As my regular readers will know, this past weekend I was in Paris, to run the 20 Kilomètres de Paris. A few weeks ago, I had high hopes for the race, before injuring my calf two weeks before the race, and being unable to run for an entire week. The week before the race, I was able to get three short, easy runs in, so I felt confident I would be able to run the race in Paris, but not race it. That turned out to be the case.
Hubby and I flew to Paris from Munich on Friday, took a taxi to our hotel, checked in, grabbed some lunch, and then headed to the race expo to pick up my race kit (timing chip, number, etc.) The race expo was held right at the base of the Eiffel Tower. It was very small compared to the race expos I'm used to in Canada, but picking up my race kit was very quick and easy.
At the Eiffel Tower, we saw a bunch of tour buses, and hubby asked if I'd like to do a bus tour of Paris. I said sure, and off we went. It was a great way to see many of the major tourist sites of Paris, without actually having to do a lot of walking. We didn't have time to go into any of the buildings we saw, but we saw a lot.
Went back to the hotel, grabbed a bite to eat, and tried to get in contact with the other European ladies running the race that I was supposed to meet up with. No luck. Two of the other women were supposed to be staying at the same hotel as us, and one of the ladies was a Paris native. However, she was on vacation the week before the race, and only due to arrive back in Paris late that night.
The next morning, we hear from the Paris native (Magali). It turns out there are *two* Mercure Tour Eiffel Hotels in Paris, just a few blocks from each other, and the other two ladies (Ammi and Martina) are staying at the other hotel. Thank goodness we found each other! Planned to hook up at the race expo, where the other ladies would pick up their race kits.
So we met up, then planned to meet at the Musée d'Orsay to view some art. Hubby and I jumped on the bus, and the other ladies decided to walk. Got off the bus at the Musée d'Orsay, went and grabbed some lunch (I had some absolutely decadent and delicious chocolate crepes), then waited for the gals at the museum. When they showed up we went inside, and viewed some beautiful paintings by Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Manet, and Van Gogh. Chatted for a while outside the museum, then hubby and I jumped back on the bus, with plans to meet the others for dinner at 6:00 pm.
Well, we never managed to hook up for dinner. We must have just missed each other, because we left at 6:40, and the others said they had arrived at 6:30. So hubby and I went to have some pasta to carbo load for the race, then headed back to the hotel to relax, and then sleep.
Race morning met up with the others at their hotel, which was spitting distance from the Eiffel Tower. The race started and ended in front of the tower. The crowd was immense, with 20,000 people running the race.
I stuck with the other gals the first two miles, but then my heart rate was soaring, so I told them to go on. We ran through le Bois de Boulogne and along the Seine. It was a very picturesque course. They had water stops at the 5, 10 and 15 km points, with sugar, water, and orange slices available. I was cruising along until about the 10 km point, when I started to have difficulty breathing. Maybe it was the Paris smog, or that fact that my heart rate was soaring (over 90%) but I just had a difficult time catching my breath. So I had to slow down, and even take some walk breaks.
Due to the difficulty I had breathing, and the walk breaks, my time for the race was not what I hoped. I'm a slow runner to begin with, but I've run further in training at a faster pace than I ran the 20km race. I did run the last full kilometre into the finish line, with no walk breaks.
Was approached by a camera man at the finish, who asked me a few questions, including if I was from "Londres" (London) - clearly my French had an English accent. Strangely enough, my response was "Munich" and not "Canada"! I guess this place is home now. Was fuzzy during the interview, so said a lot of "Merci" (thank you) and "bon" (good).
The crowd support was rather thin, but the people who were out, were encouraging, shouting "Allez" (go) and "Courage" (courage, of course. ).
So I'm disappointed in my race, because I know I can run faster, and have done so in training. It clearly just wasn't my day on Sunday. One of these days, I will hopefully have a good race again (my first half-marathon was my best to date - the halfs I've run since then have been plagued by stupid-hot and humid weather of +30°C with over 80% humidity).
Here are some pictures of the Forum Encounter, and of the race. Click on the picture to see all of the photos. I'll be posting pictures from our Paris tour in the near future. This was the first race of this distance that hubby didn't run right alongside of me (he was originally supposed to be back in Canada the weekend of the race, but when his business trip was postponed, he decided to come to Paris with me, although the race was already full, so he couldn't sign up to run it with me.) Since he wasn't running, he was able to take a bunch of pictures.