Friday, August 13, 2010

Perfect, Parisian Day

So yesterday was a perfect, Parisian day. We went to the neighborhood of Saint-Denis, which is the first neighborhood north of Paris, to see the famous basilica there that where almost all of the kings of France have been buried. Somehow, my lucky stars were aligned and we got there just in time for a free, guided visit of the basilica. Sadly, I was the only one who could enjoy this stellar opportunity since it was in French and I'm the only completely bilingual person on the trip, but I'll tell them about it, don't worry! The tour lasted almost two full hours and took us all through the crypt and the heart of the church, explaining the history of the basilica as well as the various burials there and the impact of the French revolution.

Les vitraux in Saint-Denis basilica... Some of the panels date from the 12th century and the rest are from either the 19th c. or today

Look! A little market outside the basilica. I found some AWESOME presents for my mom, Jon's mom, and Jon's sister (and perhaps myself... ::blush::) here. I've found too many great gifts for everyone here and rather than not buy them, some are just going to have to be moved to Christmas (since I can't really afford not to!). I'm so excited!

Since the tour had lasted so long, by the time I got out of there, everyone from the group had left to go back to Paris. So, instead of leaving immediately, I found a quiet café in a little park, ordered an espresso, and just relaxed and enjoyed the early evening. It was nice to be in a quieter place for a few hours, since I'm not used to living in big cities and, in Paris, it's never really quiet and peaceful. That said, one thing I always miss about France is the plethora of cafés, where you can stop by for a 2 EUR coffee and sit outside on their terrasse for as long as you like. That said, in France, I always miss traditional American coffee shops, but, hey, I guess you can't have it both ways.

Mr. Garmin failing to locate us in Paris. He's apparently homesick.

Once I got back to the dorm, Nikki and I decided to go for a run, following the path I took on Sunday, only with a shorter cut, bringing the loop closer to 5 miles than 6. In the end, we ended up running 4 miles, since we walked the first mile, while waiting for my Garmin to clue in and chatting on the phone with a potential apartment for me in Avignon this year. The run was okay, not stellar. We ran at a decent pace (11:10 minute mile average moving pace), but I had a side stitch for most of the run... UNfun.

All in all a perfect, calm day. Very peaceful, which is just what I needed. I really am loving being here in Paris and learning new things about the city by running various routes and exploring different museums and restaurants, but I'm also very much looking forward to coming home and running in my old, familiar places, seeing Jon and my family, and getting back on serious track with WW. Although I've been tracking and running (not to mention all the walking), I'm still really scared about stepping on the scale at my first WW meeting back. Speaking of which, look at what I found in a bookstore yesterday!

WW cookbooks! It was weird though, because they didn't have points per serving in them... What gives?

On a different note, last night I was showing Nikki some old photos (I forget why) and I was really struck by how different I look compared with my Freshman year of college (in the first set), my sophomore year (in the second set) and, finally, my junior year (in the last set). I know the "today" photos on the right aren't the best for comparing, but looking at those other photos was such a shocker for me! (*Apparently, I can't format correctly, but the photos will have to wait till the end of the post...)

As a preface, seeing these photos really made me feel like I've made a ton of progress, even if I have been struggling here in Paris this trip as well as for a long time before coming here, gaining and losing the same 10 pounds. I know that if I get back to really, seriously tracking when I get home, I can even make these new photos "old, before" photos if I kick it in gear and get to it.

Anyway, on that note, I'm off for a visit to the Turkish bath near our dorm with Judith--I'll let you all know how it goes since I've never seen anything like it in the States!

Oh, and one question: Anyone have any good running/training/motivational books to recommend? I really need to up my running pace/game in general. I started looking at potential half and full marathons for Jon and I to run together in Europe in 2011 and if I plan on making that fantasy a reality, I need to push past this 5.0mph pace!

And now, the progress pics:


Corletta said...

Awh...look how great you look!!! By the way, make sure to have an expresso for me!!! Yum :)

Nicky said...

Aw, thanks, Corletta! Don't worry, I'll have an espresso for you! :)