10 reasons to go for a Sunday early morning run in Paris

Reason 1: The early bird/runner gets to view Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro sans tourists…

Reason 2: Ditto for the Louvre…

Reason 3: Just you, the love-locks on Pont des Arts and the serene river Seine…

Reason 4: Car-free Sundays on roads by the river Seine

Reason 5: Having the park (Jardin des Plantes) all to myself…

Reason 6: Getting to enjoy a splendid view of the Notre Dame…

Reason 7: I get to be reminded of just how beautiful Paris is…

Reason 8: Musée d’Orsay, ’nuff said…

Reason 9: No worries about finding a green chair to sit on at the Jardin des Tuileries…

Reason 10: It’s barely 11am and I’m done with my 26km run. The reward is having the  Eiffel Tower before my eyes…🙂 🙂 🙂

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If Iron Nun Can Do It, So Can You

“First, you have to have the desire. Then, once you have the desire, you can become a little bit more daring, and with daring you get determination. And with determination comes the dedication, and then the actual doing. Those are the five Ds.”

The person who said this has competed in more than 340 triathlons, including over 46 Ironman triathlons and countless other races.  What makes up an Ironman triathlon? Swim 3.86 km (2.4 miles), cycle 180 km (112 miles) and then run a full marathon (42.2km or 26.2 miles). No mean feat! Well, guess what? The lady who’s achieved the above is also 82 years old and recently finished the Ironman Canada triathlon in August 2012 with a timing of 16h:32m, setting the world record as the oldest woman to complete an Ironman Triathlon. She’s Sister Madonna Buder, a nun who lives in Washington and has earned the moniker of the “Iron Nun” for her amazing feats.

I think I can safely say that Sister Madonna Buder’s achievements puts many of us who are younger than her by 10, 20, 40 or even 60 years to shame.  She’s my daily inspiration and make that an upsized daily inspiration! To those who think that they are too old or their bodies too weak to exercise or go the distance, throw caution to the wind and give your bodies a shot at what it’s capable of doing.

Put on your shoes and go run now! 😉

Goodbye August, Hello September

It’s been quiet around here on the blog…Summer/August has been hectic (not that we are complaining :)) with the trip to London and Iceland, work, friends’ visits to Paris, trips to Belgium and La Rochelle. A fruitful month it was and as September comes along, hints of La Rentrée – i.e. the French “return” to work and schools after a long vacation in August – are popping up everywhere. Gone are the days of quiet Parisian street, devoid of traffic and semi-empty metro rides during the peak hours. Summer is also bidding farewell as the mercury drops and the long daylight hours are slowly dwindling. A tad sad I am but September and the months ahead will be full of new adventures and encounters so I’ll say farewell to l’été with a big smile, thankful for all that we’ve got to experience and looking forward to new exploits and memories in the months ahead.  A toast to summer 🙂

Meanwhile, it’s our first weekend to ourselves in Paris since July and we are looking forward to it. Enjoying the last bit of a quiet Paris before everyone comes back from vacation. The day started off on a great note with a 15km run together around the Champ de Mars park where Eiffel Tower stands, followed by yummy sushi and ramen. 🙂

🙂 The simple pleasures of life 🙂

Bon week-end à toutes et tous! We’ll be back with more updates and posts on “Fantasy Fridays” soon 🙂

Marathon running Chees

A good friend recently said this to me “It’s so nice that you have a sibling to run with”.  I’ve never really thought about it that way but as I reflect about her remark, it does strike me as extraordinary (or at least within my circle of friends) that my brother Evan and I both share a passion for running. We were both athletic in our younger days though we did not share the same passion for any sport. As we grew up, we were somehow drawn to running (him more so than me) and it has become a staple in both our lives.  I was pleasantly surprised when I realised how Evan, like I do, plan his day around running. The questions we ask ourselves almost daily are “when should I run today?” and “how far should I run?” Our common love (or some would say addiction) to running led us to participating in this year’s Paris Marathon together.

I’m a loner when it comes to training for my marathons as I find it too much of an obligation to join a running club or to run with friends. Nonetheless, having my brother around in the lead-up to this marathon where we discussed how we should taper and carbo-load as well as our running attire and gear for the big day, was strangely comforting. On the eve of the marathon and the morning of the race, we were both busy with our preparations – (i) attire (long or short sleeve, single or double-layer, running shorts or tights); (ii) nutrition (what and how much to eat, are we consuming enough liquids); (iii) anti-abrasion cream; (iv) how to keep warm (with temperatures hovering around 4-8°C before the race, it was important to figure out how to stay warm); (v) what energy gels to use; (vi) what to eat for breakfast, etc etc.

The beauty of the marathon race is that it’s an entirely personal experience. How you motivate yourself, how you plan your pace, what you draw from the experience… First-time runners are probably psyching themselves to complete the race while ‘old-timers’ are seeking to improve their personal best (PB) timings. I started the race thinking that I would not be able to complete it as my training plan was rudely interrupted in January by a month-long bout of illness. As the kilometers passed under my feet and I got to the 21km mark with a timing of 1hr 56min, I was surprised as I was actually running at a potential PB pace! Many thoughts crossed my mind from the 21st kilometre mark to the finishing line near the Arch of Triumph but the one distinct refrain was: “Go for a PB”. What also pushed me to the finishing line was knowing that this time round, I would find a familiar face at the finishing line.

Paris Marathon 2012 would always hold a special place in my heart. It was a race that my brother and I had both participated in and achieved our personal best timings for the 42.195km run. Evan’s timing was an incredible 2hrs 57:30 min while mine stands at 4hrs 01:33min.

Another feather in the cap and off to train for the next marathon and this time round, a sub 4hrs timing!