A run in Norway is not for everyone. Steep hills. Stoic Norwegians who look scared when you say hello. Deserted mountain trails. Rocks and mud. Yet more climbing, then hard descending. Utter silence. A sense of being alone, vulnerable and isolated, in the rough high mountains so close to the city.
But when you leave Bergen and head into the hills, underneath the cable car built for your lazier fellow humans, the magic will come. Once the breathing calms down and the legs are used to those ridiculous-grade climbs, you begin to look. At the lakes, the clouds, and the views of Bergen and its surrounding. You see beauty.
Of course, every long-distance runner knows that the little things draw you back to the here and now – to reality. Your hands become immobile in the 40-degree weather and you curse yourself for forgetting gloves. Despite the cold air your thirst becomes epic after 80 minutes of climbing. Those aging knees balk at the 5:30 downhill pace; gravity wants you to go faster still on the gravelly homestretch, but really, a 5:20 mile past that last lake is all you can muster.
Then you come home to your hotel, after 11 miles into the wilderness and back. And while a trail run on a perfectly cool spring day in Norway may not be for everyone, it is for you.