09 November 2009

Get Your Feet Up Off the Ground

Oh, the shameful convenience! I mapped my run. And it comes in several versions.




I guess it's a little more accurate than my tattered, old, hand-drawn map from yesteryear. Still, is nothing sacred?!


•15.92 km/9.89 miles
•Bottom elevation: 724 m/2375 ft
•Top elevation: 1527 m/5010 ft
•Time: 1:57
•Heart Rate: High
•Pace: Slow
•Calories Burned: Lots

This is not my everyday run but rather a goal of mine. While figuring out the trails in the Jura this Spring I said to myself, "I'd like to run to the top of these one day." So I did. This was my third time.

A while ago a neighbor asked me where I go for my runs. I told him a little higher up in the Jura. "Oh," he said. Then, after a brief pause, "That's sporty." I'm not quite sure what that meant. I chuckled. He didn't. Maybe to him that seems sporty. To me it always seems like hard work.

Our limited conversation is significant because on this last run to the top of the Jura I saw sporty, if only for a moment, and once again proved to myself that though I might run around in the mountains several times a week, I'm no runner.

The sporty one passed me rather quickly. This was also significant because besides the dogs I haven't seen anyone, man or beast, running those same trails and roads I run. Sure, there are plenty of mountain bikers in the Jura but they don't count. What they ride these days looks more like motorcycles than mountain bikes and what they wear makes them look more sci-fi robot than human. Plus, even I have run past mountain bikes while climbing to the top.

The sporty one was human and by all accounts he was a runner. Though not much taller than I, his hips were about as high as my rib cage. His legs didn't have much muscle definition, more like the long rabbit legs I threw on the grill for dinner last night. I must have outweighed him by forty pounds. But that knickered, wind breakered, skinny Schweizer floated past me like he was on an escalator, his feet skimmed across the top of the dirt while my plodding legs pounded stones to sand with every step. Now that's sporty.

But I made it and I'll keep it up and I'll try to get up to the top of La Barillette at least one more time before the snow is too deep. At that point I'll strap on some skis and get there by sliding. Until then the running has been a real pleasure (and a bit painful).



Climbing above the clouds:


From the top. Mont Blanc and the rest of the world:


Self portrait:


Back down. Les Dents du Midi:



And to simulate the experience of running up a big hill and then back down I have devised a short learning film. I'm not technologically advanced enough to add my own music to my own films so I have included the same song that was being fed into my head during the making of this film. The song is a few seconds longer than the film so if you start the song first and wait for the cowbell (at about the thirty-two second mark) then the effect will be something like listening to The Wall while watching The Wizard of Oz. And if as not entertaining as Pink Floyd and Judy Garland then it will most certainly make you as head-dizzyingly sick. I suggest turning both volumes up. There is some riveting dialogue on what was an especially busy Saturday that you won't want to miss.

Good run. Thirsty dogs.


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