Back to reality…
When the snowflakes are falling slowly like in a fairytale that is when you start realizing that it is nice with some snow. But then 5 minutes later, you remember that today is office day and that you have to walk to the ferry on slippery street and then same in the evening.
Wore proudly my medal all day long (yes, I do that after every marathon, and I think it is ALL ok). Mindset back to work pretty fast as the marathon-bubble had disappeared. Thoughts regarding the next race already popping up in the head as have read some posts and articles about both the next race and the next next race.
Food is the tricky part – always eating regular portion for a hungry person who is running on a regular basis, the post marathon can sometimes bring days without any wish for food (no worries! I eat anyway, because I would faint otherwise!) or others with craving like today…for a pizza! Lunch boring from the restaurant in our building, followed by “Galette des Rois” (Kings cake) with colleagues and then out with a colleague in an Italian restaurant, where I ate… a pizza! and a chocolate cake with berries and ice cream afterwards. A bit full tummy now, but this tasted really good.
Today the body starts to show signs of running-will. No running abstinence as such, but when you wait (on purpose) to the last minute before a meeting for printing a document and HAVE to run the 10-20m back&forth to pick up your print… there is something that your body is trying to tell you! High heels running rocks in the office! No real fun however to have the snow outside because it ain’t the safest weather for running outdoor. Will definitely have my anti-slip on my shoes for my first outing. In the meantime, doing power-walk at decent pace will be working fine for recovery activity.
More sleep to take now. Long day tomorrow.
(and yes, have a few times wondered why I came back home, leaving sunny Dubai for snowy Sweden…anyone?…)
Then the 3rd day she shall travel back home… Plane to Frankfurt? Did not feel it taking off. Had already closed my eyes. The man and his wife took two seats letting one between me and them. So their two small ones could sleep. By the time I open my eyes, serving sandwich (good I ate extra before leaving!). Watch a movie called “Now you see me”, and recommend it. Quite cool. Then it was only me and the wife left sleeping on the 4 seats and after halfway, i was alone so could try to lay down on 3 seats then. But way less comfortable than on the way down to Dubai. My last thought before falling into deep sleep was that I could feel fine enough after the race to wait 4 days before a massage, but that 5 hours flight would probably require an osteopath session to solve all the aches and pains this flight would create! Arriving at Frankfurt, as usual B.O.R.I.N.G. Nothing opened almost (and for what it is, it does not really matter!). Finding my gate and taking 2 free hot chocolate and surf a little. Got to read there should be new additions of fast runners in my club, which sounds really cool. Running alone I like, but no surprise that training from time to time with others is giving some pep to the training.
Frankfurt-home? same procedure as earlier: did not see the plane taking off, barely heard the breakfast serving and woke up when we landed. Snow-covered landscape was NOT what I wished to see on the arrival. Luggage, bus, tram and finally home. 30 minutes later – laptop on and ready for work.
By the end of the day, there had been way more snow falling and it was a very white-christmasy-feeling outside (ok, now I said it so the snow can go away!). The body had felt fine today as well apart from a walk on good tempo done mid-afternoon where the inside front of the hip made itself reminded and this was no fun. Almost stopped at the doc to be checked (but then it disappeared). Had a phone call from HR and discuss this. Will see how it goes and if not better or popping up again, then will be visiting the doc.
Late evening, several washing machines later and it was time for bed. Return to reality? check!
The tricky with recovery days is as far as I am concerned to actually take it easy for real. After a marathon it happens that M Day+1 I just don’t want to run at all. Might not be related to any particular pain but more that a vacuum has now breached and a breathe can finally be taken. Can also happen that there is pain or ache hindering any wish to run. When reaching M Day+2 (i.e. Recovery day #2), it starts to feel pretty dull to rest. Once again there can be physical pain or ache still, but the brain is already up and running (ha ha ha! Figure of speech, of course!). After Berlin, I just did not want to run. Today it felt different. Body feels fine, as bit tired/sored calves but fine thighs, stomach muscles felt better as well… So the walking went fine, but now the rest of the day was still ahead… And sunbathing is fun, but to a certain limit. This was anyhow the way I spent the day, close to the pool because I seriously was not up for visiting. Checkout at noon makes it also tricky to plan much. So rest and sleep and more sun cream and more sudoku… You get the picture. Recovery is on the way!
Tougher than I thought to get some sleep yesterday. Probably by midnight I was able to get some rest… for waking up 5hours later…& then 7:30am when I finally got up. Prepared breakfast to go (same as the days before with a luxury topping of honey) sun-creamed myself and started to walk towards Medinat Jumeira, where I took my breakfast in the silence of the little pond inside the Medinat. Then back to the hotel and could not get my room longer than noon so pack everything possible and decide for more sunbathing. Checkout @11:30am, back at the pool until lunch @1:00pm (lamb chops and rice, yummy!). Then nothing very exciting really, resting, sudoku, cold/warm bath and eating fruits and drinking water.
Body feels really fine. Of course. The going-down-the-stairs ain’t the most easy part of my day, but it seriously feels fine. The one-hour breakfast power-walk did good! Now the sun has left the roof top, so changed to walk in the Mall of Emirates one last time. This Mall is very different from Dubai Mall. Huge is an understatement (did I say I lost my way a few times?) and you cannot really feel you are in Dubai. Could be any HUGE Mall in the world really. Skipped the visit to Deira this morning for sake of time (and honestly, I was not looking forward to walk around there alone. Been there two years ago with G and that was fun).
Did this last walk in the Mall of Emirates, eating dumplings (beef & shrimps) – yumyum! And got the hot chocolate from Starbucks I have been cravings for since day 1… Then back to the hotel to get my luggage, walk to the metro and got to the airport…5.5 hours ahead of schedule…
Waiting for the check-in to open, I got to meet a nice French couple being here for business/leisure and then a kind Scotsman from Aberdeen who came over to Dubai for an interview. Check-in went quick and then got more food in the tummy (new version of grilled chicken sub with fries). Last day of rubbish food 🙂 The long wait until boarding is made shorter when meeting again the Scotsman. Lots of fun discussing running, work, countries, travel, EU and monarchy.
Time to board now. Only two seats for me this time (don’t dare to ask the guy on seat no4 if it’s ok to have my feet on him!). Getting ready for a long & not too comfortable flight… Good after all with a recovery day resting under the sun…
NOTE: right after picking up my suitcase and aiming to the metro, I felt a huge pain in the front of the hip. Unsure how to describe it, because never had such. Did make me walk a bit strangely but by the time I get on the metro, it has disappeared. To be checked…
Recovery starts actually from the moment one cross the Finish Line… More in previous post and race report. Missing there is that it took a while to get to sleep. Tired? Yes. But had to have my legs up for a while and it ain’t comfortable to sleep with three pillows under the feet!
Awaken at 4:40am, checking wether I had dreamt the race, but the medal in the bed table reinsured me it was not 😉 Back to sleep then. Awaken after that by 8:20am and really had to go up because the mouth felt pretty dry.
Easy up, checking again my medal and finally decided for breakfast. Disappointed when going to the “bakery” of the corner street as it was more a quick-food restaurant than “croissant-and-bread” bakery. So oat-porridge again with honey on the top as a touch of reward and luxury 😉
Prepared myself for going out and enjoy FULLY if the sun. My left foot blister not looking to good I decided for lazy-pool-day instead of walking-6km-to-the-beach-day.
Really resting, full sun protection. Every hour or so doing an “alternative baths”, i.e. 30sec in the freeeezing cold pool, 1min in the jacuzzi and back to the cold pool. The jacuzzi ain’t warmer than “room-temperature”-warm but it felt hot compared to the pool. Spending the whole day there, seems like. Water, snacks, fruits and sudoku to pass the time. Lunch around 1:30pm from the grill restaurant in the corner. Choosing chicken with rice. Getting a chicken of a size I’ve never seen, so protein in the recovery meal? Check! Carbs are in the rice.
Afternoon plans? Same as the morning… Meeting the Austrian runner and his wife from yesterday. We chatted a bit and I remain speechless when he says he ended in 3:21 and not happy because the long line between km16 and 36 was a killer… No my silence is when he says he is 50+… because he ain’t looking like that! Go runner, go!!!
Ending the day with cold shower (did not burn myself during the race yesterday, but have a nice red chest and stomach at the end of the day today…). Little reading and even though not hungry, got out to buy a grilled chicken burger with fries and topping it with a Power Boost freshly mixed fruit-juice (carrots, apple, orange and ginger… Wonder how I will sleep after that!).
But now M Day+1 touches to its end and it is good. A bit boring not to do anything after a fully packed schedule preparing for a marathon. Massage of thighs and calves with tiger balm red. Apart from smelling much and liiitle cold effect, I am not convinced what this balm does. Booked anyhow a massage for Wednesday at home so my magic-hands masseur can take care oft tired muscles (& nope, still no pain really, neither from hamstring nor from heels).
Tomorrow’s plan is quite simple: leaving the room at 12:00pm so will aim for a walk maybe to the sea and then more sunbathing (probably with stronger sun-protection though…). I can well spend the rest of afternoon either under the sun or at the Mall… It’s gonna be tough to fly back home as usual. Why does the world continue to turn when going away for a dream-race?… Of course, busy schedule from Tuesday onwards…
Time for bed now (if the Sandman would be so kind to come soon… Ha ha ha…the Sandman… He must be living in the desert around Dubai 🙂
Once again, lots of thanks for all the kinds words received since the race!!!
