Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Travel

Sevilla 2020 – M day-2…

Nobody can ever convince me that having an alarm ringing at 3:20am means fun… and still it rang this early today. First night of the week which started before 11pm and did not mean visit to the ER (Tuesday) or the doc (Wednesday) or guys coming to check on the repair on the balcony…no, it meant going up to get ready for taking the cab to the airport…

Backing a bit into time here… After Ironman Hamburg, I wanted (and needed) to have a fast marathon in the legs. A proper one. With good preparations. Started with change of coach for triathlon focus (longing for having my running coach back but 2020 has 2 triathlons planned, hence more specific coach for this discipline). Agreed on one race in September and marathon focus towards Sevilla. Registered to the race before the end of August already.

Fast forward, new way of training, unsure of the quality of my results with this training but confident and truthful in my coach. December got this stupid stress-fracture-like in my right foot, messing up with the whole training. Converting running into indoor cycling in the living room. Back on track in January, but missing the longer runs really. Which in my mind are the key to get those good feelings in marathon.

Fast forward, receiving an email telling I won a contest which meant free entry to Sevilla marathon and the whole trip too… Could not really believe it. Exactly the week I started to look more actively to book my flights and accommodation for the race 🙂 No joke. City Sightseeing marathon challenge got me the best travel preparations as I have after that only focused on training (well… not just training, there is a life as well outside running…). Loooots of running indoors, more than I ever did before. Due to the real rubbish weather (to pick from: rain, cold, frozen asphalt, storm, wind…).

Fast forward, spent the last week trying to avoid people, which did not result work with one day at the office full of meetings, one day at the hospital for E and a few hours at the doc… yeah…life getting kind of in the way…

Too early to take the first tram and bus to the airport, hence the taxi @4:20am. Forgot my bagel at home. Good I took 2 single bags of sport drink and one bag of gummy bears with me… just in case. Meeting a colleague at the gate. We discovered each other a few weeks earlier through job meeting and leading to running talk 🙂 that we would go to the same race and with the same flights… Boarding and meeting the smile from Musse who also runs on Sunday. And Micke Ekvall is in the plane too… Wow! Talk about flying with the stars!

Slept all first flight. Dead tired indeed… Munich airport is joining Frankfurt on the list of the most boring airports in the universe… Toilet stop. Bagel purchase and time for second flight. Don’t dare to eat the stuff there. So preparing the second sport drink bottle and start digging in the gummy bears bag. More sleep soon…

Finally Sevilla, its sun, its nice people, its marathon… Got picked up by Rosanna from City Sightseeing and that’s when the real experience began 🙂 First a few pictures at the airport, then taxi to the hotel with a few detours to show me a bit the city. Free afternoon until the two other winners of the City Sightseeing marathon challenge arrive this evening. Dropped my stuff at the hotel, walked a little around. Quick visit to Decathlon to get some soft pants, then food hunting. About time… Too much to choose at tapas restaurants, so settling for Japanese. Sushi, bao and curry noodles, topped with some Aquarius drink. Maybe on the low side for total energy intake so far, but ok. Sunshine means staying out. A bit of research based in Rosanna’s suggestions and I started to walk towards Torre del Oro. Impossible to miss the green lines on the asphalt. The race vibes have started. Walking over a little tunnel and seeing the green lines are getting into it… Yeah… they said it was a flat route… and this happens around 2.5km after the start… and to be run TWICE as it will also be the for the second loop… Ok. Better knowing it now that discovering it on Sunday… Resting and sunbathing a while closer to Torre del Oro after having admired the building for bull fighting.

Time to get back home. A bit of shopping and then testing those legs. Faking asleep a while. The two British guys arrive with 30 minutes delayed flight. Real nice to meet them: Shaun won on his story and Nathan on his best tune (2:28!!!). Laura and Zoe are also with Nathan for this weekend adventure. Late dinner at a tapas restaurant with Antonio, Lauren and 2 former winners from last year edition.

Now it’s midnight. Really time to sleep!…


Race Report – Hamburg Marathon – 2017/04/23

Hamburg 2017

Smiling until the end!

Planned: 3hr or less… Health ok, training ok, head a bit off, but it felt achievable

Actual: 3:12:21 – 87th women, 2nd Swedish female, 16th age category & 1,127 (total 15,000 runners). Weather not being clement this day, ruining my plans already from start, saw the sub3 disappearing already then. Took decision to change the plan after 17km run and continue as an easy long run. Surely disappointed, but not fully. There will be more races…

Race Results:
place (M/W) 86
place (age) 16

Total 1119 (out of 15.000)

Age/grade: 74.08% (2017 Tokyo 78.07 / 2016 Amsterdam 79.9 / Ferrara 78.2 / 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 (gun) 03:12:21

time total (brutto) 03:12:28

average pace: 4:33min/km… almost distance-pace…no comment!

Official splits:

Split Time Time
(split)
Pace (min/km) km/h
5 km

00:21:26

21:26

04:18

14.00

10 km

00:43:07

21:41

04:21

13.84

15 km

01:05:10

22:04

04:25

13.60

20 km

01:29:53

24:43

04:57

12.14

Half (21.1km)

01:35:08

05:15

04:48

12.54

25 km

01:53:13

18:06

04:39

12.95

30 km

02:16:41

23:28

04:42

12.79

35 km

02:39:40

23:00

04:36

13.05

40 km

03:02:37

22:57

04:36

13.08

42.2km

03:12:21

09:45

04:27

13.52

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M Day-6&-5

Started carb depletion slightly earlier and a bit differently. The weather being extremely windy, it did not allow for terrific workouts, the moral was pretty down and honestly, there was time to really questioned what I was doing at all.

M Day -4

Final session. 5K at expected marathon pace. Piece of cake, right? Well, scheduling this session became a bit tricky. Early morning (read: “about 5am”…) was out of question. The weather forecast the evening before showed -3/4°C and for any other session or even a similar workout but NOT in the final week, I would have gone for it. But as said earlier, the moral was not to the top. The lunch weather forecast was however promising warm 9°C, no wind and sunshine. The deal was done! Meeting all morning and then went to change. Well outside the building, only grey, light wind and poor 5°C were welcoming me. Brilliant choice of clothes with singlets, shorts, arm sleeves and calve sleeves. And sun glasses… It worked but with 3 stops during the fast part. Slightly faster than expected, feeling all fine if it wasn’t for the wind out there. Back to the office, work all afternoon. And that was it. Final session. Not really seeing the training done for the past month in that session. But ok. The positive with this day? Start with carboloading. One day earlier. And having received product from Isostar I decided to test them as well the day after. Massage in the evening. Really painful pressure point on the right hip. Yap. Not really the way you want it to be 4 days before a race…

M Day-3

Working from home this day as happened to develop an allergy after being back at the office for two days (they were renovating there…). Better be safe than sorry. At least the allergy reaction decreased and the scratching almost disappeared. Change of plans regarding the preps, turning the 8-10km easy into a real slow 5K to shake the legs more than run with them… Slightly sensitive in the foot, wearing an ankle support seemed the good approach. (Probably the “better” approach would have been to skip the run and rest…). Started Carbo-loading with the Isostar Malto-Carbo-loading I won. Lots of drinking. All fine. Did not feel the “rush of happiness” that generally comes with carbo-loading, but ok. At least the body tolerated the Isostar.

M Day-2

Travel day…Not much sleep, missed the tram, started to stress a bit, got into the bus to the airport and felt better. Check-in completed. On my way. Met lots of runners in the queue to the control and remember that London was also run this same day as Hamburg. Fell asleep before take off. Listened to music all the way. Gloomy welcoming from Hamburg with fog and 7ºC. Easy travel with train and metro and walk to the room I rented. Dropped my stuff and walked to the Expo to get my BIB. Very surprised that the Expo was only 1km from home. Got my BIB, a few pics, bought some sport drinks High5 to try it during next 2 days and headed to Decathlon. And then back home. Had eaten half-baguette with ham for breakfast and one with honey on the way to the expo. Rested 1hour. Needed more food. Found a pasta restaurant not far from home. The Penne al Forno was a HUGE portion and after eating half of it, I got the rest in a little box to get home. Short walk to Lidl for buying bread, banana, snickers, orange juice and home again. Met my host’s boyfriend and we had lots of talking about running. They are nice hosts 🙂 Then time for more work. Fixed a bit and then bed time. A bit late, but I had rested in the afternoon.
Drank second day of the Isostar Malto-Carbo-loading. As well as a couple of bottles of the High5-lemon. Feeling a bit heavy. Mostly because of the pasta though.

M Day-1

Wanted to run now. For real! Awaken early with the lights through the curtains. Change gears and took an easy 7.6km run. First to the little lake when km39 was indicated. Headwind during the 39 to 41. The little slope/incline of the km41 could be felt already today. Will be interesting to see how it would feel the day after with 41km in the legs… Could not run to the start as there was the kids’ race. Waited a bit and ran to km1 and then back to the start. And then back home. Spent the rest of the day resting, preparing my gear, drinking High 5 sport drink and preparing my bottles which I dropped at the Expo in mid-afternoon. After that, I felt ready. Quite light. Decided to have final food intake around 1-2pm and then only drink loads of sport-drink. High5 felt quite ok and the body did not reacted. Fair enough.

Bed time around 9:30pm. Could hear the neighbours partying. My hosts came back not too late but close to midnight did go to the neighbours and telling them kindly to lower voice and music as they had a marathoner trying to sleep before her race (NOTE: I got this info the day after from my hosts 🙂 Cool people!)

NOTE: counted 37 showers during the day… with sunshine in-between…and of course wind… Promising weather for the race…

M DAY!!!!

Finally!!!! All Race day start with this word!

Before the race

05:00am – Waking up early as usual. Ate breakfast of champions (chia seeds, green mix, 1 banana and High5 sport drink, orange juice, a little piece of baguette with honey). And back to bed…

5:30am – The usual happening now. Drinking High5 on regular basis every 30min or so.. To avoid the problem from Amsterdam and Tokyo with too full blaster, I stop the drinking 30min earlier than usually do.

6:30am – Time to get ready! Shower, cream, fixing the hair, warming gel on the legs and anti-chaffing cream on the top. Racing gear on (SWE hotpants and singlet, arm sleeves pink and wind gloves, a neckwarmer, my Compressport calve sleeves (a first for a marathon!) and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky). Got my sunglasses on the top of the head. The weather was planned to be nice but windy. So they would help for skipping “crying eyes” throughout the race… Set my mp3

Got on the top of my racing gear the 2XXL easy pants I bought at Decathlon. WAY too big, but ok. Extra jacket as well which would get thrown before the start. And that was it. One caffeine gel in the back of the bra and one gel in the back pocket with the Dextrosol. Take my little red-disgusting-juice and time to go!

7:10am – Tried to jog to the start. But having the bag in the back and those too-large pants which I feared to get chaffing problems, it did not turn as a warmup really. Stopped the watch after reaching the start area. But it took a while to get all around the Hall building to drop my stuff. Left my bag, kept on the warm pants, extra tshirt and wind-jacket. First stop at the loo. No queue. Perfect. Did not feel that the start was quite close actually. People were all around and in no hurry to neither warm up nor get to the start corrals…

8:10am – New attempt to warmup after checking where was the start…and it started raining… Yeaaaah… Got to the loo one more time… and then another time, more like a “stress-stop” than a “need-to-go-stop”. At least this blaster would NOT annoy me during the race… I thought.

8:30am – In the corral…which was pretty empty… I felt that no urgency was raised and went out for a FINAL stop at the loo closed to our corral opening. Back to the start after that.

8:45am – Hummm… The wheelchair athletes started to line-up and in my B-corral, there were still lots of place between runners. Start was given to the wheelchair, the A-corral started to fill in and the invited athletes got to their start…

8:55am – Off with the too-large pant and the extra tshirt and the wind jacket. Body warmth all-around was sufficient 🙂

8:57am-ish – Eeeeeeeeh…sorry? But what it the blue rope still doing in front of us. We want to get closer to the start. But the volunteers are not letting us move. We have to wait for the gun shot they said…. H*ll no! Several are passing under the blue rope and I am one of them. Enough stress in the body and mind for not having this rope in front of me/us!

THE RACE

First half

09:10am – BAAAAM! Yes! All starts seem to sound this way. The runners are unleashed and I am happily one of them. I am happy. My legs are running. Finally. Pressing start on my watch, although I am a bit unsure whether I did not wait too long for starting it. And with the bad surprise from Amsterdam with the watch choosing to pause itself after the start, I do check quickly after 300m whether it is still on. Yap! Race on! Trying NOT to get too excited. Got passed before km1 by one of the Swedish gals I knew would be in the lead. Nothing to do about this actually. 1Km done. 4:09 according to my watch. Fine. This stretch is nice… until the drizzle starts to join us… well…actually it feels like light rain…or more heavy rain… Before turning right after the first km mark, we are already getting cheering from the skies in shape of small or medium hailstones falling. THAT’S A FIRST! Never got a race with this! Hoped/counted that it would stop fast… But nope. Passed km2 a bit too fast in 4:04 but with the hails falling on us, accumulating on the asphalt and making it slippery… It feels out of this world! Is this really happening? Can’t we rewind a bit here? Change the weather-channel, maybe? Groars are coming out from the running crowd. And laughs. And “you must be kidding?!?!”. Yap! Not only me having this “I-want-to-get-back-to-start-and-have-a-decent-weather-I try to keep focused. Skip looking at the watch. Carefully looking -maybe too close – on the asphalt ahead of me. It is covered by a little white stuff which looks like snow. Main objective has shifted: Time does no longer matter. Just do NOT fall on this rubbish-slippery-little-white-cover. Passing km3 and still hailstones falling. I don’t want to stop. I want IT to stop! And this part until km6-ish is slightly up. Which I am well aware about. My plan is disappearing piece by piece. My wristbands do not longer mean anything. I am expecting the 3:00-guys to pass me in a minute or two. Passing km5 in 21:25. Sub3-plan kiss goodbye! Taking my first bottle. More as a moral support than because I need it. A few glups of sport-drink and hop! Cannot feel that I am tired, but this 2km-long hailstones rain has frozen my body. My muscles which I was very careful NOT to have chilled out before start (for ONCE I was well-prepared with all the extra clothing before start) are not responding as they should. My brain is not functioning positively. I want to see this stupid turn after km6 and have a downhill. The left turn arrives and then straight ahead…no downhill?!?!? Nope. Well, yes. A little one at a moment but it comes more abruptly than the progressive down slope I was expecting. I am not happy. But I run. I am far off my schedule. Lots of thoughts in the head. I don’t want to see the 3:00-guys. Not now. Not that early in the race. And suddenly they come… One carries a white balloon with 3:00 on it. And we are barely at km10. What is wrong in the picture? Haven’t they got the hailstones too? Or was it only raining on me? Yeaaaah…must be that. Getting my second bottle at the water-station. I am not thirsty. I want to go back to the start and do it all-over again. Sun is shining now. Wind on the side as expected. Wet on the asphalt. And snail-pace me is actually running. And THEN I am passed AGAIN by another 3:00-guy who actually has his white balloon in the air. He is more likely to be on-time with the expectations of the group. We are passing km13-ish. And I get a renew energy. I am keeping up with their pace for a couple of km. Passing km15 and my third bottle. They are getting a bit ahead of me. But that’s ok. Nothing is hurting in me. The body is responding properly. But my watch is indicating a way-too-slow pace. Seeing the distance with the 3:00-group increasing and my blaster ringing a bell, I have a couple of choices: continuing to purse this group and hope the blaster holds at least until the half-marathon distance or taking a stop at the first blue box I see and get along with whatever strength I found after that. The distance keep increasing and a blue box is in sight. Exactly at the right corner. Quick decision to get into it. And then time seems to stop. I count the seconds. The blaster is not the main issue. That ain’t ok. I am now over 1 minute in my count. I don’t want to get out of the blue box. It feels safe inside. And maybe nothing is happening outside. Or time has stopped there. Or… or… or… Knock knock on the door gets me out of lethargy. I have to leave. Opening the door feels like one of the biggest efforts so far today. Welcomed out by a brilliant sunshine, a wave of wind and too many runners who make me realized that time has not stopped. My watch indicate 4:26min/km as average pace after this stop. Not many choice now. Setting my mp3 plugs in the ears. Setting the proper DJ Eclipse long run music and that’s on. No more race for me today. This stop at km17 has completed the killing of both the pace and the will/determination to get under 3 hours or even close. The mind is now focusing on getting this done. Just running. A Swedish gal and a Swedish man are passing me. Linné-singlet is easy to recognize. But the gal I was expecting her to be a bit further behind me…not passing me now…even before halfway. At least they both cheer for me and I can keep my smile on my face… Passing km20 in too long time for being a race. The competitive spirit is no longer there. Has stopped functioning for a while apparently. Reaching halfway in 1:35-ish. This is a good training pace basically… Nothing more but nothing less. Realizing that I have never run that slow a first half since…. Dubai 2013…Rubbish first half…

Second half

Starting the second half is full with hope. Having had headwind or sidewind all the way now, I am looking forward to get to the 35km point and down to the end for having this refreshing helpful tailwind. Have been passed by two Swedes (well, probably more, but those two guys from IS Göta-Helsingborg looked way more fit than me. And they cheered. That was nice). My bottle of km20 had a gel on it and it helps a bit. Nothing strong all good. Counting that I have 3 bottles left to take. That’s a good and positive thoughts. Trying to catch up with a guy on a bike with a little car behind him. Seeing the red heart-shaped balloons he has, I read “30”… OMG! The 3:30-guys are ahead of me?!?!? When did THAT happened. Slow is ok, but not THAT slow! Taking a little while before I realized that it is “30” as in “don’t drive faster than 30km/h”-sign he has. Ha ha ha! Funny…NOT! (well, ok, this is funny, but my brain at this particular moment does not really register the joke). And then I have a new plan: I could ask the guy on the bike if I can sit in his little car behind and that he could bring me to the next 15km or so… yes… That sounds like a plan… until I am reaching slowly but surely the bike and passing it… Hummm… OK. Better/Faster on foot than on bike. Boost given for the next 3km 🙂 Running in this part of the city is nice. Reminds me of Rotterdam. Green trees. People outside cheering. All is working as it should. Except for my legs which are only on “distance-pace mode”. But that’s ok. Km25 and my new bottle with more cheering on it. I remove the Swedish flag and give it to a little girl on the side. Got a smile for it. So worth it! When reaching km30, new gel with yummy salted butter/caramel taste and new calculations. The small jelly squares taken every km or so between km22 and 32 do help. I think… The hailstones have fallen once or twice more, if it was not rain as well. The wind was definitely there. Don’t ask me how. It can NOT be headwind all the time on a one loop course…except here…in Hamburg! My brain gives me still a finish time of 3:15. Not bad. But honestly, not good. So a little thing in me is waking up and I feel my legs lighter and moving faster. Meeting a guy on a regular basis here. And for a stretch I get his company and that feels…Hmmm… ok. Not THE pace I want which is way faster, but the pace I changed and want for the end. Feeling even that we accelerate slightly. A bit of smiling to each other. That is nice. Steady-slow @4:36-tempo… Yap. Distance-pace. But today it is a bit (…) longer than my morning run 🙂 And we turn left at km31. Headwind bothering all of us, but I KNOW that it will be kind for us after this turn….and….and….nope! nothing. Headwind again! Or side/headwind…. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE EXACTLY?!?! The long stretch down the lake is nice…if it was not for the wind. I can see the IF Linnea chick and the Swedish guy a bit ahead of her. I want to pass her. Slight acceleration. Nothing really. But my running-buddy cannot follow. He stops suddenly on the side of the road. Still 20m behind the gal. Nooooo! I wanted him to help me passing her. And to help me passing the Swedish guy after that. And would probably have found others to pass after that 😦 A bit sad, but not stopping. And keeping my pace. Reaching the Swedish gal and cheering a bit. And hope. She looks a bit tired. I feel on the contrary better and way better than during the first half of the race. Is that so that I now need 21km warmup before feeling fine for a marathon?!?! Km35 and my last bottle. Message on it this time: ”LAST ONE”. A bit tricky to take the gel off the bottle. And when I eventually succeed in opening it and getting gel in my mouth, the taste of cherry is…disgusting like crazy!!! Why on earth haven’t I tried this taste before during training? Thought that with a different taste it would be waking me up. And indeed it does. I have swallowed a little of the gel. Drank a bit of water. And press all the leftover of the gel in the mouth. Take water and mix the whole thing in the mouth. OMG! This is disgusting! Taste really ugly! Decided that the “placebo” effect would have to do. I spit all on the asphalt. Must look like I am spitting dark blood. Continuing my run. Have never given so many high-fives in a race. Not even in Berlin 2014… And THAT was a lot! The 12km countdown is the best ever. There is another countdown starting at “1km done, 41 to go…”, but this one is niiiice! Counting kilometers left multiplied by 5min-tempo… I know I am faster than that, but have no idea how my brain will do the calculation if asking to multiply by 4:36-tempo. Less than an hour. 10km left. Less than 50minutes. I want to get to km39. To feel that I am finally close. I am passing people now. This beautiful and windy path, with those high trees on both sides. I like it. I know km39 is soon there. I am not following the blue line any longer. I am ON it. Not a chance I will run longer than I should 😛 Seeing the lake on the left side. It feels like spring. Short hailstones rain again. Does not matter any longer. I would not care less. Km39 is there. I have 15 minutes to finish. IF I was at 5min.tempo. But I won’t allow this to happen. Passing guys and turning right. Headwind. Don’t care. Turning left. Km40 is there!!! Euuuhhh nope. Not yet. Down the street. I take out my final liquid gel. Cola-taste. I know it taste bad, but it has so much caffeine in it, that I SHOULD be able to press a bit more. Recognizing the final stretch from yesterday. Seeing km41. People are slowing down. I don’t. I push even more. No at all full power, but definitely faster. And it goes slightly up. But I know it. And it feels. But I know it. Passing one IF GÖTA guy. Feeling that I am unstoppable. THAT is the feeling I should have had from start! And a faster pace too! Getting passed by a guy with Swedish colours. Cheering from him give me an extra bright smile. I just want to pass people. Pass gals mostly to have a slightly better Turning right. Over the little bridge. Windy. Seeing the final final street. Cannot estimate the distance to the red carpet. But I know it is mine. OK…not completely JUST for me, but my brain doesn’t know that at this particular moment. Passing a Danish gal. Yeaaaah! And seeing two other gals ahead of me. Those ones won’t be there. I feel like a rocket, but really run like a fast snail in reality. OK…like an average snail, not even a fast one. But this red carpet! OMG! Feels so good! Smiling right and left. Have no music in the ear since I passed km41. Just feeling the cheering all around and that is why the finish lines are so addictive! Done!

Official time received later: 3:12:21…

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

After the finish line

Not even looking at my watch. I am under 3:15 and that is enough to be an ok-long run. Feeling a bit off in the groin right side. But others are in way worse conditions. Getting a smile from two swedes, a thanks for several guys. And that’s it. Walking to the Hall, taking a bit of sport drink, chocolate bar and a paper cup filled with small pretzels. I am done. Stomach aches keeping me away for a short while. Walking to pick up my bag. Getting a well-deserved massage. Walking home. Shower, warm clothes and feet up against the whole for 45 minutes. The rain is falling again. And stops. As so many times yesterday and today. Feeling tired, surely not happy of the time, surely not satisfied because I feel the body is not completely emptied of strength. I am fine. Rubbish race-time, but decent long-run time. That would do for today…

My very kind hosts let me stay longer than planned. So I get a good nap. Wake up at the smell of freshly done waffles. Got offered one by my host and we start chatting. They are very kind and cool to talk to. Would have gladly stayed longer. Especially as I am to be traveling back to Hamburg on Tuesday morning… But the original plan has not changed. Thanking my hosts, getting to the train and then the airport. Lots of wait and then through the control… longing for a large piece of meat with French fries…to see that only coffee shops are available after the airport controls… Settling for 2 hot chicken wraps and a half-liter Coke. I am tired. I am on my way home. I have for the first time run a marathon as training… I am happy 🙂

**********

Weather: 5°C, cloudy, Feels like 1.7°C, 16kph W wind, 81% humidity. Did not feel THAT cold at start. But surely freezing during the hailstones rain from km1 to 3 and then better under the sun and then more rain and hailstones and sun and wind all the time… Estimated average temperature would be 5-7ºC probably. My estimations anyway.

Food:
> before: chia porridge with green mix and orange juice, 1 banana, 1 piece of bread with honey, High5 sportdrink (5dl?) (5:am) Little bottle of red juice 2 hours before

> right after: banana+pretzels+2 glass of sportdrink

> 3.5 hours after: 2 waffles without eggs with sugar on. Orange juice

> During: 1 strawberry jelly right before start, High5 Lemon sport drink @km5-10-15-25, Aptonia gel (salted butter/caramel*2 and cherry-disgusting) @km20-30-35. Coffeine Powergel at km40. Strawberry jellies: 1 at km22 and 1 every km or so at km23-24-26.

Gear: ADIDAS SWE outfit (hotpants & sports bra), Casal Iconic black Sports bra MIK, arm sleeves pink, Compressport calve sleeves, neckwarmer, sunglasses, shoes all good for the job.
> extra clothes dropped before start: 2XXL Decath easy pants, old Djaz tshirt and wind-jacket.

