Stockholm June 27?! Yes please! Except I have Taylor Swift tickets for that day.
Berlin June 20?! Haven't been there in nearly 10 years! Except I had a trip planned for that weekend at the time.
Paris June 7?! MY FAVORITE CITY EVER??!! For only 30 euros?? I had no plans that weekend, so why not do a race in Paris? As they say, Paris is always a good idea. So in February I signed up, bought a Eurostar ticket, and booked an adorable Airbnb. I hadn't really been to Paris since the marathon in April 2014, and I was excited to go back! (I say "hadn't really" been there since I had spent about five hours in the city in April on my way to Istanbul...but I'm not sure that totally counts!)
I decided to turn the race into a long weekend, leaving very early Friday morning (aka 5:40am!) and returning late on Sunday (8pm train back). (The fact that those were also the cheapest Eurostar tickets had everything to do with the timing...) It meant I had three full days in Paris to do...whatever I wanted. The only commitment I had was the race!
Location: Nike shop in a mall in the 15th arrondissement. We got 15% off at the Nike shop, which was enough incentive for me to get new shorts and a couple new sports bras.
Ease: I went on Friday, and everything was quick and went smoothly. You have to bring a doctor's note for races in France (and elsewhere in Europe), so I handed that over and in return received my D-tag, a Nike T-shirt, and a little goody bag. Because I'd been fighting a summer cold, I decided to drop down from the 15k to the 10k, which was no problem. In fact, I learned I could have just changed my mind on race day and it would have been fine!
I slept terribly the night before (OK, and I'd had some wine...#wheninparis). The cold that I'd been fighting reared its ugly head and I woke up in the middle of the night with a super stuffy nose, a headache, and quite possibly a fever. In that time I gave myself permission to skip the race if I still felt terrible when I woke up. When my 7am alarm went off, I snoozed until 7:45. When that alarm went off, I actually felt pretty good (and a million times better than 3am!) so I decided to give it a shot!
Location: The race started at the Cite de la Mode et du Design near the Gare d'Austerlitz in the 13th arrondissement, which was an easy Metro ride from my flat in the 1st arrondissement. I think I had about 20 minutes to spare before the 9am start, which was fine since I wasn't checking a bag. After I got out of the Metro stop, I just followed all of the peach T-shirts to the start!
Course: The course took us around a corner of the left bank, and included Boulevard St. Michel and Boulevard St. Germain. Honestly, it was pretty crowded the whole time, so I was glad I didn't have a time goal - I didn't even wear my watch! There were a few gentle hills, but nothing too crazy.
There were kilometer markers so you always knew where you were, quite a few water stops and snacks along the way, and pretty decent crowd support in some areas! I didn't run with music, and had a giant smile on my face the whole way, just happy to be logging miles in my favorite city!
Finish: While there were no Tiffany medals to be had at the finish line, there were handsome (French) gentlemen handing out medals/necklaces, as well as tons of snacks (fruit and water, plus some bars and whatnot).
On top of the Cite de la Mode et du Design, they had a little party set up, where you could have a souvenir photo taken, get a massage, and hang out. I only went for the photo, but it would have been cool to hang out a little longer.
That night they had a party for all the finishers in the same spot, but I was on my way back to London by then!
I really enjoyed this race! It was laid back and fun, which is all I was going for. Just don't forget to bring the doctor's note!
It doesn't seem like the kind of race that is set up for PRing (unless you were at the very front?), but it was definitely a cool experience and I'm so happy I went - as evidenced by my sweaty face!
I finished in 54:44, which was great considering not feeling great, the sun/heat, and the crowds. I'll take it!
More to come on the non-race bits of Paris!