Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Thought

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

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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 🙂

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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!)

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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 – Midnattsloppet 2016/08/20

Midnattsloppet2016

Not tired after a 10K…something wrong with me?

Planned: training-race. Not really thinking of a sub40 here, but close to 40 was in the plan

Actual: 42:29.
place: 12th women, 1st age category, 187 total.

In brief? Safe start. Way too slow kms to the 1st church. Way too slow and careful on the way down. Way too slow km to the 2nd church. Well, yap. A bit too many “way-too-slow” km in this race. But at least I was not tired at the end… My theory? 10K-races SUCK! (or maybe it is me that suck at 10K-races…or both…)

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BEFORE THE RACE

Night all ok. Woke up and waited a bit for a leg-shaking morning jog. Bought bagels for breakfast and then back home. This time the “bagel-hunt” was started later to ensure the place to actually find freshly baked bagels would be opened. Shower, breakfast. And…nothing. Just had to wait. A bit less than 12 hours! Hesitated in going back to bed, but turned into the tv on and watch the next episodes of Prison break season 2. After 2 DVDs I felt a bit tired, so a bit of walking around and then really bored. Hot bath and reading about marathon training “the French way”. Still too many hours before start… Lunch around 2:30pm – leftover from yesterday (Indian chicken with rice). Felt all fine afterwards. Still too much time to kill. More of Prison Break. And then it rained… Wonderful! 6:30pm was the time to get the BIB for the elite group, so I biked to the start and there had to wait 15 minutes as they had not received the BIB yet. Waited in a pretty empty VIP-tent. Back home, there was still so much time to kill. Discovered unfortunately that the lamps of all our bikes had been stolen. Wonderful! One thing I really did not want to think about before a race. Even a training-race 😦 Got myself ready. Fixed the hair, attached the BIB, hesitated for the shorts though. But I wanted a pocket for my home key so I chose my army blue shorts together with my club sports bra. And of course my superfast running shoes (Swifty). Hmmm… OK. One hour before start, time to get warmed up. Had drunk sport drink all day until 6:30pm. Took an Aptonia gel before leaving home. Attached a little red LED-lamp on the back of my sports bra (so people would see me in the dark…) and one on each hip (red and green). Better be seen than sorry! Started to run with the rain-poncho on. The preparations were going on, but honestly during my morning run it was just empty of everything! Got to the start. Quick pitstop in the woods. Drizzle had started and turned into rain short after.

8:25pm – 35 minutes to start and I was finished with the warmup. Additional pitstop under the rain. Jogged to the start. Group 1b & 1C started to fill in. No elite yet in 1a. Waited until 10minutes before start to get in. By then the lights had switched off and on at least twice… Wonderful! Met Tricky right before the start: Great with a warm hug as I was really freezing by then.

9:23pm – waiting as usual for the start and hearing as usual that it will be delayed by five minutes. Getting a high-five from Y Tregaro 🙂 Smiles from other runners. A hug from Maria B. OK. Music in the ears is ready. When will this stupid start be given?

9:28pm – off with the rain poncho. No more rain, but still a few minutes to start. Still freezing…

10 seconds to start… OK, don’t panic… Why are the guys from the race holding us still? Are they going to vanish in less than 10seconds?!?! I will probably not push, but the fast beasts before me will probably do…

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The RACE

PANG! Finally! Start is given. Getting a little push from a guy trying to pass me already on the right side (where there was actually NO place at all). And we are in the (close-to-complete) dark already a few meters after the start. Impossible to see where we are running and I know that this area is full with holes in the soil… Turning right and getting to jump a bit for skipping the first large water pool on the asphalt. Keeping a safe place on the right side. Letting all the fast guys of group 1a & 1b passing by. All fine. I am having an eye on the gals. Maria B has made it under 40minutes when I ran two years ago. So my “plan” is basically to shorten as much as possible the difference this time 😛 The plan is easy-fast-comfortable to km4. Hopefully close to 4min-tempo. Then probably drop of the pace to 4:20-30 or more for the next km to get to the Church and then win back this time with a superfast downhill km, then easy to the next church (and probably slow too on the way up) and then it is only 2km left 🙂 Plan sounding good in my ears at least! The first left turn is taken very carefully as the crazy guys all around are just running like…well…crazy guys! And in the dark I definitely do not want to jeopardize my feet and legs and all the rest. So easy. Maybe too easy for the first km, but ok. (definitely not feeling on “race-mode” by then). Then getting passed by a gal which has a race-tshirt. Meaning she did not start in the elite group (where all had their club outfit), which also means that she started quite behind me. Not good. Keeping an eye on her. Could not see Maria B any longer…. on the other side, it is pretty dark and everyone is having the same tshirt… Just try to find one in a million! Ok, one in ten thousand… Down towards Mariaplan. All fine. Breathing is nice and easy. Turning all around and then getting the right turn. Here it is so dark, cannot see the guy holding a flag and getting it right into my face. Wonderful! Turn right…seeing the first fast runners already on the other street a bit forward. We still have to turn left and then right to get to km2. OK. Back on good track. All looking fine. The gal is quite ahead of me, but that’s fine. I’ll pass her shortly I thought. Taking little longer steps, enjoying passing guys along the way. Getting strange looks btw when passing them. Passing Mariaplan again and the gal is slowing down. Easy passing by and then all fine up to km3. Slightly above 4min. Then up the hill and down and up again. Legs are strong and feeling good. Very tight to pass people here. My “hold right, please” do not have much effect on the guys before me. So I chose to run on the right of all of them. Had decided to take a gel by km4. Not needed, but feeling that it could help as the last “real food” was lunch at 2:30pm… Wonderful experience again…dropping my gel and swearing out loud (I did not notice it, but a child shouted to her mum: “She just said “F…”!!!”). OMG how annoying. Back on the race. I know I don’t need it, but still annoyed. Hoping that my home keys did not fall at the same time though… Reaching km4 in a decent 4:05. OK. Still good. Turning right and getting the screams of Klara’s parents 🙂 THANKS! (always tricky to recognize people in the dark!). Then further on, I actually recognize Magnus B from MIK 🙂 Smile again! And already turning right and up. Feeling fine. Probably too fine. Quick check at the watch and indeed…it IS too fine! And then turn left (already?) and straight slightly up and forward. High-five to half of the kids dressed in KEX-choklad tshirt. And turn left to a darker place (sorry…darker road 🙂 ). OK, km5 is clocked at 4:21 on my watch and it IS way slower than I planned. Halfway done, Halfway to go! The great there is that the fast guys and gals have not yet gone down the church hill 🙂 I am not THAT slow 🙂 Seeing them going down at a devil’s fast pace. Guy, guy, more guys, then a short group of gal, guy, guy…OK, by then I generally see Maria B. Feeling the uphill is going fine, i.e. too slow for being in the race. Taking it very careful as the road had no light. Did they do that on purpose? Switching off all the street lights? It is wet and slippery. Sliding a bit on leaves on the wet asphalt. Wonderful…make me fall now… Strong up to the Church. Feeling that I am reaaaally slow there. But then accelerating after turning around it. Taking the road instead of the pavement like most of the guys. And then it is just a downhill. Yooooohooo! Although the downhill is still in the dark and the “careful” side of me is definitely controlling the running down. Km6 is passed in crazy slow 4:54min. Which was NOT in the plan 😦 Definitely not happy. Could also feel that my wonderful downhill pace is not even starting as I cannot see where my feet are going. Running on the water, having to pass guys on the right and then on the left and then turn right with short stretch before another stiff downhill stretch. This one went in 3:35 a couple of days ago and it felt well-controlled…km7 is timed today slightly under 4min. What is going on?!?!? Not even having fun. Smiling right and left when hearing “nice lamps” (had forgotten that my hips are wearing my LED-lamps 🙂 ) And another right turn. Straight to the church. And there once again it felt heavy. Seeing Hanna O at the bottom of the slope. Big smile! And easy up on the top of the toes. Hearing in my head “You Shaaaall Not Stoooop”. OK, probably needing sugar soon! Making it fine to Nordostpassagen. Feeling that it went quite well actually. Passing the km8-sign, which is placed way before the “real” km8. Which is clocked in crazy slow 5min!!! REALLY?!?!? Where did this come from? Continuing without much of motivation for accelerating. Not tired, but why should I even try “kind of”. Running under the light bridges felt a bit strange (and the music was NOT adapted to sub40-pace!). Passing Plikta and now it is downhill for a while. Accelerating. Passing guys there. Feeling that I should really stop for a pitstop but that would not work really… Reaching the “sprint” area, trying to accelerate passing three guys, and then it is already km9…Good with those big light-stuff indicating the km. Less than one to go. Have more strength than it looks probably. Accelerating as much as I can. Turning right. In the dark. And a water pool… Seeing that we are not running towards Preem-station but taking almost the path of Göteborgsvarvet. (Good I trained on this one too…). Passing a few guys still. And then it is 600m left. 500m. Too dark really to run with full confidence and feeling safe from not falling. Now on the gravel. 300M to go. Gravel is awful to run on, but in the dark and after the rain, it feels even worth. Hoping really loud in my head that there is no hole in the soil until we reach the track. And finally the track! IN THE DARK?!?!? What are they thinking. Turning a sharp left and getting all what I can for this final 200m. That’s the end. Trying to get to the guy in front of me and shortening the distance but not making it before him. Seeing the clock ticking… 42:23..24..25… And yes! Making it to the finish line. Stopping the watch on 42:27. Not tired nor really happy, but training is training.

