Planned: easy and if all good under 1:30 (no pressure, taken as long run)
Actual: 1:27:39 – new PB by 16 sec since Helsingør in November 2013, on a fast route but far from flat… and 2min 25sec faster than last year 🙂
Place: 26 – all women 🙂 / 21 – category “senior” / 1059th all runners 🙂
Quite satisfied to a long run in the French capital. Definitely “under control”-run from start, no “fast-fast-fast” at first and “let’s see what is left” afterwards. “Fun long run” where could test a bit running progressively (not working too well…), running “under control” (ok, I guess), energy intake (good to have a plan B!) and “all in” final sprint on last km (J’adore!). On the top of that, having a little improvement in my half marathon time is the chocolate topping on the chocolate cake.
Still nice feeling afterwards and not fully tired.
Strongly recommending this early season race! Looks like French have taken their Sunday run to a whole new level 😉
* adjusted lap on Garmin
(from Garmin: km-marks not exactly at the Garmin beeps, but should do):
First half: 43:0
Second half: 44:33
Average pace: 14.67km/h – 4.09min/km
BEFORE THE RACE
03:xx – Already awaken. Took a while for sleeping (the afternoon nap was nice, but definitely not optimal for sleeping at night…), noticed had the window open and the air was really nice outside. Until the clock rang, no real sleep however.
06:00am – breakfast time! Orange juice and pain au chocolat. And water 🙂 then back to bed. Water drinking as usual, listened to chillout music trying to fall asleep again.
07:30am – what a luxury really to live to close to the start! Shower and got ready. Double checked the weather but by the air from the window it felt the outfit was pretty straightforward: singlet, shorts, arm-warmers and maybe sun glasses. Yaaaa, I know… the arm warmers are brand new from yesterday and one should NOT use new gear for a race… Chancing here. Back to bed for a little longer (all dressed for the race minus the shoes 🙂 ).
08:45am – started to get out of bed and double check the backpack. Last visit to the loo and left a short moment after. A little chilly outside but ok (had my cosy pants on the top of my shorts and my wind jacket as well as bonnet and sunglasses). Meeting 3 French guys just out of their car and changing to running gear. “Out for a run?” I ask. “No, going to the swimming pool” was their answer as well as a huge laugh, smile and good luck for the race. French humour IS underrated… Tried to jog to the start, a few pic taken and already there! Nice view as usual. More pic and dropping of my bag. Took forever, got me stressed and finally had 25 (!) minutes before the start to 1) get a final pit stop, 2) warm up and 3) get to the start corral… Had to walk against the flow of a huge human wave going to the other corrals (apparently all in my corral are already there…). Pitstop done, aimed to the corral “préférentiel”. No time for warming up. Getting myself as close to the first line as possible, but despite French men being real gentlemen in regular cases, a start of a race is an exception!… Would not challenge this. Throwing my plastic SdP plastic protection. Warm enough already. Got to talk with Laurent and his friend; they plan 1:17 & 1:21. Wow, am I in the right corral then?
09:56am – Regular jokes before start, the speaker tried to get some response but this corral is pretty quiet (read: focused and quiet). Not many women around so will have to find afterwards who I can follow!
10:00am – BANG! Start is given. Usual pushing, also it is working liiiittle better with the three guys around me keeping others from pushing little-me. Very thoughtful. Passing the start mat quite fast and the 3 guys running forward waving for good luck. Usual craziness with guys running everywhere, jumping, swearing… And little-me working this pretty calm with “September 2011” beating in my ears. First km was planned slow but aimed not to walk as last year : 4:09 🙂 Good! 14 sec faster than last year and 20km to go. Took a few more km to settle in a nice pace. My right shoe feels a bit loose. Checking down a few times, but they are well tied up. Wondering a few times if should stop to check it, but decided not to. Bothering me the first 2-3km before I forgot it. Passing km2 with a gal in my side and it felt she is really light like air, with her long ponytail waving as she runs. Long road along the forest and the horse racetracks(?). Reaching km3 quite satisfied. Km-signs are 50m ahead from my watch, so still “kind of accurate” pace. Changing music to “June 2.0” as it feels the other one might make sleep… THEN in the downhill, enjoying the sun,… my gel fell from my “not-that-super-smart-idea-to-have-it-under-my-wrist-sweatband”. &@!!?#%*^$€?! was probably what I thought, but just got a little quiet “d*mn it” out of my lips still smiling. Here goes my energy plan away… Plan B then: I did have a plan A to take my gel at km7/8 (before the hill) and then grab a Powerade bottle at km10 for the rest of the course. Had as well Dextrosol, JIC… Plan B was to skip the gel and try to do water at 1st station, Powerade @2nd station and if needed, water @km15+ and Dextrosol if need be. No secret here 🙂 just testing. Long runs under 27 /30km are usually fine without extra energy…so why not trying here?
