An alpine challenge!

I am always enthralled watching the Banff mountain film festival, and I always leave wanting an adventure. This time, watching a film about the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), I was inspired to look for a trail race that John and I could do while we’re in the French Alps this summer. The UTMB is an ultra marathon in the Alps, which is more than 100 miles long with a total elevation gain of around 9600 m. It is generally regarded as one of the most difficult trail races in Europe. Needless to say, I won’t be doing that particular race! However, I have found a race that has 12 k and 23 k routes (with 600 m and 1070 m of ascent respectively) as well as a mountain marathon… The Ubaye Trail Salomon. I should be fit enough to take part in this by the time I have completed the Snowdonia trail half marathon in July, assuming I can cope with the heat and the altitude. Have I told you I like a challenge?

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Picture taken from the Ubaye Trail Salomom website

Buoyed up by the thought of racing in the Alps, and of the possibility that I might actually be fit enough to do so, I have somehow become uncharacteristically enthusiastic about running. I keep imagining myself skipping effortlessly through green pastures below sunshine and snow capped peaks. Somehow, I’m blocking out the tough ascents, rocky trails and the possibility of storms! But that’s probably a good thing!

I’ve been reading what kit I’ll need… I love kit! New trainers, shorts and light coloured tops, and a cap. I’ll also need to get used to carrying and drinking more water when I race. I’ve already been considering what I should eat to keep my energy up in long races… Normally I avoid eating for at least an hour before running because I get a stitch or fluid sloshes around unpleasantly in my tummy; however, this may have been why I’ve run out of energy towards the end of races in the past. I’ve been drinking smoothies closer to my training runs recently, and I’ll start introducing food on the go soon. Ella’s baby food has been recommended!

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Couldn’t resist a picture of the public toilets in Caerwys… they were lovely inside and out. I particularly like the toilet planters

Last night, for the first time, I went to bed looking forward to my weekly long run. As well as the inspiration provided by the challenges ahead, this is because John comes with me at weekends and it’s great to have company, and we were doing a new route, a few miles drive from home. In spite of living in such a beautiful place, it can get boring doing the same routes near home, particularly now I’m running 4 times a week.

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Fields of daffodils near Caerwys

The run went well. I’m always a bit worried about routes we haven’t run before… Will we get lost? Will the fields be full of scary horses and cows? What will the hills be like? Or the trails underfoot? I needn’t have worried today. It was great. There were a couple of tough ascents, which I ended up walking in places, but the route was generally undulating. There was a field of cows, but they ran away from me, rather than the other way around! Some of the trails were rocky and hard on our feet and legs, but this is great training for Snowdon. The weather was perfect once again, the views were lovely and, although my legs were very heavy for the last couple of kilometres, I managed 14 k with 350 metres of ascent quite comfortably. I will run up Snowdon! I will run in the Alps!

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Even though he’s very handsome and rather cute, thankfully, I didn’t have to run though this field

By running Excalibur and Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon, I am hoping to raise money for Claire House Hospice and Mountain Rescue. If you would like to help me support these great charities, and motivate me through the low times when I’m training and racing, please click on the links to the charities in this paragraph. Even a pound would be appreciated. Thank you very much

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