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Running in the City of Light

Paris is a city known for many things—its architecture, its fromage, its lovers—but exercise is decidedly not one of them. Exerting oneself publicly in sweaty, non-chic clothing is considered tres vulgaire and violates one of the underlying maxims of Parisian life: don’t, under any circumstance, look ridiculous or unsophisticated. Instead, Parisians offset their indulgent meals with long walks to the next bar or walking up the Metro stairs. 

That may work for the locals, but if you’re a visitor to Paris, exercise serves an important dual purpose: burning off the ridiculous amounts of calories you should be consuming during your visit and helping you see a version of the City of Light beyond the tourist clichés. If you go to Paris and don’t run, you’re missing out. 

However, be warned: you’re more likely to get a cigarette put out on your thigh than you are to see a Parisian move out of your way on one of the city’s busy streets. For that reason, it’s wise to stick to more defined parks and socially acceptable running routes, rather than attempting to run on sidewalks. The good news is that even during the week, rush hour doesn’t start until about 9 a.m. (Parisians are still sleeping off the vin rouge from the night before), so you get an extra hour to work out before the crowds hit the streets.

Embark on one of the routes below, but first slip a few Euros in your running shorts—you’ll want to treat yourself to a croissant and a café au lait when you’re done.

Jardin Du Luxembourg

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A visit to the Luxembourg Gardens is a mainstay of most tourist itineraries, so why not cross this one off the list in the form of a run? Though it’s the second largest public park in Paris, the perimeter is quite short (1.3 miles), so it’s best for a quick 5k or if you want to get in an interval workout. Attached to the centuries-old Luxembourg Palace (where the French Senate meets), the park is heavy on runners and on history, including statuary, a boating pond, and the original version of the Statue of Liberty. The only obstacles you’ll have to dodge are picnickers and gentlemen playing chess. Nestled in the Latin Quarter, the park is accessible from a variety of Metro stops including Odeon, Mabillon, Saint-Michel, and Cluny. 

The Seine

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There are few better ways to see the sights of Paris than a run along the banks of its river, which bisects the city’s premier attractions. Take the metro to Pont Neuf, which is right on the river, and begin running east. Follow the water and when you reach Pont d’Austerlitz, cross the bridge and loop back so you’re running on the other side of the water (known as the Left Bank). Keep running until you reach the Musee d’Orsay and you’ll have passed some of the city’s greatest sights including the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Ile de la Cité, and the Grand Palais, all in about five miles. Although there is a path by the water, the cobblestones are uneven, so you might prefer to run at street level on the paved pedestrian path (the only drawback will be stopping at traffic lights).

Canal Saint-Martin

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It doesn’t get more idyllic than running on the cobbled banks of the Canal Du Saint-Martin, nestled in the uber-hip tenth Arrondissement in northeast Paris. The canal is 4.5 kilometers (just under 3 miles) long and connects the northern Canal de l’Ourcq to the Seine River to the south. On Sundays, the two streets parallel to the canal—Quai de Valmy and Quai de Jemmapes—are reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. (There are quite a few runners, too). Take the Metro to Republique and walk less than a quarter mile northeast until you reach the canal. Follow the waterway to the north, which will eventually lead you to Parc de la Villette, right on the edge of the Boulevard Périphérique. Then, do what any Parisian would do, turn around and pick out one of the hip cafés and bars on the canal for a post-workout l’apero (apertif).

Bois De Boulogne

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Bois de Boulogne is one of those urban running gems that doesn’t feel urban at all. Located in the western edge of the 16th Arrondissement, it’s more than twice the size of Central Park and is home to two lakes, several ponds, the horse-racing grounds of Hippodrome de Longchamp, as well as the Stade Roland Garros stadium, where the French Open is played. Though it’s on the edge of the city and thus requires a special trip to get to it, you’ll be in good company getting a long run in while exploring its 2,000 acres and numerous trails. For a shorter run, try doing laps around the 1.5-mile path surrounding Lac Inférieur. The closest Metro stations are Porte Dauphine and Ranelagh.

