Adventure means risking something, and its only when we are doing that, that we know what a splendid thing life is and how well it can be lived ….
Bettmeralp … they call it the “better” alp …. and so it was perhaps an apt place for me to go just now when I start to feel that the injury is finally getting better?
So … well …. good and bad news.
Not so bad – but disappointingly I was deferred on my IML (International Mountain Leader Assessment). It wasn’t the best time for me this summer, and I feel I let myself down badly. So now I’m determined to get more group leading experience this coming year and then it will just be a one day test early next summer. It was a long week – assessments of any kind are a strain – even if this one did mean I was on home ground walking in the mountains. But the assessors were great, we were so well looked after at the gite, and some lasting friendships were made I hope.
Now the “better” news …. I was running every morning from St Luc up to Hotel Weisshorn and feeling good. Steep uphills are probably the best thing at the moment?!
So …. Saturday morning I made the snap decision to go to Bettmeralp (in the Valais near Brig, on the north side of the Rhone Valley) and to run in the half marathon the following day. The organisers very kindly accepted my last minute request (!) and so I found myself on that beautiful alp on a beautiful evening, in the company of a good friend also running. I was feeling very uncertain I should run, and convinced myself I’d pull out if I needed to. For once I knew the head had to govern the heart. For such a quiet village we probably slept in the noisiest place – above the village bakery! But what a treat to be somewhere where the bakery is the noisiest place? Fretful sleep and awoke to a beautiful dawn. Breakfasting outside the bakery with the alpine panorama before us, the Matterhorn in all his glory, and just a 2 minute walk to the start of the race. Not often you get such pre-race preparation?!
And so to the race – it is a stunning course. And for me only just getting back into running again after the stress fracture it felt a true privilege just to be there – whether I could finish the race or not. The early kilometres maybe were the hardest. Wondering if I should be running, feeling not so strong as normal …. But no pain or twinge from the pelvis … and it was beautiful … and so I carried on … and on … until the finish. Slower – much slower than I guess I would have been – but 1st lady to my surprise. It was quite something for me even to start the race, let alone to finish. So for me, it was truly special to be there on the Bettmeralp.
Now a few days to catch up with life, staying with a friend in Winterthur. And tomorrow – back to the mountains – to Zermatt. A tough decision – but I think it wouldn’t be wise to run the Zermatt Marathon on Saturday. Perhaps doubling the distance and time in just one week would be asking too much of the injury? But I will go anyway to help. Andrea Schneider (the organiser) is going to welcome me there – whether I run or help – and for that I am so grateful. The heat here in Winterthur is too much … so I’m longing again to be high and in the mountains. I will stay in Zermatt for 10 days or so – perhaps my tent, perhaps a bunkhouse – we will see? I will meet some good friends there, so I hope for the chance of a few mountains as well as some good mountain training.
Bettmeralp Half Marathon http://www.aletsch-halbmarathon.ch
Zermatt Marathon http://www.zermattmarathon.ch
Right to Play: ‘when children play, the world wins’.