So today was meant to be the long run and, to be sure, it was the longest single run of the week. However, it wasn’t really a long run in the traditional sense as, on a whim, instead of leaving Jacobins and turning right to head out along the river where it is nice and flat and an easy way to get in time on my feet, I turned left and headed for a hill…and then another hill…and then another hill.
Yes, this was the second hilly run in a row and I felt damn good, too.
After a kilometer or so warming up at the base of the Old City, I turned up the hill and headed for the sky. Oh, OK, not exactly the sky – this is not mountain running – but I was heading up and feeling the ascent pull on my muscles as I did. Soon enough things leveled off a little and I headed towards St Foy, though I had no real plan for where I would go. Frankly I didn’t really know where I was except that the Saone and Rhone were somewhere downhill to my left and the Monts Lyonnais were somewhere on the right.
After about six or seven kilometers I saw what I thought was a sack of garbage on the side of the road and then a car pull up alongside it on the other side of the road. I thought this was strange until, now a little closer, I realized the sack was in fact a person, and old woman who had taken a fall off the sidewalk. She had hurt her shoulder but was basically incapable of sitting up on her own and so had been lying there, conscious but hurt. The guy and I helped her up and out of the road, and another guy called for help on his phone. After I saw she was being attended to (she’d been taken to the back of the car, was sitting in the relative warmth, and waiting for the ambulance) I kept going, finishing off the downhill and heading for a trail I didn’t know was there but that I was happy to have found.
The trail was muddy and headed up so I was happy to follow it. The only problem was that the trail was incredibly muddy and so difficult to get a footing on whether it was crawling uphill or downhill. I kept sliding as I tried to find my feet and while I didn’t fall, I went close to slipping in the mud and making a dick of myself. Eventually I descended back down to the road and searched around for some sign that would take me back towards the river: Oullins, Mulatiere, Lyon – any of these would be good.
I found a way back to Saint Foy and as the clock struck 4:00pm I ran right under the bell tower of the church – a nice touch, I though to myself. I kept going and then turned right to hit a hill I had climbed once before near the end of the Saintelyon a month or so ago. I was happy to get up it a far bit faster this time with about 60km less running in my legs and without the disadvantage of being awake since the morning before. At the top, I followed a nice but narrow road along back to an intersection on the very first climb I had run and decided to round out the run with a couple more climbs.
I headed up to Saint Just but, having run the Rue de Trion climb yesterday I instead pushed over the top and then made my way back up the hill via the Fort de Vaise. A short descent down some stairs at the top and a rash in-the-moment decision saw me turn up the Piste de la Sarra for a muddy climb to the top which, despite slipping and sliding all over the place in the mud, was minutes faster than the other times I have tried to get up (granted those times involved pyramid runs up and down adding distance and meters to the ascent).
The final push through the Parc des Hauteurs, across to Fourviere, down through the gardens and then down the same stairs as yesterday (20 seconds faster as I now knew it was a Strava segment!) and then a final push across the footbridge from the Courthouse (again, a PB for me after I saw it was a Strava segment the other night!) and I was able to finish at Jacobins with a little more than 21 kilometers in the bank, and 572m climbed.
Not bad for a Sunday afternoon, and a nice fun way to round out a +100km week.