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<p><strong>What/where?</strong> My first international race, <em>La Grande Classique Paris - Versailles</em> is a 16 kilometers race from the Eiffel Tower to Palace of Versailles.</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.parisversailles.com/lgc.php?lang=en" target="_blank">http://www.parisversailles.com/lgc.php?lang=en</a></p>
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<p><strong>Short version:</strong> 1:19:02</p>
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<p><strong>Long version:</strong></p>
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<p><strong>Background info:</strong> As <strong>Opie</strong> already knows, DW is a "Parrothead". We usually attend at least one Jimmy Buffett concert a year for this reason, usually in Dallas or Las Vegas. However, this year, we noticed that the date in Paris was perfect for both our schedules. As we had both hotel and airline points to use, the trip would be much less expensive than a trip to Las Vegas. As is my habit, I always check out the local racing scene at any vacation destination and up popped this race. Of course I signed up for it.</p>
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<p><strong>The trip (pre-race):</strong> We left OKC on Wednesday arriving in Paris on Thursday morning. After checking into hotel, we explored the area around the hotel and found a nice brasserie for our evening meal. We turned in early by Parisian standards (~9:30pm). Awoke on Friday morning at 11:00am local time. After a quick breakfast, found our way to the race expo/packet pickup. Around 3:00pm, we found our way to the concert site (general admission, so lined up early) and got to know the folks in line around us. Concert was at 8:00pm and we had a very good time making our way back to the hotel around midnight. Once again slept in a bit on Saturday morning. At noon, we met our former exchange student (from Toulouse in 2000) and her boyfriend. We had a great meal with them. She had never been to central Paris, so we walked around hitting a few high points of central Paris. Around 4:00pm we made our way back to the hotel, took a short nap and then met them for dinner around 9:00pm. Once again, we did not make it back to the hotel until after midnight, with a race the next morning. Thankfully the race starts at 10:00am.</p>
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<p><strong>Race day:</strong> I awoke before the alarm sounded at 7:00am and went through my usual race preparations. I left the hotel around 8:30am for a 2km warm-up run from the hotel to the Eiffel Tower arriving a bit too early, but better early than rushed or late. Found a nice spot in the starting area to stretch out and watch others arrive. Starting weather: Clear skies with temp of 6C (45F) with no wind.</p>
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<p><strong>Plan for the race:</strong> Try to run at HM pace, 7:45-8:00/mile.</p>
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<p><strong>The race:</strong> With 20,000 runners, a bit of a crowd at the start. I didn't know exactly where to line up, so I stayed about 1/4 of the way back from the starting line. There was an elite corral that started us off promptly at 10:00am, after that (every ~2-3 minutes) they allowed ~100 runners into the elite corral and had another start. An interesting way to do a wave start. I was in probably the 6th or 7th starting group. The race initially ran on a street by the Seine for a couple of very flat miles running past the Paris yacht club. We then went through a tunnel and ran through several villages/suburbs, through parks, with bands every mile or so, very much like a half-marathon in the USA. At mile 4, we started up a large hill finally reaching the top around mile 6. If I had been paying attention, I would have learned some French swear words while running up this hill. From there on it was a gentle undulating course through the Royal forest on a nice gravel path. Somewhere around mile 9, we entered Versailles on another uphill. Once reaching the main road to the palace, it was flat and smooth to the finish.</p>
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<p><strong>Race pictures:</strong></p>
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<p><strong><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/58309/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank"><img alt="img1.jpg" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="14238" data-type="61" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/14238/width/224/height/338" style="; width: 224px; height: 338px"></a></strong></p>
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<p><strong><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/58311/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank"><img alt="start1.jpg" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="14239" data-type="61" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/14239/width/375/height/500" style="; width: 375px; height: 500px"></a></strong></p>
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<p><strong><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/58313/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank"><img alt="start2.jpg" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="14240" data-type="61" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/14240/width/375/height/500" style="; width: 375px; height: 500px"></a></strong></p>
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<p><strong><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/58315/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank"><img alt="Clipboard01.jpg" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="14241" data-type="61" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/14241/width/218/height/313" style="; width: 218px; height: 313px"></a></strong></p>
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<p><strong><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/58317/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank"><img alt="finish.jpg" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="14242" data-type="61" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/content/type/61/id/14242/width/342/height/500" style="; width: 342px; height: 500px"></a></strong></p>
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<p><strong>Race video:</strong> <a href="http://www.parisversailles.com/plus_video.php#Extrait2010%20race%20video%201" target="_blank">http://www.parisversailles.com/plus_video.php#Extrait2010%20race%20video%201</a></p>
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<p><strong>Post-race:</strong> DW and exchange student met me at the reunion area with no problem, took a quick post-race photo, then back into Paris. I felt great after a shower, so DW and I caught the Metro up to Montmartre and walked around finding another nice restaurant to eat at. Then we walked up to Sacré-Cœur, took a few pics and arrived back at the hotel before dark. Went to bed early!. My DW is not only a Parrothead, she is also a Disneyphile. As we had never been to Disney-Paris, on Monday, that's what we did. It was fun and different from the American parks. Tuesday was the long flight back.</p>
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<p><strong>Misc:</strong> We had a great trip. It was much too short, but we just couldn't work it any other way. It was great to meet up with our former exchange student and spend time with her. Since we packed so much into such a short trip, I did not get to run as much as I had planned, fact is the only run I got in was the race! I hope all the walking counts for something. The race was great, well organized and with good crowds cheering along the way. Volunteer did a great job at start, finish and aid stations. I would run this race again if I were in Paris at the time of its running.</p>
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<p>Thanks for reading,</p>
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<p>Paul</p>
 

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<p>Paul, I was really looking forward to this report, and what a great report it is!  It sounds like a fantastic trip.  I would love to do this some day, provided I learned some French swear words.<img alt="" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="width:16px;height:16px;" title=""></p>
<p>Thanks for sharing!</p>
 

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<p>You're a world-class runner now!  Excellent report and I'm sure the crowds weren't a problem for you after running Marine Corps a couple of times.  Good luck in your other 10-mile race tomorrow!</p>
 

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<p>What a great race report Paul! I bet this was an exciting race and what a fun reason to travel to Paris! now that is one diehard & devoted Parrothead!</p>
<p>Thanks for the report, the pics and congrats on your international race!</p>
 

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<p>...ok, THIS IS TOO COOL//...........what an Incredible race FO,</p>
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<p>the Skull and Bones was a nice touch too,</p>
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<p>good racing.....</p>
 
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