Running in Bordeaux and San Sebastian

IMG_9480

You guys tired of seeing this running outfit yet?

While we were in Bordeaux, France and San Sebastian, Spain, my half marathon in Dingle was only a couple weeks away. I was never too successful in following a strict training plan while we were traveling, but instead I kind of just ran what I felt like, while adding in some long runs on the weekends. This proved to work pretty well, since I felt good during my race on September 6.

The weather was hotter than I was used to in Bordeaux, and I started my runs too late and felt pretty tired during both of them. But they were still enjoyable, especially because Bordeaux is a beautiful city, and there is a path that runs along the river for miles. My first run was four miles, and my second was eight miles.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.34.37 AM

Some sights I saw:

IMG_9510

IMG_9511

IMG_9500

Jeremy met me after my run and took this. The tower reminded me of Disneyland.

IMG_9505

IMG_9490

A skateboard park right along the river.

IMG_9489

IMG_9488

The guy on the front of the boat is holding a big bunch of grapes. I love wine country.

IMG_9484

IMG_9481

We were only in San Sebastian for two nights, so I made sure to wake up early the morning after we got there to run some miles along the ocean. The beach had been so crowded the day before, but I got out there before anyone had a chance to wake up (except for the other runners, of course. Oh and surfers). Man, this was a beautiful run and will go down in history as one of my favorite places to run, ever. I stopped to take sooo many pictures, but I really couldn’t help it.

IMG_9648

Bird footprints.

IMG_9646

Empty beach.

IMG_9647

IMG_9652

IMG_9651

IMG_9649

IMG_9659

IMG_9660

There’s a path that goes all along the ocean and cliffs.

IMG_9663

IMG_9662

IMG_9667

IMG_9670

IMG_9674

IMG_9683

Running through the old town.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.02.32 AM

I wish that we had spent more time in San Sebastian so I could have had more runventures, but we’ll just have to go back one day.

Go Big Then Go Home: Part 2

IMG_9628

As soon as we got to San Sebastian, Spain, we headed to the ocean. My friend Liz, her boyfriend Alain, Jeremy and I rented an Airbnb in the old part of town, just a couple blocks from the surfing beach in town, Zurriola Beach. It was also the beach popular with the young locals, who ended up photobombing us while we were trying to take a picture:

10592996_10103642448890070_8878825083062693793_n

I figured the water would be warm, but it was real cold… we got in anyway. Before coming to San Sebastian, I read about pintxos (pronounced “pinchos”)  online, which are basically snacks that bars in Basque country make and put out for customers. I didn’t realize that every bar had them, and that they put them out around 10:30am and keep making them until after midnight. Each bar we passed had such a big selection, and some were really impressive. Because every bar has them, they leave the lights really bright inside and everyone just stands around and fills up their plate, and tosses their napkins on the ground when they’re done.

One of our selections of pintxos.

One of our selections of pintxos.

10646947_10103642449389070_8124501580312845493_n

Jeremy waiting to pay for our pintxos.

Pretty much our entire time in San Sebastian was spent laying out at the beach, eating pintxos and walking around the pretty old town.

1547965_10204681934593401_1191903636694154474_o

Hot dogs with a shorts tan.

Hot dogs with a shorts tan.

IMG_9696

The most crowded beach I’ve ever been to.

IMG_9697

IMG_9640

Sunset walk.

IMG_9702

IMG_9718

I’ll have a tiny vehicle of my own one day.

Pretty San Sebastian.

Pretty San Sebastian.

We also went out to eat at a restaurant called La Fabrica. The price for a four-course dinner was very reasonable, and everything was delicious and from the region.

IMG_9720

One of Liz's courses, a squid ink dish, but I forget what else was inside...

One of Liz’s courses, a squid ink dish, but I forget what else was inside…

Another pretty course.

Another pretty course.

After two nights, it was time to head back to Bordeaux so Jeremy and I could catch our flight to Ireland the next day. But since Alain was driving and he grew up in the region, he took us to some really great places on the way back. First we stopped for lunch at a little restaurant on the water in Port de la Hume, France. We got huge platters of super fresh seafood and some nice white wine.

10669213_10204681911552825_8948066686074860141_o

IMG_9735 Then we went to Arcachon and laid out some more and swam in the water.

