05/03/2013

The Semi de Paris

I know how I got here. After the flu, and snow, and ambiguity, a relapse and only three short training runs I stamped my feet into the ground on the downhills of Tunbridge Wells on the 24th February and somehow stood at the start of the Semi de Paris, the Paris half marathon in the Bois de Vincennes next to the chateaux amongst 40,000 cold runners.

It had been an odd route to get here. I had double booked myself for a start, and was signed up for another race on the same day back in England. I had also needed, as you all do to do any sporting event, or even go to a gym , in France, a medical certificate. This was new, and needed to be shown at the Expo to get your number, or guess what? Yup, you ain’t running.

I had arrived only an hour before, checked into my hotel, chosen specifically close to the start, and was very concerned as I believed two half marathons in 7 days would be a push, especially as I had not been able to walk too well due to plantar fasciitis and bruised insteps. Still, I would give it a go.

And so in my original Team GB Olympic singlet I was ready for a route in the South East of the city, heading by the Bastille, and my hotel on the Rue Faubourg Saint Antione, and back through the park.

It was a nice course, starting and ending in the park. There were plenty of water stops, great bands on the run, tens of thousands of supporters, and so many bloody runners. It would be almost impossible to record a fast time as there were so many bodies in the way.

I ran with 37,000 in Amsterdam, 18,000 in London, but 40,000 here seemed more. The race, even when I was walking and looking forward and back, there was a sea of people.

And so to the race itself

There was a lot to like here:

  • water stops were aplenty, and bottles of water was given out not just cups
  • food stops were included, and not just bananas, sugar cubes, oranges, powerade
  • bands on the run were great
  • the course was fun too, parks and road
  • and there was a great atmosphere throughout – I even had a “come on team GB” when I was walking up a hill.

All in all it was a great race, which ended up looking like this when uploaded onto Nike+, officially 3 mins faster than TW, but I was exhausted pretty early on and pushed myself to make it on sore feet.

Obligatory Race Photo
I was definitely less blue than in Tunbridge Wells, but I seem to have gained a spare chin from somewhere during the race. I shall put pay to that by losing another 10 pounds.

And, of course, there is the all important bling. As I did complete the race, and I am and was very proud of such an achievement, I wore it home on the Eurostar and in the cafe and bistro on the way. Although it is the smallest bling I have.

It is odd to think that less than a year ago I couldn’t even run 500 yards without experiencing crippling shin splints, and that in the last 7 days I completed 2 half marathons with virtually no training, injured, without dieting, and when writing this on the Tuesday after, am almost fully recovered. It does seem a little self-serving, but GO ME!

One slight downside: I did miss the opportunity to run by the RunDemCrew including @Fehrtrade but, ah well, there will be plenty of other races.

Another: I dumped my gloves half way, they were sodden with sweat and I can always get a new pair before the next time I need to wear them, which won’t be for a while, because in 3 week I race in the sunny US of A.

Still, running in France was fun. Would I do it again? I do not need to, but I would highly recommend others to do it.

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