Birkebeiner – Norway

6 awful hours and 37 crappy minutes, but I did it! Damn, I suffered the entire way.

My diploma from Birkebeinerrennet 2019

I broke my ski pole after 2 km from the start, and at that point, I was ready to flip everything off and quit. However, turning back and skiing against the traffic (with around 17,000 registered runners) seemed too cumbersome, so I pushed on.

Picture borrowed from google

Β The weather was fantastic, around freezing, mostly clear with beautiful sunlight. Damn, I was so hot, I was sure I was going to die from sweat and heatstroke. At one point, I pulled over to the side to shed some layers, but quickly realized i struggled too much.

I skied 8 km with a pole that was 40 cm shorter 😨 but borrowed a new one from the SWIX pole center (which there were several of along the way), and the new one was 5 cm too long 😲 😨.

The first 15 km were the toughest, with a 15 km climb (killer hill, go home) and a body exhausted from the start.

Here you can see the map of the 54 km.

Along the way, I decided to stop several times; everything hurt, the exhaustion was unbearable, and the thought of another 45-40 km completely drained my courage and hope. From start to finish, I had a massive negative inner dialogue (actually in the days leading up to it, and I didn’t sleep the night before the race due to thoughts and fantasies of terrible downhills), and I was terrified of the downhill, which was the last 10 km. The entire way, I worried about that down hill.

Done, exhausted, and tiiiiiiired.

When I reached the first peak after 1 hour and 17 minutes, I had to slow down and take a much-needed breaks. I completely let go of time and competition and had to decide to go into survival mode. I skied at a 🐌 pace (thinking of Lasse and Inequ’s Kilimanjaro mountain climb, where they walked very slow. That was me… 😳). When, after the hellish uphill, I pulled over to have an energy gel and energy drink, I was completely drained of energy and finished.

The short break, energy gel, and energy drink gave me some strength back, and I could continue. Seriously, I thought I was going crazy, losing my mind at some point because I was so tired, struggling with my inner dialogue and couldn’t get control of it, and realized I had to let go of what I had expected (to have a great trip, aside from the down hill). But Magdaline’s energy pills in my water bottle became my therapy. Every sip felt liberating and good πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I was saved this time. The first downhill, up in the mountains, was absolutely amazing!!!

A looooong downhill where you could see the end flat out, and the speed down was absolutely fantastic. “Wuuuhuuuuuuuuu,” I screamed all the way. πŸ‘ˆ The first high and joy of the day. The only downside to that downhill was all the trash (empty energy gel packets on the tracks) that the elite had thrown on the way down πŸ‘Ž. First of all, it’s littering in the beautiful nature, but also dangerous for the rest of us, as the trash was in the tracks and slowed us down significantly on the way down.

From the start, I had prepared myself for the first 15 km to be tough (but was not prepared at all for them to be so tough 😳😨), but I had 27 km as a milestone since it was halfway, and from there it would be a countdown. When I reached 27 km, the second high of the day was in the bag, and I shouted “yaaaaaaaayy” loudly, so the poor skiers around me were terribly startled (you ski in silence) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. 27 is my new favorite number now!

Long beautiful stretches, lovely long downhills and up again, up at the top of the mountain. Bright sunny weather, such beautiful surroundings, mountains, trees, and perfect temperature (another high), aaah nuann (which is our motto πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚).

So excessively beautiful and fantastic

From SjusΓΈen (last refreshment post), there are about 10-12 km to the finish, and it goes downhill; oh oh my screeeeeam 😱😱. Now I had to face my biggest fear. I had to focus on 1 km at a time and just survive the insane hills. Here I really needed my personal drama-hill-coach Jacob Nitter, who could talk me “right.”

But I had to manage on my own. The first long insane hill surprised me completely, and I ONLY made it down to the bottom alive by sheer luck. No tracks down, but two narrow plowed tracks, a steep and winding hill where you had to turn in the middle of it all, aaaarggh 😱. I screamed and shouted like Marie Fleischer (πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ 😘😘), but made it, alive, to the bottom of this hill.

Me, just not on purpose and completely uncontrollable and with lots of death screams and shouts πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ (actually, in Lillehammer, they thought there was a ski jump, soooo hahahaha)skihop, saaaallll hahahaha)

The next 2-3 hills, I chose to take off my skis and run down (😩😩), but for heaven’s sake, I couldn’t get the skis back on and spent a crazy amount of time and tears on it. Sorry, Frederik Lundblad, I didn’t listen to your advice “Don’t think, just ride” and I was totally “nallinnaq!!”, hahahaha.

Just as expected (and what I had asked for through my thoughts and emotions), I got my 4 terrible and dreadful hills. But, I did it, and I survived πŸ‘‹βœŒ.

The last 3-4 km were absolutely fantastic and just about getting through with a body exhausted from lack of sleep, fear, shock, and physical activity.

Perfect tracks all the way and the finest, most delicious weather.

I crossed the finish line in Lillehammer, 6 hours and 37 minutes after starting from Rena. Along the way, I cursed cross-country skiing far away, definitely never wanted to ski again, especially not such crazy trips (ACR included), and crossfit Open also got its share πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ

The day after… grateful, proud, and happy. It’s great to go on trips like this with friends ❀

Thanks for reading.

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