=> official time: 42:29 – place 12 (K40 – place 1)

AFTER FINISH LINE:

Stopped the watch. Hmmm… OK. What do you do when you just finish a race, see people having difficulty to breath, some sitting or laying down and you are just there…10seconds after the finish, breathing is back to normal and you feel…well,…like you have done enough warm-up? Not being cocky here. The final sprint DOES take on everyone, but a few steps and it is gone. Walking easy to get my medal, a banana, a chocolate bar and a sport drink. Meeting Maria B who made it a bit above 40minutes this time. Getting a large smile from Tricky who has completed this hilly race as probable “cooldown” after his morning marathon… A bit of chat and then it is time to get back home…running 🙂

*****
Weather:
15.0° Drizzle, Feels like 15.0°, 8 kph SSE wind, 94% humidity – rainy before the race, drizzle a bit during, nice in the air. No wind 🙂 Humid? Definitely!

Food: chicken+rice & mint tea + bagel w/honey +banana (@3:30am) / banana @7pm / Aptonia salted butter/caramel @8:20pm / banana+ kex cholad+water right after. Bagel w/honey + mint tea after the shower back home

during: nothing.

Gear: SOC army blue shorts, Casal Iconic black MIK sports bra, rain poncho. Shoes were exactly what they should be 🙂

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Swifty)
=> still with a hole in the net of the right shoe…

13/ let’s make it an average 13. Effort level was not high. The first 4km were in a good strong 12 low 13. Nice and comfortable effort. Good breathing. Then 2 km up not fully high on the effort scale as I slowed down so extremely much. Felt comfortable on the way up anyway. Not easy, but comfortable. 13 -effort level is generally set to the average training. It should feel something without being too hard. You know you have been sweating, basically. Mentally it felt strong all the way, although from time to time I seriously considered that the pace was not careful enough as it was very dark. Not liking this way of running at all. Fine with the rain, fine with running late, but please make some light next time!!!

NOTE: Once again this was a hilly race…(Yeaaah…what’s wrong with me to choose this type of races, really?…). But the route is well-known. Very good training but should have absolutely gone faster that it did. Can pinpoint almost all the places where I knew I was slower than planned and actually did not do anything about it. This is a 10K, not a half-marathon or a marathon… Just getting in on the record and that was good for an evening training. Would have probably run this better if done early in the morning…

AFTER THE RACE:

Left Tricky to get his car and ran easy back home with a bottle of sport-drink in each hand. Good for the balance 🙂 Back at home, it turned into shower, little food and more of Prison break. Unable to sleep for a while. Considered a short while to go for an easy run, but ate instead a bit for having enough energy in store for the Sunday long run 🙂

NOTE: The HR band was very annoying with all this rain. It kept stopping the connection with the watch on a regular basis during the warmup. The HR during the race is well as usual. Straight to the top and then flat up there 🙂

 

NOTE: the organization of the race could be improved in lots of ways. For sure they made a huge work for changing the start/finish area due to unforeseen problems with the grass in the park where it was originally planned to wait/start/finish. But as usual, and for all the Midnattsloppet I have run, the start was once again delayed. The lights along the race were once again NOT enough. It is one thing to run on your own in the dark under the city lights, it is another one when 10.000 runners are passing the streets and you can barely see where you are going. Some places were extremely dark – close to pitch black. The cheering all around was a bit light this year, but cannot blame them due to the rain falling right before and being as well one of the night of Kulturkalaset in the city…

NOTE: once again the ranking at the end is done on net time, not gun time. 5 gals got a faster net time but arrived with a longer gun time… Hopefully there are no guy in the top 12-gal this year…(hope they are checking this…)

Still considering this (fake) tatoo on the calve saying on the left one “10Ks suck!” and on the right one “Marathon rules”…


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

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

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…

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

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 – Falkenbergsloppet 2016/07/30

Falkenberg2016-4 (2)

Finish Line…F.I.N.A.L.L.Y!

Planned: under 40

Actual: 42:08
place: 18 – 6th age category – (1st whining category)

BEFORE THE RACE
Quite
ok night. Early up anyway. Got up and change for an easy leg shaking and hunt for bagel. No bagel apparently, so had to settle for a breakfast of white bun with honey and mint tea at 8:30am. Always tricky to get this food-stuff right with races in the afternoon. Would rather start at 5am and get it done! Slight feeling in the right calf. Not liking it, but nothing really to do about it. Finished to pack my bag and got myself ready. Picked up by Micke and his kind cousin C to drove us down to Falkenberg. Easy and calm drive. Arrived there, got to the place to register myself. Went smoothly. Micke went to another place to take his BIB as he had registered before. Well. After that, we had still 2 hours to kill before the start of the race. Walked to the start. Changed to running gear and got ourselves a nice spot under the sun. Laying down on the grass took most of the wait-time. Saw Musse and his family arriving. And it was time to get ready. Rewinding the plan in my head: Slightly under 4 during the first 4km and then drop of the pace until 2km to the arrival. That would work 😛

1:15pm – As usual, a bit unsure how to warm up, but at least 3km are necessary to get the whole machinery in place! Dropped our bags. I took my green apple gel (approx.45min to start). Got some sun cream on my burn mark on the back from a kind lady functionary. And we started to run. Took the first 1.5km of the race. Recognition is always good! Then back to start and that was it. 3km of nervous running. Sun was quite warm by then. Left Micke for a final visit to the ladies room. Hug to Annette K who would be running as well. And finally back to the start. A bit stressed as I could not see Micke…at all! Was looking for a yellow back…but he had a white singlet today. Met fast Susanne B. Cool! Finally found my pacemaker. Large smile on. Just 10km to go! Saw Robban A a few feet ahead, but honestly, 2 minutes from start, I won’t go and say hi. OK. Shoes? Check! Pacesetter by my side? Check! Ready to get under 40? Nope, but better setting check on this one anyway…

1:59pm – what is it with me? WHY am I looking at my shoes all the time?!?! A little less noise prior to the start. There is something with those shorter race…where people are talking WAY too long and too close to the start… 🙂

