My trip to Dubai

I’ve never been to Dubai or in fact anywhere in the Middle East before so I was quite excited about this trip. I was going to go on my own but my mum said she’d like to come and join me as she’d never been before either. I get on really well with her so this was fine. My dad couldn’t take the time off so it was a girls only trip. A flying visit but a lovely little holiday in the sun.We flew with Emirates, which let me tell you was amazing. So much leg room, so many movies, a very cool camera to see outside of the plan and great service. The flights weren’t ridiculously expensive either. I watched A Ghost Story (very melancholic), Wonder Woman and most of Home Again and the time flew by.

We arrived in Dubai in the evening Dubai time (they’re four hours ahead of the UK). We got a taxi to our hotel, freshened up and did a bit of exploring in the nearby area: the Dubai Marina and the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), where there are lots of restaurants, cafes and a few shops right on the beach front. We were quite tired so decided to head to bed. It was past midnight now Dubai time as well, but still everything was open and people were out and about like it was early evening!The first day it was tough waking up at 9am because it felt like 5am but we cracked on. I’d decided to get a short run in because that’s one of my favourite things to do in a foreign country. I kept it to 5k and just ran down random roads near the hotel. It was lovely and warm and I got to wear a new top I’d bought a while ago but hadn’t been able to wear because…winter. We got a taxi to the Marina again (only ten minutes away and very cheap) and meandered down the beautiful path marveling at the giant skyscrapers and yachts while deciding where to get brunch.It was so lovely and warm. coming from a very wintry Britain into such sunshine was just incredible.We decided on a Greek restaurant and had a delicious medley of halloumi, lebnah (soft cream cheese), eggs, olives, pita bread and this amazing chickpea lebneh mix with gyro meat at the bottom.We were absolutely stuffed afterwards! From there we headed into the Marina Mall where we were amazed to find very British shops like Boots mixed amongst American and European shops, like H&M and adidas. It was quite amusing to find a Waitrose as well, so I made sure to stock up on some apples 😉From there we headed to the Dubai Marathon Expo. I say “expo” lightly here. It was literally just a conference room to pick up my bib and my t-shirt.There were no more than three small vendors alongside but really it was just a big empty room. This was quite disheartening as this was neither a cheap nor small marathon. You’d expect a bit more. I mean it doesn’t have to be London-style, but it could at least have done a bit more. I picked up my bib and was informed that the marathon was to begin half an hour later (7am not 6.30am).The woman cheerfully told me that would mean it’d be more in the light. Well yes, but also sunshine and heat… The expo helped alight the fear in me though of what was to come: that boring course. Considering we’d also been stuck in traffic on that road a few minutes ago and seeing how dull it looked in reality as well as on paper did nothing to make me feel excited about the upcoming race.From there we headed to the nearby beach to walk along the sands, take some cool photos of the Burj Al Arab (oh how I would come to hate that building in a few days time…) and then dip out feet into the water (quite cold despite the general heat of the day). And get my Marathon Talk Photo From Around the World done as I had my MT t-shirt in my bag ready (now my fifth photo I think).After a day of exploring and moseying about, we had an evening booked in to go up the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. This was about 20-30 minutes drive from our hotel and being Standard Anna I only gave us 40 minutes to get there. I thought I was being clever giving us contingency time but no I forgot there might be traffic because apparently everyone’s not on holiday like us. Now you might think here that my lovely mother might have stepped in with the organising but no. Where do you think I get it from? She happily let’s me direct the day.So there ensued a very stressful time in the taxi in stop start traffic. The time ticked closer to 6pm, our allocated slot, and meant we had to do some serious power walking (my mum doesn’t run) through the Dubai Mall to get to the entrance. I was STRESSED (my mum wasn’t. She very chilled about life). Thankfully nobody seemed to care we were ten minutes late and we got on the lift for the 124th (in 60 seconds no less).The views were, as you can imagine, phenomenal. I mean it was just incredible and felt unbelievably scary looking down. We had a great time taking photos, peering through the windows at the different views and seeing the beautiful lights of the buildings around us. My one complain however is that it takes SO long to actually get back down. You can’t just take the lift, you have to queue for the lift – not a quick process!