IMG_9750

Our final stop was at the Dune du Pilat, which is the tallest sand dune in Europe. Once you climb to the top, you can see some really great views.

Starting the climb. It's much steeper and taller than it looks.

Starting the climb. It’s much steeper and taller than it looks.

Still climbing...

Still climbing…

The top!

The top!

Dream team.

Dream team.

You can run down the dunes as fast as you can without feeling like you're going to fall face-first into the sand. It's so fun.

You can run down the dunes as fast as you can without feeling like you’re going to fall face-first into the sand. It’s so fun.

Looking up.

Looking up.

10712915_10103642451075690_6918428997439102614_n

It was sad to say goodbye to Alain and Liz, but we had to get on a plane and head to Ireland so I could run the Dingle Half Marathon and explore Ireland for a week and a half.

IMG_1967

Goodbye France!

Go Big Then Go Home: Part 1

IMG_9581

I had my eye on these pants that were being sold all over Bordeaux for 10 euro. Jeremy finally convinced me to get some.

I can’t believe we’re home (well, in Georgia). Jeremy and I spent last week in Dublin, staying in an awesome Airbnb in a historic neighborhood a little bit outside the city center but close enough so we could walk there, and close enough to the Guinness Brewery that we could smell hops in the air. I haven’t shared pictures from our time in Bordeaux, France, where we met up with my best friend Liz and her boyfriend, Alain, who is from Bordeaux. He drove us all around the region, then we took a road trip to San Sebastian, Spain, for beach time and delicious food from Basque Country. Our theme of the past few weeks was “Go Big Then Go Home,” and that we did.

Our first meal in Bordeaux: cheese for me, oysters for Jeremy.

Our first meal in Bordeaux: cheese for me, oysters for Jeremy.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

La grosse cloche de Bordeaux.

IMG_9512

Alain and Liz. Gah they're cute.

Alain and Liz. God they’re cute.

Liz and I met a few weeks after I moved to Athens, Georgia, when we were freshmen at UGA. We became close that first year, since we both moved there knowing virtually no one and UGA over-filled the dorms and we weren’t assigned any, so we had to live in an apartment complex off campus. We were pretty much inseparable all four years of college and a couple years after, and we were roommates for five of those years. I’m so glad we got to spend some time together in Europe, and can’t wait to travel with her and Alain again. Jeremy and I are actually staying with her in New Orleans for a couple nights next week, so I’m excited about that too.

IMG_9565

Hanging in Sarlat, France.

IMG_9546

Sarlat is this really charming village that is the birthplace of foie gras, and we ate lunch at this really old restaurant and had the entire upstairs to ourselves. They almost closed the restaurant without realizing we were still upstairs, apparently we were having such a good time we didn't know that two and a half hours had gone by.

Sarlat is this really charming village that is the birthplace of foie gras, and we ate lunch at this really old restaurant and had the entire upstairs to ourselves. They almost closed the restaurant without realizing we were still upstairs, apparently we were having such a good time we didn’t know that two and a half hours had gone by.

DSC_5366

Sarlat is a well-preserved medieval village that dates back to the 14th century.

DSC_5381

DSC_5380

DSC_5388

On the way back from Sarlat, we stopped in La Roque-Gageac, a town set on the Dordogne River with houses built into the cliffs.

DSC_5398 IMG_9555On our way to Spain, we stopped for lunch in Bayonne, France, in Basque Country. Apparently there is a chocolate factory there but we didn’t go.

Bayonne, France.

Bayonne, France.

DSC_5403

IMG_9603

Liz and her huge pot of mussels.

Liz and her huge pot of mussels.

IMG_9586

What people in Spain call a tortilla is very different than what we think of. It’s basically an omelette in quiche form. 

DSC_5413

DSC_5410

DSC_5406Our last stop before Spain was Biarritz, France, where we finally got to see the ocean.

DSC_5462

IMG_9634

DSC_5427

DSC_5438Next up: San Sebastian, Spain!