=> Perfect outfit? Definitely! Had hesitated pretty much all the days before leaving home about what to wear. But hotpants was definitely on. For the top it was a bit tricky through. But on the race day, that was it. Perfect outfit. My alternative outfit was similar (singlet and hotpants) but black… Tricky to run with the arm sleeves but very handy to get on and off depending on the weather. Having the calve sleeves during a marathon was a first. Worked fine…although it was far from marathon-pace. Will probably skip them next time. VERY GOOD to have the extra clothes before the race, especially for the legs, and avoiding the frozen legs from Tokyo…

14/ Unfortunately, nothing high on the effort level. Not even during the “faster” parts of first km. The change of plan to get this race as training long run made the effort level close to decent long run. Would have gladly had higher effort and faster pace…

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SUMMARY: The expectations set were aligned with the training that had been done. Had hesitated between Prag (fully booked), Düsseldorf (not too fast route) and Hamburg (a bit close to Tokyo but fast route). Hamburg was the easy/only choice. Ready to get fast. But the weather the week prior to the race was very changing and honestly on the race day, this was not the weather I can perform in. Running can be done in any weather (…ok…heavy snow and minus 15ºC or more are stopping me from running outdoors…) but for racing, that’s different. For sure others are less sensitive (like our fast Swede D.Nilsson getting to the finish line in 2:15 and qualifying for World Championships this way…. but this also means he did not have the second and third hailstones rains we – slower runners- got around 2hr 30 and later…). Yes it is disappointing. Yes I am not happy. Yes I know better than stopping at the loo. Yes yes yes… But marathon is a brutal story. To get it right, everything has to be falling into piece at the same time. A puzzle ain’t complete if one part is lost… Anyway, the wind was not on my side, the rain was not a problem but the hailstones were, the stop at the loo was necessary… Easy said: that was not THE day. But once again, happy to have completed the run in decent time for a low effort. 10 minutes slower than Tokyo… But feeling way better the days after 🙂

There will be more races…

(Buckets of thanks for the support and cheering during my preparation. A bit tricky with the tapering weeks and lots at work, but that’s the price to pay for being running athlete with a full-time job 🙂 Preparation worked as planned even though the motivation itself went up and down. The weather was not my friend this day. And I cannot help or control on this. New adventures on the way… with short and medium races in-between 🙂

Of course a huge thanks to my fellow runners Swedes and not Swedes who passed me or got passed by me, who smiled and cheered, who huged after the finish line, who heard from them after the race…. Yes, running a marathon is cool. Passing the finish lines is addictive. The way to achieve all this is a mean to this end. Whatever the “end” might look like. No training goes to waste. Special thanks to my little people at home, cheering any time, laughing sometimes at the look I have when getting back from training but always so present. You might not understand this right now, but this will come one day and you will 🙂 Loving you unconditionally!

And thanks to my German hosts for making my stay perfect in Hamburg!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Body check? Did I really run a marathon? Surely it felt right after the race. Must have been walking a bit funky/funny back home. Slight pain on right hip/groin side, but all fine while walking. Tired a lot after getting back home and showered. Good with some sleep. No hip pain during the race, but on the other side I ran this one slow. During the hailstones of the start, I could feel something coming in the legs and deliberately slowed a bit for 1) not falling and 2) not increasing this “whatever-pain-it-is”. Worked fine. Same as after Tokyo, Achille’s heels did not scream at all. All quiet…

NOTE: Warmup? Impossible to count the jogging to the start as a warmup, nor the back & forth acceleration between the loos before start. Simply said: no warmup for this race. On the other side, have learned my lesson and the extra clothes (including the extra large pants) were the best I could do to keep myself warm before the race. Maybe this helped to start the way it did… Unfortunate that the 3-4km at the start were under hailstones and getting me so cold. Those km are generally used to warmup the body…

NOTE:…and then the “loo incident”. OK, this was not an incident. It was well-needed. Unsure whether it was the High5 sport drink not liked by my stomach (although I had drunk this during 2 days without problem) or the cold from the start making my stomach unhappy. Anyway, something was seriously wrong. And this stop was needed. Could not have done differently. Maybe slightly faster…but even unsure for this.

NOTE: Energy/refueling during the race? Very handy to be able to leave personal refreshment in advance. I chose to use High5 sport drink lemon even though had never used it before the 2 days before the race. Could not find Isostar and wanted to be sure to be able to rely on the sport drink served on the route (High5 lemon) in case my bottles would get missing. No problem to find the bottles which were perfectly pimped. The small motivational message were doing a great job. A problem with the last gel with cherry taste which was extremely disgusting. Should have known better than testing during the race…

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Took two small bottles days prior to the race, could be the thing that troubled my stomach? Although this was no new thing to me.

NOTE: then…gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Had 2 in the back, just in case mine would ot be available on the bottles. Worked perfectly. Slight chaffing pain after the race, but unsure how this came.

NOTE: …and no gel/dextrosol in sport bra in the front? Yihoooo! Skipping the chaffing issue this time!

NOTE: then…small jellies in the back pocket of the hotpants? Worked fine. Although it feels a bit heavy at start.

NOTE: Hamburg marathon is hereby the coldest and windiest marathon I have ever run 😛

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. Trip back home on Sunday evening, 3 hours sleep before getting ready for work, flying back to Hamburg for conference on the Tuesday and then back home late on Thursday evening… Good that there was no jet-lag involved in these trips!!! Recovery of several days before a first test run 5 days after the race. No problem. Can really feel that the pace used was NOT the one that makes the body tired…

Looking forward to new adventures …soon…


Race Report – Tokyo Marathon – 2017/02/26

tokyo2017-finishline-thedayweunite

Happy finisher with double rewards!

 

Planned: 2:57/58, definitely sub3. Second target? Good place in the Run as One – Oversea category…

Actual:……3:02:31. Placing: 113 all women, 20th  age category, 1st Swedish woman, 1,527 out of total 33,947 finishers. Far from the expectation, far from being satisfied, too far from sub3 and a hip not collaborating at all during the second half, and still a sprint in the last km with a defecting knee and limping towards the finish line… Still… a whole adventure from start to end completing the 6 World Marathons Majors 🙂

Race Results: place (M/W) 113 place (age) 20

Total 1,527 (out of 33,947)

age/grade: 78.07% (2016 Amsterdam 79.9% / Ferrara 78.2% / 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 (gun) 03:02:31

time total (brutto) 03:02:37

average pace: 4:20min/km

Official splits:

Name Time Time (split) Pace min/km
5 km 0:20:56 20:56 04:11 min/km
10 km 0:41:53 20:57 04:11 min/km
15 km 1:03:18 21:25 04:17 min/km
20 km 1:24:34 21:16 04:15 min/km
21.1 km 1:28:28 04:37 04:12 min/km
25 km 1:46:10 16:40 (21:30) 04:18 min/km
30 km 2:07:29 21:25 04:17 min/km
35 km 2:30:10 22:41 04:32 min/km
40 km 2:52:56 22:46 04:33 min/km
42.2 km (Finish) 03:02:31 09:35 04:22 min/km

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August 2016…

Receiving an email confirming my qualification in the “Run as One” program in the semi-elite overseas category. Felt really cool and happy as I had tried twice before to get in via the lottery and it was my final attempt. Not much done until final months of preparation. Yes…one more thing: never been in Asia, don’t speak nor understand the language and still will be running my 6th World Marathon Major there…

M Day-6&-5

Travel to Tokyo. Worked in the morning before boarding and then 2 flights, 3 movies and 13 hours later I landed in the country of the Rising Sun. Felt a bit surreal, although an airport is an airport… Exchange my JRPass voucher to a pass ticket and got on the Nigari express to reach Tokyo. Then smoothly bought an Suica card for travelling by subway and reaching my apartment close to Kayabasho station. All prefect. Until I started to chase for some food… All written in…Japanese and having no idea what was in it. Pictures ain’t helping neither some times. Ended in a little cafeteria and got a beef bowl with rice. A bit heavy. But that would do. Emptied some of my stuff and changed to get an easy run out there. Well-placed, my apartment was close to the intersection km28/10 of the race. So I took the km28 to 30 (straight long street) and then went over on the Hibiya park side where km41 would be and ran the final 1.2km. Crazy freezing and crazy windy. Was not expecting this at all. Took pics all along, so not much of an effort on this one. Body felt fine and no issue to get to sleep later on. Carb-depletion was not done fully thought, but reducing a bit the intake of carbs. Work in the evening to finish my day.

M Day -4

Early awaken and well-rested. Too early maybe. Changed and got a morning run along the race route again. The plan was 8-10km but it turned into a long(er) 15km repérage. Ran from km10/28 to km14, skipped the straight line to km 15 & back and took the km16 to the mid-race instead. Beautiful weather outside (read: sunny and chilly…4°C out there…). Felt good and once again the body was all ready for running. Too many stops during the run though in order to let the cars pass at the traffic lights. Good protein brunch cooked at home and then time to work a bit. Decided to go for some sightseeing too…on foot… Which work very well. Ended in 15km walk and frozen little me decided to call it the day after that. Not because I was tired, but the legs were expected to run a race in four days after all. Back home and light dinner. And then evening meetings and work. Time for bed after a while.

M Day-3

Once again awaken pretty early. Very sweaty, which made me think I might go down for a cold or something and that was NOT in the plans. Drank a bit before heading out. Easy run to the Imperial Palace and then final fast distance trial before the race. Turned into 2*2.5km instead of 5km as the wind was really bothering me and honestly, I did not feel like fighting it today. Ran under drizzle and 14°C warmth in the air. Really nice…if it wasn’t for the wind. Could not get to the proper pace, either too slow or too fast. Ran back home and that was it. Breakfast and work. Changed my plans there as well and headed to the expo to get my BIB instead of doing it on my rest day on Friday. Took the bus down, walk the last bit, got my BIB and got lost in a very large and very loud expo. Bus back home, lunch and dead-tired little me laid down on my bed for a quick nap, which turned into 1.5hrs… Up for some work for the rest of the day. Unable to sleep early this time. Watched a movie on my laptop.

M Day-2

Rest day! Yipiii?…. Not really. Had nothing to do really, so worked a little bit and then took my shoes on and headed to Zojoji park for a bit of walking. The aim was MAXIMUM 5-6km walk. Got to the park, took lots of pics and then headed towards Moji park and the Maman araignée sculpture (with such an arachnophobia of my kind that was NOT considered as good therapy…) and then back home. Work the rest of the day. Once again got dead-tired around 3pm, slept 2hours and then back to work. And it was already time for bed. Again… Counted down the hours left to the start…several times! The positive with this day was the carboloading had started. Chose to drink the “sport drink” served during the race throughout the day. Work fine. Meals were pretty simple though: pork bowl with rice for lunch and noodles for dinner.

M Day-1

OMG! Only one day left! Prepared my breakfast and left it for a final leg shaking on the marathon course. Went to km10 and ran up the street towards km8 or so and then turned back home. The program said 4-6km and accelerations. A bit difficult to do the accelerations in streets which have stops at every traffic light…and honestly I completely forgot to do them… Nice leg shaking. Felt a bit off. Was it really tomorrow (already?) that the race would be? Rest of the day was pretty much based on “doing the least possible”, which was annoying as the sun was shining and it did not feel (that) cold outside. Spent time at the close-by Starbucks and then back home. Got my gear ready, carefully reading once again (!) all the instructions to get to the start and how it would work at the end. Food-wise it turned into a larger portion of beef bowl with rice and miso for lunch, additional drinking of sport drink during all afternoon and evening, a soy chocolate and chocolate chip scone at Starbucks and a bun stuffed with red beans later during the day. Mostly drinking during the afternoon and evening. Felt all fine. Ready? Not really, but that would do. Double-checked (again?!) the route to get to the start. And put myself into bed and watch 3 episodes of Game of Thrones to relax a bit. In deep sleep before 11pm. That’s a first for a night before a race…

M DAY!!!!

Finally!!!!

Before the race

04:05am – awoke up a bit, well-rested. Decided to remain in bed until the clock ring… Not really actually. Too much thoughts in the head, feeling at the same time that the mind was empty. Hummm…

5:05am – Up now for breakfast before the alarm rang. Breakfast of champions once again (chia seeds, green mix, 2 bananas and Pocari water, orange juice. Had not found a bread I wanted but bought 4 small pancakes… not reading the Japanese text (!) saying they were stuffed with something looking like jam and cream-like stuff. No time for finding a replacement. Cleaned up as much as could of the cream&jam off the pancake, covered it with honey and that was it. Not really ready for more sleep though.

5:35am – ok. Time to get ready. Got a video call from E, which made me very happy and for sure I got a bit late, but cheering at this time of the day is just priceless! Hot shower, drops in the eyes, fixing the hair, warming gel on the legs and that felt like everything was ok for going. Skipped the drinking every half hour and drank a bit more at once around 6:10am, hopefully all would be out before the race starts. Race outfit was a simple choice (had taken only one…): SWE hotpants and singlet, arm sleeves and wind gloves, a neckwarmer and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky). Got my sunglasses on the top of the head as counting for some sun. put 2 gels in my back pocket, one in a sock in the back of my sports bra, dextrosol and final red gel in the front. Had extra gel and strawberry small stuff in a little bag as well for before the start. And that was it!

6:10am – the wait was killing me (already) so I took on extra tshirt I would throw before start, my long pants and my black cosy jacket (had noticed the day before that unsmart I had forgotten to take a running jacket with me to get to the start… and yes, it was written on the checklist for preparing the luggage for the trip…).

06:15am – TIME TO LEAVE! Headed to Kayabasho subway station. Got stopped by a Japanese lady running who just would not stop in encouragements and word of kindness. Very nice indeed to hear this right before the race 🙂 Cheering is always good. Her final words were in English with “good luck”. Metro to Otemachi station for then changing to the line which would bring me to Shinjuku, where the start was. Started to see a bit more runners with their bags and the closer we got to Shinjuku, the more we saw 🙂 At least I was on the correct direction!

07:01am – Finally out of the subway and then long walk to the Gate 2 where I was getting in. A bit chilly, but I was covered enough. The atmosphere was a reminder of London where all runners get to the train stop and then all walk in the same direction towards the start area with all the luggage trucks. Crazy long queue at the first loo made me continue to walk and quickly after, there was just nobody there. First pitstop to empty this blaster of mine. Found my truck #3, but felt that it was a bit too early to leave it (as it meant taking off my clothes and staying with bare legs in the cold. Without running yet). All was well indicated and despite the number of people growing in the area, it felt well organized. And there was always someone to ask indication to.

7:33am – Off with the pants and cosy warmjacket. I put one gel in each of my arm sleeves, leaving only one in my back pocket. Felt like a smart move. Quick photo from a very kind volunteer and headed to my start group. A bit of wait to get up the stairs and got directly to the loo. Second pitstop. Cannot understand a blaster can hold THAT much… Then I headed slowly to my start.

08:03am – Assigned to Group A – Run as One, which meant having the invited athletes, then the elite athletes and then…us! Very cool indeed. Another cool thing was that they separated the ladies and the men for the start. We had the left side and the men the right side. This was to avoid accident at start apparently. And then the wait started…in the cold. A line of Japanese was already sitting in the front and I took the row right behind. Pretty freezing legs and I really regretted NOT to have planned for this. Decided to do a few rounds of running in our corral while it was still empty. Not much of a warmup really, but at least it was making the body a bit less lethargic and after turning around a bit, it felt warmer. Still one hour to go…

8:17am – Still a lot of wait. Sitting here in the cold asphalt with my legs covered as good as I could with my too-big tshirt… Found out that there was no toilet close to our start corral, but it felt all fine. Stood up a bit to look at the elites warming up. Very surprised actually to see them doing rounds and rounds and rounds for quite a while, one hour before the start. Very jealous to see all of them in long pants and warm jacket…. Cannot tell that I was the only one! Most of the runners around me had extra tops but bare legs. Not all of them, but still.

8:26am – a bit of chat with my Japanese runner-buddy close to me. Not understanding a single word but getting that she wanted to know my expected time to finish. Having a 2:50 written on my arm, she left her eyes to the skies. I re-insured her by showing my real wristband for 3:00-2:58. Would not go faster today with this cold for start. After a bit of while sitting, we just got closer and closer so to warm each other. Which was cosy and nice. Other runners were doing the same. She happened to be running her first marathon ever… Felt pretty cool to have this done here in Tokyo.

8:40am-ish – alignment of the wheelchair athletes. Once again, pretty cool to have them one meter before me! I think I recognize a couple of them. A bit of buzz on the left side… the elites were lining up. WoooooW! How COOL is that?!?! Yes it is not the first ever time to have elite of this level starting beside me, but here he was! The former WR-holder Wilson Kipsang and other fast guys around him. They just look amazing, calm and focused…and so-like “normal people”!

9:ish am – Hearing the Japanese anthem. Feeling that I need to get to the loo. Now! Really much. Looking right and left. All runners are standing and I feel like sitting down…. Guys do it ALL the time in the start of races, which would gals not be able to do it… But nope. Not freaking bold enough to do it. That might work. Maybe.

9:05 am – start of the wheelchair race. The elite athletes are now lining up in front of us. Seeing Sara Hall there. In the middle of Kenyan and Japanese elites. The male runners are freaking gorgeous! They look fast and are actually fast too! Turning around quickly, so many people behind us. 30,000 runners!!! How cool is that?!?!? Throwing my t-shirt away. Eating the two small strawberry jellies. And that was it. Seconds left… No countdown… Still we are not allowed to get close(r) to the elite athletes and stand 10m behind them…

THE RACE

First half

09:10am – BAAAAM! We are finally unleashed! No push, no pressure. Loving those starts. Feels like there is more pushing on the right side when the male runners are starting. To have a pretty freezing body to be asked to run at 4:10-tempo right from the start ain’t one of my specialties… And indeed the start with the confetti, the roar from the crowd (probably just in my head…), the pounding of thousands of feet on the asphalt… Talk about thrill! Turning pretty soon on the right and there we mix with the guys. Still pretty good. Checking that my watch has started properly and yes. Indicating sub4 start, which sounds pretty logical and ok. The first 5K are regular downhill, so the plan is to get as much ahead of time by km10 and then getting into MP. Not planning to burn all my energy there though. Downhill running is however the worse when having a blaster ready to explode. Seeing a first loo on the right side and guys running towards it. Have always felt that it was strange to have people getting to the loo so close to the start being given. Now I was right in it. 900m to the next toilet. That would be my stop. Not a chance I am running much longer this way. And Beeep! First km clocking in…WHAAAAAT?!?!? 3:17? Yeah sure! D*mn buildings and stupid GPS. Pressing lap when the km1-sign is appearing. Feeling that I am about 4min-tempo and that is fine. And here they are, the next stop for the loo. Cannot do anything else but stopping. Counting the seconds and probably lost 20-25seconds there. But way better after that. My km2 was fine but this stop is killing my km3-pace… I ran right back in the crowd. I have however lost the gals I was following. I have lost the pace I had. I have lost the flow I got from start. All these will never come back during the race. Feeling a bit off. The GPS is completely wrong, the km-signs are not placed properly. Even when I am lapping them on the watch. OK, running alongside of a couple of gals, felt ok. Have no clue how fast (or more likely “how slow”) I am running. So I wait until getting to km5. Good. Right under 21 minutes. Surely slower than I wanted, but considering the stupid-but-necessary stop at the loo, that would be ok. How will I get back those 20-30 seconds I lost is the next challenge… If this is not done before km10, then I doubt there is other place more appropriate for that in the race. Have taken a few glups of Pocari water at the station and it goes well. Not really necessary, but you never know… (Well, you eventually know, but then it is generally too late!). The sun is shining. Feeling a bit warm with the arm sleeves. Both gels have now gone down along my arm sleeves and are right at my elbows. BOTH of them! Not practical at all. Km7 of now passed. The flow is gone. I cannot find a good way to get INTO this race. Hoping that it would change when reaching the parts I have run during the prior days. We separate from the km10-race by now – they have the right side of the street and we -marathoners- have the left side. Shortly we reach km8. But this does not really ring a bell. I have run here yesterday, stupid mind of mine. Remember the feeling! Now! There has been quite some turn right and left since the start. My compass is off…on the top of everything else. As good as I enjoy the sun then! Feeling at least that the effort level is pretty low. Kilometers after kilometers. I try to figure out how to get into a decent pace which would make the body pressing a bit, but nope. Getting to km9 and the Starbucks on the left side. Feeling like stopping by for a Soy chocolate… Not right now! Focus! Under the bridge and we are getting close to km10. A little up towards the “Go! Go!”-sign I have seen a couple of times in the past days and we turn left, when the 10km-runners turn right. Taking off my gloves then…and losing my blue/yellow bracelet that T has given me… Looking back at it on the asphalt, considering running back to pick it up, but nope. Sadly continuing forward. 10km has been reached. Passed slightly under 42minutes. Stupid slow donkey I am! 1 minute off the pace I wanted there! But here is my “hoods” 🙂 Feeling comfortable after turning left and getting to the first little bridge (of many before we would get back to this specific spot). Did not feel THAT heavy as the day I ran here. Have taken a bit of Pocari water again at the 10km-station. All according to plan…apart from the slow pace. The stretch to km14 or so is just disappearing as in a trance. Hearing there somewhere the first “Heja Sverige! Ser stark tut!“ (“Go Sweden! Looking strong!”) from a gal on the side. She got me smile 🙂 And I wave. The tricky of this race is the feeling of running in another planet or universe. Not understanding a single cheering (even though I know the thousands of people in the street ARE cheering), not understanding a single sign written on the posters, seeing mostly Japanese around (and apologies is other Asian were in the race and I mistakenly count them in the Japanese). I feel off. Reaching km12 and the countdown is continuing: 30km to go 🙂 Feeling too good for being in a race actually. Enjoying the sun too much. Looking a bit too much around. Calculating too many time how far off the expected time I am. Too much thinking really! Reaching the separating street where we go straight towards km15 and the other come back and turn towards km16. As expected the female athletes are there. Beautiful sight. Then lots of Japanese elite men and then I try to focus again on MY race. Feeling rubbish. Why on earth continuing if I cannot make it to the time I want and can? AWAY WITH THIS THOUGHT! Turning back at the end of the street. Noticing that we have reached Kamirarimon Gate. WHAT?!?! Have we run THAT far? I was there on Wednesday and took the subway there!!! Passing a few gals. But not many enough. Taking a few glups of pocari water at the 15km-station as well as throwing a glass of water on my too-hot head. Feeling great afterwards. And now we are turning left towards the halfway point. My wristband indicate that I am still good for a 2:58 finish. Have not seen the 3:00-pacesetters and do NOT want to see them. Doubting I will pass the halfway for 1:28, but should definitely be under 90minutes. Small bridges up&down all the way to the halfway. Passing km19. Preparing my gel to take before km20. OMG it feels warm. Have to dig into my left arm sleeves to get the gel. NOT practical at all! Taking the gel. The opening is not working properly and I have to use both hands for pressing it inside my throat 😦 Soon enough I will get water…I think… and I thought wrong. Passing km20 still in half-decent time and then turning left for this stupid 500m back&forth. Couldn’t they have had the route heading forward for 500 more meters instead?!?! Full sun on this little stretch. Feels like I am in another world. Feels pretty quiet in my head even though I see people screaming and cheering. Turning back and trying to accelerate towards the mat. And passing the first tables of sport-drink…WHERE IS THE BLOODY WATER?!?!? Ooooh….here after… Slowing down to drink properly and the race is on. Haven’t seen the 3:00-guys yet. But from time to time, there are groups of guys coming heavily behind me and it sounds like the 3:00-group… Turning right again. Seeing the km21-sign. Yihoooo! Still in this race. Passing halfway a bit above 1:29. But still under 1:30 😛 One half done, one half to go!

Second half

This second half starts with a little slope to get under the bridge and then straight… Getting into a good pace (I think?) and passing km22 actually happy. I know this place, I have seen the nice park on the left the other day and there is only 20km left to this race. Straight and then left. Feeling a bit off. Taking dextrosol at km23 and then 24. Cannot see km25 getting close soon enough. GPS is stupid and crazy again. What is my d*mn pace????? (Apart from being snail-like…again!). Taking sport-drink at km25 and right after, I can feel they are there: Right behind me. In my footsteps. Seeing in a shop window a guy with a golden balloon attached to him. NooooO! The 3hr-guys are here!!! Nothing better to stimulate and increase the pace than knowing you have a bunch of guys steering at your butt/legs/back/whatever they steer at. Km26 is getting in a better pace. They SHALL NOT PASSSSSS! I actually smile and laugh inside at this thought. Km27 is gone with this little stupid bridge close to home…and they get closer. Turning towards km28 and accelerating…. Passing the km28-sign and they are still behind me. The long stretch coming I know it. It is killer if not focused…and that is when it happens. Right before km29, the first pacesetter passes me. The lap on his back indicates “My gun time is 3:00”, meaning that if I keep up with them, I should get to 3hrs (as I believe my net time will be pretty much the same as gun time). Sun in the face, trying to keep up, but the right hip ain’t liking it. I am not running that fast, what is its problem then?!?! The street feels like 10km-long. Have they stretched it since Tuesday when I ran there? Pretty sure they did… The 3hrs balloons are still there. Passed by 2 gals who are hanging along those balloons. Doesn’t matter how many guys are there. Only gals are counting. And finally reaching the 30km turn. Have missed the km29-sign. Taking the second gel I have in my other arm sleeve. Not much easier to reach as it is closer to my wrist than my shoulder by now… Taking my time to open it…and even WALKING at the 30km-water station. What is WRONG with me?!?! Have reached the final 12km. Counting that the snail-like pace I am having might mean It’s gonna take an hour before I finish this thing… REALLY? Seeing the elite guys on the other side moving towards their final 2km is helping boosting my low enthusiasm to a little higher level. Now I am no longer focusing. I know that and it makes me not happy at all. Should has well stopping it now… Well, no I don’t think so. Because there is only 10km left now and that means really nothing compared to what has been run already. So stop weeping inside your head and finish this! Passing the Zojo ji park. Really? I have seen it two days ago. Don’t need to see it AGAIN! The sun is warm by then. Seeing the elite women on the other side and that is just beautiful to see. Sara Hall is the only one I know by name and face and this is spectacular to see her running! OK, back to my stupid race. The 3:00 balloons have disappeared. No idea how. Suspecting the guys have left them blowing away so I would not know how far from me they actually are. Good move! It won’t make me feeling more down than I do right now. The right hip and the muscle right under the bum are not happy. But now I see the turning point. This is it. Not much left. Have checked the “counting down” km-signs on the other side of the road and they will hopefully keep me focused until the end. Final stretch. I see the 5km to go-sign. Nothing. Less than 25 minutes. I hope… Passing again the Zojo ji park. Seeing the other runners on the other direction and am so pleased I am now on this side. The sun is warming my back and it feels good. Cheering coming with a smiling “James” and a “Go Sweden, go” could not come more appropriately! I have been cheering for a Spanish guy just earlier telling him “go go Italia”… So the mind ain’t really in the game, but at least I can take the cheering from others! Not sure at all what pace I am running at. Just focusing on the two gals before me and decide to not let them disappear from my side. Getting closer to them. Cheering from the left for a gal passing me on my right does not make me happy. I keep on running and she will NOT pass me. It does not feel that I am pushing at all here! Swedish cheerings are heard once more on the left side from the gal I saw earlier. Could not make me happier! If only it could make me faster… Reaching for my red gel. Taking it fast and hoping to be able to get water and here it come. The water station. Feeling fine with grabbing the water cup, slurping some of the content and continuing to run. I see the 2km to go-sign. This is nothing. Passing one gal with her paceholder. Where is MY paceholder?!?!? It feels like I have been running on my own ALL the way!!! I love the cheering at this moment. I count down and give me less than 10 minutes to reach the end. I will crawl to the end if need be, but I will NOT let any new gal passing me nor slow down. Km41, corner of Hibiya park. I LOOOOOOVE THIS PART! Passing one gal once more but keeping it safe still as I really do not want her to pass me right before the finish line. Turning right and then left again. No more sun in the back. THIS is the final stretch. Fresh in mind from Barcelona, I dig deep to accelerate and make this 800m(?) count. Passing two gals and then the cheered one is coming back on my right!!! NOT.A.CHANCE! I am strong and I can prove it. More power to the engine. Cannot hear anything but one “Go Sweden, Go”. Lifting my hand to thank. And by half way to the end of the street, my left knee is stopping to work properly. WHAAATTTT?!?!? I feel like I have to stop. Rest this stupid knee. No. Not now. Feels like I am limping…because I probably do! Running on those stones on the street ain’t helping. Passing guys as well. I am almost finished. No clue how long is left. The only thing I see is this giant blond gal in front of me. One more place to win. Just one more little place. Passing her on the left right when we turn left to the final final fiiiiiiiinal stretch. No cheering here. Sounds dead-quiet in my head. I just want to get to the finish mat. No idea WHERE it is. Go go go! You’ll fall later after the….finish line? Here? Now? Already?!?!? Pressing my stop button. Shaking a bit while slowing down. And smiling. Done!

