The Semi-Marathon de Paris been completed. My injuries have not (yet) reared up again, my legs are only moderately sore in comparison to what I expected, and although parts of the race were painful, it's behind me. And I finished only nine minutes slower than Amsterdam. Now I know I can do it again!
For two whole days, Paris screamed blue skies. Day one as a tourist was captured in pictures depicting the luscious, clear days; day two, without my camera but equipped with new running shoes, I jogged to the center and back along a majestic route.
Everything was better than Amsterdam (sorry, Amsterdam). The water stops - three of them - offered mini bottles of water (much easier to carry while running than a plastic cup) and orange slices. The path was filled with cheering onlookers, who would sometimes run out and jog alongside their loved ones, shouting praise, and seemed much less grouchy about being held up than some of those in Amsterdam. And the finish line was much better organized. Although there was a crowd, we were not packed like sardines as was the experience in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. (Probably why my legs are in such good shape...).
I almost died around kilometer 17, but then we passed a group of French children shouting encouragement with so much vigor that I had to smile at them. Even though the French language is a mystery to me, their influence got me out of anguish and into determination. It's a relief and an inspiration to have it behind me, and I love the city of Paris even more now for having conquered it - along with almost 20,000 other runners - on foot.