Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Archive for April, 2014

Mr. Sun, …Please shine down on me :)

Sun, intervals, rest, more sun, long run and more rest…what a nice weekend to complete this week!

Saturday started quite fine, sleep in until 8am (despite the sun shining already outside and the birds singing… stayed in bed way longer than usual!), got cracking with rehab and then the sun being high and warm, decided to try the intervals that were set for the day. Skipped the singlet and headed with minimal outfit (and yes, it was way enough!). Easy warm-up, passing by the crazy Tough Viking race on its way to start and then took some moment for easy stretch and accelerations. Change of music and off I went. Intervals felt pretty ok, not much more (ok, the last one went fast, with headwind and seriously tired afterwards but SO worth it!). The legs felt ok. Had massage the knees with tiger balm before the run, JIC. And they worked perfectly. Got all intervals within the expected range, but two were pretty heavy on the way back. And after that easy jogg home. Indeed heavy…when coming back home I recognize that my breakfast had been quasi-inexistent… So, for sure, the intervals were good. And yes, it is still week 1 after marathon (strangely the week right after the race is often called week 0…). SO yes, ok to have heavy legs said L. Then it was just time for lunch. Lazy-me took raviolis and eaten them under the sun… where I spent the rest of the afternoon (carefully creaming with sun protection and drinking water). Tried to do some reading (Noakes) but fell asleep several times… Yapp, really heavy book! And then it was early evening and time for final outing to get the last rays of sun. Ate a chicken fajitas as well (and felt SOOOO heavy afterwards…but what would you do (or not do) when you plan a long run the day after?!?!?…). Evening in front of vampires movies eating ice-cream with chocolate topping (and remember to check what chocolate you use when doing your own chocolate sauce…I had chilli chocolate and it.was.hot!!!).

Had planned to go up early today (Sunday) to avoid doing my long run under the expected heavy sun. But 6am??? nope. Got up for a bit of drinking and then back to bed and sleep-in for a little longer. 8am I hit the pavement, decided to run the first 15km of Gรถteborgsvarvet and then run back home. All this at real easy pace and low pulse. But once on the way, it was really too nice, so continued towards km17 and then had to run back down the long street…why not running back home towards km18… and when reaching it…it is sooooo close to the end of the race…. juuuuust 3km…. so, sure, why not. All the run was done carefully with low pulse and slow pace. But when reaching the final 2km, not a chance the legs would complete this run without a bit of speed! Got the final 2km at a very nice and fast pace and reached the side of the Stadium…happy…and thirsty… Unfortunately, the water had been cut and I had to turn back and run real easy back home…turning my 15K into a 25K… But sooo worth it! Fun to have a workout titled “Half-marathon + before breakfast” ๐Ÿ˜› Shower, protein drink and then massage. Niiiice! No pain whatsoever. Of course there is always some places more sensitive than others, but no pain. To celebrate this, I ordered some take away and got a nice piece of meat, nice French fries, special salad and bearnaise sauce…and a coke. Yes, it IS ok to eat what you like, even though it may not look healthy… As long as you do live healthy and so on… Lunch done, so more reading to do ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sun cream on, water bottles in the fridge, ready to read with my vanilla ice-cream that melted under the sun faster than I could eat it… Nice rest for the afternoon and nice tan as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Perfect preparation! Of course, when the sun is hiding itself, there are all the chores left to be done, but that is ok. Soon time for bed as tv is offering only rubbish to watch… Tomorrow is the start of a short week again!

Sun sun and more sun… should be this way like…everyday!


Those recovery runs that you should t…a….k…e s…l….ooooo….wwww…ZzzzzzZzzzzz

So FINALLY Friday! Short week but long and early. So once again TGIF!

Tricky knee yesterday that felt a bit “itchy/scratchy” above the knee cap. No pain really, but it is there. so yes. Annoying enough! Once again (this is the week really!), woke up way too early. This time it was the rain…I think….3ยบC @3am ๐Ÿ™‚ Remained in bed and hit the mat for rehab just when the clock turned 6am ๐Ÿ™‚ Andย  once again it feels SO great to have it done! Took a little longer than usual, but still. Before the rehab I took my green mix with…2 avocados, 1 banana, soy milk and chocolate ๐Ÿ™‚ Y…u….m….m…y… (kind of!). It becomes a bit thick when having several ingredients, but did not want to add more soy milk for avoiding drinking 0.5l liquid stuff in the morning!! Rehab done, shower and hop, direction the office. Felt nice in the air, the sun was up already shining (but not warming yet…). Got a good 1.5hour of quietness in the open space for working before having back2back meetings until lunch. Wow! I do not like that. This is because it requires to have taken loads of notes and then after lunch (i.e. several hours AFTER the meetings) to be able to summarize and list the actions to be done (and hopefully do some of them or of other meetings from previous days…).

Anyway, got to travel over the river for lunch today ๐Ÿ™‚ Chinese/Thai/Japanese buffet – Swedish style ๐Ÿ™‚ Got sushi (probably the portion I generally eat for lunch), THEN I had some of what I would qualify as Thai food, but this was a Chinese restaurant. Took twice ๐Ÿ™‚ And then vanilla ice-cream with chocolate topping for dessert (I skipped the tea for sake of time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). And of course nice company and French discussions ๐Ÿ™‚ Back home then for more work and reading and preparation for next week. I like this: preparing on the Friday what has to be done first thing Monday morning ๐Ÿ™‚ By then, I had felt pretty tired and stiff-kind of (expected while eating!). Eyes have been crying during a couple of nights now and on the way back home they were itchy. When final work was completed and laptop closed, decided for some running. But a bit of resting before was more than welcome…. therefore it was done some vacuum-cleaning in the house before changing to running gear.

In order to check if the left knee was fine, did a light massage with chilli cream (calves, heels, knees), had my calve sleeves as well. Hesitated to hit the pavement in shorts and sport bra… Friday evening is after-work in most restaurant… SO had singlet on the top (which was taken off after a few km…not a chance I continue running to warm…with a singlet!). Passed the preparation of a strange race which will be held tomorrow “Tough Viking” (map). This is an extreme obstacle course…starting with a first “activity” called “Pain”…reaching activity 9 called “barbed wire” and 11 “Fire”…”Monkey bar”…”ice tank” (which surprisingly is NOT right after the “fire” activity…)… Will be fun to check tomorrow… Back to the run: SLOWEST pace ever was planned and… closely got it throughout the run. Felt like everything was going in slow motion. Noticed by km6 that I had been able to READ the ads along the route… which is quite fine… but what I noted was that I had time to read them SEVERAL TIMES before passing them!!!! Generally I barely read or pass them. Today I felt it went so slow that I was S.P.E.L.L.I.N.G the words almost… Really strange feeling actually (and it was faster than walking, but I never noted this thing while walking). The left knee felt ok, but itchy/scratchy still ๐Ÿ˜ฆ By km5, the chilli cream started to have effect…not on the knee as I hoped for… but on the ankles and Achilles heels… Imagine running with fire feeling JUST at this little place… It does not hurt…it is just so *%&!? HOT! Got to stop singing when the music was inviting to it…because it was increasing the pace….Got to stop clapping the hands when the music was inviting to it…because it was increasing the pace… Got to stop smiling to the (too) few people around when they were smiling…because it was increasing the pace… (OMG! What one should not do to have a slooooow pace….). So yes, today the main effort was to NOT make any effort at all…

This was a very nice weather for running 16-18ยบC, no wind, perfect. Would have once again continued to run for a while if it was not for the intervals I hope being able to run tomorrow. But if the knee if not fair enough, then it will be easy distance (read: “boring-slow”).