OK, back to the race. Downhill felt nice, but definitely controlled. As P rightly said: why not trying to accelerate progressively during the race (& get actually tired at the end…). Let’s try it then. Watch showing a steady 4:06 but with the difference with the km-signs it must be 4:07/8, more likely. Still fine. All under 4:10 is fully acceptable 😉
Km5 – Already? Grabbing a bottle of water out of nowhere, not really understanding how it got in my hand (sure, I know it must have been someone that handed it to me!!!). Have been following a gal in white tshirt and long tights since she passed me km2.4/3. She has a good footstep and pace. So keeping her in my radar 🙂
On the way to km10, my only plan is to focus on the hilly km8. Passing two women there, not seeing them afterwards 🙂 This hilly part might be the only one really “tough”, but knowing it is there does help! Legs are strong, I kind of even enjoy it… Then the downhill afterwards felt once again way too controlled. Lifting my singlet in my sport-bra because it feels really warm…and here comes the wind… Too late. Won’t spend time lifting up and pulling down my singlet. Rather have a cold stomach for a short while. Quick look at the Garmin still indicating 4:06. Km10 is served Powerade…in cup!!! WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!? Do they know how sticky it is to have that on the hands, face, clothes…for the rest of the race???? Grabbed anyway two half full cups -or half-empty depending on your view about life 😉 (2cups? feeling lucky…or bold…or simply stupid… No need to comment here! 🙂 ). First cup went down almost without spilling anything (surpriiiiiise!!!). Now, second one. Not trying too much, focusing in the holding and hop in the mouth (almost). Powerade-challenge of the day: checked and completed successfully ! Would still have preferred a full bottle instead of cups. Good thinking though was the water station (with bottles) soon after. Half the bottle for cleaning the hands, face and the rest in the left thigh feeling a bit warm…. But where is the third half for drinking a bit? Too late. Throwing the bottle into the huge garbage container and missing it… No career planned in “water bottle basketball”, I continue my run.
Halfway (already?) – Along the Seine it was quite windy, not very much but enough to annoy. Trying to take the back of someone but no one in close sight. Apart from the white tshirt/long tights woman. But she is as tall as me (or little smaller)…so no optimal wind shield.. Doing my best to slow down when a guy arrives beside me in order to have him right before me… Not too successful. Enjoying the view of Notre Dame (…and the firemen cheering kindly with smiles and loud “Allez les filles”… More smiles to distribute here… Told you this would be a nice long run!).
Second half seems to start here, when we are turning after km13. A bit slower, the watch showing alternatively 4:06/07. Still ok. After that it feels a bit dull running with almost nobody or only few cheering on the side of the road (& mostly for the runners they know… Next time I might run with a sign “I am not from here. So cheer for me”…). Reaching km15 feels taking an eternity. Difference between Garmin km and km-signs are now approx. +/-100m. Decided to press extra lap when passing under the km15 to have a better expectation for when the km is finishing.
New bottle of water taken around 15.5km. A few gulps and YES! Bottle in the can 🙂 Am not completely useless today! If the run ain’t going fine, should start this “water bottle basketball” some day… (& I did shout of happiness as well…).
Km16 felt ok but not more. The women in white tshirt is still there and this helps very much. Tried twice to cheer her up but wondered if she understand French (or just ignore my cheering). Whatever. She does pull me and I am very thankful for it. I knew it would be tough to reach km17 on the top of the slope… But WHERE was this stupid slope?!? Took indeed 4:20 to get there 😦 This was my limit (no km slower than 4:20, better if all under 4:15…). Km18 got my smile back : 4:00!!! And exactly on the SdP km signs!!! Good to have run this one yesterday 😉
Then long and slow uphill towards km19. I don’t care. I know this one as well. Getting a clap on the back from a fireman running, a great smile and encouragements. The mind is alternatively shouting to stop and to bring it on. Sooo easy it would be to stop for a short rest and give it all afterwards…but NO! Focus it is (yes, I can focus, E! 😉 )and then the end is close (no, I am not dying…yet). Done this km before and will get to the finish line stronger (than now…). Km19 is a bit long so lap my watch again. The turn towards km20 ain’t easy. Runners start slowing down… But not me. I think then that I might be unable to walk after the finish line or needing to be carried to the medic tent, but I WILL NOT SLOW DOWN!
