Vincennes Half Marathon Race Recap

I had 12 km on my marathon training plan for Sunday, but I felt I was in good enough shape to run a half marathon, as long as I didn’t over do it. I have only run one other half marathon, the Fontainebleau Half Marathon this past April. So I figured I should have a couple others under my belt before my full marathon.

The Vincennes Half Marathon is a smaller race (around 3 000 people) and only 2 miles from my home, in the woods where I always run, so I figured it would be a great option.


My objective was to test out my fueling strategy and I wanted to faithfully try the run/walk method of the Galloway training plan I am using.

I was feeling pretty good, despite a really really busy staycation the week before. I  didn’t have to pick up my bib because this is organized by Top Chrono, and I have a permanent time chip. So, you just need to show up for the race. Definitely practical.

I went to bed early and got up early to be sure I would have time to digest my breakfast. An egg and sweet potato really hit the spot.


While the start was only 2 miles away, I was hoping my husband would wake up so he could drop me off. I was a bit nervous about adding extra walking mileage before the race…. but he was still sound asleep at 8:45 a.m. so I left on foot. It turned out to be a good warm up.

Everything was extremely easy besides the bag drop. Huge line except for those with a permanent time chip. 🙂 After that I had something to eat, then went in search of the bathrooms. I couldn’t find them. And I wasn’t the only one ! Everyone was doing this :


I started making my way towards the start line. It was right next to the Paris Botanical Gardens.


On my way there I saw this : ah ! the bathrooms. Too late. And too few.



I stood in the crowd, near the 2 hour 15 minute pacer. I wasn’t expecting to run at that speed, as this was meant to be a long SLOW training run.



We were off on time, at 10 a.m. The first 500 meters were crowded and we had to stop and walk as a group twice. But after that the race thinned out. I ran the first 10 minutes non stop, then faithfully did my 4 minutes running / 1 minute walking ratio for the rest of the race. Besides looking at how much time had elasped, I didn’t look at my watch at all to watch my speed. This was meant to be a training run and I didn’t want to push myself.

The route was extremely well marked :


The weather was a perfect 54 degrees with some sun towards the end :


There were water / food stations every 5 km, lots of medical staff just in case (and I saw a few people in very bad shape)… nothing to complain about.

I finished in 2 hours 29 minutes 0 seconds. My husband came to pick me up cheer me on at the end.


What I liked about this race :

  • Its small and manageable
  • Its close to where I live
  • Running through the Vincennes forest is great. 90% of it is through the forest / very little on major roads.
  • Bag drop off was easy (for permanent time chip holders).
  • The fueling stations were great.
  • The Red cross was present at every 5 km and I saw them racing off several times to help runners in distress. Very reactive.
  • For a small race like this, I really liked the medal.
  • I immediately received my results by email and text.


What I didn’t like :

  • I didn’t receive any emails from the organizers. Nothing. Not a one. I had to go on the web site and check everything myself. While I would do that anyway, I felt a bit neglected ? or like I was missing information ? No biggie…
  • The lack of bathrooms ! Seriously, EVERYONE was peeing in the woods.
  • Don’t expect much ambiance. While there were 4 or 5 bands playing along the route, that was about it.
  • By the time I picked up my tshirt they were out of my size, but no biggie either.


My Galloway 4:1 experiment was interesting. While I stretched quite a bit afterwards, I can confirm that I woke up on Monday with no pain. No muscle soreness. No achy joints. Stay tuned for a new post !


Do you prefer large races or small races ? Ever been to a race with few / no porta potties ?

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Comments: 14

  1. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner October 27, 2015 at 5:44 pm Reply

    Congrats on your great race! You have really been killing it lately! Jealous that your races are at 10 that is so civilized. Ours tend to start at 7 or 8 a little early for me!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Roasted Butternut Squash SoupMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France October 27, 2015 at 10:48 pm Reply

      The run / walk method has really been working well for me. 7 is too early for me too. Our races never start that early. Have a great week.

  2. Darlene October 27, 2015 at 6:54 pm Reply

    That’s funny that you say 3000 is small. I love that your races start later. I am running in Paris virtually through you. Keep it up.
    Darlene recently posted…Tuesdays on the Run: Tips for Night RacesMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France October 27, 2015 at 10:49 pm Reply

      Thanks Darlene !

  3. HoHo Runs October 28, 2015 at 12:52 am Reply

    I would have really enjoyed the wooded location of this race. I think your time is fabulous to have walked every 5 minutes. That’s the first time I’ve seen a pacer flag that the pacer didn’t have to hold in their hand. Excellent idea. Congrats on a strong performance!
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Metatarsal Mania (WW # 9)My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France October 28, 2015 at 7:42 am Reply

      All the pacer flags here are attached the the backs of people. Well maybe not all, but that is the only way I have seen it.

  4. Marcia October 28, 2015 at 1:13 am Reply

    Congrats Karen! Looks like a really pretty day and nice course. Not having enough potties would suck though.
    Marcia recently posted…Can You See Me Now? Tips for Running at NightMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France October 28, 2015 at 7:43 am Reply

      Any course that goes through the woods is a great course for me !

  5. Coco October 28, 2015 at 12:01 pm Reply

    Sounds like a lovely place to run! Luckily I don’t usually need to use porta-potty’s at races.
    Coco recently posted…Appreciating Different PerspectivesMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France October 29, 2015 at 9:18 am Reply

      You are lucky !

  6. Jennifer November 10, 2015 at 9:18 pm Reply

    Congrats on the half! I’ve been catching up and glad to hear the 4:1 worked for you.
    Jennifer recently posted…2015 Chicago Marathon Race Recap Part 1My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France November 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm Reply

      Thanks Jennifer !

  7. Elaine May 12, 2016 at 4:39 am Reply

    I just found your blog and am loving it! Also want to say how great the Galloway method is. It’s been years since I have been able to run, but it made such a huge difference in recovery. I think my overall times were actually faster, too.

    • Karen - Fit in France May 14, 2016 at 11:47 am Reply

      Thank you for reading and for commenting ! Hope you enjoy.

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