Planned: under 3:03 but secretly hoping for right under 3:00 (& of course, faster would also be nice…)
Actual:…2:58:59!!! New PB by 4 min 44 sec from Berlin in September 2013… 3rd best Swedish woman and 25th among women all categories… (with strong representation of elite women from Ethiopia and Kenya on the leaderboard…)
SUB3: Enough said! This marathon is likely to be remembered 🙂
place (M/W) 25
place (ag) 3
age/grade: 77.74% (2012 Dubai:66.6/ London:66.47/SF:65.66/Berlin:68.29/2013 Dubai: 72.35/Boston:72.19/Stockholm:73.1/Berlin 75.74% )
time total (netto) 02:58:59
time total (brutto) 02:59:03
average pace: 4:14min/km
Split time diff min/km
10K 41:51 41:51 4:11
HALFWAY 01:28:32 46:41 4:12
30K 02:06:20 37:48 4:13
Finish 02:58:59 52:39 4:14
After final try of gear for the race, check of what to take to the start and when, having all the alarms set for the morning preps, setting my virtual Garmin friend to 4:14… 😉 (not that I really plan to follow it, but that would be cool, huh?), took a warm shower which should make me tired and sleepy…not!
19:25 – drinking 3dl Gatorade (mixed blue and orange 🙂 ) and 2dl water, aimed for bed. Probably too early. Eyes closed but mind alert. Almost sleeping when bouncing noise started outside (on the top of the constant far away noise from the cars – can really hear them from the motorway?!?). Bouncing noise continues until passed 9-ish. By then I have got up twice already. Then just laying down in the dark, trying to count sheeps when they turn suddenly into runners crossing the finish line. Yapp! Fun and I did not drink any alcohol… No more Gatorade-mix I presume! Checking the clock every half hour or hour. No sleep. Read a little. Still no sleep.
11:58pm – Still turning in my bed…
And same 30minutes later aso… Went up at a moment to applicate patch on my little stiff shoulders, but did not help the sleeping.
Before the race
SO when the clock rang 2:55am, I had just fallen asleep probably. Got up for preparing my porridge (still need practice to do that in the microwave…)+ banana, cranberries, gojjiberries, nuts, little sugar and oat milk. Orange juice and C-vitamin on the top of this (&allergy medicine and iron tablet as well). Water and back to bed.
3:30&4:00 am – Same procedure for water. Hesitated in drinking some Gatorade as well but skipped it. To keep it safe… Put chillout music as well but still in bed.
4:30am – Sloooowly getting out of bed, shower, more water, getting my hair ready and massage with red tiger balm (worked fine yesterday…. & I know, should not try stuff the days of a race…my conscious has already said that). Sun cream all over, hoping it would work without having running cream in the eyes. Running gears are: More Miles short short, SOC sport bra (yes, it is important and will write later why), SOC purple singlet, pink Kalenji socks (you can run and be colour-conscious 😉 they suit well with the singlet and the shoes), sunglasses & ASICS Gel DS Skyspeed.
5:00am – Already? This arrived too fast! Still preparing myself, changing tactic for the gels: 2 in side pocket of my singlet, 1 in back pocket with Dextrosol and 1 in the hand. Lifting up my singlet so the gels are making a little bump on my back, but better looking like a camel than burning my chest again. Throwing change outfit and extra shoes in my marathon bag and sunglasses on the head, wind-jacket on, it is time to leave.
5:44am – jogging easily to the start. Quite nice in the air, moon shining in the sky. Feeling better than last year. Following the human wave growing to the start. Lots of traffic there as well.
6-ish – Arrived at the marathon village. Photo pre-race taken? Check! First stop at the loo as there is no queue. Lots of ambiance there. The place is better I think than close to Burj Khalifa (although it was nice to start there). Dropping my bag around 6:15 am. Last visit to the ladies (now it is a queue..) and aiming towards the start.
6:35am – Start to jog light a few 60m as not much more place for warming up. 5 minutes or so of this. Then wait a bit while walking and then 2-3 minutes of same 60m with acceleration one way and easy jog back. Not much of a warmup, but that will do.
6:50am – Well placed in front row, discussing briefly on my right and my left and in French 🙂 Countdown starts, 5 minutes to start… Really? Was not 10minutes left just 2 seconds ago?!?! Fixing my laces on left shoes for the fourth time. Hoping it won’t be too tight as I am pretty bad at stopping to tie my laces up during training, so for a race would not like it…
Few minutes left – we slowly walk our way towards the start. The elite field is way more crowded than previous two years. Getting a great place right behind the two Swedish chicks (Louise Wiker and Lena Eliasson) who are racing for a place in the Swedish team to be sent to the European championship this summer. Luxury enough: both have great pace makers with them (respectively Anders Szalkai and Martin Lundqvist, a giant in green outfit. Ok, both are giants!).
07:02am– Then hold it, hooooold it, hooooooooold it…. And PANG! Start and the race was on! Not too much pushing, although the congestion is certain. Seeing our Swedish elites drifting away and sure I can follow them the first 200m… Tricky start because lots of starters are actually not fast and not planning to be. So they push, run like h*ll the first 200-400m and you are obliged to keep their pace, until they just stop after 5-600m and start cruising. No offence, but could not they start in the second lane instead of the front row? Anyhow, starting a bit fast, but feeling good. Km1 disappears in 4:05 and it was not expected. Stabilising the pace to 4:10/4:11 by km5, which feel fine. By km3 I already have a burning feeling on the back of my left foot, not understanding why because I did put double band-aid on the potential area for blister… right under the ankle… and what I feel is actually in the back of the foot. Skipping thinking of it won’t make it disappear nor getting better (probably the contrary), but there is no way I am stopping to check. Taking a little water & 2 Dextrosol at first water station (5K). Having a bunch of guys ahead of me and it feels ok to follow them. Ok, maybe it is faster than planned, but knowing how I work (or how I think I work) if I slow down now, it is gonna be painful. Up to now it was a bit foggy (well, cloudy maybe), but now the sun is going up and can be seen. Nice because it will not be like last year foggy race. Chatting briefly with an older man in green outfit and he happens to be Norwegian 🙂 Few words exchanged in respectively Swedish and Norwegian and I drifted away with another runner. All goes fine, having music in my ears from start because unlike other large cities races, there is 1) not much public to carry you when it hurts and 2) not many people to hold on to after 10km as most of the runners have established their pace by now.
Km7.5 is the intermediate water station where I grab a bottle, emptying half of it (too heavy to carry otherwise…) and run with it until km9 where I take my first gel (the one I carried in my hand from start). All ok so far. Happy not to have my HR monitor as it would probably have indicated already a high pulse… But feeling is fine. Seriously nothing happening until km10, where I finally catch up with a gal with bright yellow compression socks and top and black skirt. Had her far away in sight from km2, but planned to just keep her in sight as long as possible, but now she was here. Hanging along with her after the 10K-water station but noticed I drifted seriously on the pace during the following km by adapting to hers (4:19), so accelerating slightly, trying to catch up with the previous guys. Completing km15 in 4:08 🙂 So much for NOT compensating for lost time as suggested Pfitzinger… (& no, I don’t do all what he writes and suggest!… But like the style and approach).
From km10, have calculated quickly (the brain is still alert) how many km are left until we turn back. If recalling right, I met the elites men on their way back when reaching km13 and was expecting the elites women 5-10minuted after, but felt it took longer time. Large group of elites runners still. 2dextrosol at km15 with little water. Seeing our Swedish women runners and cheer for them (thinking afterwards they might not like it at all if it disturb their focus…). Anyway, reaching km16 or so and it is time to turn. Wow, so nice because since a while, we were running on the route from last year (i.e. from approx. where we turned then for halfway), but never could guess where we were really as it was the second half by then (i.e. reduced brain activity when reaching this point!!!). But reaching this km16 and a 180-turn, which was approx.9.5km last year, I am “home” now. Accelerating deliberately to get the guys group from the start and hope they keep a 4:10/4:11 pace much longer.
Km17 is tricky as I have to take a gel from my singlet pocket (singlet which I have lifted up into my sport bra to have bare stomach and same in the back). No easy task, real boring solution, loosing time and focus. Have to put the singlet back as well 😦 Gel taken @km17.5 with the intermediate station. (Yes, this thing about intermediate water station: water-station every 5km from km5 to km40 and THEN intermediate station half-way… Could not they say: “water-station every 2.5km” instead? And yes I know there are other stuff like sponges, Gatorade… distributed, but still… Too much for the mind really!). Following the guys group since km16 or so and now it is windy!!! Cannot see any flag like at home to indicate where the wind come from so I can take cover. It cannot be that I am THAT fast and producing a resistance force to the air which can then be taken as wind, right? (No need to explain here, my physics lessons are a bit far away and definitely not a priority at this particular moment). What I noted is that being behind kind of the guys is NOT helping… until I see flags and understand it is side-wind we have… I think… Still cruising (cool, right? 4:10 and cruising!!!). Effortless? Nope, I do feel I am running slightly faster than planned or should, but so what. The two guys from South Africa in the group indicate they won’t hold this pace much longer and will probably follow me rather than the contrary. Hmmm… Here disappears my hope for personal pacers from km21 to 32. Seeing km21 sign and deciding for trying to get another help a bit ahead of me.
Passing half-way in 1:28:30, which happily gives me potentially 1min30 extra to drift during the second half and still make it under 3 hours.
