For the past few months I’ve been in ‘secret’ training. After 6 months of inactivity following a chronic calf injury, I started running again when the lockdown started. This was mainly because I was unable to walk high up into the mountains due to the snow. Not wishing to get a recurrence of the injury, I started slowly, like I’d never run before, doing 4km (2.5 miles) here and 5km (3 miles) there, before increasing it gradually to maybe 10km (6 miles).
I then received an email telling me that the Swiss Alpine series of races covering 10, 23, 43 and 68 km was going ahead – though slightly altered due to the virus. Two races would on the Saturday and two on the Sunday and competitors would have to wear masks at the start and (obviously) be aware of social distancing. There would be restricted feed stations and no after-race presentation ceremony.
This coincided with me having just walked 23km and ascended almost exactly the same height as the K23 race. Now any runner will tell you that there is a certain buzz about competing and being involved in any race (even if you are never likely to win or to do a PB/Personal Best). So I entered the K23. The other 3 races were based in Davos, but my race would go from Klosters to Davos. It’s a 5 hour drive across Switzerland from Evolène, so Jude and I decided to make a bit of a holiday out of it, by also extending our stay to the Engandine valley – but more of that in future posts. 😊
Then disaster struck! Exactly 2 weeks before the race, I went out for my last ‘long’ run (well, 1h 30 mins) and after only 20 minutes my heel started to hurt. Rather foolishly, I carried on for another 5 minutes, hoping it would go away, but no joy. So I limped home.
Ever the optimist, I figured it would be fine in 2 weeks and I’d at least be able to jog around the course in the 4 hour 30 min time limit. But that was not to be, as my achilles was still sore, even the day before the race. So I would be a DNS (Did Not Start).
But, we’d made plans to go and off we went. Although through some amazing scenery, there was not much to report about the journey across as it rained off and on all the way. (So no pictures of that I’m afraid).
On the morning of the race, Jude and I decided to take the cable car up from Klosters to Gotschnagrat to walk to the top of the Gruenhorn (@2,500m / 8,200 ft) and from there across to Casanna (@2,557m / 8,390 ft).
In the afternoon we drove over the Fluelapass to the Engadine valley and to our next accommodation in Majola. This took us through St Moritz and we noticed a game of polo was underway (which turned out to be part of an 8 team Summer Tournament). Neither of us had ever having seen this sport being played live before, so we stopped to take in the atmosphere.