Back home, it was time for a bit of stretch. Talk with neighbours. Call to friend for meeting tomorrow. And then (when the body has got time to get pretty cold after the run ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ), hit the mat again for core & stability #1. This felt tougher than normal. Left hamstring stretching a bit more than usual (i.e. more than the past few weeks). But the knee felt fine…

And now it is time for little cosy evening in front of vampire movie and herbal tea ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes I am tired….maybe sleep in for tomorrow morning…until…let’s say…6:58am?… ๐Ÿ™‚


Why does the transparent coat dry slower than the green one?…

Up early enough on Wednesday (sleep in until 06:30am…), could fit a core&stability session right before starting work. Always feeling lame before starting, but so great afterwards. Had the rehab exercises in it and it feels good to have this done so early before anyone else even start thinking about breakfast ๐Ÿ˜‰

Long work day, sunny but not THAT warm outside, when the clock showed 4pm, I started to be pretty tired… Tried all the tricks for keeping the mind alert and the body awaken (like working harder, then when finished, clothe folding, eating dinner (@5:30pm…), even watching tv…but nothing worked…. By 6:30pm I was already in bed sleeping…and no, I did not wake up later on before midnight….

but @3:30am this morning (Thursday), I felt fresh and well-rested… but it was still dark…and early! so had to wait…until 5am and then it was boring to wait longer. Hop in the running gear and time to run. Checking the temperature…2ยบC! really? definitely long sleeves, wind jacket, half-thigh shorts and calves sleeves. All good! Real nice in the air actually (after the first chilly feeling!). Ran ran ran and hope for being on the top of the hill to see the sun going up (according to accuweather, it would go up @5:32am…). Short pit stop at gas station and this killed my schedule! Arrived liiitle too late and the sun had gone up already. But what a sight! SOOOOO delightful (and no photo…). And off I went back home. Easy nice morning run. Got ready, quick breakfast and off too work early to get all done. So nice weather I could see through the window from the office. By lunch time the sun had gone up and was warm on the face…making me regretting a bit to have run in the morning (cosy) instead of lunch (warm)… But done is done and no regret actually for the morning run! When leaving the office, the sun was still high and warm, so planned for a second easy outing. While arrived at home… it was too easy to just drop the working outfit and jumped into running gear…and sitting in front of the tv… NOPE! did not stay long. Took a mars and a little bag of gummy bear (yes, one can eat this before a run!) and off I went. As I had an unplanned rest day yesterday, where hillwork was planned, I wished to have a little hilly route today. So headed towards the big bridge and back and forth and got back home, nicely tired, 12km more in the legs ๐Ÿ™‚ Quick core-workout and then shower, banana+orange juice and a little work on the computer. Now I am nicely tired still, but could easily go out for a run again (OK, I am not mad…the MIND thinks this is possible/feasible, but the BODY would probably say stop pretty fast ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Time for bed and beauty sleep!

 

 

(What about the transparent and green coats?… he he he! I was painting my toenails on Monday evening as I had planned to have open shoes on Tuesday (and having 2 nails of blue colour might not be that fashionable…) so painted them in dark green and same for the fingernails. Done under the sun, so thought it would dry fast. But just in case I added a transparent coat on the top… HUGE MISTAKE! in the morning my fingernails showed diverse patterns of all kind and not the ones I wanted to have. SO all off in the evening and once again, green coat on. No transparent this time. Surprise this morning to see that… the colour was nice and without pattern ๐Ÿ˜‰ So conclusion: transparent coat dries slower than green coat. WHY? )


This pace that the mind won’t comprehend…

Bad night, long work day and recovery run… time for bed soon !

Started the day WAY too early: the alarm rang @4:55am!!! not.a.chance. The snooze button was way to tempting and the pillow got my preference. (yes, it IS ok to snooze the alarm sometimes!) Then it was already 7:20am… without noticing it! Quick up, got ready and on with my blue/green Brooks Green Silence for work (and yes, it IS ok to have running shoes with a suit on the way to work so you can change to high heels when reaching the office!). Then work work work. Got a bit late for lunch so picked up Indian Tandoori chicken and got a nice colleague taking me company during my lunch. Cool to learn about boat training, safety regulations and risk handling course. Wish I could apply to these courses ๐Ÿ™‚ OK, back to running, might have been a bit too late for going out, but traded directly my costume for my ADIDAS Supernova shorts and singlet and out and running. The sun was still showing itself a bit, 16ยบC and light wind. Felt nice and easy, but had planned aย  SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW recovery workout, so it had to be a SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW recovery workout ๐Ÿ™‚ The first 3 km went way too fast, but felt easy. So stopped a little, calm the pulse to the maximum and headed forward again…one calm km and then the music changed… giving wings to my feet and seriously making me doubt about having run a race a week ago… Got a nice fastfast km and then slowed down and got back to the plan. At this point I had enough time to think about pace. This fast km was about 4:02min, which means slightly slower (!) than my first half in Rotterdam marathon…COMPLETELY INCONCEIVABLE… How on earth can this pace be held during 21.1km when today it felt like 1km was WAY over the distance I should have run with this pace. To add 20km to it (sorry, 20.1km) is real hard to even comprehend. And this happens for most of the races. How can the mind and body achieve a certain pace during race when it is barely achievable during intervals or short tempo runs during training?… Yes, I know the “train low, race high”… but still… What makes the mind stopping (because it is well the mind deciding there) the body to run faster & longer during training when it can go further all boundaries during races…

Anyway, turned back after 6m and got a nice headwind (at first) and then not much stronger but definitely annoying headwind. Even danced a bit around km10+… but then my left knee started to complain and I cut the run short to 11km. Happy enough as it was a bit longer than planned, but not fully due to the pain felt. Of course the pain stopped immediately after the run and nothing felt when walking… Back home it was not much in the fridge and did not feel much hunger so I turned 2 eggs, 1 pear, little flour and oat milk into a pancake and topped it with half-honey and half-nutella… Japp, this was delicious and just what was needed then ๐Ÿ™‚ And water ๐Ÿ™‚ OK, the latter part sounds like a punishment, but it was refreshing…

A bit more work, chores to fix for the evening and now late rehab and core to go. I know… should not do that right before bedtime… but hope to have a sleep-in until 7am tomorrow morning ๐Ÿ˜‰

Aaaaaand for ending the day right, have registered (finally…) to Stockholm marathon. Hoping for nice weather and this time to handle the second lap way better than last year (OK, it cannot be taken worse than last year…). So exciting to have race ahead…and training until then. Got a suggested trail marathon for end of June from a colleague…Hmmmm, sounds tempting…if it was not the day after a race I am although thinking about participating… Have to rest body and mind a bit more. So this week will also be relaxed…

Rehab and core workout…here I come!


Any sunny day has a potential to be a running day, right?

Week 1 after marathon…should be able to run a little now, right?

Woke up WAY too early for a day off, but the sun was out and the birds seemed to enjoy it… No no no…6:03am WAS too early (especially after late in bed after two movies…). Turnedย  and turned and turned in bed until started quietly light rehab program. Once completed (felt good to have it done!), light breakfast of cereals as I was planning to train (!) a bit later in the morning. Walked a bit with the bike and GET and then hit the road on the bike. 7km later (more than easy pace, sunny sunny sunny and as usual (?) lost my way when turning in small streets and finally find my way to the trail loop I had been recommended to run for a while. OK, I did run it once (or twice?), but it was after having run there (12km) and by then I was not REALLY in greatest shape for doing more than one lap… This time, I.was.prepared! OK, maybe not the smartest workout one week after a marathon, but at the time I reached the trail and parked my bike to a bench, I was sold ๐Ÿ™‚ Changed from bike shorts to running shorts. Sun shining through the trees, birds (there as well!) and insects noises, light light wind in the leaves… Brilliant! Dropped my bag with water on the side and marked the start on the gravel. Ran the first lap without music in the ears, planning to continue this way actually for the more laps I would do. (A bit unsure by then how many laps had been suggested by my friend, but 9 laps @1,150m would be close enough 10K and would be good!). First lap felt fine, a bit too fast maybe, but ok. And then it was just to continue and run,…round….round…round…and round again… and yes, I did have music in my ears by lap #2, because it just drives me close to crazy to turn roundroundround… Got the final lap fastest of all @5:01min/km (which was WAY faster than the others…which were already faster than what I “should” (?) have run). And yes, it became 10laps, because my Garmin indicated kindly 1,000m (slightly more/less) when passing my start-mark… Not a chance I would have gotten close to 10K with 9 laps…Have to mention that to my friend who runs it… Have had a little annoying part since this morning though. My calves have been really sensitive, like aching. So when leaving home I had my calves sleeves on and it felt the little pressure was kind-of helping. Took them off after the running though. Drank so fast a little sport drink bottle and half a water bottle and it was time to get back home. Tried to take the shortest way, but this became the “windiest” way too.

Well at home, shower, lunch and pretty short after was laying under the sun, trying to comprehend the Cardiovascular/Anaerobic Model, but seriously, 3 pages and the sun and I closed my eyes… probably the sun ๐Ÿ˜‰ So nice to rest for a couple of hours and then have a even easier relaxing evening… All to get prepared for getting back to work tomorrow.

