Disclaimer: As a member of the Rock ‘n’ Blog team, I received free entries to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal 5K and half marathon races. As always, all thoughts are my own and I #keepitreal.
This past weekend I was in Montreal for my first international racecation. I never thought I would ever run a race in another country when I started this whole running thing! Running is Montreal was definitely an experience and I’m happy to share all the details today!
There were some great things in the finish area – a few food trucks, various vendors and a short beer line – all things that I love, haha.
After the race, we decided to explore Chinatown. Our hotel was located downtown so we were very close to this part of town.
After exploring, we settled at St Hubert for lunch. I had a really delicious grilled chicken sandwich and salad. It was so good, that we went back to the same restaurant for dinner the next night.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal Half Marathon
Because of the extreme heat and humidity, the starting time for the half marathon was moved form 8:30am to 7:30am. Although this made for an early morning wake up call, I was thankful to start that early! This time I had to take two trains to get to the start line, but it wasn’t too bad at all and that part of the journey probably took around 15-20 minutes.
The longest part of the journey was the walk from the train station to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. I felt like I was walking FOREVER and I probably walked 1-2 miles before even starting the race.
I’m all for a good warm up walk before the start of a race but that was a bit much! Luckily I arrived in enough time to text my friend Janelle to FINALLY meet her in person! We have followed each other on IG for over a year and we even co-host a link up together, but have never met in person. Before the race, I met Janelle and her super nice fiancé, Bret.
Janelle and I chatted for a while before it was finally time for us to take off. We ended up starting the race around 8:00am and we ran the first 3 miles together. This was super sweet of her because she’s way faster than me! Within the first mile I was sweating like crazy. The heat and humidity was already out in full force and I knew this was going to be a long race!
Sidenote: Because of the weather, I think there should have been water stations every mile. From what I can remember, the water stations were only every other mile, and sometimes longer. Luckily I ran with my handheld water bottle, but I did need to refill it halfway through the race. There were quite a few sprinkler and cooling stations on the race course and I definitely took advantage of that!
After departing the bridge, we entered St. Helena Island and Notre Dame Island. We then left the island and headed back toward downtown. The second half of the race included running into Old Montreal and a very odd water/banana stop. Yes, they gave out bananas and some of the peels were thrown right on the course. That was a very slow minute of running to make sure that I didn’t slip! After that we ran through Gay Village and it was so pretty with tons of different colors. It took my mind off of the heat for a few minutes.
This was also the part of the course where we hit a few hills. Hills are the last things you want to see in the last few miles of a race! I literally had no energy for this and ended up walking all the hills (no shame in my game). Finally we were near La Fontaine Park and I knew the end was in sight and I did my run/job to the finish.
It was a little chaotic after crossing the finish line. There were just SO many runners so it was hard to figure out where to go but luckily I was able to get my post-race bag of goodies and medals rather quickly.
I also met up with Janelle and Bret after the race and we talked a little bit about the course, the heat and another upcoming race, Rack ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn!
This is totally unrelated to the race, and I went back and forth on whether to include this in my post, but I really wasn’t feeling the love in Montreal. I actually spoke to a few other runners and they all said the same exact thing. Don’t get me wrong, we had great interactions with some people in Montreal, but overall we found people to be quite rude. I’m not sure if it’s because we don’t speak French, or maybe they just didn’t appreciate a huge influx of runners coming in for the weekend, but it was really unexpected because so many of my friends and co-workers told me that people are super nice in Canada.
Besides all of that, I’m still super thankful that I got to experience my first international race and earn the World Rocker medal!