Race Report – Stockholm Half marathon 2014 – 2014/09/13
Planned: sub90 and if all good sub88 would be nice (of course all under is mostly welcome!)
Actual: 1:28:38…new PB on this route (he he he this is the first time I am running it = automatically PB!) 48th women and 36th in Swedish Championship of half marathon. Satisfied with the race, as a good rehearsal before next challenge 🙂 A bit faster than Göteborgsvarvet in May which has a similar profile (although different…).
Place 48 (46 – guntime)
Place (age) 39
Place (total) 533
Time total 01:28:38
Average pace 04.13 min/km
BEFORE THE RACE
HM Day -3: Final quality run in the morning with intervals at 5:26am (only time available this day…) Form seems fine. Then…evening at the restaurant – ending with stomach cramps all evening and late at night.
HM Day-2: wake up with stomach cramps and have them coming back&forth all day 😦
HM Day-1: almost ok, at least no cramp. Travel to Stockholm. BIB pick-up with J and easy evening at home. Feeling good and relaxed.
2:37am – awaken shortly. Well rested. Definitely ready to run now! But a few hours left before going up. 07:42am – still too early. Quick visit to the bathroom. Maybe drank too much water yesterday. 08:00am – finally time to go up… Take anyway almost an hour before leaving the bed and getting into running gear. Quick morning run. Finally finding the correct way to the lake, promising myself to take a run there on Sunday if time allows before leaving to home.
09:20am – breakfast of large Earl Grey tea with honey, one egg, two small buns with raspberry jam. Breakfast for champions 🙂
Then chilling out rest of the morning. Listening to music, reading a bit, packing my bag to the race. This wait before afternoon race is killing me really!
1:30pm – Writing my splits on my hand: 1:25 1:27 and 1:30. (secretly writing 1:24-splits on the forearm, but I know I cannot see it all easily during the race anyway…). Am ready. Finally leaving with J. Train to the city then subway and a short walk to the sunniest place today, aka. Stockholm Kungsträgården. Full with runners everywhere. We are a bit ahead of schedule so as good to take a first stop to the loo before the queues become crazy long. Finally finding where to go for start, so we separate with J wishing both good luck to each other.
2:45pm – meeting other gals in the elite tent. Nice to have so many smiles at once. Even though don’t know half of them, that’s cool. Chatting with Karin S to see if I could join their group for workout back at home and seems working well. Heard as well she will go to Chicago. Fun 🙂 meeting as well Caroline from Stockholm marathon, Lona from IF Linnéa, Mikaela K…
3:00pm – new stop to the loo and heading to the warm up area. Quick chat with the 1:24-pacesetters. One I recognize being the 3-hour pacesetter from Stockholm marathon. He aims for stable 3:59-tempo throughout the race. Not a chance I hold this. Warming up on the first 400m of the race. Slight slope, which I did not know… and then turn back. Then do a serie of up and down the street to reach almost 2km. Tempo pretty slow and the cool thing is having a male elite (the fast kind) warming up at the same pace and place as me. For once my warmup cannot be that bad, right? …
3:20pm – easily going back to the start area. Final stop to the loo. Chat with pacesetters. Then hi to Isabella Anderson (everybody must say hi to her and I felt I might destroy her concentration.). But it is so cool to see all the ladies who ran for the Swedish team in Zürich marathon (European Championship): Frida Lunden, Lena Eliasson, Annelie Johansson… Cool, really cool! Dare even approaching Louise Wickner (ran in Dubai this year) and got the largest smile before start 🙂
3:25pm – already in the group heading for the start line. Drinking a bit left of Powerade. Cannot see any woman before me. Don’t dare this time to put myself in the front row. Looks already WAY outside my league. And all the fast ladies are calmly behind me… Doesn’t matter. Feels good here. Adrenaline is high. Concentration at the top. Feels nice. Finally.
