Scheduling a run on a day when the forecast high was -11 maybe wasn’t my best idea. By the time the starter’s pistol fired only one other runner had made his way to the start line. According to the Weather Network it felt like -22 at 11:03 a.m., and that’s when Tej Sandhu (@WeWriteBeer) and I turned to the East and began kicking and skating our way through five kilometres of frozen, snow-packed sidewalks.
A week earlier I grabbed a Bixi and tried finding a scenic route closer to the Waterfront. Sheets of ice, ponds of slush, sheets of ice terrifyingly hidden under ponds of slush and the 2015 Pan Am Games rattled me from that daydream.
A couple days later I jogged from Trinity Bellwoods to Mill Street’s Beer Hall and the course was set.
Two days before the run I knew I wouldn’t be jogging in a large group despite a surprisingly high number of retweets, replies and favourites for my Twitter campaign. Five more centimetres of snow was about to repaint the streets and the mercury announced its intention to burrow for the weekend.
“Fuck it,” muttered I, in a moment of pristine eloquence. “I can roll out of bed and run five k.” If there was even a chance anyone else would be there I would slog my way through whatever conditions I faced even if it made me sick. Want to guess what happened?
So I made myself sick. From the time I got home on Sunday afternoon until this morning, I didn’t leave the house once. Thankfully Netflix recently added a bunch of Ken Burns, because sitting up wasn’t easy.
It probably didn’t help that I spent Saturday evening at Bier Markt on King, enjoying a beautiful service of some damn fine Unibroue offerings, including Blonde de Chambly (new to me) and a deliciously aged Noire de Chambly (2010). The evening started with my first of two beer cocktails made from blackberry reduction, Éphémère Cassis and Blanche de Chambly, and ended at a friend’s table with a bottle of my ever beloved, Trois Pistole. A newer Noire de Chambly, some exceptional 17 Grande Réserve and a pint of Maudite also passed my lips in those resplendently flavourful hours.
Consuming a bunch of beer the night before running could have presented enough of a challenge. The fact that frites was the “vegan option” at Bier Markt didn’t make it any easier.
Regardless, it was a great night that preceded the first ever #BeerRunTO (henceforth to be known as #RunTOBeer). Thanks to Nicole, Tyrone, Kris and Daniel for having me along. Also, to Grew Clow and his wife Sheryl for not abandoning me with the two sacrilegists that left half their beer at our shared table.
Tej and I made it to the Mill Street Beer Hall in 30 minutes, despite the horrid chill and occasional pedestrian pylons. That was faster than planned, but considering it was only the pair of us, not altogether surprising.
If you get a chance to try Mill Street’s Belgian Style Cherry IPA, you should. Neither the fruitiness nor the bitterness is overpowering. I think I’d prefer it in the spring, but I definitely enjoyed this first one.
Related: Mill Street Releases Belgian Cherry IPA - Canadian Beer News
Tomorrow I expect to be back to 100% and testing a route for the next beer run. Since next Sunday is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, I’ve circled Saturday the 15th on my calendar. Hopefully the conditions improve and a few more people make it out. Either way, I’m loving the look of this High Park / Indie Ale House route.