Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

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Race Report – Alingsåsloppet 2017/06/11

Alingsasloppet

Top3 – Happy and not tired 🙂

Planned: a bit unsure actually, mostly because of the heavy rain indicated in the weather forecast as well as the rolling hills of the second half…

Actual: 42:51 – 2nd place (women). Place from start to end 🙂

BEFORE THE RACE

Good night’s sleep. Alarm ringing around 8:30am, which I totally ignored. Took all the time needed to wake up, prepare a bit my gear and bag for the race and change for leg shaking. All fine. Ready around 10:30am. Easy choice: whit MIK singlet (in case it would be cold…), SOC sport bra MIK and SOC shorts thunder. Boston boost on the feet. Better grip than the Adios I feel. Then a bit of steadying at home.

11:30am – headed to the train station and got off at Alingsås. Colleague Lotta was very kind and picked me up under drizzling skies 1h15 later and drove me to the tent distributing the BIB.

1:00pm – Had found the locker rooms, got to the loo, and lay down on a bench for approximately 40minutes. Not too good choice as my back was hurting very much after that. Took probably 5-6 minutes before it got kind-of better.

2:05pm – Warm-up time. Looked at the arrival of the kids’ 2km race and dropped my bag in the information tent. Kept my rain jacket and pants for running the final 5km of the race. Quite ok…for 500m! Thereafter it was running in the forest, rolling hills, wet, then wind, and more forest… OMG! That was worse than expected… and the expectations were not very high… Anyway. Had taken a gel during the last km of the warmup. Felt ok. Met with David G-MIK when dropping my rain outfit. He is heading for the 5K. Unfortunately for me as it would have been nice to follow a bit… if only I could at his pace!

2:50pm – Final stop at the loo and easy run to the start. Placed myself right in the front. Only two gals around as I could see. My prognosis was that the one in black/red would win and the other one would get second. So I just (!) had to hand along for the third place.

1 minute to start… Felt like forever. Saw the largest smile from Lotta and her girls on the side. Always good with this silent cheering before a race. Prepared my music. All ready.

10 seconds to start… Left my sunglasses to the guy holding the start gun. It had started to rain a little…

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THE RACE

3:00pm – BAM! Start was on! No “release the beasts”-feeling. Despite of the little narrow few meters for the start, it went smoothly. Light drizzle still. After 100m or so, the larger road allowed to have us spreading around. Got passed by the black/red singlet lady. Just have to hang along I thought. Passing the first km in 3:56. That was ok. Did have that in mind and then the nice feeling was gone. The gal had gone ahead with a group of guys and this pace I was not ready to follow. The problem was that no one was having the pace I had… Running under the trees on gravel and then continuing on wet cobblestones…not my favorites… but I knew that was arriving. So that was ok. Had a “deja-vu” feeling from Kungsbackamilen, where 4 years ago the race was as well in the middle of a city, wet with the rain, cobblestones and little me without anyone holding the same pace (is there a problem with me or with all the other runners??!? I wonder…). A bit of turning right, right, left right? Or something like that. Passing km2 and that was not looking good. Could not see the first gal. Had an average pace above 4 and honestly was counting down the km without much happiness (Strange, because I love counting down in a marathon from 42, 41, 40…to go…). Go passed by a couple of guys during those 3 first km, but after that it was quite stable. Had set my mp3 from the start but missed the button and the first song started a bit after 500m or so… Lost my spots which were “finish the first km before the end of the first song, get to km5 at the end of song number 3…” Tried to set the music better from km4, but it felt a bit odd. Anyway. Just too slow was the thought running along. Did not really feel like pressing more. Seeing ahead of me runners…running…on.a.bridge?!?!? Ayyyyy! I missed this one. Dropped a bit the snail-pace I had while climbing the bridge, but got a nice flow on the downhill…especially as I notice it was where the road was joining the second loop and meaning I had 700m to km5…Yooohooo! OK, did not feel THAT “Yooohooo”, but felt nice. Not much of an acceleration getting and passing km5. Beeping from the watch indicated 20:55. 1 minute slower than I had planned. Meaning I was definitely not making this up during the second half. Nice smiles from Lotta and the girls and cheering from people around. Did something I really do NOT do in race… I looked behind me to see whether some gals was close-by. Noted one a bit behind, 100m? 60? no idea… because I heard the voice of Johan P saying “ a runner who turns back and check is a scared runner”… Sharpening was needed!!! Passing the firefighters again but this time we turned left along the forest towards the km6. OMG, it felt like crazy climbing. Had they increased the inclination since I ran this part earlier?!?! Reaching a little bridge-like part… I WALKED!!! Counted 10 seconds, turned once more. No gal. WHY ON EARTH was I walking?!? Tried to get back to the back of the guy with the orange tshirt. Passing km6 and did not want to know the pace I got for this one. Running in the forest was wet, clumpsy and definitely far from a race-pace. Turning right with the cheering of people on the side and finally back on the asphalt. Yeaaaaahhhhaaaa! Reaching the second water station (had totally ignored the first one at km2.5 or alike). Got two small water paper cup. One went on the head and the second one I tried to drink from, without much success. Could not care less. Counted down that 3km to go @5km/min meant 15 more minutes of rubbish running. OMG! What I really not like this wind. And that I am totally alone running. Passed two guys. And then tried to hang along a white tshirt guy. Passing km8 little above 34 minutes. Tried to press a bit the white tshirt guy. Cheered a bit saying it was looking good. Got a “same to you” a bit tired. Passed him in the downhill under the little bridge and then he passed me in the stretch towards km9. Wind. Again. Of course. Tried to set myself right behind him, but honestly it did not help an inch. Apart from me feeling I was running slower. So the final 200m before km9 we were running side by side again. Final right turn into the woods. 1Km to go. Piece of whatever cake it maybe. Downhill. Feeling like running in the mud. Slippery. Seeing the mark on the right which I calculated during warmup that it was 800m to go. Told that to the guy but he drifted a bit behind me. Seeing the asphalt again. The 5K-runners coming from the right and joining the 10K (ie “us”) coming from the left. What a feeling to get shy cheering from the kids running. ALL the way to the end. Cheered on the left, cheered on the right. Accelerated all I could. The white tshirt guy came back to my side, passing the previous “5km”-sign. But that was not it. More strengths in those stupid legs of mine. Acceleration and final left turn. On the wet grass. Run like h*ll. Just don’t fall. Hearing the speaker telling the second lady was coming. And my name. Yoooohooooo! Largest smile ever. Passing the finish line. I am done!

=> official time: 42:51 – place 2.

 

Weather: 16.1ºC, cloudy, feels like 16.1ºC, 23kph S wind, 88% humidity. Drizzle at start and in the middle. Rubbish-annoying wind almost throughout

Food: Aptonia Salted butter caramel during final km of the warmup. 1banan, 1little juice straberry/passion fruits and 1 glass water right after arrival
> during (!): 1 little jellysquare around km5 and 1 dextrosol around km8.

Gear: SOC shorts thunder, SOC sports bra MIK. Shoes all good for the job. Very good grip.

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Boston Boost 5 TSF- Pink/Black (Snappy)

16/ A bit concerned about whether this level means anything. Unsure the breathing was correct. I know it may sound heavy, but that I can continue for a while despite the sound 😛 Did not press much and I know it. What it is that can make me push more and cross a bloody 10K-finish line on the knees crawling??? (and if possible in a fast fast time too…)

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AFTER THE RACE:

Changing hipster, shorts and sports bra to dry ones…in the information tent. Got a nice pic taken by a kind lady there. A bit of chat with Lotta and her girls. And then happily hearing my name once again to get on the podium. Second place. 3 minutes behind the first one. More pics and got driven to the train station again. A bit of food and watching rubbish on tv after a well-deserved hot shower at home. Not tired. Went out for a recovery run of 13km to get the 30km of the day… Body still not feeling tired.

NOTE: nice race. Weather was not really a problem (apart from the wind…as usual). But the rolling hills of the second half were not fun to have. Couldn’t they make us run AROUND the little hill instead on on it?!?!

NOTE: My GPS recorded 9.98km… Once again. A bit surprised to have shorter than 10K. By 20m this time.

NOTE: What to think about this second 10K of the week? Not much. A good tempo-run. Definitely getting in the legs the hilly race 5 days ago and the fast interval workout on treadmill 3 days ago. Should probably have skipped at least the intervals. Top 3 still is making one happy. A nice present card to Mio for buy stuff. Had no chance to get under 40 on this route, but 1 minute too slow in the first half, a km with walking during the second half… Definitely some time to gain on this route. Will see if easier training helps before next 10K…

Race Report – Fiskebäcksloppet 2017/06/06

Fiskebäcksloppet2017

Happy and not tired…

Planned: 42min or less…but at least faster than last year

Actual: 43:44 – 9th (women) Amazing enough this is the place I have had from start to end via all check-points.

BEFORE THE RACE

Awaken by the light despite the “light-won’t-go-through” curtain. But at least it was not around 4ish am… Took an easy leg shaking to wake up body and mind. Spent morning steadying at home, cleaning, fixing and packing my race bag. And fix my legs. Cannot really go to a race without having them aerodynamically fixed… In race gear around 9:40am… Just had to kill time before getting the bus to the start. Chose to take my MIK outfit and run in my Boston. They are fast during training, so they would do for a training race…

1:20pm – Met Helen-MIK and chatted a bit. Got my BIB. Met Jenny-MIK and Anna-MIK.. Cool to see them…and here went 2 places… Nothing to do but chat.

2:15pm – Time to warm-up. Dropped my bag at Måns-MIK and went for a run to get the body and mind ready. Unfortunately it made me only MORE aware about the wind that would bother me during the race… Ran the first 3km of the race and then turned back seeing it was getting short on time. Headed towards the woods and could not find my way back 😦 Eventually found an exit. Got my bag back, dropped it at the baggage drop and that was it. Took a powergel apple as it felt that breakfast was a while ago…

2:56pm – Got to the sub40 corral. It was empty almost. A few gal came in and then guys joined. None of them getting to the front line. Why would they use gals as wind-shield?!?!? Anyway, sun was finally shining and the wind was on. Countdown had started…

15 seconds to start… Final check to my laces. Thought I should have taken my mp3 with me…

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THE RACE

3:00pm – START was given! Saw the fast gals leaving the area ilke crazy, followed by fastest guys. Nothing for me. Had decided to go easy during the first 2km to have strengths to accelerate after that… Sure! 5 gals ahead of me, one passing me on the side… felt like déjà-vu from last year (apart from the fast that I was 3rd last year…). The evil first hill got taken heavily, but not being the only one suffering. Some guys were already heavily breathing… Quick check at my watch to ensure it had started… 3:56-tempo?!?!? at the top of the hill… The only thought that came to mind apart from smiling was that I would pay for this later… Slowed down a bit in the downhill, turn right, nice side wind and right again towards the second slope of the race. Passed the first km in 4:07…4seconds slower than last year…. Matters not. There were 9km to catch those seconds up. Downhill and annoying blaster telling me to stop for a short while. Nope. I don’t think so. Had been doing toilets-stops all morning due to drinking properly before the race and then 2 extra stops close to the start. Not a chance the blaster was full of anything! Running back to Sjöbacka and on gravel…. Yeaaaahhh…NOT! Side wind and then tailwind. First cheering from Magnus and Berndt and Måns from MIK. Highly appreciated. Was running alone. All before me were too far away already and I had no plan to check behind me. Got passed by a couple of guys and tried to hang along. Km2 was passed. No idea of the pace as I decided NOT to check. Full headwind during this part. And of course, no wind-shield… Just once more on this part and this will be the final stretch. Less than 8km to go… Turning left and more gravel… Longing for the asphalt!!! Got passed by a couple of guys again, but their breathing indicated they were already close to their max. My breathing? Unsure, but I was not close to my max. Passing km3 at the roundabout and the first change… turning right and a crazy headwind welcomed us. Not happy. Still no clue about the pace. No check on the clock and could barely feel the buzz from it at each km-mark. Focus on the running. Crossing the road and feeling they left cars passing after me. Good! That meant that not many runners were close to me at this part. Passing Fiskebäcks Church and the cheering on both side was well appreciated! Third uphill of the race and second worse. Took it nicely. Three guys had slowed down and stopped ahead of me. And they did not feel that it was bothering to have them walking in the middle of the little gravel path in the forest… Was ready to yell “hold your right!” when 2 aligned behind each other on the left and the 3rd one ran a bit ahead and stopped on the side. Thanks guys! Passing a couple of guys there. Feeling strong. OK, not THAT strong. But OK-strong. Until getting to the left turn which made me run so slowly it felt that I was walking. Not a chance! Not now. The asphalt was so close! And turn right and steep downhill. Yoooohoooo! Taking the cheering that the guy with a white Volvo-tshirt is receiving for me too. The world is better when sharing (and cheering), right? 🙂 And at the end of the downhill, abrupt left turn. Taking a little jelly square. Not necessary not required, but it keeps me awaken and focus. Tricky with the guys ahead of me as they are three running all over the place. Trying to get a little passage but tricky. Passing one finally when running under the bridge and over to the bike path. OK, it was probably not very nice to cut the path, but he could have kept his right, right? And first water-station. The guy before me is just stopping (!) while grabbing his water paper-cup. I ran along and get two water cup. One for the head and one thrown on my legs. SOOOOO Nice! Takes probably 3minutes before the legs are dried again and the hair left free and now wet and helping very much to keep my neck refreshed. Another uphill after the school turn. Nothing steep, but looooong. The Volvo guy is receiving still cheering. And people are out for supporting. Really nice and helpful! Some have their water-hose on and watering us. Yelling (kindly) to do it lower as I do not want my sunglasses wet. This message goes in for two of them. But the third one understand the contrary and I get a full shower instead of only the legs… At least I still smile! And this is when I first hear the cheering for “Melker”…. Seeing a little (not THAT little) boy passing me. Strong and smiling. I tell him “Good work” and he is kindly half-turning and answering “Same to you”. Trying to keep up with him is not even in my plans. I just want to get some of hi cheerings. His friends are running on the side for having some high-fives, and then on the left side as well. Very polite friends cheering for me when I pass… Feeling like a heavy wet elephant on the way up the Mount Everest that would have been under 25ºC sunshine and wind… And finally getting to the top. One more hill vanquished… 2 to go! The downhill and I feel strong. Passing the Volvo-guy and keeping the blue-tshirt guy right before me. Little up and then right turn. I pass the blue guy in the forest and then it is asphalt again. Yiiiihooo! Downhill… Where was this 5km-mark? And is the 6km-mark coming soon??? Turning left along the little harbour… expecting the wind, but nothing ahead. Yiiiiihooo again? Unsure about my place. Except that I could not see any gal ahead of me any longer and was not going to check behind me. 7Km-water station was there. Getting two water paper cup. One for the hair which had had the time to dry out since km4 (!) and one for the leg. Too late I realized that I should have drank a little of the water… And right after the water station… the wind arrived. Aaaaaaah! Not a chance I can accelerate to catch up with the guys ahead of me. 5 of them and they all set themselves behind each other like a line. But even then, they are too far ahead with this wind. Getting to the gravel/small-stones-which-make-it-impossible-to-run part and the dreadful stairs are arriving. WOW! Logs of steel. I had prepared myself so well for NOT walking up. I kind-of run the first two steps and that was it. I walk miserably the rest, holding the ramp (!) and not even start running when reaching the asphalt… I am done! Lightning McQueen? Yeaaaah…sure! In slow motion and backwards probably! I turn and see only guys behind me. Which at least make me happy. And then I feel a kind hand on my back and gentle push. SOOOOOO NICE! The guy in blue tshirt is helping me up the hill! OMG! So kind. Like starting the engine again and I was on. Km8 was within short distance. The gentle push from the guy had given me enough strength for at least NOT stopping in this last uphill in the forest. Passed one guy there. My legs felt tired, my thighs were starting to burn. Did not want anything else/more but getting a cold shower on the burning muscles that were my body at this moment. And the steep downhill arrived. Took it carefully. Thanks for the cheering of the boy at the end of the slope, I got a bit more strength. Change of the course this year with running around the parking lot. Which felt a little better…until we had to “climb” the little baby-slope towards the bus-stop. Felt like heavy. And the wind was not helping. One of the guys before me listened to music and breathed heavily and had no clue he was running a bit all-over as well 😦 OK, I’ll get him at the turn… Right turn and he cut me badly…Headwind and left turn and I pass him 😛 And along Fiskebäcks harbour. Nice with many people out today. And then up again, tried to place myself behind a tall guy, but it did nothing to stop the wind. So I stop hiding. Passing km9-mark. Yiiiiihooo! Only one more km of misery! And then this little running down a 1.5m (?) steep stuff…Beware of not falling. And the final stretch. Headwind (what else?!?!) but this was less than a km to the end. Encouraging the guys by my side. I just want to have this done. Final right turn on the gravel. One of the guys is cheering and passing me. Final left turn. Did I say I hate gravel?!?! Headwind. Did I say what I feel about headwind? Thanks for the cheering of MIKs on the side, I try to keep myself straight and focused. But not a chance I am running fast. I hope I am still running though… So fearing that a gal will pass me right there. But whoever is behind me is ALSO having this headwind. Cannot be THAT easy to run… (or maybe I am the only one feeling this wind….) Got passed by a tall guy 100m from the end. And then we run on the right on the grass… Did I say I hate running on grass??? And then passing the Finish-line. H.A.P.P.Y!

=> official time: 43:44 – place 9.

Weather: 21.1° Mostly Clear, Feels like 21.1°, 21 kph SE wind, 46% humidity – of course the sun got out right before our warm-up and race. Otherwise it was nicely hiding behind the clouds… But this wind… Keep it locked at home next year!

Food: Powergel apple right before start of the race. 2 kex-chocolate + 2 glass water right after arrival
> during (!): 1 little jellysquare around km5 and 2 dextrosol around km7.

Gear: SOC shorts small trapezes, Casall Iconic sports bra black MIK. Shoes all good for the job 🙂
> warmup done with GV-black wind jacket. Took it off after 3km. Too hot!

> perfect outfit to have skipped the singlet!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Boston Boost 5TSF – Pink/Black (Snappy)

15/ Not sure for setting the effort, honestly. Far from max and as usual with headwind, it feels like you are pressing, running like in porridge and still having a decent pace. OK…skip the “decent pace”-part for this year’s race 🙂 But seeing how it felt after the race, I cannot have pressed much the body today. But the wind does make one tired.

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AFTER THE RACE:

Changing hipster and shorts to dry ones…behind a car. Taking a nice pic with other gals from the club. Taking an easy km or so with one of them as cooldown and then easy jogging to the bus-stop. Would have gladly run back home and add some volume for today, but there are other plans for the week. Cannot really make the body tired today.

NOTE: still liking this little race. Lots of fast chicks this year. Cannot understand HOW they ran with this wind…making me think that I could be extra sensitive to the wind or lazy for not pushing the body more when the wind is out and play. Have to work on this.

NOTE: My GPS recorded 9.88km… Not often it registers shorter on race… Have I really cut the race course by 120m???

NOTE: Not disappointed really. Of course, sub42 was the plan, and without the wind, I still do think that it was feasible without aiming for the stars. Good top10 place. If there had been less wind, the other gals would have probably run slightly faster and my placing would have probably been the same anyway 🙂 At least I was the coolest mum on the race according to GET. And they weren’t even there…

Race Report – Hamburg Marathon – 2017/04/23

Hamburg 2017

Smiling until the end!

Planned: 3hr or less… Health ok, training ok, head a bit off, but it felt achievable

Actual: 3:12:21 – 87th women, 2nd Swedish female, 16th age category & 1,127 (total 15,000 runners). Weather not being clement this day, ruining my plans already from start, saw the sub3 disappearing already then. Took decision to change the plan after 17km run and continue as an easy long run. Surely disappointed, but not fully. There will be more races…

Race Results:
place (M/W) 86
place (age) 16

Total 1119 (out of 15.000)

Age/grade: 74.08% (2017 Tokyo 78.07 / 2016 Amsterdam 79.9 / Ferrara 78.2 / Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (gun) 03:12:21

time total (brutto) 03:12:28

average pace: 4:33min/km… almost distance-pace…no comment!

Official splits:

Split Time Time
(split)
Pace (min/km) km/h
5 km

00:21:26

21:26

04:18

14.00

10 km

00:43:07

21:41

04:21

13.84

15 km

01:05:10

22:04

04:25

13.60

20 km

01:29:53

24:43

04:57

12.14

Half (21.1km)

01:35:08

05:15

04:48

12.54

25 km

01:53:13

18:06

04:39

12.95

30 km

02:16:41

23:28

04:42

12.79

35 km

02:39:40

23:00

04:36

13.05

40 km

03:02:37

22:57

04:36

13.08

42.2km

03:12:21

09:45

04:27

13.52

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M Day-6&-5

Started carb depletion slightly earlier and a bit differently. The weather being extremely windy, it did not allow for terrific workouts, the moral was pretty down and honestly, there was time to really questioned what I was doing at all.

M Day -4

Final session. 5K at expected marathon pace. Piece of cake, right? Well, scheduling this session became a bit tricky. Early morning (read: “about 5am”…) was out of question. The weather forecast the evening before showed -3/4°C and for any other session or even a similar workout but NOT in the final week, I would have gone for it. But as said earlier, the moral was not to the top. The lunch weather forecast was however promising warm 9°C, no wind and sunshine. The deal was done! Meeting all morning and then went to change. Well outside the building, only grey, light wind and poor 5°C were welcoming me. Brilliant choice of clothes with singlets, shorts, arm sleeves and calve sleeves. And sun glasses… It worked but with 3 stops during the fast part. Slightly faster than expected, feeling all fine if it wasn’t for the wind out there. Back to the office, work all afternoon. And that was it. Final session. Not really seeing the training done for the past month in that session. But ok. The positive with this day? Start with carboloading. One day earlier. And having received product from Isostar I decided to test them as well the day after. Massage in the evening. Really painful pressure point on the right hip. Yap. Not really the way you want it to be 4 days before a race…

M Day-3

Working from home this day as happened to develop an allergy after being back at the office for two days (they were renovating there…). Better be safe than sorry. At least the allergy reaction decreased and the scratching almost disappeared. Change of plans regarding the preps, turning the 8-10km easy into a real slow 5K to shake the legs more than run with them… Slightly sensitive in the foot, wearing an ankle support seemed the good approach. (Probably the “better” approach would have been to skip the run and rest…). Started Carbo-loading with the Isostar Malto-Carbo-loading I won. Lots of drinking. All fine. Did not feel the “rush of happiness” that generally comes with carbo-loading, but ok. At least the body tolerated the Isostar.

M Day-2

Travel day…Not much sleep, missed the tram, started to stress a bit, got into the bus to the airport and felt better. Check-in completed. On my way. Met lots of runners in the queue to the control and remember that London was also run this same day as Hamburg. Fell asleep before take off. Listened to music all the way. Gloomy welcoming from Hamburg with fog and 7ºC. Easy travel with train and metro and walk to the room I rented. Dropped my stuff and walked to the Expo to get my BIB. Very surprised that the Expo was only 1km from home. Got my BIB, a few pics, bought some sport drinks High5 to try it during next 2 days and headed to Decathlon. And then back home. Had eaten half-baguette with ham for breakfast and one with honey on the way to the expo. Rested 1hour. Needed more food. Found a pasta restaurant not far from home. The Penne al Forno was a HUGE portion and after eating half of it, I got the rest in a little box to get home. Short walk to Lidl for buying bread, banana, snickers, orange juice and home again. Met my host’s boyfriend and we had lots of talking about running. They are nice hosts 🙂 Then time for more work. Fixed a bit and then bed time. A bit late, but I had rested in the afternoon.
Drank second day of the Isostar Malto-Carbo-loading. As well as a couple of bottles of the High5-lemon. Feeling a bit heavy. Mostly because of the pasta though.

M Day-1

Wanted to run now. For real! Awaken early with the lights through the curtains. Change gears and took an easy 7.6km run. First to the little lake when km39 was indicated. Headwind during the 39 to 41. The little slope/incline of the km41 could be felt already today. Will be interesting to see how it would feel the day after with 41km in the legs… Could not run to the start as there was the kids’ race. Waited a bit and ran to km1 and then back to the start. And then back home. Spent the rest of the day resting, preparing my gear, drinking High 5 sport drink and preparing my bottles which I dropped at the Expo in mid-afternoon. After that, I felt ready. Quite light. Decided to have final food intake around 1-2pm and then only drink loads of sport-drink. High5 felt quite ok and the body did not reacted. Fair enough.

Bed time around 9:30pm. Could hear the neighbours partying. My hosts came back not too late but close to midnight did go to the neighbours and telling them kindly to lower voice and music as they had a marathoner trying to sleep before her race (NOTE: I got this info the day after from my hosts 🙂 Cool people!)

NOTE: counted 37 showers during the day… with sunshine in-between…and of course wind… Promising weather for the race…

M DAY!!!!

Finally!!!! All Race day start with this word!

Before the race

05:00am – Waking up early as usual. Ate breakfast of champions (chia seeds, green mix, 1 banana and High5 sport drink, orange juice, a little piece of baguette with honey). And back to bed…

5:30am – The usual happening now. Drinking High5 on regular basis every 30min or so.. To avoid the problem from Amsterdam and Tokyo with too full blaster, I stop the drinking 30min earlier than usually do.

6:30am – Time to get ready! Shower, cream, fixing the hair, warming gel on the legs and anti-chaffing cream on the top. Racing gear on (SWE hotpants and singlet, arm sleeves pink and wind gloves, a neckwarmer, my Compressport calve sleeves (a first for a marathon!) and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky). Got my sunglasses on the top of the head. The weather was planned to be nice but windy. So they would help for skipping “crying eyes” throughout the race… Set my mp3

Got on the top of my racing gear the 2XXL easy pants I bought at Decathlon. WAY too big, but ok. Extra jacket as well which would get thrown before the start. And that was it. One caffeine gel in the back of the bra and one gel in the back pocket with the Dextrosol. Take my little red-disgusting-juice and time to go!