15 seconds to start… OK, don’t feel really like running now…

The RACE

PANG! Start is given and we are…walking easily a few steps towards the start mat (Good that Micke said not to rush as the time is anyway starting when we pass the matt…). And we start running. And all the other runner apparently want to go out as well :-): The short short stretch before the first right turn is a little tricky. Having Micke on my left. Good. But having guys in front of me not really wishing to take on the next gear apparently. Despite the start being given. So I run a bit with my hands in front of me for not falling and not hitting someone. Turn right. Getting against my will on the pavement. Quick check to see that Micke is onboard too. Good. Now cobblestones… here we come! Down to the bridge goes fast. Too fast. But does not feel THAT fast. Stupid check at my watch indicate a stupid 3:36-pace. OK. WAY too fast. Taking the right side with large stones instead of the small ones. Another turn right into another cobblestone-street. Here we can see the arrival… from the other side…and new turn right and down and turn left… Good we have checked this a bit before the race! Have seen the fast chicks disappearing already before the second right turn. So now just have to keep along with the ones right before me. And up and left and once again seeing the finish line…Sooooo close! Passing the first km in 3:51 or so. Got a nice approval from Micke. All looking fine. And that would be it actually! The next 9km won’t feel ever this good! Back to the asphalt. And turn right towards km2. What is happening there I don’t understand. Breathing is already heavy like I am finishing a race or so. Micke must have noticed it and he gave short but direct cheering that everything looks good. Well, the stupid little voice in my head does not agree, but I will keep on listening the smart(er) little voice outside my head (i.e. Micke…). Downhill which I was not expecting. Two chicks quite close and who will remain close throughout the race. Downhill for sure, but feeling that… I need to pee! WHAT? I went already 125 times before the race. And do not need it now! Feeling like I should stop, but this is a downhill, so much for the glamour of running. Got cut in the right curve by a not too gentlemen-ish guy. OMG! This is heavy! Does not feel this way during a marathon. Not even the last 2km (well, those ones are so close to the finish line that they are the best). And STOP thinking of other distances! The head is definitely not willing to help on this one. Have taken already a little paper cup of water and (un)smartly thrown all on me. NOW I have wet shorts! The long stretch towards km4 does not feel easy as I expected it to be. And this was the “easy and fast” part of the race… Quick stupid check at the watch while passing km4. Shoot! Missing the time I planned. Should have passed under 16minutes. In order to have enough to loose afterwards. Micke noticed probably all this, because he kindly give words of encouragements now and then. Staying right where I want, right in front of me, looking back or on the side regularly. And we see the bridge again. Km4. Yoooohoooo! And eeeeeeh what? We are not taking it? Not only we run a little slope up (and down) but we are continuing along the water. OK, so much for my great preparation on checking the course of the race. How will we cross…the..water?!? and I see it then! Another bridge! And the separation :10K on the left and 5K on the right…extremely tempting to take the right and get this done. Indicating a bit late to fellow runners behind me that I am in it for the 10K… following Micke. Don’t have any other choice, right? And turn right…and WHAT? Another “mountain” to climb on this stupid bridge? And gravel? OK, getting in a better mood after having Micke turning back and saying to hang in there. Passed by a gal on the right and taking this stupid slope to the bridge on the top of the toes. Screw the time, I think. It ain’t worth it. On the bridge it feel fine. Actually better. Then continuing to run run and more run. Passing the 5km in 20:25, quite ok, but had hope to be slightly faster…for the next km to go are NO piece of cake. Micke must hear and see it ain’t going well. I actually want to just slow down…SOOOOO BADLY! Checking what time is left. What distance is left. “Screw the watch and the time” I hear Micke saying. Yeah yeah I know. And I do. It feels warm. At every water station, I take one or two paper cups of water and throw them on the head and the thighs. It feels that there is no air. It feels warm. I want to stop a short short time just to get the body to sweat as it should and then continuing. Please? Lots of people on the side. That is good! Getting to km6 feels like a simple nightmare. And it is less than half to go. But still. Don’t feeling that the body is crazy tired, but something is wrong. The head is wrong. The breathing is wrong. The only positive voice is not really in my head but outside. And I thank Micke for it! Passing km7 feels a bit better…until we turn left…and get headwind. AAAAAAAAHHHH! Will this never stop? Having Mick ahead of me, I consider briefly using him as wind-shield. But I am so bad as doing this, so I don’t. Just remaining close enough and right behind on the side. Don’t think it makes any difference, but that’s it. Crossing the road and getting under the trees…and downhill! Yeaaaah! Nice and in the shadows…and in a quite narrow path from time to time. Tricky to get 2 runners side-by-side there, but Micke is taking his pacesetter role to the greatest! Letting two gals passing. Hoping to keep them close enough until the end. Passing a blond gal that seems to be pretty tired. She will pass us back and stop again and pass us again and stop… Running under the trees feels indeed nice…but the wet muddy path does not feel that great. Some parts are a bit slippery and the only focus is then to look down and do-not-fall. Hearing km8 is close-by and that is soon finishedJust have to hang in there. Counting down says Micke. (Well, my head is starting then the count down…41 to go…for quickly reminding itself that it is a 10K and that there are 2 km to go…). Passing somewhere an outdoor theatre. Just want this whole misery to really finish. Then I hear that km9 is short ahead. Passing km9-sign feels great. The legs feels strong and actually accelerate. OK it won’t probably make any difference on the pace, but the feeling is WAY better now. Just keeping Micke in sight and listening to what he is telling me. The little positive voice is back in the head as well. All is fine! And we get to the little up towards the bridge (I should really find places to race where there is NO slope at all…not even a single one. Not even a shadow of one…) and the bridge and the cobblestones again and down on the right this time, along the water. Wow this feels nice. Less than a km. That is looking good. And could probably made this misery under 42 minutes as well… until we turn left and I see the stupid short-and-brutal uphill we have to take. A brief thought came that we must have run wrong. But Micke is already running up, turning and getting me to run up as well. That it is soon finish. That I have to prepare for the final stretch. Turn left and that is it! The finish line is there. No idea how far it is. Hearing to push as much as I can. Getting between two guys and crossing this (stupid) finish line. FINALLY! Getting a banana, a little medal and a rubbish time. 42:08.

=> official time: 42:08 – place 18 (V40 – place 6)

AFTER FINISH LINE:

Stopped the watch. Did not even want to look at it. Best part of race came with a hug from Micke and a smile. I was probably not really receptive at this time but still. Found also the red cap of Robban A. Got a sweaty hug and a check at his watch. Wow. That’s all what I will say! Founding back Micke and went to congratulate Mustafa “Musse” who won the race. Third hug after the finish line 🙂 This should definitely become a habit! And found also the brightest smile from Sara H. And another hug 🙂 At least this 10K ended well!

Weather: 18.9° sunny, Feels like 18.9°, 13 kph W wind, 73% humidity – sunny, windy, hilly… Good weather for running and getting a nice tan! Would have happily run longer and better (and yes, a bit faster too…)

Food: mint tea + french white bun w/honey after (@8:30am) / banana @11:30am / Powergel green apple @1:15pm / banana+ water right after. French hotdog + twix during the trip back home
during: nothing. Tried unsuccessfully to get water in my mouth, but did not really work.

Gear: SOC SWE hotpants and sports bra. Shoes felt great. Nice and fast (kind of) and light. Loving them!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios – Purple (Quicky)

17/ First km was definitely a low effort one. But somewhere around km2 something took over and the effort was greater. Not much physically but mentally. And as usual, when it gets this way, I slow down to a kind-of marathon-pace which feels quite accommodating and comfortable And making the level of effort not that high. So physically, definitely not that high. Especially seeing how it felt after the race and later during the day. Mentally? Yeah, there was definitely a higher effort than expected for such a stupid little short race…

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NOTE: Not for being chatty but hills and me ain’t best friends and will probably never will. Cobblestones aren’t my friends neither. And will never be. Heat, warmth and sunshine can definitely be a hinder, but rather this than the two previous hinders! Very good training with this race – I hope. Why is that so the last three races have been shorties and hillies?!?!?! Am I picking the wrong races?!?!

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AFTER THE RACE:

Back to the locker rooms. Shower. Cream. Clothes on. And back to meet Micke and found the entrance of the parking place where cousin C was waiting for us. Drive home was as calm as on the way down. Quick stop to buy a French hot-dog and a twix. Drank more water. And we were back home. Thanks to Micke this day was not a complete disappointment. Great experience again with a great pacesetter. More of this kind! Considered taking a short leg shaking in the evening, but turned the thought into eating a bit more in prevision for Sunday’s long run.

NOTE: The HR has apparently not been working from the start of the race. Thought that it had stopped after the water paper cup that reached my stomach rather than my hand, but nope. Nothing. It worked well during the warmup though..

NOTE: Nice and well-organized race. The stupid slow pace I had allowed a real appreciation of the landscape actually. And this was nice! Highly recommended for the landscape! Unsure I would give it another try even after knowing the cobblestones, the hills, the wind and the stupid “mountain-to-climb” right before the final stretch 😛 But surely the people cheering all around made a lot for the race!

NOTE: The water-station part… OK I was not planning to drink. Even though it was a bit warm, the race was quite short. However it is always nice with those showers around the course as well as the numerous water-stations they placed as well. The problem was definitely to catch the paper cup first. Then to get them to the lips was not even in the plan. The huge miss was when a kind lady gave me a paper cup and I received it ALL in the middle of my stomach. So yes, it felt…WET! Passing the finish line with a hotpant soaking wet ain’t the most fun. But hey, this is part of the wonder of the races 😛

NOTE: About the “whining category”? Yeah, this one was created especially for me today. Cannot recall a race I have been complaining (inside) so much! Great with a pacesetter who has this in sight and did not let me down and continue to cheer throughout the race and after the finish line.

NOTE: and a final one: this stupid sub40 was not on the map today: Already knew it after we passed km1 probably and by km2 the thought was just to finish the race and not letting more gals passing me. As told before, I want a nice 10K race with NO hill and NO wind. Sunshine is a plus 🙂

…will probably get a (fake) tatoo on my (tired) calve saying on the left one “10Ks suck!” and on the right one “Marathon rules”…


Race Report – Fiskebäcksloppet 2016/06/06

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Happy first 3!

