I called this run the F. Scott Fitzgerald Run, and here’s why.
Today was meant to be a rest day of sorts. I have had a very big week at work, I have already done a few runs and some nice workouts, and I have one more hard workout to do before I get into the office tomorrow. The weekend will be spent traveling but I also want to get in a couple of good runs on the weekend, both with some hill sections in London. Hence, tonight was meant to be nice and easy, maybe about half an hour, just to keep the legs turning over.
On the other hand, I have set myself the challenge of doing some uphill work every session this year and – so far – I haven’t skimped on that. Thus, if this was going to be a rest day, it was going to be the sort of rest day with some hills.
The words that kept running through my mind as I wound my way up the hill this afternoon was the old Fitzgerald quote, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” I’m going to suggest that, at least when it came to the run tonight, I was demonstrating something like a first-rate intelligence as I both sought to rest and run hills in the same half hour.
Or something like that.
I left the Place des Jacobins and crossed over the footbridge to the Old City. Cutting through the courthouse quarter, I turned to the left and headed for Saint Georges where I decided to run a small up and down on the stairs next to the park. This worked fine…until half way through the ‘down’ part I turned left and headed uphill again. And then when I got to the top of that staircase…I turned up the hill again…then ran another staircase because some people I was chasing had done the same…then followed them – they were about 50 meters ahead – up another staircase to the foot of the Fourviere gardens.
And if you’ve gone that far you might as well keep going to the top, right?
After getting to the base of the basilica, I headed down through the gardens and then dropped a little further down in the Old City before taking some stairs for the cobblestoned streets below. As Strava would later reveal, I took these stairs faster than I had ever taken them before, a nice virtual trophy for the running cabinet tonight! On the other hand, Strava’s route tracker also had me taking a big shortcut through the river (see the map below) so perhaps I might not have beaten my old time by the few seconds it said I did. In any case, I passed Saint Paul, did a down-and-back to the footbridge, and then followed my nose back along the river before turning for Jacobins and home.
The final average pace of about 6:00 to 6:10 per kilometer speaks to a relaxed, restful run, and the elevation gain speaks to the hills. A first-rate intelligent run?