5 Random Things I Did This Past Weekend

Sometimes, I don’t know where the weeks go.  Before I knew it, I had flown to Wales and back for work, and it was already the weekend.  While I’ve still got to post my Wales Runaround from last week, here’s a look at our weekend!

1) Enjoying touristy Paris with friends from the states:


We had some good friends arrive on Saturday from the states, and since then we’ve been showing off the city.  Thankfully, the city has largely cooperated with great weather thus far, and even better weather planned for the rest of the week.

While overdoing the obligatory Tour Eiffel walk-through, I noticed this tree blossoming.  Given our highly warm weather this winter, I can definitely understand the flowering already – and definitely not complaining!

I’ll get more photos of our antics later this week.  Good times!

2) Watching a short bit of the Paris Half-Marathon

This weekend was the annual Paris Half-Marathon.  I ran it last year with The Girl.  This year, the race was scheduled a bit earlier than I anticipated – the first weekend in March as opposed to mid-March.  So with completing the Barcelona Marathon just two weeks ago, it didn’t really fit the training schedule/blocks too well.

No worries, I just integrated a spectating tour of it into my long run on Sunday.

VIRB Picture

The race started around 10AM (*love* the late starts…), and by time it swung down to near our place it was about 45 minutes later.  We’re roughly the half-way point at the turnaround near Hotel de Ville.

I continued running upstream a bit on the sidewalk.  Below, along the canal leading to Bastille with one of the music acts beating away.

VIRB Picture

I’d actually cross the route twice on my long run round.  Of course, it’s fairly easy to cross, you simply run with the crowd for a short bit slowly working your way over.

VIRB Picture

At this point in the race there’s enough separation that it’s easy to make the crossing seamlessly.

VIRB Picture

Congrats to all the runners (and numerous DCR readers) that ran yesterday.  And it was cool to hear a few of you (runners) shout out my name as you saw me along the course.  Quite surprising that anyone would notice me!

3) My Long Run

As noted above, I had started my long run roughly a short bit after the half-marathon started.  I stayed along the river working my way opposite the runners, heading away from the center of town.  My goal was to run the other half of the perhipherique that I ran last weekend.  That’s the ring road around Paris.  Like last weekend, I wasn’t technically running on the ring road, since that’s a gigantic highway.

Instead, I was running along the fairly new tram tracks that are just inside of the highway.  The path has bike/pedestrian lanes along the vast majority of it.  Oh, and as you can see – it was beautifully sunny and warm out – about 60°F.

VIRB Picture

For the first few miles, the tracks were actually closed down, due to the half-marathon crossing it in two places.  Here, you can see the tracks headed into the runners just up ahead beyond the medics.

VIRB Picture

The best part about this route is that it’s un-screw-up-able.  You simply follow the tracks.  Forever.

VIRB Picture

It was cool though in that I’d never run up that way (north).  And I was somewhat surprised away by how nice it was along the tracks.  I guess I always assumed that area was a little less nice.  Below, crossing a canal that has more running paths and is also being re-done to make it even more walk/runner friendly.

VIRB Picture

Now, eventually the tram tracks do end for a short distance.  Thus it goes about 90% the way around the circle, but not this one stretch.  Which is sorta strange because there’s some old derelict tracks right next to where this ends, that ‘completes’ the circle.  Perhaps that’s next, since large portions of the route were just finished this past summer.

VIRB Picture

After I left the loop, I headed inland back directly across the city, passing the Arch along the way.

VIRB Picture

Once I passed the Arch it was three miles to home, and also the last 20 minutes of my 2hr and 10min workout.  For this last section my schedule had me bumped up to race-pace.  Which is both easy and hard coming down the Champs-Élysées (below).  It’s easy in that it’s downhill.  It’s hard in that you’re dodging more people than you can shake a stick at.

VIRB Picture

With about a mile or so left to go, I dipped into the tunnel that’s closed on Sundays for pedestrians and cyclists.

VIRB Picture

The tunnel is fairly long.  Perhaps 1/3rd to 1/2 a mile.  So perfect for testing out various internal pace systems in many of the new watches.

