j'ai un nouveau record personel!!!!!
Yep that is right beautiful buzzers I came, I saw and I not only conquered, I tore the streets of Paris right up! This is going to be a long one so I reccomend you grab a cuppa and are sitting comfortably.
First off I wanted to say thank you for all the good luck messages in the run up - so lovely to get them amongst all the chaos! The week running up to it was full of so much more admin with it being abroad - but setting off on the Eurostar on Thursday night the hubby and I were happy and excited with maybe 10% nerves.
Friday and Saturday were spent sightseeing. We met up with our friends Nick and Ali and there two year old son Charlie - Nick was also running - sickeningly he ran the marathon in a time of 3:31 and wait for it... he did one training run of 12 miles. Yep. He used to run cross country nationally when he was younger so sadly he is just one of those people who "has it". Anyway, I digress. We met up with our families too, my Dad also running, my Mum and sister and Ben's mum and his younger sister. The whole weekend I felt so blessed to have such an amazing support system around us cheesy!
We went to the expo on Friday evening too and my Dad and I got a cool photo next to our predicted times:
It was a hot and sunny day and I think we were all quietly panicking about how hot it would be on Sunday but there is nothing you can do about the weather.
Just to prove we went to Paris we got a couple of Eiffel shots!Cute eh?Right I could blab about Paris all day as I absolutely loved it so I'm just going to stop and go straight to Sunday.We ate loads of pasta and carbs the day before and I woke up feeling ready but nervous. I forced down some porridge and a pain au chocolat, got all my stuff ready and set off to meet my Dad at the Metro. We had the same start time and pen which was good for settling the nerves. We had gathered from just the nature of Paris that the marathon was not going to be like London - we were right. Bag drop off was a bit chaotic as was trying to get into the start pen but we made it and before we knew it we were off. We knew the gang of spectators were going to be at mile 2 and to stop me taring off we ran the first two miles together which meant running at 10:20 pace. It felt good, the air was also quite crisp and while it was sunny it was nice and cool. We saw everyone at mile 2 - so different again to London - there are no barriers for the majority of the route which would cause chaos in London but as there are hardly any supporters in Paris it works. The streets are also a lot wider so as soon as you set off we had a lot of space around us. It also didn't matter too much that spectators were dashing across the route at points as the field was quite spread out. Two people even went across on bikes at one point!I said goodbye to my Dad after we had seen our family - all screaming madly at us - good boost although probably not needed at that point! I had a pace band on from the expo for 4:25 which I thought was realistic but on the morning I was panicking it was too quick. So I kept my garmin on the screen which just shows pace (as mine is very basic so shows the time and distance on one screen and pace and calories burned on another) There were mile markers and kilometere markes so I could easily keep an eye on the distance. It was good as I kept glancing down and could see I was doing just over 10 minute miles. I felt like I was running very slowly but I thought, just keep chugging along and then speed up if I can at the half way point.I loved the first half - I mean not a huge amount of support (compared to London) but lots of music - I have never seen or heard so many drums - the atmosphere was awesome. Just a little digress but smartphones should be banned from races - anyone else with me? The amount of people stopping for stupid selfies was just ridiculous. One lady stopped in the middle of quite a narrow section of the road and one poor guy ran straight into her. A loud exclamation of "Increuable - merde!!" Everyone starting throwing evils in her direction and a couple of tsks!I think it is around mile 6 that we entered the first park which I was sort of dreading as the street part was so much fun. But I had nothing to worry about. First off it provided several bushes and I quickly dashed off for a quick pee! I didn't want to lose any time so I must confess it was a bush pretty close to the road - trying not to think about the number of people who saw my butt!! My husband and Nick were calling me Paula on the journey home when I told them about this. Especially as after my wee stop, after about a minute of running a long line of portaloos appeared all free. Woops. Anyway, feeling much better and running in the shade due to all the trees, it was quite nice to be in the green spaces and there was just as much support in this park and again more drums and bands. So much fun.At the half way point I was still feeling good although it was getting hotter and we were back into the centre of Paris with not as much shade. I knew my family were going to be around mile 15-16 so I just focused on getting there. I also turned my garmin back on to the time and mileage screen and just focused on running a little bit quicker but still comfortable than