After a productive day in the office, I set out for the second run of the day. Unlike the morning which was a basic 10km jaunt, this post-work run was to be a slow and steady effort with a single goal: a PB on a hill segment.

chemin-isles-segment

The segment I was targeting was the Chemin des Iles climb in Crepieux La Pape. It is 600 metres long and averages a 7% grade, but this doesn’t tell the whole story of the hill. It is a hill that starts out very steep (between 11% and 15% for the first 200m) before flattening out some (under 5% for about 300m) and then kicking up again for the final push to the top (5-6% for about 100m). I have run it only two times before:

  • 18 October 2015: 4m02s
  • 1 January 2016: 4m01s

The goal for this evening’s run was to take this time under four minutes and chalk up a new PB.

chemin-isles-hill-january3

There’s me sitting 9th overall.

Honestly, getting the time below four minutes shouldn’t have ever been a problem – but I really wondered how far under four minutes I could go. My best guess? I would be happy with 3m50s for the segment, an 11 second PB, and the 6th spot on the Strava ranking. Frankly, I don’t have the speed or the skills to hit anything the might be a top-5 time on this segment.

Or so I thought.

january4-run-2

I took it steady on the way out and, if my splits went out over 5 minutes per kilometre, it as only because I was waiting at traffic lights. Rush hour is a bitch most everywhere, but this part of Lyon is particularly busy between 5pm and 7pm each weekday. I followed the trail alongside the Rhone, passed the dam and a couple of people out walking dogs in the rapidly vanishing light, and then continued to follow the path in the direction of the Crepieux La Pape railway station.

I saw the lights of the station and the platform clock a couple of hundred metres up ahead and took stock: my legs were feeling good, I wasn’t breathing hard, I wasn’t too hot or too cold, and I was as ready as I could be to run the hill. To start the hill segment you need to pass underneath the railway line and the station, and as I did I glanced at my watch for an approximate start time. While I wasn’t sure where the segment started exactly – that is, to the metre – I knew it kicked off not long after I exited the station underpass. The watch said 31m40s or about that when I was leaving the underpass so I figured it needed to say something like 35m30s when I got to the top to get that PB.

I kept it steady in the first part of the hill and then gave it a little stick in the middle section. It was here I think I gained time on my previous efforts, and I pushed hard to the top of the hill knowing I could stop, turn around, and head back downhill in all calm. The watch time looked good at the top of the hill, but not knowing if the segment finished right at the top or shortly before, I didn’t know how good. I did know I had a new PB for the hill; now to see how much of a PB.

The run back home was uneventful and the passing commuter trains that lit up the trail as they rolled by seemed only half full. Is everyone still on vacation? I would my way back the way I had come, got held up by traffic in the same spot as on the way out, and then climbed through Croix Pacquet to home.

Garmin stopped. Strava synced. Result?

chemin-iles-post-run

Nailed it.

From 4m01s to 3m13s – and I think I could probably squeeze a couple more out of it if I went anaerobic. I will be back – probably not this week, but maybe next week – to give it another go again soon.

Distance: 14.0km

Elevation: 133m

Time: 1:07:29

Strava

Image by Benedicto de Jesus.

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