Sunday, 2 March 2014

2 Months to race day

It ain't really been long since the last post but felt the need to share a few things anyway. Running has been going pretty great. Getting a few niggles afterwards in my hips and my knees but pretty sure these will ease off as I slowly get more and more miles in. I am currently in love with a 15km loop up to the town of Lavancher and back to Chamonix by the riverside trail. I follow the ski du fond track for a few km's and then just head off up a little hill climb ploughing my way up the snow with a fair bit of calamity at times to join the snow shoe tracks that take me all the way to Lavancher. It's then time to cross the road and follow the good track back to Chamonix. I must be on tarmac for maybe a km maximum and then it is just mainly hard pack snow which is actually reasonably grippy except from a couple of short awkward down hills that I have resorted to just going for it down them and hoping for the best and it seems to have worked so far. The uphill and downhill snow running is going to be great for improving my technique on both aspects of my running. Just like the nights I go and run the ski du fond without my head torch to get a better feel for the ground under my feet and meaning when I race at night on ultras using my head torch will feel like almost having the sun out right?? I reckon running up and down these hills in snow with the odd loss of traction will work wonders for my power when the snow melts and it is proper grippy surfaces. Well that is my thinking anyway. I am cruising along the trails at the moment with a decent pace of around 45-50 min 10k's and feeling like I could go on like that for hours which is a big bonus as I always say that clocking back to back 1hr-1hr 10min 10ks on some Ultras(dependent on altitude and terrain etc..) is (for me) just fine.

Looks slightly different in summer
Still ace fun
I went my first little jaunt at altitude since October. Myself and Sandy went for a little Cosmiques Arete solo lap. This was my first time above 3000m for months and it went pretty well. We were not exactly doing anything fast or difficult but my legs and lungs felt good the whole morning. Was great to be back up there on that ace little route in perfect snowy conditions and not another single person on it unlike in summer when it is start to finish with lines of roped parties most of the time. The altitude training really does help with the running and I hope to make many trips to altitude for Cosmiques laps before the Highland Fling 53 miler at the end of April. We then came back down to town and grabbed our skis to get in some amazing powder laps from the Midi mid station that afternoon. It's pretty busy now in Chamonix but laps from the Mid station are just incredible right now and it is totally quiet as you kind of need to know where you are going from the lift so holiday makers won't touch it which is brilliant. The past 3 days I have had some of the best turns ever up there.

Can't beat having this to yourself
Sandy heading up the final chimney
Not a bad way to end the day
I do seem to be a bit spoilt out here right now and I will miss this next winter. I am running more often now , skiing powder when I want to ski and then ski touring on my days off if the weather permits. I am still hunting for longer running routes at the moment and will clock in a 20k in the next few days assuming it doesn't snow too much and then a 30k the week after and hopefully get that 40k in before April arrives.

New bag
New Clothes
I recently bought some new kit for this summer. Yet again more Salomon and again only because I can get a good price through work otherwise I couldn't afford it all. I do think they make some of the best trail running kit out there. It really does fit amazingly well and I have never had any issues whatsoever with any of it that I have ever worn so that speaks volumes of how much effort they put into producing the stuff but yes it is rather expensive I agree. I got myself a new Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydro 5 running pack which is pretty much a smaller version of the one I have used for the past 2 years. I thought it would be a good idea to have smaller one for training runs and shorter races where there is not a big mandatory kit list involved and this seems to fit the bill. Only used it twice so far this winter and all seems great but will have more feedback over next couple weeks. I have also purchased the new S-lab Sense Vest and Shorts. I love running in the summer in a vest as opposed to a t-shirt. It is just much cooler and free if that makes any sense at all. I am no lightweight gear freak especially when it comes to running clothing because how heavy can shorts and t-shirts be. These new ones from Salomon though are ridiculously lightweight and I am talking feather light. It will feel like I am wearing next to nothing! They will be amazing for the scorching temperatures this summer in Colorado and Utah. The shorts are pretty tiny but somehow have 4 little stash pockets around the waist area , perfect for gels or some chewy sweets however there is not a secure pocket which would be quite handy to store a key and maybe a little bit of cash that always comes in handy at the end of a long run when you might need to grab a bus or a can of coke but that is just a minor niggle as I usually always wear a pack when training in summer anyway. I also bit the bullet and splashed out on a new running watch. The Suunto Ambit 2 S but it has yet to arrive so I will review it over the coming weeks. I will also keep you posted with how the other new kit is working out and by then I will hopefully have got in some longer runs.

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