So it’s Friday the 13th and there are meant to be ghouls, goblins, and other terribly scary things lurking around. Throw in the full moon and this could have been shaping up to be a very frightening run indeed. As it happened, though, the only even slightly worrying things I saw between 5am and 6am this morning were a few groups of students trying to find their way home after drinking too much the night before, and a couple of rats running about along the berges.
This morning was meant to be something quick and easy: a 10K, no hills, steady pace, and then back home to get ready for the last day of work. Today is going to feel relatively short as I’ll spend the morning writing, the afternoon reviewing some work and having some meetings, and then I’ll be out the door at 5pm to get back and organize dinner for the family.
I headed out from Jacobins along the Rue de Republique, following the street all the way up to the Opera House before crossing over the Rhone on the Pont Morand. So far, so good as I clicked over the first kilometer in 5:09 and thought I would be happy with another nine like those. At the other end of the bridge I turned right and headed for the Pont Raymond Barre about five kilometers away. I figured if I crossed the bridge there and headed back towards home along the Saone I would be able to bank about 10K for the morning.
And so I stretched out my legs a little along the berges.
The next six kilometers were all around 5:00 pace (4:58, 5:00, 4:59, 4:58, 5:01, 5:00) and I was happy with the consistency. I was also aware that – while nowhere near my fastest 10K times – these were probably the fastest splits I had run on a 10K since starting the No Sugar, No Grain (NSNG) diet. The NSNG approach does zap you of your carbohydrate stores and is meant to have you relying more on fat than sugar for fuel. While this is efficient for longer distances like an ultra, it doesn’t really do much at all for shorter distances and speedy splits. Where I would normally be digging into glycogen stores to turn in fast splits over the shorter distances like a 10K, I would now find myself coming up short. Hence, when I realized that I could be on a sub-50 minute 10K for the first time in a month, I decided to lift it up a notch and make sure I got there.
After turning around the Confluence Museum and pushing back past the shopping mall, I really started focusing on my pace. I took the stairs along the Saone two at a time and tried to make sure I wasn’t losing time by pushing hard from the top of the couple of staircases I ran up to ‘make up for the lost momentum’ of climbing them in the first place. My 8K split was a 4:54, my 9K split a 4:49, and my 10K split a 4:46. I brought up the 10K in 49:37….but I wasn’t done yet.
I had about a kilometer to go until I was back at Jacobins. Instead of sticking to the road (where my rhythm might get broken up by having to wait for traffic) I dropped back down a staircase onto the path next to the Saone. I went as hard as I could along the river, then pushed hard up the ramp back to the road level opposite the courthouse. A final push down the side street and a final half-circle around the fountain at Jacobins and I could click stop on the Garmin as the 11K mark rolled up.
The final split? 4:40, the fastest of the morning.
Look, I know that a sub-50 minutes 10K is something I have run dozens of times but all those times have been fueled by sugar. I’m happy with the run this morning because it proved to me that the NSNG diet is working out fine for sport, I still have some power to call on if I need it, and I don’t necessarily need sugar to go faster.
Indeed, about the scariest Friday the 13th I can imagine right now is a morning croissant with a side of jam, bread, and a sugary Starbucks!