In the wake of my collegiate competitive athletic career, I knew that running a marathon was something I wanted to accomplish once I had the time to devote to training.
I took the opportunity of living in London to set the plan into action. I signed up for one of the many close-by marathons, knowing that it was so far away in the distance that I wouldn’t have to worry about it any time soon.
Well, months turned into weeks, and then to days. Training in London was a struggle when dodging tourists, but it was nice to have a long body of water to plan routes around.
I got to Paris two days early, but the only activity that I engaged in (other than eating a lot) was a visit to the Catacombs. They were spooky, giving me all of the Halloween vibes I crave, but definitely could have been spookier. 8.5/10
April 14th came way faster than I expected, and there I was, walking from my Airbnb to the Arc de Triomphe, freezing and tired and *ready* to run 27 miles. I chose wisely and only had a ten minute walk to and fro the race, but it felt a whole lot longer on the way back.
I had selected 4h15 as my anticipated finish time, and my bib reflected that, therefore I was denied entry into a faster holding pen.
I followed the lead of many fellow runners and hopped the fence to get to the 4 hour start. I also was starting to worry about getting back to my Airbnb at a reasonable time since I was already overstaying my welcome – lesson learned there.
I chatted with a few people as we waited, and then I was off. I decided not to look at Strava at all during the race and to do a nice, super-sustainable pace. Of course, this was to my dismay when I saw my final time, but I know better for next time. It was also really rough to dodge everyone, both runners and spectators. There were moments when the spectators were on the green line, and I was pissed.
There were more spectators than I had expected from the research I had done, and I don’t really know if this did all that much to pump me up.
There seemed to be a lot of water stations, and I didn’t take advantage of every single one. If I were to race this distance again in the future, I’d definitely devise an alternative plan because it hurts my heart to see all of those plastic bottles thrown around. (I’m that person who goes out of their way not to use plastic; come for me.)
I felt really good until maybe mile 22/23, but I didn’t have that terrible urge to stop running and lie down, so I think I could and should have gone harder earlier on.
It was nice to get my medal at the end, but pretty much immediately after that, my body felt like it wanted to stop functioning. It was a mess trying to get water and the finisher shirt, though it was all in a linear path. Once I gathered everything, my only thought was “Get me out of here.” I struggled to find an exit and make it through the throngs of people, racers and otherwise. My steps were short and clumsy, and it was scary to go up and down curbs.
I made it back to my [third-floor walk-up] Airbnb with just enough time to shower and get out the door before I read the passive-aggressive message that my host sent me during the race trying to get me out before I was actually done running.
I struggled with my bags through Paris, found a place to eat terrible food that only hurt my stomach more, and found my train to Marne-La-Vallée. I had just finished my first marathon, and I was going to Disneyland.
To add insult to injury, I decided to uber from the station, arrived at the hotel, and discovered I had a reservation at a different hotel. I mustered up the courage to walk with all of my stuff more than 30 minutes to what turned out to be a nicer hotel anyway. I’m so brave.
Favorite moments: seeing the Eiffel Tower along the course, when a banger would play on Spotty and pump me up, drinking water at the finish line.