One of my favourite ways to pass the time when I am running is to listen to podcasts, and one of my favourite podcasts is Ten Junk Miles. It’s not the most regular of podcasts, but it is always interesting. Scott, Aaron, Tony and Kat (hey, whatever happened to Kat these last couple of episodes?) are fun, smart, inspiring, and friendly. They make the time pass faster and I think my sense of humor aligns almost perfectly with Aaron’s.
Now if only my marathon pace did…
Anyhow, while I didn’t have TJM on the iPod Shuffle this morning, I did really feel like I was running junk miles. There was nothing particularly good about how I was feeling, and nothing particularly bad, either. I didn’t feel excited, I didn’t feel especially thrilled to be out, but neither did I feel bored. I knew I had to get some time in this morning, I wanted the weekly mileage up over 100km, and so I knew I had to run a bit. I guess that is how it goes sometimes.
Before heading out, I grabbed a bagel with some cream cheese, decided to forego the coffee, and made sure I had the sixth and last episode in Dan Carlin’s Blueprint for Armageddon series ready in case I got through episode five. It’s kind of hard to tell with the iPod Shuffle exactly where you are in an episode, especially ones that are 3 or 4 hours long. I didn’t want to find myself 15 minutes into the run and having to switch to music when what I really wanted was to continue with the series, so adding the last episode was a good strategy, even if ultimately it wasn’t needed.
I started off by dropping down to the Soane and following the berges to the Isle Barbe. I didn’t pass another runner though it was after 7am, though I did get encouraged by a couple of girls who looked like they had either spent the night on the berges or, at least, finished a long night there. They were nice – not heckling, but encouraging – and I gave them a wave as I passed.
At the Isle Barbe I turned and crossed the bridge and headed up the hillside park at Saint-Rambert. After winding through the half dozen market stalls at the bottom of the park, the steep and cobbled climb to the top takes a couple of minutes and offers great views of the river, the Isle Barbe, the city of Lyon, and even Fourviere. It’s a great spot and I think I’ll visit one day with Jamie and Cécile for a picnic, though maybe summer would be nicer than winter.
At the top of the park I climbed slightly higher but then turned after a kilometre or so to head towards Vaise. I took an up and down route, eventually dropping into Vaise, then into Valmy, and then taking a roundabout way to the edge of the Parc des Hauteurs. I dropped down to the river via a couple of staircases, found another market in the St Paul quarter, and then crossed the bridge to pass Cordeliers and turn for home.
I did get a chance to test out one of my Christmas presents this morning. Cécile’s brother, Antoine, bought me a handheld drinking bottle, something I had never used before when running. I’d previously tried small bottles on a belt and, more recently, a Camelbak hydration pack. The Camelbak is far superior to the small bottles on a belt, but it’s a little much for a mid-distance run like today. The handheld seemed to work well, didn’t get too annoying or seem too heavy, and might be very useful when running the timed ultras I have planned for March and May. If I am seeing my crew every lap and don’t need to carry water constantly, then a handheld might be a great solution to pick up, carry for a lap, then drop back until I need it again. I’ll test it out some more in the next few weeks but it seemed promising on this first outing.
In summary, then, today’s run was nothing too special at all. I didn’t feel great, I didn’t feel bad, the route was fairly urban with only a couple of nice views thrown in, and I didn’t get injured. Not the most interesting run, but a reasonable way to close out another week of preparation for the ultras in the first months of the year.