So let’s start from the beginning. In the beginning I cried – leaving the house alone was emotional. We were always going to do it together yet there I was – alone, just me and my suitcase, and a whole lot of anxiety about navigating Paris AND about running a marathon. (I feel very uneasy in Paris since French is a language that makes no sense to me and I cannot understand even where one word ends and another one starts).
Eurostar trip to Gare du Nord was smooth and uneventful bar a 30 minute delay in departure. An old metro ticket worked once I started my journey to the running expo and that was a relief since the ticket lines at Gare du Nord are ridiculously long. After staring at the metro map for a while I wasn’t a 100% sure of my route but my main aim was just to get out of that awful station. Once I was on my way (and thankfully in the right direction) I was able to figure out the rest of the journey without a problem.
Running expo was quick – I handed over my medical certificate, it was stamped with something that probably said “approved”, then I picked up my number, my goodie bag (that had lots of useful information but no actual goodies :| – pistachios do not count) and a race timing wristband. I bought two tops after being annoyed to see that the men’s stuff was much cooler and much more varied than the women’s.
Then I went to my hotel because I was tired and hungry and just needed to lie down and gather my thoughts and my feelings.
At the hotel I inhaled the sushi I had brought along and some of the sweet potatoes in the thermos (I travelled with my own food, I like to be prepared :). After leafing through the marathon info booklet I went for a walk to buy bottled water – I brought my own food, I wasn’t going to risk it by drinking tap water in a strange country :) (I swear I’m not so anal about food in normal situations but the time leading up to a marathon makes people a bit crazy).
In the evening I asked room service to bring me a kettle so I could make porridge at 5:30am and then set out my kit. I hadn’t tried my gel belt yet but I figured it’s just a belt with hoops, how wrong can it go? Well, turns out “adjustable” meant “adjustable to large and extra large, not from large to medium” – my waist is solid and not very little but I had to tie a knot the belt :|. Oh well, problem solved. I popped the gels in, strapped it on, ran from one side of the room to the other and every single gel fell out.
I laughed. And then I tweeted. And then I laughed some more. What a rookie mistake :) Never try/wear/anything new on race day! Everyone knows that yet there I was trying to figure out how to make these gels stay put. Eventually I stuffed 3 of them into the pocket of my capris and decided to just carry the fourth one. Now the problem was truly solved.
I went to bed feeling really tired but of course it took me a few hours to actually fall asleep. The alarm had been set for 5:30. If only I had known that I had made another rookie mistake with the alarm…
To be continued… :)