Chapter 29. Running the 20km de Paris and Canadian Thanksgiving

Hi all! It’s been a little while, but better late than never… I right?

I have all sorts of excuses as to why it’s taken me a couple weeks to get this post done, but no one cares about those! So I’ll spare you all and just dive straight into the weekend following our trip to Amsterdam.


I owe the 20km de Paris race a lot. In fact, it was this race that brought my parents out to Paris for this trip in the first place! Well, it acted as a handy excuse to force them to book tickets anyways. Marc and I had decided to do the race not long after we moved to France- we were inspired by all the runners we saw in the Bois de Boulogne, and we wanted to have a reason to start training again. I used to run races quite often in Canada- either 10Ks or half marathons, and I always LOVED the race atmosphere; there is something really special about the energy of the crowd and the overall positivity of everyone involved. Training, on the other hand, is a huge struggle for me- but if I know I need to do it in order to meet a goal, I’ll get out there and do it.

After finding the 20km de Paris online, I was surprised to see that it was on October 8th, with was a year to the day that Marc and I had run an 8K road race with my parents last year in Canada. Well actually, my dad ran the full marathon while the rest of us tackled the 8K, but he’s crazy!!! A sneaky thought formed in my mind….why not invite my folks to come out and run this race with us in Paris? I wanted them to come and visit and see where we are living, and the race would be an amazing introduction to the city! And POOF, voila…they actually went for it, registered for the race, and booked flights over. SUCCESS!!!!!!

Nervous but excited before the race

The race itself was amazing. The course started and finished at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, and included the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, the Bois de Boulogne, and many (MANY) kilometres along the River Seine. We even ran through the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed, which is a bit of a morbid tourist attraction, but still interesting.

It was an enormous race, so much bigger than any I’ve ever been a part of….there were over 25,000 finishers!!!! For such a huge event, it was amazingly well coordinated. We were seeded by expected finish time, placed into corrals, and then started in a series of waves based on our abilities. I was in the 16th wave, which didn’t start until a full hour after the elite runners began (yeah, I’m a slowpoke!). This obviously meant a whole lot of waiting around before I could get running, but it was really effective in keeping the course from overcrowding. The course was still packed, but it was packed with people holding (more or less) the same pace as you, and I found that I very rarely needed to adjust my speed due to people around me.

The sea of people in the starting corral..and these are just the people running between 1h55 and 2h05!

Now, let’s talk about goals. When Marc and I started training this spring, I set the goal of finishing 20km in under two hours. This was a very realistic goal based on the time in which I ran the 8km race last October (43mins). We worked hard all spring to ramp up our running volume and intensity, but then the summer came and we totally and completely fell off training. I would run once a week or so through September, but I was consistently getting derailed by low blood sugars….it was really quite a struggle. Stupid diabetes. This meant my goal time of two hours went from being very realistic to being very hopeful, but….I still managed to squeak it out! I finished in 1:59:03, so I was cutting it close, haha. Marc also met his goal and ran an excellent 1:44:11. Mom and dad ran great races at 2:06:28 and 2:17:31. Good times all around!

I was really pleased to meet my goal, and extra happy because I know there are a few small changes I could make to improve my time even more. For example, with better planning of bathroom breaks and better blood sugar management, I could have avoided the time (and embarrassment!) of having to run off the course into the woods to go pee…sigh….the joys of running!

The ‘after’ photo….we DID IT!!!! Now lets go find a beer…

The race took place on Sunday, and Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving!! Last year we were actually in Canada for Thanksgiving, but because we were on the west coast staying at an airbnb, we didn’t end up having a big turkey dinner. I was so thrilled that mom and dad would be here that I knew I had to organize a big, family-style meal.  We have been really blessed in Paris to have found an amazing church to join and through this community we’ve met so many wonderful people. We ended up having ten people in all (plus one dog and one baby), which was the perfect number for our little apartment. It really felt like a family thanksgiving; I feel we have been so richly blessed by God to have so many good friends here in France already. It was actually such a great time that I completely forgot to take any group photos- not so great for the blog, but an excellent testimony to how much fun we had!

All ready….let’s eat!

I was a little worried about finding a turkey here in Paris, but I placed an order with our local butcher (who was very surprised and confused by the request) and the turkey ended up being amazing! The butcher even prepared it for us, with butter under the skin and spices and peppers imbedded in the skin… it was absolutely perfect.

The food turned out AMAZING- we did potluck style and it turns out that all of our new friends are also amazing cooks…. I knew we liked them for a reason!

It was an amazing weekend full of amazing experiences, people, and food! It was a great start to Mom & Dad’s visit here in Paris. I’ll fill you in on all the rest of our adventures next time.

Until then,


Oh, and a funny story to end off on….check out the name on Dad’s race bib. Can you tell he had a little difficulty deciphering the difference between nom and prénom on the race registration sheet?



One thought on “Chapter 29. Running the 20km de Paris and Canadian Thanksgiving

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