Official time received later: 3:02:31…

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After the finish line

My watch is stopped. Don’t want to look at it. There’s no point. Disappointment is not HUGE as I thought it would be. I have limited the damages and that’s what count. Getting a large smiling thanks from James from Mexico, my running buddy since km30 or so. Then from other runners from Japan. That feels pretty good and cool to hear that I helped them getting to the end 🙂 Looking strong tells me one guy right after hugging me. OK. At least I made people happy today! Talking with James and meeting the long blond gal I passed in the final stretch. We are turning right to get to our bag trucks. Receiving a cool Finisher-towel (no tshirt). And the long walk is starting. NY marathon-long walk-like… Quick stop for a finisher photo. Chatting with those two guys along the way to the end. The blond gal from NY had Tokyo as warmup race before London in 2 months, where she is aiming for 2:50. The Mexican guy had 3:40 for goal as he had been in bad shape (sick) the past 4-6 weeks. What is my excuse then for my ridiculous/boring slow time?… Getting my bag. Pics with James and then final hug before I aim back to Hibiya park to get my 6-stars medal. Have started my watch after getting my bag and it will actually show that I walked 3km (!) to get back to Hibiya park. Probably more as I took the subway path as well. Tricky to get there as the streets are closed and I have to get back to where runners are arriving. A king volunteer is bringing me back…to the finish line (!) and then heading towards the left-side turn of finishers. Walk walk walk… and getting once again some refreshments, another finisher towel and space cover. Say no-thanks for an additional medal and then…finding a kind volunteer to get me to Hibiya park. Looooong way underground and finally to the Hibiya park. Finding a guy with “6-stars” sign who tells me where to go. Which was actually a bit incorrect and I get another kind volunteer to help me around…the loooooong way around! We chat a bit and he tells me he is a runner too. 10,000m and 5,000m are his specialty at the moment but that he wants to get to the marathon one day. 33min to the 10K… not bad I said. Yes, but you can finish a marathon he answers 🙂 And after moremoremore walk, we finally reached the 6-stars area. Greetings and thanks. Getting my second (heavy) medal. And that’s it. I am done. Where do I go now? Final pic with both medals in front of the fountain, quick stop at the free acupuncture tent and I am finally out of the park. Seeing the runners still moving along. Happy to be finished, I am telling myself. Why was I so slow? It feels fine now. The limping of the final stretch, the excruciating pain in the hip after the finish line and all the way to the bag pick-up area…all that is gone…

5km-walk to get back home (instead of the straight 2km…no idea how I got so wrong!) added to the 3km to get to the 6-stars area… Good resting pace and move for those tired legs of mine who did not deliver properly today. Emptying my bag when reaching home and off with my outfit. Laying on the bed for a while, drinking some more water and then shower and getting out for some food. Found a fun fish restaurant pretty close to home, which I dare to enter. Ordering skewers and dumplings, a coke and a Japanese tea. No need to celebrate as nothing has been properly done today. The body still needs food… Finishing my day with a steamed bun filled with red beans (I feel crazy about them now!) and that’s it. Tired in the head, tired in the body, but tricky to get some sleep. Until the whole body just shut down. Good!

A disappointing day in the capital of the Rising sun country, but still an adventure to remember and a 6-star medal to show that this 19th marathon was not THAT bad after all. 4th best time ever in a marathon and best time in all world majors. OK, this was not a totally bad day after all….

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Weather: 9°C, Sunny, Feels like 9°C, high humidity. Pretty cold and chilly at start, but as soon as getting the legs running, it felt as usual nice and perfect for running. Took a bit however to have the bum properly warmed up while the legs took less long. Estimating the average temperature throughout the race as 9-10°C. Not much wind. Sunny.

Food: > before: chia porridge with green mix and orange juice, 2 bananas, 4 small baby pancakes with honey, Pocari sweat (5dl?) (5:10am)

> right after: banana+Pocari sweat

> on the way back home: steamed bun with red beans

> 5.5 hours after: skewers+dumplings+rice, coke and japanese tea

> During: 2 strawberry jellies right before start, Pocari sweat @km5-10-15-25, green gel @km20-30-35, red gel at km40 (right before the water stations). Dextrosol: 2 at km22 and 1 every km or so at km23-24-26. Full Dextrosol halfpack left…

Gear: ADIDAS SWE outfit (hotpants & sports bra), Casal Iconic black Sports bra MIK, arm sleeves blacke, Decath windgloves pink/black, sunglasses, shoes happy to run on the feet. As usual, they just were great. A bit strange feeling at start as the asphalt was not really plain and nice. It felt a lot under the feet then…

=> Perfect outfit? Without question…Well it was the only one I had! Apart from black shorts and other singlet. The arm sleeves felt good until the sun warmed a bit more and it felt then quite warm. Had them down to the elbow as soon as I had taken the gels. Using them for the gels was NOT optimal! Hotpants looked good and worked well too. For once!!! Singlet was all fine, although I could have run as well with only sports bra. The gel carrying worked. Not optimally, but ok. The Dextrosol carrying was once again a disaster and I will NOT have them in the front of my sports bra in future races… Burn marks once AGAIN… DO I ever learn?!? Forgetting to have extra long pants to keep myself warm before the start was not good. To keep in mind and be better prepared next time.

14/ Up to the halfway I tried to have a decent effort level. Probably got to 15 or so, but after getting passed by the 3hrs-guys, not a chance that the effort was higher than a 13/14. Did not want to have more pain in the hip while still wanting to finish this race. This is disappointing not to have been able to get higher on the effort level. But better safe than sorry….

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SUMMARY: This race was expected to be an adventure. To a country far far away. All alone. And it ended this way too. Disappointing results, but finalizing the race was as usual one of the objectives. And this one was completed at least. It gives more experience to the whole journey. The race itself was perfectly arranged. From the expo to the new route. I am very angry at myself for this stupid stop at the loo 2km-into the race. What was the alternative really?… I never get into the race really, and probably because of this stop. The 20-25seconds stop did kill probably most of the first half. Unsure how the hip would have worked out without this stop. The weather was definitely on the positive side. After a few freezing days in Tokyo, it was a delight to be running under the sun (well…OK…it was dead-freezing at start however…). The wind was there but not annoying at all.

On the downsides, the GPS freaking out was also not cheering for me today. Could hear some other watches beeping properly at the km-signs, when mine was just crazy. Good to have wristbands for reference… The hip was not functioning properly and unsure how to explain it. The walk like crazy after the finish line should be revised. NO need to walk so much really. Hopefully they will re-assess this arrangement for future races. The walk back to Hibiya park was just stupidly too long (but still worth for the medal I got 🙂 ).

All-in-all, Sunday long run in Tokyo provided some miles under my feet and more experience for the future. Head has rested now, body is under recovery. Cannot wait to race again…properly this time! 🙂

===> Loads of thanks for the cheering and the support received while I was preparing this race. Not many knew about it and that was the plan. Preparation did work very well, despite the stupidly crazy cold weather at home, the race-prep in Barcelona was ok but might have made the body a bit tired 2 weeks before Tokyo. Well, missing the expected time, missing the placing I was planning, I still completed the race, and that counts fully. Celebration needed, even if only little J The season is still young…

Thanks to all the runners who cheered during the race. Mostly foreigners (ie not Japanese). Thanks for the lovely Japanese gals I met right before start. Unable to speak the same language, but running was what made us happy. Together 🙂 Great thanks to the gal cheering in Swedish along the course and for the pics received afterwards. Priceless! Thousands of thanks for all the cheering people along the course. Not understanding a word but still getting your warmth for continuing the running! And final thanks to you, my special people, who are standing there in my mind when the running gets tough or the running gets fun or the running gets easier. Your support and love are counting so that no word can really describe.

Big thanks to E for video-calling me in the morning of the race. A large smile and encouragement kept in my thoughts, which got me to the end! Loads of thanks for my little personal cheering-squad at home, always supportive and encouraging during training and race. Priceless!

******

A few more days in Japan, sun shine or grey skies, a lot of walking… I might wait a bit longer before this tattoo on my hip saying in Japanese “The limping snail”… Time for recovery now. The body feels fine, no hip nor knee trouble two days after the race, and despite the walking and walking and more walking around in Kyoto. More rest will be still on the menu for a few days… thereafter…new adventures shall begin! THANKS!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Let’s start with the body. Because it always is the body that might stop from achieving this particular goal. Tired after the finish line mostly because of the final 1km-sprint (or whatever you may call the limping-stuff I did). The hip pain was not planned and am a bit unsure how it came into picture. The knee pain was also a surprise (a bad one) as it really felt I would not be able to walk at all after all this. But nope. Nothing. To be checked, but still. Thinking it is a bad compensation of the body of some kind. Have to work on this. A positive note? Achille’s heels did not bother me at all. Good sign, right?

NOTE: Warmup? Would more likely call it a “cool down” what I had today! Freezing was an understatement! Felt pretty jealous to see the elites running back and forth during probably 20-30 minutes in their training clothes, while we were freezing sitting on the cold asphalt. Lessons learned: I will have a full outfit on my on the top of my racing outfit for the next race! Not a chance I will freeze this way again! Took probably 1-2km for getting into a good rhythm…which was killed due to the stop at the loo…

NOTE:…which brings me to the “loo incident”. HOW ON EARTH CAN THIS HAPPEN?!?! Had timed well the drinking, got to the loo twice before start…but still…. Having over one hour of wait made it pretty clear that the blaster would not master it. Unsure what could have been done differently. But that will NOT EVER happen again to stop during a race. Promise to myself.

NOTE: Energy/refueling during the race? On this, I am actually pretty happy and proud about how it went. The sport drink during all the first half worked properly. Still a bit tricky to drink in the paper cups, but worked anyway. Then the gels taken were all fine and well planned. Did not take the extra one I had in the back of my sport bra. Not needed. Could probably have done without the Dextrosol and take sports drink instead. What did NOT work was the carrying of the Dextrosol. Won’t happen again. Promise to myself.

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Still unsure this helps or not helps. Will probably cut it for the next races. Although beetroot juice is good to drink 🙂

NOTE: then…gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Same as earlier races. No issue with that. Only that I did not take this gel…

NOTE: …and dextrosol+gel in the sport-bra, in the front? Read thought above… won’t happen again. I mean it this time…

NOTE: then…gels in the arm sleeves and back pocket of the hotpants? Arm sleeves were a good-to-have for the race. But should have attached the gels to the arm sleeves maybe. Backpocket of the hotpants worked fine.

NOTE: Tokyo marathon is hereby the LONGEST marathon I have ever run (since Berlin 2013…) – 42,88km 😛

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. 20km walk each day after the race for two days… the body is happy to move! Time to plan for a massage. More days ahead without running and then have to take care of that hip of mine. So that it won’t annoy me next time.

New adventures on the way…

 


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

barcelonahm2016

Nice medal, DAB before start and smiling after.

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

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

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

A good start for the year anyhow!

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

Splits (official)

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

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

Totals

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

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

The 2 days before…

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

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

Race day

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

 

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

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

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

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

 **************

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

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

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Race Report – Málagathon – 2016/12/04

Nice & sunny Friday, freezy Sunday and no race, finally getting miles under my feet…


Planned: training race on marathon distance. Not too slow…

Actual:……Race cancelled due to Red Alert and rain & flood of the worse kind since late 80’s… But this mattered not. Later on the same day, a marathon was run, all on my own on as much as possible following the original race route. 3:18:30. Not too bad for a training long run 🙂

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

M Day-5

No real carb depletion. This was a training race and time for testing a bit. Did reduce the amount of carbs in the food eaten, but did not go for zero carb. Felt all fine. Morning run went well on light feet and faster than expected for a distance run at 5am in -6°C…

M Day -4

Morning run at 5am and 6°C in a pitch black city still sleeping. Similar conditions to pre-Amsterdam. The only little problem was the left knee-cap which did feel a bit during warm up. Matters not. During the final interval/tempo workout following it, it went all well. The following day was however less fun, with the kneecap not really happy and forcing me to get back home from work right after lunch. Nothing around the kneecap (ie no runner’s knee, jumper’s knee or similar). This was ON the knee cap. Anyway, had time to fix the legs and get a pre-race massage. Laser treatment on the knee and the right Achille’s heel. Felt all ok, but did come back later the same day.

M Day-3

Second rest day for the week. Light carb breakfast and work. Then from lunch onwards the nicest (?) part of the marathon training…Carbo loading! Did not overdo it. Wanted to see how the body would react on Sunday. Evening travel went well…with a delayed flight of 30minutes and then delayed luggage delivery of 30 minutes. Made it barely to the train to Málaga center, forcing me to get a run on tired legs from a several hours trip. And nope. The knee cap did not like it, nor the right Achille’s. Found my way to my host’s place, host who was kind enough to remain awaken and welcome me at midnight… Quick shower and crashed down on my bed. Niiiiice!

M Day-2

Awaken early as this Friday was still a work day. Got my meetings online and it worked well. Enjoyed fully the sunshine coming through the open window. Took a break after morning meetings in order to get those legs of mine some fun under the sun. My home being quite close to the race route, I ran easy to the “km1” and then followed the route. Of course not running on the road as there were lots of cars! Did my run on the pavement, which unfortunately was not asphalted but with decorative bricks (or whatever it is called). Avoided running down in the tunnel around km3 (too many cars and no sidewalk there…) and then along the sea. Quick stop at Passeo Parque for taking pictures. Yes it was a bit sweaty. Very happy to have some sun, although it would make the race a bit tricky due to the apparent humidity. No worry I thought. Light rain is on the menu for Sunday… Quick back home, food while working (2 portions pasta worked well, with Aquarius sport drink which was what would apparently be served during the race). Later the afternoon, close the laptop for work and headed with the bus to Palacio de Desportes to pick up my BIB. Good it was two days before the race, because I walked a lot and too much! Got my BIB in a quite empty expo, but that is fine for me. Nice 3-digits number and my name on a blue background. Fast chick said the guy giving me the envelop 🙂 Then food shopping at the nearby Carrefour and back home when dark had already came down on the city. Feeling nice and ready. Nice and long chat with Lucas my host. A bit late in bed, but that is ok. Sunday is a long run, right?

M Day-1

Sleep-in was the plan. Awaken at 6am, it had to be corrected! Slept a bit more and then opened the eyes after 8:30am. Good. Took it very easy and was out on the pavement a bit before 10am. The plan was to run the final 6km of the race (as km36 to 39 were pretty close to my home. Found km36 and then just run. OMG, those legs of mine wanted to run…way faster than what the brain let them do! Lost a bit my way after getting in the city center around “km39”+ which meant running 4km longer than the plan. But that was ok. I could note that some city streets would be very slippery in case of rain for tomorrow. Nice in the air. Loved it. Back home and had a large breakfast. Then nothing but watching movies on my laptop. Resting 🙂 And lots of drinking (Gatorade and Aquarius). Took a short trip to the close-by Decathlon but was disappointed by the size and what the offered. For once (!) I left the store empty-handed. Got lots of Gatorade from Carrefour instead. And that was it. More movies. Did not feel tired (or was it all the sport-drinks that was keeping me awaken? Or the excitation of running for once a marathon as training? All-in-all, there was not a trace of stress in me!). Around midnight the eyes started to close themselves on their own. Good!

M DAY!!!!

At last!

Before the race

05:00am – awaken well-rested…kind of! The heavy rains had fallen since I went to bed and were still on when waking up. Breakfast of champions as usual (chia seeds, green mix, Gatorade as well as white bread with honey. Glass of water). And back to bed…

5:30&6:00am – same procedure as regular marathon race: water and Gatorade. Half-asleep still. But feeling fine. Decided to drink the last time at 6:30am (instead of having it at 7am). Just to see whether the blaster would prefer it this way 😛

6:59am – up and direction the shower. Eye drops for not having too dry eyes during the race (but with all the water falling, that should be fine!). Happily heard the rain stopped around 7:20am. Nice! Only wet streets then. Had the window wide opened and while getting myself ready I started to hear a strange noise. Cannot be… Yap! Crazy heavy rain falling from the skies! Reconsidered my outfit and added calve sleeves to the race outfit (MIK singlet, SOC shorts small trapeze and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky)). Sunglasses were to stay home as well as my mp3. Had decided that for training for real, it was as good to skip the mp3 and endure (!) the loneliness of the long distance runner during the race. Objective: get to km30 without problem, make it work until the end after that 🙂 3 gels in the back pocket, 2 final ones in the back of the sport bra and the Dextrosol in the front. All set! Packed my after-race gear to change to (hopefully) something dry. Did not feel completely ready, but well… it was time!

08:04am – Leaving home. Hearing the heavy rain still pouring out there. A couple of deep breath and hop! As usual being careful not to run in the water (easy under pouring rain…don’t ask!) and approximately 50m after having left the safe home, it just happened. PLAF! The largest pool ever seen and I was running right INTO it. OK, cursing shortly and then changed state of mind. It was better to make this a fun rainy experience than anything else, right? Put the largest smile on my face and started to run/jog to the start. Soaking wet, did not care about running in the water, making small comments to myself for pepping to the run to come. Yap. Motivation actually to the rooftop despite the crazy rains, the fact I missed a couple of streets and could not find my way to the start and finally reach the wardrobe, which were adequately (?) situated underground in a parking place. A bit warmer there, also it was not cold outside. Only wet! Took off my long sleeves and my light training jacket and left them in my bag with my change and left the bag to the functionaries. Remained in the garage, walking and trying to keep myself warm. Not too easy when I was already soaking wet (did I say it already?). Couple of pitstops in dark corners of the parking slot (I know, it was not nice, but hey…guys were standing and seriously urinating in the other corners, without even hiding). Then the rain became even harder (if it even was possible!). Had been in the garage for 10 minutes or so and a flood started to grow… everywhere! Water was actually climbing fast and the garage would be pretty cleaned shortly. Moved to the corner of the wardrobe that was still “dry”. Runners were running back and forth to warmup.

08:40am – ok in my plan I was to BE in the corral at 8:30am. But with this rain, I waited a bit longer, having no idea how far was the start from the wardrobe area. Decided to be brave and getting out and light jog/walk got me to the start approx..200m from there. Not as many runners as I expected for being so close to the start…

08:45am – Announce from the organization… a council was taking place and would be giving their decision for starting the race or not at 09:45am (WHAT? Did I hear correctly with my little Spanish understanding? In ONE hour?!?!?) and IF the race was to start, that it would be around 10:30am. OK, I needed to ask several Spanish guys to have this confirmed. And yes. I did understand properly…

08:55am – Left the start area and cross the street to get into a building where I could see the elites runners in the first floor, well-safe from the rain out there. And the wait started. I went more into the building. Could spot the 3:00-pacesetters. Good to know who to follow. Felt cold and close to freezing. Tried to get more inside the room. Well-intentioned Spanish runners asked me several times if I was fine and for sure, they got both a “Si si” and a large smile.

09:10am – Hearing a guy talking to the police (who was having the room right at the entrance of what was actually the City hall) and showing me. Could just smile back as I really did not get what he was talking about. Followed kindly the police officer and understood that I was actually not looking too good and was freezing to death. A police lady gave me a warm police jacket, made me sit in a room more in the inside. Another policeman brought me a warm cover and put it all around my legs and sat me on a chair. A third one brought an electric radiator and orientated it towards my legs. I was feeling like an ice cube and probably was looking like one too… The room was constantly having 2-3 policemen and one runner, who I understood a bit after was also a cop. The ambulance was called despite me telling them that everything was fine (with my blue lips and my teeth shaking each other). A guy came into the room and started to ask me how it was. I felt fine I said. But he took my hands and started to blow on them to warm them up. Ice cold they were compared to his. He noticed my wristband and asked me if this is what I was expecting to run and for sure, despite being a training race, I did have my sub3 wristband for motivation 🙂 He happened to be one of the 3:00-pacesetters. He told me with a large smile and very seriously that despite the decision for the start or no start of the race, that I should NOT be running. This is when I told them I came from Sweden. Lots of laughs followed. Was given hot water with sugar in it. The ambulance guys came and concluded that it was fine for me to go. Hypothermia was definitely the diagnose they had too. But I had apparently more colour by then.

10:00am – Took a while. Saw pictures of the floods and rain out there. The busses stuck in 1.5m water, the cars filled with water under tunnel… OK. No race then. The runner-policeman offered kindly to bring me home. I walked back to the wardrobe to get my bag. The rain was less heavy, but still. Got in the car after thanking warmly all the police people who took care of me. Got back home, thanking Paco the police runner and direction my room. Off with the soaking wet clothes and direction hot shower for a while. After that, right under the cover to get warmth back in the whole body.

1:10pm – Got enough watching movies on my laptop, so got up and out for a bit of food. No more rain. And no restaurant opening serving before 1:30pm. Ended at Burger King with a Whopper Jr meal with Coke. Back home and rested for a while more.

3:40pm – real bored of watching movies and laying in my bed, I changed to running gear. Had come to run a training race and the weather made it cancelled. It would not really stop me from running at all. OK, I thought that the hypothermia-part was not really fun but I considered I was good enough to run. Decided to get the first half of the race route and see after that how it was. Took 2 gels and 7 dextrosol with me. Ate a powerbar green apple gel right before leaving. Not the best prep for a run to have a burger in the stomach less than 2 hours before, but I was not racing… Ran easy to km1 of the race and then followed the route as planned. Of course running on the sidewalks. Not many cars nor people out there. The tunnel of km3 was empty of water by then. Down to the seaside and km5 and then turn left to run up towards the Passeo Parque. All fine. Felt that the legs were in a good mood. No check done on the watch. Just hearing the buzz of each km. Turned right to continue along the coast line towards km15. Not as flat as I expected. Not hilly neither! But those fake slow uphill it was. And running on the pavement with those decorative stones, half-slippery…Nope, nothing optimal. Music in the ear. All fine. Took 2 dextrosol at km10 and just continued. Made a bad calculation before km15 and continued instead of turning left, which made me run slightly longer and do a U-turn. No problem. A bit unsure of which road to take though, but I think I followed the correct road. Could definitely feel the light and nice downhill. Tried to run on the street as no car/bus were coming from the opposite direction. Reaching km20 and taking a gel (Melon). All fine. No water, but those ones felt ok with only in the mouth and extra saliva. Probably better WITH water, but had none. Got nice and easy to halfway in 1:38. Happy.

