Cobbles & Red Wine - Sarah’s Paris Marathon Plan: Sub 3:35



  • Afternoon RacingJules!

    Is that your Paris number and medal in your profile picture? Fantastic!! Congratulations on your fantastic time – glad you were exactly on target too!! Really lovely to meet you in the start pen! Seems like SUCH a long time ago now!

    I loved having all the bands on the route ... had my earphones but didn’t listen to any music I’d brought as the bands were so good!! Did you see any good signs too?

  • Afternoon Buffy!

    Thank you so much!! There is a post coming ... but I’m trying to chop down the waffle as quite frankly it will put you to sleep!! It was SUCH an eventful weekend and so much happened and I had such a great time! Am totally in love with Paris now too!!

    How are you feeling? Have you managed to kick the last of the cold? I came off the last antibiotic the Thursday before the marathon ... phew! And the cold and sinusitis hasn’t come back either which is a relief!! Although now ... it wouldn’t matter!! image

  • Afternoon AbigailLucy!!

    Thank you ever so much!! Was such a great weekend – I was gutted that I hadn’t had much of a chance to sightsee around Paris, but then I thought hang on ...

    .... I’ve run 26 miles through the streets and passed loads of fab things including through the Place de la Concorde, Place de la Bastille, Chateau de Vincennes, Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower and of course the Arc de Triomphe!

    So actually didn’t do too badly on sightseeing!! image

  • Afternoon BoDuke!!

    Thank you very much!! You were absolutely right too – wow! What an amazing experience!! It was a crazy, beautiful, enthusiastic and atmospheric marathon!! Would definitely, definitely recommend it to everyone! I’m still on Cloud 9 now!!

  • Afternoon MCS!

    Thank you! Yes – I think Marathon Coach Steve had his work cut out this year! image What a fantastic experience though – amazing support from here on the thread and training from the experts – wow.

    Can’t believe the marathon was only on Sunday though ... it already feels weeks ago!!

  • Afternoon Richard Langton!

    Thank you very much!! It was so nice meeting you on Sunday – even if we were both wearing blue ponchos! image And well done on your great time!! It was such an amazing day, wasn’t it? And the route was fantastic! One of the nicest races I’ve run! I hope you had a big celebration afterwards!

    How did you find the route?

  • How excited are you!!! image

  • Afternoon Boduke!

    Um ... I might be a TAD over-excited! image I've got the race report ready to post but want to pop the pictures on with it (as have some fab ones!) so waiting to hear whether the site will let me pop them on!

    C'mon RW Towers!

  • RRR!!! I can't wait any longer!!! You have to post it NOW image

  • Hee hee Angela!! It won't be long!! I've emailed to ask about the pics so hopefully we'll be good to go very shortly!! image

    ... Excited much? image
  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    Yes, make it happen. It's nearly 4pm so if it's like your usual mammoth efforts we're going to need several hours to read through it! I'd like to be at least half way through by tea time.

    Don't know how you coped yesterday being denied internet access image

  • Very excited!!! and you're being mean and havent even updated your blog yet... I've had to sit here reading my own.... I did see a FERRET  on my 20 miler on Sunday image

  • PC -PC - ✭✭✭

    Hi RRR,

    How did I find the course ?  It was on a map !

    The course was great, it got narrow because the spectators moved in so in some places I ran behind them.  The spectators were great, very enthusiastic.  I was milking it whenever I saw a Union Jack, I would wave and get their attention then they saw my name and cheered me louder.  One sign read, "Run, there are Zombies behind you".

    You learn from mistakes and I've learnt a lot, like I have to look after my legs ! I need to learn how to run ! I saw on the video, a part from being very scruffy, I swing my hands across my body instead of back and forth.

    I'm eager to get back out there, even re-run the course or an autumn marathon just to prove to myself that I can 'run' a marathon but this would be stupid as I need to build up slowly.  There is a big difference between stupidity and bloodymindness !  I don't know when my next marathon will be, I hope to be on holiday next January/February so this rules out a spring one.  Perhaps May 2014, certainly Autumn 2014.  Paris 2015 ?  It is strange to think so far out when I don't even know what I'm having for tea tonight.

    I see that 2 creme eggs have already met their fate as you did have 17 in your freezer before Paris.  I was refering to Bacon Steve about the high heels as he has a secret which he is refusing to share. If Coach Steve wears high heels that's another story !

    All the best.


  • Malcs I'm starting to think RRR hasn't even written a race report... I think she's gorging on creme eggs... What dya reckon?
  • Hi RRR

    I am more than a little annoyed at that restuarant but hey all is well that ends well! Really well done and all the very best.

