Unseasonable Weather makes for Wonderful Views (and very wet feet).

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Well, after a month of barbeques and sunbathing, we thought we were done with snow until the autumn, but mountain weather is nothing if not fickle and Wednesday brought 15cm of snow. But 50k training run was planned and so … Continue reading

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45k ultra trail training run

This morning began with a good old soak in the lazy pool at the Alpenbad, the bubbles providing a much needed massage for sore legs and feet. Why? Yesterday was my longest training run ever. 45k with lots and lots of hills (3000 vertical metres according to the garmin, but I think it counts every pothole).

Boredom is rarely, if ever, a problem in Leutasch, where every corner brings a new picture-perfect view.  However, any run over 3 hours can be made easier with some distraction and this time I was happily entertained by a free audio download of “The Adventures of Sally by P.G. Wodehouse.

The terrain was mixed with long sections of wide gravel trails broken up by sneeky cuts through fields, along narrow root strewn paths and sometimes over knee deep snow.

Although generally enjoyable, this was certainly a testing run.  After 34k I passed the house and tried to eat the peanut butter and jam sandwiches that I’d carefully left in the barbeque for quick retrieval. Although my stomach said hungry, digestion of said sandwiches was not easy. The search for the ultimate ultra runners’ fuel continues…..

After 5 hours 5 minutes, I went through the marathon distance in a time that was certainly an all-time worst, and I had to try hard not to feel discouraged when I remembered that the actual Zugspizte Supertrail will be 62% longer with a couple of Alps thrown in.   That said, I finished the run averaging 7’12” per km and I’m hoping for 10 minues per km in the race so the pace is probably about right.

All considered, my legs and joints feel ok today.  Not bad considering that I coudn’t really walk for 3 weeks after the Karwendelmarsch in August.  Perhaps the attention to downhill technique is finally paying off, or perhaps the real Alps will find me out in time.  The snow is melting fast so soon they’ll be a chance to get up some proper peaks.  Bring them on!

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Ultratrail: and so the fun begins…..

So the Zugspitze-Supertrail 68.8k trail race is starting from our little village on 28th June 2012.  The opportunity to do an ultra- trail marathon leaving almost from our door is too tempting an opportunity to miss.

8 weeks to go and time to give some serious thought to training.  My limited experience in this area comes from running the KarwendelMarsch last August.  A fantastic race that left me with very, very sore knees (meaning that, for 4 weeks, even a trip of 400m to the supermarket required a walking stick).  Obviously avoidance of a repeat situation is a high priority, but as the route will include 3000m of descent, including 2 horrible technical sections that look like cliffs on the race profile, knee pain is probably an inevitability.

In order to limit the damage, I have been training on undulating courses and experimenting with different techniques including forefoot striking.  No lightbulb moments so far.  Why is it that some people just float down the hills with little impact and no loss of control, but I come down helter-skelter with arms flailing hopelessly, slipping and sliding on any shale or mud? Surely all skills can be mastered with enough practice, or so I tell myself as I repeat difficult sections again and again in the hope that something finally clicks (or cracks, what ever comes first).

Today I ran a tough but fair 36k trail run around some peaceful woodland trails including part of Steckenweg and around the lovely Moserersee.  I bonked then recovered then bonked then recovered. The knees and hips complained from about 15k in and sciatica joined the throng at 25k. It was cold and wet and wonderful.  Zugspitze-Supertrail? Bring it on.

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slushy slippy sunny fun: Spring trail running in the Alps.

If there were hidden cameras filming this run, they would have filmed the grinning idiot, ’cause I ran the whole thing with a great big stupid smile on my face.  Yes, it was like an ice rink in parts and a mud bath in others, yes it was the slowest I’ve ever ran the Steckenweg course, but the birds were singing, the sun was out and the mountains were stunning as they caught the early evening rays.  Some days you know exactly why you’re a runner.  Still grinning now….

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cross training: snow shoeing

There’s just time for one last taste of winter as spring is now definately in the air. The birds are singing, it’s 18 degrees and the snow is rapidly going.  Yay.

This last wintery post features photos from a snow shoe session 2 weeks ago. After a lovely dump of fresh powder overnight we were able to tread the virgin snow in the Gaistal.

My first impressions of snow shoeing were very favourable: A lots of slog and very little technique gets you a long way, making it a perfect cross-training activity for distance runners.

After all the hard work,  it had to be a schnitzel for lunch at the Hämmermoos Alm.  Now I’m in the wonderful win-win situation of being torn between excitement over the rapidly approaching summer, and wanting to doing this again before the snow completely goes.

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Guilt Free Chicken Curry

So much tastier than the take away and virtuous to book.  Creamy and delicious.  What’s not to like?

This recipe is adapted from my favourite recipe book Cook Yourself Thin, quick and easy.  Fabulous ideas for runners but I double the portions to satisfy the ridiculous runners’ appetite (or, as some might call it, greed)

ingredients (for 4 small portions)

2 onions chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

1 small or 1/2 large butternut squash in 1-2cm cubes)

4 stalks celery chopped into small pieces (optional)

1 red pepper chopped into small pieces (optional)

2 chicken breasts or300g leftover roast chicken.

1 heaped tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ginger powder or grated fresh ginger

1 tsp ground tumeric

300ml chicken stock

50g creme fraiche or 2 tbsp low fat soft cheese

fresh corriander


heat some oil in a pan then wipe around with kitchen roll to leave a thin film.

add the onions, garlic and butternut squash with a teaspoon of salt and heat on a low-moderate heat for 5 minutes.

add the celery, pepper, chicken, curry powder, ginger and tumeric and fry for another couple of minutes whilst stiring.

add the stock, stir and then simmer for about 40 minutes until squash is squashy. but not mushy.

add creme fraiche, spinkle with corriander and serve.




tip:  In the book, the calorie value is given as 185 Kcals for the curry (rice on top: 50g uncooked rice = 180 Kcal).  An easy way to keep the portions large and the kcals low, is to double the curry portion, use a small portion (e.g. 30g uncooked) of rice and add a couple of microwaved papodoms at an amazing 30 Kcals each.

Obviously post long run, more rice may well be a positive.

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Worth the effort for a fabulous sunset.

Oh the lovely Leutasch valley.  Never a dull run. On Friday I was rewarded for a tough run up a snowy Hohe Sattel by this fabulous sunset. Amazing.

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uphill tempo Hohe Sattel

The run:  From the door at Happy Mountains up to the top of Hohe Sattel and back again.

Why?  very steep so good for strong (=thunder?) thighs.  Always a tempo run (heart has to pump like hell to keep you going).  Lovely peaceful spot on the top.

Route details: 6.78 km 428 m ascent and descent. Runable wide trail but proper steep the whole way.

notable:  mind the sledgers!

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One of my colder runs.

session: 35 minutes easy plus the 8 minute workout.  Completed as planned Sir.

energy: Low. felt weak and tired.  (still recovering from bug?)

Spirit level: fair to middleing.  Middling.  Middleing?

Noticable:  Someone fishing through the ice. Hardy soul (geddit?)



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4 weeks to fit and fab

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Ever look in the mirror and realise that the body there does not match the one in your mind? January is far too miserable to contemplate any sort of fitness plan.  But February is here, the evenings are getting longer … Continue reading

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