Recovery week seems to have been going well. Maybe the run from yesterday started the ache in the calves, but unsure. Will have it carefully followed up in the next day. Rest better than getting more harm, right?

Until next time, have fun running!


Recovery 1, 2, 3… How does it work?

(week 20140414-20140420)

Quiet and calm, training-free (almost), and rest… and sunshine… This could summarize the week after Rotterdam marathon ๐Ÿ™‚

Monday started pretty early. Actually, it felt like Sunday never stopped really. After packing all my stuff , tried to get to bed. Well, got to bed, but sleep did not come. Saw the hours passing and after 1:30am, cannot remember if I saw more, but when the clock rang @6am, it felt like I had just jumped into bed… Decided to go for a quick shower and skip breakfast. Packed the final stuff, ensure all was emptied and left the room. Walked in a fresh-air-Rotterdam towards the train station. Felt quite fine. Until I could not see my train, but only the one afterwards. Bought my tickets, skipped the chocolate at Starbucks (I was looking forward to it though…) and aimed for the platform… to see that the train coming was the Thalys and yes, it was going to Amsterdam Shiphol, but not with my ticket… Just had to wait 25 more minutes…which gave me time enough to get my hot chocolate ๐Ÿ™‚ Rushing into the train and got lucky to have a seat for the 25minutes to the airport. There, everything went smoothly: checked in, dropped the bag and then just have to wait at my gate (Oh, yes…I also ate a sausage roll ๐Ÿ™‚ Just loving this when I come to the Netherlands!). Flight went fine and easy, had two seats for myself. Kept on drinking to be sure will be well-hydrated. Then it went fast: landed, bag pickup, bus, tram and home…. and 30minutes later was sitting in my first afternoon meeting for work ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to G I got sushi for lunch though ๐Ÿ™‚ The body felt pretty fine. A bit stiff of course, but would guess that the lack of sleep and the travel were not helping after Sunday’s marathon. The head was however somewhere a bit high… Did I really run a marathon yesterday? The medal says so, so it must be true. After a serie of meetings, it was time to close the laptop for a day of rest ๐Ÿ™‚ – First day of recovery? Check!

A light sleep-in on Tuesday and it became a quiet relax day. No work… No running… and still able to fill in the time of the day! With a looooong thai massage @9am…Good way to start the day! ๐Ÿ™‚ The body was feeling actually pretty nice by then. No real ache, apart from when stretching the front of the thighs. Pressure points did not wake up any pain more than light ache. Chilling out all day, walking a bit as well. – Second day of recovery? Check!

Too early start for a Wednesday, but the day was expected to be long. Breakfast and then work. Meetings back2back until lunch. Lunch with G and then headed for afternoon long meeting. Body feeling quite fine, a bit stiff (a wild guess would be it came from the massage the day before…). Felt a bit dizzy a few times during the day, despite eating quite well… Have to check this. During afternoon meeting, had to stand up as my left thigh felt asleep a bit… Still no training and started to get…well, a bit bored. The day was long and headed to bed quite early, unable to keep the eyes opened… Good the long weekend was starting then! – Third day of recovery? Check!

OK, now it was Thursday. After a good night’s sleep, woke up a bit early but was not too motivated for going up and doing my rehab. So skipped it. Probably not too good (last rehab was exactly a week ago…). Lots of walking today, boat visit and more walking under the drizzling rain on the way back… Would have been sooo nice to be running instead of walking… Noticed I had been eating similarly to the past week (i.e. extra carbs and regular of large portions…) and without doing any exercises whatsoever… Great! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Feeling a bit ready for more than recovery now… – Fourth day of recovery?!?!?! Check!

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y… Friday… back with a bit of training… ok, still no running, but serious core&stability and rehab workout. Felt soooo nice to actually train! But took it easy and did not change anything in the routine. Will probably update the workouts next week though. Got a nice power-walking under the rain with GET and that was it for today. Well, ended the day with a rehab routine. Not much, but could not sleep, so as good to use the time, right? – Fifth day of recovery/rest?!?!?! Check!

Saturday was starting with great sunshine and light core workout. Felt that the stomach was strong but the “walking on the ball with plank position” felt pretty tough… Indeed, I had set the time to 2minutes (=120seconds) instead of the 80seconds I was doing earlier (which were already pretty tough…). Time for a walk with GET and climb of the stairs towards the redoubt…192 ๐Ÿ™‚ and running the first 120 stairs… Right after lunch, bag packed with water and cookies and bike on! Dropped T for egg hunts while GE and myself headed for a nice bike tour under the sun. Body felt fine. Real easy pace, no pain. Stopped after 11km for cookies and water ๐Ÿ™‚ and headed back home again. Headwind throughout the bike tour (of course?…). He he he, had even a friend noticing we biked for almost a half-marathon under 1hr 18… Would be a nice time for a running half-marathon, wouldn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Easy evening with double-movie… Yapp! Late in bed and really tired!

And so it was Sunday again…Really? Has a whole week passed without (almost) noticing it?… Quick rehab and light core. Muscle of the stomach felt a bit less aching that before, but still there. Sun shining outside? You bet!Easy morning walk under the nice sun (already warm in the air), running up the stairs to the redoubt again (actually twice as we did not agree on the numbers of stairs… = > so make it 192*2…). Started preparing lasagnes and then headed out for a run under the sun. Felt so incredibly light to run. Took 3km before taking off the singlet. Nice side-wind and astonishing sun in the skies. Make it a 13km under the hour ๐Ÿ™‚ Then it was just to shower and rest under the sun for a few hours. Got a little walk for playing table tennis with ET and then back home for resting (this sudden sun DOES make one tired!). Dinner was turned into sushi close to the redoubt (but this time we skipped the stairs and walked up the street which has a 10% inclination instead…), enjoying the still warm rays of the sun. Well back home, just had to brown pancakes to make the day complete ๐Ÿ™‚

Week of recovery? DONE!

 

NOTE: this was quite nice to have this recovery week falling during a vacation week… Hopefully the “no running”-imposed days are helping for recovery (but definitely not against boredom…)

NOTE: Now it is set: Chicago will be the final marathon of the season ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to it really!!!

 


Race Report โ€“ Rotterdam Marathon 2014/04/13

Planned: under 2:58, but after Copenhagen half-marathon 2 weeks before (way below expected time…) thought fixing sub3 would be good and really satisfactory

Actual:โ€ฆ2:57:25!!! New PB by 1 min 44 sec from Dubai in January 2014โ€ฆ 4th within age categoryโ€ฆ
SUB3: Enough said! Well, actually lots can be said because the previous day and race day were far from optimal… But for now, it IS enough said! ๐Ÿ™‚

Race Results:
place (M/W) 22
place (ag) 4
age/grade: 78.43% (2014 Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (netto) 02:57:25
time total (brutto) 02:57:25
average pace: 4:10min/km

Official splits:

Split Net time (difference)
5K 20:07:00 (20:07)
10K 40:02:00 (19:55)
15K 01:00:23 (20:21)
20K 01:21:02 (20:39)
Half mara 01:25:49
25K 01:42:12 (21:10)
30K 02:03:39 (21:27)
35K 02:25:37 (21:58)
40K 02:48:06 (22:59)
Marathon 02:57:25

And 2nd Swedish female runner in this great international race ๐Ÿ™‚ not bad, not bad…

And PB on 5K, 15K, 30K and 35K… ๐Ÿ˜€

********************
M Day-1

Rewinding a bit here. Started Saturday with sleep-in and a last morning run (mostly to check the start and final km)… Run which extended to 15km… Way too long, but nice and easy pace. As a result, breakfast was later and after that generally spending the rest of the day doing nothing but relaxing… Felt quite hungry earlier than expected and went for Italian… But did not end well ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Upset stomach and went worse later on the day. So expectations for the race changed pretty much to: finish it… Drank much water in the evening, hoping it would compensate… kind of… (which made me go up twice during the night… Not to good planned this…).ย  Not planning more food after lunch generally, I ate porridge around 6-7pm, but just the look was upsetting the stomach… All went fine though. Need to have something in the tummy, right? In bed @9pm, turned in bed probably until midnight… Good to have had a nap in the afternoon…

Before the race

No need for a clock top open the eyes… 5:46am – Awaken and hoping the body would feel better today. Breakfast at 6:30am was more forced than wanted. Half a portion porridge with banana and dried cranberries, topped with honey. Felt like cement in the stomach… Good to have taken only half! This meal was more to compensate for yesterday’s food loss… Changed as well drink intake, taking orange juice twice instead of water and red juice at last. Did not forget my allergy pill as I did yesterday before my morning run and topped it with nose spray. Hope it will help for breathing the air here…

 

Weather forecast is fine for me!

