After a week easing back into things, today’s run was the final in the series of post-injury comeback runs. After a short jog with Jamie last weekend, a Monday morning sprint, a Wednesday evening slow run, and a Friday evening tempo session, today was all about time on feet and bringing up a little distance.
The goals for the run were simple:
- Run at least 22Km so as to complete the January Strava Half Marathon Challenge and bring up 50km in total distance for the week;
- Run for about two hours so as to test my leg over a longer period of time than I had so far during the post-injury period;
- Don’t push too hard and keep in mind that this is still a recovery run.
I wanted to keep things nice and soft underfoot, so I decided that a trail run would be the best option. The trail through the Parc de la Feyssine seemed like the best choice. I could head out on the trail and turn around after an hour or, alternatively, if I felt like a little company, I could always turn a little earlier and finish off the run in the Parc de la Tete D’Or.
Or so went the plan.
At the start I headed out as normal, crossing the Rhone and then dropping down onto the trail. My first kilometer was slow as is normal when descending the staircase down from the Pentes, but I turned in a 4:30 second kilometer and felt like I was on track for a solid run.
When the next three kilometers were all around this 4:30 pace, too, and when I realized that I was in no pain at all, I thought I changed plans slightly and decided I would put in for a nice, smooth 10km time, then take it easier on the way back. I kept up my pace and knocked over the 10K in 44:20, a time less than a minute off my best time for the distance ever. As I approached the bridge where I would cross back over the Rhone and start the run towards home, I eased back a little.
Or so I thought.
Maybe it was dropping off the bridge onto a trail I had not run before. Maybe it was the singletrack trail itself that was a blast to run along as I followed the river back towards town. Or maybe it was just that feeling you get when your brain is telling you that you are taking it easy but your legs are still banging out fast splits. Whatever it was, I felt great and started roaring along at mostly sub-4:30 pace.
On the way back the only split I recorded above 4:30 was a 4:36 when I was climbing up over a bridge, then winding down a couple of hairpin turns to find the trail on the other side of the river again. Save for that, I was flying along and – around the 17km mark – I realized that I had a reasonable chance of knocking over my own personal best for the half marathon distance.
Out the window goes the original plan of a two-hour run. Instead, I’m shooting for a PB.
I concentrated on putting in consistent splits, and keeping things smooth. The 18th kilometer ticked over in 4:07, the 19th in 4:06, the 20th in 4:02, and the 21st kilometer in 4:04. I kicked it up slightly to finish the 21.1km distance and recorded that personal best of 1:31:23, a full 2 minutes and 41 seconds quicker than my previous best set at the Run in Lyon Half Marathon in October.
I walked for a little to cool down, then jogged home over the bridge, up the staircase, and home to find Cécile up and cleaning the bathroom. No immediate post-run shower for me today, it seems. I didn’t tell her about the new best time, but I will – and I think I’ll tell her, too, that the injury that had me laid up and annoyed for nearly two weeks is behind me now. I’m feeling fit, I’m feeling strong, and I am looking forward to a week of running.
Distance: 21.7km (21.1km + 0.6km)
Elevation: 84m (42m + 42m)
Time: 1:35:59 (1:31:43 + 4:16)