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Marathon de Montréal 2013: My Race Report. A Novel

November 25, 2013

[ MAR-uh-toh doo mor-eh-AHL ]

Preface
When the Universe is Broken
I Didn’t Drive the Course
Montreal This
Surrender to Serious Tourist Fun
The Bedtime Checklist
The Start
The Islands
Men Using Their Penises
The Hills
The Half
The Spectators
The Last 7 Kilometers
The Numbers
Celebrate Poutine
What’s Next

Marathon de Montréal 2010 start
Photo © Pierre R. Chantelois. Used with permission.

Preface
I don’t hate you, last 7 kilometers. But I do.

When the Universe is Broken
My flight to Montreal was cancelled when I arrived at O’Hare in the morning. There was weather in Chicago, and also weather in Montreal, naturally. I sat on the blue casino carpet, holding a doppio latte with both hands like a refugee, plugged in my phone, and stared at people. What is this language? Is your skirt inside out? I miss my leather jacket. I was put on standby for a flight that would be delayed, and then cancelled around noon. And after that, I was standing by on the blue carpet with lattes in my hands until 6:30 p.m.
A tall man was sitting across from me. He was wearing a LIVESTRONG wristband and technical clothes and no-show socks. A runner. Are you running my marathon? His North Face trail running shoes were brand new. His new travel shoes. He had a silver band on his pinkie. Married a long time. Or gay. His luggage was an overstuffed backpack and a duffel bag. It was all his luggage, I knew that. Because otherwise he wouldn’t have had two carry-on items, only one. He stretched out on the floor and shut his eyes. I would never have done that. Later he got a standby seat to Toronto. Mr. Patterson. Not running my marathon, probably.
I thought of what I would eat for dinner. I thought of my hotel bed in Montreal. I thought of eating pizza in bed in Montreal.
The gate agent picked up the phone receiver, turned away and looked down at the floor. “Isn’t a good time, my dear,” he said to the phone. I gave him my name. He continued to talk to the phone despite the badness of the time, “Good news and bad news.” Afterwards he looked up and told me, “You’re so low on the list, you don’t have a chance.”
Le Petit Hôtel on Rue St. Paul in Old Montreal—the antithesis of my sky trek affair—was surrounded by modern art galleries built inside historic buildings. I knew I wouldn’t have time to visit them but I needed them to be there, to feed my muse as I walked by their windows. The hotel had abstract art on the walls and minimalist furniture in colors and textures envisioned by a website designer, or so it seemed. My room had exposed brick and hardwood floors, and ceramic tile that looked like wood planks, and jets in the shower in every direction, a yoga mat, and an alarm clock that I could not figure out. Sharpie doodles covered the walls in the breakfast room at the end of the hall in the lobby, where a waiter would lean by my side tomorrow and ask if he could bring me an espresso or orange juice, and I would smile at his Frenchness and say, “Just water, thanks.”
In the morning I went running along the St. Lawrence River and Canal de Lachine, following an endless path of calm, when I missed the underpass at Rue Mill. I stopped and looked around and a woman in the park stood up from her picnic blanket and waved at me with a book in her hand, then pointed the book to the trail. I stayed on the path all the way south to Verdun, and on the way back, I deviated from the trail for the purpose of getting lost. Getting lost had routinely been my way of learning a new city. I watched a group of schoolchildren cross an intersection on bicycles underneath the expressway by the Canada Malting factory. One counselor rode in the front and a second counselor stopped the traffic. The light changed from green, to red, to green to red again, as the cars accumulated quietly; everyone kept cool like in a music video.
When I returned to the hotel I saw a skinny runner by the elevator, wearing all sorts of happy colors and dripping sweat. He is running my marathon. I knew his story by looking at him.
“You running the marathon on Sunday?” I asked to be polite, I already knew the answer.
“No,” he said in French English, “I just found out yesterday there is a marathon.”
“Oh. You look like you’re training for a marathon,” I explained.