Km20 sees me passing fellow runners, who look as surprised as I do!!!! Yeeeaaaaah, soooon to the finish line. Got disappointed last year and lost, not knowing when the finish street would be… I was prepared today! Passing km20 and clocking it in 4:14.. Yooohoo! More to give! Happens then something crazy…as in Dubai there is this rush of whatever it may be (note: would gladly have this throughout the race next time!). The legs get a life on their own, they just remember (I think?) running here yesterday at 10k-pace and feeling good. But here… Stupidly checking my watch after 400m and seeing 3:3x… Cannot be! This is the LAST km, there cannot be enough strength left to do this… Seeing the finish line? Not yet, hearing my name from people screaming around, more “Allez les filles” (noooo, don’t make a chick passing me now…) and finally the finish line, sorry for the photographs, might have kicked one while passing by (why sitting in the middle of a finish line?!?!?). Seeing (a bit disappointed…) the clock passing 1:27.. Not a chance I let it pass 1:28… And finish on a red carpet and stopping the watch on 1:27:41. Ok, that will do for today. Tired? Sure, but because of this final km. Seeing other runners in way worse conditions, I am questioning once again the disposition of this race…
AFTER THE FINISH LINE
Meeting Delphine (the woman in white tshirt and black long tights). Congratulating each other. When thanking her for the pulling help throughout the race, she said no problem and hoped I would return the favour after km16 but that it was too tough to follow in the slope (at least some of my training paid off 😉 ).
Medal (making a young lad very happy to give his first medal to a woman 🙂 ), banana, water, Powerade. A bit bored people distributing the food… Too bad! Would have gotten a smile from me… Picked up my bag (still a mess to get it back… Hope they will do better next year…). And finish photo in front of the castle before queuing for a massage… In the massage tent, the largest smile is welcoming me from the guy checking for which masseurs are available and shouting “Première féminine!!!” (“First woman”). Loads of applauds and smiles… Definitely worth the 2minutes wait in the queue! Now have the possibility to even choose my table, receiving on the way very nice proposal (“Si tu finis le Semi, je t’épouse” (“If you finish the Semi, I’ll marry you”) shows one sign… Hmmm, tempting, but no thanks 😉 )Got two great podiatrists (foot doctors) massaging me for a long while. No pain and it feels so different from after a marathon (!). Got as well harder massage on the knots on the side of left thigh and gentle massage under the feet 🙂 Thanks ladies! Changed to clean/dry clothes and out of the massage tent to the sunny but now a bit cold weather. Looking at the long queue for the massage now! Bonnet, neck warmer, wind jacket, long pants and sunglasses. On my way home through the sunny garden with lots of Parisian out. Would be great having this close to home!
Summary: “let’s try stuff”-long run. Not planning to go “all in” and did not either. Tried to keep focus though and have a pace progression. Not working too well. Would rather do all in at first, slower second half and all in in the last 2km… More practice is needed! Great weather for this 3rd edition of SdP for me. Real good training run.
Only got my official time when reaching home (thanks for the sms, E!): 1:27:39… EVEN BETTER!
Weather: Garmin says: 4℃, Feels like 4℃, 6 km/h SSE wind , Humidity 81% – I say: 6°C at start, sun shining feeling warm already. Probably good 8-9°C during the race (or am I getting so warm while running?!?). Windy on the sides of the Seine. So perfect racing weather!
Food: 6:00am pain au chocolat+banana+orange juice / after: Powerade, 2bananas, half an orange, water. 2.5hrs later: late lunch (meat, fries, greens, chocolate mousse, coke)
During: Dextrosol 1 before start/ 2@km6 & km16 (should have been before the water station…real dry in the mouth after.but good energy kick!) Powerade: 2 half-cups @km10. Water: 2dl km5&15.5
Gear: Adidas Supernova Boston shorts, NY singlet, Kalenji (new…) arm warmers – shoes felt…nothing as usual. Apart from first 2-3km where left shoe felt a little loose, light and flying for the rest. Really great shoes 🙂
16/ effort level definitely higher than Berlin marathon or Helsingør half marathon, but still “easy” (read: not max and unsure how far from max it was): could cope with no stop (even if tempting once), change in energy intake plan, uphill in fast pace, uphill in slow pace AND a faster-than-ever final km…without weeping 🙂 Surely, might not smile at the finish line, most likely because of the final sprint and for the time on the clock rather than for the overall effort… Happy to finish!
