Trail running wish list


Top left: Quechua multi-use head band – £6.99

Top middle: SUUNTO Ambit2 Sapphire – £499.99 (free delivery)

Top right: The North Face Women’s solid flex crew shirt – £25.99

Middle left: Quechua Trail Raid Skort – £16.99

Middle: Salomon trail short tights – £40.00

Middle right: Salomon Skin S-lab 5 set backpack -£120

Bottom left: SAUCONY Kinvara TR 2 Ladies Trail Running Shoes – £89.99 (free delivery)

Bottom middle: The North Face Better Than Naked hat – £22

Bottom right: Smartwool Womens PhD Running Light Mini Sock – £13


Review: New Balance Leadville 1210


The lovely people at New Balance gave me a pair of their much admired and much talked about Leadville 1210 ultra-trail running shoe, named after the legendary 100-mile race. I adore my good all rounder 870v2 road trainers reviewed here, so I was looking forward to trying out a pair of trail shoes. First impressions are that they look and feel really well made and solid, and I love the colour and design. The key features of the Leadville are its N2 cushioning, a REVlite® midsole and Vibram® outsole to cushion and protect you during your run.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure it was the best idea to try them out for the first time on a 15k Alpine trail run! Initially, I had some foot pain, which is more linked to my weird feet than the shoe. I’ve had problems in the past when I have a lot of sole under foot. However, after stretching them a bit and bending them, the pain abated and I was able to run properly on them. As with my other New Balance trainers, they are very lightweight and are a good fit. I’ve not had any blisters at all with either of my trainers.

If you want an attractive, solid and extremely well made shoe with excellent grip and cushioning, then I would recommend giving these a try!

£99.99 RRP

Diva rating: 4/5
rating 4 of 5

Alpine trail running day 5: The final day – what a week!


Yesterday I was strapped up like a mummy, but I still had knee pain in the morning so I had some rest this morning and let my knee settle down and went for an 11.5k run this afternoon instead.

This week has been fantastic and extremely challenging, probably more so than the climbing trips I’ve been on, but for different reasons. Bigs thanks go to Sarah and Kingsley for organising the trip and putting up with me trailing behind. 🙂 Also, thanks to Mike from Magic Hands physio for patching me up at the end of each day.

Here are the things I will take away with me:

1) I suck on hills. I thought I was good, but I really need to work on this.

2) I have an imbalance in the strength and flexibility of my legs and need to work on improving my left leg to match my right.

3) Running in the heat is tough.

4) Running at altitude is tough.

5) Trail running is much more fun, challenging and interesting than road running.

6) It’s OK to run for fun, stop and admire the view and have a break. Nobody is going to chastise you for this.

7) Running isn’t always about PBs – sometimes it’s about getting out in the fresh air and enjoying yourself.

8) It’s OK to run without your Garmin every once in a while.

9) I need more trail running in my life!

Total weekly mileage: 51 miles

If you fancy a trip like this, Icicle run trail running camps from June to September in Chamonix for £599 (excluding flights and transfers). Flying from Luton to Geneva costs around £100 return all year round with EasyJet and Cham-van offer a great transfer service for approx 55 euros return.


Alpine trail running day 4: The one with the taping


So this morning I woke up and immediately thought ‘I can’t do this’ so I emailed in to quit, but a little voice in my head told me to man up and get my sh*t together. My knee has been giving me grief due to muscle fatigue causing me to roll my knee in and it’s taken a bit of a beating with the 44 challenging miles I have covered this week. Still, I’ve had it checked out and I’m all taped up and good to go for another day with no lasting damage. I just have some homework to do that involves focussing entirely on working and bulking up my left leg and doing a lot of stretching in my left leg to get the range of movement at least to the level of my right leg.

Today we ran the other part of the Mont Blanc marathon route from the finish to Argentiere. Fortunately, the weather broke so it was nice and cool (around 22 degrees) and raining, making for much easier running conditions. The route was mostly undulating, with a lot of down hill.

Total distance covered: 15km


Alpine trail running days 2 and 3: More hills and the Mont Blanc marathon route

Day 2: Chamonix – Bel lachet hut – Les Houches


At the Bel Lachat hut, with Aiguille Verte behind.

I arrived at the meeting point for the second day of trail running and was told I was going up more hills. Eek. Off we set then – immediately up a steep hill towards the Bel Lachet hut some 2000m up. Parts of path were shaded in trees and other parts were more exposed. It was extremely hot (32 degrees) as we were on the south facing side of the hill.

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 20.43.50

The snow line is unusually low this time of year so we had to traverse some sections of steep snow, which is pretty hairy in trainers! At one point we saw a professional trail runner walking too on a steep stretch, so it made me feel much less guilty for walking rather than running (more like shuffling!) on the same stretch. Having got to hut, we headed across and down to Les Houches. On the way down I started to feel a twinge in my knee. I’d already booked in a sports massage and was hoping he could help out. The massage, as always, was extremely painful, but just what I needed to loosen up my leg muscles! He’s also explained that, when I get back, I need to build on strengthening my left leg.

Here is a short video sneak peek at my trail running on day 2.

Total distance: 22km

Day 3: Chamonix to Vallorcine via the Mont Blanc marathon route


Today I was a little apprehensive. Every time I go for a 5k run at home, I feel as though I might have to stop after 1km (it doesn’t seem to get easier with time for me!). Add to that the fact that you have covered 39.2km over 2 days and have a twinge in your knee and you have a recipe for a potential freak out. Having found out the the route was going to be flatter today (there is no such thing as flat here by the way people), I decided to suck it up and get on with it.

We headed out on the Mont Blanc marathon route from Chamonix towards Vallorcine.  Whilst the hills and the views over the mountains have been stunning, this really was a pretty run. I love running past luscious green fields listening to the sound of cow bells. My favourite section was the forest path, which was lovely and clear and undulating within my comfort level (ie, not an unrelenting hill or mountain!).

My knee did start to seize up a bit at about 10km, so we stopped to dunk my knee in a crystal clear and ice cold stream.

My nose has been streaming all week and we suspect it might be hay fever (spring has arrived very late here) so I am now ratting around with hayfever drugs, pain killers, and supplements.

More hills again tomorrow. 🙂

Total distance: 16.5km