Twenty-one days out from the big dance for the year.

Yep, it’s starting to get a bit real, isn’t it?

It’s tipped to be a very hot day here in Lyon so I made sure to get out early and get my run in before the sun started making things more difficult than they needed to be. I wanted to get in something like 40-45 kilometers this weekend so about half of that this morning would be good, and if I could make it a nice round number or, better yet, a half marathon distance, then that would keep things mentally interesting.

I didn’t have much of a plan except that I wanted to run a little in the Parc de la Tete D’Or beneath the trees. It’s cool there and, in the earlier morning, there aren’t all that many people there. The downside to my plan is that the park is only about two kilometers from the apartment so running straight there with a +20km goal means running four or five laps of the park to get in the miles. If I wanted just a taste of the park instead of gorging on the running track there I would need to find the long way there.

Hence, when I set out from Jacobins at about 7:00am I headed down the right bank of the Saone towards Mulatiere and Saint Foy les Lyon. I didn’t know exactly where I would end up here and I had the choice to loop back to the left around Confluence and put in about 10km before I hit the park, or loop to the right and head up onto the colline and make my way to the park via Valmy and the tunnel beneath Croix Rousse.

I went with the second option and started the climb up to Saint Foy from the river around about where the Lyon Aquarium is. It’s a steady but not too steep grind up to the top of the hill and then a rolling route until getting back to Saint Just. My goal for pace was just to keep things nice and easy but a glance at my watch told me I could probably bank on keeping things beneath 5:00 pace on average. I decided that this would do as a goal pace for the morning and, seeing as I was 7 or 8 kilometers in and holding the pace without too many problems, I kept the goal in mind as I pushed over Saint Just, dropped down the back of the colline to Valmy and headed into the tunnel.

In the tunnel I didn’t pas any other runners but I did cross two groups of two runners heading the other way. All four runners were female which I didn’t really give a second thought to until I crossed the bridge over the Rhone and entered the Parc de la Tete D’Or and found myself running with almost entirely female companions. Oh there was the odd bloke in there, but I would guess that maybe 80% of the runners I was passing were women – just chance, or is there some event coming up like Courir pour Elles that has people out training in groups?

Anyway…

After most of a half lap of the park I pulled out and headed back along the edge of Villeurbanne to Lyon’s sixth arrondissement where I pointed myself down the Cours Franklin Roosevelt towards the Rhone once again. A quick crossing of the bridge and the 20K mark came up, and then I pulled the foot off the gas. I took the final kilometer or so back to the Place des Jacobins nice and easy and still came in under the 5:00 average pace I had set myself earlier in the run. A few big mouthfuls of water from the tap on the square and I was heading upstairs for a shower ready to start the rest of the day.

Distance: 21.2km

Elevation: 189m

Time: 1:44:34

Strava

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