This weekend I managed to get out for a flying visit to the Alps. I went with two friends, one a skier, one a snowboarder and me, a runner.
We flew out very early on Thursday morning and returned on Sunday night. In that short period I managed to spend four, five hour days on the mountain and got some significant vertical on the legs in preparation for the 2015 ultra season. I also ate a record 22 snickers in that time.
The last time I trained in Les Contamines was March 2013 when the snow was a lot less than this time around and it gave me a good set of confidence for that season. I returned from that trip and took an hour and a half off my 50 mile PB two months later. With the Green Man Ultra just 3 weeks away now, I wanted to get some good hard sessions in ready to do my very best on this difficult course and set myself up nicely for my A race this year, the Thames Path 100 in early May.
I was the only runner on the mountain, but met a lot of snow-shoers and cross-country skiers. In my garbled French I had some great chats and all of them asked me if I was training for UTMB. I said I was, but always have been. Whilst I didn’t get a place this year, I will hopefully next year and besides I will always be training for UTMB and Western States, my two dream races.
UTMB travels through Les Contamines so everyone in the small mountain town knows the race. Whenever I passed through the town in my running gear, people cheered me on as it is still almost too early to see runners training there.
There is just something so beautiful about being up high in the Alps. I would go for hours and not see another soul and just take in the stunning scenery all around me.
It feels like it was a dream now, but not in my legs. They worked hard as I slipped and went up to my thighs at time in the snow, but it was a magical weekend and I cannot wait to get the season started shortly.
But first up, the Cotswold Way 50K on 28th February. Come and join us- its completely free.