The random melody of cowbells provides the soundtrack to my twice daily run routine here in St Moritz; it is always an uplifting clatter as I skip past with increasing grace and harmony, slowly adapting to the nature of the mountain trails.
Having travelled extensively, viewing vast African vistas to exploring far reaching National Parks in the US, it is here in these Alps that I feel most at home.
Maybe it is the familiarity and scent of the pine forest and fresh alpine meadows from my childhood summers spent at the family’s homely farmhouse retreat in the Austrian Alps. There, as far back as I can remember, I would explore the lush rolling fields on the hillsides, often to be found surrounded by wild flowers, raking up the drying hay and helping to herd the cows across the pastures in the friendly shadow of snow capped peaks.
My parents met at the top of the Habicht (3,277m) in the Stubai Alps of Austria and my grandparents and great-grandparents were all active in the mountains, so perhaps it is quite simply ingrained in the soul.
Mountains bestow a very special solace in which normal references to time and distance are no longer perceived as relative to one another. Running becomes woven directly into the landscape. Tracks and trails lead onward to the lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Valleys traverse to peaceful cols whilst passing majestic rocky summits.
It is here that I am working to develop deep muscular and cardiovascular strength. Both this strength and the vitality of immersing myself in the very essence of my running will provide the foundation to my build towards the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as to the adventures and challenges beyond!