Weather forecast is fine for me!

7:00am & 7:30am – drinking procedure… which I actually thought of changing a bit this time, but once again with yesterday miserable loading it felt better to keep the drinking as usual.

7:45am – up for shower. Hurt a bit my right heel while going down the steps, definitely feeling the sensitivity of this part ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Great, just needed this as well… Got ready. Another change (as I was seriously thinking that the race would happen but probably for a finish and no more): set my hair in a high ponytail… Would end the race crippling probably, but looking good ๐Ÿ˜‰ No, seriously, wanted actually to see if I was stuck with my pigtails for performing in race (as someone mentioned once… Nope, no secret power in my pigtails). Cream on the body, skipping the sun cream after the boring part of Copenhagen half mara when it felt itchy right after starting the run… On with gear, cut the edges of my gels making them easier to carry in my pocket, choice of sunglasses done… All set!
Oh yes, wrote my planned splits as well… 3:00 to 2:56.. Not a chance to reach any of them, but it would work as motivator to reach eventually the finish line, I thought.

My splits (if all would have been fine yesterday...)

My splits (if all would have been fine yesterday…)

8:45am – Easy jog to the changing facilities. Took way shorter time than yesterday. Quick pic when entering the changing area. And just dropped my bag in a corner under the tent. Great I chose my club running gear and not my flashy orange tshirt… SO many are having this colour… (I know, this is Dutch colours, but still… At least I can be seen in white… for once ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Something odd was that there was no luggage area. We were all under a huge tent and everyone was changing there (yes, there was some nudity there and I thought for a quick moment that I was in the men’s tent… I did go to the men’s toilets, so would not be surprised I took the wrong tent!!! But no, this was a mix tent ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Left my bag under a bench in a corner and aimed for the start.

The "before-picture"

The “before-picture”

Changing facilities

Changing facilities

The orange squad?

The orange squad?

09:20am – Already at my start corral… The C-one. Felt a bit odd to start on this one because I did not get how we will start C and elite in parallel… Must be a catch I thought. But after reading Espen’s race report, I actually understood that it is “better” to start in C group than in B as C and elites start together ;P

9:40am – Corral C opened. Congrats received for being the first woman in ๐Ÿ™‚ Directly to the loo (this is great in this marathon to have porta-potty IN the corrals as well. So you can get in and skip queues outside and rushing to the start). Taking a pic for a Dutch guy and chat a bit. He is aiming for 2:58. He has trained for a while and this is his 3rd time here… and he is well prepared: arm wrist indicating each km, camelbak with sport drink, pockets with gels… Wow, I still have lots to learn about the art of carrying energy during a race!!!! He kindly offers we run together and I am seriously considering it as I feel it gonna be painful anyway, so as good to have a running mate on my side. Had time (after my rubbish night) to think of what I’ll get out of the race today and thought : all-in (for real…) during the first half, just to see if I can ever match my time from 2 weeks ago or if it was luck… (I could run on luck everyday if it gives nice time and feels good afterwards ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and for the second half? Well, just see how it goes… Meeting Ben, who I ran with yesterday. He looks good and fit. His mate David is in group D, could not seed himself at the expo… No worries I said. As he aims for 2:51 he will probably pass us before the bridge!…

10:05am – One more visit to the loo (little queue now and it might have been a bit much drinking earlier this morning… Great not to have to queue outside the corral anyway!). My new running mate has gone to “reserve a nice spot” on the front line as they are taking pictures he said. Ok, I made myself looking good, so fine for pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰ Several guys a sitting on the pavements chatting. Probably used of having this spot… I am not. So all smiles out (despite the freezing when the wind starts blowing right in our faces… THAT was the catch of being in corral C!). Got fun chat with some of the officials. Feeling little alone for gal between all this testosterone around. But have spotted a few gals earlier in the corral and even got smiles and encouragements from them… Probably look like I will need them…

10:15am – Taking back my plastic bag I throw a few minutes before. It’s freeeezing out here. Seen the elites warming up on the other line… Another benefit of corral C ๐Ÿ™‚ (ok, we can’t warm-up but we see the elites doing it…). Have Galvin behind me who is aiming for 2:45…but after having run Rotterdam a few times he says it will be tough after km30 aso because it is windy there… Getting some singing from a well-known Dutch and it is now 5 minutes to the start. We are asked to have our feet right before the yellow line (which is right before the time mats). Cannot believe it… I felt real bad yesterday afternoon, slept half-bad (or half-good?), had a heavy stomach with half a breakfast and froze my bones for an hour… And I am standing here… First line of this great marathon of Rotterdam… How dumb is this strategy?

2 minutes to start – Turning back to the runners behind me a kindly asking not to push when we start… Maybe my smile might help… Drinking quickly the dl of Powerade blue I took with me (this is a first…drinking RIGHT before start…) and disposing of the bottle.

20 seconds to start – Gosh! Stop this music!!! It is KILLING me…..

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THE RACE

10:30am – Well on time, the canon shots (yes, for real! A few meters from us!)…. And we start running. This is already incredible. Imagine a 3-500m street with people shouting and encouraging… It is 10:30am!!! On a Sunday… Feeling that I might have done something wrong because I see the elites and groups on the other start line running, but I am still alone on my line… An Italian guy passes me after a 100m (?) then another one, my running mate says we are too fast (!?) but we have not reached 400m yet, my watch shows 4:20… and still no rushing testosterone around me (even daring glancing back just to check it was our turn to start as well… Yapp! All good. Guys are daring passing me ๐Ÿ˜‰ we change side of the road, by running over a pavement in the middle of the street (had to be careful there). Still too fast, shout the guy. But my watch still shows 4:14…
Looking right looking left, I am now advancing in the common line. Wow, that feels good! Still no rush. The bridge is arriving quick and the wind with it. Fun to see all the runners kindly (?) running behind each other in a nice line on the left ๐Ÿ˜‰ Broadest ahead of me is probably 3 runners beside each other, but mostly one behind each other… and I follow diligently… aaaand the bridge is finished (I am sure it is shorter than when I ran it yesterday…). By now I have lost my running mate and not really planning to check behind me. Legs are fine, stomach good, head cool… Let’s give it a try then. A bit windy towards km5 (and there is a little bridge there!!! Why do people say a marathon is flat when the course has bridges?!?!). My watch has been beeping exactly on the km-marks so far (or close) and it shows 4:0x… Can’t be really. I don’t feel I run that fast. From km2+ after the bridge, I am hanging along with a couple of runners (a man and a woman) who seem to plan running around together. At this pace I can follow them for a little while and reach halfway in a decent time. A male runner is a bit annoying during this time as he is passing from right to left, behind me, then in front of me (& I am like less than a meter (?) from the couple…. You get the picture…). He also has a biking coach on the side encouraging him and carrying his drinks… This I would need after halfway I thought, not now…
Passing km5 around 20+minutes… Checking my hand for the splits mission impossible… It works reading when standing still, or walking… But now I see that my pace is fast because I really have to concentrate to read the line (good to remember for next time…Do NOT write THAT much on the hand for a marathon!!!). Feeling good, enjoying the ride and taking 2 Dextrosol (new ones… never tried before… The ones with minerals in it. Don’t know if that helps at all, but the head thinks so right then). Taking a mug with water. Cool stuff, they have 200-250ml in the mug and a sponge on the top with 2 small triangles cut for drinking. Not easy, but get a few gulps down. Have to be careful with the drinking I think. Feels like it’s gonna be warm today. Now my pace is around 4:01 on the watch. Quick calculation with a brain not on the top makes me deduct I am aiming for a faster half than in Copenhagen if continue this way. All-right then! At least there will be a good part in this race. Arriving to a street and seeing runners on the other side coming back… Where are we, I think? Have they taken the wrong way? And then remembering there is a little 180-turn (completely unnecessary if someone would ever ask me… Slowing down more than doing good… and yes it shows I do have to train on such turns as well… on my to-do list…).
Towards km10 I am preparing my first gel (right hand). (Tricky not to be able to take it as “usual” around km9, but I have changed all gels intakes for today’s race.) And drink at the water station. Not enough I think, but seriously?… I am passing the 10K after 40 minutes… No personal best, but close ๐Ÿ˜‰ Still all fine. But the wind is really bothering. Trying to get the back of guys in front of me, but the wind comes from everywhere…(Am I at home and training here? Did the Swedish wind follow me to the Netherlands?…). Having the couple just a short meter before me does help and whenever I can I actually find myself surrounded by runners (i.e. 2 in the front and 1each side… Not much wind is going through THIS wind shield ๐Ÿ™‚ The pace is still cool and apart from the wind, all feels fine. Being passed from time to time by male runners, but no women passing by. Good! Keep it this way I thought!
Arriving close to km15 I am a bit unsure if my mind plays trick on me. Am I really going through a PB for this distance? What I have written on my hand is not even close to the time I get… All good! Every minute and seconds ahead in the first half are precious for the second half ๐Ÿ™‚ By this point in the race, the cruising pace has dropped from 4:00 to 4:01… Yaaa, sure… I recall thinking in Dubai earlier this year that I was “cruising” at 4:10 in the first half… What should I call the current pace now?!?! As the km-signs are still more or less correct with my watch (I have adjusted for certain km though, but 5-10-15 felt almost correctly), this means I can (almost) trust the pace shown… of 4:01?!?! This pace was not even in the plan for Copenhagen marathon two weeks ago (& no half marathon neither for this year btw…) but ended almost there and I am NOW running a MARATHON at this pace??? Not even in my dreams ๐Ÿ™‚
Dropping a bit time at the 20K water station and taking my second gel (left hand). Well, I like this race because they clearly indicate 200m and 100m ahead of the water station and several stations have water on both sides. Which allows 1) to take the gel a little before and then drink water at the station and 2) avoid the craziness of slowing down or stopping runners at the water-stops. By now the pace is slightly slower. The couple did not stop at any station but one, as they have people giving them their drinks along the course… But this matters not. I am now having Kent (?) in red and from Germany (?) running in my side (he does not know it but I am hanging along him…). Reaching the halfway is great… 1:25:xx NO WAY!!! Just above my best time ever in Copenhagen… (OK I still have the same distance ahead, but let me appreciate this moment for a while…). Actually no… Rewind a bit to mid km20 to 21… There I felt like a star. At the last turn before km20, there a LOADS of people on both side. Being a woman is even calling for more cheering (or I am really tired by then and imagining they are all here for me…). People cheering and yelling your name (OK, I am not dreaming this one actually!). I even waved with the arms, getting even more cheering. Feeling additional strengths in the whole body, extra large smiles all the way… I am in Heaven (for runners…). ๐Ÿ™‚

