One year ago on exactly this day, we got the key to our new home and so began our Swiss adventure.
Leaving Denmark behind was hard, but it has been a journey with so many fantastic experiences and learnings all summing up to a year we will never forget!! We are not flying around on pink clouds every day, but close to, and that underlines that we made a right choice. You can read about why we moved here.
New job-New School-New Languages-New Home-New Triathlon Club-New Friends-New (fantastic!!) Running Trails-Founding 5 Ways West-70 Days of Visits from back home-Exploring Switzerland-Travels to Italy, France, Spain, Denmark-Many days of Hiking, Skiing and Climbing…Living in the middle of Europe is an adventure.
Pictures say more than words, so here is a gallery of what our first year has been all about….
December: Turning an empty loft in to a home….Christmas, New Years and our first visitors from Denmark.
In January, real life began – and so did our Skiing season. For a Dane it’s simply fantastic to have so easy access to the mountains….
Ellinor & Louis at Enstligen Alp, Switzerland
Ellinor & Louis at Enstligen Alp, Switzerland
Winter turned in to Spring….. and almost every weekend was used to explore Switzerland or a neighboring country….You can read a little more about that here
The summer came later than we had expected …. but we kick-started it with a weekend at Ibiza celebrating our dear friends magical wedding, had several visits from friends and family, traveled to our favorit place in Denmark (Skagen) and France (Duniere-sur-Eyrieux), enjoyed the summer-liveliness of our own town (Solothurn – where one of us got a new haircut:-)) and rounded everything off by participating in our first up-hill mountain race. You can read about that here:
After a September with Indian Summer, Fall came….. and together with this, the most beautiful change of scenery on our hiking trips. You can see it here. Before we knew it, a year had passed and winter came back:
New adventures are waiting around the corner. First Christmas and New Year here in Switzerland, then a long weekend in Sainte-Foy-Tarenstaise (France) in January and La Santa (Lanzarote, Spain) in February.
When we moved to Switzerland from Denmark 8 months ago we decided that a part of our new life and adventure should include “mountain running”.
We live in the middle of the beautiful city of Solothurn and every day we look at the Jura mountains. As regular long distance runners and lovers of the outdoors, we have wanted to have a go at trail running and mountain ultras for some time…..and now have the perfect conditions in our “back yard” to actually do it. Just take a look at this scenery… The picture was taken on an early morning run.
Not everyday running for a Dane!! Long distance is fine, but we come from a country were the highest point is 170 m a.s.l. – so just thinking about running up a mountain is a challenge:-). The Weissensteinlauf has been held for 26 years and the event is a beautiful mountain race that leads you through the mysterious scenery in the St. Verena ravine over the vista point at the top of the race, the “Röti”, to the finishing line at the Hotel Weissenstein. Climbing the Röti was tough, but the view was absolutely worth almost throwing up your lungs.
As one of us was participating, why not make it a family event?! Sounds so straight forward, but with our family structure it requires a bit planning in advance. So…. The World’s best Gradma flew in from Denmark to cheer and look after our youngest children. Theo, who is our oldest age 12, had expressed that he also wanted to run, but we were, honestly, a bit unsure if it would be too big of a challenge for him. On the other hand, it would be an experience for life to do it together and not the least a learning session in mountain running. Theo is a good runner and recently started to practice triathlon….but we really believe that sport and the desire to compete has to come from your children, not from the parents(!). He was very insisting and motivated and we decided to try…underlying that it was more than ok to step out of the race at any time.
Yesterday we stood at the start line with the youngest participant in the race:-).
We had agreed that we would run all the way together, but our little man had so much energy in his legs, so after 7 km we decided that he was the boss. Leaving his slightly slower mom behind, he climbed the rest of mountain with his dad.
He truly has the willpower of an ox… and the biggest heart, so even after he crossed the finish line, he had the energy to run back to meet his mom so that we, as initially planned, could finish as a team.
We did it!!! Ran our first real uphill mountain race….. We did it because it challenged us, because it was different from what we have tried before…. and it was such a great experience! We got epic views, outstanding scenery, mountainous terrain over a soft surface, and the great reward of completing a major challenge together…. This is why you run uphill on a varm summer Sunday:-)
Emagine having your personal running coach with you on every run – no matter where you are in the World? A coach that follows every step you take, and along the way makes you both run faster, more efficiently and with a reduced risk of injuries?!
Sounds like a system that fits our lifestyle! We have tested SHFT.
