Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Half-marathon

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

barcelonahm2016

Nice medal, DAB before start and smiling after.

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

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

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

A good start for the year anyhow!

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

Splits (official)

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

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

Totals

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

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

The 2 days before…

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

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

Race day

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

 

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

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

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

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

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AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

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

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A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Race Report – Copenhagen half marathon 2016/09/18

cph2016

A happy runner here!

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

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

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

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

Splits (official)

Split

Time

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

447

37

3

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

565

44

3

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

638

52

5

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

681

57

6

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

684

57

6

Totals

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

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before…

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

Race day

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

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

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

cph2016beforerace

Waiting for the start…all focused!

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

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

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

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AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

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

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Race Report – VSM halfmarathon Hultsfred 2016/09/03

Happy Swedish Champion (Masters K40)

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

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

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

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

Splits (unofficial – Garmin)

Split

Time

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

3

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

5

halfway 00:44:08

5

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

4

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

4

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

4

Totals

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

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

The week before…

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

The day before…

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

Race day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

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

Official time: 1:29:58

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

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

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

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A happy runner after the race 🙂

A nice and well-deserved gold medal!


Race Report – Prinsensminne 2016/8/13

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Happy sub90-runner 🙂

Planned: sub90. Training-race. Tempo longrun

Actual: 1:29:00 – PB on this route (1st time run :-P). Half frozen before warmup, drizzle and strong headwind for the first half, cliff and sand for the second half… Still not understanding really how it all worked out so well!

Windy-rainy weather for an wavy route with beautiful landscapes and views all around. Easy and comfortable pace throughout the race. No pushing really, even when accelerating a bit in the middle . Counting on sub90 but lost the hope of 87:xx after km17…still hoping for the sub 🙂 More than happy. And definitely ready for a second half of the same kind!

Place: 5 – all women 🙂 / 3 age category / 42 all runners 🙂

Splits (unofficial – Garmin)

Split

Time

Diff Min/km Place
5km 00:20:52 20:52 04:11

8

10km 00:42:01 21:09 04:14

8

halfway 00:44:19

6

15km 01:02:56 20:55 04:11

6

20km 01:24:41 21:45 04:21

5

Finish 01:29:00 04:19 04:19

5

Totals

Place 5
Place (age) 3
Place (total) 42
Time total 01:29:00
Average pace 04.13 min/km

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before

After workday, easy run under the rain in order to ensure there would be no problem with the planned outfit. Picked-up the rental car and got the evening to prepare my racing bag. In bed @8:45pm, dead tired. Awaken again around 11:30pm – had to check the alarm were set correctly…

Race day

Alarm rang at 6:15am. Felt a bit off, but took only few seconds to get up and direction kitchen to take out of the fridge all the needed stuff for the sandwiches. Then shower, wake up GET and get them to have breakfast while I got myself prepared. Breakfast turned into a sesame bagel with honey and mint tea. Green mix with red juice and orange juice was also there. Time to get all the necessary stuff in the bags (food for GET, race stuff for me). Checked at least 4 times that the race outfit and backup outfit were in the bag: race outfit for today will be SOC shorts small trapezes, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK, sunglasses (in case of sun or wind only), Boston cap (in case of heavy rain only) and on the feet, the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Swifty).

7:15am – all in the car and ready to drive south to Halmstad. Quite calm and easy drive, under the rain. But ok. Arrived at the race place around 8:50am. Parked the car and walked to the start area to pick-up my BIB. Quick recognition to see that the arrival would be on a grass field and the start on gravel (with sharp turn right after the start of the race). Just had to wait to 11am for starting the warmup. Not much fun for GET to remain in the car while I rested. Changed to racing gear, applied the necessary anti-chaffing cream. No hesitation for the outfit. 17ºC outside will not have me wearing more clothes on, even if it rains cats & dogs… Enough time for 3 pistops before the warmup even started…

11:00am – start of the 10K-race and time to get to the start area for dropping the bag and warmup a bit. Got a plastic poncho on as it was slightly rainy and I did not want to look like an ice cube from start. Final kisses and goodbye and headed to the start area. Dropped my bag to the appropriate tent and orientated me on where we would be running. Met Robban A, Jimmy V and Annika-Ultra. Quick hugs and started my warmup, rain poncho still on. Took the first 2.5km of the race. Good to see that it would start on gravel, then middle of the forest, then asphalt and then back to gravel and then sand along the sea. Strong headwind and rain while running was definitely expected, but not fully appreciated. Had read the weather forecast planning wind of 30km/h… (if only they are heading to the finish line, that’s better!). Took the final 2.5km of the race in the woods, quick pitstop, got passed by the fast 10K-runners. Finally back to the start/finish area and warmup completed. No longer frozen. Kept the poncho on anyway.Taking a powergel with a little water. Breakfast feels a bit far away now…

11:45am – final pitstop before heading to the start. Meeting Jesper E and got a large hug and smile. All the warmth in the world in it 🙂 Not much to do apart from getting under cover for the final minutes before start.

11:50am – nice surprise to see GET coming and cheering for the start. Final kisses and then it was time.

11:55am – OK, nobody really seemed to head for the elit-start but a bunch of runners were anyway in the 4min/km-corral… Checking a bit the competition (yes, it is a training-race, but always nice to see who’s in it… Hoped for being in top 10 secretly. Last 2 previous year finish-times were decent enough for ensuring that. But you never know…).

11:57am – large smile and cheering from Jesper E. Surprisingly no pushing at all in the start corral.

11:59am – ok a bit of movements towards the starting line, but really? No pushing?!?!? Final try on my mp3. Off with the rain-poncho…hearing the countdown…

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THE RACE

12:00pm – GO! Well, quite easy jog towards the starting mat. Still no pushing… Liking this race already! Seeing Jesper E on my left side. Nice to know 🙂 Passing the mat, starting the watch and the mp3 and starting to run. Not a chance to even guess the pace I am having, turning right and preparing to throw my rain poncho to GET on the right of the path. All fine, got my last cheering-squad smiles and I’m on my own. Following Jesper E for a little while, but guessed it won’t take long before he gets into a faster pace than I plan to have. Thinking to have the 2 first km completed in 4:10-pace and then fight the elements to keep up the pace up to km5. Then if all is going well, try to accelerate towards km10 and see after what is left. Yapp! Sounded like a plan! Running starts in the little wood path, still no pressure and no pushing. A bit careful for the slippery parts I noted during the warmup. Passing the first little wooden bridge (of many during the race…). Got passed around km1 by a bunch of runners which I think started slightly after me. Passed by 2 gals (a blue singlet and a black cap) and right after one with a white singlet (got to her at the end though…). Hmmm… ok. No clue how many gals are already before us, but I am then already 4th in the group here. More running in the wood and we finally reach the asphalt…and the headwind. There it is tricky to run. I have a group of 5-6 runners (including the 2 gals) before me, but they are 20m ahead and I am not too sure I want to follow their rhythm already. Have to make a decision, because the wind is not fun to fight alone. Being in the pack would mean running faster than my plan, but at least I would have a wind-shield. Chose the second option to run on my own and fight the wind by myself. A quick look behind me showed there was no runner close enough to make me slow down and join a pack behind me. OK. Passing km2 in 8:15 or so… Great. A bit faster than planned, but it feels good. Rain pouring. Seeing Jesper E disappearing when we are to turn left and soon after the pack of runner before me…and then me. Quick after a new right turn and we are on the gravel part under the trees, with the sea on the left-side. Nice view indeed. Skipping the first water-station. Focusing on the two guys before me and checking that I am not dropping to much behind the two gals. The two guys before me seem to run together as one is just stepping right in the footsteps of the guy before him. Annoying a bit as the pace is not the one I want. Not daring to pass them that early though. Decide to have patience and run slightly on the side of the second guy instead. This way I keep a full visual on the back of the blue singlet gal. Only a few meters ahead of me. The stretch towards km5 is going like on rail. No check on the watch, just following the two guys and the blue singlet gal. That would do. Trying to adapt to this environment which I am not familiar with. Terrain, I can do. Not good, but ok. But sand?… Feel a bit slippery under the feet, but the pace is fast enough for not needing to bother. No much passing during this time apart from a couple of guys maybe. The gal with a black cap is quite ahead of us, but still in sight. Reaching the cross-roads of km6. Another little bridge to cross. Straight forward on terrain, seeing a goat crossing the road across a few runners in front of me. Funny! Quick check at the watch and I am on time. 4:10/11-tempo. That is fine. Fearing to reach the little hill which pops up on the elevation chart of the course. Have not been able to find a corresponding hill/slope at home, but when turning finally left and seeing the little slope ahead, I think that OK, here is the start. Just take it easy and nice and the rest of it will follow. Seeing the blue singlet gal and the two guys getting a bit further from me, but it does not matter. I have my rhythm and I’ll get back to my former place soon. By the time I have finished to think we turn right and I am looking a bit surprised that there is no hill ahead. No slope. No nothing. Was the scary slope the one we just run up? The one I took “easy on the top of the toes”? Seeing shortly the sign km7 and yes, it confirms what I though. The main difficulty is apparently behind me. The pace has dropped a bit to 4:12 but according to the description of the course, the fast km are soon arriving after km8. The blue singlet gal has passed the black cap gal by now. We are on asphalt since a while and when we turn left to the bike path, it just feels…good! Those long stretches…just what I like! Taking first Dextrosol around km9. Considering quickly what to do then. Accelerate to get the fast km, fast or run mostly moderate and keep strength for the end. Screw the second option, and get the fast km fast, and see what is left after them. Noted that I passed the 10km slightly on 42minutes. OK, could have done faster, but that felt all ok. New dextrosol. The past 2km have just disappeared like magic, and the same for the two gals which I passed during this time. The blue one was quite close so that felt fine. But the black cap one was looking strong in her run. Even better feeling when passing her. First half is done. Lapping it on my watch for checking it later…

Turning left and short after right again. Slightly up. And I try to remember how much longer is left before we see the sea…and here it comes…BREATHTAKING! This view is so wonderful that it is almost annoying to continuing running without stopping and taking it all in! Continuing the run though 🙂 Having a guy right before me that I want to pass, but not sure I will be able to keep on this place (and pace) on the way up (as who says “running down”, says “running up right after”…). Passing him on the way down the cliffs and I take all my focus possible to run up the path towards the next km. Thinking of what this smart ultrarunner told me a few months ago “you get good at what you train for”… And indeed, I have trained those ups & down and this wind and all this. OK, would have been great to try the race route as well, but could not make it really. Happy like h*ll to reach the top without stop, without whining and with actually a large smile on my face. Continuing under light cover and then back to the sea side. The wind is now from the side and slightly behind, coming by waves, which is a very nice push towards the finish line! Passing a swimming place and heading forwards. Trying not to check the watch, but knowing I have dropped in pace. Still looking good, but not super-fast good… On the way to km14 and passing two Iron man guys. Getting some more cheerings when they see it’s a gal is passing them. I answer by a smile and a thanks. I think… Next. Seeing a few Solvikingarna guys running together ahead of me. Good formation. Next goal is to get closer to them. Which is happening sooner than I expect. I must be breathing so crazy heavily, because the fist guy I am passing is actually looking back to look at me. Trying a smile towards him. Unsure it worked. Passing him and a few to go. Down to the harbour and hearing there that there are not that many women ahead of me. Great! Good news of the day. I can feel the blue singlet gal is right behind me, but not dropping on the pace, I continue the best possible on this terrain which I am not to well-trained for. Reaching km15 finally. The same crossroad as km6. Seeing the little bridge I have passed not such long time ago and now heading towards the final km of the race. And as I feared, the blue singlet gal is passing me right then. Fairplay I cheer for her (always fun to give a push to other): Get some cheering back. Trying to hang along, but honestly, cannot do that on this terrain. Another dextrosol (took one at km13 too). Feeling fine, but not like it is a life-or-death race. Nice and easy. Seeing km16-sign and getting closer to a Solviking then. Will hang to his footsteps until the end. The cheering along the route is priceless. Music in the ear is definitely driving the pace. Taking red gel at km18 in order to have time to swallow it before the water station of km18.5. Really thick gel. Loosing a bit of time taking it. But the drinking worked fine. Not enough maybe. But it is now less than 3km to go. Calculations are going in my head. Maximum 15minutes if I am at 5min-tempo. Have actually no idea what pace I am having. Surely the average pace is now closer to a 1:29 than the 1:27. but still. Not yet over the 90minutes… The run in the woods is a killer. Turning right and left and right and left. Feeling like running in the stomach of a snake. Increasing the volume of the music. Focusing on whatever I can. Screw the time now and just don’t let anybody passing me. Seeing a gal with a white singlet on the side of the path about 2km from the arrival. Not looking well, but can hear she starts running right after I passed her. Tunnel-vision? This is an understatement! With the trees all around, the little narrow path we are taking…there is no need to adapt the vision…we are IN a tunnel! And seeing the 20km-mark. The few little wood-bridges have been passed . Without falling…Yoooohoo! The best vision is yet to come, with seeing GET on the left side of the road (thanks for the green rain jacket easy to spot!). Getting extra strengths from them. Soon after hearing and then seeing Jimmy V and more cheering. One more little turn, a few more meters on this stupid grass… Seeing the clock ticking…1:28:56..57..58…PASSING THE FINISH LINE! Stopping my watch. 1:29:01. Done!

Official time: 1:29:00

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Walking a bit around as the legs never really like to just stop like that after running so well 🙂 Getting my medal. Seeing the large smile of Jesper E and getting a nice sweaty hug. Having a guy helping me to take off the chip attached to my shoelaces. Sitting on a chair. GET finding me and congratulating for my 5th place 🙂 More chat with Jesper who got to the finish line before me in a very decent and fast time. Got a few pics too 🙂 Passing through the tent getting a banana, a little orange drink and a little cardemumma bun (which goes directly to G as I already feel bad smelling it…allergy ain’t that fun!). After the tent, getting more water and spotting fastfeet Robban A who got a new PR! Heading towards the massage tent where I happily see Annette K who kindly help me with my tired calve and little sensitive right Achille’s heel. Meeting Peter S who also run with new PR. Wow…so many fast people there!

Time to get back home. Walking to the shower place, changing and then under a heavy rain getting to the car. Drive home with a short stop for celebration meal at Max (hamburger with extra bacon, French fries and large coke :-)). This was a good day for racing!

*********

Weather: 16.1° Light Rain, Feels like 16.1°, 23 kph WSW wind, 94% humidity – Drizzle almost throughout the race, strong headwind up to km8-9, then sidewind/tailwind on the way back

Food: breakfast (bagel w/honey + tea + banana + green mix/red juice/orange juice) @6:40am / banana +water right after. Sportdrink Lidl orange while showering. Max original menu + fries + coke around 4:30pm
During: power gel apple after warm-up, Dextrosol: 1 @km9-10-11-13-15, red gel @km18 (water @km18.5)

Gear: SOC shorts small trapeze, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK. Shoes perfect for the run!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost- Purple (Swifty)
=> hole in the net – right foot 😦

14/ Nice tempo run. Effort-wise, felt all fine throughout. Surely could feel that training of the past weeks in the wind and ups&downs are helping. Not fully pushing during the race. Definitely calculated and well-controlled run. Great feeling, a bit annoyed to have missed a few seconds to get under 1:29, but all in all, a great long run at tempo pace in foreign elements!

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Second sub90 on training-race. Really want to have this done during training too…

NOTE: Had asked Jesper E to fix some nice weather and not too much wind…Turned out to be quite ok weather for running. OK, the headwind of the first half was not fun, but not crazy strong as the one I have had during a few workouts in the past weeks at home. The rain was not a problem neither. More like drizzle. The heavens just got crazy after the race with really heavy rain on the way back home… Outfit was perfect for the race 🙂

NOTE: Time and place? Well, both were as planned. But feels a bit annoying to have missed a few seconds for 1:28:xx and the gal before arrived 1min 11sec ahead of me. Cannot understand the pace dropped that much in the last 2km. My explanation is that it was mostly due to the snake-like path not really making it easy for increasing the pace…

NOTE: Definitely a great training-race. Enjoyed it from start to end. Meeting friends before and after was the cherry on the cake! (and a personal cheering-squad on site is always great to have!)

NOTE: Warmup? For once (I think?), I felt really satisfied with my warmup. Maybe could have added a few accelerations or so, but overall, good. Could definitely start at the pace I wanted from start. Not feeling anything from the right calf at all 🙂

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? Drinking was as usual close to in-existent. Tried to grab a papper mug with water 3 times. And got a few glups in the throat twice. Dextrosol was probably not needed, but it helped concentrating on something else than the wind, the competition ahead of me, the drizzle, the cliffs… Could have skipped it fully.

NOTE: crazy stressed stomach starting 2 hours after the race and rest of the day. Unsure what has gone wrong, but very happy it did not impact on the race.

NOTE: the start of the race was exactly the way I like. Calm and easy. Despite starting with the elites and crazy fast runners. No pushing, no pressure. Did not feel it, not even in the woods of the first km when the path was pretty narrow and tricky to pass people. Very well-behaved runners there!

Definitely a well-arranged race, a very nice route to run on and despite the wind and the rain, somewhere I can absolutely consider running again!


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet 2016/05/21

image

Happy finisher

Planned: sub90. Hopefully closer to 87, more likely 88. Training-race.

Actual: 1:29:44 – PB on this route 🙂 17 seconds faster than last time. A fall at start, a well-executed first 5km, a slow mara-pace following 5km and a little “bored” rest of the race. Kept on the plan for not arriving last at Swedish Championships though…

Adequate weather conditions with sunshine and a bit of (annoying) wind. Not really pushing throughout the race, a bit unsure why. But so it was. Kept on hoping for a sub90 and dropped the hope around km18 and got it back when seeing km20-mark indicating 1:25:07. And made it under the bar! Happy!…and ready for the second half…

Place: 26 Swedish half-marathon Championships, 78 – all women 🙂 / 10 age category / 1467 all runners 🙂

Splits (official – Swedish championships place)

Split Time of day Time Diff Min/km Km/h Place
5km 13:20:53 00:20:53 20:53 04:11 14.36 29
10km 13:41:44 00:41:43 20:50 04:11 14.39 28
15km 14:03:13 01:03:12 21:29 04:18 13.96 26
20km 14:25:08 01:25:07 21:55 04:23 13.69 26
Finish 14:29:45 01:29:44 04:37 04:13 14.26 26

Totals

Swedish Championships 26
Place 78
Place (age) 10
Place (total) 1467
Time total 01:29:44
Average pace 04.15 min/km

 

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BEFORE THE RACE

Awaken at 6:30am. No longer tired. Waited a little bit before jumping into running gear and head out for a very short and slow jog for waking up the legs. Quick stop for buying 2 bottles of Powerade and then home again. Nothing special really to be done. Felt like preparing for a long run. Breakfast taken at 8:45am – chia seeds, soy milk, banana and honey on the top, glass of orange juice and a tea. And then…wait…and more wait… at least for long run or early-start races I would have eaten my breakfast in the middle of the night and got back to bed. Spent time watching tv instead. And checking 20 times or so whether my race gear were ready or not… Outfit for today will be ADIDAS Supernova Blue line shorts, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK, calve sleeves Compressports, sunglasses and on the feet, the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Their first race 🙂

11:15am – time to get ready. On with the gear. Pin the BIB on the sports bra. Final kiss before leaving and hop to the street. Met Henrik S not long from home. He preferred to walk to the start so I started to jog easily to the start. Not many people out there compared to 2 years ago (where the weather was very sunny already and hot). Today it was fair and nice. Humidity could be felt almost. Cloud cover was not helping. Reaching the start and checking the IK Jogg-meeting point. Quick chat with Peter-Jogg and then the tent for meeting colleagues. As the grass was wet, the shoes and socks got humid as well. Good to have 2 extra pairs…just in case… Chat with Henrik S finally arrived. Large smile from Patrik B getting ready as well.

12:30pm – off with the extra clothes and time for final pitstop and short warmup. The woods around the tents were not much of empty places… Did a quick back and forth jog and then headed towards the start area. Lots of people there. Checking out the gals running with yellow BIB and a Swedish flag (i.e. they were to run the Swedish Half-marathon Championships with me). Ran with my Powerade bottle and little leftover in it. Back and forth and back and forth. Not much place to warm-up really. Tried a few accelerations, but not very successful. Felt a bit lost with all the people around actually.