7:10am – Tried to jog to the start. But having the bag in the back and those too-large pants which I feared to get chaffing problems, it did not turn as a warmup really. Stopped the watch after reaching the start area. But it took a while to get all around the Hall building to drop my stuff. Left my bag, kept on the warm pants, extra tshirt and wind-jacket. First stop at the loo. No queue. Perfect. Did not feel that the start was quite close actually. People were all around and in no hurry to neither warm up nor get to the start corrals…

8:10am – New attempt to warmup after checking where was the start…and it started raining… Yeaaaah… Got to the loo one more time… and then another time, more like a “stress-stop” than a “need-to-go-stop”. At least this blaster would NOT annoy me during the race… I thought.

8:30am – In the corral…which was pretty empty… I felt that no urgency was raised and went out for a FINAL stop at the loo closed to our corral opening. Back to the start after that.

8:45am – Hummm… The wheelchair athletes started to line-up and in my B-corral, there were still lots of place between runners. Start was given to the wheelchair, the A-corral started to fill in and the invited athletes got to their start…

8:55am – Off with the too-large pant and the extra tshirt and the wind jacket. Body warmth all-around was sufficient 🙂

8:57am-ish – Eeeeeeeeh…sorry? But what it the blue rope still doing in front of us. We want to get closer to the start. But the volunteers are not letting us move. We have to wait for the gun shot they said…. H*ll no! Several are passing under the blue rope and I am one of them. Enough stress in the body and mind for not having this rope in front of me/us!

THE RACE

First half

09:10am – BAAAAM! Yes! All starts seem to sound this way. The runners are unleashed and I am happily one of them. I am happy. My legs are running. Finally. Pressing start on my watch, although I am a bit unsure whether I did not wait too long for starting it. And with the bad surprise from Amsterdam with the watch choosing to pause itself after the start, I do check quickly after 300m whether it is still on. Yap! Race on! Trying NOT to get too excited. Got passed before km1 by one of the Swedish gals I knew would be in the lead. Nothing to do about this actually. 1Km done. 4:09 according to my watch. Fine. This stretch is nice… until the drizzle starts to join us… well…actually it feels like light rain…or more heavy rain… Before turning right after the first km mark, we are already getting cheering from the skies in shape of small or medium hailstones falling. THAT’S A FIRST! Never got a race with this! Hoped/counted that it would stop fast… But nope. Passed km2 a bit too fast in 4:04 but with the hails falling on us, accumulating on the asphalt and making it slippery… It feels out of this world! Is this really happening? Can’t we rewind a bit here? Change the weather-channel, maybe? Groars are coming out from the running crowd. And laughs. And “you must be kidding?!?!”. Yap! Not only me having this “I-want-to-get-back-to-start-and-have-a-decent-weather-I try to keep focused. Skip looking at the watch. Carefully looking -maybe too close – on the asphalt ahead of me. It is covered by a little white stuff which looks like snow. Main objective has shifted: Time does no longer matter. Just do NOT fall on this rubbish-slippery-little-white-cover. Passing km3 and still hailstones falling. I don’t want to stop. I want IT to stop! And this part until km6-ish is slightly up. Which I am well aware about. My plan is disappearing piece by piece. My wristbands do not longer mean anything. I am expecting the 3:00-guys to pass me in a minute or two. Passing km5 in 21:25. Sub3-plan kiss goodbye! Taking my first bottle. More as a moral support than because I need it. A few glups of sport-drink and hop! Cannot feel that I am tired, but this 2km-long hailstones rain has frozen my body. My muscles which I was very careful NOT to have chilled out before start (for ONCE I was well-prepared with all the extra clothing before start) are not responding as they should. My brain is not functioning positively. I want to see this stupid turn after km6 and have a downhill. The left turn arrives and then straight ahead…no downhill?!?!? Nope. Well, yes. A little one at a moment but it comes more abruptly than the progressive down slope I was expecting. I am not happy. But I run. I am far off my schedule. Lots of thoughts in the head. I don’t want to see the 3:00-guys. Not now. Not that early in the race. And suddenly they come… One carries a white balloon with 3:00 on it. And we are barely at km10. What is wrong in the picture? Haven’t they got the hailstones too? Or was it only raining on me? Yeaaaah…must be that. Getting my second bottle at the water-station. I am not thirsty. I want to go back to the start and do it all-over again. Sun is shining now. Wind on the side as expected. Wet on the asphalt. And snail-pace me is actually running. And THEN I am passed AGAIN by another 3:00-guy who actually has his white balloon in the air. He is more likely to be on-time with the expectations of the group. We are passing km13-ish. And I get a renew energy. I am keeping up with their pace for a couple of km. Passing km15 and my third bottle. They are getting a bit ahead of me. But that’s ok. Nothing is hurting in me. The body is responding properly. But my watch is indicating a way-too-slow pace. Seeing the distance with the 3:00-group increasing and my blaster ringing a bell, I have a couple of choices: continuing to purse this group and hope the blaster holds at least until the half-marathon distance or taking a stop at the first blue box I see and get along with whatever strength I found after that. The distance keep increasing and a blue box is in sight. Exactly at the right corner. Quick decision to get into it. And then time seems to stop. I count the seconds. The blaster is not the main issue. That ain’t ok. I am now over 1 minute in my count. I don’t want to get out of the blue box. It feels safe inside. And maybe nothing is happening outside. Or time has stopped there. Or… or… or… Knock knock on the door gets me out of lethargy. I have to leave. Opening the door feels like one of the biggest efforts so far today. Welcomed out by a brilliant sunshine, a wave of wind and too many runners who make me realized that time has not stopped. My watch indicate 4:26min/km as average pace after this stop. Not many choice now. Setting my mp3 plugs in the ears. Setting the proper DJ Eclipse long run music and that’s on. No more race for me today. This stop at km17 has completed the killing of both the pace and the will/determination to get under 3 hours or even close. The mind is now focusing on getting this done. Just running. A Swedish gal and a Swedish man are passing me. Linné-singlet is easy to recognize. But the gal I was expecting her to be a bit further behind me…not passing me now…even before halfway. At least they both cheer for me and I can keep my smile on my face… Passing km20 in too long time for being a race. The competitive spirit is no longer there. Has stopped functioning for a while apparently. Reaching halfway in 1:35-ish. This is a good training pace basically… Nothing more but nothing less. Realizing that I have never run that slow a first half since…. Dubai 2013…Rubbish first half…

Second half

Starting the second half is full with hope. Having had headwind or sidewind all the way now, I am looking forward to get to the 35km point and down to the end for having this refreshing helpful tailwind. Have been passed by two Swedes (well, probably more, but those two guys from IS Göta-Helsingborg looked way more fit than me. And they cheered. That was nice). My bottle of km20 had a gel on it and it helps a bit. Nothing strong all good. Counting that I have 3 bottles left to take. That’s a good and positive thoughts. Trying to catch up with a guy on a bike with a little car behind him. Seeing the red heart-shaped balloons he has, I read “30”… OMG! The 3:30-guys are ahead of me?!?!? When did THAT happened. Slow is ok, but not THAT slow! Taking a little while before I realized that it is “30” as in “don’t drive faster than 30km/h”-sign he has. Ha ha ha! Funny…NOT! (well, ok, this is funny, but my brain at this particular moment does not really register the joke). And then I have a new plan: I could ask the guy on the bike if I can sit in his little car behind and that he could bring me to the next 15km or so… yes… That sounds like a plan… until I am reaching slowly but surely the bike and passing it… Hummm… OK. Better/Faster on foot than on bike. Boost given for the next 3km 🙂 Running in this part of the city is nice. Reminds me of Rotterdam. Green trees. People outside cheering. All is working as it should. Except for my legs which are only on “distance-pace mode”. But that’s ok. Km25 and my new bottle with more cheering on it. I remove the Swedish flag and give it to a little girl on the side. Got a smile for it. So worth it! When reaching km30, new gel with yummy salted butter/caramel taste and new calculations. The small jelly squares taken every km or so between km22 and 32 do help. I think… The hailstones have fallen once or twice more, if it was not rain as well. The wind was definitely there. Don’t ask me how. It can NOT be headwind all the time on a one loop course…except here…in Hamburg! My brain gives me still a finish time of 3:15. Not bad. But honestly, not good. So a little thing in me is waking up and I feel my legs lighter and moving faster. Meeting a guy on a regular basis here. And for a stretch I get his company and that feels…Hmmm… ok. Not THE pace I want which is way faster, but the pace I changed and want for the end. Feeling even that we accelerate slightly. A bit of smiling to each other. That is nice. Steady-slow @4:36-tempo… Yap. Distance-pace. But today it is a bit (…) longer than my morning run 🙂 And we turn left at km31. Headwind bothering all of us, but I KNOW that it will be kind for us after this turn….and….and….nope! nothing. Headwind again! Or side/headwind…. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE EXACTLY?!?! The long stretch down the lake is nice…if it was not for the wind. I can see the IF Linnea chick and the Swedish guy a bit ahead of her. I want to pass her. Slight acceleration. Nothing really. But my running-buddy cannot follow. He stops suddenly on the side of the road. Still 20m behind the gal. Nooooo! I wanted him to help me passing her. And to help me passing the Swedish guy after that. And would probably have found others to pass after that 😦 A bit sad, but not stopping. And keeping my pace. Reaching the Swedish gal and cheering a bit. And hope. She looks a bit tired. I feel on the contrary better and way better than during the first half of the race. Is that so that I now need 21km warmup before feeling fine for a marathon?!?! Km35 and my last bottle. Message on it this time: ”LAST ONE”. A bit tricky to take the gel off the bottle. And when I eventually succeed in opening it and getting gel in my mouth, the taste of cherry is…disgusting like crazy!!! Why on earth haven’t I tried this taste before during training? Thought that with a different taste it would be waking me up. And indeed it does. I have swallowed a little of the gel. Drank a bit of water. And press all the leftover of the gel in the mouth. Take water and mix the whole thing in the mouth. OMG! This is disgusting! Taste really ugly! Decided that the “placebo” effect would have to do. I spit all on the asphalt. Must look like I am spitting dark blood. Continuing my run. Have never given so many high-fives in a race. Not even in Berlin 2014… And THAT was a lot! The 12km countdown is the best ever. There is another countdown starting at “1km done, 41 to go…”, but this one is niiiice! Counting kilometers left multiplied by 5min-tempo… I know I am faster than that, but have no idea how my brain will do the calculation if asking to multiply by 4:36-tempo. Less than an hour. 10km left. Less than 50minutes. I want to get to km39. To feel that I am finally close. I am passing people now. This beautiful and windy path, with those high trees on both sides. I like it. I know km39 is soon there. I am not following the blue line any longer. I am ON it. Not a chance I will run longer than I should 😛 Seeing the lake on the left side. It feels like spring. Short hailstones rain again. Does not matter any longer. I would not care less. Km39 is there. I have 15 minutes to finish. IF I was at 5min.tempo. But I won’t allow this to happen. Passing guys and turning right. Headwind. Don’t care. Turning left. Km40 is there!!! Euuuhhh nope. Not yet. Down the street. I take out my final liquid gel. Cola-taste. I know it taste bad, but it has so much caffeine in it, that I SHOULD be able to press a bit more. Recognizing the final stretch from yesterday. Seeing km41. People are slowing down. I don’t. I push even more. No at all full power, but definitely faster. And it goes slightly up. But I know it. And it feels. But I know it. Passing one IF GÖTA guy. Feeling that I am unstoppable. THAT is the feeling I should have had from start! And a faster pace too! Getting passed by a guy with Swedish colours. Cheering from him give me an extra bright smile. I just want to pass people. Pass gals mostly to have a slightly better Turning right. Over the little bridge. Windy. Seeing the final final street. Cannot estimate the distance to the red carpet. But I know it is mine. OK…not completely JUST for me, but my brain doesn’t know that at this particular moment. Passing a Danish gal. Yeaaaah! And seeing two other gals ahead of me. Those ones won’t be there. I feel like a rocket, but really run like a fast snail in reality. OK…like an average snail, not even a fast one. But this red carpet! OMG! Feels so good! Smiling right and left. Have no music in the ear since I passed km41. Just feeling the cheering all around and that is why the finish lines are so addictive! Done!

Official time received later: 3:12:21…

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After the finish line

Not even looking at my watch. I am under 3:15 and that is enough to be an ok-long run. Feeling a bit off in the groin right side. But others are in way worse conditions. Getting a smile from two swedes, a thanks for several guys. And that’s it. Walking to the Hall, taking a bit of sport drink, chocolate bar and a paper cup filled with small pretzels. I am done. Stomach aches keeping me away for a short while. Walking to pick up my bag. Getting a well-deserved massage. Walking home. Shower, warm clothes and feet up against the whole for 45 minutes. The rain is falling again. And stops. As so many times yesterday and today. Feeling tired, surely not happy of the time, surely not satisfied because I feel the body is not completely emptied of strength. I am fine. Rubbish race-time, but decent long-run time. That would do for today…

My very kind hosts let me stay longer than planned. So I get a good nap. Wake up at the smell of freshly done waffles. Got offered one by my host and we start chatting. They are very kind and cool to talk to. Would have gladly stayed longer. Especially as I am to be traveling back to Hamburg on Tuesday morning… But the original plan has not changed. Thanking my hosts, getting to the train and then the airport. Lots of wait and then through the control… longing for a large piece of meat with French fries…to see that only coffee shops are available after the airport controls… Settling for 2 hot chicken wraps and a half-liter Coke. I am tired. I am on my way home. I have for the first time run a marathon as training… I am happy 🙂

**********

Weather: 5°C, cloudy, Feels like 1.7°C, 16kph W wind, 81% humidity. Did not feel THAT cold at start. But surely freezing during the hailstones rain from km1 to 3 and then better under the sun and then more rain and hailstones and sun and wind all the time… Estimated average temperature would be 5-7ºC probably. My estimations anyway.

Food:
> before: chia porridge with green mix and orange juice, 1 banana, 1 piece of bread with honey, High5 sportdrink (5dl?) (5:am) Little bottle of red juice 2 hours before

> right after: banana+pretzels+2 glass of sportdrink

> 3.5 hours after: 2 waffles without eggs with sugar on. Orange juice

> During: 1 strawberry jelly right before start, High5 Lemon sport drink @km5-10-15-25, Aptonia gel (salted butter/caramel*2 and cherry-disgusting) @km20-30-35. Coffeine Powergel at km40. Strawberry jellies: 1 at km22 and 1 every km or so at km23-24-26.

Gear: ADIDAS SWE outfit (hotpants & sports bra), Casal Iconic black Sports bra MIK, arm sleeves pink, Compressport calve sleeves, neckwarmer, sunglasses, shoes all good for the job.
> extra clothes dropped before start: 2XXL Decath easy pants, old Djaz tshirt and wind-jacket.

=> Perfect outfit? Definitely! Had hesitated pretty much all the days before leaving home about what to wear. But hotpants was definitely on. For the top it was a bit tricky through. But on the race day, that was it. Perfect outfit. My alternative outfit was similar (singlet and hotpants) but black… Tricky to run with the arm sleeves but very handy to get on and off depending on the weather. Having the calve sleeves during a marathon was a first. Worked fine…although it was far from marathon-pace. Will probably skip them next time. VERY GOOD to have the extra clothes before the race, especially for the legs, and avoiding the frozen legs from Tokyo…

14/ Unfortunately, nothing high on the effort level. Not even during the “faster” parts of first km. The change of plan to get this race as training long run made the effort level close to decent long run. Would have gladly had higher effort and faster pace…

********************

SUMMARY: The expectations set were aligned with the training that had been done. Had hesitated between Prag (fully booked), Düsseldorf (not too fast route) and Hamburg (a bit close to Tokyo but fast route). Hamburg was the easy/only choice. Ready to get fast. But the weather the week prior to the race was very changing and honestly on the race day, this was not the weather I can perform in. Running can be done in any weather (…ok…heavy snow and minus 15ºC or more are stopping me from running outdoors…) but for racing, that’s different. For sure others are less sensitive (like our fast Swede D.Nilsson getting to the finish line in 2:15 and qualifying for World Championships this way…. but this also means he did not have the second and third hailstones rains we – slower runners- got around 2hr 30 and later…). Yes it is disappointing. Yes I am not happy. Yes I know better than stopping at the loo. Yes yes yes… But marathon is a brutal story. To get it right, everything has to be falling into piece at the same time. A puzzle ain’t complete if one part is lost… Anyway, the wind was not on my side, the rain was not a problem but the hailstones were, the stop at the loo was necessary… Easy said: that was not THE day. But once again, happy to have completed the run in decent time for a low effort. 10 minutes slower than Tokyo… But feeling way better the days after 🙂

There will be more races…

(Buckets of thanks for the support and cheering during my preparation. A bit tricky with the tapering weeks and lots at work, but that’s the price to pay for being running athlete with a full-time job 🙂 Preparation worked as planned even though the motivation itself went up and down. The weather was not my friend this day. And I cannot help or control on this. New adventures on the way… with short and medium races in-between 🙂

Of course a huge thanks to my fellow runners Swedes and not Swedes who passed me or got passed by me, who smiled and cheered, who huged after the finish line, who heard from them after the race…. Yes, running a marathon is cool. Passing the finish lines is addictive. The way to achieve all this is a mean to this end. Whatever the “end” might look like. No training goes to waste. Special thanks to my little people at home, cheering any time, laughing sometimes at the look I have when getting back from training but always so present. You might not understand this right now, but this will come one day and you will 🙂 Loving you unconditionally!

And thanks to my German hosts for making my stay perfect in Hamburg!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Body check? Did I really run a marathon? Surely it felt right after the race. Must have been walking a bit funky/funny back home. Slight pain on right hip/groin side, but all fine while walking. Tired a lot after getting back home and showered. Good with some sleep. No hip pain during the race, but on the other side I ran this one slow. During the hailstones of the start, I could feel something coming in the legs and deliberately slowed a bit for 1) not falling and 2) not increasing this “whatever-pain-it-is”. Worked fine. Same as after Tokyo, Achille’s heels did not scream at all. All quiet…

NOTE: Warmup? Impossible to count the jogging to the start as a warmup, nor the back & forth acceleration between the loos before start. Simply said: no warmup for this race. On the other side, have learned my lesson and the extra clothes (including the extra large pants) were the best I could do to keep myself warm before the race. Maybe this helped to start the way it did… Unfortunate that the 3-4km at the start were under hailstones and getting me so cold. Those km are generally used to warmup the body…

NOTE:…and then the “loo incident”. OK, this was not an incident. It was well-needed. Unsure whether it was the High5 sport drink not liked by my stomach (although I had drunk this during 2 days without problem) or the cold from the start making my stomach unhappy. Anyway, something was seriously wrong. And this stop was needed. Could not have done differently. Maybe slightly faster…but even unsure for this.

NOTE: Energy/refueling during the race? Very handy to be able to leave personal refreshment in advance. I chose to use High5 sport drink lemon even though had never used it before the 2 days before the race. Could not find Isostar and wanted to be sure to be able to rely on the sport drink served on the route (High5 lemon) in case my bottles would get missing. No problem to find the bottles which were perfectly pimped. The small motivational message were doing a great job. A problem with the last gel with cherry taste which was extremely disgusting. Should have known better than testing during the race…

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Took two small bottles days prior to the race, could be the thing that troubled my stomach? Although this was no new thing to me.

NOTE: then…gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Had 2 in the back, just in case mine would ot be available on the bottles. Worked perfectly. Slight chaffing pain after the race, but unsure how this came.

NOTE: …and no gel/dextrosol in sport bra in the front? Yihoooo! Skipping the chaffing issue this time!

NOTE: then…small jellies in the back pocket of the hotpants? Worked fine. Although it feels a bit heavy at start.

NOTE: Hamburg marathon is hereby the coldest and windiest marathon I have ever run 😛

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. Trip back home on Sunday evening, 3 hours sleep before getting ready for work, flying back to Hamburg for conference on the Tuesday and then back home late on Thursday evening… Good that there was no jet-lag involved in these trips!!! Recovery of several days before a first test run 5 days after the race. No problem. Can really feel that the pace used was NOT the one that makes the body tired…

Looking forward to new adventures …soon…

Race Report – Tokyo Marathon – 2017/02/26

tokyo2017-finishline-thedayweunite

Happy finisher with double rewards!

 

Planned: 2:57/58, definitely sub3. Second target? Good place in the Run as One – Oversea category…

Actual:……3:02:31. Placing: 113 all women, 20th  age category, 1st Swedish woman, 1,527 out of total 33,947 finishers. Far from the expectation, far from being satisfied, too far from sub3 and a hip not collaborating at all during the second half, and still a sprint in the last km with a defecting knee and limping towards the finish line… Still… a whole adventure from start to end completing the 6 World Marathons Majors 🙂

Race Results: place (M/W) 113 place (age) 20

Total 1,527 (out of 33,947)

age/grade: 78.07% (2016 Amsterdam 79.9% / Ferrara 78.2% / Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)

time total (gun) 03:02:31

time total (brutto) 03:02:37

average pace: 4:20min/km

Official splits:

Name Time Time (split) Pace min/km
5 km 0:20:56 20:56 04:11 min/km
10 km 0:41:53 20:57 04:11 min/km
15 km 1:03:18 21:25 04:17 min/km
20 km 1:24:34 21:16 04:15 min/km
21.1 km 1:28:28 04:37 04:12 min/km
25 km 1:46:10 16:40 (21:30) 04:18 min/km
30 km 2:07:29 21:25 04:17 min/km
35 km 2:30:10 22:41 04:32 min/km
40 km 2:52:56 22:46 04:33 min/km
42.2 km (Finish) 03:02:31 09:35 04:22 min/km

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August 2016…

Receiving an email confirming my qualification in the “Run as One” program in the semi-elite overseas category. Felt really cool and happy as I had tried twice before to get in via the lottery and it was my final attempt. Not much done until final months of preparation. Yes…one more thing: never been in Asia, don’t speak nor understand the language and still will be running my 6th World Marathon Major there…

M Day-6&-5

Travel to Tokyo. Worked in the morning before boarding and then 2 flights, 3 movies and 13 hours later I landed in the country of the Rising Sun. Felt a bit surreal, although an airport is an airport… Exchange my JRPass voucher to a pass ticket and got on the Nigari express to reach Tokyo. Then smoothly bought an Suica card for travelling by subway and reaching my apartment close to Kayabasho station. All prefect. Until I started to chase for some food… All written in…Japanese and having no idea what was in it. Pictures ain’t helping neither some times. Ended in a little cafeteria and got a beef bowl with rice. A bit heavy. But that would do. Emptied some of my stuff and changed to get an easy run out there. Well-placed, my apartment was close to the intersection km28/10 of the race. So I took the km28 to 30 (straight long street) and then went over on the Hibiya park side where km41 would be and ran the final 1.2km. Crazy freezing and crazy windy. Was not expecting this at all. Took pics all along, so not much of an effort on this one. Body felt fine and no issue to get to sleep later on. Carb-depletion was not done fully thought, but reducing a bit the intake of carbs. Work in the evening to finish my day.

M Day -4

Early awaken and well-rested. Too early maybe. Changed and got a morning run along the race route again. The plan was 8-10km but it turned into a long(er) 15km repérage. Ran from km10/28 to km14, skipped the straight line to km 15 & back and took the km16 to the mid-race instead. Beautiful weather outside (read: sunny and chilly…4°C out there…). Felt good and once again the body was all ready for running. Too many stops during the run though in order to let the cars pass at the traffic lights. Good protein brunch cooked at home and then time to work a bit. Decided to go for some sightseeing too…on foot… Which work very well. Ended in 15km walk and frozen little me decided to call it the day after that. Not because I was tired, but the legs were expected to run a race in four days after all. Back home and light dinner. And then evening meetings and work. Time for bed after a while.

M Day-3

Once again awaken pretty early. Very sweaty, which made me think I might go down for a cold or something and that was NOT in the plans. Drank a bit before heading out. Easy run to the Imperial Palace and then final fast distance trial before the race. Turned into 2*2.5km instead of 5km as the wind was really bothering me and honestly, I did not feel like fighting it today. Ran under drizzle and 14°C warmth in the air. Really nice…if it wasn’t for the wind. Could not get to the proper pace, either too slow or too fast. Ran back home and that was it. Breakfast and work. Changed my plans there as well and headed to the expo to get my BIB instead of doing it on my rest day on Friday. Took the bus down, walk the last bit, got my BIB and got lost in a very large and very loud expo. Bus back home, lunch and dead-tired little me laid down on my bed for a quick nap, which turned into 1.5hrs… Up for some work for the rest of the day. Unable to sleep early this time. Watched a movie on my laptop.

M Day-2

Rest day! Yipiii?…. Not really. Had nothing to do really, so worked a little bit and then took my shoes on and headed to Zojoji park for a bit of walking. The aim was MAXIMUM 5-6km walk. Got to the park, took lots of pics and then headed towards Moji park and the Maman araignée sculpture (with such an arachnophobia of my kind that was NOT considered as good therapy…) and then back home. Work the rest of the day. Once again got dead-tired around 3pm, slept 2hours and then back to work. And it was already time for bed. Again… Counted down the hours left to the start…several times! The positive with this day was the carboloading had started. Chose to drink the “sport drink” served during the race throughout the day. Work fine. Meals were pretty simple though: pork bowl with rice for lunch and noodles for dinner.