AFTER THE RACE
Well back home, bad surprise. No water in the apartment. Waited for the landlady, but took too long time so aimed for restaurant in clean clothes. Good it was not a marathon, the skin would have felt soooo salty. Quick “shower/cleanup” in the restroom before late lunch (steak-thing with French fries and haricot verts, coke and mousse au chocolat. Tummy? Satisfied!). My plan to go shopping dropped dead as the large store was closed and I did not want to go to the other side of Paris for that. Aimed to Gare de Lyon. Walked a little around reaching the road we ran in (pretty empty now!) and decided to go to the airport. Smooth trip there and then new stop for food (burger & fries – I know… And I don’t care…). Lots of wait to my first flight and long delay in my second flight…(in my bed @2am…). Long day, really…but so worth it!
A few “after-race thoughts”
NOTE: do not underestimate the time for bag drop off. It killed my planning before race, cutting on the warmup.
NOTE: plan better the warmup for this type of race. In the corral latest 20minutes before start for an optimal place means warmup easy before this. Do not count on gentleman-manners when it comes to leave place forward to women in a race…even in France 😉
NOTE: really have to find a solution for those @&#%*$?! energy gels. Wrist sweatband? No longer an option… Next!
NOTE: energy intake? Needed or not needed during a half marathon? That’s the question. Under training, no. At this pace? Maybe.
NOTE: music vs no music? The races done with music are few. SdP all three times. Is it limiting the pace to have music?…
NOTE: blood giving is great. 2 weeks before a race? A bit unsure.. Will not make today’s race result on the blood giving table, but can have impacted in a way. Had two tapering weeks before the race with great times in boring workouts. Those are definitely linked to the blood giving. More thinking and planning next time…
NOTE: shoe question is becoming an emergency… Little hole above the toes on right shoe…the search continues…
Ok, this is a new PB but the race itself felt way too controlled. When there is a stable pace throughout the race, enough time to noticed how nice is Notre Dame under the morning sun and slow down around…15km (?) but enough energy to complete the final km (on my watch) in 3:49… There was clearly strengths left!
More to come when all has settled down and travelled back home.
(Got 1st female place in the massage queue though… Second year in a row 😉 )
Tired is an understatement…when you can lay down on the bed, close your eyes and just open then again 1,5hour later… The strangest thing happened while waking up: I was in my room and could not recall the feeling when passing the Place de la Bastille…when it is in my view the best spot of the race. Then not recalling the start neither, as I really hope for no pushing this year…and then how was the feeling when crossing the finish line… ALL WAS GONE!!! I had overslept and apparently missed the race… (Good I do the siesta a day before the race… First thing after waking up was to set the alarm for tomorrow morning!!!!)
Well-rested anyway, took a tea and pain au chocolat before reading once more the race route. Put on my leg sleeves and headed for a little walk. Another chausson aux pommes went down and got more bananas. If not tired enough after the race, I plan to take a short recovery run to make it a full-worth long run. So extra energy after the race will be good. The leg sleeves felt fine but after a while a bit too tight in the right calf, so took it off.
The weather Gods are now WAY kinder for tomorrow and this feels for a singlet race outfit 😉 took the weather forecast for St Mandé and Paris… That should do the trick!
Now last tea before falling asleep again… Yaaaa… Will probably try out the outfit once more 😉
SdP 2014… Not much time left… at all!!!!
Almost there… Something’s in the air, really… Must be…
Good night’s sleep, or rightly said “woke up @3:25am, well-rested, thinking a bit whether could take a run now (…!), a bit more warmth in the room and slept back (light sleep though)”. Snoozed until 8:00am and got up for drinking my orange juice before getting ready. Outside temperature showed 3°C, a bit wet on the pavement outside, so after getting my ASICS Vesta shorts on, I chickened out and changed to long tights… Wrote on post-it the route to take for getting to km16 and then run “the correct way” to the finish line. After 600m I was already too warm… Not a chance I have those tights tomorrow! Shorts definitely! Got to the correct street (avenue Daumesnil) and ran it “the other way around”. Got to the Place Felix Eboué and then according to my really good memory I aimed to the street on the left (which should have been Rue de Reuilly)… But stopping short after as did not recalled the passing under a rail bridge (Berlin? Yes. Paris? No). Looked around, asked for directions in a café for the St Antoine hospital (km16), and was answered to take the subway… Skipped this advice (!), took Rue des Charentons and got back to avenue Daumesnil. Stopped shortly for stretching, turned back not recognising really the route but got it run to the top and was back to Place Felix Eboué. Nice feeling to recognise the most welcome downhill of the SdP ends… Tried to took it slow (kind of), because the legs reeeeeeaaaaally wanted to speed up. Must have had the largest smile on my face anyway!
