Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Running Downtown L.A.

Nothing better than a early morning run to discover a city.
There is always more to it than just few pictures grabbed here and there, but it gives an idea.

It is 6:00am. 

We will have LoL Worlds 2016 finals here

Pretty cool mozaic

Official buildings are massive. Question of respect ?

Looks like a modern museum, but that's just a mega church.

Palm trees and buildings.

Amelie's new musical ?

Little bit ironic in those troubled times

A door open on .. what ?

This have to be a museum.

I like the morning light.
I like the morning runs.

Monday, July 25, 2016

How Long is too long

This trip was all about spending few hours with my Grand Ma. At nearly 95, and according to the fact I am unlikely to come back before at least few years, it is unlikely as well she will be still alive next time.
Or not.
Seeing the conditions we keep our old people in a geriatric center makes you wonder if this is worth it. Tired, in pain, losing memory, cruising endlessly the same white corridors, barely limping if not wheeling, is it really a life to be lived ?

First half of your living space

Second half
Progress of the medicine are impressive, to the point it might be unnatural. Oxygen if you can't breathe, intravenous feed if you cannot eat or drink, pain medication if you suffer, pacemaker if your heart is tired, ... Is it even possible to pass away anymore ?
But the body is giving up.
The mind is giving up.
And you end up crawling through life for years and years.
Now I am worried. How will it be in 40 years ?
At this pace, will I live forever ? Crawl forever ?
And should I ?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Running Villeneuve d'Ascq

Last entry for those North of France runs - at least for this year - I came back to my youth playground - I lived in this neighborhood more than 15 years.
Of course, at the time, everything felt way bigger.
Distance were enormous at the time, usually made with my bike.
Now, while still relatively big for a park in the middle of the urban net, the feeling is quite the opposite.

Art forms. Water Drops ? Gooses ? Never solved that mystery.

The pond. I lived next to it.

Further along, a bigger park, and its lake

Our dog have been tricked by those water plants and ran through it as it was grass.
He got wet.

Sleeping standing, not bothered by the hundreds of people around.

"Le Lac du Heron"

Some wheat fields aside the bigger loop.

Famous Modern Art museum
I made a good 1:30 run, double looping at one point and fooling around to see some old places. It was a Saturday, and there was a lot of people. Runners, Bikers, Strollers, you name it. This is the almost unique spot for nature lovers that is easily accessible without too much drive.

The highlight of the run would be my focus on running from the glutes and the relative lack of pain generated afterward in my hips. As the last couple of runs, I ran way faster than usual around 8:30min/mile, helped by the flat terrain, the relative low heat and a lot of runners around.

Running faster and not getting (too much) pain is almost a first.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Running Lille - Part 2

Did another pseudo long run today. That time I had water, and I decided to push it a little further along the banks of la Deule.


Still water

We have turtles here too. But in the zoo.

We have (2) Rhinos !

If you were wondering where the people are in the city a Friday afternoon,
they are in that Park. (There aren't that many parks after all)

My mum asked I take the 'Vieille Bourse' in picture as it is the most beautiful building in the city.
Here you go.

The run was overall alright, but I felt a start of pain in the hip when I stopped at the Zoo (No running here, please !) - The zoo is free, and quite small, but, hell, it is all about going back to those places I used to go, young and less young.
Then, I cut it short.
I am disappointed a bit. I did not run that much those last couple of weeks, and still, incapable of getting rid of this recurring flexor pain. 
I stretched almost two hours afterward, and now I am planning at least one hour of foam roller.
This is hopeless.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Running Lille

is like dipping your madeleine in Proust's coffee.

Geant's garden is not that big, but pretty.

Lille's running grounds are on the banks of the La Deule.

Vauban's walls holding on together

Paddleboards, Bar Stella Artois. What to ask for ? Waves, maybe ?

Old and New styles mixing. Acceptable. I guess.

Vieux Lille as always. Not as pretty as I remembered it.

Starbucks won that city too. Feels at home.

Grand place. Souvenirs, souvenirs.

Train Station neighborhood. Another Stella Artois bar.

Old Walls.
The walls. Used to be water here. A long time ago.

EuraLille back side. Not that pretty anymore.

Even if it is very pleasant to rediscover this town after all those years, as a pure running experience, it is below the average. Barely no parks, tons of cars, noisy town and small streets.
However, the weather has been amazing so far. No Rain and sun. To the point it is almost uncomfortable. Certainly due to the lack of wind, everything is hot and damp.
I can imagine that in your typical nord of France weather, i.e. cold and rainy, running here will challenge your determination.
From what I saw the local sport is still and certainly will be for a while the lifting of beer pints.
There are some things that do not change.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Blah Blah Cars

Car ride share seems very popular nowadays here. Cheaper than train, and a bit more ecological than, well, not sharing.
From Guingamp, to Lille, via Quimper, it was actually quite an interesting experience.


Quimper's cathedral

Quimper's old city is quite pretty

At least, if you like old stones.

On the way to Lille, we went through the Normandie bridge.

Euralille. Supposedly a avant-gardist architectural thing.

Some remains of the Fan Zone for the Euro, that we lost.

Those two days were mostly dedicated to travelling and meeting old friends. They allowed me to rediscover a good chunk of the France Landscape, or at least, it's northern part.
Of course, the more I was going North, the more the weather degraded. Unsurprisingly, the sky was grey when I reached Lille.
Not really a surprise.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Running the Bretagne

The north coast of Bretagne is arguably one the most beautiful region of France. They preserved the littoral of the typical touristic invasion infrastructures.
It is wild, windy and majestic.

Rocks. Tons Of Rocks. ACDC Would have like it.

Mooring field.
Tides are big here and boats usually end up on the bottom.

The bay

At sunset
Running on those trails is a constant pleasure. Pain disappear, breathing is easy. No need to push your body anyway, you just cruise around.
I did a walk as well, but those paths are better appreciated gliding.
You reach further, see more, and when you halt for rest, this is stunning.
I plan to do lots of running in France those vacation, I take it really easy. Recovery pace, nothing faster than 10min/mile.
No music of course, just you and the nature.
As it should be.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New Trails, New continent, Old News

After more of 5 years, I am back on mother land. A good tip to get rid of jet lag is to do recovery runs while you want to sleep. It is actually a real good tip and seems to work well on me.
I barely felt the 10 hours of jet lag.
And I had the chance to run on a nice first trails, along the 'Vilaine' - which means the 'Ugly'.

"Peniches" and channels. And a blue sky.

It is summer, even in Bretagne.

Not that ugly. Except the tags. This is still the city.
It is surprising to find this long trail (it goes like 100 kilometers, until the ocean) that goes through the heart of the city.

On the way, a typical and beautiful cemetery. Not many gosh runners around.
Few miles in, you feel really like in the country side.

Still water, few people, and flat. Overall a very nice thread.
Flat is nice. And no Volcano at all :)

I was far from being the only runner there.

So far, I am realizing that France is way more pretty that I remembered. I guess you have to leave for a long time to be able to have a fresh look on things. The other biggest surprise is how clear the sky at 10pm. In Hawaii, it would be pitch black since a couple of hours at that point. The day are so longs here. I suspect the opposite is true and annoying in winter. Surprisingly, people are nice and smiling.
Definitively not the France I remembered :)
To be fair, this is Brittany, and they claim themselves to not be (really) France.
I guess we will see.

Rennes was a short stop on the way.
Next step is the north coast of Bretagne, back to the beach, somehow.
And new trails.