M Day-1

OMG! Only one day left! Prepared my breakfast and left it for a final leg shaking on the marathon course. Went to km10 and ran up the street towards km8 or so and then turned back home. The program said 4-6km and accelerations. A bit difficult to do the accelerations in streets which have stops at every traffic light…and honestly I completely forgot to do them… Nice leg shaking. Felt a bit off. Was it really tomorrow (already?) that the race would be? Rest of the day was pretty much based on “doing the least possible”, which was annoying as the sun was shining and it did not feel (that) cold outside. Spent time at the close-by Starbucks and then back home. Got my gear ready, carefully reading once again (!) all the instructions to get to the start and how it would work at the end. Food-wise it turned into a larger portion of beef bowl with rice and miso for lunch, additional drinking of sport drink during all afternoon and evening, a soy chocolate and chocolate chip scone at Starbucks and a bun stuffed with red beans later during the day. Mostly drinking during the afternoon and evening. Felt all fine. Ready? Not really, but that would do. Double-checked (again?!) the route to get to the start. And put myself into bed and watch 3 episodes of Game of Thrones to relax a bit. In deep sleep before 11pm. That’s a first for a night before a race…

M DAY!!!!

Finally!!!!

Before the race

04:05am – awoke up a bit, well-rested. Decided to remain in bed until the clock ring… Not really actually. Too much thoughts in the head, feeling at the same time that the mind was empty. Hummm…

5:05am – Up now for breakfast before the alarm rang. Breakfast of champions once again (chia seeds, green mix, 2 bananas and Pocari water, orange juice. Had not found a bread I wanted but bought 4 small pancakes… not reading the Japanese text (!) saying they were stuffed with something looking like jam and cream-like stuff. No time for finding a replacement. Cleaned up as much as could of the cream&jam off the pancake, covered it with honey and that was it. Not really ready for more sleep though.

5:35am – ok. Time to get ready. Got a video call from E, which made me very happy and for sure I got a bit late, but cheering at this time of the day is just priceless! Hot shower, drops in the eyes, fixing the hair, warming gel on the legs and that felt like everything was ok for going. Skipped the drinking every half hour and drank a bit more at once around 6:10am, hopefully all would be out before the race starts. Race outfit was a simple choice (had taken only one…): SWE hotpants and singlet, arm sleeves and wind gloves, a neckwarmer and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky). Got my sunglasses on the top of the head as counting for some sun. put 2 gels in my back pocket, one in a sock in the back of my sports bra, dextrosol and final red gel in the front. Had extra gel and strawberry small stuff in a little bag as well for before the start. And that was it!

6:10am – the wait was killing me (already) so I took on extra tshirt I would throw before start, my long pants and my black cosy jacket (had noticed the day before that unsmart I had forgotten to take a running jacket with me to get to the start… and yes, it was written on the checklist for preparing the luggage for the trip…).

06:15am – TIME TO LEAVE! Headed to Kayabasho subway station. Got stopped by a Japanese lady running who just would not stop in encouragements and word of kindness. Very nice indeed to hear this right before the race 🙂 Cheering is always good. Her final words were in English with “good luck”. Metro to Otemachi station for then changing to the line which would bring me to Shinjuku, where the start was. Started to see a bit more runners with their bags and the closer we got to Shinjuku, the more we saw 🙂 At least I was on the correct direction!

07:01am – Finally out of the subway and then long walk to the Gate 2 where I was getting in. A bit chilly, but I was covered enough. The atmosphere was a reminder of London where all runners get to the train stop and then all walk in the same direction towards the start area with all the luggage trucks. Crazy long queue at the first loo made me continue to walk and quickly after, there was just nobody there. First pitstop to empty this blaster of mine. Found my truck #3, but felt that it was a bit too early to leave it (as it meant taking off my clothes and staying with bare legs in the cold. Without running yet). All was well indicated and despite the number of people growing in the area, it felt well organized. And there was always someone to ask indication to.

7:33am – Off with the pants and cosy warmjacket. I put one gel in each of my arm sleeves, leaving only one in my back pocket. Felt like a smart move. Quick photo from a very kind volunteer and headed to my start group. A bit of wait to get up the stairs and got directly to the loo. Second pitstop. Cannot understand a blaster can hold THAT much… Then I headed slowly to my start.

08:03am – Assigned to Group A – Run as One, which meant having the invited athletes, then the elite athletes and then…us! Very cool indeed. Another cool thing was that they separated the ladies and the men for the start. We had the left side and the men the right side. This was to avoid accident at start apparently. And then the wait started…in the cold. A line of Japanese was already sitting in the front and I took the row right behind. Pretty freezing legs and I really regretted NOT to have planned for this. Decided to do a few rounds of running in our corral while it was still empty. Not much of a warmup really, but at least it was making the body a bit less lethargic and after turning around a bit, it felt warmer. Still one hour to go…

8:17am – Still a lot of wait. Sitting here in the cold asphalt with my legs covered as good as I could with my too-big tshirt… Found out that there was no toilet close to our start corral, but it felt all fine. Stood up a bit to look at the elites warming up. Very surprised actually to see them doing rounds and rounds and rounds for quite a while, one hour before the start. Very jealous to see all of them in long pants and warm jacket…. Cannot tell that I was the only one! Most of the runners around me had extra tops but bare legs. Not all of them, but still.

8:26am – a bit of chat with my Japanese runner-buddy close to me. Not understanding a single word but getting that she wanted to know my expected time to finish. Having a 2:50 written on my arm, she left her eyes to the skies. I re-insured her by showing my real wristband for 3:00-2:58. Would not go faster today with this cold for start. After a bit of while sitting, we just got closer and closer so to warm each other. Which was cosy and nice. Other runners were doing the same. She happened to be running her first marathon ever… Felt pretty cool to have this done here in Tokyo.

8:40am-ish – alignment of the wheelchair athletes. Once again, pretty cool to have them one meter before me! I think I recognize a couple of them. A bit of buzz on the left side… the elites were lining up. WoooooW! How COOL is that?!?! Yes it is not the first ever time to have elite of this level starting beside me, but here he was! The former WR-holder Wilson Kipsang and other fast guys around him. They just look amazing, calm and focused…and so-like “normal people”!

9:ish am – Hearing the Japanese anthem. Feeling that I need to get to the loo. Now! Really much. Looking right and left. All runners are standing and I feel like sitting down…. Guys do it ALL the time in the start of races, which would gals not be able to do it… But nope. Not freaking bold enough to do it. That might work. Maybe.

9:05 am – start of the wheelchair race. The elite athletes are now lining up in front of us. Seeing Sara Hall there. In the middle of Kenyan and Japanese elites. The male runners are freaking gorgeous! They look fast and are actually fast too! Turning around quickly, so many people behind us. 30,000 runners!!! How cool is that?!?!? Throwing my t-shirt away. Eating the two small strawberry jellies. And that was it. Seconds left… No countdown… Still we are not allowed to get close(r) to the elite athletes and stand 10m behind them…

THE RACE

First half

09:10am – BAAAAM! We are finally unleashed! No push, no pressure. Loving those starts. Feels like there is more pushing on the right side when the male runners are starting. To have a pretty freezing body to be asked to run at 4:10-tempo right from the start ain’t one of my specialties… And indeed the start with the confetti, the roar from the crowd (probably just in my head…), the pounding of thousands of feet on the asphalt… Talk about thrill! Turning pretty soon on the right and there we mix with the guys. Still pretty good. Checking that my watch has started properly and yes. Indicating sub4 start, which sounds pretty logical and ok. The first 5K are regular downhill, so the plan is to get as much ahead of time by km10 and then getting into MP. Not planning to burn all my energy there though. Downhill running is however the worse when having a blaster ready to explode. Seeing a first loo on the right side and guys running towards it. Have always felt that it was strange to have people getting to the loo so close to the start being given. Now I was right in it. 900m to the next toilet. That would be my stop. Not a chance I am running much longer this way. And Beeep! First km clocking in…WHAAAAAT?!?!? 3:17? Yeah sure! D*mn buildings and stupid GPS. Pressing lap when the km1-sign is appearing. Feeling that I am about 4min-tempo and that is fine. And here they are, the next stop for the loo. Cannot do anything else but stopping. Counting the seconds and probably lost 20-25seconds there. But way better after that. My km2 was fine but this stop is killing my km3-pace… I ran right back in the crowd. I have however lost the gals I was following. I have lost the pace I had. I have lost the flow I got from start. All these will never come back during the race. Feeling a bit off. The GPS is completely wrong, the km-signs are not placed properly. Even when I am lapping them on the watch. OK, running alongside of a couple of gals, felt ok. Have no clue how fast (or more likely “how slow”) I am running. So I wait until getting to km5. Good. Right under 21 minutes. Surely slower than I wanted, but considering the stupid-but-necessary stop at the loo, that would be ok. How will I get back those 20-30 seconds I lost is the next challenge… If this is not done before km10, then I doubt there is other place more appropriate for that in the race. Have taken a few glups of Pocari water at the station and it goes well. Not really necessary, but you never know… (Well, you eventually know, but then it is generally too late!). The sun is shining. Feeling a bit warm with the arm sleeves. Both gels have now gone down along my arm sleeves and are right at my elbows. BOTH of them! Not practical at all. Km7 of now passed. The flow is gone. I cannot find a good way to get INTO this race. Hoping that it would change when reaching the parts I have run during the prior days. We separate from the km10-race by now – they have the right side of the street and we -marathoners- have the left side. Shortly we reach km8. But this does not really ring a bell. I have run here yesterday, stupid mind of mine. Remember the feeling! Now! There has been quite some turn right and left since the start. My compass is off…on the top of everything else. As good as I enjoy the sun then! Feeling at least that the effort level is pretty low. Kilometers after kilometers. I try to figure out how to get into a decent pace which would make the body pressing a bit, but nope. Getting to km9 and the Starbucks on the left side. Feeling like stopping by for a Soy chocolate… Not right now! Focus! Under the bridge and we are getting close to km10. A little up towards the “Go! Go!”-sign I have seen a couple of times in the past days and we turn left, when the 10km-runners turn right. Taking off my gloves then…and losing my blue/yellow bracelet that T has given me… Looking back at it on the asphalt, considering running back to pick it up, but nope. Sadly continuing forward. 10km has been reached. Passed slightly under 42minutes. Stupid slow donkey I am! 1 minute off the pace I wanted there! But here is my “hoods” 🙂 Feeling comfortable after turning left and getting to the first little bridge (of many before we would get back to this specific spot). Did not feel THAT heavy as the day I ran here. Have taken a bit of Pocari water again at the 10km-station. All according to plan…apart from the slow pace. The stretch to km14 or so is just disappearing as in a trance. Hearing there somewhere the first “Heja Sverige! Ser stark tut!“ (“Go Sweden! Looking strong!”) from a gal on the side. She got me smile 🙂 And I wave. The tricky of this race is the feeling of running in another planet or universe. Not understanding a single cheering (even though I know the thousands of people in the street ARE cheering), not understanding a single sign written on the posters, seeing mostly Japanese around (and apologies is other Asian were in the race and I mistakenly count them in the Japanese). I feel off. Reaching km12 and the countdown is continuing: 30km to go 🙂 Feeling too good for being in a race actually. Enjoying the sun too much. Looking a bit too much around. Calculating too many time how far off the expected time I am. Too much thinking really! Reaching the separating street where we go straight towards km15 and the other come back and turn towards km16. As expected the female athletes are there. Beautiful sight. Then lots of Japanese elite men and then I try to focus again on MY race. Feeling rubbish. Why on earth continuing if I cannot make it to the time I want and can? AWAY WITH THIS THOUGHT! Turning back at the end of the street. Noticing that we have reached Kamirarimon Gate. WHAT?!?! Have we run THAT far? I was there on Wednesday and took the subway there!!! Passing a few gals. But not many enough. Taking a few glups of pocari water at the 15km-station as well as throwing a glass of water on my too-hot head. Feeling great afterwards. And now we are turning left towards the halfway point. My wristband indicate that I am still good for a 2:58 finish. Have not seen the 3:00-pacesetters and do NOT want to see them. Doubting I will pass the halfway for 1:28, but should definitely be under 90minutes. Small bridges up&down all the way to the halfway. Passing km19. Preparing my gel to take before km20. OMG it feels warm. Have to dig into my left arm sleeves to get the gel. NOT practical at all! Taking the gel. The opening is not working properly and I have to use both hands for pressing it inside my throat 😦 Soon enough I will get water…I think… and I thought wrong. Passing km20 still in half-decent time and then turning left for this stupid 500m back&forth. Couldn’t they have had the route heading forward for 500 more meters instead?!?! Full sun on this little stretch. Feels like I am in another world. Feels pretty quiet in my head even though I see people screaming and cheering. Turning back and trying to accelerate towards the mat. And passing the first tables of sport-drink…WHERE IS THE BLOODY WATER?!?!? Ooooh….here after… Slowing down to drink properly and the race is on. Haven’t seen the 3:00-guys yet. But from time to time, there are groups of guys coming heavily behind me and it sounds like the 3:00-group… Turning right again. Seeing the km21-sign. Yihoooo! Still in this race. Passing halfway a bit above 1:29. But still under 1:30 😛 One half done, one half to go!

Second half

This second half starts with a little slope to get under the bridge and then straight… Getting into a good pace (I think?) and passing km22 actually happy. I know this place, I have seen the nice park on the left the other day and there is only 20km left to this race. Straight and then left. Feeling a bit off. Taking dextrosol at km23 and then 24. Cannot see km25 getting close soon enough. GPS is stupid and crazy again. What is my d*mn pace????? (Apart from being snail-like…again!). Taking sport-drink at km25 and right after, I can feel they are there: Right behind me. In my footsteps. Seeing in a shop window a guy with a golden balloon attached to him. NooooO! The 3hr-guys are here!!! Nothing better to stimulate and increase the pace than knowing you have a bunch of guys steering at your butt/legs/back/whatever they steer at. Km26 is getting in a better pace. They SHALL NOT PASSSSSS! I actually smile and laugh inside at this thought. Km27 is gone with this little stupid bridge close to home…and they get closer. Turning towards km28 and accelerating…. Passing the km28-sign and they are still behind me. The long stretch coming I know it. It is killer if not focused…and that is when it happens. Right before km29, the first pacesetter passes me. The lap on his back indicates “My gun time is 3:00”, meaning that if I keep up with them, I should get to 3hrs (as I believe my net time will be pretty much the same as gun time). Sun in the face, trying to keep up, but the right hip ain’t liking it. I am not running that fast, what is its problem then?!?! The street feels like 10km-long. Have they stretched it since Tuesday when I ran there? Pretty sure they did… The 3hrs balloons are still there. Passed by 2 gals who are hanging along those balloons. Doesn’t matter how many guys are there. Only gals are counting. And finally reaching the 30km turn. Have missed the km29-sign. Taking the second gel I have in my other arm sleeve. Not much easier to reach as it is closer to my wrist than my shoulder by now… Taking my time to open it…and even WALKING at the 30km-water station. What is WRONG with me?!?! Have reached the final 12km. Counting that the snail-like pace I am having might mean It’s gonna take an hour before I finish this thing… REALLY? Seeing the elite guys on the other side moving towards their final 2km is helping boosting my low enthusiasm to a little higher level. Now I am no longer focusing. I know that and it makes me not happy at all. Should has well stopping it now… Well, no I don’t think so. Because there is only 10km left now and that means really nothing compared to what has been run already. So stop weeping inside your head and finish this! Passing the Zojo ji park. Really? I have seen it two days ago. Don’t need to see it AGAIN! The sun is warm by then. Seeing the elite women on the other side and that is just beautiful to see. Sara Hall is the only one I know by name and face and this is spectacular to see her running! OK, back to my stupid race. The 3:00 balloons have disappeared. No idea how. Suspecting the guys have left them blowing away so I would not know how far from me they actually are. Good move! It won’t make me feeling more down than I do right now. The right hip and the muscle right under the bum are not happy. But now I see the turning point. This is it. Not much left. Have checked the “counting down” km-signs on the other side of the road and they will hopefully keep me focused until the end. Final stretch. I see the 5km to go-sign. Nothing. Less than 25 minutes. I hope… Passing again the Zojo ji park. Seeing the other runners on the other direction and am so pleased I am now on this side. The sun is warming my back and it feels good. Cheering coming with a smiling “James” and a “Go Sweden, go” could not come more appropriately! I have been cheering for a Spanish guy just earlier telling him “go go Italia”… So the mind ain’t really in the game, but at least I can take the cheering from others! Not sure at all what pace I am running at. Just focusing on the two gals before me and decide to not let them disappear from my side. Getting closer to them. Cheering from the left for a gal passing me on my right does not make me happy. I keep on running and she will NOT pass me. It does not feel that I am pushing at all here! Swedish cheerings are heard once more on the left side from the gal I saw earlier. Could not make me happier! If only it could make me faster… Reaching for my red gel. Taking it fast and hoping to be able to get water and here it come. The water station. Feeling fine with grabbing the water cup, slurping some of the content and continuing to run. I see the 2km to go-sign. This is nothing. Passing one gal with her paceholder. Where is MY paceholder?!?!? It feels like I have been running on my own ALL the way!!! I love the cheering at this moment. I count down and give me less than 10 minutes to reach the end. I will crawl to the end if need be, but I will NOT let any new gal passing me nor slow down. Km41, corner of Hibiya park. I LOOOOOOVE THIS PART! Passing one gal once more but keeping it safe still as I really do not want her to pass me right before the finish line. Turning right and then left again. No more sun in the back. THIS is the final stretch. Fresh in mind from Barcelona, I dig deep to accelerate and make this 800m(?) count. Passing two gals and then the cheered one is coming back on my right!!! NOT.A.CHANCE! I am strong and I can prove it. More power to the engine. Cannot hear anything but one “Go Sweden, Go”. Lifting my hand to thank. And by half way to the end of the street, my left knee is stopping to work properly. WHAAATTTT?!?!? I feel like I have to stop. Rest this stupid knee. No. Not now. Feels like I am limping…because I probably do! Running on those stones on the street ain’t helping. Passing guys as well. I am almost finished. No clue how long is left. The only thing I see is this giant blond gal in front of me. One more place to win. Just one more little place. Passing her on the left right when we turn left to the final final fiiiiiiiinal stretch. No cheering here. Sounds dead-quiet in my head. I just want to get to the finish mat. No idea WHERE it is. Go go go! You’ll fall later after the….finish line? Here? Now? Already?!?!? Pressing my stop button. Shaking a bit while slowing down. And smiling. Done!

Official time received later: 3:02:31…

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After the finish line

My watch is stopped. Don’t want to look at it. There’s no point. Disappointment is not HUGE as I thought it would be. I have limited the damages and that’s what count. Getting a large smiling thanks from James from Mexico, my running buddy since km30 or so. Then from other runners from Japan. That feels pretty good and cool to hear that I helped them getting to the end 🙂 Looking strong tells me one guy right after hugging me. OK. At least I made people happy today! Talking with James and meeting the long blond gal I passed in the final stretch. We are turning right to get to our bag trucks. Receiving a cool Finisher-towel (no tshirt). And the long walk is starting. NY marathon-long walk-like… Quick stop for a finisher photo. Chatting with those two guys along the way to the end. The blond gal from NY had Tokyo as warmup race before London in 2 months, where she is aiming for 2:50. The Mexican guy had 3:40 for goal as he had been in bad shape (sick) the past 4-6 weeks. What is my excuse then for my ridiculous/boring slow time?… Getting my bag. Pics with James and then final hug before I aim back to Hibiya park to get my 6-stars medal. Have started my watch after getting my bag and it will actually show that I walked 3km (!) to get back to Hibiya park. Probably more as I took the subway path as well. Tricky to get there as the streets are closed and I have to get back to where runners are arriving. A king volunteer is bringing me back…to the finish line (!) and then heading towards the left-side turn of finishers. Walk walk walk… and getting once again some refreshments, another finisher towel and space cover. Say no-thanks for an additional medal and then…finding a kind volunteer to get me to Hibiya park. Looooong way underground and finally to the Hibiya park. Finding a guy with “6-stars” sign who tells me where to go. Which was actually a bit incorrect and I get another kind volunteer to help me around…the loooooong way around! We chat a bit and he tells me he is a runner too. 10,000m and 5,000m are his specialty at the moment but that he wants to get to the marathon one day. 33min to the 10K… not bad I said. Yes, but you can finish a marathon he answers 🙂 And after moremoremore walk, we finally reached the 6-stars area. Greetings and thanks. Getting my second (heavy) medal. And that’s it. I am done. Where do I go now? Final pic with both medals in front of the fountain, quick stop at the free acupuncture tent and I am finally out of the park. Seeing the runners still moving along. Happy to be finished, I am telling myself. Why was I so slow? It feels fine now. The limping of the final stretch, the excruciating pain in the hip after the finish line and all the way to the bag pick-up area…all that is gone…

5km-walk to get back home (instead of the straight 2km…no idea how I got so wrong!) added to the 3km to get to the 6-stars area… Good resting pace and move for those tired legs of mine who did not deliver properly today. Emptying my bag when reaching home and off with my outfit. Laying on the bed for a while, drinking some more water and then shower and getting out for some food. Found a fun fish restaurant pretty close to home, which I dare to enter. Ordering skewers and dumplings, a coke and a Japanese tea. No need to celebrate as nothing has been properly done today. The body still needs food… Finishing my day with a steamed bun filled with red beans (I feel crazy about them now!) and that’s it. Tired in the head, tired in the body, but tricky to get some sleep. Until the whole body just shut down. Good!

A disappointing day in the capital of the Rising sun country, but still an adventure to remember and a 6-star medal to show that this 19th marathon was not THAT bad after all. 4th best time ever in a marathon and best time in all world majors. OK, this was not a totally bad day after all….

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Weather: 9°C, Sunny, Feels like 9°C, high humidity. Pretty cold and chilly at start, but as soon as getting the legs running, it felt as usual nice and perfect for running. Took a bit however to have the bum properly warmed up while the legs took less long. Estimating the average temperature throughout the race as 9-10°C. Not much wind. Sunny.

Food: > before: chia porridge with green mix and orange juice, 2 bananas, 4 small baby pancakes with honey, Pocari sweat (5dl?) (5:10am)

> right after: banana+Pocari sweat

> on the way back home: steamed bun with red beans

> 5.5 hours after: skewers+dumplings+rice, coke and japanese tea

> During: 2 strawberry jellies right before start, Pocari sweat @km5-10-15-25, green gel @km20-30-35, red gel at km40 (right before the water stations). Dextrosol: 2 at km22 and 1 every km or so at km23-24-26. Full Dextrosol halfpack left…

Gear: ADIDAS SWE outfit (hotpants & sports bra), Casal Iconic black Sports bra MIK, arm sleeves blacke, Decath windgloves pink/black, sunglasses, shoes happy to run on the feet. As usual, they just were great. A bit strange feeling at start as the asphalt was not really plain and nice. It felt a lot under the feet then…

=> Perfect outfit? Without question…Well it was the only one I had! Apart from black shorts and other singlet. The arm sleeves felt good until the sun warmed a bit more and it felt then quite warm. Had them down to the elbow as soon as I had taken the gels. Using them for the gels was NOT optimal! Hotpants looked good and worked well too. For once!!! Singlet was all fine, although I could have run as well with only sports bra. The gel carrying worked. Not optimally, but ok. The Dextrosol carrying was once again a disaster and I will NOT have them in the front of my sports bra in future races… Burn marks once AGAIN… DO I ever learn?!? Forgetting to have extra long pants to keep myself warm before the start was not good. To keep in mind and be better prepared next time.

14/ Up to the halfway I tried to have a decent effort level. Probably got to 15 or so, but after getting passed by the 3hrs-guys, not a chance that the effort was higher than a 13/14. Did not want to have more pain in the hip while still wanting to finish this race. This is disappointing not to have been able to get higher on the effort level. But better safe than sorry….

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SUMMARY: This race was expected to be an adventure. To a country far far away. All alone. And it ended this way too. Disappointing results, but finalizing the race was as usual one of the objectives. And this one was completed at least. It gives more experience to the whole journey. The race itself was perfectly arranged. From the expo to the new route. I am very angry at myself for this stupid stop at the loo 2km-into the race. What was the alternative really?… I never get into the race really, and probably because of this stop. The 20-25seconds stop did kill probably most of the first half. Unsure how the hip would have worked out without this stop. The weather was definitely on the positive side. After a few freezing days in Tokyo, it was a delight to be running under the sun (well…OK…it was dead-freezing at start however…). The wind was there but not annoying at all.

On the downsides, the GPS freaking out was also not cheering for me today. Could hear some other watches beeping properly at the km-signs, when mine was just crazy. Good to have wristbands for reference… The hip was not functioning properly and unsure how to explain it. The walk like crazy after the finish line should be revised. NO need to walk so much really. Hopefully they will re-assess this arrangement for future races. The walk back to Hibiya park was just stupidly too long (but still worth for the medal I got 🙂 ).

All-in-all, Sunday long run in Tokyo provided some miles under my feet and more experience for the future. Head has rested now, body is under recovery. Cannot wait to race again…properly this time! 🙂

===> Loads of thanks for the cheering and the support received while I was preparing this race. Not many knew about it and that was the plan. Preparation did work very well, despite the stupidly crazy cold weather at home, the race-prep in Barcelona was ok but might have made the body a bit tired 2 weeks before Tokyo. Well, missing the expected time, missing the placing I was planning, I still completed the race, and that counts fully. Celebration needed, even if only little J The season is still young…

Thanks to all the runners who cheered during the race. Mostly foreigners (ie not Japanese). Thanks for the lovely Japanese gals I met right before start. Unable to speak the same language, but running was what made us happy. Together 🙂 Great thanks to the gal cheering in Swedish along the course and for the pics received afterwards. Priceless! Thousands of thanks for all the cheering people along the course. Not understanding a word but still getting your warmth for continuing the running! And final thanks to you, my special people, who are standing there in my mind when the running gets tough or the running gets fun or the running gets easier. Your support and love are counting so that no word can really describe.

Big thanks to E for video-calling me in the morning of the race. A large smile and encouragement kept in my thoughts, which got me to the end! Loads of thanks for my little personal cheering-squad at home, always supportive and encouraging during training and race. Priceless!