Planned: under 45 (as the recognition run the week before was done in 47 minutes)..although thinking that close to 41-42 minutes was doable

Actual: 42:50
place: 3rd 🙂

BEFORE THE RACE

Good night’s sleep with eyes opened at 5:35am (sun and light outside…). Back to sleep for a little longer and finally rolled myself outside the bed around 8am. Running gear on, quick kisses to ET and off to the asphalt. Nice in the air and sunny. Took a real easy run to get some croissants for breakfast and that was it. Nothing fancy. Breakfast of pains au chocolat (there was no croissant…), one egg and ice mint-tea. All fine. Final prep for GET and started to turn round round round at home, waiting for leaving to the race. Good for vacuum-cleaning and getting some laundry done 🙂 Checking for the 5th time my hang-along-bag. On with race gear apart from the shoes. Finally 12:00pm and time to get to the tram. Really calm and quiet city on this Swedish national day. Then bus to the start area. A bit odd with all this calm. Was expecting to hear a bit from the bus-stop, but nothing. Walked a part of the race route and still nothing. A few pedestrians taking a nice walk under the sun. But no runner. And finally the start area.

1:15pm – got my BIB and tshirt. Found Lennart B-MIK and chatted a little. Then went to lay down on the grass and under the sun for the next 45minutes. Quick pitstop in the woods before changing my shoes to racing shoes and I was ready. Left my bag and went for an easy warm-up on the first 2.5km of the race. The best part of the warm-up was three small boys stopping me at the top of the first hill asking me if I was running the race: Yes, I answered. Are you first or last? they asked. Well, the race has not started yet, I answered. Isn’t it cheating to start before all the others then? they concluded. Received a large smile from me and they promised to cheer when they’ll see me later on. Felt all fine while running. As expected the headwind was really killing me. But I was hoping for finding some backs to follow during the part km1,3-2. Additional and final quick stop in the woods. Find back Christopher-MIK on the football field when I got back. As well as Lennart-MIK and Helen-MIK. All fine under the sun. Warmup well-executed!

2:45pm – took a short 600m easy + accelerations additional warm-up (or “leg shaking”) and that was it. Back to my bag and decided to go for having music in the ears. Mostly because I was expecting to have some solo-running during the race and did not want to slow down. Meeting Hanna O from Solvikingarna and Carina from Sävedalen right before the start. Appeared we were fours ladies in the “<40 minutes” start-group.

2:55pm – final check to my shoes. Ready with the music. So nice and airy start-group! Nobody pushing and no body contact neither before start 🙂

30 seconds to start… oulala! So short time? Really?

The RACE

Aaaaaand that was it! Start is given. Got passed by mostly guys. Hanna O is heading there as well and I have another gal on my side (she arrived 2nd in Näsetloppet in May and Hanna got 1st place there). Not a chance I can hang along. But actually I did …f or 1.3km 😛 We started with 270m of gravel/dust and then a 150m stiff-but-short hill. Fortunately asphalt. Took it on the top of the toes, the other gal took it easier and passed me anyway by the top of the hill. As expected, this first hill was already separating the runners a bit. Got a large smile and “Heja” (“Hurrah-cheering” in Swedish) from one of the boys from earlier who recognise me. And downhill after that. Felt all nice. Had been passed by Måns-MIK during the running uphill. Decided to keep him in sight as he ran well in 44minutes last year and 41 minutes in recent race this year. Just had to keep his back not too far away. New turn right and new slope. Not as stiff this time. Runners were more disparate already. Downhill and back to the gravel/dust area. NOW the stupid wind came into play. Had the gal in orange quite close 10-20m ahead of me. But the wind!!! tried to get closer to a guy in front of me to skip the wind (and skip eating his dust too…) but it did not work that well. Came closer to the gal when we rounded the area. Running on the grass felt actually a little better (for once!) but that was only short. After passing km2 and noticing that the 4:02-tempo (really?!?!?) of the first km had dropped to 4:03 (not a disaster, but it should have been WAY faster on this part and had expected sub4 for this particular km…) but ok. Run run run and got along with a few guys then, which I will follow for a while. Måns was quite a bit ahead now. 100m? The gal in orange had drifted further and passed him. By km2, the objective was to keep this third place among women. Of course I had no idea how was the field and if there was anyone close to me…and there was anyway 8km to go… Passing the football-field from the start. Got cheering from Anna H-MIK (winner of last year race with a real indecent time…). And soon it was finished with the gravel/dust part. THANK YOU FOR THE ASPHALT! (and the warmth coming with it…). Crossing the road and got passed by two guys running sooooo crazily easy that I felt that I really should accelerate a bit. Passing them on the right side and then passing the Fiskebäcks Church and turning left. SHADOOOOOOOOW! Yoooohooo! For a few seconds and then it was more running on this crazy slow-and-progressive uphill. Before getting a stiffer one up into the woods. The nice part was that 3km had disappeared. Only 7 to go. The less nice part was that it was uphill and in the woods. Meaning had to check where I set my feet as well as checking where the guys in front of me where putting theirs. Passed a few. Ran once again on the top of the toes (it feels that the Achille’s heels prefer it this way actually…) And turning left, no really sure I was smiling there…too much focus on setting the feet correctly. Måns was back into sight. We got kids running along some runners and right when we arrived they started to run a bit on the path we took. Sorry guys if I asked you to move away from the road in a quite decide voice (and hopefully I added a smile to it?…). After that I was not too sure how the path was going, as I always mix two parts of this race. Run on asphalt again, turn left and then right and back into the woods…Really?!?!? had to shout a couple of time “Hold right” (always followed by a “Thanks!”) as the path was pretty narrow and I really did not want to loose time there running behind slower runners. The annoying part is if I was shouting at them to hold their right, I pass them and then they would pass me afterwards… Whatever! Got out of the woods, km4 was done! A bit unsure of the average pace I had, but did not really care. Once again, had Måns in front of me and no gal had passed me (yet…). Running down into a little tunnel under the road and then 90-turn left and short after 90-turn left. Took a dextrosol and right there was the first water-station. One cup on the head and the second one…on the head as well (apparently the brain was no longer responding as I wanted to drink a little…). Turn left and long stretch along the school-yard. It felt pretty warm, but not hot. Definitely not hot like during my recog-run a week before. Felt all fine, had a decent pace going and I was happy. And soon counting down the km as we passed km5 and I was on the upper-range of my calculation (on a flat course, I would set between 20-21 minutes, and I was closer to 22minutes now. Still getting me under 45 minutes though…): This 5th km felt pretty slow…and it was… So I got energy back seeing I reached closer to Måns. Happily telling him that he could do better than that (honestly he should have been 200m away from me by then…). Getting back from him that there was still some km to go. We passed km6 and shortly after reached the long stretch…with HEADWIND! This part I know it, I train there, I have even run intervals (back&forth)…and it is ALWAYS headwind on this direction (except from during my recog-run…). Plan B: tack the back of a runner there, whatever pace he decides to go, I’ll take it. Tried to set myself behind one, but another taaaaall guy was already there. So my only chance for wind-shield was to get close on the right-side. Far from optimal, but it worked a little bit. Strong wind that I really did not like. I slowed down a bit and got myself between the two guys and WOW what a difference! No wind (almost)! But shortly after, my wind-shield stepped aside and I did not have any body left. Slowed down a bit and the tall guy passed me at the end of the long stretch. Took dextrosol and two water paper cups…once again…brainlessly throwing both on the top of my head and getting nothing but an empty cup when reaching my mouth… Matters not! 7km had been passed… Short path along the sea on gravel/stones…and here come…the “dreadful stairway”… Have never run up those stairs during training…ever! They are not easy to run up as having strange breadth. But today… I walked them up…holding the railing on the side! WHAAAAAAAAAT AM I DOING?!?!? Cheering from a couple there got me starting again, as well as being passed by my “wind-shield”. In the little woods and more running. Passing two guys. And then again… WALKING UP the second little slope…for 10-15m or so…I never stop there during training!!! Why do I do that now?!?! Reaching up the top of the slope, I turn and see a gal with blue tshirt…This sets fire to the powder and I got on the top of my toes again. Just loving this feeling. Passing a few pedestrians. Aaaaaand running downhill sooooo crazily fast, passing my “wind-shield” and seriously hoping that I will not fall. (after checking the pace of this specific part of the race, my watch registered a “fastest pace” of 3:04 (!) which I think was actually correct and for this little downhill…). Rushing on the asphalt like a fool for not dropping on my pace, seeing Måns and another guy a bit away from me. Trying to accelerate and shouting to the nice guy helping the cars to pass (or not) to NOT let the car pass (Heeeeeello there! I am coming at full speed here!), Got a nice smile back 🙂 Running up the little slope and then shortly after turning right. This final part of the race is a bit tricky as running along the harbour and the buildings, making lots of 90-turns all the way. Got a serie of high-five with adult (!) spectators sitting on a bench (sooo cool!) and one more right turn. Shouted to Måns to accelerate (well, this was more for me this one, but it felt strange to shout it to myself…). One more turn, a little bit up and then left among the boats and then left and right and left and straight….Aaaaaahh! Will this never stops?!?! There was a change from last year course path. Turned once more left and around and right and that was it. The final km was reached. Shoot! No gal passing by so far and less than a km to go. Tried to take some on Måns, which worked, but close to getting back to the gravel/dust path, I stopped my music and had a problem putting the mp3 in my backpocket. Dropped the pace a bit and got Måns running away. For the 5th time during the race, I got some kind people indicating me that I was the third gal to come. And that was the final stretch. Gravel and dust. Took time for giving a large smile to the photograph there. Could not run much faster on this gravel stuff 😦 Where was all my acceleration powers?!?! And then running on the grass for the final part. Hearing that some cheerings were increasing and was a bit scared to see a gal passing me right before the arrival. But nope. Accelerated and got a guy reaching the final line with me: Hearing my name as third. That was it. Enough for today. Dust-taste in the mouth. Getting my banana and chocolate cookie and water bottle. Realizing I did not stop my watch. 42:55. So. Now it is done.

