Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon – Race Recap

The trip was short, but the fun was endless at lululemon’s third edition of the SeaWheeze half marathon.  I’ve been a lulu fan since the beginning and could write endless blog posts just on this topic alone. If you’ve ever owned a piece of their gear, you can probably agree that the stuff can make life in the gym, on the road, or at the coffee shop better.  

My friend and running coach, Michele, lives in Seattle and I had mentioned to her that we should do a girls’ trip to run this race.  Michele was quickly on board but stated that she would have to run for fun as she would be in recovery from a 50 miler.  Um… okay.  I understand. 

Originally, I thought that I would use my Wharf to Wharf training as a springboard for a kick butt race, but my summer bad luck did not let that plan play out.  So, like Michele, this was a race for pure fun… and a smidge of pace pushing.

After a flight into Seattle, Michele and I drove across the border into Canada on Friday.  We got to the expo a bit later than expected as there was some traffic just past customs.  The expo closed at 8:00 and we got there around 7:15.  Fortunately for us, there wasn’t much of a line and we got right in and right out.  At the expo, we were given a timing chip, a cute messenger bag (not of the highest quality, but cute and I’ll find a travel purpose for it I’m sure), a water bottle, and a plastic bracelet that served as our ticket to the Sunset Festival post run.  Oddly, the race didn’t have bib numbers.  I kind of liked this, but the former race director in me wondered how many people would bandit the race.  

Lulu teased us by showing pictures of the Showcase Store… take a look… isn’t it lovely?

SeaWheeze Showcase Store (pic from lulu IG)

SeaWheeze Showcase Store (pic from lulu IG)

Sadly, you had to get in line at 4:30 AM in order to get any goods.  Considering how late we got to the store, there wasn’t much left unless you can wear doll sized clothing, or you wanted to shop for your man (and he wears Paul Bunyan sized clothing).  Lots of race participants were really upset that the doors were open to the public and purchasers could buy 15 items each.  If you didn’t get to make a purchase, you can now go to eBay and pay double or triple the cost for an item.  It sounds like this has been a problem all three years so I’m crossing my fingers that lulu will listen and make some changes for future events.

After getting race packets, Michele and I headed out for a lovely dinner and some pre-race vino at Italian Kitchen.  Our meal was delicious and just the right amount for race day.  By the time dinner was all said and done, we headed back to the hotel in order to get some shut-eye before the 7:00 AM start.

Race morning, the logistics to get to the event were easy peasy.  We were just blocks from the start.  Once at the start, corrals were clearly marked and there were “Pace Beavers” holding big signs so runners knew where to jump in.  I gave Michele a good luck cheer and went to line up with the 1:40 pacers.  After the singing of the Canadian National Anthem we were off.

10,000+ runners ready to tackle 13.1 miles (pic from lulu FB page)

10,000+ runners ready to tackle 13.1 miles (pic from lulu FB page)

My intentions for the race was to run a 7:30 pace for most of the run.  I figured that sticking with the 1:40 pace group would be a good start… wrong.  The first mile was a 6:54 and the next two were under 7:10.  I decided to back off just a little as I didn’t have the training to sustain such fast paces.  This is the point that the race became a lot more fun.  I took the time to take in the scenes and make some friends along the way.  As for the course, the race starts and finishes in front of the Vancouver Convention Center.  It weaves along the coast and heads thru the city blocks until Burrard Street.  Runners get to cross the Burrard Street bridge which seemed to be the biggest climb on the course.  This part was fun as you could see the leaders making their way back on the course.  After crossing the bridge, there is a quick out/back past lululemon’s headquarters, and then back over the bridge… which means the biggest climb comes again.  While I am calling it a climb, it really wasn’t, but the pacer made a big deal about it so I went with it.  In California, where people call an actual mountain, “The Hill,” my idea of climbing is slightly altered.

Some things I will never understand, but this dude was out in front and I got quite the view while on the bridge.  Kudos to him for being so comfortable in something that looked solo uncomfortable.

Some things I will never understand, but this dude was out in front and I got quite the view while on the bridge. Kudos to him for being so comfortable in something that looked so uncomfortable.

Burrard St Bridge... I'm not a fan of bridges, but this was pretty.

Burrard St Bridge… I’m not a fan of bridges, but this was pretty.