Second half

Second half is starting at the halfway mark this time (NOTE: Surely halfway is halfway, but for some races, it feels the halfway starts after actually… and definitely for a marathon the race itself does not start before…km30?34?…). A bit less people now towards km22 (I saw it on the pavement), but I have Kent on my side (I think his name was Kent… and I will call him this way until the finish line and after ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kids on the side cheering and making me smiling…I know what is coming and I still cannot understand I am holding this pace without crying of pain, stopping for some rest or even doing a 180-turn and running back from where come (I am pretty sure this thought crossed my mind at this time, because I was thinking that I would have then tailwind most of the way back to start…). Yapp! Started to take Dextrosol every km from half-marathon sign to keep the head and body alert (I think?). Great pace, but dreadful start from km23 with the wind. I dare a smile and encouragement to Kent, but he looks straight ahead very focused. Far from me to let him loose this focus… And we turn towards km25… OMG! now I am glad for all the &@?!#% training runs with headwind I have done! What is going on? What should I do then (because there is no pack of runners ahead of me…). And something happens… Kent is actually passing me and settled… right in front of me…!!! Unsure he does this on purpose, but he does look a couple of time a bit behind and there is only me there… WOW, I am grateful! And if he did not do that in purpose, I am grateful too! Cutting a bit off the wind for me, I am fighting really to keep the distance as short as possible… The only thing I can see is his calves… Too low, I think. The posture cannot be fine if my eyes are focusing on calves which are less than a meter from me… So I’ll look slightly up ๐Ÿ˜‰ 3rd gel, a bit of water and km25 is reached and if for not Kent and the cheering a with my name, I would have stopped for a short walk… because there is two more turns and the bridge ahead… Same procedure this way as well. Runners in line ๐Ÿ™‚ Have dropped the hope of even seeing the couple during the end of the race, but there is this woman in green singlet and one blond with small pigtails and pastel pink (?) singlet which I really would like to keep in sight. Where is Kent?!? I lost him. And I am on the bridge, feeeeeeeling the struggle…. hearing my name and “Come on Girl, you know better than stopping in a bridge… You’re stronger than most of the guys here…” (Thanks to you who shouted this on the middle of the bridge! I thought for a split of a second I was actually talking to myself!!! And yes I do sometimes and probably every one does it as well!). Quick check on the watch: no wonder it is painful: it shows 3:47 pace!!! On the way up!?!? Then turn left and seeing “my” Kent again a few meters away. Turning carefully right (yaaa, sure… Have to work on those turns when running full speed!) and in the tunnel it says km27. Approx.40-60m difference with my watch. Shoot, this feels good! And up after the tunnel. (OK, it felt a bit heavy up there…). Thanks to the guy cheering in French there (on both ways… ) and I am now in know territories. I have run this part yesterday and I can the next 3km towards km30. Grrrrreat! Painful and heavy but great. Meeting Kipchoge the first elite men at his km40… Yelling his name, seeing his smile and ease at running… This is just a delight!!! Soon there myself (I mean: I will soon be at km40-mark… because by THEN, I will probably not be smiling any longer, have dropped all hope in being under 3-hour (yes, this was a little hope I had seeing how the first half went…but is there anyone really running on โ€œhopeโ€?…) and I am not talking about the “ease in running”…this one has left the building before km25 and the bridge…). Counting the seconds until I see elite men no.2 & 3 and they are like 15 seconds behind, less smiling, but fast running for sure. (Would change my place for theirs…ANYTIME! Yes, I do think this for a few seconds actually!). Turning left and there IT.BECOMES.HEAVY… If it was not for the crowd doing a brilliant job, I would probably still be there. “Soon on the other side” I hear (my mind thinking too fast that someone wishes me dead here… but he meant “on the other side of the road… on the final stretch to the finish line”…Ooooh, I see…). This little drop in energy is lasting a few 100s and it is head up and smiling that I pass km30 (I think I was smiling… or face-cramping, cannot recall really) and towards the “woods”. Shortly after entering my stomach starts cramping big time. Similar to London marathon. But.I.Shall.Not.Stop! Not when there is less than 12km ahead, make it an hour more/less. Probably incorrect calculation, but at this moment in the race, I don’t really care. If the head says โ€œan hour more/lessโ€, then it means โ€œan hour more/lessโ€… Not many runners passing by… apart from a little gal with a 3-digits BIB. What was she doing being me all this time??? She runs on light feet and with straight back. Real cool, especially at this moment of the race. Decide to follow her. Since km25 I have changed my watch screen to see km per km. All under 4:14 is acceptable at first. (Will stop looking at it pretty much short after…). The head is strangely calm, focusing on all but the cramp aching in the stomach. Looking right and left and we are surrounded by woods… Should I do a quick stop and just empty my stomach? Which would mean loosing even more time than I have not yet lost, unsure it will even help (quick thought about London and the stop under the bridge, the โ€œhour-longโ€-seconds spent in porta-potty without even doing anything… Yaaa, wish to forget this one). So nope, no stop. Hanging with the light-running gal, right behind. But it feels a bit slow (WHAT?!? How can I even have such thought??). Passing her and continuing my little run. Not really enjoying the scenery, but it IS nice to run here. Have to come back another time because it is a pity not to enjoy the running in this environment. Well, actually… I do like the run right now. Way slower than first half, not even pushing for running faster. I will make it to the end and THAT is what is important. Gosh, so much talking in the head…which makes it easier to reach km33…and the wind back. Seeing a runner from the back and think I recognize Galvin from the start corral. Slightly increasing the pace (well, at this point anything else than my current pace is faster…) and trying to stick to his shadow (figure of speech, because it is way to sunny to HAVE a shadow! It is nevertheless quite nice with the sun and not crazy warm. Just nice). Running either by his side or behind him, we go through the turns here and there towards km35. WHAT? Already? But I am supposed to take a gel and I just took one? Oooh, was it 10km ago? A bit unsure now when I took the previous gel… I took anyway my last one at km35… Nice! I almost got the water-drinking correctly. I am happy!… Until we turn again, with cool music…AND more wind! What is this race really? Wind on order when I am coming? At km37 I see the large screen where messages are popping up. Hoping to see one for me, I accelerate and then it is a huge ad popping up on the screen ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Not cool! I wan to stop. But Galvin is there and I tell him (!) to hang on, that we are less than 5km away from the Finish Line. I even tell him it’s looking good…and got โ€œright back at youโ€ and a smile with a bit of effort… Yes, at this point of time, I do call for compliments, whatever they may be! Aaaaaand we finally see ahead of us a line of runners entering into the โ€œwoodsโ€… Yoooooohoooo! The long circle is completed, now we turn back to the road I know and it is km39 (which I do not see anywhere). But does not matter. Running towards the finish line in a โ€œnarrowโ€ street, having the pack of runners heading towards km30…THIS gives you a boost! Once again having distance-comparison in the head with training-distance from home. I jungle with all the comparisons possible to keep myself busy. Stomach no longer aching (don’t know when it stopped, but by then it is sunny, it is liiiitle windy and I am on my way to finish…might even skip the crippling at the end…well, not there yet…). Got passed by a jumping little Swedish gal looking on the top of her form. Even got a smile! Coool, I…..will….follow….her….another time. She looks too well for me to accelerate. Galvin is gone, Kent has left the building…who is helping me now? NOBODY… It is just me aaaand km40 passed. Now it is time to bite it, take a little water (YES! I am actually mastering the water-drinking by this final water station!!!) and no no no no, not slowing down. Accelerating. I realized yesterday evening just before going to bed that the โ€œlast km that was so long after km40-markโ€ when I did my Saturday final morning run…was actually a 2.195km… THEREFORE it was so long. ๐Ÿ˜› Had in mind a half-marathon distance and therefore planned a sprint for the last km. But now I am prepared (for double the distance for the final sprint). My legs are strong (kind-of), the mind is (almost) on the top (OK, this is a top that is โ€œway lowerโ€ than the top reached at km21…but still on the top!). Soon finish, final turns, not much left…this is what I hear now…in any language and it does not matter…At this moment of the race, you understand ALL languages! Turn towards Blaak and it should be soon km41…Cannot see it…where is it??? And here I have my French supporter yelling my name again (SO THANKFUL FOR THIS ONE!) and on the road the mat indicating 1,000m left. Reaching the final turn…OMG! Is it really that long to the Finish Line? No time to check the large screen for any kind of message… 500m is reached… Quick check on the watch indicating I reached a pick under 4min/km before the final turn… REALLY?!?!? This is so extremely cool this last-stretch-moment. All possible pain, sweat, spaghetti-legs, cramps… ALL IS FORGOTTEN! This is what I have trained for. This is the last 200m (thanks btw for indicating it on the side!). People on both sides of the road are just shouting, encouraging…Not even having people passing me (OK, there was a couple of guys passing me around 500m line but not after I think…I just see one thing…the arch indicating the Finish Line…and the 100m sign and I don’t even try to smile (I have it in my head and that will do for today!)… and I see that surely 2:56 was so close…and passed…but I.DON’T.CARE! I am passing the Finish Line, trying not to run into 3 runners apparently feeling pretty bad right after the line, pressing stop on my watch (what on earth am I thinking here?!) aaaaand falling in the arms of a guy in red jacket… I.HAVE.FINISHED!