After this extra push, I complete the next two km at 4:08 (!) and then 4:09!!! This marathon is great because the km-signs are ca.30-70m after the Garmin beeps. So quite ok. From km20 to 32, taking 1dextrosol every km except when taking gel+1km. Worked fine last year’s race and the following marathons, so let’s keep it up then… Km22 makes me happy, because it is only 20km to go, 2*10, less than half, and soon the mind will be calculating the distance to km35 (Mats knows why…).
Km25 makes me really p**sed, because I try to shout I want an open bottle and get a locked one impossible to open, missing almost the sponge and drinking too fast starting then to cough. (And I am really sorry now that I swore at the kids giving the bottles, but at this time, sorry was not in sight….). Km35 is only 10km away… Finally getting a water bottle a bit before km27 and once again, a real pain to get my gel out of my singlet-pocket-which-is-lifted-up-under-my-sport-bra. Nope, this is definitely not a solution. But now I am finished with all gels but the last one in my shorts pocket. Have been carrying carefully the Dextrosol in my bra (having a sock for it to avoid burn marks). Not optimal either… Lots of work still to do!
Seeing Burj Al Arab (still a bit away), and new strengths are felt (ok, can maybe not be seen in the pace, but the mind was happy, because it meant being closer to the last 12km, or just 2km before the last 10k, or 3km until I could see Mats (yep, at this time, I was really expecting it to happen…). Drifting away started during this “no man’s land”. Could not estimate how much drifting was ok, the brain was almost off and when it was on again, it was stupidly (or wisely?) doing a body check and saying softly that it was high time to call it for the day….
Km30 was tough. No one in sight to pull me or even run beside/behind/in front of me. The loneliness of the long-distance runner?… TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!! Fortunately meeting then more people and finishers from the other races (10k & 3K). And my hope was still to get to see someone at km35…
Passing Medinat Jumeira and continuing on the loooooooooong way to km36 (here there should be more “o” in “long”, because it was really THAT long). Meeting elite men on the other side (they are like few km to the finish line), makes me smile. Better looking at them and the way they make this finish look so d*mn easy (sorry I swear…). “Drifting” is now an understatement. “Drifting” takes a WHOLE new level and sense. I explain why: you find yourself on a long long street for which you cannot see the end (I am sure that if you continue to the end you are falling from the Earth… if the Earth was flat), sun heating your head, no shadow, a *#!$ side wind or wherever it is coming from which is annoying you, three runners ahead but probably respectively 70, 100 and 150m in front of you (in other words: you CANNOT reach them…) and the pavement is seriously getting on your nerve… Not even this description is detailing the feeling of loneliness and the wish to quit that reach your mind and play with your thoughts. Seeing the elite women on the other side brings only little joy to my pain. Yes I said it. Pain has reached the building!!! The blister on the back of the left foot is there to stay since the start (and this was good to let it be ignored!). Have been however throwing water in my legs at almost every water-station, incl. intermediate ones. On the top of that, took 3 or 4 times sponges… So by now I am soaking wet (well, my socks are, my shorts are (yeah, I am not to good at aiming the thighs and generally get most of the water on the shorts. Water which thereafter runs down the legs OR apparently remains in the shorts and makes me a few kg more heavy!!).
Back to the pain… My mind is now laughing when/if looking at the lap pace. Still keeping a 4:12 pace for long time though. Have passed by now three elite women who have dropped the race and I think that I saw one female runner far ahead who was not “elite” but fast was her second name, for sure! All good for me as it meant a few free places on the ranking (any thought is good by then for keeping the spirit up). Meeting an elite woman around km33 and I make it my personal mission to not only pass her but keep her behind me until the end. The first one is done without any problem, even though I have now km-pace of 4:20 or so. She seems to have no more strength left (ok. I take this back because she has reached so far and STILL is running to the end. I say “respect” instead). Ok, pain? Drifting? Loosing it? Yaaah, all at once. The countdown from km32 (aka “last 10km as any 10K-race”) is not really smashing clear in my head. Should I be able to make this last 10k in sub40?!? Not a chance with this weather!
Reaching km35 and disappointed not to see Mats and his accompanying thoughts… Matters not, says the mind. He must be at the next km-sign. Nope! None there neither (the mind plays tricks and this one worked up to km39… where I stopped looking for Mats…). Turning-point at the end of this motorway-like street. Km36 is reached. I am not a quitter, so I won’t quit. (On the top of that, this would mean walking back to the start for 6.2km… No way! Call me lazy if you wish!!!). Taking my last gel @km35, cola-taste. I like normally, but today not. Smart mind is telling me the body needs it so let it be then! 6km is nothing. Back and forth to the main tram stop or the arena at home, what I ran yesterday before breakfast, N.O.T.H.I.N.G. From this turn of km36 happens something however (and not a wall). Passing I think 5-7 people until the end. But even better, I have a man running beside me the WHOLE way. Unsure if he should be “that” slow (read: “me-slow“) or if he is actually staying with me on purpose. In either case, he is my saviour. Not a word, just running (& not “around” this time!). Sooo many times until km39 it feels like it should be so much better to stop in the side, take care of my feet, rest for juuuust a little while… But once again, NOT A CHANCE! Seeing km39, checking the watch, quick calculation (& by now doing maths is not on the priority task-list of the brain, if I may add!). If I run @5:00/km, I should be exactly on the 3:00-mark. The watch indicating I am now drifting @4:14, it should be ok. JUST not make the clock change to 3:00:00 when I still can see it. I started pretty much at gun time, but have seen the car prior to the men elites the first time we met and I noted 2-3 seconds difference from my watch.
Km39 is now passed. Left is the distance I usually take as warmup for intervals. 3km. Nothing. Fuel is gaining the brain again. Because btw the legs ARE fine. Ok, there has been 3-4 small cramp-alerts throughout the race but nothing needing to stop. So let the mind keep up for once. Km40 is there, sooner than expected. Getting encouragements from marathon runners in the other side of the road (on their way to the dreadful km36-turn… but I say nothing…keeping smiling). Now it is less than 2km to go. 9 minutes at most (you never know how long are the 195m after km42-sign…). And I see km41… Already? Soon I turn and it should be 500m left. Time for a final sprint (yes, I call this final km a sprint because it ended in 4:09…!!! Where was this pace on the way to km35-36? Huh?!?). Unsure I smile, cannot see the clock with the sun in the face (smart place to put the finish line…)… Noooo it turns 2:59:xx right when I can still see it.. WHAT? 2:59?!? Yiiiiipie! This is less than 3:00, right? I JUST MADE THE SUB3-CLUB!!!
Takes a few steps to notice I did not stop my watch (therefore I continue for a while to be a very happy runner with a 2:59:xx-time…).
Official time received later on: 2:58:59.
After the finish line
Started to howl when seeing my watch (& I don’t care if I look disturbed, really!). Making my way to the massage tent, getting my medal, goodie bag and getting my number for the massage, I start waiting and chatting with the guys under the massage tent. It goes in French, English and Swedish. I stop at Arabic with a smile as I cannot this one. And yes, no woman in sight (but no runner gentleman enough to let me their massage place! 🙂 ). My shorts and socks are wet like I would have showered with them on… Have to work on my refreshing technique as well. Water-throwing and sponges ain’t working well… And Gosh! It is just SO GOOD to have a massage afterwards. Laying down on the massage table.
Takes 2 minutes before the right hamstring cramp like h*ll and when it goes away the left hamstring and calf take the following… Yeay.. 😦 Anyway, nice talk, will meet probably one of the guys in Paris for the Semi.
Putting back my dirty-sweaty-soaking-wet socks in my no-longer-comfortable shoes and aim to the marathon village.
Queue for medal engraving and once more howling when seeing my official time: 2:58:59!!! On the right side of the 2:58! Receiving lots of congrats, must have looked pretty excited then! Picking up my bag, photos and read sms from coach and mum confirming my time. Texting quickly to friends and then walking home. Feeling actually ok (not like I would start it all over again right now, but good it felt). Have drank my Gatorade, bottle of water and eaten my banana. A bit short of food for me I think…
Cold bath in the bathtub (although not freezing cold, it would do the trick), then hot/cold shower and 45minutes with legs up and rest and drinking. Then sms from my friend who is stuck working in Istanbul, so aimed to the mall for eating.
2:00pm – Restaurant finally. Large beef ribs with French fries + water. Served by Sudesh. Eating bread with olive oil&vinegar and sausages while waiting for the food (starving by now!). A bit too much with a whole ribs (although all went down…), but had to add an extra baked potato (& still could have eaten one more…). A bit stiff in the legs while standing up, so walked to do a bit food shopping (mainly fruits) and back home. (Ok, probably walked too much already after the race? Check!) Quick change to bathing suit, fully sun creamed and rooftop for sunbathing under the last sun rays reaching the pool area.
Not much celebration as alone, and definitely tired and not hungry in the evening. Chilling out rest of evening, eating Arabic bread, Arabic pastry (he he he!), drinking peach ice tea and looking at my so well-deserved medal…
Weather: +15°C at start is my guess, 23°C at arrival (real feel ? 25?). Humidity 78+ at start and 60-65 at end. Sun shining from km5 onwards. Side wind from km16 all the way to the end…a bit humid but still ok for running. Unsure the wind impacted much between km30-36, but definitely before and after
> before: oat porridge with banana, cranberries and gojjiberries topped with oat milk
> right after: gatorade, water, banana
> 3 (!) hours after: beef ribs with French fries (liiitle), coleslaw and one baked potato. Water.
