Don’t get lost!
This is what I kept repeating to myself as I headed downstairs from the hotel to run this morning. It had been a long and productive day working with the CoSMo team yesterday and the dinner and discussion had gone long into the night. By the time I got to bed it was 11:30pm and a dodgy radiator woke me up about midnight again. I fixed the noise in a few seconds and fell straight back asleep knowing I would only have a few hours to get some rest before getting started again. A 7:15am departure from the hotel for day two of our meeting meant if I was running, I would have to do it early and with a tired body. So I did – and I hoped I wouldn’t get lost because the timeline to get back, showered, dressed, and packed was pretty tight.
I let myself sleep in a few minutes and finally got out the door at 5:45am. The goal was to get a run in of about 40 minutes and avoid getting lost at all costs. Not knowing the village of Thoiry where we were staying at all, I decided to play it safe and take a minimum number of turns on one of the departmental roads. It’d be 20 minutes out, 20 minutes back, and I could still find my way back to my room in time to leave.
Setting out, I straightaway realized things were a little rolling around here. In the first 500 meters I realized I was running downhill a little which, while great for the pace, was going to come back and hurt in the final stretch back up the hill. Still, despite the rolling terrain and the cold morning, I was holding a steady tempo. I kept an eye on my heart rate which, while higher than normal as I pushed the pace over the rollers, wasn’t edging into the anaerobic zone. I was at tempo, and feeling good.
Leaving Thoiry I turned right at a roundabout and headed for the next village over, Marco. This was a pretty little village though still bvery quiet at this time of the morning. The rolling landscape continued and I was keeping the pace up. My splits were pretty even on the way out (all between 5:04 and 5:12) and when I turned around on the other side of Marco, I was still feeling good.
On the way back I hit all the downhills that maybe I hadn’t noticed as much on the way out, except this time they were uphills. I pushed hard and the heart rate edged up some as I recorded three kilometers at 5:06, 5:06, and 5:05 pace. Not the fastest splits but very even and I was happy with the effort I was putting out.
With two kilometers to go I kicked it up a little bit just to see if I could after a tempo effort like this and, lo and behold, I dropped to sub-5:00 pace with a 4:54. A couple of months ago I wouldn’t be too excited about this but, as I have recounted in recent posts, the No Sugar, No Grain (NSNG) diet I am working saps the body of glycogen and carbohydrates making sprints harder. I was happy to see the sub-5:00 split appear on my Garmin, and with one kilometer to go I was feeling good.
And then came the uphill that the opening kilometer of downhill had held in reserve for me.
I pushed hard up the hill to finish off the run but I couldn’t hold the same speed as on the flat. I glanced at my watch hoping it would show me edging over the 10K mark and the end of the run, and when I glimpsed the lights outside of the hotel I knew I was close, but I didn’t have it in me to finish off too strong. A 5:17 split was all I could manage (on GAP, Strava suggests it was still the fastest of the morning but that doesn’t change the raw number) but when I clicked stop on the Garmin I was still happy with the morning’s effort.
Now on with the day!