After finishing our viewing and getting down to the Dubai Mall again we were starving. We hadn’t had anything since brunch. We did that very touristy and stupid thing of literally ending up in one of the first places we saw within the mall as we were so hungry. We hadn’t expected it to take as long as it did to get down the Burj Khalifa and it was now close to 7.30pm.

However despite falling into the first place we saw, it was actually fantastic! I can’t remember the name but it was Labanese and delicious (and actually didn’t feel like a “mall restaurant”). And the great thing eating out with my mum is that she often doesn’t finish what she eats so I get her leftovers (which is both a gift and a curse…).Wednesday morning saw my mum and I heading over to an area in front of the skyline and water to do two hours worth of yoga. We’d signed up to this before going on the trip (through AirBnb) and it sounded great. My mum has regularly being doing Pilates so she was very keen to give yoga a bash.Iskander, the yoga teacher, appeared and it turned out we were the only ones in the class that day – a kind of private tuition! He was super friendly and a fantastic teacher. He gave my mum easier poses when she struggled and was very relaxing to listen to. My mum even fell asleep in the Savasana at the end. If you’re ever in Dubai and fancy yoga, check out IskanderThen Iskander guided us back to the JBR and gave us some great Dubai insider’s tips. For brunch we went to Eggpectations which is a Canadian restaurant and, wouldn’t you know it, had a lot of egg-themed dishes. Perfect!We also visited the Gold Souk in Deira later on to explore a bit of Old Dubai. A “souk” is kind of like a market. This area was basically full of shops selling gold. There were so many jewelers it was quite astonishing. There was also a Spice Souk nearby which was cool. But yeah the gold… so many necklaces and chunky pieces. And lots of men trying to sell you fake handbags and watches!If I’m honest it wasn’t really our scene. Neither of us were wanting to buy anything and we more just wanted to wander around. It became quite exhausting though having people constantly come up to you though and (probably because we’re British) we didn’t want to be rude so it was just constantly us verbally batting them away as politely as we could.After that we decided to head back to the Dubai Mall where we could wander round the shops in peace. Don’t get me wrong, it was fascinating and interesting to see that area of Dubai but in reality it wasn’t really somewhere we were going to stay for too long.

In the Dubai Mall we decided to stop for a pick-me-up in The Chocolate Bar. I went for a cake ice cream medley. It was delicious but ultimately somewhat disappointing.It had a few chunks of sponge, marshmallows and two blobs of ice cream covered in chocolate sauce. I guess for a normal human it would be a perfectly acceptable pudding but for me it was just a bit unsatisfying. I wanted to be smacked in the face with the full force of a sugar overload and need to take a small nap on a nearby bench to recover. Instead I was left wanting. So in order to rectify this, as any other greedy individual would do, I went and bought myself some “Camel Cookies”. These were a very curious treat. I thought I could just buy one (there were lots of different flavours) but actually you had to buy the selection box with ALL the flavours. Oh go on then, you’ve twisted my arm.
They were quite small though thankfully and didn’t look like cookies in the traditional sense. They were like little closed cookie cups encasing different fillings, like white chocolate chunks or Nutella. I had a bit of each one and called it a day. The beast was now satiated.
For dinner we popped back to the Marina and had a fantastic Persian dinner. I was feeling really cold and tired – thinking the days of lots of walking and lack of sleep were catching up with me. The dinner was delicious though. I loved that we got salad, dips, pitta bread and Turkish tea afterwards as part and parcel of the meal. With the beautiful view of the Marina next to us, it was a lovely evening.
Sadly though I woke up the next morning having had a bad night’s sleep and a cold. Uh oh! This wasn’t in the marathon plan. I actually don’t normally get colds so this was somewhat annoying. Having my mum (who’s also a nurse) was helpful as she suggested we grab some paracetamol, ibuprofen and Vitamin C.Handily Dubai has Boots so this was very easy.
After a morning of brunch and meandering around the Marina and JBR, in the afternoon we were picked up and taken to the desert for a fun afternoon out there. We were driven in a 4×4 with some lovely Danish girls and an American guy where we had an exhilarating time bouncing over sand dunes in the desert clinging on to dear life. It was all safe but it did feel rather scary (but in a fun way).

