Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Archive for December, 2013

Race Report – Sylvesterloppet 2013/12/31

Planned: under 42 (training reference also done last week on heavy legs)

Actual: 40:17 for 10km
place: 9th 🙂

BEFORE THE RACE

Good night’s sleep, waking up fully rested and happy, so yes, I thought, it could work with a race today. Had to refrain myself for not going out for a short run right after going up @7:30am. Had checked the time and information yesterday (late!) and all should work. Got breakfast ready for myself (porridge with banana, kiwi, blueberry, cranberries and joggiberries). Felt a bit heavy on the stomach but by the time of the race it should be fine. Got my water drinking started and prepared breakfast for the small ones. Showered and getting ready for the race, still undecided for what gear to have. Looking like 5ºC, no rain but windy. Aimed for ¾ tight, long compression socks, SF long sleeves, neck warmer, bonnet and wind-jacket (and of course wind-gloves). For once (!) did not take an extra change in the bag to the race. This is the usual outfit I have had the latest weeks, so should work. Finalized the sandwiches and warm chocolate to take with us and then direction the tram. Of course (!) forgot my banana at home so a short stop to buy one as well as getting the tram cards charged and taking some Dextrosol. Finally at the area of Start/Departure, was a bit surprised that it was still starting to prepare. 10:30am we reached the Tennis hall for late registration. No queue… And then it was just to wait. Got a visit to the ladies room (no queue there neither). By 11am, people started to fill in the Tennis Hall and the queues to the loo was getting longer and longer…. Attached my BIB on my wind-jacket and continue to lay down on the floor resting a bit and eating my banana. Change of shoes and getting ready for a warm-up. Had to find an alternative solution for the ladies’room so ran easy to the Max restaurant close-by, stayed there as well a short short while as it was nice and warm inside and then off I left for a quick warmup. Music set to the “Go-list” of my 10K-tempo from last week. Should I hear all the songs on the Go-list just once, I should be under 42 minutes…I think… Getting warmed up easily, doing a few accelerations, feeling a bit ache in the backside of the left thigh… all as it should be, right? 🙂 11:47am, seeing a crowd already at the starting line, deciding it will be too much with the wind-jacket, so plan-B it is. Off with the jacket (and no, it is not THAT easy and fast to take off the wind-gloves, off with the BIB, take off the jacket, and yes, forgetting the watch on the left arm, taking off the watch, off with the jacket, and yes forgetting the mp3 in the right pocket, off with it and finally setting the BIB on the long sleeves sweater…). Looking for my cheering squad for dropping my jacket. Meeting “Tricky” at the same time I see them 🙂 Cool, double-cheering squad in place and got some lucky hugs as well! Taking place on the front line (sounds like we’re gonna be shot…) as being under 42minutes and being a woman, I can take place in the Elite group (cool!). And meeting Johan P as well on this line (Wow, now it feels not too right to be here, because all around ARE very fast-looking…). Anyway, promised my cheering quad I will be at this place 🙂

The RACE

Listening to the two girls singing and the guy with the mic finally stopped talking and it is … 10 SECONDS to start! (How did the time pass so fast? Two seconds ago we had 1,5 hour left before start…). And hop! It is the start. Feeling a push from behind, but gentle and no elbow-runner in sight. Starting my watch slightly before passing the mat but that’s ok. And it is a wave of fast runners I am in. Seeing few females passing by… Not my category! No need to stress out 🙂 One turn, two turn and it is already windy (wonderful!…). Passed by 3 more women, recognizing the one who won Sävedalsloppet in October. If I have her in sight, should be close to 39minutes 🙂 Then turning once more into the Aveny. Nice to have people cheering there. Have finally started my mp3 and the rhythm is perfect for the start. Good feeling, no more no less. Aaaaaand a new turn, have passed the 1st km in 3:52 (watch and km-sign are matching perfectly!). All the fastest run in the beginning is some time won when it will start hurting, I think… Great, already such thoughts! Up to km2 I follow a guy who has a good step and corresponding to mine. Will soon reach the place with head-wind so as good to get a good pace now. Have to drop this guy because he is slowing down 😦 Finding two other ones which is a bless as it is pretty windy in this short first part. Turning once more, no more wind so accelerating (I think?) then on the way back…WHERE IS THE TAIL WIND???? Following closely my two guys because after the bridge I expect to need their help as wind-shield (and with my height, it is not too easy to follow one giant probably 1.90m and another one 1.80m… in short: our steps do not quite match…and I have to get faster than I think I should. After km4 it gets better and I am seriously bored to see two backs. So screw the wind and get alone on the side instead… Get into a group of 5 (guys of course, because the last two women I saw passed me around km 2.5). Their pace is fine so getting along for a km or so and then turning towards… the finish line (well, actually there is one more lap to go…). Km5 I decided to drop my gloves and bonnet to my cheering squad at the water-station (plan B being to throw it to the nice people helping at the water-station and picking this up after the arrival…). Lots of high-five done between km5 and 6 🙂 Nice as well with so many people cheering (although I do not hear anything because of the music in my ear… Not good :(. Aaaand here I see them, my own personal cheering squad, exactly where they said they will be. High-five the first one, drop the bonnet and gloves to the second one and throw a smile to the third one… Water-station? What water-station? Dropped the first mug as it is energy drink and the water mug is too full and most of it is dropped on the pavement… Yapp, drinking technique should be revised (at least at this pace…). Passing km6 and back to the second lap. Difficult to get the back of someone as not many are passing me now. So decided to push a little bit more to get to the guys in front of me….JUST when reaching the windy part. Yippie…NOT! Biting the lips for the end to reach km7 and turn to no-wind-street and to another-no-wind-street and one more. Definitely tired by now, cramp-feeling in the backside of the left thigh since a while (just hoping it is not a strain…). Have noted a female runner passing the bridge maybe 10seconds before me. Making my goal to minimize the time difference with this one if this is the last thing I do! Back on the bridge and this is the final 2km with full head-wind…Yoooohoo! This time I push to get the four guys in line ahead of me as wind-shield, but once again, I feel a bit slowing down, so take a step aside and pass them by the time we reach the turn to the next no-wind-street. Choose three new guys in front of me and trying to have them pulling me a bit, but only one is doing this properly (!). Reaching the female runner and now I think carefully whether I should pass her now, a bit more than 1km left and risking to be used as a pulling force for her, OR staying right behind, having her to pull me and then pacing up at the end… Nope, not a chance I am slowing down, because now I see that the 40minutes limit is actually still at reach or quite close to. So passing the girl and for the final longest-300m-of-my-life, I change back the music to the first song as the pace is perfect for this. Pushing until it actually hurts this time in the back of the thigh, but seriously, 300m…! Nice to arrive in a wave of people, once again just seeing them and not hearing them (have to check this volume thing on my mp3). Getting the largest smile from Tricky right close to the end, seeing the clock passing 40minutes, but who cares? If the girl I passed a while ago was 10th, that means I am 10th now 🙂 Aaaand stop the watch at 40minutes 20. Getting my cheering squad smiling and really satisfied of my performance… Cool!

