Saturday, April 12, 2014

In for the long run

This isn't a training blog - and I don't intend for it to become one - but lately most of my free time has gone to what I would call Adventures in Training for an Ultramarathon. And yes, that means I've decided to sign up for Ultrabirken, a 60 km long trail race in Lillehammer, Norway on June 14.

Since I decided I wanted to run Ultrabirken, I've been busily trying to run (relatively) big milage (for me).  I've been running 60-70 km a week for the last 6 weeks, and I definitely feel good progression in my durability and speed. This week I've had an extra special running partner: Ralph, the family dog, who is staying with us while my parents are in Belize (long story).

Ralph digs the view on Årvollåsen, Friday
Ralph is almost 11 years old, but he has braved snow, rain and mud with me for many kilometers this week. Well, actually, he loves snow, so that didn't take so much braving.
Ralph throughly enjoying the snow
Today, however, I was going out for my longest run this year, and so I left the poor old dog behind. The day started out grey, but not to cold, and at around 8 o'clock I took off up the Akerselva river to access Oslo forest.

Optimistic, early in the run selfie.
I headed off around Maridalsvatnet, the lake that supplies most of Oslo with water. A dirt road, not open to motorised vehicles, snakes around the east side of the lake through serene forest.

Through the forest
After reaching the end of the lake, I headed up the trail towards Fagervann, a smaller lake on top of one of the larger rolling hills that fill the Oslo forest. I indulged in my first raspberry walnut brownie, a result of my experimentations with what to eat while out for long runs. I'm not a fan of 'fake' foods like gels, so I been trying baked goods like brownies in scones with success so far.

Happy brownie selfie
I power-hiked and jogged the climb up to Fagervann to save my legs. Towards the top of the climb, I hit snow. This wasn't unexpected, because there was lots of snow when I ran the same trail last weekend. 

Hitting the snow pack
What I didn't expect, however, was to posthole. You see, last weekend the snow on the trail had been compacted to a nice, runable consistency by other hikers. Today, I was alone on the trail, and clearly nobody had been there all week as the warm weather made the snow increasingly rotten. 

I was postholing up to my knees if I wasn't careful, and working hard to maintain a fast walking pace (on Strava afterward I saw that all the kilometers in this section took like 10 minutes). There's so sort of a hilarious irony to moving so slowly on a run.

Sick, twisted fun
And then, of course, it started to snow. Big, slushy flakes. When I had finally traversed across the top of the hill to Kamphaug, and headed down off the snow pack, I realised that all the melting snow was feeding directly onto the downhill trail, creating a lovely, cold river for me to run in.

Wet feet.
As I descended further, the snow turned to rain, and the whole experience was becoming increasingly cold and wet. Luckily I hit the dirt road and it was smooth sailing, no more technical trail or uphill to speak of.  I could start putting in some faster kilometer times.

No longer awesome. Wet. Wet. Wet.
I was able to charge through the last 10 kilometers in less than an hour, and hoped on the metro home, feeling strong. I'm close to where I want to be, running fitness wise: able to go forever and ever. The Ultrabirken can come and get me, I'm ready!

Stats: 26.7 km, moving time 3:06 (all of that snow!), vertical meters 695

- The Wild Bazilchuk

6 comments:

  1. Well in Molly! trying do the same myself at the moment, albeit with slightly warmer weather than you guys have in Oslo. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like your getting some good runs in! Well, I have more trouble dealing with heat that I do cold so I guess I'm having an easier time here than I would in France :P

      Delete
  2. Postholing on runs is really scary. A friend of mine had that happen on a run almost two years ago and it broke his leg. He had surgery to fix it and put in plates, then to remove them, and he's just now mounting his comeback (with a bit of a limp).

    Your brownies sound divine. Real food always works best for me on trail runs....although I admit I that my real food does include candy bars sometimes, not always homemade baked goods :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was definitely not interested in getting injured out there! The snow is on it's way to melting, so hopefully I won't have to deal with that in a couple of week.

      I love candy bars too - especially Snickers! - but I want to avoid the gels and stuff.

      Delete
  3. I love your selfie series! I'm impressed with all the training you're doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fun to take selfies, even more fun to look at them afterward! The best way to get a lot of training in is to sign up for a race that scares you :)

      Delete