I’m still very much in base building mode right now, and I will be for the next couple of months. Even the Town and Tube fat ass I have planned for mid-February is pretty low-key and is set up to be completed, not raced. That said, it doesn’t mean I am just looking at distance alone because, from time to time, it is nice to throw in a bit of a challenge, even if it is a short one.

Tonight’s run was of that style. I only wanted to be out for about an hour, get in 10K or so before tomorrow’s long run, and avoid being out in the cold for too long. With a little snow in Lyon this morning and some glacial winds ripping through the city, if I could be out and back quickly I would be happy.

But why not throw in a couple of hills, too?

I decided to climb Fourviere from a couple of different directions, not push too hard, and just see how I felt. I started out heading uphill almost immediately as I crossed the Saone, cut through a couple of hundred meters of the Old City, then turned left and headed for Saint Just. This is a bugger of a climb but at least it is fairly consistent. It flattens out a little near the top and I can take a bit of a breath, but otherwise it is just up and up. Arriving at Saint Just it gets flat for a couple of hundred meters, then there’s the turn onto the Rue de Trion and up it goes again. I like this climb a lot and the switchbacks make for a change from the straight up of the last couple of kilometers. At the top there’s another push up some cobblestones, then a short descent followed by the final steady climb to the Basilica where it gets flat again and you fight through the tourists.

Turned out, I ran this better than I thought I would and about as fast as I ever have. For the first part of the climb I ran my third best time ever, and only 13 seconds off the best I have done. For the full climb to Saint Just, on the other hand, that was the fastest I have ever run which is damn good for me.

Of course, what goes up must come down and so after cutting through the park I started down the nice smooth descent towards Valmy. This is perhaps my favorite descent in the city limits as it is not steep enough to put a lot of pressure on the quadriceps and entirely runnable. Indeed, from the final switchback to the bottom of the descent you can really stretch out your legs and pick up some nice speed, though I didn’t push very hard today.

Once again, I killed this part of the run. This was my fastest descent from Fourviere on that road ever, and by a full three seconds – not bad at all.

At Valmy I turned right and headed back along the Saone towards Saint Paul where I would head up the second climb of the day. This one is steeper and involves nearly 600 stairs so it is hard work. It’s the same staircase that is used for the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra so it is one that I already know well and will get to know even better at the 24 Hour race I’ll run there in May. I ended up power hiking most of this but I did keep my heart rate up so was still working even if I was moving slower. At the top of the staircase I turned left for the Basilica once again, passed the crowds of tourists huddling together against the col, and then dropped down to the Old City once again via the gardens. The twisting path delivered me to the top of a staircase, I followed the stairs down to the bottom of the hill, and then threw in a final loop so I could click stop on the Garmin back at Jacobins.

Another run in the books, another steady effort, and nice to see I can still run hills well on No Sugar, No Grains.

Distance: 10.6km

Elevation: 287m

Time: 1:01:01

Strava

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