Posts Tagged ‘jogging’

Exercise Challenge is Fun!

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

As I have frequently mentioned, every morning I go running with my friend Becky, our running courses usually involving 6 to 8 kilometre circuits of the canal and local parks. Becky has signed up for the Paris half marathon AND the full marathon later in the year. I would have attempted the half marathon with her, however it is on the day that I return from Perth so I will be asleep and/or on a plane. Very annoying. Anyway, in order to help Becky train for the upcoming half-marathon and to burn off a few of those excess Christmas-calories, I suggested Becky and I attempt a longer run on the weekend in order to see how hard running longer distances really is. This was my Fun Times Count Down item #6.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning, Becky and I met at 10am and caught the metro to the Bois de Bologne – a wooded area just north of the Eiffel Tower that is notorious for being the place to find prostitutes at night time and if you want to be murdered and buried in a shallow grave, go here when it is dark. Fear not, it is perfectly safe and full of people exercising on Saturday mornings.

Becky had planned a route that would be approximately 20km long, winding through the woods, circling a hippodrome and doing a figure-eight around Lake Superior and Lake Inferior. Interesting fact – Lake Superior is SMALLER than Lake Inferior. How French. We set off well – the first 3km passing easily and then everything seemed to slow down. It took forever to reach 5km, and then 7km was even slower. It wasn’t physically straining, it was just taking forever. We played eye spy in French for a little while but it became far too easy as we both have a limited vocabulary and there wasn’t very much to spy in the woods anyway.

We eventually made it over the half way mark and up to 12km but then our team was struck by injuries – poor Becky was hit with a terrible cramp in her lower calf that just wouldn’t go away. We called for our medical staff but no one came – no good looks physiotherapists to massage away the pain. Becky struggled on for a few more kilometres but it soon became clear that running was not a good plan. We decided to stop and walk back to the metro, having run 15km. Not bad for a first effort. The walk back to the metro was another 3km so in total we did 18km. I was pleased with our efforts and we are planning for a second attempt at the 20km challenge next Saturday.

It was a particularly enjoyable activity to be doing on a cold Saturday morning – the temperatures have dropped over the last few days so it was really very cold and I should have worn my gloves. It was about three degrees as we were running and there was frost on the ground – the closest I have seen to snow this winter. While it was cold, the sun was shining and the sky was crystal clear – a crisp and sparkly morning. The cold weather made my room temperature tap water in my water bottle turn refreshingly cold. Instant refrigeration.

So a great start to the weekend – I hope next Saturday the weather is just as nice and we can make the full 20kms. It was a lot of fun and I am really enjoying the fact that I am physically able to make these longer distances. Having run 15kms I know I could have easily continued on to complete the full 20. Maybe the marathon isn’t such a crazy idea after all…

BFFs with the Baker

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

I forgot to mention a significant event that occurred over the recent galette season that has further solidified my position as loyal customer at my favourite boulangerie. When I went with Ben to buy our second galette for the day and two baguettes for our lunch, we arrived at the boulangerie to find it was jam packed with customers buying sandwiches for their lunches. The queue was reaching out the door and the bakery lady was running around serving people with efficiency and speed. I turned to Ben with a gleeful smile and declared that I would be able to jump the queue and receive my baguettes without having to wait in line. “Watch this.”

The bakery lady continued to serve two or so customers until she noticed me and made a call out across the bakery that anyone wanting to only buy bread should “Advancez!” to the cash register. My moment of glory! I excusez-moi-ed my way past people waiting to be served, held my head high and said “Bonjour!” to the bakery lady. She had already prepared my usual baguette for which I thanked her before then asking for a second baguette. I was nervous about my next request as I had declared that I simply wanted a baguette and that I would be leaving her establishment as soon as I had received it, but really I also wanted to buy another galette. So in my politest and most “You are so wonderful” voice I asked, “What it be possible that I also take a small galette?”
“But, of course!” she replied as she dashed over to the galettes and returned within a split second to take my money and wish me a good day.

Galette

A mini galette to finish off lunch

And so I strode out of the boulangerie, two baguettes and one galette in hand, having avoided waiting in line and being served before at least 15 other customers. I have to say I prefer the relationship I have developed with my bakery lady over the creepy lean-over-the-counter-and-stare-with-seedy-eyes I received on my return to another bakery I have to go to on Sundays or when I am feeling lazy. It appears the man in charge at this other bakery was pleased to have the foreign blonde girl back in his shop.

This does lead me to another point which is that I was instantly aware of my return to the land of Frenchmen as Becky and I headed out on our jog the morning after I got back and were wolf-whistled and had eyes stuck to us like magnets. I can’t say I missed it and it was nice to have two weeks in Germany and Holland where no one seems to find me visually pleasing. Although having fat old Frenchmen declaring that, oh la la!, we are “courageuse” and “sportif” can be quite amusing.