Altitude training

After spending two weeks at an altitude 3000 feet higher than Lausanne, I thought I’d attempt an 8K tempo run at 10K race pace. I only managed half marathon pace. Maybe it has something to do with fatigue, eating fried food every few days…or possibly all that whipped cream in my coffee and ice-cream once or twice a day. Being camp cook does have its perks!

Gotta run…

(pictures added on the camp posts)


D 378

Even though French roads are narrow and have no shoulder, they do have one convenient feature for runners. No need for a fancy GPS system or pedometer to know how far you’ve gone, because every kilometer there is a “borne” (stone marker) indicating the road number. Very satisfying for those of us who feel compelled to count and time everything.

Gotta run…


St Eulalie

The tiny village of St Eulalie is the closest thing to civilization around here. Previously I was able to talk other runners into making the round trip to the village with me (miss you Katie and Corey), but no takers this year. It’s a pretty good long run (12.5 K), except that St Eulalie’s elevation is 1280 meters and camp is at 1450. Do the math. That’s a 170 meter climb back to camp. At least I kept cool with the strong headwind.

Gotta run…


Camp, 2

I packed all my old race t-shirts for camp. The white cotton Lausanne Marathon and Lausanne 20K shirts are perfect for KP. I wear them one day in the kitchen, then later on a run (I’m mindful of the laundry staff). Some people I pass read “Lausanne” aloud and probably wonder what I’m doing so far from home. I bet they’d never guess I’m here cooking for 172 people. Of course, a week ago I would have never guessed I’d be here cooking for 172 people.

Gotta run…



Last night, after 14 hours straight in the kitchen, I went for a quick run to the Mont Gerbier and back (5 K) to unwind and catch the sunset. Since it was only the second full day of our 15 day camp, I decided it would be wise to pace myself; so today I’m taking a 3 hour break. Just like a marathon, camp is all about pacing and endurance.

Gotta run...


Cross training

Cross training is not something I schedule very often, but that I do when it’s cold or rainy and I can’t seem to get motivated to go out for a run. I’ve watched whole seasons of Monk, Lost, the 4400, the Muppet Show, Seinfeld, and many, many movies while riding my stationary bike. 42 minutes (the time it takes to watch a 1 hour show without the commercials) is just about right. By then I’m completely drenched in sweat and fed up with going nowhere fast.

Gotta run...


Over the hill

As a runner, when I turned 50 I didn’t get older but younger. I’m now the youngest in my age group, just a whippersnapper. To celebrate this newfound youth, I decided to enter as many races as possible this year. At the starting line, I look around and try to figure out who is in my age group. Is that woman older than she looks? Is that other woman younger than she looks?

Although some 70 year olds can leave me in the dust, it’s nice to know I’m in good enough shape to outrun most people half my age.

Race you to the top of the next hill.



Nadia is the exception to the rule. She goes bobbing past our kitchen window every day at her blistering pace (I can overtake her by walking briskly), but never says hello to anyone. You may wonder how I know the name of someone who refuses to greet others. We gave her a random name because it is easier to say, “there goes Nadia” than to say, “there goes the girl who runs funny and won’t say hi.”

Gotta run...


Breaking the reserve

The Swiss are somtimes considered cold, but actually they are just reserved. There is a friendly person inside most of them trying desperately to break out. This is shown in the fact that runners not only greet each other, but they also automatically get past the formality barrier. You don’t address another runner with the formal “vous” but with the familiar “tu”. (This may not seem like a big deal for an English speaker, but it is. It took Mom’s neighbor 17 year to work up the courage to call Mom “tu.”) At the start of a race it’s, “la forme?” (“in shape?”); during the race, “croche” (“hang on”); and at the end, “bravo” or “tu m’as tiré en avant” (“you pulled me along”). No wonder so many are racing regulars.


“That’s nutrition!”

After my run this morning, I didn’t reach for the sports drink (let’s face it, an acquired taste), because I recently read here that a glass of chocolate milk is just as effective as Gatorade for recovery after a run. This is truly great news.

Gotta run to the store for more milk.


Personal best?

Saturday I lined up with 60 other women for the first ever Women Sport Evasion 7 K. The announcer told us there would be prizes for the first 8 finishers and a special prize for the most "smiley" runner. One woman took off like a jackrabbit. In 5 minutes, we lost sight of her as well as the man on the bike leading the way. From then on, 3 of us took turns leading the others (the blind leading the blind), sometimes stopping and backtracking looking for clues to indicate the way. We briefly caught sight of the leader near the turn, and later ran into runners on the same path going the opposite direction! Near the finish, the race director started yelling at us to turn around, which we did reluctantly and followed the women who had been behind us (a scene from the Three Stooges, or what?). I just knew we would all be disqualified, but when we crossed the finish line, some of the earlier finishers were trying to explain that the 3 of us stragglers had actually been ahead of them. All was eventually sorted out. Everyone recieved a consolation prize. Six of us got Casio watches, and nothing more was said about the "smiley" award. I don’t think I can honestly take credit for my 28’50’’ finish. But one thing is certain, the winner was the only one to log a true 7 K that day.


Speed work

Every time I see C., for whom racing is lucrative since he often wins prize money, he encourages me to do speed work. So the other morning I set out for the Olympic stadium, one of the fastest tracks in the world, located a mere 10 minute jog from my house. Had any serious runners been training there, I probably would have chickened out, but it was just the grounds-keeper and me. Starting on the inside lane and working my way out, I sprinted the straight-aways and jogged the turns (ok, so I walked a couple of the turns). Question is, is the pain worth it in order to shave a few seconds off my 10 k time? Well, if prize money were involved…

Gotta run...



I used to have one pace: as fast as my feet would carry me. This strategy finally led to a substantial mileage cutback, because recuperating after a run became an issue. Old habits die hard, and I admit I still end up with negative splits on most of my runs, but I’ve decided to slow down, enjoy myself more, and not end up gasping for air the whole time.

Gotta run...


Racing Paradise

You know the Lausanne area is truly a racing paradise by the number of races held within a stone’s throw. A warm-up jog takes me to the starting line of the Lausanne 20 K in April, a challenging climb from the lake to the city center and back; the Lausanne Marathon in October, along Lake Geneva; or the Christmas Midnight Run, through the cobblestone streets of the old city with its 12th century cathedral. I can get to a dozen more races on my bike, 20 or so are less than 30 minutes away by car, and at least 50 more within an hour’s drive.
Gotta run...