Kristiansen combined skiing and running from '71 to '79, when she graduated from Trondheim Tekniske H�gskole. She began working as a technician at the Norwegian Cancer Research Institute in Trondheim. "A quiet job," she says. A stress fracture kept her from finishing her first competitive marathon, in New York that October, when Waitz ran a then world record 2:27:33. Waitz and Kristiansen raced six or seven times a year at 1,500 and 3,000 meters, and always Waitz won. Over the years, Kristiansen collected "20 or 30" silver medals behind Waitz in Norwegian championships.
The relationship between these two, so fixed in the standings, was fluid and tentative in emotion. "She was not my ideal, in the sense that I wanted to imitate everything about her," says Kristiansen, "but she showed what women could do if we trained like men. She showed that Norwegian girls can beat the best. It was frustrating to be behind her for those years, but there was always the feeling, 'If she can do it, I can do it, too.' "
First, Ingrid had to make some changes. She married Arve in 1981 and moved with him to the oil port of Stavanger, on Norway's remarkably mild west coast. There she could run year-round for the first time. And for coaching she turned to Kaggestad, a former 5,000-meter man who directed the Norwegian Nike distributorship. "She had built up tremendous aerobic capacity from the age of ten," he says. "But she had done no sophisticated training."
Kaggestad added variety and intensity, transforming her strength to speed. Now, even at 30, Kristiansen believes she can continue to improve. "In the 10,000, I think one second faster per lap is possible," she says. "Somebody can do 29:45. Me, O.K., but others, too. Mary [Slaney]. Zola [ Budd]. Yes, I lapped everybody [when I set the record] by one or two laps, but that's because it was so new to them. When they catch up, the one lap will go away, and we'll be a group, like the men."
Two years ago the Kristiansens moved to Oslo, which is far from the warm Atlantic, and hence snowy for five months of the year. "So I bought a treadmill," says Kristiansen, "to run fast in the wintertime without having to go to the Bahamas." This demanding device inhabits a basement room. On it, the runner faces a mirror and a photograph of Benoit winning the 1983 Boston Marathon. After a few minutes, the runner senses control passing to the machine. You are not running so much as being run.
Still, it's better than dodging traffic on icy roads. "I live here," Kristiansen says, meaning Norway. "I want to be here. Besides, I never go more than 45 minutes or an hour."
Kaggestad says the treadmill work has become more valuable than the road training it replaced. "When she comes from the machine, she floats on the track. Her rhythm is better. So now she uses it in the summer, too."
And in winter she still cross-country skis almost every morning for 10 to 25 miles. "In fact, in winter I seldom run outdoors."
It is not unrelated that, except for her single stress fracture seven years ago, she has never been injured. "I've asked Ingrid, 'How come you never get hurt?' " Waitz says rather plaintively, for Waitz has been hurt a lot lately. "Her theory is that for years I did hard, intensive track training, while she skied and did long easy runs. Now I don't have legs for the track any more. As soon as I step on it, I'm hurt."
And a baby makes you come alive. "I don't think before Gaute that she really believed she could be a mother," says Arve. "She thought her whole hormone system was not working in that way. But now she is a more fulfilled person. There is nothing missing."