Foulées 12ème 28.06.23
Worried I would sleep through my alarm at 7am I decided to set the smart alarm on my watch. Hoping that it would do what it said on the box and vibrate at the optimum time in my sleep cycle. Therefore waking me gently and not like I felt like I had not woken up due to a nightmare. I’m pleased to say it worked and gently waked me up ahead of my phone’s alarm. I decided not to have breakfast and decided that I would head out to the race and eat on my return. Despite having been granted a slightly later checkout time I would be able to get back have breakfast before 11am and then get a shower, pack and hand in my key card on time. As I lay in bed I did assessments of my legs and feet and they actually didn’t feel too bad. I checked my breathing and that was good also. I finally got up, performed my race morning rituals, packed my bag, left the hotel and headed to Gare du Lyon. I took line 1 to Reuilly Diderot and then line 8 to Liberté which only took 14 minutes and the walk to the Vélodrome Jacques Anquetil was a few minutes’ walk.
It didn’t take long before I arrived at the Vélodrome and walked to a marquee to collect my race number and deposited my bag at the adjacent secured luggage area. I was around a half an hour early so I explored the area, sat in the stands and just soaked up the atmosphere. As I sat I was hoping that I could get up when the time came. It had raided during the night so it was cooler and somewhat fresher than the previous night. With a 9am start and a moderate pace I was hopeful I would complete the course before the sun was high in the sky. I hadn’t researched the course, not through laziness, just that I wanted the whole weekend to be a running surprise. As I looked at the Vélodrome track I saw the finish line but thought to myself we surely could be running up the side of the track. Yes, I was tired and rationality had left me somewhat. I enjoyed watching a coach do a warm up on a stage which I would have loved to participated in but was conserving my energy.
The bell rang and I exited the stand and walked down to the start area which had times to indicate anticipated finish time. I slotted my self into 45 minutes and hoped for the best. The countdown finished and we were off along Avenue de Gravelle, turned left on Route du Bac where I tried to find a rhythm and enjoy the greenery and scenery of the Bois de Vincennes. Here it was a pleasant surprise to see Athaa a runner and skilful photographer taking pictures. I exited the woodland, ran on some gravel and then joined he Route de Ceinture du Lac Daumesnil. This was a nice part of the race, straight, flat and to my left was the Lac Daumesnil a lovely and peaceful body of water. The route joined Avenue Daumesnil, I ran on the pavement and at the end of the road I turned left onto Avenue du Général Laperrine, entered the woods once more, exited onto Avenue de Gravelle. Shortly after around 100 metres I could see the arrow for the finish line in the Vélodrome and kept moving shortly passing the start line. I felt like I was holding on for dear life on the second lap.
On the second I dug deep, saw Athaa again, strained a smile for a photo and as I turned the corner I glanced back and saw Lamine. He looked like he was pushing and I knew that he would pass me considering how tired my legs were. As he neared me I shouted encouragement, we shared a few parallel paces, fist bumped and he pushed on and I hanged on. As he went off into the distance I shouted his name a few times. The familiar aspects of the second lap were comforting and before no time I had reached the turn for Avenue du Général Laperrine. When I reached Avenue de Gravelle I knew that the finish line was a few more paces away. I cautiously turned left onto the path to the Vélodrome and within a few metres my feet were on the track. At that point I dug deep and tried to sprint finish, crossing the line with my hands aloft and relief descending on me almost immediately.
I collected my wooden medal, goodie bag, briefly caught up with Lamine and took some photos. The goodie bag contained a jar of fresh honey and a cereal bar. My legs were tired but fortunately I wasn’t far from Liberté Metro station. I soaked up the atmosphere for a few moments and then withdrew my bag and headed back to my hotel. I am very impressed with the race, which was marshalled by members of SAM Paris 12 an athletics club based in the 12th Arrondisement. There were refreshments on course and the 4 photographers took great photos which are all free. The wooden medal was well designed and has the name of the race on the ribbon. Overall this was a well organised, fun, road closed race which was suitable for beginners through to club runners. It was great to do a smaller format race in Paris. I’m grateful to ProTiming for gifting me the place.
Race day trainers: Dealt very well with the multi terrain course which included paths, gravel and road.
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