I Didn’t Drive the Course
On Friday afternoon, two days before the marathon, I headed out to drive the race course. And that wasn’t going to happen. I made it to Pont Jacques-Cartier, going east on the five-lane highway bridge to the exit ramp onto St. Helen’s Island. The corrals were to line up on the bridge under the blue steel truss, over the St. Lawrence River, and immediately after the start we were to run down the ramp onto the island. The highway traffic was furious and I missed my exit. I drove to the other end of the bridge where I could turn around. The ramps on the eastbound and the westbound didn’t align—it would have taken me forever to find the exact spot on the course. My Plan B was to not worry about the course, rather to get on the islands and get a feel of the place. We were to run 6 kilometers on St. Helen’s Island, cross a tiny bridge at Passerelle Du Cosmos onto Notre Dame Island, run 4 kilometers, and eventually head west for 2 kilometers on Concorde Bridge to the main land of Montreal.
There was no car traffic on the island and no one around, only quiet greens and curly roads. I kept losing my orientation until directions stopped making sense. Then I accidentally drove by the Biosphère, a 250-foot white steel open-structure dome, an actual landmark on the marathon course. I was in awe of my accomplishment; it was time to quit driving the islands, come out on top.
I typed in an address into Google Maps and it popped up a message, “Seriously, bro, there’s no way to get there with a car.” Before long, the low battery alert on my phone came on, as I was making a U-turn on a hillside in front of a No Trespassing sign. I forgot the USB cable for the phone charger in the hotel—I found out—and had to rely on my training in getting lost to escape the forbidden island. I made it within one block of my hotel; it was near, I could feel it, but I couldn’t see it. I was pushing my luck cutting in front of police during Friday night’s rush hour; I wasn’t looking for trouble so I decided to park the car. I pulled up behind a man in a suit holding a helmet who was standing by a motorcycle. I asked him to please describe the Canadian parking meters to me, after apologizing for being an idiot. The man was extremely helpful—as motorcyclists tend to be—and the Big Brother system is fantastic; it is all wired, there are no paper stubs. I hopped on a taxi, which took me to my hotel, which was around the corner, where I knew it would be.

Montreal This
I trained in metric for this marathon—it was a shift in mindset. Once I switched my Garmin to count in kilometers I immediately went from a 9-minute pace to running a 5:30-minute pace. Still in my head I kept converting the numbers to miles every time I ran. It was exhausting. Instead of thinking, “Boat house to Ohio Street Beach: 2.6 kilometers,” I was thinking, “1.6 miles—15 minutes, or too slow.” In reality, there were mile markers in the race, but they were in black & white. They were smaller signs, lonely signs. The kilometer signs were loud and clear: big red signs for the marathon, big green signs for the Half.
I didn’t factor in the hills when I signed up for Montreal. Hilly marathons stopped scaring me after running in Austin; I wish they hadn’t. Austin is known to be hilly, yet I broke my best marathon time there. Montreal happened for a reason, it punched me in the face with its hills. I let the course reveal itself to me in real time, determined to be surprised. It was sheer incompetence.