The return trip on the bridge marks the 10k portion of the race.  Shortly after the bridge, runners are directed towards the magnificent Vancouver Seawall.  The seawall goes around Stanley Park (the largest park in North America… I didn’t google this.  Just took the word of the hotel guy).  When I visited Vancouver in July, I loved running in this park, and this time around was no exception.  The only bad part of this piece of the course is that there was a ton of energy in all the miles prior and the seawall was pretty quiet.  The volunteers at the aide stations did a nice job of cheering, and there were a few groups out there to cheer as well.

It was at this point in the race that I made the most friends.  In fact, I started talking to a guy only to find out that he grew up in the town next to my husband and they were actually really good friends in high school.  What a small world!!!  The two miles I spent running with Ian were my slowest miles (no jab at Ian’s speed… the guy just did an Ironman four weeks prior), but these were the BEST miles of the course.  I love chance meetings like that.  Finally, Ian told me he was finished and that I should carry on.  Since I was close to the finish, I pushed on through for a finish time of 1:37:34 (7:23 pace).  I was pretty happy with this result and felt like it was a good place to be going into training for the California International Marathon… until…

The summer klutz award goes to.... ME!

The summer klutz award goes to…. ME!

There was a post-race party in Vancouver that looked like lots of fun, but Michele and I had a very special soccer game to get to so we made the trek across the border after a shower, lovely lunch and celebration gelato. After a long day running, playing and going to the soccer game I tried to carry too many things down the stairs and took a tumble.

With Seawheeze barely in the rearview mirror, lululemon just announced that registration for the 2015 event will be September 10th.  I would definitely sign up for this race again… want to do it with me?  You can find sign up information here:

Final score:  8.5/10


  • Easy to get to packet pick-up
  • Excellent swag
  • Fair price considering the swag
  • Fun course with good aide stations
  • Post race brunch was healthy and had gluten free options
  • Cute post-race lulu hat for messy running hair and a cold, wet washcloth to greet runners at the finish


  • Disappointed that the coveted store was barren 
  • Early registration for 2015 (nearly a year in advance) is a bit soon
  • The pacers ran the race too fast – Most pacers try to get runners within a minute of the pace mark.  Nearly 3 minutes is a considerable difference.




What Does It Take to be Called an Athlete?

Have you seen the new ad from Under Armour featuring Misty Copeland?  Holy amazing!

Click the link below.  Amazing!!!

Click the link below. Amazing!!!

 Click here to see this amazing video.   It’s only a minute!

 So often, when the image of an athlete comes to mind, it’s easy to picture a favorite player from a favorite team, the looks of determination (and sometimes agony) of a track athlete heading towards the finish line, or the calm, yet powerful images of a boxer while training (or when smashing someone’s face in).  But one thing that this ad certainly conveys is that athletes can be anybody doing any activity.  It also points out, very matter-of-fact, that if you are told it’s not possible… think again!  When I think of  athletes, these are some of the images that comes to my mind…

Ernest chose a bike instead of surgery to lose more than 200 lbs.

Ernest chose a bike instead of surgery to lose more than 200 lbs.

Read Ernest’s story here.

Photo courtesy of

Lance… Photo courtesy of

I know… he can be a total jerk, has made some super bad choices, but the dude still won the biggest cycling race not one, but seven times…. after nearly dying of cancer.  The good in me believes in the good in Lance.  He’s got a lot of life left to live.  Still not convinced… check out Esquire‘s latest article.

Seriously... this looks hard!

Seriously… this looks hard!

As a teacher of students with disabilities, I’m often in awe at my students’ efforts to overcome some very serious obstacles.  If you have been around a person with a disability for much time, you will notice that they have very little negative self-talk.  I’m often reminded that when I think a workout is too much or that something aches, my issue is really just peanuts in comparison.  Okay… last video.  Have you seen this Guinness Beer commercial?  Happy tears are in your future.

Last… when I think of athletes, I think of these ladies.  I’m very fortunate to live in a community with some very talented female runners.  None of us are pros (although some are close to it), but despite family commitments, work commitments, illness, injuries and the many other things that take up space in the our lives, time is still made to set a goal, put in the time, and with a little support from others – smash it!

Setting goals and getting by with a little help from one another.

Setting goals and getting by with a little help from one another.