=> official time: 40:17 – place 9

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Right after the race (+ one banana, two energy drink mug and water 🙂

Weather: 7ºC, Feels like 3ºC, 26 km/h SSW wind, Humidity 81% – real nice in the air, strong wind some times, humidity? Dono… Even sunny some timesGood anyway to have trained lately by all type of weather!

Food: before banana (1hr before) // right after (within 30/40min): 2 mugs of water + 3 mugs of energy drink + 1 banana + a few spoons of rice porridge/blueberry // during: 2 Dextrosol @km2 & 8km – after 2hrs (a bit too heavy after the race maybe): hamburger meal with cheering squad

Gear: ASICS ¾ shirts, compression socks, SF long sleeves, tiger neck warmer, purple bonnet, wind-gloves – shoes felt nice and light. Had a plaster on left ankle not to risk a blister, but took probably 1km before it started to move under the sock 😦

> Good move to have skipped the wind jacket and dropped the bonnet and gloves after half-way. Could have done well with shorter shorts as well and regular running socks as it felt a bit warm throughout the race

16/ OK, effortless it was not. Strangely the main effort was due to the pain in the backside of the left thigh. Without this one, I might have pushed a bit more. But having a race in less than a month, this was not worth it. Better have it slower today, than faster and painful afterwards and for long… Definitely more to train for a 10K… Still tricky to pace this race as 1) there was not a female runner in sight and 2) the male runners are still tricky to pace because they tend to accelerate when a female is passing them.. Once again, within a few minutes after arrival, had gotten the strength back (at least some of them). Still needed some stretching for the thighs (backside)

NOTE: Once again nice to meet jogg-buddies and above all having personal cheering-squad there is priceless 🙂 (especially when they had made the effort to count all the female runners arriving before me to announce that no need to bother the time…I was in the 10 first 🙂 )

AFTER THE RACE:

Walking to get banana, chocolate cookie, rice porridge, water, energy drink and medals. Changing to dry clothes (yes, it was cold outside but after a 10K the body feels extremely hot!…then the cold starts to bite!). E checked that I had to go back to the Tennis Hall to get my price so we did. Checked online the result and got my official time finally. Waited a bit for the price distribution and then got to Max for a hamburger meal. Back home, getting ready for New Year cosy evening, watching the early firework (5pm here…) and then the day is soon to finish as well as the year.

NOTE: For an unplanned race, on a non-preferred distance, after several weeks of hard training and higher volume… could not be more happy for completing this racing year 2013!

NOTE: changed down from 17 to 16 the effort level after discussing with cheering squad. Yes, I was short on breath at the finish line but had just done a real fast last 500/100m… but seriously had a controlled pace throughout the race (yes, it was fast and it was some effort, but to reach 17 “high effort”? don’t think so. Took 2-3 minutes to recover afterwards…

NOTE: HR-curves looked out of its mind once again… Yellow dosa… training effect 2.5… time to increase the pace, difficulty and effort delivered according to my Garmin!!!