Surrender to Serious Tourist Fun
I wasn’t brought to Montreal to freak out about the course—I was there to be a tourist. Van Houtte Café-Bistro, the coffee shop across the street was my introduction, where it takes them hours to make an espresso while you stand in line. It was perfect. I looked at the menu and recited my order in my head. un petit café latte, s’il vous plaît… un… un petit.. café latte… petit… merci. I ordered my coffee in English. Because I chickened out. And also because I wanted a wrap with that, with diced chicken and baby herbs, and there was no way to learn how to order that in French in four hours. What I love about European cafés is the size of things: Everything is smaller, yet it is big enough.
After coffee I went to get a massage at Scandinave Spa. When I was training for my fourth marathon, I added deep-tissue massages to my cross-training regimen. A good massage should keep you present, I believe, not let you drift away; it should hurt you, hurt you good. Though if they hurt you and break you then you won’t be able to run your marathon in the morning. So there’s this risk when you trust a stranger to hurt you.
Scandinave Spa was out of this world. When I booked with them on the phone, they asked if I would like to add “the baths” to my service. I said no. I didn’t know what “the baths” meant, but it didn’t matter. Whatever it was, it wouldn’t be grammatically correct. When I checked in, I signed an obligation to take a hot shower before and after my service and they issued me a thin ID bracelet to keep me secure, purportedly. The lotions in the locker room were organized by body parts. The juice bar had a bartender and a menu without prices. I exited the locker room into a communal hall that was dim and coed. I tightened the sash on my robe, poured myself a glass of cucumber water, and looked for an open seat in one of the Museum of Modern Art type chairs. Every chair was different: the colors, the curves, the textures, the sizes. It was delicious. I sat in the cluster in the corner by the juice bar across from two men; it was like having a corporate meeting with out-of-town contractors, only we were wearing robes and I couldn’t uncross my legs.
Sylva, my masseuse, came out to get me. She was phenomenal. You know she is a professional when she tells you there was only so much she could do in 60 minutes. I gave her a green light to learn me, to work her art, to infuse magic into my muscles, into my mind.
When I came out, I went back to sit in the corner to drink more water and read on my phone. Two women in bras and panties shared an oversized chaise on my left, cuddling. Behind me, on my right, there was a blackened glass door with a sign “Relaxation Room.” People went in and didn’t come out. When I finished staring I went hunting for pasta.
I went to see a man about a takeout behind the bar at Bevo Bar + Pizzeria. He poured me a skinny glass of water with no ice—because Canadians know what they are doing—and handed me a menu, inviting me to sit and ask questions. Luckily I asked all my questions before I realized the backside of the menu was in English. My barman described the sauces with hand gestures, then touched my shoulder so I tipped him. My friend with the pretty breasts used to do that when she was a waitress—touch people’s shoulders to get the good tips. When my pasta was ready to go, my barman said it might be too hot to carry. Therefore I stayed seated until it reached room temperature.
I scraped the heels of my oxfords on the cobblestone pavement of Rue St. Paul as I walked back to my hotel, opposite the party traffic. I ran into a bachelorette with plastic boobs over her shirt; she offered me a condom and I offered her a stick of gum in exchange. I was at one with that scene. The street engraved its Montreal in the soles of my shoes, its chaotic drunks amused my spirit, and soon its pasta would pacify my hunger. I was ready for tomorrow.

The Bedtime Checklist
Other than eating pasta in bed, I had no race strategy. I ran through my checklist to distract me from thinking about the truth, about how unready I was. I scheduled a taxi to pick me up in the morning and laid my clothes on a towel on the floor in the reverse order I would wear them. I set up two alarm clocks and struggled with the hotel’s clock radio, then left it unset. I pulled up the course map and blind tested myself. I memorized the turns and the distances, looking at the elevation profile, studying the two charts side by side. The hills were to linger until Kilometer 33, where it would stay elevated and flat until the finish. My favorite part of the course was between Kilometer 16 and 17, where I ran every morning, where I discovered L’Assommoir Mobile—the tapas food truck on Rue Prince. It’s pretty flat over there. How can Montreal be hilly? Le Mont Royal?? None of this makes sense.


The Start
The weather forecast was accurate: It was sunny and warm through Saturday, then temperatures dropped from the upper 70s to the lower 40s—a historic low—and it rained for two days. I packed winter layers and a fleece blanket in the gear bag. The cold air hit me hard at the finish line, where I started to shake uncontrollably and had to scarf down all the foods in the finisher bag to warm up a bit, to manage to walk to the buses to pick up my gear. The blanket remained at the start, tossed over the fence. Many words of lust and desire were spoken to my blanket on that icy, rainy morning—words neither me nor my blanket could understand.
My wake-up taxi was on time. I informed my driver of the course and the itinerary as we rode to the Papineau metro station. He must know all this already. It’s his job to know this. He’s nice. I like him. My driver immigrated to Canada from Lebanon. He ran a marathon in Beirut when he was 25; now he could not possibly fit the training in his life, there was just not enough time.
The start moved slower than we planned. Gear Check opened an hour later than scheduled. A volunteer was explaining the holdup to the French people, while I observed them. There was a massive amount of police cars and bomb-sniffing dogs and officers in bulletproof vests touring the grounds which made me feel safe and worried. I stood behind a TV reporter and snapped pictures of her photographer.
Gear Check consisted of a fleet of school buses parked atop the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, each marked with a range of bib numbers. After we all had started running and cleared the bridge, the buses were to transport to Parc La Fontaine—the finish line area. It was a neat setup, even though it wasn’t consistent with how I do things. When I get to the start I like to rid myself of the gear and the pee and get in the zone of freaking out as fast as possible. Setting up the Gear Check buses behind the security checkpoint slowed me down; it softened the security fears but it interfered with my happy flow: Gear Check, porta potties, start corrals. The porta potties were at the bottom of the bridge and Gear Check was 10 minutes away at the top of the bridge. I walked 10 minutes to Gear Check, walked back 10 minutes to the bathroom, then walked up the bridge a second time to get to the corral.
The official start was at 8:30 a.m. and I stepped on the start mat at 9:06 a.m. I was in Corral 14 and the plan was to release the corrals 1 to 2 minutes apart. It only fell slightly behind schedule but it felt as if we were waiting there longer. Rain was accumulating in the steel truss above us, then falling on our heads and shoulders in big, freezing blobs of water. I hid my whole self in my blanket. The other runners had plastic bags, inverted over their short shirts, with holes torn in them for the head and the arms. They moved their arms inside to warm up. They planned for rain, not for freezing rain, not for shivers and goose bumps. I felt sad and lonely. I wasn’t in a hurry to start, I wasn’t in a hurry to do anything at all.
Something was up with the green bibs in the corral—the Half marathoners. They formed a line along the side rope and turned to face the other way, away from the start line. There was something I was missing. Seeding inside the corral? Why? We all run the same pace, this can’t be it. This has nothing to do with me, I have a red bib. No one here has a red bib. Oh God, what is going on?
When the horn blasted and the ropes were pulled away, our corral spilled into the other four lanes on the bridge and into the corral before us. It got loud. People were jumping up and down and dancing. To warm up? To dance? It felt like an after party. We became a conjoint layer of runners coating the bridge, gliding down the asphalt pavement together, synchronizing to the beat. Let’s not make sense. A steep downhill led to the start line, then we turned right sharply onto Tour de L’Isle Road on St. Helen’s Island. Let’s run a marathon. And I was on my own.

