5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Wow, this has definitely been a whirlwind weekend.  Yet somehow, it didn’t feel all that busy.  Almost even sorta relaxing.  Go figure.

1) Flew home From South Africa


This one is pretty self-explanatory, and I touched on it Saturday in a post.  But since it took up some 14 hours of my weekend, it seemed odd to not mention it.

Essentially, the airplane went up…and then it flew for a long while…and then it came back down again into a typically rainy London.  Then I repeated that airborne feat briefly for the 45 minute hop from London to Paris.


Getting back home around 10AM:


Not too shabby!

2) Went to the Paris Salon de l’Agriculture

There are many ‘Salons’ in Paris.  Which, have absolutely nothing to do with a place where you get your haircut.  Instead, it’s the term for large exhibitions.  Salon du Chocolate (a favorite of mine last year), Salon du Marriage (where we exhibited in November), and even Salon du Cycle.  But the biggest and most famous of all of them in France is the Salon de l’Agriculture.

This 10+ day long event takes over all 7 or so of the massive exhibition halls at Porte de Versailles, as seen here on our map.  Some ski resorts have smaller map guides than this place does.


Inside each of the halls are split up by animal association.  The first hall we went into was the cow hall.  So basically any products made from cows – either meat or milk.  Oh…and there were lots of cows just hanging out:


And lots of samples.  Cheese, meat, and many others.  From both massive corporations as well as small boutiques.


At the end of that hall was the pig hall.  Again, more samples.  We got an ice cream cone thingy of sausage.  It was only slightly awkward eating sausage while checking out live piggies:



There were other halls for vegetables, wine/cheese, horses, poultry, bunnies and many others:


We pretty much just ate our way through the show for the early evening.  Interestingly, this was the first year they closed at 7PM.  In past years it was open till 10-11PM, but due to issues with people getting drunk and pestering the animals, they had to close up shop early.  Too bad, as we definitely could have kept on working our way through the edible offerings.

Here’s a quick gallery of the scene:

If you happen to be in Paris over the next 10 days, it’s definitely worth a visit!

3) Went to the Velib & City Store:


Just across the water from us is the Paris city hall (Hotel de Ville…no, it’s not a hotel, it’s just what they call the city hall in French).  Within that is a ‘boutique’ for the city, of which about half of the items are cycling related and dedicated to the Velib – the city’s bike sharing program.

I’d been meaning to walk over there for months, after having visited the online site.  It carries all sorts of stuff, and I thought some of it might look good within the The Studio.  For example, this massive bike path map/poster of Paris is pretty cool.  It’s actually a coloring map, but works just left in Black and White:



And then there are all sorts of nice well styled glasses and such:


Heck, you can even buy some of the famous chairs from within various parks/locales around Paris:


Though, disappointingly they aren’t quite like the same exact chairs that you sit at within Luxembourg Park or near the Louvre at the Tulleries (anyone know where you can buy those?).

We ultimately came back with a few items – not too much though.  Just a few coffee cups and the map, along with the English version of the Velib bike routes book.


We’d seen the French version come out a year or two ago, but it’s nice having an English version now.  It mostly just highlights fun little trips around the city to make on a bike.  A good way for us to spend a few hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

4) Flew to Istanbul (with The Girl!)


In one of the rarest of rare events, both The Girl and I have work meetings scheduled in Istanbul this week.  I’ve got my usual IT job stuff there this week, and she’s working with a famous cake decorator there for three days.  Perfect!


Thus we spent the majority of the daylight hours on Sunday making the three hour hop from Paris to Istanbul.  Plus of course a few hours on either end getting to/from the airport.  Turns out, it had snowed in Istanbul somewhat recently.


I’m staying on the European side this time (versus the Asian side in my last trip), which makes it a bit easier to get to some of the more tourist-popular locations (which I’ve historically used in the past for running).  There won’t likely be any time to be a tourist, but I rather try to mix interesting spots into my workouts than not.