We then stopped at a camel farm and were lucky enough (though I say this lightly as actually it wasn’t my thing to see…) a camel giving birth. Then we headed off to through the desert again to a campsite where we had time to have a camel ride and a go on a 4×4.The camel ride was hilarious as the camel standing up is just terrifying as you’re literally thrown about. I did have some worries though about how fair this was for the camel to be continually giving people rides.
After that we tried some Turkish coffee with a fried doughnut thing covered in syrup (soooo good and so fresh). And then I had a go at quad biking through the desert which was mad. Just mad.I got a henna tattoo, saw some crazy dancing and belly dancing and ate copious amounts of food. Heyyyy not like I have a marathon the next day or anything. Yeah sure let’s just eat lots of different random foods. It’ll be fiiiiine. Weird combinations of spices? Yeah load me up.It was a fun trip – and nice to see a different part of Dubai and the culture. It is quite a touristy thing to do to be honest. There are lots of tour companies that do this and it did feel a little bit of a “tick box” activity… ride a camel, get a henna tattoo, see a belly dancer (we used Sand Trax Tours). That said, it was a really fun experience and my mum thoroughly enjoyed herself. Though towards the end of the evening I started to get nervous about the next day’s marathon. I really needed my dad there to  help calm my nerves as he’s very good at knowing what to say – especially regarding my running. My mum…ehhhhh, she means well but her advice was “well, just think of it like the parkruns you do. You do them all the time and it’s fine”. OK. But having my mum there still calmed me regardless of her perhaps not great advice.Well, the marathon went OK (read my post here) – albeit dull, hot and I felt very ill afterwards! But Dubai itself was a great trip. It was a very accessible city with most people speaking English and taxis being so cheap and it had a lot to offer. However, I don’t think I’ll be hurrying back soon unless it was just a stop-over between somewhere else. A very fun holiday nonetheless.

Have you ever been to Dubai?

Have you ever ridden a camel?

Do you go on holidays with your family?

Boston Marathon Expo and the days before

Where do I even start?? [Warning: long post alert] So I’m back from Boston. I got back Saturday morning (about 2am Boston time, 7am UK time). Saturday was a tough day staying awake! The flight time was only around 6.5 hours so it’s not fully overnight. But anyway, I’m back and feeling more human (just). I haven’t finished my race recap of Boston yet so that’ll come (hopefully) towards the end of this week. So for now I’ll recap the days leading up to it.

My mum and me flew to Boston Friday early afternoon. I watched two films (Spotlight and The Big Short – both really good. Spotlight was especially interesting as it’s set in Boston). I do love long-haul flights for their movies!

IMG_9972Flight selfie

We arrived in the afternoon Boston time (Boston is 5 hours behind the UK). We were staying in the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor. I’d booked through the Boston Marathon so got a discounted price and as it was connected to the marathon the hotel knew lots of information and themed the weekend for the runners (free yoga Saturday morning, free water taxi to Boston mainland on Monday, carb-based meals in the restaurant, etc.). They even put a finish line on the floor.

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The hotel was located very close to the airport which was very handy (and had a free shuttle) though we were, as I mentioned, a water taxi ride from Boston proper. At first I thought this was annoying but actually it was lovely. The views from the restaurant were phenomenal.

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We had such good views of the Boston skyline and a lovely path to walk along the water.

