Thursday, 12 December 2013

A cold Demi-Marathon des Microbrasseries (Microbrews, hurray!)

Yes. There was beer

I'm Canadian and proud, so have races in the winter seems like a God-given right! With that in mind, this is a recap of my second ever winter race (the first being the Winterman Marathon 2013), which when translated from French comes out to the Microbreweries Half-Marathon. This race is part of the Gourmandes series, which features local food companies from various regions. It was also the first year that that this particular race was held, and from what I've read from the organizers might be last.

The race popped onto my radar by a Team in Training staff member, and what caught my eye was that I would get a free beer flute if I registered early. I don't even drink beer at home much, but hell I can always use a new glass. Online registration was done pretty fast through the Quid-Chrono system (kinda a simplified French version of As the race got closer, the race organizers sent out plenty of emails with information about packet pick-up, travel, parking, race info and the usual "get pumped" emails. The only thing I didn't love was that everything was in French. I don't mind reading French, but going through long detailed emails gets tiring, and makes it easy to miss important information.
Where's Eddie?
Driving to the race was pretty easy, as the site was only about a half-hour from Montreal. The only bad thing was that the parking lot (actually a soccer pitch) was on a side street, so there were dozens if not hundreds of people stuck waiting for the turn signal to be able to go, causing a fair bit of congestion. There was a little office/chalet to huddle before the race, before we all headed out to get ready. They did a good job of keeping music pumping to keep us motivated, but I feel that we stood there longer than we really had to. They started late, meaning we were all waiting outside in the cold without moving for a good 10-15 minutes.
The race itself was pretty nice. Mostly flat with very light rolling hills through quaint neighborhoods with little no to traffic. Honestly I don't even know if the roads were closed, or there is just so little traffic there. Some locals were waving from their windows or doorsteps, which is always nice to see. Water and sports drinks were set up every few kilometers. Nothing special, just the basics here.

The finish line was where the party really started. There was a great arrangement of fruit, chocolate milk, hot food from local sources and plenty of beer (remember the name of the race?). Unfortunately I was feeling pretty cold, so skipped the beer. However the local McDonald's got in on the action and had a trailer parked and handing out free hot beverages. I helped myself to a hot chocolate with whipped cream because, hey, I just ran a half marathon.

Now is where the trouble started... Something that I didn't mention is that the race was a point-to-point. As in you don't finish where you started. Thanks to only glancing at the all-French emails, I didn't realize that I was a full 18km from the start. The organizers had rented school-buses to shuttle people back to their starting point (were different spots for the 5k, 10k, and 21k routes). The problem is that they only had 2 working buses, which the majority of runners needed to use. Being a race with a few thousand participants, this meant that A LOT of people were stuck standing in the cold, wet and tired, for a while. I think I had to wait a good 30 minutes before being able to get on a shuttle. As much as it sucked, I could forgive the organizers for this one misstep, seeing as it was the first edition of the race, and everything else was pretty much smooth sailing. I finished in 1:49 on the dot, which though I felt like I had given a decent effort, I'm happy with considering I hadn't genuinely trained for it.

This race also marked the official end of my 2013 race season. I took the medal, along with the others from this year and added them to my now quite full shadow box. I'll be on the lookout for other ideas of what to do with medals/bibs.

In the meantime, thanks for reading, feel free to comment below, and keep tri-ing!


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