Runner & Traveler: Vancouver & SeaWheeze 2014

For the third year running, lululemon athletica held the SeaWheeze half marathon in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  I went, I ran, I visited VanCity.  It was awesome.  I posted a few pictures on instagram (@iamthisbe), but here’s the full run-down.

SeaWheeze 2014  For your $128 CAD registration fee, you were granted entry into the race, runner only expo areas, and post-race festival as well as access to the SeaWheeze training app, and received a special edition pair of lululemon training shorts that are sent to your registered address ahead of time for, well, training.  And, of course, there’s yoga – three different opportunities, in fact.

The expo was held on Friday August 22, and was a blast.  The only part that wasn’t really fun was the inevitable interminably long lines, but you make friends in line and it was such a gorgeous day in Vancouver that you just deal with it.  And, of course, there were the amazing stilt walking street performers that were there to distract us.  🙂

They make it look so easy.

They make it look so easy.

In addition to picking up your race entry, there are many other things going on.  There are a few things that are open to everyone, not just runners:  the special lululemon athletica store as well as noontime and sunset yoga are open to all.  If you think you might want to purchase something at the lululemon athletica store during the expo, get in line early to shop and get your bib later.  There were people in line as early as 1:30am, and there was a limit on the number of pieces you can buy, but they sold out before the end of the day on Friday and canceled the store opening on Saturday due to lack of product.  People waited for upwards of an hour to get into the store.  Both sessions of yoga were also open to everyone.  I was in line for some of the runners-only sections of the expo during the noontime yoga session, but I made it to the sunset session.

sunset yoga

sunset yoga

There were runners-only sections of the expo as well.  This included stations for SeaWheeze 2014 temporary tattoos, nails (by Suki’s), hair (by Suki’s), and massages (by Saje).  For those interested, Rimmel Professional polish was used on nails.  Not a fan – the polish did not set after an hour and ended up wrinkled.  😦

pre-race manicure

pre-race manicure

This held up so well I was able to wear it for the race.

This held up so well I was able to wear it for the race.

15 minute massages.  Yes, please!

15 minute massages. Yes, please!

The run itself took place on Saturday, August 23.  It was a beautiful day and a spectacular course!  This is probably one of the best dressed races ever – I think almost everyone was in at least one piece of lululemon gear.  There were definitely more women than men, but there were several men racing.  The course starts in the area near the convention center, goes through downtown, crosses the Burrard Street Bridge to make its way into Kitsilano and past lululemon headquarters, and then comes back across the bridge and around Stanley Park to finish back at the convention center.

Sunrise at the convention center right after warm-up.

Sunrise at the convention center right after warm-up.

lululemon HQ

lululemon HQ

Course encouragement in Kitsilano

Course encouragement in Kitsilano

the view from Stanley Park

the view from Stanley Park

After the race, you get your medal and a delicious runner’s brunch.  This year’s brunch included a waffle and blueberry compote, a gluten-free vegetarian quiche, yogurt, and fresh fruit.  But, that was not the end of the experience!

After you have an opportunity to freshen up and rest a bit, you could come back to Stanley Park for the post-Race festival which started with a yoga session, and included beverage (including beer) and food vendors, an opportunity to give it a go on a trapeze, and listen to some excellent music.  This year’s festival featured The Colourist and Capital Cities.  Both bands were excellent, but the guys from Capital Cities were especially amazing – and at the end of their set, they saw that people weren’t ready to leave yet.  So, they started DJ’ing and invited people up on the stage with them, all while the crew broke down their setup, so that people could continue to celebrate.  How awesome was that?

More stilt walkers were at the festival.  The wings were incredible.

More stilt walkers were at the festival. The wings were incredible.

The Colourist

The Colourist

Capital Cities

Capital Cities

VanCity at Night

VanCity at Night

Vancouver While SeaWheeze 2014 was my main motivation for being in Vancouver, I couldn’t wait to explore the city.  There were things that I wasn’t able to do while I was there because I really wanted to be able to explore the city and the neighborhoods in the area.  Here’s a few snap shots of the few days I had to wander around Vancouver.  I look forward to coming back and doing more in the future – visiting Victoria Island, climbing the Grind at Grouse Mountain, and much more!

Biking around Stanley Park

Biking around Stanley Park

Watching Cymbeline at Bard on the Beach

Watching Cymbeline at Bard on the Beach

Taking a tour of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Taking a tour of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Eating in Davie Village

Eating in Davie Village

Crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Finding random street art

Finding random street art

Drinking new beverages

Drinking new beverages

SeaWheeze and Vancouver were incredible – I can’t wait to do it again in 2015!  Sounds like it might be your thing?  Next year, SeaWheeze will be held August 15, 2015 and registration opens up on September 10, 2014 at 10 am PDT.  It sold out within hours for 2014 – click here to register.

P.S. If running isn’t your thing, you could consider signing up to be an event volunteer.

P.P.S.  Edited September 10, 2014 – SeaWheeze 2015 is sold out!  Sunset Festival Tickets are still available.

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