For the last couple of years I have run at Saint Fons to open my ultra season. I started with the 6 Hour race in 2016 and it went well enough, and then I followed it up with the 12 Hour race in 2017 where I did really well. The next step? Well the 24 Hour race would be obvious but there are a couple of things working against me there. For one thing, Cécile is coming back to Lyon after a week away on the Saturday night of the 24 hour race. I’d much prefer to welcome her home than to miss her arrival by either running the 24 Hour race or the 12 Hour race. What’s more, while Jamie is technically meant to be spending the weekend with his Mum, it looks pretty likely he’ll be spending it with me instead, and it is hard to parent and run in circles all day and night.
Hence, instead of the 24 Hour race at Saint Fons this year I planned to open my ultra account at the 24 Heures de l’Isere instead. It’s a little further away than Saint Fons but it seemed like a well run race from what I read about it last year and it is always good fun to try something new. While the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra remains the big goal for the first half of the year (well, besides the wedding…) the 24 Heures de l’Isere was going to be a nice test the month before the stairs of the Nicolas Lange.
But here’s the thing: on the weekend of the Saint Fons race Cécile isn’t getting back to Lyon before the evening…and Jamie will be with his Mum during the day…so I really don’t have anything much to do on the Saturday of the Easter long weekend…except maybe run for six hours in Saint Fons, right?
I’m not shooting for any new personal best distance goal nor will I be running it hard. The 24 Heures de l’Isere, remember, is only a week after this race so I don’t want to leave it all out on the track in Saint Fons and arrive at the 24 Hour race with nothing in the tank. What I’ll be looking to do is run for six hours, enjoy the camaraderie, and be able to back up with an easy jog at the gym the day after to recover. It’ll be a good warm up before the longer run the next weekend, nothing more. But that’s in a couple of weeks; this morning’s run was nowhere near six hours and not quite as flat as the pancake course in Saint Fons.
I started off crossing the Rhone and then dropping down onto the berges heading for the park. It’s well lit here but I had the headlamp all the same because, after moving into the trail next to the river, the light is never as good. Over the footbridge at the Cite Internationale and I arrived in Saint Clair ready to head uphill. I took the Soeur Vially climb up to the top of the Croix Rousse, and then followed the road past the hospital to the main square of the arrondissement. A turn to the right, a few hundred meters across the top of the plateau, and then I dropped down through the Pentes and the Jardin des Plantes to the city center. Terreaux, Saint Nizier, and then Jacobins once more – I was done.
I’m about 25 days out from my first ultra of the year, and I’m feeling good about that.