I woke up this morning at 5am and was planning to be out the door about 6am having pounded down a cup of coffee, eaten a little bread and butter, and caught up on the news of the world. What I didn’t expect was for that news to include the passing of ultrarunning podcaster Eric Sherman.
Eric was the guy behind the DFL Ultrarunning podcast, one of the many ultra and trail running podcasts I regularly run with. I didn’t know him personally, though we had exchanged a couple of Facebook messages and he’d sent me a drop bag after I won a competition his show hosted a few months back. It’s such a shame that such a young and caring guy has gone so soon – he’ll be very missed.
There was still a run to do this morning, though, and I had planned to go slightly longer than yesterday but a lot slower. To be honest, the 4:40 pace I managed for the 23km yesterday was probably a little too up-tempo to hold consistently all week, so I promised myself I would back it off today and aim to getting the miles and time in while keeping my cadence up, too.
One of the things I am not great at with ultrarunning is getting the pacing right in training. I’ve learnt to manage things a bit better during races, but training often ends up being sub-5:00 kilometers when I should be running slower. Hence, as I headed out across the bridge and dropped onto the berges next to the Rhone this morning, I was concentrating on keeping my stride short, fast, and looking to hold a 5:15 pace.
I managed to keep things about this speed for the first four kilometers as I looped around the river and past the Cite Internationale. As I entered the Parc de la Feyssine, I kept things steady and didn’t deviate too much from the plan. A few seconds faster as I passed through Villeurbanne, a few seconds slower as I passed through Vaulx-en-Velin, but basically on track until I made the turn around at the bridge near La Balme.
Heading back along the trail on the other side of the canal is one of my favorite places to run. It starts off wide and hard packed, then drops down and gets gradually narrower until it turns into a couple of kilometers of singletrack shrouded by trees near the flea market. As the sun was starting to beat down even this early – it will be 32°C today in Lyon – I was happy for the temporary shade before I made the crossing back to the left bank of the canal and cut through the Parc de la Feyssine once again.
At the end of the Parc de la Feyssine I ran up to the road, crossed over, and entered the Parc de la Tete D’Or. I haven’t spent a lot of time running in the Parc recently save for the occasional Lyon Running Club outing. I decided to cut through the Parc this morning, though, so I could refill my handheld for the last four kilometers home. I ran a half lap, exited through the main gate, and then dropped onto the berges heading downriver to finish things off. A quick pass over the footbridge, a quick run through the side streets of the Presque Isle, and I clicked stop on the Garmin outside my door.
All up I managed a touch over 25 kilometers for the morning and I kept the pace nice and steady. Call it LSD – long, steady distance – and a small running tribute to Eric.
The second run of the day was the weekly Lyon Running Club Wednesday Night run. This is almost always a flat, easy-paced hour or so on your feet, sometimes punctuated by planks or squats or some sort of ‘zone defi’ sprint. Tonight, though, the leaders of the run got it into their head that what people needed on a hot day was some hill work and so we quickly found our way over to the Fourviere hill.
After a kilometer or so making our way along the Soane to Saint Paul, it was straight up the stairs and then climbing up to the top of the hill. Granted, we took a rather roundabout way – something like the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra but run backwards – but it was still enough to have some people breathing very heavily at the start.
There was a follow up loop after a short descent to Saint Just and then halfway down the hill towards my old place of work, CEFAM, before we headed uphill again and pushed over one last climb to the Fort de Vaise. After that, though, it was mostly downhill until we made it to the river again, after which we powered back to Celestins to close off a harder-than-normal Lyon Running Club Wednesday Night run.
Distance: 35.3km (25.1km + 10.2km)
Elevation: 261m (62m + 199m)
Time: 3:09:13 (2:09:20 + 59:53)