Dingle Half Marathon Race Recap

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

With only a week to spare, I finally accomplished my goal of running a race abroad! On Saturday, I completed the Dingle Half Marathon on the Dingle Peninsula on the west coast of Ireland. I wasn’t expecting much (I set no goals other than to enjoy the scenery and finish feeling good) since my training has been a little sporadic and I never ended up following a plan even though I was thinking about it, but the race went much better than expected, and I was happy to find that I have kept up my fitness better than I thought. That, and the scenery was just so damn beautiful that it was easy to get distracted and the miles went by fast.

Charming Dingle with some ominous clouds in the background.

Charming Dingle with some ominous clouds in the background.

I haven’t written a race report since March (and I’ve had bad race fever ever since, and it’s even worse now after Saturday. I’ve been googling races like crazy) so I feel out of practice, and I’m not one of those people that can recall a race mile-by-mile. I’m actually really impressed when people can do that; I usually zone out or forget which mile stuff happened at. But here I go.

Pre-Race

Jeremy and I flew into Dublin from Bordeaux, France on Thursday (we spent a few days in Bordeaux beforehand then went to Spain with two friends from home, but that deserves its own post), and rented a car at the airport. We drove to Dingle, which is across the entire country. Jeremy drove and picked up the whole driving on the left side of the road thing really quickly.

IMG_9762

Driving across Ireland; Jeremy drove on the left side of the road like a champ.

Driving across Ireland.

We arrived in Dingle in the evening, and met our host and arrived at our perfect little house on the Dingle Bay. I don’t even remember where I found this lady’s email address because she doesn’t have a website or pictures of the house online, but it could not have been more perfect, and since she is just starting out the price was much lower than what she could actually get.

View from our little house.

View from our little house.

On Friday, we went to pick up my race packet from the harbor, and it was super fast and easy. There wasn’t really an expo since it’s a small-town race, but I didn’t mind because I don’t particularly care about expos anyway.

The view from our house.

View from the packet pickup.

IMG_9817

No lines!

We walked around the harbor a bit and I took my traditional pre-race photo.

IMG_9835

IMG_9819 After packet pickup, Jeremy and I drove around the peninsula on the road that the race would follow, called Slea Head Drive. I took some pictures since I figured I wouldn’t during the race.

DSC_5481

DSC_5492

DSC_5502

DSC_5491

Needless to say, it was beautiful and I was getting pretty excited about running the course. There were lots of sheep and cows along the way, mixed with ocean views, cliffs, and countryside.

That evening, we took it easy. I had a lot of bread and a small salad for lunch, and then soup for dinner, which worked out for my race in March so I replicated it this time. I stretched some and wore my ProCompression socks, and laid out my stuff.

IMG_9810

 

My stretching view (I'm wearing the slippers my mom brought for me when we met up in France a couple months ago).

My stretching view (I’m wearing the slippers my mom brought for me when we met up in France a couple months ago. You can’t really see them but they are awesome).

Definitely forgot a sports bra.

Definitely forgot a sports bra.

The Race

The race didn’t start till 9am Saturday morning, which was great. We were only about a five-minute walk from the start, so I had a nice and relaxing morning. I’m not a good sleeper in general and the night before a race can be notoriously bad, but I slept really well the whole time we were in Dingle. It was definitely the best sleep I’ve ever gotten before a race (and our entire trip so far, I’m pretty sure). I set an alarm for 7am but I never actually need alarms to wake me up, and got up around 6:30. I ate some porridge (we thought it was oatmeal when we bought it) and a banana and a cup of coffee. We left the house at 8:30am, and I didn’t use the bathrooms before the race since the lines were long and I didn’t feel like I needed to. I got in the corral (there were no waves) and realized I was kind of close to the front after seeing how many people were behind me. The race started right on time, and at 9am we were off.

photo

The starting line, seen from the opposite side of the corral.

The problem with starting so far up in the corral was that everyone was running faster than I was planning, but I didn’t realize it. After seeing my time of 9:04 for the first mile even though I thought I was going much more slowly, I worried that I would screw myself over if I didn’t slow down. But I didn’t like getting passed by a bunch of people, so I kept up my pace. At around mile 4, I saw some portapotties with no lines and figured I should stop since I had to pee pretty badly, and it would be good to get away from the faster people so I didn’t hit a wall later on. This was the first time I’ve stopped to use a portapotty during a race. I didn’t think it would affect me by much, but I think I may have been able to PR if I hadn’t stopped. But that’s okay, I didn’t know at the time how strong I would feel later on.

