Fitbit Semi de Paris Marathon: Race Review

I bet you’re all anxious to read about my latest travels to South East Asia but that will come in a series over the next couple of weeks. First, I need to review the biggest half marathon I’ve ever participated in yesterday, The Fitbit Semi de Paris Marathon.

I signed up for this half marathon in early January. Immediately after, I booked my trip to Singapore. I didn’t notice the closeness of my return being the same weekend as the race. Oh well, c’est la vie! One thing that did catch my attention upon the race sign up was the 62€ price tag attached to the race. Gulp, I’ve paid much less (at least half of this or more) to enter all the other European Halves I’ve participated in and even the Rome Marathon was only 55€. I swallowed my frugal pride and paid the overpriced entry fee, I mean it is Paris after all. But wait, this price tag does not include the train ticket to the city (~60€) nor the fact that there is no bib pick up the day of the race, now accommodations must be made. So if you’re an outsider to Paris, you’re now spending at least the weekend there.

Getting back from Singapore on Friday morning before the Sunday race, working a half day, then getting up Saturday for 9am to take the hour and twenty minute train to the city to then take 3-4 different metros (because of course it’s the weekend and due to work on some stations, a bunch of stations were closed), I finally made it to the expo at Parc Floral near Chateau Vincennes to grab my bib by 2:30pm. The expo itself was surprisingly well organized as long as you had your 3 pieces of essential paperwork: medical clearance (typical for most European races), the notification letter (emailed to you the week of) and a form of identification. From there you grab you race shirt (included in the price admission, thank goodness). Ladies received yellow, men got teal, both good quality tech shirts that fit true to size. From there you pass through the typical expo retailers, this race particularly was sponsored by Adidas where runners got 20% off apparel. Other booths included belts, medal holders, compression socks, the whole gamut. There were some fun, free photo booths and bicycle smoothie makers, even a little wine and cheese tastings combined with other future nearby race pamphlets. Overall a good showing where I spent about 45 Minutes moseying around grabbing free stuff here and there.

Staying with some friends of friends on the outskirts of the city, I finally made my way after a pasta dinner to bed by 8:15pm, the one good thing about jetlag.

This race, by the way, is huge, like 45,000 signed up – almost 37,000 finished huge! After some tea, toast, and bananas, I made my way back into the city around 7:30am to get back to Bois de Vincennes. The elite started at 9am and then waves every 10 minutes depending on your estimated finish times. I was in the 1:50 group with a 9:40am start. After a bag drop off and corral opening at 9:10, I waited a bit with others as the rain began. The weather wasn’t terrible though as the temps were pleasant enough for the long distance at 42F/6C.

The race course starts and ends at Bois de Vincennes, well equipped to hold the masses of people along with several portapotties, bag check, and lively music to keep us entertained until the gun start. The course heads out to the River Seine and makes it way behind Notre Dame, around Bastille, past Hôtel de Ville and back along the other side of the Seine to head back to the park. With the rain, we lost a bunch of spectators but diehard supporters were still out with clever signs like, “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear”. Lots of bands along the route braved the weather and pumped up some tired runners. Water and food stops were minimal to 3, each about 5km apart. No electrolytes, unfortunately, and with 5 miles left I could feel them missing as my overtired, swollen, jetlagged legs began to cramp. With such a huge race, I never had the chance to have enough space to find my own rhythm. I was constantly battling elbows, couples, walkers, you name it. I was weaving a lot just to find ample room. Once at a water stop my arm got tangled up in a woman’s head phones, yanking them right out of her ears. I heard the, “Owww”, and yelled back, “Sorry”, but really it was almost unavoidable as this race is really just too big. Finally the finish was near sight, but even if my tired legs wanted to sprint into the finish, the crowd of runners really limited a strong finish. Despite the rain, packed roads, lack of the electrolytes and spectators, jetlagged body and legs, I was still able to complete a sub-2 hour run in 1:58:00 even!

