Staying Positive in the Snow

If I am honest, I have to admit that I am getting a little frustrated with the length of time that it is taking to be back running properly. By properly, I mean being able to go out numerous times a week and being able to run at least 20 miles with not too much bother. Maybe I am asking too much of my body after Trans-Europe, maybe I am being too cautious with the ramping up of training? Either way, it is taking a long time! I have been very patient and determined not to get carried away and injure myself, but I am really missing not being able to run 80km without a second thought. Maybe I took it all for granted? Either way I now certainly appreciate the level of fitness I had over most of last year.

I keep telling myself just how much good this forced rest has done me and how I will just grow from it physically and spiritually. It’s not been all boring rest for me this year so far though. At the start of the year we popped out to stay with friends in Argentiere near Chamonix. I have been here twice before, but that was many years ago for a family holiday during the summer, camping. I have very fond memories of these holidays and will always remember when we first started passing the mountains (Dad drove from home all the way down) and being completely in awe of the majesty, beauty and incredible scale. I would say that this is where my love of the mountains first sprouted. I loved the fact that wherever you were in Chamonix you could look up and there would be a mind-blowing mountain vista. I then knew that I wanted to travel through and over these beasts.

Our stay was for a week and there was a few things I wanted to do. We went snowboarding which was fun. We also did two days of Nordic Skiing which was fantastic. I had never skied before so to step into a pair of these skinny little skies without your heel attached and with pretty poor edges made for some, let’s say, exciting downhill sections! I learnt how to snowplow very quickly! I was slow due to fitness and lack of technique, but I loved it. I much preferred to be away from the masses on the pistes cuing up to get on a lift! I also couldn’t go too hard because of my recovering body. While we were there it just so happened that Kilian Jornet was attending a premier of his new film at the cinema and answered some interesting questions after! An awesome week. I need to try downhill skiing now!

A few weeks later we were off to stay with friends in Oslo. I must add, that this amount of holidays is far from normal for me, and I can’t really afford it, but opportunities arose and the heavens aligned! Oslo is a beautiful city, which is as I’m sure you all are aware, very expensive. It is also around half an hour from the slopes and hundreds of miles of Nordic Skiing tracks! I of course had to try downhill, and thankfully after my experience on Nordic Skis, the masses of added control made my first go, ok. It was awesome and already I was a little sad that after Oslo, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to ski again till the next winter. What I really want to do is to have the experience and skill to be able to have a go at ski touring. To travel through the mountains.

Back to running. Well, I am managing to get out now, and everything feels great, except for the usual starting back up calf pain. They will get used to it! I will pop out tonight, but it won’t be for long. I mean around one hour.

I do have one other holiday booked up, well a course actually. In a couple of weeks I will be in Scotland attending a Winter Mountaineering course! I am really buzzing about this. Ever since the family holidays in Chamonix, and being spellbound by the mountains, I have dreamt of mountaineering. For some reason, I have subconsciously told myself that this is inaccessible for me and I haven’t really considered trying it out. Revisiting Chamonix relit this ambition of mine and soon I found myself booking myself onto a five day course. With good conditions this will include some simple ice climbing! There is the possibility that I won’t enjoy it, but I have to give it a go. It just feels like the right thing to do.

Everything I am doing lately seems to be inadvertently geared towards travelling through the mountains safely and efficiently during all seasons. All sparked from my childhood. A beautiful realisation for me. I’m not sure why it has taken over 20 years to get here, but at least it wasn’t 50!

On the future racing front I have some news. Firstly, the bad. I recently discovered that I wasn’t successful in the draw for the race I was most excited about this year, the Tor des Geant. This is a real bummer, but fortunately I was successful in the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc so that kind of balanced that out nicely! I have already mentioned the fact that I will be participating in the incredibly exciting Frostskade 500 in Northern Scandinavia at the beginning of next year. Well, I have also got a place in the 3rd, and already seen as epic, Spine Race held just two weeks previous. That is 268 winter miles followed shortly by 500 Arctic miles! I am not sure if this can be classed as sensible, but it will certainly be  an adventure!.

Happy running.

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