. I joined in yoga for about 10 minutes before growing frustrated with the lack of flow-belly poses to standing poses with no way to get to them…etc. but it turns out it only went on about 10 more minutes before finishing up. We hung out a bit in the grass before catching our bus back. We didn’t stay for the Capital Cities Concert as we were both sleepy. (By we, I mean the hubbie and I) Next year, I will definitely run the race-but I will skip the festival. 

We spent our last 3 days in Vancouver visiting Capillano, Grouse Mountian, and our favorite-renting bikes. We rented bikes and biked around Granville island and many other parts of the city-we were out for about 5 hours on the bikes and loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. I wish we had done it a few days! We also had electric bikes as all the regular ones were sold out-so after our legs were tired about 4 hours in, we were able to use the electric function to help us peddle up the big hills. I used to make fun of these things, but I can totally see their usefulness in a hilly place-they essentially turn into a little vespa for a few minutes at t a time!

So in Conclusion, here are the pro’s and con’s I found at the Sea Wheeze:

PROS:

– Lots of swag (enough to cancel out the cost of signing up)

– Tons of Pep! It seemed like the whole city was excited for the race-tons of cheer leaders, signs, etc.

– Well organized

– Tons of aid stations, well stocked

– Beautiful, Scenic, Amazing route

– Hair/nail/tattoo stations

– Great food at festival

– tons of port-a-potties

– down hill/flat second half made it seem not as long

– TONS of people so you are definitely not in worry of being last  if you are slow! (lots of preggo walkers too)

CONS:

– terrible registration-you had to registered the second it came available online, and then they didn’t even get your size so you had to go through the terrible process again to order your free race shorts

– lots of long lines (Expected for a race of ten thousand though)

– pricier entry fee (but you get it back in swag)

– Hilly

– Store sells out SUPER fast

– Yoga sucked.

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**I would have never have made it through this without you, Grey Robin. Thanks for your constant encouragement. Climbing every hill I kept repeating ‘What goes up, must come down’…and any time I felt like I was slowing I told myself ‘You are so much stronger than you think’.

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