When I ran Bergen City Marathon two years ago I had an amazing race. My legs felt fast and the effort was easy. It’s always difficult to take part in a race again when you remember back to the previous time being so easy, yet fast. With a time of 2 hrs 26 minutes on a marathon course with approximately 500 meters of climb, I wasn’t showing up at the start line again to set a new PB. My goal this time around was going to be a little different but hopefully with the same end result.
With the Trail World Championships, a race twice as long as a marathon, in two weeks time I was mainly taking part in the local marathon to get my legs used to the pounding and (hopefully) introduce them to some speed. I was by no means going to allow myself to push…or get too fatigued. The importance of the upcoming world championships meant that I had no realistic option but to hold back if the pace was getting too out of hand. A tough ask for someone who has developed a competitive instinct over the past couple of years.
Thankfully the speed during the first of two rounds felt comfortable and I could sort of set the pace. I was feeling free and easy crossing the half way mark in 1 hour 15 minutes (2 minutes slower than previously). Everything seemed to be going to plan so far, but I knew the real test would be the second lap.
The small group that was leading at the beginning of the race had pretty much disintegrated by the time we crossed the half marathon mark, leaving me and Kristoffer Hjelmeland at the front. He seemed to be a strong runner but confessed this was his first marathon and held little hope of running away from me. He had run a strong and fast race up until this point, but I could tell he was starting to concentrate on keeping in front of whoever was in third place as opposed to keeping up with me.
Hitting the big climb for the second time around, a gap started to form between us.
My energy levels were still amazing but an old tightness that I have grown to know behind my right leg started to rear its head. I considered stopping but knew this problem well and was confident it wouldn’t get any worse.
At no point during the remaining kilometres did I hope for the end to come or count down how much was left. I simply ran on, keeping what I assumed was a slower pace than the first lap.
Crossing the line I was surprised that I had run the second lap within seconds of the time it took to complete the first. Two chocolate milks later and a massage from Behandling for Alle to sort out the right leg and I was watching my wife cross the line in 3rd clocking 3 hours 10 minutes. Not bad for her first marathon – and one that climbs a small mountain with about 7 million bends.
All attention now turns to the 85km trail World Championships. I have had what feels like a long off-season, including a lot of fun training in the form of skiing. Hopefully the running I have done will be enough to get my legs spinning in time for the big race. Next weekend I will be taking part in Norway’s biggest relay (3000 teams!) in Oslo representing my local club Varegg – should be a fun day out with friends before I travel over to Spain.