Reaching the top, got a bit confused which street to take but found the route de ceinture (the problem is that there is no sign at all indicating yet the SdP route… They will have to work hard later on today to have it all done! In comparison, Berlin has its signs a while in advance…). Reaching the first crossroad, I wondered if it was really THE one to take (double check on th GPS… Not helping… So checked the bus station map… Ok, looked like correct)… Finally the almost last street (avenue de St Maurice), what a nice feeling seeing the corner of the final street (back to avenue Daumesnil) on the right. NOT A CHANCE I am taking this final street easy 🙂 Accelerated slightly and a bit more and more and ended the final km from this corner at a very nice 10K-pace 😉 Slight pause and easy back home. Max 1,5km! Really close then.
A bit of thinking then for the day: shower, breakfast (1 banana, 2 pains au chocolat and mint tea with honey and some water) and ready for visit to Decathlon. On the way there, short stop for chausson aux pommes and half a baguette. At Decathlon, bought a bunch of running socks, tried compression leg sleeves, got arm warmers and a yoga easy pants. Strongly recommending their socks (intensive ones). Will try the compression stuff next week and see how they are.
Then back home with a stop at the Japanese restaurant for lunch (13:15). Same menu as yesterday apart from the jasmine tea. Still delicious 😉
Mint tea at home, tried on my running gear, still unsure whether to have a tshirt or a singlet… Would be colder with the latter one…. Good reason to run fast(er) 🙂
Plan for the rest of the day: rest, rest, a bit of walking and more rest.
SdP 2014:… Less than 18 hours to go!!!!
Late in bed and early up… Ringing a bell? Had way too much stuff left to do yesterday evening, which ended with checking 12 times my bag, even though the only important in it are my shoes. Sure the gear are as well, but would rather race in new outfit than in new shoes!!! 4:34am – was already awaken and really resist to go up and take a run… Well-disciplined (?), waited until 6:10am to go up and do my rehab. And I know, one should not change anything before a race…. But I did 🙂 I did my rehab exercises starting by the end… He he he! A little craziness on a Friday morning…. Final check(s) for my bag (3 or 4 times? Lost count…), prepared breakfast to the still sleepy monsters and was ready to leave. Got to the door and the last question before kissing goodbye was “when should I wake up on Sunday to check you are finished?”… Answered by another voice (not mine) :”11:27am should do” 🙂 Cool to see some have confidence in me!
Missed my tram (should I write “of course”?). So had fun taking another tram line, bus, new tram (with a very welcoming and smiling driver – thanks for making my day!) and finally got to wait for the airport bus.
Much lighter package this year and way “nicer” weather for travelling (read: no cold & snow/freeze like last year…. Only rain). Hope Paris will offer a similar (or better?) one on Sunday… Airport procedures as usual, got a RW, toasted turkey sandwich and a bottle of water. First flight was short and my guess is that I slept… because I did not noticed at all we even left the gate after hearing the safety procedures and then it was time to land… A bit of wait in Copenhagen, forgot my sandwich at home, so 2eggs were my snack while waiting. Plane to Paris will take longer and once again, opportunity to sleep 😉
Indeed once again, did not notice the plan lifting… Awaken briefly when they switched off the seatbelt sign and slept more. Pretty smooth arrival, long walk to the exit, but really easy to have only hand luggage. Took an Air France bus to Gare de Lyon. Ate a Mars (had no time enough to grab food before the bus leave). My main thought during the bus trip was that the weather is just RIGHT! 10-11°C, sunny behind the thick cloud cover… Make it stay!!!! (& of course this is not my only thought, but made me pretty happy). Got the bus to drop me at St Mande and then walked the 3+km to the Parc Floral. Great sunny weather, runners in shorts… Definitely how it should be…on Sunday!
Pickup of bib number went smoothly, nice number 🙂 and then going around the exhibition a bit. Won a bottle of Powerade after doing 15 squats….
Then left under light rain and walked walked walked to my room. Actually not too far from my hotel in 2012. Great to be settling down and getting out to eat a bit (have missed lunch…). Very kind hostess too.
Left for a walk & few purchases. Food for breakfast, bananas, pains au chocolat, honey, tea and stuff that cannot be found at home (like honey & avocado shampoo, argan shower oil…). Completed my walk at a Japanese restaurant. Soup and salad to start with. Then dumplings and mix of skewers with rice. Yummy! What the body needed.
Back home, shower, check of running gear for Sunday (seriously thinking a similar outfit to Berlin marathon, even if raining…). Got my Garmin detecting satellites after a while. So ready for bed.
SdP… 2 days to go…
After a short but good night of rest, woke up pretty early on Monday for getting breakfast before leavin to the airport. Once again long trip home: subway to Porte Maillot, bus to Paris Beauvais airport and wait for the plane to arrive, fly back home, bus to the train station, tram home and finally keys in the door! Fortunately was able to sleep – like a stone!- on the plane and then pretty good later on.