12:45pm – start getting ready to the start line. Drank the rest of the Powerade. Ate a sugar stuff Isostar. Noticing that lots of runners are already very quiet….when others are talking about their weekend like the race ahead is a walk-in-the-park-like…

12:55pm – “Back one more meter” says the official for the third time. Not many want to go back. Have lost my spot on the second line when a tall Swede set himself right before me…and his two buddies arrived and pressed themselves right close to him…So much for the chivalry-manners… 😛

12:58pm – more pressure from all around. Counting down. Cannot really hear anything any longer. Just staring at the guy with a gun and barely hearing the countdown…

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THE RACE

1:00pm – BAM! The start is given. The feeling of being wild horses leaving finally the corral is definitely there. No pushing but having this human wave transporting you. Pressing the start button on my watch. Starting to run. And out of nowhere I see two male runners falling already on my right. Cannot see much of it before realizing that two small elite-women have also fallen badly in front of me. I can jump above one but that would have meant setting my foot on the second one who was right before me. Loosing my balance. Feeling the pressure of the wave moving forward. Falling and seriously fearing for my life for a short while. Bam! On the hard asphalt. Got back on my feet thanks to runners behind me (thanks whoever helped me there). Seeing Lona on my right on her way to fall. Seriously?!?!? What is happening. Everything went so fast and so slow at the same time. I check my watch and I am already on my feet. 70 meters done… Being passed by a brilliant smile and cheering from MIK Christopher. Tried to smile. Nothing is making sense in my head. Feeling tears coming close to the eyes. But strangely I am already turning left. Should I really run this? Feeling that a bad start cannot really make a good race. Well, a bad start cannot make anything good. Seeing Karin S from IF Kville ahead of me. Then a few elite gals from Stockholm. And we are at the first right turn. I am actually running. No tear made its way to the eyes. Good. Still having very confused thoughts during the first km. Cannot really understand where I am, just that my feet are running. My plan was to take it easy up to the exit of Slottskogen at 4:10-tempo. Thereafter if I could reach the bottom of the bridge around km4 at average pace of 4:06, that would be great. Then a slow up the bridge and then catch up progressively to an easy 4:06 by the foot of the second bridge. Well-thought plan for reaching the arrival under 90 minutes and close to 87. But I am now running up to Plikta. Passed by a light-and-fast-feet Lona. Smart move of her to pass on the extreme left. Passed by MIK-Jon. Nice smile again. OK, I am (almost) back on track. Running down to km2 goes like on rail. Counting down already: 19km to go… Passed by IF Linnea Staffan S somewhere there. So nice once again with a cheering and a kind smile. Sälsdammsbacken has started already. For once I decided to run on the right side….as everybody seems to believe there are faster than light and always push and press on the left side. And indeed…the right side is pretty nice to run. Apart from the guys distributing Kex choklad and really killing my rhythm. A bit slower than planned to reach the top, but feeling that it disappeared quite fast anyway. Downhill now. Passing the penguins with average pace 4:11. All according to plan. Apart from the original fall at the start… And now it is just down. Almost fell on the right turn to the street as a giant runner just pass me on the left and not-so-kindly set himself RIGHT in front of me…while turning. OK, I get a sorry and be careful. But I was NOT really in the mood for thanking him! Straight line now. Just rolling down. Feeling a bit warm. The head needs a bit of cooling as the mind is still a bit confused by the fall and not really focused. Mariaplan. All fine. Feeling warm, but ok. Reaching close to km4 and MIK-Magnus is here for cheering. Yoooohoooo! I think I might have smiled! Taking 2 dextrosol here. Not sure they are needed though. Checking the pace on my watch and it is indicating a nice and steady 4:06. Hmmmm… ok. Nice! Pressing “lap” at 4.3km in order to check who is the faster on this distance: G or me (as he has started running Cityvarvet – 4.3km – at 1pm as well). Glass of water taken and thrown on the head. Forgetting to get some in the mouth. The first up to km5 feels fine. Then a little tougher as it becomes steeper. But soon is the bridge. Km5 is passed slightly under 21 minutes. All according to plan. Now the bridge. We are about 4-5 gals running up…and I am the last one of them. But that feels ok. Looking on the right and seeing the other bridge…far away…just want to be THERE…NOW! Reaching the top of the bridge and passing 2 gals. On the downhill it feels good. I accelerate as planned. Not crazily fast, but enough to be sub4. Turn right and then straight line. THERE IT STARTED. The slowing down. Cannot understand it always happen during Göteborgsvarvet. I reach the water-station. Quick mouth-rinsing with sport drink and water on the head. Turning left and straight to Eriksberg. Yiiiippi! I saw the km7-mark (I always miss it…). Wow! 4:2x-pace has been reached now. I know that the satellites are a bit odd on this part with the buildings, but I should absolutely not be THAT slow. And no Per M to be seen for cheering and pushing me further. Feel extremely lonely there. The group of gals are ahead of me. Passing the banana station. Not even funny. Turning right and reaching the shadow of the parallel street. Slight up and crazily slow. Trying to keep up with the few gals that have caught up with me. I don’t like this. Trying to find positive thoughts. Intervals ran with Christer B and MIK-Christopher T. THAT was fun. Ok, turning right already and back to the sunny side. And the concrete water-side. Passing the sculpture and running on the straight line of Sannegården feels fine. I know I am slow. Not even sure I am at marathon-pace (although the watch tells this to me). “Come on Girl” is one of the cheering that helps the most at this moment. And hearing my name. Turning and seeing a brilliant smile from Markus R from work. Nice! Cannot really let the gal ahead of me running alone, right? Accelerating a little bit and soon reaching the 10km-mark. Under 42minutes. OK, but way slower than planned. I should be closer to 40 than to 42 I thought. Turning right and getting to the cobblestones. First half is done! At last! Only one half left to go!

Passing along Ericsson. Quite empty this year. Running a little behind the gal with pink sports-bra. Trying to keep up. No. Not trying. I AM keeping up. The wind we are having on this side of the bridge is killing me. Not the strongest. But enough to bother. WHO said we would have tailwind here?!?!? More running and missing the km11 and km12-signs (unsure there were any). 2 dextrosol for keeping me awaken. Dry in the mouth. But it feels ok. Passing another gal and the pink sport-bra one is now behind me. Reaching SVT-house and it feels too warm for being ok. Need to chill out. Where is the water station? Passing it actually as there was a bit of crowd there. Aaaaaand I got passed by the light-and-fast gal with pink sport bra. Again… Average pace has dropped to 4:14 by now. Completely off the plan of reaching the second bridge in 4:06…which I know is possible as I have done it in other half-marathons. Sub90 starts to feel a bit of an utopia by now. So I take precious seconds for passing under the arch for a photo and some high-fives. And back to the bridge. 😦 If only it could become flatter by the time all the runners ahead of me have run on it. That would be great. Have lost the gal with pink sports-bra. Not ahead of me. And when I thought I would start walking a bit, I hear my name. Turning left and seeing the large smile of Christer B. So kind to give cheering on his way up. Hopefully I answered something nice back as well. Looking at his way up, I just want his legs! They are just light and fast and eat probably bridges for breakfast every morning! All good. I calculate that if he makes it in 1:27 I would be above 90minutes. But the way he runs makes me think that the fastest plan is on its way! Happy! Caught up by the gal with pink sport-bra on the top of the bridge. Noticing now that she has music in her ears. I WANT MUSIC IN MY EARS TOO! I know it helps crazily much! Running down and around the foot of the bridge. Passing the first tables of water and getting one paper mug and all on the head again. There she comes again. Passes me and will never let me pass her again. Running slow now. Well, don’t finding the motivation to run faster as sub90 is soon out of reach. So it felt as good to just “finish” and keep some strengths for more run later in the day or the day after. The weird thing is that there are strengths left. I just don’t want to use them. Looking right and left. Reaching Kopparmera and seeing the large smile from Sandrine B. Yooooohooo! Nice again. More motivation. Sub90 ain’t lost until I said so (well, or until I drop the pace even more…). The way up to Poseidon statue feels fine. I am running on the side or close to another IF Linnea chick. She makes it looks easy and light with a poney-tail and long hair moving from left to right all the time. Seeing Lona on her way down and soon turning. Got passed by Henrik S and more cheering. Focus on the way up. Hearing my name once more. Unsure who but I turn and smile and wave. Now the turning point is almost there. Catching a large smile in the crowd and one more cheering in Jay P 🙂 Wow! That IS cool to have so many cheering on the way up. One glass of water taken. Two sponges taken and the way down is now reached. 4.3km to go. Nothing. G has run that earlier. And my cheering-squad should be waiting at the planned spot for me to pass within 1:15/18. Cannot let them down really. Once again feeling that Vasagatan is the most boring place on Earth for running, but knowing they are waiting after it give some strengths. Skipping the water. Just want to see them. Taking off the neckwarmer from my hair and throwing it to them. So nice with their warm smiles. Now it is time to run a bit faster. Forget the sub4 as it was planned. Just get to the end. Not too much above 90minutes. That should work. Final stretch before the bridge. Cheering from Solvikingen Stefan 🙂 And the bridge. Which I take…on the top of the toes! And it works. I knew I was not running out of strengths. Far from it. And down to km20. Seeing the clock indicating 1:25:xx right when I pass it. This tired brain of mine is calculating quickly that running the last 1.1km in 5min would give right on 90minutes. I can better than that. Seeing the IF Linnea poney-tail gal probably seeing the same clock as she is accelerating as well. Passing people there. Always feel so good. Now Villa Belparc. And hearing not much from the crowd. Just focused on finishing this. Little slope at the end. 500m to go. Reaching the gravel part. 300M to go. Don’t know how I got into the stadium, but I am in it. Quick check on the watch and I should make it. Seeing Solviking Hanna passing me in her final sprint. I am fine with pushing slightly to get under 90 minutes. By 16 seconds. Mission accomplished!

Official time: 1:29:44

 

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Got water sprayed on my face. Meeting Henrik S. More smiles from IF Linnéa group. Hugs to Lona and Stefan. Congratulating to great times. Walking slowly to the end. Got hug from Christian L from jogg. More smiling! Off with the stupid scrath-band with the chip. Which once again got me a nice burn mark on the ankle. Starting to feel again the pain from the fall at the start of the race. It was gone during the first 5km and felt a bit in the downhill from the first bridge…and remains throughout the race. Nothing stopping the running. But annoying enough to wonder what is going one. Getting my medal. Grabbing a banana and chocolate cookie. Glass of sport drink. Chat with Henrik S to get back to the tent. Crossing over the human wave. At the tent, meeting a large smile from Patrik B who ran in indecently 1:14 (!!!). My cheering squad has also reached the tent. Perfect. Off with the wet clothes. On with dry ones. A short massage. A hot-dog. And walk back home.

Weather: 12.8°, Feels like 12.8°, 14 kph S wind, 82% humidity – probably 12/13ºC at start. But at the arrival it felt much warmer. 15/16º? Windy on Hisingen side. Humidity? Definitely!

Food: chia seeds+soy milk+banana+orange juice+tea @9-ish/
water/powerade: 2dl every 30min (alternate)
During: 2dextrosol @km4 and 12
Right after: banana, 1 full glass of ISOstar. In the tent: 1 hot dog. Later dinner: chicken legs & curry potatoes in oven

=> should have drunk more water after the race

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova Blue line shorts, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK, calve sleeves Compressports, super fast ADIDAS Adizero Adios boost Purple (Quicky).

15/ Effort-wise, it did not feel sky-high. Falling at start made the first 5-600m feeling like being in a parallel world with plenty of foolish people running away from something… Just hanging along! Up to the bridge was moderate effort, and then it just felt like drifting and reaching a nice steady marathon pace. Tough up the second bridge was probably to 16, but then down afterwards was all fine. For sure the climbing of the second bridge was not easy, but at the pace I was having, there was no real effort done. No pushing for going faster. Not really tired at the end. Not even by the sprint in the stadium (a bit unsure I even sprinted there… According to the watch the final stretch in the stadium was fast 🙂 ). Quite OK-race. Really disappointed that it did not go faster, but considering the bad start, it might have impacted on the rest of the race. No excuse here. Just trying to figure out how the first half of most of my latest marathons are always faster than this stupid race… OK. Sub90. Mission accomplished. Could definitely not say I pushed hard on this one. No need to run this race any more!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

 

NOTE: Still have to get this done sub90 on training. Any volunteer? 🙂

NOTE: weather conditions were not optimal, but not too bad. Should have stopped throwing water on my head after km10 as when reaching Aveny and km17/18 my shorts were heavy wet and that was not comfortable to run in!

NOTE: Official results… Hmmm… Placed 93 (total women) after the race. After a check at the results, found out at least 15 results which were run by a guy instead of a woman. Dropping my place to 78. Surely nice, but hey! Stop doing this. That ain’t fun. Run under your own name or change with a guy. OR do not run that fast and get in the Top 100. This means disqualification right away.

NOTE: Official results… Hmmm(2)… got into the categor D55 (women 55). Hey! Changing age the day after the race does not make me THAT old (yet)… Changed the day after (as the age category was apparently incorrect for many)

NOTE: a good training-race. Enjoying fully the sub90 of my own as well as the other fabulous subs from friends 🙂

NOTE: warmup? Felt quite ok actually. The jogg to the start and the few back&forth and accelerations were ok. For starting at a decent and almost race-pace.

NOTE: drinking & energy during the race? Well the drinking was inexistent. Mouth-rinsing worked better. Dextrosol were a bit overcourse actually. Could have run without.

NOTE: falling at the start was not a great experience. Have to work on this (i.e. not the falling, but the starting with crazy adrenaline/testosterone filled runners…).


Race Report – Lisbon Discoveries Half-marathon 2015/12/06

Soonfinished

Soon finished!

Planned: sub90 (because 1) it sounds nice, 2) it has been soooo close during the races done during 2015 (close but no cigar…) and 3) I know I can…

Actual: 1:27:45! Definitely sounding nice, definitely showing I could and definitely meaning that I am back on track 🙂

On the top of it, passing the finish line on 4th place, and podium 3rd place for age category do make this race a very good finish for the 2015-with-its-crapy-start…And a clear negative split as well…

Weather conditions were ideal, kind of. Start with fog and no visibility, to nice in the air, wind from time to time and sun shining at arrival. Great feeling at the end, even with enough strength for a smiling-to-the-camera interview 🙂

Place: 4 – all women 🙂 / 3 – category “women 35-44” / 192 all runners 🙂

Splits (Garmin)

Garmin
km sum Per 5K
5 20:43.04 20:43.04
10 41:34.00 20:51.00
15 01:02:21 20:47.30
20 01:23:08 20:46.07
21.1 01:27:45 04:37.4

Totals

Place 4
Place (age) 3
Place (total) 192
Time total 01:27:45
Average pace 04.09 min/km

 

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The day before…

Rehearsal run done on Saturday created misbelieves that 90 minutes would even be enough for this run. The first 2km felt very stiff and taken at 4:45 and 4:30 which made me very much doubt they could be run even slightly faster and despite any BIB attached on the stomach. But it was not all… after a terrific and very controlled downhill of 1km at 4:12 (!) getting back to the main road was welcomed by a side/headwind which made the pace slow down to 4.50-kind of, which made this misbelieve even stronger as having such wind during training and 1,5km is one thing, but having it for 8km and then having 8 more km to go would definitely not make this race the “piece-of-cake-sub90-race” I was actually counting on and hoping for…

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BEFORE THE RACE

4:15 am – Woke up during the night, well-rested, but way too early. Back to sleep…

6:00am – Up right before the alarm, breakfast time. Orange juice, croissant-brioche, banana and green mix with a cup of Powerade blue (Yummy!) and back to bed and sleep. Drank every half-hour alternating water and Powerade. No problem sleeping between each zip!

8:00am – OK, the “laying in bed” felt very luxurious, but was probably not too well with a race starting 2 hours later. Up and direction the shower, massage of the legs with tiger balm afterwards (just for the smell to wake up the senses and the cold feeling to definitely not let me getting back to bed!). Hesitated a short moment, but decided to go for chili cream as well on the bum, legs and feet as well as the arms. The weather was not as cold as in Sweden, but looking through the window was showing a visibility of maximum 2-300m and the weather forecast indicated 9ºC and visibility 0 until 10am…Final drink and got race gears on. Cold in the apartment, so it was good to have this warmup chili cream on! Decided to go for the arm sleeves as well. Pink… did not plan very well there, but better be warm and colourful than cold and sorry!

image

Outfit for the day

08:55am – Waking up E and getting the final touch to my gear. Double-checking the plans for meeting after the race and (very good timing…) writing down on a paper wristband the splits I was hoping for (indeed, writing them on the back of the hand was not possible due to the arm sleeves…). Felt pretty stressed to tape this wrist band. E was half-laughing at the situation. Final kiss, quick pick and on the street for heading to the start.
09:19am – Leaving the apartment 19 minutes (!) later than original plans… Definitely ready for running. Not many people in the streets. The few heading towards the start I would guess. All are very well covered in training outfit…except me. Does not matter. 200m were needed for getting already warm. 1,5km later, arriving at the “Mosteiro dos Jerónimos” Monument, lots of runners everywhere. Feeling good. Still pretty foggy and grey. But not cold. The sunglasses felt quite ok to have (even though it might look a bit too much, I know that if there is a lot of wind or some sunshine, they will be definitely helpful!). Checking the arrival. Looking for Jesper who would run in another group. Smart enough, did not indicate where and when to meet before the race… Hopefully that will work for the after race! More easy run to the start – still no Jesper.
09:35am – Still time left… decide to get a bit more warm-up as recommended by Olivier A. Running back the track of the race. Finding a little inside square for final pitstop (I know… but the queues were not long really, but could not wait that long) and finally running easy back to the start. Stopped for doing my lunges matrix. Getting looks from people and happily giving back some. Cheering from a Swedish gal leaving in Lisbon and running. Checking the BIB and colour of some runners just to know who I would be following 🙂 I am in the grey start (1:15-1:30), right behind the red start (which corresponded to less than 1:15…). A last 400m with accelerations and now the legs want to run for real and have to be tamed…

09:50am –In the corral. Finding my way to the front of the corral while other runners (all male!) are doing warm-up exercises with the speaker. Spotting four ladies in the red corral and one in my corral. OK…here goes the 5 first places, I thought. Just make it to the arrival before the last “grey” and that would do (is the next thought). A guy with a “1:30” flag is entering our corral… OK…new plan: always have this guy in my sight or even better, having him NOT in my sight and right behind me… Sounding good. He will probably be ahead of me for the first 5-6km and I count on whatever will I may have then to pass him afterwards. Sounds like a plan. If any plan…

09:57am – OK, now I seriously doubt I will make it to the end without being run over totally. Flashbacks from Semi de Paris starts with men running and pushing everywhere and everyone ain’t really what I was needing then… Fixing my laces again. Taking two Dextrosol. Checking my brand new watch. Setting the correct music to the ear to be started in a short while. Closing my mind completely.

