This past summer saw us wrapping up our four years in France, and this particular quatorze juillet – la fête nationale -( what we foreigners call ‘Bastille Day’ )- I turned 40. We spent the weekend of my birthday in the breathtakingly beautiful village of Val d’Isere – as there was a trail race that I wanted to see if I could finish.
On the Saturday there were some kids races. Our kids were kind of nervous about it…seeing that they’ve only ever been in one other race – and it sure didn’t look like this one. It didn’t help when the other kids started to show up – and a bunch of them were wearing their running-club warm-up gear, and shirts from previous alpine trail races.
(but…if I may boast a bit…..[our kids beat them!])
All three of them did amazing. Their races were not easy – but they ran so hard – it was truly impressive.
Sunday the 13th was our race. The ‘big’ race (65km with over 5000m of elevation gain) started at 5.30 or something. Our race – 32km and close to 3000m of elevation – didn’t start until 8.00 or so. Basically – I told Susan “If I wake tomorrow on my birthday – I will be in better shape when I’m 40 than at any other point in my life.” It was the “if” part that made her nervous.
While I was punishing my body with high-altitude endurance racing…my kids were doing this….
..which is probably fair. It was my mid-life crisis, not theirs, after all.
and…yes I did finish. (and also…did wake up the next morning.)
Val d’Isere is just a spectacularly beautiful part of the world – no matter how you look at it.
It was a pretty fantastic week-end. And defiantly a memorable way to spend my 40th birthday.
I shot some video along the way – that I’ve thrown together here. No editing or anything – so it’s a full 5 minutes…but if you want it gives a bit of an understanding of the absolutely breathtaking scenery we ran through.