It ended up being a pretty shitty day today – but the run at the end of the day was a good one.
The Lyon Running Club met as usual at Celestins and there was a group of about 25 people all up. The promise from the group’s Facebook post a few hours before we met was for a run with a little bit of climbing, something unusual for the club run on a Wednesday. Nonetheless, everyone seemed in good spirits and, as there was no rain and it wasn’t biting cold, I was looking forward to the hill climbing.
After a short loop through the Rue de Republique we crossed Bellecour and made our way down towards Perrache. The Christmas Market opens tomorrow on the Place Carnot and there were plenty of lovely lights and stalls being set up in advance of the opening of the Christmas season. We took a right at the end of the Place, and then crossed the Saone to the foot of the old city where we would begin our climb up towards Fourviere.
The way up the hill wasn’t all that hard at first with the rolling pave through the Saint Georges quarter being a little slippery and rough underfoot, but that’s about all. However, when we made the sharp left turn up towards the top of the hill things got serious, and my heart rate spiked towards 180 beats per minute.
I kept pace with my buddy Thierry who is also running the Saintelyon in 10 days time for the first part of the climb but he dropped back – perhaps wisely – before the top as the stronger hill runners came through. I still finished in the first half dozen people or so, so I was happy with the effort, and my heart rate only took a minute or so to come back down under control.
The rest of the climb up the hill to the basilica was steady, smooth, and good fun. I was among the first to reach the top and joined a few others in turning around, running downhill for a couple of hundred meters to meet the slower runners, and then running with them to the top. Shortly after we started the downhill after passing through the park at the top of the hill and I led all the way down, enjoying the descent and focusing on my form which, for once, felt good.
The final run along the flooded Saone river back to Celestins was a little crowded – the path next to the river was under three or four feet of water so we were forced onto the sidewalks – but it was easily completed. A last few hundred meters and a final push to the end and I clicked stop on the Garmin with a little more than ten kilometers banked.