Sunday, March 01, 2020

March Long Day Challenge

Every so often, Strava announces a new format for its challenges. This winter, there have been several different “commute challenges” by which you record, say, a bike ride every week for four weeks in order to get a virtual “trophy”. For me, who bike 15-20 km every day by default, these challenges feel a bit stupid so I have only recorded one activity per week (also to avoid creating too much clutter on Strava). Anyhow, this month there is a completely new kind of challenge called the “March Long Day Challenge” which suggests that you “put your early season fitness to the test and knock out a 4+ hour activity”. Since I am an easy victim for all these things, I decided to make real my long-held dream of completing a full circle around the Ume River delta. Inspired by Anna, Henrik and other long-distance runners that I follow on Strava, there is something casually insane with running 42.2 km all on your own in the snow on a random Sunday in March. So, I did.

The first 10k down to Holmsund felt great but running along E12 in the wind was really rough. Whatever one says, the marathon distance remains a challenge, especially on icy winter roads (real feel temperature today was -12). Even under the best conditions, pain is an integrated part of long distance running and, as such, experiences like the one I had today help putting things in perspective on better days. Now I will cook some spaghetti with prawns and rocket.

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