Game on. The early morning chill was a blessing with so much body heat being emitted by nearly 40,000 runners.
This was the most exhilarating, entertaining, well-organized race (especially for its size) that I have participated in to date – TRES MAGNIFIQUE! I must also give props to all of the amazing runners from around the world. Everyone I meet is so friendly with an absolutely amazing story!
Resting my legs in the days leading up to this race simply wasn’t an option with so much to see . With the size of this race coupled with feedback from other runners, I entered into a mindset that my goal was to enjoy the experience. I was in the third time grouping. The first group left at the 8:45am shotgun start and I didn’t cross the start line until 9am.
Not only were we packed in like sardines, people were climbing the fence in an attempt to sneak into a faster time block. We were all issued a plastic cover (step up from a garbage bag?) to aid in retaining warmth at the race start. As we neared the starting line, these foils were being tossed aside and blowing into many runners’ heads. Once they fell to the ground, they became hazardous, as runners were slip-sliding away. It felt like a comedic scene to a movie.
After being packed in with a few tall male marathoners who started to pump their arms and elbow me around mile 7 or 8 – making me feel like I was in a pinball machine – I kindly asked the one gentleman if he could pleeeeaaase give me some space (c’mon dude). He replied with “no speak English”. OK, he didn’t understand my request to ‘back off’? So, I ran a bit ahead and then gave him a taste of his own medicine. He smiled, clearly getting the picture, because it stopped.
For my runner friends interested in the nourishment stations? They were plentiful, but only water was served until the very end where PowerAde was made available. About 8 or 9 miles into the race, water was served with orange and banana slices, raisins and sugar cubes for a little sugar kick. I have to say, I loved it! What I found comical was the water distribution. I’m not a fan of cups, but I was less of a fan of mini-water plastic bottles. If not careful, folks were easily tripping over them and wet banana peels.
The race route took us by all of the most amazing sites. When I couldn’t get out of the pack until the race around mile 12 or 13, I decided to simply enjoy myself while taking pics and high-fiving kids on the sideline.
The latter 1/3 of the race was the most amazing. Spectators were lining streets, overpasses, and bridges everywhere– hollering, with loudspeakers and music jamming! Musical entertainment was spaced frequently – from bands, to the orchestra to men/women dressed in costumes & wigs to cheer us on.
With every heavenly downhill came a reciprocal hellatious uphill. My hamstrings and calves were burning something fierce. This is the first race the bottoms of my feet hurt from pounding on cobblestone.
I witness runners dropping off like flies to stretch the cramps to start walking by mile 22 — tempting as miles 22 -25 are always the most insidious. You’re almost there, but not really…make sense? I refused to walk – No pain, no gain!
When I retuned to the hotel, I was congratulated and asked if they could do anything for me. I replied with two simple requests: lots of ice and a deep tissue massage. They had ice in my room by the time I got to the second floor and the masseuse was ready as soon as I finished my ice bath. Aaahhhh…
With the slower than usual front half, I must have boogied on the back half. I am awaiting final results, but my GPS showed me at 3:43 (ugh, within 5 minutes of my?) And as with all runners, I then replayed what I could have done differently to shave 5+ minutes off (like not take pictures or entertain kids)? Oh well, everything happens as it’s supposed to. The Paris Marathon is an amazing experience indeed.
After emailing updates and skyping with my children during my time here, they have added Paris to their destination wish list. Good times, good times…Au revoir!