Midnight Sun Marathon 2011: Adidas Mila

With my irregular shifts, it’s quite hard to work out regularly, unless you like going to the gym – which I don’t. And even the gym isn’t open in the middle of the night 😉 I really wanted to get in a better shape though… so in the end, I decided to try running. And that same day (in early February), I entered myself for the “Adidas Mila” (a Norwegian mila (mile) is 10 km) during the Midnight Sun Marathon on 25 June. I thought it would be good to have a goal!

I had a podcast series on mp3 with music and instructions, at the end of 27 lessons the aim was to run for 30 minutes. The only thing I needed was a good pair of running shoes with spikes, which are easy to find in Tromsø. At first the running intervals were 2-3 minutes, which was quite a challenge for me then! I remember how proud I was when I first ran for 5 minutes 🙂 I ran about 3 times a week, even when I was in Oslo for work. There were times when it was tough and I came home after each lesson extremely exhausted, thinking about quitting.. but fortunately things always got better after a while. At some point I bought a gps watch so I could keep track of distances and speed, which made it more fun for a geek like me :D. At the end of April I finished series 1, and was able to run for 30 minutes. I was quite slow though, running slightly less than 4km in 30 minutes while the podcast aimed for 5.

I started series 2 in May, another 27 lessons to get you from 5 to 10 km. I got about halfway through this series when the 10 km run was already approaching… so one afternoon last week I decided to just try and run 10km, to see if I was able to do it. I was! I wasn’t very fast, but I didn’t need to walk and I felt quite fine. Ready for the race!

The Adidas Mila started at 19:00, so I had to “wait around” all day, which was hard – it made me nervous. Here I am at the start, quite anxious…

Slightly nervous during the warmup, just before the start

There were two firebreathers providing entertainment at the start, but as I was standing quite far back I didn’t see any of this! All I noticed was some flame at some point and wondered what was going on. Good thing Paul took these great photos 🙂

Firebreathers spectacle in front of the start.. I didn't actually see/notice any of this as I was too far back! The firebreathers at the start

And off we went! I’ve been running on my own all these months, and it was strange to run among so many people now. I found it quite tough to keep my own pace and ignore all the others. After about 2 km, it got calmer and I was running with the same group of people for the rest of the race. It was great to reach the halfway point, have a sip of water and know I was on my way back! I was running faster than I normally do, and this got me in trouble eventually – I had to walk a few times to catch my breath. The supporters along the way were great though, cheering you on and making you smile :).

The start! The guy on the far right (in blue and yellow) won the race in just over 33 minutes... wow! Crowds at the finish

The last km seemed the longest one, but having the finish in sight helped a lot. I also managed to beat my time from earlier this week, and finished in 1h12min30sec. Not bad!! I’m very proud of what I achieved in those 5 months of running… where at first 3 minutes of running were an eternity, and here I am running for more than an hour :). I am still a very slow runner (I finished 476 out of the 524 female runners…) but hopefully that will improve with time. Running is quite addictive, and I won’t stop here!

Unfortunately the crowd didn't hang around for the slower runners :D Almost there! And very smiley after the finish... I did it!! In 1h12m30s

What’s next? There’s a Polar Night Half Marathon in early January, and Paul suggested I could run the half marathon by then… and that he might join me 🙂 Hmm, I don’t know yet. It’s a great goal to work towards, but it requires a lot of training and I definitely have to become a bit faster. It’s still more than 6 months away though, so perhaps it’s doable? We’ll see! I might give it a go 🙂 There’s also a 10km race during that event, so if it doesn’t work out I’ll enter that one.

Either way, I found a new hobby 🙂 I love the freedom of being able to work out whenever, wherever. I’ve run on snow under the northern lights, at 1 in the morning in the midnight sun, in Tromsø, in Oslo, in Helsinki… and enjoying my new level of fitness 🙂

14 Responses to “Midnight Sun Marathon 2011: Adidas Mila”

  1. anjči says:

    Congratulations! :o) So well done. I have never been much of a runner myself, and feel enormous respect for those able to withstand, well, more than 5 minutes : )

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks anjči! You know what, I used to HATE running, especially in high school… never thought I would actually get to like it! It’s still a bit of a love-hate relationship actually 😉 but with running you can improve quite quickly, I noticed I was getting better with each lesson I completed… and you notice increased fitness after only a few weeks, so that’s all really motivating 🙂

  2. els says:

    Hallo Hanneke,
    Las net je verslag van je rencarrière!Geweldig hoor!
    Wist helemaal niet dat je daar mee bezig was.Maar zo zie je maar: de volhouder wint!Ben trots op je.
    Hartelijke groetjes vanuit A’dam van je “tante”.
    p.s. mooie kaart stuurde je voor mijn verjaardag!