before and not to worry so much about pace. I saw my sister and Mum at mile 16 but only as I was passing them - my sister literally screamed in my ear as I was passed and it nearly knocked me over. I managed a wave back and heard screams "we love you Charlotte" as I ran on - made my chuckle.Then came the tunnels. First tunnel was quite fun - they had a cool light show in it, there was loud music and more drums - it felt like a rave! People were dancing and throwing their arms up, was so much fun. Then came the second tunnel which was the same, still fun but long and quite airless and due to the longness it had spaces of no music, no drums and no fancy lights and no air. It was so hot and dark, I wanted to get out of there pronto. Then came another tunnel - I was beginning to get a little bit sick of them. Every time you had to run down into them but then run up to get out of them - it was just all a bit unsettling and weird. Finally we were heading out of the city again and I kept my fingers crossed for no more airless, sweaty dark tunnels. At the 30 kilometre marker there was a fake wall construction with a sign over the top saying "Congratulations, you have burst through the 30 km wall". Now to my calculations this seemed quite early?? Stupid metric system - surely this should be around mile 21?!I was still feeling good - the quads were beginning to sting a bit but I was focusing on a new mini goal of just getting to mile 20 and I was looking forward to getting to the second park where I knew there would be shade from the trees etc. I was very hot though and the water stations were absolute chaos. Nowhere near as good as London - there were no isotonic drink stations but luckily I had loads of sweets with me which I kept taking pretty much every 5 kms. The stations were every 5km though and small bottles with screw tops. I took two bottles at each station and was swigging from both until I felt "full" and then throwing them away but about a kilometre away from the next station I would be parched. Everyone else was obvisouly feeling the same way as running to get water was chaos, everyone pushing and shoving and the fruit which was also on offer was all over the floor too - ironically the orange skins made it super slippery and not the banana skins! I ran through the hose pipes and threw one bottle of water over my head. But luckily by around mile 20 it was clouding over a bit so felt a bit cooler.In the second park and my focus shifted to getting to mile 22, my pace band was showing I was slightly out of my 4:25 target and the next marker on my band was 22. My legs felt sore but I wasn't super struggling, I decided it was now or never and dug deep. But that park was hell on earth. Hardly any support, hardly any trees and I swear those mile markers were further apart than the ones at the start .Got to mile 22 and I had made up the time, I glanced down at my garmin and the latest mile flashed up as 9:49 - what the??! It gave me such a boost, I knew I had it in me and although it felt like teeny tiny elves were beating my quads with teeny tiny knives, I soldiered through. There was still no support and the park just seemed unending - I couldn't tell if I was near to the end or not and at mile 24 I really felt like walking. But I thought of all my training, getting up at 5:00 am to go running before work, I thought of my husband and how proud he would be, I thought of Real Buzz, I thought of all the people who don't get to run due to their own circumstances and I thought of my family waiting for me at the finish. Those last two miles were seriously hard and when we finally headed out of the park and onto the cobbled streets I screamed out "Thank God!!" when the mile 26 marker came into view much to the amusement of the Frenchie man next to me "Oui oui, c'est tres bon" he mumbled out to me. At the exact same moment I heard a scream of "Go Charlotte!!!!!". The whole gang screaming at me - what an amazing feeling and like a rocket going through me - I literally sprinted the last 0.2, crossed the line and nearly vomitted!!Looked at the watch - 4:25:11!!!!!Nearly half an hour off my PB!!!Tears were coming and I felt so happy!! Such an amazing feeling and so so so glad it was over. The last five miles were my quickest - unbelievable, my goodness they hurt. Just shows that even if you do everything perfectly, it still hurts!This however feels just wonderful:Now I have twittered on for way too long so I will leave you now. Husband got a PB too of 3:30:05, bit gutted as he wanted sub 3:30 but is currently planning which marathon he can do next to get it. My Dad wanted sub 4:40 but he got 4:47. He was pleased but like me, found the end of the course just horrid. But what a team we are!Me and my Daddy!We probably should not have taken this photo as it made me nearly miss the Eurostar. But that is another story as is the extreme pain I am in today - I literally cannot bend, squat or put any kind of weight onto my quads. I definitely pushed those last miles!Thank you again for all the support and well done to everyone who did Brighton - I can't wait for all the race reports and already excited for the Manchester and London ones too!!A bientot and happy running!!!xxxxxxx
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