Today was up not too early (7-ish), worked from home, no training planned. Sounds almost empty but believe me the days are filling themselves up pretty easily! Now it is soon 10:40pm and lots is left to do. But that will be enough for me and for today.
Full rest during these two days. Ensured to eat and drink well. Body feels fine, slight “pain” in the left hip on Monday, almost gone today. Similar to the after marathon in Dubai, but soooo much left, almost difficult to feel, but there anyway. Calves were feeling really tired today, but at the end of the day it was fine.
Have emailed the organizers of SdP regarding the time published at arrival, but according to them this is indeed strange that i got same time for real and official time but apparently part of the minimum percentage happening every year and can be due to plenty of fabulous and crazy reasons (which cannot be applied to me!). And so it is. Does not really matter, got a so much better time than expected, body feels great and it boost me for preparing Boston soon to come.
Now time to rest for real! Even the mind should sleep and take some time off…
Planned: 1:34 if all good 1:33.
Actual: official finish time 1:30:04 (on my Garmin: 1:29:50…) – new PR by 6min 37sec from Göteborgs Varvet (May-2012) and 10 minutes from last year Paris Half-marathon!Extremely happy with the result – 1) completed the race way under what I thought could be done for this race, 2) great feeling throughout the race and no spooky pain from leg, thigh, bum whatsoever and 3) was not tired after the finish line – felt I could have run a 10K more (no, not one more half-marathon!). Nice feeling afterwards to be able to see what can be done. The race length on my Garmin was slightly longer (200m) but that is fine. However I was a bit surprise with the official time as it corresponded to the real time… This generally is for the elite runners from the head group… Anyway, race was nice and if the weather is better next year, i might consider doing it once more!
Average pace: 14.06km/h – 4.16min/km
First alarm rang at 6am. Light breakfast with a glass of orange juice and a pain au chocolat. 2dl water to get all down and back to bed again. Up every half hour for drinking water and finally up for preparing myself at 7:15. Banana on the top as forgotten at 6am! All gear ready but for once, my Bib was not on my top. Still unsure of what to wear I gave a try to SF long sleeves + blue tshirt from Midnight Run Gothenburg 2012 + long tights. Went down and out of the hotel and brrrrr! So cold it was, so outfit felt correct. I still put in my backpack some extra clothes for after the run including my ASICS 3/4 shorts.
8:50am – set our clocks, looked at the sun, regretted a bit to have left my sunglasses in my room but so it went. We ran easy peasy pace to the start and there it was great to see all the runners filling the huge roundabout of the start area. Decided to change to my 3/4 shorts and no wind jacket not gloves. Drop off the bag, last good luck exchange to my running mate and aimed for the start. Looooong queue for the loo so not too great. Got a little warmup by running back and forth a 100m path and then went to my group. Nice with this “Preferentiel” group as it is checked the time you are ABLE to run a half marathon (and not as the other groups the time you PLAN/WISH to run it, which may end into people bring completely wrongly place and making the whole run slower and not too enjoyable for the fellow runners around). A lady close to me ran with her husband and planned a 1:28/30, which suited me well to follow!
9:45am – Music music music no possibility to warm-up any more as we are packed like fish in a can!
9:57am – ready to rock, took out the music in my ears and focused on the start.
10:00am – PANG! Already? Aaaand passing the start a few seconds after the start shot! Lots of pushing still but quite ok. Took a while for getting the first 100m!!! Just walked actually. Started to run and off it went. Men in this race are loaded with testosterone! Never seen this in other races actually. Pushing, running in the sidewalk, whatever it takes to get there first. Takes a km before I decide to put on my music in the ears. “Juni 2.0” this time. But quite low volume. Quickly checking my click after first km and it shows 4:20, which is what I am aiming for (i.e. between end at 1:30 & 1:33). Shortly after starts the large avenue and downhills. I remember from last year that this was a nice and enjoyable part. Same this year. Sun is shining, my frozen fingers from the start (next time I will have gloves until the start and dispose of them afterwards!) are now fine, the gear chosen are perfect. No wind, place for everyone to run, I chose to follow the “blue line” (i.e. the shortest way to the finish).
Until km5 lots of people are passing me seems like! But after that it us more seldom, I think. I take a bottle if water at the water station to rice my throat, but keep it and run along as I have in my strategy to get two gels: first one at km8 and second at km16, thereafter Dextrosol tablets every km from km18. Little wind from time to time, but quite nice. I ran with my “buff” (throat/face cover) until km5 as I felt it was cold in the air and did not want to jeopardise my throat! After that I had it to cover my neck only.
