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France Part 1: La plage, la glace et un peu du jogging!

My husband, daughter and I are currently on vacation in Thones, France (south eastern France, near Geneva).

While I have been to the area before I have never tried to run here! It’s extremely hilly – I mean, really hilly- it’s the alps!!! My first run was so tough that I actually had to circle in some driveways to catch my breath, but I finally made it to the top and the view was spectacular.

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Part of Sunday’s running route. It just kept going up!

 

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My favorite view of the run!

 

 

We visited le Lac d’Annecy, a majestic glacial lake with a beautiful old city close by.  We went to the beach during the day, window shopped our way through the antique shops in town and even enjoyed a private date night.

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Le Lac d’Annecy

 

 

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Strolling through Annecy’s restaurants and antique markets.

 

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J’adore un cornet de la glace!

 

 

O, Lilly and I also visited La Clusaz, a local ski resort in the winter and known for its killer cycling routes in the summer. Here Lillian enjoyed her first chocolate crepe. While she started off eating like a little lady, she began to resemble a walker (from The Walking Dead, obvi) by the end of the meal tearing the crepe apart with her teeth!

 

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Someone likes chocolate.

 

 

We took a gondola ride up to the top of La Clusaz! The view was spectacular from the top!

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It rained for most of Monday- thankfully I had planned for a day off of running :). I snapped a picture (below) from our balcony of the fog creeping through the valley. Kind of creepy, right?

 

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The fog reminds me of the black smoke from Lost! Right??

Check back for more pictures of the local cuisine and our time in Geneva!

 

Question:  Do you run when on vacation or do you take the time to completely unplug, rest and recover?

 

 

 

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Week in Review: 7.22 to 7.28

This week the hubs, Lillian and I travelled to Thones, France for a family vacation. The small French village is located in the center of the alps; it is about 45 outside of Geneva, Switzerland and 15 minutes from Annecy.

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View from Sunday’s run.

While the roads are chock full of cyclists  ready for a challenge (the tour de France often goes through this regions), I have only seen one other runner- and I’m pretty sure he was a thief running from le police! The roads are definitely the steepest I’ve ever ran, but the views are also the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

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A sign for the hundreds of cyclists and crazy redheaded runner (me) who decided to go up the 10% grade incline. Whoa! (never again my friends, never again)

In order to completely take in my surroundings I bid adieu to my iPod for the week and ran unplugged. Sounds of cow bells in the distance, cyclists looking up to chirp “Bon Jour”, and water rushing through the gorge below are some of the constant sounds of silence in this region.

Picture of the Week

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The best part of running in France aside from getting to stare at many cyclists’ bums? The jaw-dropping view!

 

Monday:          45 min lift
Tuesday:         Run 4.65 mi 40 min, 8:36 pace); 60 min spin
Wednesday:  Run 7.5 mi (60 min, 8:07 pace)
Thursday:      OFF (Flight to France)
Friday:            Run 5.5 (54, 9:48 pace) *950 ft elevation gain- 700 ft gained in final 1.5 miles!
Saturday:       Run 7.3 (62 min, 8:33 pace)
Sunday:          Run 7.3 (61 min, 8:25 pace)

Total Miles:   32.25

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 *clockwise above: upper left- pushups on a water fountain in Annecy; dried meats at local market; Welcome to La Clusaz sign; upper right- Saturday’s run 7.3 in 8:33 600 ft elevation gain; bottom right- Lilly and I eating ice cream; more dried sausages; La Clusaz; bottom left- sleeping babe; fresh cherries at farmer’s market

 

Quote of the Week

Me: I’m frustrated- I haven’t ran a 9:48 pace in a while.
Hubs: YOU RAN UP AN ALP! Cut yourself some slack!
Me: Fair enough.

* Stay tuned for more pics in upcoming posts!

 

Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever run? Please share! 🙂

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The Allure of the Runner’s Grin: Part 2

This is the second part to The Allure of the Runner’s Grin

The First Run

We lace up together and walk down our long driveway. I sheepishly look at my dad and assess the situation: I am heading out on my first run with a multi-marathoner, competitive athlete. What did I get myself into? Doh! [Insert head smack here]. New worries saturate my mind: What will we even talk about? Will I be able to talk? Will I even be able to breathe? Panic is setting in and we haven’t even begun.

We reach the end of the driveway, and I am so nervous I just want to turn back. Why am I doing this? Two measly miles aren’t going to make a difference, so I’ll just turn around and march my way back up that driveway. I flash my dad a tight-lipped smile and as I’m about to tell him to forget the whole thing he says, “And we’re off! Let’s go!” Embarrassed by my insecurity I take a deep breath, force myself to fall in line and blindly follow him down the road.

All of my energy is focused on simply moving forward. Just keep moving. Don’t stop. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right. I can do this—I think.

As we run in silence, my worries resurface. Is it too slow for him? Of course it is too slow—he does this every morning! Needless to say I am intimidated by his athletic ability and do not want to let him down. In my mind I am not out for a friendly jog with my dad, but on a serious run with a competitive athlete. He must hate this! He’s never going to want to run together again. My self-pity is quickly silenced as I realize we were approaching a monstrous hill. Simply moving forward is challenging enough, now you want me to go up this beast?!

 

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I bark at him, “You didn’t tell me we were running hills today!?” In a matter-of-fact tone he responds, “You know where we live. There are hills wherever we turn. Just one step at a time and we’ll get to the top.” His deadpan response fails to reassure me. I whine, “Dad, I don’t know about this. I want to go back.” What I didn’t realize was that ‘turning back’ was never an option. He calmly, yet firmly responded, “Not yet, we’ve got to make it to the top. Then home.” I begrudgingly agreed and plodded onward up the mountain.

While I want so badly to experience the sense of accomplishment from finishing a hard run, I never realized exactly how challenging running can be, both mentally and physically. I don’t want to let him down. And I don’t want to be a failure—in my eyes or in his.

On we march. His legs are like springs on a pogo stick as he swiftly bounces up the mountain, while I huff and puff like a coal-fueled choo-choo train in a slow ascent. He glances back in my direction and I shake my head in defeat, holding back tears. As I look up the tears roll down my cheeks but my dad is no longer ahead of me; now he is beside me. My dad—the serious athlete, multi-marathoner, no B.S. competitive runner—suddenly breaks the silence as he erupts into song, “Oooooh, you’re half-way there!!!” Any feelings of self-pity and frustration instantly vanish as I chip back with a grin, “Ooooooh, livin’ on a prayer! Take my hand and we’ll make it I swear.” (Who knew Dad listened to Bon Jovi?)

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Dad and I circa 2005

I immediately laugh, willingly absorbing my dad’s encouraging lyrics and regain focus as we run in sync for the remainder of the hill. When we finally reach the top we high five, turn around and make our way back home. I am red in the face, dripping sweat, reek of B.O, and am smiling. Wait a second, am I smiling?!?

I wear my runner’s grin with pride for remainder of my first run.

As my father and I walk towards the house I realize that a runner’s grin doesn’t suddenly appear when the run is completed, rather it evolves as the runner perseveres through the mental and physical challenges of each rigorous mile. It is a medal you earn by confronting your fears and accepting life’s challenges, one step at a time.

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Sporting my runner’s grin after a mentally and physically demanding run!