09:59am – Smiling (at least inside), countdown has started, feeling the tension all around me aaaaaand…

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THE RACE
10:00am – GOOOOO!… Feeling the pushing in front of me, on the sides and behind me. Don’t even have to move, the wave is carrying me forward. Almost forgetting to start my watch (for a millisecond or so). Deciding to start it when I think the start was given. Then I see that I am passing a mat. OK, at least my time will be accurate when looking to the clocks on the course. It feels like in a dream really. Like a déjà-vu… I was there yesterday, running on this same asphalt but it was empty of people. And now I cannot even see where my feet are going (better not looking down anyway…I would probably fall…). Turn left. The 1:30-guy is a few meters before me. All good…well no. because some guys are sticking to his shoes and don’t bother me really (or all the other runners). I got pushed back during this second short stretch (yes, not even run 300m!) and run strangely on a hole in the street. Great L Turn right, follow this guy is the only thought I have. The music started a bit before and is nice to have. Cobblestones, construction area and one more turn to the left are however NOT nice to have. Once more, I am forced to slow down and almost walk (!) in order to avoid falling. Great start… and the slope is not even started yet… The 1:30-guy is taking a few meters more from me…Easy I think. Let him take this slope at 4:16 and I will get him in the downhill… hoping he will still remain at 4:16-tempo there… Beeep from the watch. Don’t even dare to check. Have been running on the left and it was actually quite nice and calm. Most runners spread along the street, but I knew better 🙂 The next turn is on the left, and I am not going to run a cm too many on this hill! OK, Avenida Restelo. Here I come. Passed by many still, but a lot have slowed down already. Quick check on the watch, preparing myself to cry… what? 4:18?…and yes, the 1:30-guy is a few meters ahead of me. Cannot be wrong. OK, concentration to get back. Avoiding the cobblestones of the bus station, adding a few centimeters (?) to my run and then we reach the roundabout to the lovely downhill. The 1:30-guy is probably 4-50m ahead of me now. With a pack of 5-6 men all around. Finding myself stuck there and I really do not want to take this downhill at 4:16-tempo! I make myself pass the guys, almost hitting a car parked on the side of the road. Feeling a bit cocky to pass all those guys. They are probably smiling and thinking “This chick gonna be dead tired in a few miles. Let her pass!” Refraining from those stupid thoughts, focusing on HR recommendation for running downhill : “forward and well-controlled, no slowing down”. By the time I recall fully the advises, we have turned left on…cobblestones street again (I was hoping yesterday that we would avoid this street…). Quite stable, passing km3 in 3:51. Satisfied. Not too fast, just enough to balance the lost seconds of the first 2 km. Just 18km to go now. Awaiting for the wind to strike after getting back to the main road. But nothing. Well, ok, no “nothing”. It was a bit windy. But nothing compared to the previous day. Trying to find a group to run with. No chick in sight apart from two. Completing the previous plan with “don’t let those chick out of your sight”. And as the visibility is quite limited anyway because of the fog (can see probably 1-2km ahead, but not much more I would guess), this seems like a good deal. With a bit of chance they will get tired…eventually…some time… (although this is mostly working on marathon distance, because on half.marathon I know I can be beaten before the end, without being tired myself). Finding a very good group of guys to run with and we are passing the 5K. Checking quickly the clock and my wristband. Looking good. Not for an 85-race, but definitely in good track for sub90. Just keep smiling, hold on to those guys and all gonna be fine. We have been passing 10K-runners heading to their arrival on the other side of the road (they started at 9:30am). We even still have many on our side of the road. Which is not really practical as we have to pass them right or left or in the middle. Accelerating a bit before km6 as I see a little silhouette in black. Trying to whistle but it is definitely not easy to run at this pace and whistle. So I shout a bit and get a huge smile from E on the other side of the road. And cheering. And surely I burn there some extra strength which I probably will miss later on in the race, but it was worth this smile! Back to the pack. Surrounded on my right by the guy with the red singlet with Clube Vodafone (will spend most of the run thinking that there is a mistyping on his singlet and that I probably should tell him that “Club” has no “e” at the end… Yes…the mind wanders sometimes during races…) and another guy with white singlet and great smile on the left. A few check from time to time to the watch and the indication of 4:09-pace is very reassuring. For being even more sure that disappointment won’t come at the end, I am adding 1-2sec/km. So it is still a very decent 1:28-tempo I am holding. With a bit of margin. Around km8 happens what should NEVER happen. Still well-surrounded, I feel like drifting slightly to the right, still a bit from “Clube Vodafone”-guy. But THEN I feel that my legs are hit by something, everything goes really fast, a guy in our group was trying to pass between me and “Clube Vodafone” and got into my footsteps, a bit of light screaming, feeling that my “white singlet and big smile” is catching me, that “Clube Vodafone” is catching me too on the other side and our third mysterious guy behind is as well holding so I am not falling (or that we ALL are not falling together). Lots of thanks all around, a bit of laugh and excuses and we just continue. Nothing noted on the pace (or maybe this km would have been even faster without this “almost falling” incident… who knows?…). Back on track, cheering from a bunch of guys in Portuguese around km9. Not understanding a single word. Comments from my “white singlet and big smile” friend and he gets back a thanks and let’s go from me on the top of a smile. Km10 is finally passed. Under 42minutes J on good track for sub90. Keep smiling and moving those legs! Taking my grey gel. Not that it is needed, but because it is annoying me in the backpocket of my hotpants. Quick water drinking as well. Nice!

Halfway is reached without really noticing…there is no mark for it (or there was one and I did not see it. All km-marks are having a different little funny drawing. KM11 is having legs added to the figures, like they were running. Another km-mark (nr 8?) was having a little sun hat and I think I saw one with sunglasses (and NOT I have not been drinking anything else than water!)). Have reached Cais de Sobrés, which is the station where we took the tram to get home on Friday… Now I know we could have run instead 😛 More running. A bit of people now, and it is feeling really foggy. Not that the fog is low and visibility zero, but it is so extremely grey and feeling almost that the skies are not existing at all. That we are running on a road painted in a city painted and that somehow the canvas behind the painting is actually grey. Yapp…still wandering mind. Have caught up the gal before me with the Garmin singlet. OK, this one I won’t let her go. Hearing the cheering from Olivier A from the RIL race, but then there were only a few km left. Now we are having 9 or so. Everything can happen! The turning point is slightly before km13, so when I start seeing the runners from the front on the other side of the road, I stop swearing on the stupid cobblestones we are now running on. SO NOT FAIR! I was getting in a very good pace before this. Now I have to actually LOOK where I am setting my feet. Focus is as well on trying to spot the number of gals passing on the other side of the road and how far I am from them (or rightly said: how far before me they are…). Seeing the first guy and the second one, very close to each other. Probably 2-3km before me then (and if it is wrong, I’ll blame my mathematics ability being down when I run…cannot focus on everything!), then a pack of few runners….and another one…and more male runners…where are the females?!?!? And here comes one. Almost missing her! She runs so extremely easy and nice. OK. One before me. Plus the Garmin lady. That means two. And there was another one before the Garmin lady, who had disappeared from sight after km8 or so. Which means three. Must be a bunch of chicks in the middle surely….I thought… Have passed to km12 and getting closer to the turning point when I see the second gal. Hmmm I think. Isn’t it the one before the Garmin lady? And here I see the turning point and the Garmin chick before me and I am turning then (well… I am WALKING to get this done. Because I am so close to the pavement in the middle and surrounded by guys, that it is just impossible to run. Here goes the precious seconds for sub90 I thought. Screw the time! Get the place now (as Olivier had said wisely three months ago. So I listen to this little voice and accelerate a bit). Focus focus focus while running on the cobblestones again. Heading towards the pavement, slippery but better than the stones. Km13 is beeping at…4:09?!?!? With this walking part?!?! Aaaaahhh if only we would have run straight and on asphalt… happy still to have this pace at this moment in the race and not feeling any fatigue. Focus. Focus focus. Just.Don’t.Fall. When I hear my name on the other side of the road! Jesper has been catching up with me! Yoohoo! Raising the hand, hopefully I smiled too. Great boost to the strengths…if only we were running on pavement! Have lost my “White singlet and great smile” since Cais do Sobré, but “Clube Vodafone” is still around. The Garmin lady is a few meters in front of me. Trying to run on the grass but it feels that I will probably break my ankle there so I go back to the stones. Please please please make them stop! Finally the turn left back on the pavement: I know I have slow down very much. But the watch is indicating an even faster pace. Km 14 completed in 4:03… OK. Shoot! There is only 7km to go and one place on the podium to win (or loose…). Tactic is going back and forth in my head. Better to pass the girl now and hope she won’t catch up afterwards or better to keep in her feet and be to the mercy of HER pace and still hope she will crash at the end and that at the same time I will have an extra boost of energy to pass her before the finish line… Passing km15 mark and “Clube Vodafone” is on my side and smiling to me 🙂 and saying something encouraging (I guess, because I do not understand what he is saying). And there…comes…another km15…with a mat… Eeeeeeehhhh what?!?!? I passed it already! Like 500m earlier. Starting to doubt fully on my watch, on my sight having seen km15 when it must have been km14…and really starting to despair that I am one more km further from the finish than I thought… L Not fun at all. Have taken a water bottle which I empty to the half as usual, drink a little and throw the rest on my head. Time to wake up! Especially if I start mixing the km-marks and hallucinating in thinking I am one km further than where I actually am! I see the bridge ahead soon. And the more than welcome km16 is arriving. The bridge means 2.2km to home, which is 1.5km to the start which is 200m to the finish. Good with some maths to occupy the head now. And surely this means I’ll see E soon. Thinking at the same time that I might miss him if I am running faster than what I said and that he misses the meeting point…Nooooo not a chance I am faster than expected. By km14 my average pace had dropped to 4:10 and I even see briefly a 4:11… (WHY am I looking at my watch while running? I don’t know…) But in front of me the Garmin lady is showing clear signs of fatigue and hole on the side. She is holding herself pretty badly. OK. What was the plan then? I try to keep a close distance with her, but “Clube Vodafone” is having a better pace for my taste and we are passing her. Now I just have to keep this pace or faster and hope she won’t catch up with me. Good. I feel warm and have lifted my singlet for getting a bit of air on my bare stomach. Nice! But not really comfortable with the HR pulseband. Which is dropping a bit from time to time. We.are.underneath.the.bridge! Would have been nice to be ON the bridge and running or even being in San Francisco and running on the real and original bridge, rather than under its Portuguese copy. But fast is disappearing those thoughts. I want this to finish. I am not tired. I have to get tired. I get my final gels in the back of my sport bra. Stupid place AGAIN. Cannot reach them at all! Pulling from the back and finally getting them out. Yellow one first. Don’t even recognize the taste. Don’t’ care. Just focus and run. Look in front of you. NOBODY! (well, this means “NO LADY IN SIGHT”!). Run run run. And a guy is passing me and “Clube Vodafone”…and on his footstep…Noooooooo! The Garmin lady! She has recovered. I press myself directly behind her and run (dangerously close) in her footstep. Red gel. Can’t remember where, when, how I got it to my mouth, but I know I did. She is just there. Not 50, not 30, 2 meters in front of me! This is really mocking me, right? And I see she is actually tired, but the guy is pushing her very hard. I see my lovely cheering squad on the side and push even more. The power of a smile is NOT to be underestimated! “Clube Vodafone” is keeping up with me and the pace has increased, I know it. The gal in front of me has now taken a bit more distance. Her friend is even looking back for checking where I am (I don’t know that for sure…but I am pretty sure of it!). And there right before km20 happens something cool, VERY cool… A guy that was in front of us comes back (!), exchange a few words with “Clube Vodafone” and the little I understand is that it is about me (I understand “fourth” and “woman”, they cannot be talking about the weather!). The guy is passing behind me (!) and set himself on my right side and explaining that the finish is close (well, this is what my mind think he is telling me). He is definitely there for me (and if in reality he is not, well… nope. This is the reality. He came back for me). We are getting close to the start area. He is showing me with his hand where the arrival is. OMG! I just want so much to stop and pee! Perfect timing! Less than 500m to go! Turn right and getting to the final stretch. Gosh this is just crazily empowering: I cannot hear the crowd (which I know is cheering), I cannot see “Clube Vodafone” any longer. I feel only my new friend on the side. I just want this to be finished and actually feel TIRED at the end! Passing the first mark to the end, then I see the clock. It shows 1:27:xx. NOT A CHANCE I LET IT TURN TO 1:28! Push push push, Not sure I am smiling but at least I think I am. And pushing my stop button on my watch. D.O.N.E!!!

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Daring to give a look on my watch…1:27:47!!! (looked twice actually!!!). The Garmin gal is hardly recovering her breathing, bent over the fence, looking to her feet. I try to congratulate her, but get no response. SHE is tired. I feel indecently fit, after 21.1km and the final sprint to the finish line. Smiling J I turn left and fall into the arms of a cameraman and another guy. Congratulate me and ask if I can say a few words. Not realizing really what is happening, I find myself holding a mic in front of a camera and telling the World (well, the cameraman and the other guy at least) how much fun I had during the race. Great! Feeling that the sweat is coming now. The whole outfit is wet. Getting cheering from guys passing by, some I recognize other I don’t. I just smile. I made it. Under 90 minutes. I knew I could. I knew the body was ready. No pressure. No pushing (apart from final stretch to the finish as usual). I can do another one right now!

Getting my nice medal, my after race little bag, walking towards the meeting point to get E. Soooo happy to see him. He even accept a hug despite the sweat! Nice pic in front of the museum and back to the massage tent. Get a ticket…30 numbers to wait. Enough time to strip from my sweaty race gear into dry shorts and singlet, clean socks and slightly more comfy running shoes. Niiiice! We check the arrival of the other runners then, hoping to see Jesper’s arrival. He thought about 1:50, but I feel that way under is more likely. We see the clock ticking. No Jesper. After 2:00, we decide we have missed him and text. Then I hear my name (!) on the speakers… What? Who is calling me? I am heading to the podium and yes! I am actually called for the age category podium! Yooohooo! Oh my! Where is E? I just went and hope he would come along. And here he is. Smiiiiiiling big! Cool to get on the podium, nice trophée and flowers. And the sun is showing itself too! Meeting Jesper finally. Back to the massage tent. Getting a 20 (twenty!) minutes massage. Nothing really relaxing, but soooo worth the wait!

Podium9

Nice podium 🙂

Summary? Very surprised by the outcome, especially considering the low expectations set after the rehearsal run the day before. No fast and furious. Felt well-disposed, no easy-peasy pace, but decent and comfortable. Body felt good (apart from a slight ache around km8 which I summon to keep quiet!), mentally feeling good and strong, enough for actually accelerating during the last 8km stretch. The weather was not what I expected (18ºC and sunny) but was better for the race (9ºC and foggy!). Definitely not an “all-in” race. Felt that strengths were left at the end. Mind very focused. Music in the ear helped (?) to keep the pace steady probably. Still wondering a bit if I could have got sliiiiightly faster at the end for skipping those 10seconds separating me from the Garmin lady, but this I will never know. Give a double distance and something can definitely be done at the end! 😛

Great race. And definitely what was needed to finish a 2015-year with a pretty crappy start. Great finish! Gladly seeing the legs kept on moving and the mind kept on focusing. Just what was needed for this day!

***********

Weather: 8.9ºC, Feels like 8.9ºC, 5 kph NE wind, Humidity 100% – definitely good conditions for running. Foggy and no visibility at start, mostly grey during the run and definitely humid in the air throughout the run. Sun shining after the race was highly appreciated!

Food: 8:00am green mix + red juice and orange juice + banana + croissant/bricoche + mint tea&honey // right after the race: 1 apple, 1 water bottle, 1 little sport drink, 1 tea // 60min later (?): late lunch (veal, rice and potatoes, coke)
During: Dextrosol 2 at start and 1 at km4. km9+ grey gel + little water // km17+ – yellow gel and a bit after red gel // water at almost every 5K water-station (zipping more than drinking)

Gear: SWE hotpants and singlets, arm sleeves pink, sunglasses. Shoes were just OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD! Light and fast, comfortable and steady. Just what was needed! Loving them!

Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple (Swifty) : 1st race and what a race! Those are fast shoes and really glad I have them onboard!

14/ Cannot tell the effort level was very high. It was decent throughout the race. Even the first 2km were (thanks to adrenaline quick from the start…) not reaching much more than a 12-13. Never really reached a 15-effort level, not even at the end where it felt that there were anyway strengths left, so as good to use them. Great use of the strengths. Definitely easier than RIL and the other races this year. Probably felt “easier” on the effort level than the last long run done the week before the race.

***************
AFTER THE RACE

Walking easy towards home. Chatting without stopping until the restaurant for eating late lunch. Then leaving Jesper and heading back to buy Pasteis de Belem (no queue!) and then back home finally. Loooooong hot well-deserved shower. Massage (again) with cold after-race cream. Freezing for the hours following. Sitting on the sofa in front of Xmen –movie and resting the legs up. Later in the evening, went to the centre of Lisbon for celebrating with Jesper & his wife. Great restaurant, great meat, wonderful dessert and even a little wine to get with the dinner. Final hugs before we move towards our bus stop…to see our bus leaving. 27 minutes to wait for next one… E and I decided to walk back home then…the six km that separated us from the centre of the city. Great exercise after running a half-marathon in the morning! Perfect finish of the day! Tired after that? For sure!

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: warmup? FINALLY! Could have a decent warmup before a half-marathon race and still start with a good spot close to the start line. Thanks for great advice to Olivier A once again!

NOTE: Corral change at the pickup of the BIB? Great to have negotiated to move from group “no colour” to “grey colour” (which was 1:15-1:30). It felt a bit cocky to ask for this group at the moment, but it was definitely the correct one!

NOTE: gel in the back of the sport bra? Not working this time. Have to work on this…again!

NOTE: Energy intake during half-marathon… well, don’t know if that was really needed. But I really wanted to feel a difference from “this is a normal long run” and “this is a race”. Not sure it helped (apart from the kick at the end, which could definitely have come from the adrenaline kick of being close to the end or the cheering from the guy at the end. Who knows!)

NOTE: Shoes are just to be kept. Should probably order a bunch of them before they disappear from the market!

 GREAT RACE TO FINISH THIS YEAR!

(and a few seconds of fame… here…24minutes and 25seconds into the movie…)


The day a half-marathon was completed virtually, on bike and in another country…

Sunday! It was Sunday! Late in bed (stupid shoulder annoying me still for getting to bed at decent time. Watched the three musketeers and definitely was up for watching “Interview with a vampire”, but the eyes were closing themselves… So Sunday it becomes!

What a day! Generally planning quite a lot for each day (or not a lot, but at least so I am occupied), but for today, the only plan was: Barcelona half-marathon! Hold on a second, K (you may say). Can you RUN now? Nope, cannot. And nope, was not in Spain either. The plan for today was simple: JP was running Barcelona half-marathon and I was to keep him company and cheer along the way biking…indoor…from Sweden… Virtual cheering, it is called (and if such thing does not exist, well…here you are! Now it does! 🙂 ). Due to this stupid horse medicine for sleeping and skipping the shoulder pain, I slept deep until 5am. Then clearly awaken for a short while and fell asleep again. Same procedure at 7am. But when the clock rang at 8am… this was another deal. Felt completely slow and unable to move at a normal pace, unsure why on earth I had to go up at this hour on a Sunday. The brain waking up slowly, ordered the body to take me to the kitchen, took some red juice and C-vitamin and Chlorella. Filled 2 bottles of water. On with bicycling gear and off I went to the gym. Start of the race was 8:45am. On the bike then and Hop! Start was given. Had it all set: water bottle on the left with the gel for half way, two mobiles on the right for keeping track on my runner and my bag hanging with the extra water bottle.

Chose the “hill” program and started the pedalling. The plan was simple: JP had said his training lately was not to the top and therefore the 1:45-1:55 plan was now changed into 2:00+. OK, I would remain on the saddle as long as he was running I had promised. The tricky was that Barcelona half-marathon was not showing the intermediate time, you could not follow your runner live… So I was left with my guessing (and my cheating note, which was the intermediate time JP had done in Stockholm half-marathon). OK, pedal, pedal, pedal. Sms for an update on where he probably was and more pedalling and water drinking and sms and pedalling…On and on and on… Took an energy gel after 1hr 10minutes. Not because I needed it, but I had eaten nothing before this training, and I was not ready to fall from the saddle… Got to read the tweet on the new female world-record (WOW! THIS is what I call a super-fast gazelle!). And continued to pedal. Hoping the bike would not just stop after an hour or two. It didn’t. Did push to 2hrs 10minutes, but seriously had to go off the bike after that (a little too much water drinking…). 63.75km. Not bad, right? Hoping this had allowed JP to cross the finish line… And indeed, when I was finished cleaning my bike and packing my stuff, got a phone call that the finish line was crossed after…1hr 48!!! Yooooouuhoooou!!! Hold on now… wait a second… this means I was pedalling 22 minutes too long, right? Haaaaaaaaaa……! Anyhow, really proud of JP and a little of myself as well to have endured this time on the bike (indoor!). Light stretch afterwards and home.

Rest of the day went smoothly. Brunch with girlfriends, apartments visits and when finally getting back home, lay down for a power nap of 30 minutes…which turned into a long nap of 1.5hr… Would still be sleeping if not thinking that it was a bad move for being able to sleep the rest of the night. Up and fixed the chores at home. Watching James Bond “Skyfall” (tricky to follow the story… where is Pierce Brosnan????!?!?!). Soon to go to bed…

Summary of the week? Good for training. Good for the left foot (almost better). Good for the left shoulder (almost better). Still some time needed to heal both foot and shoulder. Hope next week to be able to take a few running steps if the foot allows it. But for now, really time to sleep.

How was YOUR Sunday?


Recap 2014…

First week of the new year reaching its end… Time for a short summary on how 2014 went…

Figures first: Races: 4 marathons, 4 half-marathons, 3 10K, 2 smaller races.

