I’m into the last days before the Saintelyon and the countdown is definitely on.
There are less than five days until I start on my night-time adventure between Saint Etienne and Lyon and while I am a little nervous about running the race, I’m convinced I will finish and the only question will be how I manage the effort so as to enjoy myself out there.
In these final days before the race I’ll be running only two times: tonight, and Wednesday night. Both are planned to be relatively easy sessions aimed at turning my legs over, making sure I feel comfortable in my gear, and checking that I have everything dialed in ahead of the race. The Wednesday night sessions will also double as a chance to catch up with Thierry at the Lyon Running Club run and see if we can find a lace to meet before the gun goes off at midnight this weekend.
Tonight’s effort was going to be all about pacing. The last couple of runs I have done have seen me sprinting away at sub-5:00 pace and holding that sort of effort for the whole 10 to 12 kilometers I ran. While this is nice as a time trial and good for getting the heart going – and, even better, it didn’t really feel all that hard, either, which is a good sign – I know that sub-5:00 splits in the opening kilometers of the Saintelyon will do a lot more harm than good come the later portions of the race. Hence, as at the 100km de la Somme, I’m hoping to go out at a more restrained 6:00 pace or so and keep things under control until the 10km or 20km point. It worked well in Amiens and I’m hoping it will work well again, hence tonight’s run was all about finding and feeling this pace for an hour or so.
I walked down to the Saone to get started away from the traffic and slid down onto the path heading downriver. After a few hundred meters I went up and over the staircase next to the water then continued down towards Confluence. There were a few other runners on the path and, when I got to the shopping mall, another joined me briefly as we crossed over the footbridge. He continued on down the river, however, and I peeled off in the direction of the Burger King and the less-used but better-lit path alongside the Avenue Charlemagne.
Nearing the Confluence Museum I ducked under the road, did the quick loop back to the Museum, and then crossed over the Pont Raymond Barre. It occurred to me that I’d be running over this same bridge in the last kilometer of the Saintelyon this coming Sunday morning and I hope I’ll be feeling as good then as I did now. I wasn’t sitting on the 6:00 pace I aimed for from the outset but was very comfortable at 5:30 to 5:45 pace.
As I turned up the Rhone and headed for Cordeliers I snuck a few glances at my heart rate and things were on track. I know that under 160 beats per minute is easy enough and I was streaming along at a slow and steady 5:30 pace at under 150 beats per minute. hell, I was sitting under 145 beats per minute for the most part and ended up averaging 146 beats per minute for the run total. This I am taking as a good sign.
A push over the college footbridge to get back to the Presque Isle, a little diving through traffic, and then a final push down the backstreets back to Jacobins and I was done. Mission accomplished: I’m in the taper zone.