5) Went for a run in Istanbul:

As is often the case when I land in Istanbul, the whole getting from the airplane to hotel process seems to take far longer than it should.  In this case, just shy of two hours – in part because our plane basically parked halfway across the country in some sort of maintenance area.  That left me with somewhat limited light for a run, but I made the best of it.

I had a long run on the plan, about 1hr and 40mins worth.  I had only brought shorts/t-shirt, since the weather said it would be around 50*F (10*C).  I wasn’t exactly expecting the snow on the ground though:


I started from my hotel and ran down the hill half a mile to the water, near one of many ferry terminals I’d pass.


From there I ran along the water for quite some time, much of it weaving in between people on the sidewalk – slowing my paces about 45/sec a mile.  This was one scene crossing a bridge that’s perhaps 1KM long.  Constant fisherman – hundreds upon hundreds of them.


Once I cleared past the bridge I got about a mile or two of open seawall paths.  The water is to the left there, and a roadway to the right.  I’ve run along this path before, and it’s a great spot to run as there’s little in the way.


When I set out, I wasn’t quite sure how far I’d make it.  I was too lazy to actually measure out a route ahead of time, and just figured I’d do it on the fly.  I roughly know the area from past trips, and had a phone with me in case I got super lost.  The timing worked out though that as I neared my turnaround point I was able to make a brief diversion up the hill to the famous Hagia Sophia and related buildings, and do a loop around the grounds there before heading back to the hotel.


From there I was more or less re-tracing my steps back.  A few tweaks on the route here and there, but pretty close to the same.


All in, about 13.3mi (21.4KM) in 1hr 40mins.  I lost a fair amount of time in playing people dodging, but for a Z2 run it was good and nice and steady.

With that – onwards to the week ahead!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Harith Al Kubaisy

    How long did it take you to be able to run at such paces, while maintain a Z2 HR?

  2. Fab

    You can buy the chairs here : http://www.fermob.com

  3. Christian Deysson

    What a weekend! Thanks for the great post

  4. Arnaud Marie

    >How long did it take you to be able to run at such paces, while maintain a Z2 HR?

    I asked myself the same question !!!

    • It’s hard to say precisely, because it takes years of running. That said, once I started training with this coach (who I’ve had now for I think 7 years), it took a few months of running at the lower heart rates until I was where I roughly am (a Z2 pace in that range). It’s painful the first few months, but then you adjust and run quite a bit faster.

    • Harith Al Kubaisy

      Quiet impressive, I would like to reach that someday.

    • Matt

      Hey Ray, who’s your coach? (If you don’t mind sharing)

    • Coach Alan Melvin, based out of Springfield, VA. He doesn’t have a site or anything, but you can find him by name under various coaching directories (i.e. USAT).

  5. Tim

    If you ever want a bike tour of Istanbul, give a shutout!

  6. Tim

    Damn you auto correct! i meant shout-out, obviously!

  7. Kyle

    Liverpool play Besiktas in Turkey on Thursday in a giant Europa Cup football match, watch out for flares and other projectiles. YNWA!

  8. Matt

    You did well with the Istanbul run, my wife and I voted it worst city to go running in ever…

    • It’s actually really nice along the water – very easy to run in. I suppose it’s like many big cities where you have to know roughly where to run. Some are easier of course – like London or Paris.

  9. I was wondering if you use your GPS watch and Strava.

    I’ve had this issue when I run abroad, e.g. I live in the US and ran in U.A.E and Jordan on vacation, that Strava displays different dates for my activity on my dashboard and on the activity page. For example, I ran the morning of Feb 13, in Dubai at 8:12am. After I upload my data via Garmin, the timestamp shows Thursday, Feb 12, 2015 at 8:12am on my weekly summary. However, when I view the activity page, timestamp shows Friday Feb. 13, 2015 at 8:12am.

    I emailed support and they suggested that I made sure my Garmin had the correct time and location. They also suggested I updated my time zone to the area I was in, which I found to be more cumbersome instead of ideal as I travel several times out of the year. Both suggestions do not seem to actually fix the problem of having different dates for the same activity, though.

    Do you have this issue? And if so, how do you resolve it?

