Building confidence on the trails and in my body, I reflect with gratitude following a month in France.

Each run experience fosters my quest for self discovery; learning, adapting and growing with each new alpine terrain and trail. With a month here in France coming to and end, no rubrics or grades, simply a personal reflection of progress and areas for focus ahead.  


I need to  remember that the term running must be used loosely here in the French Alps regardless of the language spoken; it must be envisioned with an open mind to accept the inclusion of power hiking, crossing glacial ice, waterfalls and lurking animals while excluding any concern for pace and mileage.

Allowing numbers, such as those associated with speed or distance, to dictate the outcome or how I reflect upon an activity is so wrong yet, on too many days thus far, such a struggle to move away from.  Not easy but in my attempt to do so, I donated my GPS watch,  making due simply knowing what time of day it is. This adventure is aimed to be learning about myself, exploring and giving attention to the mountains in my mind, not to studying statistics or comparing quantitative data.  


Arriving in Val D’isere the day following the High Trail Vanoise Ultra was a gift for route planning. Red, green, blue, yellow, orange and purple dots all served as trail markers for the races which inspired and helped alleviate worry of getting lost. With any vision only coming from my left eye, things only go wrong when the race trail marker is obviously right hand dominant. Mixing colours over the course of the month in France made for numerous options to challenge myself. In addition, clearly marked Grande Randonnée (Grand Route)  trails were assuring and more visible to me than the markings in Andorra. All said, onward to Italy feeling more comfortable finding my way, both on the trails and my path ahead.


Throughout this global adventure, the variety of terrain each new country and every new trail will provide, is intended to challenge my comfort zone.  I feel my experience in France has allowed me to build on the fitness that began to develop in Andorra; while visible trail markings helped foster a sense of independence, the mountain running challenged, while the views inspired.

With every new trail, I am becoming more aware of the realms of comfort with my vision. Finding the appropriate challenge that lends itself to confidence building rather than frustration and doubt is a finite equation. I must continue to develop patience and embrace everything each trail throws under my feet.

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