Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Playing in the German Alps

The last couple of months have been a hectic kaleidoscope of work in the hospital, establishing my business - Summit Sisters, and trying to fit in time for training, and with family and friends! I hardly had time to dwell on the fact that I had a trip to Europe booked.
I had initially planned to race the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc again, but an opportunity arose to partner with a Salomon German runner, Gine, in the TransAlpine race! The event has been on my bucket list for a while, but finding another girl to partner with, and finding the funds for the start fee made entry more difficult. I didn't hesitate when the chance presented itself! The race itself is also a completely new experience: 8 days of running through the Alps, starting in Germany and finishing in Italy, 250km of trails through 4 countries and about 15000m of elevation gain. Racing in a team is also a first for me, and I am looking forward to the shared experience of working together with a partner, of sharing the ups and downs, the challenges, and the emotions that are sure to come (sounds like a relationship!).
I decided to start my trip in the German Alps, an area I have never explored despite spending lots of time in the country. Bavaria is a culture and country unto itself, and what better area to train for big hills than in the shadow of the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle and Tegelberg mountain.
The pictures are from my first trip up into the mountains - the trails literally starting as I step out of the campground I am based in. I did a loop, covering  the 1703m Schoenleitenschrofen, Tegelberg, and up to the 1880m Branderschrofen. On the run down back to camp I ran with a couple from the area. The woman, Monica, had already cycled 60km that day and shared her belief that 'sport keeps you young - not only the body, but also the mind.' Finishing our run together, sitting out in the fading summer sun, and enjoying a big Bavarian beer, I am feeling very young!

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