Parc de Saint-Cloud

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This domaine national (national park) is actually located outside what’s officially considered Paris—which is everything encircled by the ring road known as Boulevard Périphérique—but it’s worth the trip. Covering more than 1,000 acres, the park dates back to the 16th century when it served as the preferred residence of Napolean Bonaparte. Since then, it’s been distinguished one of the most remarkable green spaces in Europe. Running through the centuries-old fountains, monuments, and perfectly straight tree-lined paths is an other-worldly experience and will keep you entertained for miles. It also offers two things that are hard to find within the Périphérique: a panoramic view of the city (which can be found at the park’s highest elevation, La Lanterne viewpoint) and comparatively fewer crowds compared to inner Paris’ parks. 

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8 Triathlon Essentials for Racing Fast, Training Hard, and Having Fun

Triathlon is a gear junkie’s dream sport. Check out any online tri shop and you’ll see thousands of goodies from carbon-fiber time trial bikes to ab-enhancing wetsuits to bright red onesies. Choosing the perfect setup is a challenge when all of that stuff promises comfort, style, and free speed. So we combed through the clutter to find the best gear for racing fast, training hard, and having fun. Presenting our top tri must-haves:

Roka Maverick Pro Full ($800)

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Two former All-American swimmers from Stanford University founded ROKA in 2010, and their swim expertise shows in their designs. A recent Triathlete magazine test found swimmers who wore the Maverick Pro traveled 36 percent farther with every stroke compared to those swimming in a regular swimsuit. That means the Maverick Pro helps you swim faster with less effort—talk about free speed. High-stretch rubber in the arms, shoulders, and chest makes it feel like a second skin, while thicker rubber in the core and legs promotes ideal body position in the water. Even better: the suit tears off easily for fast transitions.

Finis Neptune Waterproof MP3 player ($160)

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Going back and forth in a concrete rectangle can get boring. Jazz it up with some tunes, podcasts, or audio books. With 4GB of storage and a battery that lasts more than eight hours, this waterproof MP3 player will keep going long after you’ve completed your biggest set. The high-contrast OLED screen and speakers attach to your goggle straps and conduct sound through your cheekbones rather than your ears for better sound quality under water.

myFloat ($70)

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Swimming in open water can be scary. myFloat promises to change that. Co-created and designed by Olympic triathlete Sharon Donnelly, the myFloat is a waterproof bag that attaches to your waist with an adjustable belt strap, then floats behind you as you swim without causing resistance. Anytime you need a break while training—or if you have a panic attack—you can grab the thing and chill out. It also doubles as a drybag with a shoulder strap for easy carrying on land. Note: the myFloat is a great training buddy, but likely will be prohibited at all races. 

Quarq Elsa 10R ($1,995)

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Can’t get enough training and racing data? You need a power meter. The Quarq Elsa is a crankset with hollow carbon fiber arms that records power output data from every pedal stroke, then relays the readings to ANT+ compatible units, including the Garmin Forerunner 910 XT. With crank arms available in sizes as short as 162.5mm, Elsa is a top choice for triathletes looking to axe the discomfort of riding in aerobars without sacrificing frontal surface area—shorten the crank, don’t raise the bars.

POC Octal Aero Helmet ($300)

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In theory, the Rocketeer-like teardrop helmets of years past were super aero. But wind tunnel tests have shown the new compact helmets are actually more efficient. Considering triathletes don’t always stay perfectly tucked, compact helmets should perform better in real-world conditions as well—there’s no sail sticking up if you glance down or check behind you for cars and competitors. Olympic silver-medal time trialist Gustav Larsson helped design POC’s Octal aero helmet for max speed without sacrificing safety or venting. Chose from white, blue, or our highly-visible favorite: zink orange.