> During: vitargo gel @km9, 17.5, 27.5?, 35/35.5? Dextrosol: 2 tablets @km5&11&1@km15&20. 1 tablet every km (between km21 & 32) except the km with gel+one after. Unsure how but think I had some until 36/37?
Gear: Moremiles short shorts, SOC purple singlet, sunglasses – shoes were pretty great as usual. But it is time for replacement really… ;(
Outfit perfect for the weather and race. Only drawback is still the storage of the gels. Should change brand to have smaller ones maybe. No burn mark on chest, but a little one in the back (!) where the zip from the singlet pocket was against the skin… No solution is perfect…
17/ would like to set a 17.5 for effort level. First half was moderate/high effort like 16, although manageable. Second half was mainly high on effort for the brain not wanting to shut up (well, if it would have been for encouraging that would have been fine…but it sounded like a loooong complain instead. Body checks indicated that physically it was fine).
SUMMARY: What a way to start the racing year but with a new PB and yearly objective already reached (told you, history DOES repeat itself… 3rd time’s a charm!). Preparations since Berlin had gone well especially thanks to the clement weather at home allowing outside workouts until the snow and cold reached the city 2 weeks before the race… Tapering period was not easy with REAL rest days and a day of stomach sickness less than a week before the race. Carb loading went ok, but not more.
Overall feeling far from Berlin 2013, which I think is more likely related to the weather conditions than the faster pace itself. Moreover the ambience on the marathon route is pretty differing between those two races! No walking during the race, which makes me super proud and mindset on the top for a lot of the race (the dips were there but short… Just to make the mind wonder if it could really make it. Sooooo 75-80% on the top, as actually the dips were pretty disappearing as soon as I was checking the avg pace, which made me smile every single time (& made me push for it until the end…). Good response overall from the body, no hamstring pain, no Achilles heel shouting and no burn mark…. Sitting for lunch was a bit uncomfortable for the left hamstring, but could not have my feet up on the table then… After not too comfortable night, body is fine the day after (read: won’t try jumping, skying, dancing but the walking is fine!).
Stable and fast pace for the first half and drifting afterwards. In a race with more people, I would guess (!) this would have been less of a problem as could have hang along with others. Not here. Should have my personal pacer next time! Anyone???? Second half almost exactly 2 minutes slower than first one, which makes me thankful to have listened to myself (!) and had a good pace at first to potentially allow such drifting.
IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE SUB3!!! Feeling like howling again…but I won’t 🙂
(And like other races, a lot of support and encouragements have been received throughout the preparation of Dubai 2014. As usual post & per-race kind words are highly appreciated. Work, personal life and training are not often easy to arrange and combine and having feedback from time to time is just what is needed to continue pushing the boundaries (or even just remaining close to the ones already reached and not dropping back). So THANKS!
Wow, it actually worked out! Still cannot believe it… SUB3, my friends!!!
Marathon goal for 2014 achieved? CHECK!!!
Resting a bit before getting food in a little while, but more to come 🙂
Thanks for all support and encouragements and advices and all! And for believing I could do it as well 🙂 OMG! Feel SO great*!!!
* ok, the feet are tired, have a blister on left heel, left hamstring ok but a bit aching… As I said, feeling great!
Wow, now it came pretty fast to the last half day to the start.
Awaken around 6:30-ish, that felt great with almost 11 hours sleep. Received a blink from home, which made great the start of this day. Feels a bit cloudy though and I needed to double-check today’s date (just in case I slept over to Friday morning…). Got ready sloooowly for a morning easy jog. Got to the start and was disappointed not to see the START and FINISH signs. Most important is that they are in place tomorrow! Ran a bit on Jumeira Beach Road and could feel the pollution on my skin. 😦 so many cars already – pretty different from my run last year in the quietness of the morning. Could feel that the humidity would be painful tomorrow, having my sun cream already dropping on my face. No heavy sweating, but at this pace it felt still strange to even sweat!
Turned back after a couple of km and saw elites runners on the other side of the road, jogging on the pavement. Back&forth on 200m (and it WAS really slow, like “me-slow” (not even “me-easy-pace”!). And closer to Medinat Jumeira, a whole group of elite runners were also jogging. Ok, feeling at least I do THIS thing like them. Just have to hang along tomorrow with them, right?
Not much more done after that apart from breakfast (same as yesterday evening, oat porridge with banana, cranberries and gojjiberries and oat milk), resting, reading and double checking my gear (ok, must be the fifth time I do that, but still…). Decided for lunch in the Mall (rice with chicken) around 1:30pm (slightly later than planned)
and more grocery shopping (like juice, Gatorade, honey, tea…) and it was only the whole afternoon left… Last banana eaten around 3-ish. The 30-minutes sunbath from this morning on the hotel roof was by then long gone. So an extra 15-minutes did the trick while housekeeping was cleaning my room. Pity anyway to stay indoor when the sun is just shining outside 😦
Probably one more check for the gear, and bedtime (if any sleep possible). The plan for tomorrow is pretty simple (always keep it simple!): wake up, food, drink, easy to the start, look at the elites and start eating their dust. Hopefully will be crossing the finish line before lunchtime 🙂
Live steaming this year as well (the link is in the marathon site – start 3:00am CET/race 4:00am CET). Unsure if I would bet for a WR as it is pretty humid and quite warm, but who knows. Fast they will be in either case! And that’s enough for today…
Dubai…SO not many (read:”enough”) hours to the race start when I am publishing this post…
Early start (story of my life?…) with a landing at 6:45am. Lots of walking to get to the passport control with no queue there, but 30+ minutes wait for the luggage. Used to the city now I took the metro to the Mall of Emirates where my hotel was close by. Never been in this mall so lost my way several times and was close to tears until I found my way out. More work to find the hotel and to hear my room would be ready earliest at noon 😦 Cleared myself a bit in the ladies room and left to pick up min bib (#1078) after an hour of rest reading/surfing in the lobby. Bad calculation to keep jeans, long sleeves and jacket on. If the weather is similar on Friday, it will be dangerously hot. Saw the preparations for the arrival and got to the Madinat Jumeira. Once again, pretty empty. Got my bib, my tshirt and bag and just aimed back home. No fair is a bit boring I think for an event qualified of this level. No need for London or NY fair, but a little one could be fun. 3km from hotel to start – perfect warm-up!
As I had to wait for my room, I walked a bit in the mall and bought some food. Will definitely return to Carrefour after the race!
After eating my portion of pasta with tomato sauce, buying band aid for my newly-arrived blisters 😦 and arrived back to my room, visited the top floor with view and pool 😀 Slept there approx.3*30minutes and then back to the room.
Ok, pretty tired now and typing all this with one finger on a mobile is not the funniest… Thought today when starting to fall asleep under the sun… What do elite runners do at M Day-2&1? I think I have reflected about this prior to another race ( probably Dubai last year actually…). But I bet they are not sun bathing (daaaa!) not walking around in a mall. Pretty sure someone is picking up their bib as well…
Time for some rest now . Not too late, but as good to rest now… Two alternative outfit for the race already wait on the table. For tomorrow, will take the one I won’t race in 😉
Dubai – not much more over a day to go now…
Started already in Munich actually…they have thought of everything… They do have “nap pods”, where for a fee you can get an isolated cabin to sleep in… What about that?!?!
Flight to Dubai got an early boarding and this was with great pleasure I sat on my seat (which I had changed) and got… a WHOLE row for myself…
Four seats is ideal to be able to sleep and lay down at the same time… Tried to remain awaken so to catch their late dinner while watching a movie of very high quality (“Elysium”…) and yes I am bring sarcastic here. Food was simple: pasta with tomatoe sauce. Even take a bit of salad and ensure to continue the drinking.
Then slept the rest of the trip on my four seats…luxury in economy class 🙂 Arrived in Dubai and got this wifi therefore a quick update…
(noticing I am having trouble with my posts not being published lately…despite pushing the button… Corrected now…)
Ok, where were we? Yap, bedtime not too early, after going round round round at home, having 20 ongoing things to do and really not tired at all. Took probably 2 hours after midnight before I feel asleep. But this morning it was ok. A bit of rewinding here…
Yesterday evening, I printed all the necessary papers for the trip and the rave and of course checked the website of the marathon. They announced the participation of a nice group of fast female runners a few days ago (sub2:25) and it sounded quite cool…until I read yesterday the elite women field… 25 super flying ladies will be on the starting line on Friday. Don’t know of they ever had so many fast women at once (and here we are talking sub2:30-fast…) And one is a Swede making her marathon debut… So goodbye my dream of keeping my 2nd place in the Swedish women there 😥 Change of plans then… Let’s keep a nice “finish the race”-objective and everything under training time is fine 🙂
So, wake up time was completely not in sync as the other previous days (i.e. opening the eyes at a time of potential arrival at the finish line). Today it was 06:00am, when waking up (and nope, there is no plan for crushing the world record on Friday!!! At least not for me 🙂 Weather check before aiming to the door for a final run at home. -6°C, real feel -11°C…sure, that had been said before… 2 layers on however…which were not extra stuff to wear. It took 3-4 km to be able to feel my fingertips again… Rest of the body was fine. Took a round tour and finish by the French basket to order dough for my French cake I promised at work. Then back home. Extremely careful run as it was still a but slippery and slush all over. But got the body and mind in a better mood.
