This morning’s run was all about getting out, going long, and getting some good, hard miles into my legs in this last week of amplified mileage before the taper begins. I took a look at the milage so far before I left the apartment and noted I would have to run 41.4km to bring up my 100km target for the entire week. Of course, by the time I was finishing off the run I was unsure about what came after the decimal point (was it .2, .4, or .6?) but, in any case, I knew that I had to get in a little more than 40km to round out the week of running before lunch on a Thursday.
I decided a looped run would be best for motivation and that the Mont D’Or would be less crowded than the hills around Saint Foy which were crowded when I went up there a few weeks ago. The Soane is always nice in the morning and, after a conversation with a Strava buddy yesterday during the Lyon Running Club run, I decided to make the centerpiece of the run a climb up to Mont Verdun.
As this was going to be a long run from the outset, I started off at a reasonable pace in my endurance zone. Heading out on the path next to the Soane and towards the Isle Barbe, I kept a close eye on my pace and made sure I was hitting regular 5:20 to 5:30 splits. I had planned to take a break to eat at 10km, 20km, 30km and 35km and so, crossing the ten kilometer point, I slowed and dipped into my vest pocket for some calories.
I was drinking regularly every two kilometers and, when I reached Neuville-sur-Soane I paused for a minute to refill my Camelbak. i probably had enough for the climb up and over Mont Verdun without doing this as, in hotter weather the other day, I had taken water every kilometer for 17km and still had some left. Still, better safe than sorry when it comes to hydration, and so I refilled the Camelbak and crossed the bridge to Albigny-sur-Soane and the start of the climb to Mont Verdun.
As the elevation chart above demonstrates, this is a serious climb. It’s about 9km long and took nearly an hour from bottom to top, a period that was mostly slow running and sometimes – when taking on food at the 20km point or on a couple of the steepest sections – power walking. I was happy with the climb and a few fellow runners around the top as the air defense bases at the top of the climb came into view. There were also a few cyclists who seemed to be taking advantage of the morning air to practice their climbing and, indeed, their descending on the smooth road down to Limonest.
I snapped a couple of shots at the top of the hill and then descended down into Limonest where I had planned to take a short break. I had remembered that there was a bakery there and I was looking forward to a little pastry and some fresh water to get me the final 10 or 12km home. Sadly, though, the bakery is closed for summer vacation and so I bought a 1.5L bottle of cold water from the small supermarket, refilled my Camelbak bladder, drank what wouldn’t fit in the bladder, and ate some candy out of my vest.
The next five or six kilometers were mostly flat or downhill, and I enjoyed the slightly faster speeds I could turn in. At the 35km point I took on some more calories and then eventually cut through Vaise to the Soane again and made my way back towards home. There were some runners enjoying the end of the morning before it got far too hot to be fun, and a couple of fishermen trying their luck on the water’s edge, and as I clicked stop on the Garmin just beneath the footbridge to the courthouse, I felt a little tired but a whole lot of good at having knocked over the run I had set out to do.