Sunday, 26 April 2015

Paris in the Springtime

I am still on a high from our weekend in Paris for the Paris Marathon, not just from completing the marathon but I was so inspired by being in Paris in the Springtime. Myself. Gavin and eight of our family and friends spent a long weekend staying in Bastille in the centre of Paris.

We were typical tourists, wanting to see as much as possible during our short getaway.On the Friday we visited the Salon du Running at Porte de Versailles so that I could hand in my medical certificate and collect my bib to run the marathon. We then went out for a burger in the evening in a TGI's style restaurant close to where we were staying.

On the Saturday I did not want to do a lot of walking as needed to rest my legs ready for the race so Gavin and I got on one of the Big Red Buses outside the Notre Dame and we literally sat on it for about 3 hours just relaxing and admiring the sites around Paris.  This was my outfit of the day.  I wore a really casual, comfortable ensemble consisting of my Mom Jeans, Converse and this warm, cozy long cardigan from Topshop which is just perfect to throw on over everything.

The Notre Dame

In my opinion the Notre Dame is one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris and it looked absolutely stunning during our city break.  We did not get a chance to queue up to go inside the monumental building but we did get to admire it from the banks of the Seine and we stopped for a spot of lunch in a little cafe called the Esmeralda.  It is a cute little cafe literally in one of the streets surrounding the Notre Dame.  We also sailed past the Notre Dame on the Monday as we took the Bateaux Bus boat trip along the River.

Views of Paris from the Seine

On the Monday we took a trip on the Bateaux Bus boat along the Seine. If you visit Paris this is must-do tourist activity to see views of Paris from the River. You get to experience Paris from a different perspective and see the Seine's stunning bridges featuring sumptuous sculptures.  You can pop on and off of the Bateaux Bus at many different landmarks along the Seine.  The full trip takes around 2 hours and is definitely worth doing.

Beautiful Architecture

I absolutely love the architecture in Paris.  It seems that every street you turn the buildings are breathtaking and I am always inspired by the design and detail.  The tall front doors, street cafes on the ground level and glorious windows with balconies overlooking views of the city of Paris are the signature of Parisienne architecture.

I fell in love with Paris during our trip this April  I found the City so relaxing and inspiring and we will certainly be returning next year.

Have you ever been to Paris in the Springtime?
Are you planning a trip to Paris?

Love Laura xx

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Paris Marathon 2015 Review

This time last week I had completed one of the proudest achievements of my life so far - the Paris Marathon.  To beat the post-marathon blues I thought I would share a Paris Marathon review and a few of my memories with you that I will cherish forever.

The Paris Marathon 2015 was my very first marathon.  I set off for Paris on the Friday travelling on the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet with my support crew of friends and family. We arrived in Paris at lunchtime and took our luggage to our accommodation which was in Bastille, only a short metro journey from the Gare du Nord train station in central Paris.

Salon du Running - Porte de Versailles

After a quick pit stop, I was really keen to head over to Porte de Versailles for the Salon du Running to hand in my medical certificate, collect my race number and Paris Marathon race goodies.  Before any major city marathon there is usually an expo like this lasting a few days prior to the race which is basically where all the runners can start to absorb the atmosphere, pick up a few freebies and take a look at all the latest gadgets and running essentials.

Going into the Salon du Running and picking up my race number was when it suddenly hit me that I would be running a marathon that weekend!  The names of all 54,000 runners were printed on a wall and you could find your name which was a great idea.There were lots of photo opportunities and loads of exhibitors to peruse.  

Outside the Salon du Running

Cheesy photo background

My name amongst 54k other runners

Race Day

On the day of the Paris Marathon I woke up feeling fresh, if a little nervous.  The previous evening we had all stayed in our accommodation and my brother cooked a delicious spaghetti bolognese (the perfect pre-race carb loading meal) for us all to enjoy together and so that I could have an early night.  

For my Paris Marathon breakfast I had my usual pre-run Ready Brek, cup of tea and fruit smoothie. Before a race it is really important that you do not change your usual routine. Throughout your training you will find what nutrition works best for you and that is the time to experiment, certainly not on race day as you want to be as focused as possible and not having to worry about having an upset tummy or feeling too full/ not full enough.

We set off to the start line which is on the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées and I made my way to my starting pen to prepare for the race.  The atmosphere was fantastic, with so many nervous and excited runners all getting ready to make their way to the start line.  One thing to be aware of at the Paris Marathon is that there are not many porta-loos in the pens before the start line, so there were really long queues. There are lots of toilets along the course but many runners just did a Paula Radcliffe and used the sides of the roads or behind trees!

Runners preparing to make their way to the start line
A surreal experience making my way down the Champs-Élysées to the start line of the Paris Marathon after queuing for the toilet with many others and missing our pen being released - you can see all the kit the runners have left that was keeping them warm before the start

The weather on the day of the Paris Marathon 2015 was really warm and sunny which was great for the spectators but was a little challenging for the competitors. The Paris Marathon race organisers were really well prepared, there were fuel stations every 5km throughout the race with water, bananas and even sugar cubes.  Following these there were also cool-down zones with sponges and water as well as hoses spraying water over the runners to stop everyone from overheating.

Still in good spirits Between Mile 14 and 15

The finishing stretch of the Paris Marathon

Great banners made by my support crew

With my medal at The Arc de Triomphe

My Finisher Tee and Medal

The Paris Marathon 2015 was a fantastic event and the support throughout the race was brilliant.  There were so many bands playing and there was even a DJ and laser lights in one of the tunnels!  The atmosphere was amazing and kept everyone's spirits high. 

The day was one that I will never forget and I am so lucky to have had such superb support from my family and friends who cheered me on at various points around the beautiful city of Paris and also to those who sent thoughtful messages of love and support.  Thank you - you all helped me to make it to the finish line and complete the Paris Marathon!