I just got back from a fantastic race weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia. Except for the pouring rain on the race day, everything else leading up to the race and post race time with family was truly memorable. Here are my top ten reasons why I love this Lululemon sponsored race that I have now had the pleasure of running for the third time since it’s inception (this race has been around for seven years):
- The course for this race is ranked as one of the most scenic in the world by many International running magazines:
Picture from The SeaWheeze Half Marathon library
2. The two days of festivities include free outdoor (when it’s not raining) Yoga classes, race swag, free samples, nail art, temporary tattoos, refreshments, sunset festival with popular live bands, shopping etc. Everything is well organized and super fun.
3. Speaking of shopping, Lululemon puts up an exclusive runners’ showcase, where runners get first access to exclusive SeaWheeze merchandise. Ranging from $8 scrunchies to $398 reflective jackets, there is a whole lot of stuff to spend a whole lot of money on. Prior to this year, the lines to this showcase store used to be ridiculously long, women would literally camp out the convention center (the showcase store is inside the convention center) the night before to get first dibs on spending hundreds of dollars.
4. Among priceless items- the medal- is on the top of the list. Every year SeaWheeze comes up with a theme and they tie it to all the merchandise as well as to the medal. Therefore, the medal is supposed to tell a story. This year’s theme was ‘Perspective’ and sure enough they created this cool kaleidoscope looking medal to illustrate ‘look at the world with fun filled filter’.
5. Unfortunately, this year, I didn’t have any of my friends running with me, which gave me an opportunity to meet a lot of new people- girl from Utah who showed me pictures of her kids (including fur kid); girl from Alberta who was running her first half marathon after a ten year hiatus. There were many others that just randomly chatted about the weather and music and entertainment during the race. To all those fantastic ladies I met- thank you for keeping me company when I really needed it:)
6. The other main reason for me to run this race is that I get to visit the city that I called home for almost a year. Bringing my family to this beautiful city and to show them around places that I used to visit always brings me so much joy.
7. Tied to the reason above is the fact that I’m lucky to have my extended family comprising of Uncles, Aunts, cousins, niece and nephews- that live in Vancouver. Not only do I get to see them, my son gets to know them better through once a year trip that we make out there. I always look forward to spending some time with them and am always grateful for their hospitality and unconditional love.
8. Fairmont Pacific Rim– I absolutely love this hotel. They have the best service, amazing views and very modern/spacious rooms. Located centrally and close proximity to all SeaWheeze events, it is by far the most convenient choice for the race. The staff is always considerate, this time especially, since we brought our fur baby with us. Not only were there no additional charges for having a pet in the room, they sent me an e-mail before my stay asking if they could do anything to make my pet’s stay more comfortable. I was very impressed by their thoughtfulness.
P.S. It also doesn’t hurt that the hotel smells like flowers right when you enter.
9. All the touristy places to visit:
- Stanley Park (you can explore on foot or take a bike tour or get on a horse-drawn carriage)
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Granville Island Public Market
- Whistler (if you are up for a two hour drive)
- Victoria & Butchart Gardens (depending on the time of the year you visit, it’s best during Spring/Summer)
- Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish
- FlyOver Canada’s simulated flight-ride experience at Canada Place
- Grouse Mountain
- Downtown Vancover (Robson Square) great place to hang out and soak in the cityscape
10. Food- need I say more! Even as a vegetarian now, I love the diversity in food that Vancouver offers. From Poutine to Malaysian curry- Vancouver has something interesting for everyone, my favorites:
- For breakfast & Brunch-
- For Lunch/Dinner-
- The Flying Pig
- Local Gastown
- Nuba (Lebanese food)
- Banana Leaf (Malaysian food)
- Guu With Garlic (Japanese)
- Public Market at Granville Island has a lot of good food options as well. Try Terra Breads for some amazing bread & croissants & freshly made granola.
- Bella Gelateria for some seriously good gelato (keep in mind, it also has some seriously long lines, so plan to go during off hours between lunch and dinner).