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10 first female runners 🙂


Earth, wind and water week (still 120+km)

(Week 231213-291213)
Some may call it Xmas week as well…

After a quick heavy weekend, time for an easy Monday with low pulse running. Got longer than expected but that is all ok, right, as long as you are having fun 😉 This was a nice start for the week. Had to format my mp3 and reload all my music. But to my surprise the sound was locked to a maximum (and of course this was discovered DURING the run…). Anyway, this run was qualify as “extremely easy” on the effort scale. Good for the next day…

Tuesday was without program as well. Wanted to get some speed under my feet so decided to copy a workout done 5 weeks before Berlin, aka time intervals (3*(4-3-2-1)). Started with an easy warmup but by km2 the head wind was already quite strong. Nothing to fear though, in normal circumstances… By km3 it was so strong that I use my “lazy card” and decided NOT to run my intervals facing the wind. Waited 9 minutes for a bus to bring me 15km from home. Done drills while waiting (as well as stretching and singing and a bit of dancing 🙂 ). 20 minutes later I was running a short bout before getting ready for my intervals. Did not bother changing the pace for the intervals since Berlin training… but a bit of improvement has been noticed since and with some tail wind helping… those intervals were gold. First serie went fine, 10sec on avg faster than the fastest expected, but easy and good feeling. The second serie was slightly tougher, the 3minutes- interval being as usual the toughest. After completing the second serie I wondered whether to continue with the third serie or to skip it and run easy back home (well, being 10km away from home it would have been a long cool down…). Started the last serie, voluntarily slower (or “more controlled”). The 4minutes was ok, but the 3minutes was real tough (still got it slightly faster than in serie 1). The last 2minutes got a real push and for the last 1minute, OF COURSE (!) the wind has stopped blowing and I got to run it to the fastest I could and was really satisfied after that (OK, it took 2 minutes to get my breathe back and the tears out of my eyes, but for a 3:16 pace I think it was more than worth it!). Still far from home, got a nice and easy 7.6km back home. Almost got up to 20km for this interval workout. Not bad, not bad at all 🙂 Rested during the day and then took and easy 7km recovery run in the evening…just nice!

And so it was Wednesday and its morning easy recovery run as well (low pulse). Up to 10K and that felt like enough. Wanted to rest the legs a bit. So took the day off on Thursday, with easy core workout only and legs work. That was just nice.

Well, the tricky with rest days is that the day right after the legs (and probably whole body) often feels pretty heavy. So when having to do a 10K tempo on Friday, I felt like I had to choose right the timing. Started in the morning with easy 3km, stretching a few drills, but when normally it would have been sufficient to start a 10K, this time it felt still heavy. So went along 3more km and little extra stretch and decided to go for it. A bit unsure I could reach the expected tempo pace, but what was set in my head was that all pace faster than the first 6K would be acceptable 🙂 No disappointment, got a nice 10K with light wind and drizzle in 42minutes and then a bit far from home (once more…) got to continue running and completed this morning-run-before-breakfast in 23.23km 🙂 (I know, I like nice numbers!). Very happy to have done this, the rest of the day was easy and chill-out and finished with an easy evening recovery run. All good for slightly heavy stomach (eating 2 hours before a run is definitely the limit to follow!).

Saturday arrived really fast with its long run. Started it with extremely heavy legs (more correctly “thighs”). By km3 wished I have not gone out and run and ready to turn back… but continued at this slow and easy pace. By km10 my mind which was surprisingly full with plenty of thoughts changed its focus and then it started to get “easier-kind-of”. By km16 the legs were happy and the head fully awaken (finally!). So when reaching home after 25km I was surprised and very satisfied (for the time spent out). And what better than completing such  a day with a massage, right? Well, when the massage includes a thorough massage of the bum and thigh muscle, which might sounds fun and actually is NOT! Pain is an understatement for this! It however always takes so short time when the pain is there that it is definitely worth it! Spent the evening laying on the right side to avoid having some weight on the left side (the painful one…)

Still aching on Sunday morning when getting up and ready for an easy recovery run. Cut the run into 3 parts of 4km, with thorough stretch session after part 1 and then a drill session after part 2. Sunday was as usual pretty easy after that and this completed a very full week of running (with over 120km for second week this year and in a row…). This week also noted the monthly volume passing over 400km for the first time this year as well 🙂 Unsure how this worked because I cannot recall I was that much out running…

So yes, feet on earth, wind in the hair and water pouring from the skies (ok, this week was more drizzling than pouring…) – great week and one more to go before tapering down. December is soon reaching to its end and the year as well… Countdown will start soon!


Sun, shorts, massage and 120+km for the week :)

THREE times… I woke up three times during the night Saturday-Sunday. And slept so good in-between anyway… Unsure why as it was quiet as in a closed fridge (well, a fridge always makes noise when you open it, but I assume that the little man responsible to switch on the lamp each time one open the door like it quiet inside when it is closed, right?). Finally Sunday, correct?

