By Paul ... Happy New Year to everyone, we hope you all saw in 2015 in style and have a great year ahead. So, it is that time when the gym is packed once again with the well intentioned New Year resolutioners and dinners are being served in our house at least with an associated Weight Watchers points value, as Sam has decided that the excesses of 2014 need to be attacked from all angles. I am sure normal service will be resumed well before the end of the month!
For myself, the only resolution I have is to not get frostbite this coming Sunday when I embark on the second leg of my 555 challenge – La Guisanette. This is a 12Km race on snowy and groomed trails along the villages of the upper Serre Chevalier valley in the centre of French Alps, an altitude ranging from 1400m to 1700m. It involves about 450m of ascent and, to be honest, I have no idea what that actually means in running terms, but based on the few reps I managed on our local ‘hill’ tonight, rather than gut busting, I think this run may be more lung busting. Running at altitude and in sub zero temperatures will no doubt guarantee that this will be a challenge to remember. It will also mean quite a number of other running firsts get ticked off the list for me, such as running in tights, gloves, hat, with a pack on my back and something called yaktrax on my feet. I may well be yakking on the trax if this proves too difficult, and my chafe-ing alarm bells will definitely be ringing loud.
Joking aside though, I am really looking forward to this challenge, as it also provided a great excuse for a boys ski weekend, the idea originally formulating last October after my good friend, Gareth Ferguson, got married on the quiet. Determined not to be denied a stag do opportunity, as they become pretty rare when you pass 40, this weekend to combine belated stag and a 555 challenge was invented. Running long distances fuelled by Génépi shots … Genius! Gareth has sensibly declined to run and will instead be official event photographer, assuming he even bothers to get out of bed for the 8.30am start. The 555 Challenge is however pleased to announce that there will be a VIP Guest Challenger running with me this weekend as another good friend, Charlie Wood, has accepted the gauntlet of La Guisanette and will be trying to scale the peaks with me.
Welcome on board, Chaz, thanks for all the additional fund raising you are doing for the cause, and let’s just focus on the presentation meal that awaits back in the village, and the opportunity to down a bottle or two of Vin Rouge in celebration of making it back in one piece.
A final thank you I also have to make is to the organisers of La Guisanette and its bigger brother (Trail Blanc – a 29Km race run at the same time) – Patrick Michel and Frank Peirone. When I emailed them a few months back to enquire about what was needed to enter the event from a gear and fitness perspective, their response was a welcoming ‘You’ll be fine, come and join us’, with an unprompted and totally generous offer of free entry into the event for myself and Charlie, as a contirbution to our fund raising efforts. So, thanks Patrick and Frank, I have added your generous donation to our donation page and look forward to meeting you both in person soon … Allez les Bleus!
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