2012 Montreal Marathon
Marathon Oasis & ½ Marathon de Montréal, part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series took place September 23, 2012. The day had a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and 1 mile. I think between the 5 races there was up to 40,000 people and as far as I know all races sold out before September started. The marathon and half marathon started at one location while the 10K and down started at the 20 mile mark before the finish line. The race fee for the marathon ranged from $90-$150 depending on when you signed up. I used a coupon code around February and signed up for $60.
I think out of the all race expos I’ve been to this was the least exciting one. The number and shirts pick up was quick and easy and I went around noon on Saturday. The swag bag? Completely empty. Not even a crappy weird tuna sample like in Providence. Maybe other countries aren’t as wasteful as Americans are? Nope because as I made my way down the expo, I literally had fliers and papers pushed at me. The expo was set up in a snake path that forced you to go through the whole thing back and forth. I gave up on the expo after I had to find the bathrooms and was too lazy to walk through the whole damn expo all over again.
The best and worst part of it all was the Brook’s section. normally I find fun and cool was creepy with this tortured looking lizard thing.
Poor lizard. On the good side, I got my running gait analyzed and found out I’m a neutral runner! No wonder chunky shoes always hurt my knees.
This was my 3rd marathon and was unlike the other two. I woke up at 7:11, got dressed, ate half a pita that tasted a whole lot better 12 hours ago then it did that morning. I was also craving peanut butter like a fiend and bread just didn’t taste the same without it. The race started at the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, a very large and industrial bridge. We left our lodging at 7:30 to try to drive up closer to the starting line. I felt hungry and my legs felt stiff from walking up hills streets for 12 hours the day before. Turns out that the start of the path up the bridge started a block off from where we were staying. So after driving around for 20 minutes we were back where we started. Brilliance. I had a mini panic when I thought I had to walk 3KM (almost 2 miles) to the race start. Luckily I think it was only about a mile walk over the bridge. While walking and worrying I chatted up a few runners.
8:30 came and I was in my corral with a need to pee. Of course they only had one porta per corral of about 1,000 anxious paranoid runners. I gave up on being able to pee and decided to trust my ability to hold it in. 8:30, still no start time as a delay was announced. Suddenly I started to panic as I thought about the 30,000 thousand runners on a bridge that I was keenly aware was suddenly shaking. Luckily within 5 minutes the official race started! By 8:40 my corral, #3 was off!
I don’t have any idea what my splits were being the sad garminless runner (whose birthday is coming up in 2 months cough coughtonycough) that I am. Because I was in Canada I couldn’t use Runnerkeeper like I normally do (stupid AT&T and their ridiculous international data rates). Instead my recap and mile by mile replay will be based on my whininess factor.
Miles 1-4 Within the first mile I knew this race was going to be tough. This run was going to be hard and I’m going to regret every step I took the day before. Every race that I started before I started with a strong kick. I haven’t learned how to start slow and finish fast so I go all out. My first mile was around 8 minutes and I guess my negative feels predetermined how my race went. The first 4 miles were also incredibly boring and packed even from corral 3. I felt stuck in a pack that I couldn’t get around. The first part of the race was on Île Ste-Hélène and around the perimeter of La Rhonde, a bunch of rollercoasters operated by Six Flags. Running around in repetitive looks of broken concrete and mud got boring real fast.
Miles 5-7 We finally moved to a new little island where we did more repetitive loops. There was a cool track where I think F1 racing might take place and running that part was fun. I guess this island compared to the first 4 miles was slightly more fun but still super crowded.
Miles 8-10 were somewhere industrial. Really RnR? If I wanted to run through industrial waste runs I could do that in my own neighborhood and it would be free…. Where’s Montreal? Where;s my scenic route! I was starting to get cranky and with that my legs sped up and I felt revived.
Miles 10-13 Around Mile 10 was when we finally hit Old Montreal and was probably the best mile of the race! It was also the mile that I realized 20 MPH winds were blowing against me and that might be why as hard I pushed my legs seemed to not be going as fast as I’m used to. I spent a good deal of mile 12 and 13 debating on whether I should call it quits and just end the race at the half point. After all 1:45 half marathon was still respectable. I debated and debated and as I passed the 13 mile I didn’t make the turn to the finish line.
Miles 14-16 were probably the worst miles of the whole race. I regretted, desperately regretted not calling it quits at the half way point. I also didn’t want to walk another marathon like I did at Boston. My mind screamed at itself in regret. The wind was going crazy, and my muscles were twitching at every point. I regretted not wearing my usually Asics for shoes. (Long story short, I forgot that all my shoes were old and crappy so I wore a pair of chunky Saucony I won in a raffle that felt like clown shoes and were rubbing my feet the wrong way.) I regretted not eating enough before the race start. I regretted walking around. Mile 14-16 had a lot of walking. A few people were giving out bananas and I took a few to try to fill up my stomach.
Mile 17-22 I went back to running around what I think might have been 8:30 min pace. I guess the walking rested my legs a bit so i could run again. I think the wind wasn’t going completely against me so that helped as well. There was a GU station around mile 20 and I grabbed a strawberry banana one that didn’t completely make me want to vomit.
Mile 23-26 I went back to running 1KM walking 1 minute. I loved having the KM signs all over the place to break up my running! I also remembered around mile 23 that I still really need to pee! Could my bladder survive a 5k? I thought not so I stopped by a portapotty only to be greeted by a sight I don’t want my eyes to see again (I still don’t know how you could explode all over the seat and I hope to never find out). So I kept on running, what’s another 3 miles on a full bladder anyways.
Mile 26-26.2 I thought I had about half a KM to run when I saw the finish line (I guess the markers were a little bit off). At this point I gave off a strong kick as I sprinted past 5 people to the finish line!
After finishing, I was so grateful that I didn’t quit at the halfway point. I guess within seconds amnesia took over all the pain I felt for the past 26 miles. The angry wind against my face. The rolling hills miles 13-16. The lack of scenery for the first 10 miles. None of that mattered because I was finally done. I finished something I was doubting for the past 4 hours if I was capable off.
After you finish the race they gave you all your post race food in a bag which I loved. There was a banana, a small apple, some muffin thing and some orange electrolyte drink. They were also giving out yogurt that I bypassed. After I grabbed my medal and food I headed over to the Michelob Ultra tent to get my free booze and hoped Tony would find me there since neither of us had a phone we could use. (I don’t know how people survived before cell phones!) I ended up not even opening my beer but instead opted for a hot mocha instead. I was freezing! The winds were still going as it and I couldn’t find a constant patch of grass with sun in it.
I’m not really sure I would recommend the full or half marathon to anyone. I found the first 10 miles not really worth the race fee. It was packed, repetitive, and industrial. The second half of the race was more residential but similarly repetitive as we went out and back. Even for the half marathon I would say this was my least favorite route that I have run. However, what the race lacked in scenery it made up in crowd support. The crowd was amazing! The local people really came out and cheered! Also because our race numbers had our names on it, I would hear them cheer “Liana! Go Liana! Don’t give up.” Or at least that’s what I thought they were saying since it was in French and only part I understood was my name.