Light breakfast of cereals, chocolate and almond-milk in front of the tv with the feet up. Still a bit tired from yesterday it appears like. BUT when E came to drop his Xmas present the legs were more than fine and I had already jumped into my running gear. Hold it…SHORTS! Sun outside, 7-8ºC according to Accuweather, so no reason for skipping the shorts right. Took the Boston gear (shorts and long sleeves), which made the run already fun to do. Of course  the compression long socks were helping as well as the wind-jacket (just in case). Added the neck warmer and bonnet, mostly because I had wet hair and did not want to run with wet hair and potentially got sick. Got to hear from G that I was apparently to be crown the “Queen of Craziness” when he saw my running outfit, but it had been already approved by E. So would not mind the crown 😉 Final Christmasy goodbye and then light legs on the run.

So extremely nice and delicious to feel the sun on your face when you run (yes, I did run in a stormy-like weather yesterday, already forgotten?). Slight headwind on the way to the 6km. Running along the harbours, got people looking strangely at my outfit when others gave me nice smiles. Who cares really? I was enjoying my run. No check on the clock, just noting the beep of the km (although I might “nerdily” know by now most of the roads all around and where the “km-mark” are falling… Km6 took a short break to change the music and then turned back home. Easy-peasy-pace, not noticing any tailwind (of course when you need it, it is nowhere to be found!!!). Got this nice recovery run up to 12km, which was tactically calculated to get this week’s volume to 120+km 🙂 Happy! Longest ever run in a week!

Got nice hot shower, light food and then time for Thai massage. Indicated (stupidely?) the area aching (thigh/bum/calf left side) and of course it was handled as such… included thorough stretch (which I am SO happy not to be able to do myself…because it kind-of hurts!). But all is so fine afterwards. Rest of the day was spend chilling out at home, a bit of shopping and really taking it easy.

Today was done 6th episode of rehab for the thigh/bum muscle. A bit better? don’t know. The balance is definitely better, but the stretch is still there. Hopefully will help at one point…

Week’s summary is easy: Icy-rainy-windy-sunny-easy… missing only the snow actually! Real good week and nice to have it done before Christmas. Checked the weight this morning, looking good. Just have to remain the same until next race 😉 Now a week of year-end’s celebration and it will already be time to go back to work… Real happy to have skipped what started two weeks ago or so at work, i.e. people getting the flu and then coming back to work few days before going back on vacations for Christmas. Good with fresh air when running! OK, time to rest. That’s what vacations are for, right?

Keep on running!


Rain, wind, tears and 36km later…

Time for weekly long run. Started with an early breakfast 6:30am (on a Saturday…on vacations…no comment!): oat-porridge with banana and mango, with almond-milk (just trying this one for first time). Then back in bed for a while. Up 2hours later, still raining and choice of gear was easy: 6-7ºC, rain, no wind (on my balcony…). 3/4 tights, compression shorts, long sleeves and rain jacket. Perfect. Had charged both mp3 and watch over the night, so all set. Prepared 1.5l water in my camelbak and took 3 vitargo gels. All set.

Started with easy pace 20km. Not too simple with heavy rain from everywhere as well as wind (as I am not running on my balcony-which is wind-free…). Got over a first bridge, all ok, although had to stop on the other side due to heavy headwind stopping me from even moving forward. Continue same way and then ran a long-lonely-boring-flat bike path to one of the IKEA close to the city. Right, why taking car or bus to get there, when you can run?… have to remember that next time 🙂 Took a gel around km9, a bit too much water drinking throughout the run so several pit stops required… After reaching IKEA had 10K left before the next block. Planned to run straight forward until reaching km18 and then turning back. Fearing  a bit (already) the way back as I could feel I had some tailwind (or side wind) which mean I would have strong headwind on the way back. After a few km, change of plan and aimed towards A bridge. Of course I could see the high bridge above the landscape, but never taken it and never thought would… until I carefully ran closer to it and then turned left and right and noticed I started to run uphill… Yapp, this was THE bridge. Got to run across the bridge, fighting against the strong right side wind making it real difficult to run. Forgot to take a pic from far before I reached it so see below:

Angeredsbro under the sun (i.e. not at all like today!!!)

Friendly horses on the way up to the bridge

Start of the bridge

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Rainy view from middle of the bridge

The bridge is about 1km long and end into a tunnel (lost of satellite :(). Thought it would be easy after that but it became ALL but not flat. Ended the first block happy anyway as it was already good work done.

The second block was 10K tempo, which was revised a bit slower considering the intervals from yesterday…Of course (!) this part was the most hilly of the whole run and had strong to super-strong headwind from the start and throughout the 10K. Tears out several time (although not easy to get them out of the eyes with such wind coming to your face…). The mental part of the run was the toughest part. Really easy to just quit. But no. After reaching 18km it was already “half-way, just half left”. By the end of the fast 10K it became “already 30K done, only 6K left…” Even got some strengths from somewhere to pace up during the last 900m of the second block. But definitely not happy. The time out was the most important for today. Not the pace really.