Back to the beginning: Dubai marathon. Great start with a new PB by 4min 44sec and year objective reached by 1min 1 sec… Could not wish for better first race of the year. Once again, tricky conditions for training with rubbish weather in December and January, BUT a really good finish of the year training with 477km run in December which probably helped a bit for getting this result. Sun shining… and surely starting to think about what other objectives should be set for this marathon distance for the rest of the year… Next step: busy March with first : Semi de Paris. New PB by 16sec for a race which was counting as training-race. Good way to train the running, the “Oooohhhhh nooooo… I dropped my gel and had only one for the whole race…what should I do now”-energy plan and enjoy fully the scenery 🙂 Two weeks later, had nothing else to do but to register to an 8km Spring run and got a PB on it (once again, first time run = PB 🙂 Liking it!). And then came the cherry on the cake: Copenhagen half-marathon, standing as well this year for World championships in half-marathon. CRAZY new PB by 2min 41sec since SdP at the start of the same month. Getting as well WAY under the objective set for the year. And a great celebration with running-buddy “Trickie” who was joining the race as well. So after this, the cup felt full and happy I was. The year had only gone 3 months and all felt fine… Got to run our 4km terrain club championship and got first place woman 🙂 Still fine year, right? But it was without counting Rotterdam marathon in April. Dubai, Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Chicago were the A-races of the year. But having set PB in Dubai and Copenhagen, I was more than happy to run a fast race in Rotterdam and that would do… But nope. All preparations had gone well, two weeks after Copenhagen I was standing in Rotterdam with stomach aches and not able to keep anything in my tummy. So the plan was just to complete the race… Which ended with a first half in 1hr25 and a final time of 2:57:25, new PB by 1min 44 since Dubai… and 4th in age category 🙂 Wow, the year was just great. After that focus was on Chicago in autumn, with a few races on the way there. First was mid-may with III Subida a la Cruz de Benidorm, 10K race which I took first day of “training-vacation” in Spain and got happily to cross the finish line first of all ladies (after a huge 2km uphill and a super fast 2km downhill in the middle). This fun training-race under the sun was followed by a lovely sunny training week in Spain (and crazy pain on the front of hamstrings… which made me understand WHY downhill training is of importance sometimes!). Back home it was time for Göteborgsvarvet. There was a dip in motivation for this race. Which was anyhow planned as training race and hopefully to get sub90. Which I did…for a couple of hours…until the elite field was granted with 14 extra seconds for all times due to issue with the start clock. Ending 1sec above 90min… Next stop was two weeks later, the capital and Stockholm marathon. Once again this was as well Swedish Championships and even though it was not top-race on my plan, sub3 was a wish… This was without thinking of a bad turn that happened the week before and the pain in the knee until the race. Got the race done, half way as planned but by km30, the knee just did not want to cooperate. Good time anyway with 7min 43sec faster than last year, but missed the sub3. No worry, I had my knee still there and that what’s matter right? A PB without knee? Not too good 😉 Followed a recovery month, meaning crazy daily rehab training, skipping the 10K-races planned in July and finally got to run ONE 10K on the 2nd day of Augsut. Musselloppet. Crazy time right before the race (took us over 2 hours for driving a distance which should have taken us like…30min?), arrived at the race 10min before start and understood when getting there that it was NOT a flat race, but a 2-laps race with hills… No crazy time, but got the “knee-test” passed. No pain. All good for next race at the end of August: Midnattsloppet Göteborg. This one is a midnight run and started with 5min heavy rain on us, right before a delayed start. got a good training (when I woke up after 4km reminding myself it was a 10K and not a 42K…). Once again, knee-test ended well. So training continued and it was time to get ready for the test-run before Chicago: Stockholm half-marathon (standing for Swedish Championship this year). Great weather, body fine, still took it easy for not pressing the knee. Which ended in a PB (he he he…you know…first time for this race = automatic PB 🙂 ) and a sub90 half-marathon which gave me a 36th place in the Swedish Championships. Happy, because there were crazy fast chicks this year! Got to congratulate JP for his crazy achievement in this race too. So nice to be able to celebrate after a race with people you like 🙂 All-in-all, it felt that “more ready cannot be” and October was already there. And Chicago marathon. Spent a week in crazy warm North Carolina the week before and got to Chicago where a mild weather was given to us. “Tricky” was there as well, which made this race even more fun. Right before the start, the left calf did a bit of boring reminder like “youhouhou…I’m here…”-like, but race is a race and it was just one of the most amazing experiences to be in this race. Until 20km, all felt good and perfect, but then the calf did not cooperate too much, and the choice was pretty simple: I have two calve (got them at borth: no change nor refund possible) and there will be other races… Chose to slow down and complete the race. Will be back there in better shape. Missed the sub3, but got rewarded with a 1380th place out of 40,418 participants. 172nd woman. I think it is good 🙂 Got some rest after that. A bit of motivation was lost due to this “miss” in Chicago, the calve were not too happy, letting me run but not as much I wanted really. So skipped all races for the rest of the year and focused on training to get the best start in 2015. Ended December with a new all-time-high in volum with 513.5km run 🙂 A good ending.

Sooooo: for last year: 2014 was a great year for running. In figures (because it is fun!): 3,929.1km and over 313 hours spent on the roads (the number of steps added to 3,384,900 (calculated with an average of 180 steps/min :)), on 3 continents. Travelling is part of it and fun, but not all the time. Food? a couple of problems before races, which strangely gave me the best times achieved this year. Looking a bit more on food for recovery. When I have time… Long runs? not as many as I wished, but definitely lots of fun out there! Massage? Should be sponsored by a massage company for all the time I spend there too! Core exercises? Surely a great improvement since last year. Can be seen on pictures 🙂 but as well in the running where it feels better longer. Back ache? nope. Alternative training? biking a bit and not enough swimming (this will change this year!). Running on terrain? Surely added this in summer and late autumn (will continue this year too!). Trained under any weather condition and did take time for resting too (thanks for a wonderful crazy sunny summer, got a nice tan as well ;).

Would say that the year had gone all well as a whole. With surely some times with feeling down, bits of lack of motivation, knee and calve showing that one should clearly respect one’s own body when running and training in general. But when looking back, it was a great year. Let’s see what 2015 brings us, shall we?


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…).

Race results:

 

Official splits

Official splits

Totals
Place                  48 (46 – guntime)
Place (age)        39
Place (total)    533

Time total      01:28:38
Average pace 04.13 min/km

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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.

HM Day:

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…

THE RACE

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.

Happy me after the finish line

Happy me after the finish line

nice medal

nice medal

********

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%

Food:
> 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.

 


Stockholm Half-marathon 2014 – 1:28:38 :)

So was it done! 1:28:38

First autumn race. One more sub90 half marathon and a 48th place (women).
36 in Swedish Championship of half marathon.

Form is good 🙂
More to come (when I have access to a computer…)


Kind-of-tapering, sun, more work and a training-race under the sun – weekly update…

(Week 20140512-20140518)

Easy Monday, meaning starting up early with light core exercises, then getting to work, back2back meetings, cancelled my running-lunch plans and thought finishing the afternoon working from home. Morning went as planned, but then I got two unplanned meetings at the office, which meant no going back home. Which ALSO meant I could have run at lunch with my colleagues. Saw them leaving the building with a large smile (and me aiming to the restaurant for a nice lunch with a colleague). So lunch run was replaced by an easy afternoon recovery run. Easy pace, no pressure, just nice. A bit sensitive Achilles, which I might see as a result of wearing high heels at work… Solution for race week: wearing snickers (read:running shoes)… Finished the day with packing (light) for travelling on Tuesday.

Long Tuesday started with light core in the morning to wake up the body a bit. Still sensitive heels. Then on a rush: dropp off, fast to work, bus transport for meeting, then back to the office, meetings again, change of lunch plans due to unplanned meeting and then time to get to the train station… 1:45pm and it was lunch time (finally…). Got a sub with chicken teriyaki. OK, I guess. But would trade this for sushi next time. 3hours train-trip. Tried to work but the wifi was rubbish and it was a real pain to get things done. Got the hotel and worked some more (well, what was not done in the train…) and then went out hunting for food. Rest day today. Making me crazy! Felt should have run even just a little bit this morning. Got to an Italian restaurant and ordered pasta, with chicken, mushrooms, leeks and white sauce. Real delicious. Back to the hotel.  Took 30minutes before cramping stomach. Sooooo annoying. Reacting to the cream in the pasta, for sure. But it was SO really good. Took a long hot shower to get rid of the pain and then tired got to bed. Rest day? could have passed on this one!

So what about a “very-long Wednesday” then? Up @6:20am, got ready quick to get to breakfast and there is was already more crowded than NY central station at busy hours… Got a good breakfast, unsure what we would eat during the day. Full day of network meeting. Lovely. Will get my mind busy, getting new ideas and hopefully not thinking about “how-on-earth-I-will-be-setting-a-training-workout-in-today’s-day”… Have the privilege (?) to test-drive 2 trucks (those huge ones, 25.25m and fully load (60tons!)), as well as a city bus and a truck with trailer fully loaded on a gravel road. Pretty fun! Especially when doing it in skirt/jacket and running shoes 🙂 Got finished by 4pm, but our train was not coming before 5:32pm… Did some reading. Even considered (while waiting at the train station) changing to running gear, doing my training as fast as possible so I would not miss the train… THAT is a motivator! Train delayed. Then got pretty slow and more delay. I saw the clock ticking and thought would be way too late to train. Arrived home it was still nice in the air and light, so just had to change to running gear and headed towards a flat place for one long part and pretty fast 2minutes-serie. Not high on the motivation (Heeeeellllo…… got up early and full day work and travelling…) but the 5km disappeared pretty fast (especially when I quickly checked my watch and notice Ooooh, I will soon reached 21min, have to accelerate…which I did…which made my watch beep, …which mean “too slow” I thought….which made me run even faster….still having a beeping watch….until the bout finished and I noticed that…the beeping meant too fast…that I had run 30sec faster than the fastest range planned…OK then…will see how the 2-minutes go. And then were FAST! Felt much better doing them and completed the workout with a smile…tired, but with a smile…(probably of exhaustion…). Light core to complete the day and headed to my pillow .)

And it was sunny Thursday then. Had my high heels in my bag (JIC…) but went to work in running shoes. Not a chance I will get my Achilles feel better this week if wearing high heels all the time… The sunny weather outside felt outrageous…as this was a rest day (again? yapp!). Today was a leg resting day- Light core only 🙂 And still not much sleep (but much work done…)

TGIF! Good start of the day with light core and then getting to work. Running shoes on still. Back2back meetings until lunch time and sushi-lunch in nice colleague company. Little longer lunch – always appreciated 🙂 And it was time for the final meetings of the day before heading back home. By then the clouds were a bit out but still sunny and a bit warm/heavy in the air. Running gear on, took an easy afternoon run, but the motivation was not there. The legs could run on their own, and they did. Achilles heels felt pretty sensitive, especially the right one 😦 no fun. Even though it disappears after a couple of km…it should just NOT be felt this way. Spent the evening preparing my gear, checking the weather and reading my summary from last year’s race… I know this route, but for tomorrow the objective was simply to get around under 1:37 (last year’s time) and if can do, under 1:30. But all would be good as this was not a top-prio race, more to be taken as final long run before Stockholm marathon. Especially considering the past three weeks with over 100km/week which is much for me…

Saturday was race-day. Got to run faster than last year by 7minutes and 4seconds. Got to test how to run without extra energy carried on me, but with a cheering squad ensuring I would get little @two places of the race. More on Göteborgsvarvet 2014 here. Good race, completed in 1:30:01…which makes it necessary (?) to register for next year’s edition and finally getting under 1:30!!! Sunny day, painful Achilles heels after the race, stomach cramps after race and restaurant celebration afterwards… Good day 🙂

To finish the week, came Sunday 🙂 Additional rest day. Up around 7:15am, too much light outside. Rested longer and then finally went up to start breakfast. This was time for G&E races right after lunch-time. Bicycled a bit, body felt fine, Achilles heels felt fine. Got to run as well to get from one point to another one and being able to follow the race… Yapp. Good rest day, finished with home-made pizza. What’s a difference as (rest) day made?….

Week summary: A bit sluggish feeling. Maybe (probably?) the results of three heavy weeks leading to this one. So certainly a good thing to have cut down on the volume this week. Now will start tapering before Stockholm marathon. Hoping that motivation is a bit higher up by then 🙂

Keep on running!


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet 2014/05/17

Planned: Faster than 2013 (1:37…) and if feeling fine, would be nice with sub90 (which was the objective from last year’s race…). Training-race.

Actual: official finish time 1 – 1:29:47 // official finish time 2 – 1:30:01 (on my Garmin: 1:30:02).
SO: either PB on this route by 7min18sec OR 7min 4sec faster than last year’s race… Yapp! 14seconds miss for all starting in the Elite corral… I take the second finish time (even though I would have pushed harder if I would have known…). Weather conditions: warm to hot, Motivation level: low before start, a little higher when the start gun shot, ok throughout the race (well: “ok level for a fast training workout”). Results are fine, especially regarding new PB for the race and the overall preparations (being last weekend of heavy training before marathon tapering)

Splits (official)

Official splits

Official splits

Totals
Place               48 (40 – guntime)
Place (total)  1244
Time total      01:30:01
Average pace 04.16 min/km

**********************************************************
Eyes opened first at 2:33am. Way too early to start getting ready! Too much water-drinking the evening before…Birds still asleep. Took probably one more hour to fall asleep again. Up with the birds this time before the alarm rang at 7:45am. Pretty lazy start for the day. Changed to running gear for a little morning jog. Sure, I don’t change for a short run, BUT for today it felt ok. Stopped shortly for buying croissants (not for me though…) and then ran more-than-easy 2km with croissants in one hand. Not too easy to run… Shower, got ready with race gear and set the hair…and it was not even 9:00am… Time for light breakfast (green mix with red & apple juice, allergy tablet, toast with blueberry jam + jasmin tea/honey). Looked again at the race report/times from last year and see where it became tough then. Hydration well-organized with 2dl water or Powerade blue every 30min.

Planned outfit

Planned outfit

Hoping for one of those splits...

Hoping for one of those splits…

And then it was 11:15am and time to drop T at her friend. Reviewed a final and 56th time where G&E would be during the race and off we left. Walk easy, check mobile numbers and easy jog with bag on the back to the start. Headed directly to IK-Jogg meeting point for final pep-talk and cheering and then to the start tent for meeting colleagues. Walked on muddy/wet grass making my ASICS and race-socks completely wet. Great start 😦 Good with the sun, changed socks and to racing shoes. Met Lars L directly when arriving 🙂 Then French colleagues, Swedish colleagues and a bit of chat around. Got to chat with Jimmy&co and got some pep from it (thanks!)

Nice to see lots of energy, when mine was definitely not on the top. Race outfit had been checked and approved at home and it was well-chosen: Moremiles short shorts, club white singlet lifted in sport-bra, ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost purple and blue sunglasses. If not going fast, at least I would look cool 🙂 A couple of pics before race and then started a rubbish-kind-of warm-up (tricky with crowded place for running and accelerations were far from effective if you included the necessary zigzagging between people running or crossing the road…).

12:47am – Warm-up completed. Got a final glups of Powerade, for the thirst. Met Johan P before start and then it was time to get ready towards the little yellow line for Elite-start. Impossible to get the first line as for the giants already positioned there… and THEN little before start time arrive the international elite…. Wooooow! THAT is SO definitely COOL! They are looking so composed and focus, even if smiling some do give some “hi there”. Spotted a short elite woman who succeeds to push herself on the front row…Coool! Surrounded by giants, it feels a bit lost. Had seen a few Swedish elite women and will see if can hang along with them a liiiitle while before they disappear 🙂

12:59pm – Definitely not ready to start. Garmin is ready though. 30sec to start is announced. Final jokes from Swede Elite-guys (how can they still joke now?!?!?!). 10sec…

1:00pm – PANG! Once again not realizing really what I am doing, pressing start on my watch at the same time (as this is gun-time counting for Elite start), passing the start-mat like in trance which continue for a while. Fireworks in the skies are really loud and follow us for a short while. Little up goes fine and then down. Passing the little elite-woman who stopped already to fixed her shoe laces (no worries, she passes me pretty soon after…). Quick check on the watch and yes, 3:44 IS too fast, but seriously if it is the way it should be, then be it! I’ll be tired anyway within short time… Passing first km in 3:55. OK 12seconds faster than last year, but at least I am trained for this pace this year 🙂 Continuing on the wave, but still like not really being there. Passing the water-control and grabbing a water for dropping my hands in it. And km2 is reached already. Slightly slower, but still 12sec faster than last year. Recommendations of taking it easy for the first km in Slottskogen are NOT easy to follow when being in this start group. By km2, Johan P and Olivier A have passed me with a good luck smile. Getting a few cheering during the climbing of Sälsdammsbacken (which IS pretty long… should definitely not train only on the first 200m for next year!). But still reaching the top and then it is downhill and continuing to be carried by the human wave and the cheerings from both side of the road. Not many women passing by by then, which is fine. Got a cheering from Lars W from MIK around km3 (Nice to hear my name so early 🙂 ). Feeling is ok, but not more. I know it is too fast, but I have a meeting with G&E at km11 between 40 and 43minutes after start. So better hold this tempo until then! Got to chat with Andreas S before he disappeared 🙂 And more cheering by David P in Majorna/Mariaplan. There is is REALLY crowded on both sides. THANKS! And then it is just to run down to water station of km4. Taking 2 mugs of water: little drinking and already showering my legs. There are drizzling-showers throughout the route, but it is annoying to go through them when having sunglasses… Getting the uphill to the bridge at ok-tempo. Not fast but fine and good-enough for today’s plan. Passing km5 a little above 20min, (20:26 I noted on the results) and this is 1 minute faster than last year. And good to go for a 1:28-tempo. But I know it is too fast for this route and for my daily-form.

Following close the back of a gal with blue Runacademy-singlet, almost got passed by another gal on the bridge, but on the way down towards km6 both of them disappear. Almost slowing down in the downhill from the bridge (sorry, H, I changed this shortly after noticing it!), passing a few there and turning towards the water station. Remembering last year awful place here. Taking a sport drink for mouth-rinsing and drink a couple of glups of water. Turning towards Eriksberg, seeing for the FIRST time the sign “km7” (never noticed it in previous races, nor km8…) and thinking of Per M cheering for me last year (still unsure if I would have completed the race last year if it was not for this particular cheering at this point of the race). I know he started a little after me. Thinking of what he said, taking the race as a training run and completing it. And yes, that actually it would have been nice to have him here today for a bit of both cheering and pulling… Until I here my name and a well-known voice. Turning my head and here he is! (and no, I have not started yet with the hallucinations…). SOOOO nice to hear a friendly voice and chat for a while. Sweaty both of us, but I.AM.HAPPY! Letting Per M moving along and after a while my focus on his back is stopping. Once again, nice to be woman and in the start as we are not that many. When a cheer comes for “come on girl”, I know it is for me 🙂 Not bothering too much to check the pace now. Getting to the shadow street. Noticing we are running in the middle of the road. Were we doing it last year? I thought we ran on the pavement then. Passing the water-station and then turning right to the little windy street. “Look, mum, she has only 3 numbers this one” is cheering a little girl on this road 🙂 Back to the side of the water and the sun. Straight line along the harbour, trying to get the crowd to cheer by lifting my hands and yes, it does help! Not to run faster, but to be more present. Hearing my feet pounding on the pavement as well. Turn right and it is just a little more to km10. Passing the 10K a bit over 41min (41:17). Which mean I am still ok to reach the meeting-point at the ferry station.

Running on the small street stones, remembering the cheering from AL last year at this point. Nothing this year as he is running as well. But “memory-cheering” work as well (especially when you get tired…) 🙂 Turn right and seeing a little hand outside the line of people and getting closed and the red hood-jacket and here they are! My best cheering-squad ever! Getting the cheering and my little bottle of yellow Powerade at the same time. You can do it I hear and then turning left. Have drank the Powerade quick, but the baby-bottles were not real smart to drink from at this pace. Being passed by a guy in nice short underwear (don’t know if that helps to look at other’s butt, but sometimes in races with these temperatures, you don’t bother really 🙂 ). After passing km11, it started to get boring and a bit heavy. As usual, lack of people all around is not helping keeping the mood up. Passed a couple of guys before reaching SVT-house, where a bit more people were cheering. But not as loud as would have been good! Boring run towards the second bridge…Boring how? Well, THAT much that I take the little outside curve to go through a photo-place instead of the inside curve as I usually do. (must be there I lost some seconds ;)…among others places!). Starting the way towards the bridge, not really motivated to accelerate as I usually do at this place during training. The body is fine, but the mind has got enough…since…a….while! Quick check at the watch to see that it indicates 5:02min/km…WHAT?!?!? OK, this is out-of-question! Can do better than that. Starting to run on the top of the toes and it feels so much lighter. Even catch up several places this way. Feeling good now! Even noticed the km14-sign somewhere… Reaching the top of the bridge and it is just to run down. Good flow. Getting a guy shouting to us “Come on almost finish” (First thought being “Thanks for the cheering” and quick second thought being “Sure, can see this is not you running” and the first thought coming back (thanks!)). Turn around the foot of the bridge, getting to the water-station which I ignore by far staying on the left side. Not a chance I am loosing more time. I’ll get water later I thought.

