Destination: Finish Line

Ow.

Ow.

Ow.

Ow.

(That was me walking to the computer this morning.)

We are sore.  You always know you’re going to be sore after a marathon.  You just kind of forget how sore.  I believe we will need to leave a tad earlier this morning for school in order to get there on time.  Thankfully the rest of the day is filled with a lot of nothing.  As it should be.

Yesterday we all ventured out around 7h30 to walk to the start line of the Paris Marathon.  It was a beautiful morning that turned into one of the nicest days we have had this spring.  It couldn’t have been better for running: clear skies, no wind and about 50 degrees.  I was actually a bit overheated while we ran into the sun during the first 12k, but comfortable once we headed back into Paris. The kids were our support system for the day and they were fantastic.  They carried all our necessities beforehand, took pictures and then took all the things from us that we didn’t want to carry during the race.  And then they were off to church!  They were singing in choir so needed to be there early at 9h30.  Since the service doesn’t begin until 11h and goes for over an hour, we knew we wouldn’t be seeing them again until we were almost done. Tom and I had to go our separate ways, too.  We were assigned different corrals and they were very diligent about making sure you were in the right place.  So we gave our well wishes and then were on our own. I was fortunate to meet up with four individuals from Chicago whom I ran with for about the first 10k.  It’s a good distraction to have others to chat with as you introduce yourselves and your lives.  But by the time we reached the Bois de Vincennes, the park on the far side of the city, it was about time for everyone (and I mean everyone) to take a bathroom break giving that park the best spring fertilization it could get.  From there, I was on my own. We were in the park for quite a while.  It’s a lovely park with a beautiful chateau but I was happy when we finally reached the city again and I could start ticking off milestones I was familiar with. Now, if I was just in the city for the race, I might have been a bit disappointed with the route.  Although you are running past all the important monuments in Paris, you’re going up and down through tunnels past the Louvre, Tuileries, Musee D’Orsay, Pont Alexander III, and Alma-Monceau.  So if you were hoping for a great shot of some of these icons, well, you weren’t going to get them.  I see them everyday.  No loss for me and the shade of the bridges in the tunnels was a nice break. By the time I was back near the American Cathedral, I knew the kids weren’t out yet, but that’s when I starting texting them my location.  30k.  32k.  33. And speaking of mileage, how great it is to run in kilometers!?!?!  They had mile markers, too, but running in kilometers is so much more encouraging.  Yes, you have to count to 42+ instead of 26+.  But the kilometer markers come more often that you feel much more accomplished as you run.  And calculating in 10Ks is much more simple when you begin getting delirious later in the race. There was nutrition every 5K.  Early in the race it was water bottles (full bottles!), bananas and orange slices.  Having become a citrus nut this year, those oranges were fantastic.  And I loved the full bottles.  I could drink from it easily, pop the lid on and drink more later on.  I’m sure it was a huge waste of water to give everyone a full bottle and the plastic that it generated?  Well, it wasn’t pretty. Later in the race, the tables also included sugar cubes and big crates of raisins for you to grab.  I stuck to the orange slices but the sugar cubes were tempting. I had decided in the morning to carry my black backpack.  Normally I would never want to run with anything on me.  But I’ve run with my backpack all year and knew I had enough items I wanted on me that it would be worth it.  And it was.  I had Sports Beans that I only had once, a Honey Buzzer gu that I had at 30k and I don’t think that did anything for me.  And two bananas.  I took my four ibuprofen at the halfway point.  I had a place to put my gloves and headband when I took those off.  Plus I could put away the water bottle I kept picking up.  And I carried my phone, lip balm and sunscreen.  The bag was great and I noticed lots of others with all sorts of bags and fanny packs as well. Around 34k I heard from Sarah.  They were out of church and on their way.  I was still feeling okay but definitely glad to be within 10k of the finish.  They were planning to see me around 38k so that kept me going.  I kept texting my location and heard from Tom around 36k.  He was at 30k so wasn’t far behind (apparently his corral started over 30 minutes after mine so more of a delay at the start than I had). Although I knew I was going to finish, I was starting to slow…a lot.  So when I heard from Sarah that they couldn’t get to me in time at 38, I knew I wasn’t going to get that mental jolt I was needing at the end.  What a surprise it was, then, to hear they were near a band at 41k.  It was exactly what I needed.  I handed them my bag (kept the phone) and they handed me water and…the birthday hat.  It was the longest kilometer I do believe I have ever experienced and absolutely the most tired and slow I have ever been at the end of the race.  Typically you can give yourself a burst of energy knowing you are so near the finish.  No burst.  Just an attempt to keep the feet shuffling.  I got quite a few “Happy Birthdays” and “Joyeaux Anniversaires” and that was very nice.  I was so, so happy to be finished although I think I walked another 2k just to get through the finish area…ponchos, t-shirts, nutrition, medals, tent after tent after tent and spectators that felt it necessary to go against the flow of runners.  Idiots.  Sorry. I told the kids to stay put and watch for Tom but by the time I reached them, he sent Sarah a text saying he had been finished for ten minutes!  So we walked back to our meeting place and then walked home.  Yes, this required about 45 minutes more walking.  Just what we needed.

