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Vitry-Sur-Seine Half-Marathon - April 23, 2006
After running the Paris Half-Marathon over a month ago, I decided to put myself to the test by setting a goal: Finish another semi-marathon in about 1:40:00.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After earning a BA in Human Development at California State University, Long Beach, I moved to Paris, France in order to marry a lovely Parisian. A proud father of two vivacious girls, I currently
teach English and work on PCs and websites in the Parisian area.
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Back To Back 10k Runs (Non-Fiction) After running the Vitry-sur-Seine half-marathon about a month and a half ago, I wanted to see what it would be like to run a 10K. [1,113 words] [Motivational]
Paris Half-Marathon - March 5, 2006 (Non-Fiction) 5 months of regular training. Knee, ankle, and ligament injuries. 21.1 kilometers. 13.1 miles. 21,000 people. End result: Finished with a BIG lesson learned! [940 words] [Motivational]
Vitry-Sur-Seine Half-Marathon - April 23, 2006
After running the Paris Half-Marathon over a month ago, I decided to put myself to the test by setting a goal: Finish another semi-marathon in about 1:40:00. The lessons I had learned after Paris proved to be vital to my newfound training and personal mission. Fewer layers, lighter clothing, and regular fluid intake every 15-20 minutes during a long run.
The Gods had decided something else for me the day of the "Humarathon". I was endowed with a bad head cold that I had been fighting over a week before the run. On the morning of the run, my head was one big snot bomb, throbbing and spewing endlessly. There was only one thing to do: Pump myself with meds and then grin and bear what was yet to come.
As if that was not enough, to make matters even worse, a 3-mile walk was in order before the actual 21.1 kilometers (13.1 miles). "Nice warm-up, is it not?" That was what I had heard all along the way to the starting line. What transpired to lead to that "warm-up"? Well, it so happened that on the event brochure it was stated that there would be free shuttle service form the subway station, in the suburb, to the start of the half-marathon, since there were 2 different starting points: One for the 10 KM race and another for the semi-marathon. Of course, when I arrived, the shuttle bus had gone and the so-called organizers did not know when or how long it would be before another one came back. Great. "Go up the street, climb the hill, and then go straight for about 20 minutes", said one man. Excellent. 20 minutes turned out to be 40.
Needless to say, I was sweaty and spewing snot as I picked up my bib number and pinned myself up. What a marvelous way to start a run, especially when a goal had been set and many days of training had been invested in. Running is hard enough...why did I also have to suffer with an explosive head and an extended warm-up that I had never asked for?!
To put the icing on the cake, 20 minutes before the event, I wandered out of the event village and made my way towards the starting line. One important question pulsated in my head: Where is it? The signs were useless. After asking a group of police officers and one organizer, I found out that they did not know and were equally useless. After 5 more minutes of wasted energy, I finally found it. I lined up, took a deep breath, and focused my entire body and mind on the task at hand. The gun went off....
It turned out that the course itself was more difficult than the Paris one. The reason being is that we had to do 2 laps around a 10.5 KM course that included a 3 KM (1.8 mile) climb between kilometers 6 and 9 and 16 and 19.
The first half of the run went as well as could be expected. I paid close attention to my fluid intake and drank every 15 to 20 minutes. I forced myself to concentrate on my own pace and own race. Ultimately, it was just me against the ruthless clock. 47 minutes at the 10 KM point was what I read on the chronometer. I was right on track for a 100-minute semi-marathon, yet the hills around the second lap were looming....
Kilometer 16 arose, as did the road. Imagine feeling light and somewhat "floating" up the road during the first half, only to come crashing down to earth and having to pull up 2 lead weights (your legs) during the second half. I felt as if I was trudging 10 extra pounds along with me. My legs were bursting with lactic acid and its corresponding pain. After the road levelled out, I wanted to slow down and break my rhythm. I knew I could not. Doing so would have meant the end of my run.
Kilometer 20.1. One kilometer to go. The chronometer read something like 1:36:00, maybe a little more. I gave it all I had left in my being. I quickly told myself that this was what I had been training for, and was exactly where I wanted to be.
I cannot tell you the numbing pain that raced through my body with each footstep. Tears were streaming down my eyes as I fought the urge to simply stop running. I crossed the finish line as I looked at the clock: 1:40:59.
My head buzzed. I wanted to blow my nose. I was too spent to be happy. I just wanted a damn tissue!
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