The reason for this trip was to run the Paris Marathon. Today is the day! My start time was 10:10, which is the latest start time ever! I got to sleep in, but I still woke up at 6:30. I made some coffee in the room’s Nespresso machine. I tried to make another one, but failed to fill the water reservoir. Even after adding water, it would not make another cup for me. I was hungry and I had three hours before the start, so I went down the street for McDonalds. Yeah, I know. Don’t judge me! I wanted a small, quick breakfast. I ordered a breakfast sandwich and asked for chocolate milk instead of coffee. When she gave me the milk, it was hot and in a to-go coffee cup. After questioning her, she assured me it was chocolate milk. It turned out to be hot chocolate! I took everything back to my room only to find out I mistakenly ordered a sandwich without the egg. It was just a muffin with sausage and bacon! Oh well, I needed the protein.
I arraigned a meeting spot for my friend, Stacey. She brought along her Facebook friend from France. He didn’t enter the race but wanted to run with her anyway. We smuggled him into the start corral and we waited for the start. The Arc de Triomphe was behind us and we were on The Avenue des Champs-Eysees. Before too long, we were on our way.
I promised Stacey I would stay with her. I can run a 4:30 marathon. Her asthmatic body needs six hours. I spent the first four hours stopping to take pictures and then running to catch up. I overheard one person say, “why were they walking?” as we ran past them. I enjoyed the day and learned a lot from her friend as he and I walked together throughout the race.
Around mile 22 the sweeper cars passed us. This meant we needed to stay to the side because traffic was now allowed on the course. At this point, Stacey told me to go get my medal. I hesitated at first, but then I worried about ending up with a DNF (did not finish). With four kilometers left, I told Stacey that I will be at the finish line to take her picture.
I ran really fast the last few miles. I loved passing everyone and wondered if they thought, “what drugs is that guy on?” I waited at the finish and then I saw an incredible sight! A woman collapsed less than 100 yards from the finish. The medics rush out to help her. They put her on a wheel chair and wheeled her to just before the finish line. They helped her up and let her finish on her own. Right after that, Stacey finished. She didn’t know about the struggles of that woman because I didn’t tell her. She gave me a hug and sobbed on my shoulder. I take marathons for granted because they’re kind of easy for me. They’re not easy, but I don’t have trouble running them. Seeing that woman and knowing how hard she trained and how much she wanted to finish helped me realize how great I have it.