The Islands
It was logical that there would be puddles on the islands—the lowest section of the course—after raining for two days. My escape strategy was civilized at first, weaving through the pack, not elbowing people, keeping my shoes clean. The roads were narrow and wholly flooded. There were patches of grass along the edge of the road in a few spots and chain-link fences, where runners, instinctively, came to a halt and proceeded to cross the swamp in a single file. It was ridiculous. I had to run faster. I started using my hands more and skipping sideways to get ahead of people. I plunged into puddles, letting the mud mess up my shoes and their shoes. Yeah, I’m that person. It was the dance of shame but it got me out of the islands and to the fast lane on Concorde Bridge and from there to the other, less offensive side of Montreal.

Men Using Their Penises
Canadian men are fun and they are not afraid to show it. Minutes into the race, dudes started pulling up on the side of the road, left and right, to pee in broad daylight. I counted them to occupy my brain but after a while they became too hard to track—they were everywhere. I began to feel resentment; I felt disadvantaged. It wasn’t that I needed to pee, it was my mechanical ineptness that bothered me; the playing field wasn’t level. I would likely support a penalty for marathoners who use their penises during a race. To be fair, I would also include a clause to grant extra credits to runners such as that perky man I saw in the bathroom line before the start.
He came over from the line adjacent to ours when the woman in front of me called out to him. She introduced him to her friends. He was wearing spandex shorts, mid-thigh length, which were a bit loose, perhaps a size too big for him. The fabric seemed lightweight, the kind that would make one feel comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. They were all shaking hands in French and bouncing around. Everyone was excited, clearly. Later on, they were kissing their good-byes and good lucks and the man spread out his arms and went in for a hug. No! Don’t hug her now! You’re wearing the pants! And I looked away until their reunion was over. The peeing rule should exclude runners in loose-fitting spandex shorts from the penalty. It would be a winning synergy, the same way my bank will waive the transfer fees when my account balance reaches $15,000.

The Hills
It took work—12 kilometers—to break free from the islands and get to my neighborhood and the places from my morning runs that I loved: Riverside Street, Rue Mill, the food trucks, the park, Rue de la Commune, the Old Port. It felt romantic and it lasted 4 kilometers. Then the hills started with an ass of a hill at Place Jacques Cartier—it was the end of the world as I knew it. I was thrown into a state of infinite bewilderment with zero mental preparation. I decided to push up my water stop and walk the hill to get my act together, to not break down.
The next award-winning hills were the sons of bitches roller-coaster streets around Christophe Colomb Avenue and Rue de la Roche, from Kilometer 23 to Kilometer 32. As we started west on Christophe Colomb, the fast runners came down the other side of the street, completing their 32nd kilometer, side-fiving our slow runners across the lane divider. It was epic.
The psychology of that two-way dynamic was powerful. Every climb we made, we saw fast runners several kilometers ahead of us on the course. Every time we rolled downhill, we saw fast runners struggle through a brutal uphill on the other side. Every hard hill we ran, we knew we would have to run it again in 5, 6, 8 kilometers. I didn’t know when the next hill was coming and how hard it would be and I was having an anxiety attack that I needed to fix. I started tracking my effort, qualifying each segment—how hard it felt running up, how fast it went running down—imprinting the information in my brain, being ready to pull it out when I reached the other side. The other side was physically easier to run. The climbing was not the challenge; the not knowing what the hell was going on—that piece was ruthless.