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As we were tired we didn’t fancy getting the water taxi over and hunting for somewhere to eat. We caught an Uber (honestly, this app blew my mind – it’s like magic!) and went to Angela’s Cafe, in East Boston, which I’d seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I’d also been heartily recommended by Anthony Rodriguez, a member of the DDD team.Angelas Cafe

As we weren’t hugely hungry we kept it simple with a soup for my mum and a chicken salad for me. We also had a HUGE stone bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips. Heavenly! I was worried that the place would be a bit ‘off-beat- for my mum but she loved it. Honestly the food was awesome and so fresh! The restaurant was very small but clearly a local favourite. I wish we could have gone back there to fully try out some of the other food but sadly we didn’t have time.

The next morning we got up early as we were jetlagged and had an early breakfast in the hotel before catching the water taxi over. The water taxi took less than eight minutes and was a lovely way to travel as the views were great.

IMG_0147Another cheeky selfie

It was a bit chilly and windy but otherwise lovely and sunny. Our mission was to head straight to the marathon expo first to get that done. We used the metro system, the “T”, and then followed all the other marathoners to the convention centre. It was easy to spot runners – they were everywhere and most of them either carrying a map that came with the marathon info or wearing Boston marathon clothing. It was very exciting.

IMG_0007Some firemen were stood watching the 5k ear their fire station and I couldn’t not say hello to their adorable Dalmatian

We stopped a few times to take photos of course. The Boston 5k was going on at that time so there was lots going on.

We found the expo and headed straight to the bib pick-up area. We were actually slightly early as they hadn’t even started giving out the bibs yet. But we only had a few minutes to wait – our timing was awesome.Boston ExpoThe expo was great. Similar to Berlin where there were large areas of different companies selling running-related stuff. As Adidas were the clothing sponsor for the marathon they got the largest area and I was literally in heaven.Boston expo 1

I decided to treat myself to some Boston merchandise because it was all so lovely and I wanted a few items with Boston Marathon 2016 on. It was expensive though as you can imagine! I decided to go for a black Adidas jacket and a blue tank top. There were the traditional blue jackets but I found the colours quite garish, though so many people were going for them and we’d see them everywhere the days after.

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We carried on moseying about but I didn’t buy anything else. It was starting to get busy so we headed out to start a day of shopping, something we were both excited about. My mum, bless her, was wonderful joining me in the expo and I could see her getting into the excitement of it all as she was beginning to realise just how big a deal running Boston was to the US.

We got to the shops just as they were opening. We mainly stuck to the Prudential Centre, which is basically a mall with an observatory on the top floor (it’s a huge skyscraper).

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Though we were tempted by the observatory and seeing the city from so high we were too distracted by shops Winking smile

I found a Lululemon and almost bought one of their swiftly tops which I’d be hankering over for ages on the Internet. It’s so expensive for basically a long-sleeved running top but it’s such a lovely fit and lovely material. It also had “Boston 2016” on the back. In the end I decided not to buy it (MISTAKE).

After lots of of shopping we started to feel hungry so decided to try out the Cheesecake Factory as it was close by, relatively inexpensive and easy. It was ridiculously busy everywhere now (runners everywhere). We had a 20 minute wait but we decided it was worth it as everywhere else was rammed. We’d never been to a Cheesecake factory before so it was a new experience.

Cheesecake Factory

I couldn’t believe all the cheesecakes and cake that were in the display cabinet. It was amazing! As we instantly knew we were going to have cheesecake for pudding, we decided to be a bit sensible and have a light salad for lunch.

Cheesecake Factory lunch

The salad was delicious, with goat’s cheese and chicken. But obviously the cheesecake was the winner here. It was ginormous.

Red velvet cheesecake

I went for the Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake while my mum went for the Salted Caramel Cheesecake. I’d love to say that I couldn’t eat all of it but that would be a lie. I’m such a greedy cake monster that I polished the entire thing off. I felt ridiculously full afterwards of course but I fully enjoyed it! That cheesecake will forever haunt my dreams now…it was so good. My mum, being a far more reasonable human being, couldn’t finish hers. Luckily the waitress took it away quickly as I was eyeing it up. God.

