Paris – you were great!

I’ve never really liked Paris. I don’t know why. It’s always seemed a bit grey.

Rewind to early November last year. Lucy, a great friend of mine, didn’t make it into the London marathon but had secured her place for Paris. We started just running for run and that’s when the seed was planted. Maybe I could run Paris marathon with Lucy!

Now, I have run many marathons, in many locations and my last marathon was at the end of Ironman Vichy in 2017 and I vowed never to run a marathon again, famous last words. I know what that distance feels like – it’s a long old way on your legs. Anyway, before I knew it, I had entered Paris!

And so the training began in earnest in January.

We had a structured training programme of 3 runs a week. Building the mileage up very slowly to avoid any injury. Adding some tempo, steady and interval runs in as well as making sure our long runs on Sunday included plenty of hills. Hard to believe, but Paris is actually quite an undulating course.

We had so much fun during our training. Despite the weather on some of our long runs, including torrential rain and strong winds, snow – we got out there – as one coach once told me, it could be like that on race day. The furthest we ran was 30km – the marathon would be another 12km.

And then, the training was over and we were making our way to Paris.

There were things we had to do in Paris, collect our number, familiarise ourselves with the start and finish locations, which were conveniently, very close to our apartment. We ate plenty of pasta, drank plenty of water and chilled in readiness for Paris Marathon on 14 April 2018.

10.10 – our start time for the Paris Marathon. We were aiming for 4.30hrs and we waited patiently in our pen and then we were off. Time to put everything into practise that we had done on our training. The key thing was not to go out too fast, we had a long way to run so we had to pace it just right. We had our gels with us (all 9), our camelbaks (with 2:1 energy drink) and we could stop at the water stations for plain water if we needed to. The first part of the run was on cobbled streets and was very congested and seemed to be a very gradual climb. Bit by bit the kms ticked off. I don’t really remember much of the marathon to be honest. I remember running along the River Sienne, down and up through the under passes, and there being one big climb that almost had me, stopping at the Eiffel Tower to take a selfie and then for the last 7km or so, running through a park where it seemed like everyone had taken to walking. Not Lucy and I – we still had enough energy to keep our steady and consistent running to get us to the end. I was keeping a close eye on our pace and time.

The selfie at the Eiffel Tower!

And then, there was the end – we had done it. We had finished Paris Marathon in a respectable time of 4hrs 33. Lucy had gone from 10km in September, to 10 miles in February and to her first marathon in April. She was determined, focussed and did it!

The walk back to the apartment was an interesting one, a very slow one!

I loved running the Paris Marathon and would highly recommended it – superbly organised.

Maybe now, I do like Paris!

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