Third block was an easy 3K and even this one was tricky with strong headwind AGAIN (or still…). Had a few stops like during the 10K as the wind was so strong it was not possible to run or move forward 😦

Fourth block consisted on 2km high pace, but after 200m had to stop and change street as the wind did not let me to even run!!! Got to push a bit to get this part completed and then it was just 1km home. Not a single extra added to this run…

Longest run since Berlin and definitely the second toughest for 2013 (the toughest one was mid-January, but there it was body pain, when today it was mental strength which had to be secured). See the elevation recorded by my Garmin… The first little bump on the chart is the “tough” second bridge of Göteborgsvarvet… All taken into consideration, it is not that difficult to take on when seeing the other part of the run (the one with the higher-larger bumps, where the fast block were unfortunately set… bad calculation here!!!) But done is done and pretty satisfied to have completed it. Back home, took banana+blueberry soygurt right after passing the door. Then shower and resting the legs up for a short while and then food food food (and water!). Lots of resting before getting out for dinner.

Elevation for today's run

Elevation for today’s run

This particular workout was focusing on the time being on the road, even though there was blocks with higher pace. But was not expecting to be such a challenge for the mind. While during the first 14km of boring flat road it was calculating stupidly (!) all the combination in the multiplication table to get to 36… as well as trying to compare to races like Berlin or Dubai (which are flat flat flat), it was REAL tough to remain sane during the part after that (from the bridge and beyond). So much internal fight and convincing. Cannot recall tears during a training apart really really rarely of joy having finishing a workout. Once or twice of pain. But physical pain. Here it was all in the head. Never been so happy to see the building from SKF and the tram that could bring me home. But by this time the head had also recovered and calculated that it meant I was no longer far from home and THEREFORE could as well continue running… I really like distance around 36-38km, because they are special. Longer than a regular long run but shorter than a marathon…just teasing-distance I would qualify them. Juuuuust a little bit more and would be a marathon distance. But nope, not this time!

SO…for today it was a great challenge and a completed one. Today is arriving to its end and tomorrow will bring new things…Looking forward to it… Do you?

and btw today is winter solstice…meaning that the days will become lighter from tomorrow onwards (well, the nights will remain dark out there, but the summer will arrive pretty soon, right? 🙂


Short and fast: time for intervals

Got a long(er) night and then time to get ready for work. As my watch was still at the office, did not want to do my intervals with a phone in my arms. Therefore got to work, meeting, meeting, meeting and then it was time to go…for this year 🙂
Lunch with a friend at a Chinese buffet and then 2 hours of rest so the food had time to settle in the tummy. Dark by then, but on with running gear and flying DS Skyspeed.
Started with an easy warmup and seriously doubted on the plan to run intervals. Little stretch, set the music and at the first bike passing…off I went. First serie went fine. Took 3 minutes rest, although did not feel it was necessary. The second serie of 200s was a bit tougher in a way, but the while thing so controlled… The last serie went well with stable time for the intervals. Cannot understand that all first intervals were the slowest ones 😦  Ended the run with real easy cool down with short stop at the running store to see if they had some Skyspeed 3, but no. Will really have to carefully take care of my Skyspeed until I get new ones…
Then easy evening, movie and rehab exercises. Now a bit of rest add it is long run on the planning for tomorrow.


You like it? then double it!

Short night (too much cleansing at home probably!) but rested enough when the clock rang. Directly into running gear and off on the road. Yippie said the mind as it was nice and “warm” in the air, meaning not a chance to have some ice on the road.

The plan (there is always one!) was to get 12km easy pace. It turned into a 15km easy pace although faster than planned, but the body was happy, the mind was happy and when both of them are happy, what can be said! No real comment on the run, uphill making the pace slower, downhill making the pace slightly faster (although ran controlling the pace this time as a bit concerned by some starlights on the road (it was only rain)). Disappointed a bit to see that with the pace I ran, the bakery would still be closed when I pass it so I ran directly back home. Shower, stretch, banana+chocolate milk and off to the office (via 7Eleven to buy some croissants for my first meeting 🙂 )

Long day at work where meetings were cancelled or moved, making my day a real “emmenthal-day” (i.e. lots of holes in my agenda…  Quite annoying when seeing that you have 1 hour between two meetings and would you have had running gear at the office, you would have probably taken the opportunity to run a quick 10K during this time… I had 3 of those “1-hour-between-meetings” today…) The weather was not the best ever, but rain was actually appealing. By the time I left the office it was already pitch black and back home was pretty simple: a bit of food, resting a short while and decided for a run…

Noticing I was a bit light on the arm, indeed my watch was not there…but left at the office. Thought twice whether would run to the office to get it, but after 8pm it became a bit tricky to go in, so installed an app on my mobile and started the second easy run of the day. not practical at all to run with this heavy thing on the arm and even more boring that cannot get direct feedback on distance and pace… But ran ran ran, took a few pic. Pushed the incorrect button and saved the run instead of starting it again 😦 New run started and off I left the nice sight I had towards the harbours.  A bit of hills on the way home, but all in all got a nice 12km at a more than decent pace, without the heaviness of an effort.

Now I am really tired and yearning like a lion under the sun of the savanna. So it is really time for bed and I could even benefit from a sleep-in tomorrow morning (I refuse to run again with my phone on the arm, so no morning interval tomorrow…will do them at lunch instead!). Doing double runs is pretty fun, and doing “long ones” is even funnier (takes time, but what is time when you have fun?!?!?)