After the finish line, they corral you another 400m until you grab your medal, which by the way is one of the coolest as it doubles as a bottle opener also! Then another 200m to a bag with some goodies, water, bananas, and chips. Then you could finally exit the herd. The bag check, however, was an utter mess. After 5 minutes of the girl searching for mine, I was invited to hop over (haha hopping, get real!) the fence the search for the bag myself. After 15 minutes, myself, looking I finally found my bag two tables away from where it initially should have been. Poor organization to follow up the race unfortunately. Luckily, upon finding my bag I could quickly change into dry, warm clothes in a disgusting portapotty (this being harder than running the half, in my personal opinion). I then made my way back by metro (which bonus, was free for runners following the race) to head back to Gare de l’Est to make my way back to Metz.

After successfully determining the medal bottle opener worked a few times that evening I was back to bed by 8:30pm again. After a full night’s rest, I’ve rated this half a 7.5/10.

Two-fer: Milan and Paris

Still revering from my post marathon in Rome, with small aches and pains, I came back to Luxembourg for a couple days of work. I made a small attempt at a 5km run but had some persisting right quad and left heel pain so took a couple more days off from running. Which was a good thing as I had a busy weekend heading back to Italy, but this time Milan and then end the weekend in Paris to watch Julien run in the Paris Marathon.

The Milan trip was purely for pleasure. I had bought a ticket for my 82nd show of seeing Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds back in October. They were returning to Europe after a 10 year hiatus. This trip was planned even before I knew I was running in Rome. I was so looking forward to this, almost as a reward following my race, some R&R with wine, limoncello, music and touring a new city.

Milan is a small but lively city. I stayed at a small B&B Bicocca located a mile from the theater Dave was playing at and a quick metro ride to the center of the city. Being back in Italy meant amazing food…again! I arrived Thursday evening and after checking into the hotel I made my way towards a pizzeria a few minutes walk away. That night I went to bed fairly early falling asleep to Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. The next day was the show and I couldn’t sleep in due to all my excitement. I got up early and ran to the center of the city (5km away). The early bird does catch the worm because I got the Piazza Duomo, where the Cathedral and Galleria are, pretty much to myself besides a few other runners and some photographers catching the sunrise. 

Duomo cathedral

Duomo cathedral

Piazza Duomo

Piazza Duomo

Sunrise over Duomo

Sunrise over Duomo

Running in Duomo

Running in Duomo

More Pizza

More Pizza

From there I walked through the shopping centers and made my way towards Castle Sforza that led to a beautiful park.

Parco Sempione

Parco Sempione

Castle Sforza

Castle Sforza

Castle Sforza

Castle Sforza

Castle Sforza

Castle Sforza

After walking through, I made my way another 2km towards Cimitero Monumentale Di Milano. This cemetery is famous for its outlandish sculptures. It was peaceful and quiet when I first arrived when it opened at 8am and was happy to not have missed this Garden of Remembrance.

Monumental Cemetery

Monumental Cemetery

I saw most of Milan before 10am! I was able to get back to the hotel and nap and shower and then head out for lunch. I went back towards Piazza Duomo and found the 7th floor of la Rinascente, a designer department store next to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. I had an outdoor view of the Cathedral while I snacked on Mozzarella, Italian ham, and sipping of Aperol Spritz.

Obica Mozzarella Bar

Obica Mozzarella Bar

I still had time before the Dave and Tim show, so I read that one must take the tour on the roof of the Cathedral. I paid 9€ and chose to take the stair and got a panoramic view of Milan.

On top of Duomo

On top of Duomo

After seeing most of the city, I was ready for the concert! I had found an Italian fan based group that was having a pre-show meet up and then met a few other Americans traveling and touring the Europe shows. The night was magical and I got a set list and guitar pick from Tim 😍

Dave and Tim

Dave and Tim

After a memorable few days in Milan, I jet setted to Paris. We had little time for touring, and I jokingly say I’m not a tourist anymore, but I am still!! The main reason was to watch Julien run the marathon. I mentioned in an earlier blog his goal was to achieve a sub-4hr run. Well, I’m proud to announce all his hard work paid off! He finished in 3:40:59. I’m so happy for him!!

Paris Marathon

Paris Marathon

Now it’s time to take a break and replenish my energy (and bank account) to get ready for my next race, ING night half marathon in Luxembourg. 

