Was kind of hard to write and send this after all that happened in Boston. Could have been any of us.!!
With an entry to Berlin Marathon for September alongside a strong contingent of the HuRTS squad, I really wanted to get a marathon under my belt and obtain a time that would allow me to start up front in the Berlin marathon. They noted at the time of my entry that with no previous marathon times, that I would have to start at the back of the field. Therefore with Paris line up for April, I thought that this was the perfect run to debut in a marathon as well as go out and grab a time for Berlin.
The goal was initially 3 hours, however since arriving in Luxembourg I have been training consistently and had opened up in March with a couple of low 35min 10k races in terrible conditions. Therefore, I thought that this warranted lifting the bar to a 2.45/2.50 target. Thus the plan was to go out and run at 3.55-4.00per km , in order to allow for some fatigue in later stages to reduce me to 4-4.10per km and I should still be on target.
Getting to the start line from the hotel was pretty straight forward. I managed to get there in perfect timing as I arrived and was lined up within 5 minutes of the gun. I was in the preferred section, thus only had to wait 23 seconds prior to crossing the mats.
I said to myself to enjoy this run and take it out easy and appreciate running down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees (Champs) during the first couple of km. I must say, that it was amazing just to take off on closed roads down the Champs and I just ran the first few k with a sense of being overwhelmed with where I was and what I was doing, thinking to myself “this is what it was all about”
Running down the Champs, rounding Concorde and then up along side the Louvre in the first few km ( where I wanted to run a slow as possible), had me averaging at about 3.57 pace and I felt that I could go no slower. Any slower would have been harder kinda of feeling. Bands and dancers galore were out in the streets which I made effort of applauding at every stage. We then past the Place de la Bastille and made our
way to the Chateau de Vincennes located at the 12km mark. The first 6-7 miles I felt went very well and I hit the 12km marker already nearly 2 minutes up in 46 minutes.
Knowing that I was maybe going to quick I thought about pulling the pace back but since I was enjoying the run, the company, and was at this stage feeling very comfortable running at 3.45-3.52 pace per km, I decided to rock on.
Coming out of the park and back into the town was special with again meeting the crowds in the town and knowing that we were headed for the half way stage, which I hit in 1.21.30. Again I knew that this was way ahead of race plan, but I was feeling too good and just kept going.
We then continued and past Notre Damn, Musee D’Orsay, and the Eiffel tower taking us up to the 30km mark. This stretch was nice for the scenery however it was annoying at times as you ran down into one tunnel and up out of another time and time again, those little inclines where starting to take their toll on me and by 32km I started to feel the pace drop off. From 32km to 38km I gradually slowed off progressively from a 3.55 pace to about 4.05 pace, and then cramps started to set in and I then thought I could be in trouble.
When we entered the Park for the final 5k, there was not many spectators to shout you to the line (compared to the city) and I had to slow to a pace that prevented the onset of cramp. This was annoying as I knew that I was fit enough to run faster, however I knew that I had to manage the cramps so that they did not worsen. I slowed to a 4.35 on the 38th K, took in some water and my emergency Gel, before being able to gradually return to pace at around 4.05/4.15per km to cross the line in 2.50.40 by the Arch.
I was briefly annoyed not to go 41 seconds quicker for a sub 2.50, but once I took things into perspective considering this was my first marathon, I was happy that I had set a good foundation for Berlin and finished a Marathon injury free..I thought that there was allot of positives to take out of it and I can now target a sub 2.45 in Berlin.
At the finish I was well looked after, meeting Rosalind and Amelie (wife and daughter) for recovery drinks and massage.
All up, I would defo recommend the Paris Marathon to anyone and I will think about doing it again next year. I think that I could get addicted to these marathons, but after Berlin, focus looks like it will turn to Brazil Ironman.