Continued towards the Passeo Parque, and made a quick pitstop in the portapotty still there from the expected morning race. BY then I had been running 22.6km (ie 500m more than the race route, kind of). Took a quick body check and it felt all fine. Therefore headed towards km26 which was back along the sea side. All fine apart from running on the those sidewalk which started to get on my knees. The left knee cap started to complain a bit around 26km, but I continued. Dexstrosol taken every km until km30. Reaching the track close to the stadium Palacio de Deportes, the grind was opened, the lights were off and the skies grey. I went inside and ran around as we would have done during the race. Well, I ran the full lap as only one grind was opened. During the race we would have came inside the track at one entrance, run 300m (?) and then out in the second entrance. The track was slippery like crazy and my pace slowed down very much as I did not want to fall. Had met a few runners along the way who apparently did the same as me. Nice to get some smiles and cheering from time to time. Because by km30 it was almost pitch black. I was tired of not knowing where to go. And my left kneecap was very painful. Well…not while running, but each time I stopped to check the map for the race route and then started again, it complained. Stubbornness being apparently the word of the day, I continued to run along avenida Vasquez, knowing it was not fully as the race route, but at least I would get to Avenida de Juan XXIII which I knew and then get to km36 which I already knew well. Hurt my left ankle when going down a pavement without seeing it. Continued to run. Felt a bit desperate to get somewhere I would recognize. Reached Avenida de Juan XXIII but missed a turn and got to another parallel street to Avenida de Andalucia. Kept my tears in my eyes, but I really did not want to continue running. I give up. I ran long enough. This is a stupid training after all…and finally I saw El Corte Inglès, which was my reference point for km36. Yoooohooo! Renewed strengths and actually very happy, I prepared myself to take my third gel… which was nowhere to be found. Remembering that I had actually taken only TWO gels and not three. Well, ok. Let’s continue without extra energy then! This part was very tricky while getting close to the football stadium La Rosaleda as there was literally NO street light on at all… Meaning I could not see the pavement and running on the street was out of question really. Had taken off my tshirt since a couple of km and it felt nice under the drizzling rain. Very careful. Light steps. Got around the stadium, over the bridge and as usual for reaching the final 2km of any race it just felt like even more strengths were to be found. Noted that I had passed the 3 hours, but quickly calculated that I should be able to run this whole thing under 3:20. Started to accelerate slowly but surely. Skipped the left turn at km39.5 in order to avoid running in the city center with all the tourists and probably very slippery streets and not much lights. Decided to do the final 2km along the river. Down once and then it was a bit missing so I ran up again and across the river, loosing a bit of pace (for not falling on the slippery pavement) and then full speed down to the next bridge. And then up again along the other side of the river. Cannot explain the happiness and relief to press the STOP button on the watch when reaching 42.2km. Could not look at the time. Was just happy. And I looked… 3:18:30! Yiiiiihooooo! And not even tired! Even happier when noting the final km being in 4:19 🙂 Jogged home the final part. And that was it. One marathon done during training. Of course the hoard of runners was missing around me. Even greater achievement I thought!

I did miss not crossing the finish line though…

**********

Weather: 13.9°C, Cloudy+drizzle, Feels like 13.9°C, 3 kph WNW wind, 94% humidity. Nice in the air. Little drizzle during km5-8 and 25-28. Otherwise all fine. Pitch black after km30

Food: > before: chia seeds with green mix and banana, with Gatorade Lemon + white bread with honey (5:30am)

> before (2): whopper Jr meal (w/fries and coke) @1:30pm (!). Right before: powerbar gel green apple+1dl water.

> right after: banana+water+Gatorade blue

> During: Aptonia gel melon @km20, Aptonia gel Salted butter @km30. Dextrosol: 2 at km10 and 1 @km15 or so and then at km23-24-26-35.

Gear: SOC army blue shorts, SOC SWE sport bra, Midnattsloppet blue, SOC compression socks yellow (first outing…). Shoes were out of this world, once again and despite being the third day in a row running in them…

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Boston Boost 5 TSF Pink/White (Fasty) 12/ setting to a decent level of low effort. During the first half it felt that I was just doing a morning run on light legs. Great feeling. The second part after km22.6 was a bit more scattered (after km30) due to several quick stops for checking the road until km36. After that, all fine. And happy to finish.

NOTE: Not too bad for a training and not a race!

NOTE: First time I ran that long during training. Not surprised (ok, yes a bit) but I had this in mind since a while to run the marathon distance during training but never did (because it would mean having to rest a full week afterwards…). Not only the distance, but running it alone was the strength of the day!

NOTE: left kneecap was just out of its mind after km30: I should have probably stopped right there and taken a bus, but stubbornness being my second name on this particular Sunday, I just continued running. Very rewarding to reach km36 and being able to forget the kneecap and get along until the end. And being reminded of this stupidity after stopping the run and having a very tired kneecap…

NOTE: the body itself felt all fine. For sure the hypothermia from the morning was probably not something I should have totally ignored, but it worked well running in the afternoon.

NOTE: No warmup. No check on the watch. Nobody to run with. Yap. The loneliness of the long-distance runner was fully there… Got beautiful sights along the coast line while running towards km25 and that was worth it, really!

NOTE: Energy/Refuelling: OK, this was probably really bad handled. Eating garbage food a bit before the run, when I am so careful before running a race… Surprisingly it worked out well. During the run it would have been good however to have some liquid like water or sport drink. Felt a bit thirsty after halfway. But energy levels were not feeling low. Could have been good with an extra gel at the end.

NOTE: Post-marathon (distance) recovery to be taken seriously. Despite having the body not feeling at all like having run that much, the knee cap is not in good shape. Having searched everywhere I am still back on probably having hurt it on something during Tuesday and that it was not getting better with such a long run. A week of rest should make it feel better. Hoping so… Day after? Massage at a friend of my host. Friend happening to be a triathlete, so got tips for the kneecap. Body feeling fine (apart from the kneecap). A good way to finish the running season! Even though I miss this finish line…

*****
Conclusion: running a marathon during training rocks!


Race Report – Amsterdam Marathon – 2016/10/16

happy-soon-finish-2

Happy and soon finishing

Planned: 2:57/58, definitely sub3. Second target top 20, third goal top30…

Actual:……2:59:56. 22nd all women, 6th age category, 2nd Swedish woman, 488 out of total 12,182 finishers. Ok-result but not fully satisfied as missing sub3 in gun time by 13 seconds and had a too relaxed 5km before reaching 40km-mark and waking up for final 2.2km sprint to the Olympic stadium. Still, it is another sub3 and that cannot be ignored…

Race Results:
place (M/W) 22
place (age) 6

Total 488 (out of 12,182)
age/grade: 79.9% (2016 Ferrara 78.2% / 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 (gun) 02:59:56
time total (brutto) 03:00:13
average pace: 4:16min/km

Official splits:

Name Time Time (split) Pace min/km
5 km 0:20:57 20:57 04:11 min/km
10 km 0:41:37 20:40 04:08 min/km
15 km 1:02:26 20:49 04:10 min/km
20 km 1:23:51 21:25 04:17 min/km
21.1 km 1:28:28 04:37 04:13 min/km
25 km 1:45:08 16:40 (21:17) 04:16 min/km
30 km 2:06:56 21:48 04:22 min/km
35 km 2:28:40 21:44 04:21 min/km
40 km 2:50:34 21:57 04:23 min/km
42.2 km (Finish) 2:59:56 09:22 04:16 min/km

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

M Day-5 

Carb depletion day 1. Had eaten slightly less carbs for past two days. Feeling almost the irritability growing during those days…(or maybe I am always irritable…). As final quality run, I did an interval run with former colleague, run which turned out to be pretty bad for the self-confidence. Would have probably interrupted the run if I had been alone. Wind most of the time, tired, missing my carbs (yeah, let’s blame it on the carbs!). Nope. Rubbish and sluggish feeling. Disappointed at myself for not being stronger. Coach commented it could be the body tired from the last half-marathon run 1.5 week before. Maybe.

M Day -4 

Morning run at 5am and 6°C in a pitch black city still sleeping. Good start of the day and perfect to forget the rubbish run of the evening before. Nice easy and light feeling. Few 200m accelerations at the end got the legs very happy. Slight “electric chock” feeling in the left calf and foot made me a bit worried as it happened as well during the last interval the day before. Continuing cab depletion. Work all day. Massage pre-race in the evening with laser treatment on the Achilles heels and left calf. Got also taped light on the left calf to help and relief for this “electricity” feeling. Probably a nerve malfunctioning.

M Day-3 

Extra rest day. Never took rest on this day-3 prior to a marathon… Worked all day. Took a walk in the cold after working my day. Pack my suitcase and best of all… started carboloading!!! Noted everything single little piece of food I ate today in order to check (afterwards) how much energy I am actually taking. Body feeling fine. Really want to run.

M Day-2

Travel day! Yeaaah…. For once had booked a flight mid-morning, i.e. could sleep as normal and not wake up before the sun and birds to get to the airport. Light breakfast before leaving home and then toasted ciabatta with ham to complete this at the airport. Slept most of the flight. Well-arrived in Amsterdam, long queue to get my train ticket, 30 minutes later I had found my place in Rembrandtpark. Dropped my bags and took the bike my host let me borrow to get to the expo. Got my BIB, met a Swede “Anders” who hope for sub3 too. Waited a while without seeing Henrik D, went through the expo and cycled back home via the Olympic stadium (unfortunately closed for this day as preparing for the race). Changed gear, bike back to km1 of the race, left the bike, ran 10km easy on the race route and then back home again, with a stop at an Italian deli for a large portion of tagliatelle Bolognese to-go. First real meal since the ciabatta of this morning… Had eaten many bananas and drunk isostar during the day. And the day ended with nice chat with my host Rick before I went to bed around 10:30pm.  Less than 48hours to go…

M Day-1

Started the day with sleep-in until 8:30am… Had waken up a couple of times during the night, fearing I had slept too long and missed the start. Running gear on and hop! To the chilly and foggy Dutch morning. Ran easy 5km with a stop at Lidl for some bread and sweets. Finished the run under drizzling rain with a few 100m accelerations. Took 4 of them to get to a fast and decent pace…on slippery pavement… Late and large breakfast at 11:30am and then rest at home until late afternoon. Final meal taken around 3pm. The plan was to have only liquid stuff and easy-to-chew food for the rest of the day. Met Tricky with big brother Christer for their dinner at 5:45pm. Ordered pasta, but took it away with me as I did not feel like eating more. Especially not so “late”. Bike back home in the dark and without light in my bike. Finished to prepare my gear for the race. Review for the 123rd (???) time the route fir the race and when to take my gels. Felt good. Felt ready. Did not feel fast, but enough to make it under 3 without problem tomorow. In bed by 9:30pm. Checking the race route again. Sleeping around 11:40pm (awaken when roommates came around midnight and showered for a while)…and a final check to the race route…and ZzzzzZzzzz…

M DAY!!!!  

Finally!

Before the race 

00:15am – awaken by the roommates back home and showering. Back to sleep.

2:22am – nice time but still not for waking and going up. Back to sleep.

4:10am – opening the eyes and still not understanding that time was passing sooooo slowly. Back to sleep. 

5:25am – awaken before the clock rang. Good! A few minutes sleep-in. Did not want to get fully awaken. Walked quietly to the kitchen, blended some Isostar, ate my breakfast of champions (chia seeds, green mix, isostar. Had no white bread nor bagel, so took 2 slices of brown bread with honey. Glass of water). This should get me up to 200g carbs. All set. Back to bed…

6:00&6:30am – drank water and isostar. Half-asleep/awaken (probably more asleep..)

6:57am – did not want to wait any longer. Got up and headed to the shower.  Eye drops for skipping the crying eyes during the race, cream all-over the body (including anti-chaffing cream), fix the hair, set the Swedish flags tattoos (2 small ones on the left arm and a larger one on the right back shoulder). Hoping they are in the correct sense… Jumping in my racing outfit (SWE hotpants and singlets and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky)). Sunglasses on the top of the head as expected some sun (and some wind). Had 2 gels in a sock in the front of sports bra, 2 in the back of the sports bra and 1 in the little back pocket of my hotpants, with a full Dextrosol. Double-checking again my changing gear for after the race. Getting an extra long pants, a tshirt to throw before start and my running wind jacket. Ready?

08:15am – TIME TO GO! Of course the elevator is the slowest in the whole wide world this morning… Getting to the bike, the air outside is pretty nice. Sun shining, but a bit chilly. This time I found my way in the park without any problem. Reaching closer to Vondelpark and seeing more and more runners walking in the same direction. Parking my bike at the bus stop of “km1-of-the-race” and walking the rest to the stadium. Had thought of jogging a bit, but it is pretty much impossible. Getting to the bag drop area. Taking off my extra clothes apart from the old tshirt Dad gave me, leaving my bag after a quick chat with a Dutch guy telling me that if I made a great time in Rotterdam, I should expect a “best-ever” on this course. Into the stadium, getting myself directly in my starting corral (Yellow) and queuing for the loo….for 16 minutes!!! Good to be on time. Because the queue behind me is getting longer by the seconds passing! Thinking that peeing 30 minutes before start should be well enough. Back to the corral and out again to try to find Tricky in the corral behind. No success.

9:08am – Back to the Yellow corral. Which was for expected time 2:40 to 3:00…Eeeeeuuuh what? How can it be such a large range? It is like setting in the same start a Ferrari and a fast…Volvo (?). Anyway. After a nervous warmup jog, settling in the corral. Chatting a bit around. Saying hi to a Swede (not difficult to recognize with the Swedish outfit he has 🙂 ) Chatting in French, Swedish, English and even a little bit of Spanish. Just loving this moment. The music playing is not always the enthusiastic one you may expect, more likely to be for a nice evening bal or such… Laughing at it with French guys talking about “Bal-musette” 🙂 Not many women here, but the few I noticed look more Ferrari-like, than Volvo-like… Feeling a bit out of my league here (ok…feeling COMPLETELY out of my league!). Hearing a voice I recognize and getting a large smile from Kent M. Nice with a friendly known face. Ready to rock for a sub2:55-like 🙂 Have my pacebands set on my arm. Runners are getting closer to each other. Asking kindly to a French guy before me for having his anti-chaffing cream. Had put some before leaving home, but feel that it is better to be safe than sorry and have some more under the arm pits and the inside of the thighs. Throwing my old tshirt away.

09:25am – presentation of the elite. Could not see our Swedish star (Louise Wiker) in the front corral, but with all those giant guys all around me, that’s understandable (we should have corral per height… the short people first, so we can see a bit better…).

09:28am – Countdown started since 09:00am just continued. Of course it is completely the wrong time to check my shoes as at the same time all the runners are walking forward. Loosing Kent there, but still seeing my French friends. Gels in place where they should be. Still having my little 3dl water bottle with 2.5dl Isostar lemon in it. Taking a glups and deciding to keep it with me for a little while…

09:29am – Everything seems soooo quiet (or is it just in my head?)…

THE RACE

First half

09:30am – BAAAAM! Well, actually, a bit unsure I heard it. A guy on the left did make a noise slightly before the start was given and then could feel the runners moving forward. Same tactic as in Lyon and keeping my elbows a bit on the side. Passing the mat and pressing start on my watch. Had heard about the sluggish start in the stadium and indeed. It just feels like I am walking. Already hearing impatient runners pushing a bit, but I feel fine. Seeing Kent disappearing. We run about 150m in the stadium before leaving it. Careful on the pavement out there. Seeing people cheering already. I feel like a snail would have left the stadium faster than I actually did. Don’t want to check my pace as I might scream if I see how slow I probably am… And anyway, it is better to wait until the first km. Passing under the “500m left” sign and want to check a bit my time anyway. Juuuuuust a little pick…. and good for me! The watch is indicating a distance run of 0.00… and time 0.00… What the….?!?!? Starting it again by pressing start-button. OMG… I am not happy. Can we start this all-over again? Am I in a stupid dream telling me NOT to do that in real life?!?!? Hearing Henrik D’s voice, a good luck and he is passing me on the left. I feel so puzzled for a bit that my legs just run on the habit, rather than for the race. Seeing Kent M on my right. What? He should be far away already. We reach km1. Kent is NOT happy neither with this start. The worse he has had ever. All I want to know is what my pace is. Where is km1-sign? Are we there yet? Passing my bike. No km1-sign I see. Be careful on the road with the tram rails. Running like in a dream or something. Not really in the race at all. Kent is gone. No need to follow him. I have no clue how fast or slow I am. Entering VondelPark and hearing a cheering in Swedish. A guy in black tri-outfit and a cap is talking to me. Still I feel like on a cloud. He asks me what will be my finish time and I hear myself answering “under 3”. Good, we can run together he adds. He starts to talk a lot. Asking if I have run under 3 before. Passing km2, pressing my lap button. OK. At least from now on, I am set for every km. Getting close to km3 and seeing Christer-the-big-brother. Large smile back. A little wave with the hand. And this is soon the end of the park already. Km3 has disappeared in 4:14. The Swedish guy said we were exactly on 4:10-tempo at the entrance of the park. OK. Have to wait until we reach km5 to see exactly how much time difference my watch has to the gun time and take that as reference. Getting to km4 without much trouble. It is actually right under the Rikjsmuseum. Difficult to see as it feels a bit dark there, but not feeling the pushing and crowdedness that people had talked about. When leaving this little path on the other side, THERE you can talk about crowdy! Cheering people on both side and then a runner with a wheelchair with another participant starts shouting to all to move along. Indeed he is fast and being on his way will probably end badly. Passing him on the left and then we turn right and then left and then after a short stretch, left again. Right along the river. Still no clue about my pace. I am just running. I feel however that my bladder is not just functioning, as I really feel like stopping for peeing… Not a chance, not after less than…42,2km! Not taking long before…yappp… the glamour and joy of running….and having a bladder not cooperating at all… Doesn’t really matter… it feels it’s too late anyway. Reaching km5 right after 21minutes on the large clock. OK. Meaning my watch has approximately 3 minutes difference with gun time and that I am right under 2:58-finish time. Looking good! Drinking the little bottle with Isostar and throwing it away. Brilliant plan! So I skip the first water-station! The Swedish guy (“Jonas”) is from Gothenburg and talks a lot. OK, he might not talk a lot, but while I ran, feeling pretty wet (and that ain’t funny), counting down the km to the finish line, the last thing I want is to be talked to. Cannot see the km6, but my running mate tells that we are a bit fast but that’s ok. We meet the fast elites coming back on the other side, turn right and then left and then little bump and left again. Passing a couple of guys and left and we are back to the same road again, seeing a flow of runners coming the other way around. We are good. Running is flowing fine. I feel completely wet and actually I don’t care. Continue to run and hearing the advice that I should alternate sport drink and water at every second water station, so that the stomach handles it better. I actually want to tell him to shut up, but it feels pretty rude to do so. So I do it in my head. I know he probably means well, but I don’t want to start talking about my marathon resumé because I never do and that will not do any good/bad and that’s it. Keeping my mouth shut. Or probably smile. Have turned on a long(er) stretch now. Pretty stable flow of runners all around. Got asked if I am still ok. Answering yes. This was nice asking. Hearing the watch buzz every km or so. Well.. Slightly before every km-mark. Which makes me soon realize that if my watch is always 10-15m before the km-mark and ends at 42.2km, well… the real distance would be way longer… Getting to km10 even before the sign as the comments have already started (or have they ever stopped?). That we are right on time if we do this or this. That we are good for under 2:58. I just want the calm in my head and seeing what the gun-time clock indicates. 41:xx… D*mn! I wanted to pass this one right under 41 minutes and I am off now: Sure, it is still under 2:58-end time, but above my plan. Jonas seems happy on the other side as we nailed the exact time he had thought about. Ok, then. Taking my green gel and a bit of water. Probably not enough though. But felt ok. A bit more running and then we turn back 180-degrees. Feeling like in Rotterdam where there was such a turn which felt completely unnecessary and really strangely placed on the race route. What I want now is to reach km14, see the river and hope for wind-free. What I was not expecting was the stone-paved street. What?!?!? Are we going to run on this? Recalling that someone had told me there was a short path with those. OK, stop whining and run. The sun is shining. More cheering before the right turn into the riverside road…which is still with those cement-plates-or-whatever-they-are… NOT liking it. I can feel that my knees, my feet, my hips are not liking this. And the road is not even plane. It is slightly bumping in the middle. I try to find the most optimal way to run, but whatever side I choose on the road, my hips feel like they are going to pop out or something. Have passed this km14, meaning that on the other side of the river it is km24! Yoohoo!… OK…Not helping at all…but the mind is at peace by remembering this clue. Jonas has disappeared by now. I think I recognize Henrik D slightly before me. Trying to catch up, but this first half is the “cruising” one. Meaning no rush. I want to pass all those guys in the last 10K, so let them run 🙂 I am hanging along a group and then another one and then passing guys who passed me aso. Feeling fine. Have taken 2 Dextrosol at km15. Those were some extras I had put in my sports bra with the gels, just in case. Have passed right above 1:02:xx at this gun-time-clock. Still ok. Still running. Around km17 we can see the fantastic elite men running on the other side. WHAT.A.SIGHT!! Even with the river between us we can see the easiness they have for running. This is just beautiful. We laugh with the couple of guys around me. Asking each other what we are doing here when it looks like the party is on the other side of the river 🙂 I like the sun on my face. What I like less (or not at all…) is the side wind, slightly in our face. Doesn’t matter, I think. Let it do what it wants. We’ll have it helping us on the other side of the river. Seeing a couple of lonely elite runners. And then the female elites. The tuning point bridge feels sooooo far away. I am even thinking that I am recalling wrong the map and that we might turn far far away from where we are. Km18 is passed. We hear some karaoke-music (?) from a little boat on the river, singing “It’s not unusual to be looooved by anyone”… Ooooook! Could we have some little more entertaining music, more drums, more whatever and less of this? At least runners around me are smiling at it! And here it comes… another one little bump… slightly up to the bridge to cross the river (yeaaaaah! It feels like a LOT of elevation gain…for too long… Leaving the guys passing me and getting their legs tired on the way up… and catching up on the way down (is that possible that there is WAY less elevation on the other side of the bridge?!?!?). Could already feel that the wind ain’t going to help on this side. Liking the “Go go ladies” and “Come on, you look good” cheerings. Liking less the plates on the road we are running on. Suck it up! I think. Stop complaining to yourself and get to this halfway under 1:29. I have lost my hope of getting close to 1:27. But under 1:29 ain’t gonna fly! Passing km20 under the time written on my armband! Yooohooo! I’m still in this race! 1:23:xx. Feeling strong. Counting that a 4minutes-run would get me to the halfway. Seeing all the other runners on the other side of the river makes me smile. Feels like a while ago I was there myself. Taking another green gel. Where is the water?!?!? The brain is getting clearer and realizing that the “4 minutes to go to halfway” is actually completely wrong. There was 1.1km to go, not 1km. And there is no chance I am fit enough to get down to this pace. I see the km21-sign. Feeling so happy. Passing under the arch for 21.1km. UNDER 1:29! Yiiiiihaaaa! I have made it. I am not tired. I am happy. And it’s sunny. Feeling a rush of adrenaline. Accelerating a bit. Only one half to go!
Second half
This surge of happiness had made me accelerating…I thought… but apparently I took it pretty easy after that. Getting closer to a group of guys and recognizing Henrik D there. Right when I am to start talking to him, I hear a “Heja Sverige!”. I answer thanks at the same time as Henrik D and turn to him to say with a smile that the cheering was for me 🙂 So, here we are after half way and three Swedes together. Few words exchange but I get along with the pace my legs have and let the guys behind. Catching up with two Italians who have a nice pace, I think. And they receive plenty of cheering as well, so it is good to run with them. Well, they don’t know I do. They are chatting about stuff, and my limited Italian knowledge together with my tired brain do not really let me comment. Just running. Noting right before passing under the bridge that they are actually on a “too-much-cruising” mode and I leave them behind. Continuing towards km25. Have taken 1 Dextrosol every km since km23. Running along the river is pretty nice and peaceful. Still feeling like on a cloud and not really in the race. Km25 is reached and as for the previous water-stations, I take a paper cup of water, a glups, throw the rest on the head and catch another cup to do the same. Catching as well one or two sponges. Feeling very good. Now what is left is 5km to the next meeting with Christer-the-big-brother. Good to cut the race in small pieces. Have thought about it at km14…one third done, two third to go! To reach km30 it is the simple “5km to go” with reference to where I train. And by km26 I was “at the roundabout close to home”. At km27 I had reached the big gardens. And so on. This part reminds me again of Rotterdam. Less people. We have turned to the right on the map and no longer are along the river. Just road and this lovely asphalt. Too quiet and peaceful and the pace is dropping. I know it and don’t do anything about it. It is under control. Then I see a friendly face I recognize… Christer! But??!?! What? Am I already at km30? And nope. He had made it to km28 for cheering for us and I am still to reach km30. After this meeting, I hang along with guys but often they are slowing down after a short while and I am to catch another guy or group. Not necessarily accelerating, but not really slowing down neither. Reaching km30 where I take another gel. Yellow. I am still on time for a good 2:58 finish. 15-20seconds off, but I feel fine. I know I am actually slow here, but the pacesetters of the 3:00 have not yet passed me. Have seen them and their balloons around km6/7 and since halfway, I should be 1 minute before them. Just have to keep it this way. Talking to a guy who I caught up with and indicating there were only 12km to go. Receiving a fade smile and he cannot keep up. 12km to go. That is nothing. That is less than an hour. That is a morning run. This is what I have trained for. Just a back and forth in Dubai. N.O.T.H.I.N.G! Run run run! Passing km32 and catching up with a French guy. He looks fine and he has a great pace. He looks a bit surprised to see a chick here, but we talk a little bit for a while. 10km to go. Quickly thinking of the pace. OK, 43-44minutes max. Otherwise it won’t work to be under 3 hours. Running in the houses-area reminds me once again about Rotterdam. Although here there is way less people cheering. But I don’t care. I have a mission and that is to make it to the finish line under 3 hours. Just thinking of it. Relaxing though when thinking of J’s words and not thinking of the time. Just enjoy. Well… I would probably enjoy WAY more if I knew what was my current pace. But the clock is still showing 3 minutes or so after the gun-clock. Close to km35 I take another Yellow gel. Missing to drink water, so I grab two sponges and press them in my mouth. Disgusting as it could be expected, but it does the trick. We are now turning left on the map. Got passed by a Swede who cheers for me (good idea this Swedish flag tattoo on the shoulder!) and tells me to hang along. He is going for 2:57 and indicated he had passed the 3:00-guys and has 3 minutes before them. Yap. But I have not. Welcoming very much the little downhill and under the bridge and the Swede with grey singlet disappear. Not like a rocket, but still…faster than me. We are back in the city. I know there is less than 7 ridiculous km to go. This is absolutely nothing. And still… a gal is passing me… NOOOOOO! Trying to hang along. This works. For a little while… until we run down under a little bridge and…I get passed… by another gal!!! Which actually look like the same age. DOUBLE-NOOOOO! Passing km36 and I hear this guy saying “what goes up must go down”… not understanding really as we have just gone DOWN and then UP… The two gals are right before me 15-20m ahead. For the next 2km. I am mistaking km36 with km38. I hope to see the entrance of Vondelpark, but it is only this stupid asphalted street which is in front of me. At least it is going slightly down. My legs are just running and I am no longer thinking. Preparing my final gel – red. Taking it when seeing the km38-sign. No water in sight. And this all-but-liquid gel in the mouth. Doesn’t matter. Have taken an extra Isostar gel in one of the water-station and hop. In the front of the sport bra. I can feel by now that this was a veryveryvery bad idea and will probably feel sorry when I get undressed and into the shower. But for now, focus is on the snake-like street bringing us – FINALLY! – to Vondelpark. I want to see km39. Trying to find Christer-the-big-brother, but honestly not really doing it. I just hold onto this feeling of passing-people-in-the-last-km-is-the-best-feeling-in-the-world. Km39 is passed. 3km to go. NOOOOOOTHING! But isn’t this km the longest of the race? Feeling like it! Seeing a bit ahead of me the Swedish guy I met in the start corral. The fast one Kent M introduced me too. I know there must be something wrong if he is here…as I am here too. And I am not THAT fast. But the brain ain’t thinking straight on this one. It just tells itself to accelerate to keep up with the fast Swede. Not looking good actually. So passing him and telling him to hang along with me. Less than 2km to go. I can feel he is following. Passing km40 exactly on the 3:00-finish time… I am disappointed. I am not happy. So I push a bit more. I talk to my Swedish runningmate, not really sure what words I am using, but it is probably as much for him as for me. Stupidly going to the water station before leaving Vondelpark. Grabbing a sponge. WHYYYYYY?!?!?! I don’t even need it! Cannot remember the name of my Swedish runner, but he is right next to me and that helps! I think I am smiling. Less than 2km. We will make it under 3:00. Running on the street with the tram railway feels trickier now. Hearing myself screaming/shouting at runners who have stopped running and walk now that they should keep their right. I don’t want to fall. Not now. Not ever. We get to the roundabout where I parked my bike. 1km to go. Cannot see km41-sign. I don’t care. I just run. Straight forward. Under the shadows of the trees. Turning right. Seeing the “500m left” sign. Seeing the clock ticking. Calculating that even in a good and fit shape I would not be running the 500m as fast as I have to right now to make it under 3hours. Sun in the eyes when running. Hearing my name from the speaker and the cheering. Yooohooo! I even wave! And turning right. Passing the “I AM AMSTERDAM”-sign. The stadium gate is there…Entering and getting passed by a guy. Pressing to another gear or whatever it is. There is less than 150m to go. Reaching the inside line of the track. Getting the sun in the eyes again. Seeing the signs counting down. Seeing the stupid clock ticking… and noooooO! 3:00:00….01….02… Feeling completely disappointed, but feeling that the legs are strangely still running. Why on earth are they doing that? The clock has passed the 3hours. Seeing 3:00:08…09… and then getting on the finish mat. Stopping the clock. I am deeply disappointed. And not even tired.