Km15 is passed and turning towards the Avenyn. Now it is heavy (or has it been heavy all the way?). Don’t even bothering checking my watch anymore. 1:27 was no longer on the possible finish time since a while and I kissed 1:28-goodbye probably already after km11… So just to keep it real and fine and finish in less than 1:37 was good enough for a training-race (best time on training for this route has been so far 1:41 on a Sunday morning and empty stomach. No sweat). The long street feels so extremely hot, and I know it is because I must be dehydrated or close to it. Bad call to skip the water-station @km15. Passing cheering crowd on both side and starting to hallucinate (?) again. Feels like running in slow motion, seeing this little girl I recall being friend to T and thinking I have to remember to call them after the race…when the mind quickly realise that this is not an hallucination, she is there! I say her name and hear back her mum cheering crazily at me 🙂 Yoooohoo! Have to be a little more straight in my running! And smile 🙂 And here is Pia on the left side…So cool to have here here and cheering! OK, they did their part of the job, so I just have to keep up the crazy slow pace I am having now to reach km18+ for the next cheering-squad station 🙂 Feeling fine (not good, just “fine”). The running up towards “Poseidon statue” is not that fun. Would have like more cheering from the crowd (which is actually thicker than usual I felt). Having a gal almost passing me on the way up, but I try to keep her pace for NOT letting her pass (yes, I know…there are still lots of km left for her to pass me…and I know it). Seeing on the other side of the road the women that started at the same time as me, quickly calculating that they would arrive probably 3-6minutes before me 🙂 Good for them. They look good. Seeing Espen R on the way down, cheering as loud as I can but he looks pretty focused (maybe I should be too…). Turning around the statue after grabbing a cup of water (directly on the legs…missed the drinking…), skipped the sponges, aaaaand it is now time for running downhill. Really? Is it downhill now? Not really feeling it, but seeing that I am passing a few blocks on the way (which is always nice). Turning left towards Vasagatan, which is terribly boring to run at any time of the year due to the traffic all-around. Now it would have been great to have cheering there as well (I will probably email the organization of the race for indicating which spots are to be filled with cheering squads for next year…). OK, now it is just a straight line to km18 and water-station (which I ignore nicely) aiming towards the turn left to ÖverHusargatan. Looking as far as I can and here they are, ready to give me a little bottle of blue Powerade and loads of smile and encouragements. Cannot let them down, well! I like this street, I can get up to speed slightly. More cheering for the crowd (hoping there are no gal behind me, because I doubt being able to increase the pace much more). Reaching the first little tunnel and getting some cheering from the guys on the side (thanks!) and then continuing upwards towards the bridge. Thanks for the people sitting there and indicating it is not far from the finish line, just have to bite a bit more! Taking the bridge up on the top of the toe, pretty calm and focused, passing a few blocks and the bridge is passed and it is the shadow of the trees now. Km20 time-mat is reached!

1:24:xx on the clock there…quick calculation. I must be able to finish within less than 5minutes now. Starting a little accelerations under the trees and then turning left to the pavement and accelerating even more. Getting to pass some more guys who seem pretty tired. Waking up even more at the howling of Eva F (THANKS!) and it is time to take the last strengths on this little stupid slope they placed before the arrival. And it is done. Passing more blocks. Entering the stadium and trying to read the clock. 1:29:…29…30…31… “Now this is the final runners who have the chance to be under the magic limit of 1hr30 who entered the stadium – yelled the speaker – cheer for them”… Getting max gear towards the finish line and DONE! Pressing my watch on 1:30:02 and the speaker saying (after I passed the finish line) that now the magic 1:30 has been passed. YES! I did it under 1:30…

After the finish line is crossed, getting water from the kind people all around. Feeling fine. Is it already finished? Meeting Oliver (finished in 1:17…and yes, he found the route a bit tough too :), walking around. Meeting Per M again (did it in 1:27:xx…I knew I should have followed him closer…). Off with my right shoe to take off the chip. Walking slowly towards the exit. Got thanked by a guy who tall me I had a nice running step and that was easy to follow. Great! Could have passed me and helped I thought and said 🙂 He did finished right before me. Dropping the chip and getting out of the stadium. 2 mugs of water, 1 of energy drink, one banana and then meeting Jimmy J again. He did it easy and nice in 1:22:xx… and Robban A right above 1:23. Have lots of people to pull me next year! Meeting Gabriel L E from Jogg (nice to have a real person behind a name and posts… 😉 ). Walking a bit with Jimmy and saying goodbye. Heading towards company-tent for massage. Meeting Lars again (unfortunately DNF, but understand it was the better decision for today). Then water (2 mugs) and blueberry-soup (2 mugs) and an apple. When I am done with the massage, my cheering squad has arrived. Quick pic “after race”. Changed of gear, waited a little to see some colleagues starting and then having changed shoes, heading back home with really easy jog.

Smile after-race :)

Smile after-race 🙂

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Weather: 16ºC, Feels like 16ºC, 11 km/h W wind, Humidity 63% – Pretty sure it was warmer than 16ºC. Not the same warmth as in Spain last week and humidity was definitely not feeling that high). Warm? Definitely. Not like last year though.

Food: Green mix+red&apple juice+banana+tea+nutella toast @9-ish/
water/gatorade: 2dl every 30min (alternate)
During: 0.5/6dl powerade km11&18+
Right after: banana, kex chocolate, 1 full glass of ISOstar, 2 full glasses of water . In the tent: 2 mugs of water + 2mugs of blueberry soup + apple. Chausson aux pommes during easy jogg home. Later dinner: meat+French fries and large coke (+ice cream during evening walk)
Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), SOC sport-bra on elastic, MIK white singlet (lifted under the sport-bra) – sFast running ADIDAS Adizero Adios boost purple. Fast shoes, no doubt. A little sensitive Achilles at start but nothing afterwards. Good to feel light during the uphills!

17/ A good 17 on the effort level. Mostly the mind trying to keep up with the body however. Final kms were not that high of a 17 though a strong 14 would be definitely it. Good race, tough but not to the extreme (especially compared to last year’s race). Would definitely run Rotterdam marathon twice than doubling Göteborgsvarvet-race… 🙂

NOTE: After-thought => Route ain’t easy. Weather conditions quite ok. A bit warm but not too much. Drinking: rubbish. Noted a loss of 2.5kg before/after race (and this includes the drinking during the race and right after before reaching home…). Have to check this drinking, because I thought I did fine during the race.
Official results: passing the finish line at place 40 (women), final rank 49th (as there were gals running a bit faster than me in other groups and having a net time faster) AND an improvement of 7min+ compared to last year. PB was not the plan at all, (it can’t be all the time!). Great from a training perspective. A bit of rest now!

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After the race, got an easy jog home, which went pretty easy as I had serious cramp in the tummy. Shower, rest with legs up during 30minutes and then walk to near-by restaurant to enjoy a nice dinner. Sensitive Achilles heels felt better by the time to get to bed, which felt quite nice.

Great day: Best of it being having a cheering squad moving around, unexpected cheering along the route, chat (!) with running buddies during the race and of course the before/after meeting with running buddies. Sun shining? For sure! Good training for starting the tapering before Stockholm marathon in two weeks!

 

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: training-race sounds quite tricky and they are. Not pushing too much, giving the possibility to test things, to have a pace faster than a fast-training pace… and still be in a run with thousands of other runners 🙂

NOTE: Quads? felt fine during the race. A bit sensitive during the cool down jog.

NOTE: Achilles heels? Fine during the race but sensitive before the race after later after resting at home. Quite ok in the evening

NOTE: Warmup? Rubbish to non-existent. Still a problem and today I actually had the possibility to warm-up as starting in the first corral. Unsure what to do though. Have to continue working on it.

NOTE: Extra energy during the race? Tested to have just a little energy-drink at km11 and 18.5. First one went all down, and I think it did good. The second one went half out / half in. Not sure it was necessary. Probably water would have been just good enough.

NOTE: sun-cream during sunny races is a must. Felt I missed some parts in the back of both arms and was pretty warm there. Fortunately no sunburn.

NOTE: Had thought being done with this particular race. Although not being under 1:30, does make it boring 🙂 So surely planning for participating to next year race, 5 minutes faster…Should be feasible 🙂

 


Race Report – Copenhagen Half-marathon (World Championships) 2014/03/29

Planned: go for under 1:27 and closest to 1:26, the better 🙂

Actual: 1:24:58 – new PB by 2min41 sec since Semi de Paris two weeks ago (March 2nd, 2014), on a fast and flat route…and while experiencing a World Championship as participant! 🙂

Place: 126 – all women 🙂 / 9 – category “women 35-39” / 1215 all runners 🙂
SO.EXTREMELY.HAPPY of this result in the Danish capital. Definitely far under what I was expected and thought even possible, beating my 2014 half-marathon objective by far at the same time… Fun and sun all the way, lots of effort but surely no pain, this is so far the greatest ever run half-marathon I have done! Perfect weather conditions, great final two weeks preparations, body and mind in sync and ready for a nice “one-of-a-lifetime” race… Truly got more than expected! Even could see the elite women receiving their price right after I crossed the finish line…the same line they crossed for the World Championships!!!
Still great feeling afterwards, not fully tired and ready to enjoy both sun and a good meal!
Ambiance of London or Berlin marathon… running a bit away of the elites, but meeting them at start and when our paths met during the race… Perfect outside-of-the-country outing for a Saturday 😉

Splits

Splits

Splits

* adjusted lap on Garmin
(from Garmin: km-marks not exactly at the Garmin beeps, but should do):

First half: 42:14
Second half: 42:45
Average pace: 14.96km/h – 4.01min/km

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BEFORE THE RACE

3:xx am – Woke up during the night, not too well and really sweaty… Not sure it would be fine a few hours later for running 😦

7:25am – Awaken without alarm, but kind workers outside building/repairing I-don’t-know-what (but seriously… a Saturday morning???). Sunshine already 🙂

8:00am – Breakfast with apple juice,red juice and green mix and banana and little bread. Had eaten enough the day before and did not feel needing more in the tummy.
Drink almost every half hour, but took the safe side (i.e. Not too much to avoid pit stops during the race…). Laying in the bed reading about everything and nothing after breakfast. Not always I can have a lazy morning 😛
(And surely, most of the reading was about running…like when to take optimally an energy gel during a half marathon…could be handy today, I thought…or what splits to have for diverse finish times…).

10:30am – Last drink and banana before shower and getting ready. This is a World Championship… If I can’t run fast, at least I will look pretty!

Not much time left before start...

Not much time left before start…

11:25am – Now turning around a bit in my room, sending final thoughts so they are not bothering my head during the race and jumping into my shorts, singlet and fast running shoes. The weather forecast is pretty nice: 12°c at start, 13°C for the two following hours. Unsure the arm sleeves will follow (even though it would look real cool!).

11:47am – Leaving the apartment (without arm sleeves), having painted Swedish and French flags on the front of the thighs, both calves and on my arms as well. So at least some of those country cheerers will cheer for me (maybe). Have written my splits on my hand. Sun glasses on. A bit late, took a street I did not recognised, felt really lost and a bit stressed. Followed the few “yellow bags” on the street, hoping they took the correct direction….

My dream splits...

My dream splits…

Yippie! Sun is shining!

Yippie! Sun is shining!

11:58am – arriving a few 100m from the starting line and hear the opening ceremony. Real cool feeling! A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP…. and I won’t be a spectator… Stop to photo the elites warming up… Really cool again to be sooo close. They ARE running the world championship..

Before race - with the start in the back

Before race – with the start in the back

French elite men team

French elite men team

Elite men warming-up

Elite men warming-up

Find my way to the starting corrals and then took the looooong way to the baggage trucks (way too far, if I may give my views). Because had to go aaaaaaall the way back after (i.e. From the last start group to the first one… remember? 30,000 runners? Yaaa, you get the picture!). Similar feeling as in Paris, going against a human wave and then sloooowly back. Quick and last visit to the loo before the race. A bit early but do not want to wait the last minute… and there was almost no queue neither where I stopped. Great (!) to queue for the loo with all the male runners having the standing pee-stuff close-by. Cannot think of any other events where you would consider this as… yes, normal…!

Wow, so many people on this side as well!

Wow, so many people on this side as well!

Far away...close to the baggage trucks

Far away…close to the baggage trucks

not far from the baggage trucks

not far from the baggage trucks

12:20am – Not a chance to warm-up as I wanted so took a front place to see the elite women starting. And this, my friends, is just beautiful to see. One moment they are here and PANG! They are just gone!!!! (Will meet them again while reaching km2… They are by then at km11….)

12:32am – Going back to the start group “under 1:30”. Had seen the pace setters for 1:25 with their green balloons and thought either I place myself back and close to them so they hold the pace for me ooooor I set myself further front and run like h*ll hoping they won’t pass me during the race… Took the second option (without the “like h*ll”-part).

12:42am– So now I am in my start group, surrounded by giants (ok, I am not that tall, but not real small neither… But still those guys were just like…like their heads could touch the clouds! And from where I stood, looking up, their heads DID touch the clouds…). Red everywhere, either Denmark or Norway…or other countries I could not remember… Felt a bit odd in white at first. But so many around were also in white (because white might be the new red, or?…). New check to my shoes, deciding not to tie them differently, even though felt liiitle tight on the right shoe and liiitle loose on the left shoe… Or was it all in my head?….

12:4xam – Elite men going to the start. Wow! Impressive! Cannot see much but enough to spot a Swede among them. Heja Sverige! Countdown starts way too soon… No warmup apart from running on place and jumping 5 times… I know, have to work on this warm up-part for such races…

12:53am – Smiling right, smiling left, feeling the wave moving slowly forward aaaaaand…

THE RACE

12:55am – START IS GIVEN!… But liiitle happens really. Still slowly reaching the start line and pressing “Start” on my watch. Estimating it took 30-40seconds to reach this line, just have to keep this time difference 😉

The first km was slow… well, appeared to be slow. Because by the first left turn, my watch indicate 3:2x for pace!!!! Not much pushing as such, but so not much place to run. Had spotted a few women around me before start and planned to keep up with one of them, when we start to have a stable pace. To reach km1, I choose to take the blue line path, completely on the left. Quite good because most if the people are in the middle. Passing the first km in 4:05. As planned. BUT knowing there is always a distance difference “real vs Garmin”, so I had in my head to aim for having 2sec faster than planned on the Garmin. This should compensate for the distance difference, I think. Having run this part yesterday, I turn the gear up and reach km2 @3:50… Ok, maybe I had a gear too fast here. Distance difference with Garmin being approx.20m. Seeing the elite women passing by on the other side of the route… and yes, you slow down to watch! The following stretch to km4 goes well. Taking a glass water, more to clear the mouth because 1) the glass is half full and 2) it does not work drinking at this pace! Passing a couple of gals, feeling the pace might be too fast to hold for the whole race, but guys! This FELT good to run at this pace, so if this would mean having a dreadful second half, I was actually ready to pay the price if having this feeling at the start!

Km5 is reached faster than expected, won’t complain though. Almost in sync with the Garmin. But turning towards km6 seems really long and some head wind starts to play around. Or side wind. Unsure. Reaching km6 and noting there is a greater distance difference, so “lapping” it on my watch and checking the avg pace. 3:58 (!!!). But while passing km5 the total time corresponded to 4:02-pace. So my plan is to keep 3:58 as avg-pace throughout the race, which will mean ending at 4:02 official pace… Yes, sounds complicated and really that I should be focusing on the running instead… But this is the running! Trying during this length towards km7 to take the back of tall guys as wind-shield (I knew those tall guys from the start would be handy to have somewhere in the race…). Unsure it did much, but from time to time I could feel their pace dragging me forward. Then km7-8 felt really warm & hot, not much shadow. Seeing the other runners on the other side of the street and realising I have done more than 1/3 of the race. Youhou! Still pounding the pavement at avg-pace 3:58 on the watch. All good!
Had an eye on a Swedish gal from IF Linnea ahead of me since a short while. Just have to keep up with her pace I thought. But got closer and closer, quick “looking good” and a smile back (thanks!) and off I went. Took my gel a little before the water station at km9.1 and two half-full mugs of water. Once again, questionable choice to have plastic mugs instead of water bottles. When I pass this station, and not that many have passed it before me, it is already full with mugs on the street and slippery already… Still 28.900+ runners to pass by this water station… You get the picture!

New turn to reach km10… Seeing the clock indicating 40:xx – no chance for PB on this distance (for today), but decent time indeed. Soon reaching half the race and still having my Garmin on 3:58. Got a bit worried for short second, maybe my watch was ACTUALLY stuck on a dummy avg-pace and my stupid mind was stuck on it… Got to turn towards km11 and THIS.FELT.GOOD! Estimated having passed the first 10K in 40:20?30? and this meant still keeping a good pace.

Halfway done, halfway to go! The long stretch to km11 was nice; I knew what was after km11! A bit disappointed not having cheering Swedes at this spot as expected. But lifting/waving up the arms is turning the crowd into cheerleaders! Noted as well to my surprise that this stretch was actually upwards… by seeing the other runners from km2 running downwards… Did not noticed the downhill when I was there…
Turn right after Oslo plads and time to shine! Quick calculation: could I get the final 10K in 41 minutes, that would give me under 1:26… Ok. My calculations at this point of any race can be questionable,… but entertaining! Real hot part here. No shadow, passing the museum of art and turning left (yesterday I skipped this part and continued straight forward). Feeling nice flow for the body but the legs despite being string do show little signs of… fatigue? boredom? too warm?… Well, do not stop to ask their view and get along with the race. Had passed another guy from IF Linnea. Feeling good to start now with the giants runners being less. At least I can see the road 😉 To km13 and end of the street, take protection behind guys again. Decide to do a “complete body check” when reaching km14.
Forget doing it as I recognise the street from yesterday… until we turn right again so check point is set at km15. This time checkpoint felt good..no, great! My time splits on my hand indicate I am just a few seconds above the time for a 1:25 finish. Decide to take Dextrosol at km16-mark.
Passing the elite water-station and shout at the Swede standing under the Swedish flag to cheer (& he did – THANKS A LOT). Extra boost if energy. Taking 2 Dextrosol when my Garmin beep for km16, but no sign of this km16… Even looking back to check if I missed it… Nothing ahead neither. D*mn, I hoped I really have a well-functioning watch so I am not reaching the next sign seeing km15-16 was actually 1.9km instead of 1….
And here came Fredriksberg allé…km18… Had read yesterday evening there would be flags and really the atmosphere of a World Championship and man! This WAS true. Imagine a long street with Danish flags on both sides, public cheering and seriously… YOU ARE part of this eminent event! Could not help waving and calling for more cheering. My countdown had started km17… Only 4km to go!!! (Ok, my countdown always starts at the starting line… But emphasis was today at km11 (only 10 to go), km13 (only …21-11-2.. Ya, need help in calculation when the sun is on the head and the sugar rush effect from gel-km9 has disappeared…8km to go), km17 was the latest one. But now! THREE little km to go. N.O.T.H.I.N.G!!!! New boost in the legs and feeling so good I even start cheering for the guys I am passing. Passing a short “street-stones” bit (thanks for this info “Tricky”. Even if it was short this “stone-part”, was good to know!). Passed by a short fast lady there. She looks tough so decide to skip this chase. Enough men can be passed until the finish line 😉 Waiting for seeing the Hard Rock café from yesterday as it indicate almost km20…but nowhere to be found…until I am just passing it. From this moment it is just all in. Passing km20 mark with a large smile and this last km I know it. The three giants of Running NGO (?) are no gentleman and pass me on the right and the left and stand as four really tight. Not a chance to pass them. Don’t care. Almost last turn right. This one IS tough. Mentally. The legs can but the head is a bit reluctant to continue. HELLO THERE!?!?! Somebody home???  The non-existent bridge does feel under my tired feet. Quick check on the clock. 500m left. Enough strength for a sprint could be found in Dubai after double the distance, and in Paris after a hilly km – so this one will be done as well. Km21 stands right at the turn to the right again and there.is.the.finish.line. 1:24:58..59…1:25:…doesn’t matter. Might not make it under 1:25 but sub1:26 is out-of-reach… Pushing close to max and hop! Finished!

Passing the finish line and stopping my watch. Unsure if having a smile in the finish photos, but my watch indicate… What? 1:24:59!!!! Quickly hoping there won’t be a similar time problem as Paris last year. But who cares? My watch shows under 1:25!

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Checking again my watch…still this 1:24:59 staring at me! Shouting a bit (and heard some echoes from other runners 🙂 We understand each other! Walking a bit and stopping in front of the medal ceremony of the 2014 World Half-marathon Championships!!! The three ladies there are just glowing and look so beautiful, it brings me tears up to the eyes 🙂 Meeting with Lona from IF Linnea and chat a bit, smiling. Meeting two other of her fellow-club mates, including Mikael K with the largest smile ever on his face 🙂 Real fun to meet runners you have met in other races…
Then starts the long long long walk to get back to the baggage trucks. Receiving (finally!) my wonderful medal. A bit after take 2 bottles of water. Drink drink drink. Legs, feet, mind: quick body check saying that all is functioning perfectly. Receiving a couple of energy bars (I really find those disgusting, but after a race, I just eat them and swallow with water. Today was mixed with a delicious apple!). Was missing bananas and energy drink actually. Picking up my bag, getting a few after-race pics and then…. no it was not finished yet… long walk to get to the finisher t-shirt trucks. No sign whatsoever indicating where it was. Looked like a no-man’s-land, when earlier this morning over 30,000 people had conquered those streets… Getting my t-shirt (XS-size are already all gone!!! so have to be satisfied with a S).

