more »" />

Brenna’s First Half Marathon

by Meghann on March 23, 2011

Hey Guys! I’m in Orlando for the day filming for Meals & Miles. I’ll be back in Tampa tonight with a full recap, but in the mean time check out Brenna’s recap of her first half marathon…in PARIS!

I’m Brenna from Fabuleux Destin. Although it’s safe to say I eat a lot more cheese than Meghann, I always look to her for inspiration; her positive attitude and her amazing energy is infectious. I recently moved to rural France (in October), and on March 6th, I ran my first half-marathon in Paris!


I always hated running, until my tennis team did a 10k together for charity a few years ago. I never thought I would be able to run 6 miles – but I did it! And I got hooked. Throughout college I did 5ks, 10ks, and 10-milers – but never before a half-marathon. When I decided to move to rural France, I knew my new lifestyle wouldn’t include a gym membership. Always a fan of group classes, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to work out without a gym. I also knew that French women weren’t known for being particularly athletic. I signed up for the Paris ½ marathon – to ensure that I would keep moving during the cold winter months in northeastern France.

Running actually became a good release for me. Coping with so much change – diet, language, job, country life – was really difficult at first. Running helped clear my mind and keep my mental health in check. I even made new friends to go running with – and found new trails along the river than runs through my town. I ran about three days a week – and played basketball on the club team on my days off.


When the day of the race approached, I felt confident and adequately prepared. I was excited to discover such a beautiful city in a new light. Not to mention the feeling of running with 40,000 was so inspiring! I trotted along, enjoying the sites and sounds around me. Turning a corner and seeing Notre Dame in the Sunday sunlight was something I’ll never forget.

Around 12 kilometers, just when I started to need some inspiration, I heard a shout-out. I am known for wearing obnoxiously bright colors while running – and this race was no exception. I was sporting my brother’s Phillies jersey he sent me for good luck. Hey Philly! – a guy with a Phillies cap came up behind me and gave me a high-five. We ended up running the rest of the race together! That was great – considering I didn’t have any family encouraging me along the way, we supported each other.


I finished the race in two-hours and two minutes! Not exactly speedy, but I was very proud of myself for accomplishing my goal. Afterwards, I even climbed the Arc de Triomphe – to get a beautiful view of Paris at night. Now I have my Paris medal hanging on my bedroom door – not to mention a newfound confidence in myself. I can do anything I set my mind to!

I really need to add an international race to my goal list. Running a half marathon in Paris sounds AMAZING! Thanks for sharing Brenna! And CONGRATS on achieving your goal! 🙂

Check out other people’s first big races!

1 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

that sounds amazing! Paris is such a beautiful city, it must have been a very scenic and interesting run!

2 Kacy March 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

That sounds amazing! I’ve never been to Paris, but can only imagine how amazing it would be to run through all of those sights!
Kacy recently posted..Finishers!

3 Kara March 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

That sounds so fun! Living abroad was always one of my dreams 🙂
Kara recently posted..Everything is more fun with a friend!

4 Holly @ The Runny Egg March 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm

How exciting to run an international race!

Brenna I love that you wore a Phillies shirt — I try to wear something bright with words when I run races, that way people can cheer you on!
Holly @ The Runny Egg recently posted..Welcome to The Runny Egg!

5 Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] March 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I always wear an obnoxiously bright outfit! And this time it really came in handy! Thanks Holly!
Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] recently posted..Place Jamaa el-Fna

6 gabriella @ embracement March 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I was so close to doing a race in Rome when I was there for the summer. I kind of regret not doing it, but I’d love to do back for that reason. Running in an international country must be so cool, great way to see things as well 🙂

7 LauraJayne March 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

This sounds like the perfect place to run a race! My first half will be local, but I’m definitely adding an international run to my bucket list!
LauraJayne recently posted..I Ran For Japan &amp Downhill Training

8 kristy @ March 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Whoa! Awesome!!! I get to rub in Paris in 9 days and this totally just pumped me up! 🙂
kristy @ recently posted..1-015 Miles

9 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Awesome job Brenna! Like you, I took up running during a time in my life that involved big changes – I’d moved with my family to the Middle East for my dad’s job and had to make new friends, get used to new foods, and a whole new culture. Congrats on achieving your goal!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat recently posted..Early Weekend

10 Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] March 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Thanks Angela! Wow – that must have been quite a change. It’s great how running keeps things constant. It’s what I love about it!
Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] recently posted..Place Jamaa el-Fna

11 Amy March 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Nice! I’ve always wanted to go to Paris. Running a half marathon there must have been amazing.

I’m wondering, though – why do you say 2:02 isn’t speedy? That sounds fast enough to me! Don’t get down on yourself for not running 8 minute miles, OK? I’ve seen a lot of runners do that and it’s such a disservice to yourself!
Amy recently posted..a place for everything

12 Laurin March 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Congratulations, Breanna! Must have been nice to go at your own pace and enjoy all the sights and sounds of Paris!
I recently started running again after having my first child. I’ve been running a slow 2.5 miles every morning but love how strong I feel!

