The Marathon Recap – Paris, the Big Day (Part II)

9 June, 2015 Off By Renée

After a fairly restful night’s sleep, the alarm woke us at 05:10 so that we could eat on time and meet up with the rest of the group around 6:30am < insert yawn here > to take the Metro towards the Arc du Triomphe. There were 6 of us running and coincidentally a pair of each of us in 3 different starting pens. The earliest pen started at 8:50, then 9:15, then 10:05. So we wanted to be at the race no later than 7:45 to be sure that we could check in our bags, go to the loos, take pictures and walk each other to the starting pens to say goodbye and good luck.

11159902_532134976924835_3458011731435275283_o

As we ascended onto the street near the Arc du Triomphe, we joined the manageable crowd making their way towards baggage drop off. There was a lot of nervous energy between our group and plenty of nervous-looking people arriving at the race. It was sunny, but not yet very warm but we were prepared to stay warm for that moment with layers and the plastic vest given to us in our goodie bags. Queues were forming at the porta-loos and people were randomly warming up or standing around chatting and laughing to get rid of nervous energy.

11148564_532135096924823_7576997528043365985_o

We did some of our own group photos, the guys dropped off their stuff and we eventually headed towards the first starting areas.

11080290_532134850258181_8021921562746945202_o

11143132_532135190258147_4209985082734006864_o

Suddenly, I panicked. By the time we walked to the starting pen for Ron and Martijn (who started the earliest) and then for Chantor and Vincent, maybe Kim and I would be too late getting back to the baggage area again to use the loos, drop off our bags, etc., so I stopped to make an announcement: Kim and I would not be going further. We would have to say goodbye and good luck and see each other later. I so wanted to see the Hubs off at his corral but couldn’t take the risk. I hugged my man and cried just a tiny bit which of course set Kim off as well! Now all of us exchanged hugs and kisses and Kim and I made our way back.

11089002_532139440257722_3449524299713297839_o

11051862_532139580257708_7756790853540260737_o

We still had what felt like hours so we stood in line for the loos and made jokes and small talk with others in the queue as if we all knew each other and had been friends forever. The temperature was rising by now and the layers were coming off (I had space in my pack as did Kim).

Finally it was time to walk to the corral. More waiting for the loo (you never know!!) but this time it was too crowded and impossible to go again. We never made it before our start time, the line was just too long! Suddenly it was time to go, and that we did!!

Kim & Pinky in the Pen

To be honest the first few kilometers were like floating on air. While it was crowded and people were running a bit willy-nilly, I just felt incredibly happy. This was the day! We were running the Paris Marathon!

We were on target the first 5 kilometers. We stopped briefly at the first waterpost and continued onwards. The sun was out, it was getting warmer, the sights were amazing and the crowds were incredible! The bands along the way gave us so much energy. Before we knew it, we were 5 kilometers further and still on target. We planned on stopping at every post to be sure to stay hydrated (even though we had our packs – that water was for if we needed it in between). Sometime after 10KM Kim started to feel a bit off. We walked a bit, then ran again. It was still getting warmer. It was affecting how she felt. We walked again quite a bit around 16 kilometers. At 20KM we were slightly over our planned time but nothing major. By now I really had to stop for the loo. My 46 year old bladder could no longer continue.

Between 23 – 30 kilometers we walked and ran. But mostly a lot of walking. I was still happy and didn’t care much about the time.

Pinky and Kim Paris Marathon

We were running along the Seine and through tunnels with DJ’s and laser light shows! But Kim wasn’t feeling well at all. My right foot was hurting a bit. I knew what I needed to do and I felt pretty guilty about it. I was going to have to leave Kim behind. We made it through another couple of KM’s, hit another loo (for Kim; I stood outside and ate a raisin bun with honey) and then finally Kim convinced me to go on by myself. I cried when she said “Don’t worry! I still love you!”, we hugged and I started off on my own (well, with thousands of others on the course).

Some point soon after, around 35KM, everything just became a bit of a blur. I kept seeing the numbers… 36… 37…38… but honestly I did not notice much around me. Putting one foot in front of the other was the goal. I stopped a couple of times because my foot and calf were bugging me, but otherwise pressed on. I was in so much of a fog that I missed the wine stop somewhere around 40 kilometers!

Somewhere around 41KM I snapped out of my fog, came around a corner and saw my man and a few friends from our group cheering for me! I was nearly there!!

10931586_532141336924199_4729744515178140943_o

Somehow my legs and feet kept going and I crossed the finish line at 5:12:52 and yes, I definitely cried! That ugly, chest-shaking, snotty cry!

I walked over to our baggage area and camped out waiting for Kim. She wasn’t far behind me, about as long as it took to get my bloody toes into compression socks! We hugged, sat down together for a bit and then finally made our way to the exit to meet our people again. tons of hugs and kisses and of course, the obligatory photo near the Arc du Triomphe.

11160581_10153202935464378_7371935624622215739_n

10497190_532141963590803_4151113293625808613_o

11047942_532142013590798_2360362554798704039_o

10856556_532142206924112_1682771545403804471_o

Afterwards the Hubs and I went together to FINALLY have a couple of beers and some grub and then joined the rest later at the apartment.

Celebratory Beer

I am now officially a marathoner!!

paris marathon map

Marathoner Pinky

Highlights of the Race:

1. DUH!! It’s Paris!
2. Crowd Support – absolutely phenomenal.
3. Drink and Fuel stations every 5KM. Also small bottles of water to take rather than flimsy cups.
4. The music along the way; rock bands, traditional horns, drum bands. ALL amazing!
5. Organisation in general. From the Expo and packet pickup to baggage drop off to clear instructions along the way to get to starting corrals, etc.
6. The bling is gorgeous!

Slight Irritations:

1. Not enough loos in the starting corrals
2. Bottle caps and orange/ banana peels all over the street at water/fuel stops. Pretty dangerous.
3. Groups of people running on the right, left and in between, very willy-nilly (that’s not the fault of the organisation per se, that’s people not really running by the “rules” ). It was hard to maneuver in the beginning.

Would I do Paris again? Well, I’ve already signed up for next year!! It’s a definite YES!

Possibly Related Posts

  • The Marathon Recap – Paris Edition!  Part 15 May, 2015 The Marathon Recap – Paris Edition! Part 1 (5)
    I know a few weeks have passed now but honestly it's been tough to actually put the feelings into words for my first marathon. When I initially started training I did have a time in […]
  • Liverpool – Rock n Roll Marathon Day! (Part II)6 July, 2015 Liverpool – Rock n Roll Marathon Day! (Part II) (2)
    On Sunday we woke up early to hit the breakfast bar on time. It wasn't totally ideal but we did our best with carbs (cereal, toast, danish) and sweet things like honey and jam. We also […]
  • Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon Weekend!29 June, 2015 Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon Weekend! (2)
    Before I start off with what a FANTABULOUS weekend the Hubs and I had, I want to add this little, yet important, full disclosure: As part of the Rock ‘N’ Blog 2015 team I and the […]