Beginners and Beyond


Don't forget to bandage your tits at the Paris Half-Marathon (Read 205 times)


Beer-and-waffle Powered

    There’s a story behind the title...


    This last weekend (err... two weekends ago) I went to Paris to run the Semi-Marathon de Paris. It was a race that I DNS’d last year, so I signed up again this year to make up for it. I didn’t start that race because I was injured and although I feel like I’m healthy again, it’s been a long road to getting my mileage and a feeling of any semblance of fitness back. I hadn’t raced in 14 months and I hadn’t done much in the way of high-mileage or tough workouts so I was really unsure about my fitness. In February I’d done only two non-easy runs, one being 4 x1 mile cruise intervals and one 2x4km tempo run. So naturally the best thing to do was to run a hard workout that would give me an idea of what to shoot for. Right? There’s no way that could go wrong. The Monday and Tuesday before the race were busy so I went out on WEDNESDAY NIGHT for a hard effort, while not accustomed to hard efforts or high mileage... learn this lesson from me: don’t test your fitness this close to a race.



    I got into Paris late on Friday night, thankfully my old roommate is doing an internship there so I had a floor to sleep on in exchange for a few beers. Unfortunately he is really messy and there was only one key, so in retrospect I should have just taken a hotel and then met up with him over the weekend. Saturday morning I met up with another friend (who was also running) to go pick up our bibs and have a coffee. I really need to take up drinking coffee, getting a Coke is a French café is horrible... 4 EUR! We had a pretty long debate at what the hell to wear with race day temps forecast at 2-3C. I figured that shorts, singlet and gloves would be fine for running but that I’d freeze my ass off before the race if I did that.


    My friend's bib said "Louya" where his name should be and I pointed out that was not his name. He responded that people can't pronounce his name, so he wanted people to yell "Allez Louya".


    At the expo they gave out little information booklets, which is where I found the gem that gave me the title. I wonder if it was an honest mistake or if someone decided to use their “non-native speaker” status as a chance to have a little fun (hell, I’ve done it myself).



    I went back to my old roommate’s and declined a lunch of the leftovers that had been sitting on his stove when I arrived the night before (who knows when they were put there in the first place). I spent the rest of the day wandering around the Père Lachaise Cemetery, Notre Dame and Champs Élysées.



    I didn’t end up running that day because of the walking, and I hadn’t run on Friday because I had a packed day in the lab, so my last run before the race was a really sore 5km on Thursday after my Wednesday shenanigans. Saturday night we met up with some of my friend’s friends for Japanese food, they were pretty cool, although me not liking fish really put a damper on how much I enjoyed the meal! Thankfully I’d seen that coming and ate a bunch of pasta a couple hours before.




    I decided to chance the bag check and headed out with my running gear on under jeans and a hoodie. I grabbed a breakfast of a viennois au chocolat and a water before taking the tram and metro to the Chateau des Vincennes, where the race was starting from.


    I scoped out the entrance to my corral and realized that would be really easy to slip in a few minutes before the race. I also saw that the bag drop was also very well organized so I just hung around until about 25 minutes before the start then dropped off my bag and headed out for my warmup. I was able to slip back into the corral a few minutes before the gun went off, pretty ideal.



    I started out with the flow and hit 1 km in 4:17, slower than I wanted but I wasn’t to worried and the next km was 3:58, slightly faster than I wanted (I figured that 4:00/km was reasonable based on how I’d felt on Wednesday). Overall the first 5K was uneventful although I could still feel Wednesday’s workout lingering in my legs and cursed myself for being dumb. My split was 20:17 (I’ll put splits from my workout in brackets for comparison, 19:53)



    I was feeling pretty good here and split this 5K in 20:06 (19:45 on Wednesday). Running past La Bastille was really cool... it’s a pretty famous landmark here and is one of the few areas where there is decent crowd support (although the French are very quiet supporters, unless you’re their national soccer or rugby team).



    By this point I was still feeling alright but I was starting to have to tighten the screws a little bit to hold down my pace. The hills in this race aren’t huge, or that plentiful but they seemed to really throw off my effort. I rolled through 14 km a full 1:05 slower than I did on Wednesday (at which point I slowed down and jogged the rest of the way home) and I realized that I had felt better at this point of the workout than I did at this point of the race. Thankfully this race was just a tune-up, I’d hate to leave a goal-race in a work-out. This split was 20:14.



    Just like in Berlin in the fall, the last quarter of the race had me really missing mileage. Aerobically I felt fine, but my legs just aren’t used to the pounding and had started to fight the pace. After 10 miles I told myself “only 5 km to go, time to close out hard”, then we turned a corner and immediately climbed a hill... so that plan didn’t exactly come together. We ran on the same stretch of road as the Paris Marathon, so I passed the metro station where I dropped out last April, it reminded me how glad I was not to be hobbling off the course in pain. This 5K split was 20:33.


    20K to finish

    Since I didn’t really have a specific goal time for this race I didn’t want to really crush myself in a finishing sprint. Although I did pick it up a bit, closing out at 3:54/km pace (up until then I’d been averaging 4:04/km)


    Here’s me goofing around in the finishing stretch.


    Final time of 1:25:26, a little slower than I thought I was capable of but overall I think the race was a good reintroduction to racing/running hard.



    Since I was really busy last week and I didn't finish the race report... it has become a “two-fer” because I’m on the way back from a 10 km in The Hague, The Netherlands. I signed up for this race because I kind of wanted to go to The Netherlands and figured I might as well run a race there. My friend from New Orleans came with me, so it was nice to have someone to travel with.


