The Stavanger Marathon falls on the last Saturday in August each year. The event offers several distances ranging from 5.5 km, 10 km, and 20 km to the full marathon. As running 5 km was no problem for me, I decided to enter myself in the Stavanger Marathon‘s 10 km distance to see if I could qualify my completely amateurish running training (non-existent), which had started back in Germany in 2012.
The 10 km route snakes through the centre of Stavanger, starting at the square next to the Domkirke before going down and following the waterfront all the way to Badedammen and back. There are two laps of this route. The surface is asphalt/bitumen and as flat as a pancake. Even though the event takes place in late summer, the weather on the day was cloudy, cool and it rained. In other words: Stavanger weather. 🙂
What did I learn from the Stavanger 10 km event? I learned that I could do it quite easily. So that was a nice surprise. What was most satisfying about completing the race was the positive result (even if mostly psychological) from all the work I had put in. I had stuck to my plan and achieved my goal. Quite a big thing for me.
Even though I wasn’t really keen to enter a competition and run with a lot of people on asphalt, taking part in the 10 km event was a great experience. Knowing that I had a concrete date where I would have to walk the walk, forced me to be disciplined.
The other nice surprise was seeing so many different types of people involved in and ‘giving it a go’ at the Stavanger Marathon. You can certainly get inspired by seeing what other people do. It was the first time for me at an official race, and so maybe the hardest thing was running ‘publicly’ for everyone to see. Not that anyone is particularly interested in who I am, but still, you put yourself ‘out there’. Despite this, it was nice to have people cheering you on (spectators and volunteers).
I also realised that there are a lot of very fit people in Stavanger, which is evident from the streams of bikers and runners travelling to and from work every day, in all sorts of weather, e.g. rain, sleat, hurricane, etc. It’s amazing to see how tough Norwegians are when it comes to the weather. It’s as if they have an inbuilt mechanism that lets them just get on with it, despite the constant lashing they get by living on the coast. An attitude which is definitely food for thought.
Despite the fact that everyone at the marathon was there doing it for their own reasons, it was important to stay focused on my own reason and not be too influenced by what was going on around me. Competition is healthy when it stays within you and serves as a mechanism to spur you on to do and be better.
Another important point is that you shouldn’t let too many days pass between training runs and exercises. Even if you don’t want to run 10 km today, just go for a quick one kilometre run and then walk a bit. Something is always better than nothing; fitness is something that can disappear quite quickly from lack of use, and it takes work again to build it all back up. Maintenance costs a lot less than starting over and over again. Keep the ‘engine’ warm and ready, rather than let it sit cold in the garage.
Finally, at the Stavanger Marathon I was able to test out my minimalist shoes and the theory behind minimalist running. Even though I’ve been experimenting with this since 2012, it was the first time to qualify it at an actual event.
Minimalist shoes and running require a lot of body retraining. The lower legs are especially hit hard because the buffer or thick sole that acts as a rebounder between you and the ground is removed. So this artificial help has to be replaced by your own muscles doing the work. It can take some time before your legs are strong enough to hop around like a kangaroo again.
Finished 10 km in 1:03:00.