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A few more days in Japan, sun shine or grey skies, a lot of walking… I might wait a bit longer before this tattoo on my hip saying in Japanese “The limping snail”… Time for recovery now. The body feels fine, no hip nor knee trouble two days after the race, and despite the walking and walking and more walking around in Kyoto. More rest will be still on the menu for a few days… thereafter…new adventures shall begin! THANKS!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Let’s start with the body. Because it always is the body that might stop from achieving this particular goal. Tired after the finish line mostly because of the final 1km-sprint (or whatever you may call the limping-stuff I did). The hip pain was not planned and am a bit unsure how it came into picture. The knee pain was also a surprise (a bad one) as it really felt I would not be able to walk at all after all this. But nope. Nothing. To be checked, but still. Thinking it is a bad compensation of the body of some kind. Have to work on this. A positive note? Achille’s heels did not bother me at all. Good sign, right?

NOTE: Warmup? Would more likely call it a “cool down” what I had today! Freezing was an understatement! Felt pretty jealous to see the elites running back and forth during probably 20-30 minutes in their training clothes, while we were freezing sitting on the cold asphalt. Lessons learned: I will have a full outfit on my on the top of my racing outfit for the next race! Not a chance I will freeze this way again! Took probably 1-2km for getting into a good rhythm…which was killed due to the stop at the loo…

NOTE:…which brings me to the “loo incident”. HOW ON EARTH CAN THIS HAPPEN?!?! Had timed well the drinking, got to the loo twice before start…but still…. Having over one hour of wait made it pretty clear that the blaster would not master it. Unsure what could have been done differently. But that will NOT EVER happen again to stop during a race. Promise to myself.

NOTE: Energy/refueling during the race? On this, I am actually pretty happy and proud about how it went. The sport drink during all the first half worked properly. Still a bit tricky to drink in the paper cups, but worked anyway. Then the gels taken were all fine and well planned. Did not take the extra one I had in the back of my sport bra. Not needed. Could probably have done without the Dextrosol and take sports drink instead. What did NOT work was the carrying of the Dextrosol. Won’t happen again. Promise to myself.

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Still unsure this helps or not helps. Will probably cut it for the next races. Although beetroot juice is good to drink 🙂

NOTE: then…gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Same as earlier races. No issue with that. Only that I did not take this gel…

NOTE: …and dextrosol+gel in the sport-bra, in the front? Read thought above… won’t happen again. I mean it this time…

NOTE: then…gels in the arm sleeves and back pocket of the hotpants? Arm sleeves were a good-to-have for the race. But should have attached the gels to the arm sleeves maybe. Backpocket of the hotpants worked fine.

NOTE: Tokyo marathon is hereby the LONGEST marathon I have ever run (since Berlin 2013…) – 42,88km 😛

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. 20km walk each day after the race for two days… the body is happy to move! Time to plan for a massage. More days ahead without running and then have to take care of that hip of mine. So that it won’t annoy me next time.

New adventures on the way…

 

Race Report – BCN Mitja Marató de Barcelona 2017/02/12

barcelonahm2016

Nice medal, DAB before start and smiling after.

Planned: sub90, 87-88 maybe. Training-race as warmup to next race to come…

Actual: 1:28:50 – within the expected time-range, but a bit slower than could have been. Still…sub90 is a good time for a training race. The body was all good from start to end, and as usual (!) a bit indecently not-tired after the finish line and despite the final sprint.

  • Took at least 20 sec to reach the start mat.
  • Took at least 1.7km to get into a race rythm.
  • Took 10km to get to cruise pace.
  • Took 11.7km to start slowing down the pace but still feeling fine.
  • Took last 2.5km to enjoy passing so many guys.
  • Took 1.1km at the end to get passed, keep the gal in sight, start to sprint with 600m left, pass her not without fight, pass another gal and miss a place to the finish at less than half a second.
  • Final sprint of half a km @3:41… liking it…but also meaning I had way enough strength to run slightly faster before…

A good start for the year anyhow!

Place: 55 – all women, 6 – age category, 3rd Swede & 1,234 out of 15,242 finishers. A good way to start this year…

Splits (official)

Split Time Diff Min/km Total
5km 00:21:00 21:00 04:12  
10km 00:41:52 20:52 04:10  
halfway  
15km 01:03:13 21:21 04:16  
20km 01:24:27 21:16 04:15  
Finish 01:28:50 04:23 3:59 55

Way slower than RIL in October already from first 5K. On the other side the route was slightly up then in Barcelona. All in all, a good and comfortable pace throughout…

Totals

Place 55
Place (age) 6
Place (total) 1234
Time total 01:28:50
Average pace 04.13min/km

In short: Niiiice! Sub90 to start the year. Stable throughout, even though lost quite a lot during the first 2km. Good run in Spain!

**********************************************************

BEFORE THE RACE

The 2 days before…

Traveling down to Barcelona with G on Friday. Went smoothly. Took the long bus ride to the city center. No sun shine directly, but that was still better than back home… Found the apartment and then we walk the long way to pick up the BIB and then back home and eat. Pizza for late lunch and pasta on the menu for dinner. No creativity whatsoever… Body felt all good for running, although a bit sluggish as it often is prior to race.

Saturday started with an easy run, done from home to the start and then running the first 5km was the plan. It showed that the 5km from the start were nothing to fear which was nice to know. Thereafter Lost a bit my way and the “easy 4-6km” turned into 9km… Took it easy the rest of the day. Relax and preparing my race gear. Still unsure regarding the weather.

Race day

4:45am – Already??? Up early for breakfast, as I wanted to get into “marathon-testing” mode. Chia seeds, green mix and sport drink. All get down and that’s it. Then back to bed. When the alarm rang again, it was time to get ready. No rush. Long hot shower and on with racing gear (NY singlet, SOC blue army shorts, black arm sleeves and neckwarmer as well as my superduperfast shoes ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Setting two Swedish flags on my left arm and I am good to go! Woke up G, check for the 100th time my bag with changing clothes, that I have my BIB on my singlet… and then we were both ready to go.

 

7:00am – A bit chilly outside, good to have long pants and jacket on. Would gladly get back to my warm bed… but did not. We walked nice and easy to the start with G. Lots of people. Passing the train station (?) where the bags can be left. So nice to have G there and to let him all my clothes before running. Real luxury treatment!

08:00am – Arriving in the park and keeping my clothes on, started to run…OMG…so easy pace I would have lost a race with snails probably! After a few 100s, got to meet the lady having the world record on this route in 2015 (record that fell 2 days before today’s race… Talk about motivation!!!). Anyway, cool to run right behind her for a short while and at the same pace! Yes! I can follow WR-holder…during her warmup…and for 200m… Final pitstop. A few pics taken in front of the fountain and time to get to the start corral. Off with the long pants and the jacket. Final warm hugs. And that was it.

08:30am – melting in my start group. 1:20 to 1:30. Should work fine. Meeting a Swedish gal, who says not being in the best of her form. Well, she still is in the next-best start group… Seeing the pacesetters for 1:20 and 1:25. OK. Lots of couples actually in this start group. I mean boyfriend/girlfriend. You meet your equal in races probably 😛 They all look so crazily fast anyway.
Deciding to NOT get to the front line. Letting the chaos from start disappearing before I arrive. Quite a lot of runner in front of me then… Those from my group, the “less than 1:20”-group and the elite-group… All those are in front of me. And plenty behind too.
Feeling warm now in the corral. All are pressing against each other as the start will soon be given… Feeling good. Or?… Countdown is suddenly given…at FIVE…four…three…two…one…

*********************************************************

THE RACE

8:45am and BAAAM! Confettis in the skies…

Start is given. But not much happening actually. Starting to WALK!!! And it probably took twenty long seconds before getting to the start-mat (and yes, I was in the second fastest start-group! Right behind the rackets-runner!). Pressing the start button on my watch and heading towards the right side of the street. There is an abrupt left-turn pretty soon after the start and contrarily to other races, I decide NOT to get the shortest path there. Have read enough on this race to understand that it might not be worth it. Had in mind to take it easy first km, but this time…it felt WAY too easy. Checking that my watch has started properly and yes… and it shows 4:20-pace (!) on the first stretch after the left turn… Euuuuuuhhhh…What?!?!? This ain’t easy. This is snail-like pace! Turning right to the main large street and here it feels better. Runners have lots of place to spread out and that ease the running. Reach km1 in 4:17…after an acceleration! I know the first 5-7km of the race, so nothing to fear, right? First cheering from G there right at km1. Now the race is on! A bit off to understand what pace I am having, but the second km is passed @4:07. That’s better! Passing the big statue and then we turn right towards the long slightly slowly steady up part. Probably the trickiest part of the race as it comes right from the beginning. So the plan (in my head) was to take it easy for the first 5km and indeed I do. A bit too much maybe… The long stretch to km4 disappears however quite nice and it feels that the legs and rest of the body are happy to run. No racket-pace, but decent one. Getting passed by the 1:25-pacesetters when we take the little street on the right and I am just hanging along. I know it is not my pace and it is not what I am to run, but it feels fine. Turning right again to the main street Gran Via. Feeling nice and fine. Passing the 5K in 21min, which is a bit slow, but decent enough for being the first 5K. From this part on and for 5 more km or so, it is expected to be faster and downhill. I am having a gal in black outfit and with a bandana on my left and she looks like having similar expectations for the race. She looks tiny but so d*mn strong! No stop for water at the 5K-water stations. No need. Settling in a comfortable pace. OK, passing km6…and soon…we…should… be.soon..turning…right… Helloo!?!? Where is the right turn? Finally arriving. And downhill too. Have a Swedish older guy in front of me. New plan: Keeping him in sight and not letting him go! As well as having the gal with black outfit and bandana on my side. The downhill towards km7 is nice. Getting down to 4:00-pace and then 4:02 pace. Passing the Arc de Triomphe (the one in Barcelona…not the French one!).. Lots of people cheering there. Stretch along the Arc de Triomphe is longer than expected, but the turn left is nice. I am now heading towards km8. Good flow in the legs. The mind is happy. I can do this! I know how to do this! A bit less people in this street, but way more than I thought it would be. I am warm and I have taken off my arm sleeves. In on the front of my sports bra. Waiting for my lovely cheering-squad who should be somewhere there. Passing km8. All good. Sliiightly up, but so note easy to detect it. Looking right, looking left. Needing some smile-energy here! And here he is. The largest smile on his face and the best cheering in the world! All for me! Throwing my arm sleeves to G. Telling him that I am late on the schedule. That should count for 1-2 minutes slower than planned, but still under 90minutes. He just started to walk and then run along the race route. ON the pavement. And I can just NOT stop smiling and keeping my eyes on him. Soooo crazy cool! Cannot feel I am in a race. It is just a nice fast run with lovely G 🙂 OK, he makes it look like d*mn-crazy and I am actually at my race-pace, but it does not matter. All the energy in the world is getting concentrated in those minutes he runs with me and that feels like a blessing from above. He slows down on his pavement, continuing to scream nice things and here I am. Km9 has been passed and I am back on the road, alone. Finding the Swedish guy a bit further than I thought. But still in good sight. And having “my” gal with black outfit and bandana still on my side. Time to turn towards km10… The slight up is not really felt. Indeed, it is not THERE it is going up!!! Wake up, you! Reaching km10 under 42minutes. OK. No crazy pace, but still in good form to get under 90minutes. Right turn after the 10K-mark. Good! Just another one 10K like that, and that’s it! F.O.C.U.S!!!

Would have liked to have G running a bit longer by my side… The stretch after the 10K is not fun. Nobody on the side of the course. The skies are grey… and I am losing my pace-buddy! Felt safe and nice… until… her bandana fell on the asphalt and…she…stops and run back (!) to get it!!! Noooooo! Don’t do this! I am alone here. I am a bit sad actually to have lost her. I try to find another runner to follow. Only guys are surrounding me. And none are having a pace which I can adapt to. I see ahead of me the runners turning left. THERE it is… the little slope after km11…So short, almost missing it! And then the right turn is bringing a crazy “déja-vu”. Running on the street with a separation wall (?) with the other road with the cars. I feel like I have been there before. But not exactly. Took a short while before I connect that in Chicago marathon there is a similar part, but on the other direction! In Chicago we have the road with the cars on our right and here in Barcelona, we have them on our left. Stop this Memory lane trip and focus on the road!!! Right turn and downhill after km12 is SO welcome! Try not to run foolishly fast in the downhill…but it is very tempting! Down to “sub3-marathon-pace” by then. The kilometres to km14 are slower than I want. It is windy a bit, but I cannot really blame it on the wind here. I am the one running… Reaching the right-turn at 13.5km and on the other side of the road, I can see the first female runner Florence Kiplagat turning right…at her km16.5 or so…Yap! She is not one, not two but THREE kilometres ahead of me… Those lost twenty seconds from the start… 🙂 I like the stretch here. I feel the light tailwind pushing us forward. I see the 1:20-pacesetters and their followers on the other side… The thoughts are simple there… I want to be ON THE OTHER SIDE WITH THEM!!! Cannot see any female runners on the other direction for a while.  OK, focus on your race, you! Tailwind is nice but the guys around me seems to actually slow down here. Heeeeeeeee what???? A group of 4-5 guys are passing me right before the U-turn towards km15. Just hanging along. Because there…is…headwind! NOT LIKING IT! Once again, and as in many other previous races, I could not get into a pack for running (there was NO pack there) and the guys are not necessarily helpful neither. Passing km15 a bit slower than planned, but that was expected by now. I get to a higher gear to hang with the guys who passed me. Have 3 before me (thanks for the wind-shield!) 2 on the left and one who annoys me as he is on my right but not really passing me nor running behind me. One of the guys before me is getting his foot into a long plastic stuff that was expected to be between two grinds. We (in the group) sees what is going to happen. We all cream at once. He fell right before me. I jump above him. Turning back and he is up already and giving a smile that all is fine. Wow! Hard-core guys here! And we are turning at the km16.5… which is the windiest street of the race. I can feel the wind blowing away my feet against each other from time to time. Deciding to keep it “safe” and ran right behind two tall guys. Which meant as well slowing down, but for a while it felt ok. After what seems to be 100km or so (1…), I got tired of this pace and I pass them. Where is km17 by the way? Have I passed it? Checking my watch, but it is a bit off compared to the km-signs. Probably 200m off… Deciding that km17 is way ahead of me. At least I won’t be disappointed if it some earlier! Beeeep! Km17 on my watch. Keeping on running. Turning left at the little roundabout… and here it is! Km17 has been reached! My brain is just having enough clarity still to get that it is 4km to go. Training last week was aiming to get those 4Ks at 16:30… Not a chance that will happen today! Less than 20 minutes is the best calculation I can do. Waiting for the km18-mark and the “terrible” little slope that so many were fearing apparently. Seeing it coming from a little while as runners are turning left ahead of me. And I was actually unsure of what I had read. Turned left and took this baby-slope on the top of the toes (yes, I let dudes passing me there…but their legs did not like the pace up and they were passed by little-me soon after 🙂 ). OMG this feels so good. Turning right and lightlight down. LIIIIIIKING IT SO MUCH! The final 3km were reached. Straight and flat. Hardly noticing the sea scenery, but honestly, I wanted to have this finished. Seeing double at a moment, two backs with the same tshirt, the same shorts and running, making me feeling like I must be completely off,… but nope. There WERE two guys there! And I am passing them.. Yooohooo! Cheering along. Passing people IS fun! Even better if it could be gals… Turning right. Almost final stretch. At least the km20 is right there. Can see it. Getting the final cheering from G. Woopwooop! A French guy caught up on me too with more cheering words. Feeling so good. Feeling so strong. Surely off my expected pace, but still it feels nice…. Until…as in other races… happens what I REALLY do not like… a gal passes me! There! On the spot! 1.1km to go! The French guy by my side encourages me to “take her, but not now. To wait until the final 600m-stretch”. Which I am planning to do… Steady…steady…steady….. Had watched the arrival of a couple of this particular race in Barcelona and how the race was won at the end by the final sprint. Took it easy until the final left turn. Accelerated progressively there. The gal noticed it as she was looking at me. Waited for the final 400m to push a bit more and pass her. Seeing all those air-arches in front of us…WHICH ONE IS THE FINISH LINE?!?!? Just push. As long as I could hold at least that pace. To the end. And there was another gal right before me. Another place to take! Yoooohoo! Pressing a bit more on those strong legs (which were…hummm…where exactly during the race?…) and pass her too and the final line was there…and the other gal got me by what?…half a second? 😦 Does not matter much. The clock was ticking right after 1:29, but having started after the gun, it gave me a nice sub 89! I am happy! The usual “where is the second half of the race”-feeling is right there. Waiting for me. The people around me appear to be tired. When I am not…

Official time: 1:28:50 (gun time 1:29:15… Those stupid 20sec of walking to the start…)

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AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Getting a hug from the French guy. He has a yellow BIB meaning he was good for a sub80 (!) halfmarathon. And today he arrived behind me. Not that tired as it appears like. Turning like and walking towards the Arc de Triomphe. Getting my medals and water and fruit and that’s it. Heading to the medal engraving tent and THERE I get my sub89-time. Nothing to really climb up to the roofs with, but still. Sub89 is sub89 😛

Getting on my yellow poncho. Feeling a bit cold. Finally finding G after having waited a bit at the alternative meeting point, when he waited at the original meeting point. Hugs, pics and the walking back home. Nice with long and hot shower. Resting my legs a bit. And then walking to the city center for some celebration food. Visit at the Sagrada Familia was nice to have to finish this day! Would have been even better with a hot and shiny sun…

**************

Weather: 12.9°C Cloudy, Feels like 12.8°C, 13 kph E wind, 82% humidity – good weather conditions. Although the wind was not crazy strong, it did impact on the race. The grey skies were not much fun neither…

Food: breakfast (chia seeds + green mix + powerade + banana) @4:45am, red juice @7:45am, after: water, banana right after the race. Late lunch around 2pm (?)

During: little sport drink right before the start, gel @km10, 15, 20. Not really needed, but it was for training ahead of marathon.

Gear: NY blue singlet, SOC army blue shorts, arm sleeves black, neckwarmer (on the head after half way). Shoes delivered as usual. Did I write already that I just love them?…

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

16/ OK, a bit higher than expected, but it was a race after all… The first 10km was not that high really. Probably 13/14. Don’t know how to get higher and really pushing for faster time here. Just falling into a comfortable marathon-pace is NOT the solution. More work to be done…

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Still subscribing to the “sub90-club” :-). A bit slower than expected, but making it is good enough for this as being a training race. Don’t want to be dead tired in a warmup race, right?

NOTE: Weather-wise, not really the best ever. Temperatures all fine, but the grey skies and the wind with them was not much fun. Barcelona… Hello?!?!? Sun should be shining and it should be warm!!! The wind was not a decisive factor for a slow pace, but was definitely not helping me…

NOTE: Time and place? Well, it did end within the range I expected, so should not be too picky…But yes, I am! The first 5K were too comfy and the 5K from 10-15km felt like slower than should. OK. I am satisfied. Next time will try to be all-in…or close to it.

NOTE: Warmup? Not much of it. But having my extra clothes on until close to the start were a decisive part of NOT freezing before start. Good with a little leg shaking before the race, but should have done slightly better/more probably.

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? As being a training race, I took it with the energy feeling I am expecting during the marathon. Took gels, but should have had sport-drink. All fine. Not sure extra energy was required though.

NOTE: Liking this race. Can definitely be on my “future race” list again. If Barcelona can guarantee no wind then, that would be great. Oh…and more sun too… Good cheering along the race (apart from quiet parts…but all races have such…), good organization, nice route. Highly recommending this race!

 

>> Loads of thanks for support and words of encouragement to be distributed here. Even though I kept this race a bit on low profile, it was great to have some people knowing about it 🙂 The greatest and most special thanks goes to G who came along, endured my pre-race mood, my race-morning mood and my post-race mood. Again, with such cheering on the side, one can do great things! A bit of easy run now, continuing the warming up and then should come the first big adventure for this year 🙂

Race Report – Málagathon – 2016/12/04

Nice & sunny Friday, freezy Sunday and no race, finally getting miles under my feet…


Planned: training race on marathon distance. Not too slow…

Actual:……Race cancelled due to Red Alert and rain & flood of the worse kind since late 80’s… But this mattered not. Later on the same day, a marathon was run, all on my own on as much as possible following the original race route. 3:18:30. Not too bad for a training long run 🙂

********************

M Day-5

No real carb depletion. This was a training race and time for testing a bit. Did reduce the amount of carbs in the food eaten, but did not go for zero carb. Felt all fine. Morning run went well on light feet and faster than expected for a distance run at 5am in -6°C…

M Day -4

Morning run at 5am and 6°C in a pitch black city still sleeping. Similar conditions to pre-Amsterdam. The only little problem was the left knee-cap which did feel a bit during warm up. Matters not. During the final interval/tempo workout following it, it went all well. The following day was however less fun, with the kneecap not really happy and forcing me to get back home from work right after lunch. Nothing around the kneecap (ie no runner’s knee, jumper’s knee or similar). This was ON the knee cap. Anyway, had time to fix the legs and get a pre-race massage. Laser treatment on the knee and the right Achille’s heel. Felt all ok, but did come back later the same day.

M Day-3

Second rest day for the week. Light carb breakfast and work. Then from lunch onwards the nicest (?) part of the marathon training…Carbo loading! Did not overdo it. Wanted to see how the body would react on Sunday. Evening travel went well…with a delayed flight of 30minutes and then delayed luggage delivery of 30 minutes. Made it barely to the train to Málaga center, forcing me to get a run on tired legs from a several hours trip. And nope. The knee cap did not like it, nor the right Achille’s. Found my way to my host’s place, host who was kind enough to remain awaken and welcome me at midnight… Quick shower and crashed down on my bed. Niiiiice!

M Day-2

Awaken early as this Friday was still a work day. Got my meetings online and it worked well. Enjoyed fully the sunshine coming through the open window. Took a break after morning meetings in order to get those legs of mine some fun under the sun. My home being quite close to the race route, I ran easy to the “km1” and then followed the route. Of course not running on the road as there were lots of cars! Did my run on the pavement, which unfortunately was not asphalted but with decorative bricks (or whatever it is called). Avoided running down in the tunnel around km3 (too many cars and no sidewalk there…) and then along the sea. Quick stop at Passeo Parque for taking pictures. Yes it was a bit sweaty. Very happy to have some sun, although it would make the race a bit tricky due to the apparent humidity. No worry I thought. Light rain is on the menu for Sunday… Quick back home, food while working (2 portions pasta worked well, with Aquarius sport drink which was what would apparently be served during the race). Later the afternoon, close the laptop for work and headed with the bus to Palacio de Desportes to pick up my BIB. Good it was two days before the race, because I walked a lot and too much! Got my BIB in a quite empty expo, but that is fine for me. Nice 3-digits number and my name on a blue background. Fast chick said the guy giving me the envelop 🙂 Then food shopping at the nearby Carrefour and back home when dark had already came down on the city. Feeling nice and ready. Nice and long chat with Lucas my host. A bit late in bed, but that is ok. Sunday is a long run, right?

M Day-1

Sleep-in was the plan. Awaken at 6am, it had to be corrected! Slept a bit more and then opened the eyes after 8:30am. Good. Took it very easy and was out on the pavement a bit before 10am. The plan was to run the final 6km of the race (as km36 to 39 were pretty close to my home. Found km36 and then just run. OMG, those legs of mine wanted to run…way faster than what the brain let them do! Lost a bit my way after getting in the city center around “km39”+ which meant running 4km longer than the plan. But that was ok. I could note that some city streets would be very slippery in case of rain for tomorrow. Nice in the air. Loved it. Back home and had a large breakfast. Then nothing but watching movies on my laptop. Resting 🙂 And lots of drinking (Gatorade and Aquarius). Took a short trip to the close-by Decathlon but was disappointed by the size and what the offered. For once (!) I left the store empty-handed. Got lots of Gatorade from Carrefour instead. And that was it. More movies. Did not feel tired (or was it all the sport-drinks that was keeping me awaken? Or the excitation of running for once a marathon as training? All-in-all, there was not a trace of stress in me!). Around midnight the eyes started to close themselves on their own. Good!

M DAY!!!!

At last!

Before the race

05:00am – awaken well-rested…kind of! The heavy rains had fallen since I went to bed and were still on when waking up. Breakfast of champions as usual (chia seeds, green mix, Gatorade as well as white bread with honey. Glass of water). And back to bed…

5:30&6:00am – same procedure as regular marathon race: water and Gatorade. Half-asleep still. But feeling fine. Decided to drink the last time at 6:30am (instead of having it at 7am). Just to see whether the blaster would prefer it this way 😛

6:59am – up and direction the shower. Eye drops for not having too dry eyes during the race (but with all the water falling, that should be fine!). Happily heard the rain stopped around 7:20am. Nice! Only wet streets then. Had the window wide opened and while getting myself ready I started to hear a strange noise. Cannot be… Yap! Crazy heavy rain falling from the skies! Reconsidered my outfit and added calve sleeves to the race outfit (MIK singlet, SOC shorts small trapeze and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky)). Sunglasses were to stay home as well as my mp3. Had decided that for training for real, it was as good to skip the mp3 and endure (!) the loneliness of the long distance runner during the race. Objective: get to km30 without problem, make it work until the end after that 🙂 3 gels in the back pocket, 2 final ones in the back of the sport bra and the Dextrosol in the front. All set! Packed my after-race gear to change to (hopefully) something dry. Did not feel completely ready, but well… it was time!

