Skyrunning. OMG. Just the name gives me freaking goose bumps right now. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine the day I did my first trail run (cause this is definitely just the beginning! ) to be like this. Such a crazy day! It certainly was a melting pot of feelings, and I will try to describe The Worlds Most Beautiful Challenge with Peak Performance as vividly as possible. ( If you didnt see my snapchat that is! The link is further down on this blog post)
The journey to Zermatt was quite a ride. Arriving at Geneve airport a bit later than I anticipated, I had to run like Forrest Gump and was sweating like Mike Tyson when I finally made the train to Zermatt. Switching trains in Visp, I met 40 year old Vlada.
An outdoorsy woman who has been seeking fun and adventures all around the world for some time. She told me all about her climbing adventures and long runs and I shared my stories on my quite short pop up DJ runs.
(we are talking 5-10 k jogs around the city of Oslo. No hills, just chilled jogs on the asphalt)
"But you have never done uphill running, Stine? No? And you are doing the 32 k? Without poles? Oh. That will be though.." She says and smiles. My heart stops for a bit. Yeah, this will perhaps be a challenge I think to myself...
Let's just say I didn't tell this story to my mum when she called me later that night or showed her this:
Arriving in Zermatt was like jumping, not back in time, but just jumping into a totally different world. The cars and the smell of gasoline that you easily find in any other city, are replaced by horses with carriages and a warm odour of horse shit. The streets looked Christmassy and I have never seen so many practically dressed people with poles in one place ! This must be the place the word "village" was first established ;)
A five minute walk in the narrow streets surrounded by old wooden houses, and I arrive at my hotel. After a quick shower (so I don't smell like a spanish taxi driver when meeting the others), Im ready for a big CARB-dinner. Yes sir. This is when I gotta fuel up so I don't faint after only 2 km by just eating cottage cheese and chocolate the night before (My regular night snack. Such a funky combo, I know. But I freakin love it!)
So, MY BIG CARB DINNER consisted of:
A huge smoked salmon salad with aspargues, eggs and a creamy sauce, an HUGE plate with pasta and cheese and a big piece of meat with a big bowl of rice just to top it all of. And for my dessert stomache? A big piece of creamy cake and a Toblerone for night snack. The food baby inside me was more than ready to kick ass in a couple of hours!
The alarm clock goes off, and I jump out of bed. Still three hours before the race starts but since the 46 k starts at 7.30, I feel an urge to watch the crazy 46-ers to get me pumped for the race. I cranck up my music box and listen to a couple of good tunes while getting ready. ( ...and of course I needed serious help from my roomie with everything from putting on my running vest for the first time, putting on my race number and the MOST important thing, which clothes to wear! Cause it may seem to some fashion people out there that us trail runners only care for the comfort... But let me tell you, I ditched my really good running glasses the last minute before the race as I couldn't bare the thought of getting my picture taken in such an ugly pair of glasses. Everything else I was wearing was of course extremely practical, but you wanna feel a bit cool when you decide to snapchat the whole race you know? And as for that, THAT was actually nothing I really planned, but after I started doing it, it felt like the most natural thing to do for the next 5 hours and 4 minutes!)
The smell of endorphins, sunscreen and protein bars started to surround the hotel, and I stepped
outside to watch the pros tighting their trail running shoes, checking their Garmin watches and hugging their loved ones. While Pop Up DJ here was pumping out some tunes from her music box and watching the battery on her phone..cause of course she had to snapchat the race!
15 minutes till start. I have already started filming a bit for my snapchat, and I have talked to a lot of the people around me. Most of them have done it before, and they all give me the same advice : ENJOY, BREATHE, EXPERIENCE.
And thats what I decide to do.
5,4,3,2,1. And we Are off!
After a couple of minutes on the asphalt, we are moving towards the forrest and the hills are getting steeper. A pole party begins. The pole people are working their way to the top, and its almost like a melody. Plipp plopp, klikk klakk. On repeat . And I didnt bring my music! For The first time in my life! I now start to reflect on things. Is the guy in front of me sure that he put on the right backpack or could it be his sons? After sweating like crazy for two hours and longing for something to eat or drink, all he can find in his backpack is some Star Wars figures. Poor son who has to play with some banana flavored Isolat bars...