Since it was my birthday, I had originally hoped we would have enough time to go to Notre Dame and up into the bell towers…something we haven’t done yet and follow that up with our favorite ice cream.  And while the the sunshine was appealing, sitting down was even more appealing.  So we opted against an outing (it was already 3:30 when we got home and we weren’t really interested in rushing to get cleaned up).  So we spent a lovely time relaxing, opening gifts, munching on some recovery bread (of course!), getting foot and hand massages from the kids and enjoying a huge taco salad for dinner.  Yes, this is our typical Sunday dinner but I love it so much that I didn’t mind that being my birthday meal, too.  I had a yummy raspberry chocolate pot for my dessert, candle and all. So the lack of real training plans, the over-indulgence in breads, a tapper that lasted more like six weeks and training by running to bakeries got me to the finish line.  And since that was really the only goal I had in mind, it worked.  No regrets. Don’t expect any Destination posts for the rest of this week.  But I’m sure there will be some in my future. Thanks for all the well wishes, cards, Facetimes and birthday notes.  45 is going to be another great adventure.  I can just feel it.

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Categories: Destination Runs, Kelley's Kilometers | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Destination: Finish Line

  1. Linda

    Happy Birthday, Kelley! Congratulations! I just said to my friend last Saturday, I wonder when the Paris marathon is. What an amazing way to spend your birthday. Sounds like you were blessed with good running condotions. I want to hear what Tom thought of it too. The photo of you & Elizabeth is priceless. Enjoy a slow & peacful recovery. You deserve a nap.

  2. Colleen Hartman

    Loved the play- by -play of the race. What a way to spend your birthday! BUT I didn’t see any pictures of sheep left to graze and act as lawn mowers in one of the parks. :>) Just heard about that on Good Morning America. Hugs

  3. you’re my hero. thanks so much for sharing and have a relaxing week!

  4. Pat Foote

    Bonne anniversaire, Madame, un peu en retard. J’en suis desolée. J’aime beaucoup votre parapluie nouveau. Tres joli. Votre famille est tres gentille. Vous auriez besoin de votre cadeau ici en Iowa aujourd’hui. Il va pleuvoir.
    Quand est-ce que vous retournez a les Etats-Unis?

  5. Karen Hoffmeier

    Loved all of the pictures and hearing the details of the race. Needless to say, I am just very proud of you and happy to be your mom. I’m sure you will be blessed with another great year!

  6. Patti and Brian

    The details and pictures are great. I laughed out loud at the urinal picture.

  7. Natalie Conte

    Love it! So did you like the finishers shirt???

  8. Megan

    Adore the hair accessory! What a cool ETSY idea!!!

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