Before UTMB week I stayed by myself in a chalet in Les Villards-sur-Thônes - a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. The chalet was in a beautiful location halfway up one hill overlooking the mountains. I was there for a week and spent a lot of time sitting by the open door watching the light change - my favourite and underused pastime. Birds of prey circled all around, and the owner's cat Milflou became a friend and hung out a lot with me, drinking water directly from the running tap.
It sounds and should have been idyllic but I had problems sleeping. I lay in bed for hours at night listening to animals scampering around the chalet. I was still doing too much running and walking and it felt like my cortisol levels were way too high. Or tapering was making me feel strange (normal in running), or maybe I wasn't cut out for solitary wooden chalet life. Whatever.
However, the runs and walks around the area were beautiful though and I was struck by how much wood there was everywhere. I particularly wanted to live in one of the many crazy looking wooded outhouses/ storage places/chalets. I found an old mill at the bottom of my field and saw an otter. The sunlight made interesting reflections on the water.
I drove to Annecy, ran in 30 degree heat through the town and sat in the shallow waters of the stunningly beautiful lake. A lot of the local small towns around were out of season ski resorts. At La Clusaz in the rain I took a cable car up the mountain, had a coffee at a partially closed posh hotel at the top before running back down through misty alpine pastures.