08:04am – Leaving home. Hearing the heavy rain still pouring out there. A couple of deep breath and hop! As usual being careful not to run in the water (easy under pouring rain…don’t ask!) and approximately 50m after having left the safe home, it just happened. PLAF! The largest pool ever seen and I was running right INTO it. OK, cursing shortly and then changed state of mind. It was better to make this a fun rainy experience than anything else, right? Put the largest smile on my face and started to run/jog to the start. Soaking wet, did not care about running in the water, making small comments to myself for pepping to the run to come. Yap. Motivation actually to the rooftop despite the crazy rains, the fact I missed a couple of streets and could not find my way to the start and finally reach the wardrobe, which were adequately (?) situated underground in a parking place. A bit warmer there, also it was not cold outside. Only wet! Took off my long sleeves and my light training jacket and left them in my bag with my change and left the bag to the functionaries. Remained in the garage, walking and trying to keep myself warm. Not too easy when I was already soaking wet (did I say it already?). Couple of pitstops in dark corners of the parking slot (I know, it was not nice, but hey…guys were standing and seriously urinating in the other corners, without even hiding). Then the rain became even harder (if it even was possible!). Had been in the garage for 10 minutes or so and a flood started to grow… everywhere! Water was actually climbing fast and the garage would be pretty cleaned shortly. Moved to the corner of the wardrobe that was still “dry”. Runners were running back and forth to warmup.

08:40am – ok in my plan I was to BE in the corral at 8:30am. But with this rain, I waited a bit longer, having no idea how far was the start from the wardrobe area. Decided to be brave and getting out and light jog/walk got me to the start approx..200m from there. Not as many runners as I expected for being so close to the start…

08:45am – Announce from the organization… a council was taking place and would be giving their decision for starting the race or not at 09:45am (WHAT? Did I hear correctly with my little Spanish understanding? In ONE hour?!?!?) and IF the race was to start, that it would be around 10:30am. OK, I needed to ask several Spanish guys to have this confirmed. And yes. I did understand properly…

08:55am – Left the start area and cross the street to get into a building where I could see the elites runners in the first floor, well-safe from the rain out there. And the wait started. I went more into the building. Could spot the 3:00-pacesetters. Good to know who to follow. Felt cold and close to freezing. Tried to get more inside the room. Well-intentioned Spanish runners asked me several times if I was fine and for sure, they got both a “Si si” and a large smile.

09:10am – Hearing a guy talking to the police (who was having the room right at the entrance of what was actually the City hall) and showing me. Could just smile back as I really did not get what he was talking about. Followed kindly the police officer and understood that I was actually not looking too good and was freezing to death. A police lady gave me a warm police jacket, made me sit in a room more in the inside. Another policeman brought me a warm cover and put it all around my legs and sat me on a chair. A third one brought an electric radiator and orientated it towards my legs. I was feeling like an ice cube and probably was looking like one too… The room was constantly having 2-3 policemen and one runner, who I understood a bit after was also a cop. The ambulance was called despite me telling them that everything was fine (with my blue lips and my teeth shaking each other). A guy came into the room and started to ask me how it was. I felt fine I said. But he took my hands and started to blow on them to warm them up. Ice cold they were compared to his. He noticed my wristband and asked me if this is what I was expecting to run and for sure, despite being a training race, I did have my sub3 wristband for motivation 🙂 He happened to be one of the 3:00-pacesetters. He told me with a large smile and very seriously that despite the decision for the start or no start of the race, that I should NOT be running. This is when I told them I came from Sweden. Lots of laughs followed. Was given hot water with sugar in it. The ambulance guys came and concluded that it was fine for me to go. Hypothermia was definitely the diagnose they had too. But I had apparently more colour by then.

10:00am – Took a while. Saw pictures of the floods and rain out there. The busses stuck in 1.5m water, the cars filled with water under tunnel… OK. No race then. The runner-policeman offered kindly to bring me home. I walked back to the wardrobe to get my bag. The rain was less heavy, but still. Got in the car after thanking warmly all the police people who took care of me. Got back home, thanking Paco the police runner and direction my room. Off with the soaking wet clothes and direction hot shower for a while. After that, right under the cover to get warmth back in the whole body.

1:10pm – Got enough watching movies on my laptop, so got up and out for a bit of food. No more rain. And no restaurant opening serving before 1:30pm. Ended at Burger King with a Whopper Jr meal with Coke. Back home and rested for a while more.

3:40pm – real bored of watching movies and laying in my bed, I changed to running gear. Had come to run a training race and the weather made it cancelled. It would not really stop me from running at all. OK, I thought that the hypothermia-part was not really fun but I considered I was good enough to run. Decided to get the first half of the race route and see after that how it was. Took 2 gels and 7 dextrosol with me. Ate a powerbar green apple gel right before leaving. Not the best prep for a run to have a burger in the stomach less than 2 hours before, but I was not racing… Ran easy to km1 of the race and then followed the route as planned. Of course running on the sidewalks. Not many cars nor people out there. The tunnel of km3 was empty of water by then. Down to the seaside and km5 and then turn left to run up towards the Passeo Parque. All fine. Felt that the legs were in a good mood. No check done on the watch. Just hearing the buzz of each km. Turned right to continue along the coast line towards km15. Not as flat as I expected. Not hilly neither! But those fake slow uphill it was. And running on the pavement with those decorative stones, half-slippery…Nope, nothing optimal. Music in the ear. All fine. Took 2 dextrosol at km10 and just continued. Made a bad calculation before km15 and continued instead of turning left, which made me run slightly longer and do a U-turn. No problem. A bit unsure of which road to take though, but I think I followed the correct road. Could definitely feel the light and nice downhill. Tried to run on the street as no car/bus were coming from the opposite direction. Reaching km20 and taking a gel (Melon). All fine. No water, but those ones felt ok with only in the mouth and extra saliva. Probably better WITH water, but had none. Got nice and easy to halfway in 1:38. Happy.

Continued towards the Passeo Parque, and made a quick pitstop in the portapotty still there from the expected morning race. BY then I had been running 22.6km (ie 500m more than the race route, kind of). Took a quick body check and it felt all fine. Therefore headed towards km26 which was back along the sea side. All fine apart from running on the those sidewalk which started to get on my knees. The left knee cap started to complain a bit around 26km, but I continued. Dexstrosol taken every km until km30. Reaching the track close to the stadium Palacio de Deportes, the grind was opened, the lights were off and the skies grey. I went inside and ran around as we would have done during the race. Well, I ran the full lap as only one grind was opened. During the race we would have came inside the track at one entrance, run 300m (?) and then out in the second entrance. The track was slippery like crazy and my pace slowed down very much as I did not want to fall. Had met a few runners along the way who apparently did the same as me. Nice to get some smiles and cheering from time to time. Because by km30 it was almost pitch black. I was tired of not knowing where to go. And my left kneecap was very painful. Well…not while running, but each time I stopped to check the map for the race route and then started again, it complained. Stubbornness being apparently the word of the day, I continued to run along avenida Vasquez, knowing it was not fully as the race route, but at least I would get to Avenida de Juan XXIII which I knew and then get to km36 which I already knew well. Hurt my left ankle when going down a pavement without seeing it. Continued to run. Felt a bit desperate to get somewhere I would recognize. Reached Avenida de Juan XXIII but missed a turn and got to another parallel street to Avenida de Andalucia. Kept my tears in my eyes, but I really did not want to continue running. I give up. I ran long enough. This is a stupid training after all…and finally I saw El Corte Inglès, which was my reference point for km36. Yoooohooo! Renewed strengths and actually very happy, I prepared myself to take my third gel… which was nowhere to be found. Remembering that I had actually taken only TWO gels and not three. Well, ok. Let’s continue without extra energy then! This part was very tricky while getting close to the football stadium La Rosaleda as there was literally NO street light on at all… Meaning I could not see the pavement and running on the street was out of question really. Had taken off my tshirt since a couple of km and it felt nice under the drizzling rain. Very careful. Light steps. Got around the stadium, over the bridge and as usual for reaching the final 2km of any race it just felt like even more strengths were to be found. Noted that I had passed the 3 hours, but quickly calculated that I should be able to run this whole thing under 3:20. Started to accelerate slowly but surely. Skipped the left turn at km39.5 in order to avoid running in the city center with all the tourists and probably very slippery streets and not much lights. Decided to do the final 2km along the river. Down once and then it was a bit missing so I ran up again and across the river, loosing a bit of pace (for not falling on the slippery pavement) and then full speed down to the next bridge. And then up again along the other side of the river. Cannot explain the happiness and relief to press the STOP button on the watch when reaching 42.2km. Could not look at the time. Was just happy. And I looked… 3:18:30! Yiiiiihooooo! And not even tired! Even happier when noting the final km being in 4:19 🙂 Jogged home the final part. And that was it. One marathon done during training. Of course the hoard of runners was missing around me. Even greater achievement I thought!

I did miss not crossing the finish line though…

**********

Weather: 13.9°C, Cloudy+drizzle, Feels like 13.9°C, 3 kph WNW wind, 94% humidity. Nice in the air. Little drizzle during km5-8 and 25-28. Otherwise all fine. Pitch black after km30

Food: > before: chia seeds with green mix and banana, with Gatorade Lemon + white bread with honey (5:30am)

> before (2): whopper Jr meal (w/fries and coke) @1:30pm (!). Right before: powerbar gel green apple+1dl water.

> right after: banana+water+Gatorade blue

> During: Aptonia gel melon @km20, Aptonia gel Salted butter @km30. Dextrosol: 2 at km10 and 1 @km15 or so and then at km23-24-26-35.

Gear: SOC army blue shorts, SOC SWE sport bra, Midnattsloppet blue, SOC compression socks yellow (first outing…). Shoes were out of this world, once again and despite being the third day in a row running in them…

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Boston Boost 5 TSF Pink/White (Fasty) 12/ setting to a decent level of low effort. During the first half it felt that I was just doing a morning run on light legs. Great feeling. The second part after km22.6 was a bit more scattered (after km30) due to several quick stops for checking the road until km36. After that, all fine. And happy to finish.

NOTE: Not too bad for a training and not a race!

NOTE: First time I ran that long during training. Not surprised (ok, yes a bit) but I had this in mind since a while to run the marathon distance during training but never did (because it would mean having to rest a full week afterwards…). Not only the distance, but running it alone was the strength of the day!

NOTE: left kneecap was just out of its mind after km30: I should have probably stopped right there and taken a bus, but stubbornness being my second name on this particular Sunday, I just continued running. Very rewarding to reach km36 and being able to forget the kneecap and get along until the end. And being reminded of this stupidity after stopping the run and having a very tired kneecap…

NOTE: the body itself felt all fine. For sure the hypothermia from the morning was probably not something I should have totally ignored, but it worked well running in the afternoon.

NOTE: No warmup. No check on the watch. Nobody to run with. Yap. The loneliness of the long-distance runner was fully there… Got beautiful sights along the coast line while running towards km25 and that was worth it, really!

NOTE: Energy/Refuelling: OK, this was probably really bad handled. Eating garbage food a bit before the run, when I am so careful before running a race… Surprisingly it worked out well. During the run it would have been good however to have some liquid like water or sport drink. Felt a bit thirsty after halfway. But energy levels were not feeling low. Could have been good with an extra gel at the end.

NOTE: Post-marathon (distance) recovery to be taken seriously. Despite having the body not feeling at all like having run that much, the knee cap is not in good shape. Having searched everywhere I am still back on probably having hurt it on something during Tuesday and that it was not getting better with such a long run. A week of rest should make it feel better. Hoping so… Day after? Massage at a friend of my host. Friend happening to be a triathlete, so got tips for the kneecap. Body feeling fine (apart from the kneecap). A good way to finish the running season! Even though I miss this finish line…

*****
Conclusion: running a marathon during training rocks!

Race Report – Amsterdam Marathon – 2016/10/16

happy-soon-finish-2

Happy and soon finishing

Planned: 2:57/58, definitely sub3. Second target top 20, third goal top30…

Actual:……2:59:56. 22nd all women, 6th age category, 2nd Swedish woman, 488 out of total 12,182 finishers. Ok-result but not fully satisfied as missing sub3 in gun time by 13 seconds and had a too relaxed 5km before reaching 40km-mark and waking up for final 2.2km sprint to the Olympic stadium. Still, it is another sub3 and that cannot be ignored…

Race Results:
place (M/W) 22
place (age) 6

Total 488 (out of 12,182)
age/grade: 79.9% (2016 Ferrara 78.2% / Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (gun) 02:59:56
time total (brutto) 03:00:13
average pace: 4:16min/km

Official splits:

Name Time Time (split) Pace min/km
5 km 0:20:57 20:57 04:11 min/km
10 km 0:41:37 20:40 04:08 min/km
15 km 1:02:26 20:49 04:10 min/km
20 km 1:23:51 21:25 04:17 min/km
21.1 km 1:28:28 04:37 04:13 min/km
25 km 1:45:08 16:40 (21:17) 04:16 min/km
30 km 2:06:56 21:48 04:22 min/km
35 km 2:28:40 21:44 04:21 min/km
40 km 2:50:34 21:57 04:23 min/km
42.2 km (Finish) 2:59:56 09:22 04:16 min/km

********************

M Day-5 

Carb depletion day 1. Had eaten slightly less carbs for past two days. Feeling almost the irritability growing during those days…(or maybe I am always irritable…). As final quality run, I did an interval run with former colleague, run which turned out to be pretty bad for the self-confidence. Would have probably interrupted the run if I had been alone. Wind most of the time, tired, missing my carbs (yeah, let’s blame it on the carbs!). Nope. Rubbish and sluggish feeling. Disappointed at myself for not being stronger. Coach commented it could be the body tired from the last half-marathon run 1.5 week before. Maybe.

M Day -4 

Morning run at 5am and 6°C in a pitch black city still sleeping. Good start of the day and perfect to forget the rubbish run of the evening before. Nice easy and light feeling. Few 200m accelerations at the end got the legs very happy. Slight “electric chock” feeling in the left calf and foot made me a bit worried as it happened as well during the last interval the day before. Continuing cab depletion. Work all day. Massage pre-race in the evening with laser treatment on the Achilles heels and left calf. Got also taped light on the left calf to help and relief for this “electricity” feeling. Probably a nerve malfunctioning.

M Day-3 

Extra rest day. Never took rest on this day-3 prior to a marathon… Worked all day. Took a walk in the cold after working my day. Pack my suitcase and best of all… started carboloading!!! Noted everything single little piece of food I ate today in order to check (afterwards) how much energy I am actually taking. Body feeling fine. Really want to run.

M Day-2

Travel day! Yeaaah…. For once had booked a flight mid-morning, i.e. could sleep as normal and not wake up before the sun and birds to get to the airport. Light breakfast before leaving home and then toasted ciabatta with ham to complete this at the airport. Slept most of the flight. Well-arrived in Amsterdam, long queue to get my train ticket, 30 minutes later I had found my place in Rembrandtpark. Dropped my bags and took the bike my host let me borrow to get to the expo. Got my BIB, met a Swede “Anders” who hope for sub3 too. Waited a while without seeing Henrik D, went through the expo and cycled back home via the Olympic stadium (unfortunately closed for this day as preparing for the race). Changed gear, bike back to km1 of the race, left the bike, ran 10km easy on the race route and then back home again, with a stop at an Italian deli for a large portion of tagliatelle Bolognese to-go. First real meal since the ciabatta of this morning… Had eaten many bananas and drunk isostar during the day. And the day ended with nice chat with my host Rick before I went to bed around 10:30pm.  Less than 48hours to go…

M Day-1

Started the day with sleep-in until 8:30am… Had waken up a couple of times during the night, fearing I had slept too long and missed the start. Running gear on and hop! To the chilly and foggy Dutch morning. Ran easy 5km with a stop at Lidl for some bread and sweets. Finished the run under drizzling rain with a few 100m accelerations. Took 4 of them to get to a fast and decent pace…on slippery pavement… Late and large breakfast at 11:30am and then rest at home until late afternoon. Final meal taken around 3pm. The plan was to have only liquid stuff and easy-to-chew food for the rest of the day. Met Tricky with big brother Christer for their dinner at 5:45pm. Ordered pasta, but took it away with me as I did not feel like eating more. Especially not so “late”. Bike back home in the dark and without light in my bike. Finished to prepare my gear for the race. Review for the 123rd (???) time the route fir the race and when to take my gels. Felt good. Felt ready. Did not feel fast, but enough to make it under 3 without problem tomorow. In bed by 9:30pm. Checking the race route again. Sleeping around 11:40pm (awaken when roommates came around midnight and showered for a while)…and a final check to the race route…and ZzzzzZzzzz…

M DAY!!!!  

Finally!

Before the race 

00:15am – awaken by the roommates back home and showering. Back to sleep.

2:22am – nice time but still not for waking and going up. Back to sleep.

4:10am – opening the eyes and still not understanding that time was passing sooooo slowly. Back to sleep. 

5:25am – awaken before the clock rang. Good! A few minutes sleep-in. Did not want to get fully awaken. Walked quietly to the kitchen, blended some Isostar, ate my breakfast of champions (chia seeds, green mix, isostar. Had no white bread nor bagel, so took 2 slices of brown bread with honey. Glass of water). This should get me up to 200g carbs. All set. Back to bed…

6:00&6:30am – drank water and isostar. Half-asleep/awaken (probably more asleep..)

6:57am – did not want to wait any longer. Got up and headed to the shower.  Eye drops for skipping the crying eyes during the race, cream all-over the body (including anti-chaffing cream), fix the hair, set the Swedish flags tattoos (2 small ones on the left arm and a larger one on the right back shoulder). Hoping they are in the correct sense… Jumping in my racing outfit (SWE hotpants and singlets and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky)). Sunglasses on the top of the head as expected some sun (and some wind). Had 2 gels in a sock in the front of sports bra, 2 in the back of the sports bra and 1 in the little back pocket of my hotpants, with a full Dextrosol. Double-checking again my changing gear for after the race. Getting an extra long pants, a tshirt to throw before start and my running wind jacket. Ready?

08:15am – TIME TO GO! Of course the elevator is the slowest in the whole wide world this morning… Getting to the bike, the air outside is pretty nice. Sun shining, but a bit chilly. This time I found my way in the park without any problem. Reaching closer to Vondelpark and seeing more and more runners walking in the same direction. Parking my bike at the bus stop of “km1-of-the-race” and walking the rest to the stadium. Had thought of jogging a bit, but it is pretty much impossible. Getting to the bag drop area. Taking off my extra clothes apart from the old tshirt Dad gave me, leaving my bag after a quick chat with a Dutch guy telling me that if I made a great time in Rotterdam, I should expect a “best-ever” on this course. Into the stadium, getting myself directly in my starting corral (Yellow) and queuing for the loo….for 16 minutes!!! Good to be on time. Because the queue behind me is getting longer by the seconds passing! Thinking that peeing 30 minutes before start should be well enough. Back to the corral and out again to try to find Tricky in the corral behind. No success.

9:08am – Back to the Yellow corral. Which was for expected time 2:40 to 3:00…Eeeeeuuuh what? How can it be such a large range? It is like setting in the same start a Ferrari and a fast…Volvo (?). Anyway. After a nervous warmup jog, settling in the corral. Chatting a bit around. Saying hi to a Swede (not difficult to recognize with the Swedish outfit he has 🙂 ) Chatting in French, Swedish, English and even a little bit of Spanish. Just loving this moment. The music playing is not always the enthusiastic one you may expect, more likely to be for a nice evening bal or such… Laughing at it with French guys talking about “Bal-musette” 🙂 Not many women here, but the few I noticed look more Ferrari-like, than Volvo-like… Feeling a bit out of my league here (ok…feeling COMPLETELY out of my league!). Hearing a voice I recognize and getting a large smile from Kent M. Nice with a friendly known face. Ready to rock for a sub2:55-like 🙂 Have my pacebands set on my arm. Runners are getting closer to each other. Asking kindly to a French guy before me for having his anti-chaffing cream. Had put some before leaving home, but feel that it is better to be safe than sorry and have some more under the arm pits and the inside of the thighs. Throwing my old tshirt away.

09:25am – presentation of the elite. Could not see our Swedish star (Louise Wiker) in the front corral, but with all those giant guys all around me, that’s understandable (we should have corral per height… the short people first, so we can see a bit better…).

09:28am – Countdown started since 09:00am just continued. Of course it is completely the wrong time to check my shoes as at the same time all the runners are walking forward. Loosing Kent there, but still seeing my French friends. Gels in place where they should be. Still having my little 3dl water bottle with 2.5dl Isostar lemon in it. Taking a glups and deciding to keep it with me for a little while…