(I dare looking at my watch, smiling to the 2:57:27…whatever time I may have…I TAKE IT!)

Official time received later: 2:57:25.

A very happy-me after the race (in an empty tent...)

A very happy-me after the race (in an empty tent…)

Final time on the Garmin :)

Final time on the Garmin ๐Ÿ™‚

Well-deserved medal :)

Well-deserved medal ๐Ÿ™‚

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After the finish line

The sight of my time is making me SO happy (and yes, it deserves an howl this time as well… I really do nor care the staring.. I said I AM happy!). From the start where we were all so close to each other eager to run, to the race with share struggle, to this finish line… feeling so good… and then it is empty… Apart from a few runners now and then in front of me…it is very empty…really! Getting a flower like all women arriving, congratulating the green-tshirt woman who passed right after me. Got a huge smile from a tired Galvin and hearing his congrats means a lot! And who’s there right after I start walking again… Kent-in-red! Good to see him again (unsure when I passed him though), he said lots of encouragements stuff and head off towards the bananas-stand. Right before I am meeting one of the guys who helped at the start. He is very quiet, but by the smile on his face, I feel rewarded. Having him jogging to the guys/gals with medals, taking one and coming back to me and passing it around my neck! Wow! THAT is cool ๐Ÿ™‚ I have not win the race, BUT I have similar treatments! A hug, one more smile and seriously have to continue walking. Stomach aching a little now. Got a bottle of sport-drink right after the finish line (unsure how and unsure who gave that to me…but it is soon finished…30m after the finish line…). Getting a little one, a banana and now it is REALLY empty of people. Where this morning there was all the 10K-runners arriving at this particular spot, it now empty. Following the few runners ahead of me, stopping at the loo before leaving the arrival area, but leaving it shortly after as it is only stomach aches and nothing else (well, it does ache!). Walking up the little bridge towards the changing facilities (Ooooh, what I feel lonely when I see the kids rushing to their dads after leaving the arrival area… should have had one of GET following… a little ego, but fun maybe?). Tricky going down the stairs (they did that on purpose…to place stairs right before the changing area!!!), but that is working fine. Went into the tent (which is now filled with runners’ bags and stuff…but empty of runners… Am I the first one to arrive???). Getting my yellow bag and hoping for a massage. Getting an after-race picture (yes, I have to work on having a nicer background when taking those photos…). Stopping to have my time engraved on the medal : Yippie! 2 seconds faster than Garmin says! 2:57:25!!! Then heading to the medic tent for massage. There the lady at the entrance insists that a shower is to be taken BEFORE the massage…seriously? I need to take off all the clothes (and that is after a marathon-race a similar challenge as the race was), THEN getting my clean clothes on (new challenge) and THEN I can get a massage? For THEN walking back home and taking a new shower?… After smiles and quick chat with the lady, I am shown the table I am struggling a bit to climb on. Rita is going to massage me. Gently she says, because you do not want a deep massage, do you? (Well, at this moment I do not care much because I am laying down on my stomach and actually I am tired (and suspect that I am feeling a burn mark right under the elastic of my sport-bra…great!). I then get FIFTEEN nice minutes of massage. Luxury treatment! Legs feels fine. Changing to clean clothes, shoes on, got sms asking how it went and happily answering it went way better than the email I sent after going up this morning and then heading home.

A good difference with Dubai: did not finish soaking wet (I did use the sponges for cooling down the thighs, but not really throw water on the legs. Which was good. Probably not that warm neither compared to Dubai, so not really needed.

Skipping the cold shower at home, because felt really freezing and decided to have a hot shower instead (so much for the recovery starting right after the finish line…). Checking quickly the race website for having a confirmation of my time (no, really..I know I started exactly at gun time, but the time result seems out of this world. Sure, Garmin says and medal says…but the mind is not really believing it. Problem on the website (I hope!) because I cannot find my name and when checking on the country I can find only 4 fast Swedes… Really hoping there was no problem with my time-chip…maybe I did miss a mat…did I take a shortcut without noticing it? Wow, I hope this shows soon… Careful massage with relax-col-cryo cream and then, put on relaxing chillout music, lay down on the bed with the legs on the suitcase and rested this way for over an hour…

6:00pm โ€“ Finally up again. Decide to skip the Grill restaurant I spotted on Friday as it meant walking approx.4-5km (back&forth) and chose the pizzeria two streets away. Before that, I went to the Moroccan bakery I had seen a few times on my way home and bought a bunch of Morocaan small cakes…Yummy! Will be appreciated when back home as I cannot find those in Sweden (and always take some back home from France ๐Ÿ™‚ ) – Back to the pizzeria: highly recommending it, cosy, good pizza… a pity it was not opened yesterday while carbo loading… Siciliana pizza and a coke. That would do for celebration for today ๐Ÿ™‚ Cool to hear people coming in and talking Italian…for a moment I forgot I was in the Netherlands! Then decided to walk to the train station for buying my ticket to Amsterdam airport for the morning after. Stopped at Starbucks Coffee for a tall hot chocolate with soy-milk and whipped cream…and sat down there for a long while. Got to chat with an American who was there with his family. 4th marathon and improved each time. Then with a Spanish guy leaving in Germany and who had studied in Sweden (what are the odds?!?!?). When the clock indicated 9:xxpm, the sun had disappeared since a while and it was time to leave the warm Starbucks with a hot tea in my hand…

Back home, packing all my stuff for early departure the day after… Looking back at the past 24hours, I really needed to check my medal to believe it actually happened. Not only completing the race (which is the first objective of all), but in a (quite) good shape and with a really great time. Took several hours after midnight to finally close the eyes… WHAT.A.DAY!