I rationalised that as the marathon was on Monday I could enjoy my eating on the Saturday but on the Sunday I’d be more sensible. In theory. During the meal we chatted away to two ladies who were running the marathon the next day in the table near us. It was incredible, everywhere there were marathoners.

We did a bit more shopping and sightseeing then headed back, by walking this time, to the harbour area. We decided to go back to the hotel to chill for a bit and then head out again for dinner that evening. We made sure to book somewhere before we got the water taxi back as it was so busy. We booked dinner for a lot later as obviously we were stuffed!

The next day I got up with the intentions of doing a shakeout run. I asked at reception where I could do this and they provided me with a handy hand-size map that showed different options – a longer 6+ mile run or a shorter three mile run. This was fantastic! I eyeballed it for a while then decided I knew where to go for my three miler. It basically ran alongside the water so it was lovely and scenic.

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In true Anna standard, I did get lost. But amazingly I managed to find my way back and run exactly three miles! I saw lots of runners about and we all smiled and waved at each other.

Then my mum and me had breakfast again in the hotel. The breakfast at the hotel was lovely; it was a buffet-style affair but you could order off the menu as well. I ordered a bacon, cheese and lobster omelette to have alongside my oatmeal and black coffee.

Hyatt Harbor Hotel Breakfast

This set me up nicely for another day of walking around Boston. We decided to follow the Freedom Trail, which would take in the main historic sights of Boston on foot. It was quite fun as we used an app on our phone which would tell us information about each thing we saw and it was a bit like an Easter egg hunt trying to find the different things.

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Basically red bricks would guide you to each different place and there would be a plaque giving information about different buildings and places. The app helped though giving a map and some context (you could use it offline).Freedom Trail BostonNot knowing a huge amount of American history (or barely any…) it was quite interesting. It also helped us get a good bearing on the city. This was really helpful for me as the next day, marathon Monday, I’d need to get myself to the Boston Common ridiculously early on my own from the hotel (catching the water taxi, then walking about a mile) to catch the shuttle buses to the start of the marathon, 26-something miles away from Boston.

BostonWhoops, my mum cut off George Washington’s head!

We walked down Newbury Street which was teeming with people. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day. We found a lovely little Italian restaurant, called Trattoria, for a light lunch.

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Again I had a salad with chicken and goat’s cheese (I know what I like!). It was delicious and the atmosphere was lovely. We chatted to a table next to us who’s dad was running the marathon for the seventh time. It was great to chat to someone who had done it.

We did a bit more shopping in the Prudential Centre and I decided to go back to Lululemon to buy that top I’d seen the day before. Alas though they’d sold out of the Boston 2016 one… I was fairly grumpy but tried on a load of stuff and decided to treat myself (I had gone with a shopping budget) to a few things. Lululemon is expensive but the quality is good. I treated myself to two jackets and the swiftly top sans the “Boston 2016” on the back. (It wasn’t until later on when I checked the receipt I realised they hadn’t charge me for one of the jackets. Though I had watched the sales person ring them up and fold them! Unknowingly I’d walked out of the shop without them charging me for a £90 jacket!! My lucky day it seems! My mum joked that we could now never go back to that shop).

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I also treated myself to a few Nike items (one long sleeved top and a tank top with Boston on it and personalised with my name – for free!).

We checked out the finish line as well – which was ridiculously busy.

Boston marathon 2016 finish lineThe Marathon Daffodils were lined up all along the streets and outside shops

We then spent some time around Quincy Market as well, which again was just heaving with activity. So many people! It was mental. In fact the entire day we couldn’t move for runners running everywhere or just people wearing Boston marathon jackets or just lycra-clad people. Everyone looked super fit and healthy. It seemed the whole city knew about the marathon. In shops the staff would be talking about it, wondering whether to go down and watch it (it’s a holiday for them on the Monday) and people would ask if you were running it. Though it was nice, it was making me exceptionally nervous. My hamstring had been really tight for a few days and I was so worried it would cause me issues. I could feel it when I ran that morning – not pain, just a tightness. I was worried about all those hills. My mum, bless her, did her best to calm me down.

