From the Alps to the Appalachians

This year I chose not too dive right into the trail racing season, after the intense ski mountaineering season of 2012.  I think last year I made that mistake. It is easy to do, when your fitness is strong but your muscles are not yet adapted to running. When your race season starts in mid December and finishes end of April with over 25 race starts the body and mind craves a rest.  For 3 weeks I just did fun training, no training logs or plans.

Another favorite running spot- Chalet La Floria

This spring I took the time to take the recovery needed, then built up slowly in running and also focused on the places I needed to strengthen with Pilate’s bodywork, and specific running alignment in Neil’s  RunFit class from the Clinique du Sport.   I said “no” to races in my back door like the Marathon du Mont Blanc and the Verbier Trail and just focus on some good quality training in my backyard.

Michael & Me running at a favorite spot- Lac des Cheserys (pattituci photo)

I had one objective this summer in trail racing, The CCC, the 100km ultra trail from Courmeyer – Champex-Chamonix. I had done this race in 2008 with not nearly the same amount of training. It is in my backdoor.

Last climb for the CCC/ UTMB at the Col des Montets

I love the route that passes through 3 countries.  I wanted to see what I could do this year with more complete training. I was able to get in some good recons of the course before leaving town.

I did say I said “yes” to a long visit to the easy coast to visit family. Five weeks on the east coast!   Heat, humidity, sea level training, rattlesnakes, ticks, chiggers!! I had thoughts like, OMG I am going to die running on flat for so long, on pavement, in 90 degree heat, 100% humidity! I will become a gymrat! My my mind countered each negative thought with two positive thoughts.

My first running adventure on the AT and the hills! Holy Hotness Batman! 100 degree + humidity!

Accept and adapt. And that is what I have done. Speedwork, strength training,  heat training- all things that would be beneficial to my own training for the upcoming season.  I have embraced the heat, humidity and new discoveries. Plus the most important, spending time with family, nurturing relationships, forging new ones and discovering new.

Birken and Anders celebrating the 4th of July

Michael in front of Natalie’s famous shop on Maryland Avenue

We have made the most of our time here in the wonderful pace of summer, a slower mode, certainly not race mode and a nice change.  Here are some shots from my trip down United States History Lane near Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.  I ran with friends Dave and Linda who joined me a few years ago on a Tour du Mont Blanc.

A View from a cliff-top of the Historical Harper’s Ferry Virginia

It was the hottest temps I had every run in, pushing 100 degrees and high humidity, but the company,  the  shade of the trees and the new terrain passed the time and made it a really pleasant outing. We managed to log 23 miles in and I was so happy to be running on trails and hills!

Not far from the AT headquarters and 1/2 way point of the full trail

The Appalachian Trail runs right through downtown Hanover, New Hampshire where I went to Dartmouth. I used to log miles training on it with the Dartmouth Ski Team. It also goes over the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, my hometown ski area.

Appalachian Trail

For the boys, this summer has been filled with adventures on both sides of the pond! In the Alps. Mountain Biking at the local race series and the new ‘Pump Track’ in cham. In annapolis, the boys joined the local swim team and have loved the fun team spirit. They even swam in their first meet!

The boys enjoying their adventures with smiles!


I hope to jump into some trail adventures too to keep my legs fresh for the upcoming CCC not far away. In the meantime,

Happy Summer!

Keep Smiling and enjoy your summer.

a thought to leave you with