Another long day in the office but also a productive one. My last meeting was meant to finish about 5:30pm but it ran long and I was happy to leave work at about 6:00pm to head home and prepare for the Lyon Running Crew Wednesday night group run. I like this run both for the friendliness of the others in the group and the recovery run it allows me to fit in each week. Running 80 to 100 kilometers each week can take a toll on the body and my 160km week a couple of weeks ago even more so. I know I’ll have another 160 kilometer week coming up in February, too, so having time each week to recover on my feet is both good for remaining uninjured and for getting in another hour on my feet – or why not a little more?
Cécile had a meeting so I headed out the door a half hour early to get in a couple of kilometers before meeting up with the group. I decided that with half an hour I could probably fit in about six kilometers, so an out and back on the Saone down somewhere between Valmy and Vaise would do fine. I headed down the path, turned over the footbridge after about three kilometers, and then headed back in the direction of Celestins and the waiting group. In the end I ended up cutting it a bit fine because a combination of underestimating the distance on the return leg (the other side of the river is a little longer on the way back, it seems) and not accounting for the traffic stops on the right side of the Saone. In any case, I got back a couple of minutes before the LRC set out and I was well and warmed up after a series of sub-5:00 splits.
When the group got going we headed off down the Rue de Republique, crossed over the Rhone, and ran along the river until we got to the sixth arrondissement and the Pont Morand. Here we took a right and followed the Cours Franklin Roosevelt all the way to the Boulevard des Belges where we turned left and headed back towards the river. At the Parc de le Tete D’Or we crossed over the Rhone, then turned towards the tunnel beneath Croix Rousse where the night’s zone defi would take place.
The zone defi was pretty simple: we would go out at a good pace, gradually speed up, never slow down, and finish at a sprint through the 1.8 kilometer tunnel. The catch? Every 400 meters we had to stop and do squats for 30 seconds. It was fun and I managed my pace well. IN the end I went out at 5:30 pace and closed it down at about 4:50 for the final 200 meters which was pretty good considering the speed work I had done before the group run got underway in the first place.
I was probably in the first third of the group to finish and, as we waited for the last ones to come in, a discussion between two of the runners started to get heated. Frankly, having listened to it begin, it was something pretty silly but it seemed to escalate and then – all of a sudden – the two guys were fighting, the bigger guy throwing punches at the head of the smaller one. It broke up pretty quick as someone else intervened, but it was certainly a change from the normally laid back and friendly run on a Wednesday night.
The final few kilometers back along the Saone were run at a nice steady clip. I was running in the front with a girl who was a philosophy teacher and we chatted about teaching French students, interesting philosophical things I recalled from my university days, and what it is like to live in the center of Lyon (she also lives in the second arrondissement). We closed out the run with the final hop to Celestins and I quickly made my way home to a hot shower, a long drink, and a loving Cécile.