First off, I know I’ve been absent but I’m trying to get back on track, so bear with me please.
Back in September, I took a quick little weekend getaway to Montreal with a friend to run the Rock N Roll Montreal Half-Marathon. Basically, we signed up for this race because the organization ran a super cheap deal on it earlier this year, and a few months later, we were headed to Montreal to run it. After missing one flight, we got to Montreal fairly late on the Friday night, checked into our hotel, ate and basically hit the hay.
We woke up the next morning and hit the expo, I didn’t find anything particularly interesting or outstanding about it, but I suppose when you’ve been to more than your fair share of expos, stuff starts to get old real fast. We picked up our kits and spent the rest of the day doing a quick run, grabbing some snacks, and making a quick side trip to Simon’s (my only necessity when I go to Montreal). After grabbing an early-ish dinner, I’m pretty sure we were both in bed by 10 pm to prep for our early morning race.
The next morning we were out the door early and jumped on the subway for a quick trip to the start line. We were there at about the time the corrals and bag check were supposed to open, unfortunately the race org wasn’t ready on time and we basically stood outside for 45 minutes waiting for them to get their shit together. Strike one.
We were finally allowed in to the start area, tossed our bags in a bus, and began the long walk to the start corrals. Highlight of the start corrals: portapotties in some of the corrals (read: ours). Dear directors of other large races, DO this. It’s awesome for that last minute paranoia.
Unfortunately this is where it started to pour and neither of us had throw aways. Couple that with it taking at least 30 minutes for us to cross the start line, and basically before I started this race I wanted to die.
I was under trained going into this race so I wasn’t expecting much and to be honest nothing really stands out about it. The first portion through the grounds of La Ronde was nice and flat, though filled with huge puddles, which was not ideal. One puddle was so big, it caused a back-up of runners trying to gingerly step around the edges. When encountered with this puddle and the back log, naturally I ran right through it. I never really knew where I was going on the course the whole time I ran it, but I think that was a benefit. It was definitely a course that took me places I had never been in the city.
I was doing pretty good for the first five miles and then everything just started to hurt. My cardio felt fine, but my lower body just started to ache, including the bottoms of my feet, which I’ve never experienced before. Naturally, I slowed down considerably here.
Because this race does not want to be friends, it saved the hills for the last little bit, including a multi-stage hill running under an overpass that was pretty close to the end (can’t quite remember how close). I did my best, but pretty sure I busted out some extra walk breaks at this time.
I crossed in a little over 2:30, my slowest half in at least two years, but considering the shape I was in going into it, I was just happy I made it, albeit slightly disappointed that I continue to get slower. Friend had a killer pb so the course wasn’t hell for everyone, in case you’re thinking about doing it in the future.
The medals were underwhelming, in my opinion, and the finish area was chaos (but I think that is more the actual people’s fault than anything else, not necessarily the race organizers). But I found my friend and we booked it back to our hotel for quick showers and a post-race celebratory airport beer (the best kind, obviously).
Overall, this race was just ok for me, I don’t know that I’d run it again without a pretty heavily discounted registration fee. I will say, I was not expecting Montreal to have a lot of spectator action, and was pleasantly surprised by how many people lined the streets cheering everyone on, especially in less than savory weather. Good job Montreal!