    Just one last thing can you make sure you do follow up on a possible gluten allergy?

    Keep running (but make sure you have a wee rest first!)

  • Ok guys ... Looks as though pics aren't going to be allowed so I'll add a linky in for pics. Will get post up first thing tomorrow morning ... With this space ...!!
  • *watch ... Not with!! (Marathon brain ....!)
  • nearest I get to wearing high heels are marathon trainers - prefer low heels on racing shoes though. Luckily you were much quicker in the race than doing your race report! do it mile by mile..then we can the first few miles this week!

  • PC -PC - ✭✭✭
    Good morning sleepy head, I hope this report is worth the wait.image
  • The suspense is killing me!! image
  • Morning Malcs!

    Hope you’ve got a STRONG cup of coffee and some pro-plus ...! Post is on it’s way!! Had internet access on phone at home but laptop working from dongle. Hugely irritating and horribly slow!

  • Morning Angela!

    It’s on it’s way ...!! A ferret? Dear God, WHERE were you running??!

    Scoffing crème eggs? Me? Of course! image

  • Morning  PC91

    It was very narrow wasn’t it! Absolutely gorgeous course though!

    Ha ha!! Love that sign – I didn’t see THAT one!! Would have made me run quicker!! image My sister (RunningForChocolate) got me a running band printed up which says “Zombies Don’t Make Excuses” – always makes me laugh!

    Might be interesting to work on form. Steve Marathon Coach has told me off for hunching my shoulders too much when I run and I have a tendency to lean back a bit too. So I also have some things I need to work on in the next year – hopefully sorting these out will make us a bit quicker and less injury prone!

    Bacon Steve wears heels? Well he hid it well at Paris!

  • Morning Ruth McKean!

    The food was delicious though! So I can’t complain at all! ... and it worked!! image

    I’ll follow up on the gluten allergy. I’ll make a docs appointment over the next few weeks. I’ll probably have this week as rest but I’m desperate to go for a run already!! I’ll take it very steady though – probably do a reverse taper.

  • Morning Steve Marathon Coach!

    Well ... it practically IS mile by mile ... I’ve cut it down loads but there’s still horrendous amounts of waffle ....!!

  • OK guys ... I'm about to post.

    I can't get the pictures on as RW still has a bug ... however you can pick these up here:  Sorry to have to give you a different link but I've put in brackets where the pictures should go so you've got a reference point!

    Also confession time ... this post is about the Friday and Saturday BEFORE the marathon. Both will be up shortly though so just skip the first if you like!!


  • Friday & Saturday before the Marathon

    I first realised I might have slightly overpacked when I had to for help to get the suitcase out of the car ... However I did feel that 3 sets of running gear, huge amounts of snacks ... and a 3 pack of crème eggs WERE essential items. Friday may have been a rest day but I was DEFINITELY counting getting the suitcase up  and down the tube station stairs as cross training.

    I arrived at St Pancras ... 2 hours early. I was so worried about being late that I was now ridiculously early. But it seemed a good excuse for an early lunch. A 10.30am kind of early lunch. But breakfast had been 5 hours ago ... and I’m supposed to be carb loading, right?

    I’d promised Ruth Nutritionist I’d have a jacket potato. Most places sell these ... don’t they?

    Walked around St Pancras and found a French-style cafe with little tables and chairs and proper menus called Le Pain Quotidien. Got settled and had a look at menu ... ah. Hadn’t taken proper notice of the name of the place ... A specialist bread cafe. Not entirely sure this was the best option for someone with a wheat intolerance a couple of days before a big race. For the sake of the people who would be running behind me - or using the race portaloo afterwards - I vacated the cafe quickly before the urge to eat overtook me and I started shoving bread rolls into my mouth. 

    Walked around and tried 7 or 8 other cafes. Not a single one within St Pancras sold jacket potatoes - or even potatoes of any description ... except MacDonalds. Wasn’t entirely sure I could count ‘Large Fries & Hot Apple Pie’ as sensible pre-race fuelling and was a little bit scared that Ruth Nutritionist would come and hurt me if I chose this so ended up looking further afield.

    ... And eventually found a greasy spoon cafe. Perfect! Cheap, cheerful and enormous portions. I had a jacket potato the size of my head filled with tuna and sweetcorn. Delicious! And mushrooms on the side. After checking out all those cafes I was feeling a bit peckish ...