Official time received later: 2:59:56...

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

After the finish line

Stopped my watch. Looking around pretty puzzled and not happy. Runners all around showing signs of tiredness. I am bending a bit on my knees and then up again. Seeing Svend, my Swedish running mate. At least we made it together to the finish line. He even smiles as he said his watch shows under 3 hours. Yapp… But mine is showing a stupid 2:57:07 and I have no clue of my finish time. Apart from that it is above 3 hours. Soooo annoyed. Getting a cheering from a few runners, thanking for the run, asking how it went aso. I think I am smiling but the heart ain’t there really. I want to leave the arena and go home.  We walk together to the exit of the stadium, receiving our medal, taking pictures. Outside the stadium waits a bit of food and drink. Getting an Isostar Orange and a banana. Final chat and hug to Svend. He said he felt pretty bad and that was good I passed him and we finished together. Yapp. For this I found it was a fun end. But nothing else. Cannot understand how I could  not make it to under 3 hours when the pacesetters of 3:00 have not passed me. Walking to get my bag. Then to medal engraving. As I had planned and trained for a great finish time, I did plan for an engraving. It feels like a waste of money. Giving my medal and waiting a few minutes on the other side of the tent. Sun is shining. I am probably the only unhappy here. Hearing my name and getting my medal… seeing surprised a 2… and then a 59… and does not really matter what is after. I burst into tears and scream. Getting a hug from a runner close to me. Feeling so d*mn happy. Standing here. Legs still fine. No pain in the body. And a sub3 engraved on my medal. The sun may continue to shine! Drinking the isostar bottle, asking for a photo and then taking off my hotpants and singlet to get into dry clothes. Not really comfy with sweaty underwear, but better this than getting cold and sick. I decide to skip the massage and walk back to my bike. Encouraging the runners on the way to the stadium. Re-assuring them that there is less than a km to go. Bike still there. Cycling easy under the sun back home. Shower. Clean clothes on (carefully as I got burn marks on the chest “as expected” and on the inner-thighs… as it apparently always happen with this hotpant). A bit of food (the pasta from the day before, topped with an egg and 3dl isostar taste like a Queen’s meal!) and rested under the cover with legs up to rest.

After a bit of resting, bike to Vondelpark to meet with Tricky and big Brother-Christer. Took a bit longer as the afternoon race is still going on in the park. Dropping my bike at their hotel and we walk to the bar I found with “ribs at while” menu. Suiting pretty well to celebrate: ribs with French fries and a large coke. Lots of talking. A bit of walking to a coffee place for dessert (mine is a chocolate muffin with chocolate topping and hot chocolate for drinking…) and then enjoying the darkness falling down on the city while talking out ourselves about the race. Cycling back home and throwing everything in my suitcase. A bit of chatting with my host and his mate. And then in bed. Could not fall asleep before midnight, but it does not matter.

A good day in the Venice of the North…and almost making it for the goals set… 

 

**********

Weather: 10.0°C, Sunny, Feels like 7.8°C, 14 kph SE wind, 87% humidity. A bit chilly at start, but as soon as getting the legs running, it felt nice and perfect for running. Estimating the average temperature throughout the race to be 13-14°C. Windy along the Amsel. Sunny.

Food:
> before: chia porridge with green mix and banana, with Isostar Lemon + 2 slices brown bread with honey (5:30am)

> right after: banana+water+Isostar orange

> 3 hours after: ribs party 🙂

> During: isostar in my little bottle @km5, green gel @km10 & 20, yellow gels at km30&35, red gel at km38 (at the water stations). Dextrosol: 2 at km15 and 1 every km or so at km23-24-26-27-28. Full Dextrosol pack eaten…

Gear: ADIDAS SWE outfit (hotpants & sports bra), Casal Iconic black Sports bra MIK, sunglasses, shoes to perform on the feet! Just so great. Forgetting almost they are on. Feels like flying, like not touching the ground…

=> Perfect outfit? Could have done without the singlet. It was convenient when it was a bit windy to have it on the stomach, but mostly felt a bit “warm”. The hotpants looks good, but were annoying again and despite anti-chaffing cream, they gave me burn-marks on the thighs and in the lower back. And rubbing slight under the belly-bottom. Have to find new ones. Looking as good… Carrying the gels was very poorly achieved once more…

14/ Decent 13/14 for the first half. Felt in control and good. Would have been even better without the bladder incident… After the half-point it was too comfortable and there was no real possibility to get along with runners at the pace which have been good until the end. Settling into a comfortable pace made the second half actually feeling “easier” than the first one. Thought about Berlin 3:03 and cannot feel like today was harder or even the same effort level. Felt well and controlled. A deep around km35-40. Not enough water drinking? Did not feel dehydrated. Could not really push as much as I wanted from km40 to the end, but got the pace up to the end. And still missing the 3:00…

 

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

SUMMARY: Had looked forward to this race. Had limited the number of longer races (read: marathons…) after Ferrara in march in order to focus on this one. Had done the training accordingly. Had not gone down in time for the half-marathons races as I wanted, but was satisfied enough to feel like having back a good level kind-of “2014-like”. Felt fit. The race was nice. The route was perfectly fitting me (apart from the stupid plates along the road). The wind? I can even forgive this one, as it was nothing compared to training back home or in other races (including Rotterdam). Can at least feel satisfied to finish in this time without major or minor pains. The body felt like handling the pace pretty happily. Maybe a bit too comfortable… The preps the days prior to the race felt all fine (apart from the intervals session). All was set for a good race. Apart from the watch not starting properly. Focus was there, the legs were there, the head was there. Feels good to be in the sub3-club….so good that you wish to get to a starting line very soon again!

 

(Loads of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks and months. Tricky to prepare with so many changes happening in the past four months, but the “every-second-weekend-race” since August did provide a good base for this race  Missing top20 is a pity, still being in top25 is great. 3rd sub3 and 3rd best marathon time ever. OK…probably there is some stuff to be celebrated here 

Thanks to all the runners who cheered (more or less) during the race. To the Swedish guys along the route. To the French ones and the Italians too. To all those who gave a smile or encouragement when I was passing. To the people cheering along the road. Special thanks to Christer-the-big-brother for cheering along the course and taking pics. For you too, special people who are counting very much and always giving supporting words or tips when needed. A special thought to Z who would have celebrated her birthday this same day. This sub3 is for you!

Special thanks to my little ones left at home and being the best-ever crew one can wish for. For their faith in me and their constant words of encouragements. Receiving a smiling “I’m proud of you” is worth all the medal (and sub3) in the world!

The return to Sweden was -as often- done under grey skies and cold(er) temperatures. Sunshine? Nope. Rain on the other side… Time for a well-deserved rest now. The body felt indecently fit after this race. Good sign? New adventures already in mind… THANKS!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Let’s start with this body of mine. Which did not feel tired at all after passing the finish line. Cannot really comprehend this. After shorter races, yes I know. I don’t push enough to get tired. But here we are talking 42.2km. A bit of pain should be felt somewhere. Tired? Yes. I am no robot! But pain, nope. Not even the Achille’s.  The calve behave properly, the bum/thigh muscles were just as fine and the hips never screamed. OK…listing all this makes me think that there must be something wrong somewhere… Won’t complain. Can be a bit of luck. Let’s see how the next sub3 ends… 🙂

NOTE: Warmup? What’s that? Nothing at all this time. The nervous jog was not enough to warm me from the chilly temperature. OK. The 500m for start did act as warm-up probably…hi hi hi… Anyway, the body could settle in a proper pace around km1.5 or 2. Would have been good to know how the first 500m went…

NOTE:…which brings me to the “watch incident”. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?!?! Still don’t know how it turned itself into pause. Did I push twice? Did I start and then with people around it pushed on stop? Don’t know. But will definitely be extra careful in the next few races…

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? This I am very satisfied. Have to do some calculations, might have taken too much, but never felt any deep. The little bottle in the hand until km5 worked as a charm. The gels were planned for 20-30-35-38/40 and taken at 10-20-30-35-38. Had an extra one just-in-case and took one isostar just-in-case-just-in-case  A full Dextrosol pack went down and it worked fine. Particularly happy not to have had any stomach cramp. Never felt thirsty. Did take liiiittle water at every water station (read: a glups max!). Satisfied for this part.

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Tested this time as well. Honestly? Don’t know what it does. Have run faster races without. And as usual, cannot know how it would have gone without…

NOTE: then…gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Worked well. Sitting pretty tight and not moving around, which means no chaffing. Cutting the ventilation expected in the back of the sports bra however…

NOTE: …and gels in the sport-bra, in the front? As usual…. I know, I know… did not work this time neither…Suspecting however that it worked fine until I took the extra one (isostar) as this one was not in the little sock…

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. Felt a bit stiff when sitting a bit long or when going up from the bed. But nothing different from during training  Day after? The body felt all fine. Massage on M day + 1 and M day +2 are really worth it. Just a few more days without running and that will be it as…

new adventures will soon to come…

 

 


Race Report – Copenhagen half marathon 2016/09/18

cph2016

A happy runner here!

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

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

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

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

Splits (official)

Split

Time

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

447

37

3

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

565

44

3

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

638

52

5

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

681

57

6

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

684

57

6

Totals

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

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before…

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

Race day

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

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

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

cph2016beforerace

Waiting for the start…all focused!

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

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

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

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

THE RACE

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

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

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

***************
AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

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

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Race Report – 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…


Race Report – Dubai Marathon 2016/01/22

First half...

Planned: completing the race without fainting, falling or throwing up… Quitting not bring an option either if within the last 2km… Revised plan after problem with balance the days prior to the race

Actual:…3:11:28. 1st Swedish woman, 29th all women and 1st age category (143 total!). Nothing bad but nothing really good neither. Considering the pre-race days conditions, then it feels actually quite satisfactory.

Race Results:
place (M/W) 29
place (ag) 1
age/grade: 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) 03:11:28
time total (brutto) 03:11:33
average pace: 4:33min/km

Official splits:

Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h
5km 06:52:04 00:20:44 20:44 04:09 14.48
10km 07:13:19 00:41:58 21:14 04:15 14.13
15km 07:35:01 01:03:41 21:43 04:21 13.82
20km 07:57:13 01:25:52 22:11 04:27 13.52
HALF 08:02:08 01:30:48 04:56 04:30 13.36
25km 08:20:13 01:48:52 18:04 04:38 12.96
30km 08:43:49 02:12:29 23:37 04:44 12.71
35km 09:07:45 02:36:25 23:56 04:48 12.53
40km 09:32:43 03:01:22 24:57 05:00 12.02
Finish 09:42:48 03:11:28 10:06 04:36 13.06

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M Day-4
Rewinding a bit earlier. Monday supposed to be carb depletion day 1 (or continuation of previous days) turned into dizziness and clear loss of balance. Difficult to walk or run. Massage pre-race went well.
M Day -3&2
Extra rest day on M day-3. Dizziness not much better. Carboloading from the morning did not help. Stomach sick during stopover in Istanbul and finally in Dubai with no relief for this lack of balance. Even laying down and closing the eyes felt like being on a boat in the middle of a storm. M Day-2 : took extra rest under the sun. Nothing seemed to help.

M Day-1

Morning run to check if running is even possible. Felt fine enough to get all ready for the race the day after. Definitely no other objective else than completing the race. And in any case of fainting, falling or alike, then to stop the race immediately (except in the last 2km, where it always feels that even crawling this distance to the finish line is better than quitting…).
Final check of the race gear, the watch battery and MP3 ready, all alarms set on both phones, time wristbands taped, and gels prepared. Getting my change of clothes for after the race in my white bag and that is pretty much it.

08:00pm – sipping last 6 dl Isostar and preparing breakfast for race day. Eating a bagel with honey and chamomile tea.

10:20pm – lights off even though will take a while for sleeping… Planning to check the dizziness in the morning and see if can be running at all.

11:58pm – not much of sleep still…

And same 30minutes later aso…

Before the race

1:20am – waking up thinking I missed the alarm. But nope. Back to sleep.

1:43am – same as before. Still too early.

2:30am – finally time to go up. Feels I haven’t slept at all… Quietly getting to the kitchen, eating my chia seeds mixed with Isostar and crushed banana, warming up my bagel and eating it with honey and drinking extra Isostar. All well-calculated to get 200g of carbs 🙂 water as well and back to bed.

3:00&3:30am – Half-awaken since breakfast. Drinking water and Isostar.

4:00am – Time to go up, leave this bed that really wants me to stay, shower, fix the hair, suncream on the body. On with racing outfit (SWE hot pants and singlets and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Swifty)). Sunglasses on the top of the head. Gels for the course in back pocket and gels for the finale in the back of the sport bra. Taking a few Dextrosol just in case the sport drink sections would screw up (which actually appears as a good idea later on…).

4:45am – Time changing too! Have to leave. Final big breathe and closing the door. In the darkness, the air is nice and peaceful. Trying to jog to the start but the white bag they gave us is not practical for running! So I jog. Or tried to. Getting to the metro station it is just…empty! Meeting four runners. Becoming a bit scared I mistakenly came an hour too early. But when getting closer to the start, the usual chaos of cars is there!

5:3x-ish – don’t understand where to leave my bag. Completely different setup than two years ago. Get someone to indicate the bag drop…which is 250m from start… Not that I anticipated this. Getting there in the dark and meeting…a swede! A bit of chat, a pic and leaving my bag. Getting it back after 3 minutes as I forgot to add Vaseline on the thighs and arms. And good to go now.

6:xx-ish – meeting Henrik D on my way to the start. Quick chat and plan to meet at the start. Quick stop at the loo which has no queue at all. Staying a little inside for not getting too cold outside. Then time to go. Meeting fences on the side of the streets and consider pros and cons for jumping over them to get to the start. Meeting Mohamed there who has the same idea but we both think it might be a bad idea in case we hurt ourselves on the jump. He plans a 4-hours arrival. Ok, I decide to get over the fence with a little help from my runner buddy.

Heading to the start and meeting Henrik again. Not a chance I’ll hang along with the pace he plans to have. Not today. I know what my wristbands say but they are there to keep me motivated and reminding me the original objectives. The ones I worked hard for. Doing a few back and forth runs, try to accelerate. Well, it works. Will see soon how long the body is holding this balance in place.

6:15am – already? Making my way to the first line. Getting big smiles from the volunteers holding the rope. A bit of chat with two French (one from Metz and the guy from Paris). Then with a German named Frank. Asking oddly what’s my plan. “To finish” is my answer. “Yes, but how fast?” He asked twice more. “Just finish will be good” I repeat (thinking silently about how I feel when hearing this from people standing in the front row of a race…). But today, I’ll start anyway where I should be.

6:20am – the elites have gathered to the start and a guy is trying to get there as well. A bit of drama and then we can start walking. Cannot see Henrik but he’ll probably spot me easier during the race. Still dark out there. The air is a bit heavy to breathe. And humid (?).

6:25am – checking a final time my laces. Feeling my gels well positioned. My mp3 ready to sing. I want to start. The faster we start, the quicker we finish!

Start of wheelchair athletes is given. We can now rush to the back of the elites. All is back to normal.

Waiting eagerly to the start. The minutes have disappeared. 30seconds to start a guy announces…

THE RACE

First half

06:31am – aaaaand weeeee kiiiind oooooff start. There seems to be a bit of confusion and false start. But then we hear clearly the gun and off we go. And people push to get a place. I feel fine. Takes not much time before I get to the left side as we will turn left this year… Feeling ok. And starts the short 5km stretch towards the first U-turn. Dark outside as the start is now 30 minutes earlier than the years before. It feels nice on the air, little cold, maybe little heavy to breathe. But I like it. Setting my music in the ears quite soon after the turn as I know I’ll need it sooner than later. Getting in a group of three guys and I am pretty sure they’ll aim for what I want, ie. 4:09-tempo. The music in the ears is my “4:09-pace” – got three half marathons in 87 minutes with it 🙂 never wrong! Passing km1 as expected. Got a cheering from the left (guessing afterwards that could have been Andreas N?) and from the right by Henrik. As I thought, his tactic for the day ain’t one I can follow. Having along with the two guys now for 4:09-tempo. Passing 2-3-4km. Spot on. Feeling fine. The lights are starting to show a little above the high buildings. Then seeing a “4km” laying on the side… What? I thought I had already passed it… realising quick that it must be for the 10K which will start later and takes the same road. The elites have passed on the other side of the road already. Skipping the elite women in my count, I just want to check how many chicks are before me already. Getting up five or seven. Really?

Getting to the 5K and water station. Hesitating but taking a bottle anyway. Only couple of sips and off with the bottle. Seeing Henrik in the other side of the road, meaning the turning-point ain’t far. Taking it nice and easy and off I go on the other side. Light wind felt up to now is actually still there. But bearable. Taking a Dextrosol and then passing the tram station. Km7 & 8 are run along with two guys aiming for 2:55. Gosh! And I who so much want to follow them to the end… But they got away. One in orange tshirt will meet my way later on… Km9 is passed… running alone. Have already thrown my two wristbands. No need to add deception to what feels to become a tough race. A gal with neon orange tshirt is passing me. Noooo not now. And on the back it stands an Internet site address “.se”. Here goes the first place as Swedish female. She runs good and stable. In other conditions I would definitely have hang along her. But not today. I see her disappearing, slowly, smoothly and surely. Seeing an 8km-sign…Whaaaaat? I thought I was going towards km10?!?! And once again realising it is a mark for the 10K race. Not funny! Km10 arrived and this is the first sport drink station. Taking a cup that I see already is only full to the quarter… So much for having the expected “approximately 1-2dl of energy”… Considered quickly whether it is worth running back and get another cup, but nope. Have felt already twice a bit of lack of balance at km7 and then km9. But as long as I can run, I run. Passing the 10K in probably a decent time (a bit under 42 minutes?), but once again, the mind is still a bit happy to have seen this 4:09-tempo for a while and now register that it won’t continue. Ok, setting a new goal then: halfway in 90 minutes. Have no clue if the head can actually do this, but the body itself is in good shape. So let’s use it. Passing Burj al Arab and now the straight line to Union flag is starting. “I’m happy, I’m feeling glad, I got sunshine in a bag…”. Yapp. Singing is what I can do at this moment! As usual nobody appears running at my pace and honestly today I won’t push to keep up with someone else’s pace. Well… Ok, I’ll do it anyway, but more to keep some focus on something and not falling. About km13 or so, have a white-cap runner with me (or more likely: I am with him). He is in for sub3, he said. Checking my watch. My average pace has dropped to 4:13. Daring to check the km-pace, but seeing it so slow feels depressing and motivation-killer. Even though I have this imbalance-thing, it does not mean I cannot give all what can be given. We run together for a while. Reaching km15 works fine. Stopping actually to drink a full cup of sportdrink. Catching up on the White-cap again. Find I think. But he looks tired. And sweaty. Already. Some guys pass us and THEY have a sub3-tempo. They take a few meters-lead ahead of us and I decide to actually follow them. I still have strengths, have not felt like falling yet so why not. The music helps definitely to keep up a good mood. Have changed to my “optimal sub40-10K” music playlist (if all goes well, the 10km should be run before the 6 songs are finished…). Not using it for sub40 today though. Just to keep the good mood. Reaching soon the 20K and the road in Jumeira Beach Road is not as nice as I recall. They are building there. Quick calculations of a mind not fully working still give a halfway course under 90 minutes…. Taking my green gel a bit before the water station. Probably 500m instead of 200m. Yeaaah… I feel actually so extremely bored with this whole thing of not being able to give it to the fullest that I try to pass time in other possible ways. But surely, the gel should have wait to be closer to the 20K… The sun is high already. It is doing this subtly and before you know it, the heat is on you. But it doesn’t bother me. There. Here is finally the halfway mat, right after the 21K-mark. Would have been nice with a clock here to know how much time has gone already. As I have slowed down a bit when grabbing my water earlier, I count on a 91/92 minutes for the first half. Decent enough. Despite the slow pace, I still feels like the cruising part has gone fine. Surely should have gone faster if all had gone normally with the balance, but when I pass these points, there is no thoughts about this. No “what if“. Just be there and run. Until this halfway, I have carefully taken water at each 2,5-ish stations and sportdrink at the 10 & 15-stations. Feels that it is working fine. When sponges were available, I caught one too. Very careful in emptying the water bottle a bit, drinking a bit and splashing some water on my head without getting my mp3 wet.

Halfway done – Halfway to go!