An Interview with my Better Half

Most of you know about my boyfriend, Julien Goby, because he is the determined french man who waited patiently 3 years to win my heart. He’s a man of the world having studied, worked and traveled to many places like Ireland, US, Australia and New Zealand. Some of you may have bumped into him (or one of his alter-egos) while outside a bar smoking a cigarette at Figawi, a weekend in Nantucket during Memorial Day.  He may have introduced himself to you as the world’s fastest speed walker or caught your attention at the Gazebo dressed as a pilot, in women’s clothing or in just his underwear. Or perhaps you may have heard about him becoming a real life superhero when he hopped on a scooter to chase down a drunk thief in the streets of Paris to rescue my stolen purse, mostly because his Iphone was in my bag, but regardless. Besides being one of the kindest people I know, he is also one of the most sarcastic and funniest. He also makes a pretty mean chocolate chip cookie. You may be surprised to know this European knows most of the rules to American Football, owns more Red Sox gear than most Bostonians I know, and that this fully addicted smoker is a marathoner. He is my complimentary, but let’s be honest – better half. This week I sat down with him to discuss his thoughts on running.

Running in Metz, France

Running in Metz, France

When did you start running and how has it progressed to the present moment?

I’ve always been a runner, starting as a kid during sports, but it was always random and easy, nothing stressful. As an adult, I started running more for cardio and conditioning for club handball. It became a bit more serious when I signed up for half marathons as a way to stay connected with family members and friends who also ran. And then I signed up for my first full marathon in Paris, 4 years ago, because I was curious to see if I could achieve the goal. I didn’t take the training seriously, it was more to see if I could finish rather than perform well. Currently I’m signed up for my third Paris marathon with this time my focus is to see if I can complete the marathon in under 4 hours. To do so, I’m following an under 3:30 schedule from the Paris Marathon website as a safety measure, knowing I will need to take into account time for hydration and stretching, so the plan will allow for a buffer to hopefully achieve under 4 hours. Currently, I’m running 5x week with 3x intervals (2 long, some hills). I’m in better shape now than when I was younger and doing sports because I’ve put more focus on nutrition, training, and rest.

What do you love most about running?

Coming back for a smoke! Haha. I think it’s a nice life balance and to prove that smoking is an information but not an excuse to not be a runner. Honestly, at first I just want to be back when I first start out with my run and have it over with quickly. I sometimes get scared of the training that’s planned for the day but when you achieve the plan, you feel stronger and realize the training improves your performance. It’s enjoyable to see the improvements.

What’s your favorite running story or memory?

One of the best feelings after completing my first marathon was simply that I had a friend bring me a beer and smoke through a chain linked fence after the finish. Another funny memory was before my second marathon last year, another runner saw me having a smoke in my running gear and asked if I was seriously running this thing.

All of your marathons have been in Paris, can you tell us about the race?

It is a nice marathon because you don’t need to have a qualifying time so it gives anyone a chance to run. You run through several neighborhoods, providing you with many spectators and supporters. It is well organized with plenty of aid stations. It’s also a large marathon, I think 54+k runners, so you have a greater chance of not finishing last!

Who is your running inspiration or someone you admire and look up to?

You inspire me because I don’t think I would have probably signed up for my 2nd or 3rd marathon. I mean, I felt bad watching tv while you would be out running. So honestly you inspired me. (Side note: I didn’t pay him to say that!)

Where do you enjoy running?

My favorite place to run is close to a river on a concrete path. I do not enjoy trail running because I’m flying and I need stability. I like being able to see the horizon rather then guessing what’s behind the next tree.

How has running helped you in your professional or working life?

Running has improved my work/life balance. My co-workers are all aware of my goal and respect my plan as I put my running schedule within my work schedule. This prevents work schedule conflicts which allows me the ability to escape without fear of not having the time. Then I feel better at work because the run allows me to think about work issues more clearly, helping to accomplish the task later. Plus running gives you time to yourself, away from work. There is a slight selfish part to running but it helps you realize you can push yourself harder than the limits you think you have set for yourself. You always seem to find a way to push a bit further whether it be running faster, working harder at work or having 3-5 beers instead of one. Running teaches you to self reflect on one’s own performance and all tasks at life.

What’s your running dream? 