The Virtual Running Coach is the first product in the World of its kind developed by leading Professors, Doctors, PhD’s, Professional Running Coaches, Elite Runners, Sports Scientists, Mathematicians, Data Scientists, and Developers to ensure the best approach to improve your running technique…… This is not just any kind of product. It’s a product based on years of research…. and validity is in our world a prerequisite to make a wearable interesting.
SHFT will not only inform you of basic running data like distance, pace, time, etc. (like regular apps and running watches) but will give you never before seen running data, like your impact, movement, efficiency and will coach you in real time while running, how to use these data, to improve yourself as a runner.
Especially the Watt measurement is one of the elements that helps to separate the SHFT from other existing products in the market. The team behind SHFT have deliberately chosen not to measure and monitor the runners’ heart rate. Pulse measurement is replaced by Watt measurement, which is supposed to be much more accurate and useful for runners who want to run more efficiently. In the cycling sport Watt has long been the cyclists most used metric as it very accurately puts numbers on their training efficiency
Take your running to the next level and run faster, stronger and longer….
The SHFT Virtual Running Coach is a brand new way to learn more about your run…. and it sounds so easy! Until now SHFT has mainly been branded through their SHFT Ambassadors (semi pro or pro runners)….We are not professionals (at all) but see running as an “add on” to our active lifestyle and believed that we, every day runners, could benefit a lot from the insight that the SHFT provides. Who doesn’t want to learn to run faster while using less energy and hereby prevent injuries?!
But we were, due to more reasons, a little skeptical when we initially started our testing:
Practical perspective: Neither of us ever run with headphones (we like to listen to the nature:-)) or bring our phone
Ego perspective: Running is for us a “free space”. We run because running brings joy and energy, but what happens when you suddenly change this space into a learning session? Instead of clearing your head, you now need to relate to a lot of data – will this effect the free space negatively?!
So…the SHFT was up for a challenge!
Testing…. while travelling!
The pod that is strapped into a chest strap, simultaneously with the pod on the right foot, measures how much you brake your run, how much you bounce your bodyangle and how much you lean forward, and not least, measures how many watts you use during your run.
We deliberately chose to initiate our test midst of a travel period as travelling plays a big role in our life and found that it was important to record how SHFT fitted this lifestyle. Further, it allowed us to try SHFT in different environments: hot, cold, rainy, hilly, mountains, flat etc.
It is very easy to get started. Big plus! And the interface of the app works brilliantly. It is easy to access data and you quickly get a feeling about what and how you need to improve and proceed.
The first time you use SHFT, the coach will do a test as “she” subsequently uses to determine where you need help to improve. This test is then repeated after 10 training sessions. Each session lasts for 3 x 6 minuts. At the end of each session you get a very constructive report. Here is an example:
Further there is a cool detail that is worth highlighting about SHFT:
Graphic animation of your foot (steps): After each run you can see a graphic 3D animation of where you land on your foot, how you set off and further get exercises on how you for instance can reduce ground contact time.
What did we learn?!
We learned a lot…for instance:
How to hold a constant pace, increase our numbers of steps per minute and hereby lower ground contact time and reduce the peak mechanical stress on our body – and so reduce the risk for developing impact related overuse injuries.
Found a joy in having the same coach with us, no matter where we travelled. A coach who was there for you, motivated etc. despite being virtuel. A funny addition was also, that the presence of the coach made me (Anna) feel safe, no matter where I ran…. Normally I am not so fond of running alone in new places!
That SHFT makes a strong mark by not just giving us objective numbers, but also to give us a subjective assessment of how good our running style is (called SHFT-score). It makes SHFT very easy and really fun to work with.
That it’s important to leave your SHFT at home for some of your runs…. Like a baby that learns to walk… It’s good to get a helping hand, but also important to let go, so you learn to integrate the new techniques in your system.
Honestly, we still do not like to run with our phones, but it is fully compensated by the very usable instructions you get from the coach…. and probably a hassle that will be erased with time and development.
SHFT has a lot of interesting perspectives…..and is definitely not just a tool for the professional runner. Emagine if SHFT could be used to help people recover after surgery?!
SHFT allows you and me to have access to our own private running coach on a daily basis. That being said, we absolutely believe that it is very important to maintain the social perspective that running also can provide! So SHFT is not going to kill running clubs or destroy business for personal coaches, but add value as these are not always available to you.
We will continue our journey with SHFT – we have a mountain run coming up in August – and plan to let our oldest son (age 12), who is also a runner, be the next ginny pig…. everyone should learn to run right and in all fairness it would be much easier if we got it right from the start – so why not try it on children?!
