Race Report From The Paris Marathon 2013 Along With Other Japery.
I’m just back from my Paris Marathon 2013 escapade that took in Amsterdam, Paris and London.
I had a fucking fun trip, but it wasn’t without difficulties along the way.
Finding myself in Amsterdam?
I flew out from Belfast to Amsterdam on Thursday night with ideas of chilling out and ‘finding myself’.
All of the marathon guides I’ve ever fucking read have espoused the stroke-patient mentality of doing nothing but sitting around for 2 weeks thinking of clouds and maintaining inner stillness in order to gather yourself for race day.
I can’t do that.
I needed another approach.
I bought some magic truffles from a ‘smartshop’.
I ate them on Friday night in the safety of my hotel room as I had nothing else to do and wanted to tap into this ‘inner stillness’ that the fucking hippies and elite marathoners shill.
I made the horrific fucking mistake of leaving BBC World Service 24 on all night whilst tripping with Kim Jong-un preparing us all for the end of the world.
During the first hour of the experience I found his proclamations against the West fucking hilarious, but as his spiel continued, the wanky existential bit of the trip cut-in and the gravity of the situation hit.
Unwelcome guests in my hotel room.
The trip quickly peaked and I soon found Kim Jong-un and Samara from the Ring playing table tennis in the corner of my hotel room.
I remember experiencing great tension over who was gonna have the next out-shot called against them.
They had elected me as their umpire and I was too busy trying to stay above the water mentally, let alone make close line-calls against a bad forehand with a figment of my imagination.
I wanted to abort them both from my mind.
Fortunately the trip ended after 4 to 5 hours of hell.
If I could survive this, then I’d be game for the Paris Marathon.
Or so I thought…
Morale of this tale : Magic truffles are probably a good tool for self discovery if you’re sane and not living in a time where dictators in lonely states are promising Armageddon. Peace of mind begins at home without any drugs.
Re-cap of Paris Marathon 2013
The whole race day was fucking amazing. The weather was perfectly sunny and 7C out.
The atmosphere on the tram from Sèvres – Lecourbe to Charles D’Gualle was superb. Runners were handing out Haribo and energy drinks. Everyone was smiling.
As was I.
It must have been REALLY fucking good.
Kneading like a cat on Champees Elysses.
I was tense pre-race , but that’s nothing new. Everyone was doing stretches and being on my own I felt like a spare prick in a gangbang.
I made the mistake of drinking too much free Powerade and was desperate for a fucking piss and had to keep kneading like a cat to stop myself from bursting.
And we begin…
Finally we were off and after a promising start I stopped just a quarter of a mile down the road for quite possibly the best piss of my life.
You know that scene in Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd can’t stop pissing?
That was me.
The piss was magnificent.
Some old French lady approached me from the side of the road after I ran back onto the course post-piss and muttered something in French.
She could have been in the secret police. She could have been congratulating me on the length of my piss. She could have been asking for directions.
I will never know now.
All I will now is that it really was a fucking great piss.
Allez Matt – Miles 1 to 18.
I went into the race with nationalistic preconceptions of the French being assholes.
I was shown to be the only asshole there.
From start to finish I had people cheering me with on such warmth that it melted through my own xenophobia.
Miles 1 to 18 were perfect.
Then I hit the wall.
It was all going fine until we went through a series of tunnels with steepish ramps back onto the street.
I got through the 18 mile point OK and thought “shit maybe this is the marathon that I finish without capitulating”
But then something inside me just broke. I felt perfectly fine at 18.2 miles but was gone by 18.3.
It was really fucking disheartening.
Refocusing my mind into a more positive state.
I hit a real fucking low point at the 20th mile where I just retracted into my own head and felt pretty fucking lonely out there.
When you crash in a race, you’re not only living with your own perceived failure at fitness, but you’re having to wrestle with what you expect from yourself and what others expect of you.
It’s easy to feel low and to just give up.
Working my way up.
Sometimes you’ve gotta take the pressure off yourself and breathe a fucking little.
I kept thinking of the worst case scenarios in the last 10k and knew none of them were that bad if they came about.
There were 3 outcomes.
- I don’t finish
- I don’t finish under 5 hours.
- I don’t get a personal best.
Since stopping was an option, I kept running even if it was a a snail’s pace.
From mile 20 onwards I did a little mental arithmetic and knew that I only had to run a total of 7 minutes faster than a 15 minute mile average to finish under 5 hours.
I had 85 minutes to walk a 10K to finish under 5 hours.
I remember finishing mile 21 in 11:30 minutes. This meant that I could walk the last 5.2 miles and finish in 5:03:30.
I turned those last difficult miles into something positive by just keeping going and trying to enjoy the race as much as possible.
Finishing in style.
I finished in 4:52 which is a personal best by 2 minutes.
Here is the medal!