World Marathon Challenge – 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. If anyone would like to contribute or help sponsor towards the 36k entry fee, please feel free to email The Fit Wanderluster

What is your favorite running accessory or app?

I run with my Garmin Forerunner 620 watch and dutifully analyze my performance following my run with Garmin Connect app. The app is made by runners for runners with all data I would expect and need like pace, distance, heart rate, cadence, and elevation with a easily readable design. The information is readily available because my watch is synced to my phone so I can view my data immediately.

Also, nowadays, I think running clothing options are really nice. Think about the past when people had to run with practically leather shoes and cotton shorts, they have come so far. Personally when I get new equipment (watch, t-shirt, sneakers, etc.) I find it exciting to get out and try it. It’s motivating. The more I run the more I realize how comfortable I need to be especially with longer distances, so I’m pretty picky now because I want comfort, performance and fashion.

What would you advise anyone who is on the fence about running?

The most difficult obstacle for any starter is to put on the clothes and go outside. Once your out, you’ve already surpassed the main obstacle. There is no good or bad runner, everyone has their own pace and joy in running. I say don’t talk about it just do it, like Nike.

How do you see the future of running for you?

After running my marathons, I tend to take a small 6 month break from running. After this marathon I would like to think that I will be more consistent and continue my running.

My goals for 2017:

  • April – Paris Marathon: sub 4 hours
  • May – Luxembourg Night Marathon: I have no goal time due to fact that it is a night marathon, the course is really hilly, of which I lack experience, and it is only one month after Paris. I don’t know how I’ll feel and I don’t want to put pressure on myself. This will be more for fun than Paris which I am taking seriously.
  • I’m also thinking about a half marathon in the summer, but this may seem a bit pretentious, I never worry about the training for them.

Going forward running will be about performance and if one day I see my performance decrease, I think that is something emotionally that will be tough for me. At that point, I will have to mentally prepare and accept that running will be more about health than performance.

Paris Marathon 2013

Paris Marathon 2013


Paris Marathon 2016 Recap

After 125 days of preparation, April 3rd, 2016 finally approached and it was my time, amongst 57,000 other runners from across the globe, to trek 26.2 miles along the scenic Paris course. Prior to race day I had my fair share of stresses with an International move, one too many injuries and illnesses, and events outside my control including a neighboring terrorist attack on Belgium. Compared to my other marathons, my mind affected me more than my physical ailments resulting in my hardest and longest duration of completion, going 19 min beyond my goal time, but I completed it!

Luckily I had a strong support system. My dad and sister flew in from Boston and for their first time in France, ever. Dorothy visited from London with her friend from Rotterdam. Julien’s sister, her partner, and their almost 8 month old daughter watched along several points on the route as well. I also received many texts and messages from friends far and wide. And of course I have to give the biggest thanks to my finish to Julien. Without his ongoing support and encouragement during the last 6km, I know I would have walked the rest and called it a day. He was right there beside me even though he could have finished long before me. And you have to give this guy props, he shaved almost 30 minutes off from his previous marathon 2 years ago. This guy rocks and I love him so much!

The day before we went to the Expo and received our neon green goodie bags with hardly nothing in it (sample of Tiger Balm, candy, and a whistle?!). Asics sponsored the race, but going on the last day you are left with either XS or L merchandise, so I didn’t end up purchasing anything. I did meet up with the kinesiotape people to get a roll to try to calm my newly onset sciatica that came about a week before the race (which I do think helped). We did lose my dad for a good 30 minutes but eventually found him at the only exit in the building and promptly discussed it’s time for him to upgrade to a smartphone instead of a flip phone, just in case of emergency. We enjoyed an Italian dinner that evening and a beer or two to calm the nerves and went to bed around 10pm for a 8am wake up.


