29 Jun

Chatted over lunch with a colleague about the differences between Norway and France, my last country of residence. We agreed that the m’as tu vu? side of French culture, showing off, is definitely frowned upon here. Probably a good thing since it keeps people from erecting garish gold plated gates and such around their houses. But the tendency can go to an opposite extreme and become oppressive.

Happily, sports are the diversion channel through which you’re allowed to funnel your desire to stick out in a positive way. You still have to remain humble. But it is good Norwegian form to excel. Particularly in skiing.

So I guess with my current focus I fit in well. Though I should be more quiet about it because blogging about it surely exceeds acceptable standards of discretion.

This week has been rich in training joy and pain. The pain is easy to account for. My new training program dabbles with the “If it feels good I’m doing something wrong. It’s supposed to hurt like hell” philosophy of athletic improvement. That gem comes from marathon runner Jannicke’s blog that I’ve been following. She has the same taste for number crunching pace related technical details that I do. I enjoy reading that sort of thing but fear it makes for dry reading when I write it. Sorry mom!

In the current pain inventory, my knees hurt from cycling Sunday, that diagonal muscle across my butt makes sitting uncomfortable from hard, uphill skate rollerskiing yesterday and my ankle hurts from twisting it trail running today. But enough already about suffering. I’ve resolved to take to heart another great quote, this time from full-time ski racer Chelsea, “nobody wants to read what a perpetually sad blogger has to say”.

On the joy side of things, a lot of fresh black snow has fallen lately. The Gamle Maridalsveien route that starts just up the valley from my house has just got a thick new layer of black velvet. It was pure bliss to go over that in the warm sun yesterday afternoon. The door to door round trip is 15km. The first 4km go through heavy car traffic, but that just creates the opportunity for double-poling work. After that the route becomes quiet and fun with rolling hills through bucolic farmland. Since Gamle Maridalsveien is so lightly traveled, it would seem that the fresh asphalt is a special gift from the pavement gods to rollerskiers. Only in Norway, I think, will you find a place where they’re the dominant road traffic.

On the same note, the last time I was up Grefsenkollen I saw a sign that the pavement crew would pass there too, redoing the road leading up to the big climb. I’m a lucky bastard. We had a great ski season last winter and the season this summer is looking brilliant too.

I don’t know whether this is positive of negative, but I’ve shelled out for my first unfree Iphone app, RunKeeper Pro. The pro version gives you voice cues and the possibility to pin pictures to your routes. Some of the latter might turn up here. But I wonder where the people behind Runkeeper found the voice actor. When she says “You’re behind” (your target pace), the “…you little worm” part is definitely implied.

It was somewhat fun to try out her voice cues on my trail run today. Since I’m very competitive I obliterated the pace I dialed in. But voice cue lady is nasty when you’re over too. She used her sweet voice just once when I happened to drop exactly on target while crawling through some bushes after getting innovative with my usual route.

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