I pass the dude with the tiny backpack, and keep struggling my way up to Sunnega, the first stop. Which feels like forever, but it's actually just after 6 k...An such a big line up there! What's the deal????
But when I finally arrive, I get it. The chocolate. The Swiss remarkably good chocolate. The food station really reminds me of those Saturdays you spend a couple of hours shopping at the food store, and there are so many food samples! Bread, cakes, protein bars, bananas, orange, coca cola. Im enjoying all this free food! But time to move on! NOW is where the fun starts. Good gracious. And you shouldn't be afraid of heights...
One small village after another. This is so amazing.
And then I meet this girl again!
That is also a big part of this race you guys. The people. The warm and nice people that help you through the tough times. When you really struggle up that endless rocky hill and just wanna call a cab and order a Mac N Cheese (cottage cheese in my favor). She was there! "Stine! You again! Are you good? Listen to my song!!!" Ok, she saved me. I really can't remember what kind of song she was litening to, but she was soo happy when she was walking up that hill, singing to herself, and that made me run up with her.
Now I find myself in a good running speed again. I chitchat with some people, stop and smell the roo..rocky ground and look around me. A swing! Omg, I could DIE just to rest her for a couple of minutes! Maybe with an episode of Orange is The New Black, a diet Coke and some chocolate ice cream with pistachio...No, but seriously, look at this view. Dj Pop Up goes silent. A short snap here, and I decided that this is not the last time I will do this race.
Now, the hard part starts. I have done around 10 ks and the altitude is getting higher and higher.
"Work it peeps! You can do it!" I tell them. No one answers...
Luckily, time flies when you have fun, and Im at the next fuel stop! And the nature just gets more and more breathtaking for every step I take. (every move I make..)
And then. THE BRIDGE you guys.
Walking over this bridge really made me feel alive. And freakin angry at the spanish dude behind me who decided to jump on the bridge when I told him I was afraid of heights. I decided to stick with him the next hour and sing a beautiful song to him:
I KNOW A SONG THAT GETS ON EVERYBODYS NERVES, I KNOW A SONG THAT GETS ON EVERYBODYS NERVES...
After shaking him off on one of the downhills towards Furi, I stopped singing. I started preparing myself for the big hill. Towards SCHWARSZEEEEE. Just the name tells me that this is gonna be hard work. JOBBE PÅ! JADDA! I shout to myself. People around me tend to stare. I smile back.This is norwegian for "work it! Come on , giiiirl! " I have to motivate myself! No one seems to care. Except for one dude! IM ALSO NORWEGIAN! OR NORSWEDISH! Ahh, my saving angel! Meet Samuel!
This dude saved my ass. We talked us through the whole damn hill. All the way to the top. I almost started to cry at a point cause I was too tired to talk...
...but Samuel kept talking slowly to calm me down. "Look, Stine. Look at Matterhorn in front of us. Isn't it beautiful? One day I will go up there. One day". Samuel, I know you will!!! And if you read this, please leave a comment as I haven't managed to find you to thank you for getting me up that hill!!!
You remember when we arrived here? Look at that dude at the back! On his saturday stroll! While we were on our 4th and 6th hour of this intense walk. Amazing.
SCHWARSCEE was probably the best food station. Not only did they serve good food( I mean chocolateeeeee), they also played some REALLY cool tunes. I started dancing like crazy and was ready to hit the downhill towards Zermatt!
Through the whole race, I snapchatted bits and pieces from the race and got a lot of snapchats back!
( Im so prod of you! it says)
What an experience you will have. Go you!!
And here I am! Over the finish line! I made it! The whole 32 k of it! OMG. What a journey. What a race. Im addicted. Sign me up for next year. Im in for 46. Sky running, you have a friend request as we speak!
And after the race, I needed a picture with the pros! Staffan and Andre!
And how I celebrated? Like a true pop up dj star!
And for the snapchat? Here is how it really was!