The Half
One kilometer from the finish line, on the south corner of Parc La Fontaine, I was to turn away and start west for 22 more kilometers; the Half marathoners were to run their final meters heading north-east to the finish. The roar of the crowd at Kilometer 20 was overwhelming, I teared up. I invented translations in my head. Go, Sexy! Looking good! Nice legs! So close, almost there! Aller! Aller! But I wasn’t almost there. I looked around me and didn’t see any red bibs, only green bibs; I only saw Half marathoners. I could hear the finish line music, I heard the announcer. Where is everyone? I panicked. What just happened? I missed the course? I was trying to remember the last time I saw a red mile marker. The red and green markers were always atop each other. What if I’m confused by the mountain and now I’m on the Half marathon course? Can I qualify? Please give me a sign, tell me I’m on track. Show me a red bib.
I knew it. There was—wasn’t there—something going on with the halfers and the fullers in the corral. I wasn’t imagining it. They were facing the wrong way for a reason. I’m such a loser.
I didn’t see anyone in red. I couldn’t breathe. I had a total meltdown that lasted 2 hours in my head, 90 seconds on my Garmin, and then I saw a big sign directing the marathoners to turn left. Oh God. Thank you, God.

Spectators at the Montreal Marathon 2012
Photo © lululemon athletica lululemon.com. Used with permission.

The Spectators
The spectators’ signs were not helping at all—they were in French. The only sign I could interpret was a yellow poster board with palm prints in each corner. I touched my hand to the hand in the poster and the people shouted back at me. Their energy boost lasted a few seconds after which I gave up on spectators entirely. Until I turned onto Rue Villeray at Kilometer 29 and saw a man in a cowboy hat who looked at me and hailed, “Yeehaw!” in American. You made me laugh out loud, I love you forever.
Somewhere on Boulevard Saint-Joseph, around Kilometer 38, I gazed at a woman in the distance as she was riding a bike on the side of the road against our runner traffic. There weren’t a lot of runners in front of me, not a lot of spectators either. It was quiet and monotonous and she seemed the only one who didn’t keep pace with the street. She was wearing all black, except for a pop of white in her right hand. I thought it was a white glove at first, but I dismissed the idea since wearing a single white glove was rare. I fixated on her right hand as I ran closer, as she rode toward me. When we were side by side, I saw it—a half eaten apple. She caught me looking at her apple, then we both looked up. She looked at me as if I was judging her and I felt a rush of embarrassment. I made her feel guilty for eating an apple in front of us.
She can’t offer me her apple; it is half eaten and she is a stranger, I wouldn’t accept it from her. She thought of how it felt to see an apple after running for three, four hours, to need to bite into its succulent flesh. She will not do this again. She is the worst spectator in the world.
I felt awful for staring at her apple, causing her to suffer all that remorse. She did nothing wrong. I didn’t want an apple, I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t even thirsty.