=> official time: 42:50 – place 3

Weather: 18.9° Sunny, Feels like 18.9°, 16 kph SSW wind, 52% humidity – sunny, windy, dusty… Great weather for running and getting a nice tan! (OK, I could have done without the wind…)

Food: grahamsporridge+banana+blueberry jam @11:15am / banana+kex chocklad+bläää bubble water right after
during: dextrosol at start of the race as well as at km4 and 7 (slightly before the water station)

Gear: SOC shorts small trapeze, Casall Iconic sport bra black – MIK. Shoes felt exactly the way they should: fast and completely flying. So light!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios – Purple (Quicky)

14/ OK, to the risk of being called cocky, I really think that the race overall did not reach more than a good steady effort level. Definitely less than interval-training, but more than regular training. The 15km run over lunch this week felt definitely tougher than this race today. So yes, there is still more to get out from this body and legs…

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NOTE: Hilly is as said before not my speciality nor preference. But today it went quite well actually (apart from the dreadful stairway and this stupid stop in the woods (which I can still not explain to myself…). Gravel and dust are not on my favourite list of terrain and will probably never be. Add wind to the whole thing… Yeah, you got the picture! But seriously, it went faster than I really thought it would, but should actually been faster if the wind would have not been there to run it all…

Very good training!

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AFTER THE RACE:

Changing clothes in an open tent (aaaaahhh…runnners…they can really do everything anywhere…) as all the water throwing on the head had gotten my gears pretty wet and I did not want to run back home this way. Quick chat with Christopher-MIK and Lennart B-MIK. Then meeting Helen-MIK and waited for the prices to be presented. First the category “under 17”. and then us… “over 17” 😛 Helen kindly took a few pictures and that was it. Time to get back home. By foot. With a backpack heavier from earlier with an extra pair of running shoes as price for the 3rd lady. Not too bad for a run under the sun on this Swedish national day!

NOTE: 95% of max according to Garmin. Once again. Still unsure what is my HR max anyway…

NOTE: Nice and well-organized race. Would definitely have this on my list for next year. If they can arrange without the wind, I’ll sign up tomorrow! 😛

NOTE: one hour after arrival, the body felt good enough for running 12km back home at a quite decent pace. Meaning that the race did not take at all much on the body and should/could have been pushed a bit more. Having run 10,000m on track at 43min a month ago, probably means there is a little laziness somewhere not willing to push much more on those short distances…. Have to find it and convince it to stop. Sub40 expected to the next 10K please! (no hill and no wind, thanks!)


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet 2016/05/21

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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!

******

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…).


Just be free to run…

A bit different wednesday evening after long workday: movie at the cinema 🙂 French movie-evening was showing “Free to Run” which is a documentary on…yap… running. This was very well presented, the interviews were quite fun some times. Great to hear again the story of having women starting to participate to race, with Kathrin Switzer and first official female participation to Boston marathon (1967…), with Joan Benoit winning the first Olympic marathon race (1984!!!), the start of NY marathon, the running movement in Switzerland and female-only running races. Very good indeed and definitely full with inspiration. At least I felt inspired 🙂 And yes music+story=small tears from time to time.

Continuing the run despite last week “hip-incident”. Strangely it had not come back. Chat with the ostheopath did not give much apart from getting there asap if it was coming back. Way-too-long workdays this week made the running suffer a bit, having to do it in the evening (as the 5am-wake up call was not fully convincing the body to get up and go out and run). But now TGIF! Energy levels pretty down. The rain and cold ain’t helping. Therefore rest day today and race tomorrow 🙂 Nothing planned, could have popped up on the same day, but now I have something to look forward to! (of course the weather forecast is terrible, the route is hilly and tricky and on gravel for some parts… wonderfully answering to all I love in a race…NOT!).

Time for a bit of chillout and reading before early bedtime. Yes it’s Friday and finally can sleep a full night!

Feel free to run!

 

 


178 days left…and the Evil Hip strikes again…

Hopefully 178 days to get a stronger and better hip...

178 days to -hopefully- get a strong(er) and well-functioning hip

 

Still 3-digits number of days left. Still time to train and prepare. Which is GOOD. Because the Evil Hip has stroked again during the night, making it completely impossible to even walk (ok, I could walk with lots of screaming and cursing – in my head). Painkillers were of no help at all. Hot bath probably burn the skin more than help the hip pain. So after 3 hours, could finally fall asleep again. Probably of exhaustion. And it was 4am…

Interestingly (?) the pain is not what I am used to (which is no fun to write because no one should be “used to” a certain pain). Usually it is in the front of the hip, groin area. Here it was actually on the “outside”, although when trying to find the area itself, I could not really find a specific spot. Which makes me think it might be “inside” in a way. Once again, lots of googling later provided more worried thoughts than helped. Use of a crutch has been the best decision of the day… Figure out! Alternating hot gel pads and cold spray is also the alternative treatment for today.

Not being a fan of painkiller, I tried to endure the pain, but honestly when the foot cannot touch the floor without getting a little scream of pain… it is time to re-consider. No surprise here, but today will be a (forced) rest day.

So, countdown to 178. Definitely a nice number of minutes to reach 🙂


180 days or minutes…

Countdown...

Today is a great day. Started lazily with extra snooze when the alarm rang telling to go out and run (and as a consequence…there was no run done…). Got the perfect mix of chia seeds and soy milk for breakfast, topped with a banana. Bike to work to see that the ferry was cancelled (and strongly considered to cycle all the way over the bridge (5km) instead of waiting for next ferry. (I waited btw…). Dropped my bike for service (hopefully it will be great when I pick it up after lunch).

OK… too much of everything now. Back to 180. This is the plan to be under this number of minutes at the next marathon. It also happens to be the number of days left to the race planned this autumn. I never really count the days to a race (apart from when they turn to one-figure number of days). But here it felt appropriate 🙂

So what’s the plan until then? Keeping the full body in good health. Increase the volume to get those legs tired and liking it. Increasing the pace and getting those tired legs liking it too.

Sun is shining today. Freezing cold outside. 180 days to go. Today is a great day!


Race Report – Ferrara Marathon – 2016/03/20

Ferrara-Arrival

Finish line with a smile

Planned: original plan was sub3, revised after calf strain two weeks before the race to 3:06 (qualification time for Swedish championships)

Actual:…3:00:45. 5th all women, 1st age category and 57 all participants. Pretty satisfactory considering the following weeks after Dubai and the previous weeks before the race. Not too bad 🙂

Race Results:
place (M/W) 5
place (age) 1
Total 57

age/grade: 78.2% (2016 Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)

time total (netto) 03:00:45
time total (brutto) 03:00:45

average pace: 4:17min/km

Garmin splits:

Split                                    time               diff              min/km

10K                                     41:33              41:33             4:09
HALFWAY                       01:28:00        46:27             4:10
30K                                    02:06:36        38:36             4:13
Finish                               03:00:45        54:09             4:17

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

M Day-5

A few days before…

Carb depletion day 2. Nothing fancy. Good workout on treadmill (crazy early…). Visit to the osteopath to fix the right hip that started to annoy me a bit, he also got som work done in the back and the left foot. Pretty painful afterwards and rest of the day… What did I do?!?!

