Paris 2015 - Je suis... a runner


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April 30th 2015
Published: May 4th 2015
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Poster to remember the terrorist attack on Charlie HebdoPoster to remember the terrorist attack on Charlie HebdoPoster to remember the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo

After the attack on the staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo people have put up posters to honour and remember the people who were murdered and to condemn attempts to limit the freedom of speech

Paris Half Marathon, Charlie Hebdo and some more





Paris is a bit different today than it was last time we were there. After the attack on the staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo people have put up posters, created memorials and done many other things to honour and remember the people who were murdered, promote tolerance and to condemn racism and xenophobia. We will return to this subject in the end of this blog entry. Now we will write about things that are less depressing than terrorist attacks and mass murder.



We went to Paris to participate in Paris Half Marathon. The race was on Sunday but already on Saturday we had to go and pick up our race kits and bibs. We have some previous experience from running long distance races. We have run many half marathons before and also a few marathon and even ultra marathon races, races that are longer than a full marathon, so we are quite relaxed when it comes to running and we know how to prepare for a half marathon. To cater for runners less experienced than us the organizers of the race had put up a
DaffodilsDaffodilsDaffodils

Spring flowers
sign with information on how you best prepare for the race. Here comes a quote from that sign:



"Breakfast Suggestion

...

• 1 cup of tea, a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice, or 1 piece of very ripe fruit

• Avoid coffee and milk

• A slice of bread (with jam or honey) or a piece of energy cake"



We found that absolutely hilarious!



First of all, no coffee!?! They got to be out of their minds. Do they want us to fall asleep while we are running? No running for us without at least two large cups of coffee in the morning.



Secondly, running 21 km burns a few calories. If we had tried running after having had a breakfast of no more than a slice of bread and an apple we probably wouldn't have made it more than 2.1 kilometres instead of the 21 that we were meant to run. We are not sure its even good for you to exercise that hard on an almost empty stomach.



Our breakfast on the day when we run a half
Us before the raceUs before the raceUs before the race

We are always happy before we start a race. We were even more happy when we had finished
marathon is a good size meal, slightly larger than a normal Sunday breakfast. That is what we need to be able to finish the race. It would look a bit silly if we had to stop after 12 km, go in at Luigi's Pizzas and order a calzone because we are so damned hungry, and then continue running, wouldn't it? Better to fill up the tank before you go so you don't have to refuel on the way is our motto.



Before even longer races we can eat way more than just a good size breakfast. Before ultra marathon races Ake has been known to start breakfast with a large plate filled with bacon. After that he has pancakes, several sandwiches, some fruit and a bowl of yoghurt. He still has to top up with a fruit salad with whipped cream half way through that race in order not to run low on energy.



So we totally ignored the breakfast suggestions on the information sign and did what we normally do before a race - had a large nice breakfast. We are not going to bore you with a lengthy race report here but
Street artStreet artStreet art

When we walked the streets of Paris we noted quite a few good pieces of so called street art.
we have to write a few words about the Sunday before we move on to the other things we want to write about.



The race on Sunday went good. We had good spring weather. The sun shone and it was not too warm. We ran at a pace where we were running at a decent speed but still could keep a conversation going. We finished the race in just over two hours.



Oh yes, one more thing about the race. There were not enough toilets to cater for the needs of all the runners. Therefore lots of people right after the start ran off to have a leak. It would have been so funny to have that on film. It looked like the Marathon for Marathon for incontinents with extremely weak bladders in Monty Python's Silly Olympics sketch.



When we walked the streets of Paris we noted quite a few good pieces of so called street art. We have written before about street art. Some people might find it disturbing and see only vandalism in the photos we have posted. We find some of the street art to be equally good or better than art you find in major art galleries. Besides, to
Street artStreet artStreet art

To call all street art vandalism is a big mistake because although some of the street art has been executed without the house owners consent some of the artworks are legal and have been sanctioned.
call all of it vandalism is a big mistake because although some of the street art has been executed without the house owners consent some of the artworks are legal and have been sanctioned.



We think we spotted an artwork by a well-known street artist who works under the pseudonym Invader. He has created artworks in many cities over the world and one of the others is featured in the blog entry about street art in London.



When we picket up our race kits before the race we also took time to make a visit at the nearby Château de Vincennes.



To us Château de Vincennes didn't look like a castle at all. Actually we can't really describe what it looked like. It felt like a big experiment where several buildings have been thrown up next to each other without any general plan and without any real purpose. It looked funny, not necessarily in a bad way, and very odd. In a way it was refreshing to see a royal castle that didn't look like most other castles look like.



In New York City there is a park called the
Street artStreet artStreet art

Some people might find it disturbing and see only vandalism in the photos we have posted. We find some of the street art to be equally good or better than art you find in major art galleries
High Line which we love very much. It is a former elevated railroad which has been transformed into a long and narrow park. We love that park and we have visited it both in 2010 and in 2014. On this trip we learned that there is a similar park in Paris, Coulée verte René-Dumont. It should be noted that the park in Paris inspired the New Yorkers to create their park, not the other way around. The park in Paris was just as good as it's counterpart in Manhattan so now we love Coulée verte René-Dumont as well. Next time we come to Paris we will go there again and run along its entire length (4.7 km by the way). Now all we did was that we walked half a kilometre or so in the park.



