We're two days away from what could be the highlight of the year for many runners. Friday, at midnight, marks the beginning of the Ultra Intervals, a 24-hour period of testing limits and pushing boundaries.
Running internet forum jogg.se is responsible for this crazy idea. The gist of it is this: you have to run 8 intervals of 10 km each, spread out evenly over the course of a day. So, the first interval starts at midnight, the second at 3 o'clock, the third at 6 and so on. Until the last one, Saturday night at 9. It's almost like a 24-hour ultra race, but with mandatory rest periods.
Bad news is, the slower you are, the less time you get to spend resting between intervals.
You can choose to enter the competition class (if you intend to run all 8) or the open class. Open class has looser rules. For example, you don't have to be so punctual. You can even start a day early. I thought I'd aim for the competition class and see what happens. Worst case scenario, if I can't run all 8, is that I get ”demoted” to open class. No big deal.
As you can imagine, apart from the colossal physical effort of trying to run 80 km within a day, there is an important psychological factor that needs to be overcome. Namely boredom. Imagine running around a 10 km path, 8 times within a day. Or even worse, imagine not having a 10 km path to run around and having to do with a much shorter one, like a 1 km path. Times 80.
Add to that the fatigue from not getting enough sleep and rest between intervals and the reluctance to go out in the middle of the night when your nice, warm bed is calling you, and you begin to understand the enormity of this project. Still, many people around the country are going to give it their best shot. And, luckily, some of them are in my running group. In order to better deal with the psychological factors that might otherwise force us to throw in the towel, some of us decided to run these intervals together. So we rented one of the cabins in Skatås, where we will be spending the time between intervals resting, eating and socialising. We're stronger together.
I have no idea if I can run all 8. I'd be happy with 6. Although, to be honest, this is completely unknown territory for me. Common sense says I should be able to manage more than 5, since I get to rest for a couple of hours between intervals – but maybe that's just what's going to be tough. Getting up again after you've been resting for two hours.
Hopefully, I am going to be able to update the blog during the day (and night). Feel free to follow me on this adventure and to leave comments such as ”You can do it!, ”Go get' em tiger!” and ”Move your fat arse!”. I'm going to need all the encouragement (and, failing that, bullying) I can get.