RISE and shine, Slowpoke. It’s payback time.
No changes to what we’ve had on the breakfast table for the past days. Remember never to try anything new, in particular, your nutrition and hydration. So it’s kid cereal with reduced fat milk, two soft boiled eggs, a banana, multi-fruit juice, and some bread with Nutella. It’s cold out there, just as it’s been the past few days. Maybe in the single digits today, but still hope it warms up toward noon. Okay, time to get dressed. Now for a test run.
Jesus H, it’s chilly! This vest is feeling flimsy all of a sudden, but at least the rest of us seem warm enough. Time for Plan B: long-sleeved fitted running jacket. If this doesn’t do, we’ll… cry. Everything packed in the jacket pockets and we’re ready to go. Bye, Sweetie. Count about eight hours before calling the French police. Yes, I’ll listen to my body. Right now, it’s telling me to stay indoors and hibernate.
Train’s full of runners, as expected. They’re wearing those plastic thingies over their bodies to shield them from the cold. Egad, thought those were wet bags! Too late to go back for it now. Nice going, Smarty!
Brrrrr! Don’t like the feel of that wind gushing out of the subway exit. Even with the packed crowds, it still feels like a refrigerator on maximum cool setting. Now am sure it’s in the low single digits, and… And we gotta pee. But we still have the change of clothes bag to deposit and don’t know where to go. Okay, let’s follow all the lost souls carrying their bags running towards the Arch. Hmmm, runners are peeing against trees and walls. Let’s get the bag deposited first. That was fast and efficient. No waiting at all. Hey, there’s a group of runners facing the fence. When in Paris… Relief! Now to find that start line. Follow the crowd towards the holding pens.
Okay, so the French aren’t on time and we have proof. But how many people can say they peed on the walls of the buildings along the tres chic Champs-Elysses — twice. Three more visits to the loo should do it.
And we’re finally running!
But we still can’t feel my toes! C’mon, Mr. Sun, shine on and thaw us out here. Okay, the feeling is starting to come back at km 4. But now we gotta go again. The line to the portalet is costing us; let’s just go a little further and duck into that corner. And, we’re good! There’s the aid station. Get a water bottle from that guy. Merci, Monsieur!
Love the ‘Allez, Allez!’ from everyone. Are we not feeling sophisticatedly motivated here, guys? Okay, there’s the Place De La Bastille. Everything still good. Let’s stay with this pace. We’ll be running in a crowd for the whole race.
But at least we’re not getting passed by thousands like what happened three weeks ago in Barcelona. Those geriatrics and Biggest Loser wannabes made us look pathetic. So much for starting with the elites.
The Chateau de Vincennes is up ahead. Don’t think we got to visit that. Look, there’s a couple dressed as giraffes — and they’re passing us like we’re standing still. And there’s a group of sixty-something French guys from a running club making us look bad by chatting and kidding around while leaving us behind. Forget them. Stay with the pace, and remember to walk a little after every aid station. Go for the bananas and the sliced oranges, and take along that bottle of water. It’s starting to warm up. Don’t remove the jacket just yet; we’ll be running along La Seine later and the temp may drop again.
Uh-oh. There’s that literal pain in the butt cheek that came up in Barca. We miss you, Aling Liway! Need your magic hands to knead our backside when we get back to Manila. Ha ha ha. Did you hear that? That was hilarious! Gotta tell the kids about that one. Just like in that Talladega Nights movie: You can do eet, Boobee! Love the cheers. Almost makes us forget the pain, er, discomfort. But first, another pit stop. Looks like the portalet company is going to need a bigger shovel to clean out that one. Let’s make tracks.
There’s Notre Dame Cathedral, and there’s the Musee D’Orsay. Why don’t we stop and see if we can visit the Dark Romanticism exhibit we missed the other day. No? Okay, let’s keep shuffling. Let’s try to keep pace with the two Brits in the French berets. Their run-walk strategy seems to be working for them. The Tour Eiffel! We’re close to the 30 km mark. Thank heavens. Now that’s interesting: a running Tour Eiffel, cordoned on all sides by runners in hardhats and climbing gear. Looks like a promo for an extreme sport challenge. Let’s look that up. Might be another excuse to revisit Paris soon.
