Summer In The Alps

Already getting towards the end of August.  When I was both a school kid, and then a trainee teacher, this really signalled that it wouldn’t be too long till the ‘Autumn term’. End of summer.

Autumn. Wow, summer has gone so fast!

Since Tour du Môle, I have been busy working, and training. There have been good run days, and bad ones too. Bad ones tend to be either tiredness, or actually sometimes because it has just been ‘too hot’, and I’ve had some of those ‘stuff this’ moments. At the same time, there have been some pretty memorable runs – including a trip out with the girls one summers evening toward L' Aiguillette des Houches. I had come home from work, ate a considerable amount of pasta (it was a surprise to the others too, although this is kinda how I roll..) and then grabbed my backpack and headed out onto the hill!

A beautiful sunset and a descent in the dark made for a really great evening. It’s funny where you find the energy from – I wouldn’t have thought I would have it in me, after a full day at work to then be out and about for a few hours, heading home not long before 11pm. But good company and this kind of adventure definitely gets the blood pumping 

 Photo: Nikki Barnard

Photo: Nikki Barnard

Last weekend I took part in the Trail des Haut Forts.  27km and a fair climb. Admittedly, I had been pretty busy leading up to this race, and while I had got the runs in, I didn’t know too much about the course. It occurred to me, when I started thinking a bit more about the race profile, that this was going to be a fairly fast and sharp race. The first 18km were undulating, followed by a big old climb towards the end.

The night before, I arrived in Morzine, and Chloe, along with her friend Ellie helped me suss out the situation in terms of the ‘hows and wheres’ for the next morning. Not so easy. Conflicting race event info meant that neither of the potential places for picking up the bibs were open, and considering the time of evening, I was not feeling massively calm. This soon resolved itself by the time I had made a phone call, watched some TV and, yes, had some pasta.

After this unexpected cafuffle the actual race morning went smoothly. I picked up my bib, had some coffee and did a gentle jog as well as a few hops. Then it was time to go.

 Photo: Ellie Green

Photo: Ellie Green

Now, I am not a big fan of the start of races. The adrenalin, the pace…the fear. I always managed to pull myself together, but these are pressurising moments. What would be interesting with this race would be that the pace would probably be fairly relentless given the fact it wouldn’t really be particularly steep for quite a long time.  This was indeed the case – and it took me a while to get into it, and ‘find my lungs’, as my friend Ben used to call it.

The weather was hot. Very hot. I am so grateful for the stewards and checkpoint breaks that offered plenty of water at many stages of the race, so there was never a feeling of real thirst – and this makes a big difference.

I also had a bit of a hair ‘nightmare’.  At the start of the race I had braided my hair with the precision of a show pony, only for it to come out within seconds after beginning the race. There I ran, mane a ‘flowin. You might think “why didn’t she just tie it up again?”. Poles in my hand made this impossible for a considerable amount of time. Thankfully – I managed to sort it, so I could maintain a full field of vision. Note to self: next time, use a style that works when running, and not simply just guess work after a recent haircut...

I was happy to finish 3rd female, and pretty tired too! The last climb was quite relentless, and fairly steep, although my strides felt good on the up. My feet felt it on the down towards the end, and I had sore toes – something I am looking into a bit. All in all, a great day, and great conversations with people who took part.

The day after, I had a very lazy start, and then decided to shake my legs out a bit. I went for a very relaxed, short run, although my feet and quads were a little sore. It was another nice day of weather and it felt good to go out again. As well as working at Epic, I am vlogging a bit about my running too.

That's it for now folks!