Second half

Not really recognising the path we are taking. Despite having run there already three previous years. The paving stones are bothering me more than usual. Mostly because it makes me loose my balance and since the start of this road, I have been fighting for not falling at every crosswalk (which have…paving stone)… By km23 the elite men are passing on the other side. That’s just beautiful. Quick calculation: they are 7-8 km ahead of me… How did that happened?…They were only a few meters before me at start…like 23km-of-mine ago!?!?! Running alone I try to find some things to focus on, because at km24 I got this “I-am-on-a-boat-in-the-middle-of-a-sea-storm”-feeling, and that ain’t pretty. Continuing to smile but I see that my feet are not running straight. OK. I should not look at my feet neither. Heads up! I am not dehydrated. It is just something I cannot control. And that is freaky strange and scary. Elite women start passing one by one or two by two after this. Counting the ladies before me to see how I place. Ok, let’s finish this race in the top 100, I think. 25-ish elites + possibly 25 more gals having passed me during this long stretch, yeaaaah… Top 100 seems achievable. And let’s be crazy, top 50 would be tough but sounds more fun. Km25 is good for a complete stop at the water station to drink fully one and a half cup of sport drink. I ain’t winning this race and I ain’t competing neither. So better taking time for keeping up this hydration and energy levels anyway. Looking on the other side of the road trying to spot Henrik but getting closer to the U-turn without seeing him makes me think I missed him passing by. Must be 2km ahead of me. And when I finally stop looking here he comes. Looks a bit tired, but I cheer and I think I got a response back. Good! Back to the chicks and the counting 🙂 and here comes the U-turn. Really?!? Not at all as I remembered it. Turning and waving with the arms to the people watching to get some cheering back. Not really working but at least the Norwegian (?) passing there with me is smiling! Now it is actually straight to the finish line. And yes, the feeling of stopping to pee that was there from the start (!) has come back. Halfway of the race, there was no point stopping: only 21,1km left… By km26,5, it became “final stretch. Hold for 16km and that’s it”… Counting two gals very close to me after the U-turn. Probably 4-600m? Just not letting them pass. The long road back becomes harder. The sun is high, the wind is annoyingly there (as usual), and I am by km27/28 zigzagging clearly like a drunk person on the road. Completely different from when lacking of water or sugar, this zigzagging is actually not going along with the body check I am doing. Body is fine, tired but fine. But the head and the eyes just don’t follow. Back on the stormy boat again. Freaky! Getting closer to the fence just in case I fall without warning. Cheering on the other runners on the other side of the fence. Looking and reading the signs for the road, the names of the restaurants we are passing, repeating my name over and over again… All for keeping the mind alert and hopefully not letting go for the imminent falling/fainting felt several times during this stretch. Taking extra Dextrosol at the plain kms up to km30. I don’t feel that I need them at all. For once! But the chewing is in a way helping. Km30 is reached finally. Taking my grey gel. Not feeling I need it either. But it keeps me occupied. Water drinking at all station. Taking 10 seconds walk to see how it feels, but it gets worth and the body clearly indicates it wants to stop if not running any more. It does not want to walk! 12km to go. Calculating a bit more: 5min-tempo is getting me to the finish line within an hour. Yeaaaah! Under 3:15! The pace is by now like a regular distance or long run. 4:35/45 or so. Trying to keep this up. Well, actually no. No trying anything at all. I just run and the legs are to decide. Seeing the halfway point in the other side. Did I pass it already that long time ago?!?! Accelerating a bit to the rhythm of the music. Choosing to repeat two of the songs to keep the mind occupied. Apparently it works. But the left knee ain’t happy after km31. Almost falling there and happily got back on track. Limping with this dead knee for a bit, more than half a km, and it just get back to normal after that. Well, I feel it ain’t “normal”, I just chose to ignore it. Km32 and only 10km to go. 50 minutes tops. Just get to the next one and there starts the one figure km-marks left to the finish. Have been passed by the two gals I noted at the last U-turn. Not that they were getting faster, but I got pretty much slower… Km35 and the last grey gel. Feeling it is almost waste of gel to take them, when I am just running this tempo. Passing km36 and desperately looking for Burj al Arab. Nope. Still not there. I don’t see km37 but km38 and passing a few guys. They chose to walk and were way ahead of me before. Have seen the “2:55-guy with orange tshirt” from the beginning in deep trouble a bit earlier. Having been passed by an ambulance just a minute before, he suddenly cramp and grab his leg in what seems to be excruciating pain. And fall. Cannot help much. He is heavy. Try to wave to the ambulance. Checking behind me and some guys have stopped to help him. Never been so happy to see km39 (not true… Am always happy to see km39!). Still in need to go to the loo…and since a while…but reaching km40 soon, it turns into “you’ll pee on yourself if needed, but you ain’t stopping!” (so much for the glamour of running…). Holding. Taking out my two last gels, definitely considering a waste of money to take them here. But there is no chance I am crawling through the finish live. Not now! Yellow gel 150m before km40, grabbing a bottle of water, few zips, red gel, water and off with it. This is where everything starts actually. Feeling an impulse of new energy even before the gels start to kick in. Accelerating already there, encouraging guys I am passing and that are walking. Burj al Arab is there. And km41. Have rewinded the Embrace song twice since the last gel and this is it. Trying to get help from a guy there, but he is no match for a strong finish 😦 I just feel like flying (I know I don’t fly for real… and probably look more like an elephant charging that a cheetah hunting a prey, but who cares!). I know this final stretch. 500m max. Seeing the yellow sign indicating 400m to go. Finally hearing the crowd. Passing tired guys on the side. This road is just gorgeous to finish: just alone and three-lines of pavement! Seeing the runners from the 10K arriving on the other side of the fence. Trying to race them 🙂 200m to go. Press lap on my watch, I want to know how fast/slow I hit those last meters. Seeing 3:11:xx. Doesn’t matter. It ain’t DNF, it ain’t 3:15 (& it actually turns out being my second best time here in Dubai…). OMG! This just feels good.

Official time received later: 3:11:28 (Garmin shows a few seconds more ).

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After the finish line

Time really ain’t the focus here. Felt strong at the end. Carried by the crowd. And there after crossing the line I see Henrik D a bit away, I feel fine-exhausted but fine. A volunteer approaches me with water…and grabs me. Of course I will faint if someone is giving me the opportunity to just fall into their arms and carry me!!! That is not what should be done. Got asked if I feel good or bad, am given water. They want to get me to the doc tent, but what I want is a massage. Happy to have Henrik intervening and saying he is in charge of me now. Big hug. Well-done from his side in 3:08. And he even got a picture of me at arrival.

Walking easy to the tent to get water, banana, chips, Isostar red(with btw no calorie, no sugar, no fat, no protein… Hum… just been running 42.2km…would be an idea to actually GIVE me extra of everything, don’t you think?) and the massage tent 🙂 Meeting Andreas N there. He has completed the race in 3:05 and still smiling. Taking a few pics and then time for queuing for a well-deserved massage. The wait feels really long. Talking to everyone that want to talk. Two Spanish guys, a French and an Italian. That’s the trick for skipping this queue: finish the run in less than three hours and you’ll wait waaaaaay less! Finally getting my share of massage. Focus on left thigh and right calv. One of the Spanish guys asked me several times if my right thigh was hurting but it is actually one of the (rare) places where no pain is felt! Meeting Henrik L Swede living in Dubai. Well-completed run as well. And finally the massage is finished. A bit of “what am I doing on this stupid boat again”-feeling. Drinking more water and another disgusting Isostar red. Grabbing two extra bananas and a bottle of water and crisp. Goodbye to the Swedes, the French lady from Metz and anyone who is kind enough to cheer and telling me I was running well during this race 🙂

Carefully crossing the human wave to get to the pavement towards the bagage drop. Not hot, but nicely warm. Walking with my running shoes in my hands. Feels nice to walk on socks. Getting strange looks. Who cares! Lots of people there. This is a bland of marathoners, 10K-finishers and 4K-soon to start runners. A mess! Grabbing my bag and heading to the toilets to change. Time for a quick pic before that. And finally getting to the loo 🙂 4hours later 😛 Changing quickly my race gear for shorts and singlets. Cleansing a bit my white-and-salty face and getting out. Eating the banana and the crisps. Drinking the water. Only 3km left to walk back home. Takes 400m before the pain is starting in the front of the right hip. Same as two years ago, here in Dubai. No other marathon or race is giving me that. Walking very slowly as it is actually hurting pretty much. And yes, stubbornly continuing the walk back home anyway.

Quick chat with my hostess before changing to bikini and heading to the 7th floor and the ice cold pool. Staying there, full body in the water, not even swimming, just resting for 15 minutes. The ultimate ice-bath post-marathon! Then rested under the sun. Drinking water. Scared a couple of times that I would fall from my sunbed as the dizziness is there to stay apparently. Have probably collapsed for a little while…or slept…don’t know if that makes a difference. About 3pm heading to Mall of Emirates for eating well-deserved lamb chops and French fries and a large coke. Feeling hungry I add to this 3 chicken Bao as well. And back home for resting with legs and feet up.

Chat with Henrik for meeting for dinner later on. Back to Mall of Emirates and meeting with Henrik and his brother Anders. Still hungry, so got shrimp dumplings and a Pepsi. Lots of talking around coffee (hot chocolate and cookie for me) and close to midnight it is time for a last hug and congratulation and heading back home. A bit of mailing and it is already past midnight when I fall into the deepest sleep since a while…

BRILLIANT DAY in the City of Gold!

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Weather: 17.2ºC, Feels like 17.2ºC, 6 kph SSE wind, 83% humidity. This is a usual what my wonderful watch is registering at start. By the end of the race, it has turned into 20-22ºC and nice and warm sun.

 

Food:
> before: chia porridge with banana, with Isostar orange (2:30am)

> right after: banana+Isostar Red+water+chips (*2)

> 3 hours after: grilled lamb chops + french fries + coke + 3 chicken Bao

> During: green gel @km20, grey gels at km30&35 and yellow+red @km40 (at the water stations). Isostar at km10-15-25. Water : at the half-way stations (2.5km). Dextrosol: 1 @km5 and 1 every km or so at km22-23-24-26-27 (?)

Gear: SWE outfit (hotpants & singlet), sunglasses, shoes were just the way they should be. Wonderfully bringing a touch of speed in this whole race. Felt light like a feather (apart from when the “running like a heavy elephant”-feeling arrived…).

=> prefect outfit. Would have gladly gotten rid of the singlet however. Felt pretty warm. The backpocket was working fine for the 3 gels, but the two in the sport bra could still find a better place. Got a burn mark on the stomach due to the HR band…

 

16/ Effort was nice and controlled at the start and it should have been like that at least until the halfway mark. But the dizziness was not letting the run flowing as usual and the effort was increased after the last U-turn and lots of focus on keeping the mind straight and clear for not falling. Happily not feeling that the last 2km to the finish line were higher than a 13. Adrenaline kick did all the work!

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SUMMARY: Good work! Well-completed race despite the pre-race days and this balance problem. Pretty annoyed but honestly there was not much to do about it, as not knowing what it is/was and what started it. Probably was a bad idea to even run and to race, but I consider that I was alert enough to listen to the body. And yes, there was three times when it felt that it might have been a good move to step on the side and stop, this has never appeared as the only option (or even the better option). The hip pain after the race is fully consequent with the bad holding I must have had during (at least!) the last 16km to the finish line. Once again, the limping could have been ended by stepping aside, but it felt that it would even be worse to stop than continuing… When adrenaline is kicking, better listen to it (I guess?). No check on the time or pace apart for having an indication, never for chasing a time. Support from the people on the side of the road is a big flow in this race. Therefore the best move once again was to have had the mp3 ready to kick in. Running in Swedish outfit is as always really nice as when other runners are cheering, they do it for Sweden 🙂 One part which get a top mark is definitely the drinking. Trying Isostar for the last 3 days pre-race was probably not the most efficient move (if Isostar would have not been friend with my stomach. But it worked well). Surely lost times with the full-stops to get the sport drinks, but at least I got some and enough to continue. Dehydration was not there. For once. Still thinking that serving sport drink in small mug is not the most optimal way of helping runners…

Once again, passing the finish line and 5 seconds breathing after that is just giving the whole race a new angle. Felt good enough for walking at list. This addiction to finish lines is there to stay apparently…

(Huge loads of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks. Especially since after NY marathon. Surely a bit disappointed for not having had the opportunity to run as I really wanted to, but with a quite decent time, a nice ranking and a beautiful skin tan afterwards… that will compensate at least for not having run at all last year. Thanks to the runners and their smiles and cheering during the race. Always appreciated. Special thanks for Henrik D and the pre-race chats and the post-race smiles 🙂 Nice to have had company for dinner after the race.

Thanks to my little ones and their constant support and understanding of once again a “food experimentation before the race” (and yes, “carbs rules!”) and their ever cheering, even when not on site Thanks for the last minute pre-race sms giving extra support in this stupid condition of not being able to walk straight and not understanding why. So nice to have those words in the head during the race 🙂

Back to Sweden and its grey skies, snowy roads and cold temperatures. A bit of rest and already planning for new adventures… THANKS!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Body was all fine throughout the race up to the last final 16+km. The left knee “felt” once again and required a bit of limping. Surely painful but strangely disappeared after a while. The dizziness was the most challenging part probably. Not knowing when it might pop up. And what to do with it. After-thought being once again that running at all was probably a very bad idea, in case the dizziness would have been as strong as the Monday prior to the race. To be checked!

NOTE: Warmup? I think the easy jog/walk to the start and then the few back and forth easy run + strides did the trick. Would have very much been nice to actually run the pace I prepared for. But there will be other races. This was not the one! Never felt “cold” during the race.

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? Worked as planned apart from km10 and the too-short sportdrink mug. But don’t think it impacted at all on the race. And would the conditions been different, and being able to run as “normal”, I don’t think it would have impacted neither (apart from making me not happy!). Good to have drank Isostar for the past days before the race. The gels work well, but once again, due to the running conditions. I am not fully sure they were necessary. Could have continued on sportdrink probably at the tempo I had. Having Dextrosol as backup was good. Mostly for keeping the mind alert with the chewing!

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Hmmm…tested it, but seeing that the pace was not much more that for regular run, I am not too sure it played any role. Probably to be skipped next time. More work to be done to maintain the fast pace expected for the marathon and more long runs 🙂 And less snow on the road. And warmer temperatures…

NOTE: gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Working, but got a little burn mark. Easy to carry and not disturbing at all. Still not the optimal solution, but a good one.

NOTE: gels in the back pocket of the hotpants? Worked well, but would so much want to skip them there.

NOTE: post-marathon recovery to be taken together with checking out the source of this dizziness. Otherwise, life as usual and running gear ready to get out when recovery time is up!


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

Soonfinished

Soon finished!

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

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

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

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

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

Splits (Garmin)

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

Totals

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

 

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The day before…

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

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

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

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

image

Outfit for the day

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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Nice podium 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AFTER THE RACE

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

 GREAT RACE TO FINISH THIS YEAR!

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


Race Report – New York Marathon – 2015/11/01

After Finish Line

 

Planned: complete the course, have a body in one piece and happy at the end and throughout the run, heading for 90min first half and see how it goes to the end… (Ok, close to 3hrs would also be nice to have…)

Actual 3:06:10 🙂 4th Swedish female to cross the finish line, 86th place total women, 11th age category and 1194 out of 50,235 runners… A good 10K, a stable long middle with company and a wonderfully crazy last 2.2 miles. Not to forget neither a mega-cramp in the right calf after the finish line… Pretty satisfied with the outcomes of the race in the city that never sleeps! And not too bad for a 15th marathon!
Race Results:
place (M/W) 86
place (ag) 11
age/grade: 75,93% (2015 WMAC 74,99% / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / 2014 Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / 2014 Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (netto) 03:06:10
time total (brutto) 03:06:10
average pace: 4:25min/km

Official splits:

Split Net time (difference)
5K 21:23:00 (21:23)
10K 43:02:00 (21:39)
15K 01:04:46 (21:44)
20K 01:26:36 (21:50)
Half mara 01:31:28
25K 01:49:12 (22:36)
30K 02:11:16 (22:04)
35K 02:33:42 (22:26)
40K 02:56:37 (22:55)
Marathon 03:06:10 (09:33)

 

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M Day-1

Days prior to the race went quite easy and smooth. Travelled on Friday, picked up my BIB, stayed up so indecently late and slept great. Saturday arrived and up at 5am, waited till 7:30am to get through the door and head towards Central Park. Did a recognition run on the final stretch of the race in the park (from a bit before mile 24 to the finish line). Pretty chilly. Took pic. Back home and rest. Met Tricky and Patrik for lasagne & water party and then more rest at home. Fixed my singlet with my name on it and started to count the hours and minutes left to the start… In bed around 8:45pm, sleeping probably around 10pm. All fine…and excited!

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Before the race
Awaken 1:45am… without alarm. Stared at the clock to see it moving to 2:00am and then back to 1:00am (NY was changing to winter time this weekend…how convenient to have a great race the day after!) but nothing happened. Checked the clock in the kitchen and it indicated 3:xxam. Time change had happened. Back to half-sleeping. Up then at 4:10am – drink a glass of Gatorade, shower, fix the hair, on with the race gear as well as extra layers of clothes and got a text from Christer as he had had an issue with his watch… Left the apartment at 5am, counting on good 8-9minutes to the subway station and it took…1:30minute… not even running… Met a few runners in the subway, including two Swedes. Waited and took the next subway when Christer met me at the station. A bit of chat.

5:50am – chia porridge done with Gatorade (!) eaten in the subway.

6:10am – water + off the tube at Wall st station and start walking towards… Ooooh thanks, this way. I was expecting a wave of runners and to follow them to the ferry, but nope. Feeling like in Chicago, darkness in the skies slightly disappearing, people coming from one street after another and joining the flow towards Staten Island Whitehall terminal. I had the 6:15 ferry and Christer the 6:30. No issue to get into the hall, move discreetly towards the doors and then happily hearing the “time to open the door”-message and feel the human wave heading to the ferry. All set then!

Sitting on the left side of the ferry, quiet and nice. Most runners look like they have been sleeping outside, wearing plastic bags, pyjamas or other interesting outfit.

6:40am – Gatorade. Definitely needing to go to the loo, but skipping it at the terminal, despite the recommendation of Christer. Nope, I want to get in the bus and to the start. Long queue to the bus and what are the odds…meeting Staffan D from jog a few people ahead of us in the line. We get in the same bus 🙂 He looks good and smiling. All fine then. Not like me, who is really regretting the last decision to have skipped the porta potty outside the ferry hall. Really needy then. Happily getting out of this bus after a ride than was…hummmm…50 minutes long, right?!?!? Nope, probably way shorter, but the first thing I want to do is find a queue to the loo. Too much drinking! Checking of the runners by the police went smoothly. Arriving in the villages, first queue aaaaaand..much nicer and I can be social and smiling again 🙂 Heading with Christer to the Green Village. Seeing a bridge in front of us and asking whether this was the one we were starting on. Positive answer from Christer. Really? But I thought it would be way more inclined as per all scary descriptions I read. It felt actually pretty good to have seen it, passed under it and then be in the Green village. Nothing scary at all. That will do!

7:50am – final drink. Meeting of all runners, Tricky. Who is in the same corral as Christer. I let them have their breakfast. We take a few pic. My two layers of clothes are very warm. Good to have taken old garden pillows for sitting. I love asphalt for running, but sitting on it ain’t that comfortable. Massage of the legs with chilly cream. It ain’t cold for running, but not that fun to just sit. But was definitely expecting WAY colder weather. Attaching my paceband around my wrist. Feeling good. Smiling 🙂

8:25am (kind of) – Then seriously, when the speaker indicates for the 5th time that the corrals are opened, I just want one thing: go there and wait. Tricky and Christer are looking pretty cool and calm, when I feel that the blood inside is just starting boiling… They kindly follow my hasty pace to the corral. Passing lots of runners sitting on the grass there. Final hugs and good luck aaaaand I get into my bubble A (sorry, meaning “corral A”). Quick check and once again, it feels that I am completely misplaced, seeing only male runners of the fast kind. Walking towards the front. One more visit to the loo. Off with the training gear – first layer. Pretty cold actually. And sitting on the asphalt is not helping (had thrown the pillows before the corral entry). Seeing at last a couple of chicks coming. Once again, they LOOK so d*mn fast alreay. Even when they stand freezing! Got a “Nice nails” from a Swedish runner 🙂

9:10am – Hearing the departure of the wheelchairs runners. Seeing the local competition runners passing in front of us and heading towards the start. Off with the additional easy pants. Cool with a nice outfit, but hotpants ain’t feeling that hot in this morning weather.

09:20am – Hearing the start of the elite women. Thinking that it would be great with a giant screen and see them 🙂

9:30am (or so) – finally we are allowed to get out of our corral. Walking carefully on the grass and throwing my final jacket to the last charity station. Should have kept it longer of have a plastic bag on me. Jogging lightly to the start (I think…just following all other runners towards…the underbridge)

9:45am – OMG! This is it. The bridge is there on the right side. Meeting an older man who is running his 36th NY marathon…respect! Listening to a gal completely excited talking about how every single part of the course should be taken, that she ran 2 years ago the race of her life here and count on renewing it this year. Another fancy pic and smile. And then…I notice that the start line is…right there! 3 meters or less in front of me. Really? Take some anti-chaffing cream from a guy so my thighs won’t be burning (eventually…). Putting my two final gels in my sport bra. Not practical, but there is no other place. Did not want to tape on me…

9:47am – checking once more my Garmin (which had been charging all night and still showed nasty 3 out of 4 on the battery…and the race has not started yet…). Listening to the announcement of the elite men participating. Coool! Wait…where are they? Ooooh on the top floor. OK. Listening to NY mayor making his speech. He wants us to make some noise or he won’t start the race. He explaint the rules “I’ll stay “ready”, you’ll hear a big noise, and you start at this big noise. But I won’t start this race until you make some noise…”. Runners have been warming up back and forth under the bridge. Could be an alternative, but I want to keep my spot. I have anyway 24miles to warm up… Clothes are thrown away a bit everywhere now.

9:50am – Is he still talking? We are all packed as 30 in one square meter by now! The police cars on the bridge have not moved. They should move now. Why aren’t they moving? Someone! Tell them to move! It feels great. It feels cold. No, warm. Feels ready. No, I need a few more months. Smiles are fading and all the racing masks are on (and yapp, that looks a bit scary sometimes).

Aaaaaaand…

*********
THE RACE
First Half

09:51am – Hear the “Ready?”, but seriously not the “noise-indicating-the-start”. But all runners are now moving. Hoping this won’t count as a fake start!!! How do you re-start a marathon race with 50,000 runners?!?!? Police cars have moved finally. And the race is on. As usual, everybody seems to pass me after start. Don’t care, there is lots of place on this bridge. LET.THEM.GO is what I hear during the first minutes of running. And this will come again on a regular basis. Perfect motivator! Looking on the left a bit, grey skies, but ok to run. This is the toughest part. I had divided the route into four main challenges: the first bridge (Verrazano…I never remember the name), Queensboro bridge, the little Bronx bridge and stretch to Central Park entry. The armband I have indicate I should pass the first mile in 7:40. Faster than that and it is going to be paying the price later in the course. It feels good and the brain is still awaken. Cannot figure out what pace in min/km it should be but assume that around 5-tempo should be acceptable (and correct). Passing the first mile slightly faster than expected (around 7:14?) which is stupidly too fast. But the first km is set about 5min-tempo, so I continue. Aiming for 90minutes by the first halfway mark. Yeaahhh. Let’s go for this. Then the legs feels it is starting to go down a bit. Hold on…where is the bridge exactly? The scary elevation that is described everywhere? Where.is.it?!?! A bit annoyed but concerned as well, I reach the end of the bridge and down the slope, without really having RUN the bridge. I was expecting a Golden Gate bridge uphill, a Västerbro inclination, a Heartbreak hill slope…all being ready to kill legs and motivation from the start…disappointed actually… And it is now light again. We pass under the Blue (and orange?) wave who ran on the top bridge. Arm sleeves are flying there… I keep mine. Have run with my neckwarmer on the nose throughout the “bridge” as it felt a bit cold for breathing. Out there, the light and the pace makes it nicer to breathe. Oooops…stop thinking here it is downhill but can see the runners running a slope towards mile 2. Focus focus and focus… OK, strategy will be to keep the extra clothes (neckwarmer, arm sleeves and gloves) until km10…or 5. Just don’t get cold. Passing the second km under 4min-tempo. Hummm… is that correct? Checking my armband and while passing mile 2, I am a minute ahead of schedule. Either this means I feel good and the form is great and it will end brilliantly OR it means I am too euphoric, have burnt unnecessarily energy in those two stupid first miles and I will pay the price later on. I choose to listen to the first alternative. Good good good, just running. Don’t feel much then. Don’t think much neither. The legs are in command. A bit warm with the arm sleeves. And the left one is falling a bit. Have to lift it several times. Hearing km4 on my watch and checking my yellow/blue armband and I am right on track. 30sec ahead of schedule. All fine. Changing my final gels from front to my back, still in the sport bra, but at least in the back they are not moving (and I should avoid burn marks…). We turn left then, empty street and see the other blue and orange wave runners in front of us. Turn right and we are now after mile 3 I guess (could not see it) and we are now all on the same path. Cool. There is a long stretch then after that. Still keeping my 30sec advance when passing the clock at km5. Good good. Still feeling good. No water at the first station. Run run run. Not much really sticks out there. I follow the blue line. Really want to high-five, but this would mean loosing on those 30sec and I seriously will need then at a moment or another. Or if someone could just come and high-five to me here. At the blue line. No? nobody? (surely I should have taken some sugar before start. The thoughts are flying around a bit too early!). Have thrown my gloves already around km5. Too warm. Of course a bit of wind arrive then and give me some chill… The neckwarmer feels too warm as well. Off with it and it flies away a km later. A bit of high-five as well (you cannot just do ONE, and if you drop the blue line for the outskirt and high-five session, it is as good to do a good session of high-fives!). Already in the first turn towards mile 3 I have heard my name. And a couple of “go on Sweden, looking good”. Brilliant to have the name on the singlet! Taking water at mile 4 & 5. Not much in the mugs L run run and more run. Under an railway (?) bridge around mile 4 (I think) – déjà-vu feeling from Berlin 🙂 Mile 6 and it is time for Gatorade. Not enough. Should have taken 3 mugs probably… Running along. Got passed by the guys of 3:00. Really? So early in the race? I could hold them for half the race in Stockholm the first year and up to km30 the second year… But remember that the pace teams are running even pace, and not “pace-adapted-to-the-NY-route”. OK, let them go then. LET.THEM.GO…No need to shout. I am good on my schedule and still having some time ahead of schedule. 40sec head at km10. Good. Still good. This long stretch up to km15 was easy but slightly uphill says my memory from reading Henrik’s advice. Should be having cruising marathon pace here. Hummm… ok. Probably ok I guess. A bit above, a bit under. Should do a good average. Have thrown my arm sleeves by now. A real experience to take those off without breaking my pace armbands and after race poncho wristband on the right arm and then…taking off the watch, taking of the arm sleeve, in in the sport bra, put back the watch, take off the arm sleeves, fold them into a ball and wait for throwing them and not hurt anybody… Mile 6 – time for first gel – antioxidant pomme verte. Not the taste my mouth appreciate, but get it down and happily take a water mug at mile 7. Not needed as the gel is liquid, but it is more for rinsing the mouth… Hmmm ok then, where is this Queensboro bridge? Not going fast enough. But the clocks indicate still that I have 30sec advance compared to 90min-to halfway-pace. A bit blurry memory of the way to 25K. It feels I am on rails and just run run and run. There are those two blond gals with long pony-tails running in front of me. Their hair is just jumping all over. And they run funnily easy and light. One is even telling something to her friend and then…she turn back for looking…back again…and back again…and finally she slows down and stop by a guy on my right for chatting a bit. Not polite to listen to other conversations, but cannot help it. They are apparently both from the same village or community in Australia (?). And when the chat is finished, she hurries back and easy to her friend. Jumping light and easy forward J Another gel taken at km12. With a little water this time J Focusing on a large building ahead of us. Was it this one that we had to look for in Boston indicating that we were soon finishing? Really? Please, make it being the same building. Getting closer and closer, does not help…especially not when passing by it and then…just continuing the run… Next clue to the end? Please? Someone? Km15 the left knee is screaming a little. Not enough for being concerned or stop. But enough to raise a little defcon light in the brain. After this, the strategy is changed slightly. Caught up by a gal who seems to have a good stride and pace, I decide to hang on with her. This was the tactic during WMAC-marathon: first 5K of the loop to be run alone, second 5K of the loop to find someone to hang with to catch up some pace. Now I have done 1,5 loop and it is high-time to find someone to run with me until km20 🙂 Trying to get water at almost every mile-water station, but miss one at mile11. The gal I run with turns to me and hold her mug “you want water?”. So extremely kind! “No thanks” I hear myself answering. And she throw the mug. Stupid move from me. Should have definitely grab this mug! A few turns right and left. Going very smooth. Nothing special. I kept myself close to the blue line again and to the gal. She is good to follow. My brain is just set on cruise control and the legs follow her steps. Either on the right or on the left. Taking Gatorade at mile 12. I read the names of the streets, but the only ones I recall from the route is “1st avenue” and “5th avenue”…and those ones I know are at the end… But the reading is occupying the mind. Sub90 for halfway is not longer in reach. And then we pass mile 13…already? But where is the halfway…Over there? On the way UP to this stupid little bridge-without-name? Who did that? Nobody mentioned that the halfway point was on the way up! Can see runners walking UP to the time mat. Not a chance I am doing this. I.am.going.to.run.this.d*amn.bridge. Clock on it shows 1:31:xx. OK then. 1min or so late compared to 3:00-race. Well, hold on…I should actually have passed here around 1:30:22 according to my red/white mile wristband. Exactly one minute late. Not the end of the world. If only there was not this stupid slope up this stupid-bridge-without-a-name…

