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If you think I'm nuts for hiking through the Alps after running a marathon... you're wrong.

 


 

            I ran the Berlin Marathon in September of 2023. I was average at best, but I’m from Boston and hell-bent on qualifying for the Boston Marathon, it’s a highly sought after life bucket list item. Some people are just so fast, ya’know? Most marathoners in their post marathon days revel in the glory of their well-earned medal, take brag worthy Instagram posts and share stories of the miles they ran and how much they have grown from their experience. Most carve out recovery time, put their feet up and relax after six long months of disciplined training along with wear and tear on the body. All of this is normal behavior.
            I, however, did not do that. I am a competitor. Always have, always will be. Former college athlete, running marathons and Ironman’s is my new outlet. But that’s not enough. I have to climb mountains, and lots of them. Contrary to popular opinion, I love to do it alone. I am now quite used to the normal reaction of, “Wow, do you ever feel scared to hike alone,” or, “Is it, like, safe?” My personal favorite as of late is, “Ok, so you ran a marathon, then hiked 150 miles through the Alps… You’re insane.” It usually comes with a casual shaking of the head and a bit of laughter, but I can promise you I am not insane. That was the trip of a lifetime.

           
I’ll start by saying yes, I am a thirty-year-old young female that likes to wander off into the woods alone, but I do so safely. I plan meticulously for months, scout weather, read blogs, plan where I’ll be and when, and find inclement weather plans to name a few. I also always travel with my Garmin InReach satellite phone, and someone knows where I am at all times. I’m not THAT crazy. Disclaimer: I do have friends. They just don’t like the woods as much as I do.
            But yes, I did hike 150 miles through the Alps the day after I ran a major marathon. There is something uniquely special about achieving something physically demanding on the body, choosing to do something challenging that most wouldn’t dream of doing. I hopped on a train the day after a few celebration beers and bratwursts in Germany and was hiking to elevations of 2800m on the Tour du Mont Blanc that very day.
            I started in Les Houches near Chamonix and made my way toward the French/Italian border, then the Switzerland/Italian border, then across the Switzerland/French border. I camped the whole way, gazed at the different angles of the Mont Blanc Massif. I felt alone and nervous yet so free, and elated, and unstoppable. A quick snapback to reality had me sprinting across a golf course in Chamonix at 6AM so I wouldn’t miss my BlaBlaCar ride taking me to Milan.
            I rode with a Frenchman, a lovely Italian woman, and young man from Switzerland. They spoke fluently to each other, exchanging phrases in French, Italian, and English. I think English was out of sympathy for me to participate, as here I was the English-speaking American smelling like a mountain woman.

           
From Milan, I made it to South Tyrol, a small town in the Northeastern Italian Dolomites. To my surprise I noticed a heavy German influence here. I stayed a night at the lovely Hotel Lago di Braies, had a proper shower, and hit the trail. Lacking time (I had a close college friend getting married in Florence, as well as cousins who recently moved to there I needed to see) I did portions of the Alta Via 1 and Tre Cime di Lavaredo. I missed the via ferratas, but they are tugging at my heartstrings to come back for more.
I’m not done. March 2025 I have a full Ironman in New Zealand. I’ll give you one guess what I’ll be doing after. Be fearless. Defy the odds. And go all in. Let people think you’re “nuts.” I think they’re the ones missing out.


 


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