M Day-4

Morning easy bike. Work. Then massage as usual. A bit pain/knots in the back, really hurting front of both thighs… Wonderful day…

M Day-3

Morning meetings over. Fast lunch workout session. And finally carbo-loading! Packing and in bed too late (as usual…).

M Day-2

Travel down to Italy after full and intensive week at work. Really early start, missing driver for the bus to the airport made me wait 45 minutes in the cold…at 4:00am, then full sleep in the first flight, race in the airport of Munich to get my second flight, more sleep and finally landing in Bologna. Carbo-loading day meaning chia seeds for breakfast, extra bananas during the day, lots of water, gummy bears and sport drink. Met JP at the airport and travel by bus to Ferrara. Settled in our room, picked up our BIB and found an open restaurant for tagliatelle al ragu. Serious headache from lunch onwards, not disappearing with food nor drink. But a nice nap late afternoon got me rid of it. More tagliatelle in the evening close to the nice castle where the start of the race would be two days later. Not too late in bed after lots of chat about everything possible and a heavy sleep.

M Day-1

Morning run before breakfast with JP.  Good to have him to regulate the pace. Easy run to the start, then checking out the route to km2 almost and back and then checking out the final 1.5km and back. Could not resist an acceleration for the last 700m. Nice feeling under sunny skies. Back to hotel, breakfast with chia seeds, Gatorade, tea, white bread and honey. Then a bit of resting, walking, resting, late pasta lunch and resting (read: “counting the hours to start now”…). Prepared the gear for the race. Double-checking my watch, mp3, gels, race route (just ask me where is what…I just have to close the eyes to answer!). JP went for later dinner but my “schedule” was different. Off with the lights and…it was not yet 8pm… Drank probably 2l water and same in Gatorade this day…

****
M Day!!!

Before the race

5:20am – waking up before the alarm. Well-rested. Wait for 5:30am to go up and eat my wonderful “200g carbs” breakfast: chia seeds mixed with Gatorade blue and cut banana, little white bun bread with honey and drinking extra Gatorade. A little zip of water as well and back to bed.

6:00&6:30 am – not full asleep nor awaken. Drinking water and Gatorade orange.

7:00am – JP wake up and got ready for breakfast. Cannot stay longer in bed so getting myself ready too. Shower, hair fix, cream to avoid dry skin. On with racing outfit (new Casall Iconic black sports bra, ADIDAS Supernova Blue Lin shorts, pink/purple socks and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Swifty)). Sunglasses will get on the top of the head. Turning a bit in the bedroom. As advised by JP, getting sun cream as well. For once I also have Vaseline on the thighs and under arms. Won’t get burnt this time 🙂 Tricky again when come the question of where to put the gels. Two on the back and two on the front of sports bra. In a little sock. That should work. Dextrosol in fron little pocket. And 2 strawberry jellies in my hands. This is the plan B in case the sport drink/plan A is not working during the race. Leaving my yellow bag with a change of clothes that JP will bring me after his race. The plan is that he get his half-marathon done in 1:5x, got back to the hotel, got hopeful a bit of rest, change and I should then arrive fresh and smiling when he comes back to the arrival. All planned!

8:45am – Already?!? Leaving the hotel. A bit chilly outside and grey and foggy… Hummmm… Wondering if this is the correct outfit. No turning back though: if I can get through training at home in similar outfit and the weather we have, this Italian foggy morning will be a piece of cake! (Hoping for sure that the sun will anyway show itself…soon…). Easy run to the start. Got lots of staring looks (& yes, it felt a bit cold and I probably should have taken a t-shirt to throw before the race, but who cares now? Not me.) Back and forth running with JP and that’s it for my warm-up. 30 minutes to go.

9:30am – we separate, hug and best of luck. Diving into my own little bubble and finding a bar to get to the loo and get warm until the start. Got complimented (in Italian… So it is a guessing, but I took that as compliment) about my outfit. Waiting and looking through the open window…

9:15am – getting down to the street again. Finding my way to the first line for the start. Hearing the speaker indicating that the favorite for the marathon is a female from Croatia, two males from Italy and for the half-marathon, I only get “Kenya” and see those crazy-fast looking guys making a little place in the front. Being asked by the speaker “Va bene…Karima?”… “(Smile) si si, va bene” I succeed in answering. Then he gets another “victim” 🙂
Two chicks press themselves in front of me. They are in for the half. Seeing three fast chicks with purple numbers… Ok, those are the three first for the race I thought! Let’s get a fourth place then. Making me smile at least! The Croatian gal is checking up my hand where I have my “I hope I don’t need to crawl to the arrival”-time of 3:00/2:58/and let’s-dream-of-it-2:56.
Nice smile from the pacemaker for 3:00. Surely a beautiful smile, but my plan is to NOT see it during the race and keep it behind me. My wristbands make me feel confident. Mp3 ready. Hoping for a first half in 1:27/28. And get the second one slightly slower as I expect to be alone there…. and it is a loooong way back to the arrival to be fine alone. Better be prepared.

9:25am – final check to my shoes. Gels set. Jellies in each hand. No longer freezing.

Countdown to 10seconds has started…

THE RACE

First half

09:30am – PANG! Start is given. Feels the warmth of the crowd. Get a good pace. No pressure. No pushing. Had placed myself a bit on the left as we are turning left after a few hundred meters (of running in stones 😦 ). Arriving on Via Calour, the crowd of runners is taking over. No pushing, there is enough place for everyone. Got passed quickly by the 1:20-pacesetters of the half-marathon. Take half a second to let this number sink in and dream a bit… Ok, enough. Focus! Great to have run this yesterday with JP. I am ready. Passing first km in 4:09. Good. Turning left? Yes! Good thought from our run yesterday when we took this street 🙂 It just flows. Passed by in the left and right. I don’t care. Probably half-marathoners. Finding a few marathoners when a heavy sun pops outside the clouds. Hummmm… I said sunny but not THAT much and maybe not NOW… Km2 surprisingly ends in 4:17… Oooook? I did not feel I slowed down. But getting back on track after finding a half-marathon gal having a great 4:09-tempo. Running side-by-side for a long while. Km3 disappeared in 4:00-blank. Ok, maybe I accelerated a bit there. No more compensation, miss! The countdown has started already surprisingly at km1: “41km to go” I heard in my head… And shortly after a “40km to go”… The run to km5 is going well. Have settled in a comfortable pace, with the help of the blond half-marathoner and we push each other to keep the pace. For some while we are so in sync that is almost scary… Arm moves, legs, steps of similar length. No talking. A quick smile to the other one from time to time. I like this! I want her to continue the second half with me!!! I want to have her during training too!!! First water station. Could not open this @&!???@# jelly and miss the water table AS WELL! Fortunately my running buddy gets a bottle, pass on my right and hand it to me after taking a few gulps. THAT is what I call the running spirit. Or whatever “spirit”. I happily drink a bit and we continue. We have run along a little river/water/whatever… The sun is hot there. Runners passing by are already sweating like crazy. I feel for them as it is quite a bit left… The guys from 1:24-half marathon have passed us somewhere on this way to km5. Can still see their pink balloons for a while. I would gladly accelerate and do the half instead. But it shall not be today! By km7.5 I have finally opened my little jelly and chew it with all the power of my already tired jaws… Now I know why I did not want to take them… Lots of noise behind us… WHAT?!? What are the 3:00-guys doing here? We are cruising at 4:09-tempo. If my watch is wrong, I set 3seconds drift maximum. Meaning 4:12-tempo. They are way out of their expected pace and stressing me! At the km5 station I find myself being Zucca (3:00 pacer), having his blue balloons flying down right on my head. Have to find a path to skip this place! But I have guys on the right and the left 😦 Finding a little spot and off I went, finding back my running buddy.