09:29am – Everything seems soooo quiet (or is it just in my head?)…

THE RACE

First half

09:30am – BAAAAM! Well, actually, a bit unsure I heard it. A guy on the left did make a noise slightly before the start was given and then could feel the runners moving forward. Same tactic as in Lyon and keeping my elbows a bit on the side. Passing the mat and pressing start on my watch. Had heard about the sluggish start in the stadium and indeed. It just feels like I am walking. Already hearing impatient runners pushing a bit, but I feel fine. Seeing Kent disappearing. We run about 150m in the stadium before leaving it. Careful on the pavement out there. Seeing people cheering already. I feel like a snail would have left the stadium faster than I actually did. Don’t want to check my pace as I might scream if I see how slow I probably am… And anyway, it is better to wait until the first km. Passing under the “500m left” sign and want to check a bit my time anyway. Juuuuuust a little pick…. and good for me! The watch is indicating a distance run of 0.00… and time 0.00… What the….?!?!? Starting it again by pressing start-button. OMG… I am not happy. Can we start this all-over again? Am I in a stupid dream telling me NOT to do that in real life?!?!? Hearing Henrik D’s voice, a good luck and he is passing me on the left. I feel so puzzled for a bit that my legs just run on the habit, rather than for the race. Seeing Kent M on my right. What? He should be far away already. We reach km1. Kent is NOT happy neither with this start. The worse he has had ever. All I want to know is what my pace is. Where is km1-sign? Are we there yet? Passing my bike. No km1-sign I see. Be careful on the road with the tram rails. Running like in a dream or something. Not really in the race at all. Kent is gone. No need to follow him. I have no clue how fast or slow I am. Entering VondelPark and hearing a cheering in Swedish. A guy in black tri-outfit and a cap is talking to me. Still I feel like on a cloud. He asks me what will be my finish time and I hear myself answering “under 3”. Good, we can run together he adds. He starts to talk a lot. Asking if I have run under 3 before. Passing km2, pressing my lap button. OK. At least from now on, I am set for every km. Getting close to km3 and seeing Christer-the-big-brother. Large smile back. A little wave with the hand. And this is soon the end of the park already. Km3 has disappeared in 4:14. The Swedish guy said we were exactly on 4:10-tempo at the entrance of the park. OK. Have to wait until we reach km5 to see exactly how much time difference my watch has to the gun time and take that as reference. Getting to km4 without much trouble. It is actually right under the Rikjsmuseum. Difficult to see as it feels a bit dark there, but not feeling the pushing and crowdedness that people had talked about. When leaving this little path on the other side, THERE you can talk about crowdy! Cheering people on both side and then a runner with a wheelchair with another participant starts shouting to all to move along. Indeed he is fast and being on his way will probably end badly. Passing him on the left and then we turn right and then left and then after a short stretch, left again. Right along the river. Still no clue about my pace. I am just running. I feel however that my bladder is not just functioning, as I really feel like stopping for peeing… Not a chance, not after less than…42,2km! Not taking long before…yappp… the glamour and joy of running….and having a bladder not cooperating at all… Doesn’t really matter… it feels it’s too late anyway. Reaching km5 right after 21minutes on the large clock. OK. Meaning my watch has approximately 3 minutes difference with gun time and that I am right under 2:58-finish time. Looking good! Drinking the little bottle with Isostar and throwing it away. Brilliant plan! So I skip the first water-station! The Swedish guy (“Jonas”) is from Gothenburg and talks a lot. OK, he might not talk a lot, but while I ran, feeling pretty wet (and that ain’t funny), counting down the km to the finish line, the last thing I want is to be talked to. Cannot see the km6, but my running mate tells that we are a bit fast but that’s ok. We meet the fast elites coming back on the other side, turn right and then left and then little bump and left again. Passing a couple of guys and left and we are back to the same road again, seeing a flow of runners coming the other way around. We are good. Running is flowing fine. I feel completely wet and actually I don’t care. Continue to run and hearing the advice that I should alternate sport drink and water at every second water station, so that the stomach handles it better. I actually want to tell him to shut up, but it feels pretty rude to do so. So I do it in my head. I know he probably means well, but I don’t want to start talking about my marathon resumé because I never do and that will not do any good/bad and that’s it. Keeping my mouth shut. Or probably smile. Have turned on a long(er) stretch now. Pretty stable flow of runners all around. Got asked if I am still ok. Answering yes. This was nice asking. Hearing the watch buzz every km or so. Well.. Slightly before every km-mark. Which makes me soon realize that if my watch is always 10-15m before the km-mark and ends at 42.2km, well… the real distance would be way longer… Getting to km10 even before the sign as the comments have already started (or have they ever stopped?). That we are right on time if we do this or this. That we are good for under 2:58. I just want the calm in my head and seeing what the gun-time clock indicates. 41:xx… D*mn! I wanted to pass this one right under 41 minutes and I am off now: Sure, it is still under 2:58-end time, but above my plan. Jonas seems happy on the other side as we nailed the exact time he had thought about. Ok, then. Taking my green gel and a bit of water. Probably not enough though. But felt ok. A bit more running and then we turn back 180-degrees. Feeling like in Rotterdam where there was such a turn which felt completely unnecessary and really strangely placed on the race route. What I want now is to reach km14, see the river and hope for wind-free. What I was not expecting was the stone-paved street. What?!?!? Are we going to run on this? Recalling that someone had told me there was a short path with those. OK, stop whining and run. The sun is shining. More cheering before the right turn into the riverside road…which is still with those cement-plates-or-whatever-they-are… NOT liking it. I can feel that my knees, my feet, my hips are not liking this. And the road is not even plane. It is slightly bumping in the middle. I try to find the most optimal way to run, but whatever side I choose on the road, my hips feel like they are going to pop out or something. Have passed this km14, meaning that on the other side of the river it is km24! Yoohoo!… OK…Not helping at all…but the mind is at peace by remembering this clue. Jonas has disappeared by now. I think I recognize Henrik D slightly before me. Trying to catch up, but this first half is the “cruising” one. Meaning no rush. I want to pass all those guys in the last 10K, so let them run 🙂 I am hanging along a group and then another one and then passing guys who passed me aso. Feeling fine. Have taken 2 Dextrosol at km15. Those were some extras I had put in my sports bra with the gels, just in case. Have passed right above 1:02:xx at this gun-time-clock. Still ok. Still running. Around km17 we can see the fantastic elite men running on the other side. WHAT.A.SIGHT!! Even with the river between us we can see the easiness they have for running. This is just beautiful. We laugh with the couple of guys around me. Asking each other what we are doing here when it looks like the party is on the other side of the river 🙂 I like the sun on my face. What I like less (or not at all…) is the side wind, slightly in our face. Doesn’t matter, I think. Let it do what it wants. We’ll have it helping us on the other side of the river. Seeing a couple of lonely elite runners. And then the female elites. The tuning point bridge feels sooooo far away. I am even thinking that I am recalling wrong the map and that we might turn far far away from where we are. Km18 is passed. We hear some karaoke-music (?) from a little boat on the river, singing “It’s not unusual to be looooved by anyone”… Ooooook! Could we have some little more entertaining music, more drums, more whatever and less of this? At least runners around me are smiling at it! And here it comes… another one little bump… slightly up to the bridge to cross the river (yeaaaaah! It feels like a LOT of elevation gain…for too long… Leaving the guys passing me and getting their legs tired on the way up… and catching up on the way down (is that possible that there is WAY less elevation on the other side of the bridge?!?!?). Could already feel that the wind ain’t going to help on this side. Liking the “Go go ladies” and “Come on, you look good” cheerings. Liking less the plates on the road we are running on. Suck it up! I think. Stop complaining to yourself and get to this halfway under 1:29. I have lost my hope of getting close to 1:27. But under 1:29 ain’t gonna fly! Passing km20 under the time written on my armband! Yooohooo! I’m still in this race! 1:23:xx. Feeling strong. Counting that a 4minutes-run would get me to the halfway. Seeing all the other runners on the other side of the river makes me smile. Feels like a while ago I was there myself. Taking another green gel. Where is the water?!?!? The brain is getting clearer and realizing that the “4 minutes to go to halfway” is actually completely wrong. There was 1.1km to go, not 1km. And there is no chance I am fit enough to get down to this pace. I see the km21-sign. Feeling so happy. Passing under the arch for 21.1km. UNDER 1:29! Yiiiiihaaaa! I have made it. I am not tired. I am happy. And it’s sunny. Feeling a rush of adrenaline. Accelerating a bit. Only one half to go!
Second half
This surge of happiness had made me accelerating…I thought… but apparently I took it pretty easy after that. Getting closer to a group of guys and recognizing Henrik D there. Right when I am to start talking to him, I hear a “Heja Sverige!”. I answer thanks at the same time as Henrik D and turn to him to say with a smile that the cheering was for me 🙂 So, here we are after half way and three Swedes together. Few words exchange but I get along with the pace my legs have and let the guys behind. Catching up with two Italians who have a nice pace, I think. And they receive plenty of cheering as well, so it is good to run with them. Well, they don’t know I do. They are chatting about stuff, and my limited Italian knowledge together with my tired brain do not really let me comment. Just running. Noting right before passing under the bridge that they are actually on a “too-much-cruising” mode and I leave them behind. Continuing towards km25. Have taken 1 Dextrosol every km since km23. Running along the river is pretty nice and peaceful. Still feeling like on a cloud and not really in the race. Km25 is reached and as for the previous water-stations, I take a paper cup of water, a glups, throw the rest on the head and catch another cup to do the same. Catching as well one or two sponges. Feeling very good. Now what is left is 5km to the next meeting with Christer-the-big-brother. Good to cut the race in small pieces. Have thought about it at km14…one third done, two third to go! To reach km30 it is the simple “5km to go” with reference to where I train. And by km26 I was “at the roundabout close to home”. At km27 I had reached the big gardens. And so on. This part reminds me again of Rotterdam. Less people. We have turned to the right on the map and no longer are along the river. Just road and this lovely asphalt. Too quiet and peaceful and the pace is dropping. I know it and don’t do anything about it. It is under control. Then I see a friendly face I recognize… Christer! But??!?! What? Am I already at km30? And nope. He had made it to km28 for cheering for us and I am still to reach km30. After this meeting, I hang along with guys but often they are slowing down after a short while and I am to catch another guy or group. Not necessarily accelerating, but not really slowing down neither. Reaching km30 where I take another gel. Yellow. I am still on time for a good 2:58 finish. 15-20seconds off, but I feel fine. I know I am actually slow here, but the pacesetters of the 3:00 have not yet passed me. Have seen them and their balloons around km6/7 and since halfway, I should be 1 minute before them. Just have to keep it this way. Talking to a guy who I caught up with and indicating there were only 12km to go. Receiving a fade smile and he cannot keep up. 12km to go. That is nothing. That is less than an hour. That is a morning run. This is what I have trained for. Just a back and forth in Dubai. N.O.T.H.I.N.G! Run run run! Passing km32 and catching up with a French guy. He looks fine and he has a great pace. He looks a bit surprised to see a chick here, but we talk a little bit for a while. 10km to go. Quickly thinking of the pace. OK, 43-44minutes max. Otherwise it won’t work to be under 3 hours. Running in the houses-area reminds me once again about Rotterdam. Although here there is way less people cheering. But I don’t care. I have a mission and that is to make it to the finish line under 3 hours. Just thinking of it. Relaxing though when thinking of J’s words and not thinking of the time. Just enjoy. Well… I would probably enjoy WAY more if I knew what was my current pace. But the clock is still showing 3 minutes or so after the gun-clock. Close to km35 I take another Yellow gel. Missing to drink water, so I grab two sponges and press them in my mouth. Disgusting as it could be expected, but it does the trick. We are now turning left on the map. Got passed by a Swede who cheers for me (good idea this Swedish flag tattoo on the shoulder!) and tells me to hang along. He is going for 2:57 and indicated he had passed the 3:00-guys and has 3 minutes before them. Yap. But I have not. Welcoming very much the little downhill and under the bridge and the Swede with grey singlet disappear. Not like a rocket, but still…faster than me. We are back in the city. I know there is less than 7 ridiculous km to go. This is absolutely nothing. And still… a gal is passing me… NOOOOOO! Trying to hang along. This works. For a little while… until we run down under a little bridge and…I get passed… by another gal!!! Which actually look like the same age. DOUBLE-NOOOOO! Passing km36 and I hear this guy saying “what goes up must go down”… not understanding really as we have just gone DOWN and then UP… The two gals are right before me 15-20m ahead. For the next 2km. I am mistaking km36 with km38. I hope to see the entrance of Vondelpark, but it is only this stupid asphalted street which is in front of me. At least it is going slightly down. My legs are just running and I am no longer thinking. Preparing my final gel – red. Taking it when seeing the km38-sign. No water in sight. And this all-but-liquid gel in the mouth. Doesn’t matter. Have taken an extra Isostar gel in one of the water-station and hop. In the front of the sport bra. I can feel by now that this was a veryveryvery bad idea and will probably feel sorry when I get undressed and into the shower. But for now, focus is on the snake-like street bringing us – FINALLY! – to Vondelpark. I want to see km39. Trying to find Christer-the-big-brother, but honestly not really doing it. I just hold onto this feeling of passing-people-in-the-last-km-is-the-best-feeling-in-the-world. Km39 is passed. 3km to go. NOOOOOOTHING! But isn’t this km the longest of the race? Feeling like it! Seeing a bit ahead of me the Swedish guy I met in the start corral. The fast one Kent M introduced me too. I know there must be something wrong if he is here…as I am here too. And I am not THAT fast. But the brain ain’t thinking straight on this one. It just tells itself to accelerate to keep up with the fast Swede. Not looking good actually. So passing him and telling him to hang along with me. Less than 2km to go. I can feel he is following. Passing km40 exactly on the 3:00-finish time… I am disappointed. I am not happy. So I push a bit more. I talk to my Swedish runningmate, not really sure what words I am using, but it is probably as much for him as for me. Stupidly going to the water station before leaving Vondelpark. Grabbing a sponge. WHYYYYYY?!?!?! I don’t even need it! Cannot remember the name of my Swedish runner, but he is right next to me and that helps! I think I am smiling. Less than 2km. We will make it under 3:00. Running on the street with the tram railway feels trickier now. Hearing myself screaming/shouting at runners who have stopped running and walk now that they should keep their right. I don’t want to fall. Not now. Not ever. We get to the roundabout where I parked my bike. 1km to go. Cannot see km41-sign. I don’t care. I just run. Straight forward. Under the shadows of the trees. Turning right. Seeing the “500m left” sign. Seeing the clock ticking. Calculating that even in a good and fit shape I would not be running the 500m as fast as I have to right now to make it under 3hours. Sun in the eyes when running. Hearing my name from the speaker and the cheering. Yooohooo! I even wave! And turning right. Passing the “I AM AMSTERDAM”-sign. The stadium gate is there…Entering and getting passed by a guy. Pressing to another gear or whatever it is. There is less than 150m to go. Reaching the inside line of the track. Getting the sun in the eyes again. Seeing the signs counting down. Seeing the stupid clock ticking… and noooooO! 3:00:00….01….02… Feeling completely disappointed, but feeling that the legs are strangely still running. Why on earth are they doing that? The clock has passed the 3hours. Seeing 3:00:08…09… and then getting on the finish mat. Stopping the clock. I am deeply disappointed. And not even tired.

Official time received later: 2:59:56...

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After the finish line

Stopped my watch. Looking around pretty puzzled and not happy. Runners all around showing signs of tiredness. I am bending a bit on my knees and then up again. Seeing Svend, my Swedish running mate. At least we made it together to the finish line. He even smiles as he said his watch shows under 3 hours. Yapp… But mine is showing a stupid 2:57:07 and I have no clue of my finish time. Apart from that it is above 3 hours. Soooo annoyed. Getting a cheering from a few runners, thanking for the run, asking how it went aso. I think I am smiling but the heart ain’t there really. I want to leave the arena and go home.  We walk together to the exit of the stadium, receiving our medal, taking pictures. Outside the stadium waits a bit of food and drink. Getting an Isostar Orange and a banana. Final chat and hug to Svend. He said he felt pretty bad and that was good I passed him and we finished together. Yapp. For this I found it was a fun end. But nothing else. Cannot understand how I could  not make it to under 3 hours when the pacesetters of 3:00 have not passed me. Walking to get my bag. Then to medal engraving. As I had planned and trained for a great finish time, I did plan for an engraving. It feels like a waste of money. Giving my medal and waiting a few minutes on the other side of the tent. Sun is shining. I am probably the only unhappy here. Hearing my name and getting my medal… seeing surprised a 2… and then a 59… and does not really matter what is after. I burst into tears and scream. Getting a hug from a runner close to me. Feeling so d*mn happy. Standing here. Legs still fine. No pain in the body. And a sub3 engraved on my medal. The sun may continue to shine! Drinking the isostar bottle, asking for a photo and then taking off my hotpants and singlet to get into dry clothes. Not really comfy with sweaty underwear, but better this than getting cold and sick. I decide to skip the massage and walk back to my bike. Encouraging the runners on the way to the stadium. Re-assuring them that there is less than a km to go. Bike still there. Cycling easy under the sun back home. Shower. Clean clothes on (carefully as I got burn marks on the chest “as expected” and on the inner-thighs… as it apparently always happen with this hotpant). A bit of food (the pasta from the day before, topped with an egg and 3dl isostar taste like a Queen’s meal!) and rested under the cover with legs up to rest.

After a bit of resting, bike to Vondelpark to meet with Tricky and big Brother-Christer. Took a bit longer as the afternoon race is still going on in the park. Dropping my bike at their hotel and we walk to the bar I found with “ribs at while” menu. Suiting pretty well to celebrate: ribs with French fries and a large coke. Lots of talking. A bit of walking to a coffee place for dessert (mine is a chocolate muffin with chocolate topping and hot chocolate for drinking…) and then enjoying the darkness falling down on the city while talking out ourselves about the race. Cycling back home and throwing everything in my suitcase. A bit of chatting with my host and his mate. And then in bed. Could not fall asleep before midnight, but it does not matter.

A good day in the Venice of the North…and almost making it for the goals set… 

 

**********

Weather: 10.0°C, Sunny, Feels like 7.8°C, 14 kph SE wind, 87% humidity. A bit chilly at start, but as soon as getting the legs running, it felt nice and perfect for running. Estimating the average temperature throughout the race to be 13-14°C. Windy along the Amsel. Sunny.

Food:
> before: chia porridge with green mix and banana, with Isostar Lemon + 2 slices brown bread with honey (5:30am)

> right after: banana+water+Isostar orange

> 3 hours after: ribs party 🙂

> During: isostar in my little bottle @km5, green gel @km10 & 20, yellow gels at km30&35, red gel at km38 (at the water stations). Dextrosol: 2 at km15 and 1 every km or so at km23-24-26-27-28. Full Dextrosol pack eaten…

Gear: ADIDAS SWE outfit (hotpants & sports bra), Casal Iconic black Sports bra MIK, sunglasses, shoes to perform on the feet! Just so great. Forgetting almost they are on. Feels like flying, like not touching the ground…

=> Perfect outfit? Could have done without the singlet. It was convenient when it was a bit windy to have it on the stomach, but mostly felt a bit “warm”. The hotpants looks good, but were annoying again and despite anti-chaffing cream, they gave me burn-marks on the thighs and in the lower back. And rubbing slight under the belly-bottom. Have to find new ones. Looking as good… Carrying the gels was very poorly achieved once more…

14/ Decent 13/14 for the first half. Felt in control and good. Would have been even better without the bladder incident… After the half-point it was too comfortable and there was no real possibility to get along with runners at the pace which have been good until the end. Settling into a comfortable pace made the second half actually feeling “easier” than the first one. Thought about Berlin 3:03 and cannot feel like today was harder or even the same effort level. Felt well and controlled. A deep around km35-40. Not enough water drinking? Did not feel dehydrated. Could not really push as much as I wanted from km40 to the end, but got the pace up to the end. And still missing the 3:00…

 

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SUMMARY: Had looked forward to this race. Had limited the number of longer races (read: marathons…) after Ferrara in march in order to focus on this one. Had done the training accordingly. Had not gone down in time for the half-marathons races as I wanted, but was satisfied enough to feel like having back a good level kind-of “2014-like”. Felt fit. The race was nice. The route was perfectly fitting me (apart from the stupid plates along the road). The wind? I can even forgive this one, as it was nothing compared to training back home or in other races (including Rotterdam). Can at least feel satisfied to finish in this time without major or minor pains. The body felt like handling the pace pretty happily. Maybe a bit too comfortable… The preps the days prior to the race felt all fine (apart from the intervals session). All was set for a good race. Apart from the watch not starting properly. Focus was there, the legs were there, the head was there. Feels good to be in the sub3-club….so good that you wish to get to a starting line very soon again!

 

(Loads of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks and months. Tricky to prepare with so many changes happening in the past four months, but the “every-second-weekend-race” since August did provide a good base for this race  Missing top20 is a pity, still being in top25 is great. 3rd sub3 and 3rd best marathon time ever. OK…probably there is some stuff to be celebrated here 

Thanks to all the runners who cheered (more or less) during the race. To the Swedish guys along the route. To the French ones and the Italians too. To all those who gave a smile or encouragement when I was passing. To the people cheering along the road. Special thanks to Christer-the-big-brother for cheering along the course and taking pics. For you too, special people who are counting very much and always giving supporting words or tips when needed. A special thought to Z who would have celebrated her birthday this same day. This sub3 is for you!

Special thanks to my little ones left at home and being the best-ever crew one can wish for. For their faith in me and their constant words of encouragements. Receiving a smiling “I’m proud of you” is worth all the medal (and sub3) in the world!

The return to Sweden was -as often- done under grey skies and cold(er) temperatures. Sunshine? Nope. Rain on the other side… Time for a well-deserved rest now. The body felt indecently fit after this race. Good sign? New adventures already in mind… THANKS!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Let’s start with this body of mine. Which did not feel tired at all after passing the finish line. Cannot really comprehend this. After shorter races, yes I know. I don’t push enough to get tired. But here we are talking 42.2km. A bit of pain should be felt somewhere. Tired? Yes. I am no robot! But pain, nope. Not even the Achille’s.  The calve behave properly, the bum/thigh muscles were just as fine and the hips never screamed. OK…listing all this makes me think that there must be something wrong somewhere… Won’t complain. Can be a bit of luck. Let’s see how the next sub3 ends… 🙂

NOTE: Warmup? What’s that? Nothing at all this time. The nervous jog was not enough to warm me from the chilly temperature. OK. The 500m for start did act as warm-up probably…hi hi hi… Anyway, the body could settle in a proper pace around km1.5 or 2. Would have been good to know how the first 500m went…

NOTE:…which brings me to the “watch incident”. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?!?! Still don’t know how it turned itself into pause. Did I push twice? Did I start and then with people around it pushed on stop? Don’t know. But will definitely be extra careful in the next few races…

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? This I am very satisfied. Have to do some calculations, might have taken too much, but never felt any deep. The little bottle in the hand until km5 worked as a charm. The gels were planned for 20-30-35-38/40 and taken at 10-20-30-35-38. Had an extra one just-in-case and took one isostar just-in-case-just-in-case  A full Dextrosol pack went down and it worked fine. Particularly happy not to have had any stomach cramp. Never felt thirsty. Did take liiiittle water at every water station (read: a glups max!). Satisfied for this part.

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Tested this time as well. Honestly? Don’t know what it does. Have run faster races without. And as usual, cannot know how it would have gone without…

NOTE: then…gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Worked well. Sitting pretty tight and not moving around, which means no chaffing. Cutting the ventilation expected in the back of the sports bra however…

NOTE: …and gels in the sport-bra, in the front? As usual…. I know, I know… did not work this time neither…Suspecting however that it worked fine until I took the extra one (isostar) as this one was not in the little sock…

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. Felt a bit stiff when sitting a bit long or when going up from the bed. But nothing different from during training  Day after? The body felt all fine. Massage on M day + 1 and M day +2 are really worth it. Just a few more days without running and that will be it as…

new adventures will soon to come…

 

 

Race Report – Run In Lyon half marathon 2016/10/02

ril2016-arrival2

Final turn towards the finish line…

Planned: sub90 definitely – had set the mind on 1:27 and podium – second place. Training-race.

Actual: 1:27:14 – PR on the route by 2min 47 second AND new second best time ever on a half-marathon! 12 seconds faster than Copenhagen two weeks before! Strong and very stable paced first half with a mid 40s 10K, let it roll for the next 5-6km, tricky run in a close-to-2km-tunnel, understanding I was placed 4th since a while, acceleration at the end and that was it! Very satisfied with the race, the place and the time! No need to run faster, training is training! This one was more than good-enough…and the feeling throughout the race was way better/stronger than last year!

Place: 4 – all women, 2 – age category & 284 out of 11,235 finishers

Splits (non official – from Garmin)

Split

Time

Diff Min/km Total sex cat
5km 00:20:02 20:02 04:01

3

1

10km 00:40:41* 20:39 04:08

4

2

halfway 00:42:46
15km 01:01:29 20:48 04:10

4

2

20km 01:22:48 21:19 04:16

4

2

Finish 01:27:14* 04:29 04:05

284

4

2

*official time

Interestingly the 5K was passed 30 seconds slower than Copenhagen, the 10K 33sec slower and the 15km 1second slower. The 20K turned 7 seconds faster and at the end got 12 seconds total on a route which was definitely not fast and flat as Copenhagen!

Totals

Place 4
Place (age) 2
Place (total) 284
Time total 01:27:14
Average pace 04.08min/km

In short: yiiiipppiiiiie again! Another sub90!!! Felt very stable paced for the first half, got cruising on the second one. Strong finish. And a NEW second best time on a half-marathon (ya ya ya… still third best time ever when counting the first half of Rotterdam marathon… working on it!)

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before…

Pretty early up after a nice good night’s sleep. Final check on the racing gear, locked the suitcase and after light breakfast (chia seeds & green mix), a bit early so I decided to take another tram to the train station… and it took the time to reach the ground floor for noticing I had forgotten my passport!!! Pressing nervously the button to get up again, key in the door, ran to get the precious passport and out and down again. Had now to rush for getting the tram I wanted. Calmer feeling in the tram. Walked to the bus station. All fine. Would even take an earlier bus than planned. Airport check-in worked fine. Still don’t understanding why it takes sooo long time to drop the bags when having checked-in online… Long queue for the passports check and then just had to mix my sport drink and get to the plane. Easy first plane ravel (I slept most of it). Then had to run in Bryssels to get my connection, but it worked fine eventually. Sat in the second plane reading most of it on “how to crack the marathon code”. Arrival in Lyon went smoothly and after a huge hug I noted the awfully boring weather outside. Rain. Did not matter much actually as the race was the day after… Quick drive home to drop the suitcase and jumping into running gear and then direction Lyon – Place Bellecour for picking up my BIB. Not the same sunny weather as last year. Light drizzle making the red ground very disgusting to walk on. Getting my BIB, noting that I am missing the “Renault Trucks 100ans” inscription 😦 Heading to the information for getting me into the Préférentiel start-group. And then a bit of walking around after picking up my race tshirt. Buying Tiger balm and new brand of gels. Then back in the car and driven/dropped off on the race course at about 5km-mark. Music in the ears and hop! Ran easy the next km as I wanted to check this crazy evil hill around km9 which I really did not like last year. Measured it now and it was “only” 250m stupid uphill. All fine! Passed the bridge and got picked up by my best ever crew a km later. Good feeling on this day before the race. Now was left to get a bit of food (pasta and minced meet), drink a bit of orange juice and prepare my racing gear for the day after. OK. All fine. Late snack with toasted white bread and honey and tea. And got form my best-ever crew 4 bottles of Gatorade! In bed around 9pm. Then sleep.

Race day

Waking up at midnight, 2am and then 4am… Feels like a pattern, right?! Felt well-rested anyway. Took a light breakfast of chia seeds, green mix and Gatorade and got back to sleep for a little longer. 5:30am and it was time to get showered and set those running gear of mine (SOC SWE hotpants and sports bra and as previous race the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Set my two small Swedish flags tattoos on the left arm and that was it! Perfect colouring added the nails and the racing gear. Double-checked my bag with changing clothes, added my BIB to my gear. And that was it! Ready to shine (or something like that…)

6:15am – All in the car to reach the city. Still pitch black out there, refreshing air due to the night rain, but quite fine temperatures with 13ºC. Got stopped by the police when reaching Place Bellecour as it was no longer possible to drive closer. Got dropped off and with half of my best-ever crew I walked slowly to the meeting place. Headed to the Renault Trucks tent, where kind helpers were already very much working their butt off for welcoming the wave of runners who would soon enough arrive. Best-ever crew was growing instantly! 🙂 Met with friends and former colleagues. Tried to find one or two who would be running at similar pace than the one I was planning, so that it would be easier/funnier to run. Maybe? Got indicated that a marathoner Paul would be passing the half in 1:27. Perfect! Got introduced and agreed to meet in the start corral. Olivier A, my pacesetter from last year, was unfortunately injured and would be “only” running the 10K this year. Great.

7:40am – Time to get warmed up. Final hugs to my best-ever crew, pictures while freezing a bit and started to jog easily to the start. This time I had an old tshirt from Dad on me, in order to limit the “freezing-to-death” feeling. Found my corral, continued running a bit along the race course, quick pitstop, and then back on the footbridge. Two additional nervous pitstops before getting inside my corral.

08:15am – Noted 3 other gals already there. Found Paul there as well I his plastic bag 🙂 Quick chat about the race. “Do your own race” was the advice and that he would be starting easy. Perfect! This is exactly what I generally do not do! Good to follow someone then. Met then the lady who won last year. She was not pushing too much today as she was heading to NY marathon a few weeks later. Great! Like what I did last year! Saw as well an elite-chick in the corral in front of us. OK…here go the two first places, I thought. Just have to keep track on aaaaaall the other gals!

08:17am – A bit of talking from the speaker. Got an official commenting the fact that there are 50% (?) of the runners being female…and his next comment being “wonder who is keeping an eye on our children then?”…. Not very well appreciated comment by the runners (and I am surrounded by 99% of male runners…Great with supporting guys!). The funny speaker makes then all of us runners going down in order to do the biggest wave ever. Looks like the elites are not understanding the jokes said in French as they are looking at each others a bit puzzled. Finally even they get on their knees to do the wave! Supercool!!! Aaaaaaand woooow! Real fun.

