Sunday, April 15, 2012

Marathon de Paris - Sunday April 15, 2012

Check off #2 on the "Big Five" Marathon list. After last years most amazing Boston experience I decided I would do one of the other 4 big ones , Paris, London, NY or Chicago in 2012. Originally I tried to get into London but wasn't successful so I decided on Paris instead.

In spite of already being in Paris I almost didn't run the race. My wife became quiet ill and we spent the evening before the race in a Paris Hospital returning to our Hotel after Midnight. Fortunately she felt better through the night and we both felt comfortable with me running the race so I decided to proceed.

So after a short 2 hour snooze, lack of both lunch and dinner the day before I was up at 03:00 am ready to run a race that didn’t start until 08:45. I went to breakfast at 07:00 and ate a couple of Yogurts, Cheese, Cold Meats, Croissant and OJ and Coffee. Headed back to the room and once dressed I relaxed before heading out at 08:00. It was less then 10 minutes to the race start on the Champ de Elysees just West of the Arc de Triomphe. It was a cold blustery morning but I was prepared and once I settled into my Coral I was quite comfortable waiting.

The race began at 08:45 but it took a little over 30 minutes for me to make my way across the timing matt. My goal was simply to enjoy the race. I quickly settled in to a 6:00 pace and that was where I panned to be when I crossed the finish line. The first 5K took us past some very old historic buildings such as " The Louvre". 5-10K was through an old residential area. There were lots of people lining the streets cheering us on, it was fun. I felt really good passing over the 10K timing matt in 01:00:01 1 second off my goal pace. Past the 10K mark we headed into a Park setting, lots of trees, few buildings the odd sports field here and there and almost no fans. At 13K we passed by a huge stage complete with a band blasting away the only thing missing was 50,000 fans. I was really starting to warm up and stopped to remove a layer. I was wearing my Muzino Thermo long sleeve tech T with my Nathan Team Canada Shirt and Shorts. I removed the Muzino base layer and remained that way for the rest of the race. There were all kinds of organized Bands and Cheering sections along the way. Not long after the big stage there was a large group of men dressed in period costumes playing the French Horns ....quite appropriate and it got a big rise out of the runners. The park like setting continued past 19K when we headed back into a residential area. Crossed the 21.1K timing matt in 02:06:24 24 seconds slower then my planned pace. At around 23K the course took us parallel to the Seine River and we began to get a good view of the Eiffel Tower. I was really enjoying the scenery along the Seine then the course took a rather unpleasant route through a 1K tunnel. It was rather warm and quite loud as everyone was cheering. Coming out of the tunnel I glanced at the sign displaying the temperature, 8C. It was a rather blustery day with high winds and overcast Sky’s but strangely enough I was glad because I was still a tad on the hot side. Passed the 25K timing matt in 2:29:59 1 second ahead of pace. It was around this point that I realized that I was starting to pass quite a few people. With so many people running passing became almost impossible in spots. I really enjoyed the crowds of runners but all the jockeying to get around folks would add a bit of distance on to my day. At around 28K we passed by the Eiffel Tower on the opposite side of the Seine. Crossed the 30 matt in 3:00:10 and it was around this point that we headed back into a residential area. I was feeling pretty good and I thought about picking up the pace a bit but I decided to stick to my race plan. Aide stations occurred every 5K. There were stocked with Water, Oranges and Bananas. At 5K I did a bottle of water, 10K water and Gel, skipped 15K feeling a bit bloated then at 20, 25 and 30K did a bottle of water and a gel. Before the 35K mark I was beginning to feel like I needed Calories. I was still holding pace crossing the 35K mat in 3:30:19 but it felt like it ws getting much harder. By holding my 6:00 pace I was now the one doing most of the passing. Its a great motivator to keep me moving along in spite of wanting to slow down. I was really looking forward to the last 7K through old urban Paris but was quite disappointed when we were running through another park with almost no one cheering us on. There was no timing matt at 40K but I crossed the mark still on pace but moving well. With 2K to go my eye lids had stuck open from the salt deposits drying in the wind , good thing it was 8C!!!! With only 2.2K to go I didn’t drink or Gel just wanting to get to the finish. We didn’t exit the park until the last K of the race. The finish up the Champ de Elysees framed by the Arc de Triomphe in the background was quite spectacular. Crossed the finish line in 4:13:54 1min53 seconds behind my goal time.

The Marathon de Paris was my only 42.2 road race I am planning on this year. It was really nice to run a controlled disciplined race. I suspect that my next 42.2 road race will be in London in 2013.

1 comment:

Anne said...

ohh you and your plans. Too disaplined- you need to relax some more. Glad it all worked out and hope Carrie was able to enjoy the rest of the vacation.