Lessons from Running an Ultra Marathon

1.  No new gear.  The race officials demanded that everyone run with a backpack stuffed to the brim with food, water, clothes, a reflective vest and a cell phone.  I don’t run with a backpack.  I don’t like them.  I’ve learned that the hard way.But since it was either wear extra weight in the most uncomfortable way possible or not run, I had to beg the owner of G Sport to stay open so I could waste money on a stupid backpack and reflective vest.  Here were my 2 choices with said pack: tighten the shoulder straps which made my arms go numb and my hands swell or tighten the lap belt which would then ride up to my waist and make me barf.  My arms going numb made it hard to keep my balance while skipping down the trails and the barf…well, It’s barf.  Finally at around 30km, I got my trusty running belt back.

 

Running and Ultra marathon in Norway

Tears of joy

1.5 Don’t run races where they make you wear a backpack.

 

2.  Train for the terrain.  I only really trained the distance and the pace.  I didn’t train the single track Norwegian trails.  They are rocky, steep, muddy, overgrown and, in some parts, scary.  While my new running buddies could make it across a section in 5 confident steps, it took me about 15 hesitant micro-steps.  It was a giant waste of energy and time.

 

2.5 Don’t run races on single track Norwegian trails.

 

3.  Look up from the trail every once in a while.  Or else you’ll find yourself on a different trail explaining to a nice Norwegian mountain biker that you don’t speak Norwegian and that you’re really tired so could he please just say it in English.

 

3.5 Not all nice Norwegian mountain bikers who put you back on the correct trail like sweaty hugs.

 

 4.  Train with Trevor more.  Strength training not only makes you prettier (strong is the new skinny), but gettin’ yourself some lean muscles also helps in long distance running, hiking, biking, skiing, whatever-ing.  It helps you stay balanced when you run (so you have a more efficient stride and so you don’t run like a freak and hurt yourself).  It increases your lactate threshold (so you can run faster longer before it feels like your muscles are on fire).  And it improves your oxygen consumption (so you get more out of your muscles per breathe).  Also, he gives out cute tank tops and, on occasion, there are cute boys at his gym to train with.

 

5.  Always race with a well equipped support crew.  Massive props to Inga and Carlos for speeding along the countryside to cheer me on and for liking my sweaty hugs.

Bubbly and Beef Jerky