July 26, 2017. An 8 kilometer trail race or 5 miles of conjugating avoir. And a final thought on metrication.

IMG_2566I vomited at the end of the 8 kilometer trail race.

Aujourd’hui, il fait chaud!  Il fait très chaud.  Today, it’s warm outside!  It’s very warm.

July in my neck of the woods here in the U.S. means high temperatures and extreme humidity.  It also means trail running which means I have time to conjugate French verbs.  C’est amusant – vraiment!  It’s fun – really!

I’ve been working on être (to be) and avoir (to have) for months.  I know these two irregular verbs, until I go to use them and then they just blur together dans ma tête (in my head).

So, today I praticed le verbe avoir while I ran a trail race.  With the extremely hot conditions this was the perfect verb to practice. Porquoi (why)?  Because, it was hot as heck and I needed something to distract me from the HEAT.  Something to take my mind off the HEAT.  Something to take me to my happy place…France.  All I could think about was how very warm I was.

J’ai chaud translates to I’m warm.  In French, you use avoir (to have) not être (to be) when talking about your body temperature.  Here chaud (warm) is used as a noun.  Do not – I repeat – do not use Je suis chaud(e) (I am hot) to say you are warm – it means something entirely different – let’s just say it means you’re ready…

I went out fast, maybe a little too fast.  I knew it was a single track trail for the first mile and I didn’t want to get stuck behind anyone.  Mais (but), please don’t think I’m a rapide / vite (fast) runner.  I usually just run the first mile as fast as I can then fade somewhere in the middle of the race.  Je ne sais pas pourquoi (I don’t know why)…it’s just what I do.  I’m working on it. Negative splits, that’s my goal.

I was running along pretty well, a little faster than I should have been and right about half way through the race I tanked.  I wish I had an audio file of the sounds I was making – freight train comes to mind.  My mile pace then slowed by 30 seconds, not by choice but, because I was fatigué (tired).

Trail runs are very different from road runs, you have a variety of terrain features to deal with (fields, tree roots, water crossings, old creaky bridges, dirt trails and holes).  I love to run and I love the trails.  Juste un jour parfait (just a perfect day).

I finished the 8 kilometer race and beat my personal projected time by 24 seconds.  I won my age group and was the 10th female overall (goals).  It was a small local race.  I also feel better about using avoir maintenant (now).

Here’s what I repeated over and over and over for 8 kilometers or about 5 miles:

J’ai chaud, very warm as in extrêmement warm.  It’s hot as HECK out here.

Tu as chaud, but I’m way warmer.

Il / Elle a chaud, but there’s no way he / she is as warm as me.

Nous avons chaud, but one of us is warmer than the other – and that would be me.

Vous avez chaud, but you can’t be as warm as me – there’s no way.

Ils / Elles ont chaud, but I’m sure I’m the warmest person out here on this darn trail.

As I ran through the finish line – I knew I’d throw up.  I always do – not sure if it’s the adrenaline rush or the exertion level.  Luckily, I made it through the crowd and over to the grass before I tossed my cookies.

I was happy with my effort in the heat.  And most importantly I think I have finally mastered le verbe avoir. 

Final thought – failed or incomplete metrication in the U.S.  Why do we use miles and not kilometers in the states?  It’s a very complicated and controversial issue.  Back in the 70’s, I got stuck in the whole “let’s try to switch to the metric system” thing.  I didn’t get it then – and I still struggle with it today.  I recall one year of learning it in school then it just seemed to fade away.

For me, learning the metric system and learning to speak French, make running a marathon seem like a breeze.  Running a U.S customary unit marathon…way easier!  It’s just 26.2 miles.  Running a metric marathon is 42.16 kilometers!  It just seems so much farther.


Author: suzlearnsfrench

My name is Suz and I'm addicted to France and all things French. I can't speak French, but I'm working on it. I've been working on it for 33 years. I'm married to a man who is half French and our running joke is "my next husband will be full French." However, I'm never giving this one up.

4 thoughts on “July 26, 2017. An 8 kilometer trail race or 5 miles of conjugating avoir. And a final thought on metrication.”

  1. This is such a clever way to apply your French Suz. And especially in a race where your body got very warm. Unfortunately even though I live in a country that is “technically” bilingual I speak very little French I did learn it in Grades 7 and 8 in school, but living in a English speaking area most of it is gone. So even though you are back in the States, I admire you for sticking with it.

    Glad I am not the only one who gets sick in these races. And good to know I am in very good company. It is an awful feeling having that feeling you know you are going to be sick. Feel it right in the throat.

    And even though you were fatigue Suz, you had a tremendous finish. Congratulations! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Now I need to get my running buddies on board – with the running while practicing French.

      I’ll be keeping up with your blog – keeping posting all your running adventures.

      I’m researching fueling on the 50 miler right now.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wonderful you are researching fueling Suz. Try different stuff on your training runs that might simulate race day and see how your body reacts. Every runner is so very different. Sometimes I think I have a handle on it, and then on race day in all goes out the window…lol!

        All part of the joys of ultra-running. You’ll do awesome on your 50 miler! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t handle gels – I normally use bite size snickers and salty pretzels.

        And yep – so true, you never know what’s going to happen on race day. I hope there’s a lot of Porta John’s on the course. LoL


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