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Weather: 11ยบC, Feels like 11ยบC, 14 km/h WNW wind, Humidity 76% – probably liittle more like 9-10 at start, felt that the wind was stronger than this but during some of the parts in the race…the sun was there most of the time. GREAT weather for running (Yapp, even with this not-welcome wind)

Food:
> before: oat porridge with banana, cranberries and gojjiberries topped with oat milk

> right after: AA-drink iso lemon, water, banana

> 2.5 hours after: pizza + coke

> During: vitargo gel @km10, 20, 25, 35 (at the water stations). Dextrosol: 2 tablets @km5&km15. 1 tablet every km (between km21 & 32) except the km with gel+one after. Extra 2 after km40. Not for the effect, but more for the fact of taking something

Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), MIK singlet, sunglasses โ€“ shoes were JUST BRILLIANT. First race with them and hopefully not the last one.

Outfit was exactly what it needed today. Should have had clothes to throw before the start as it was a bit freezing with the wind. But when starting, never got cold really. Gels were stored in the back pocket of the shorts (2 of them โ€“ with edges cut… which was good idea !) and 2 in the hands (almost drop them a few times, so was happy when taking the second one!). Had 2 Dextrosol packs in double socks in sport-bra…worked really well…until I noted after km32/33 that it felt like scratching/itching right under the elastic of the sport-bra… Not a chance I would stop and check, so continued to run this way. Km35 took final gel and move the Dextrosol left to the back pocket of the shorts… Result: burn mark on the chest… Still some work to do…I know…

17/ The tricky part: For the first half, I would set a comfortable-to-good effort of 15 (!). Yapp, felt this way. BUT for the second half, it probably started with 15, up to 17 around the bridge and passing it, then down to 15 again, up to 18 for 2-300m on the stretch towards km30, then down to stable and steady 17 for probably the rest of the circle towards km38/39. Up to 18 during 100m (?) at the water-station of km40 (probably because (?) gathering last strength for the final stretch) and a good 16 for the last 2km. The joy and happiness felt during the final 1,000m, 500m, 200m, 100m… definitely makes the effort level difficult to estimate there! Felt light and easy but was definitely not that light and easy!

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SUMMARY: Wow-day starting not as planned and finishing far from planned! New PB, second for the year…noticing a bit better the potential existing for this long distance. Being the second marathon of the year, I was kind-of prepared to have like the past two years a good-2nd-marathon-but-not-as-good-as-the-1st-one-of-the-year (London ended with faster 1st half than Dubai but with total time slightly slower / Boston ended with faster 1st half than Dubai but with total time slightly slower… this year? Rotterdam ended with WAY faster 1st half than Dubai AND total time faster than Dubai ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Preparation for Rotterdam went well and being the second important marathon race of the year after Dubai, it feels great. Was a bit anxious after the great result of Copenhagen than surely the body felt pretty in good shape before Rotterdam, but maybe it had been going too far/fast then… So had good expectations but not more (and those were changed after the boring half-day before…). Feeling like I have been tapering down since I came back from Dubai! Final weeks went well, although the legs really wanted to run more (maybe not faster, but longer… had to refrain the will for longer long runs…). Carbo loading went kind-of ok until it went out and ruined the whole prep on the food-side. Have to check this, but not everyday can be a good day for the tummy…

 

This marathon race is just outstanding. The ambience along the route is of prime quality, surely some parts are a bit lonely, but it is SO compensated by all the rest where people are shouting and cheering. Better than Berlin and of the same level of London… Yapp! THAT good are the cheering in Rotterdam! A few down-moments during the race, which made all the long runs and trainings in poor conditions at home SO worth it. The body was way fit enough for the run and the head could have made it stopped…. No music in the ears, which I am so very proud of. The crowd is carrying you…ALLLL the way! No cramp, hamstring felt fine (before/during/after), real sensitive Achilles heels after the race (but only when touching them) and a stomach that felt โ€œOKโ€ afterwards. Not much sleeping after the race and travel early back home. Body felt a bit stiffed, but ok (heels were almost 100% fine)

Great and fast pace for the first half (really surprised!) and expected drifting in the second half. Good to have people running all around (even though after km27 or so, everybody seems to struggle…but we do it together ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Had no personal pacer, but had three opportunities to hang along with others and this made a huge difference! Of course the second half wass completed WAY slower than the first one, but with a total time fully acceptable ๐Ÿ™‚ Brilliant and definitely wanting more!

Second marathon of the year, second SUB3 โ€“ Feeling good!

 

(Lots of thanks for kind words of support and especially last days sms before the race. This is just so great to have these in the head when the race feels a bit heavier to run… Boundaries exist and they are here to be pushed. Today was one of those days ๐Ÿ™‚ THANKS!

 

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Inside the restaurant - cosy

Inside the restaurant – cosy

Pizza and coke... carbo-loading again?

Pizza and coke… carbo-loading again?

Will take a larger suitcase next year...more place for the delights :)

Will take a larger suitcase next year…more place for the delights ๐Ÿ™‚

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday...

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday…

Yummy hot chocolate after race

Yummy hot chocolate after race


Rotterdam M Day: 2:57:25…

Double-Wow…After unhappy stomach yesterday and this morning, carbo loading plans in the rubbish-bin…it required a serious change of plans… Turned out well… Second sub3! Feels good ๐Ÿ™‚

Need some resting now…Stomach really not in the game and would need a serious butt-massage right now (I know, sounds funny but it feels like cramping… So no, not funny!). Feeling a but hungry too, which is quite unusual so close after a marathon… Will start food-hunting after legs-resting ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lots of thanks for constant support and kind words of encouragements. This feels so great to have crossed the finish line, once more and with a alike (I think…).

* Quick body check: apart from the butt-cramps (seriously, where does these come from??), feeling fine. Of course tired legs, little sensitive heels, but after this distance, this is expected, right?


Rotterdam M Day-1

And M Day was soon there…realizing it more and more, while timer is going so.extremely.slow right now…

Awaken at 6:30am, when the”plan” was to have a sleep-in until 8, getting little to drink and hitting the pavement around 9-ish. Would make breakfast around 10/10:30…all good ๐Ÿ™‚ But this early waking-up made me go up anyway (with all the water drinking yesterday, no problem with dehydratation this morning!). Unsure how I slept as it felt I turned in my bed for a long while. Got more rest and went up around 8-ish. Ouch! 2ยฐC… Brr, cold…until I realised it was home temperature at 4am this morning… Got updated to Rotterdam and…ouch, not much better:6ยฐC… Changed to running gear, long sleeves, short shorts and hair up in ponytail… Not to fancy, but this is a morning run and I know nobody here ๐Ÿ™‚
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Stairs I have to go down from my room… carefully…

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Sunshine outside ๐Ÿ™‚

09:05, and ready to rock ๐Ÿ™‚ Ok, slow tempo and the plan is to get to the start (2km?) then run to km 39 (2km+) and if still fit (!), take a little bit of the starting km over the bridge (1.5km?). So should get up to 12km or so. Took the sunny side of the road while heading to the Town hall. More work had been down add they prepare for the kids run of this afternoon. Stop to take a pic at the finish line.
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Should look like that tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚ Smiling and the finish line behind me…

Two guys from Wales are charting with me a bit. One aims for 2:58, the other one for 2:51… Ok I’ll follow the small one then ๐Ÿ™‚ Wishing good luck and continued my easy run. Exactly 2km from home to the finish line and shortly after, I see the bridge. As good to see how it feels at easy pace today… Back and forth. Will probably feel in the legs the second time we run it tomorrow, with 25km in the legs at way faster tempo than today… But enjoying.