    A longtime reader :)

    • Any chance that you used the mobile app to upload? And, any chance that after you use the mobile app to upload you changed the title of the activity?

      If so – there’s a bug there whereby you use the mobile app to upload and then try to change the title of the activity. In doing so, it changes the time of the activity. The GCM team posted on Friday that they’re now working on a fix for the next app update.

      If none of those – any chance your watch is set to ‘manual’ time mode, and not GPS?

    • No, I didn’t use the mobile app to upload.

      I have a 910XT and transferred data via the USB dongle and Garmin’s application to get the activities into Garmin Connect. My Strava account and Garmin account are linked so that my newly uploaded activities to Garmin are automatically transferred and shown in my Strava account.

      I also use GPS to set the time and date for my watch (I just checked my watch and Time Zone setting is set to Automatic). I’m not sure where I would set the time manually as I’ve not done that before.

    • Tim Corso

      I think Strava has some issues. I’ve been riding on Zwift island (in the UK). and my Strava rides are sometimes way out.

      It looks like Zwift guys are trying to get Strava to do something about it.

      link to support.zwift.com\

      May be not the same problem but has the whiff of the same thing.

  10. Mike Hoover

    Looks like you were visiting the samples provided by the friendly Basques! Hope you liked it, I’ve got family living in that corner of the world!

  11. Anders

    What do you think about the major update released today for Microsoft Band…?

  12. nathan

    Any idea if that coloring map is sold online?


  13. Bruno

    See chair here for the chair you are looking for : link to fermob.com

  14. Benedikt

    Did you wear the Fenix 3?
    Are you going to write about activity tracking accuracy? (Im especial interested in a comparison to the Withings pulse)

  15. Chris

    …..probably be asked before…

    but when you go for a run what do you use to take photos? Just take your phone?

  16. Raymond Wright

    ” Interestingly, this was the first year they closed at 7PM. In past years it was open till 10-11PM, but due to issues with people getting drunk and pestering the animals, they had to close up shop early.”

    That’s hillarious. Sounds like our county fair.

  17. John B

    I really like the gallery. Not just the content but the concept as well.

  18. Kubilay

    A little late but welcome to Istanbul.

  19. Jason (Jigghead) Raath

    Looks like you ate some of the exhibits?

  20. Kochka

    It is “Salon de l’agriculture” :) (with L apostrophe)

  21. falconeye

    Insteresting to read that you have this agriculture salon in Paris. In munich we have nearly the same, called “Landwirtschaftsausstellung”. And it is only once in four years. The good thing is, it is directly next the Oktoberfest.
    So all the visitors of the agriculture exhibition go to the Oktoberfest afterwards. So no problems with drunk people on the exhibition ;-). It is a big playground for children and parents. You can watch and test all the big machines. Very fascinating. This exhibition is only exceeded by the “BAUMA”. Also only every four years. Here you can watch the biggest construction machines in the world in action. If I have time, I’am a regular visitor of these exhibitions. Even if I could never buy one of these machines.

  22. DoraTKillion

    Quiet impressive

  23. Paul Horsley

    Have you been flying your drones over Paris over the last couple of nights, its all on BBC news !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Mike Reding

    Those Holsteins look great with their flat backs. It was a real treat to see that pic. Nice looking cows.

  25. Gary B

    Like the others looking forward to the Fitbit charge HR reviews. Ray you should create a votebox for readers to vote on what from the queue you review next. I’m fast becoming one of those who won’t buy it until you have reviewed it.

    I’m quite interested in the Jabra sports pulse wireless earns with HR built in.

  26. Philippe

    Hello Ray
    You can find the chairs at fermob.com, they also have two stores in Paris.
    By the way, if you want to join a nice group of runners near your place, you can come for one of the saturday morning run with Let’s Run Paris from Jardin du Luxembourg at 9h00 :)

  27. Philippe

    Hi Ray, I couldn’t fing out if city is selling those things :(
    Looking forward to see you with Let’s Run Paris :)
    Depending on the program we run from 12 km untill 32 km with 4 different paces!