Last weekend was an awesome experience for our Tribe, and the Toronto running, community. With the support of Canada Running Series (CRS), Run TO Beer and Tribe arranged a bus trip for our crews to have a weekend away racing in Montreal.
At 8am on Friday morning the 40 runners and CRS staff boarded the on route to Montreal. Participants had the option of signing up for bus transportation only, bus and hotel, or bus, hotel, and race. When racing participants could run the 5km or 10km on Saturday and/or the half marathon Sunday. Participants who raced both Saturday and Sunday received a special “spinner” medal (photo at bottom of post). This was the first time CRS had ever created such a medal, and they out did themselves, it’s very cool.
On route we had one stop in Kingston at Sir John’s Public House. Although we had a reservation the pub was not prepared for such a large group (plus they had a second large group booking) which made our lunch for 40 a challenge. We also had many unique dietary requirements which, although the bud said they could accommodate, they put us on a group menu, is the types of foods were limited, which posed another challenge. I ordered a chilly which ended up being delicious. I was very hungry by the time it arrived, so certainly could have used a bigger portion, but it tasted great.
Eventually we were on our way at made it to our hotel, the Novotel Montreal Centre. The hotel processed everyone very quickly and we were all off to our respective rooms for a short break before we reloaded the bus to head over to kit pick up and the shake out run, hosted by Run TO Beer, at the Boutique Endurance.
The Shake Out Run
Boutique Endurance is an amazing running store. Not only do they have all the best names, the varieties of styles, and gadgets and gizmos every runner needs to very extensive. We received our kits and then checked them with the CRS team who shuttled them to the finish location of the shake out run, Ma Brasserie. As always, Run TO Beer had a great team of pacers ensuring that no one was left behind as we ran a simple 5km route through Montreal.
Ma Brasserie was a large brewery that had plenty of seating, reasonably quick service, considering they were open to the public and we were a group of 50-ish. They also sold food, so while others were sampling some of the local offerings I had a delicious pre-dinner humus.
After a drink, Tribe exited the party early to get some real dinner in us as some of our crew was racing the next day. We randomly found a place close to the hotel called Cibo & Vino and it was perfect! We arrived and the place was empty, we later came to the conclusion that people in Montreal eat very late, and with our race schedule we were having dinner between 6-7pm both nights. Our group of 12 was split between pizzas and pastas. Everything made fresh and just to order.
After dinner I called it a night. Nanc (my sister) and I had the 5km race the next day and I wanted to get in some good stretching and be in bed before 10pm. This is a typical race routine, so I really wanted to stick with it, even being away.
The next morning we were up to catch the bus for 7am. The 10km started at 9 and the 5km started at 11. It was going to be long day of racing and cheering. The bus arrived to the race area in great time, and rather than heading to the start most people stayed warm and cozy on the bus. Eventually we headed to the start. CRS had provided us with VIP passes so we were able to hang out inside an area with seating, drinks, eats, and our own washroom. This was very thoughtful of them and greatly appreciated. They let all the members of our group come in.
After a hour plus of cheering it was mine and Nancy’s turn to race the 5km. We got ready in the VIP area and when we ventured to the start line it started to pour! This wasn’t great, but luckily it eventually let up.
The 5km used the same route as the ten and turn around at a fun round about, so you literally just ran in a big circle – which was nice compared to the hair-pin turn I was picturing in our minds.The course was very flat and while the terrain became very wet from the rain and run off we still managed to have lots of fun. Plus how could we not with our Tribe cheer station motivating us to the finish!
This was Nancy’s return to racing this season so we took it easy and had a great time being together. And since I was racing the 21km the next day – and because I love my sister – I didn’t mind.
After the race we all boarded the bus and returned to the hotel. Everyone took a brief break and around 1:30 reconvened with some of the group joining the Run TO Beer pub crawl that was already in process and the other adventuring through Montreal doing the tourist thing – I did the tourist thing.
We hit up a great boulangerie for lunch, then went to Simons and eventually made our way to Notre Dame. The walking on top of the mornings race was definitely getting to us, so we changed our dinner plans to this little Italian place across the street from our hotel.We met at 6pm and AGAIN we were the only people in the restaurant. With most people racing the next day it was pastas all around. Again the food was amazing and everyone left happy and ready for a night of chilling and stretching before bed – or at least that’s what I did.
The Half Marathon
Saturday morning came very fast. Breakfast was a repeat of the day before which was Allison going to McDonald’s and getting bagels and juice for Nancy and I, along with her own breakfast. Once we arrived to the start line we made our way again to the VIP room. The team stretched and prepared for the race. The weather was amazing. It was already getting close to double digits when we hit the start line.
The 21km course take you through almost every area of Parc Jean Drapeau. This included a loop around the amusement park, circling around the rowing basin, and looping along the Indy track. A very cool experience as this was the location of my Half Iron Man in September. It was fun to relive so many of those memories while running through the space. I think this, along with the heat, led me a few times to get distracted and confused with my pace. I thought I was at different km then I actually was, and the pacing math in my head just wasn’t making sense. It was a great run, fun course with awesome sites, and I certainly am not going to complain about the heat. I didn’t come across any great finishing time. I knew with racing the double this was more about fun and time on my feet. I did reach my goal and I did have lots of fun.
Following the race we had time in the park to relax while the remainder of the bus tour crew who didn’t race or cheer arrived. We lounged in the sun, explored the biodome, and just enjoyed being outdoors in the great weather.
The trip home was also uneventful which is always nice when traveling. We stopped at a plaza filled with lots of different fast food places to meet everyone’s needs and a few hours later we were back in TO.
This trip was a blast. It was my goal when discussing the idea with CRS was that we would bring our elaborate TribeTour race trips to a more accessible price point. And with their help, and our friends at Run TO Beer, I think we did it.
Next Tribe Tour Seawheeze, and then Barbados! Hope you’ll join us!