Night night!


Story of “the Head which said stop and the Body which did not follow”

Once upon a time (all fairytale starts this way, correct?), there was a runner that opened her eyes and well-rested wondered who on earth could have set her alarm clock to 4:45am. Brain alert (already!), she recalled she did this the evening before and even faster thinking this time, the brain recalled this was intervals on the morning menu for the day.

The runner left her warm and cosy bed, fixed her hair quickly, traded off her pj for her running gear (which she often (if not always…) prepared the evening before planned morning runs), set her music ear-plugs, bonnet, started the watch and left the building quietly. Nice in the air, a bit fresh though, she had decided to wear long tights and regular long sleeves and wind-jacket despite the temperature indicating 2ºC only. It was nice and refreshing as said earlier.

Her first few steps were careful, multiple stars-lights illuminating the pavement. But after those prudent minutes, she felt relieved and got into a nice easy pace for warming up. Met the delivery truck as well as some poor dogs-owners needing to get out for their lovely animal. By km2 the road was no longer dry and the small star-lights on the pavement meant this time icy parts. The runner decided to reduce the lengths of her steps…just to be on the safe side. Still it was fine to run. km3 she paused for some stretches, setting her favorite music and then it was time to unleash the legs for a serie of long intervals.

Already at the start of the first interval it was a bit slippery, but the runner was careful to run on the gravel and where the few bikes had already passed. The last 3-500m were however too slippery and she opted for running on the ground beside the bike path (this choice was not optimal nevertheless as it mean running on wet mud…). And the first interval was completed. Easy jog then, but more and more, the runner noticed that the bike road was in reality a ice-ring in disguise. Fast thinking she moved herself towards the car-road. There it felt better. Well, the Head did not find it smart at all. Ice is ice, and this is dangerous (especially without adapted shoes on). But the body did not want to listen. She turned back to get a little downhill with an easy jogg, crossed carefully an icy roundabout and then happily saw a bus coming into the street she had chosen. Happy why? because the bus would pass just ahead of her as many other buses must have done earlier this morning, i.e. the road was fine to run on…at least on this side!

And off she went, this second interval started greatly and even though she had to jump on the pavement because nasty car-drivers coming from behind were flashing their lights, she still could keep a nice pace as she wanted… until it arrived. THE ICE-RING! in the middle of the road…here it was. No need to say that this was not without a bit of fear she crossed this ice-ring…RUNNING! Once again, the Head was shaking and not happy, but really the rest of the body would not mind. Just continuing to run but really carefully she took a few seconds at a crossroad to evaluate the situation: right? not possible too icy and back on the bike path. Straightforward? same same. Left then? and running up the hill? well all was better alternative than turning back! So uphill it was and thanks for the gravel on the bike path, she was able to keep up the running until the end of this interval as well. A bit of rest after that and a bit of evaluation again before the third interval.

No change this time: careful running downhill on the car path, then turning and turning and more turning… yes, the runner was not entirely happy as all those turns as well as the downhill and the ice-risk was killing her pace. She felt she could push way more, but the legs this time did not want to push more as being very conscious (!) of the risk it would be if any icy part would pop-up unannounced… This third interval was not satisfactory…Well, in a way it was as it remained in the range expected, but way slower than the two first (yes, but considering the risk of falling…bla bla bla… the discussion and argument between Head and Body was getting along!). Reaching soon the stretching place, the runner knew she was having now a better place to run with better grip. A bit false insurance here as it had probably become slightly colder since she had passed earlier and the road was actually slippery there…as well!

No pain no gain… the final interval had to be completed. Down the road which has warmth under (perfect for running!) and after a few sec of breathing, she did her best for the last 300m. And finally a short rewarding cool down back home…

Still night when she opened the door, time to get rid of the running gear, get a hot shower to remove the warm-warm-warm chilli gel on the legs and…6:50am – time to start with the morning pancakes 🙂

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Perfect to start a day, ok – not for the icy and dangerous part. It felt quite easy to do those intervals despite the early hour. Got energy for the rest of the day definitely…and was tired by 7pm in front of the 3rd episode of Narnja… 1hour nap and of course, not possible to sleep again until late. But this is another story…


Like two bridges over troubled water…

Following Sunday long run, a choice had to be made on Monday: to rest or not to rest. Due to sleeping difficulties, not a chance to go up and run early. Then forgot my gear to run at lunch and in the evening I wad in bed by 7pm… Deeply asleep within seconds! But all good things have an end…write up around 9pm and unable to fall asleep again… So did my rehab routine and by midnight, my eyes were closed again…

So early Tuesday morning run you may ask? Well, no… Lots of snoozes, and up at 6:30am to get breakfast ready: croissants and pains au chocolat for all 🙂 not much job 😉 Hurried to work, missed the ferry like yesterday, got to answer the phone and missed a beautiful shot of the harbour under the morning lights…all started a bit…not the way I wanted! Then interview at work, more work, discussion with Poland and planning discussion with Brazil… France is here visiting 🙂 When all looked completed for the day, aimed back home and jumped directly into my gear for avoiding falling on the sofa… Skipped the planned intervals as per the long run of Sunday and thought about a 13km, which changed into a 15K over two bridges and finally was completed in 18km… Lots of uphills, no need for strength workout today 😀 Do nice to run in the dark and the city lights, not to cold in the air, mind being free of all thoughts and worries…Should be like that more often. I love running during the day, under the sun or towards the sun rise or sun down… But the darkness of the skies has a special appeal. Making it all calm and peaceful. Just you, your shoes and the road…More of that, please!
Completed the day with pasta and fish with lemon sauce, yummy! As this is the final week before holidays, we watched a movie as well :”The League”. As usual, took me half of the movie to remember who wad the bad one… But now all asleep and time to get some beauty sleep as well (after doing my rehab exercise…).