The elite started at 8:45am while the last wave went off at 10:15am. We were in the last wave. The day was anticipated to be warm and sunny and it was. The hottest finish I did was in Chicago in 2011 at 72F in which I experienced dizziness for the first time during the last two miles. This time was around 66F and not a cloud in the sky. It wasn’t terrible as we were taking two water bottles at each 5k water stop. I felt great leaving L’Arc de Triomphe with only minimal left hamstring/sciatic irritation that numbed out through the first 5k and where we saw my family before Bastille. We continued to cover solid ground but had to break my rhythm for my first ever pee stop during a run and there were no porta potties or restrooms available so a side walk, small barricade and a family helped to provide some coverage. We picked back up our stride into to the first park with a magnificent view of Chateau De Vincennes, but unfortunately it was being renovated. At this point I realized I won’t need my music which I wasn’t using due to the sights and people watching around me. We made our way out of the park and enjoyed bands playing every so often. Crowd support is light on the route but not barren. We felt good going into the half way mark and then running back toward Bastille where I saw Dorothy and her friend amongst the bigger crowd support on the route before the finish. At this point we start to see the bigger monuments like Notre Dame, Musee D’Orsay and Eiffel Tower as you go in and out of tunnels for a good 5k (from 25km to 30km). The tunnels started to bring about a challenge as you got a break from the sun but you lost spectators and you had to deal with continuous rolling hills into and out of each tunnel. Also, having started in the last wave we were starting to have to weave around slower packs of runners or at this point a lot of walkers. I think the hills, weaving, and heat started to catch up with me and I felt my wall around 35km right when we saw our family again before heading into the second park. In this park is when I crashed hard at 40km. There was only one stop with sports drink and I think this was part of my problem. I had no real replenishments of electrolytes and I was flushing my system with a lot of water, which I also needed due to the temps. I’m happy to say I had no real cramping or GI issues but the mental process worked in overdrive to get me through the last 30-45 minutes. Finally, we crossed the finish line which always brings me happy tears of joy because 1) I completed another goal and 2) I don’t have to run anymore. Finishing always brings about an bursting emotion of relief and pride. Here we received our finishers shirt (at this time they had also already run out of some sizes) and our medal. We received water and a few snacks like apple or banana but the finish, just like the expo bag, was little to be desired. We met up with my dad and sister for a finish picture back in front of L’Arc de Triomphe and tried to go out for a beer in the area but wasn’t having a ton of success due to most bars being closed. We decided to take the metro back (which was free) to our Airbnb at the Republique and go out around there.

Unfortunately, for the first time ever following a marathon, my heart rate was through the roof. Up to an hour following the finish my heart rate was fluctuating between 88-110 bpm with increased capillary refill times and feeling faint. For the first time ever, I had to self treat and lay on the floor for 25 minutes with my feet elevated and downed two Powerades which I think seriously saved me from an ER visit. Once I got my HR down, capillary refill returned to normal and I wasn’t feeling faint, you can bet I was at the bar celebrating with a couple of pints with everyone.

I have since run 10k for the first time yesterday, 9 days following the marathon, without any pain! I’m very excited to have my weekends back and start a new workout regime of weight training and yoga with still a couple runs a week. I think my next race will be a half marathon but nothing definitive yet. Send me your race suggestions!

I’m proud of my finish and enjoyed my break from running and exercise as my family stayed in town for 12 days and we traveled a shit ton from Paris to Amsterdam to Champagne region to Germany. I’ll cover these trips next blog!



What the Heck is She Thinking?

Last week I discussed the “peak week” of my Paris Marathon training, in which I would be running over 52 miles. I survived my long run of 22 miles on Saturday. I’ve been training for over a hundred days and am rewarded knowing the next 2 weeks will be my taper.

Training is not all physical preparation. You may be familiar with the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. My theory with running a marathon is that the physical aspect is 80% of the work but the ability to finish the physical task is 20% mental. I only use this cause and effect parameter because it is widely known, but in reality it is more 60/40 to 50/50 or more inversely the further along you get in the marathon or especially around “the wall” – the point in the marathon, usually around mile 19-20, when a runner experiences a wave of fatigue from running out of carbohydrates and having to transition to burning fats to keep going.

