Friday thought #81 Who said November was miserable?

Me! Traditionally I have always associated November with grim, rainy, grey weather (growing up in England didn’t help!) The sun has gone into hibernation, the rain arrives, it’s cold. But this November in the alps has proved me wrong. With a few exceptions (!) we have had perfect cold, crisp sunny days, and the beautiful autumn leaves have really held their colour. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed still being able to run on the forest trails around Innsbruck, and couldn’t resist taking my camera out this week to capture nature at its best.

The snow is creeping closer, and skiing is not far away, but for now I want to hold on to autumn for as long as possible.

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Friday thought #39 Commercial races vs running alone

So last weekend I completed the Cross du Mont Blanc; a 23km race up and down the mountain trails of Chamonix, and I loved it! I’ve never done anything like that before and I was fairly apprehensive about how I would find it, but at the same time very excited to be involved in a big event with people from all over the World. It was nothing like the scale of the huge marathons with tens of thousands of competitors, but 1500 runners on single mountain trails only wide enough for 1 person feels like enough!

I’ve never been a runner, never will be I don’t think! But I’ve discovered I much prefer trail running to classic road running. I love the varied nature of it, the ups, downs and the beautiful views, rather than the repetitive pounding. I’ve been training a lot over the last few months and always run with headphones in, lost in my own thoughts and those of the podcasts I listen to. I love the tranquility, the solitude and just simply being in nature. But despite this I have to say I got totally caught up in the buzz of the race and absolutely loved the whole atmosphere! From the exciting, mass start, the crowd cheering, the cowbells being rung throughout and just the sheer positivity and support of everyone from start to finish. It’s brilliant. I don’t think I’m going to become a regular racer, but I’ll definitely do another and I recommend it to all as an experience at least once!

Mid way round, what a backdrop!
Mid way round, what a backdrop!
The finish, finally!
The finish, finally!

Friday thought #38 The cool stuff you see when trail running!

Last year, in perhaps a moment of madness, I decided to enter myself in to the Mont Blanc half marathon. 23km long, with over 1000m of vertical ascent, around the mountain trails of Chamonix. Whether this was a wise move or not will be revealed next week…! So I’ve been training, and earlier in the week I thought it would be a good idea to run the whole course, mainly to see whether I could actually do it! Of course I took my camera, as this, early summer, is a truly beautiful time of the year. In almost 4 hours I saw maybe 10 people, and had the chance to spot things that I just wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been on foot. Lovely!

Beautiful alpine flowers!
Beautiful alpine flowers!
A path of tangled roots
A path of tangled roots
Sheep just chilling in their alpine meadow!
Sheep just chilling in their alpine meadow!
Literally in the middle of a forest, how handy!
Literally in the middle of a forest, how handy!
And look how posh it is inside! I couldn't resist a photo!
And look how posh it is inside! I couldn’t resist a photo!