How to Race-Cation Like a Pro

Fact: It's been 4 months since my last blog post. I make no promises that I will be posting on a regular basis, but, I'll try?

So there's this thing I like to do.

It's all about travel + exploring a new city/country/town... whilst running 13.1 miles through it.

THE RACECATION. 

Yes, it's a thing. 

Here's how it works: 

  1. You find a race or endurance event of some kind in an appealing city/country/town.
  2. You recruit friends for said race.
  3. You book bibs, travel, plan the weekend out together.
  4. You dominate - the city/country/town and race.

This year, two amazing girlfriends and I did just that in Vancouver, for SeaWheeze, Lululemon's annual Run Yoga Party weekend. It's a half-marathon (run), yoga (...yoga), music festival (party - including an outdoor cycling class put on by Ride Cycle Club, which was AMAZING) and essentially the greatest love letter to the company's hometown, Vancouver.

The course is 13.1 miles (21.1km) along the SeaWall in Vancouver. It's stunning, mostly flat, full of aide stations, cheer stations, and so many distractions I literally got to mile 10 and thought to myself, "What in the actual f*ck, I'm ENJOYING every step of this run."

We ran the race last year, and let's just say our logistics and planning left... things to be desired. Trying to secure cabs in a different country, lack of Uber, lack of air conditioning, other guests in the Air BnB Guest House complaining we were "awake too early".... etc.

This year though, this year we NAILED IT. And you can too. 

Here's how.

How to Race-Cation like a PRO. 

  • Book a convenient hotel: We stayed at the Westin BayShore, and it was perfect. We arrived late Thursday evening and the last thing we wanted to do was deal with an Air Bnb - figuring out keys, WiFi, etc. We got to the hotel, checked in, and conked out. The hotel was exactly a 10 minute walk to/from the start/finish and the convention center, there was a Starbucks downstairs, and all the amenities you'd want. It was also a ~25-30 minute walk to Stanley Park for the Sunset Festival since the arranged transportation had 1 hr+ lines. Convenience - worth paying for.
  • Avoid the crowds: Easier said than done, but frankly, the "SeaWheeze Showcase Store" for us personally, isn't worth it or a draw of any kind. Especially when you work out in black/grey/white/navy only and don't do prints or bright colors. It's also absurdly overpriced (although not surprising). Instead, enjoy your day in Vancouver then pick up your race packet and do the "expo" thing before you go to dinner Friday evening. You'll be in and out in under 20 minutes and not waste your day. (That said, take advantage of the USD to CAD exchange rate and shop your little heart out everywhere you can.)
  • Book reservations in advance. I scour Eater in every city I travel to, ask friends for recommendations, and check out all the popular hashtags on Instagram. As such, we've been to Fable for our pre-race dinner every year, and inhaled a bomb brunch post-race at Forage. That said, 10K people are in town for the race weekend, so plan accordingly. (Places for next year: Hawk Nightingale)
  • There is no Uber in Vancouver. NONE. Taxis are hard to hail, so schedule them in advance.
  • Get an International Plan on your phone. Most places have free WiFi but relying on that is annoying. For $40, I was able to add my unlimited talk/text/data for 30 days. 
  • Know what else you want to do where you are. Last year we headed to Whistler post-race to go zip-lining. It was AMAZING. This year we explored more of the city. Plan plan plan.
  • ENJOY THE WEEKEND. You're in a fantastic city with friends to exercise, explore and soak in everything you can. Eat the local food and desserts. Drink the wine. Pit stop for a beer and fries. I can honestly say I've never had multiple drinks the night before a half-marathon and now, I don't ever want to do it any other way. YOLO.

In just under 3 days we explored Vancouver, ate amazing food, listened to live music, ran 13.1 miles together, and had a hell of a time. 

SeaWheeze 2018, let's go.