IMG_9875

Seen on the course.

I ended up taking some pictures along the way, which really helped me mentally. For some reason it gave me a big boost of energy whenever I did, and it was actually pretty fun. During the first few miles, I was staying on the left side of the road to avoid crowds. A nice older Irishman sought me out to let me know that I should stick to the middle of the road since it was slightly slanted on the side and it would hurt my legs later on. I thanked him and moved to the center. My left quad ended up kind of hurting at around mile 10 and I realized I was on slanted road again. I moved to the middle of the road and the pain went away. I thanked the man in my head again.

Tiny runners on the cliff.

Looking backwards at the tiny runners on the cliff.

IMG_9941

Mile 10 marker.

I only stopped to walk twice, and for only about 5 seconds (if that) each time. I learned from my past half marathons that if I’m really feeling tired, I should stop and compose myself for a few seconds, and pick it back up. This worked, and the second time I stopped to walk on a hill, an older Irishwoman tapped me on the shoulder and told me there was a photographer at the top of the hill so I shouldn’t walk. I thanked her, and started running again. Everybody that I talked to on race day was SO nice and really made the whole experience that much better. I took a mocha Clif gel that had caffeine in it around mile 7 I think, and that gave me a much-needed boost of energy. The gels always take me a long time to finish, so I think I wasn’t done with it until a mile or so later.

IMG_9940

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.46.52 AM

Pretty proud of these splits, especially considering I thought I would be running 10:30 miles or so. Mile 4 is when I stopped for the bathroom, and miles 8 and 12 had some killer hills.

I never ended up hitting a wall, and I was able to sprint the last half mile to the finish line. The race finished at a pub, and everyone was already drinking beer. I couldn’t find any water at the end and I was really thirsty. I finally found a few bottles under a table and grabbed one. My race medal broke a few minutes after I put it on, so a volunteer gave me a new one. My Garmin matched up pretty perfectly with the mile markers and I stopped it two seconds after I crossed the finish line, so I knew my official time would be pretty spot on with my watch. I finished in 2:05:45, one minute and 42 seconds away from my PR. I WILL break two hours soon!

The pub where the race finished.

The pub where the race finished.

Post-Race

There were buses waiting to take the half marathon finishers back to Dingle, so I waited in line and ate some snacks, and talked to two really nice people from Ireland that had just run. The bus took about 45 minutes because of how slowly the driver had to go on the small roads, but it was fun because the scenery was beautiful, and we were driving past the full marathon runners so we could cheer them on from inside the bus.

I met up with Jeremy back in Dingle, and he was waiting for me with chocolate soy milk and pretzels. The best.

IMG_9937

Finished!

True that.

True that.

 

I’m usually not that hungry right after a race, but it was different this time. I really wanted something salty and unhealthy, so we got fish and chips, calamari, and mushy peas. It hit the spot.

IMG_9936

We were going to go out to the pubs that night to hear some traditional Irish music and celebrate with all the other racers that had come into town, but I was way too tired and instead sat at our house, drank wine and ate cheese from a local cheese shop, which was made with seaweed. It was really good.

I know I should have been drinking beer since it's Ireland and all, but I had an intense craving for wine and cheese (aka I'm addicted).

I know I should have been drinking beer since it’s Ireland and all, but I had an intense craving for wine and cheese, and I deserved it.

Overall, it was a great race with some beautiful scenery, and I would definitely run it again. The weather was also perfect, it was pretty chilly and windy at the starting line but the wind died down and it was overcast and about 55 degrees and never warmed up. The shirt is also really nice, it’s a long-sleeved performance shirt that has a zippered pocket. It’s pretty big since I went with a unisex medium when registering for some reason, but I still like it.

The only things I didn’t particularly like were the fact that they handed out water bottles at each fueling stop (which were every three miles, which wasn’t that bad for me since I brought my own water), and everybody only took a sip or two and then tossed the rest, so there were basically full bottles of water everywhere, going to be thrown out. I also didn’t like that they didn’t hand out water at the finish line and I had run out of my own.

