24 hours

I have run today 26km, in a hilly forest trail. It took me 2 hours 30 mins. The longest training session so far. Last week I have clocked 104km in 6 days. And the monthly stats suggest that in the last 30 days I’ve run 22 hours and 240km. I will run more than that in the next few weeks. I am preparing for a new personal, physical and mental challenge.

24 hours running is relatively new form of ultramarathon running. It has started officially in Ottawa in 1989 and there is relatively few well-established events.

Why? Why would I want to run for 24 hours?  I do not have any simple answer to this question. I want to go where I have not gone before. To see the edge of the “known” and have a peek “behind” the horizon line. I simply have no idea what it takes to prepare for 24 hour race, and I cannot possibly imagine of how it might feel to start, to run, and to complete a 24 hours run.

Can I do it? Certainly not at the moment. But hopefully I will be able to condition my body to the point of being able to do this. We will see.

Training require quite a lot of mental conditioning, beside the obvious physical aspects. Also, as a side-effect of all the running I am “forced” to spend long hours just with myself. With my thoughts, memories, imagination. There is so much happening in our lives, large number of events, rich details, thoughts, things that happen in our lives and they just pass, quickly. This time allows me to re-visit a lot of events, discussions, people, places, and spend time re-enjoying them.

The time of the year makes it enjoyable as I can stop and pick up blueberries, raspberries or even red currents along the running trails. Joy.

First 20 days.

It has been almost 20 days since I’ve arrived to Norway. And besides 3 or 4 rainy days, it has been all nice, sunshine and warm weather. Gjøvik is a very nicely situated lovely little town. Mjøsa lake and the hills around make it feel similar to Dunedin. I have a sense that it has more forest areas, less people and less traffic, and the parks and forests are closer to town – perhaps because of lots of running I do in forests around town, and perhaps the fact that I walk to work without going through the center of town. So, my initial perceptions might be quite skewed.

The campus is close to the city center. There is plenty of trees and green spaces around it. The school is not big, about 3000 students. It feels well organized and pleasant environment. The focus on technology, programming students with long hair and t-shirts clearly demonstrating their geekiness makes the campus feel welcoming for technologist. The student groups are around 20-30 students per paper. Everyone is nice and welcoming, and everyone is happy to talk in English. It was a nice touch with the mayor of the town welcoming all postgraduate students in town hall last week.

I have quite a lot of teaching duties but this is mostly because I have almost no undergraduate teaching in the next semester. I have lots of catching up to do with game design and development topics. I’m learning heaps from Simon.

Staying with Simon and Rachael is nice, as I have someone to spend time with. The kids are a bit bigger than when I saw them in January. Enjoying the summer.

There are a number of things that I slowly start to take for granted here. One is bike paths, that are pretty good around the town, and make it easy to cycle or walk everywhere. Yes, cyclists are welcomed on pedestrian sidewalks. Another the amount of parks and forest walks that are easily accessible by foot. Another is the lack of advertisements and shouting billboards. There are some ads but it feels much more settled. Drivers are extremely patient and it feels definitely a pedestrian friendly environment. Cycling on road bike on secondary roads is just a pure joy; drivers overtake cyclist with extreme care. I enjoy all the pre-school kids cycling to kindergarten on their bikes or scooters, or being ridden by parents on bikes with trailers.

I miss the girls a lot already. Not sure how we are going to manage.