3:27pm – Aaaaaaaah! Final check to my shoe laces. All good. Feels like going into a shell and not hearing anything else but the guy telling us the countdown and that we should not rush…
3:29pm – … same guy who carefully back off from the front line, still telling us with his calm voice to take it easy and that there is plenty of time left…
3:30pm – start is given. Feeling a little push, like a human wave starting to move. But really nicely forward. Don’t feel any pressure to follow them anyway… and it feels during the first pretty slow 500m!!! Then right turn towards the tunnel, I begin to find the right speed but then we turn left into the tunnel. Not at all fun to run there. Loosing completely the little capacity I had to appreciate my pace. Does not feel too fast though. Tricky to breathe. A bit muggy in the air. The organisers really have to change this start!!! Hearing all the beeps from clocks loosing the GPS connection. Right before the end of the tunnel got passed by the 1:24-pacesetters. They are always cheering for me in Stockholm marathon so as good I return the favour 🙂 and get some cheering back too 😉 Finally outside the tunnel and reaching km2 a bit under 8 minutes. All good. Pressing lap in my watch to have a correct “km-time” after that. Then it is a few boring km from the central station towards km5. Do not like this part in the Stockholm marathon and this is the same today. Slowly upwards. Can still see the 1: 24-guys a bit ahead of me. Was passed by another couple of girls (i.e. the fastest had passed me before the last turn towards the tunnel already and two in the tunnel). Loosing time on the first water station because 1) had completely forgotten there was one so soon *!!!*, 2) here was a big lump in front of me that just kindly (?!?!) stopped for a mug or two. Took two cups and threw on my head. Why? Don’t ask! Nice and easy towards km5. Got them a little bit over 20min. Good, but already thinking this pace won’t hold for long… Mostly because I have NO IDEA of my pace. Not feeling fast nor slow. Can’t check the watch because it misses 4-500m due to the tunnel… So much for the confidence and “running by feeling”…
Noted that after paging the lap button at km2, most km-signs are like 50-70m after the beep of the watch anyway… A bit warm as well by now, so deciding to lift my singlet. By all means, Karin A could do this easily during her Rom marathon, I did not find it easy. Took the two lower security pins away and then lifted into my sport-bra. Soooo much nicer (and less warm). OK, the BIB on the sweaty stomach felt a bit sticky, but way better than having the singlet fully 🙂
Towards km10 was not at all fun. The route was as it was, but once again, I could not appreciate how and how fast I was running. No high effort either there. Just following the people before me. Am I really in a race? Felt comfortable strained. Whatever this may mean… ;P Second water station is not as bad as the first one but once again could not see it coming and skipped it. Passed two girls during the stretch to km10. Little bridge before km9 offered a VERY narrow passage with a hedge on one side separating from the road and the side of the bridge in the right side and it worked well running with the gal beside me but I thought if there are more people coming, it is gonna be a disaster. Took a gel at km9.3 but then came the waterstation quite far behind. Succeeded in grabbing two mugs of water (don’t ask how…) but not much goes into the mouth. Had passed by then the gal with blue singlet who was ahead of me since a while. Pressed a bit to reach km10. Anything to keep the distance with 1:30 flags. 41:04. Have already lost 1minute but still have a little margin left.
Towards the castle was the continuous thought “I am in the middle of it. As good to finish this”. Don’t like the end of the long street towards km12 in Stockholm marathon (Norr Mälarstrand) aaaaand it was the same here. Was a bit alert around km11 to see if L and the boys had got enough time to reach the place for cheering. Nope. Hopefully they’ll be there for J when he passes here I thought. Moved along. Getting to a short paved stones part. No fun. Little bridge to the right, under the porch and then reaching finally the castle. I like this part in the marathon and same today. Felt nice with the crowd around. Crowd that I notice for the first time I think since the start of the race!!! THEN I began to feel good. Km13 I cheer for a guy looking pretty tired but my “Come on. Only 8km left” doesn’t seem to have the effect I expected (at least he did not curse at me…). Still ok when racing through the little tunnel of Slussen. After that, tried to raise the tempo (whatever it was by then). Really like this part during the marathon 🙂 Counting down the km and feeling good to be able to just run, run and run. Slower than planned for sure but still. Happy. Km15 at 1:02:28, when I was hoping to reach it at 1:00-1:01. Still a little time left before the 1:30-flags would be possibly passing me. Two girls had passed me during the time but I had them within short distance all the time.