The second half

Because everything until this point has been a warmup. Now the race start. Half a marathon to go J Talking to the gal, telling “One half done, one half to go”. Got a smile tainted with ache back. Let’s continue. Down the bridge (a bit hard bridge, which I stupidly took on the top of the toes. Just to see how it felt…yeaahhhh if that work during training, that could be also fun during race..right?). Quick check on my red/white band to see whether I should take a gel at mile 14…and yes…I should…the only problem is that I have only ONE gel left in the back pocket of my hotpants and not two as my armband planning indicate… What happened?!?! Oooooh I apparently mixed mile and km and took the second gel at km12 instead of mile 12. And of course no Gatorade inbetween to compensate. Let’s be crazy 😛 Gel it is at mile 14 then. Back pocket empty. Hoping that my Metrocard and the 20$ bill are still there… Now I feel light and free….smiling and enjoying. Talking a few words from time to time with my running-buddy. But mostly quiet. What’s next?… Oooooh thank you, man! Queensboro bridge ahead. Cannot see it, BUT a very kind man indicates at the water station of mile 15 (?) “this is the last one before Queensboro bridge, ramp up now, don’t slow down, few more turns and you are there”. Thankful, but at the same time not. This is my second challenge of the race (well, probably the third one as I have added the stupid-little-bridge-without-name of halfway on my black list…). OK, let’s keep calm. Easy peasy. Cannot be THAT tough. Tuuuuuuurning left and here we go. Nice Chicago feeling again. Apart from the fact that here the wind is blowing crazily from the side. What is the tactic again for such wind? With the gal running with me, we kind-of try to protect each other, but it ain’t working so well. I feel I am dropping in pace. I look at the clock at mid-bridge or so. No idea how fast (or more likely slow) I am. Focusing on the wind. My running buddy is stronger than me here and increase the pace (or she just maintain it, while I am dropping mine…). Swedish guy passing by. Again. Have seen him a couple of time since the start. I pass him, he passes us, I pass him again…aso. OK, this time he passes us. This bridge is killing me. Literally. Boring. Want it to stop. Should have checked before how long it was. Probably 15km long…it seems like it! Focus focus focus. D*mn cross wind. Stop this right now. IT.AIN’T.FUNNY! On the other side, every runner seem to struggle here as well. At least I am not alone in this. Not much of a comfort thought, but for this moment the mind is satisfied. Kind of. And then the noise starts. Can see that we catch up and this is the downhill and the –finally!- end of this bridge. I catch up with some runners that passed me on the uphill of the bridge (not THAT much of uphill, but of “I-cannot-really-see-that-it-is-going-up” kind of elevation… those killer ones…either you hate them, either…well, you just hate them!). My running buddy is now 30-40m ahead and turns before me. Mile 16 and turn left. Almost falling on a runner stopping abruptly due to apparently a very painful cramp. Little noise indeed and this is so cool to hear there “Less than half-way left”, “go Sweden go”. Even give some smile there. One more turn left…and.this.is.it…FIRST AVENUE… Yooooohoooo! First street name I can remember! Crazy crowd all around. A bit boring that the avenue is SO large that the spectators are pretty far from us (I mean…”from the blue line”). Have caught up with my running friend. Getting some greetings from a few Swedes (which I assume are here for Staffan as they have a sign with his name…). Cooool! Mega cool! Really. It just feels like it is almost finish. I count the streets in my head. 63rd st. 64th st. 65th st…. OK…how many were they ultimately? 1,000? I cannot even see the END of this bloody avenue! It is going straight until we probably fall on this end of the Earth (if it was flat). Wow! I need sugar!!! OK, start to calculate that in Central park we have approximately 4km left. And now we have reached…huuuuummmmm 26km, meaning the “upp to 1st Avenue + Bronx + down 5th Avenue” would be… Hummmmm 12km!!! NOTHING! Let’s make it 6K to the Bronx and 6K back, shall we? Telling my running friend that we are 12km from Central Park as we are taking a detour via the Bronx 😛 She smiles 🙂 Leeeeet’s do this. She is just great, following the blue line, where every runner (or most of them) is keeping the left side of 1st Avenue, we look like two lost chicks running in the middle of nowhere…the blue line is.just.for.us! Ok…now the 1st Avenue should be finished. There really cannot be 1,000 street to the end… the Bronx should be seen, right? How? Where? Have been thinking almost all the 1st Avenue about it being downhill…where? Where was is actually starting going downhill. Someone have been mistakenly telling that and everybody believed it. I WANT a downhill. A real one. Km 29 is past… this is the end…I can feel it…Remembering having run there in 2012 with Tricky and Patrik when we were denied the start of NY marathon due to the storm. I hear the music singing just for me ….”Want you to make me feel…Like I’m the only girl in the wooooorld… Like I’m the only one that you’ll ever looooove….Ooooonly girl in the wooorld”… Woooow so crazy nice. And yes. This requires some singing. Got a strange look from a gal passing me, don’t care. This song was just.for.me! km30…sooooooon…and sooooo happy to see this bridge-without-name-but-it-does-not-matter-because-it-is-the-last-one. Sooooo Happy to be there. A Swedish chick is running ahead of us. Cannot really recognize her, but does not matter. She’ll get some cheering. Passing her and that is Lona 🙂 We’ll have to stop meeting this way. Copenhagen, Stockholm half-mara and other races… “How’s it doing?” “good and you” “fine, you look good” “Yeaaaah…won’t be sub3 today, right?” “no, but we have only 12km left!” and off on the bridge. I like this bridge! Last one. (something in the mind tells me it is not correct. Because if we run above the water to go to the Bronx, we should be running above the water for getting back to Manhattan: Who cares? I am not listening to myself any longer! I am not looking at the watch any longer! I just want to get to Central Park and start the race!). Run run and more run. Cannot do anything else but counting down the number of km left to Central Park. This is the only activity that the brain authorised itself to do. On the top of not falling in the abrupt curves on this part of the course. Why on earth are they putting such turns? Isn’t it enough with 42,2km of pain? I mean “fun”?. Whatever. Getting to the final bridge (I knew there would be another final one!). Taken easily and –probably just in my head- accelerating there. It has to stop somewhere. I am happy, it is 10km to the end, 6km to Central Park and I am still smiling! Have missed several water stations during this second half, got some from my running buddy, but expect that there will be a price to pay for this as well…stupid mugs…Turn left aaaaaand Manhattan again and finally! More cheering. More applaudes. This is the stupid final stretch to mile 24… Just get along with it. Cannot see that we ARE in 5th Avenue. Just seeing streets name. 135th, 134th, 133rd… how many are they before Central Park entry? WHY did I not check this!?!? Are we getting back aaaaaaall the way down to the start of the Avenue??? Noooo, they would have told me… Run more run. I don’t understand the few turns right/left/right-whatever…we should be on the straight line of 5th Avenue. Are we taking a detour? 5km to Central Park. This is just what I needed. And it is straight forward. 1st Avenue and its so-called “downhill” is matched with 5th Avenue and its so-called “uphill”. Cannot really feel it. Adrenaline is just pumping through the veins. Not even sure there is blood there anymore. It is just to get along with all of it. “How are you” asked my running friend. “All fine. Still smiling. Well, trying to smile. And yaa?” “All fine”: Turning to look at her and she definitely look in better shape than the way I feel! Does not matter. I have not run that long to start complaining. Or was I complaining all the way? No. Only commenting. Stooooop talking in my head! Focus! We are passed by the 3:05-pacesetter with his little flag…and TWO guys hanging with him. No massive group as there usually is. “Shall we follow them?” she asked. “Nope, I won’t” is my answer. Let the testosterone win this one. We look good and we are great 🙂 OK, now we should have arrived in Central Park. Passing the last water station before the park and seeing a Swedish singlet. This is Staffan. He looks a bit in pain and walking and drinking. Come on, I try to shout. Only 2miles left. And we continue. Having skipped the running on the concrete on the roads where there were the bus stops (like it would make a difference…) but on 5th Avenue, the brain tells “Screw the asphalt, run on the concrete, this is the shortest way to the end” and the legs just follow… “Come on ladies, soon finish” and there it appears, the final turn to Central Park. THE part I know, I have run this one. I know where it hurts, I know where it hurts less, I know we are 500m to mile 24. Coooooooome on! Taking out my little sock with my two gels. Getting one at mile 24….ok…mile 24….should be there….in a minute…or two…how MANY turns was it before mile 24 exactly?!?!? And here it comes. Hearing music all around (I know there were no music there…) I take my yellow gel. My running friend stop to take water. I continue. This one is for me. 500m and you will be closer to the finish line. Downhill. You like downhill. You run carefully on downhill. You happily pass people on downhill. Caught up by my running friend. “Final stretch” I shout to her. And here comes another gal in pink on my left side. Nooooooo don’t let her pass us! Not here! Not now! Ok, it’s probably gonna hurt and that is probably end badly, but she ain’t passing me. I feel my running body is behind me now, not really hanging to the tempo (which probably is rubbishy slow, but who cares? This is MY rubbishy-slow-pace-to-the-finish-line). Km39 on the clock and I take my final red gel. Disgusting eucalyptus taste. Wake up all the senses. Downhill and Swedish cheering squad on the left. I hallucinate. I saw a guy from RW cheering there. I turn back…and nope…he actually IS here…with a bunch of other Swedes. SOOOOO proudly wearing the blue/yellow colours today. Now it is time to finish this. Passing one Swede. Yooooohoooo! Passing one guy there. Next one…and next one… The gal in pink is still coming back, I can feel her running slightly behind me. I just do not want her to pass me. Turning to the right and to what I thought the day before was the “final stretch”. Looooong street under Central Park. More “Heja Sverige”, “Come on girl, beat them all”. I am on cloud 7…or 9… have stopped counting since I entered the Park. I even take the time to make some wave with the arms. The pink girl is doing the same. We look at each other and smile. We are just SOOOOOO extremely high. 100% adrenaline. Nothing else. This guy without shoe is passing us…nooooo…not someone passing me… and turning at Columbus circle or whatever it is called. I want to run into the park…soooo badly. I want to see this 26miile sign. I want to feel the blood pounding in the veins and Gosh! This is actually SO crazily nice feeling….more shouting, more screaming on the side…spotting a Norwegian lady 60m ahead of me. Not a chance. Hearing the cheering similar to RIL from Olivier saying I am stronger than her and that there is less than 400m left. Focus focus and focus. No more sexy running (if there ever be any during the race…) just.have.to.pass.her….aaaand DONE…still 150m to the finish line. What is the time? 1:xx:xx… what does it means. So confusing with four clocks above the finish line. Mine is the outer left one and indicate 3:05:5x… too late… just run. Pass whoever you can…just do-no-stop…. And that was it. Finish line. 3:06:10. I am happy! VERY HAPPY!

Official time received later: 3:06:10 (Garmin shows 6 seconds more 🙂).

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After the finish line

Time does matter J But after crossing the finish line, it just felt like an relief from all the tensions or whatever it may have been from the race. Took a few steps, looking more like a drunk person than a runner. Or just looking like a runner that just finish a marathon… Breathing was a bit heavy, but ok. Got my medal. So nice. Just wanted to faint in the arms of whoever would agree to cath me J Remained a bit for congratulating my running buddy. Got the pink girl to congrat me as well. She could not follow the sprint I did at the end (slow sprint, but who cares really!). Got lots of smiles from guys I had apparently passed for the last mile. A bit struck I could make it this pace to the end.

THEN… when going under the clocks bridge and feel an explosion in my right calf. Not being able to walk. Got helped by a lady in red jacket. She insisted in bringing me to the medic tent. Not a chance I would sit on a wheelchair and stubbornly walked to the tent. There I got the “fast lane”. Massage of the cramped calf, ice on it. Got two small salt packages to eat (Blääää….) and Gatorade to drink. I insisted in telling them I had not drunk enough but they wanted me to know it was too much drinking making this situation. Nope. Not a chance. I was there and I know that I stupidly did not drink enough. Got an ice pack on the knee while he still massage the painful calf. Got my blood pressure taken. Twice. The doc was called as it was extremely low. “Is it that low normally?” “Well, low, yes, but not THAT low” “She is NOT going anywhere”-I heard the doc telling the helping lady in red. Cramp in the right thigh, but surely could leave with this one, if only the left calf would STOP cramping. Tried to stand and nope. Still cramping. Helped by another lady in red. More massage. A bit of shouting as well. Would rather have lay down than sitting on a chair. 30 minutes later, new blood pressure measurement. “OK, now it is low. She can be discharged”. Well, it was no longer extremely low, only low (and still lower than normal…). Ice pack on the left knee and left calf. I felt the most sexy girl in the world with the nicest and smoothest walking style EVER! Discharged and got to walk back home. Got my poncho and got out in 74th street. Just had to walk back home. Drank the recovery drink (could have had three like that!), ate the apple.

Well back home, pic with the medal 🙂 ice bath for 10 minutes, hot shower after that. Then rested with the legs and feet up against the wall during probably 45 minutes. Tired, frozen, hungry. Sms to Tricky & Patrik as well as Christer for meeting up. Met a runny friend of my tenant (he had run in 5+hrs and was looking good still and happy). My two “NY-2012-did-not-happen” buddies joined me to a celebrating dinner. 15th marathon – worth to celebrate! (no champagne, we keep that for sub3 :-P) Back home, eating a bit more gummy bear, and time for bed.

WHAT.A.DAY.in the city that never sleeps!!!

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Weather: 15ºC, Feels like 15ºC, 26 km/h SW wind, Humidity 67% – Perfect at start, windy in the middle, perfect at the end. No complaining. Great weather for running!

Food:
> before: chia porridge with banana, with Gatorade (5:50am)

> right after: apple+Gatorade+recovery drink

> 2.5 hours after: Veal + potatoes + spinach + 2 coke

> During: overstims gel @mile 9 & km12, mile 14 and yellow+red @mile 24 (at the water stations). Gatorade at mile 6 and thereafter I lost the control when I took some L. Water : now and then, but definitely not enough

Gear: SWE outfit (hotpants & singlet), sunglasses, arm sleeves black, SOC windgloves, neckwarmer blue, shoes were just brilliant. LOOOOOVING them! Comfortable, light, easy to run in, just forgetting having them on!

=> perfect outfit for today and the weather. Still issues as 1) backpocket sewed worked fine, but not easy to take in/out at this pace and 2) burn mark on the stomach/lower back due to some seam of the hotpants. I thought this was fixed. Might run WITHOUT hotpants next time 😛

14/ Definitely effort on this one, but comparing to most of the marathons this had not raised to a 15. Some parts were “tougher” than others, but the change of strategy at km15 made the whole race way more as a fast long run than a race. Can hardly set a 15-effort on the final 2.2 miles. Impossible to measure the effort there as the adrenaline or whatever it was was so extremely high that it felt effortless. The mind had only this much focus on the finish line that the body just had to follow.

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SUMMARY: Brilliant day. Nice race. Well-completed. A bit annoyed with the calf issue and not able to explain it as I can hardly remember when was the last time I had a cramp during training and never during race (yes, feeling that a cramp is coming, sure. But no cramp). The route was not easy, but not as tough as most would describe it. Even tempo and effort throughout the race is definitely not the way to go. That was good to try this. Having the armband with pace in min/mile and min/km were very helpful. First race I consider running only checking the mile marks. But changed at the last minute. Good to have changed strategy at km15 and definitely a huge plus to have had a running buddy almost throughout the race. Not explaining the 7min run at km15. Did it really take SEVEN minutes to run the Queensboro bridge? Because in that case, this is definitely THERE some time was lost! Great support from the crowd, having the name on the singlet was definitely a winner (and made me feel like one 🙂 ) Running in the Swedish outfit was also a winning combination. Not just because there were a lot of Swedes on the race and in the crowd, but for all others cheering that could just cheer for Sweden. Happy with the body holding so well throughout the race (this was definitely a “mind-do-all-the-work” race, as there were parts where the body would have gladly rested or slowed down a bit, but that the mind did not let happen). Not too satisfied neither with the drinking. Real stupid to screw the whole plan by not drinking sufficiently. Not liking the mugs and will never do.

All the sweat and any possible annoyance during those 42.2km are SO forgotten when reaching the final stretch to the finish line. Addicted to those finish lines? Definitely!

 

(Lots of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks. A bit tricky with sick children at home during final week as well as extra pressure at work, but stress just disappeared when switching off the laptop and packing all the stuff for travelling. Deception from not running in 2012 is still there, but now NY is ticked off the list. Great race to run. My heart still goes for London and Chicago however. Many thanks as well for the encouragements and the cheering before and after the race. Sub3 ain’t all in life. Finishing is so much that it can hardly be described. Have to be experienced. Thanks for all the Swedes out there cheering along the course, for all other people shouting as well. Special thanks for my running buddy without who I believe the race would have ended differently 🙂 Thanks to my little ones and their understanding of “food experimentation before the race” (and yes, “carbs rules!”), carb depletion for longer than usual made a difference, more to try 🙂 And of course a huge thanks for the hugs and cheering from my Swedish running friends that shared this race (as well as before and after race). Back to the cold Sweden and its grey skies. A bit of rest and already planning for new adventures… THANKS!

Finish Line

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Body was all fine throughout the race. The left knee “felt” a bit after 15km, but I could have ignored it probably. Issue with the calf is either linked to the lack of water/liquid drinking during the race OR the running on concrete (really?) or both or neither of them. Any suggestion?

NOTE: warmup? Not even in my wildest dream. Sitting and freezing for a while before this huge race ain’t the best. I could have chosen to warm up with strides like some did under the bridge, right before the start. Well-noted. The body had anyway 24 miles to warmup and it definitely delivered at the end!

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? All was so nicely planned. Had it written on my wristband. And THEN did not follow at all. Tactic to refine definitely. But otherwise the gels were well accepted (thanks Oliver A for the tips :-)) and the final two at the end of the race are real energy-booster! Skipped the dextrosol during km21-32 as usually do. Worked fine, but should have been replaced by Gatorade drinking.

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Hmmm…tested this time with pills. Taken from Sunday before the race up to race day. Not feeling a single difference. Endurance is there. Just have to work on the speed now and this is not gonna help. More intervals to the people! 🙂

NOTE: gels in the sport-bra, on the back? WORKING! Definitely not the easiest, but it is fine to carry, cannot be felt, not moving around, no burn mark. All fine!

NOTE: gels in the back pocket of the hotpants? To be refined. But it worked.

NOTE: NY marathon? Definitely fun enough to be recommended! Although once again, this is an experience for life but Chicago and London are greater than this. Yes yes…they are. 🙂

NOTE: the last one… Had heard so much about the feeling when the start is given and hearing “New York New York” from Sinatra in the loudspeakers… well, I must have been off at the start, because I did not hear.a.thing… Just the mayor, his joke, the start shot and then the pounding of feet on the bridge asphalt.

 


Race Report – XXI WMAC Marathon (Lyon) – 2015/08/16

Planned: complete the course, hopefully not last + if feeling fine, get into a nice finish under 3:30/25 + ensure the body is remaining happy throughout the run.

Actual 3:08:29 🙂 a silver medal for age category in the XXI World Master Athletics Championships, a 6th place total women, a personal fan club on site ensuring both cheering and bottle handling and a body not too bad during and after the race. Quite satisfied with the preps of this race 🙂

Race Results:
place (M/W) 6
place (ag) 2
age/grade: 74.99% (2014 Chicago 75.97 / 2014 Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / 2014 Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (netto) 03:08:29
time total (brutto) 03:08:29
average pace: 4:28min/km

Unofficial splits (from Garmin):

Split Net time (difference)
5K 21:37:00 (21:37)
10K 43:23:00 (21:46)
15K 01:05:11 (21:47)
20K 01:27:14 (22:03)
Half mara 01:31:50
25K 01:50:03 (22:48)
30K 02:12:34 (22:30)
35K 02:35:33 (23:00)
40K 02:58:45 (23:12)
Marathon 03:08:29

Nice for a first (?) World Championship, right?

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

M Day-1

Little reminder here… Final morning run done under the sun. Effortless. Final try-on for race gear and pics in the garden. Final carboloading day with pasta lunch, gummy bears and sport-drink. And lots of water as well. Travel to Lyon. Check of final km of the race route. Felt ok for the race (well, as ok as can be… Felt like forever I have gotten myself ready for a race!). Headache until 10:30pm. Quality sleep between 10:40pm and 1pm… Excitement was in the air…

image

Before the race
Awaken 3:00am… But I just closed my eyes. Frozen brain for a few seconds to remember why I should go up so early. Had heard my roommate being called on her phone around 1:15am… Felt the alarm should be for her. Dragged myself out of the bed. Into the kitchen. Out with the porridge and banana. Ate in the dark and kept quiet for not waking up my roommate. Green mix drink (no shaker, so it was real disgusting to stir and drink with small packs of powder 😦 ). 2dl Gatorade blue. Back to bed. Sleep.

3:30am
– Water. Sleep.

4:00am – Gatorade. Sleep. No,… wait. Remained half awaken as I started to calculate the time I would have to get myself ready, prepare my bottles and get to the start.

4:15am – Up 15minutes earlier as my still-asleep brain required more time for getting ready. All bottles on the table. Filling half-way with either Gatorade blue or water. Taped the flags. Shower. Cream on and dressed with running gear except for the shoes. Writing splits on my hand. Not working. For reference mostly, writing 3:00, 3:03, 3:05 & avg pace + 10K on my hand. Nooooo way this is achievable, but the brain wanted it. Was left my full-length of left forearm for the splits between 3:10 & 3:30. 10K, halfway and 30K. No more place available! Racing shoes in the bag and off to the race. Final beet-shot at 4:30pm.

5:00am – final drink with water. No more eating.

5:14am – Late on my schedule by 14 minutes… Dark outside. Not a soul out there (apart from me). Nice in the air. All dressed in black for getting to the stadium feels a bit awkward… Looking like a thief… with nice nails. Walking is going fine. Brain is relaxed. Body feels good. Getting to the park… Where is the park? PITCH BLACK out there… Decide to keep walking under the street lights. Seeing a flow of walkers a bit ahead at the end of the street. All heading towards the stadium. Cool 🙂 Now I remember the pre-race feeling 😉

5:45am – Pitch black all around us. Confusion. The stadium is still locked. No one seems to know what to do, where to drop personal bottles (which were to be dropped latest 6am). But when asking to the volunteers helping, just getting mixed answers. Good to be able to speak French in such case! Having a chat with a guy in bike and he indicates the route is fast. Set for a PR. I tell him the contrary. Chat about diverse races we have done and he highly recommends Paris. Time for him to go. He will cheer on the side for me he promises. Meeting two other Swedish runners, marathon Karin S and half-marathon Eleonor Ö. Quick chat and see you soon. Karin ain’t sure of the daily form due to problem with her foot. She had run the 10,000m on Monday though. In 40 minutes. Faster than what I can possibly do right now…

6:00am – Still unsure what to do with the bottle. Still pitch black. Still chaotic. The stadium doors open and a flow of runners get inside. Lost probably. Finally appear two tables: “A” and “B” indicated an official… Eeeeeeee…. What A or B? Give me numbers, man! 5, 15, 25 or 10,20,30… Something I understand!!! Finally getting that “A” – that most runners understood as being the first water station at 5K – was actually the one close to the start and turning points… Very confusing!!! Whatever, leaving my bottles on the 5-15-25-35 table (aka “Table B”) and the 10-20-30 (aka “Table A”). Fun fact: the day after the race, I found published on the WMAC site a guide indicating important facts prior to the marathon and semi-marathon. The “Tables A & B” were mentioned and location indicated there… Good to know after the race… Anyway, the tables got filled pretty fast. I was proud of my flags but see that loads of bottles have also flags… So now I not only have to look for the bottles with flags, but will ALSO have to check which flag is attached to the bottles… Brain, please help me!

6:15am – Heading to the stadium, very much hoping the bottles will be there when I need them. In the dark, getting down to the tent close to the stadium, tent that was used as call room for other events. Where is the call room for the 800+ semi-marathon runners and the 400+ marathoners? No one knows… In the tent, four people changing. So I get a spot in the back, pretty dark and take off my extra clothes. Chat with the French changing close to me. Scared a few times by a gigantic grasshopper that get into my hair, then on my shoulders, my arms and finally my bottle. The French guy get it to leave 🙂 Cannot find my Vaseline in the bag, so NOK-cream it is. Thighs, underarms, lower back and higher back under the sport bra. I look pretty white then! But better white that burned… Putting my Dextrosol in a little sock and on the back in my sport-bra. Should be tight enough for not burning. I think. I hope. No more people enter the tent as a volunteer in wheel chair stops everyone and tell all to give there bag do they can have a bit of order in all this… It starts this way: “the French team? In this corner. They are many, better to make place for them. Brazil? Here in the middle. Spain? Yaaaa it’s close to Brazil. Put their bags there. Italy? Separate from Spain, better this way…” And it just goes on 🙂 Nice and fun chaos in the tent. (Have I talked about the necessary preparation prior to a race? The required mental quietness needed? The “everything has to be going on rails” thoughts?… On this day, you better forget all of this!!!!). Leaving my bag to a lady in the tent. She gets ready to drop my bag in the French corner when I stop her and indicate to find a nice place for the Swedish. “Put the nice gal in the corner” I hear the man saying. Cool… At least I’ll find my bag! Good luck to the right, good luck to the left, cheering to any Swede I meet in the way to the start. Soon start…

06:37am – Happy faces from G & MT right before the start mat. Cool! The fan club has arrived! 2 at start and 3 at km5 water stop. Final pics. Passing the mat (Fun fact: after the race, in this guide on “final stuff prior to the marathon”, they did mentioned that this may would be acting as “call room”, and therefore all runners were to pass on it. Good to know…afterwards…).

