We hung out in the starting corral for quite some time. The crowds were crazy and the ground was quickly littered with plastic ponchos, extra shirts, water bottles and energy packets (in France they look like little decorative frosting tubes!). They played the Chariots of Fire theme a few times after the start gun and it took us a full 15 minutes to cross the start line. It was quite a challenge to move forward in the crowd without stumbling over the debris. Unlike the races I've done in NYC, once we crossed the starting line the crowd actually seemed to thin out and it was quite easy to move forward - no stumbling over walkers or slow-paced wide runners!
Once we got going, Paula and Christina branched off and Teresa and I decided to stick together as long as possible. Teresa had never been to Paris before so I decided to keep our minds occupied by acting as tour guide. I did pretty well pointing out the sights until we passed the Bastille and the Paris Opera (not the Phantom one, the other one). Except for the elevated park, I hadn't actually ventured into those neighborhoods or the forest Vincennes.
There were water and fuel stations every 5K Orange sections, bananas, sugar cubes and dried apricots were on the menu. Alright, who thought banana peels on the wet cobblestones were a good idea! And we never did see PowerAde as promised. I think we were too far back in the pack. Luckily I had brought some Cliff Energy Powder so the water was all I needed. My plan was to have a PowerGel every 4 miles and I stuck with it.
Teresa's boyfriend Corey managed the Metro and caught up with us several times. There were coaches at the 5K mark as well cheering us on. It was surprising how many purple singlets there were out there - and lots of NYC fans! And since our names were on our bibs, we got personal shout outs throughout the race.