Well-arrived at home, time for work. Finalizing all ongoing stuff so that you won’t have to think of it for a while is actually an art in itself. Leaving to Dubai without laptop feels like travelling naked almost… Good smartphones were invented then!
By lunch time the only food accepted by the tummy was a banana and a glass of apple juice. Still ok, loading with carbs, correct? Keeping it to liquid carbs when possible to ensure hydration (unsure I know what I an taking about, but it sounds like making sense…).
By noon all was set, emailed, packaged and got even time for extra check on my backpack with all the necessary stuff and my suitcase certainly filled with 79% of unnecessary stuff… Final check around and off I went. Short stop at the sushi place got buying my lunch to-go and then pharmacy for medicine against bad stomach. Never used it and not intending to, but JIC… (btw. great that I read the notice as well as this medicine has lactose in it, can give dizziness, tiredness and rash on the skin… Brilliant! Will definitely not use it!!!). Got the tram and bus to the airport, check-in, luggage drop, sushi lunch and queue to get to the gate. Of course pretty early, but the mind cannot focus at all right now so better occupy it somehow. As usual, buying a RW, filling my water bottle and stupidly trying a new hand cream giving me red rash and burning feeling… All better when spraying myself with a little Kenzo 😉
Now wait wait wait until the first flight leaves… As it felt a bit ok to be hungry, decided to eat a banana and buy one of those rice porridge with jam (I choose the non-lactose one) and had a focaccia toast with turkey, tomatoes, mayo and cheese. Had most of the cheese removed though. Warmed a bit and eaten slowly. Perfect timing to get on the first plane to Munich.
From now on I start to be really asocial and annoyed with everyone sneezing, coughing, blowing their nose…you name it! Just do not want to be sick right now! Ate my rice porridge on the plane, with tea and orange juice. A bit of reading, sleeping and dreaming (of the race of course and plenty other things…which are nice usually but bothering when trying to visualize a race…).
Anyhow, just arrived in Munich and have to hurry to next plane…not. This airport is really nice and it us boring I cannot eat really. Lots if nice restaurants 🙂 Next plane soon, I will sleep then. And will arrive tomorrow morning in Dubai. Yippie!
Probably not updating here for a little while though. Will post and antedate instead. Someone is actually trying to focus here.. 🙂
Dubai… 2 days and a few hours to go (actually should have started to count the hours to the race since a while…)
After one day having a stomach emptying itself without even asking, and drinking “fluid replacement”-stuff, it was well rested I woke up this morning. Although a bit late, breakfast was on time (had time to work a bit before as well 🙂 ) and even had time for a shower before school meeting. As I was up and ready, decided to take my final run right away instead of waiting for lunch time (and probably bite my nails until then! – no, I am not biting my nails 🙂 ). Pretty freezing start so headed back home for getting a winter top layer. None for the legs as the tights felt way enough (and they generally get warm anyway). Yapp, needed 500m to get the body back to normal temperature and it felt fine for the rest. After an easy warm-up (read: the legs run, the head focus on not falling on the snow and slush and the mind think it is therefore easy and slow pace…NOT!) just a little stretch and off to a fast tempo piece. Way too fast first km (although this is when checking the watch I noticed it, once again the brain said: all good and easy, just continue…), slowed down then and tried to ignore the beeps of the watch indicating I was outside the expected pace range. Once again focus on the road where the bike path was not (as I would have wanted) that cleared out. Several bikes coming from the other side indicated loudly that I was too move (and I answered loudly as well that I would not run on the icy-snowy-slushy part of the road). But of course I did it for 3 bikes which did not appear to move themselves to let me run 😦 WHATEVER! Just continued me and my beeping watch. After a bit more than half the distance I turned back and run from where I was coming from. Slower pace then due to the 180º turn, but still beeping watch … Completed the fast piece nicely and without falling on my bum a single time (achievement of the year so far!). Then it was just to get back home at an easy pace (read: once again the brain says it is slooooooooooooow, but the watch says it is not). Good run indeed, just can I be given the opportunity to explode now, please?
Back home, stretch, shower and quickly continued to work. Around lunch felt a bit “worried” not to have any hunger feeling so checked this by calling a nurse and she recommended to continue to take it easy with “hard” food. Choose white bread, pasta, rice and avoid vegetable or fibers. Wonderful, on my carb depletion day… So after talking a bit, she said I could have eggs, boiled fish or meat… yeah… just boring stuff! The afternoon continued with more work and after last meeting of the day, time for massage. This time it was not painful (almost). Cannot understand he is always finding spots which are not making themselves heard until he pushes them… But it was fine. Back home and a bit more work before starting the real stuff: PACKING! All the hand-luggage (race outfit and shoes, gels, passport, hair-stuff…) were already ready since yesterday. So this evening it was just to get the little clothes needed for the days I won’t race. SOOOOO nice to take out bikini, sun glasses and sun cream. Hopefully the weather will be nice then (it has actually been cloudy and raining last week…). Now I am just turning round round round like a cheetah in a cage and seriously it ain’t fun! The plan will soon be to throw all in the suitcase, switch on the tv and try to fall asleep… Any suggestion otherwise?
So carb depletion day 1? sure! not really planned this way. But feeling fine (in comparison to last year when I was actually sick in my stomach). Keeping fingers crossed that tomorrow the carbs will be liked then! Still have to think how to lay the race… but this can wait until Friday morning 😉
Dubai…3days and a few hours to go…(shall I start screaming now?….)
Déjà-vu can be weird, but here seriously I would gladly skip this. Woke up this morning with stomach cramps and chose to ignore them and replace the apparently-not-working-sleep-in by a nice reading-in-the-bed time. This was without counting the back and forth to the loo during this time 😦 Yeah, no glamour in running, although this has nothing to do with running. Decided to postpone my easy run a bit. Looking at food just made me start feeling nauseous 😦 so it was with (very) empty stomach I went out for a run. Once again, snow had fallen during the night and this morning was the choice for running pretty simple: snow, slippery surfaces, snow with gravel, slush or from time to time cleared up street (or bike path)… Of course, the latter one would be my first choice, but to get one, I had to go through most of the others. Easy tempo (took actually the extra layer clothes to make it (almost) impossible to increase the pace…although the pavement and the snow/slush/whatever-could-be-there made all the work for me!). Got to turn back after 4.2km as the street along the water was not cleared up and seriously I was not equipped for a run on the snow today. Got another route on the way back… slightly uphill, with the sun in the face…Hmmmm niiiiice…? until it started to blow directly to my face and this with all the snow which was light enough to fly… Nice? don’t think so! The extra detour turned out to be a real pain and I changed route again to go back to the bike path which was runnable… All this at an easy pace and slippery under the shoes.
Now the rest of the day was extremely boring as I thought it felt much better after the run and decided…to eat 😦 Not too good idea as all went out shortly after. So no food, just drinking throughout the day (and yes, this sounds like last year prep, although one day in advance…). Down now to salted water-stuff and 2 teas in the stomach, took a bath to get a bit relaxed. Not helping the stomach, but the head maybe.
So…what’s the plan now? early bedtime is on the top of the list. This will at least help in shutting down the mind thinking that the form is not there, the energy levels are down, that the race is to soon and that the snow is my worst enemy…
Just cannot wait to be there now… Less than 4 days to go
Waking up once again at the time that would be nice to finish on Friday 🙂 Always good to visualize, right? Easy breakfast, steadying and time for -finally- going out for a run. A long one. Well, a short long run, but still a long run. A bit of stomach cramps before leaving 😦 Felt good however to be out, despite the real annoying snow and gravel on the streets. All to make this run tricky and slow. Too many layers of clothes made it definitely not simple to run any faster, but could get 15km out anyway. So that was good. Still feeling a bit lethargic of not running, but when I do it feels good.
Not many days left, not many things to fix before leaving, …too short time left… Hoping the weather is getting better before leaving so can get a couple of runs still.
Tired tired tired…meaning bedtime now!
6:55am, pre-alarm kindly helping the brain to wake up…the first thing coming into mind then being: “let me cross the finish line in exactly one week from now!!!” 🙂 Then the day just started…
Already white outside, no need to check. Easy start, with breakfast in front of first task for work. And the day just went on…and on…and on. Meetings, preparation, explanation, planning, more preparation…all to get finished before next Tuesday and ready for my return on Monday (because of course the world never stops turning when I am going to a race… I wish!). Been frozen all day long, despite extra pullovers and warm tea (maybe too many…). Lunch time arrived and it felt like sushi should be on the menu. But with unconfirmed meeting right after my lunch break, I instead warmed a waffle with nutella and a banana 😛 THEN I went for sushi after my meeting. Pretty snowy and slippery on the pavement so I bravely walked on the road instead… Lunch completed quickly so picked up my package…NEW SHOES! Yippie! With yesterday’s parcel with 4 new shorts, today felt like Christmas all over again 🙂 The only catch was that I cannot try any of those new apparels due to the rubbish weather outside… So might spend the weekend in short tights and running shoes inside my home 🙂 If the weather continue this way, it’s gonna be treadmill instead. Not a chance I put myself on the icy snow those days! And the other positive with this potential treadmill session is to use my new shorts (probably the only positive with treadmill in winter!).
Now work day& week are over. Hot bath after dinner (spinach purée with potatoes and parsnip with thin beef slices and garlic. Tomatoes as well to have the plate a but colourful 🙂 ). Then time for more rest with scary movie (if I don’t fall asleep before…).