After race photo - still smiling :)

After race photo – still smiling 🙂

One of the nicest medals I have won

One of the nicest medals I have won

Summary? Fast and furious! This was the greatest run so far for this distance. Body fine, mentally strong, weather ideal and great ambiance! Unsure if this was an “all-in” from start to end, but definitely focusing on the race and keeping the mind focus IS an art! The inside forces saying from time to time to take a rest fight against stronger ones keeping the legs moving, which is fantastic! Could not even dream of such a race experience for today!

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Weather: 12ºC, Feels like 12ºC, 5 km/h ESE wind, Humidity 54% – definitely perfect conditions for running. Slightly chilly during the wait in the corral (as it was in the shadow), although having all those tall guys around is cutting from any possible wind and do not underestimate the human warmth when all are so close to each other! Sun shining during all the race, felt a bit hot (!) in some part and there was wind as well in some parts. But seriously, I would take those weather conditions ANYTIME for ANY RACE or ANY TRAINING!

Food: 8:00am green mix + red juice and apple juice + banana / 10:30am red juice 2.5dl + apple juice 1dl + banana // right after the race: 1 “before race” energy bar, 1 apple, 1 water bottle // 40min later: 2dl apple juice // 2.5later after: late lunch (entrecote, potatoes, veggies, coke, champagne, banana-split xtra chocolate sauce on the top)
During: km9.1 Vitargo lemon + water // km16 (?) 2 dextrosol // water at almost every water-station (zipping more than drinking)

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova blue line, MIK white singlet – shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple: 1st race and what a race! Those are fast shoes and really glad I have them onboard!

16/ effort level was not really constant to 17, first 2-3km were at a nice 14/15, enjoying the run 🙂 around km4 felt a bit overwhelmed and thought the pace was too fast for 1) being real and 2) being maintained throughout the course. So mostly mentally difficult 🙂 Thereafter a good 16/17, effort level constant like the pace 🙂 and this 16 felt easier effort-wise, than the 16 of SdP 🙂

 

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AFTER THE RACE

Walking easy towards home. Chatting with another room-mate who is impressed I can still talk and walk and smile after a run… Shower, a bit more drinking of apple juice, finishing my packing and saying goodbye. Walking towards the restaurant found by Tricky, I see runners still aiming towards the finish line. Incorrect GPS helped only to make me get lost and then finally found the restaurant. Largest smile ever waiting for me as well as two glasses of champagne! First time ever I am celebrating this way a race…and what a race! Having so much talking to do, both of us, I am still amazed we got food eaten! Entrecôte with potatoes and vegetables and a coke (I know, some may have chosen wine, but seriously, I am fine with coke after a race! Even though Tricky tries to convinced me that wine as champagne are good carbs to re load!). Dessert is pretty obvious on the menu: banana split with extra chocolate, let’s be crazy! It really feels that this should be the meal after a marathon… not counting calories here, just saying! BUT this is a race to celebrate! We had both worked hard to get there, had planned to celebrate whatever the outcome of the race and we were both happy to complete how we did (Tricky ended in 1:31, after a week with knee-injury, forgetting his favo-water bottle but had a good warm-up before! Congrats again to you!).
After that, final hug when the train arrives and I am aiming back home…in a fully loaded train…No place to stretch the legs during the first 2 hours, then changed place and had my feet (in socks) on the opposite seat during 10minutes until someone came and sat in front of me for a short while… Tram homes, emptying the bags, quick shower aaaaaand… not bed. Was not tired AT ALL! A bit hungry so had cereals in front of the tv and then, when the clock indicated past midnight, I decided it was time to hit the pillow…
WHAT.A.DAY!!!

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: same as in Paris: do not underestimate the time for bag drop off. It killed again my planning before race, cutting on the warm-up (OK, making the warm-up non existent…)

NOTE: same as in Paris: plan better the warm-up for this type of race. Not too late in the corral, but due to the long walk back and forth to the baggage drop, no time at all nor place for warming up. Have to check how others are doing!

NOTE: gel in the hand? Worked perfectly. A bit sweaty at the start of the race, but due to the sun-cream…

NOTE: sun-cream blue factor 10? not to be taken. Feeling fine until started to run. After 300m, felt like scratching the skin on the legs…

NOTE: Had read about energy intake for half-marathon. I think I could have waited a couple of km before the gel, but then would not have had any water. So good to have dextrosol to get a kick (?) at the end (maybe)

NOTE: shoe question is solved!

The watch never lies...

The watch never lies…

Champagne and coke :)

Champagne and coke 🙂

Yummy for the tummy...

Yummy for the tummy…

Of course this is too much!!! so what?...

Of course this is too much!!! so what?…


Copenhagen HM-Day: 1:24:58…during the World Championships…

1:24:58…
OMG!
This is not only a new PB, but under the objective set for this year and done with the whole World Championships experience!!!

How cool is this?! Nice and sunny, a bit windy some times, definitely fast and with correct effort in it… and on the right side of the 1:24:xx!

More to come when I have gone down from my little sunny cloud and travelled back home…


Copenhagen HM-Day-1

Now it starts to feel real…for real…

Late in bed, early up…not to well for the sleep dose for this week… Got ready, skipped the rehab, took my healthy green mix smoothie with banana, pear and apple juice. Decided to add a little bun with Nutella and drink chocolate oat milk as well…Felt good at the moment, but regretted it shortly after as felt pretty heavy… A bit late for taking the tram to the train station…or was it the tram being late… Got my seat and waited for my travel-mate “Tricky” who hopefully will be a able to run tomorrow.

Long train travel with lots of running chat and then Copenhagen, finally. A bit of orientation and found how to get to my apartment.

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Finally getting there and yes it was a great choice! Large room under the roof, jacuzzi in the bathroom and large kitchen area. The hostess was real kind.
Aimed directly to the restaurant (had eaten a banana in the train around 10 and then a twix at the train station), both of us were starving. Lasagnes on the menu as there was not many choices and I wanted to keep the safe side…

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Nice food stop completed, it was already 1:30pm when we took the way to pick up our bib. Look what was seen on the street ….

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Just have to follow the blue lines 😉 Arrived at the expo, got our bib, a yellow bag with a World championship neck warmer and then through the expo without stopping really. Needing nothing…

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And then after those 4.5km to the expo, time to rest the legs….after getting back to the apartment !!! Pretty tired, spent a bit of time resting my legs up on the bed. We had decided with Tricky to get our runs done separately and then meet up for dinner. Change to running outfit and got to the start area. Met some French elite men also taking photos 🙂

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Took the first 2km of the race, with a nice pause under the sun for a little chat.

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Then took the 11km forward and run a bit around following the blue stripes on the road. Short stop at Hard Rock Café (have to remember NOT to drink too much tomorrow before the race…).

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Sign on the ladies restrooms…

And then back to the arrival. Nice in the legs, lots of photo stops. Good weather although little chilly. Just time enough to get ready for dinner. Another Italian restaurant, similar limited menu, so same choice as for lunch: lasagne, with salad and apple juice.

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Sooooo, back home, change for bedtime and checked my outfit for tomorrow. Tricky said I should have my club outfit if I run with my club name… Ok then!

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Light massage of the legs before sleeping, double checking the times for the race tomorrow. Yes, it really starts to feel real. Plans for tomorrow are simple: get to the start, enjoy the view of elites ahead of me and run as fast as I can 🙂 The fun will be included by default! Especially with the current weather forecast: 12°C at start!!! And sunny!!! And no wind!!!! Perfect conditions 😉

Copenhagen World Championship…. Less than 15 hours to go!!!!
Exciting, right?!?!


Race Report – Semi de Paris Half-marathon 2014/03/02

Planned: easy and if all good under 1:30 (no pressure, taken as long run)

Actual: 1:27:39new PB by 16 sec since Helsingør in November 2013, on a fast route but far from flat… and 2min 25sec faster than last year 🙂

Place: 26 – all women 🙂 / 21 – category “senior” / 1059th all runners 🙂

Quite satisfied to a long run in the French capital. Definitely “under control”-run from start, no “fast-fast-fast” at first and “let’s see what is left” afterwards. “Fun long run” where could test a bit running progressively (not working too well…), running “under control” (ok, I guess), energy intake (good to have a plan B!) and “all in” final sprint on last km (J’adore!). On the top of that, having a little improvement in my half marathon time is the chocolate topping on the chocolate cake.

Still nice feeling afterwards and not fully tired.
Strongly recommending this early season race! Looks like French have taken their Sunday run to a whole new level 😉

Splits

Garmin

km

official

sum

per 5K

5

20:43.00

20:35.00

20:35.00

10

41:17:00

40:59.40

20:24.40

15

01:02:13

01:02:15*

21:16.20*

20

01:23:23

01:23:29*

21:13.60*

21.1

01:27:39

01:27:41

04:10.30

* adjusted lap on Garmin

(from Garmin: km-marks not exactly at the Garmin beeps, but should do):

First half: 43:0

Second half: 44:33

Average pace: 14.67km/h – 4.09min/km

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

BEFORE THE RACE

03:xx – Already awaken. Took a while for sleeping (the afternoon nap was nice, but definitely not optimal for sleeping at night…), noticed had the window open and the air was really nice outside. Until the clock rang, no real sleep however.

06:00am – breakfast time! Orange juice and pain au chocolat. And water 🙂 then back to bed. Water drinking as usual, listened to chillout music trying to fall asleep again.

07:30am – what a luxury really to live to close to the start! Shower and got ready. Double checked the weather but by the air from the window it felt the outfit was pretty straightforward: singlet, shorts, arm-warmers and maybe sun glasses. Yaaaa, I know… the arm warmers are brand new from yesterday and one should NOT use new gear for a race… Chancing here. Back to bed for a little longer (all dressed for the race minus the shoes 🙂 ).

All gear ready

All gear ready

08:45am – started to get out of bed and double check the backpack. Last visit to the loo and left a short moment after. A little chilly outside but ok (had my cosy pants on the top of my shorts and my wind jacket as well as bonnet and sunglasses). Meeting 3 French guys just out of their car and changing to running gear. “Out for a run?” I ask. “No, going to the swimming pool” was their answer as well as a huge laugh, smile and good luck for the race. French humour IS underrated… Tried to jog to the start, a few pic taken and already there! Nice view as usual. More pic and dropping of my bag. Took forever, got me stressed and finally had 25 (!) minutes before the start to 1) get a final pit stop, 2) warm up and 3) get to the start corral… Had to walk against the flow of a huge human wave going to the other corrals (apparently all in my corral are already there…). Pitstop done, aimed to the corral “préférentiel”. No time for warming up. Getting myself as close to the first line as possible, but despite French men being real gentlemen in regular cases, a start of a race is an exception!… Would not challenge this. Throwing my plastic SdP plastic protection. Warm enough already. Got to talk with Laurent and his friend; they plan 1:17 & 1:21. Wow, am I in the right corral then?

Splits ready on the hand (easy to all in...)

Splits ready on the hand (easy to all in…)

Not much time left (I know I should do something else than checking the time...)

Not much time left (I know I should do something else than checking the time…)

Frost on the cars... good sign?

Frost on the cars… good sign?

Chilly morning on the little pond close to the start (ducks don't mind!)

Chilly morning on the little pond close to the start (ducks don’t mind!)

"Before"-smile

“Before”-smile

Runners on the castle side...

Runners on the castle side…

...and on the corrals-side

…and on the corrals-side

09:56am – Regular jokes before start, the speaker tried to get some response but this corral is pretty quiet (read: focused and quiet). Not many women around so will have to find afterwards who I can follow!

THE RACE

10:00am – BANG! Start is given. Usual pushing, also it is working liiiittle better with the three guys around me keeping others from pushing little-me. Very thoughtful. Passing the start mat quite fast and the 3 guys running forward waving for good luck. Usual craziness with guys running everywhere, jumping, swearing… And little-me working this pretty calm with “September 2011” beating in my ears. First km was planned slow but aimed not to walk as last year : 4:09 🙂 Good! 14 sec faster than last year and 20km to go. Took a few more km to settle in a nice pace. My right shoe feels a bit loose. Checking down a few times, but they are well tied up. Wondering a few times if should stop to check it, but decided not to. Bothering me the first 2-3km before I forgot it. Passing km2 with a gal in my side and it felt she is really light like air, with her long ponytail waving as she runs. Long road along the forest and the horse racetracks(?). Reaching km3 quite satisfied. Km-signs are 50m ahead from my watch, so still “kind of accurate” pace. Changing music to “June 2.0” as it feels the other one might make sleep… THEN in the downhill, enjoying the sun,… my gel fell from my “not-that-super-smart-idea-to-have-it-under-my-wrist-sweatband”. &@!!?#%*^$€?! was probably what I thought, but just got a little quiet “d*mn it” out of my lips still smiling. Here goes my energy plan away… Plan B then: I did have a plan A to take my gel at km7/8 (before the hill) and then grab a Powerade bottle at km10 for the rest of the course. Had as well Dextrosol, JIC… Plan B was to skip the gel and try to do water at 1st station, Powerade @2nd station and if needed, water @km15+ and Dextrosol if need be. No secret here 🙂 just testing. Long runs under 27 /30km are usually fine without extra energy…so why not trying here?
OK, back to the race. Downhill felt nice, but definitely controlled. As P rightly said: why not trying to accelerate progressively during the race (& get actually tired at the end…). Let’s try it then. Watch showing a steady 4:06 but with the difference with the km-signs it must be 4:07/8, more likely. Still fine. All under 4:10 is fully acceptable 😉
Km5 – Already? Grabbing a bottle of water out of nowhere, not really understanding how it got in my hand (sure, I know it must have been someone that handed it to me!!!). Have been following a gal in white tshirt and long tights since she passed me km2.4/3. She has a good footstep and pace. So keeping her in my radar 🙂
On the way to km10, my only plan is to focus on the hilly km8. Passing two women there, not seeing them afterwards 🙂 This hilly part might be the only one really “tough”, but knowing it is there does help! Legs are strong, I kind of even enjoy it… Then the downhill afterwards felt once again way too controlled. Lifting my singlet in my sport-bra because it feels really warm…and here comes the wind… Too late. Won’t spend time lifting up and pulling down my singlet. Rather have a cold stomach for a short while. Quick look at the Garmin still indicating 4:06. Km10 is served Powerade…in cup!!! WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!? Do they know how sticky it is to have that on the hands, face, clothes…for the rest of the race???? Grabbed anyway two half full cups -or half-empty depending on your view about life 😉 (2cups? feeling lucky…or bold…or simply stupid… No need to comment here! 🙂 ). First cup went down almost without spilling anything (surpriiiiiise!!!). Now, second one. Not trying too much, focusing in the holding and hop in the mouth (almost). Powerade-challenge of the day: checked and completed successfully ! Would still have preferred a full bottle instead of cups. Good thinking though was the water station (with bottles) soon after. Half the bottle for cleaning the hands, face and the rest in the left thigh feeling a bit warm…. But where is the third half for drinking a bit? Too late. Throwing the bottle into the huge garbage container and missing it… No career planned in “water bottle basketball”, I continue my run.

Halfway (already?) – Along the Seine it was quite windy, not very much but enough to annoy. Trying to take the back of someone but no one in close sight. Apart from the white tshirt/long tights woman. But she is as tall as me (or little smaller)…so no optimal wind shield.. Doing my best to slow down when a guy arrives beside me in order to have him right before me… Not too successful. Enjoying the view of Notre Dame (…and the firemen cheering kindly with smiles and loud “Allez les filles”… More smiles to distribute here… Told you this would be a nice long run!).
Second half seems to start here, when we are turning after km13. A bit slower, the watch showing alternatively 4:06/07. Still ok. After that it feels a bit dull running with almost nobody or only few cheering on the side of the road (& mostly for the runners they know… Next time I might run with a sign “I am not from here. So cheer for me”…). Reaching km15 feels taking an eternity. Difference between Garmin km and km-signs are now approx. +/-100m. Decided to press extra lap when passing under the km15 to have a better expectation for when the km is finishing.
New bottle of water taken around 15.5km. A few gulps and YES! Bottle in the can 🙂 Am not completely useless today! If the run ain’t going fine, should start this “water bottle basketball” some day… (& I did shout of happiness as well…).
Km16 felt ok but not more. The women in white tshirt is still there and this helps very much. Tried twice to cheer her up but wondered if she understand French (or just ignore my cheering). Whatever. She does pull me and I am very thankful for it. I knew it would be tough to reach km17 on the top of the slope… But WHERE was this stupid slope?!? Took indeed 4:20 to get there 😦 This was my limit (no km slower than 4:20, better if all under 4:15…). Km18 got my smile back : 4:00!!! And exactly on the SdP km signs!!! Good to have run this one yesterday 😉
Then long and slow uphill towards km19. I don’t care. I know this one as well. Getting a clap on the back from a fireman running, a great smile and encouragements. The mind is alternatively shouting to stop and to bring it on. Sooo easy it would be to stop for a short rest and give it all afterwards…but NO! Focus it is (yes, I can focus, E! 😉 )and then the end is close (no, I am not dying…yet). Done this km before and will get to the finish line stronger (than now…). Km19 is a bit long so lap my watch again. The turn towards km20 ain’t easy. Runners start slowing down… But not me. I think then that I might be unable to walk after the finish line or needing to be carried to the medic tent, but I WILL NOT SLOW DOWN!
Km20 sees me passing fellow runners, who look as surprised as I do!!!! Yeeeaaaaah, soooon to the finish line. Got disappointed last year and lost, not knowing when the finish street would be… I was prepared today! Passing km20 and clocking it in 4:14.. Yooohoo! More to give! Happens then something crazy…as in Dubai there is this rush of whatever it may be (note: would gladly have this throughout the race next time!). The legs get a life on their own, they just remember (I think?) running here yesterday at 10k-pace and feeling good. But here… Stupidly checking my watch after 400m and seeing 3:3x… Cannot be! This is the LAST km, there cannot be enough strength left to do this… Seeing the finish line? Not yet, hearing my name from people screaming around, more “Allez les filles” (noooo, don’t make a chick passing me now…) and finally the finish line, sorry for the photographs, might have kicked one while passing by (why sitting in the middle of a finish line?!?!?). Seeing (a bit disappointed…) the clock passing 1:27.. Not a chance I let it pass 1:28… And finish on a red carpet and stopping the watch on 1:27:41. Ok, that will do for today. Tired? Sure, but because of this final km. Seeing other runners in way worse conditions, I am questioning once again the disposition of this race…

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Meeting Delphine (the woman in white tshirt and black long tights). Congratulating each other. When thanking her for the pulling help throughout the race, she said no problem and hoped I would return the favour after km16 but that it was too tough to follow in the slope (at least some of my training paid off 😉 ).

Medal (making a young lad very happy to give his first medal to a woman 🙂 ), banana, water, Powerade. A bit bored people distributing the food… Too bad! Would have gotten a smile from me… Picked up my bag (still a mess to get it back… Hope they will do better next year…). And finish photo in front of the castle before queuing for a massage… In the massage tent, the largest smile is welcoming me from the guy checking for which masseurs are available and shouting “Première féminine!!!” (“First woman”). Loads of applauds and smiles… Definitely worth the 2minutes wait in the queue! Now have the possibility to even choose my table, receiving on the way very nice proposal (“Si tu finis le Semi, je t’épouse” (“If you finish the Semi, I’ll marry you”) shows one sign… Hmmm, tempting, but no thanks 😉 )Got two great podiatrists (foot doctors) massaging me for a long while. No pain and it feels so different from after a marathon (!). Got as well harder massage on the knots on the side of left thigh and gentle massage under the feet 🙂 Thanks ladies! Changed to clean/dry clothes and out of the massage tent to the sunny but now a bit cold weather. Looking at the long queue for the massage now! Bonnet, neck warmer, wind jacket, long pants and sunglasses. On my way home through the sunny garden with lots of Parisian out. Would be great having this close to home!

"After"-smile

“After”-smile

Summary: “let’s try stuff”-long run. Not planning to go “all in” and did not either. Tried to keep focus though and have a pace progression. Not working too well. Would rather do all in at first, slower second half and all in in the last 2km… More practice is needed! Great weather for this 3rd edition of SdP for me. Real good training run.
Only got my official time when reaching home (thanks for the sms, E!): 1:27:39… EVEN BETTER!

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

Weather: Garmin says: 4℃, Feels like 4℃, 6 km/h SSE wind , Humidity 81% – I say: 6°C at start, sun shining feeling warm already. Probably good 8-9°C during the race (or am I getting so warm while running?!?). Windy on the sides of the Seine. So perfect racing weather!

