Monday, August 4, 2014

Paris + Running: A Picture's 1000 Words

If you read my last post, you already know that I just returned from Paris. As I was packing for my trip and throwing in some running clothes, I was immediately taken back to my old running route.

When I studied abroad in Paris I lived near Le Parc Monceau, a beautiful, under-appreciated urban neighborhood park. A few times a week I ran there. I ran in clothes I wouldn't be caught wearing on a treadmill now. In my defense, it was 2002 and black or gray cotton yoga pants (fitted through the hip and thigh, flaring below the knee, of course) were in style. I can't do much to defend the cotton t-shirts, except to say I didn't know better. Wearing this get-up, I'd walk out of my Paris flat, where I lived with an old couple, onto Rue du Saint Honore, turn right, and wound through the neighborhood a bit, and enter the park. I'd have, usually, Lincoln Park blaring on my Discman. Hand held. That's how we rolled back then. I'd run a few laps in the park, maybe for 30 minutes, people watching and listening to the city around me, before heading back.

One of the two girls I traveled with last week also wanted to run during our trip, but to save time we decided to run near our hotel, which was much closer to the Tuilleries than to Le Parc Monceau. We ran several laps there, hitting about a 5k distance, before deciding to head back to get cleaned up and start the day. We started back the way we came, but took the wrong side street. Only then did it occur to us that we were two directionally-challenged women in Paris with no money, phones, or maps. Oh, and, Paris is not on a grid. Once you've made a wrong turn, it's never as easy as going around the block.

We headed in what we thought was the right direction, and all told probably only went about 0.3 miles out of our way. In the process of this, we came across a Longchamp store, which my friends had been hoping to find. I took note of the cross streets: Rue Saint Honore and Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George.

Later than day or the next, when it was a good time to do our Longchamp shopping, Jenn and I told Lynn that we could find the store, we'd seen it and remembered the names of the cross streets. Except, Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George was nowhere to be found in our trusty guide book, Paris par Arrondissement. And, naturally, we only remembered about half of the landmarks necessary to get there. Lynn didn't have to say out loud that she absolutely did not trust our memories, and could be heard muttering repeatedly how completely ridiculous the two of us were in our unreasonable inability to navigate.

Finally a gentleman saw us gazing around, clearly not sure where to go, and asked what we were looking for. He pointed us down the street, telling us where to turn. So we did. And you know where the store was?
Let me turn that up for you if you can't read it: Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George
I couldn't resist posing for my victory. But when I look at this picture, I see myself in the middle of a high training volume summer, strong, fit, and all these years later, still discovering new corners of Paris by running. La vie est belle.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Recap, aka, Running All Over the World

This July has been unlike any other. It was my fifth consecutive month running over 100 miles, and I ran those miles all over the western world (I was back and forth between Paris and Florida, which is why I've been AWOL for 2 weeks). Here's how it all went down.

Miles ran: 124.4

# Runs: 17. I had another 4 planned that I did not get done while on vacation. However, we walked a lot while in Paris (miles not counted), so I don't feel bad about this at all.

Favorite runs: Oh, it's hard to choose! There was a 7 mile hill run (accomplished by running a bridge both coming and going) in St. Augustine, where this was the turn around spot.

And I got to run down this gorgeous street

And well, I was in Paris. PARIS! We walked probably 5-7 miles a day, so I wasn't super rigorous about getting my workouts in (plus, if we're being honest, I think I was facing some training burn-out, and the break was good for me). I did run one day with my friend Jenn in the Tuilleries. 

Other notable runs: In July I did 18 mile long runs twice. The first time ended in me being sick. The second time, I started earlier, hydrated more, and ran slower and had zero problems. It felt good to figure out what adjustments I needed. 

Other workouts: As I said, I walked a lot in Paris. And it was magnificent. The old girl is still amazing. I made her promise to stay amazing until I return.
A completely gratuitous photo from inside the Louvre. I didn't realize it until much, much later, but the person standing on the stairs on the left if one of the two girls I was traveling with.

I also swam a few times while in Florida, although that was more playing with my nieces than really exercising, but I'll count it!

Training update: Sweaty! But good. Seven weeks to go until race day!! My paces are certainly much slower than during my half-marathon training, but my miles have increased and I'm feeling strong. The break this past week was welcomed (it was a cut-back week which helps reduce the guilt!), and I think I'm ready to get back to it and see this thing through.
I'm sweating so much it actually looks like I'm crying. Hello humidity!!
House projects completed: I painted the Lady Lounge (the living room) a fabulous green, and we worked to finalized the plans for our office shelving & cabinetry, which is being installed next week. Can't wait! More curtains are coming very soon, as they are very much needed. 

Other lovely things from life: Taking my older son camping for the first time (pic below). Getting to spend time with my nieces and snuggle my new nephew and help their momma around the house. Discovering a sub-area of my field that I honestly did not have a decent grasp on previously. It felt like pulling back the curtain on a new world (#nerdsrule). And, um, PARIS. 
Moonrise in the mountains
Pedis with my nieces!

My trip to Paris was precipitated by an email from a friend a few months ago. She asked if another girl and I wanted to go to Paris, where we all met while studying abroad in 2002 (yep, I feel old after typing that). At first I wasn't sure if I could manage the time off, but after going, I can tell you that I couldn't afford not to take the time off. Seeing incredible art, relaxing, laughing a lot, reminiscing, and forgetting all the day to day stress was beyond therapeutic.

There you have it, my July. Like I said, it was unlike any other July I can remember, and honestly, one of the best.