A longer run this morning but still relaxed – and also a bit different.

I decided this morning to head out to INSA, a university in Villeurbanne, and run their track there. I have seen the track a few ties when visiting the campus for various things and always meant to run it one day. Until this morning, though, I have never really found the time so, knowing that the students who use the track on campus are likely to be asleep at 6am, I headed out to give it a try.

Leaving Jacobins I headed along the Rue de Republique to the Opera House and then stopped briefly at the traffic lights while the morning collection of delivery vans and people heading for the snow passed by. A guy who had stopped next to me and who seemed to be in the middle of a beer he probably started drinking a few hours before motioned for me to take off a headphone so he could ask me something. I did, and he queried why I was running at 5:30am. I was surprised by the question and the best I could come up with was “It’s a great time to run” before I popped the headphone back on and went back to the Ten Junk Miles podcast.

I followed the Rhone around past the Cite Internationale and then into the Parc de la Feyssine. I followed the boardwalk thorugh the middle of the park before veering to the right and rising up to the ring road. I figured the track should be somewhere around here on the other side of the road and I was…well, “somewhat right” sounds better than “mostly wrong”, right? I ended up running about a kilometer or so around the campus until I figured out where I was, where the track was, and how to get there, but eventually I ducked under the fence and started my loops.

The track at INSA is not one of those pristine artificial running tracks that might hold an Olympic trial in a pinch like you’d find at your average American college. Instead, it is a hard-packed dirt track around a soccer pitch which, in the humidity and after a little rain last night, was a little uneven in parts, muddy in others, and with half a dozen large puddles scattered around the 400 meter loop. Still, it was possible to run a fairly straight line most of the time and I kept a steady tempo as I made my loops listening to Scotty, Sam, Aaron, and Tony talk Arrowhead, Sean O’Brien, and fat shaming.

In the end I ran 18 laps of the track and I did so with some pretty damn fine consistency. Here are the five fastest laps:


And here are the five slowest laps I ran today:


The difference between the fastest laps and the slowest laps is only 5 seconds which is barely anything. The bigger difference is in the heart rate which, for the slower laps, is about 5% lower. In any case, even the higher heart rate of 149 beats per minute is firmly within my Zone 2 and I never really pushed harder than that during the whole of the run:


For a recovery week, this is absolutely perfect!

Leaving the track as the 15km mark rolled over, I headed through the INSA campus to the Double Mixte hall (there was a very large group of people boarding a bus for the ski slopes here – seems there is mountain fun to be had outside of Lyon this weekend) and then headed for the Parc de la Tete D’Or. I ran a half loop, picked off a couple of runners along the way, and then dropped down onto the berges for the final couple of kilometers home. The bridge across the Rhone was almost traffic free, I scooted past the street sweepers and drunks near the Place des Terreaux and then turned down the Rue du President Edouard Herriot to Jacobins and home.

Distance: 22km

Elevation: 49m

Time: 1:46:39


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