After that was off out to Chamonix to run the Marathon de Mont Blanc (as a bit of prep for the CCC) and do some walking/crampon stuff. First up though was Mark doing the Mt Blanc Cross which is the half marathon that is all up hill (at least in the full version the extra climb gives you an enjoyable descent). With ideal weather (overcast) it was great fun up at the finish watching them come in and Mark finished well up the order in just over 3 hours, so setting the standard! However, he did at least have the decency to be knackered at the end.
With a nice early start the day dawned for the marathon and it decided it was going to be hot and sunny, great for the suntan - erm no not with my celtic type skin! Felt rubbish setting off, but was probably good as it meant I just toddled along at a nice easy pace and didn't go mad up the big climb in the middle (Col de Possette). The descent off there was a tiny bit rocky, but nothing like your average Lakes fell race and once on the zig zags it was nice to be descending and not feeling like the usual rubbish descender I am. On the last part of the race I felt really good, with early sluggishness having worn off and charged along (well for me), although the cheeky uphill finish was a bit horrible. Anyway, race in bag and beer in hand it was a great day and finished off by the awesome buffet laid on by the race - inc beer and wine (that's just so french). James who is one of the owners of the chalet we stayed in had a great day out and finished within his estimated time, no mean achievement considering he became a new dad that week (to the v.cute Theadora)!
Back to earth with a bump after this as we had 3 days with a guide doing some alpine stuff. I struggled a bit with all this and didn't really get over to the guide the type of stuff I could do and ended up getting dragged up Petite Aguille Verte which just scared the pants out of me as there were some tricky bits, couldn't really see where guide had gone and it was as busy as Striding Edge on a bank hols! Mark did really well and rounded the 3 days of on the Cosmiques Arrete.
Finishing the week off James took Mark off rock climbing and he is now officially a crag rat!