Night night!


Icy-rainy-bridgy-intervally-backy-mixy-shorts week :)

(Week 091213-151213)
Can you feel the stress all around at work, school and home? Or should this be called “Xmas feeling’s in the air”? Great week for training if disregarding this “stress-Xmas-feeling-whatever-you-choose-to-call-it”!

Monday started with a late-early-morning run on ice. Real careful on the pavement especially after the Sunday snowy/rainy weather. Most of the snow had disappeared (Yippie!) but replaced by some icy parts which were not that “Yippie”. Could get a 10K out of it anyway before starting work, and that was way enough and satisfactory for this first day of the week! The knees felt a bit tired and achy, the thigh/bum muscle has started to make itself reminded AGAIN.. Hope this just stop one day just!

The week continued with a heavy Tuesday. Early morning run was not to count on. Was so extremely tired that I took my gear to work and hoped for some time to get out and see the light (not the sun as it is no longer appearing here apparently…). Which I did. Quick after the last long morning meeting, run downstairs to change, off I went with music in the ears, direction the bridge. Said to myself that would 5K beep before I start the bridge, I would turn back to the office… Of course (!) it beeped 5K when reaching the middle of the bridge. Took 30sec breather and continued to the other side, ran under and took the other side of the bridge back to the office. Easy in the mind, fresh in the legs, when seeing the runner close to the finish point running a bit fast, I could not hold the legs and got up to speed 🙂 Nice bridgy lunch run. Quick shower, wrap in front of the computer and off to first afternoon meeting! When ready to close up for the day, new change of gear, all I could throw in my liiiitle backpack went in and off I ran home (ovber the same lunch bridge…). 18km this day – happy to be home and enjoy my little monsters (who were asking directly when I cross the front door, whether I just arrived from work OR if I was on my way out for a run… do you hear the complain somewhere?…).

Good night’s sleep meant early wake up on Wednesday and off I left quietly. Unsure which workout to choose however. Had either intervals 1000m or hill workout. First one got the preference (even though I questioned myself throughout the workout!!!). Surely 5am ain’t the most optimal time for doing such runs, but it is either then or none at all… What would you choose?!?!? Got a nice workout and full with energy for the day. No real plan for more run this day, but had to pickup E at his rehearsal, so why not a transport jog…and over the bridge…making it 6km instead of 2… 🙂 Real nice feeling, progressive acceleration (even when running back & forth on the bridge), which ended with a 500m racing behind a taxi and making this final bout REAL fast 🙂 Pretty cold however after the pickup so needed a super hot shower to stop myself from shivering…

Thursday ended being a rest day. Started again the rehab for my thigh/bum muscle (or hamstring I guess it is called). Hopefully it will help to get rid of this for good. It feels pretty stiff and stretch is not helping…

TGIF! Yes of course! and it is 13th as well… so what is better to start the day than an early hill interval workout?!?!? In the dark, nice and easy, really enjoyable workout. Have to work a bit on the last 50-60m which are WAY too controlled (i.e. I kind-of slow down during this part). And back home in a spooky road with fog and really little lightning… No more running for this day, but a nice and cosy evening instead.

Sleep-in (for once!) on Saturday morning until …8.30am (!) Off to the bakery to get fresh croissants and pains au chocolat (read: make it 6,5km easy-fast-pace run to pick up croissants instead of walking easily the 1.2km to the bakery…) ALL is good for doing a run 😉 Lots of walking in town during the day to find some Xmas stuff and then late afternoon was time for a second easy run, planned 10K and turned into 15K in the dark and silence of the city. Real nice ending of the day with a movie and the start of MIB on tv… before we all fell real tired and went to bed!

So when the clock ran @7am on Sunday, and the rain was pouring down, it was very unlikely to be of any appeal to get me out of bed for a long run. Did some calculations, schedules and plans on how to arrange who is going to which activity and when and for how long and ultimately got the best (ok, most optimal) time slot for my long run. Started therefore the day with waffles and had in mind to have this as my prep meal for the long run later in the afternoon. Time to get ready and changed last minute from 3/4 shorts to short shorts… It was after all 8ºC outside. Long compression socks and camelbak with energy drink… ALL SET! Started with an easy 10K with 2 bridges, then followed by a tempo 5K, real nice and good feeling there. Easy part before alternative pacing parts and finally easy back home. Nice long run of 33.33km in 2:31 for a pace of 4:33/km (I actually tried to get as many “3” on the screen of my watch!!!) 🙂 Got a real rush during the run and happy to complete it with 3 small hand full M&M’s mix and then a kebab pizza with 1/2 fanta. And yes, this was also topped with an ice cream… Nothing is better than the reward after such a run!!!