Oh man, for the first time ever, I took a few good pictures during a race (I actually tried this time). I’m going to buy a picture, I’m thinking this one:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 7.59.30 PM

Or this one:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 7.59.45 PM I swear I was sprinting as hard as I could in this one, but instead I kind of look like I’m la-di-da skipping to the finish line:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.00.07 PM

Anyway, half marathon #5 was really great, and now I’m looking forward to #6, in Santa Barbara on November 8th!

Au Revoir, Paris

DSC_5241

Inside the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine museum.

Jeremy and I are packing up our bags once again, and getting this apartment we’ve been housesitting ready for the owners to come back tomorrow morning. Being in Paris for five weeks has been really great, especially the fact that we’ve remained in one place for so long. As much as I enjoy traveling, it does make me excited about having our own apartment again soon and staying put for a little while (I’m also still trying really hard to find stuff to look forward to instead of being sad our trip is almost over). I took sooo many pictures (obviously) and I haven’t posted a bunch of them, so I figured I’d do that here, in no particular order.

Like I said, I love these buildings.

Like I’ve said before, I love these buildings.

I'm going to miss having this park in running distance.

I’m going to miss having this park in running distance.

Our last meal out in Paris. Of course it had to be cheese.

Our last meal out in Paris. Of course it had to be cheese.

We also had to get one last Nutella crepe, even though it was raining.

We also had to get one last Nutella crepe, even though it was raining.

We walked through Montmartre and I brought my nice camera out finally:

DSC_5331

DSC_5323

A vineyard in the middle of Montmartre.

DSC_5341

DSC_5307

DSC_5318

View from the Musée de Montmartre et Jardins Renoir.

Street art in the Marais.

Street art in Le Marais.

Inside Galleries Lafayette.

Inside Galeries Lafayette, the craziest department store ever.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

On the roof of Galeries Lafayette.

On the roof of Galeries Lafayette.

Me and Frimousse the dog, who I will miss.

Me and Frimousse the dog, who I will miss.

Another one of Frimousse. I'll miss the other dog Leo too, Frimousse is just so photogenic.

Another one of Frimousse. I’ll miss the other dog Leo too, Frimousse is just so photogenic.

From Rue Crimieux.

From Rue Crimieux.

Outside the Pantheon. Heh.

Outside the Pantheon. Heh.

Looking straight up like fall over here.

Looking straight up like fall over here.

The market I'd run by in our neighborhood.

The market I’d run by in our neighborhood.

I love this street in Le Marais.

I love this street in Le Marais.

Outside the Louvre.

Outside the Louvre.

Thanks to Emmeline, we knew to get macarons at Pierre Hermé.

IMG_9119

 

IMG_9120

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

DSC_5225

 

Watching kids push sailboats at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Watching kids push sailboats at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

 

We walked by the Hotel de Ville one night, which usually looks like this:

HotelVilleParis

[not my picture, source]

but this night there was a big celebration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris during World War II. Not sure if this video will portray it well, but it was really cool.

 

I will miss you Paris!

Crossing off Paris Bucket List Items

photo-8 copy 14

Walking dogs and eating baguettes. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Our time in Paris is coming to an end. Our five-week housesitting assignment is up on Thursday, when we’ll get back on a train and head south to Bordeaux to meet up with one of my best friends Liz and her boyfriend and drink some good wine, which I’m really excited about. Jeremy and I had been looking forward to this assignment in Paris all summer, and now it’s about to be over. We’ve spent the last week crossing off items on our list of things to do while here, and we’ve been doing a pretty good job. Here are some of our successful Paris bucket list item completions:

Run With a Running Group

This was a personal bucket list item, and I have successfully joined Let’s Run Paris for three runs so far. I did 9 miles last Saturday and then a 10k with them on Monday (which you can read about here if you’re so inclined), then this past Saturday joined them for a little over 13 miles.

How I fueled the night before.

