What is it about the mountains?

“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are cathedrals where I practice my religion” — Anatoli Boukreev

What a beautiful morning it is today!  I haven’t posted in a couple weeks because so much has been happening with the plans for the Tour de France that I’ve gotten swept up in it all!  Yesterday I headed out for a run in Shenandoah Nat’l Park – have to get to the mountains to train as much as possible now, so that I’m ready for the elevation on the Tour!  This is probably my favorite part of the preparation though – I daydream about it all week.  Even just the drive out to Charlottesville is worth it, cruising along Garth Road (one of my favorite residential stretches in VA) and then driving down past the Charlottesville Reservoir and into Sugar Hollow, where I’ve gone the last two weeks.  All the roads there have names like “Quail Hollow Drive” and “Fallen Leaf Lane” or “Whippoorwill Hollow”.  And then there’s the run, and the frigid stream crossings, and the view at the top, and the complete solitude of it all.  Come springtime the area will be crowded with weekend visitors and AT hikers, but right now I go for a couple hours without seeing anyone.  And some of the stream crossings are thigh-high, and I cannot wait until it’s warm enough to jump in the hidden swimming holes on the side trails.  We got a little bit of snow Friday, and yesterday the streams were half-frozen and the trails snowed over.  My CamelBak actually froze, which I hadn’t considered beforehand, but then I realized I was surrounded by untouched mountain snow.  H2O doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Leaving RVA behind for the day and hitting the mountains is the best way to wind down a long week, and what a long, busy week it was!  I’m happy to announce that Clif Bar will be providing product for the run, which I am so stoked about!  Alex and I have been continuing to meet with World Pediatric, and their enthusiasm for this project is honestly contagious.  I am so happy we get the opportunity to partner with them!  We are planning some very cool things, T-shirt fundraisers and Monument Ave 10k activities and some fun events before we leave for France.  Alex and I would also like to do a poster campaign – since he is so talented artistically, we’ll be choosing the most stunning images and/or creating unique, funky designs to have screen-printed and sent to supporters of the run and donors. Currently we’re working to settle on a “Run Le Tour” logo and once we have that set we’ll go from there.

As things move forward, I’ll be posting quick updates and training photos via my Facebook page, “Zoë Goes Running” so please check it out and like the page to see what’s happening and all the fun things we’ve got planned for before the Tour!  I’ll be sharing details on a new website for the run there, and here on the blog as well.

Here are some photos from the run yesterday.  The footing was kinda technical throughout because of the rocks and the untracked snow, and though I managed to handle the terrain just fine, I ate dirt while trying to step over a knee-high chain.  Somehow I’m not surprised.



Author: zoegoesrunning

Hello! I'm a runner, a writer, and have run across the United States and the Tour de France course. Most recently, I'm blogging about my adventures in an MFA program that will bring me to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, and my teaching plans for Argentina.

2 thoughts on “What is it about the mountains?”

  1. I remember how the mountains were an important part on your US run, I liked the day when we both sat on the warm asphalt somewhere in the flat and endless New Mexico and we talked about that big mountain that was laying behind us. You said that you are happy there are mountains on this run because they work as milestones. When you run towards them you see progress because they are getting bigger with every mile, and when you passed them you can look back and see what you have accomplished while they get smaller and disappear on the horizon.

    Lets move mountains! 😉

  2. In 1972 I had the most amazing trip through the Shenandoah National Park…I could hardly breathe, it wasn’t lack of air or the altitude…it was purely the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the deep valleys and the constant interaction with deer , bears, hawks, eagles, and other wildlife sharing with me their natural world. It was a trip I would never forget and since have returned to the Blue Ridge several times …each trip again takes my breath away and I leave filled with yet a greater yearning to return.

    Who would have known back then , 40 years ago that I would go on to marry a very sweet and beautiful woman who also takes my breath away ! And who could have known that we would have four loving children who bring to our daily lives so much to be happy about…and who could have even thought that one day , Zoë , our third child and second daughter, would be running the Blue Ridge Trails and having her breath taken just as I did 40 years ago!

    So soon it’s on to France where new mountains await your feet and the alpine vistas , a happy thief , will steal your breath. And as the long run comes to an end, the yearning to return will likely overwhelm you ….. who’s to know what 40 more years will bring.

    Run the Tour like no other Sparky !! and 40 years later revisit your journey with me in your right sneaker and Mom in your left !

    With great pride and even more love ! Dad ( your #1 Fan )

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