Now the summary of the week is complete and I am very tired (well the mind is up and functioning but the legs and especially the hamstring is REALLY not happy). So time for some bedtime reading before starting a new week. Lots of planning to do still. The year is not yet finished…

(and yes, my laptop is starting to show real signs of “needed-retirement”, so hope for Santa to bring me a new one which is not sounding like an original steam engine and that is not sleeping when i am typing (or is it that my fingers are so fast typing on the keyboard that the machine cannot follow… Those weekly summaries are quite nice to do some reflections afterwards,. but seriously take longer time to write. So will see how to do for the next postings…).

Tjingeling!


Travel, shorts, tired, snow and frozen toes…

(Week 021213-081213)
Second of two heavy workload weeks…and some travel…and bad weather…training in all this?

As usual started the week with…a Monday. Less usual that it started after threw hours sleep and as early as 4:00am. Time to get the cab to the airport…business travel. Planned a rest day as I was travelling through 3 airports and one ocean before reaching my destination. Had compression socks to ensure (?) the legs would be fine. Lots of drinking (water!) during the flight, resulting to lots of walking to the loo (high price to pay…). Real boring flight so was happy to reach three Big Apple …it was a little more than a year aso I was there and…not allowed to run their marathon 😦 after the 3 hours wait in Oslo, had to be added an extra hour in NY (meaning 4 hours wait there!)… No need to say I could think of plenty of other ways to spend 7 hours today instead of waiting for my next flights… No possibility to run as I had my laptop in my backpack… Got finally to my destination, got a rental car (automatic….)and got to the hotel. My calves felt pretty tired and when taking of the socks, they appeared like double-sized… Decided then to get a short run on the dreadmill… More boring than that, unsure it can be found! Got up to a 5K, struggling with the pace and distance not being in metrics. Anyway, a good night’s sleep, I thought….
And there came Tuesday…at 3am in the morning…and impossible to sleep more. Decided around 4am to go up and head towards the gym. Once again, struggling with distance and pace, got a 12km (I think?) but so much sweat for this and according to the dreadmill, not at all fast! Got to ask a runner coming with a front lamp into the gym where he did run. “On the motorway” he answered… No kidding! “if you run early enough, the traffic is light” he added… So no, there was really no alternative to the treadmill. Long work day, dinner with colleague and to occupy the evening…stupidly tried to get on the treadmill again. Got to a 5K and seriously? Got so bored I even start to consider the motorway was after all not such a bad idea…
Wednesday got me up early…again with first meeting at 6am. Little ache in the middle of the left knee so sloped the run, especially with the loaded agenda for the day. Great day btw, ending at a Japanese steak house with colleagues.
Could have had a nice and long night’s sleep…if not for the online conference starting at…5am on Thursday… Therefore second rest day in a row. Work day a usual, having around 2pm the feeling that my head was getting closer and closer to the keyboard…a nice large coke kept me away from the jetlag 🙂 and them it was already 6pm (EST) and time to fly back home via Chicago and Copenhagen. Slept on all flights 🙂
So when the snowy landscape welcomed my plane on Friday…I was well awaken, with really swollen calves and hungry a lot. Spent a bit of time with my legs up to reducer the swelling (strange as I had my compression socks in the planes…), but could not hold more and got out for an easy 10K run on slippery surface… Great to be home!
Saturday got a more slippery run, but got a nice pace on those 15K though. Was a bit concerned for not having run well nor long in the US, but this day was fine. No evening out as planned so it turned into pizza in front of a scary movie instead..Tricky to get to bed before 3am…
So Sunday started later with easy and light breakfast and to my disappointment,… a white cover of snow had and was still falling from the skies 😦 😦 Changed to my running gear, left knee making itself heard (i.e. not willing to go out…). Two layers of clothes later and ice pikes under the shoes, time to go for the weekly long run… Stopped after 1km into a shop to get a plastic bag for my mobile as it was “nicely” (read the irony here…) raining out there. Frozen feet and tours that had lost their feeling… This is a description of my km2…onwards! Got to run on little icy parts, but the worse was the snow, the wet snow, the water pools everywhere, the cars passing by and making me wet (or more wet…). The motto during the run was from km2 “only 20km to go”…and no it did not change until reaching km10..when it changed to “only 19km to go” (and then deceased every km). Got to run with headwind, tailwind, side wind…you name it. Took of my ice-stuff a few times around the end as there were so snow-ice-free path and I really wanted to test for some speed 😉 Got up to 27km in those conditions. Took a whole under very hot water to get back any feeling in the toes…but so worth it!
Thai massage was waiting for me to complete this day and week…so well-deserved!

And so ended this travel week. The only positive with the treadmill was to be able to run in shorts!!! Not a fully satisfactory training week, but got more than expected from the workshop organised there. So definitely a good week. Two more weeks before Xmas…and then it us soon new year…

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