Tag Archives: running

race recap – Monaco Run Monte Carlo 10k

I read a good blog recently about vacation running by Lazy Girl Running. I’ve been running on vacation before in Italy and Portugal and even a weekend in Brighton, but only a couple training runs – and small training runs at that. Laura says you should make a goal of miles to run on vacation and then reduce it by 10%. Things like wine and cheese seem to always get in the way of the best laid running plans.

So on this trip, Alex and I decided to sign up for a race to keep our intentions on track. Alex, currently in training for the Virgin London Marathon, signed up for the 24km Riviera Classic that starts in Italy, runs through France and ends in Monaco.

I kept things more simple and entered the Monte Carlo 10k race that follows the famous F1 Grand Prix route through the streets of Monaco.

The organisation of the race was great – the website was informative and easy to sign up online. Also, very cheap for a race in Europe. You do have to get a medical certificate signed by a doctor (French rules), and with the NHS that can cost anywhere from £25-50 – but the certificate is good for a year, so the more races you do in France the better deal it is!

The pre-race Expo was easy to find and not too hard to navigate, even with the little French we could speak.  We got our shirts and race numbers (and had to produce a physical copy of our medical certificate even though we had already uploaded it online) and they had separate girls/boys shirts which sucked. I hate the fit of women’s shirts (always too short with stupid half sleeve caps) and was not allowed to take a men’s small shirt.  Oh well, it was bright yellow neon – so there was that positive. We also got some anti-chaffing jelly and some energy gel (don’t get them mixed up).

There was some confusion over the actual race start time as the emails and website said contradicting times, and we think we could get free train travel to the race, but weren’t sure if we had to buy a ticket or just use our race number. We decided to risk it and not buy a ticket and if caught say we thought our race numbers were the tickets – but luckily we didn’t get caught!

As I arrived in Monte Carlo it was pouring rain – but let up just in time to start the race.  Baggage drop and the tents were well posted, and the warm up was very energetic (long though – about 25 minutes! A serious work out) The race started and we were off – through the tunnels out to the west of Monaco before doubling back and running along the water.  There was a pretty big hill around 3km but none others for most of the route.

There weren’t many people in the race so after the initial start there was a lot of room to run and even stop to take some photos (I ran with my camera and a very trendy race belt for the first time). The last third of the race ran along the beaches and then under the Fairmont and Monte Carlo Casino down to the port where the super yachts are “parked”. I was feeling great throughout the run and finished in 55:12, which is a 10k PB by over a minute!

Post run though was where this race when from great to AMAZING. We were given a medal at the finish line and then led into a beer garden that had some great green (and normal) beer, and all the food you could want. Bread, bananas, energy bars, pastries, juices, water. It was so great. The sun decided to come out then too so I waited for Alex while drinking and eating in the sun.

I could get use to this vacation running thing.

Then I went to see Alex finish the last few km of his race, found my official finishing time, and wandered up to see Prince Albert giving out the medals to the winners.

After Alex finished he was sore to say the least – so we wandered over to the massage tent to get him some post-run relief. While I was waiting for him they offered me a sports massage too! It was heaven. No other words to explain how it feels to have someone work out all those kinks from your race legs. Thank you!

From there it was straight to a sidewalk cafe for sandwiches and coca-colas.  Such a perfect race day! I can’t say enough about this race and how well it was organised and executed. It was the perfect balance of fun/competition and such a great way to be a little more than “just a tourist” in a new city.

(me also being “just-a-tourist”, running isn’t everything!)

Interested in running in the South of France? Keep an eye out on this website for more information and the 2013 schedule.

Next run trip on the list? La Grande Classique Paris to Versailles run in September!

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The perfect Sunday pre-run meal.

Alex is running winning the London Marathon 2012! Come cheer him on with me April 22nd. 

race recap: Brighton Half Marathon


(the last bit is when I crossed the finish line and forgot to turn my iPod off for 10 minutes. Good to know my speed while collecting bananas and Lucozade though…)

It’s done! The half marathon goal I set back in October is done! 4.5 months of training seems a little bit excessive for just over 2 hours of running – but it was so worth it when I was able to finish 13.1 miles in a very respectable 2:06 beating Katie Price AND Fatboy Slim.

I was very impressed with the organisation of the Brighton Half. The race packages arrived in plenty of time and the timing chips were built into the bibs with a little foam piece at the bottom. GENIUS for anyone who has fumbled around or worried about the zillion things you need to remember on race day.  The start area was well set up with plenty of porta-loos and bananas for the 7400 runners who didn’t have time for a full English breakfast. And the line up was very casual with people choosing where they wanted to start based on their hopeful finish time.  

There was some controversy about the length of the course – and due to a small error we actually ran 13.48 miles. Not that it really mattered to me, 13-point-whatever miles is long enough to count as a great run.

The warm-up (which I usually dislike) was amazing! Lots of dynamic stretching, but also they did it to my favourite Vegas pool party hype songs

* side note: I’ve never been to Vegas or a pool party but this is what I imagine them to be like

Then we were off – I think I was in one of the busiest areas the whole race, so there was a lot of dodging people and weaving in-and-out throughout the race so I definitely didn’t run the tangents for an efficient race. 

