So far so good?

It has been some weeks since Carine and Åsmund accepted the ultimate challenge: To complete Årefjällsloppet of 65 km in April. What has happened since then? Are they in better shape or have they hit the wall? Find out below by reading their thoughts and experiences from their first period of Project Årefjäll.

Carine’s first weeks – A lot of firsts

In the first period of this project it has been a lot of “first” for me.

The official kick-off was a “get to know each other jog” in the beginning of January with our personal trainer. This was a first for me. I usually get to know people over coffee or beer, indoors. I have never gotten to know anyone while jogging because that would make it necessary to talk and run at the same time. The jog went surprisingly well, but not very fast or far. A gentle start.

I have bought clothes for exercising outdoors for the first time in my adult life and brand new skis and other equipment, many firsts for me. When buying my skis I spent way more than I had in mind because the salesman had a pair that would “help me more”. Still looking for that hidden engine on them. Do you want to see how it went the first time i tried my new equipment and hadn’t been skiing for 25 years? Check out the video below (it is in Norwegian, but you get the picture anyway)

We have been introduced to our physical training program and had our first lesson in classic ski technique. That was surprisingly fun for being outside at -15C. Another first, seeing as I usually work out indoors at the gym in aerobic classes.

I am really looking forward to the next technique session and I was so relieved to find this fun! After all I have dived in, head first into something I know nothing about. Such a great feeling to feel that I am eager to learn.

Åsmund’s first weeks – Drastic action needed

Since getting the pleasant surprise call telling me “you’re in” and responding with a resounding “Yes!” before having any idea what I’m doing, time has moved very fast.

I started out with a vengeance right after Christmas, eating more healthily and doing a lot of exercise. Essentially I have been trying to do the things I actually know I’m supposed to – a sort of assisted 41 years crisis. Thus prepared, it was a pleasant surprise when our trainer, Karianne, told me to “slow down” a bit, letting my body adapt to new levels of activity.

skiblogg2Since getting properly started together with Carine and Karianne a couple of weeks ago, I have understood the wisdom of this approach: I’ve been falling asleep exhausted every evening, a couple of hours before my old schedule. Had I continued at my initial pace, I’m sure I would have hit the wall.

Karianne’s instructions on strength training and ski technique has already given me marked improvements in the way I go about skiing and preparing for it. You can find my training program here (in Norwegian).   I am still among the slowest skiers out there and have yet to dare wearing the full set of professional skiing clothes, but the needle is pointing in the right direction these days!

Last week I participated in a VO2Max-test (maximum oxygen uptake test) twice. The guys at Nimi (Norwegian Sport Medicine Institute) were very professional, and even if I needed to do the test again because we started at a bit too low intensity the first time (they assumed I was in even worse shape than I am), the results were about the same. So my VO2Maks result is officially 40. That places me in the “OK” range for non-athletes. Apparently, some People aasmund2can easily improve this value (to a degree) while for some even very high amounts of training will not change the value significantly. It will be interesting to see what type I am.

The skiing tracks close to Oslo are really nice at the moment. I could wish for a bit more snow, but when skiing outside of the most travelled routes, things improve immensely. I highly recommend getting a good LED-based lamp, strap it to your forehead and head out skiing in the evenings. I’ve re-discovered the beauty of Nordmarka, and even had close encounters with a beautiful moose cow yesterday evening. This was in a fully lighted “lysløype” – I only wish I had a camera handy at that moment, the sight was spectacular.

I can hardly wait to get out skiing again!

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