These guys are the real Alpine runners

Alpine running in Chamonix

Alpine running is a name given to moving fast in a mountain environment. It’s a blend of climbing, running and skiing: whichever is applicable to the terrain. It’s normally done “fast and light”, taking minimal equipment, to aid the speediness.

Given that I like climbing, skiing and running but will never be able to invest the time to become a really skilled Alpinist on technical accents, I think I’ve found a niche! I’m going to tell my friends that I’ve become an alpine runner. They will tell me that I’m doing “not-trail, not-running”, and that I’m going “not particularly fast and not particularly light “. I’ll say I’m still learning.

Running Skiing
Powder!

Skiing in Le Grave

Every European off piste skier dreams of visiting Le Grave at some point in their life. This winter has been a strange one so far. Lots of avalanche incidents, so we’d been sticking to safer low angled slopes when ski touring (including a really fun day with Bet and others in Megeve). So in some ways we weren’t even that excited to visit this steep skiing Mecca – would it be safe enough to ski anything anyway?!

Skiing
wpid-wp-1418072531848.jpeg

All haste and no speed – how to go from hero to zero in an ultra marathon

Henry David Thoreau said “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”

My new friend Harry and I had been splashing through half frozen puddles on a (suspiciously) small path through a hilltop bog, visualising our glorious podium finish after the 44 mile run through the Brecon Beacons. We were feeling strong and had opened up a big lead on the field with the group behind us out of sight. But as we crested the ridge, I realised that we were WAY off track.

Races
Just me and the Chamois tracks. After getting down I was so exhausted, I wanted nothing more than a magic carpet to take me home. I had no option but to run another 15km. It wasn't actually that bad.

Does training help the body burn fuel more efficiently?

An important part of getting fitter, and improving both speed and endurance is training the body to burn fat at higher levels of intensity. This is really important for athletes who do the things I like doing – running (because they can go faster and further) and mountaineering (because mountaineers don’t have very good access to food to top up their limited carbohydrate stores).

One of the advantages of having diabetes is that I can observe how much carbohydrate I need to eat to keep my blood sugar stable. Does this mean that I have an insight into how well my body is adapting to burning fat? Can this help anyone else?

Data Training
This one almost ate my camera.

Ultramarathon “taper” – and the unforgettable goats

The last "run" five days before the ultra

The last “run” five days before the ultra

A lot of preparation has gone into getting myself ready for the CCC tomorrow. The CCC is the little sister of the ultra-tour du mont-blanc (UTMB) – a mere 101km and 6100m of climbing. (The 6100 of downhill will be the difficult bit of course.) This is more than enough for me. I feel fit, strong and have no idea how fast I will go. I hope I’ll finish it of course.

They say that success in running ultras can be boiled down to winning the “ultra-eating” competition. One can expect to burn about 700 calories an hour. The body can absorb up to 300 calories an hour if one eats as much carbohydrate as possible. Competitors frequently suffer from nausea or vomiting, and this can lead to exhaustion if they cannot hold food down. 

Running