    The race started at 12:30, which was a little odd. The place we were staying was about 3-4 km from the start, so I just ran there as a warm-up. So I was running through the city with my bib on... there were a few times when people cheered for me thinking I was already racing. At 2C, it was pretty chilly in shorts/long sleeve/gloves but I knew once I started racing I’d be ok. I timed the warm-up pretty well and only had to wait a few minutes in the corral. I was thinking I’d be ok to run at least 39:00 and thought that 38-flat would be a reasonable goal pace. I split the first 2km in 3:51 and 3:52, so a little slow for 38-flat but I felt ok. We ran past the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Law, which was pretty cool.



    I split 5km in 19:14 and was already feeling somewhat tired. I thought “if I can hold this pace I’ll be happy with the race”. Then in the sixth km, someone passed me, on an uphill. I told myself I wouldn’t let this guy go and reeled him in over the next little bit. He was as stubborn as I was and I couldn’t shake him so we ran stride for stride, covering kms 6,7 and 8 at an average of 3:47 (not all the markers were there). It was pretty awesome as we passed a whole ton of people, and finally after a fast 9th km he started to fade away. I was pretty stoked, it was the first time I’d actually “raced” in so long. With a km to go there was a group of guys about 40-50 m ahead of me and I decided I wanted to close that gap. By the time I closed it, the group had splintered and I passed the lead guy (of that group) with about 200m to go. We both tried to sprint it home and he managed to re-pass me. My unofficial time was 37:31, with a last 5K of 18:17, so a 53 second negative split. Hell, I would have guessed I could maybe run 18-flat for a 5K at this point so I was very happy and surprised by this result. I think my mojo has returned.


    After the race I talked to the guy that I’d run with earlier in the race and he remarked how he usually negative splits and likes hearing others’ footsteps fading away, so he was surprised when someone went with him. We both agreed that it’s pretty much ideal to have someone trying to run the same race as you, then you can just keep trying one-upping each other until you both run way better than you’d expected. Today really reminded me why I race.


    Here's a photo of the Dutch Parliament Buildings, overall I thought The Hague was a lot cooler than I expected it to be.


    The MC Escher Museum was pretty cool too.

    Thanks for reading!

    In the words of my late-coach : Just hang in there, relax... and at the end of a race anyone you see.....just pass them


    Go figure

      Loved the RRs and all the pics. You ran a couple really strong races. It must feel nice to be back racing after a long break. Congrats on your efforts (glad to see you didn't have a blood-streaked singlet too).

      Trying to find some more hay to restock the barn

        Great job, Adam, congrats x2!


        Very well-written reports, and nice pics.  It must feel good to be back to racing after such a long time off.


        I really liked the part about going hard with the guy who is used to dropping people during neg splits;  that totally embodies why races aren't just hard runs.


        deux pansements pour les tétons! Big grin

          Did someone say tits? Congratulations and great report.

            Terrific reports and solid analysis to boot.  That's like a big twofer and stuff.  It is always fascinating to me how races expose our weaknesses more so than does training.  Usually, it's no surprise to me but occasionally I have had a race where I wasn't expecting what ended up happening.  Fun read and thanks for sharing.

            Short term goal: 17:59 5K

            Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

            Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).


            Letting off steam

              Nice races and report, Adam!


              Good to see you're getting back to form - 37:31 is moving it!




              Fear is a Liar

                Awesome races and report!

                I liked " Allez Louya " and running to the start of your 10 k with the bib on!

                I'm so vegetarian I don't even eat animal crackers!


                  great report.  Thanks.  It will remind me to bandage my tits.


                  On the auto-translate front, there's a hilarious spam post on the RW forum now that includes -- it's too good.  I'll make it its own post.


                    Congrats on both races!!


                    My running blog

                    Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-3 marathon

                    Bad Ass

                      Awesome job!  I cannot wait to read your Paris report!


                      I am still pending for Paris, but after reading this I am super pumped at going and meeting you there!



                      "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

                      It's always fucking hot in Miami!



                        Paris + The Netherlands = win!


                        Dude, uou are fast!  Welcome back to racing, I know exactly what you mean!

                        Dr. Cornsitter

                          Great RR! Such beautiful pictures! I would love to go see the MC Escher Museum!


                          Congrats on your race. It sounds like you had a great race and a great time!

                          Quote from BeachRunner3234 on 6/25/2013 at 8:20 PM:

                          So I'm currently sitting with a bag of frozen corn in my ass.

                          Just B.S.

                            Great job Adam!! Way to represent for Canada! You are one dang fast guy.



                            And thanks for the photos. I am a lover of museums and architecture so I enjoyed them.


                            P.S. since when do they let 16 yr old's traipse around Europe alone? Or maybe as I get

                            older you 20's something's look younger and younger?Roll eyes

                            delicate flower

                              Very cool report.  Great job on the races.  Those are some great time if you ask me.  It's funny when you say these were tune ups and just for fun, and all of your 5K splits blow my 5K PR out of the sky.  Big grin  Nice work, Adam!



                                Does it sound bad to say I want your life?   Anyway, you always run in the neatest locations.   Love these pictures, so so beautiful and feel so historic.  More then that, you're smoking hot demon fast even on your off days!  Great job on both races (yeah I know you didn't necessarily think so), but look at them times!  Congratulations!


                                "We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don’t like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. "  ---- Shasta Nelson