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After yesterday’s less than amazing restart to training, I was ready to head out again this morning for Act II.

I decided that I would take in a hill because nothing says ‘preparation for hill work’ like spending two months barely moving, right?

The Fourviere hill is right in front of our apartment and, after a short warmup of a couple of hundred meters and after threading my way through the old city streets, I arrived at the first hill of this post-lockdown training block. It’s a steep climb at the bottom though it levels off a little bit about halfway up. There’s a kicker near the end as you push past the stores and the metro station at Saint Just, and this was where I was heading. My goal was to push over the top, run the downhill a little to ensure I was truly ‘up and over’, and then loop back via the park near the basilica.

That was the plan, anyway, because the reopening of the parks in Lyon is sort of strange. Where a park is managed by the region it is open. Where it is managed by the local mayor it is open. When it managed by the city mayor – yeah, we have ten different mayors in Lyon, it’s complicated – it’s not open until tomorrow. I didn’t know who was in charge of the park near the basilica so I figured I would try and run it and, if it was closed, I would just find another way down the hill.

And there are always plenty of other ways down the hill.

I set off from the Place des Jacobins as usual, crossed over the Saone, and moved through the Old City to the bottom of the hill. I had decided in advance to power hike the first part of the uphill having noticed that, during yesterday’s not very hard effort, my heart rate was a little higher than it normally might be even at a relatively low effort. I figured the point of going up the hill was to test myself going up the hill. If I could make it to the top without slowing down and if I could maintain my effort from start to finish, I would be content.

I pushed on up and passed all the familiar sites along the way. Looking over to my left I took in the city under the day’s grey skies and was reminded that – no matter the weather – I was outside again and this was something to be grateful for. Passing the midpoint of the climb where things flatten out for a few hundreds meters I picked up the pace again and settled into a steady jog. The hill would pitch up again shortly but there were no problems putting in a little effort here where it was easier.

Saint Just was well and truly out of lockdown and the bakeries, tobacco shops, and newspaper vendors were all enjoying a little trade as I passed by. The final push over the top of the hill is not too steep and as I started the short downhill I was feeling good enough for the second day back. A turn to the right, a swing to the left and I was heading uphill again on the other side of Fourviere. This is not a steep climb but it is consistent and bites after a couple of minutes, especially if you’re undertrained (or ‘detrained’ as my Garmin reported I was during the lockdown). Sweeping around to the right the streetscape darkens a little as the trees overhang the pathway and the walls of the cemetery rise up alongside.

I pushed up to the top of the Piste de la Sarra and – to my luck – the Parc des Hauteurs was open. I turned in and followed the path through the whole length of the park, turned to the right, and then stopped to snap a photo of the city beneath me from the top of the Fourviere gardens. Having caught my breath with the short photographic pause, I dropped down through the Rosary Gardens and then along the descent to Saint Paul. Crossing over the Saone, I pushed on to the Place des Terreaux where I clicked stop on the Garmin just outside the Fine Arts Museum.

It wasn’t a long run but, coming at the end of a stressful day, I was happy. It wasn’t just being outside that put a smile on my face but the fact that I had managed the same pace as yesterday’s run but added 175 meters of vertical gain to the mix. That counts as improvement, for sure.

  • Distance: 6.0km
  • Time: 38:35
  • Garmin Connect: Link