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Work hard and play hard doesn’t have to be a cliché. After working at a wedding in France I took the opportunity to visit Chamonix; which is regarded as the trail running capital of the world and host to the iconic UTMB race week. No stranger to Chamonix after completing the MCC last year and working as a photographers assistant I decided to bite the bullet, go big and sign up to the TDS this August…
I live on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and use the South West Coast Path as my stomping ground. Not quite Mont Blanc so this trip was a no-brainer. Training in the mountains and running at altitude has all the benefits both physically and mentally according to my coach and Ponnek ambassador Jamie Stephenson.
Day one started with a speed session as Chamonix kindly provides a public track for everyone to use (take note Boris).
10 x 400m with a 200m recovery felt tougher than usual due to the altitude but THAT backdrop makes up for it!
Like all races you need new gear right? I took the plunge and invested in a larger capacity Salomon Sense pro 10 race vest and some new Leki Ultratrail FX Carbon poles. Eager to test them I headed straight out on a 5 mile trail run with 2000ft of vert thrown in for good measure. I couldn’t believe how much energy return the poles provided and how confident they made me feel going downhill on the technical terrain. Believe the hype!
Day two saw me and David take on the Petit Balcon Sud trail (and back) - 12 miles and 3500ft of vert. Another great opportunity to test the new gear and experience the alps for what they are! The weather was extremely hot and although David was struggling after a bad injury I felt super strong on the climbs and was soaking in the confidence leading up to the TDS. However my run did come to a stand still after seeing a snake slither past on the path!
The last day was a 5 mile 2000ft recovery hike and to be honest the longer the hike went on the better my legs started to feel. Mission accomplished as I was starting to feel acclimatised and more at ease with the bigger alpine climbs. Once we reached the top we were greeted by the most stunning view of Mont Blanc. We were at snow level so a perfect excuse for photographs and to throw snowballs at David! All in all a successful trip and only positives to come away from it. Next up is the South West Traverse in Cornwall at the end of May
Follow Anna on Instagram - aw_runner
Photos - Davidmillerphotography