VIRB Picture

Once I popped out – blue skies and clear roads along the river for the remainder of the run home.

VIRB Picture

All in, 17.36mi on a hilly course in 2hrs 10mins at long-run pace.



A perfect day for a run!

4) Cycling to the market, grabbing ingredients for dinner

Post run, I zipped right back out again on the bike share Velib bike to try and get to one of the markets in time to pickup ingredients for dinner.  I was sorta successful.  I had to tweak the planned menu a bit since a few of the stalls had already packed up by time I arrived.


So I grabbed some ingredients there and then biked a few miles away to another market that I knew was also close to closing, but figured I might luck out.  Below, the tops of celery, in case you were wondering.


When I arrived at the bike lanes next to the market – I was definitely too late (I went past the house, so I dropped off stuff there).  The stalls were torn down, and the lane cluttered with remnants of the market.  Within an hour it’ll be cleaned up and look pristine, but in the meantime, it looks more war-zone like.


Which, is also how the streets looked 5 hours after the marathon, with water bottles everywhere near the water stops:


They were slowly working their way down the course cleaning these up too.  But in the meantime, if anyone needed a spare plastic bottle or 10,000…you were golden.


For dinner, The Girl took all the ingredients and whipped up some green apple and chorizo risotto, which used the carrots/celery/onions that I picked up, all minced.


Mmmm….so good!

5) Some movies were shot


Not a week goes by where a movie isn’t shot within view of our place.  The majority take place on the quay down below along the river.  Some take place on the street in front of our place.  In fact, one action movie recently hit the big screen with a chase scene that we saw being filmed right next door.

This weekend saw multiple productions – potentially related, potentially not.  There was some sort of car scene going down at one point where they blocked off our road for a short while, along with some big bangs/explosions.  Then, later at night they actually lit up Notre Dame.  Now that may sound normal, but in reality, it’s quite different.  Normally the church has much less powerful lights that shine upwards on it that are on daily till around 12AM-1AM.  Except this time, the above shot was lit by giant spotlights from across the river.  You can see them here:


The next day, there was more activity on the bridge in front of the church, as well as below it.  Two separate shots.  There was a woman in a red dress hanging out with lots of cameras fawning over her.


And then another crew that was likely waiting for the action to come.  They lacked said woman in red dress, and thus looked bored.


We’ve seen everything from them making it snow on our block to cars going into the drink.  Always entertaining.

With that – thanks for reading!  Enjoy the week ahead!


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  1. Frigid Philly

    60F and sunny in Paris!! Flowering trees!! Jealous beyond words.

    -5C today, low tonight -18C Snow followed by more snow on East Coast USA. Grrrrr

  2. Jay

    Forget the run. That risotto looks delicious!

  3. Alexandre Siqueira

    Are you using your Garmin virb to take pictures in your runs? And taking it all the time in your hands?

  4. John Caracoglia

    Would you recommend the Virb or GoPro for pictures during the run. Trying to decide what kind of camera for some of my trail runs or long runs. Thanks!

    • I prefer the VIRB for running with it, partly because the battery life is better, partly because there’s the tiny screen I can use to sorta check things, and partly because I don’t have to touch the menu’s to switch between video and photos. Simply two different buttons/switches.

      Plus, I get the photos all geotagged.

  5. Captain Chris

    I love the 5 random things posts. You are one cool dude!


  6. Robin

    Is there a recipe for the Green Apple and Chorizo Risotto?

  7. Wow so jealous! Going to paris is my dream. I would love to go to another country and just get lost in a long run and exploring. Perhaps the Paris Half will be put on my bucket list ;)

  8. Didrikson

    Hi, after reading many of your fantastic articles, I am now wondering, how many hr-devices do you have, how do you manage all thouse?

    • To many. Boxes and boxes of them. They take over the apartment like ants. I’m in desperate need for a better organizational system.

      Right now, it’s mostly like bedrock, the top layers of boxes are most recent devices. If you go back 5-6 months ago it’s a different layer of devices. What mixes it all up are the roller shots I do. Gotta find all the right watches, completely messing up the sediment of watches.