Quincy Market is full of restaurants, food stalls and shops. We wandered around for a bit and then I spotted someone with a chocolate covered apple. Where was this!? I soon found a stall inside the market hall and bought one immediately.

IMG_0182 Nothing calms me more than apples Winking smile

We had already decided to eat a meal in the restaurant that evening as it was easy and I didn’t want to have too late a night. The hotel’s restaurant was very posh and looked out onto the harbour. We’d booked in the morning (or so we thought) and at 7.30pm arrived for our table. They looked confused and said there was no reservation. We clearly saw a woman write down our names, our room number and our time that morning so we were a bit annoyed. Especially as we had nowhere else to go really for dinner (without stress) and it was fairly important I ate a good meal. It was busy though and I started to get nervous.

Thankfully the hostess was very apologetic and got us a table and told us our appetisers would be covered, which was a lovely touch (and quite appreciated as the menu was quite expensive!). So it actually worked in our favour. Boringly I went for a salad for my main as I wanted to keep things simple but I just could not resist the chicken wings for my starter.

Hyatt Boston Harbor

The chicken wings fully rocked my world. As a starter there were LOADS. It was pretty much a main meal (for a normal person). Perhaps not my wisest choice before a marathon but they were bloody awesome. And you know I love my salads Winking smile

And then we headed to bed. Saturday and Sunday we’d walked over 30,000 steps each day. I was shattered. I knew this was a bad move before the marathon but at the same time, we had a great time and I would rather be busy and walking than sat contemplating the next day. It also helped me fall asleep quickly and deeply both nights.

And then the marathon…

What expos have you been to before?

Have you ever been to Boston?

Do you do a lot of walking the days before a big race?

Le Paris – before the marathon

Here’s my recap of what we did in Paris before the marathon. I know this is probably so uncultured to admit but… Ben and me really only went to Paris for the marathon. For a bit of an adventure to run an iconic marathon in a different country. I won’t lie, if there wasn’t the marathon we wouldn’t have gone. So we didn’t really do any planning for the actual non-marathon related times. That’s not to say we didn’t have a good time though.

We left on Friday afternoon from Southampton airport – which for us is literally a 15 minute drive away. As you can imagine, this was a dream. The day before I decided to panic buy the 220 Garmin from Amazon and as I have Amazon Prime I was really hoping it would arrive before we left. I could have hugged the postman when he turned up with it!

220 Garmin Wearing my lovely slipper boots there

We had a couple of last minute things to do before leaving…

IMG_6231 Like ironing on our names to our running club vests. [Side note: because our running club colours are red, white and blue when I was running the marathon quite a few French people clapped me on the back and said things like “Vivre le France”. Mildly amusing.]

Anywho, we got to Paris without any issues. After getting to our lovely hotel, we then took a taxi to get to the marathon expo. We thought it’d probably be wise to do it Friday evening rather than Saturday when a lot of people would also be there.

Paris marathon expo We walked past the barriers (bottom left photo) feeling quite good that we didn’t have to queue there//In the bottom right photo there’s a man standing as a mannequin and jumping out at people which was very funny

Having never been to a race expo before I didn’t really know what to expect. I was neither blown away nor disappointed. We got our marathon bibs and our t-shirt for the next day’s race (the Breakfast Run – you used your t-shirt as your race entry).IMG_6365 Annoyingly they had run out of small t-shirts for the Breakfast Run so I had to settle for a medium. It was quite the tent on me!

Here’s the expo haulage:

IMG_6259 Not too shabby. The white square thing is a sponge which you could take around with you during the marathon and dunk it in buckets of water to sponge yourself with. Purely my own personal preference, but the thought of doing that after thousands of other sweaty people was definitely not my cup of tea. The fact that I saw people dunking their entire heads and drinking the water from the buckets during the race really freaked me out!