The first 5 miles (Ugh. Get with the metric system UK!) were great. There were a few rolling hills and the wind was at our backs. The first few hydration stations were out of the way and I had yet to be hit in the head with a  3/4 full water bottle – so all in all I was pretty confident for the rest of the race.  


(http://sportcam.net/ Not bad race photos even if I do look like I’m powerwalking at the mall)

Around mile 6 the race ran back through the starting area by the Pier and there were so many people out lining the race route! It was so great to have the crowd cheering you on (even though I only know a few dozen people in this country and none were in the crowd) and at this point the leaders of the race doubling back to the finish line right beside us so that was pretty inspiring.  At this point I spent a lot of time thinking about what it must take to run 21.1km in 1 hour and decided that giving up pies and chocolate mousse and pints after work was not worth it. 

From this point on in the race I knew it was at least another hour of running, but seeing the leaders close to the finish I somehow hoped the last turnaround would be a lot closer than it was.  Around mile 8 I started to wonder how in the heck the first 5 went by so fast. I also tried to do running math. 13 miles total – 8 miles done = 5 more to go? No way, must be shorter. How many km in a mile? If my Nike+ is about 1.4km off accuracy then where should the next mile marker be, one song on average is 3.5 minutes so how many songs until the next mile… Any runners know the feeling of trying to do simple math while running = impossible.


(http://sportcam.net/ Fatboy Slim, Katie Price and Alex)

My legs were on auto-pilot and short of a few bursts of speed to pass heavy breathers (I cannot run near a heavy breather. Ever) I just kept moving forward to my amazing playlist of pop anthems.

A brisk pace for the last mile put me across the finish line at 2:12 something and I tried to do some more runners math subtracting my start time – but the call of medals, emergency blankets, bananas, and 4 flavours of Lucozade was stronger than my subtraction skills. 

I found Alex and all of the above rewards right away and although the medal was amazing and one of the best I’ve got – the goody bag was disappointing to say the least! A coupon we had already all got with our registration kit and a magazine subscription offer that anyone who runs already has been offered on Twitter. Obviously running and finishing the race was reward enough, but IMO that goody bag wasn’t even worth giving out.

All in all I give the Brighton Half a 9/10 (7 of those points were due to the sunny weather) and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a winter challenge in England. Plus, if you go to the beach after the rocks are the perfect foot massage.

Mandatory after any activity in Britain is a trip to the pub.  We went to the amazing Bath Arms for roasts and fireplaces recovery.

Our #toptip is to not stay at the Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront. The room we got was what we expected and what they advertised. Nothing special but decent and clean enough for a one night stay. What I did not appreciate was that they had the audacity to charge an extra £30 for all late checkouts on the Sunday because of the race. It’s one thing to only offer a few late checkouts because they have a cleaning schedule to keep, but to charge for them is taking advantage of your guests who have specifically come for an event, already paid a lot for a mediocre room and were bringing their entertainment and food money to your town.  Bad move by their management and a sure way to spread ill-will towards your hotel. Check out my Tripadvisor review here.

rest days

(apologies for the 3 running posts in a row!) 

Back in September when I started to plan to run the Brighton Half Marathon I obviously started out by making a training plan calendar with nice fonts and inspirational pictures. All of my research into half-marathon training plans stressed the importance of not doing ANYTHING on your rest days between runs.

ummmm duh?

I couldn’t believe that this was actually a tip. A written in stone reason to be lazy.

“Hey! Want to go ice skating?”
“Nope, sorry it’s a rest day”

“Hey! Want to walk to McDonalds?”
“Nope, sorry it’s a rest day, we should drive there”

Then things started to change around month 4 of training. My legs began to override my logically lazy mind. There I was horizontal on the couch with a bowl of popcorn watching Celebrity Big Brother (aka the definition of indulgent lazyness) and my legs wanted to move. I started getting up and moving things around, hanging laundry, grabbing my iPod charger, washing the dishes just to keep moving.  A whole day of not running seemed excessive and I started to plan runs on Monday nights then Wednesday mornings to shorten the gap.

WHAT?!?!? Whose legs are these and what have they done with my lazyness!

So, we are 1 month and 1 day away from the Brighton Half and here’s to sticking to the plan and resting on rest days!


(photo credit)

old shoes new shoes

I love my Mizuno running shoes that were the last pair on a sale rack at R.E.I in Bellingham and fit like a glove. Unfortunately, a year of running on the hard London streets was causing some serious knee pains and the January sales here in the UK seemed like a good enough reason to trade them in. 

I did some research (read: google for 45 minutes) and these Nike Lunar Eclipse+ shoes seemed like a pretty good balance for my current needs (read: cushioned enough for constant road running and bright coloured for my #ridiculousrunningoutfits).

We’ll see how the next couple of days go of training runs and hopefully they become my new best friends helping me get to the finish line of the Brighton Half in just over a month. (#yikes).