"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own" Sri Chinmoy
Joy Day Race - Morzine, French Alps, May 2017
Morzine was our destination for the early summer gathering this year – although it’s in France we flew to Geneva and picked up a hire car for a short hop over the border and then a up into the valleys of the French Alps. The views were stunning with quite a lot of snow still around on the higher peaks – this is usually a ski destination so coming in May means you get a quiet time and great conditions for running and hiking.
Usually we do a 2 mile road race on the flattest course we can find and measure in the limited time available, but this time there was nowhere flat and no time to measure – so we used the local 2k fitness trail and it turned out to be a welcome change from road running. Underfoot it was even, good going, but the surroundings were amazing – a wild river, lush forest, views of snowy mountains. When we gathered at the start it was colder than most of us expected and I wrapped up, partly to stay warm and partly to stop myself from running too hard! I was still feeling some soreness in both Achilles tendons (especially the right one) after my all-out effort at the May 5k in Aztec West. The plan was to warm up easily then run steadily but as everyone else was cold and wanted to get on with it, that went out of the window!
From the start I ran pretty steadily, not flat out, which meant I was looking at Pierre, Suswara and Ashcharjya disappearing into the distance and it looked as though I was going to run the whole thing solo – behind the leaders but ahead of the group. The forest was exquisite and although the sun wasn’t yet up, there was a lovely morning light and the only sounds were the rushing river and my own footfalls and breathing. After crossing a bridge which marked the half way point of the loop (1k in other words) I was surprised how hard I found it on the gentle climb. My Achilles tendons started to itch – clearly still tender – so I held back until I was most of the way back to the start and only then opened up a bit to overtake Ashcharjya.
Lap 2 was a solo affair and I was running at full effort by now, the sensation in my tendons not worsening so no reason to pull out. Suswara was clearly running well and I couldn’t make any impression on his lead – the gap remained the same all the way round. I finished breathless in third place then jogged gently round another 2k lap to warm down and stretch and grab a couple of obligatory selfies as the Alpine sun rose over the ridge and illumined the forest.
Sacred Steps Home