    (pic jacket potato)

    Arrived back at Eurostar departures and after a few minutes of panic that I’d been given the wrong time, day or even that that Asics & Runner’s World had changed their minds about inviting me I spotted Tom the photographer (@photosmudger) and everyone else started arriving. Phew! Looked as though I’d be running in Paris after all!

    After drinking lots of (decaf! Ruth, decaf!). I decided to go and find the loo. It was all dimly lit stainless steel, lined with sinks on one side and panels on the other. I followed the lady in front of me down to what I assumed was the entrance of the loos to find I’d accompanied the poor lady into the stall by mistake. Luckily she found it funny. I was mortified and scuttled off to find an unoccupied stall.

    The Eurostar was quick and easy apart from the problem of trying to fit my enormous suitcase into a miniscule luggage rack. I hoped the acceleration on the train wasn’t too fierce otherwise I’d probably see it going the other way down the central aisle. I’d decided to treat the journey as an enforced rest and to sit there listening to my audiobook. However 2 minutes into the journey – due to too much tweeting - my phone battery died. Sulk. I resisted the urge to kick the seat in front of me and demand sweets and looked out of the window instead. However, there isn’t much to see in an underground tunnel.

    Got into La Guardia and straight out into the sunshine to wait for a taxi. Paris was buzzing and mopeds were darting everywhere. It took about 10 mins to get to the hotel and we had literally 5 minutes to drop the luggage in our rooms and dash to the Metro station.

  • We needed to register and pick up our race numbers tonight before it shut in an hour’s time otherwise we’d be waiting for up to 3 hours at the busy expo on the Saturday.

    Got to the station and as Chris spoke fluent French, he got the tickets and Kat handed them out to us. It was like being on a school trip. But without the packed lunch. Several people ran past us and vaulted the turnstiles. The ticket attendant didn’t even blink. We wondered whether it was necessary to pay after all but decided our poor delicate marathon runners’ legs probably shouldn’t be vaulting just before the marathon.

    Through the tiled tunnel and down the steep stairs to the murky platform ... and Kat realised she no longer had her wallet containing her cash, cards and passport. She’d been pickpocketed ... in a group of 16 people and not a single one of us had seen a thing.

    The Metro was busy but we managed to corral one corner of the carriage. We had 30 minutes to get to the expo to pick up our race packs and numbers ... and 12 stops to go ... it wasn’t looking likely. Steve Marathon Coach decided that he wasn’t too keen on this uncertainty and taking advantage of the technology available was timing the station splits. I think he was reasonably impressed with the train driver as he was managing a perfect 1:09 between each station and the visit to the expo was looking more likely. Let down by the final station and we had 3 minutes to get to the expo. Which was 5 minutes away.

    All of a sudden some loud music started up. It was like Muzak but on HIGH volume. Looked down the train and a chap had set up with a stereo and a trumpet! It made conversation impossible, but was nice being serenaded to the expo... definitely made it feel like more of an occasion. Until the trains slowed, and looking through the window, I spotted a train going the other way with an ENTIRE oompah-band in a carriage. Reckoned we’d been ripped off.

    Off the train and into a sprint. Flying up the stairs, skidding around the corners in the station ... and a u-turn as we realised we were going the wrong way. Back around the corner and up more stairs. Flying through the gates and down the hill to Pavilion One. All the doors were locked and runners were streaming the other direction with their race packs as we flew past.

    One by one, I was overtaken by the boys. This didn’t look good. I was supposed to be running a marathon on the Sunday and I’m being out-speeded and out-distanced easily. Twigged I was running flat-out in high heels. That would be why then.

    (pic number 1 expo)

    Got to the expo and an Asics man was holding one of the doors open for us. We flew through and skidded to a halt in a great big hall. There were a row of booths ... all now almost deserted in number order. Showed my convocation which was a medical certificate from the doctor saying I was fit to run and my passport and was given my race pack. Through the picture on the front I could see my name underneath ‘Sarah – RunnyRunRun’. My heart speeded up.

    (pic pick up number 3.30 flag)

    Ambled back to the Metro at a more leisurely pace. Clutching my race pack in case the pickpockets decided to turn over a new leaf in marathon running and mugged me for my race pack.

    (pic me and number)

    All chatting and more relaxed now we’d got our numbers and could relax. Did a headcount and realised we’d lost Steve and Dan the cameraman on the Metro. Did anyone see them get off? Were they being held hostage by trumpet man? Maybe Steve had got so involved in counting the splits he’d missed the stop ... Got to the top of the stairs and they were already there looking smug waiting for the next train.

