Go Ultra?

The winter in Norway this year has been very odd. There's be absolutely no snow in mid-Norway (the Trondheim region). Although we had a couple of good weeks down south in Oslo, about a month ago it started raining and didn't stop. And that's when everyone realised it had been grey/cloudy/raining/snowing forever. Seriously, the newspaper last week reported that there has been 17 hours of sun in Oslo in 2014.

In an act of desperation, I have resorted to running. And remember how much I love it. Even though most of my runs look like this:

This is a viewpoint where you should be able to see most of Oslo. Yup.
So now I need a race to train for. I would be running the Forest Marathon again, but I'm going to Switzerland that weekend to crew Swissman for my friend Vibeke. (That's going to be a whole other story, but it should be fun. Yes, I'm running the last 8 km to the finish with her to make sure she doesn't collapse and die and stuff.)

What to do? For a long time I've been talking about taking up ultras. From 2007 - 2011 I worked in the full-service mountain huts in Trollheimen. The main huts form a three-day hike called the 'Triangle', which is around 63 km with a little over 2000 meters of climbing. Not surprisingly, some of us hut bums made a sport of running the entire thing on our day off. I completed it in one day three separate times, finally shaving my time down to 9 hours 53 minutes (and beating my dear father by an hour, although he swears he'll have his revenge some day!)

Blåhøe wearing a hat of clouds on one of my first trips round the Triangle
All this to say, I have sort of run an ultra before. Just alone and unsupported and not timed and stuff. And basically, I thought it was a lot of fun. So I know, mentally, that I can run far. I also know that I was much fitter three years ago, because I had around 5 hours a day off to train in the mountains during the summer.

I've found a race; it's called the UltraBirken Mountain Run, 60-odd kilometers, and it's on June 14. This week, I tried to do 'high volume' running (at least for me). I've run 60 km this far in March, at slow (MAF) speeds, and to be honest, I feel great.

The only tiny, insignificant detail is that my master's thesis is due on June 9. So maybe I shouldn't be embarking on an epic running quest right now. On the other hand, I have to do something to stay sane, and maybe organised training for this event will help me get through my thesis.

So should I go Ultra?

- The Wild Bazilchuk


  1. It depends. Are you one of those people that is easily overwhelmed? It really could go two ways: 1. balance your life out a little by running and endorphins and all that while working on your thesis. 2 Freakout meltdown when the running volume and thesis volume get too demanding.

    I'm personally #1 and love running to clear my head and help me focus, so if that's you, I'd totally go for it. It would be a wonderful way to celebrate the end of your schooling too!

    1. I'm not easily overwhelmed, but I have been known to take on too much :P I don't have to sign up until May 1, so I guess I'm just going to train like I'm going to do it until then!

  2. Perhaps the shortest "ultra" is the Zermatt Ultra, with only 3.4km extra to run after the marathon... and 514m up. http://www.zermattmarathon.ch/index.php?id=19&L=1

    The Jungfrau marathon is also very scenic!

    1. I guess in Zermatt the altitude makes it hard though? I've pretty much settled on Birken Ultra, a race here in Norway, which is 60 km but not much vertical, and actually net descent.


Post a Comment