Now it really starts to feel under the skin… No pain in the hamstring (should be said reeeeeal fast so it does not change!), but really…WHY this wait (when I could be running right now OR tomorrow morning…). With the tapering comes next week the carb depletion (not looking forward to) and carboloading (yoooohooo!). And of course, travel and race and sun and…more rest afterwards!
Dubai…less than 7 days to go…the final week started…
Now it starts to feel real…not! Up for core and stability workout, looked through the window noticing the white cover on the roofs…again! Good long workout, have to find new workout music as the three I find were used all this morning (and were not too motivating I think). Quick shower, quick breakfast (porridge and mix fruits) and it was time for first meeting of the day. Work work and work and it wad lunch time.
Was expecting that the snow would have disappeared, but no. On with the gear for a long intervals run. 0°C was definitely a bit chilly. Motivation for running? Well, it must have been there somewhere as I was really freezing when going out and still push the start button of my Garmin within 20 seconds of hitting the pavement. Probably because otherwise I would have transformed into an ice cube! First km of warmup felt a bit easy and slow, but were not. Short pause for stretch and off to stay the first long interval. Drizzling snow in the face with head wind, still keeping the smile on my lips as I would have it in the back in the way home… Slippery bike path, especially the white paint indicating the separation between bike side and pedestrian side. So had to be quick at changing lines. This first interval went fine but the main effort was to keep a paced and not go faster than this. Short pause, walking slowly under the snow falling and start for a shorter interval. Similar pace for half the distance? Should not be difficult right? Well it was tricky to get up to speed but half way the legs felt light and nice, and even gave an acceleration. Ended with easy cool down. And btw after turning back, the wind did similar manoeuvre…so I had it in the face once more 😦
Really enjoyable workout. Similar workout wad done before Dubai last year, under same weather and kind of similar feeling (I think…). But after that it was time for more work until it was time to stop working 🙂
Change of clothes for an evening at the restaurant with friends and my Galette 🙂 Pretty tired now so time for bed. Rest day tomorrow…
The longest day ever… OK, not really, this was on June 21st the longest day of the year 🙂
Today was full rest and with no training. As usual this feels not too much fun. Occupied myself from start of the day to end with work, work and more work, with a short break to check my eyes as it felt a bit blurry with the latest batch of lenses. But apparently all good. Got new ones to test from tomorrow. Back to the “rest-thing”. Must find so many posts out there about the purpose, the necessity, the benefits, any drawback… of a rest. I do not deny the positive effects that a rest will have. However, it is mentally challenging so close to a race, not to be able to move the finger (in this case: the feet and legs!). And even worse…is to see all the OTHERS who are running around in the city…just because THEY can… Yes, a bit frustrated today (ok, a LOT frustrated today). Because when not running, the brain seems to be missing the oxygen input generally received during the runs. It feels like a week from a race, it is not even physically feasible to run this distance (despite having done it several time) and here I am not even talking about the pace or whatever expectation that may be set. The weather was way better than yesterday as well and would have been a great day to run… On the top of this, after having had a day of hunger yesterday (and I thought I ate way enough), today felt like I was eating ALL.THE.TIME (even though I was not)…
Food plan for today was pretty simple, grahamsporridge with mix berries and banana for breakfast, risotto with fish and tomato/cucumber for lunch and oven-baked root vegetables w/two eggs in the over as well for dinner. The day saw as well lots of tea drinking and water as well, on the top of this some extra fruits.
Completed anyway the day by a bit of baking for tomorrow evening: French “Galette des Rois” 🙂 Hope it taste good because I had no idea how long it should actually stay in the oven (well, the recipe said it but it was a range of 15min+/-… where anything can happen…). Will see if I’ll be the Queen tomorrow!
So now, bubble bath for relaxing a bit stiff shoulders and bedtime. Feels that this week has been ALL about sleeping!
Oh yes, have been as well using wisely (?) my transport time to the optician with reading a few articles from RunnerConnect (as I am a bit late in my reading…). Good to read about “the myths about marathon taper”, “What to do after a marathon”, “What strategy to set for your marathon”… Always nice with some reminders and inspirations…
Countdown has started of course… It starts already when you get your mind set to the participation to a race and then it becomes a silent countdown until you have paid the registration fee… It remains silent for a while until you start efficiently the training dedicated to this particular race (can be a year or a few months or even a few days). Like for your birthday: you wait for it ALL year long, then it arrives and the day after (also called “non-birthday day”) you start counting down (364 days to go,…363 days to go…) 🙂 Now there is something special to change for 3 to 2 digits while counting down, but the change from 2 digits to 1 digit is making the whole thing SO much more real! No chance to change anything in the training, all is already done. Make the most of the days left without overdoing things (you can most likely create a mess, rather than improve at this stage). Do not change anything in your way of eating (well, might be an idea not to eat the same portions as earlier if you are tapering down and getting 30-40% less exercises… because the expected extra weight that you may take anyway during the taper, should not be related to unnecessary food you eat because you are used to (says she who barely count the calories, nor check really the amount of food arriving in her plates…).
So countdown? check!
And there is this “never say never” or “what was it I told you” or “history is repeating itself”… The winter has been extremely mild (apart from a couple of freezing days, a few snow days…when was it again?, and windywindywindyrainy days). But NOW it came. Already right before bedtime, I noted the light light white cover on the roof of the houses through my windows. Just hoping it would not last and that this morning it would be gone… SURE! This morning was covered with a “cotton-cover” on the roofs, streets and cars… Exactly what I did not want: Checking my diary from last year… SAME THING HAPPENED! Exactly 9 days before Dubai, a light snow cover had fallen on the city. The difference is that today was interval-day (last year I had an easy distance run, mainly due to the still slightly pain in the calf). So after a really good night’s sleep, I started early to work so I could take a break for a strength session. Core & stability for close to an hour and enjoying it…That is why I should do that more often!!! Then more work after a well-deserved mix-fruit smoothie. Took the lunch break for my interval run. Started a bit annoying with noticing the pavement was pretty slippery, so back home, get the anti-slip for the shoes, set them up and then…took approx.50m to noticed that the streets (outside mine) were free of snow. Dropped my anti-slip at the video store and started an easy jog. Thought I would check the roads and see where I could do my intervals. Took a little detour and it was feeling fine (although some parts of the bike path to be used would mean to run between two traffic lights and try to get it well-synced to get the green light…). Decided to get to the docks and hoped for not having slippery surface there. A few accelerations during the last 500m and a little stretching. No bike to pull me for the first interval so I took a bus instead (but this is way tougher too follow! 🙂 ). Series of 200s are quite fun to do (OK, I can recall not saying that after the first time I did that on track, as it took a couple of days to get the muscle soreness on the thighs to disappear… But now it is fine :). Nice feeling for most of them, a couple of intervals a bit tough (giving heavier breathing at the end). Have reflected that despite having some with a higher effort, it is still not at max pace it was done. But really satisfied of those series, and ended with a (little-too-fast) 1.5km as I had been a bit optimistic when estimating the time the run would take. Quick shower, banana+soygurt and tea before starting with the first meeting of the afternoon. Had then a 30minutes until the next meeting so took a regular portion of ravioli with green asparagus (Yummy!) and then it was time to continue to work…late.
Now to summarize today, it has been pretty well for training and this, despite the weather outside. Hope this remains “running weather” until next week so I will not have to pull myself to the gym and do the final runs on treadmil… Have eaten pretty normally, but felt so extremely hungry all day long… Had added extra fruits, nuts and even a ham-toast… but still very hungry. Now had a camomile infusion and it feels my eyes are closing themselves…
Dubai…9 days to go…
not really willing to slow down. Tapering is an important part of all training and it generally goes well (apart from the two days of carbs depletion…). But today, Oh, my!… it feels like the day will never end.
Up early (but not THAT much), resisted to the impulse to jump in my snickers for an early run (and the temperature shown on my mobile was indeed helping on this…-10ºC…), so nope. No early morning run. Breakfast with three croissants and a tea 🙂 (one croissant was not mine, and how do you explain with a smile that “well, I will take the last croissant…because I am running a marathon next week”?…Not sure it went home 😉 ). Started work and at first break took a VSA leg*2 workout (cut it into two as I had a meeting starting then @9:30am, but the meeting finishing slightly early I could complete the workout). Then more meetings and by lunch time I decided to take a little longer break. On the floor for a “plank variations – 50sec” serie. A bit tough to reach the 50sec, but when it is done, it feels so good! Then into three layers (!) of clothes to go out in the cold. Temperature expected to be -6ºC (real feel -11ºC!). Once again, did not like really to have the extra layers as it feels like running with a diaper almost and the legs movements are a bit slower and strange with all this (OK, I could have skipped the compression socks, but it felt good to have). Wow – so cold when getting my little nose outside. Great investment to have neck warmers (and yes, I still look like a thief, but seriously…to you saying that: would a thief have bright colours? Apricot bonnet, blue mixed tights and sometimes colourful neck warmer?…I don’t think so!). Back to the run: took approximately 3km to get a nice warm(er) feeling in the body, keeping an easy pace and just letting the legs following the music. Had never run more than a couple of time on this music and it suits perfectly for “brainless-activity-and-legs-in-control” runs! Nice enough there was no wind, which made the layers of clothes a bit too many, and once again I thought about stopping on the side of the road to strip off my long tights (nobody would really notice I run in winter underwear, would they?). By km8, I stopped briefly for light stretch. Then did some drills (have in my new year resolutions to do drills at least once a week… so as good to do it on Mondays, so it is done 😉 ). Real fun to do, especially while watching the cars passing by and looking at me with this strange look saying “what the *** is she doing?!?!”. Then continued my easy run, up the hill and down the hill, when I realized I took another route which would make my run 2km longer…On a regular day, why not. But for tapering, I should really not take extra mileage…shouldn’t I? So the alternative were: 1) run the extra 2km home, 2) stop right there (almost) and take the tram home or 3) walk back home the 2 last km. Alternative 2 is not existing in my mind if not injured, and alternative 3 meant freezing my bum for 2km… so there was really no other alternative but to run home 🙂 Easy paced 14km in a cold city. All good then…
Quick stretch after the run, hot shower and smoothie+banana before starting to work again. 1hour later, got the leftover of goulash soup (Hmmm, delicious the first time and re-heated is even better!) and …. continued to work. By 3:30pm, it felt my day had been already 28hours long and my legs craved to go out and run…. But no says the head, extremely firm and decided… Sitting and working on my Pilates ball all afternoon to avoid any potential pain/ache in the left hamstring… which worked fine.