The Last 7 Kilometers
The last 7 kilometers were bullshit. I hate them, they are liars.
The night before the race, I ripped the page with the course map out of the event guide, folded it three times and tossed it in my gear bag. I wasn’t going to look at it again. I wanted it to bounce in my bag and radiate, to disseminate the map information onto my hat, my gel blocks, my belt. And then it wouldn’t matter that I hadn’t driven the course.
The second half of the course was shaped like the letter X. We were to run from the center of the X to one of the ends, then U-turn and run back to the center, then run out to the next endpoint. To be accurate, there was a detour at each endpoint; we were to execute the detour before turning around toward the center. Also, the last leg of the X was to be run in the opposite direction—run to the center first, then run back out.
The X-shaped course meant we had two-way runner traffic: Slower runners go up as faster runners come down in the opposite lane. It was pretty straight forward: All I had to do to keep track of my position was to pay attention to traffic across the street, to remember if I was heading out on the X or back into the center. Maybe also count the turns, and not get distracted by the detours.
But the hills happened. The detour at Kilometer 35 seemed longer than what I had memorized and it threw off my counting. I thought I was somewhere else on the course. I thought I was going east on Route 125. I thought I had one more U-turn before I turned south onto Boulevard Saint-Joseph—the final stretch. I slowed myself down, holding out for the turn, readying myself for my sprint finish. This made the runners in the opposite lane seem as if they were the faster runners—it all made sense. But they were not the faster runners and I was already running Saint-Joseph. When the mile markers registered in my head, it hit me—my mistake. Please feel free to run faster now. Fire at will, you nitwit. It was too damn late for that. I sprinted to the finish and fell 4 minutes short of my goal. I had energy left in me, still, gaining 4 minutes in the last 7 kilometers might have been unrealistic, I don’t know.

The Numbers
My finish time was 4:14, which was 3 minutes faster than my previous best marathon time in Austin earlier this year. I slowed down in the second half, although my time at the Half was on track for a 4:10 finish: 2:05 at 21.1 kilometers. My fastest pace was between Kilometer 10 and Kilometer 21—not at the start—because the first 10 kilometers weren’t about running, they were about survival and mud. The last 7 kilometers were troubled. I don’t want to talk about it.
The winner of the Montreal Marathon, David Savard-Gagnon, had the same 4-minute deficit as I did between the second half and the first half. He hit the Half at 1:13 with a marathon finish of 2:30. He was 4 minutes too slow, like me. Knowing this makes me feel better. Savard-Gagnon should be feeling awful about losing 4 minutes because he had everything working for him in that race. He is Canadian, he knew about the hills; he speaks French and he could use the spectators’ force. And he has a penis. He had all the things that I lacked in Montreal, the things that guaranteed a winning pace. I am not the biggest loser here.


Celebrate Poutine
People who know what they are talking about say you can’t have poutine, unless you are happy with your finish time. Whatever. I had two kinds of poutine within four hours of my finish. I went back to Bevo Bar + Pizzeria for a fancy poutine—it wasn’t really poutine. The beer I had with it was amazing—Grimbergen Dubbel in its original chalice glass. Tasting a new beer is best when it starts virtually, engaging the other senses to ready the mouth: relishing the words on the label, looking at the browns in the light, gauging the thickness of the rim, tracing its curves, inhaling its perfume. Then completely having it.
The fancy poutine had veal braised in red wine and sheep’s milk cheese over a bed of roasted potatoes and it was brought to the table in a hissing skillet. It wasn’t poutine. Though Canada regulates that every restaurant must name an item on its menu “Poutine;” it is likely something to do with the public healthcare system.
Later in the afternoon, I had poutine to go from Montreal Poutine on Rue St. Paul, packed in a styrofoam container that couldn’t contain its passion. I found a good bench and sat down to eat it with a plastic fork. That poutine was pure and true—the honest kind—the kind that doesn’t try to impress you but will knock your pants off, if you let it.

What’s Next
I ran this marathon like Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t learn French, I didn’t know the course. “Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice, she was so much surprised. I wanted to be surprised, but not like that.
My favorite part of running a marathon is how miserable I feel the minute after I step on the finish mat. That ultimate sadness, the self-examination, the regret. I have a knot in my chest and aches in my stomach, like the ones I get when I break my heart. I caused this intense euphoria, I trained to make it happen. I am responsible for my addiction. I’ve done that and now I want more. I want better. I want to succeed and then redefine success until I fail. And then succeed again and feel deeply alive.

Photos © Nurit Pazner or respective owner.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2013 4:52 PM

    As a local Montrealer who ran the marathon, too (it was my first), I really enjoyed reading this. It was both entertaining and therapeutic. 🙂

    You’re really courageous to have come here alone, and to run a marathon no less! Awesome.

    PS: don’t have any regrets! You finished like a champ and were well-informed enough to go for the poutine(s) afterwards. 🙂

  2. November 29, 2013 5:08 PM

    Thank you for all the nice words, I appreciate it greatly. Big congratulations on your first marathon! And running Montreal, no less. Some city you’ve got there. Lucky!

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