Then we walked to find somewhere to eat. Ideally we were looking for a cheap place to just grab something easy. But we struggled with places not having English translations on the menu (yes I know, how very ignorant of me not knowing French and being such a tourist with my expectations. I feel suitably ashamed). In the end we picked a place because the menu didn’t look too expensive (in Paris terms) on a very quick cursory glance and it had pretty lights on the front. Yep, key important restaurant necessities.

As we sat down we suddenly realised it was fairly posh. This was further clarified when a group of four sat near us covered head to toe expensive designer clothes and jewellery and the men had expensive laughs (you know the kind) and cravats.

Restaurant Jadis 2 At this point we felt a little underdressed… The restaurant (Bistrot Jadis) was lovely. The service impeccable, the food…oh the food!Restaurant Jadis I had some sort of soup to start which was creamy and rich, but very tasty. I wish I could tell you what it actually was but see above about me being an ignorant tourist. It was definitely fish. Then I had a steak with anchovy sauce and stuffed mushrooms for main. I could have licked the plate. For pudding we both went for a passion fruit crumble thing. Basically passion fruit custard on a crispy sweet biscuit with meringue, er, mini rods?

All in all, deeeeelicious. However, very very rich. My poor tummy felt a bit hard done by later that night, but nothing major. Just a very heavy and queasy feeling. This made it clear that we were to take no risks the night before the marathon.

The next morning we were up early to go to the 5km Breakfast Run (organised by the Paris marathon, 5 Euros to take part in – bargain!)

Sorry I couldn’t resist this photo…IMG_6271

There was such a great atmosphere for the start and entire race.IMG_6275A bit like a Parkrun, but filled with so many different nationalities. Ben and me discussed our game plan: run together, nine minute miles and no faster. Keep it nice and easy.

However, this became a joke because the leading car (blaring out crazy music) didn’t let people run faster. So we were running 10-11minute miles. Hey, fine by me! It did make me laugh though – Saturday 9am and this car is belting out Sean Paul dance songs stupidly loud down residential streets in Paris. Bet they loved us.

IMG_6284 There were a few stops here and there so lots of photo taking opportunities. This was good because I didn’t take any photos during the marathon – although I had planned to. It was just too complicated to navigate getting the phone out with gels and headphones. Plus I was terrified of dropping it during such a big race.

IMG_6367The route was different to the marathon (thankfully – what a spoiler that would have been otherwise!) but it did go under the Eiffel Tower which was cool.

IMG_6300 At the end there were stupid amounts of croissants, pain au chocolats, coffee, bananas and water. Nicely done. We then had a fair walk back to the hotel (an hour’s walk)…meaning my banana and Ben’s pain au chocolat became breakfast and after we’d showered and got out of the hotel it was lunch time!

Can I just put it out there now… I did not go to Paris for a culinary adventure. I wanted to keep things simple the day before the marathon. And finding my favourite salad on the menu ticked all my requirements.

IMG_6361Chicken Caesar salad with bacon, a hard boiled egg, croutons, shaved parmesan and a delicious dressing on the side for my pouring pleasure 😀

I’m also going to hold my hands up now and say we went back to this cafe twice more and I had this salad each time. It was that good.

Then we met up with some friends and sat in a lovely bar/cafe for a while catching up. After this we then made the error of walking a lot…to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs-Élysées and back on the metro. I was starting to panic about how far we were walking and also I was having huge doubts about the next day. After saying goodbye to our friends, we had dinner (pizza) and headed back to the hotel (where my panicking would continue).

The next day –> The marathon.

I’ll (finally) finish up Paris with what we did post-marathon and the day and a half after 🙂

Have you ever been to Paris before?

Have you ever gone to a foreign country to run a race/take part in an event?

Do you enjoy French food?