Arrghh! This is beginning to be more than just discomfort. We still have time to keep it under five hours, but we’re going to have to hustle. I can’t get no satisfaction. That’s the second time a band’s played it along the route. Grab
that bottle! Jump on the trail! We need a softer surface. There, that feels better. Keep going. Don’t mind the looks you’re getting from the pavement pounders. We’re all headed in the same direction.
Hey, there’re the Brits In Berets. We’re still with them — and they’re walking! Forget the binging on gelato, pizza, wine, beer, macarons, soufflés, and everything Italy and France threw at us! We gotta move! No. No stopping
for liniment or massages at the aid tent. There’s no time. Jump back on to the blacktop.
There’s the 41k marker. Check time. We got this. Let’s walk a bit now so we can still go for a running finish. Gotta love the crowds. Allez, Allez, Allez! It’s a wide expanse to the finish. Veer right. Land on the carpet — it’ll look better in the video.
Smile. We nailed this sucker.
Post Race Recovery Report
Recovery in the afternoon of the same day was normal, compared to Barcelona three weeks ago, where I walked like I just went through a young boy’s physical rite of passage the day after the race. The missus and I were able to go for an evening stroll along the Champs Elysees, visit a few shops, and enjoy a late dinner at a café a stone’s throw from the Tuileries Garden. And no romantic evening would be complete without trying out a self-cleaning toilet, which was impressive if only for its discovery when we most needed it.
As far as training goes, I’m hitting the ground running, biking, and swimming as soon as we arrive in Manila. Okay, maybe I’ll take a break from running…
For the next few days.
IMHO (In My Humdrum Opinion)
Since the current clutch of OMGs (Overheard Multi-Sport Gossip) has been considered too controversial to print (please don’t PM me—I’m not talking), I’ve decided to stay clear of gossip, crosshairs, and riding-in-tandem hit squads by introducing a new sub-section called IMHO. Since I won’t have to drop hints about anyone in particular, I feel IMHO will appeal to a wider audience and will invite more feedback from the twelve readers outside of my family. IMHO will be musings and random thoughts on everyday situations and observations, ranging from the unique relationship between fat girls and gay men to the car-to-car- owner-inverse-appearance relationship theory.
Since going back to driving myself to work and everywhere else two years ago, I’ve noticed a few things while sitting in traffic, waiting for the light to change or for some uneducated prick to start a counter-flow that will give me a reason to scream profanities at no one in particular. I have a thing for order, especially in my car, and I believe the way your car looks is a reflection of your personality, relatively speaking. So, cars that have dingle balls, rosaries, flower garlands, and pine tree air-fresheners hanging from their rear view mirrors automatically get
my vote for Most Likely To Have Been A Taxi Driver (or perhaps Most Likely To Be A Taxi Driver In The Future). The automotive companies spend millions on research and development to improve field of vision, only to have it impaired by a couple of oversized green fur dice or a troll baby (or whatever doll is in vogue). The same goes for rear windshields cluttered with a ‘Hot Chick On Board’ (like it’s ever true) mini road sign, stick figure family decals showing each family member, including pets (Great, give the criminals an idea of the car owner, won’t you), and my personal favorite: Snow White’s Seven Dwarves hanging on strings supported by suction cups (I used to love the dogs with the bobble heads, but those went out in the seventies).
The other thing that I can’t seem to understand is the habit of drivers of opening their doors when paying for toll or parking fees. What’s the deal with that? Possible explanations: a) I’m not a window person; b) I want to get more of those healthy car park fumes into my car before I leave; c) I just had my windows tinted and can’t roll down them down; d) Am too busy to make small talk with the toll clerk; or e) all of the above.
I have to stop myself from talking about driving habits, because it could seriously compromise my training time and sleep patterns, so I’ll stop here and hopefully continue with something else next time.
That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.