I’m only a couple of days out from the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra so there’s nothing I can do now that will make me any faster, any more efficient, or any more prepared to run the stairs of the Nicholas de Lange than I already am. Well, almost nothing: I can get my head in the game and make sure I am in the right mental state to take on what is, so far, the biggest challenge in my ultrarunning career.

That said, there is plenty I could do that would make it more likely I would have an issue at the Ultra Boucle. For one, I could try running some more stairs and do something stupid (trip, fall, lose my footing, pull a muscle, twist and ankle…) just a couple of days out from the race. Or I could throw in some speed work, something I haven’t done in any real way for a month or more, and pull a hamstring that I didn’t give quite enough warm-up attention to. Or, hell, I could start chasing some of the other people running along the Saone and over exert myself just hours ahead of the race, too.

Wanting to avoid all of these things, I instead pencilled in a nice, casual, afternoon run around the river with almost no elevation, no more than a dozen stairs up and another dozen down, and set out to run it at a pace that was as easy as I could make it without being bored. Junk miles? Not at all. A session like this is part of the process of clearing the head and getting myself prepped for the race ahead.

Leaving Jacobins, I dropped onto the riverside path along the Saone and started heading for Vaise. I was going to make the turnaround about three kilometers down the river, cross the bridge, and head back the other way. The first of the two staircases – the short one heading up from the path to the bridge – was tackled at an easy pace and I crossed over and headed back towards the Old City. I didn’t mind stopping for the traffic lights tonight as this run was all about keeping a handle on things and not getting stressed. Time and pace? Secondary considerations, that’s for sure.

I passed the Old City and then took the bridge back towards home opposite the courthouse. A few more meters and a click on my wrist and I was done with a nice easy run and a clear mind. I’m only four days out and it’s time to rest – let’s hope the clarity holds.

Distance: 7.3km

Elevation: 13m

Time: 35:33


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