Foremost in my mind right now is my 50 mile run planned for mid-September on the Thames Path in England. It’s what I am building up for, it is what I am pushing towards, and it is why I am foregoing extensive hill work in favor of tempo runs on the flat. The Thames Path, after all, is about as flat a trail as you’ll find and so while a few hills here and there help break up the longer runs and help with general fitness, I am spending more time focusing on running consistently at a steady tempo to prepare for the long day that is coming.
But after that, though, there’s another race on my horizon: the Saintelyon.
This is a trail race I am looking forward to running this year and it will be a very different beast to the 50 miler in the UK. For one thing, where the Thames Path is basically flat, the Saintelyon involves a total of more than 1700 meters of climbing (over 5500 feet) along it’s 72 kilometer route. For another, while I’ll run the Thames Path in the daylight, the Saintelyon kicks off at midnight and I’ll be running most of it in the dark. Further, while I will be on the Thames Path in early autumn with (fingers crossed) reasonable weather, the Saintelyon is the first week of December and getting into some pretty cold winter temperatures.
Hence, I have two very different challenges coming up in the second half of the year and I am looking forward to both. The Thames Path is just 43 days away and, as the Saintelyon website announced this morning, the trail race is now 120 days away.
Time to get out and run, don’t you think?
With a goal of just pushing out nice, even 5:10 to 5:15 kilometers, I left home and headed down the Soane towards Mulatiere. As much as possible today I wanted the run to flow and the less traffic I had to negotiate the better as every street crossing seems to break up the rhythm of a run, especially one in the mid-afternoon. At Mulatiere I made the u-turn and then turned again to make the underpass to the Confluence trail. Down and around the Confluence Museum I went, and then over the Pont Raymond Barre to the Parc de Gerland for some traffic free miles.
Around this point I was passed by a couple of runners putting in what seemed to be 4:30 kilometer splits. I note this only because it is the first time in a few weeks where I have been passed by people on a run, a combination of the tempo running I have been doing and the time of day I am out hitting the road. I didn’t chase them but, after having made a circuit of the park, I caught them again on the berges as I headed back up the Rhone towards the Parc de la Tete D’Or.
The berges were packed with walkers, cyclists, tourists, and late afternoon picnickers and early evening drinkers. I wound my way up to the park, and when I made the entrance I refilled my handheld for the final nine or ten kilometers of the run. A half circuit of the park, a quick pass through the Cite Internationale, and then over the footbridge to the singletrack trail parallel to the Rhone heading home.
With a little rain in the last two weeks the trail has gone from enjoyable singletrack with the odd hazardous rock to an overgrown mess where the trail is largely hidden by the grass. I slowed down along here compared to my usual pace so as not to roll and ankle or trip on one of the unseen rocks and, thankfully, I managed to hold my feet. At the end of the singletrack I moved up to cross the road – the first time I had to stop for traffic in about 18km thanks to a well-chosen route – and then finish off the run and bring up my 80km weekly distance goal as I closed out the run at Jacobins.