We passed by the Notre Dame Cathedral on our walk in Paris on Saturday. There isn't much need for a presentation other than, if you haven't seen the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame from 1939, try to find a copy of it. It's really a true classic. If we ever manage to get up next to the gargoyles in Notre Dame we have to say "Why was I not made of stone like thee?" to them.



Now we are going to be a bit serious for a while. Writing a blog entry on Paris today and not mention the attack on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters doesn't feel right from several perspectives.



Around the location where the attack took place, 10 Rue Nicolas-Appert, there are memorials with thousands of flowers, placards, hand written notes and, as a symbol for freedom of the press, sharpened pencils. But also in many other places in Paris people have put up various symbols to honour the journalists killed in the terrorist attack and symbols for the freedom of press and freedom of speech and thus there are reminders in the city and you can't really avoid notice those.



For us, being free and being able to have this blog where we can express our thoughts, the attack on Charlie Hebdo was at the same time an attack on the same freedom of speech and freedom of press that we use when we write and publish the very text you are reading right now.



We have never read any Charlie Hebdo
Street artStreet artStreet art

It is a bit cute, isn't it?
magazine and if we did we probably wouldn't like it. Before the attack in January this year we didn't even know that Charlie Hebdo existed. The magazine had only about 60,000 readers every week so it seems like not many people liked it. That number tells us that people didn't care about what the cartoonists Charlie Hebdo were saying. When the terrorists started executing the staff at their morning meeting what they then effectively accomplished was to make people aware of Charlie Hebdo. Before the shooting, very few knew about Charlie Hebdo, very few cared about it and they only sold 60,000 copies each week. After the shooting, they sold 5,000,000 copies and millions of people now knew of the magazine and millions stood up in support of Charlie Hebdo. The terrorists wanted to shut them up, but instead spread their message. That's pretty stupid, isn't it? It's as intelligent as putting out fire using petrol.



The words "Je Suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") became, after the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a symbol for freedom of speech and as a protest against terrorism. We prefer not to use that phrase because we feel that it means more
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We think this is an artwork by a well-known street artist who works under the pseudonym Invader.
than just "I am for freedom of speech". It might be interpreted as "I am for freedom of speech and I am willing to die for it". We are not sure we are willing to die for freedom of speech.



We would like to paraphrase it though and say "Je Suis... a Runner".



We'll be back in Paris again in the future because it is a city we like a lot. But this is all for now.


Additional photos below
Photos: 34, Displayed: 28


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Street artStreet art
Street art

Paris is a good place to go to if you wish to study street art. These are some of those we came across when we were walking the streets.
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Street art

It is a bit funny
Supersized nest boxSupersized nest box
Supersized nest box

Easily the largest nest box we have ever seen
Porte Saint-MartinPorte Saint-Martin
Porte Saint-Martin

This triumphal arch is called Porte Saint-Martin and is located on the spot where one of the city gates used to be
Château de Vincennes Château de Vincennes
Château de Vincennes

To us Château de Vincennes didn't look like a castle at all. Actually we can't really describe what it looked like. It felt like a big experiment where several buildings have been thrown up next to each other without any general plan and without any real purpose.
Château de Vincennes Château de Vincennes
Château de Vincennes

It looked funny, not necessarily in a bad way, and very odd. In a way it was refreshing to see a royal castle that didn't look like most other castles look like.
Château de Vincennes Château de Vincennes
Château de Vincennes

The wall and what we guess could be called a moat
Breakfast suggestion Breakfast suggestion
Breakfast suggestion

We found that absolutely hilarious! No coffee!?! They got to be out of their minds. Running 21 km on an almost empty stomach? If we had tried running after having only had a slice of bread and an apple fr breakfast we probably wouldn't have made it
Coulée verte René-Dumont Coulée verte René-Dumont
Coulée verte René-Dumont

A former elevated railroad which has been transformed into a long and narrow park
Coulée verte René-Dumont Coulée verte René-Dumont
Coulée verte René-Dumont

Next time we come to Paris we will go here again and run along its entire length
ViewView
View

View from Coulée verte René-Dumont
PadlocksPadlocks
Padlocks

Love locks on the railing of the bridge Pont de l'Archevêché


4th May 2015
Street art

Congrats runners and art lovers!
Excellent that you were able to complete a half marathon in great weather in good time while chatting. I'm totally jealous of Ake's ultra-marathon breakfast--I'd be as big as a house (hopefully with street art on me) if I tried to eat all that in a day. While I can't match you there, I'm in syn with your love of street art and independent expression, and also with your opinion of the whole Charlie Hebo affair. Ironically, I just saw Selma last night, where people were willing to give their lives for their people's freedom. Thank goodness acts of terrorism and police brutality (my US) can backfire and spur support for freedom.
6th May 2015

Nous Sommes Partants
I remember the blog when you guys ran a marathon in North Africa...I think it was in Morocco...that impressed me greatly. If I'm not mistaken this was one of a number of international runs. Now Paris. Must deserve the title of Travelblog's Marathon Man & Woman...and for a travel site that is kudos indeed. The Charlie Hebdo massacre affected those around the World in many ways. Thank you for your perspective. Coincidentally it will be mentioned in my next blog in a different context.
16th May 2015

Paris
Always stick with what works and it sounds like your big breakfast was the ticket. In this blog you've given us a variety of things to think about.

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