Cat Ears Classics ($14)

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Yes, these fuzzy helmet-strap add-ons make riders look like Elvis impersonators. No, that’s not their only purpose. (Though that’s certainly reason enough to buy them.) Wrap this half-inch pile of faux fur around your front helmet strap to reduce wind noise in your ears by 40 to 60 percent, so you can more easily hear cars coming and friends talking. For races, pick up some lower-profile Cat Ear Pros.

Hoka One One Stinson Tarmac ($160)

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Minimize joint impact while ramping up your training—or running an Ironman marathon. Maximalist shoemaker Hoka One One designed the Stinson Tarmacs with a 6mm drop and fluffy cushioning that gives runners what converts call a “marshmallow” feel. Coming in at 11.9 ounces, they weigh about the same as Brooks' popular stability shoe, the Adrenaline GTS, and have a similar spring to them, despite the beefy look. Got wide feet? The Tarmacs will fit you fine.

Garmin 910XT ($450)

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Yeah, it debuted in 2011, but the competition has yet to top the 910XT’s multisport functionality, particularly on the swim. In the pool, this watch will give you a lap-by-lap readout of your workout—including what strokes you were swimming. In open water, distance traveled gets a little wonky, but it’s a good starting point to figure out how far you went. Compatible with power meters like the Quark Elsa, it makes a great bike computer, and the flick of a button will account for transitions and switch between sports. Keep an eye out for Polar’s V800 after this year’s promised updates, as it includes a daily activity tracker. But for now, the 910XT reigns supreme for triathletes. Check out DC Rainmaker’s comparison chart here.

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Where's Waldo?

After starring in countless illustrated kids books for 25 years, world-famous adventurer Waldo ditched his signature striped shirt-cap combo, got LASIK surgery and fled from the public eye. Last we heard, he was living in his native England (where he’s known as Wally) and working on a brooding memoir titled, Found Then Lost: How Aimlessly Wandering the Earth While Wearing the Same Weird Outfit Each Day Messed Me Up Pretty Good. Please respect his privacy and don’t go hunting for him. But not to worry, superfans—the ex-peripatetic lives on at Waldo-themed events around the world, including the following fun runs, bar crawls, and scavenger hunts. So don your red and white stripes and oval specs and channel your inner nomad.

Where’s Wally? Fun Run, Birmingham, England

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Organized by The National Literary Trust, a non-profit dedicated to raising literacy levels in the U.K., this annual fund-raiser invites participants to dress up like Waldo and run 5 or 10 kilometers through beautiful Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham.
Saturday, October 4, 2014; Registration includes a Where’s Wally? costume.

Waldo 100K, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

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This ultramarathon takes place each year in and around Willamette Pass Ski Area in western Oregon and is actually named for a lake that runners pass during the grueling race. But participants have been known to dress up like Waldo, and one year someone nailed a plush Waldo doll to the Fuji Mountain Trail sign that sits on part of the course. Plus, we like to think that in a different life, Waldo would have crushed an ultra. 
August 16, 2014.

Where’s Waldo? Bar Crawl, Charlotte, North Carolina

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No fictional character (not even Santa) is immune to the themed bar crawl, and this one is the mother of all Waldo pub hops, occurring each January at the Epicentre mall in downtown Charlotte. Though it draws hundreds of bespectacled revelers, it has yet to break the Guinness World Record for the most people dressed as Waldo in one place, set in 2011 when 3,872 Waldos gathered in the streets of Dublin in 2011.

Waldo NYC Explorer Pass, New York City

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Heading to Gotham with the kids this summer? Nab this pass, which gives holders discounted access to sites Waldo himself would love to explore around the city, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Empire State Building.

Other Waldo-themed events:

Where’s Waldo Scavenger Hunt; Raleigh, North Carolina; July 2014

Waldo Month; Bethel, Connecticut; July 2014

Waldo Waldo 5K charity run; Colorado Springs, Colorado; October 26, 2014

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