      (As just as a reminder, I send all test units back to companies – I don’t take anything. I go out and get final units through normal retail channels.)

  9. Ben

    Dude, it’s “menus” and “Sundays,” not “menu’s” and “Sunday’s.” You’re a professional writer, learn plurals please! Or get a spell-checker. :)

    • Items of note:

      1) Fixed the “Sunday’s” in the post itself. Thanks!
      2) Generally speaking, I try and respond to as many comments as I can. Typically speaking, that’s 100-200 per day. Per day. Plus about 50-100 e-mail a day. So, if I make a typo here and there in comments…ok.
      3) Regarding my profession, last I checked, this isn’t my day job. I spend the other 8-10 hours a day plus travel doing that. Thus, see #2 above when it comes to trying to respond to comments.

    • BobR

      The fact that you do read and respond to the comments is very much appreciated!

    • Samuel

      What’s wrong with you ben? Who cares about a few misspelling it’s not like you paid bucks for this article and want a perfectly written article for it.

  10. slaentbjorn

    Always enjoy reading your blog!

    Just wondering, I’ve read several times now that you appreciate the late starts of european races. What is a normal starting time in the US?

    • For a marathon (or most other running races), depending on the season – between 6:45AM and 8AM is typical. For a triathlon, between 5:45AM and 8:00AM (latest).

    • mucher

      Gee, that’s really early – though I did run a half marathon in the Philippines a few years ago – with a 5:30 AM start.

      Still – I do prefer these European starting times.

  11. Doug

    Can’t believe you said you weren’t doing the Paris half because Barcelona was only two weeks ago and THEN went for a 17.4mi run!!! Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Maxbre

    Ciao Ray,
    The view from your apartment’s window in simply wonderful…
    It is always nice to read your blog!


    These are great Ray! No one else even comes close to what you are doing!
    PS if you want to get rid of any old stuff you have hangingh around i can help you out :)

  14. Alex G

    A note to Ben.

    Ben, I hope you read this. I don’t know what you do all day, but given the amount of effort and time that Rain puts into this blog, and the amount of valuable information we all get from him, you DON’T deserve any right to criticize him, especially in the way that you did. So thank you for your insightful critique, next time please keep it to yourself.

    And Thank you Rain for this Blog!!!

  15. ken

    Like others suffering from the endless, snowy cold winter (US east coast version) who can’t wait for spring, I always find this blog motivating to get me off my polar vortex and into to the gym. Thanks for the blossoming tree photo.

    Oh, I can’t wait for April!

    That said, I’ve been wondering: at what point do you quit your day job, Ray?

    You could easily become a consultant to the Fitness Device Industrial Complex and earn a great living without all the insane travel. Would give you more time for more motivating posts for the rest of us.

  16. Matthew Cortez

    5 random is cool to read. Rainmaker rules!
    Im sure Ben is purrrfect at his job, his co-workers prob think he is an awesome guy. @*ckin dushe.
    Ride or die baby.

  17. Shaun Hurry

    Love the movie-in-progress shots! Would love to see some more!
    –Also, I mean this in the best possible loving way…I hate you and your Paris and your beautiful, warm weather! Ugh, its -33C here in Edmonton, Canada. It’s legitimately too cold to snow. TAKE ME WITH YOU!!

  18. Samuel

    if you come over by the north east you may want to drop by the buttes chaumont (my usual running park), great views and arguably the best hills to run in paris

  19. Tim

    I would hate those late starts – I would wake up early still and be just trying to kill time till the start time and why on earth would you race into the middle of the day, if we did that here in Australia it would be way to freaking hot !

  20. I was reading about your run, and about the use of heatmaps in order to choose which way to go. so I want to share two things:
    1- my heatmaps of the last year link to strava.com
    2- the fact that in the my routes builder of strava you can use “popularity” (which is similar to heatmaps) in order to choose your paths. Nice. The only problem is that you have to choose if you want to use the automatic feature (you can always simply build your route watching at it but not using the automatic feature) only for the whole route and not just a part of it.