Barreling down Rue de Rivoli, crowds on all sides, darting my way in and out of runners from Mexico and South Africa, I didn’t feel nearly as fresh as the last time I ran this stretch during the first few kilometers of the Paris Marathon in 2013. Instead, I was more than halfway through the 2014 Semi-Marathon, huffing and puffing my way against the clock.
The goal? Ideally, 1 hour and 40 minutes, but I was content with anything under 2 hours. It would be a first. The record for the course was 59 minutes and 44 seconds, so my goal was a modest one at best.
Joined by 40,000 runners, I left the Bois de Vincennes feeling good. Really good. Having binged on Rice Krispy treats the day before (gluten free!), I felt full of energy. Training had gone well, the sun was shining, and I had already gone to the little boys’ room three times (once on the fence right by the starting line -- your welcome, onlookers). Things were looking up.