Bonjour!

5 Mar

This weekend was my first major test. My first chance to show how my training was progressing. Really progressing.

The Paris half marathon.

What a weekend.

Me and Chris were up at 4am to get the 7am train to Paris. A mixture of excitement and nerves. Having never been to France before it was very exciting for so many reasons.

How am I so excited at 5.30am??

How am I so excited at 5.30am??

I decided to treat the run as just another training run but the reality was I wanted to run this non-stop, I wanted to pull in a good time and I wanted to feel like I’d won, this was never going to be “just another training run”.

We spent the Friday and Saturday doing some touristy bits and hanging with some of the Crew. Run Dem Crew love was major this weekend. RDC supports you at the best (and worst of times) but it was a whole other level this time. So many words of much-needed advice and love.

Hit up a party on Friday night. I bumped in to the gorgeous presenter, George Lamb.

I met George Lamb! Gorgeousness

I met George Lamb! Gorgeousness

Saturday we hit some of the tourist spots and generally tried to keep our creeping nerves at bay. There was a tension in the air, broken only by the fact that I had forgotten my jogging bottoms so bought some more but they in fact turned out to be mens long johns!! with that front pocket bit for easy access to the crown jewels. #fail!

We were in bed by 9pm on Saturday night, anxious to get enough sleep to leave us ready and refreshed for the morning.

we were up at 6.45 and outside the meeting point for 8.30 for the group photo and final words of support

The crew ready to roll

The crew ready to roll

Earlier that morning I had tweeted one word “nervous” and before we headed off to our “pens”, like lambs to the slaughter house, a few guys pulled me to one side, gave me hugs and whispered words of super encouragement. It really helped. You guys know who you are, so thank you!

So I dunno if French people time is like BMT but the race did not start at 10am. We were in our holding area until almost 11am. The time was passed with warm up exercises to universally annoying songs such as Gangnam Style. We had a ball!

Lots of hand waving

Lots of hand waving

My buddy during our time in the pen

My buddy, Tahirah and I during our time in the pen

Trying to hold back the nerves

Trying to hold back the nerves

And then we were off. The sun was shining and I was ripe and ready. I started with Tahirah and Charlie and as I passed the start line I had a real “oh Sh*t” moment but I was in it now.

I was determined not to start off too fast, but how did I know if too fast was too fast??? I’d soon find out.

We lost Tahirah after a couple of km. So Charlie and I ploughed on. Pushing each other and chatting when the silence got too much. Checking the other was ok. Too fast, let’s slow it down a bit.

I tried to take a couple of photos using the front facing camera on my phone but it didn’t work haha. I just have shots of my nose and the sky.

We hit 10k just after an hour. Doing pretty much 10min miles. We needed the loo. Found one but there was a slight queue, we didn’t to hang on so off we went again. A while down the road we saw a free toilet. We went for it. Watches paused. When it came to my turn, the door wouldn’t close. Charlie protected my modesty whilst I pee’d in the fastest time ever.

Off we went again. A hill. Nothing I hadn’t come across in training but it seemed to come from nowhere. It threw me for a moment but I pushed through. I was tired at the top. we dropped the pace just slightly and then pressed on.

11km, 12km, 13km and on and one, I know around 15km I was feeling very tired. But I just kept thinking at in 3km more I would be seeing my crew. Cheer Dem Squad are a vital part of RDC. Those who aren’t running, coming down to cheer you on and support you like you’ve never been supported before.

As we approached the 18km marker we talked about how much we needed those cheers. 18km was there, where were Cheer Dem!! OMG what if they had left us, but all of a sudden I could hear a mass of people calling my name, ringing cow bells and complete joy. They were here and they were cheering for us! Gun fingers in the air and smiling like lunatics we ran past the crew and it was alright again. Yes! we were so close now, we could do this!

Being given life by the Cheer Dem Crew

Being given life by the Cheer Dem Crew

We are winners!

We are winners!

So on we went. rejuvenated by love. Between 18km and 20km it seemed to really drag. Like, come on now, surely I’ve run far enough.

20km to 21km got really interesting… What’s that in the distance. Balloons!! it must be the finish……NO! Someone had the bright idea to make an arch of balloons about 400m from the finish. So confusing but I’m glad I didn’t do my sprint finish.

100m to the finish and yet more Run Dem Crew cheering us on. Those who had already finished had come back to see us through. And see us through they did. The end was there… Time for the sprint, lets finish strong! and we were off! Booom, across the finish line like a G!

Couldn't have done it without you Charlie

Couldn’t have done it without you Charlie

Check the bling!!!

Check the bling!!!

Did I really just do this? Half a Marathon, like a race. Not for practice with breaks at traffic lights or a little sit down at 10k.  I ran a whole half marathon.

I’ll admit it, I had a little tear up! high fives and hugs with my running partner. I was so lucky to have her!

my watch time was 2hours 17 mins and 58 seconds, the official time (sadly not taking in to account my wee break) was 2 hours, 21mins and 25secs. I’m happy either way!! Very, very happy.

Job not done though, I still had my Chris to see through the finish line. I had to be there to cheer him on and I definitely had to run him through the finish line.

Seeing him approaching in the distance, I have never felt such love or pride for someone. It was clear he was in pain having had issues with his knees for so long but knowing that he went on and did da ting was just amazing. Lesser people would have quit. Not my king!

A couple that runs together....

A couple that runs together….

Never happier!

Job done, I passed the halfway part of the journey, half marathon race under my belt, time to up that mileage and get ready to run this marathon. 6 weeks to go! Lets do this! Thinking back, it was hard, but at no point did I feel like I really couldn’t go on. I’m ready to keep going. It weren’t easy but it was so doable. Training works maaaaan.

You can watch a video of me going through different check points here. See if you can spot my (trademark) pink headband.

That night, we linked up with all the other crews who are part of the Bridge the Gap family, the guys who just like RDC are a movement in their cities. Paris Running Club hosted an epic party for us.

I’ve met some seriously fantastic people. I have to thank Charlie Dark and all the Run Dem Crew for the amazing support. Cheer Dem Crew, including Clare and Araba for super cheering!  And my King for being so, so inspirational. We did it babe.

This weekend will forever stay in my memory.

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2 Responses to “Bonjour!”

  1. C-Hoolz March 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    like, totally crying!!! incredible, Lee, incredible! but, wouldnt expect anything less! and three cheers for that lion of yours!! cant wait to cheer you on in London town xxx

  2. KJR March 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Well done! Such an inspiration! I’ve seen some of your posts via a friend but today was the first time I read. Think this blog may be the kick I need to shape up. Well done again and thank you.

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