Can you guys believe it? I’ve been living in Norway for two weeks (I know, I know, eventually I’ll need to stop keeping track, but it just feels SO COOL!!) Anyways, back to the main topic of this post haha
So, as some of you might know, I started running in May 2012; since then I’ve run a bunch of half marathons and 2 full ones; during that time I’ve had my weekly running routine, the awesomest running groups, and my running support family. When I quit my job a couple months ago and left Baltimore after two years there, I decided I’d take a month off running to get ready for Norway and hopefully relax my hip that has been bugging me for a while. During July I travelled, visited friends, did a 2 weeks yoga challenge to stretch my muscles, and hung out with the family. Overall, it was pretty great; granted I missed running, but I kept saying I’ll start over in Bergen when I settle down.
Now that I’ve moved across the pond and officially settled down, I’ve been trying to get back into it, which as you can guess is not easy. I used to be able to run 6-7 miles easy, but after a month off and my hip not fully healed yet, I’m too scared to go for that number. Plus, Bergen is really hilly, and while I love a mini challenge here and there, I suck at miles worth of hills at a time. So, I decided to take it slow: 3-4 miles at a time for a couple weeks before I attempt to take it to the next level.
After going on a mini hike during welcome week and getting to know the area, I decided on what would be my regular route & basically my Me Time where I get to think about everything, anything and nothing and where I wouldn’t have to say a word but just enjoy it.
I actually just got back from that route and towards the end I was thinking: “Man, this is so awesome; I feel like I should tell someone about it.” So, you guys are lucky because guess what? I’m sharing it with you 🙂
So, my school/dorm is located a few kms outside the city center and there’s a couple neighborhoods and mountains that are in between us. One of these mountains is called Stoltzekleiven and that’s where I’ve spent most of my outdoors Me Time.
It starts like this: It’s around 0.5 miles of initial downhill where you’re running parallel to the highway but where you get to see the city center and the mountains in the horizon; after a tiny but steep little hill, you go downhill for 0.2 miles before the 0.5 miles uphill battle in the little shaded area begins. By the end of that 1.2 miles you’re so warmed up and ready to do anything. Well, almost anything because guess what? You’ve just arrived to the bottom of Stoltzekleiven and you’re about to start the journey of climbing around 800 steps to the top of the mountain. Yup, enjoy!
Usually, I start climbing these steps nice and easy with an optimistic mind thinking that I can definitely go the entire way without stopping if I’m doing an easy pace; around 10 mins in, I regret my optimistic self and start cursing it for always coming up with stupid ideas. I take a break here and there and slowly but surely continue the struggle of going up and up and up.
Breathless and tired, I reach the top every time and feel like I can conquer the world.
(Apparently, there’s a race to climb the Stolzekleiven steps every yr; the fastest guy ran it in around 8 mins; I do it in close to 25mins, so yea no comparison there.)
But it’s honestly at the top where the Me Time starts: there you have a view of Bergen and the rest of the mountains surrounding it, you also get to see the fjords and the horizon and it’s honestly truly breathtaking and makes you feel tiny. It’s calm, serene and perfect, and I usually end up spending a couple mins in silence before I make my way back.
Since the steps up are very steep in some areas, there’s another route to get back to the dorm, you basically take the back roads of the mountain down which you’ve prolly guessed is ALL downhill, and yes sometimes way too downhill for my taste. The initial 0.5-1 miles or so is on a rocky road which is scary but also pretty fun; it’s also here that you run past these gorgeous views and everytime get that little kick of wanting to jump into these waters.
Don’t worry I’ve already promised myself that before leaving this city, I will get to do that.
Once that part is complete, you find yourself back on asphalt road, but there are still no cars around, only a mountainbike here and there. This road is shaded because of all the forresty areas and windy and so so serene and quiet. Seriously, at this point I’m usually on such a runner’s high that I want to yell out loud.
By the time I’m at the bottom of the mountain, I’ve got 0.5 miles or so to go to get back to the dorm; this 0.5 miles is the same initial downhill 0.5 miles that I got to start with which basically means that I’ll get to enjoy a little incline on my way back home.
Once I’m 0.2 miles away from the dorm and I see it, I usually start walking; I take a sip of water, breathe slowly in and out, and think about how blessed I am to have such opportunities in life.
P.S. Sorry I had no idea this post would be as long as it turned out to be…