I slept poorly last night and didn’t really understand why. I went to bed at a reasonable hour, tried to fall asleep quickly, wasn’t disturbed by anything in particular, and didn’t hear any strange noises. Perhaps it was the cheese heavy meal I had for dinner? Who knows. In any case, I woke up half a dozen times during the night and though I had set my alarm for 4:55am, when I woke at 4:45am I decided enough was enough and got going.
I was out the door not long afterwards and set off just before the stroke of 5:00am for what I was hoping would be a 15K run. Nothing too testing after a couple of days of hills, but neither was this to be entirely laid back. I’m feeling good and I think that as long as I don’t push too hard, I should be OK. I had a new pair of shoes on today – yet another pair of the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3’s, this time in fluorescent yellow – and was keen to give them a good run in.
I headed off down the Saone towards the Isle Barbe and tried to keep my heart rate firmly in Zone 2. Anything under 157 beats per minute would be good and I was happily pacing along a little over 5:00 pace and around 150 beats per minute for the first five or six kilometers.
Then I had a thought.
If I have been enjoying the hills the last couple of days, why not take a run at the Paves de Isle Barbe climb that is down this way. Not long ago I gave it a try while transitioning to No Sugar No Grain (NSNG) and I had a terrible time. Where my average time is down near 3 minutes flat, I ran a 3:18 for my worst performance ever heading up the short climb. I even had to take a rest at the top to catch my breath which is not at all ideal for something so short. Could I do better today?
You bet I could: I had the Quad City DJ’s on blasting C’mon ‘N Ride It (The Train) and I was pumped!
Unlike the last time I tried the hill, this time I had power in my legs and kept pushing on up. This time, instead of a 3:18 I managed a 2:49 – nearly 30 seconds faster than before! – and recorded my third best time ever. I was two seconds off my second best time and only 8 seconds off the best time I have ever run there – and I didn’t even have to catch my breath before turning around and heading back for the river.
I crossed over the bridge again at the Isle Barbe and headed up a hill on the other side of the river. This is a longer climb and not quite as steep, and it usually takes me about five or six minutes to get up. This morning’s run was right in that window and I felt good doing it, not even out of breath on the way up. I could have gone faster even, but that was not the point of the morning and I felt like I had already pushed hard enough up the previous climb to know where I stood.
At the top of the climb I turned right and headed for home. I ran through Cuire, Caluire, and then crossed through the Croix Rousse and ran the long, winding descent down to the Place des Terreaux. A loop around the Hotel de Ville, a straight shot down the Rue de Republique, and a final right turn to Jacobins and I was home, ready to shower, drink coffee, and get the day underway.