Friday, April 9, 2010

Winding down

Well of course our visit has come to an end too fast too soon but that's the way it goes. It's Friday afternoon and I've got an hour's peace before Alan joins me for my second run of the day. Lisa and the kids have gone to the farm again to pet the animals and feed some lambs before we pack tonight and return to Charlotte tomorrow. Apparently we have missed an absolute heatwave in Charlotte but it sounded miserable at the same time with the ridiculous pollen count. Literally every one of my runner friends there has mentioned either on Facebook or via their blogs that the pollen count has been horrible. Here on the other hand the weather has been absolutely beautiful for this time of year! I can't believe we have been in Europe for over a week and not once has it rained! Perfect!

So after last week's post I headed out with Alan for my second run of the day after the morning 400s. We headed out from his house and hit some country lanes before heading cross country and up some huge climbs to the tops of hills from where the views were stunning. I forget how beautiful this area is. We ran for an hour and 15 at a nice and easy pace across fields, golf courses, down canal paths, it was a great recovery run. Alan has just got into triathlons in the past year and it was great to catch up and share each other's passion for the outdoors and endurance training!

A quick shower and a few beers later, Lisa and I took a well earned break from the kids and headed into town to see what it had to offer. A few nice local brews were consumed and I caught up with a few old friends and also had a couple of pints with my brother and his wife who had also gotten an evening away from their daughters!

Sunday had originally been a planned rest day knowing that the head was going to be a bit achy from Saturday night and also that this week was going to be a solid week of training but having consumed the largest lunch and dessert (thanks Mum!) in history I felt a bit guilty and burnt a few calories off before dinner with an easy 4 miler.

Monday, Lisa and I went to Paris! Our flight was at lunch time so I was able to squeeze in a few miles before sunrise. We got there late afternoon and wandered around a few of the sights and had a nice relaxing dinner of steak frites washed down with a nice Leffe. Tuesday I rose early and jogged around for 90 minutes or so, soaking in the early morning hustle and bustle of a Parisian morning, ran along the Seine for a while and around the perimeter of the nearest park to our hotel- les Jardins De Luxembourg, where Hemingway was supposed have spent most of his time musing ideas for his latest book. I was able to scope out a nice route for the tempo run I had planned for the next morning.

Lisa and I spent the whole day walking around Paris, through the Quartier Latin over the Seine to the Louvre then over Place de la Concorde and up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe before a quick lunch stop and on to the Eiffel Tower where we stayed for a couple of hours soaking in some rays (weather was gorgeous)and reading in the gardens before heading on the Metro (at last!!) to the Musee D'Orsay and our fill of culture and Impressionist paintings. Then back to the hotel and some rest before dinner and an early night.

Another early start for me the next day for my tempo run in the Jardins. Considering the 12 miler the day before followed by at least ten miles of walking, the run went pretty well. As I was stretching following the run a double confidence booster as some French guy who I had passed several times during my run (my route involved five circuits of the park) joked with me whether he should look out for me on Sunday (the day of the Paris marathon). A) I was able to understand him (back in the day I was a pretty fluent French speaker but that has gone to waste since leaving College!) and B) I was obviously looking good running round the park haha!!

Some souvenir shopping and Notre Dame filled up our morning before we headed to the airport and back to the girls who we had missed dearly but at the same time had made sure we enjoyed every moment of peace we had had in Paris as it is no doubt going to be a long time before we get that sort of opportunity again!

An easy run yesterday back on home soil followed by a decent workout on the roads this morning (see R2W link for data) and that brings us to the present and I'm heading out in a while for another hour 15 with Alan. As usual when away from work and stress I have got a great week of training in and will need to keep the momentum going as I get back to Charlotte life next week. 84 miles since last Thursday!

Thanks for reading, next post will be from home!

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