Happy to reach km16 through passing under Västerbron 🙂 Those 2km to reach the km17? They disappeared just like that. Feeling so nice with the sun in the face. Inner peace has reached the building :-p Turning into the park, skipping the water station but taking some Dextrosol and then should reach soon the tough part of the race… But though, it was not directly. Well, it was more heavy, yes, but not tough. A little more narrow (and longer?) than Över Husargatan in Göteborgsvarvet, a bit crowded and a bit windy. But definitely not “tough”. Nor steep. (Good that L had described it to me yesterday at dinner: “not steep, but long and not fast” 🙂 ). Two girls in front of me and it was the only and final goal I have then: follow them to the top and pass them before the finish line. The only mission which I would ever accept at this point of the race 🙂 By the time I am still thinkthis, arrives km19.5 (got a little scared when I saw the hill that continued forward but much steeper in front of me …. But we did fortunately turned left aaaaaaand downhill. Yooohoo!). Two turns and one lady passed. One left in front of me. And pressing really the strengths the legs still have (told you that I had no control about the effort put in the race so far… ). Got to shout a few times “Keep right” to guys who apparently thought it was ok to take the whole street to themselves. No time to be polite. Feeling so powerful to run down towards Slussen. Reaching km20 at 1:24:10. 2min slower than hoped for but still ok sub90 / 89.
Crazy fun to run beside the runners reaching their km13 / 14 (in the other direction). Thought for myself “oh, have I already run this?” Would love to have cheered for them but honestly I only had one objective in my head which was to pass the last girl in front of me and then increase the pace if possible to the end. Finally passing the gal. She seemed to not be able to follow. And then one of the last left turn, I saw another girl (nooooo…. not one more!) but did not know how far we had left to the finish line. I was totally wrong in which bridge we would get to and was surprised with this left turn (as expected a right turn). HOW MUCH IS LEFT EXACTLY?!?! Run run run and run faster … Could see nothing else but the clock ticking in red: 1: 28: xx. You got it. The cheering from the guys that I passed is priceless. Just giving additional strengths. So cool and thanks! Tunnel vision. Nothing is more important than the red numbers up there!
1:28:38. 48th place (women) – 36th in Swedish Championships. I.am.happy.
AFTER FINISH LINE
Have just the time to realise I have cruised the finish line and I am welcome by a few claps in the shoulders from guys arriving behind me and the largest smile from Staffan D in his red singlet. Best welcoming ever after a finish line. Then another great smile from a short-hair Gabriel in black. Perfect finish 🙂 Got to the elite tent. Picture time and quick chat 🙂
Changing gear in a way-too-small tent for so many gals. Congratulating all. Most of the ladies have run towards new personal best. (Which in practice I did too… as first run on this route he he he 🙂 ).
A bit of food. Checking when J would be arriving and he actually made it 2 minutes faster than I thought!!! Definitely something to celebrate! Back home and hot shower (stomach cramp since the arrival) and food and chilling in front of tv. Took a few hours to finally fall asleep. Good race day.
Weather: nice and sunny. Perfect running weather. Garmin says at start: 18℃, Feels like 18℃, 13 km/h NE wind, Humidity 64%
> before: oat porridge +red juice+soymilk @12:30 / little left Powerade a few minutes before start
> during: Vitargo gel @km9.3, Dextrosol 2 @km13 & 17
> right agfer: Kex chokkad and banana. Protein drink.
Gear: ADIDAS Supernova blue line, MIK Singlet, blue sunglasses. Shoes felt perfect. Actually they did not feel at all! Very happy to have them
Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple
17/ let’s be honest. This was no easy race, but when having the time to make a body check at several points during the race, thinking that “now I could be maybe slowing down, or not, or maybe”. Taking time to actually admire the sun reflecting its lights on the water… Nope. Full effort it was not. When seeing how the last two km could be finished – for sure it was downhill, but it does not always mean you can push towards the finish line, right?
Summary: not easy route. Thought that sub90 could be completed without too much effort and sub88 possible. Lost the flow (if I had it at a time ever…) right from the start (after the tunnel) but managed to enjoy after Slussen (km13 +) to the end. After the finish line, I would have gladly continued for a while.
Third half marathon sub90 (not counting the first half of my three marathons this year). Super Happy? No. But satisfied that the form is here. The left knee could hold without complaining (a little feeling sometime but disappeared). The right hamstring never said anything, not even a whisper. Just to keep up the pace for one more half marathon and then I’m happily aiming to Chicago 🙂
A few “after-race thoughts”
NOTE: Waterstation took far too much of my time. Not at all well disposed and no order with runners who just stop… Water was good to have due to the temperature and the sun.
NOTE: Warmup: ok, not much of a warmup, but actually I was happy to be able to run 2 easy km before the race. Not starting crazily cold then.
NOTE: Last 2km – long tough hill which I took carefully because everyone had said it should be taken this was. But same as in Göteborgsvarvet: nothing to be afraid of. Now I know it!
NOTE: Stomach cramps soon after the finish and a few hours afterwards too. Food and rest later in the day. Impossible to sleep until midnight.