Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Keeping Motivated

It has been a pretty busy few weeks for me. I have done so much that I don't know where to start. Lauren arrived for an action packed weekend skiing powder in Switzerland , Ski touring near Chamonix, Skiing ENSA couloir and we also managed a couple of little runs. One of which ended up being my favourite so far this winter. We headed out beside the river towards Les Houches but Lauren had planned to meet up with some friends so she turned around early and headed back to Chamonix , I however continued and decided to head up onto a very snowy balcon sud trail. There was a good track in and it was just hard packed snow and no ice making running easy. Absolutely brilliant run along the trail overlooking Chamonix with a clear sky above. At every descent I could just move to the side and plough my way down almost knee deep soft powder. I was out for about an hour and a half and felt great afterwards.

Doing the Crochue Berard Traverse with Lauren
End of a great weekend. All smiles after abseiling
into ENSA couloir ready for a sweet descent
I have been running fairly often in the evenings but only 7-10km. I still find it difficult to keep motivated when I get in from work to get changed and head out into the bitter cold but if I just get home and do not hang around and just change into running gear then it seems to work well although I have had the odd occasion where I have sat down and just not got up. I have also been doing the usual Les Houches skinning track sometimes after work with the head torch and sometimes in the afternoons either on lunch break or after a ski morning on my day off. I got a good bit of exercise in yesterday by going for the Glacier Mort tour with Lorne and we both opted to take our big skis with us as we were pretty sure the snow would be sweet so we left the touring kit at home and went for the lifts hoping there would be a boot pack already set in for is....there was not. So it was up to us to swing the lead and plod on up deep snow first for 45 mins then another for an hour but we got to the top and had a brilliant ski down in incredible powder. Totally worth the trail breaking to ski the descent in our big skis.

Day of the season in Italy. DEEP!
Col De La Fenetre ski tour with Sandy and Fin
My legs are feeling strong but I do need to get out for some longer runs of 15-20km in the next couple of weeks and then try and get in a 40km mid March as it will not be too long after that when I go back to Scotland to run 80km so as always I would like to get half the distance in before the race. The major problem is finding somewhere good to go and run for 40km. There is too much snow here in town for that and even down the valley but I will hunt around the internet to see if I can find anything and if worst comes to worst I will have to loop my local 10km four times but this will be my last resort.

Boot Packing with big skis to Glacier Mort
So worth it for the descent. I am hiding in there somewhere
I have been testing out my NECTAR race nutrition and all seems good. My biggest concern with trying new race food is if it sits well in my stomach which some of it does not especially PowerBar Gels which I once found out on the summit of Ben Lomond when I went for an evening run , enough said. Anyway the NECTAR gels have worked great for me when out running and ski touring , I have only had the Orange flavour so far but tastes good and goes down easy. Way easier than GU gels which are just way way too thick although the Chocolate Brownie flavour I tried was incredible but the gels ain't for me. I have also been using the NECTAR Hydro tabs in my water bottles when ski touring and again all good. The blackcurrant is a little too sweet for me if I use a whole tab but easily solved by breaking off a bit. The Lemon and Lime is perfect so I am looking forward to using these over the summer.

All good so far
My summer trail shoes are all ordered and out goes the Brooks Cascadias and in comes the New Balance Leadvilles(surprised?) I have used Cascadias for years and still think they are amazing trail shoes but I have never been happy with the grip so after testing out the Leadvilles since I bought them last summer the fit is almost the same although the Leadvilles have a sightly roomier toe box which is ideal for long distances to accommodate the feet swelling but the major difference is the sole and the Vibram sole on the New Balance is way way better the the Brooks sole. I have also got myself a new pair of Salomon S-Lab sense(best fit ever in a trail shoe) and Sense Mantras to train with over in America, great shoes for smooth trails in Colorado but not for UK hill running. I would love to run an Ultra in my Sense but they are just a bit too minimalist for my none perfect running style and if I used these for training and races then I would be bankrupt as they ain't cheap. One word of advice if buying running shoes have a look on American sites as all shoes are way cheaper in the States. Sometimes the downside is they will only ship to the US but if your lucky and have a friend over there who can ship you them or like me you are going over there then it is way way cheaper. My Leadvilles cost me £60 a pair and they cost £110-120 in the UK and my Salomons are a crazy £170 a pair in UK and in the States I got them for £95. Crazy difference in prices and worth checking out.

Keeping the uphill fitness going at Les Houches
It's currently raining and pretty miserable today in Chamonix. I went a skin up Les Houches this morning and to be honest didn't feel too great , I did it last night as well and felt good but this morning I was painfully slow. I am now waiting on the forecasted sun to appear before I head out for a run.

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