Paris Marathon — It’s Here!!!!

4 Jul

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C’est arrive! I couldn’t believe the day had finally come! I registered for this race back in early May/late April last year and it seemed like forever ago. This was going to be my third marathon in 6 months – something I have never done before! It was also going to be my TWENTIETH marathon ever!

I slept in til a bit after 7 – this would give me time to have breakfast and then take the 15-20 minute or so walk to the corral with plenty of time to spare. Plus. Nerves. In order to get my medal and the t-shirt, I was going to have to PR by at least 3 minutes. I honestly can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, but I would bet there was some meat and cheese involved. And probably a croissant…and coffee 🙂 After running back upstairs to brush my teeth and gather my things I was as ready as I was going to be.

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As we came off of our small side street onto the Champs Elysee, I realized that THIS was the starting line!! Like…less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel!! Score!! Eydie and I hung out and took some pictures.

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Then my camera died so I handed that off to E to take back to the room. I also gave her my post-run bag since I realized I wouldn’t be walking anywhere near the finish to drop off. The only thing in there anyway was my meter and some flip-flops! My pockets were filled with GoGoSqueez and some SunRype fruit strips and I was all set!

The weather was already warming up but I kept my jacket on, figuring I could tie it around my waist if it got to be too much. The plan was to stick to my intervals 1:1 and to check my sugars every 5K or so. Which of course is a great plan when you don’t get caught up in the excitement of the starting line! I mean, people, we were running down the middle of the Champs Elysee. In Paris. FRANCE!! The mood in the corral was incredible! I was in the last corral – rose – for people who planned to finish in over 4.5 hours. There were probably about 10,000 people in the corral! But it wasn’t crowded at all.

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And to start the group off, one side of the road was sent off first, followed by the other. Lucky me, I picked the early group!

The start was downhill on cobblestone. So good, but tricky! Once I got the initial burst of adrenaline out of my system I settled into my intervals – and noticed that when I would walk, every now and then another runner would pass me, tap me on the shoulder and shout encouragement!

Along the way, as we passed landmarks, there were signs telling us “Louvre coming up on the left” or “Eiffel Tower that way” with an arrow 🙂 We ran past castles even…

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Aid stations were every 5K – and they were STOCKED! Tiny bottles of water, piles of oranges, piles of raisins and…piles of SUGAR CUBES! For the first 2 or 3 I just grabbed water since I had my pocket supplies. Eventually when my sugar started dropping I would grab a sugar cube and a bottle of water.

At one point I passed a woman who was wearing a shirt from a race sponsored by my favorite Houston grocery store, HEB, so we started talking. She was over it by mile 10 or so. She was running 2:2’s and didn’t think she was going to make it in time. I told her I was doing fine with 1:1’s and I was actually really close to the timing on my 6:15 pace band. Eventually she pulled away with her friend and I kept on with my 1:1’s for the most part. I was having some pain in my right foot so took a few longer walk breaks.

Even though I was kind of obsessed with the time, I did enjoy the course – lots of variety and many many landmarks! I do know I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, mostly due to my camera not making it onto the course with me. I’m pretty bummed about that but I guess it gives me a reason to run this again, eh? I did manage to get a few though!

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Around mile 18 I was passed by the Paris equivalent of the runDisney balloon ladies 🙂

 

And I wasn’t alone! There were still a bunch of us out there, from all over the world and the camaraderie was always present – lots of encouragement all around!!

At about Mile 20, I saw my friend from Houston again and we ended up walking the last 6 miles or so (yes, I know it’s 6.2….but we didn’t walk ALL of it!) and talking – turns out her mom lives down the street from my dad and her running group runs on the bike/walk path that I use when I’m down there. It’s a Small World after all…isn’t it!!

She was resigned to the fact that we would miss out on the medal and I was kicking myself for walking…every now and then we’d jog. When we turned the corner onto the Rue Foch and came face to Arc with the finish line I said “Well, it’s time to sprint it in!” So we did. Finish line crossed and new friend hugged – and while I didn’t PR, we were only about 4 minutes past the cut off time.**

So imagine our surprise and DELIGHT when we heard someone yelling for us to come get our medals!! And THEN, he said “shirts are right down there”. Oh my gosh! I can’t even put into words how happy I was that I was going to get my medal and shirt!!

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I texted Eydie to let her know I was finished and where we could meet! She had rented a bike and rode around Paris for the day. She needed to drop off the bike and then make her way towards the Arc de Triomphe.

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But first, a picture….

After meeting up, we headed back to the hotel so I could get a shower (where I discovered some AWESOMELY horrible chafing from the shorts on my skirt) and then the plan was for an early-ish dinner. We found a nice little Italian place around the corner – it looked kind of fancy so wasn’t sure my leggings/sweatshirt outfit would get us in but within seconds the doorman had us seated with a glass of wine on the way!

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It was a nice dinner and I think I really relaxed for the first time in 6 months!! And, turns out that the woman at the table next to us was also from Houston – and lived probably no more than a mile from Eydie. I now am compelled to insert this here:

After dinner we took a walk through our fancy-pants neighborhood and took a shortcut to view the Eiffel Tower.

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Then headed back to the room – tomorrow was going to just be a loose day of sightseeing and taking my medal for a walk!!

**I haven’t looked but I’m pretty sure I show up as a DNF on this one. But, I *did* finish and it was AWESOME!!!!

 

 

3 Responses to “Paris Marathon — It’s Here!!!!”

  1. James @ HalfMarathonJames July 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Congratulations on getting your medal and t-shirt!! Oh, and also for finishing 26,2 miles… I have only ran a marathon once and ended up walking the last 4 miles or so. It’s tough going… Paris looks amazing by the way..

    • outrunningthefork July 6, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks!! I was really so happy that they gave us the medals – and the shirts!! The woman I ended up with at the end even said at one point “Well, I’m glad I got a shirt at the expo!”

      It really was amazing! And lots more support on the streets than I thought there would be!

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