I’ve got a big day of work today including some travel from one of the most confusing train stations in France, the Gare Montparnasse. With the train leaving the station before 8am and with me needing to get to the station, find my way though the rabbit warren of tunnels to the right platform, as well as fit in breakfast, a little email, and checking out of the hotel, I had a lot to do before I found my seat on the train. Hence, if I wanted to get in a morning run in Paris I would have to be up early.
And I so wanted to get in a run, even if it was only short.
I had checked in close to 10pm last night and was in bed not too long afterwards. Getting up just before 5am, then, was a little difficult but not overly so, and I think my enthusiasm for getting the run in helped make sure I rolled out of bed on time. It was cold – really cold – but I rugged up and set out on what I thought might be about a 40 minute run down to the river Seine and back.
The most important thing when running in a strange city, at least for me, is not to get too lost. A little bit lost? Not too bad, and it can even open up new areas of a city to me. But getting too far out of my way would put all those other things I have to do in the morning at risk and I simply could not be late to the train. hence, I played it a little safe and ran a little less than I would have liked, and stopped a couple of time to check my progress on my smartphone.
I headed first down to Invalides and then traced the side of the Invalides down to the river. I glanced up to my right to spot the top of the Eiffel Tower – sadly it was unlit except for its aircraft warning lights – and briefly continued alongside the river until crossing it to head back the other way. I crossed back to the other side at the Quai D’Orsay, passed the fabulous building that houses the French Foreign Ministry, and then turned onto the Boulevard Saint Germain to head back towards the hotel.
The final push for the morning was up the Boulevard Raspail, a street I know well from my time working with and visiting the American Graduate School there. The morning markets were just starting to see their stalls set up on the long traffic island in the middle of the boulevard and then, in front of me, I spotted the stores surrounding the Montparnasse station and I new I was back where I had started. A hundred meters or so down a side street and I was done. Not the longest or the prettiest run in Paris this morning, but still a great way to start the day.
Side note: the No Sugar, No Grain (NSNG) diet is starting to settle. After a couple of days where I didn’t feel any power at all and my average pace was down, I’m starting to run a little faster again and feel better doing it. Both yesterday and this morning I’ve managed to put in sub-5:00 splits and felt none the worse for wear. This is normal, or so I’ve read, and a sign that my body is getting into the groove of burning something other than carbohydrates and sugar. Fingers crossed it continues.