So from a scientific standpoint you will get tired, duh. Here is where the mental will power will be in overload. Do you ever wonder what makes a marathon runner keep going? There are so many reasons and each are so personal, it’s impossible to group us altogether. Here’s a peak inside my brain the day of my long run:

Night before prepping 

  1. checking next days weather – I hope it’s 50 degrees and sunny or partly cloudy, if it rains will it be all day or just morning, will I have to run first thing in AM or more in the afternoon to work around bad weather?
  2. washing running clothes appropriate for predicted weather – crap I wore my favorite blue leggings on Monday, do they really smell? Do I HAVE to wash them?
  3. charge Garmin watch – my best friend and worst enemy, let’s not get temperamental and say I’m out of memory storage at mile 17 okay?
  4. getting goos, chews or snacks prepped – ugh I ate all the sour apple last run, I guess lemon-lime will do, yuck. And the banana chews, I hope they don’t make me feel like I have to poop this time like last time…
  5. make sure there is plenty of anti-chaffing gel – no, you can never have enough, god remember the shower after I had some chaffing under my right armpit? I thought I was taking a shower made from fire, that was fun…
  6. limiting caffeine – I’m glad I don’t really like coffee or soda, but all of a sudden I’m craving a coffee and Coke, and not that diet bull shit
  7. hydrate – how many oz of water am I supposed to have in a day? Is is 8 oz 8x per day or an ounce per pound? Am I sure I only had 16 oz total today. Crap, if I drink 4 bottles in the next hour will that cover it? I will probably have to get up to pee at night. I have to pee now. I don’t drink enough water. It’s so boring, I’m hungry.
  8. eating high carb, low sugar meals – Thanks to my weekly meal planner, this is actually a no brainer, except did I defrost the chicken?
  9. no alcohol – Ok maybe one or three beers, it’s Friday night
  10. hydrate – I forgot. Shit. This is hard. I’m thirsty, I want ice cream.
  11. set alarm – I’ll set it for 8am but know I probably will hit snooze until 9am. Maybe 10 is better? Those are two hours I could have been half way over with my run. Those are two more hours of being so comfortable in my bed. Life is hard.
  12. go to bed before midnight – I’m 35. This is my life. EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s 8pm, I wish I was in bed now..

Day Of Run

  1. Hit snooze – Again, and again, and again. Ok I’ll compromise, I’ll get up at 9 – 1 hour sleep 1 hour run done. Win Win.
  2. Check the weather – If it’s good weather, perfect, let’s do this. If it’s bad weather, shit, oh well, let’s do this
  3. Brush teeth, wash face, minimal make up – might take a selfie for instagram
  4. Before getting dressed, lather up the sun block (top of head if you don’t wear hat, face, neck, ears, chest above sports bra, hands, calves – any exposed skin) – I hope this shit doesn’t sweat into my eyes. I wish there was a magic soap lather that showed if you miss a spot. I always miss a spot. I had a racerback tan line for 2 months following Boston 3 years ago…
  5. Before getting dress, lather up the anti-chaffing gel in weird places (armpits, top of sports bra, under sports bra – I wish I didn’t have to wear a sports bra, top of pants elastic, between your butt cheeks, and the other place – you know and if you don’t guess, between upper thighs especially if they touch – no I’ll never have a thigh gap, all over your feet and between your toes) and no, it’s probably never too much.
  6. Get dressed – in clothes I’ve worn before and know will not cause chaffing issues. Oh, man I have to really do this. Internal cry.
  7. Prep my water belt – money, just in case, god I hope I don’t need to take a taxi home, 2 10 oz bottles water, 2 10 oz bottles of sport drink or something with electrolytes, strategically place goos and chews in order of how I will use them – then start thinking about in the run when I will consume them (first goo at 8 or 13 miles depending how I feel then determining when I will consume my water/drinks – maybe start 5 oz at 6 miles and 5 oz every 2 miles going forward – will I have enough to help chase my goos? yes I think, if not readjust plan to adapt…)
  8. Music list on point – I‘ll go in Airplane Mode, just in case to keep my battery life. I’ll probably check facebook or instagram at mile 10 or 20, just to give me something to do
  9. Mental Check – why am I doing this again? I have to run for the next 3 hours and 50 minutes, I hope I will finish in 3 hours and 50 minutes, maybe I’ll be faster, maybe I’ll be slower, I can walk if I have to, it’s ok. I’m not trying to win this thing. I can take a taxi home if I want. I can do whatever I want. I want to finish in 3 hours and 50 minutes. I hope I finish in 3 hours and 50 minutes, what if I don’t? I will. THIS IS WHERE YOU REALIZE YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY INSANE.