Reaching km8 on my watch, I start taking my gel, take the road turn aaaand realise that we reach the first hill of the race. Here I am, mouth full with half my gel, a bottle of water in my hand and a 1km slope to climb… No worries, throwing water in my throat, swallowing quick the rest if my gel and actually in the meantime enjoying running uphill. And just when I am fine and ready for more (hill) it just turns and the hill is finished… 😦 OK then, just have to get along and continue running. Quick calculation in my head to realise I already passed 1/3rd of the race. Yippie! My mind is comparing the distance completed and yet to run with my training routes, which us a great way for keeping up the mood and remaining focused.
Passing the 10km mark under 42:40 on my watch which means, faster than 1:30 tempo 🙂 just keeping in smiling when I read 4:13/km as average pace! Thus us my intervals pace, not my half-marathon pace!!!! Enjoying really as I calculate how many minutes I have in the “plus” side for the second half for still finishing at or under 1:33.
I recalled as well while passing the 10K-water station how painful it felt last year at this exact same spot. Now it feels just great. The music is making me fly almost. The crowd is there all the way, but apart from the musicians I feel the crowd is not as “dedicated” as the great Lobdon marathon one! They are here to watch, not really to encourage. But still, hearing my name shouted (it us written in my bib) or having a “Allez les filles” (“let’s go girls”) does definitely have an effect in the run 🙂
Passing “Place de la Bastille” is one of the best part of this race, we run on one side, then straight forward on the docks of the Seine (this is however boring, beautiful to see Notre Dame de Paris but dreadful in terms of place to run and really empty of people). Streets see people greeting us runners, probably as they are on their way to the Sunday markets which take the city every week.
Sun still shining, have a runner “in” for NY marathon 2013 just in front of me and his pace suits me well so I just put the cruising gear and follow his steps for 2-3 km.
Km12 happens something weird in my mind. A subtitle and quiet voice tells me that just stopping a few seconds would feel sooo nice, and the body would rest and it would just mean running slightly faster afterwards and bla and bla and bla… It would have been so easy to let go go the voice and rest, but the mind us strong and drop those thoughts for coming back to the comparison :9k to go means from point X to home during training, which is really piece of cake (when feeling fit). So continuing the run.
Km15 I feel tired, taking a water bottle for a short drink, and thinking about taking my second gel directly. But after the water station it went better and gel was taken at km16 (on my watch). Note that despite having the first 4-5 km right on the clock (i.e. my Garmin showed the correct km at the same time I passed the km-sign), it started to end after that, from 70m at km6 to 100 or so and by km16/17 it became 200m difference (my watch showing the distance before the sign). This plays a certain game with the mind, especially when running on the pace. The watch showed a nice 4:13/km when at the end of the race, the actual pace became 4:17/km…
Anyhow taking the gel gave done extra boost and km16&17 felt great. Reaching km18 was really tough as it goes downhill and then subtitle uphill (well, not THAT subtile as you can SEE the road going up…). Back to this km-sign difference with what the watch shows: so strange to even say it, but kilometres became longer the further you ran!!!! 🙂 Great to have a yelling group on the way uphill which caught my name and cheered quite a lot! THIS was at least as effective as taking an energy drink 🙂 so nice to quickly calculate and hit that 3km were left from this point…
Then I thought I had reached the final straight line, and ran and turned and yes, this must be the final straight final aaaaand turned again and yes, this time it must be the final straight line…. Come on, where was this final straight line that I thought I had reached now?!?! Did not noticed the 20km-mark but realised I was not tired enough (!) for having run at this pace so tried to push a bit more until the end, huge smile on the face. Noted the clock at the arrival, 1:29:57, 1:29:58, 1:29:59, dropped the eyes, 1:30:02, 1:30:03, and passed when the 4th second just dropped down.
Great run, met the couple from the start, congratulated each other, she had 1:28:xx on her watch. Then walk to the recovery area, got my medal and then food & drinks. Such a difference from last year. 10 minutes less made a huge difference on the availability of everything throughout the race. There was no pushing, good atmosphere…and sun in the skies!
Picked up my bag and aimed to the massage area. Last year was the queues so long outside that I skipped the massage. This time I thought I mistakenly went to the “male tent” as I could not see any woman! But apparently not many had arrived yet. Nice easy massage where the students also treated two blisters on my toes (took a seringue to empty it, the put some “eosine” in it to dry them out). Plaster and off I was ready. Changed to long tights and NY long sleeves, bonnet and wind jacket. On the top, put my poncho. Aimed to the baggage area to wait for my friend. Time for stretching and then aimed back to the hotel.
