I love to run because it makes me feel better. Keeps the wolf from the door as it were. Wolves in the form of Demons that tell me I’ve ballsed up my life and should change course immediately. Get a job in an office. Get my own parking space. Buy a 3D-TV. You might be familiar with them? (Demons not 3D-TVs.)
Anyway, these are the runs I’ve found so far.
- The 7km lasso along the Quai Richelieu, the Pont Chaban Delmas and back along the other side to Place Stalingrad. Pros: nice riverside circuit. Cons: too many people. Flat.
- The 1km hamster wheel circuit of the Jardin Public. Pros: pleasant shrubs and trees. Cons: feel dizzy after running round it ten times. Flat.
- The 2km woodland wonderland circuit of Parc Bordelais. Pros: great scenery. Cons: narrow path. Miles from where I live. Flat.
I love hills. In Queaux where I lived last year there were some hellish hills. But I enjoyed them because they afforded me a ‘rest’ once I’d conquered them. I don’t mean a cold beer and a fag break type of rest. I mean ‘the rest’ within the run. Because that’s the great thing about hills: they always have a descent. Physics innit?
You’ve still got to move your legs of course, but the energy required compared to a hill is much lower. Your heart rate decreases, your breathing lightens, your stride lengthens.
I was brought up on the Welsh border and I ran in the hills most days. So I got used to it. My muscles, tendons and ligaments were cast to run up hills, which is why I find it so difficult to run on the flat. My legs are instinctively waiting for a hill.
There’s a small hill on the Parc Bordelais run but it’s nothing to write home about – you could roll up it after twenty pints. I can feel it in my legs a bit, but it doesn’t punish me like Le Grand Hill in Queaux did. That one after an hour of hard running up and down the Crochet Valley was a ballbelter of a hill. A real leg grinder. A lungbuster.
Here in flat Bordeaux, I have to run up the steps of the cathedral twenty times to get the same effect. And it’s a problem I didn’t research before I came here and one I need to solve quickly. So much so that I’m thinking of writing to the council to suggest they import a million tonnes of sand from the nearby Arcachon basin to create a running park.
Why Not? They’ve spent thousands on beach volleyball courts on the river front, so why not a running park with steep tracks winding up pine covered slopes? Build it on the disused Nazi U-boat site by the docks – incorporate it even. Make it a tourist attraction. Running World at the Nazi U-Boat Bunker. Make it happen Bordeaux! Make Bordeaux hilly!