Saturday, June 28, 2008

Paris to 23

Last weekend I was in Paris. Paola and I went to celebrate the longest day of the year. Each year on this day Paris throws a massive street party -- Fete de la musique. Bands are set up all over the city and the point is to stroll from one gig to the other, dance, drink beer, and just have fun. We did this many years ago, in 2001. That year it was raining hard, which must have stopped some people from going. We drank sangria and were on the streets, and by the end of the night were stomping in puddles and mud sliding in the grass in front of Les Invalides. This year, I barely managed to get myself home, we had so much fun. The weather was warm and people were everywhere. The later it got the more people were showing up it seems, either that or I was seeing double and counting X2 for every one.

On my long run the next day - don't even ask. It was terrible. I didn't get up and out of the house until 1pm. By then the sun was scorching Paris and it was awfully humid. I set off from Champs des Mars in the direction of Trocadero, passing by Passy. From there I headed for the Arc de Triomphe and up Rue Wagram. Next came Place de Clichy, passing Pere Lachaise, where apparently Morrison is buried, and after I made the awful ascent to Mt. Martre. What a mistake. The hill took the life out of me. By now I was already out of one water bottle, short on breath and no power in my legs. On the way down I could just keep myself from falling over. For all those watching and having their lunches at the brasseries, I was probably a comical sight. On top of it, I got lost, which just added to my misery. So miserable and only on mile 8. I had 12 more to go. I somehow made it to the Bourse, managing to avoid Les Halles. That was it. I couldn't do it anymore. I had no energy and even less will to keep my feet moving. Defeated I sat on a street corner, out of the sun, and sipped on whatever water I had left.

I eventually ended up running back to the Eiffel, but it was only an additional 3 miles. Disappointed, I thought no more running for me.

Training this week in Brussels was better. I was back on my pace and back to strength, with an easy mid-week 11 mile-run.

Today was a funky day and I spent it working. I'm trying to nail a deal and the numbers just don't want to add up. Finally at 8.30PM I was so tired of it I decided to go running. It was a nice 17 degree evening. Clear skies. Brussels is very empty on the weekends, which is nice for running. Running was exactly what I needed at the end of today and I just kept going, and going, and going. The route itself wasn't exciting but it was refreshing. I knocked down the speed a little -- I'm changing my running technique to save my knees -- which kept me fresh for what seemed like a long time. I finally hit a wall, and had to stop. This was 3h.10min later. I ran 23.1 miles -- 3 short of a full marathon. When I stopped my legs started feeling funny. This slowly turned into excruciating pain. My body went into a chill and I couldn't stop shivering. I eventually recovered in the shower under hot water, I think just in time to prevent Paola from calling the ambulance. :)

The next one is the full deal.

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