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Real nice bridge with the sun in the face…
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Had to take those buildings in photo… Strangely put on each other, like Lego pieces…
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Turning back to the bridge (but tomorrow it will be straight forward…)
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On the way back (after 25km tomorrow…)

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Meeting the two guys again on the way back. More chat and they decide to follow me towards km39. Very nice indeed to have company. Ben (the 2:58) had run the 10K in Dubai in 2012 ๐Ÿ™‚ & David (the 2:51) tells me he ran over 40 marathons and he actually changes age category one day before the race ๐Ÿ˜› Good for him! Chitchat and we finally see the 40K-sign.

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Been there…

They decide to turn back to the Expo and I continue my little run… Stopping once to check the way and taking unfortunately the wrong one. Nice road, but after almost one km, I react that the street is way to narrow for receiving 25,000 people… and indeed I had run 1km way out east instead of North (or something like that)…Back to the corner I choose the incorrect street and a quick check on the watch: km-wise will end up 3-4km more than I should a day before a marathon. But what bother me most was my food timeplan… But I really wanted to see km 39/30… Easy pace and finally I see it ๐Ÿ™‚ Picture with a smile at km30… and proud of it ๐Ÿ˜€
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Ok, wrong way but nice way ๐Ÿ™‚

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…and I would have missed the swan crossing the street… Think if it happens tomorrow…

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Finally on the right path…
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There in the background… the 30km-sign…

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Had to take a pic…not everyday you pass km40 before km30… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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My starting pen for tomorrow…

Ok, now turn back to the finish. I am way over what I should have run but at least I know it is possibly windy between km 40 & 30…AND that from  km40 to the finish line it is actually way more than 1.195km… More likely to have 1.6/1.7km… Good to know so I skip sweating tomorrow when the watch beeps and no finish line in sight… (there will probably be some swearing, but not for this at least!). And I am at the finish line…13km done already… Take easy back home and it feels way shorter than on the way there…
Finally back home. 11:00am – Straight up to my room to get green mix and apple juice while preparing my oat-porridge. Adding banana and cranberries. Feeling like drinking a whole sport drink bottle but resist ๐Ÿ™‚ Shower and then relax and breakfast. Then sport drink ๐Ÿ˜‰
After that, the plan is… nothing… Feeling that I have way to much time and wary to little to do… Preparing my gear for tomorrow. Still unsure how I will carry my gels… (story of my (running) life…). Aiming for More miles short shorts as they can have 2 gels in the back pocket. Unsure what to do with the 2 others and the Dextrosol… Attaching my BIB both on the front and back of my singlet. Don’t know why we have two, but that’s ok. And ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost orange. Yes, they are a little new. Maybe should have taken the other new ones I had in Copenhagen, but the race is in Holland…what best than running  in their orange colours? ๐Ÿ™‚

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Still nice weather ahead…

1:00pm – have now eaten 3 small bags of gummy bears, finished three AA-drink iso-lemon (ok, should not have bought it yesterday. What if my stomach does not like it?…. But this is the one served on the route.. Will see…could not find sport drink I know here…). Have written a bit, read a little and eaten a Twix… Can’t wait to go to the restaurant and eat!

2:43pm – FINALLY ordered food. Making it simple : spaghetti bolognese… This is the only one I truly understand on the Dutch menu. Sitting at Happy Italy, upon recommendation of my host Class. After the pain finding an Italian restaurant yesterday, I had done my homework before sleeping and had actually 2 Italians close to home. But when checking them today, noticed they opened only in the evening… Lucky me! Met my host on my way out while starting to starve (!) and he kindly indicated this place…. Ok, this meant 2.2km walk and with the help of my GPS, I probably walked 3km instead… Yummy to eat now ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ok, writing a bit later now… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Could not finish my pasta plate (if yesterday it was way less than my usual portion, today was way more!). Left the restaurant half tired and with tummy-ache. Fresh air would solve this, I thought. Walked a bit and found the luggage area for tomorrow. One good thing done! But short after, it felt real bad and had to stop twice due to my stomach wanting to empty itself. Made it home nevertheless… only for rushing to the bathroom and staying there until all my lunch was out and probably most if my water-drinking as well… Yaaaa, gross… I know…Would definitely prefer write about the sunshine… Felt a bit better after, brushed my teeth and up in my room to rest. Got to drink a bit, which went well. But when trying to eat a piece of bread it just did not work, so stopped right away ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So much for the carbo loading… Around 4pm I could get a Twix down, but was seriously tired…and took a short nap of 1.5 hour!!! What is happening here?!? Up around 6pm, prepared liquid-porridge, hoping it would stay and compensate for the lunch… Half the bowl went fine, but the texture and the taste felt like… well, not good. So stop. I think it is good enough with a banana and more water.
Took a little walk after that for getting fresh air (must be now up to half-marathon distance in running/walking today…any other stupidity that can be done before tomorrow’s race???). Grey and strange in the air. Where is my sun?!?! Passed by several restaurants on the way to the shop and each time I felt hungry and 2sec after my stomach would just growl of unhappiness… Little shopping for tomorrow. Banana, orange juice and Nivea cream. Will try to get some orange juice down tomorrow morning. Hopefully will help.
Now everything is ready and the only thing left to do is relax and sleep. Hope for the best? Nope, I don’t run in hope, just on training, hard work and sweat ๐Ÿ™‚ ( it’s not because my tummy feels strange, my legs are tired and my head wants to sleep that I can’t joke!!!).

Rotterdam : really not much time left now…14 hours before the canon shot declaring the start of the race…

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Had to take a picture of this one… Nutella pizza !!!!

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Calm evening close to the canal…


On my way….to Rotterdam! Finally :)

Awaken with the drops falling on the roof tops…again! Had to fight for not getting up and go running because 1) it was 4:30am and 2) it was rest day (and travel day too). Got back to sleep and went up a couple of hours later, no sunshine but at least the rain had stopped.

Directly fixing the last stuff for travelling (read: throwing all the clothes in nice piles in the suitcase and checking for the third time that my racing gear were in my backpack…). Shower, breakfast and work. Head a bit off but being in interviews helps for the focus part! A bit more work after those and early lunch (11:15am…), pasta with green peas, ham and white soy-sauce. Now it was time to go (after hanging the clothes and emptying the dishwasher….).
My suitcase felt a bit too heavy, but this seems like usual…Just do not want to miss an outfit in case of weather change…and yes, I remember at the last minutes to pack regular clothes as well!!! Not just running around ALL the times ๐Ÿ˜‰
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A bit of walking to get freshly baked baguette and chausson aux pommes at Lidl. Got my tram as planned and then took the bus to the airport.
Well arrived, I queued 7 minutes at the SAS desk when received with a large smile and was indicated that I was actually flying with KLM… No queue there. Control, ok, although my running shoes are beeping through the control! Bought latest RW, but had to settle for the Swedish version as the international/US one was not available ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Ate my chausson aux pommes and a bit of the baguette while waiting for the plane. The flight went fine and I suspect I slept a bit as well. Got little snacks onboard and we were arrived already.
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A bit of walking to reach the luggage room, a bit of waiting for the luggage and aimed to the train. Took a ticket to Rotterdam and just got the first train there…30 minutes ahead of my schedule. Took 25 minutes to reach Rotterdam Centraal and then a bit of walking to the room I rented.

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A bit of wind and sun as well. Little wait for the host as we were to meet at 5:30pm and I was there 30 minutes before….
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Blue door ๐Ÿ™‚

The room was under the roof , simple and vast. Good enough for this weekend.
Around 6pm, took my backpack and headed towards the City hall where the BIB were to be picked up (actually right after… This means a lot when we will run on Sunday and do not stop at the World Trade Center but at the City Hall!). Approx.3km from home, good for warming up on Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚ and enough time today for taking pics ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Went in, got my BIB, ask for how it works with luggage on race day and went through the expo. Tried sunglasses, but not convinced… And that was it.
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On the way home I looked eagerly for an Italian restaurant (because I was starving and lunch was a while ago…)… but nothing ;( Stopped at the train station and got a box spaghetti bolognaise (300g in a portion penne they said, but I seriously doubt it was that much!)
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Where do you go in?!?!

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Oooops!!!

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Anyway, ate while walking home and stopped at a shop for buying bread, juices, sweets and that was enough for carbs! Arrived home I met with an Indonesian roommate. And it was late. Enough for getting into bed.

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That was how I spent my M Day- less than 48 hours. Not too satisfied with the carbo loading. Got lots to drink but food-wise was maybe not enough…although I feel having been eating all day long! Got extra bananas, bread, sport-drink, pasta… Yes, that will do!

10:14pm – time for bed… Travelling IS exhausting!!!

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