08:27am – Off with the old tshirt. Got a kind guy throwing it away for me. No freezing feeling with all the runners in pack and so closed to each other. Final check to the watch while walking slowly to the start mat…

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THE RACE

08:30am – Aaaaaand BAM! Start is given. This time I think I heard it (not too sure). Have wrongly appreciated the distance to the mat and I press the start-button at the “BAM” and not when I pass the mat. Not mattering much as I estimate being 1-2seconds after. No real push. Following the lady-winner-from-last-year as she makes her way in the wave of guys. Good technique, running with the elbow a bit on the side for having a bit of space and avoiding people to come and push too close to her. Got a smile from Paul and we have started. I have music in my head and that feels good (I mean really “in my head” as I have no mp3 with me). Easy funny run towards the little bridge. We probably look like cows going finally to the other side of the field where the grass is greener 🙂 Carefully running up and then up the pavement. We have already good place among the runners. Careful still along the bridge for not falling and down on the other side. Easy-peasy-that’s-so-funny! 🙂 Having Paul slightly before me looking back from time to time. I feel the tempo is not crazy fast as in Copenhagen, but doubting seriously it is slow as I thought it would be. Daring a look at my watch when passing km1 and seeing a 3:56-tempo… Eeeeeeeuuuuh…what? This ain’t easy start. OK, we still have time to slow down. We WILL eventually slow down. Right? Passed on the left and right by (too) enthusiastic runners and on the slope on the side of the first bridge, I hear the cheering of Mum, closely followed by a few cool runners who cheer for me on my name after hearing her 🙂 Best of luck to you too! Passing Dad on the right and more cheering all around. All good and fine. Passing km2 a bit slower, but still at 4min-tempo. Paul is a bit more before me and I decide to skip following him as it would mean running faster than I planned. And I want my 87 minutes (blank or not!). Running along the river looking like a snake is once again an experience. Pretty calm and empty of people, the next 2km are just kilometers to run and that’s it. Avoiding the fall on the pavement, and the railways. Avoiding the runners who still try to pass on the left, the right and why not, just putting themselves right before me and slowing down afterwards… you name it! Could see the long line of runners along the river and the first fast ones far far away already! Sun shining out there. Quite enjoyable. Got to the little down-under-the-bridge-and-up-after-that. This is what is killing one’s tempo. Those small ups&downs on the road. Finally reaching km5. Recognizing from the day before where I had been left and then ran all the way to the bridge. Felt in well-known territory and that felt nice. Nothing really happening there. Apart from a tall runner passing me and me passing him and him passing me again and so on. Until we reached km8 with Île Barbe on the right and where I noticed that this guy had no clue I was existing apparently! He had headset on and probably loud music (ok, this one is for free…). But I got really angry when he ran on my right and on the little way up with the island on the right he just cut down in front of me and place himself there. NOT A CHANCE! The road was wide open, no car and seriously there was way enough place for all. So he got a loud “HELLO THERE! WATCH OUT!” from little-me and from this moment, I did not get bothered any more. Down the little slope and more run run run. And here it came…the little nasty-evil hill around km9. Well… it arrived, and disappeared. I felt way stronger and fitter than last year on this one. Last year I needed all the cheering from Olivier A for getting to the top (and no I was not going to walk then, but would have probably slowed down quite a bit). This year was not such year. I even took the final 50-60m on the top of the toes. Feeling strong, knowing that after the uphill…comes the downhill. Which I took very controlled actually. Took a first Dextrosol there (more for training in how and when taking extra energy than because it was needed) Happy to have gotten a few places there, we continued along the river to soon reach km10 and the little bridge Paul Bocuse. Clocking my 10K under 41 minutes. That was more than good enough. And hop! Bridge and then downhill. Got kind cheering from both the guys I passed and the very few passing me. Took another dextrosol at the water station after the bridge with a little (not enough) water and that was it. Half was done and half was to go!

 

Everything seemed to go as planned. No rush, Just happy to run. The stable pace from the first half continue a bit, feeling that I just had to roll easy-peasy the next 6km to the tunnel. Which I did. I think. Met a older marathoner around km11. He asked me what I was running and answered the half. He quickly calculate and cheered a bit telling at this pace that was a sub90 guaranteed. I ran along with him for a while. Got a little deep around km13, focus was not 100% by then. Took a Dextrosol and calculated that I was going to miss my plan for reaching km15 (under 62 minutes). Which made me a bit sad. Well, still a bit under 90 minutes, but not in the 87-range. Which I really really wanted. I reached another km-sign and could not really read it. Did not want to check my watch neither. I was so scared it would indicate km13 and that I would be way off my plans. But good to see it was km14 and that – for sure – I was slowing down, but I was was still in the race! My race! Km15 was reached within target (Yiiipii!). Had been passed earlier by a guy to whom I asked whether there was/were gal(s) behind me. A bit surprised he recognised that nope. He hadn’t seen any for a while and that I might have been alone on this race 🙂 Good! I understood by then that I was still in 4th place as I had been passed by a gal around km5. I had here in sight for a long while, but it was tricky to catch up with her (which I understood why a bit after the finish line…). One last Dextrosol right before the water station and then we were at km16. This is where the marathoners and half-marathoners are separated. Said good luck and good bye to my runner-in-crime. Got it back as well. And that was it. A little deep when entering the tunnel…this is in the middle of it that I lost the second place of the race last year. So really wanted not to let it happen today! Started the tunnel with a bit tired legs. Last year Olivier A helped a lot with cheering and encouragements and keeping the pace (which was quite slow then) was going fine. Here it was only me, myself and I and no help from outside. Passed by a few runners who encouraged me pretty kindly. Passed km17 a bit slow in the middle of the tunnel. My watch was still indicating the kilometer-mark properly until then. After km17, it started to show very slow pace and honestly I did not know what to believe. But 4:27-pace I was pretty sure that I was NOT that slow running. Tricky to breathe inside the tunnel. Tricky feeling to run and not seeing the start nor the end. Tricky not to know how long is left. Tricky to have strange-funky-watery music played inside the tunnel….and here it came… I could actually SEE the light at the end of the tunnel! For real! And it was sunshining! Yooohooo! Got along with a guy right before the end of the tunnel and we encouraged each other. OMG! Less than 3km to go when we reach the bridge… and then downhill and turning right. Lifted my arms to wave to the little crowd there and got the response I wanted 🙂 Uplifting cheering! The motivation was on the top. And there I could not yet see them, but heard them from far away. My best-ever crew was at their right position! One at the start almost of the bridge and the second one in the middle. Could just not stop smiling! Sunshine had reached the building! And the slope ended and then the bridge. “Strong legs, lift the knees” – I recalled all the words from Olivier A last year at this special place. Passed two guys. And then it was a little down and then around the roundabout and left and then abrupt right-turn again, where a guy throw me a “You are the 4th! You are the best! Only 2km to go!”. I still had no idea how far I was from the 3rd one. Passed km19 without really noticing until I did it (note: this was a large air-filled arch above the street apparently…). Reaching place des Terreaux. Was very careful not to fall on the slippery ground. Looked at all the runners who were turning then and running “back” towards km20. Could not see a single chick. And same procedure after turning back…no gal after me neither. OK. Tried to accelerate and then turn right into Rue de la République. Noticed by then that I had forgotten to take my red gel. No time now. Passing km20. Still looking good. Had difficulties to calculate how fast I should run to get under 88 minutes, but under 87 was lost for sure. Not too much fun to run on the hard pavement of this large pedestrian street. But there there was way more people at the end. And if I was to miss 87minutes-blank anyway, I could at least enjoyed the waving and cheering of the crowd! Turning right, along Place Bellecour. Sun shining. Passing two more guys and another left turn. Hearing someone screaming at his friend he was good to reach 87 minutes and I took this as my new mission. NOT letting this guy too far from me. Final left turn. I remained on the right side this time. Less people there. Another gear had been passed. Could accelerate without any problem. Where was the clock? Could not see what I was aiming for… And that.was.it! Stopped the watch. I.AIN’T.TIRED… Where is the rest of the race?!?!

Official time: 1:27:14 (i.e. a new second-best half-marathon! 12 seconds faster than Copenhagen two week before!!! and on this route! Brilliant!)

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AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Caught up by the speaker after the finish line, who recognised me and told me I had missed the podium this time and was fourth in the race and that was still good. Grabbing the mic, I answered that I trained a bit and reached the finish line 3 minutes faster than last year…but that the other chicks had apparently trained a bit too! And that with an invitation to next year’s race, I would probably even run faster! 🙂 Yap! Happy and very satisfied and absolutely not tired. Feeling nice and light, jogged (!) to the massage tent. On the way I met the 3rd lady, who was looking pretty exhausted. Had finished 2 minutes before me. And that was then I noticed that I had been following a guy with a pink tshirt and not her with her pink tshirt… Congratulating her and heading to the refreshment table. Water and cereals bars. Then queue to the massage. Got a long and nice massage of both legs. Was asked if I had been running as apparently the leg muscles were not showing sign of it (apart from sensitive Achille’s…). Banana and more cereal bars and a cup of Coke and jogged back to the Renault Trucks tent. More people than this morning there! Between the half-marathoners arriving and the 10K-runners on the departure. And still the best ever crew with red jacket from RT 🙂 Met my own best-ever crew. A few pic. Sun shining, meeting more colleagues and friends. Sunshine and happiness were floading here! Wonderful Sunday morning!

What next? Quick change of clothes in the tent (yaaaaa.. it was full of people, but honestly I did not really bother. I could not get back home in sweaty/wet outfit and risk to catch a cold. Better strip and have dry clothes on. Ate at almost all little table (pain aux raisins, scrambled eggs, drink juice, got a cake). SO very well-organized! Then time to drive back home, have a well-deserved shower, nice lunch and took a bit of rest for a while. Best finish of the week ever! Once more confirmation of good form. Just want the sun to be kept high and shiny up there and all will be fine!

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Weather: 15.0° Cloudy, Feels like 15.0°C, 5 kph wind, 94% humidity – perfect weather conditions. Could not ask for better, really. Wind non-existant, sun shine just as much as perfect. What to ask for more?

Food: breakfast (chia seeds + green mix + gatorade + banana) @4:30am, red juice @6:30am, after: water, banana right after the race. Later in the RT tent: mini pains aux raisins, scrambled eggs w/bacon, orang juice, water. Late lunch around 2pm (?)

>During: little gatorade right before the start, Dextrosol 1 @km9, 10.5, 13 and 15+.

Gear: SOC SWE hotpants + sports bra. Shoes delivered as usual. Just adoring them!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

14/ would sound a bit cocky to set a 13 for the whole race, but having set a 14 for Copenhagen, this one was surely on a lower effort level. Probably a good 13/low 14. Did not feel making any effort throughout the race. Just running. For sure there was a deep at a moment, but never it has felt that the effort level was very much higher than the rest of the race. Very satisfied to have run slightly faster on this route compared to Copenhagen which was pretty flatter (but windier!). No tired body, apart from tired and sensitive Achille’s. No sign of racing the day and days after. Good sign?

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: confirming my subscription to the “sub90-club” 🙂 And even better to get close to this 87 minutes once more and within so short notice! Very good for a training-race!

NOTE: Weather-wise, nothing to complain at all about! Perfect temperature. Sun shine. Humidity but ok-level. No wind. What else to ask for?

NOTE: Time and place? This went precisely according to plan. Finish time is fully satisfactory, especially for a training-race. Place in the race is fully satisfactory as I had really no chance for the two first places on the podium, and for the third one this year, I would have had to push a bit more actually… So yap! All fine!

NOTE: Warmup? Same procedure as last year with Olivier A. Worked perfectly. For sure was freezing a bit before start, but the warmup ended up quite close to the start (well, close enough). So good!

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? Not a chance I can tell I have been drinking properly during the race. Throw most of the water on my head for cooling down. And that felt enough. Took a few gloops at km15-water station and that was enough. Got cramps under the feet during the after-race massage and the first question I got was “did you drink properly during the race?” and my answer was “nope. Did not need to drink”. Dextrosol was easy to take and I definitely did not need the final gel. For the double distance however, I would have taken it.

NOTE: Real nice and cozy race. Not very many watching on the side of the river, but that’s fine for me. They compensate with a warm welcome when reaching the final stretch along Place Bellecour, and that is working well for me. Highly recommended!

Lots of thanks as usual for all who gave supporting words during training and those who actually cheering along the race. Thanks for Marianne C who took two very-well located places for cheering and that was just great! A very special thank too for the Renault Trucks helping team, who made the life of runners so much easier before and after the race! Always a pleasure to meet them! And of course, a huge thanks to my best-ever crew on-site (and the one off-site too!).

Run in Lyon slogan this year was : “RIL, what else?” and indeed, I could not think about anything else. But the warm-up is still going on…

Race Report – Copenhagen half marathon 2016/09/18

cph2016

A happy runner here!

Planned: 1:25-1:27. the faster, the better…

Actual: 1:27:26 – Second best time ever on a half-marathon! Fast and well-controlled start, fastest 5K ever, fastest 10K of the year, fight with stomach cramps around km14 or so, accelerations in the last 3km and final sprint in 4:04 to reach km21 and still enough to increase in the last 100m left. Very happy with this race, the place and the time. Surely could have run faster, but more than good enough on this one!

A bit different route than the one I ran in 2014, quite windy for a lot of places, back with those stupid inexplicable stomach cramps, strong mind to ignore them and keep on running. OMG this felt so good to reach km20 and being able to sprint to the end!

Place: 57 – all women, 6 – age category, 5 – Swedish (ladies – with 2 in sub80… and the two others at 1:25+ & 1:27+…) & 682 – all runners

Splits (official)

Split

Time

Diff Min/km Total sex cat
5km 00:19:32 19:32 03:55

447

37

3

10km 00:40:08 20:36 04:08

565

44

3

halfway 00:42:12
15km 01:01:28 21:20 04:16

638

52

5

20km 01:22:55 21:28 04:18

681

57

6

Finish 01:27:26 04:31 04:07

684

57

6

Totals

Place 57
Place (age) 6
Place (total) 684
Time total 01:27:26
Average pace 04.07min/km

In short: Yiiiiiihaaaaaa! Another sub90 and a best 5K ever!!! First half disappearing like crazy. Windy quite a lot throughout. Stomach cramps in the middle. Strong finish. Second best time on a half-marathon (well…third time ever if counting the first half of Rotterdam marathon…)

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before…

Early up to get to the train station. 3 hours later reached Copenhagen. Could not find my bus-stop, and not afraid of walking the 3.2km to the room I rented…well, I walked. Dropped my bag, hop on the bike with my host and some of his friends and cycled to the expo to get my BIB. Not much time spent in the expo. Bike back home, unpacked necessary stuff and rested for a while. Slept indeed for 45minutes… Up to buy food, not finding sport drinks (apparently there are 100s sorts of beer, but not sport drink…), bought pasta bolognese and ate @3:30pm. Wanted to wait before running. Back to bed and more deep sleep. Awaken right before 5pm, got ready and hop! Ran easy to Godthåbsvej which was were the km7 of the course was. Crazy wind on this road… Continued on the half marathon route until km10 and slightly after. Good enough for today. Ran through the close-by park after that and then back home. Felt all fine. If it wasn’t for the high probability to have a windy weather tomorrow… Crossed the road and found a shop having Powerade Blue. Took two bottles! In bed around 9pm. Slept almost right away. Although having a bed almost 1.6m above the ground and without any barrier on the side made me sleep pretty close to the wall (just in case…for not falling…) 😛

Race day

Awaken every second hour from 1:30am. Don’t know why. Was feeling fine. No stress. Up at 7:00am for breakfast of chia seeds, green mix and Powerade. Then back to bed. At 8am came my host home, so I decided it might be high time to get showered and ready. He was already all set for the race! Quick shower, fixed the hair, cream all over and racing gear on (SOC SWE hotpants and sports bra and as previous race the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). (would have gladly taken the Swifty (the other pair) but the little hole in the net on the right big toe felt a bit big for a race… They stayed at home then…). Put on my Swedish flag-tattoo on the left arm to complete my Swedish nails and Swedish racing gear 🙂 Final (?) double-checked of my bag with extra changes for after the race.

9:15am – After drinking red juice, jumped on my slightly-too-high bike my host found for me (Thanks!) and we got to the start. Good to have him with me as I would probably lost my way to the start. Quite windy and felt that my eyes were crying pretty much, despite having my sunglasses on. Not too fun. 5Km later, we dropped our bikes close to the expo-place. Thomas (my host) found another pacer-friend and after a pic of me in front of the Wall of Runners, a bit of good luck, we separated and I tried to find my way to the start. Not too difficult. Just have to follow the stream 🙂 Got to the Village and went straight into the Runners’area for dropping the bags. Quite empty. Very large area only for the runners. Very good and well-arranged! Lay down on the grass and under the sun and rested for a bit. Did not listen to music although it was tempting. Just looked at the flags flying around…meaning the wind was out there and ready for us. Met the 1:25-pacesetter and noted how the 1:30-pacesetters looked like. Basically the plan turned into: neither of those guys should pass me during the race… Easy plan, right? It did work once 😛

10:15am – OK, time to get this sluggish body up and warmed up. Dropped my bag to a kind lady after taking a pic. Found the “< 1:30” start-group. Quick pit-stop in the woods. And off I left. Freezing as usual. I will learn…eventually…to keep some extra clothes on when I am warming up. But that was not today! Crossed the road where the start would be given and with my teeth chattering, I started to move myself. Had kept a little bag with a little left of powerade, two gels and napkins. Running nose ain’t fun neither. On the field I warmed up were also warming up…the ELITES! As usual it feels so crazy cool to even SEE them (in real and not just on the big screens or on tv). Seeing the ease when they run their warmup at a… 4:30/4:15-tempo, looking like nothing (I tried to follow a couple of gals…not for long!). Saw a group of Danish guys surrounding a Danish lady, who I assumed to be one of the stars of the show for today. And then… finding a friendly face warming up: Louise Wiker 🙂 Could not help it. Went to her and got both a smile and a hug. Always cool to see her before a race. This smile of hers as well as encouragements got me flying for the next 100m…before the wind came and got me to freeze again… Finished the warmup with another pitstop in the woods (and no it ain’t just me doing this). Found Mikael L in the start-group “<1:30”. Then a bit of more walking around. Drank the little left in my bottle and finally got into the start area for good this time.

cph2016beforerace

Waiting for the start…all focused!

11:00am – OK, checking around the fast chicks who I will only see from behind (and probably only now before we start…). Noted two Swedes. Had as well as couple of Danish gals who were running their district championships as well. Easy to spot with the flag on their back indicating their age category. Got to meet two Swede giants from Malmö (Ola & Antonio). Always nice with some large smiles before the start.

11:10am – Presentation of the stars of the race: with so many contestants to sub60 and some for a world record on this route, the pace was already set before the race even begun! Not too bad neither on the female side. Sun shining. Felt quite warm in the start-group with everyone getting closer to each other now.

11:14am – Slow walking to the start mat, getting my watch ready aaaaaand…

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THE RACE

11:15am – BAM! Eeeeeuuuuh… WHAT? Where is the final countdown? I had my eyes on my watch and saw the seconds ticking up and as it changed to 11:15am, then the start was given. Well…. ok then! Game on! Easy and nice push forward and the start mat is passed. Started to run, got plenty of place already from start. Had a younger chick on my right and hang along her for the first km, keeping an eye on a Danish with DM (District Championships) on her back running side-by-side with another Danish guy also competing in the DM. So nice feeling that the head did not really realized the race started until we passed km1 or so. The first 200m or so showed a slow 4:2x (?)-tempo, but I know it can changed anytime at start. The aim was not to feel pushing hard as long as possible and still running fast. Keeping an eye on the gals ahead of me, I noted Mikael L passing a few meters on my left and I thought that I was definitely off chart for the “start easy and accelerate after” as there was no chance HE was running slow (well, not me-slow anyhow). Did not bother much than that, knowing that once again the first km can be filled with enthusiasm and be a bit fast. Crossing the first little bridge went nice and easy. All under control and Beeep! Said the watch. Did not check it as I did not want to know how fast (or slow) I had passed this first km. The “I-feel-high-and-I-don’t-know-why” continued on the other side and then we turned already (!) towards km2. WHAT? Still no clue about the pace I had. Eyes on my “pacers” who were the Danish gal & guy and two other gals ahead of me. Felt strong and nice and…not liking the wind we already had there. Before start, the English speaker said that the first third/half of the race would have tailwind, a bit of side wind after the half and then headwind on the final stretch. A bit surprised hearing this as I actually expected the contrary…on the other side, I was not there to compete for the win or a world record. And training in the wind had been done…way enough at home in the past few months. So bring it on! (OK, not too much though…). Still clueless about my pace I just flew through km3 which I recalled being the turning point toward a long stretch and a bridge. Loved passing this bridge with all the cheering. Got passed by a bunch of Norbro (?)-runners there and that completed the show! So much life and smiles and cheering. Peeeerfect! Reaching km5 was still feeling high and so high (and if this feels this way when running that fast, I want to run this pace every-single-day!!!) After the 5km turn, the wind bothered me. I felt km6 never came really. I felt slow. I was a slug among the fast (probably Danish) cheetahs allover. Saw that I was not the only one to “struggle” with this wind there. Tried to get along a group, but none were really with my pace. Saw km6-mark and did not even smile. I thought I had reached closer to km7 by then. More turn and finally I recognize the street I trained in the day before. Km7 was at reach. Quick check on the watch then and…whAAAAAAT? Sub4 pace? That cannot be! By experience from last time I raced here, I assumed that the pace was 2sec slower than what the Garmin indicated. But on the other side, the Garmin was beeping pretty much where the km-signs were… Turning left on the unpronounceable Gofthåbsvej the wind just come full scale and headwind. All runners got in kind of one line of one or two, on the street. Impossible to catch up with the one ahead of me and honestly not wanting to slow down and get behind others. Got up on the pavement which was nicer to run on, but by doing that I got full-scaled-headwind too. Wonderful choice… Turning finally right to Falkoners Allé and getting on the left side of the street. Quick check on the watch. Still sub4-pace. How much “sub” was not really possible to calculate… the brain was not ready and set for this. It felt like walking fast almost on this street. No more wind, but the enthusiasm was going down. I wanted to get to Frederiksberg Allé. I wanted to see the flags everywhere. I wanted to pass 10km fast enough for having a bit to potentially loose in the second half. Passing km9 still sub4 but definitely too close now. The long Allén was nice to run in, but not as nice as yesterday when I trained there on the pavement and not similar to the World Championships two years ago. Danish flags all-over was indeed nice to see. But at this time of the race, there aren’t enough runners to fill in the large allée. Remained on the right side as I knew there was an abrupt turn after km10. And here it came. Cursed silently when seeing that I missed the sub40 by only few seconds. But that was more than good enough. Second best 10K in my life probably! And then we all disappeared to the left after that. Lapped the halfway at 42:12. No sign indicated it was half-way, so I just kept an eye on my watch. Quick calculation with a half-functioning brain and for sure, that was a nice first half. Motivation back to the rooftops!

Prepared my yellow gel for the next water station. Not sure I really needed it, but it might take time to kick in. So why not. Placebo effect ain’t to be forgotten there. And during a half-marathon it is always a good way of testing how it can work for the “real” distance which is double as long. Taking gel, water, whatever-which-is-needed ain’t a piece of cake at this pace. So better train for it. Reaching km12 or so and I got some water. Had taken water at the previous station I think, no drinking but got it on the head. Felt nice and refreshing. Did that in most of the following water-stations… On the long stretch with km12, runners start to line up one after one or so. Well, it started already after turning after km11.5 or so. Every one aiming to the right side. Looked pretty odd actually. After the km12 water station, the 1:25-group caught up on me. Could continue to hang along, which was ok. A bit disappointed though that they got me so early in the race (ok…very disappointed…) Seeing the runners ahead of us turning right onto… a bridge! Noooo, I don’t want to get on a bridge. Well on it, it felt actually nice to run down. Still in the 1:25-group. The fastest pacesetter being 10-15m ahead of me and another one right before me on the left. No chick in this group I noted. Had dropped the thoughts of hanging along the DM-gal and other Danish chicks from after km5. Could still see one or two not too far though. Plan B – don’t let any chick pass me. The long stretch along the water was not much fun and was way too windy. Even though I was quite close to the guys of the 1:25-group, it still felt that the wind was troubling my run. Getting closer to km14 and BAM! From nowhere came like a knife-like pain right in the middle of the stomach. Noooo…not again! My pace was still fine for sub86 by then. I tried to straighten a bit while running, then crocking my back a little, then running a little more on the right side or pushing the hips a bit more in the front. Nothing worked. Lost loads of time there. Passing somewhere under a short tunnel, all watches got crazy and did not beep the km (14?) and all of them sang together when leaving the little tunnel (kind of “London marathon feeling” there 🙂 ). OK, toughen up. The 1:25-guys are still in sight. And you are still having legs which are not tired and a brain which is still functioning. Stop thinking of what is in the middle. Those cramps have to disappear and if not, just screw them and think of something else. Is it running bare stomach and catching a cold that is starting those cramps? Don’t think so. I trained in similar outfit in different weather conditions. Wow! Stop thinking so much and focus on the race! Recognised the path where runners were waiting for the start in 2014, turning left and getting to km15 which was pretty much where my sub90 group was in 2014. Not many people on the side, nor on the road. Not much left. I like this part two years ago and I like it now as well, I decided. Started to count up from this moment…km1…km2… from 2014-race 🙂 Caught up with a guy after the water-station, heard myself screaming to him “BARA SEX KVAR! KOM IGEN!” and receiving a large smile from him. For sure I meant “Only SIX km left! Come on!”. And nothing else!!! Catching up with an older Asian runner in red outfit around km17. Have met him since km6 or 7. We ran side-by-side, but I felt that he was then slowing down when I was at his side, and each time I accelerated, he did too. This was not ok then, and this is absolutely NOT ok now! I lost him when the cramps started. And here he is. But now I don’t want to be dragged back. Passing the little bridge along the train station. I really like this part in 2014 and still liking it very much…even though it is actually slightly uphill. Taking my final gel at km18, getting a bit of water to it. Got passed by a Spanish gal a little after km18 and have another DM-gal ahead. OMG I just want to pass them. And VROOOOOM! The next 2km are down to a sub3-marathon pace, which is nice. But not fast enough. The legs feel indecently strong. Where was this strength around km14?!?! The stomach ain’t complaining any longer. I liked this stretch in 2014 and like it even more today as this is the final km! A bit strange to convert a previous route to a current route when they are not completely alike. Progressively accelerating to km20 (I think?), having an eye on a guy who actually passes me there and I make my final fight to get at least side-by-side to the finish line… unless I get it faster. From there it is just back to me, myself and the asphalt! Not many runners side-by-side on this final stretch. Still catching up a few places on men. Turning right and over there is the finish line…. Soooo far away and so close. Pushing a bit more. Feeling that a shorter gal passed me on the right side… close to the km21…NOT.A:CHANCE! Passing the next gear (there is ALWAYS a next gear…) and passing her back. Seeing the clock ticking. I know it is over 1:27, but how much over. 1:23…24…25… and finally see the 1:27:30 when I pass the finish line. Pressing stop on my watch. No need to look at it. I.AM.(morethan).HAPPY!

