A couple of weekends ago, Rachel and I headed up to Vancouver via Seattle for a quick trip so I could run the SeaWheeze Half Marathon. If you remember from before, I ended up scoring a free entry into this very exclusive race. And while our big anniversary trip was scheduled just a short 10 days later, I knew we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to see this beautiful city and run this very popular race.
On Thursday evening, we flew out of Atlanta to Seattle. We have some great running friends (Justin and Devin) who live in Seattle. Justin (who was also running) and Devin invited us to crash at their place on Thursday night and then drive us up to Vancouver. This ended up saving us quite a bit of money as flights to Vancouver are significantly more than Seattle.
That next morning we made our way up to Vancouver for the race weekend. Crossing the border into another country by car was a first for me. But everything went smoothly.
Once we got to our hotel, we checked in and walked down to the Vancouver Convention Centre for package pickup. Package pickup went very smoothly and included a Lululemon track bag!
After walking around for a little bit and grabbing some pictures, we made our way back over to the hotel to hang out for a little bit. We ended up grabbing a pretty early dinner before calling it a night.
The next morning came fairly early, although since it was Pacific Time the early morning wasn’t too terrible.
Now this race was going to be interesting for two reasons…
- This race would be my official 25th half marathon and first outside the U.S.
- My left knee has been giving me issues the past month and has really affected my pace and overall distance. I was curious to see how I would do running 13.1 miles.
All that to say, I knew I was going to have to be mindful of my body and “try” not overdo it too much. Plus, I had no time goal in mind, but to finish with a smile on my face!
Long story short…I ended up having a great race! The weather was absolutely perfect, which I know played a huge part. But also, the course was, for the most part, very flat and scenic. And bonus, my knee felt great the whole time! That was easily the biggest win for me!
You spend the first 7-8 miles running through the city. In fact, Rachel and Devin ended up seeing me around mile 7, which was a nice surprise.
The rest of the race takes you around the “seawall” in Stanley Park, which is surrounded by waters from the Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. It was definitely unlike anything I’ve run before.
The race ended back in the Vancouver Convention Centre area, where I picked up my finisher medal and a finisher pair of sunglasses (which was a cool surprise), along with water and fuel. I ended up finding Rachel, Justin and Devin in the finisher’s area after a few minutes and we grabbed a few pictures before heading back to the hotel for showers.
Before I continue with the rest of our weekend… A couple of positives and negatives for the race…
- Beautiful course and scenery
- Lululemon swag, including shorts, track bag, sunglasses and finisher’s medal
- Self-seeding in starting corrals, which is always a good thing.
- Awesome weather and hang time with good friends
- Self-seeding (positive, but also negative)…as the crowds were crazy in all of the corrals. I ended up getting stuck towards the back corrals because of how small the starting area was and how many runners were crowding in.
- The course, while quite beautiful, is pretty narrow at times. I really felt like I never truly broke away from a good amount of runners. Even with the larger crowds at Disney, I typically feel like I have room after the first few miles. But definitely not for this race.
- The finisher’s area was a little chaotic at the end. You end up walking basically in the midst of everyone till you finally get to the medals and water/fuel. At that point, we came to a bottleneck of runners waiting to get their runner’s box of food. I ended up jumping out of that line and meeting up with the rest of my crew. It definitely saved me a good 15-20 minutes.
All that to say…for a free entry, it was 100% worth running. I totally get the love and popularity of this race. But I’m not sure if I would run it again or not. Honestly, if Rachel ever wanted to, I’m sure I would run it. But otherwise, I’m probably a one and done. But all in all, I was super pleased to finish my overall 25th official half marathon with no knee issues and a solid time!
To finish up…after grabbing showers and cleaning up a bit, we met up with Justin and Devin for a celebration lunch. Now one thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the awesome gift Lululemon ended up sending me for completing my 25th half marathon. Lululemon got wind on social media of this special race and ended up sending me a $200 (Canadian money) gift card to Lift Bar and Grill in Vancouver for a celebration meal! It was a crazy nice surprise!
So…we ended up celebrating with a late lunch at Lift Bar and Grill. We ended up sitting outside because the weather was so crazy nice. It was wonderful meal for sure!
After eating, we ended up walking around Vancouver and Stanley Park for several hours just taking in the sights and enjoying the weather and company.
Later that afternoon, we headed back to the hotel for a dinner, before calling it an early night. We headed back to Seattle the next morning for our afternoon flight back to Atlanta. Justin and Devin were so very gracious to drive us the whole trip.
All in all…it was a great (and short) trip to the Pacific Northwest! And while we didn’t get a ton of time in Vancouver, I definitely enjoyed getting to see and run in this great city.