Well done to the Chamonix Girls (and Philippe!) for great times in the Paris 20km. Here's a report of their running adventures in the city of Lurrrrrve. Nice one ladies - sounded like an awesome race. What's next on the agenda? Lausanne half? Cannes-Nice Marathon?
Trudi, Jane and Julie getting set for 20km
So we arrived in Paris on saturday afternoon after a long day in the car from les Houches via Geneva. Jane drove us superbly through Paris with Philippe on red light/lane change duty, whilst Julie and I sat grinning in the back totally happy to have arrived in Paris.

A quick check in at apartment followed, as we had to meet a friend of Philippe’s in order to park at his amazingly located apartment, next to the Eiffel Tower. We stopped outside of an underground parking, naturally thinking that it was the location, but no- to our amazement we entered his residence through enormous black electric gateway (guarded if you please), into a beautifully quiet courtyard with gravel paths and grassed areas. This was only the beginning of an amazing weekend.

Saturday night apero (well, you have to in France, don’t you?) was an alcohol free affair for two of us, whilst the elites had a quick snifter or two before our simple pasta dinner. Then straight of to bed for as much sleep as possible before the big day!

Light breakfast of coffee,yoghurt and banana proved to be the winning combo. Worried that I had eaten breakfast at 7.30 and the race was not until 10, I stuffed a couple of squares of almond paste into my jacket pocket. Good move. We set off at 08.15 - opened the large Parisian wooden entry door to see it had started peeing down with rain :(

Excited walk to metro, nervous train ride, walk through Champs de Mars to Eiffel tower, and then sports centre to drop off kit bags. On the way, I bagged a cheeky couple of bin liners from a municipal worker, as we were getting soaked, and it was still only 9am...

Off to the start line then... Mega nervous, as we waited for the boys at our meeting point... 9.20 still no guys, so we decided to get in the line up anyway...

Excited chatter, wee bottles on the floor, jumpers, bin bags, all gradually being discarded as the start time approached it was still raining but warm, the screens were showing warm up exercises to upbeat music. The elite runners set of first, we all shuffled forward. Then 5 minutes until the start went and still 7 mins until we got to the actual start line- a proper effort not to slip or trip on someone’s discarded bottle or clothes..

And then finally the moment came...over the line we went...

First 3km nice and steady, so steady that Jane tried to chat with me once or twice, obviously our first race together as she didn't realise quite how much I needed to focus on the task ahead!

5km checkpoint,31.08 and a quick few gulps of water to wet our inners, the rain had eased off, but it was warm and damp.

We ran at a great pace , the 3 of us staying together until 10km comfortably. At 10km,1:03 water, first sport gel ever, and bingo, we were off again. Slowed to drink, but didn't stop at any point during the race.

We reached the River Seine at around 9km, and ran along the river from Quai Louis Bleriot until the Louvre, where we did a small loop into the building before crossing over the bridge … for our return leg, also alongside the river. We passed through several tunnels, where the combined body heat at one point was almost unbearable. People were chanting, bands were playing, everything from steel bands to Mustang Sally.

We managed to keep overtaking slower runners throughout.

1:37 at 15km, almond paste and water provided the small boost needed to get us home. Now I knew the work would begin. Message from Steph “relax and enjoy it-you’ll storm it” playing in my head… Feeling confident that we’d all finish before the 2h15 target I had in my head, I wanted to push it but was just worried about burning out after such a good first 15km, so really concentrated on just keeping my pace steady. Km 18-19 was the toughest for me. All about hanging in there and not allowing myself to slow down. Started to pass people who were really struggling, one guy collapsed on the side of the pathway…don’t look… keep out the demons,and just keep moving…

19km, telling myself the race will be over in max 8 minutes, give an effort after 3 mins… then we saw the finish line… ok troods, pull something out from the bottom of your socks, and finish in the spirit you have envisioned during your mental preparation for this…

A super race experience, with a finish time of 2:10:40 -  I am a very happy person, and already thinking I can get in less than 2 hours next year, maybe? J

Go, Go, Go- Les Etoiles de Mont Blanc!

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