I’m less than a week away from my next ultramarathon, the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra. It’s a race I am looking forward to as a test of endurance and I know it’ll be a significantly harder course than the last couple of ultras I have run. Adding 90m of ascent up stairs every 2km lap makes for a tough course, and the fact that there is a grassy descent down 90m every lap, too, isn’t going to make things easier, either.
Still, I’m recovered from the CIEC 6 Hour now and my pace is back where it should be. I’m turning over my legs easily enough and I feel good going into a semi-taper week. I probably could have run more stairs but, on the other hand, this is not a race where I’ll be shooting for the podium as I was in Saint-Fons (5th) or CIEC (1st).
Today I set out for an afternoon run with only a couple of goals in mind, and neither related to running. Sure, I wanted to get about an hour in under the warm spring sunshine but my real goals were to (a) finish the audiobook My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman, and (b) to find a supermarket that was open to grab a couple of things for dinner on the way home. If I could keep a good pace then all the better but this run was an exercise in pleasure and not much more.
I decided to head downriver towards Confluence where, depending on the crowds out enjoying the sun, I would make a call about whether to follow the Saone back home along the Presque Isle or cross over to Mulatiere and the less-crowded sidewalk on the other side of the river.
As I headed down the berges next to the Rhone I quickly understood that most everyone in the city was outside and crowding the walkways. I ended up running down the berges on the cycling path and passing the slow moving bicycles there. One girl on a Velov with a stuffed rabbit in the front basket managed to keep pace with me for about a kilometer but, as the crowds got thicker approaching the swimming pool by the banks of the river, she dropped back and I didn’t see her again.
I crossed over the Pont Raymond Barre and cut underneath the bridge to take the right hand turn to Mulatiere. After making the u-turn, I headed back into town with Tom Foreman’s voice retelling his 50 mile ultra adventure in my ears. It’s a very smooth sidewalk but a little narrow in parts. I actually passed a couple of other runners along the way who seemed to be struggling in the sunshine. While it seemed warm, I didn’t find it sweltering as it was the other day in the hills above Lyon. This was comfortable weather and I was enjoying the warmth on my face.
Getting back into the city I cut through the Saint Georges quarter and then dropped down next to the Saone again. Acros the bridge, into the city center, and the open doors of the Super U market in front of me represented the perfect place to stop and shop while the audiobook came to an end.
I think I’ll run once more before the race on Saturday but I’m feeling good now and I’m hopeful I’ll be feeling the same come Saturday evening.