Saturday, October 18, 2008

a smoke filled 6 mile, out and back, run to the arc de triomph, paris

well, i finally got in a daylight (just barely) run yesterday; 6 miles out and back to the arc de triomph! yes, after the night time run to the eiffel tower (awesome) and notre dame (okay), this took place almost 4 hours earlier, at 5:30, during what must have been either rush hour or peak tourists in motion time. it was hardly what i'd consider fun - and i'm tempted to go back to runs at night (or heaven forbid, early morning :D)

first off, the number of people on the streets was significantly greater - which i expected. also, in a similar vein, the volume of traffic was also greater (again, to be expected). when i took off down blvd. st. germain to the quai d'orsay - this time going straight ahead, over ponte de la concorde, essentially retracing my footsteps home from my walking tour earlier that afternoon, traffic was the biggest issue. had a lot of starts and stops waiting to cross the blvds.

but that hassle seriously paled in comparision to the cigarette smoke issue! once on ponte de la concorde and from the moment i reached the arc de triomphe, it seemed i fell in behind ever single tourist or local smoking a cigarette! i turned left at the plaza and ran up along the seine until ponte alexander (across from the invalides park - still cover with huge white tents). the crowd was expected, the smoke wasn't.

this certainly wasn't my imagination, i made a right and ran down avenue winston churchill to reach avenue des champ elyseees - and more smokers - argh. when i turned left for the climb up champ elysees to the arc (literally a climb uphill) the avenue was packed with people - every other one smoking. this run was not turning out to be fun. i reached the arc, crossed over to the underground walkway - and smokers were there too (underground that is)!

i did a semi circle of the arc because the front half was roped off by the police as a memorial service of some kind was about to take place. i retrace my footsteps back to champ elysees via the underground walkway, but stayed on that side of the avenue for the run back (which was now downhill). instead of crossing back via ponte de la concorde, i went via ponte alexander and used that opportunity to make a "u shaped" detour off the quay d'orsay to run along the front of hotel des invalides on my way back to blvd. st. germain.

my run took about 52 minutes, and left me with a smokers cough (well, almost). i honestly could not believe the volume of cigarette smoke (except on the detour to hotel des invalides) that i had to endure on this run. is that just a peril of urban running? of all the risks of running in a city, that shouldn't have to be one of them! what was otherwise an incredible beautiful route, with unparalled sights, was mared by the smoke from a puny little cigarette :(

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