What image comes to mind when you hear the word athlete?

Wharf to Wharf 2014 – It’s so close!

Before I even moved to California, my husband (the anti-runner) said I should check out the Wharf to Wharf.  Excitedly, I asked if he would run it with me.  Nope… I was informed that he’d be eating pancakes, drinking mimosas and cheering near the five mile mark.  While that sounded great, after I’d looked up the race, I knew my mimosas would be coming a bit later.  After all, that Top 100 status intrigued me.  So that’s how it started in 2010.


With that Top 100 jacket and my mimosa...

With that Top 100 jacket and my mimosa…

Now, it’s 2014 and I’m trying to go for my 5th Top 100 in my 5th attempt.  But this year, the race will be different since I’m in a different space, and Mile 5 will simply not be the same.  Let me elaborate….

In April, I put all my eggs in one basket hoping for the race of a lifetime at the Boston Marathon.  While prepared to come away with a shiny new PR, Marathon Monday was not my day (again… if I puked on you at Mile 15… I’m truly sorry!!!).  That’s okay… it’s part of being a runner.  Things don’t always go as planned.  After regrouping from the disappointment of my Boston performance, I told my coach that Wharf to Wharf was my “A” race.  She and I determine what runs I use to “get my mind right” and what runs I “better have my lungs hanging out my nose at the finish line.”  The Wharf to Wharf was to be the latter.  Mid May we started to incorporate twice weekly speed workouts, one long run and 2-3 easy runs.  All was going as planned and I had a “get your mind right” race scheduled for June 14th.  Then… my Achilles Tendon decided to scream at me to stop.  The race turned into pacing my friend, Jim, followed by three days of zero running.

Jim (on Rt), Brian and I before the race.  Jim finished 1 minute faster than expected!!!

Jim (on Rt), Brian and I before the race. Jim finished 1 minute faster than expected!!!

This was just a bump in the road, right?  Yes.  I did lots of yoga, got massages and some chiropractic treatment and I was up and running again.  And then….  this happened.

Broken hand… courtesy of tripping on a speed bump while running.

Broken hand… courtesy of tripping on a speed bump while running.

So here we are… within weeks of the Wharf to Wharf… and I have a cast on my hand.  On the bright side, the cast and I got to travel to Vancouver, CA where I got to run a bit and do the Grouse Grind… until my Achilles started to shout again.  Fortunately, it’s not shouting as loud as the last time.  After all these mishaps, I’ve thought a lot about the big picture of running.  Here’s what I have concluded:

Running, like life, doesn’t always go as planned. There are highs, and there are lows, and with any luck, we come out stronger, tougher, and wiser.  I am still running in between mishaps, and my times are within the ranges my coach sets for me.  There’s still a good chance of a Top 100 on July 27th.  Regardless, I will do what my mom always said, “Do your best.”  I may not come away with a W2W personal best, and that’s okay.  It will be my best on that day.  And lucky me… I get to run with 15,000 others that are doing their best on that day too.

One of the things that makes this race so awesome is the amount of people moving and shaking on and off the course.  I mentioned earlier that my husband hangs out around Mile 5 (36th Ave).  During all of these past races he has cheered alongside our sweet pal, Zeuf Hesson.  Together, they manned the high-5 zone, the cartwheel zone, the run backwards zone, etc. all the while cheering for each runner as if they were the only person out there.  I’m usually spent at this mile, but seeing Adam and Zeuf always gave me a push to the finish line (they also had coffee or mimosas nearby… jealousy could have played a role too).  Mile 5 will not be the same as Zeuf lost her long battle with cancer in December.  She’ll be there in spirit, so I encourage you to do something silly… or at least smile… when you get to 36th because if she was there in person… you probably really would do a cartwheel.

My husband, Zeuf and I after the 2013 Wharf to Wharf...

My husband, Zeuf and I after the 2013 Wharf to Wharf…

Best of luck to all those pinning on a bib this year!  I hope your race is fun, filled with smiles, and that you accomplish your goals.  To those cheering and volunteering… THANK YOU!  And just a little PSA… please don’t bandit the race (money raised goes to our local schools so pay the dough and be legit) and please, enjoy our city and beaches, but please, please pack your trash.

What are your Wharf to Wharf plans this year?  Please share!