Hello from London!
I mentioned in last week’s recap that we were in Switzerland to snowboard for the week, but we are back home. Due to the ski trip, this recap doesn’t include as much running as normal- not even half as much! I’ll count it as a cutback week and get back to Barcelona training this week. I’m not too worried about the lack of running just for one week; I can’t let training dictate everything, especially since I always seem to be training for a marathon, ha! But seriously, I love running, but also love other things too, (I swear.)
Anyways, I was happy to survive 4 days in a row snowboarding in the Alps without any major injury. There were definitely lots of falls- a very sore tailbone, sore shoulders, and overall fatigue, but nothing major, thank goodness. I consider myself an intermediate snowboarder at best, whereas everyone else on the trip is advanced or expert, so I did my best to not hold them back too much but still to stay within my abilities.
I plan to share more details on our trip to Switzerland in a Fits on the Road post, but here’s the normal recap of fitness!
Monday: Dustin and I were up early in Zurich for a 6 mile run along Lake Zurich before catching the train to Zermatt.
We had to transfer trains once in the town of Visp to get from Zurich to Zermatt; the train ride itself was really scenic, with gorgeous views of the mountains and Swiss towns. It took about 3 hours to get from Zurich to Zermatt in total.
We arrived around 2 pm and fortunately our hotel room was ready for check-in. We stayed at the Backstage Hotel right in town and it was a perfect place; I would definitely recommend it. There are several luxury hotels in Zermatt, and some more budget-friendly hotels; this one was right in the middle and we could walk everywhere, including from the train station (though our hotel did offer transport in a cute little electronic buggy- remember, no cars in Zermatt!)
We explored the town of Zermatt a bit and had dinner before our friends from the U.S. arrived to join us for the week.
Tuesday: Our first day on the mountain! I opted to take a private snowboarding lesson from 9-12; since we are only snowboarding once a year, I feel like I need the lesson to build my confidence, especially in the Alps- they are intimidating! My teacher was an Australian/Italian woman living in Zermatt named Isabelle. She was really helpful and I’m glad I did the lesson.
After lunch, I joined the rest of the group (4 snowboarders and 1 skier) for the rest of the first day.
Wednesday: Zermatt is enormous; today, we took a bus to another area of the mountain where we then took several trams/gondolas to get quite high- 12,700 feet. According to Strava, it was my longest day of snowboarding ever; one run alone was 5.3 miles long!
I couldn’t believe the infracture in Zermatt. There were very few chairlifts, but instead it was almost all beautifully maintained trams and gondolas.
Switzerland seems to be a very wealthy country. So pristine, so beautiful. I loved Switzerland, and Zermatt was just stunning– the views were seriously unreal.
We ended the second day by snowboarding to this fun Champagne Bar right on the trail- so cute!
I’m not a confident enough snowboarder to have a glass of champagne and then continue to snowboard, especially after a full day. But from where the Champagne Bar was, we would have to do another narrow run. It also always seems like most injuries occur at the end of the day when everyone is tired. So instead of snowboarding back, after my glass of champagne, I took off my board and trekked about a mile back instead. It was tough work carrying the board, but a much safer option for this gal. One of the guys on the trip was also pretty tired, so he joined me, though I think he regretted it as the walk was kind of rigorous in its way! I definitely broke a sweat.
Thursday: My friend Vicki and I tried to go for an early run, but we only made it two miles. There had been snow overnight and the roads were pretty slick. The route I chose was also a lot of uphill (of course) and when we started going downhill and it was far too slippery. So 2 miles was just fine. It felt good to run either way and gave us a chance to catch up 1:1.
Then, back to the mountain for skiing/snowboarding!
The visibility was not great on this day with winds and snow, so we all agreed to end around 1:30-2 pm. Ending early gave us the afternoon to explore Zermatt! After getting back to the town center, Dustin and I grabbed a crepe from the delicious creperie near our hotel and then decided to go for a short run (post-crepe!) By then, the roads had been plowed, so we were able to do a quick 5k, which felt great, even at altitude. I was happy to get 5 miles on the day between the two runs.
Then we showered and headed out for some shopping and wandering in the charming town of Zermatt.
That evening, we had an incredible multiple course meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant in our hotel called “After Seven.” Delicious! (Though quite long- we were there until midnight!) SO much food.
Friday: Our last day on the mountain and we got so lucky as the tram to Italy was open!
It had been closed for the first 3 days due to high winds. Getting to where you cross the border was quite an adventure, but worth it. I mean, how cool is it to snowboard or ski from Switzerland to Italy?
Of course, we all took pictures on the border line, with one foot in Italy and one in Switzerland! So neat.
To be perfectly honest though, the first real run after a lot of catwalks in Italy was really challenging- it was steep, icy, windy, and crowded with everyone else who also wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to ski into Italy. (The Italian ski area is called Cervinia, fyi.)
Anyways, I had a bit of a minor meltdown on this challenging Italian run where I did not feel skilled enough to get down, and Dustin had to patiently talk me through it….the experience was a hit to my confidence too, and I think a lot of snowboarding is about confidence, so once that was down, I struggled a bit the rest of the day and fell quite a few times and was just not snowboarding well. I had been feeling so good after the lesson!
Anyways, after the Italian runs, we headed back to Switzerland pretty quickly, as the winds had picked up and if the tram had to close, there’s a chance you could be stuck on the Italian side, and either have to pay for a hotel there, or pay for a helicopter ride back to Switzerland! None of us wanted to do that, so we quickly made our way back to Switzerland and had a full afternoon there, ending with an après-ski at an igloo bar. I had a mulled wine, and yes, we did still have to snowboard just a bit to get a train back to our hotel, but I took things very slowly!
Saturday: Dustin and I went for a frigid (-11C, or 4F) run in the morning, just another 5k, before we caught the train back to Zurich.
We had time to kill before our flight back to London, so we went back into the city center for a late lunch and wander, before taking the train back to the airport to catch our flight back to Heathrow. We were home by 9 pm (and so happy to see the pups!), but we hadn’t eaten dinner; between unpacking and dinner, we didn’t get to bed until midnight, which probably didn’t set me up for a successful long run the next day…
Sunday: We slept in a bit (of course, we never really sleep in as Ruth wants her breakfast at 5:30 am every day, but after she eats, she’ll go back to sleep.) Dustin said he’d run with me, which was probably a bad idea to start with since I had a lot of factors working against me: fatigue/soreness from a week of snowboarding, dehydration and fatigue from travel, under-fueling (we were low on groceries when we got home), etc. From the start of the long run, I felt really out of breath; every time we would pause for a traffic light, I would get a bit dizzy. I felt like my heart rate was so high- I was working much too hard and really did not feel right. Somehow with a lot of breaks, I managed 13.1 miles, but it was the worst I had felt on a long run in quite some time, especially since it wasn’t even hot! It was 53F, or 12C. Not terrible at all, but I think all those other factors really added up and caused me to have a tough run. I am hoping that the rough run was a one-time thing and training for Barcelona will get back on track this week…
Summary: Just 27 miles of running. Not much for me at all. No strength work, just snowboarding.
With just 8 weeks to go until Barcelona, and 2-3 of those as the taper, I do need to buckle down and get back at it. We have minimal travel plans between then and now, so it should be much easier to get in the runs (I hope!)
And here are a few more pictures of the Matterhorn and/or Zermatt. So pretty. An amazing trip, and a great group of people to share it with.
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