But seriously, now workday is over, night is on the city and it would feel so nice to get out and run… So strong mind to have for NOT doing it… Looking around to determine what will be today’s dinner and probably will aim for fruits and …fat (?). This is recommended for the tapering weeks to decrease progressively the calories intake and to complete this to have less fat (still for the 20-25% of daily intake) and have carbs instead. Surely I will stop drinking a pint of olive oil to compensate with the carbs… 🙂 I just loved the suggestion on RunnersConnect saying to swap pancakes with butter for maple syrup (already doing this syrup-thing… should I change it to something else?…) or have pasta with tomato sauce instead of cheese (already doing this as well…Start believing that I am generally deficient in fat…NOT!). So anything generally on my dinner table is fully acceptable in my standards 🙂
Time for dinner! and some rest…(Tapering week 1 officially started…yeah…)
Dubai…10 days to go!!!
Summary of the last four days of training:
Thursday: Up with the birds (well, actually and probably BEFORE them) as it was time for double runs and honestly did not have much time available during daylight (or day at all) so the first run started 5am. Easy one, just running and completed it with hillwork (i.e. up&down 10 times with the encouragements of an early awaken lady smoking at her window…). 14K later it was time to get the fastest shower ever, prepare for b-day breakfast, celebrate and then start with the first meeting with Japan @8am… The whole day passed pretty fast with the latest meeting postponed to Friday, which left me an hour to start for the second round. As my mp3 ear-plugs died on me in the morning (and when this happens after 2km it ain’t fun and motivating to continue…even though you do continue!), I took another route for the distance run, short stop to purchase new ear-plugs, on with the music and off I continue the run on the bridge (back & forth and then on the straight line along the harbour. Nice in the air, but by km10 a bit of cramp and tiredness (did not stop me from turning back after a little hill to take it once more the other way around and get to my hillwork as in the morning). Same hill, still in the dark, but this time I had to take into account the cars going up&down (and not really liking I was running in the middle of the road) and as well the huge trucks repairing the road on the top of the hill. I had dropped my jacket at home after the distance and had only my long sleeves but still working really well. Light legs, just flying up, real nice feeling. When ticking the end of the 10th up, it started to drop small snow flakes from the skies and when I aimed for home it started to rain and then heavily rain. Did not matter, I was just happy to have completed those runs and this special day. Had to take into account the calves still a bit sored, but with the compression socks, it felt that it was helping. Another good part of the day (there were plenty of nice parts!) was to have finally ordered new running shorts and to have gotten two new pairs of shoes which hopefully will arrive soon. Same as the ones bought in August which have accumulated together almost 2,000km already… Ended the day with celebrating G in an Indian restaurant (where I secretly hoped I would handle the food nicely… might not be wise to try new restaurant, food… a few weeks before a race.)
Friday: Early morning once more, for this recovery run. Took it really easy. Had planned a 10K and then turned right aiming for a 12K. Stopped by A’s home, knocked at the kitchen window and said hi and continue my run (although on another route than turning back). So it ended with a 15K at real easy pace, which was ok. The day passed, sushi @lunch and then cosy evening, which would hopefully make me rested for the long run of the following day.
Saturday: Once again, when the clock ring and it shows 3:30am, the brain has to think a bit about what it is supposed to happen now. Felt quite rested, got my early breakfast (regular oat-porridge, super berries mix and oat-milk) and aimed to bed for some rest. Got up a bit later, allowed myself a 30-minutes waking-up part to get myself ready, checking my gels and water in my camelbak, opting for my wind-jacket despite the risks of possible rain or snow and deciding for a possible route to get this long run done. Music on, took really easy first km, necessary pitstop after 5km and then arrived on the long harbour road. Strangely the lights on the side of the road where switching off themselves when I just arrived and pass them…Pretty spooky, when you have the sea on one side and some houses still asleep on the other side. Anyhow, short stop to decide once more what to do for this first fast bout. Decided for headwind 1K then turn back and continue the bout – hoping for tailwind… Did not however plan for the road being almost pitch black, with knee-high lights showing the road only to the 30cm around the lights and when getting to the houses area, the lights there were not functioning, which made me complete this first km in a really annoying pitch black road…even more annoying was that I had to turn back after 1km and take this road again…The only “fun” (!) part was the houses lights with movement detectors which were turning on when passing them (but no light enough on the road unfortunately). Of course the tailwind never appear, had to fight to get down to the pace I wished to have and when reached, the bout was almost finished… A new pitstop and off for an easy km and a new pitstop (strategy of eating/drinking has been pretty tricky this last month, so hoping that it will work as usual in Dubai…). Started my second fast bout with headwind…WHAT? you said headwind? on this road it is supposed to be tailwind… Pretty frustrated not to reach the fast pace expected, having to stop 2 times because the wind was too strong to run (and stubbornly I refused to turn 180ºC and benefit from a tailwind for this fast part). So ended pretty annoyed and got to calm down and tried to re-focus when starting the final fast part. Not a chance… Headwind (where does it come from really? Must be waiting for me somewhere…) and then lack of focus, made this bout once again pretty difficult mind-wise. Yes, the pace was there, but focus on the distance, the run, the pace… nothing was working correctly. Good for completing the run was that after a slow part (and another pitstop) the fun part of the run arrived with alternate fast/slow. Seeing the pace I got for those parts, the legs were definitely showing they did not work as they could have in the 26 first km… Anyhow, when completing the series fast/slow and the 2km after that, I was 2km short on my log run…so I took an extra round to get up to 32km. When loading my run, I noted that I had missed to set 5km fast in the workout and had only 3km fast… Anyhow, was extremely frustrated of the run as would have expected to run a bit better. Fortunately the fast/slow series at the end kept my mood up 🙂 Rest of the day was chilling out as generally after long runs, a bit of shopping and a movie from the sofa. Nice sleep after that! Calves were now all fine but the left hamstring made itself reminded again 😦
Sunday: last day of the week…started with a sleep-in until…7am 🙂 Easy start, drop-off at soccer practice and took my recovery run as planned. Although my mp3 refused to start, I had to run with just the wind in my ears, the tip-tap of my shoes on the pavement and my so-loud thoughts in my head… All good (except my heart rate showing so extremely high values again despite the pretty slow pace… and yes, there is something wrong with the monitor! not me…). Took the days easy after that with home-cooking of goulash soup with G, an hour walk in the cold w/ET and then dinner of lasagne topped with waffle and chocolate ice-cream for dessert… Nothing better for completing a Sunday, right?
Summary of the week: quite some km still, and 3 days of nice quality workout. Now it is really time to start tapering down (volume not intensity). The body is feeling quite fine (although without this hamstring spooking around it would be great, or this stomach cramping during the long run). The mind itself has to keep its focus and not letting itself distracted now. Not many days left, but still too many for thinking of plenty of other things…
A bit of rest now, cannot wait to fly in a little more than a week and just be there…
Dubai…11 days to go!!!
Tricky night. In bed around 10:30pm, took a while to finally fall asleep but then the rain woke me up…thought it must be around 3-push and if though it would be as good to go up…but no, the clock indicated 11:27pm… Disappointment! Back to sleep (easier said than done…) and then it was really time to go up…4:35am…10 minutes earlier than the clock. Still ok. Took half an hour to get ready and kind-of waking up. Had my new cool army blue tights on as well as compression socks for the still light sore calves. Massage pre-run with warmup chilli cream and rain jacket on before flying away 🙂
Soooo nice it was to run at a normal pace again. Tried not to be too excited about it though… Pretty easy pace under the city lights, light and refreshing wind. Great. If only I would have listened to my eyes and skipped the rain jacket…Too much rain had fallen during the night, impairing my ears (and judgement for clothes).
Did my rehab exercises after this early morning run and then enough time for breakfast (enjoyed 2 croissants and warm chocolate oat milk…yummy) and be at the office by 8 🙂
Lunch of veal with double portion of potato puree, drank a few tea mugs as usual and then it wad time to get back home again.
A bit tired it was as good to get directly out for intervals otherwise they would never be done… Dressed lighter than this morning and of course, got some rain at the end of the warm up and first two intervals. But ok. More drizzle, right 🙂 Have never done that many reps of 400s, not too easy, but really enjoyable (yes, it was enjoyable!). Cool down went in the streets around home to get a round figure 😉
Shower, protein drink and just had to wait for fish en papillotes and after cosy storytelling, it is now time for bed. Will be sleeping good I think!