Water for the sponges taken on the hands feels refreshing. Run run run. Passing the km-sign on stable 4:09-pace. All good. We run then on a road with high trees on the side. Good because it “feels” that it helps for the sun heating us. But nope. It does not help actually. Feels a bit windy, but looking at the beautiful landscape all around and not finding where this wind is coming from… Running between houses and there on the left-side of the road appears a long table with plenty of food! Served by an older man and other people cheering on the side. Looking tempting, but have to go. The guy #14 has now disappeared from my sight 😦 He was right before us during the long stretch to km5, then km7.5 and he was gone. But his running buddy with a little bottle in the hand runs with me. I have dropped my lady-runner-friend now. Looking a bit right and left and feels she ain’t far. I have now “black singlet with little bottle” (Marco? Emilio?) on my left and two other guys on my right. The red singlet one asks me “Marathona? Mezza marathona?” So far I get the Italian. Smiling and answering “Marathona”. Get thumbs up and we run. Turning right. I want to get to km10. Under 43 minutes. Ok. Under 42:30. Planning to drink sport drink at the 10K. Ending into a splashing mug, emptying itself as I run with it. Hardly getting something in my mouth. Angry I throw it away and accelerate a bit to get back on the side of “red singlet – Carma” (this is the logo I read when he pass slightly and kindly in front of me…to cut the wind!). I have had this type of helps in other races and it is always appreciated. We have passed a mix couple but this is no better place for me as she was in the half-marathon race. Good pace anyhow. “Red singlet” is keeping the pace up. Stable 4:09/08. Liking it. Getting to a slight downhill where once again he takes the lead and I follow. This wind!!!! I want to get to km15 before 1:03 and hopefully around 1:02. I prepare myself this time, opening the jelly and chewing it approximately 500m from the refreshment table. Perfect. Bottle of water. Emptying a little. Drinking a good 1dl. Emptying some on my head and thighs. Finishing with more in the mouth. Plan B is on! No more try on sport drinks for the rest of the race. Can see two chicks ahead of me. One is too far away, but the other one runs 2-300m max in front of us, surrounded by two running buddies holding same pace. Lucky her! They move to the right of the road suddenly. Ok, she’s in for the full distance I think. Because the two races separate around km17 or so and we take right when half-marathoners take left. “Red singlet” is ahead of me now. I see myself heading to the right side of the road more than I do it voluntarily. Missing the water tanks for the sponge. We see the others led to the left of the roundabout and and we are on our own now, heading to the right side. A line of cars on the left and we run on the other direction on the right side of the road. Trees and houses on both sides. Not many spectators. Music in my ears is keeping my legs running at the expected pace. “Red singlet” looks regularly back. Not fully turning, but a little. I take it for him checking where I am (and if that was not the case, I don’t care. I have a pulling force ahead of me and I want to use it!). Now “black singlet with little bottle” and “red singlet” are ahead of me after turning left at another roundabout. A few meters. I feel I have dropped little on my pace. But I am hanging on. Another guy comes into the picture. He has a “cut cap” and ITA written on the back of his singlet. I keep my mind focuses on his letter. Trying to figure out his name. (Will take probably 5-7km before I actually realize that ITA stands for Italy. Yes I am tired…). He is a bit running back and forth, well, more like doing acceleration, then slowing down, then acceleration aso. Not much, but enough to bother me as I want to be with someone stable with his/her pace. THEN happens what I REALLY don’t want to be happening… I dropped my 20km-gel. Takes what feels an eternity to realize it and stopping and running back, almost not being able to catch it from the asphalt and painfully starting to run again. Definitely lost my “singlets”-guys. They are now 5-80m ahead of me. “Cut cap” is a dozen meters ahead of me only but it feels like 2km or so! My legs did not like this abrupt stop and turn back. And my hands ain’t liking it neither as they feel really sticky. I get the smell of apple in my nose and look around a bit surprised as there is no flowering apple trees on the road side. Takes a while (OK, probably 3 seconds, which felt like forever…) before I understand that the gel cap has broken when falling and the stickiness comes from the gel spreading between my fingers. Wonderful!… Smartly (NOT) I put the gel in my other hand to lick my sticky fingers…and get the other hand sticky as well… My kingdom for water and soap… Please… Now… The brain tells my hand to get the cap off and to drink this stupid gel before the whole me get sticky. Done! And shortly the km20-mark arrives. Little curve to the right and we are at the refreshment station with water. A bit in the mouth, an enough to clean (kind of…) my sticky fingers. Ok, I am on schedule! Whatever schedule it may be… I’m on it! 1:27 sounds unreachable as I don’t want to push to get to the half in this time and burn energy unnecessarily while doing this. No. 1:28 is reasonable and gives me 2minutes to drift in the second half. Hanging in there. Finding the km to halfway very short. I am alone. Halfway is passed in 1hr 28 minutes… One more to go!

Second half

The weather is changing. From chilly-cloudy at start to sunny-hot around km5 it has now turned to grey-cloudy-humid-in-the-air-warm. Feeling clearly that the pace is dropping. Not really on the average pace, but km-pace. Around km22 I can feel that there are a group quite close to my footsteps. I know this is the 3:00-group. But I don’t want to turn and check. Taking a Dextrosol. Changing the music again. Reaching km23 and the group is getting closer. I am given a large smile from Zucca, asking me if all is good. Yes for sure! (if only you and your guys would still remain behind me for a while, that would be great…). Hanging along with the 3:00-fully-male-group. They don’t follow a 4:16-pace and the second pacesetter is whistling often to Zucca for slowing down. Running in a group is quite an experience. Here I am, once again, right behind Zucca, getting his balloons jumping on my head. Cannot get much on the left or right as I am surrounded… km24 and an abrupt turn 90-degree left. The asphalt ain’t the best to run on. And in a group, I cannot even see the asphalt in front of me. Just backs of runners. Then km25 disappear somehow. Dextrosol each km. as I cannot rely on taking sport drink. Getting tired? Not a chance I am slowing down, nor stopping. Soon should be reaching the Po river. Have dropped pace and running at the back of the pack now. Seeing a little hill (read: after 26+km this feels like a mountain…) covered with grass. I see a bike cycling up to the right and hope hope hope this is where we go… but the bike which is with us is heading left and THIS.IS.A.TOUGH.COOKIE.SLOPE! 10m by 10m? Have no clue. I consider even walking it up after seeing the pack running it… But by the time I have this little discussion with myself, I have reached.the.top. I see the Po. I want to stop and rest. Now the stupid sun is back and I remember in a short second that there are 5km or so along the river. 5km to get a nice tan. 5km to the next refreshment station. 5km to be left to die on the side if I fall. OK. Focus. “Cap guy” ain’t feeling good and he is actually running as much zig-zag that me. Or I think I am zig-zaging. Maybe it is the road being this way. Both thighs have taken hard the little uphill and now they are screaming. Loud to the brain telling to stop the whole machinery and rest. Or even better to stop. For a while and rest. Or for good and rest. But nope. The brain ain’t cooperating. It just continue to look ahead. I hear myself encouraging a red singlet guy stopping on the side, telling him with a smile that there is not much left. But after a few re-starts, he gives up. I continue. Refreshment table…where are you? The 3:00-group is still in sight. But unless I get stroked by the thunder I cannot really see how I can get to meet them again. Passing a female runner not feeling too good, but honestly, I am not stopping because I don’t think I would be able to re-start. So unfair now! A bike is following a runner and encouraging him, giving him water and staying on his side. I want my own bike as well! Matters not…because I pass the guy and tell him with a smile that there are only 11km to go. Passing km30 and taking a grey gel. All fine. Drinking good. Running down (finally!) but the thighs are too stiff to get some speed. Doing my best to not be driven over by a car crossing our path. Less than 12km to go. Piece of cake. Not so sure. Turning right after getting water. Missing a sponge really! Long stretch between houses. Well-appreciated: for the shadow! But now I got passed by a female runner. A little fast one. What is she doing there? Noticing she is running with a guy who seems to be at the end of his strengths, but they are having a slightly better pace than me. Seeing them 30m ahead of me, where the gal is kissing his hand, apparently telling something in Italian and then she run away. The guy is running a bit strangely, but still…he is in front of me. Running on the side of the road now – like bike path. Turning left into a little passage, niiiiice with a little slope down, a little short tunnel, a smile to the camera and …of course a little uphill. NO.WALKING.ALLOWED! This is what my head is screaming now. Turning right again and more running. Have reached km35. Yellow gel. Not feeling I need it, but I want to get rid of it. 7 to go. That means NOTHING! Long stretch once again. The sun is nice to have, I really am happy for the gear choice and not having put a singlet on. Running on gravel now. Not liking it. Km36 passed. Soon arrives a strange little part where we run like to km37 and then turn back after…20m? The best way of dropping the pace? Here you are! Turning right. Average pace is now around 4:13/14. Still ok. Have calculated since km32 how much time is left to 3:00 or how much time it will take is running at 5:00min/km for the rest of the race. Too many figures in the head. Cannot really do math anymore. At least not now. Running and seeing a sign, which I try to understand. Different paces, colours, people…what does this mean?!?!? Until I reach it and see while passing it that it has nothing to do with the race… A simple sign there indicating something which I don’t remember as when I passed it it went too fast. Turn right. Little shadow. Straight and right again. A bit of cheering. Keeping myself along the hedge. Not much shadow, but still. Reaching the end and turning abruptly left, crossing the road and then gravel again. Or dead-broken-old asphalt. None of them stands on my favourite ground for running. But I have now reached the final 4km. Feels like running on terrain. Not much up and downs, but gravel and broken old asphalt. I want to run on the road!!!! Passing a couple of guys looking dead tired or walking. Passing a gal there.. Yooooohoooo! One place better. She is walking towards the same path. She looks tired. Just focus on your own race. More running on this snake-like road. More gravel. More broken asphalt. Ouch! Hurting my ankle on a broken part. Getting a kind “You OK?” from the runner in front of me (I must have shouted a bit…). Embrace in the ears. Cannot stop the legs. Aaaaaaannnd… no!!!! Why are the runners ahead of me running “up”? Where is the last km. Have I missed something? Passing km40, getting my red gel. Make it work. Reaching km41, up AND trying to smile to the camera (what a GREAT idea to take a picture at THIS time of the race and when WE are running up?!?!?!). Now it is finish. We pass under the rampart door, finally on decent road and lovely asphalt. Heading to the little roundabout. Where are we reaching the road we took yesterday?!?!? Left and passing under the banner. NOW I recognise the street. NOW I can accelerate. NOW I can use the strengths left (if any). Straight road to the end. How long was it yesterday? Cannot remember. Doesn’t matter. Passing km41 and I dare a smile to the camera. Changing the music for the final stretch. I am going to kill my thighs for this, but that will be worth it. The average pace has been turning slowly from 4:14 around km35 to 4:15 at the beginning of the gravel/broken asphalt part and then 4:16 at km40. Let’s not make it worse than that. Final banner! What was it? 500 or 700m left to the arrival? Switching of the music. Screaming to a bike on the right side to NOT cross the road in front of me. Passing three guys. No time to chat. Sorry. Seeing “Red Singlet – Carma” ahead of me. He has dropped pace really much. (Well, I have too…). Run run run (and yes it hurts!) Hearing some cheering when turning finally left to the cobblestones of the final 200m or so. Seeing the finish line. Seeing the red mat on the stones. Light cheering on the side. Seeing the clock indicating 3:00:xx. Not a chance it will turn to 3:01. I rather hurt my thighs badly than that. Pushing a bit more. Lifting the arms and daring a smile to the cameras. That is it! Finish line is passed. 3:00:xx. FEEEEEEEELING SOOOO GOOOD!