    • Hanneke says:

      Hallo Els!
      Ik heb het ook een hele tijd stilgehouden, wilde eerst zien of ik het wel vol zou houden 😉
      Mooi dat de kaart is aangekomen, hoop dat je een leuke tijd hebt gehad in Egmond!
      Liefs,
      Hanneke

  3. Susan says:

    Congrats to you, Hanneke! Way to go! I can’t run for anything.. well maybe if I was being chased, but it wouldn’t be pretty!

    *high five!*

  4. Jaymo says:

    Congratulations! Running’s not usually an easy thing to get into (and stay with), so kudos to you for the accomplishment. I can’t run any more myself, but I surely loved/hated it while I could and miss it badly now that my knees are shot. The half-marathon is certainly achievable, just find a program and work up to it slowly and according to plan. You can hurt yourself if you move up in mileage too quickly in your enthusiasm for the new sport, but following a good program will lead you down the right path. And you’re right, it’s one of the few sports that you can follow or practice almost anywhere with very little extra gear…super for those who travel and still want to stay with their program. Looking forward to hearing more as you progress -:)

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks Jaymo, these are very encouraging words 🙂 I will definitely follow a program, I really like to have a set program to follow and to know it’s been designed to avoid injuries. So far I am amazed what I can achieve by just slowly building it up.

      I’m very tempted to sign up for the half marathon, as it helps so much to have a goal. I went through an after-race dip and am only just starting to run regularly again. I’m still a bit worried it might be too much though, also because I am still very slow. We’ll see!

  5. Dave and Pauline says:

    Hanneke- well done on the 10 km run. Was it in and around Tromso? Didn’t recognise the streets. If it was hope there were not many hills! Half marathon a big step- if you just keep up with the running and do another 10 km you will have done well.
    All the best to Paul and yourself,
    Dave and Pauline

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks! It was in Tromsø, the photos here are all taken in the main street and in the square. Guess it looks very different with all the people and fences etc. The 10 km went from the city centre along the water front, past the south tip of the island, and then went back the same way. That was quite frustrating as the first runner already went the other way when I had just passed the 3km mark 😉

      I’m still trying to decide which race to sign up for, on the one hand it really helps me to have a goal to work towards, on the other hand I am a bit worried the half marathon is too ambitious. For now, I just keep training and I’ll see how it goes.

      Take care!

  6. Martha says:

    I AM SO VERY PROUD OF YOU! Haven’t been around here lately but saw your Facebook entry. Got your last letter. Sorry haven’t answered. I will later today.

    Your achievement is truly inspiring for me. I was also a runner when I was your age. I did pretty good until motherhood came in. I got back to doing pretty good in walking around the end and beginning of this century, but Sept 11 did me in and it has been like going through hell and back in trying to get a comfortable road to fitness.

    I am just thrilled with your performance so far. Gary never quit. He still runs every other day. He is truly addicted. If he does not run he is difficult to deal with….lol..lol..lol..

    Running is such an enjoyable hobby. I hope you continue to enjoy it forever. I am so proud and happy for you. Talk to you later.
    Martha

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks Martha! Wow, great to hear you used to run 🙂 pity you had to give it up!
      I admire Gary, to run every other day… I hope I can do that too! I was surprised to find how addictive it can be though, especially given how much I hated it back in high school 😉

  7. anjči says:

    Hei Hanneke! It’s anjči again.

    I just wanted to say that I was in Tromsø a few days ago, on my Trondheim – Lofoten – Kirkenes super holiday. The city looked *amazing* in the midnight sun. I was very jealous you actually get to live there ; )

    Here’s a picture I took while there (am sure you see it, like, every day). Shame I was in town just super briefly – otherwise would have got in touch! Stay well and enjoy the wonderful, light summer : )

    • Hanneke says:

      Hello anjči 🙂
      Wow, that’s a great photo – looks like you’ve been really lucky with the weather both in the Lofoten and here! The light here is so beautiful in the midnight sun, just wish it would be like that every day 😉 we’ve been having grey low clouds and rain/drizzle for days now! Did you travel on the Hurtigruten? Looking forward to more pictures!

      And YES if you are ever in Tromsø again, do get in touch, would be really nice to meet you 🙂

  8. anjči says:

    Haha, everyone says I was lucky with the weather. And I was already thinking a perfect summer in the north was guaranteed!

    I flew into Trondheim, took a train up to Bodø, then a Hurtigruta to Svolvær, bus to Narvik, bus to Tromsø, plane to Hammerfest, bus to Honningsvåg and + FINALLY! + a Hurtigruta to Kirkenes. The idea was to experience many different kinds of transport in the north…

    Are you in Tromsø for a long time? Enjoy in any case : )