Continuing with easy days, Monday saw a late wake up and then drop-off at soccer practice allowed to start the planned recovery run from another spot in the city. For not dying of boredom, decided to run the first two km on front of the feet. All good at this everly-slow pace. After an easy km it became a long downhill. Then the wind join me (no need to say how it was blowing, right?…) and got close to a little channel. My pulse was kindly up to 220 by then (yea, you read correctly…& the pace was preeeeetttttttyyyyyy slow). Almost got bitten by a giant black puddle (never fall for their kind ways and cute stuff in the hair…) and stopped at km4. Took manually the pulse and it was nicely resting around 125-130… Changed the place for the HR monitor to have it in the back and get on with my run. Took only short time before it picked again above 230bpm…and no my heart is in the right place and functions well! Started at km6 with front feet running again (yes, still really bored) and for 3km continued this style, starting to think about that it might be a bad idea and would impact on the calves the day after… By then km8 was reached so back to normal running -boring slow pace- until reaching home. Nice end of morning, lunch and then continuing easy in the afternoon with rehab and strength workout. All ok. Chilling out in front of “Kung-Fu Panda” and time for bed…
Little experiment then: sleeping with pulseband 😀 The watch registering pretty low pulse before sleeping, I checked it manually and yes, it was as low as 48… Good night’s sleep after that.
For waking up on Tuesday morning and seeing that the avg heart rate was still 48 after over eight hours of sleep… Checking manually and got up to 54 (had been awaken for a while though). Anyway, enough fun before breakfast!…NOT! While putting my feet on the floor, the calves felt extremely sored (what was it I said yesterday?…). Quick check on what to do in case of calves soreness: not sitting still… So much for the full rest day I had planned… and took off for another real boring-slow short run. Great while running (for the calves…) but as soon as reaching home and changing for work… Soreness came back. Nothing awful, but enough to bother one… Lots of water drinking throughout the day, sushi lunch and pause from work for quick massage (the painful type with the trigger pints on the hips and side of the thighs…& nice for the calves). Got tips to use a tennisball twice a day for those points 😦 it hurts just thinking of it. Easy back home, more work and early dinner with home-made fish soup with mixed vegetables. A success 🙂 Tried a new tea this evening:Oolong tea with a touch of honey (my way!). Nice indeed..By 8pm all were in bed so a bit of time for clothes folding and rehab. Soon bed time for heavy workday tomorrow.
Hoping for better calves when I wake up so can take an early morning run with my new long tights 🙂
And this was Sunday evening already… Seems like it was last week’s Sunday was yesterday. Some weeks pass so extremely fast you cannot see they have even been there…
Saturday started pretty early (3:45am to be exact) with an alarm clock remind me to go up and take my breakfast before my long run. Would have gone out directly, but really… 3:45am?… so breakfast with oat-porridge, blueberries, banana and goji berries and oat-milk and back to bed 🙂 Of course it is never easy to fall asleep again, this time was no exception…and when you are so deep back in your sleep again…of course it is time to go up again. Took a long 30 minutes (!) to get ready, double-check the workout on my watch, filling in my camelbak and ensuring I would have my gels. Skipped the LED on the shoes and had them on the front and back of the camelbak instead. Running with 1.5l water does make one feel like a camel… Took easy 8km warm-up and during this time realized the route I planned would give me a headwind on the fast parts of the long run… Asch, as long as it is not like two weeks ago…can be handled then! Got into the fast intervals part and seriously, starting with strong headwind when you try to reach a fast pace ain’t fun. So for the 4 last reps, I did them back and forth instead… Pretty smart, Uh? Well, did not count on the side wind coming from the water through the crossing streets… Almost all my plans for having tailwind on the fast parts and headwind on the slow parts fell into pieces, having now side wind on both parts 😦 Took a necessary pit-stop before ending the serie and then off over the bridge on slow pace… and slow it was! Had to stop at a moment as I could not even move forward due to the strong headwind… Then it was time for a fast bout again. So the choice was : 1) slight downhill slope with light/medium headwind OR 2) take the tram to the final station and get the slight uphill slope with no/little tailwind… Checking the tram which would need 22minutes to even come to this station… No choice at all then! 22 minutes was what this bout should take! So surely with light head wind the fast bout was completed (with a brief stop right at the end as the tram I was supposed to take was crossing my street…). Easy pace close to boring and then time for another fast part (Yippie! says the head – A bit tired, you know say the legs…). Of course once again got headwind on the first half and this wind is always disappearing when it is time to have it pushing me in the back… Real easy part again and time for the fun part of the run (there always should be some!) with speed-work. OK, the legs were not too fresh any more, but for some fun, there is always some strength left! And finally the last 2km of the long run… Too close to the race week for pushing more on those two so decided to take the tram home when getting to a tram-station. Of course (so many of course this day!) the 2km were completed between two stops and by reaching the next stop it was missing 600m to get up to 39km… Easy walk to the bakery for morning croissants, walk home under the rain (had promised not to run after the long run…) and rest for the day after that. Could not directly handle a cold bath for recovery of the legs, but got a hot/super cold shower on the legs instead (and that was way enough!). Rest with legs up for a while and chill out for the afternoon ahead. Started with the lights of the city and the darkness of the skies, noticing the light out after 18km and finishing with cloudy skies and light rain… A bit of sunshine would have been good! This was a very good last run and looking back at how the prep for Dubai went last year during the month of January, it is more than happy I went to bed this day 🙂
Sunday‘s sleep in until 7am (!) was a treat 😉 Later breakfast and then in the gear for a recovery run w/G, his pace. Really slow pace it was especially after 4km when he started to get really tired. Got some walking parts and even did some drills for a km. But all in all a great recovery run at a slowslowslow pace…Dropped him home to get T. Was a bit scared (!) when the first 500m got at a pace of 5:35/km or so… but endurance was not on the menu this day 🙂 second bout was 300m and then easy jog home. This was way enough for one day and for me it was the slowest ever recovery run. Once again, this was promised to do it slow… Reaching the evening the legs really felt like running again, so took on my gear again and got myself under a drizzling night sky for a second recovery run. Way more boring than in the morning when the sun was shining and the company was great. This time the legs would have like to go way faster, but the mind did the extreme effort to stop this. Had to stop half way to empty my stomach as my dinner did not want to stay there. Too much or heavy, too close to the run probably. After that, felt a bit lighter and got a little faster end, but still really slow. Rehab exercises done in front of evening movie and it was time to get to bed (again…).
Summary of the weekend: 57+km which would qualify for an Ultramarathon, right? 🙂 A bit tired mainly in the head after the runs, the body felt really fine. Apparently Friday tough massage did have some results (so far) as the left hamstring did not hurt, and only made itself reminded by a blurry feeling which is not existing on the right side. All ok, I would say.
Summary of the week: New weekly volume record with 130+km. New year looks like starting well so far. Let’s hope it does continue this way.
Time for bed now… Tapering is soon starting 🙂
Dubai: 18 days to go!!!
Following a high-volume week (or three actually) in a high-volume month (or two actually), recovery is a necessary step in the training (and yes, it feels crazy-boring not to jump into my running gear for hitting the pavement…).
SO: after Tuesday’s race, a few recovery runs, it was high time to get a full recovery day (and here I mean WITHOUT ANY TRAINING WHATSOEVER…). Generally, I can include some strength workouts in a rest day (so it becomes a rest-day-from-running) or some swimming (once again, rest-day-from-running). But today, nope. Rest day from everything. Started after a deep night’s sleep (a bit too short, even though close to 8 hours…), forgot breakfast and aimed to morning massage. Far from relaxing, the massage found a few knots on the back and some trigger points on the bum and hip and backside of left thigh which made the whole hour really painful. Now you gotta do what you gotta do… Booked a follow-up massage just for those trigger/hurting points for next week. Hopefully it will help for the rehab of the hamstring (for whatever it may have). Painful butt muscle throughout the morning (I know, it sounds funny, but it was not!), it decreased slowly for now end of afternoon being much better and actually I can sit working without moving all the time because of an annoying feeling in the bum-thigh muscle (aka “taxi-bum”?).
Spend the day working and taking it easy (from running…) as well as charging light for tomorrow’s long run. Hopefully it will be feeling nice where it felt bad this morning.
Race calendar updated for 2014, objectives kind-of set. Not much more time left until the first race of the year… In three weeks from now, and independently of how the race is going, I will be enjoying the sun and resting on the beach 🙂
Great evening to you!
Time to get back to work today. Therefore awaken early (read: 4:55am) and up within a few minutes afterwards (yap, there are days like that!). Gear on, quick check at the temperature (2°C…), music on and off I left. Pretty easy pace, light wind during a few km, only few people met (and none of them were smiling…), a few hills and a starting ache in the front of the left tibia (yeay…). Back home after 15km, thorough stretch and a plank to complete the run…and it was time to prepare breakfast before school and work.
All day long working and then time to prepare for early dinner (risotto with salsiccia, yummy!) and a bit of rehab before bed should do the trick.
Yesterday was recovery runs-day. Easy pace, two runs, the second one including thorough stretch and drills. So yes, took approximately 30 hours to get from “Happy new year” to after-run “Gainomax and banana”. But tomorrow will be rest day. A real one and for the whole 24 hours…
Time to get a bit of energy before starting the tapering down…