Official time received later: 3:00:45.

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After the finish line

The legs feels like cotton. I don’t care. I feel I am so high that I cannot understand I have already arrived. I get a lady giving me a nice medal, I hear my name, looking around, getting from another lady a little green paper with “5” on it. Am I the 5th to arrive? Finding JP’s smile in the crowd. Big hug. Apparently I am not walking straight, but I could not care less. I need to drink. I need a massage. I need to rest. I need to shower. I need to eat. I need too many things that the head cannot process. Following JP to the refreshment tent and then the massage tent. Feeding myself with whatever I see. No coke nor sport drink L not liking warm tea. 1hour to wait for a massage. Feeling chafing pain right behind the left bum and between the breasts. Wonderful! Can hardly feel my thighs, the front being hard like stone. Wait for the massage was worth it. Walking back to the start with JP to get my reward (a nice trophy and a little box with 500g coffee from Ferrara and two very cute coffee cups. Perfect for a tea-drinker! J). Have changed clothes while waiting for the massage. We walk back to the hotel. Shower. Clean clothes on. And resting with legs up along the wall for a while.

After resting, we headed to the pasta party of the race. For a quick food intake. More walking. Buying parmesan cheese for getting back home. More rest. Checking the bus schedule for tomorrow. Restaurant to celebrate, with a traditional 4-meals course from Ferrara. Delicious. And getting us very stuffed! Lots of talking once again. And then time for bed. Deep sleep for a while…until the chafing sores woke me…and kept me awaken…

WHAT A GREAT DAY in the City of Renaissance and its Po Delta!

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Weather: 7.8ºC, Feels like 7.8ºC, 3 kph NNW wind, 100% humidity. As usual, this is the temperature at start of the race. Estimating the average temperature through the race to be 13-15ºC, windy from time to time, sunny during mostly two parts

Food: > before: chia porridge with banana, with Gatorade blue + little round bread with honey (5:30am)
> right after: ½ banana+warm tea+water+Gatorade orange
> 3 hours after: pasta party
> During: green gel @km20, grey gels at km30, yellow gel at km35 and red @km40 (at the water stations). TRY for sport drink at km10. Little jelly strawberry @km7 and 15 (w/water). Dextrosol: 2 at 1 every km or so at km22-23-24-26-27-28

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova Shorts Blue line, Casal Iconic black Sports bra (1), sunglasses, shoes were at their best as they usually are. Just flying forward and nothing else!

=> Perfect outfit. Surely a bit chilly at start, but not during the race at all. Still an issue regarding where to have the gels and dextrosol. Have a plan though for the next race… J

15/ first half was a decent 14-effort wise. Felt great, a bit more than regular workout (i.e. this is a race after all… it should feel a bit more). Could have definitely accelerated if having run only the half-marathon. Enough strengths left at halfway. Then a deep during km25-35 while running almost all alone. Final 7km were also run alone, but that was soon the end 🙂 Adrenaline kick was not fully felt at km40 as usually do, but seeing km41-sign definitely compensated! Second half was probably at 15-16 level.

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SUMMARY: Definitely a race to be! Objectives met over expectations, especially after having the calf strain two weeks before the race and strong recommendations by coach for not running the race. Far from well-prepared for the race, but the final days of the week prior to the race felt really good (even though was full with plenty of thoughts from work and other). JP and I felt more than ready to run on Friday already! Running with music as I was expecting to be alone during the second half, and this is what happened. Good help to keep up the pace. Body felt fine throughout the race, although could feel the tiredness coming. There was still something keeping up the full focus on running. Passing the finish line was great as usual. This feeling is indescribable. It has to be felt!

(Lots of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks. Even though not many were aware of this race to come. Great way to come back on track after the disappointing hip problem after Dubai in January. Getting a great ranking and 3rd best marathon time ever J Definitely a day to celebrate. Thanks for all the Italian runners and other runners that cheered during and after the race. Special thanks for JP who had suggested this race since a while and that brought lots of support before and after the race J Great with nice company for dinner after the race.

Thanks to the little ones at home and their standing words of support as well as their ever cheering, even when not on site J

Back to Sweden and its grey skies, usual cold temperatures and sunshine (hiding behind the clouds…) A bit of rest now before thinking of next adventures… (ok, there are already thoughts about funny races to do…)! THANKS!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Body felt great throughout the race. Front of both thighs were in pain during the little slope up to get close to the Po and from this moment, the tightness was felt constantly. Required lots of mental thoughts for NOT stopping “just to see if it feels better”. Surprisingly hearing after the finish line that I looked like having reached my max-limit (when my brain actually was pretty high on adrenaline and just wanted the body to do whatever it wanted as long as it was not running…). Good with this feedback for next races.

NOTE: Warmup? Pretty easypeasy run with JP prior to the race. Nothing more. That felt enough for the race and I was pretty surprise to be able to sustain a 4:09-pace throughout the first half despite the lack of warmup. Will work on this more.

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? Good to have had a backup plan! Energy drink served in mugs is NOT my preferred plan (well, not at this pace!). Use of the jelly was good, also it took a while for opening the first one. Now I know the trick. Much better as well as easier and lighter to carry than gels. Use of gels worked well. Only the “carrying” of the gels is still remaining a huge problem. The less clothes on the body, the trickier to “how to carry energy gel….”. Dextrosol every km felt working fine.

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Tested once more. Don’t feel it makes any difference. So skipping it next time.

NOTE: gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Working, but not practical when having a sports bra with ventilation on the back…

NOTE: gels in the sport-bra, in the front? Never worked and will never do…

NOTE: post-marathon recovery going well. Evening of the race and mostly feeling the chafing sticking to the regular clothes. Nothing else. Day after the body was feeling fine and will hopefully continue to do so!

New adventures soon to come…