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After nearly two months of lockdown and almost as long without running a step, today the French people have been released back into the wild and I was out and running again.

I wasn’t sure exactly where to go or whether all of the parts and paths would be open. This is a city that takes a while to get things done – every year the first day of snow is always a mess as the city is incredibly underprepared to react with the salt, for example, despite the forecasts – so instead of running for five minutes only to find my way blocked, I decided to head down towards Confluence on paths that couldn’t be blocked or cut off from the world.

The goal today was not to go fast or to go far – it was just to go. After being locked up for so long I just needed to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air once again. 

I headed downstairs and stepped outside into a world that looked pretty much like it did when we shut it all down on 17 March and yet was different in some small but important ways.

For one there were people walking around wearing masks. This is going to take some time to get used to as it is utterly and completely alien to the French people. About half the people, I would guess, were wearing a mask of some sort. Some homemade, some surgical, and a couple clearly requisitioned from hardware stores some time in the last couple of months. But to see the faces covered? That’s strange and not all that welcome.

For another, the flower beds and planters that the idiot mayor had installed on our street to green up the place (and snarl the traffic in every direction, infuriate residents and merchants, and greenwash his dying re-election campaign) were all being removed. They had already been stripped of their plants and flowers, and now were being dismantled entirely to make room for bike and bus lanes. That was, according to the local newspaper, about €600,000 wasted.

I pulled in a GPS signal and set off from the Place des Jacobins about lunchtime. I was feeling good as I had just finished a morning of work on schedule and done a short interview on LinkedIn live to promote the business. All was good with the world and I was breathing fresh air.

I followed the Saone down towards Confluence and dropped down to the water’s edge near the bridge at the rail station. I passed a few couples and families, and there was the odd jogger and cyclist, too, but the path was not crowded. When I got to the bridge at the Confluence marina, I paused to snap a photo, then continued on down the river to the Orange Cube. 

Having not run for so long I took the chance to walk a little here, get my breath back, and then as the four-kilometer mark rolled up, I started the run back home. It would be a short loop today, and a longer one tomorrow.

It occurred to me on the way back home that feeling this average after only five kilometers or so didn’t bode well for the 154 kilometer LyonSainteLyon in December…but then reminded myself that I still had plenty of time to prepare and that a 1% improvement every day for the next 200 days would see me arrive at the start line in world-beating form. 

And as I don’t intend to conquer the world but just the course and my own thoughts, I would be happy improving even a lot slower than that.

I rounded things out along the streets of the second arrondissement and then crossed Place Bellecour to get back home. There were more people here and the line for the local public transport office spread around the block. It’s always a long line, anyway, but the added social distance makes it a comical 200-meter affair now.

I clicked stop on the Garmin and I was done. 

I was back in the world, back outside, and having taken my first steps towards the LyonSainteLyon in December.

  • Distance: 6.53km
  • Time: 41:55
  • Garmin Connect: Link