Knarvik Xtrem race report

Last night was the Knarvik Xtrem trail race - 10.7 kilometers of slippery, wet, muddy, rocky, mossy terrain. It is the first of three races in the Fjord Viking series; of which there are a total of 52 people are registered (12 of them women, including myself; 3 of us in our age class). The next race is a 10 km road race on September 3rd and a half marathon the next day.

I took the bus after work to Knarvik, and had a bit over an hour to burn. I walked from the bus with another runner all dressed out in Salomon brand gear, I figured him for a brand fan...turns out he (Stian is his name) is a sponsored runner and won the race! He was very humble and gave no clues that he was so good. I got my number and tried to find a smart spot to leave my bag since they didn't have a baggage service - too many locals driving cars I guess. I was number 315.

After a couple minutes of light jogging I watched everyone else warming up. They looked super professional: top brand trail shoes, good form, etc. I put myself towards the back of the pack at the start and then we were off. People started so fast out of the gate that I knew I was not going to be very high up on the result list. I could hear AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" loud and clear, and as our feet stepped to the first bit of trail just silence. I could only hear breathing and shoes hitting rocks and puddles.

The first section was uphill on rock face. It rained a bit during the day so the course was very wet. Uphill was hard, and downhill was slippery, and when finally there came a flat section we had to either go around the water as best possible or wade through it (often up to the knees). I opted to wade through the water in the first half thinking I'd save time, but it was so exhausting to pull my legs out of the mud. I probably would have used just as much time trying to navigate around the bogs.

There was one other woman running about the same pace as me. I would pass her going up hill, but she had me on the downhill. The final section was all downhill, so she finished before me. As soon as I hit the flat road and running track my legs felt like they were back in normal territory and I could sprint to the finish. I came in at 1 hour 47 minutes and 54 seconds. This was by far the toughest, most challenging race I have ever run, and it was a lot of fun!

Results for the Knarvik Xtrem 10.7
Overall: 158 out of 177 (202 registered, 177 finishers)
Gender: 28th out of 38 (48 registered, 38 finishers)
Class (Women 23-34): 6th out of 10 (15 registered, 10 finishers) 

[Race elevation profile. Lots of up and down!]
I hopped on the bus back to Bergen around 9PM with mud-covered legs. Little did I know that from 8PM there would be road work that delayed my arrival home. A trip that should have taken roughly an hour lasted two and a half hours. I was freezing on the bus and not so thrilled to be stuck in traffic, but I got home and a hot shower, and straight to bed.

I prefer to be in the top 50% of the field at the finish line, but that's the thing with small races. They either make you or break you. You can be in the top of your age group and gender, or, as in the case of this race, be surrounded by people who are crazier than you are and in much better form for such a race. Marius pointed out that it is "probably only crazy people running that kind of race, and now you're one of the crazy ones. Likely not too many runners that you typically see at half marathon road races." I think he was right. Looking at the statistics, the top female finishers were 36 and 38 years old! I think this means I have a good shot at only getting better as time goes on.

[Some stayed around to cheer for us slow folks]
[Mud to the knees!]
[All done!]

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