It’s been a little less than a month since I got back from Brazil, but it feels like time has been sprinting by; in less than 3 months I’ll officially be done with my two Master degrees (well that is if I manage to get my thesis done in time:P).
Anyways, the good news is that over the last 3 weeks I’ve managed to run two half marathons, and both of them were truly awesome!
On March 6th, I participated in the Paris Semi Marathon; with almost 40,000 runners it was one of the biggest half marathons I got to run, and it was great! Granted that I hadn’t done any running for the 3 weeks leading up to it, and that it was one of my slowest half marathon times recorded, but it was truly awesome.
The race support from the fellow runners was incredible! In general, what I’ve noticed about a lot of the French races that I’ve participated in is that there are way more male runners than female runners, so the lucky girls & women who decide to sign up are up for double the cheering and encouraging that they’re usually used to. This meant that everytime I attempted to start walking, I got a pat on the back and some encouraging words to go with it: “Allez, allez” (=Go, go); “Ne reste pas maintenant!” (=Don’t rest now) haha it was too cute. At some point, this guy gave me a pat of the back and when I said thanks in return, he continued running in a slow pace infront of me while moving his arms up and down to show me that I should be breathing slow and steady hahaha. Turns out he was wearing a Yoga T-shirt, so that explains it all.
The second race that I ran was this past weekend in Marseille; I had always wanted to visit that city and the half marathon was my excuse to book train tickets for the weekend and head down south. Guro, my awesome Norwegian friend, decided to join me for my trip, and 10 days before the race she decided to sign up for her first 10K run, which was pretty exciting!
We arrived in Marseille on Friday afternoon and headed to our Airbnb, which was located in the cutest alleyway 5 minutes away from the race start line.
We spent the Friday afternoon visiting museums, forts and walking around the gorgeous old port and then sat down in one of the brasseries with a terrace to people watch, sip on a glass of wine and enjoy the sun! It was awesome!
Saturday, we woke up early, headed to the bib pickup, and then took a bus to the Notre Dame de la Garde church which is located on top of a hill and offers gorgeous views across the city and the Mediterranean. It was a perfectly sunny warm March day, so we spent some time sitting down at the top and breathing in the fresh air.
Once done, we went back to the port area to get on a boat tour to the Calnaques which was awesome. A little chilly because we had been sitting in the sun all day and didn’t plan well for the ride, but the views were fantastic and the salty air refreshing.
Sunday morning, I woke up early and headed to the half marathon start line. This half marathon was much smaller than the Paris one; a total of around 4,000 runners, but still as fun. Plus, the course was gorgeous; the first part took us through the city before we made our way through the corniche and got to run almost 6kms by the open waters. At some point the course from the full marathon crossed with ours, and I found myself running besides people with a 3.15 goal for a marathon; it was inspiring for me to watch.
I don’t know why I sadly gave up on myself at one point and had to walk a few steps here and there, but then again the race support didn’t disappoint and I kept receiving the same pats on the shoulder as I did in Paris. In hindsight I wish I could have pushed more. I finished the race with an overall time of 2 hours and 52 secs, and if I had known that I was this fast, I would have definitely pushed myself for a sub 2 half, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be for this time. Good news is there’s always a next race 🙂
Finishing before Guro’s race start meant that I could run to the apartment and shower before running (or more like crawling back) to the finish line and waiting for Guro to come through. And I managed to see her and cheer her on for the last few meters! Pretty cool!
Having booked a train for 1.30pm on Sunday meant that we had an hour for Guro to shower and change and for us to walk the 20 minutes to the train station, which was an exciting thing to do given that this was the view that greeted us right before we made it to the train station. You can imagine how we looked like climbing up those steps…
Overall, it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while, and I cannot wait to plan some upcoming races. Suggestions are more than welcome 🙂