So after my minimal amount of training the weekend had finally arrived, as we set off for Nice in the heart of the French Riviera.
A short flight with Aer Lingus landed us at Nice airport and the gateway to southern France.
As we drove along the spectacular promenade the first thing to strike you except for the heat was the beautiful turquoise coloured water lapping onto the pebble beach.
We found our hotel right on the seafront and close to the old area of Nice.
as we set about exploring the area you couldn't help but notice the mix of modern tourism with the old traditional French customs.
As true athletes we set to work right away heading for a beach bar to purchase the most expensive drinks at 8e for a pint of local beer We savoured the single drink while relaxing on the fantastic Mediterranean beach with nothing but sea between us and Africa.
The weekend took us throughout the city exploring and generally eating with a selection of breads chocolates and ice creams it could of been worse,
we took a trek up the overlooking hill to see the remains of a 18th century 'Chateaux' the over looking view some 92m above sea level left us in awe of the full glory of the coastline with a semi circular promenade leading to the spit of land which contained the airport, looking out the view was breath taking knowing the following day we would be running that route and again it would be breath taking!
So D Day was upon us with the run starting at 0930 we were up fed and trying to drink as much water as possible staying hydrated was going to be a mission especially in the heat. Luckily for us we awoke to rather different surroundings.... water falling from the sky - could this really be?, a gift from the Gods! As we set out to join the race start the rain had subsided to a slight drizzle enough to keep everyone cool and refreshed, As the gun went we were away, I had lost the girls i the start as we ran around the first corner heading into the centre of Nice less than 2km into the race I could feel my calf's like daggers fighting not to go any further but I carried on being passed by Maia as she shot into a fast sub 2hour group i could only imagine how much that would hurt me so I continued catching Cathy soon after. As we ran together through the streets up and around the corner into the Port we could see the 10km and the high performance athletes already turning. We plodded on after a brief shower which soaked everyone the weather turned, with the sun poking out from the clouds we knew it was about to warm up and fast, as we closed in in the 10km mark we were making good time 1:02 we were going well. I was well up on my targets and my legs and lungs knew it, as I glanced at the watch I knew I had gone out to fast. As I reached for the water stop dropping off Cathy's shoulder I knew she would be out of reach. I continued following for another couple of KM knowing i would burn out if I tried to push on. As my pace slowed, she continued on at a great pace, we were now heading along the promenade towards the airport with my pace slowing I continued on both clockwatching and trying to calculate times and distances. All I longed for was the turn and to be on the home straight. As we eventually turned at the airport in the shadow of private jets of the rich and famous we could think of nothing but my legs exploding, the turn meant we were on the final leg unfortunately this was another 6km long as I grabbed an energy gel I had been handed at the 10km I ripped off the top and poured it into my mouth, as the taste hit me I though someone was having a laugh with me the sweet sugar filled gel was coffee flavoured definitely not what I was expecting as the next water stop drew closer it was a PowerAde stop at least it was something to wash coffee from my mouth.
Having been passed by both Cathy and Maia I knew I was behind and the only form of redemption was to finish! One thing I hate is quitters weather it be finishing a training session early or giving up that's not me I want to work hard and know I've put 110% into it. As I pushed on every inch if my hurt but I knew with every step the finish was ever closer visualising my training run with 4 km left I was at the water tower on the Celbridge road heading for Lucan the time didn't matter but I was going to finish. With 2km left I felt energy and will power pushing me on and knowing the girls would be now sitting at the end while I was still on my feet. I tried to save this energy not wanting to push to hard worried of blowing up. I held the pace running off the shoulder of another fella knowing il push it on in the final KM as the 20km sign stood up to meet me I lifted my head and pushed through. Working hard to keep a steady rhythm lengthening my stride and cruising counting down the metres, the finish was in sight!
As I crossed the line totally exhausted I knew I had finished in approx. 2:14 knocking a good 30mins from last weeks practice time. I hobbled through to the checkpoint collecting my medal and removing my foot chip before drinking as many different cups on offer, water, coke, PowerAde I hobbled out of the athletes enclosure to a smug looking Maia having broken her Personal best coming in under 2 Hours approx. 1:53. As we caught up to Cathy she too had run her heart out producing a great time of 2:08 approx.
It was now time for a shower and to find the biggest best alcoholic drinks we could.
After showering and me hobbling much like John Wayne we headed for lunch finding traditional French bread, soft cheese, we had know bottle opener so had to deal with a bottle of champagne and large screw top bottle of Kronenbourg before sitting on the steps of the city courts of justice to savour the moment.
As the sun was shining and were savouring the moment we headed for a French bar in the sun to continue our rehydration this time I got my 1Litre of beer "the size which dreams are made of!" And the girls of course French wine. The pricing this time was much more realistic only 11e for the litre.
After an afternoon siesta we headed for dinner in the old town finding a small French restaurant serving traditional foods I headed for the stuffed veg while Maia the salad and Cathy a gorgeous fish pie. With one small moment the waiter told Cathy "their was no more red wine" the look on her face,
the mixed emotions not knowing weather to laugh or cry she tried asking a different waiter with the same response.
Luckily after a few minute the waiter returned with what they said was the last glass of red, the colour returned to her cheeks and the smile grew as she sipped the French Riviera's finest export.
After three days in sunny Nice our luck had well and truly run out awakening to the sound of heavy rain and this time it wasn't to subside as we darted between shops and market stands hiding from the weather, after a quick lunch it was time to head back to the airport where our journey began to catch our flight back to Dublin Terminal 2.
After completing the run I can honesty say I did enjoy it even though yes I was beaten by the girls and my knees, feet, toes, calf's, quads, ankles, hips, arms, neck, back and groin are all in quite a sore way, the experience of running in the crowds is a new experience and actually quite fun. Thank you to Keen Europe my A86`s proved their worth, light and nimble whilst being well ventilated and offering good support combined with Keen socks make a great runners option whether pushing mile on the road or out on the train they definitely helped me through.
So at about 17km I was thinking up my retirement speech from competitive running it was going to be an epic. But after reflection I want to train with the aim to do another half marathon in the future and maybe even some 10km races and adventure races.
See you on the river / road ;-)
Labels: I-Canoe, keen europe, paddle4play