Paris. Land of love, land of lights, land of the Eiffel Tower, land of glorious stained-glass windows in Gothic churches, land of excellent table wine, land of cheese, land of baguettes, land of croissants, land of wide boulevards, land of striped shirts, land of ‘oo-la-la’, and land of realllly tiny apartments, such as this one in the 3rd Arr. near the well-known bistro “L’ami Louis” favored by those such as Woody Allen and Bill Clinton (not, however, by me). But it’s my base of operation for the next 2 weeks, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it (it even has a tub!). The price and location are certainly right.
My itinerary? At least 2 full days in Louvre spending time with my beloved Greek vases, and then hopefully I’ll manage to explore the other galleries. And at least one full day is in store for the Cabinet des Medailles. .However, the rest of my itinerary is open to suggestion, and those are pouring in by the bucketload! I love it! I have only been to Paris once before, and it was only a week and I spent every day on the Left Bank (except the Louvre and Notre Dame). Now that I’m about to spend 2 weeks on the Right Bank, I plan to wear out the soles of these poor feet as often as I can! I will just need to remember to charge my camera…
Meanwhile, this weekend was not just one of travel (Oxford to London to Paris), but also one of the Crossfit Games. For those of you who don’t know what that means… well then you haven’t spent enough time around me, obviously! games.crossfit.com and GRETCHEN KITTELBERGER, #45 (a.k.a. “G$”)!!! Yes, folks, one of my very good friends gave it her all to place well enough in the Open Qualifiers to make it to Regionals, at which she placed 2nd (top 3 go on — a total of 49 women from around the world competing for the title of The Fittest), and now she is about to compete in the final event at the Crossfit Games. They make cuts each day, and she’s made it into each final cut. She is currently in 12th place (top 12 are in the 8th workout), and she has been tested on skills of various sorts, endurance, strength, and determination. She is pretty damn determined. And above it all, she manages to keep a constant smile and is never seen without ribbons and sparkles adorning her hair.
I’m honored to have had the pleasure of training with Gretchen at Crossfit Charlottesville. She’s the one I chase in lifts and WODs, and of course I never beat her (except maybe on the rowing stuff…), but she’s always always always been there to help and encourage and I can’t say how happy I am for her not only that she made it to The Games (HUGE achievement), but that she’s just out there having a blast living the dream of kicking serious @$$ at the Games.
Watching Gretchen over the weekend (thank you livestream and archives) I finally understood football fans (proper football, not American football). They REALLY love their teams and REALLY get emotional over a win or a loss or even a yellow card. I never truly understood how one fan could be so involved with the success of a team enough to cry when they win or lose (and I cry at almost everything, but never at a sporting event). And then, after I got settled into my Parisian flat, I watched the archival footage of an earlier workout from today, during which Gretchen took 1st in her heat and 4th overall. She was all heart out there. And when she was done, with a fantastic time of 8:09 (over 3 minutes faster than the 1st place of the previous heat), she didn’t just gloat in her glory, she didn’t plop down on her arse due to exhaustion, no not Gretchen. She immediately turned around and cheered on the girls still fighting to finish. (watch here: http://games.crossfit.com/finals/live/jumbotron/629724 ) And you know what I realized? I was crying. I was crying for her success, and I was crying for her awesome spirit of camaraderie. Yeah, she’s an athlete I can get attached to.