If I’m honest, the half marathon I am running one week from tomorrow has virtually been forgotten this week. I am in vacation mode and the thought of racing has been pushed to the back of my mind. In the past five days we have been in four countries: Canada, Germany, France and today a day trip by train to Italy. It doesn’t get any better than this!
I’m sure in the last three days we have walked more than 45 km. At least half of that has been up hills, often up stairs. Our apartment is situated high up in the Old Town. Looking at the picture below, you can see how we have to go up to get to a door on the left. There are 27 stairs, outside, another 28 inside to get to where we are staying. Behind where I took this picture are another 50 or more stairs. Our legs are getting a workout every time we head “home”!
Despite this though, three runs have been squeezed in. The first was a morning run on Thursday. Because we are renting an apartment rather than staying in a hotel, we are in residential area of the Old Town in Nice. As I headed out it was school time for the local kids, so up and down these narrow alleys the children were coming out of huge, ancient doors, chattering with parents and friends as they headed off to school. I’m not sure why, but I think this may remain one of my favourite memories of this trip. For a brief moment I felt like I lived here and was part of the weekday routine.
As the kids continued to the school at the end of the road, I turned to follow the maze of streets, through the morning market and on to the sea. I ran 11 km, following the Promenade des Anglais. At 16 degrees and sunny, I was heating up quickly but when I turned to come back I was running into the sea breeze and it was nothing short of perfect. I finished up with three hill repeats and then, what better way to finish a run than dipping your feet into the Mediterranean?
That evening the four of us headed to the same path to do a family 2k run. The evening run was even nicer than the morning run with a perfect temperature and lots of activity, from other runners, to walkers, and bike riders making good use of the wide Promenade.
This evening I was out there again on a solo run. The Promenade feels very safe. It is well lit, there is a heavily used road running alongside it and there are lots of other runners taking advantage of the pleasant evening weather. I was perfectly comfortable throughout my run. It was a “bit of everything” type of run with 2k at a 5:43 min/km pace, followed by 2k at an easy pace, then speed intervals at 400m, 800m and 1 km all below a 5 minute pace. Finally I finished up with a 1.8 km slow, easy cool down and then a wonderful walk through the Old Town, where the patio restaurants were vying for Friday night customers.
And so this half marathon is not a constant presence in my mind as another race might be. I’m too busy enjoying the here and now to think a week ahead. Can you blame me?