Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quebec City Marathon - a race report

Quebec City sure knows how to put on a great race weekend!  We thoroughly enjoyed our first time visit to Quebec City and found the people super friendly – both on and off of the race course!

We arrived Friday by car, got situated at our hotel, and took off by foot to explore the city.  Grabbed our bib#’s and found a great place to have lunch around the corner where we immediately began carbo loading –

Friday evening, we spectated at the Fun Run held just about at the base of our hotel.  Lots of families with younger children donned their race event caps that were equipped with clip-on head lamps and took off at 8:00 pm.  Always cool to watch little kids running a race, faces flushed, and huge smiles as they gathered their medals.

Fun Run via headlamps!

View from our hotel room!

Saturday morning found us taking a little run around the city.  We took this opportunity to find the ferry and the Finish Line and make our plan where to meet up after we each finished the race. 

But as we know, the lure of walking all over a new/old city is not best practice when it’s the day before a marathon.  So, we had a picnic and did some chilling in the park, watching people and listening to some cool bluesy music. 

The 2nd event of the weekend took place on Saturday afternoon – the 5K run.  It was later in the day, so we were able to cheer the runners on as we walked to the hotel that hosted the pasta dinner.  Saturday was also the day to get my head on straight about my goal and my Garmin-less race day I was facing.  There were a few differences running a marathon in Canada that required some “reframing of my picture” –
  • Dead Garmin.  Turns out, it was the charger, not the watch itself.  But on race day, I had to rely on my Timex.
  • All splits were in Kilometers.  Not necessarily surprising to me, but something I needed to wrap my brain around.
  • The splits counted down; not up.  So when we started the race, we saw 42K, then 41K, 40K, etc.  Now THAT was tough.
Race day was a beautiful, clear, and sunny day.  The ferry and bus rides to the start were well organized and seamless.  Funny side story:  As we walked to the ferry at 6:00 am, we literally almost bumped into someone we know from home who was also running the marathon!  Crazy small world!  

Of course any race held in August reserves the right to be hot.  For me, it felt very hot from the get-go.  Salty sweat in eyes and immediately soaked, I couldn’t run fast enough to get to the shade.  There wasn’t much of it, but when I reached shade, I celebrated.  There was a bit of a breeze, so that was obviously helpful too.  From the start, I was already in a different and better space than I was at Mad Marathon.  Win!

My primary goal for Quebec City was to simply have a better day than the one I had at Mad Marathon.  For a time goal, I figured a 9:00 pace would be a good pace to shoot for.  Scott calculated what a 9:00 pace looks like by kilometer, so I knew I should stay in the 5:40-5:45/kilometer range.  I still started out too fast like many of us often do, hanging onto the 3:45 pacer group for awhile, and paid for it in my later kilometers.  Overall, I averaged 5:47/kilometer, so mission still accomplished!  

5:47 looks much faster than 9:16 :)
The heat definitely got to me during the race.  In the latter miles, I experienced some major dizziness.  Thankfully, the awesome volunteers handed out cold, soaked sponges at a few places along the course.  Add gels, salt tabs, an orange slice  and some mist from a few hoses meant just for us, and I stayed upright.  Once I collected my medal and goodies, I met Scott at the funky fountain where I attempted to collect my head.  That took longer than ever before, but eventually, my head and I reunited. 

Check out the runners icing their legs in the fountain
I highly recommend Quebec City Marathon!  Everyone was so friendly (even to us non-French-speaking tourists!) and the race was very well organized.  The drive was easy enough (just long) and once we arrived, we quickly realized Quebec City was clearly a walking city.  The course was generally flat, but did have a few stinging hills and a bad a$$ bridge that brings runners back over the St. Lawrence River at approximately mile 14.  I also highly recommend you bring a camera like Scott did :)  

The finish line is literally lined with a red carpet and feels very Boston-esque with its crowds cheering everyone on.

Talk about feeling welcomed!
We will definitely go back, but until we do, I needed something unique to reflect the differences of this particular marathon –

Quel beau voyage! 
(what a great trip!)


  1. Sounds like a great trip and a great race. The photos are beautiful!

  2. Thanks Abbi, it sure was! So happy we found it :)

  3. Congratulations!!!
    Ah you are making me homesick
    I missed that race by a week
    I was there the week before for my dad bday
    I am so glad you had a good time in my city
    I miss it e every day

  4. I love Quebec City! I visited when I lived in Maine and I wanted to stay! Such nice people, such a cute town. Did you run on cobblestone roads? I am sure the Marathon there was fantastic! Excellent finishing time, too :)