Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Day in Alsace - Strasbourg

This weekend I ran both Saturday and Sunday.  Although the temperatures and weather conditions were pretty much the same, the runs felt like night and day.  Saturday morning I did my long run and it was tough.  I felt so exhausted only 6 miles in (which were all downhill or flat), which is a bad sign and quite surprising as my daily runs are 8+ miles.  I was super sweaty and just couldn't get enough water.  Because I ran the Town Lake trail, I was able to refill my bottles about half way through, but still drained them by the end of the run. Although my average pace was okay, I felt like I was slogging through the last few miles, I didn't enjoy it and I felt wiped by the time I got home.

This morning was completely different.  I decided after yesterday's sweat-fest long run that I would treat today as a recovery and go easy.  Nonetheless, it was one of those oh-so-easy-everything-clicks runs that remind us why we love the sport.  I felt really good, never very thirsty and each mile got progressively faster without trying.  Halfway through, things felt good, so I tacked on an extra mile around the pond before heading home.  When I got home, I did feel like I could have kept running.

Isn't that just how running is, always going in cycles?  I'm certainly hoping for another good one tomorrow!

This week I ran 46.5 miles (!) and swam 2km.  Beginning of the week here.
Friday: 8.5 miles total; Track workout, 3.5 miles hard
Saturday: 11.45 miles; sucky long run
Sunday: 9 miles; awesome recovery run

I have two more cities to recap from my trip to Europe.  Read earlier reports for Biarritz, Bordeaux, Paris & Echternach.
Timber frame houses in Petite France
After Echternach, Boyfriend and I took a train to Strasbourg, located in the Alsace region of France.  The Alsace region borders the Rhine river and Germany and throughout history was shifted back and forth between Germany and France.  This makes Strasbourg an especially interesting city to visit because of the mix of French and German culture.  This is reflected in the architecture (timber-frame houses) and cuisine.

Strasbourg is a really old settlement, having been around long enough that it was at one point under control of the Roman Empire.  It thrived during the Middle Ages as a trade city.  To protect itself, the oldest part of the city (now known as Petite France) is an island surrounded by the Ill river, which flows into the larger Rhine river.  A series of little bridges cross the Ill to connect it to the rest of the city.  This old part of the city is extremely charming and the best place to stroll, shop and dine (if you are a tourist).  We were lucky to have beautiful sunny weather and blue skies.

Sunshine in Petit France
Boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed the Alsacian beer, and now picks himself up a Fischer Ale (imported from Alsace) whenever he warnts a treat.  I also enjoy the Alsacian style beer!  Anyone know of this style being produced in the US?  Very little is imported, and when it is, it is pricey!

Another major attraction in Strasbourg is the cathedral, which took over 200 years to build and when completed in 1493 was the tallest building in the world (beating the pyramid in Giza!)  Interestingly, this cathedral has only one tower because they ran out of money to build the second.  The stone is a sandy red color and the style is gothic.

Intricately carved front of cathedral
A side view showing the one tower
We climbed to the top to get a panoramic view of the city and Boyfriend got a little artsy ;)
Itty-bitty Strasbourg
We stuck around the cathedral to see the Astronomical clock, which only goes off once a day (12:30pm).  This is a massive clock with many intricate, moving pieces.  In addition to tracking the time of day, it tracks month, day of the week, lunar cycles and many more things!  I really enjoyed seeing it go off.  The best part was the shut down the cathedral during that time so only the people who buy the clock ticket (which is very cheap) are inside, so we got to walk around the cathedral without the crowds.

Astronomical clock
That evening, we took a tourist boat ride around the Ill river.  It came with an audio recording in many languages that pointed out sights and gave a lot of history.  Sometimes these boat rides are cheesy, but I really enjoyed it.  We got to see a lot, learn a lot and the city was beautiful lit up at night!

The next morning, I explored the city on foot in running shoes (of course!).  I decided to stick to the jogging/biking path that ran alongside the Ill river.  I figured it would prevent me from getting lost, which it did.  Unfortunately, the city center has a lot of traffic, so I found myself stopping at a lot of intersections early on.  After a few miles, it calmed down.  I ran past the European Parliament (which is located in Strasbourg) and kept along the bike path heading towards the Rhine.  After 3.5 miles, I turned around and retraced my path back to the hotel.  I didn't see any other runners out, but lots of people were using bikes to get to work or school.  I did notice on the map some big parks not too far from the city center, so I think there are some other nice running options.

Running along the Ill river in Strasbourg was charming

Later that day it was back to the train station and on to Germany, which I will tell you about soon!


  1. What a beautiful weekend!
    Yesterday morning, Gwendolyn was a tad tired it seemed, so I offered a quiet walk in the enchanted forest. Well, we bumped into her friend the pitbull; and Gwendolyn was off like lightening! Running! Playing! Fun! Hiking, swimming, etcetera for three hours! So this morning, Sunday, was intended for a restful hike. And we were out for two hours!
    Such a happy weekend.
    I am so in love with your photographs and opportunity to absorb such culture. How lovely it would be to hop a train and exist in the next country! I suppose I could do so to Canada or Mexico, but it just wouldn't be the same as crossing the border to France!
    Love! x x x

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      That sounds like Bailey, full of energy if there is another pup to play with! I really enjoy hiking with her too, but it gets too hot for nearly the whole day during TX summers. In the winter, we can do much more hiking together.
      Monday I took her to "secret beach" in Austin, which is a sandy beach along the river and she had a super doggy play adventure. I took some pictures so I will put it in an upcoming blog post.
      Dogs make everyday better :)