Before race smile :-)

Before race smile 🙂

6:45am – Four rows already on the starting line. Enough place for doing my lunges matrix. Not much of a warmup, but that will do. Final smile to Karin S and then I get myself smoothly to the second row for the start 🙂 Still having place for breathing. Call from the speaker to all runners to get to the call room. Having a handful Spanish on my left. Half marathon (numbers in black on the BIB) and marathon (numbers in red). They look d*mn fast… Having one of the Central African guys right to my back, quick chat. He hardly recognise me though, Swedish outfit on. The air is becoming thinner. The place around each runner becoming more expensive. Hearing an apparently fast guy right behind me not understanding that there are no seeding or start group. He wants to finish in 2:28 (!!!) and talks to a nice lady planning “an easy” 3:15. That can’t be right!!! He has a nice smile 🙂 Feeling someone getting in front of me. An older lady (W60) with long grey hair has just taken my spot… Well, I hope she is fast and careful, because the guys all around ain’t going to show any mercy when the gun will shot…

6:55am – Haaaaa!!! Have to tie up my laces for the third time again. And I promise that getting down on the ground for this ain’t fun when everyone is packed like in a too small box… “There won’t be any countdown” says the speaker…Hmmmm? OK? How do we know when to start then? The clock is…behind us?!?! Maybe a little “10-9-8… would have been nice” says the 2:28-guy… Looking at my watch I suggest more likely to be a “120-119-118…” J And got a smile back and a good luck and then the head just shut down.

6:58am – Feels so quiet now. Crazy quiet. When actually it is not. But in the head it feels like no sound is getting in. Trying to find out where the start-guy is with the gun, but cannot see much. Getting much grey hair in the face again. Zipping the end of my Gatorade blue. Oooops! Where will I throw it now.

6:59am – O.M.G… with no countdown, this becomes the longest minute of marathon history… Bodies all around are getting ready. You could probably hear a butterfly passing by over us…
*********
THE RACE

Loop 1: 0-10,400m

07:00am – Right on time, hearing (hardly) the gun shot and the runners are hitting the pavement like a horde of wild horses. Feeling a bit of pushing, but I am more scared for the old lady in front of me than for myself. A push is making me drop my bottle, which I did not like. But it is probably crunched by the hundreds of feet pounding soon this little space it fell on. The start is for both half-marathon and marathon, meaning there will be pretty crazy differences in pace. And with no start group, that makes the whole thing even crazier. Passing by G & MT already cheering. I take it easy. As Coach said: “take it easy at start, find your rhythm, don’t both the others, make it your race”. A bit easy said, but I know the route now. Almost by heart. So by the first turn, I have already slowed down (!) and still getting a 4:02min/km tempo. Just multiply this by 42 tells the brain to itself. I actually laugh at this thought! Can see ahead the fastest runners and then followed by the next fastest and then the crazy runners who think they can hold this pace throughout the course and then comes me 🙂 and a bunch of others behind. Karin S is passing me right after the first right turn and before the first km. OK, let’s take the second Swedish female place then 🙂 A bit surprise when reaching the next turn towards km2, because I had thought it would be going right and then sharp left turn, instead getting a “nice and smooth”-like left turn towards the long straight path. Getting passed by so many people so far, that I hardly want to look behind me, if this is to see I am the last one or so… a few more hundreds and sharp 90-turn into a way narrower path. And this part I don’t like. The asphalt is not plane, but broken, there are lots of turns and a few hundreds before reaching km3 there is a sharp left turn, slightly up. NOT.liking.this.one. But I like the loooooong straight line after that. Asphalt. Thank you. Then back under the trees, a few turns and getting to the main straight path again (after… yes, you guessed it: a sharp 90-turn). Loving this part (yes, I do!). Have done my intervals of Tuesday there. So I know exactly (almost) where to count 200, 400 and 800m-marks 🙂 Passing the km4 and then under the Park signs. But this is not reaching the km5 that is driving me then. I know my second half of fan club should be there. Please make them be there. And here they are. Small dark silhouettes at first. But they see me as well. E&T. And hearing “Come on, mummy!” is the best cheering ever heard! Don’t even bother keeping the pace there. I want them to have the smile and hello they deserve J Less happy when reaching the water station as after the water mugs there are two tables full with personal bottles and I cannot see mines! Even going back to find them. Finally shouting “Sweden! Where is Sweden?” in both French and English and getting a volunteer to hand me a bottle…which was set on a bench right after the other tables… and of course… I get my “km15-bottle” and not the “km5-bottle”. Continuing towards the end of the path, hearing the officials saying my BIB-number to indicate I had been passing this checkpoint and executing the U-turn and coming back, slightly downhill (Yes, it IS downhill). Drink, drink and drink. Gatorade it is. Almost drinking all of it, and throwing it on the side. “Hello there” to the fan club on the other side and then focusing on the race again J The watch has been checked a few times, but honestly it shows faster than 4:18/19, which is way faster than expected. The body is responding fine, so I let it continue. Long and straight line to km6. Trying to get some encouragements from the people coming along the route. Getting a nice “Allez IKEA” (“Come on IKEA”) when passing a group of French and it is well appreciated. Yes, as usual, all cheering is good cheering! Can see that there are lots of people behind me still. Good J I am not last. But I have been passed by lots of people. I am checking mostly women as the competition is done per age category. Cannot see any ahead of me. “One swede before you” I had heard from my fan club at km5 and I know it is Karin. But how many women?… trying to hang along others to reach km7, but it is not too easy. Reaching back two Finnish older men and they kindly ask whether I really will do the full marathon… (Yap! Km7 and we can still chat at a nice pace!). They look impressed. I am feeling that it would be good if I can just follow them for the next 3 laps and that would be good. But once again, lots of people are actually not yet in marathon-pace and running too fast. Back to the main road after the very uncomfortable-to-run km7-road and sharp turn (one more!) to the left and we are under the trees again. Long straight line towards the hippodrome and km8. This is what I checked yesterday, so it feels good. The pace is good. The mind feels good. Nothing can really go wrong (for now at least!). Along the hippodrome the road is pretty bad and it is easier to run on the right of it. Which ALL others in front of me agree upon… meaning that there is need to pass a few on the left, which means “cross-country-on-broke-asphalt” 😛 I see Karin S on the other road on her way back. Quick calculation: she must be 4-500m ahead of me. And as usual, I am rubbish at estimating the distance. So I really have no clue how much ahead she is, but “4-500m” sounds an “OK”-distance to keep between us J Turning point. Sharp turn right AND up AND on rubbish path. As expected my left foot is falling into a small hole and not liking it. Have to be careful for next lap. Because yes, the brain has started the countdown. Not of the km (well, yes, it always counts down the kilometres from the moment the gun is shot!), but of the number of laps left. ONLY THREE TIMES PASSING HERE I can hear in my head. Hmmm ok. Reaching the nice “40km”-mark, after the 9km and this part is not fun (for me) because it is light elevation. Not Norwegian-fjord-elevation like, but still. It is NOT flat. That’s the thing. At the 30km-mark it is better (I just like the “30km-mark” because it means 12km left J). Downhill and turn left and Wow! Nice! They have cleaned the path and there are almost no stuff from the pine trees on the path (which would have been very slippery to run on…). Seeing other runners getting into the woods for their km8 and I am getting to haaaaaaa…another sharp 90-turn on the right. And asphalt again. Good rhythm. Body ok. Just run. In front of me the Finnish are a bit ahead, but I have a French guy which seems to have the rhythm I want. He gets cheered by his friend and I ask (the friend) for cheering for me as well next time J Next 90-turn on the right is taken a bit bad and I hit my left leg on a lower wood fence. Looking down for getting more strength and up with the eyes towards the end of the…street…where is ending the street exactly? Straight it is. Many half-marathoners and marathoners are passing on the other side. Cool to see. Looking the fade 41km-mark on the street (see you soon! I think!) and straight a bit more. Hearing fan-club nr2 on the other side, looking straight forward, passing the mat, seeing my BIB and time (and no, I did not noted what my time was then!), getting to the end and around the fence and back on the mat again and that was it. Passing the white stripe on the pavement which was the starting line.
Loop 1: completed!

Personal bottles on tacl "B"

Personal bottles on table “B”

Loop 2: 10,400-20,800m

Reaching the water station, I got handed perfectly my 10km-bottle. A smile and more cheering J Throwing away the flag, opening the bottle and zipping a bit and running and zipping a bit and running. Takes until almost 11km-mark to zip this bottle. Which I think is good, for not having a too heavy stomach. Long stretch towards the next km-mark. Not that many runners around but still a good mix marathoners and half-marathoners. Passing a few of them. Straight line towards km12 (there is a trick here: every lap the km-signs are 400m ahead of the signs from the previous lap, i.e. km12 is 400m before km2, km22 is indicated 200m before km12 aso. So this is a trick I used for calculating the distance passed: when reaching the sign km3 on the asphalt, it meant during loop2, that I was at km13.4 J OK, maybe it is making no sense for anyone but me, but at least it kept my head busy and happy!) The way under the trees towards km13 is still not fun (in case it would have been changed since previous loop…). Unfortunately witnessing a runner cutting straight from the path to take to the one coming back (cut of 1.5km or so). Not fair play. (btw after this there has been an official checking this part actually…). Still annoying part, but I like the Argentinean lady who is cheering for her teammates and still having voice for shouting “Ola, chicas, vamos” 🙂 Abrupt turn right and up once again (“2 done, 2 to go”…let’s keep thinking positive here!), the straight line, passing the km3-sign and back under the trees. Still impossible to find someone with similar pace. Am I the only one on Earth with rubbish and dysfunctional pace?!?! Nobody wanting to join my team?!?! OK, I continue alone then. Passing people and cheering for them. Some are in their first loop still. Good fighting. And back on the main road (remember, after this 90-turn right?). Seeing Swedes on the other sides, but they are in their first loop I think. And straight line towards km15. The pace? Oh yes, the pace. When under the trees, the Garmin is getting crazy. But it is still indicating a 4:20-stable pace. No worry on the side of the body. So keeping this way. Soon they are there. Fan-club ready and cheering 8and even taking pictures! Getting my “15K-bottle” from the hands of Dj and E (which makes me wonder a bit….because I have been drinking it during the first lap…). [Fun fact: E told me after the race that someone had taken my 15K-bottle and drank on it during the first lap, so they went to pick it up and they filled it with the 5K-bottle to be ready for my next passage… Good to know J I was the one drinking this bottle in the first place 😛 ] One zip before reaching the policemen, then the U-turn, large smile to the officials and back. Still zipping. Shouting “next time it is the gel” when passing E&T&Dj. Realizing afterwards that nope. This is not a gel at next stop… Hoping they will look at the km-mark on the bottle… Having a nice Spanish guy on my right side now. Reaching the long stretch towards km16 and his pace is pretty well suiting mine. I can almost hear one step when our feet hit the pavement. Even our breathing are in sync (well, actually he breathe out when I breathe in and then he breathe in when I breathe out. All good! I finally found my step and breathing twin!). I like him because he gets cheering from friends (like “Vamos Espana”) and each time he adds “common friend. Common friend”. We are pretty close to a Polish lady W40. She has a good rhythm too. And she looks real good when running behind her. She was right before me at the km15-water station but slowed down for her bottle and now she has caught up with us and even passed us slightly. She has a little bottle, just suiting into the hand. Pretty handy. She keeps it until km 17 and throws it. I want one like that!!! The Spanish guy is accelerating a little bit and find himself at her level now. I am right behind. We are back on this “km7-broken road” part. I am very careful for not falling on broken asphalt and lost a bit of time in this (but better safe and slow, than not checking and breaking an ankle). They are reaching the main road ahead of me. Thinking now that the Finnish guys are no longer to be seen. Nor the French one neither 😦 And back to the “under the trees” and towards km18. The Polish gal is having a good step, and it is actually difficult not to stop running and just looking. The Spanish guy has dropped a bit and is right in front of me when we reach the hippodrome. But by the end of the straight line and the U-turn, he is at my level and sounds like he is having it pretty heavy. But I like to have him around for pacing. He is for the half-marathon, so I can take the luxury to push him a bit to keep me in a good pace 😛 He probably understand this because he is accelerating a bit, but suddenly he told me he cannot carry on and wish me good luck, but fair game I encourage him to just follow me as he “just have to finish this lap, when I have two more to do”. He laughs and agreed he can continue a bit. Even thanks me 🙂 Cute! But by the final left turn under the trees he says being in pain and I accelerate and wish him good luck. 90-turn into the main street. Asphaaaaaaalt again :-)*100 Getting cheering from the French guy from lap 1 and then right turn to the last straight line. Light acceleration. I really would like to be close to 1:30/32 for halfway. Which would allow to have drifting time during the second half. Now I hear “Luis” coming back. So I cheer for him, tell him to pass me and just to give it all (and to come back after his finish line to cheer for me). Seeing Karin S drinking at the water station on the other side of the road. “Luis” passes me right before the mat with a big smile and a thank you. Apparently more strength are found when there is only 400m left 🙂 Turning back and on the second mat. Finding more strength for a kind-of acceleration there. Officials are separating now the half-marathoners to complete their race and go left to the stadium and the marathoners and other to finish their additional loops (no need to tell that a split of a second, I wished I was a half-marathoner…)
Loop 2: completed!

Loop 3: 20,800-31,200m

Soon the water station. Seeing the banner with my name and the hand holding my water-bottle with a gel taped on it.  Run run run. Want to reach the half-way before the time turns above 1:33. OK, Half-way mark passed. Have been struggling to un-tape my gel, now it is time to struggle opening it with the teeth, swallowing the fortunately liquid gel and drinking the water of the bottle. Sounds like it takes forever for doing all this, but it does not. OK. Have been cruising at 4:21min/km for the first half according to my watch. Which is more than decent and acceptable today. Just have to go through this third lap and then it is the final 10K-stretch left. Throwing my bottle around the 11km-mark (i.e. I have run now for 21.4km, which seems pretty little in my mind, but ok). The loooooong stretch towards the left turn to km 2 seems way longer than the previous lap. Did someone stretched the asphalt there? A couple of older men-runners are passing me, sounding like heavy breather. Not fun at all 😦 OK have to focus. No woman ahead of me for any possible acceleration. I authorize myself to drift up to 4:25 for this lap (Yeaaaah, I know….”I authorize myself”… like I am in control of everything now…Better believe it though! :-)). Getting the cheering from the French gang after the turn, once again the stretch towards km2, third time I pass here. I start to be fed-up. No negative thoughts. Go away! Grabbing my Dextrosol stuck in the back of my sport-bra (Once again, really not smart solution for storing energy, but at least I had not been skin-burned there). One tablet every km will do until the next water station. “Vamos chicas” once again from the Argentinian. Even succeeding in smiling when she takes her photo. I KNOOOOOW…it is not me she photographs but the Argentinian right beside me… but at least I will have a smile on the pic 😛 Soon the annoying left/abrupt/uphill (YES IT IS UPHILL WHEN PASSING IT FOR THE THIRD TIME!) turn and the long-nice-asphalt stretch along the parking lot. One more Dextrosol when seeing the 23km mark on the ground (don’t know if I really see it, but at least I know where the 3km-sign is and then counting backwards 800m before 🙂 Wow that IS tricky to run a marathon and do maths at the same time!). Thirsty there. I would have like to have those sponges-stuff there had been promising right before km3 and at km7-like. But could not see them in the past two loops. Is everybody else supreme beings and not needing extra water there? Am I the only one?!?! OK, stop. Pass this guy (M55. At least one less before me) and finally the left turn to the main road again. I WANT THIS TO BE FINISHED… thought during 1.5seconds before hearing cheering “Allez les gars” from the side of the road. Don’t care they cheer for guys and their friends. Once again, any cheering is good cheering to have! Passing km24 and.I.just.want.to.get.to.km25 (because it is one km closer to the end…). Have been taking one dextrosol every km-mark between km22.5 and 25. Cheering squad in place when I arrive. Feeling that I have to stretch a bit the back. The steps are a bit slower and shorter. Have to work on this. Next loop, I’ll fix that. Seeing T with her banner and huge smile. Seeing E holding my 25km-bottle with Gatorade and Dj saying that I asked for the gel-one. Good that E knows my plans though 🙂 Taking the Gatorade bottle, admitting loudly that I mistakenly asked for the gel during my previous lap. Zipping once before the U-turn. Smile to the officials. They are cool and cheering. Have been counting the gals on the other side passing me. Could see 3 W40, Karin S and no other woman. Am I really first W35? Nooo, cannot be. The others must be so crazy lightning-fast that I have missed them since a while. No more fast woman from the half-marathon though. Downhill after the U-turn. 25km done. Less than half to go. (and yes I know the “less than half to go” is actually working since a while, but this is good for the spirit! Well,for my spirit at least). New running mate on my right. A Spanish guy. Cool. He ain’t having the same steps as Luis, but that will do. Checking my watch and the pace has dropped crazily much. But as long as I am not crawling on the pavement, I guess it is fine. The Polish W40 is passing us right before the km26 mark. Not trying to catch up with her. Still liking her still. Still liking her little bottle in her hand J What am I doing?!?!? Stop looking at her. Focus on Luis-friend and run! She is getting a bit of distance ahead of us. The Spanish guy is not running stable pace, which is fine with me, as long as it is not too slow. More “Come on IKEA” on the way towards km27 and turning. HERE.IT.IS… a lonely table with water bottle on it. Is it the “sponge”-place? Really? Passing it. Turn left to the broken-asphalt path. Passing the medic and asking them to get ready to carry me during the next turn. And finally on the main road and the right turn already towards the hippodrome. My Spanish friend ain’t following any longer. Have to run on my own. Have been zipping a bit of Gatorade at km26 and 27. Good. Finishing the bottle at km28 (I think) and throwing it. Oooooohhhh what I want to stop and take some water at the little fountain close to the hippodrome there. But nope. Cheering for Erika from Germany. Passing a few there. Cannot see the Polish gal any longer. Ooohhh.. she is already on the other way, back already. I must have drifted heavily there! And.here.comes.the.left/up turn and I just enjoy it because I just have ONE time left to pass it 😛 (think positive, think positive…). Reaching the km40-mark and I just so much want to BE at the 40km-mark. But nope. One more lap before I can enjoy this thought! This is tough to run there. Not physically, but mentally. No one really around. Ahead and behind. Not on the side. One more Dextrosol at km29. Passing a dad with his two kids and getting a very kind “Allez la Suède, Allez..Svvvveeerrige”. Which is once again so appreciated. And here it is” the 30km-mark on the pavement! Yououououhhhhhooouou! Only 12km left. Almost finished. Even have this thought that it would take less than an hour to reach the end. Have no clue how long I have run. Just want to get out of this forest. English lady cheering once again. Cool. And the right turn to the main road. Just once more to pass here. THAT is what I call motivation! Getting my foot badly into a broken hole on the turn here. But matters not. There are less than 12km left! Cheering from the French guy. Cool he is now cheering “Allez Sweden” to me! And this stupid left turn towards the straight final line. O.M.G. Will this never end? Feels almost like running in a maze and that you recognize passing there already, but that was not the correct path, but not knowing where to go… Run run run… Less people on the other side. Hearing from the speaker when I pass the mat that the first guy of the marathon course will be soon arriving…. Recognizing the name, but cannot figure out HOW I can recognize it. Mat 1- passed, turn, mat 2- passed. OK.
Loop 3: completed!

Loop 4: 31,200-42,195m

Now smile because this is the last time you pass this water-station. G hands my last water bottle with gel. Sweet he has taken away the flag and I “just” have to struggle with the gel opening, swallowing the disgusting paste in it (no liquid this time :-() and getting some water on the top. Passing by Karin S talking with Eleanor. They smile and sheer, apparently Karin takes it easier. Water on the head once again. I have been feeling a burning sensation in the lower back and am pretty sure that my SWE hotpants are burning this little place again. Wonderful! Passing the “halfway”-mark. Having the Polish gal on my side now again. OK. New plans. I stuck to her steps, whatever pace she takes. Just not letting her go in front of me. Once again, this is this last 10km stretch that any marathoner is looking forward to (or is it just me?!?!). She gets a good step, have cheering from her coach. We even smile (a little) to each other and run side-by-side. Passing the left turn towards km2-mark, the guy telling time and distance is encouraging us by our name 🙂 Cool. Stretch towards the left turn and the “under-the trees”-part. This is not fun BUT this is the bloody last time I run there. Magdalena (the Polish gal) has slowed down. I kept my pace. Not a chance I drop somewhere here. I still here “Vamos chicas”, but I thought I was alone for gal. And now….seeing a British W40 passing me. Noooooooo! Not now. Final little left/up turn. Taking the outside curve to get a bottle of water. Most of it on the head. The British gal is in front of me and at a good pace. But she suddenly stops and zip her gel and water. I pass her. 33km have been passed! Hear that she is starting again and of course (!) a British guy is arriving and encouraging her. WHERE ARE MY SWEDES for encouraging me there?!?! Or French? Or Spanish?, Japanese? Brazilian? Whatever nation, I would accept the cheerings here and until the end! She has a good step, but not as coordinated with me as Luis or  the Polish gal. And she is not even breathing at the same pace as me. Aaaaahhhh…this is all disturbing now! She passes me at the right turn to the main road and is ahead of me for a few 20-50m. But I pass her. Not a chance she gets this one. Cheering squad in place. Getting my final gel for the “about 35-36km”-mark. Cheering from officials when I turn and hearing that I am at the 6th place!!! … but not for long as the Brit is passing me like, 15m after this U-turn. Once again…Nooooooo! OK, run run run. Cannot do anything else but taking my gel and drinking my water. Shouting to my fan club that they better hurry to the stadium or I will arrive before them J Getting laughs back… (thanks for the trust is my lightning-speed!). OK, forgotten the Polish gal. and the British one is increasing the distance. Reaching deep into whatever storage of strength, glycogen, stupidity or boldness that maybe left, I actually make my steps a bit longer. Stupid probably, but it does not feel much more effort to be put into this change. Less people on the side. Probably moved to the stadium. Mental pacing here – whatever it means… Final turn to the km7/17/27/37 road. All by myself. And left turn to the broken-asphalt road. Last time here as well 🙂 Acceleration (or kind-of…) to the right turn and into the woods again. Long stretch to the hippodrome – for the LAST TIME. Seeing a black guy on the side and this is my Central African runner friend. Recognizing me he cheers loud and clear that it looks good and not much is left. (well, easy to say, when you are on the side of the road… but thanks :-)). Fiiiiiiiinal stretch along the hippodrome. Have taken out my dextrosol and taken 2 at km39. I need this energy kick. Whatever it takes. 2 dextrosol after the left/up turn (where I.actually.walk.up!!!) and off.I.run. The Brit gal is out of reach. But the 40km-mark on the pavement gets me the largest smile ever! 2 more Dextrosol and that would do. How much extra energy can a brain take exactly? A zip of water would have suited well here btw… but as usual no rest for the warrior, independently how thirsty he/she might be! The British gal is stopping 150m in front of me. She walks! Tired apparently. She has a team mate reaching her however and encouraging her so she starts again. And me and my thoughts are still at this 7th place and just thinking to keep the distance stable and not letting it increase. At least I am passing the British guy 😛 And all in for what is left towards the last left turn under the trees. My Central African friend has moved up, he talks on his mobile on the side of the road and starts shouting “looking good, looking good, almost finish, looking good…no not you (to the person on the phone) I’m shouting to the gal running for Sweden you know”. At least it makes me smile J And the shadows of the trees are disappearing when I turn FOR THE LAST TIME to the right on the main road. Final cheering from those still cheering, FINAL turn left to the last straight line. OMG! Where is this 41km-mark on the pavement? Has someone moved it? Throwing my little sock and the rest of Dextrosol. I want my hands free. And I just run. Probably not the sexiest running steps in history, but who cares? More cheering from some Spanish team on the the right of the road. Here is the stadium. And the first mat. And…and…and… nooooo, happens what I thought would happen…the final U-turn is actually 140m away from the one used during lap 1, 2 and 3. All for having this race to the correct length… The British gal ain’t that far anymore and another British man is close to her. I happily pass him, turn and this is the final stretch. Actually no. It is not. There is still 240m straight before turning to the stadium and THIS means reaching the final 300m. Tunnel vision and obviously shutting down all hearing abilities as well. The only thing I see is this British back and the only thing I want is to pass it. Final left turn along the stadium, the British gal is before me and then final downhill on the right to the Stadium. She is getting on the red path before me. But there (and that the coolest and strangest thing ever experienced), the body DOES find extra strength. I pass her a bit after entering the Stadium, but not only that. I also continue to push extra. No clue on what time it is but time is irrelevant. The only thing that counts is the Red arch above the tracks. Must pass it. Acceleration (and yes probably this extra speed was in my head and I was slow like a slug, but that the thought that counts :-)). And.Here.It.Is! FINISHED!!!

Official time received later: 3:08:29 (Garmin shows 2 seconds more 🙂).

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After the finish line

Time does not matter. Well, yes it does. I cannot really believe that it went so well. And so fast. Surely far from lightning fast, but definitely way faster than the expectations set prior to the race! My legs are shaky. