We were on holiday last week - a week in the Swiss alps, very nice. The day after we arrived, I got a text message from my brother-in-law Simon asking whether I fancied doing the OMM Elite with him in a few weeks time. The guy he usually partners up with for mountain marathons is a little bit injured at the moment, and he'd worked his way to the bottom of the list of alternatives so I got the text. I've done the LAMM a few times but have never planned on doing the OMM because the weather is usually rubbish, but this seemed like a good opportunity to go and do something different with Simon. Luckily I was in just the right place last week to do some last minute hill training.
We were staying in Veysonnaz, a small ski resort in the Valais canton whose name means "sunny place" and last week it was indeed. The resort is at an altitude of about 1300m, and most of my runs last week were in the 1300m to 1700m height range. The air was noticeably thinner at the beginning of the week but I adapted to it within a couple of days and can notice the difference now I am running back at sea level. We did a few family walks with me carrying a wriggly two year old in a back pack so carrying half a tent, a sleeping bag and some food in a couple of weekends time shouldn't be too bad.
The region we were staying in is becoming well known for the "bisses" - irrigation channels that have been cut across the steep mountain slopes to provide water to the orchards and villages. Some of the bisse are hundreds of years old, and since they are pretty much level and have nice trails running next to them, they are brilliant to run along. I ran along a few of the bisse in the area, but the nicest was probably the Grande Bisse de Vex.