On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Montreal! And also I ran against HPV. Or le VPH, as they say.

Attention Canadian readers: I apologize in advance for anything offensive to Canadians that I might say in this post. You know I love you guys and your OTC drugs.

Sometimes I have some really, really stupid ideas. Take for instance, this genius idea: "I want to go to Montreal. There is a train that runs to Montreal! It's not that expensive. But it takes 11 hours. I'll totally do it!!!"

Montreal = good idea.
Train = terrible idea.

Memorial Day weekend, I headed up to the 51st state in order to buy some ketchup flavored potato chips and apple cider take a minibreak with a good friend. I'd noticed that there was a race that weekend, so I figured it would work out well: I'd get a few miles in (run to the site of the race on the Île-Ste-Hélène and back) while Adrienne slept.

But first, Friday night, some food to prepare for a long run - of course, poutine. I loved it. Adrienne hated it. I think she was taken aback that the gravy came out of a giant can. I have a thing for junk food, though. The grosser, the better.

Saturday morning, I headed out to the race site. I plotted a straight forward course from the hotel where I was staying over the Jacques Cartier Bridge to the island. It was gloomy and overcast, and about a mile into my run it began raining. Ah, well. At least it was cool and not hot.

I have a love-hate relationship with Canadians. I love that they're all so nice. And yet I hate that they're just like really polite Americans, but not. Point in case: as I approached the bridge, I could see the traffic flowing onto the bridge but I couldn't quite make out the pedestrian walkway. I saw a man leave his house on foot, so I stopped him to ask how to cross the bridge. After giving me directions, he said, "Oh, you're going to love crossing the bridge. I did that once. You're going to love it." He was so earnest that it just made my heart melt! (Sorry though, dude, it's just a bridge.)

The race itself was kind of, well, it just was. It was a two-loop course (for a 5k), and there were only about 50 people there. I was withholding this race report in part out of hope that I could leave out that last fact about low numbers and only post the statistics, hopefully wowing you all with a single digit age-group place... but the Running Room hasn't published the results yet.

More intriguing than the race itself, though, was all the pomp surrounding it. For one thing, they had breakdancers. A troupe of breakdancers to perform for the small group of us. They also had a musical guest, a performer named Shy-Anne who was nominated for a Juno Award in the aboriginal category. (If you don't speak Canadian, the Juno Awards are like the Grammies... but not. Just like Canadian Thanksgiving or Canada Day or the other cute, quaint things they've copied from us they share with us.) I also got a race kit with a full bottle of Garnier Frizz Control.

Also in the race kit? This:

Yes, it's a ruler with different forms of birth control acted out by computer mice on it. But the uneven shape of the ruler took me a second until I realized... it's shaped like a penis! Yes, yes it is. How odd.

So, I ran 11m total on Saturday and 4 on the treadmill on Sunday (it rained again). There was, of course, also some of this:

Actually, there wasn't. I wanted a bear claw but I didn't get it. Too busy stuffing my face with crêpes to pause for a donut.



    Yeah, that sucked.

  2. Poutine freaking rocks. I am jealous of that and the cool drugs you picked up.

  3. You know you're a New Yorker when... everyone is too freaking nice for our own tastes. Yep. Oh, and poutine is bizarro combination of flavors. A microcosm of Canada, in a sense.

  4. 51st state? Polite Americans?

    We're just underhanded in telling you what we really think. Don't mistake polite for tight lipped patience.

  5. le VPH makes it sound more fun.

  6. True: my favorite baseball cap was a Habs hat for years. Of course, my favorite hockey team would have to be a toss-up between the Blackhawks and whatever team Antti Niemi plays for, since he rocks.

    But yeah, Marie, I once did a walk against SIDA. You know, like AIDS, but in Spanish. I thought that sounded much more romantic.

    And anonymous, I come by my antagonism toward Canadians honestly. I lived with one (romantically) for four years. Or, like the t-shirts say, "I'm not [Canadian] but some of my best friends are."

  7. That ruler is f-ing hilarious! Need one. Really need one. The partners at the firm would highly appreciate it. Hehehe. :)

  8. WHY would you settle for a donut when you have crepes? You can get donuts in New York!

    And that ruler is about 47 different kinds of awesome. Hee.

  9. I love that you went to Montreal. It's one of my most favorite places. Now if I could just stay uninjured, I might finally get to race there, too.

  10. I love that you found a race while you were there. I totally would too. And the breakdancers sound super fun! And the ruler... ha ha ha. Love it.