This morning I set out to run with a couple of different goals.
First, i wanted to give my new shoes a bit of a run in. Having finished my run yesterday and cracked the 700 kilometer mark with the previous pair of Nike Terra Kiger 3’s, I broke out the new pair that had been waiting in my cupboard for the last couple of months for their first hit out. Running with new shoes is always a little worrying as the shape and style can be exactly the same but they are not worn in. More cushioning? Sure, but also a little tighter in the toe box and a little less flexible on the first run. Thus, goal one this morning was to not go too hard in shoes that I was just starting the process of wearing in.
Second, I wanted to run a half marathon distance. No, this was not only to get the nice virtual badge from the fine folk at Strava. Instead, it was to enjoy a run about twice as long as I am able to manage on a weekday morning and see how I felt heading into the much higher mileage week I have planned for the week ahead.
Third, I wanted to run at tempo. Not threshold, mind you – I didn’t want to drive myself into the ground at 90% of my maximum heart rate just to see how long I could manage before exploding – but just tempo: a nice, steady, fast-enough pace that I could hold for the entire run fairly comfortably.
And fourthly, I wanted to close out the run, press stop on the Garmin, and see that I had managed to cross the purely psychological 2500 kilometer cumulative distance barrier for the year so far. Considering that I still have a good four and a half months to the end of the year and that, in the whole year last year I managed 2925 kilometers total, I think it is pretty likely I’ll be setting a new personal best for distance in a year.
When I set off this morning I crossed the Place de Republique, then crossed the Rhone, and then dropped onto the berges heading in the direction of the Cite Internationale. I had decided that I would start the run with a tour of the Parc de la Feyssine and I enjoyed the cool air in the park as I kept a nice, even, and sub-5:00 pace through the first ten kilometers in the park and then back to the footbridge across the Rhone. There were plenty of rabbits, birds, and even the odd squirrel in the park and only a handful of runners and cyclists up this early on a August morning.
Crossing the footbridge, I turned to the right and headed for Crepieux-La-Pape. When I got the train station there I ducked under the rails and then hit the sole significant hill of the morning. Pretty quickly I realized that holding the tempo up this hill was going to push me into the red zone so I switched to a power hike, crested the hill, and then dropped back into my rhythm again. I had lost a little of my average speed heading up the hill in this manner but I told myself that I could more easily catch it up on the other side.
Pushing away from Crepieux and into Cuire, I went searching for the voie verte that would take me back to the city center. I made a wrong turn following a sign for Lyon but I caught myself pretty quickly, turned around, and then took the following left instead to drop onto the trail and head for home. A few moire runners were out enjoying the shaded trail here and a couple even said hello as I passed – must be tourists, right? No Frenchman ever acknowledges another runner, do they?
At Cuire I took the right slant to Croix Rousse, dropped down the Pentes on my usual switchbacking route, and then crossed the Place des Terreaux to hit the Rue du President Edouard Herriot and the final few hundred meters to home. When I clicked stop on the Garmin I saw I had 22.5km completed and I tried to remember if this would be enough to crack the 2500K barrier for the year. Uploading the run and checking Strava, I was happy to see it was.