13 rebecca lustig March 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

hey philly is right! My first race is going to be the Broad Street 10 miler on May 1 and I’m so excited! Thanks for the inspiration

Have a great day,

14 Marisa E March 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Rebecca- I’m running Broad St too!! I just ran my very first race this past Saturday (5K) and will be running the Phillies (woot!) 5K this coming Saturday.

15 rebecca lustig March 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

that’s so exciting!! I’m getting nervous, ha

16 Marisa E March 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Oh I hear ya! I really gotta start piling on the miles- eeek!!!

17 Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] March 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Go Philly girls!!!
Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] recently posted..Place Jamaa el-Fna

18 Hilary March 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

So cool! And what a great place to run your first marathon!
Hilary recently posted..Bits and Bites

19 Stacey (The Home-Cooked Vegan) March 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

You go girl!!!
A race in Paris sounds amazing! And two hours IS fast! I think I finished my first in 2:24?
I bet the scenery was gorgeous, and great job keeping up with your fitness goals while adapting to a new surrounding. That’s very inspiring 😀

20 Marisa E March 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Woot Woot PHILLIES!!!!! Congrats Brenna!

21 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

A marathon in Paris? That might be enough to make me want to do one!!!
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..stepping stones

22 Jess March 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I LOVE Paris. I think it is my favorite city in the whole world. I was just there in September and would love to go back again.
Jess recently posted..24 Weeks

23 Alaina March 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

That is so amazing!! I’ve been to Paris and to run through the city would be like a dream. I can just imagine seeing the Notre Dame at sunrise. 🙂

Good just on a great run Brenna!!
Alaina recently posted..Knee Slapper

24 Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] March 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for all of your encouragement and congratulations! I’m tearing up over here!!
Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] recently posted..Place Jamaa el-Fna

25 Ashley March 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

That’s incredible. Running through Paris is a total dream. You did a great job!

26 Jess@atasteofconfidence March 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Awesome job! I love connecting with people over sports teams, and it’s great you were able to support each other!
Jess@atasteofconfidence recently posted..feeling good enough

27 allison @ thesundayflog March 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

COOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!! brenna is one of my very good friends from high school! so funny when i clicked over to your blog and saw the name brenna! i just had a feeling 🙂 love this!
allison @ thesundayflog recently posted..Sunday Dinner- Mussels- Roasted Lamb- Asparagus Risotto- and Fresh Salad

28 Colleen @ ColleenOnTheRun March 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

That’s amazing! I wish I had been into longer distance running when I lived in Prague – it’s a beautiful city, and while I explored all of it on foot, I didn’t do it while running. I’m adding an international race to my list of goals right now…
Colleen @ ColleenOnTheRun recently posted..Satisfaction for the Whole Self

29 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) March 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I would love to run a race in Paris! That may be my new life goal 🙂
Kate (What Kate is Cooking) recently posted..Modesto Half Marathon Recap

30 Brenna March 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

As a Brenna myself, I can’t tell you how strange it was to see the blog title “Brenna’s First Half Marathon!” when it wasn’t me! I’ve only met one other Brenna in my life and am not used to seeing my name anywhere. haha

Anyways, congratulations Brenna!

31 Kate White March 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for this post and the links to the other marathon recaps. I’m in training for my first half in May, and the last couple of weeks have been very rough (grad school homework time frequently takes over running time). So with mileage and endurance way down, I’ve been feeling pretty bummed. Reading all of these has made me feel very encouraged and excited for tomorrow’s run (thank you spring break!) and I haven’t felt this way in awhile. 🙂 Thanks again, love your blog!

32 Samantha March 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm

I absolutely adore Paris, and all of France for that matter. I would absolutely love to live abroad there one day. How fantastic that you were able to run a half marathon there!! Congrats! I can only imagine what it was like to see those sights during a race. The beauty of that city never gets old!

33 Karolina March 24, 2011 at 12:11 am

Congrats on your great first race- especially in such a neat place:)
Karolina recently posted..The True Poetry of Life

34 Khushboo March 24, 2011 at 1:56 am

Congrats, that sounds amazing! The last time I was in Paris, we spent one full day walking around the entire city and I fell in love! Doing a half marathon is on my ‘life bucket list’. I think Paris might be the race I choose 🙂
Oh and your time was fabulous!
Khushboo recently posted..Lessons to learn

35 Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 24, 2011 at 4:59 am

Ok, this recap made me cry. I am a bit tired, yes, but I am even more homesick! I am a Philly girl living in New Zealand for a few months, and I desperately miss the connections back home. I just want someone to be like, “Hey Philly! I’ve heard of that!” lol even if I’m NOT racing! great story 🙂
Emma (Namaste Everyday) recently posted..Dominion Road School

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: