I was in Paris last week for an OECD workshop and when I am elsewhere, I like to run to “accumulate” running in different cities on my Garmin app. I like to revisit the little maps as well as the elevation just to revisit the running “landscape.” It is in addition to collecting refrigerator magnets.
I also [thought] I had the good fortune of my trip coinciding with a road race. Ah, running through the streets of Paris with thousands of fellow runners. Sounds romantic, no?
I tried to stick to my marathon training plan so I ran along the River Seine. Very different from running along the Bow River in Calgary. For one, there were many more fellow runners. Also, there was much morning bustle, opening of cafes, preparing of tourist boats and restaurant barges and vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the upper level of the river walk. It is always nice to experience running in a big city. Always something to catch my attention and re-direct my focus from my huffing and questioning my decision to train for a marathon. I was pleased that I stuck with the number of days run, but not necessarily the number of miles.
As I mentioned, I was in Paris at the same time as the La Parisienne, what I later learned is a premiere road race for women. Seven kilometers through the streets of Paris with a couple of tens of thousands of your best girlfriends. I was excited to participate in a big race! When I browsed the website for the start time, it was not clear, they had this SAS du depart that I interpreted as waves. I was also due to “depart” that day, to return to Calgary with my flight leaving at 1:20pm so I wanted to ensure that I had enough time to participate. I thought if I were to run the “SAS Bleu,” it would have given me enough time to run the race, return to my hotel to shower (about a 20 minute walk from the race) and get to the airport in just the knick of time. I signed up.
When I went to get my number and asked for clarification of the start time, I then learned that the entire race started at 9:45! (Which still confused me given that the SAS Rose and the SAS Vert seem to be after the start of the race. Realizing that this would not give me adequate time to run and fly, I grew gloomy. I tried to work out different scenarios in my mind that would allow me to run and get to the airport on time but nothing turned up feasible or cost-effective. I went to the venue for clarification, one of the volunteers spoke English (as do many Parisiennes nowadays) and she explained the start of the race (however I still do not know what SAS means). Despondent, I begged for my medal and promised that I would run the distance of the race on my own. After speaking with the people in the tents (every big race has those higher-ups in tents), she produced my medal. I shed a few tears since my option of not running was now finalized. Thanked her, took the medal and proceeded on a long walk through the streets of Paris, some of which included the course.
The next day, my departure day, I got up, as promised, and embarked on a long (12 mile) run along the Seine. I started slightly before sunrise and experienced a little of the start prep activity. It reminded me of my days of volunteering for the marathon–streets blocked and people in official-looking clothing with credentials and walkie-talkies milling about. I left the race area and proceeded along the river, passed the Notre Dame and did a quick diversion to the Centre Pompidou.
Miro fountain; running along the Seine
Dali mural near Miro fountain
As I made my way back to the hotel, I saw the throngs of runners arriving, each with their colourful bib with their number and name. I was a little miffed but felt vindicated in having done my consolation run that was more than twice as long as the race. I returned to my hotel, showered and made it just in time for my flight.
At the OECD