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The Waiting Game - Back in the Mountains

The mountains.. the space at the top of the land and on the edge of the sky. A place I love to spend time in, but most years rarely get the chance to get anywhere near. But 2018 will see a change in my priorities with running and though I have less events in the diary, I have a few chances to go and spend a bit of time in my idea of heaven.

noun - literary
the sky, especially perceived as a vault in which the sun, moon, stars, and planets are situated.
"Galileo used a telescope to observe the heavens"
the sky, the skies, the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere; 

There's loads of reasons why I run, but essentially I love being outdoors and feeling the freedom of the air on my face. Last year I made the decision to walk the majority of the Race to the Towers route, as I knew it was the only way to complete it without injuries, and I was really enjoying being out walking in the wide open space. So this year I have decided to rethink the events I want to complete, picking the spaces rather than just trying to clock up multiple amounts of mileage.

Many runners pick big events because they're trying to complete a set of the 'major' city marathons.. events like London, Chicago, New York, Tokyo.. some are on selections based on a qualifying time, others are just complete luck of the draw, but still attract thousands of entries on the hope of getting through. 

I signed up for London this year, despite hating running in the giant events.. I'm not sure what the attraction was. Perhaps it was the hope that I could at least cross it off the list of things to do in life, but having failed entry this year, I'm kinda glad it wasn't successful. I have an entry for the Brighton Marathon, which is really close in dates to London, so it wasn't exactly going to be the best timing. 

After the Birmingham Half Marathon I had a reality check and know my head isn't quite well enough to complete another big run this year. I also realised that making more time for non-running activities, seeing and doing more art, hanging out with friends, has been really good for me. So I took a look at the diary and I plotted a couple of events / challenges for next year that will be fairly big, but not ridiculous, and somehow I realised that aside from Brighton, they nearly all involve mountains.

I have the Brecon to Cardiff (32mile) Ultra in February, Kayaking in Norway in June, then the South Snowdonia 45k trek in August. So not the usual every other weekend running craziness in my previous last two years, but some good reasons to keep fit and healthy and enough escapades from the city, to keep the mind free and happy.

Then.. I saw the entry for the Marathon du Mont Blanc... which just seemed like just the kind of daft big event I needed to finish off the plan. I have been thinking of doing a Marathon in France again, for a while. I have always wanted to try one of the vineyard runs, but since my head injury has made me a really shit drinker, I think that may be out of the question, until I have had chance to practise a while longer. 

But, I have always loved Chamonix.. Its been a particular favourite place for many reasons, but I spent a few years snowboarding in the region in my early 30's, near Mont Blanc and also nearby at Les Contamines, so it holds many golden memories of being near the sky, in the freshest air. The silence and noise of the mountains always fills me with a calm, that I have never experienced elsewhere. I took few photos, but my eyes remember those views with a polaroid precision that has never faded.

So now I sit, with a few hundred others on the waiting list, to see if I can get a chance to go and play near the sky. Entries close tonight and we will all know our fate by Thursday evening. I don't know why we do this to ourselves, but I am really hoping this comes up, way more than I have been excited about the chance to complete other events. 

I think this is probably because I know how beautiful the route will be, from previous climbs via the cable cars that soar high above the town and onto the mountain. A view that will keep me positive about the chance to see it once more, wilfully neglecting to remember that it's going to be horrendously hard to complete this. Difficult to imagine being ready for, but 100% worth the nail biting waiting game, to see if its going to be a possibility. Only time will tell.

Update - 09/11/2017 - Race Entry Successful - To the Mountains!!

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