Lac Léman, Switzerland, on a very early morning in May 2016 as we were heading to Italy
…and how this relates to a weekend’s Getaway in Asti, Italy
Switzerland is famous for soaring mountains, clear lakes, watches, punctual trains – and legendary chocolate. Did you know that Swiss people are the World’s biggest chocolate consumers? Every year, the average Swiss person eats just under 10 kg of chocolate.
We love chocolate!!! But that is not why we moved here.
Switzerland is one of those countries you often hear about, but very few people have ever had a chance to visit let alone consider living there….and like every where in the World, the country has its advantages and disadvantages. We will not go deeper in to the pro’s and con’s as there are many excellent articles written about this topic, but we will share a story that underlines one of the major drivers that brought us here. Situated in the middle of Europe, Switzerland is simply the perfect location if you, like us, are an active outdoor-lover cloned with an adventurer who loves to travel and discover.
There are so many beautiful and interesting destinations within reach…. and we promised ourselves that we would exploit this, once we moved here. In our former life we had little… or actually no…space to be impulsive. Further, we lived in Denmark (and let us just underline that Denmark has a lot to offer – but NO mountains:-)) which meant that we often had to travel many hours to get somewhere… resulting in travels being planned and booked months in advance. Not that that is bad – but it, weather you like it or not, inhibits the ability to be spontaneous. You can learn more about why and how we travel here
Since our relocation to Switzerland in late December last year we have had so many great adventures…. and our weekendtrip to Asti, Italy, a few weeks back, was no exception.
Asti is located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and a 4 h drive from our home in Solothurn. We booked our accommodation 9 days in advance at the most fantastic and authentic Agriturismo (Tre Tigli located 10 km from Asti) – Italy’s best-kept accommodation secret! If you are not familiar with the concept learn more here.
Travel & sports
When we travel we always think about how we can incorporate physical activity as a companion, not an obstacle, no matter where we go. We are a family with quit differentiated ages and levels, but fortunately practice the same type of sports: Running, swimming, biking and hiking.
We decided to start in Asti as we knew that we had more travels in the calendar and wanted to learn what it’s like to work with the coach in different environments (hot, cold, rainy, hilly, mountains, flat etc) . Emagine having your personal running coach with you on every run – no matter where you are in the World? A coach that follows every step you take, and along the way makes you both run faster, more efficiently and with a reduced risk of injuries?! We are currently compiling our experiences and will share soon – stay tuned!
The countryside in the Piedmont Region is very diversified: from the rugged peaks of the massifs of Monte Rosa and of Gran Paradiso, to the damp rice paddies of Vercelli and Novara. 7.6% of the entire territory is considered protected area and there are 56 different national or regional parks. Piedmont is BEAUTIFUL…Perfect for running and biking…. Besides, the agriturismo had a pool which suited our boys, who are currently working hard on becoming better swimmers (they are both training towards a triathlon in August) and our very own pool diva was also thrilled about the facilities….
We spent 3 nights at Tre Tigli and had time to visit the city of Asti, swim… and not the least run along the BEAUTIFUL wine fields…which was perfect and absolutely needed as our “mama” at Tre Tigli indeed made sure that we did not go to bed hungry…. and at all times were loaded with carbs:-)…..
We are planning to go back in the beginning of the fall as we have always dreamed of helping with the harvest of the grapes… and with a host like we had, this might soon no longer be a dream – Thank you, Stefano….
…. and then there are those who are fortunate to get both:-).
A couple of weeks back I got a very nice and very challenging present: a race number for the “Weissensteinlauf” here in Switzerland. The race literally takes place more or less in front of our door by the end of August 2016.
It’s a beautiful mountain race that leads you through the mysterious scenery in the St. Verena ravine over the vista point at the top of the race, the “Röti”, to the finishing line at the Hotel Weissenstein. Sounds nice, right?
But then you looked at the course route…. and realized that it is not just a “walk in the park”. Maybe if you are Swiss with mountain blood in your veins… I am Danish… from a land flat as a pancake.
But that is no excuse! So challenge taken… and yesterday my very own supporters agreed to go on a hike with me, to check out the route.
We had the most fantastic trip! But let me put it this way: I will need a liiiiittle time to prepare, I am truly humble and quit satisfied with the fact, that August is not to morrow:-)
Feel free to come and join us… Switzerland is fantastic, there are plenty of spaces left in the race and the city of Solothurn is so beautiful:-)