What is it with the alps that keeps me going back year after year? The Gore-Tex Transalpine Run (despite being one of the most challenging international stage races on the circuit), has indeed become a part of my yearly routine. Some people, my mom for example, view the race as a painful & daunting path I take and she wonders why on earth I "put myself through it". My 90yo grandmother is convinced I won't have a knee cap left by the time I am 45. I have had others ask me why I don't move on and try other races. All valid points and believe me, I have had these conversations with myself (and with my husband) over the years, yet I still come back to the same thing: a deep love and appreciate for what this race has taught me, all of the memories I have built along the way and how it truly inspires me to be a wiser and stronger athlete and coach.
My history with this race has included a mix of celebration and sorrow. Two years in a row I finished solo after my partners had to drop out early in the race due to unforeseen injuries. Last year I got a stomach infection that took me out of the race for 1.5 stages, which resulted in my first unofficial finish. I ran with a muscle tear in my hip in 2014 & I lost my step mother while running stage 4 in Switzerland, in 2013. I have left a lot of grit throughout the Alps over the years, yet I can't help but feel all of these experiences are also part of the reasons why I return. TAR is a path I have chosen with gratitude and hard work ethic and despite it not always going as planned, the beauty, the camaraderie, culture and challenge far out weigh any of the hardships.
The truth of it is... I am still very happily living in an alps trance! I am extremely excited to head back with Carrie as my partner and she is another significant reason why I can't wait to return. This will be our third year running this race together and we have built a strong bond, true trust and a treasured friendship. We are both going to soak it up, embrace another year of it's competitors and culture and move forward with a strong determination to make this our best year yet.
I have been very fortunate to have a whole slew of supporters over the years and I am extremely excited to be welcomed back to the Salomon Team for my 4th year and to be a new ambassador on the Hammer Nutrition Canada team for 2016. Both of these brands have been an integral part of my training, racing and adventures over the years. I also feel very supported, celebrated and encouraged on my annual alps quest, by all my friends and family who are also are a treasured part of my journey year to year.