Food: 6:00am pain au chocolat+banana+orange juice / after: Powerade, 2bananas, half an orange, water. 2.5hrs later: late lunch (meat, fries, greens, chocolate mousse, coke)
During: Dextrosol 1 before start/ 2@km6 & km16 (should have been before the water station…real dry in the mouth after.but good energy kick!) Powerade: 2 half-cups @km10. Water: 2dl km5&15.5

Gear: Adidas Supernova Boston shorts, NY singlet, Kalenji (new…) arm warmers – shoes felt…nothing as usual. Apart from first 2-3km where left shoe felt a little loose, light and flying for the rest. Really great shoes 🙂

16/ effort level definitely higher than Berlin marathon or Helsingør half marathon, but still “easy” (read: not max and unsure how far from max it was): could cope with no stop (even if tempting once), change in energy intake plan, uphill in fast pace, uphill in slow pace AND a faster-than-ever final km…without weeping 🙂 Surely, might not smile at the finish line, most likely because of the final sprint and for the time on the clock rather than for the overall effort… Happy to finish!

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

AFTER THE RACE

Well back home, bad surprise. No water in the apartment. Waited for the landlady, but took too long time so aimed for restaurant in clean clothes. Good it was not a marathon, the skin would have felt soooo salty. Quick “shower/cleanup” in the restroom before late lunch (steak-thing with French fries and haricot verts, coke and mousse au chocolat. Tummy? Satisfied!). My plan to go shopping dropped dead as the large store was closed and I did not want to go to the other side of Paris for that. Aimed to Gare de Lyon. Walked a little around reaching the road we ran in (pretty empty now!) and decided to go to the airport. Smooth trip there and then new stop for food (burger & fries – I know… And I don’t care…). Lots of wait to my first flight and long delay in my second flight…(in my bed @2am…). Long day, really…but so worth it!

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: do not underestimate the time for bag drop off. It killed my planning before race, cutting on the warmup.

NOTE: plan better the warmup for this type of race. In the corral latest 20minutes before start for an optimal place means warmup easy before this. Do not count on gentleman-manners when it comes to leave place forward to women in a race…even in France 😉

NOTE: really have to find a solution for those @&#%*$?! energy gels. Wrist sweatband? No longer an option… Next!

NOTE: energy intake? Needed or not needed during a half marathon? That’s the question. Under training, no. At this pace? Maybe.

NOTE: music vs no music? The races done with music are few. SdP all three times. Is it limiting the pace to have music?…

NOTE: blood giving is great. 2 weeks before a race? A bit unsure.. Will not make today’s race result on the blood giving table, but can have impacted in a way. Had two tapering weeks before the race with great times in boring workouts. Those are definitely linked to the blood giving. More thinking and planning next time…

NOTE: shoe question is becoming an emergency… Little hole above the toes on right shoe…the search continues…

Nice medal for a well-disposed (?) long run :)

Nice medal for a well-disposed (?) long run 🙂

On the clock!

On the clock!

Yummy for the tummy

Yummy for the tummy

...and of course dessert!

…and of course dessert!

Nice Gare de Lyon

Nice Gare de Lyon

Avenue Daumesnil (on the way to 10K?)...empty this time

Avenue Daumesnil (on the way to 10K?)…empty this time

For sure, I'll be back!

For sure, I’ll be back!

Final hill (!) for the day...in order to reach my gate

Final hill (!) for the day…in order to reach my gate


Paris 2014 HM-Day: 1:27:39…

1:27:39…
Ok, this is a new PB but the race itself felt way too controlled. When there is a stable pace throughout the race, enough time to noticed how nice is Notre Dame under the morning sun and slow down around…15km (?) but enough energy to complete the final km (on my watch) in 3:49… There was clearly strengths left!
More to come when all has settled down and travelled back home.

(Got 1st female place in the massage queue though… Second year in a row 😉 )


Paris 2014 HM-Day-1 (cont.’)

Tired is an understatement…when you can lay down on the bed, close your eyes and just open then again 1,5hour later… The strangest thing happened while waking up: I was in my room and could not recall the feeling when passing the Place de la Bastille…when it is in my view the best spot of the race. Then not recalling the start neither, as I really hope for no pushing this year…and then how was the feeling when crossing the finish line… ALL WAS GONE!!! I had overslept and apparently missed the race… (Good I do the siesta a day before the race… First thing after waking up was to set the alarm for tomorrow morning!!!!)
Well-rested anyway, took a tea and pain au chocolat before reading once more the race route. Put on my leg sleeves and headed for a little walk. Another chausson aux pommes went down and got more bananas. If not tired enough after the race, I plan to take a short recovery run to make it a full-worth long run. So extra energy after the race will be good. The leg sleeves felt fine but after a while a bit too tight in the right calf, so took it off.

The weather Gods are now WAY kinder for tomorrow and this feels for a singlet race outfit 😉 took the weather forecast for St Mandé and Paris… That should do the trick!

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Now last tea before falling asleep again… Yaaaa… Will probably try out the outfit once more 😉

SdP 2014… Not much time left… at all!!!!

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Paris 2014 HM-Day-2

Late in bed and early up… Ringing a bell? Had way too much stuff left to do yesterday evening, which ended with checking 12 times my bag, even though the only important in it are my shoes. Sure the gear are as well, but would rather race in new outfit than in new shoes!!! 4:34am – was already awaken and really resist to go up and take a run… Well-disciplined (?), waited until 6:10am to go up and do my rehab. And I know, one should not change anything before a race…. But I did 🙂 I did my rehab exercises starting by the end… He he he! A little craziness on a Friday morning…. Final check(s) for my bag (3 or 4 times? Lost count…), prepared breakfast to the still sleepy monsters and was ready to leave. Got to the door and the last question before kissing goodbye was “when should I wake up on Sunday to check you are finished?”… Answered by another voice (not mine) :”11:27am should do” 🙂 Cool to see some have confidence in me!

Missed my tram (should I write “of course”?). So had fun taking another tram line, bus, new tram (with a very welcoming and smiling driver – thanks for making my day!) and finally got to wait for the airport bus.20140228-080254.jpg
Much lighter package this year and way “nicer” weather for travelling (read: no cold & snow/freeze like last year…. Only rain). Hope Paris will offer a similar (or better?) one on Sunday… Airport procedures as usual, got a RW, toasted turkey sandwich and a bottle of water. First flight was short and my guess is that I slept… because I did not noticed at all we even left the gate after hearing the safety procedures and then it was time to land… A bit of wait in Copenhagen, forgot my sandwich at home, so 2eggs were my snack while waiting. Plane to Paris will take longer and once again, opportunity to sleep 😉

*******
Indeed once again, did not notice the plan lifting… Awaken briefly when they switched off the seatbelt sign and slept more. Pretty smooth arrival, long walk to the exit, but really easy to have only hand luggage. Took an Air France bus to Gare de Lyon. Ate a Mars (had no time enough to grab food before the bus leave). My main thought during the bus trip was that the weather is just RIGHT! 10-11°C, sunny behind the thick cloud cover… Make it stay!!!! (& of course this is not my only thought, but made me pretty happy). Got the bus to drop me at St Mande and then walked the 3+km to the Parc Floral. Great sunny weather, runners in shorts… Definitely how it should be…on Sunday!
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Pickup of bib number went smoothly, nice number 🙂 and then going around the exhibition a bit. Won a bottle of Powerade after doing 15 squats….
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Then left under light rain and walked walked walked to my room. Actually not too far from my hotel in 2012. Great to be settling down and getting out to eat a bit (have missed lunch…). Very kind hostess too.
Left for a walk & few purchases. Food for breakfast, bananas, pains au chocolat, honey, tea and stuff that cannot be found at home (like honey & avocado shampoo, argan shower oil…). Completed my walk at a Japanese restaurant. Soup and salad to start with. Then dumplings and mix of skewers with rice. Yummy! What the body needed.

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Back home, shower, check of running gear for Sunday (seriously thinking a similar outfit to Berlin marathon, even if raining…). Got my Garmin detecting satellites after a while. So ready for bed.

SdP… 2 days to go…


Recap 2013…

Short summary on how 2013 went…

Figures first: Races: 4 marathons, 3 half-marathons, 4 10K.

First race of the year: Dubai marathon. New PB by 10min 35sec and year objective reached by 3minutes… Great start for the running year and this despite a really bad January (with possible light strain of calf done early January during stretching… and impossibility to eat normally the days prior to the race… all for the carboloading, right?). Continuing with Semi de Paris. New PB by 6min 37 sec. Great race and feeling. A bit sour due to the time being incorrect… But no rest for the warrior: this makes it all even more challenging 🙂 Two weeks later, woke up on a Saturday morning and aimed for a 16km Spring run and got a PB on it (as first time running this distance!). Boston marathon came then. Nice race, not fully satisfied of the time (or most likely the last 4km), but after a few days of reflection, it did sink in that it was a great race as well. Shortly after followed the sunny-hot-sweaty Göteborgsvarvet, which stood as well for Swedish Championship this year. Terrible time, but considering 1) the way-too-fast-start-in-the-elite-group and 2) the weather-far-from-ideal-for-running, this race was quite ok. 18th in Swedish Championship 🙂 Two weeks later was time for Stockholm marathon. New PB by 1min 34 sec on a route harder than Dubai. Really good first half and really bad second half 🙂 All was in the smile at the finish line! New PB as well on all distances measured (5, 10, 15, 20, 21.1, 25, 30, 35 and marathon) and 20th in Swedish Championship 🙂 a nice race indeed! Åsaloppet was the first 10K of the year. Took a bit on the strength for the finishing km but got a new PB there as well. After this race, followed summer months. Heavy and hot training in France, unfortunately stopped by a misstep which made running impossible during two LONG weeks. Used the bike wisely as well as eccentric heel raises. Skipped two summer races I planned in order to ensure I would be able to run Berlin marathon. This race was with Dubai the cherries on the race-year-cake 🙂 Two weeks before Berlin, my achilles heel was still painful, which was not a good sign. So when Berlin marathon ended with a new PB by 6min 38sec, no need to say the satisfaction and happiness afterwards. The feeling during the race was extremely great and definitely hoping to experience this again! After Berlin, the plan was… no plan! But got a spontaneous 10K race – Sävedalsloppet which gave a new PB closer to 40min and a nice 2nd place and less than a month later new spontaneous 10K race – Kungsbacka vintermilen, done under the rain and completed with a new PB sub40 (and 3rd place). So this was a good warm-up for Helsingör semi-marathon one week later which ended with a new PB by 2min 9sec and a victory on the race 🙂 That was the end of the season apparently. Resting a bit, and then increasing slightly the volume and intensity (?) in preparation for 2014. December was the month of all-time-high with 477km run including a final (spontaneous) 10K race Sylvesterloppet on the last day of the year.

So, all-in-all a great year for running. In figures: 3873,5 km and over 312 hours spent on the road (or approx. 3,375,360 steps done pounding the pavement on 3 continents (with an average of 180steps/min 🙂 ). Lots of travelling, food checking (ok, not THAT much!), lots of long runs followed by massage, core exercises (probably not enough), biking, training through all type of weather and sunbathing (yes, there is some times where even the warriors have to rest…). Good shape all year long, with small discomfort (calf pain in January due to extra stretching, heel problem in July due to walking (!) down stairs during my day off-training (!) and the recurring thigh/bum ache (when cold weather arrives?)), cannot recall taking a sick day neither… Keep the fingers crossed and let’s get off 2014 to a flying start, shall we?


Easy, cosy, sweaty…SUB-90…& a victory…enough said!

(week 111113 – 171113)
From a rest day after sub40 and long run to a race day with sub90 and victory… this week seems to have gone pretty fast!

Monday started the week (as usual) and this was a well-deserved rest day. from everything (well, at least from training). Mountain of work and lots to do at home…the day was well-used!

Tuesday started heavily and not really with the motivation to get out of bed for running (yes, that happens some times!). Got to start the day with pancakes anyway and after a long day at work, it was time to change gear, put on my little LED-lights and aimed home. The ferries had stopped their strike in the morning, but still I took the long way home getting a long bridge and enjoying the lights of the city.

Wednesday got to see me up very early and on with the gear. Way too much this time. If the day before I was having 3/4 tights, this morning saw me going out with long tights, long sleeves top, wind-jacket, throat cover and wind-gloves…on the top of winter long underwear and winter sweater… Took 1.5km to realize this stupid choice and my mind wondered a bit if I should stop and take off one of the tights and one of the sweater… Considering that it was pretty early 5am+ and still pitch black, this idea appeared clearly out of this world (stripping in a park when it is dark?… sure!). So continue my workout already feeling I was in a sweat suit! Got to do 3*10min with diverse combination. A bit difficult for my head (still asleep?) to understand the point, but when it came to the last part and the run of the 5 last minutes faster for every minute…NOW you are talking! The legs woke up pretty fast!. Then the usual: home, shower, breakfast, work. The evening offered a little special treat with an invitation from T for a run… Took my easy pants, running shoes and windjacket. Shared my LED-ligts (I got the white and T got the red) and…off she went! light as a feather just started to run and actually I was so surprised that I had difficulty to follow. Estimating the pace to 5:45/6:00 for the first km, without stop (apart from one traffic light) and then we continued uphill…racing! (not MY idea!). Easy walk, then more run. And on the way back…still not MY choice, we ran up (yes, RAN) up the hill and then down again… Really cosy run, which should be done more often (but next time I will be wearing proper running gear!).

Thursday offered a very nice lunch run. Once again the waking-up did not work really well. But working early from home, got a lot done so when my lunch meeting was cancelled, it was pretty fast I jumped into my gear to get my daily workout. Easy 10K ending with short and fast hill work. REALLY FUN TO DO! Could have done more reps, but had a meeting waiting… Had done a 3*1:30min plank between two meetings earlier and the body felt really well after the whole training. Became a long day btw!

Friday was a rest day as I was planning for a race on Sunday. Got to check food intake (not that I do something special before a half-marathon, but never be too careful 🙂 Got cramp in the stomach all afternoon and this was not feeling really well for the next day…

Saturday was easy-peasy-day. Pancakes breakfast from T, rehearsal in town for soon-to-come-concert for E and then a bit of shopping in town before aiming back home. Packing all the stuff for the trip and race of Sunday. Got to check the directions for getting there, printout the PM of the race, double-check all the gear (as I was taking a few changes, just in case there would be some changes in the weather forecast… According to G, I had more running gear changes than when we went to Dubai last year.. (NOT!)

Sunday started early and ended late. Got to record a new PB with sub90 and a victory on an international course (ya, sounds really cool when a jogg-buddy said that :). Race report is already saved here. The race went fast, and finished too soon. Got way more energy too give (but yes, probably could not have run much faster, but definitely longer! 🙂 ). Long drive back home, late evening and the week was ending…

Summary of the week:Fast, fast, fast! Second objectives set for next year achieved… Have to do MORE thinking now! Next week will be under the sign of recovery and easy-peasy feeling (I do not right “pace” because it can be fast but feel easy…). Taking back what I wrote last Sunday: Shorts are STILL on! a bit chilly but winter-kit are not getting out unless my legs turn blue… (OK, maybe I’ll get the winter gear on, before that!).

Almost half-way of the race

Almost half-way of the race

400m left to the finish line :)

400m left to the finish line 🙂


Race Report – Helsingør Half-marathon 2013/11/17

Arrival Pitstop Helsingør Halfmarathon

Arrival Pitstop Helsingør Halfmarathon

Planned: sub90 & if good weather, form, route…sub1:29

Actual: official finish time 1:27:55 (on my Garmin: 1:27:56…) – new PR by 2min 9sec from Semi de Paris (March-2013).
Place: 1 – women 🙂

Really pleased with the result especially 1) it was a little race meaning not much pulling from other runners, 2) second “attempt” for sub90 as could not run in Malmö this summer due to pain in right Achilles heel and 3) got to do a negative split (and actually meant for it!). Great feeling afterwards and quite some strengths left…

Splits (from Garmin as the km-marks felt quite aligned with the Garmin beeps, especially the half-way):

First half: 44:15
Second half: 43:40
Average pace: 14.63km/h – 4.10min/km

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BEFORE THE RACE

Eyes wide opened @2:27am. No reason why. All the preparations had been done the evening before and was sleeping well. Stay in bed though and next check on the clock was 3:25am. Still too early. By 4:00am got up and started to prepare the porridge (+banana & blueberries) we would take on the way. Shower and then hair-fixing. Could not find any yellow elastics so dark and light blue it became! Got half of my gear on and easy clothes on the top as there was a long drive first. Double checked the gear (had a few change possibilities as unsure how the weather was down there). And yes the comment I got form G was: “you prepare like you are moving there…it is even more change than for Dubai marathon..:” (no comment on this!). When all was set (gear: check!, food: check!, exrta-stuff-which-we-probably-won’t-need?: check) I did wake up G and directly to the car.

5:00am – leaving town and aiming to a long 290km drive… Pitch-black with full moon is great for driving! The GPS indicated a possible arrival time which would make us missing the ferry of 7:30am, but there were two after that which would also work (before I stress myself out!). The drive went pretty smoothly. As we had a good time ahead by 6:30am, we stopped and took our breakfast at a motorway stop. The half-warm porridge was quite nice actually (probably thanks to the berries!). Had lots to drink since I woke up (lots and lots… reasonable as for race preparation, let’s say!). By 7:00am, reaching the ferry-terminal of Helsingborg but this was the car terminal and we had to drive to the city center to get to the passenger-only terminal. Tickets bought. Made the ferry of 7:30am 🙂

8:00am – Out of the terminal and before we start walking around, asked to a Danish customs lady-officer where the “Nordhavnen” was located (and as soon as I asked in Swedish I regretted it as the answer would probably be in Danish… But to my surprise the explanations were quite understandable (and pretty straight-forward!). After walking a bit, and a bit, following the red arrows… we felt it was incorrect so turned back and finally found the start area… empty of runners and with only few race-helpers. Got my Bib and then started the wait… Hesitated pretty long on what gear to have (shorts? Definitely! But singlet? Felt a bit overkill. Windjacket? A risk if after a while it becomes to warm…cannot get it off as the bib is on it… so after advising with G, settled for Supernova Boston shorts and San Francisco long sleeves. Worse case scenario: I would lift up the sleeves and the lower part of the sweater.

Morning sunrise from Helsingør harbour

Morning sunrise from Helsingør harbour

Morning sunrise from Helsingør harbour (2)

Morning sunrise from Helsingør harbour (2)

Got the Bib...when is the race?

Got the Bib…when is the race?

10:05am – Off with the long pants, kept my warm winter jacket and off I went for a terrible warmup. 1.5km easy pace and nothing more. Unsure it helps, but probably would have some effect as the legs felt a bit stiff and heavy with the 2hours-drive. Sunshining, light wind: definitely the correct gear were on!

Before start: Freezing? just a bit!

Before start: Freezing? just a bit!

10:23am – aiming towards the START. Chat with two Swedes saying that all times are by “shot-gun” as there is no matt to measure when you pass the start line. Therefore better be on the front line directly!

THE RACE

10:30am – Final check on my mp3 (not expecting to have pull-help, I decided to run with music on). Hear barely the countdown and the febrile shake of the clock and OFF WE GO! As usual, I am passed by male runners with fast intention to make it through the race at this indecent fast pace. Got to follow but at my own pace. Intention is to take the first half as it come, hopefully slightly under 4:16min/km pace and then push way more in the second half. By km4 I feel I have settled in a good pace. Having a fellow runner right in front of me and I am well-determined not to let him go away. A bit tricky when he slows down and then accelerates, but I adapt. By km5, no more runners are passing us. A group is 3-400m ahead and the one after us probably as well. Taking water at the water-station but got two mugs instead of one and it is not ending well. Only two glups of water and the rest on the pavement… By km6 we get closer to 2 runners from the group ahead of us and got 2 runners running behind us. Feel safe and secure 🙂 Still good pace. A bit slower than what I would have like, but feeling is fine. Km7 my running-buddy is no longer pulling me. I drop him for the next guy in front of me. Preparing my gel for taking it @km8+ where the next water-station is. Good timing for the gel, but once again the water intake is not working. Planned to take two mugs but drop one and the one I still hold is half empty. Not good for mixing my gel! Turning right after, into Hornbæk Plantage (aka a forest on the seaside). All the running so far has been on the bike path or on pavement (I had some parts run on the road as it felt “nicer” (?) to run on, than on the pavement). The road is beautiful along the sea, and would it not be for participating in a race, I would have taken it way easier to admire the view. Few spectators on the road side are cheering and it feels nice (even though I do not understand a word of what they are saying, just seeing they are up for us on a Sunday morning is just…nice 🙂 ). The forest part is a bit tricky. A little up&downs, running close to the two first guys and keeping same pace as the third guy beside me (I think I even cheered for him from time to time when I saw he did not keep up with the same pace… he WAS helping!). A bit more running in the forest and I started to wonder where the turn-back would be: Supposed to be @10.5km so we should have seen the first runners meeting us by now. So I feared 1) my GPS was not working correctly, 2) the km-marks were incorrect, 3) both of the previous or 4) we would be turning way after half-way.

