We sleep with the window open, we can hear the river running, the cow bells, the occasional dog barking, a bat rustling in the eaves and that’s it. Silence. Silence for some can be frightening. Time to be with your thoughts, to face your fears. I love it. Days in our house our loud, voices shout over each other to be heard, the mountains take no notice, at night we are shrouded in peace.
The sun rises behind the mountains on our left and when I set out early for training the valley is shrouded in mist, low lying clouds offering a glance of a glorious day to come. Straight out of our door I can climb up 1,500ft within a mile. My legs often feel tired, my calves especially have had a brutal introduction to the alps. As I begin the switch backs through the forest I break cobwebs, listening to the dog bustling around as slowly my breathing steadies and I get into a rhythm as we rise and rise up to the first summit of the day, feeling the sun touch my skin as we rise through the trees, sweat beginning to drip off my face, down my arms, 1,2,1,2 I count as I switch to a hike. Running here is not easy, its brutal. My feet feel battered from the rocks and stones, my knees ache from descending, sometimes my shoulders and even fingers hurt from climbing up rocks, but I love it. I never thought this move would intoxicate me so much. The air. The water. The people. The space. The peace. The simplicity of life and training. Most of all the unrelenting mountains. The unjudging mountains. They beat me every day. But they are becoming friends, I am beginning to know their curves, their undulations, where to stop to gather my breath, to have a moment to think without a child. I tell them my worries and they reassure me that the world continues to turn, the seasons will come and go, stop your worries I hear them whisper. Enjoy this time, embrace life, stop, look, feel, take a moment, don’t rush, breathe, breathe, breathe. They are helping me to get stronger both physically and mentally and both as a runner and as a mum. If I can do this I think, I can do anything. My boys love nothing better than pointing up the mountains and saying ‘My mum runs up that! Soon she is taking us too!’ (No rush I think!!)
So the summer time is passing, the sun is rising a little later over the ridge, the chill in the air lingers a little longer, the paths are well worn from hikers, I can bound up climbs now that I struggled to walk up a few months ago, I feel content in the mountains rather than out of place. I still have so much to learn, but feel I am a different athlete already. Every morning I take a breath, listen to the mountains and turn up the trail. I feel the strength seeping into my spirit This is real life, its hard, its relentless, its breathtaking, but the view at the top is always always worth the effort. I take a breath, pat the dog, turn and head down the trail. I am truly happy. We already call this place home.