Official time: 1:27:26 (1 second faster than my watch 🙂 )

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AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Happy, smiling and not tired, euphoric almost to the top, I find my way to get energy bar, something to drink, a medal and then back to the Runner’s corner. Way more people there. I feel high and happy 🙂 Getting back my bag, catching an apple, drinking 3 mug of energy drink and then heading to the massage tent. Not long queue. Meeting Lisa R form Sweden who completed the race in an impressive 1:17. Hearing that Louise W got to the finish line two minutes before her. Massage with focus on the calve, although I feel that the Achille’s are more likely to be painful within short. Changing to dry and clean clothes in the tent and leaving the area. Heading to the expo place to get my bike… when I note that I have to cross the street with the finish stretch to get there… Brilliant idea! Walking back up the street. Jumping (kind-of) above a fence, finding a little place in the now sprinting runners and crossing the road. Jumping (kind-of again..) above the other fence and running easily back to get my bike. All fine to cycle back home…although I lost a turn and took a longer way back home… Shower, noted a burn mark right under the sports bra line, which I cannot explain (but it does burn under the shower), drinking a bit of powerade, throwing all my stuff in my bag, writing a note to my host (he is pacer to the 6min-group and will probably get back home late(r)), locking the door and that was it! Walked back to the train station. Bought my ticket for getting back home and hop on the train. Got to step out as the others in Copenhagen airport for checking the passports. Took this opportunity to get to Burger King and take a kid’s meal. On the train again, new passport control after reaching Sweden and new train change when reaching Malmö. Sms to the right and left. I received (finally!) an sms confirming my final time. Indeed when I reached home, I wanted to check my time and it indicated 1:22:55… Euuuuuuhhhh…What? This was my time passing km20. And nothing after that? Was really not happy and hoped that they did not have an issue with their timing-system (…it had happened in two races before that the timing-system was wrongly functioning and I got an incorrect time… but at least it was a time. Having a curve showing my pace up to km20 and then dropping down to zero after that showing DNF-like ending was NOT on my plan…and will never be!). Anyway…time was now showing as it should and I was happy to find out both time and ranking. Getting as well as PB on 5km (19:32!) which is 23seconds faster than previous fast 5K in a race (first 5K of Rotterdam 2014 in 19:55…). Placed 5th in Swedish females with 2 sub80 (had no chance on those ones…) and 2 within less than 2 minutes from my finish. Definitely happy.

The day ended with “Tricky” finishing his Sunday long run and suggesting an unplanned celebration with nice food (almost Copenhagen 2014 all over again 🙂 ). Perfect to complete this already great day! Nothing wrong with the form here!

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Weather: 17.2° Sunny, Feels like 17.2°, 6 kph ENE wind, 63% humidity – optimal weather for running if it was not for the stupid wind a bit everywhere on the route. Surely slowed down a bit those guys running for the win and the WR. Surely slowed down little me too 🙂

Food: breakfast (chia seeds + green mix + powerade + banana) @7:15am, red juice @9am, after: yogurt (beurk!), 3 sport drink mugs, 1 energy bar right after the race. Burger King king’s meal around 4pm (?)
During: little powerade right before the start, yellow gel at km12, red gel at km18.

Gear: SOC SWE hotpants + sports bra. Shoes delivered once again. Just loving them!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

14/ let’s set a 14, but honestly doubting it reached this level as overall. Up to halfway, the euphoria or whatever-it-was that got me running made the effort level on a comfortable 11/12. Not feeling at all like running at the pace I was actually running. After that, a couple of km got harder because of the stomach cramps and the effort (probably more mental than physical) got higher, but the final 3+km were back on the high-motivation level and the run felt like flowing, close to effortless. Euphoria was probably back by then… Surely a bit sad to run “THAT” slow on this route where I really thought I would make it closer to 85 minutes. But the overall feeling is greater than any time possible. I like this race (apart from the *@¤!!?%& wind…) and would more than likely run there again in the future. No wind please… Body felt nice afterwards. Tiredness was never there (ok…the shin splint-like the day after remained for 2 days…).

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: another sub90 in the pocket. And this one is even better than the previous ones done this year, because I know (deeeep deeeep down) that this is what I can do. Hopefully the spare has disappeared now. All-in was reached a bit at the end, but never there really at the start. More of this kind of feeling please!

NOTE: Anyone can complain on the weather. The thing is that nothing can be done about it. So better toughen up and deal with it. Surely having a windy route was not fully on my plans for this race. But enough preparation was done, so that was ok. I did not like it, but could not do anyting about it anyway…

NOTE: Time and place? If it was not detailed clearly enough earlier… MORE than happy about both. Training is showing up and rewarding (sometimes) 🙂 So proud of myself to have toughen up on the “continue-running-despite-of-the-stomach-cramps”. Still have to figure out what it starting them…

NOTE: Warmup? Good enough for today’s race. Have to keep in mind for next races to have extra clothes on me to throw before the race start… so I am not fully freezing during the warmup… Felt ready to start today. Warm enough!

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? As usual it was not really feasible to drink during the race. Apart from the moment when a nice guy had taken a bottle of water, drank a bit and then gave it to me as he heard I missed taking one at the station. Only decent water-drinking I did during the race. The mid-course gel is not necessary. But good for marathon training. The final gel give a kick and is definitely good to have 🙂 The thickness is legitimate as it is not a “liquid” gel as the other ones I have. Regular gel. Still more work to do for the plastic mug drinking…

NOTE: Great race, loved it two years ago, still loving it this year. Not just for the fast time on the course. Organization worked well, the expo was slightly (?) bigger than two years ago (or maybe more crowded because it was Saturday afternoon?). Highly recommended!

Loads of thanks for the sms and kind words received right before the race 🙂 Always appreciated! May the warm-up continue then!…

Race Report – VSM halfmarathon Hultsfred 2016/09/03

Happy Swedish Champion (Masters K40)

Planned: sub90. Not completely a training-race, but surely not full all-in.

Actual: 1:29:58 – PB on this route (1st time run :-P). Good start, stable first half, confident up to km14, then fight with stomach cramps from km15 and final sprint in 4:06 on the last km. Very satisfied with the place, not that much about the time. But under the circumstances, that will do.

Swedish Masters Championships in half-marathon… Nice 2 loops-route, with 70% gravel and the rest asphalt (yeaaah!). Windy as NOT expected for the stretch down (and of course you get it twice…). Inexplicable stomach cramps requiring a drastic slow down in pace, but enough fighting spirit to get to the end and even sprint to get under 90minutes. Never loose hope!

Place: 1 age category (i.e gold medal & Swedish Master Champion in half-marathon K40) / 4 – all women / 42 all runners 🙂

Splits (unofficial – Garmin)

Split

Time

Diff Min/km Place
5km 00:20:30 20:30 04:06

3

10km 00:42:13 21:43 04:20

5

halfway 00:44:08

5

15km 01:03:28 21:15 04:15

4

20km 01:25:35 22:07 04:25

4

Finish 01:29:58 04:23 03:59

4

Totals

Place 4
Place (age) 1
Place (total) 42
Time total 01:29:58
Average pace 04.15min/km

In short: the time first: real rubbish – should have gone way faster. Now about the placing: Yoooohooo! So glad to get first place and a gold medal. Real cool to be “Swedish Master Champion in half-marathon (W40)”. Surely as cool as being “Vice-world Master champion in marathon (W35)” last year!
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BEFORE THE RACE

The week before…

This special race started actually a week before. Had in mind to run it, had it on my list from spring-planing, but it just disappeared when setting the races calendar for September to October. Completely forgotten it. Came under a discussion with Tricky and after checking the location of the race and the participants, I contacted a registered one for possible co-driving to the race. Took a couple of days to finally got confirmed that I could have a place in one of the cars aiming to the race. That’s how training plans changed a 32km-long run into a Swedish Masters Championships in half marathon…

The day before…

Easy run in the morning with picking up bagels at half-way and then regular workday. The legs felt fine and eager to run. All seemed in place for a very nice race the day after (even though it was not THE race of the year, it is still a Swedish championships…). In bed not too late. Checked at least three times that the alarm was set properly…

Race day

Alarm rang at 4:10am. Felt all fine and ready to run. A pity the race was not starting THEN! Took it easy to wake up mind and body. Breakfast of sesame bagel with honey and mint tea and a banana. Added green mix with green C-vitamin as well. And a little sport drink. Breakfast for champions! Got myself ready with today’s racing outfit being ADIDAS Supernova Blue line shorts, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK and superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Added in the bag an extra change of running clothes as well as arm sleeves and MIK singlet. The bag weighted way too heavy for a race and 3 hours drive… But all the “just-in-case” were included! Had extra food and gels for the race, sport drinks and a change of clothes.

5:15am – Left home to get to the meeting point where Anders P would be picking me up. All fine. Met Mikael Z as well and off we went. Lots of running talk in the front of the car. Nice drive to reach the start area (well, I was resting on the back seat!).

8:15am or so – Reached destination, met with other Lerums runners and picked up our BIB. Quite grey skies, little drizzle. Was wondering a bit regarding the outfit to have. But decided to go for the original choice: sports bra & shorts. Added arms sleeves for the warmup. Got help from Anders P for attaching my age category on the back (this is very good to keep an eye on who is in your age category…and pass them if possible before the finish line 🙂 ).

9:20am – time to get to the ladies change room. And get this warmup done. Easy 3km on light legs. Took a km from the start and then a little bit from the halfway and down. The race being a two loops-route of 10.5km with a 5km loop from start and back and then a 5.5km loop from halfway and back. Dropped my bag and skipped the arm sleeves. The sun was out! A bit a lot of gravel on the route… that would be an experience! Took a gel about 30minutes from start. The stomach felt a bit hungry and empty…

10:05am – start of the marathon race. Just a little more wait…

10:10am – ready to start now. All half-marathoners were also ready. Find two others gals in my age category and those ones are the ones to be watched… Of course trying to follow Karin S was NOT in the plan, but to have 2-3minutes difference to the max would be nice! So for sure the plan was to win the age category and get under 90minutes.

10:14am – final countdown. A couple of runners are getting into position…Sun is shining…

*********************************************************

THE RACE

10:20am – GO! Nice and easy start. No pushing, just well-behaving runners here! Got a good luck from Anders P and then see him disappearing in the steps of Karin S. Running the first 200m on gravel is fine…well a bit too fine as it goes a bit too slow for my taste. Turning left and we get to the asphalt. All fine just running, tricky to get the second turn right as a guy is actually cutting my way and then he settles in a slightly slower/annoying pace. Impossible to pass him without going either on the left (and thee are three on the breadth…) or on the right (and this means running in the field…). I don’t use the “elbow-forward-and-pushing” method. Not on my list (well, at least not when it comes down to finding a place to run right before km1!!!) Passing km1 right above 4min. All fine. The wind is taking its due now and trying to find a wind-shield (or two…) ain’t easy task. Two gals are approaching (one K40 and one KS – senior). They are apparently running together, so my plan is to keep them close and definitely not let them in front of me before the finish line as it would mean not loosing one but two places then (on the total…). The KS-gal is getting on my left after passing this first km and she is quite close to the “slow-guy-that-passed-me”. Not enough to get in-between. Just have to wait for my turn. Turning right and we reach soon km2. I see the opportunity there to pass the guy and the two gals as well. Good. This one is in line with my plan, i.e. all km between 4 and 4:10 until halfway. We pass a little bridge and turn again. Meaning we are soon at half the first little North loop of 5km. And we reach gravel…again. And the wind is coming as well…again. Head or sidewind? Does not really matter. There are no possibility to hide behind someone as by now the head runners are far away and there is only a long line of one or two runners running on the path. Ok, deciding to make it through the next km on my own, even if it means slowing down. Not hearing when passing km3 but noticing that km4 is slightly before what Garmin says. So correcting the lap there. Good good. Feeling fine, despite my feet sliding back a bit on the gravel. Have to really learn how to run on this! Have been passed by a gal during the straight line after km2.5. AAAAAAAnnoying! But she has “KS” on the back, meaning she ain’t in my category. I let her go then 😛 Then follows a bit of “snake-like” running (i.e. the route is a bit zigzaging there. For sure we have had a little uphill as well (or call it a slope or whatever…it just went up and then down between the farms we have passed at km3 or so. Good to know for next time we pass here! More running under the trees and starting to hear the speaker. i.e. the first north loop is soon finished. Reaching the start area, hearing my name, clocking km5 on 20:30 but had no idea as I am fully focused on the next part with the wind 😦 More gravel and still not possible to find any wind-shield. Talk about chivalry manners! Not a single guy ready to sacrifice his placing and/or tempo to cut the wind to a lady in need… The long km (including the km6-sign) is really annoying with the side-wind. And seeing the flags flying perpendicular to the ground AIN’T HELPING! Reaching now a part under the trees where it “feels” easier to run (but it is still stupid gravel and I still cannot run efficiently on this..:) Km6 & 7 are getting pretty slow and way above the tolerance levels I had planned. Seeing 4:2x at this moment of the race is NOT a good sign. Feeling good though, but still not finding the correct steps on the gravel. Passing now runners from the marathon since a couple of km. Getting some cheering and that is cool. Have been listening to music since km2 as it helped covering the wind. Seeing the faster runners of half-marathon coming from the opposite direction. OK, they must be like 2.5km ahead of me or so. Seeing Karin S, Anders P and co passing on the other side. Getting some cheering and thumbs up from a Lerum guy. Soon reaching the turning point. No longer fun… The two gals KS & K40 have caught up on me and pass me a bit before reaching the water station. Nooooo! Kind enough for cheering and encouraging me, so I am settling into their steps. Taking a glass of water, missing the mouth totally and getting only a little. Am more focused on NOT falling or turning badly my ankle on the grass we are running on at the water station. Dangerous here! The two gals are running in the pace I should have, so I try to keep a correct distance right behind them. Still too slow here but surely reaching the asphalt soon…and when we do… I feel my legs having a new life again! Yooohooo! 10-20m is separating me from the two ladies from the moment we reach the asphalt. I get closer to them and by the time we reach the km20-mark (this is for the second loop), I have caught up those stupid distance between us. We are running all three side-by-side and I can see that the KS-gal is the one driving. The K40 is hanging there but the steps she is taking looks so long and easy…I want mine to look THAT easy! Passing km9 a bit slow still but it is only 12km to go and 1.5km to halfway. Back to gravel, difficult to accelerate there. Km10 is passed a little above 42minutes. Good. Still as in the plan. Taking the first dextrosol there. Will do so for the next 5km every second km. Reaching half-way in 44:xx, which my head uses to calculate the potential finish time. Ain’t working too well, so after a few 100s I stop even trying… The KS-gal has taken two glasses of water at halfway and throw them when still on the gravel…and one bumped onto my head. Really surprised! But just laughing at it. She falls into excuses but that’s all ok. No need to worry about an empty plastic cup that flew on the top of my head 🙂

We are back to the north loop and the asphalt again. The K40-gal is dropping in her pace a bit, having the best cheering ever from her KS-friend. I am just hanging there. Have stopped the music in my ears since km10. Passing km11 and it is me and the KS-gal now. Side-by-side. Loving it! She has THE perfect step (ie. Completely in sync with mine… or the contrary…I don’t know). Even her breathing is in sync. Of course from time to time it just change, but she is good! Exchanging a couple of words. We are so close that our arms are touching sometimes. The K40-gal is no longer in our steps. I cannot see her (I have no eyes in the back of my head…) but I can feel that we are alone. We are holding a good pace…well…for a marathon… this is too slow for my plans, but it feels good and I am still in first K40-place and 3-4 for the women. Passing the little bridge again and turning right on the gravel again. So nice to know this is the last time we pass this part. Looking at the marathon-signs and calculating quickly that they are 500m different from ours. I count down to the end of this loop and to the end of the race, then to the end of the next little loop and the end of the total marathon. Takes me up to km13 or so where the farms are to remember/realize that I am not in for the full marathon. We are passing a few guys there, both marathoners and half-marathoners. Getting greetings along the way. That warms the heart and the head! We are just good. Back to the “snake-like” part. Passing guys there and who even move themselves to let us pass. All smiles on! Getting closer to the end of this north loop. Hearing the speaker getting closer and closer. Feeling fine still, also a few signs are popping up as I can hear my running buddy pushing me a bit more there. Am I dropping in pace? Getting to the start area again. Hearing our names, taking a glass of water and hop on the head. Feels good. And we are on the south loop now and the stomach starts to cramp. Slightly but becoming more and more distinct. We have now run over 15km and I am a little bit slower than planned. 1Minute maybe? Had in mind to pass it in 1:02+ and we are both over 1:03+. Putting this on the gravel is a bit much. Getting to the km6-sign again I have now dropped a few meters from my running buddy. The wind is not helping. I want to stop but don’t know how much time it would take for starting again. And I don’t do pitstop in a race. Don’t want to throw up neither. The stomach is just not happy. Want to bend and just stop. Putting back music in the ears. Choosing the craziest song I have on it. Good But seeing the leading guy of the half-marathon passing on the asphalt street above my stupid gravel path is giving me even more motivation. I am at km17+ so he really has 2+km to go. I want to be where he is instead of where I am. Looking at the fast guys passing by from the opposite direction is helping my mind to focus on something else than this stupid stomach. Reaching the “under-trees” path now. I don’t even bother looking at the watch. I know I am close to snail-pace. Just don’t let any K40 pass. The KS-gal has not accelerated but she is getting further and further away from me. I am just dropping in pace. Seeing soon Karin S straight and cool in her running, Anders P right in the back. More Lerum guys showing a smile. OMG! Thanks for the help! Focusing on reaching the next km is my mission now. It is just that I am not seeing the km-signs any longer. I just want to stop and do whatever it takes to make those cramps stop. Reaching the grass-area closer and closer to the water-station. The KS gal is too far ahead. I know I won’t be able to make it up before the end of the race. Please give me a marathon instead!!! Trying to reach my gel on the back of my sports bra but it ain’t working. Cannot find it (and there is NOT much place there). Passing the water station ignoring the water. My focus is down and the running on the grass ain’t working well, with an ankle turning a bit strangely but once again I make it and continue running. Don’t want to turn and check if any chick is close to me. Seeing the K40-gal on the way back. And then another lady. And another one. I have NO clue how far we are from each other and I won’t let myself check this. Focusing on the KS-gal who is soooo far by now (well, not THAT far, but by now the mind is not really willing to cooperate. Cannot focus on the stomach AND on estimating the distance at the same time). Finally reaching my gel and feeling that it is stupidly thick like h*ll. How can that be? They can be from liquid when it is quite warm to more gel but here it feels that it is hard like concrete!!! Having trouble to even get some in the mouth. Taking finally a little of it. Mixing with the saliva. Getting cheering from chick on the other side of the road. One more try with the gel before I throw it (sorry… I throw it in the forest part and I did not intend to do it. The mind is even thinking of running back to pick it up and reaching instead the next rubbish bag). Nooo… straight forward. I know the km9-sign is close after we have reached the asphalt. I just want to see it. The legs are getting a new life when reaching the pavement. Hello km9-sign. Just so loving it when I see it! It is 1.5km to finish. Still seeing the KS-gal. The aim is more to pick up place with one or two guys. But not that many ahead of me unfortunately. Passing km20 and turning right. Now it is is. Quick check at the watch indicate over 1:25 close to 1:26. Meaning that if I run a crazy sprint to the end I might make it under 90minutes. Yeaaaahhh…sure… it is not ONE km to go, it is onekilometerandninetysevenmeters, meaning it needs to be completed in 4 minutes or less…the total distance… Superwoman-strengths suddenly came out. What is wrong with me? Where were those strengths 5km ago? Don’t spend too much time reasoning on this. Running behind a guy and reaching …gravel again. But for the last time this time. So great feeling this one. Seeing the little 21km-sign. Loving it so much. Not too fund of the clock though. Ticking up. 1:29:54…55…56… Hearing my name, wonderful…and passing the finish line. Stopping the watch. 1:29:58. OK. I did not make it. Sub90 is gone. (swore little then, noticing it only when I see the smiles from two functionaries after the finish line. Sorry…). At least I got the win in my age category.

Official time: 1:29:58

****************

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Not fully tired, I am however walking a bit bend as the final sprint has destroyed completely my stomach. The cramps are close to unbearable. But I still smile. I think. Getting my nice medal. A glass of water and a banana. Waiting a little at the water-table, half-bent and hoping this will disappear. And it does not. Getting a big hug from the KS-gal. Who also apologizes again for throwing her plastic mug on my head. Trying to laugh, but it hurt the stomach so badly that I congratulate here and move to the changing rooms. Meeting Anders P, who recommends to continue to walk so that the stomach would feel better. I don’t even ask his time and turn back for it. Annoying me not even able to be happy for hearing his cool new PB. Changing rooms now. Good that they are empty. So much for the glamour of running (if any), spending time in the loo after the race as the stomach is just emptying itself. The worse is that it does not feel much better afterwards. Getting my bag then because I feel that I should change. Meeting two small girls who are so willing to run that I leave my bag again to their dad and take them to the tack for running a few laps. Real fun. Nothing wrong with my legs, the hips are fine. But the stomach ain’t having fun. By half-way of the track I realize that I am running with twin-girls… (I thought I was so in need for carbs that the mind was playing games with me!). Getting more water, finishing my run. Shower (very hot one), this helps for the stomach apparently. Karin S has run an impressive 1:25-race and all the ladies in the room are mostly happy about their race. Changing to warm clothes and the stomach almost feels better. Taking a protein drink and time to get under the sun. Getting a hot-dog as well before meeting the Lerum guys who are all smiling and laying down on the grass. A couple of PBs (and very good ones). I just want to lay down here on the grass under the sun and rest. Race awards are distributed (missing the 3place by 38 seconds is a bit annoying me…) but climbing the highest step of the podium for my age category and getting a nice gold medal is helping a bit to forget (both the rubbish time and the 3rd-place miss). A few more that I know are reaching the podium too (among others Michael T and Annette K) which is cool!

Time to get back home. Anders P and Mikael Z get some energy for the road. I get a coke, but really feel so bad that I would rather remain laying here on the grass under the sun than sitting in a car for three hours, even with nice company. Good drive home with only one stop and more coke to drink. Celebration will have to wait until the stomach is ready for it… That was still a great day for racing and not regretting to have taken this race before a 32km-long run 🙂

*************

Weather: 17.8° Cloudy, Feels like 17.8°, 14 kph WSW wind, 94% humidity – well, it was actually sunny and nice. But windy.

Food: breakfast (bagel w/honey + tea + banana + green mix/C-vitamin) @4:30am / banana +sportdrink during transport. / After: banana soon after arrival+protein drink after the shower. Then coke right before leaving home and another one after 1/3 of the drive.

During: Aptonia melon after warm-up, Dextrosol: 1 @km10-12-14, red gel @km18.5 (no water)

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova blue line shorts, Casall Iconic sport bra MIK, arm sleeves. Shoes felt all nice and ready to rock!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

15/ Stable 14 up to halfway, then less effort during next 5km as slowing down for stomach pains, the final km was a blast, but not too sure it went that high on effort level. Annoyed to have missed 87 & 88 minutes, but still and for sure, a sub90 by 2 seconds ain’t THAT fun, but it is still a sub90 😉 Gravel ain’t my favourite terrain. But it treated my Achille’s well (no sensitivity whatsoever after the race!)

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Third sub90 on “training-race”. Even though not fully happy to be that close to the 90minutes… Definitely not all-in on this one.

NOTE: Weather-wise, I cannot do anything about it. Sidewind was no fun to run in. Happy to have trained in this still. But more work to be done to be stronger there.

NOTE: Time and place? Rubbish for the first one and wonderfully happy for the second one 🙂 Have a clear understanding on how the pace dropped and why and when. Nothing could have been done differently from this part to the end. Very happy to have not stopped and completed the race this way anyway.

NOTE: Warmup? Maybe a bit faster than I should have. But felt ready for running at expected pace from start: Would have gladly run a couple more km before the race though.

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? Drinking was as usual close to in-existent. (this is a copy/paste for all the race I think!!!) and using plastic mugs is even worth than paper ones. Cannot fold them correctly and cannot drink. Dextrosol worked fine. Red gel was too thick, but definitely kicked in at the end.

NOTE: a repeat from Halmstad/Prinsensminne regarding the stomach pain. Although in Halmstad the pains arrived 2 hours after the race and remained for the rest of the day: But absolutely not this level of cramping as I had today.

NOTE: Cool and cosy race on a quick fast route. Good organization. Recommended!

And to finish a huge thanks to Anders P for driving me down there, otherwise I would not have run this race 🙂

A happy runner after the race 🙂

A nice and well-deserved gold medal!

My great Wordpress blog

Just another WordPress site

Girl Runs Wild

Pearls of lunacy about running wild and free

MaraMackan

Att springa långt är vackert men att springa snabbt är fan så mycket roligare

j.sizzle.adventures

“Why, sometimes I've imagined as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Hemingway Run

Marc Hemingway: On The Road To Berlin Marathon

Running for life

Running longer and faster... a few thoughts...

Running in Transit

A blog about running....and finding time to run on the road

Fit-Eva

Running longer and faster... a few thoughts...

Jello Legs

My love hate struggle with running

The crazy mind mapper...

Professional blog. Share my thoughts mostly related to: Enterprise Architecture, Leadership, Mind Mapping & GTD. Opinions are my own.

alfarunner

It's about light, composition and running

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Running longer and faster... a few thoughts...

The Iron You

Running longer and faster... a few thoughts...