Almost half way!

Almost half way!

Half-way was finally reached and it means we are turning left slightly up to reach back to the main road and THANK YOU! PAVEMENT IS BACK!!! (Here is the explanation of the first-runners-not-meeting-us… they took another way than the path in the forest… Did not see THAT coming!). Passing half-way around 44minutes, which is a bit slower than I planned. But still fine under the 1:30. As soon as the feet touch the pavement there is a tremendous change. On the way “up”, we did have slight wind and I hoped to have tailwind on the way back. But as we were not taking the same path, I thought just to drop this hope!. Anyway, the feet got a life on their own and decided their specific pace. Nothing to make me unhappy! Got to feel the acceleration, passed two of the guys from the forest. Felt they kept behind though for a while. Good music in the ear (Maj-2012), perfect pace, just clapping in the end and seeing the average pace dropping from 4:13 to 4:12 to 4:11. Felt really nice! This was ALL in the plan! Took 2 Dextrosol around km12 and then around km16 (where the water station was – still trouble to get the mug and half on the ground…). On the way back, decided to run on the road rather than on the pavement. Felt much nicer. Got a really good pacing here and just went along. Even took some time to admire the view this time towards the see. Real nice, indeed! (And no I did not take any picture while I ran!!!). Got to pass a couple of guys again and then it was really the countdown. For once, the km-marks were more or less in sync with my Garmin-beep so I felt I could trust the arrival was soon coming!. By km11 I had started to mentally figure the distance left with familiar distance. And this is so much fun…when you start mixing your mark from the familiar distance… It took me probably a km to discuss with myself (!) about which km-mark was representative for 7 & 6km to reach home… Just to pass time 🙂 The run just get nicer and nicer, and felt really easy. Got a thought for Mats saying to take to higher effort level, but unsure it was needed. But still did it. Decided to (try to) reach a 17/18. But this was not due to the effort. When arriving at the last 3km, something happened and it felt the pace was suddenly dropping (even though it was not). Had to get all I had in mind-craft 🙂 to continue running. Would have been sooo nice to just stop for a second or two… Getting to km20 was a bless, clock showing 20.1km so I prepare myself for an extra 1-200m on the distance. One of the final turn, noticing that it has passed already 1:26 and that 1:27 will be tight, and another turn and another one (1:27:xxx…) and then I see my personal cheering squad shouting for me… No way to let my mind winning this “please-just-rest-a-second-and-run-fast-after-that”, so try (ya… a lot of tries here!) to increase the pace, got to the last turn, hear the speaker saying my name and nice enough the arrival is only 50m (?) ahead. Hearing I am the first woman arriving, I just smile 🙂 stopping the clock. Unsure what is my time, I get my medal and a very kind and happy race organizer giving me a box with sweet stuff and getting photos. My legs feel fine, my head is ok… Is it really finish?

Happy after the finish line

Happy after the finish line

Weather: 8ºC, Feels like 5ºC, 18 km/h WNW wind, Humidity 87% – Real nice in the air, light wind on the coast line, definitely not feeling 5ºC!. Humidity? Unsure as it did not felt “sweaty” (well, not more than a normal 21.1km would…)

Food: porridge+banana+blueberry @6:30am / banana @9:15am / warm chocolate+cacao cake+banana right after the run. 40Min later: coca cola + rice porridge+forest fruits – 2hours after: low-carb hamburger+French fries+orange juice
During: vitargo km8, Dextrosol 2tablets @ km12, 16 & 18 (?)

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova Boston shorts, SF long sleeves, E throat cover – flying ASICS Gel Skyspeed 2: This is just a pity they are soon dying. They are so great and have covered really well the race needs so far! Great and light. Their followers will have a big shoe to fill (ha ha ha!)

??16??/ effort level is the trickiest part in this race. The first half felt needing more effort than the second half, for which the last 3km felt with more effort but probably in the mind than for the body. SO to make the whole thing easy… NOT: first half would be a good 16, reasonable effort and definitely would have benefit from a little better warm-up. Second half up to km 18/19 probably a good 14. Nice and easy-going feeling, no effort, even singing and cheering, clapping in the hands. Just running really. And the last 3km probably back to a 15 for the body, but the mind was working a lot for convincing to continue at this pace 8so probably a 17/18 for effort in mindset). Comparing (!) with other half-marathons (GV and SdP) I would set this half marathon closer to SdP actually.- Either a strong 15 or a weak 16. REALLY would like to set a 15.5 – more effort than Berlin-kind of, but not quite sure actually. Let’s go for the 16.

AFTER THE RACE

Got my hugs from my cheering squad as well as well-deserved photo sessions again 🙂 a bit of chat with a Swedish triathlete (the one I met on the start line) and with some other runners (soooo difficult to understand the Danish, sorry guys… but congratulations and smiles are universal language, right?). Changed gear on the spot at the arrival line and then we aimed for the ferry. Got the first one right away, a bit of face-clean-up (sooo salty!) and then we were back in Sweden again. Long drive home (a bit slower this time). Food-stop for hungry tummies and then finally home (and well-deserved shower!). Looked in my “sweet-stuff” box and got lots of chocolates (with alcohol…) and a beer 🙂 Cool 🙂 More running to do after that!

Probably forgetting lots this time. I reached home without knowing my official time and saw it on the website of the course (as well as the photos of the male & female winners 🙂 ). Great course, highly recommended. Little size and good organization. Nice weather this year (cannot be guaranteed but still, apart from a snow fall I would have run today and in shorts!). Easy route and beautiful landscape worth the run!

Exact on the clock!

Exact on the clock!

my medal :)

my medal 🙂

Sweet stuff...

Sweet stuff…


Time for a check-up

Difficult to go up this morning? No wonder! The clock showed only 6am, it is Saturday btw!

Relaxed a bit until I set my gear on. The skies looked good enough for wearing shorts and tshirt (the latter one could have been replaced by a singlet from the beginning…). Easy warmup of 3 km, then short break for stretching. Then started a 10K expected @44. Started to fast, but settled their pace after a coupler of km. Strong headwind (of course?), but sunny (behind the clouds…). Quite humid i’m the air, got pretty sweaty, but instead of taking off my tshirt (which would have felt sooooo much better), I kept it on to ensure I can run actually this way. Next week race won’t slower me to taker of my singlet, so better be used to ths warmth! This first interval ended in 43:06, 10K. Which is my best time for this distance while in training mode…and better than my PB from last July! 5 minutes of rest and stretch and he we go again. This time a bit slower to start, but hot a good group on it by half way. Completed my 5K in 21:23, which is I think the fastest 5K in training as well. So nice and entertaining morning run really. The whole thing (inclusive warmup and cool down) ended in a half marathon distance in 1:34:27. Nice 🙂

Rest of the afternoon easy. Walking a lot (ca.7 km) under the sun, as recovery from the morning. Enjoyed a pizza on the docks and then a ferry tour. Now body and mind are exhausted… Will fully enjoy my day of tomorrow!

Stockholm marathon: 7 days left…


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet Half-Marathon 2013/05/18

Planned: 1:30 if all good 1:28.

Actual: official finish time 1:37:05 (on my Garmin: 1:37:10 – a bit of time to click on “lap” after the finish line…) – 24 seconds slower than last year race, long from PB in Paris in March BUT the weather conditions were way different as well as the race conditions. So the result of today’s race is very satisfactory and happy to have completed it! Note as well that as in Paris there was no clear “fatigue” after the finish line, lots of energy left…

Splits (official)

Split Time of day Time Diff Min/km Km/h Place
5K 13:21:17 00:21:16 21:16 04:16 14.11 73
10K 13:44:17 00:44:17 23:01 04:37 13.04 96
15K 14:08:22 01:08:21 24:04 04:49 12.46 111
20K 14:32:22 01:32:22 24:01 04:49 12.50 102
Finish 14:37:06 01:37:05 04:43 04:19 13.95 99

Totals

Place 99
Place (ag) 12
Time total 01:37:05
Average pace 04.37 min/km

Swedish Championship – Half marathon : place – 18!!!

 

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Awaken by the birds at 4:44am, tried to sleep more without a lot of success. 5:45am took glass of orange juice with the necessary vitamins and allergy tablet for the day. Bad to bed and once again reviewed the race route for the day’s race. Decided around 8am to go up for breakfast (porridge + blueberries and banana, oatmilk) and large glass of water. Checked again the gear for the race, as prepared and reviewed probably 5-6 times with GET in the evening before!… Then started a really boring morning as nothing to do really but keeping myself hydrated correctly: every 30min 2-2.5dl of water alternate with Powerade blue between 8:30am and 11:00am. Got myself ready, braided my hair, using Swedish colours 🙂 and then gear on. Cool outfit with my club white singlet, Supernova Boston shorts and my superfast Saucony Kinvara 3. All good to go! So much drinking gave lots of visit to the loo, which meant “pass” for the hydration pre-race 😉

11:30am – Slightly hungry, took an extra banana before leaving home for a final photo-shoot. Left GET and aimed to the start at light jogging tempo. Directly to the IK Jogg meeting point to say hi 🙂 Always good to have some reciprocal cheering before a race! Then direction to my company tent and there was quite empty. Wanted to meet a few of my colleagues which I knew are running. Got a few of them before the start and that made my pre-race day 🙂

12:02pm – Ooops! Talking with Kenth and noticing that my start is in less than an hour. Pressure is on! Meeting S in company tent and once again more reciprocal cheering. A few pic before the race and then time to go to the start corral.

Ready to rock'n'roll?

Ready to rock’n’roll?

12:30pm – Wow, looking at the big screen, at the flag indicating the Elite start and the yellow line on the ground for the start. Doing a few easy running laps for warm-up. So cool to have actually some place to warm-up (even though this specific warm-up was pretty crap! Have to check next time how ACTUALLY a correct warm-up should be done. This is sooo different from a marathon where you have time to warm-up during the first kms 🙂 Got to meet Isabella Andersson, and my own personal idols from jogg-forum (Espen, Benet, Patrik, and of course plenty of others :).

12:45pm – Aiming back to the “yellow line”. Got a nice spot on first row 😉 But taller male runners and smaller female runners (both looking pretty fast already even though they were just standing!) were placing themselves on this front row. So got a nice place in the second row.

12:59pm – ready? Unsure now… Try to focus, feeling the pushing from other runners behind me already… 1 minute to go, final check to the watch.

1:00pm – PANG! It says, without realizing it I have a human wave pushing me already at an inhuman pace (for me!). First 500m are disappearing at a pace of 3:47/km when stupidly checking my Garmin. Too fast, got the recommendation to end the Slottskogen’s part with avg pace at the fastest 4:00/05, but better to aim for a 4:10/20 for the first kms. Getting the first 3km på 12:26 (i.e. 4:08/km) – yaaaa, ca. Intervalspace. Should listen better to advices and actually FOLLOW them… But seriously apart from the feeling that it was going too fast, the body felt fine and happy to run. Even Sälsdammsbacken disappeared without even noticing it. Pretty much carried by the human flow then! Noticed that the heart rate was ok-like, so continued. Pretty boring to have seen all the Elites disappearing in a dust cloud and having so many people passing by me (mostly men so still ok!). Got to meet two jogg-are before km2 and cool it was to be recognized in a race 🙂 Got to hear my name before km4 by Magnus from MIK – Cool once again. Just so much energy with just hearing my name! OK, reaching the first water-station and decide to skip it. Still fine body & mind (a bit fast, but ok). First real slope to reach Älvsborgsbro. Actually going fine, but mainly because it seemed that the brain had stop thinking for a while… Running as fast as possible to get a nice 5K-time (21:16, pretty decent, I think).

But THEN the mind started to tell the body to stop!!! Well, NO, actually there is still a little bit left! Ran all the way up the bridge, lots of wind, tried to get the back of someone but seriously could not find anyone running a correct pace then, nor actually feeling that it would be possible to…. AND then reached the top of the bridge so skipped finding someone’s back! A ncie guy asked me what pace I had, looking quickly at his number I told him I was too slow right now and that it would not really correspond to his pace as his group started 4 minutes (?) after mine. Still he ran a few 100s beside me, which was nice with company as my heart started to get ups&downs, got a hole on the side and could hardly breath correctly. Decided to ignore it during the downhill from the bridge (I KNOW this downhill!) and ran it as fast as the body allowed – Once again pretty stupid move. Got a free shower by a very kind person having a waterhose and before reaching the 6km water station I just STOPPED! Too difficult to walk with this hole on the side. Got some cheering from Per M to start again – took water and started easy. Nice to have more company, getting a nice back to follow 🙂 although according to the rules of the Swedish Championship it is not allowed (only for Göteborgsvarvet?) for a male runner to help an elite woman neither with pacing nor for protecting from the wind aso (yes, I did all the reading of the rules, including the possibility of having to do a random doping test…). Still this helped REALLY much and got me started again. Once again, unsure I saw km8 anywhere. Reaching a water-station (ANOTHER ONE? Felt like I left the previous one 2 seconds ago…), decided to take water on the body first and then drinking. Taking my gel as well as planned. The left thigh had started to “hurt” a bit (top of it, close to the hip), tried to push with the fingers on the aching spot. Helped a bit (for like….5,5 seconds?!?!?). Continuing the part of the race which is ACTUALLY the fastest and easiest of the whole route at a less than decent pace. The “DNF” thoughts have disappeared thanks to Per, but now the new aim is to get myself around. Finish will be my new objective. It is always an objective in all my races, but here seriously, it was the first time I had it as the ONLY objective left! Got some more company by S around this time (before “ghost-km8”) A bit surprised that he did not pass me earlier, but he looks to take it fine and as in Boston, I feel like dying when he made it look easy (and this independently of what he was saying it felt for real!). Then along the harbour I see him disappear 😦 Tried to get some speed there – as I generally do this during my training on this area. But once again the legs are just NOT responding to the brain (or is it the brain playing around and sending other messages????). Getting to the 10K in 44:17. Do not care. I decide to walk.

Little after the time-taking of km10, another elite woman get me to start again. She seems to have similar issues as me: could run with this weather a marathon, slightly slower pace but double the distance, but here it is just too fast (well, it is NOT in real, but it feels like that!). Really great with her support which drive me forward for a few 100s and then I see here stopping at the water station (again?!?!?).

THEN I hear my name – for the second time in the race. Anders my colleague is here with a large smile and this is a great help (because despite the smile on my face, it IS hurting in a way!). Running around Ericsson, trying to get some speed, but the little wind there does not let me doing it. And ONCE AGAIN, Anders is there with his cheering. Soooo great really. Because after that the most boring part of the race starts. Lack of public and not much music unfortunately. Reaching soon km11 when Kenth S is helping with his more than encouraging words. Stopping at the water station and once again “splashing” me with all the water I can get. OMG, this is difficult. Have not looked at my watch since a while, just hearing the beep of the km-alerts. And it is a while to go still. Arriving to the foot of the second bridge (Götaälvbro) and … walked! Not even understanding how my legs are just stopping the running… I KNOW this bridge, I have run it many times, under many different weathers, never walked up the bridge (apart from the 1st edition of Göteborgsvarvet… but LOTS have happened since!). Getting sight of a bottle from people on the side and cheering. Asked them (close to desperate) if it is water and if I can take it and I just take the bottle and drink… Sooooo nice, can definitely said that despite being half-warm it was a pretty nice taste in my mouth! And finally : top of the bridge. The mind and the body agree to slow downhill. Unsure where it came from, but a blink of Boston downhill after Heartbreak hill just pass as an image and all of a sudden the body react and accelerate downhill. Passing lots of people this way. Pretty cool, especially as I really feel that it is going too fast (but not in reality!).

Km15 – not having enough strength to speed-up towards the “time-measure bands” – not caring for the time since a while, right?!? Reaching the next water station, very thankful to the guy throwing me water on me and taking a couple of water mugs. Walking of course. And started again. Expecting to get some energy tablets on the way to Avenyn… but not this year 😦 Getting one of the elite women passing me slightly, decided to keep her back cloooosely (as she was passing me during the 16km-spring competition earlier this year and it was NOT a nice feeling 🙂 So get a bit of new strength and pass her and start the long Avenyn (which is SERIOUSLY NOT that difficult, even at this time). Seeing a colleague of mine lying on the side of the road and get pretty worried for him (he had 1:23 last year and aimed for sub-1:20…), reaching the top of Avenyn and more water and sponges. Once again the downhill of the Avenyn is getting faster (and on purpose) passing lots of people slowing down in this part. Then turning to Vasagatan, nice with the shadows from the trees. Don’t like this part, neither in training nor in race. But this year again I have requested kindly my fan-club to be at the corner of the street towards Över Husargatan – with this year a very important task: to give me some energy drink for the final kms… SOOOOOO NICE to see them and their large smile (I could just ride on this for hours!). Got my bottle, my “you’re the best, mummy – go for it…” and more drinking get some extra strength. Throwing the bottle and then start the best part of race – can feel the body&mind working together to catch up, passing lots of people looking pretty bad. Got more cheering from Maj on the top of this same street and then reaching the little tunnel and the slight slope to the little blue bridge… which I take RUNNING ON THE TOP OF THE FEET – so light like a feather. Seriously, cannot be that I have strength left, when I recall quickly the “DNF”-thoughts of km6… Turning left to km20 (1:32:22), just smiling, feeling so good, continuing a very strong finish, passing lots of people and finally entering Slottskogsvallen’s arena, less than 200m left (I KNOW, because I train there on those tracks…) seeing a female runner slightly before me and grabbing the last piece of strength to pass her (she was a tough cookie though!) and finally FINISH LINE (and stopping my watch). 1:37:XX. Feeling great!

After the finish line, being stopped by reporters for getting a pic to be in the newspaper (hope I’ll look good 😉 then splashing myself with the other “animals” just finishing the race (unsure really that there was any piece of human behaviour there, seeing guys throwing their head in rubbish bins full with water….). Got a sweaty hug from Patrik B. Did not get the time to check on him before the race, so cool to see him arriving right after me. Looking for S by the medic tent, without success, so walking to the exit. Off with the timing-chip, getting my banana and chocolate cookie. Meeting Henrik D, more congratulations, meeting Kenth and more greetings and time to aim to the tent for a massage… not even walking towards it but lightly run/jogging. Seriously, talk about a bad use of the strength during the race! Reaching the tent, getting “after-race-with-medal-picture” and talking to Magnus (former neighbour and colleague). He confirmed that this was a tough weather conditions for the race. A bit more chat with Jay and other colleagues. Change to dry clothes (I arrived soaking wet to the finish line – and not much was sweat!). Waiting for the massage. My fan club arrived finally (as well as a freshly showered S 🙂 I get my after-race-cool-coke as promised. Tasting wonderful. Massage with some nasty pressure on the thigh/bum, but I can really live with that!

MOre than well-deeserved medal (!) - awaiting for massage

More than well-deserved medal (!) – awaiting for massage

Inofficial time on Garmin

Inofficial time on Garmin

Well-deserved medal :)

Well-deserved medal 🙂

Weather: 26ºC, Feels like 26ºC, 24 km/h ENE wind, Humidity 51% – it was pretty interesting this with the weather as the first half of the starting groups got pretty hot and warm when the groups afterwards got from light drizzle to rain… Unsure the humidity was much higher than this when we ran (comparing this with the week in Spain)

Food: orange juice+porridge,blueberries, banana, oatmilk @8am/banana @11-ish/
water/gatorade: 2dl every 30min (alternate)
During: vitargo km8, 200ml Gatorade blue @ km18.5After: banana, kex chocolate, 1 full glass of ISOstar, little pack orange juice – little later on: hot-dogs + orange juice.

Gear: ADIDAS Boston Supernova shorts, MIK white singlet – super flying Saucony Kinvara 3. Wow-shoes really, well-tied and they made themselves forgotten (until after the half race and all the “splashing” of water which made them a liiiiiitle heavier and wet. Great delivery for this first race

 

NOTE: Looking at the difficulty of the race route (even though I KNOW it), the special weather conditions this year (which I KNOW as well, having run this route during training under all weather conditions), very satisfied with the official results: 99th fastest woman all groups, 13th place in age group AND 18th place in Swedish Championship – half marathon. No PB this time? Not too bad race after all!

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After that, aiming for home, slowly but surely. Loosing T at the playground (and fortunately finding her back…). Shower at home and enjoyed half a pizza + fanta for celebrating while watching a cartoon on tv. Laying down 30minutes with legs up – feeling great afterwards!

 

Soon time for bed now – what a day! No PB, but lots of learning definitely. Great rehearsal as I see it for Stockholm marathon in two weeks from now (especially if the weather is similar!!!)