The Run

  1. First 6 miles – Wow, I just finished 6 miles, like that. I’ll reward myself with 5 oz of water. 
  2. Mile 7 – Look at that swan, it’s pretty. Can they be vicious? I’ve never heard of an attacking swan. Black Swan the movie is pretty sick though. Imagine being a ballerina, their toes must hurt. Shit, my toe hurts.
  3. Mile 8 – Is the path going to be flooded today? Remember two weeks ago you had to find an alternative route because of flooding, it hasn’t rained in a week. That’s rare for here. It is gray all the time. How do people in northern Europe stand the weather? It’s depressing, not as cold as Boston though but still depressing. It’s sunny now though. I love the sun. Should I take Vitamin D supplements? I actually feel good, I’ll wait to take my goo.
  4. Mile 9-10 – Is that new construction? I don’t remember it being there last week. Is my left knee hurting, no, should I stretch? I have a good rhythm. Drink water. 
  5. Mile 10-13 – 30 minutes just went by, I’m more than half way through. Awesome. Dammit, I’m only half way through. I think I’ll have that goo now. Yup, left knee is funky, like every 7th step. Right foot hurts more though. Not bad, just annoying. I like this song.
  6. Mile 13-15 – I hate this part of the run. I’m pretty awesome, not many people are running 15 miles right now. God this is hard. Why is my right foot acting up? Is it the sneakers? Should I wear my old sneakers on marathon day? Oh man, my dad and sister are coming to France. How far is Champagne Region from Metz? That would be a fun day trip. I want Champagne. 
  7. Mile 15- 18 – I still have an hour left of running. I hate this. I don’t want to do this anymore. My chews are making me thirsty, I still have water left. Thank god. I want to stop. I am lucky to run. I hate running. I’m so happy having moved and changing my job. I think I’m sick to my stomach because I’m not sure if I will make enough money. Happiness isn’t about money. But I like to travel, what are my travel plans coming up? Happy thoughts, I’m going to Switzerland to snowboard. Don’t get hurt before the marathon. What if the weather stinks? I’m also going to Amsterdam, Prague, Portugal. THIS STUPID RIGHT FOOT. Count the number of stop lights coming up. I hope they stay green. I think if I stop because of a red light, I will just give up. Oh thank god the first one is red, I appreciate the small break. I’m losing it. 
  9. Mile 20 – This is going pretty well
  10. Mile 21 – Only one more mile, I’ve got this.
  11. Mile 22 – HOW LONG IS THIS MILE GOING TO LAST? I still have to do 4 more miles for the marathon. I’m physically crying now. I did it. I did it. I never want to do this again. I’ve done 7 marathons, I’ve got this. THIS IS MY LAST MARATHON. Until the next one…

The struggle is real. You learn how absolutely, fucking, crazy you are. And you realize the beauty and struggle and wonderful and awful things that surround you. You are able to get deep, funny, emotional, and shake it all off and do it all over again. Running is therapy and if you think for a second that I’m crazy, I am going to 100% support you. I think it’s great I found a way to take in reality and escape from it all at the same time and grow mentally and physically from it. It’s probably why I say this will be my last marathon but it probably won’t be because I’m not done getting all the crazy out yet 🙂

26 days until the Paris Marathon

As you may know I’m in the midst of training for my 8th full marathon which is 26 days away. I will be running the Paris Marathon on April 3, 2016 and aiming for a 4:30 finish. This is my first marathon where I’ve documented my 18 weeks of training on Instagram @thefitwanderluster and on Facebook.

This week is the hardest week of training. In total (Saturday to Saturday), I will have run a total of 52 miles (or 83.7 km). Not including hill training, which I will do today and cross training (consisting of body weight, resistance and core training) on Monday and Friday, along with active recovery on Sunday (rest day but typically includes stretching, yoga or foam rolling). This week, as in all of my past marathon trainings, is tough both mentally and physically. I will be running or working out approximately 10 hours and 50 minutes of my week.

