We've milked the Eiffel Tower puns in the build up to Paris. Maybe they've made you groan, but it's hard to think about anything else when you're visiting the French capital for the first time.
I spent a fair while looking at the 300-metre tall wrought iron landmark on our visit. I learnt afterwards that it has 20,000 lightbulbs and all of the paint on it weighs as much as 10 elephants. When Hitler came to visit Paris in WW2, they cut the lift cables so that if he wanted to get to the top, he had to walk. Ha. The building's history makes it mesmerising to see, and I spent a fair while gazing up at it after the race.
This made a nice change, because the day before I had spent all of the race gazing at the ground. I realised that I'm not good at keeping my head up when I run and despite getting a good time, I missed out on seeing the city. Apparently we ran past Notre Dam and I didn't even notice. I might as well have been running on a treadmill!
As nice as it is to be familiar with the different pavements in Europe, it's not as fulfilling as looking up and experiencing the surroundings. I ran the Paris semi 11 seconds off my target time. I'm not losing sleep about it but I can't help but think that I could have shaved some time off if I'd just spent a little more energy on lifting my head up and using the environment to spur me on. I'd recommend anyone else who's running to do the same. If it doesn't speed you up, at least you can enjoy the route more :)