Weather: max 2°C at start, nice and sunny throughout the race. Max3-4°C during. Little wind from time to time, but hardly noticeable
Food: orange juice+pain au chocolat @6am/banana @7-ish
During: vitargo km8 & 16, Dextrosol 2tablets @ km18, 19 & 20.
Gear: ASICS 3/4 shorts, SF long sleeves, Midnattloppet blue, throat cover – flying ASICS Gel Skyspeed 2: once again delivering as expected. Almost did not feel them during the race. Great feeling in the feet (apart from the surprise of the small blisters in left little and middle toes)
After that, hot shower especially on the stomach which felt upset and pretty frozen changed to casual clothes and nice pizza and coke for celebrating. Chilling afternoon then with book shopping and back to hotel for resting, legs up. Evening ended in nice Parisian brasserie, with a nice grilled entrecôte and French fries. Not forgetting the huge ice-cream for dessert (vanilla, pear, chocolate on the top + sweet chantilly cream). Almost grotesque dessert… but all went down.
Time for bed, enjoying a bit of French tv (boring programs but speaking French 🙂 ) and falling into Morpheus’ arms. Well-deserved rest!
Summary: new PB by 6minutes and 37seconds (and 10minutes faster than same race last year!), body fine and mind at peace. Still a bit not understanding how my official time could be similar to real time as I definitely took at least 5-6 seconds to reach the start line… But but but, this does not change the greatness of the result!
1:30:04…!!! Pretty happy of this performance! Tricky to get it into the head, as it felt the race finished right after starting almost!
Not tired, body feeling fine (apart stomach cramp which I might put on the pizza I ate for celebrating…mozzarella?). But this is now better.
Time to rest a bit now (it is 6pm) before dinner. More on the race later :)!
Again for this race, thanks for all kind words of encouragement and congrats!
And so it was dark (and freezing cold) again. Quick post before bedtime.
Spent easy day with pickup of race number with J, metro to La Defense and rest of the day with my sis. A bit of shopping at Decathlon (love the store!) only finding 5 pairs of running socks and a backpack as forgot mine at home. Then lunch at 1:30pm at Japanese restaurant: Yummy! Eat everything you want for 11€! See below all the good stuff I found. And rice it was. Took as well bread during the day. I generally do no “loading” before other races than marathon, so here no exception although I checked a bit for not over-eating.
Slept 1.5 hr in the afternoon and then it was time for aiming back to the hotel again. Final food shopping of the evening (bananas, water, pain au chocolat et chausson aux pommes). Good breakfast in perspective 🙂
Ending the day with dinner at Italian restaurant (green tea for me… + a little coffee cookie and little bread). A banana of course before that 🙂
Now time for resting if possible as quite cold in the room…
SdP : LESS than one day to go….
This I did not eat! But it looks so nice!
Ok, today was planned for rest. I always haven my rest day two days before race, but now it feels it will change. Having run yesterday was great. Make the body starting to realise the end is soon (figure of speech here!). Skipping the morning jogg (despite early wake up at… 5:20am without clock – you were just so right, J!) mainly because it is cold and do not wish to catch something. Would it be a regular training day, -2C would not stop me at all!!! Opened the window to get my orange juice I left there yesterday (I have no fridge in my room, so am using the natural cold from outside 🙂 ) and felt the nice and fresh air on my face. Hmmmm, nice but cold. Took a large glass of orange juice, min iron and allergy tablet and a banana. Now reading in my bed until it is time for breakfast!
Thoughts are not that many in my head. Feels like a regular long run will be done tomorrow … only that I am not at home, will run slightly (!) faster than I generally do my long runs AND not to forget that 39,999 enthusiast runners will join for “my” Sunday long run. 🙂 Cool, right? Now I cannot skip thinking of the pace. If all goes right and as “
planned” (of rightly said ” trained”), 1:35 should be fine to reach. Although in Dubai it was probably 10C warmer than here… but in the other side, I had been not to well the days before. But under 1:35 is definitely the aim, once again all under 1:34 is just a bonus! Why writing this down here? Starting the bets? Not directly. I gave read about elite runners writing much about their hard training for their super tough goals, although most of the time (!) the objective is not reached at the end. Yes they do run pretty fast but not as they expected. Ok, so not that I compare myself to those runners (far from my thus idea!) but I thought that by writing down what one bus having for objective makes it more real. So independently of what happened tomorrow, my goal ain’t changed since last year: beat this 1:35 line! I trained hard last year to get this at the SdP but a terrible fever took me the days before the race and even though I participated (as I was little better and fever-free), my time ended at 1:40 on this route pretty flat. So yes it became a new PB, but far from what I had prepared myself for. Now one year has gone, lots of races have been run and training has been really different. Will see tomorrow what fruits it will bring!