Halfway there

The day where Carine and Åsmund will stand on the starting line of Årefjällsloppet, filled with nerves and excitement, is getting closer and closer. Read more about their thoughts and progress halfway through their preparations.

Carine – new passion

Time sure flies by when you are having fun and feeling a bit mortified at the same time. That is exactly how I feel halfway into our training program.  I am very happy to see some progress and I still think it is fun to ski flat and uphill, but I am taking too long toughening up and letting speed be my friend and allied downhill.

Our training sessions on Thursdays, with trainer Karianne, is the bible study to my new found religion. The sessions run by too fast, but is very helpful. So far we have been introduced to three different techniques. First, we learned the basics of diagonal stride, second we learned double poling, and last Thursday we combined the two and gave one step double pole / kick double pole our best shot. Personally, I have no idea if my progression is according to plan, but as long as Karianne is calm and cool about it all I will trust her and try to be the same.

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In the coming weeks, I must focus on longer ski trips, seeing as the longest trip I have had so far is 15 km. Just to remind you, the race is 65 km… I also need to build more muscles and work on my endurance. The first part is actually the hardest to see through as there is no snow in Oslo right now, and it hasn’t been for a little while. I have learned to never have other plans than to go snow-hunting by car in the weekends.

Åsmund – bootcamp is effective

Half of the preparation time before Årefjällsloppet has already blurred past me. This is completely surreal and utterly unbelievable. I’ve studied a bit of physics, and I’m pretty sure there should have been more days within the last six weeks than I have actually had. Someone is obviously cheating!

smundlitenvThe first few weeks were really all about getting started, and making my body able to handle a much higher level of activity than I’ve been used to. It’s been a lot of fun learning skiing technique from a professional. I’ve learned a lot – not least that I have very much left to learn about skiing. New ways of moving make me feel that I’ve put on my skis for the first time again, and continue to challenge my coordination. As with all new moves, it’s when you are able to forget that you are actually doing them that you can really start moving beyond the basics. I’ll need a lot more practice the coming weeks!

The next month and a half I will increase my training volume, and hopefully see some improvements in stamina and technique. I’ll focus on more skiing in particular (this is also Karianne’s advice). In a way, I feel that reaching the halfway mark is really more about starting fresh, but with new challenges. Now I know I’ll physically endure the training sessions, and I have to focus on keeping my motivation up. Opportunities for evening activities other than training keeps surfacing, and it is quite a bit harder to keep making the right choices. Training in the mornings work surprisingly well for freeing up some evening time, except for skiing (which takes too long in the morning due to the need to travel to find snow). Training with friends helps even more.

With that in mind, last Friday some of my great coworkers in Visma Consulting asked if I wanted to join them at “Barry’s Bootcamp” at 07:15 in the morning. Naively, I responded “yes” immediately, and followed up with the question “what’s Barry’s Bootcamp?”. If you haven’t tried it before, let me tell you: it is basically an inventive way of simulating hell on earth. After an hour of what can only be described as intensive interval and strength training with creative ways of making your legs melt and the rest of your body explode, I reached a state of introspective zen-like clarity lasting all weekend: “damn this is hard”, “there’s absolutely no way I can do one more of those”, “did my arm fall off just now?”, “how do I make my lungs stay inside my chest?”, “I never even look at a potato chip ever again!”, “my god – it’s even WORSE today!!”, “am I dead? I hope so, because it hurts too much.”. And so on. Will I do it again? …Sure, why not!

smundogcarinepskiThis winter has been some sort of joke from yr.no (weather forecast) in the Oslo area, teasing us with nice snow for a couple of weeks and then allowing most of it to melt away. Not very conducive to joyful skiing! I have however been very impressed by all the people maintaining the skiing tracks in the area. Not only have they managed, clearly by some sort of black arts, to keep some of the main tracks covered with snow – they have managed to create excellent skiing conditions almost every day. You have to see it to believe it. I highly recommend going to Frognerseteren or Sørkedalen for some quality-time with the snow. Bring a headlamp if you go in the evening (which is GREAT!).

In summary, being half-way there means that the time for half measures is over – time to get my head all the way into the game, learn to love the pain and enjoy the next few weeks! And, definitively, not even think about eating any potato chips!

NB: You can follow our journey on the hashtag #ProjectArefjall at Instagram and on Visma’s Visma Ski Classics website.

 

Carine and Åsmund have worked several years in Visma. Carine’s feet has not donned ski boots for 25 years and Åsmund’s perpetually delayed plan to “get in shape” have yet to come to fruition. Nevertheless, they have accepted the ultimate challenge: To complete Årefjällsloppet of 65 km in April.
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