    Had 5 minutes at the hotel – again literally &ndash

  • Had 5 minutes at the hotel – again literally – before the table booking so we put the phone on charge and dashed out again. The tiny restaurant was 5 minutes walk away down a cobbled side street. We got there and were asked to wait – in the street –for 10 minutes while the restaurant owner persuaded the diners to leave so we could sit down. Nutritionist Ruth had chosen an Italian restaurant which should have been perfect for carb loading. The first course was wonderful ... an enormous plate of rocket salad with mozzarella, hard Swiss cheese and artichoke hearts – delicious! But choosing the main course – in an Italian restaurant without having anything with wheat - caused a couple of problems ... However I decided on veal in a tomato sauce – which seemed to be my only option – with salad and tomatoes. Delicious.

    (pic food I lived on)

    Marathon Coach Steve decided we were going to keep our minds firmly on running and pronounced a DNF on meals not finished. No-one wanted to tempt fate with a DNF so food was finished. I however, confirmed I had in fact produced a negative split – eating the lamb much faster than the salad. Dedication!

    I set my alarm for 7am on Saturday ... which caused me a bit of a pang as the previous day had been so busy – but Runners World & Asics wanted pre-marathon photos of us all on the roof of the hotel with Paris spread out behind us. Couldn’t believe the view from the terrace – it was AMAZING! We could see the Eiffel Tower, the business district rising like Manhattan Island out of the mist and the streets all laid out below us.

    (pic view from hotel terrace)

    Tom the photographer had laughed because he’d checked with the desk clerk that we were ok to use the terrace for half an hour and the clerk had expected some cash for the privilege! Luckily the hotel director had given the go ahead and hadn’t expected anything at all.

    The terrace was on the 7th floor and Shady Ady told us how he had shown his grasp of languages to his wife by pointing at the label on the lift: “Look – Otis means down in French.” Candice wasn’t taken in however and said, “It’s the name of the lift manufacturers, you muppet.”

    Photographs were taken and we each had an interview but I was so excited about the marathon tomorrow that I gabbled and chattered and talked complete twaddle. I think my crowing moment was when I was asked something like “What was the highlight of the campaign?” And I just looked blank then shouted “All of it.” Sigh. I’m hopeless.

    They turned it all around add we had a chance to ask Kate from Runners World some questions. It would have been nice to think that we had some tough questions for her, but Katie had been so amazing and helpful that we couldn’t think of any hard ones at all! Although I did quiz her about when I can upload pics again! Katie answered all the questions and she was so genuinely enthusiastic about our group of 5 runners and how we’ve progressed. At the end of the Q&A she said she’d felt like a Mum! Watching our progress and finally getting us here – to Paris!

    (pic interview rw)

    We had 2 miles on the training schedule so me, Mel, Ady, Alex and Steve all went for a run with Marathon Coach Steve around the streets of Paris. We did a lap of the streets near us and it was just so lovely running in the sunshine. There were plenty of other runners around and we all shouted and greeted each other. It was a real festival feel. On the second lap we decided to take a detour and ended up at the gate of Montmatre Cemetery. Marathon Coach Steve decided to chance it and we made it about 10 steps inside the gate before being chased out again by the securi

  • Marathon Coach Steve decided to chance it and we made it about 10 steps inside the gate before being chased out again by the security guard. Whoops! Luckily he couldn’t catch us.

    (pic graveyard)

    Got back to the hotel and 6 hours of relaxation before dinner ...  decided climbing the Eiffel Tower probably wasn’t what the Target 26.2 team had in mind when they built 6 hours of r&r into the schedule so crashed out in my room. It had been pretty non-stop since we arrived so it was nice to have a bit of down time. And eat Pick n Mix. It was on my nutrition plan ... Nutritionist Ruth said so! (Hooray!)

    Dinner was at an Italian restaurant. Are you seeing a theme? However, we hit a snag. Because it was such a tiny restaurant and it was a dinner for runners they’d put on a reduced menu ... full of pasta! Eeek! Not good for someone who can’t eat wheat before running! We narrowed it down and my only option was a lasagne made with aubergine ... which was absolutely delicious! But unfortunately no potatoes in any forms were available so I had to hope that this would be fine as my final carb loading meal.

    We were on a table with Mel and Sam Murphy. If Sam offers you a cough & cold cure, check what it is first. Apparently one of her friends swears that sticking a garlic clove (Well I hope it’s a clove, not a bulb!) up her bottom as a cure for a cold. Well I suppose it would make you forget about the cold. 

    Walked back to the hotel and set the alarm ... for 5.30am and the final long run.

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