I don't usually fall in love, I tend to 'raise' in love. And there is no better example of this than last weekend. My raise was about 9,600 meters of positive height gain, and about 160km which all started in Chamonix. It can (of course) only be the Ultra Tour Mont Blanc.
So, taining is going well at the moment and it's safe to say that I'm settling nicely into my next training block with a couple of focus races at the latter end of this Year. So it's all a bit quiet this side of the pond, however, how could i possibly not mention my first experience of France, Italy and Switzerland!
I've not raced abroad yet. I'd not even been to experience the trail and mountains abroad. A friend and exceptional runner Stu Air invited me to spend some time with him and a bunch of others (mostly climbers) in the Alps. The plan... to run the UTMB course over three days, staying in refuge's along the way. So swimming in lakes, eating great food, and learning about other disciplines for a couple of days prior to the adventure and I was excited and enthused to get going. The plan was to carry minimal kit, so I ran in the same kit for three days, slept in it and carried a long sleeved down jacket, nutrition, water and poles. Poles? Yes I know I know, but I was told i'd need them...tsk. In fact they did make a difference. I found that using poles, took the edge of the ascending and the impact off the descending and have to admit that it's likely thanks to my use of poles that I was able to maintain a steady and solid recce for three days consecutively. We'd planned the first day the easiest, then day two harder and the most challenging on day three. The French side of Mont Blanc I found gnarly, rocky and brutal and by the time we reached Switzerland, I was totally in love. Sat by Champex lac in a moment of clarity, I understood what it is about running mountains that keeps me hungry and humble. I can't wait to be involved with this terrain more.