Been Trail Runnin’

A better cure for bitterness than chocolate is to run until you drop. Well, not in my case but, yeah – run a lot. Skis are back in the ski locker, and it’s time to do the clothing exchange of winter for summer stuff in the drawers and wardrobe. So for 2 weeks I’ve been running again – suddenly gone from 0 to 60 on the running thing now that the lifts are shut and the envie for ski touring has gone out of my system, with the arrival of green leaves on the trees and tulips and forsythias blooming around us. 

Last Saturday started with my first official run of the season (I ran a few times over the winter with the dogs, but mostly in hiking boots and totally unplanned – last official run was Dec 18 in Val Ferret during the 21km snow race put on by the Trailers de Courmayeur) . So I did one of those annoying bleep tests to test V02 max, and I guess winter ski randonèes and ski mountaineering at altitude worked because I scored higher on my V02 max at the start of this season than I did at the end of last – 9.1 shuttles followed by a 40 minute jog on a fairly flat area. I thought I’d done worse than on previous tests, but when I looked at actual records – 43.43 V02 max on sites I found with Google, this puts me in the ‘superior’ catagory for women, even if I was 13 years old, which is nice to know. However, it only puts me in the ‘good’ catagory for men of my age – apparently there is a huge sex difference in V02 max capacities.

I followed that by running from Chamonix to Argentière and back (16-17km with about 450m uphill), walking the uphills, via Lavancher as my first ‘long slow run’ of the season. It’s the earliest in the season I’ve done a run that long, and it did take 3 hours 16 minutes (but that was with breaks for meeting 4 friends on the trails on the way up and back). Felt quite good that I could manage it for my 2nd run of the season, especially as I’d done the first run only the day before. Took the dogs for their first long run of the season as well – was a bit of a shock to their systems I think and one threw up his breakfast when we got back to the car while I was stretching in the grass — so today when we went again they had a big dinner the night before and no breakfast and they did better. It was also cooler today – misty and rainy, which I am sure helped.

Also last Wed eve I attended a Chamonix Mont Blanc Marathon club training (first time I’ve been able to arrange my schedule to join the CMBM training sessions) – 1 hour of trail running with 45 mintues of it as hill efforts, followed by a BBQ. There were about 30 pretty fit looking people out for the training and since we were on a loop I have no idea where I fit in exactly. I was lapped by about 4 or 5 guys who were super fit, and 1 girl – so hopefully didn’t do too badly. But it felt really hard – the effort bit was running down a long hill, down past 2 flags, up 1, down 2 more flags, up 1 – so you constantly were turning and sprinting uphill. Very tiring. Did another training session on Saturday – fast 1 hour run to Vaudagne with a fast downhill and some trails some road – felt very strong. Followed the very next day (today) by a 2nd run to Argentière. I accidentally took the higher trail up to Lavancher so did a bit more height than last week anyhow, and in general it was a faster pace with less rests – about 2.5 hours, so probably yes, a bit faster overall than the previous Saturday but I did start closer to the Flegère rather than town center which probably saved 15 minutes overall. I also didn’t run into any friends today, since it was rainy.

Next week’s goal for the long run is to go to Le Tour (about 23km round trip) … want to try something a bit longer. Or to start maybe at the Grandes Montets or Lavancher and go past Le Tour and climb up the Charamillion lift line to get in some height gain. Then possibly to do an overall uphill race next Sunday in Sallanches – 12km with 1100m height gain to push the hill work and pace a bit since it seems the distance should be within my grasp already. You can sign up on the day of (it’s a small race) so I will leave the decision until le dernière moment since we will have visitors in for a week when that race happens.

Can’t decide yet whether to go for the Cross du Mont Blanc or the Mont Blanc Marathon on the 28th and 29th of June … will see how I feel after the run to Le Tour next week. But so far am pretty pleased that I have had a strong start to my running, and not lost as much running fitness over this winter as feared.



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