How I fueled the night before.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.11.04 PM

The route took us all around Paris, and into the Bois de Boulogne, which I had been wanting to check out.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

Pictures from the Let’s Run Paris Facebook page:

1470198_10204619975449809_1375173484559066091_n

10629825_10204619975689815_4855632965833626467_n

Post-run at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Post-run at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

As we got into the Bois de Boulogne and passed a water fountain, I had been having a nice conversation with a woman wearing a Surf City Half Marathon shirt (which I’m pretty sure I’m running next February), and I didn’t stop to refill my handheld water bottle that was half empty. HUGE mistake. We were only about six miles into the run, and I ran out of water with a few miles left. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thirsty. There are fountains around the city and I thought for sure we would run by one. Unfortunately we never did, and I think this affected me the day after, and I felt lightheaded and dizzy all day, despite trying to replenish my fluids immediately after finishing the run and the rest of the day. I’m still feeling a bit lightheaded today and it’s raining, so I think I may skip the 10k with the group tonight. I feel like I’m in good shape training-wise for my half in a couple weeks, and I don’t want to risk doing anything weird to my body. But other than that, the thirteen miles were great, and I never really felt all that tired. I joined the 7 min/km group this time around, which was a good decision. It was an easy pace and I could have a conversation the whole time. The group leader even complimented me after saying how well I did and how much energy I had the whole time. Hooray! And I haven’t felt any soreness or anything since.

Jeremy met me after the run with pretzels, chocolate milk, and Powerade.

Jeremy met me after the run with pretzels, chocolate milk, and Powerade.

Recovering with some ice block things I found in the freezer.

Recovering with some ice block things I found in the freezer.

See the Eiffel Tower Sparkle

Jeremy and I hadn’t been to the Eiffel Tower up close at night yet, so we set out one night to do just that. We didn’t know at what time it would sparkle, but we got lucky and were at the Trocadero taking pictures right at 10pm when it happened.

photo-8 copy 20

photo-8 copy 3

 

Why is that video so big?!

photo-8 copy 10

photo-8 copy 8

Stand on Kilometre Zero

After dinner one night, we took a walk to Notre Dame, hoping to find the Kilometre Zero plaque on the ground, marking the center of Paris. Somehow we found it and it wasn’t covered by tourists or street performers.

photo-8 copy 5

photo-8

Notre Dame at night.

"I'm sad because I don't want to leave Paris. And my hair is crazy."

“I’m sad because I don’t want to leave Paris. And because my hair is crazy.”

Have a Date Night

Specifically, eat the cheese plate at Restaurant Astier. With all the delicious restaurant options in Paris, it was hard to choose a place for a nice date night. But after looking at David Lebovitz‘s reviews and reading about this insane cheese spread, we had to go. It was a four-course meal, with cheese being the third. They put it on your table and you take what you want (and can fit in your stomach), then remove it and bring it to a different table. We were the first ones to receive it that night, so we had the whole plate to choose from, although I’m sure they replenish the cheese when it runs low.

IMG_9110

IMG_9093

IMG_9099

C’est cheese.

All of our courses were delicious, but this cheese plate will go down in history as the most glorious thing put in front of us.

We had a second date night at a restaurant called Les Papilles, which was also an epicerie and wine shop. The four-course menu changes every night, and there are no other options than what the chef has prepared. I really love this, and wouldn’t mind if all restaurants did this.

The cute yellow Les Papilles.

The cute yellow Bistroy Les Papilles.

The star of the night: a green bean soup to be poured over peas, bacon, creme fraiche, and more.

The star of the night: a green bean soup to be poured over peas, bacon, radishes, creme fraiche, and more.

Second course: pork roast with this insane sauce/gravy and creamy polenta on the side.

Second course: pork roasted with apricots and with this insane sauce/gravy and creamy polenta on the side.

The pretty blue cheese and honey course.

The pretty blue cheese and honey course.

Dessert was panna cotta with strawberries that was delicious, but I didn’t get a good picture.

Side note, this building was across the street from the restaurant and I thought it was really cool.

Side note, this oceanography institute building was across the street from the restaurant and I thought it was really cool.

