Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hypothermic Half Marathon Race Report 2011

Sorry for being such a blogger slacker, but truly, after running 4 Hypos I've exhausted the superlatives to describe this race.  Actually, I only completed 3 Hypos; I had one DNF due to a blown calf at mile two in 2009, but that's a whole other story.  How many times can I describe the amazing breakfast, the stunning trails, and -of course- the wonderful Joie  de vivre that permeates the ice and wind.  Yes dear readers, this race soothes the soul and reminds us of life's sanctity.  We are indeed fortunate for this event.    

Aside from the world-class-vegetarian-friendly-carnivore-happy-breakfast there are two things that separate this race from the millions of other half-marathons; the temperature and the course.  

First the temperature.  It's cold. Nope, it's damn cold, and yet we love it. Nope, we don't love it, we EMBRACE it.  It defines us.  It makes us unique in a world of sameness.  It's another challenge.  It's another life-event that brings us together.  Ah, the romantic Hypo, it's such a rush, such an affirmation of life and health and well-being.  

Next the course.  We're mere minutes from the downtown centre of a major Canadian city with a population of 800,000+  and 90% or more of this race is through bush, thick forest, and tall grass prairie.  Aside from that 2 mile spit on Grant Avenue the course is entirely gorgeous and void of vehicular traffic.   I've run in Toronto, Chicago, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Ottawa, Dublin, Paris, and Victoria and all are stunning in their own right, but let's not kid ourselves. Winnipeg is a runner's haven.  We have stunning courses and trails in the heart of the city that rivals any of the aforementioned...(wel,, maybe not Paris, but the others for sure).  

Kudos to race directors Rachel and Lorraine for again pulling out all the stops. From the course sweeps to the enthusiastic volunteers, to the food... I've said it before, the Winnipeg Hypothermic Half Marathon IS the premiere winter running event in Western Canada.  I enjoy the uniqueness of this run, the course, the training, and of course the food.  The best part of the run?

Well, the people of course!  It's such an honor to run with the likes of Bernie, Vivian, Sandra, Eric, Gwen and Lorie.  I dedicate this post to them.  Here's their bios...

Vivian, currently training for Boston after qualifying last year.  An amazing technical runner with tremendous focus and drive.  She ran 5 miles in the frigid darkness BEFORE the Hypo just to meet her schedule.  She comes from the School of Ted.

Bernie, quiet, intelligent, rock solid pacer.  We're both in search of similar running goals.  We ran Chicago together until I bonked at mile 16.  He waited for me at the finish line while others waited at the beer tent... it was a long wait.  I was crushed as I crossed the line.  He knew it.  No words were exchanged.  There was no need for words, he got it.  

Sandra has completed many, many half marathons and one full.  We ran Chicago together.  Her first half was the infamous Mashed Potato Hypo way back.  It was dubbed the "mashed potato" run because of the 6 inches of brown slush for the entire course. I remember both of us cursing the last 2 miles! Sandra is such an interesting person.  She's a story teller.  The miles melt by as I fall into the rhythm of her voice.  She comes from the school of Ted.

Eric has a couple of half-mary's under his belt. He used to be the water boy for Sandra, now he's stepping up to the plate and considering the full distance and he's entirely ready.  Eric is full of stories and makes me laugh.  I always light up when I see he's on the course.  Thanks Eric.  

Gwen was one of the first runners I hooked up with when I first took the plunge.  She had a running setback a couple of years ago but is slowly working her way back to distance running.  I had the pleasure of running with her when she broke the 2 hour half marathon a few years back at the Cops Run. She beamed.  Gwen is a generous and kind soul.  She taught me how to run.  She comes from the school of Terry.

Lorie is a strong runner (perhaps stronger than she knows).  We've run hundreds of miles side by side. We made snow angels (with Sandra and Gwen) one chilly night when the snow drifts were waist high.  We shared teenaged heart throbs... mine was Melanie (still is) hers was .... ask her next time.  Hint... something about a certain backstreet guy. ;>)  

Together I've run thousands of miles with these folks and every step has been an honor and a pleasure.  It's because of them -and you- that it's a good day to be alive.



Jen said...

That is a serious breakfast spread! Your group of runners is great and I'm glad you enjoy them so much. It's obvious. You northern runners are a tough group!

Unknown said...

You are absolutely correct.. they are an amazing group and we ARE tough (as in tuff nuts). Thanks for your kind comments. Happy (barefoot) running. Mike

Jo said...

Great post Michael! It's usually hard to describe to people why I love this time they ask, I'll quote this posting!