Race Weekend - Chamonix, France

Originally posted on July 16th, 2016

It’s hard to appreciate experiences while they’re unfolding in real time. For the past three summers, my family has been participating in a series of trail races that take place in Chamonix and a few weeks ago I got to return to France for another go at “race weekend”. It was a whirlwind of events, and yet it felt rather unexciting at the time.

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It wasn’t until I started recounting the highlights of the trip to my friends that I started to feel an incredible weight of enthusiasm for what just happened. I ran the Marathon du Mont Blanc. After two years of attempting this 10,000ft beast, I finally crossed the finish line. What should have been an incredibly cathartic experience just kind of fell flat upon finishing. Maybe it’s because I was more prepared this time and knew I would cross the finish line. Maybe I was bummed that my partner wasn’t there to share in the experience. Maybe this race just wasn’t a big deal to me anymore.

To be fair, I guess the cathartic moment I was looking for occurred when my sister crossed her 80km finish line. Woo and I ran our first marathon in 2014, but since then she has crossed into another dimension of long distance trail running. Her passion for grueling, high elevation ultras is inspiring and slightly concerning. At 24 years old, she not only completed her first official 80km, but she finished 4th in her age group and 6th overall female. While I’m bragging for her, I should also mention that this race included 21,000ft of vertical gain and occurred in 90-degree weather. Plain and simple, she is so cool.

Still, it’s strange to appreciate these experiences after the fact. The other night, I was looking through my photos of the races and all of a sudden I felt an enormous amount of pride. The numbness I had previously felt just sort of lifted and I was left with this wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Why now? Why not three weeks ago?

Side note: I would also be doing a disservice to my parents if I didn’t mention that they both excelled in their races, too. Dad finished 2nd in his age group for the vertical kilometer, and Mom ran her 23km through torrential rain, hail, and lightening storms. The only member of our family who seriously failed in every athletic way possible was Mason. But it’s ok. Not everyone can be athletically gifted…

Here are a few of the shots from the trip.