Sunset Picnic on the Seine

This one was at the top of my list for a while, and it was great. We brought a bottle of wine, got some sandwiches from Mozza and Co. food truck and had ourselves a sunset picnic. Even though it was chilly, there were tons of people out, and the police drove around in a tiny truck and handed all the picnickers trash bags with a big smile and a “Bon appétit!” Man, Parisians know how to picnic. I wish I could have gotten pictures of people’s food and wine spreads.

photo-8 copy 12

photo-8 copy 11

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Visiting Rue Crémieux 

After reading Messy Nessy Chic‘s post about it, Jeremy and I made it a point to visit this little colorful road near Gare de Lyon. It is really easy to miss. But we walked down it after having some wine and cheese at a bistro nearby, and it was really charming.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

Phew, I think that’s it for now. Could I make these posts any longer? Paris is just filled with so much cool stuff that I can’t stop taking pictures!

Let’s Run Paris

A couple months before arriving in Paris, I started looking for a running group on Meetup.com since we’d be here for a good chunk of time. There were two, and one of them took August off for vacation, so Let’s Run Paris was the winner. Like I said in my last post, I’m pretty shy in these types of situations, but I knew if I didn’t go I’d regret it, so off I went on Saturday morning. Jeremy and I left the house super early to make sure we wouldn’t be late for the meeting near the Jardin du Luxembourg. The only other time I’ve been to the gardens it was packed with tourists, so it was a nice change when there were barely any people there so early in the morning. I took it as an opportunity to take some pictures…

photo-8

 

IMG_9017

 

 

After we killed some time, I headed over to the café to meet the group. Everyone was so nice, and everybody spoke English. I talked to a few people who had moved to Paris from America, and after everyone arrived, it seemed like the majority of people there were expats. This also could have to do with the timing; lots of Parisians take August off for vacation. We took a group picture, and then were split up in pacing groups. I had to figure out which group I should run with; the options were 5 min/km, 6 min/km, or 7 min/km, which equals roughly 8 min/mile, 9:40 min/mile, and 11:20 min/mile. I’m in the middle of the latter two groups, but I went with the 6 min/km group, knowing that I could fall back to the slower group if needed. The plan was to do 15K (9.3 miles), running along the Seine, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and more. The pacing group I went with ended up being really big (probably about 25 people?) and we had to stop at a lot of stoplights, but I didn’t mind since it was nice to catch my breath. It was a great way to see the city, it was free, I met some nice people, and I felt great at the end of the run. Success!

Here are some pictures I took along the way:

IMG_9071

IMG_9072

IMG_9068

IMG_9069And here are some from the Let’s Run Paris Facebook page:

10625067_10152292848551186_639932690612211798_n

Pre-run.

 

10557398_10152292851881186_4953858804829582053_n

Running along the Seine.

1604592_10152292853131186_2974061502578447313_n

10628193_10152292849036186_1334901218414896616_n

Taking over the streets of Paris.

10599253_10152292854456186_8061207787236575999_n

My “run happy” face.

Mid-run.

Mid-run.

Stretching at the Jardin du Luxembourg after we finished.

Stretching at the Jardin du Luxembourg after we finished.

Success!

Success!

I had such a good run that I decided to join the group on Monday evening for 10K in a different part of the city. I went with the same 6 min/km pace group, and we ended up going a lot faster than we had on Saturday. I felt great though, running with the group made me run faster and push myself more than I ever do, and it made me realize that I haven’t lost as much fitness as I thought these past six months. I heard that the course was going to be really hilly and I knew I needed to practice those for the Dingle Half coming up, so I was looking forward to that. There were some steep inclines, but it didn’t feel bad to me at all, which gave me some more confidence.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 9.17.11 AM

There were 27 of us in the pacing group this time, and our huge group ran by countless cafés where people were eating and drinking outside and it was funny to see everyone’s reactions as we barreled down the small sidewalks. We even got a bistro waiter in the middle of taking an order to run with us for half a block. Most people looked at us like we were crazy, but we also got some nice “Allons-y!” (“Lets go!”) shouts as well. I saw some new neighborhoods and some really pretty sunset views from Parc des Buttes Chaumont, but I didn’t stop to take any pictures.

IMG_9137

I never run at night and I couldn’t really sleep that night, but it was worth it!

From the group’s Facebook page:

10367558_10101398874371342_7082834562655642912_n-1

This Saturday, the plan is to run 21K (about 13 miles) and I’m a little unsure about it since that would be upping my mileage fairly quickly… but maybe if I join the slower pace group it wouldn’t be as bad. If anyone thinks it would be a big mistake, please let me know!