Where does the time go...
September has nearly finished and my Strava timeline tells me I haven't been too busy. There goes 2 more months with minimal training. Fortunately I had managed a few 10km jogs in July before heading off to the Alps for a family trip. As luck would have it there was a mountain trail race weekend in Meribel a few days after I arrived. I couldn't have planned it better! Actually that's not correct, I could have found out it was on a couple of months earlier and maybe trained a bit more.
But I didn't. I found myself standing in the registration tent with the choice of 45km, 23km, 10km, 5km or 2.5km. There was also the French Vertical Kilometre Championships but I decided 2 days of mountain running might be too much of a good thing. 45km might be a bit much considering I had only run 100km since April so I opted for the 23km.
So how long would it take....It's about a half marathon, better add a bit cos I'm out of shape, add a little bit more as it's in the mountains, another bit as I've not acclimatised to the altitude. Worst case scenario was double my half marathon time - 3 hours then.
After an hour and a half I was only 8km in and I only got that far as I was running with sticks for the first time. Time for a text home with a new ETA. Fortunately the bulk of the 1.7km elevation of the race had been covered and the rest of the race involved descending from an altitude of 2800m with stunning undulating scenery. It's a lot easier once you are at the top but the steep descents are as equally tricky as the steep ascents. Again, very grateful to have the sticks. After leaving the snow line the rest of the race took in waterfalls, streams, cows, slopes that I know as red and blue runs in the Winter, alpine forests, mountain lakes and feed stations laden with plenty of savoury snacks.
As it neared the end the organisers kindly put a 800m kicker at the end to wipe the smile of anyone's face who was thinking of a sprint finish. After 4 hours I was greeted with a table full of Kronenbourg and tartiflette which rounded off a great day on the mountain.
45km next year...if I remember to start the training early enough.