Let me just break it down for you:

  • One week consists of 168 hours
  • Let’s estimate I sleep 8 hours a night or 56 hours of the week, 33% of my time
  • Daily chores, errands, activities of daily living (cooking, eating, showering, dressing) 48 hours of the week, 28% of my time
  • I’m working part-time at 16 hours of the week, 10% of my time with commuting 6 hours of the week, 3.6% of my time (total 13.6%)
  • Watching TV or doing other hobbies  and blogging 20 hours in a week, 12 % of my time
  • Hanging out with friends, entertainment, etc 12 hours a week, 7.2% of my time
  • So running/working out consumes 10.9 hours in a week, 6.6% of my time!

The importance of the mileage buildup gradually over time is to prep your body for the impact, increase your endurance and stamina, and prevent injury when it comes to race day. You may have seen “How I Met Your Mother” and Barney Stinson finishes a marathon without training, which sure there are few people that can do that, however when he does finish and takes the subway home he can’t get up from sitting. It’s actually pretty funny.

My long run this week will be 22 miles or 35.4 km. It will be a comfortable pace with some walk breaks for water and goo. But I still dread 4 hours of running. The only thing I like to do for 4 hours straight is binge on Netflix House of Cards Season 4! Marathon training isn’t just about the run itself, it’s the commitment and motivation. While training with others makes the process easier and more fun, the reality is your mind is what will keep you going in the end. Because I have been posting and blogging about my program, the process makes me accountable and gives me a goal to reduce my thoughts of failure.

 The next few weeks will be about my taper and nutrition. The last 3 weeks before the marathon the mileage decreases until race day. This allows for muscular and joint recovery to due to increases in aerobic enzymes and muscle glycogen. The taper also allows for mental recovery.

For my nutrition, I will be focusing on easily digestible foods that are high in carbohydrates and protein and lower in fat and fiber along with hydration. This means I will be cutting back on alcohol and processed sugars.

My typical meal plans will look something like this:


  • Shakeology
  • Oatmeal
  • Muesli
  • eggs

Snacks (2x per day):

  • celery and peanut butter
  • carrots and hummus
  • oatbran pretzels
  • grapes
  • berries


  • turkey or roast beef lettuce wraps
  • egg salad or tuna fish
  • goat cheese salad
  • chicken quesadillas


  • Broiled Steak with mushrooms, cauliflower and acorn squash
  • Asian seared Pork Chops, broccoli and sweet potato
  • Pasta Primevera
  • Chicken Piccata with spaghetti and broccoli
  • Salmon Cakes with Tuscan Penne Pasta
  • Spicy Chicken and Veggie Pasta

And if I’m craving desert, I’ll treat myself to:

  • Fruit (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Canteloupe)
  • Yogurt or Sorbet

Wish me luck!



It’s official. You gain weight when you only eat cheese and drink wine

I have to tell you about an unofficial experiment I’ve participated in the past 3 weeks. I’ve been ignoring my routine diet that I’ve been diligently working on since March. I was working pretty hard to maintain a healthy weight and get proper nutrition with my Beachbody family. But since December 1st, I’ll be honest, my previous routine has gone straight out the window and I’ve been enjoying every calorie consumed with my French diet. 

It’s been a wonderful month not working full time. Reality will eventually set in and bills will still need to be paid and that time will soon be approaching but looking back I realize how I just accepted my daily Boston routine. I’m a pretty optimistic person but I was stuck. I was working out, eating right, had a roof over my head, friends and family close by but I wasn’t completely fulfilled. I was in a long distance relationship and at a job that, while my co-workers were great, was just a job. 

This month, I’ve been taking this amazing opportunity to accomplish my true desires…and that included not following a specific diet, working less, and ultimately following my heart. Yes I’ve been training for the Paris Marathon coming up April 3rd, but I’ve gained 10lbs. Yup. Ok. The conclusion to my unofficial experiment is you gain weight if all you eat is cheese and all you drink is wine, despite running. 

This New Year my resolution is to get my health and weight back on track. Not only will I physically feel better, the ultimate plan is to improve my conditioning for my marathon. The new Program The Master’s Hammer and Chisel is out and I think this might be a good hybrid program with my running. So I’m starting Jan 4th and while I’ve enjoyed my dietary freedom, the few pants I have that made the trip to Europe are now not fitting me.  Who’s with me?  Contact me on Facebook for more information!