The silence on this blog has been us preparing for, enjoying, and recovering from our annual winter trip to France — to visit family, to ski, to remind ourselves what life would be like if we could shun all work and all school and instead spend our days working up an appetite for cheese and charcuterie. In terms of training, the trip featured a lot of great cross-training — XC ski, downhill ski, running up and down mountain roads, walking up the four flights of stairs to get to our condo… Since we’ve been back, the unbelievable single-digit cold coupled with unrunnable trails and sidewalks that are icy, blocked, and/or narrow has me, well, panicked. It’s nearly 2 months until the Miwok 10oK. I do have some training ultras coming up that should help get in some long-runs, but they will almost certainly be in snow or mud. Miwok will be a lot of “me, walk.”
Thursday Feb 13— Rest
Can you call it a “rest day” even if you only slept for an hour? We took the Wednesday night red-eye to Paris. It was a painless flight except we didn’t eat before the 8pm take off, meaning the 10pm dinner came too little and too late. I slept for about an hour before being woken up by the presentation of a yogurt and muffin on my tray table. We had an 2 hour layover in Charles de Gaulle and then a short flight over to Geneva. We collected our luggage, found our car rental, and drove about 2 hours through Savoie and a rain/snow mix. At least we were on the right side of the road! When we arrived to our condo in early evening, we were all pretty hungry. Mr. P made the executive decision to let Little Boy eat one of the eclairs we bought at a market stop along the way. About 30 minutes later, Little Boy’s stomach rejected the eclairs and all the contents of his stomach. It was the first time he’s vomited so we couldn’t get too mad that he did it all over the sofa — now he knows what impending vomit feels like, and that running to the nearest bathroom is paramount. We were unsure if Little Boy was truly sick or if it was the rigors of travel/bad airline food/bad parental decisions (it turned out to be the latter). After dinner with the in-laws, I collapsed gratefully to bed.
Friday Feb 14 — Running: ~7 miles, big hills. XC skating about 2 hours.
Woke up and went running. Where our condo is, there’s only two places to run via road: Up, or down. I started up to the next village, Les Coches. Then I came down so Mr. P could also run up and down. After lunch, Mr. P. took Little Boy (who seemed in better health) and his little girl cousin sledding while I did some XC skating on my beloved XC trail.
Saturday Feb 15: Alpine skiing all day
In the domaine where we ski, Saturdays feature discounted lift tickets because this is the day when vacation rentals end/start. So for 30 euros each, Mr. P and I had the pleasure of skiing in the entire domaine in relatively light crowds with Little Boy and his 7-year old British cousin for nearly the entire day. We stopped for hot dogs and sandwiches at noon after the boys’ incessant pleas for food made us feel negligent. “I only turn when I get scared,” my nephew told me, and he is true to his word. I believe Little Boy is becoming a disciple to this philosophy.
Cousins on the ski lift
Thumbs up for the hotdog
Mr. P managed to find donuts in France
Wining and Dining (but mostly wining)
It is unfair to compare skiing in the French Alps to skiing in New England. We can walk to the ski lift from our condo and instantly have access to some many trails and lifts that one could not really endeavor to ski all of them in one day. The snow is generous, powdery; the views are superlative. Although for pure physicality I prefer XC ski, I truly treasure the time that I can spend with my family as we lounge on a ski lift, knowing we have no obligations for the day except to ski, eat, and perhaps shower
Mont Blanc in the background
Sunday Feb 16: XC ski (classic) morning; alpine skiing in afternoon
Snowing all day. In the morning Mr. P took Little Boy skiing with his sister, brother-in-law, and the nephew who only turns when he’s scared. I headed out on the XC trail in my classic skis. I had to break trail in about 3 inches of fluffy, sticky powder. It was not a pleasurable experience as my skis quickly collected sticky thick ice that prevented any gliding WHATSOEVER. We met back home for lunch and then I grabbed Mr. P’s ski pass to head back out with the crew for about two hours of Alpine skiing.
The View of our Village from the ski lift
Monday Feb 17: Running 1 hour morning, alpine skiing all day
Another morning of up-and-down. I hit the road at 7am, right after dawn. It was a gorgeous morning; yesterday’s snow clung to the coniferous trees and the sky was a clear deep blue. Running on the side of a snowy mountain road is tricky business, and I do not deny that I feared for my life as cars and trucks sped past me. But, what good training for Miwok!
Mr. P and I took Little Boy out skiing before his first day of ski school at 11am, and then we skied together before picking him up at 1pm, and then after lunch we skied for another 2 hours. After all this, Little Boy found the energy to sled with his cousins.
Tuesday Feb 18: Running 1 hour morning, alpine skiing all day
More dawn up-and-down. It’s about 45 minutes to go up and 15+ minutes to come down, for a total of 5 miles. Today was forecast to be a good day weather wise — like yesterday, only cloudier — so we headed out for another full day of skiing. This time, we left Little Boy with his Papi in the morning so he could take him to ski school — we didn’t want to tire him out before he could impress the teacher.
Wednesday Feb 19: Running 1 hour morning, XC skating 2.5 hours (13 miles)
Bad weather day — a light but persistent snow/freezing rain and a low thick fog. Good thing we were ready for a day from Alpine. I woke up early for some more up-and-down running and then, after breakfast, hit the XC trails for some skating. 2 and half hours of skating, dear lord. That’s cross-training. I took it easy in the afternoon and busied myself around the apartment in anticipation of a well-earned cheese fondue dinner.
Thursday Feb 20 Running 1 hour morning, Alpine Skiing all day
I skipped the mountain road and decided to try running on a flatter trail near our village. The footing was not too bad and after about 2 miles I found an old road that seemed to only service a few farms, so no traffic — only barking dogs protecting their cows. The weather was pretty good. At night, we had signed up Little Boy for the descente aux flambeaux — where skiers (mostly children and instructors) descend the main slope into the village carrying torches. We feared it would be disastrous and Little Boy would hate us forever for signing him up, but he came down the mountain with a big smile on his face amid the cheers and cheesy techno music.
descente aux flambeaux
descente aux flambeaux
Friday Feb 21 Running 90 minutes morning, XC Skating 2 hours
Not a good weather day — snowy and drizzly — but a very good XC workout.
Saturday Feb 22 Running 1 hour morning, Alpine Skiing all day
Very fun but sad day skiing with Mr. P’s sister, brother in law, and Little Boy and his cousin. Sunny but cold day. Last day of vacation.
Little Boy with Auntie and Cousin
Last lunch in France ;-(
Sunday Feb 23: Airplane!
Monday Feb 24: 6 miles treadmill. Hello treadmill, my old friend… It would be the warmest morning all week and I should have run outside, but having just arrived the night before I was unsure of the state of the sidewalks.
Tuesday Feb 25: 7 miles treadmill.
Wednesday Feb 26: 7 miles road, some gentle hill repeats. I needed to get outside. It was cold — 15 degrees. I kept waiting to warm up, but the exertion never balanced out the effects of prolonged exposure. I jogged mostly around a hilly residential area so I could stay on the road and not have to navigate the sidewalks.
Thursday Feb 27: AM: 5 miles treadmill, cycling, weights. PM: 3.5 miles road.
Friday Feb 28: 70-ish minutes swimming. Haven’t been in the pool in awhile, but I didn’t feel too out of shape for swimming. I really tried to get a cardio workout so I pushed the pace a little hard and today I can feel a vague sense of soreness in my obliques.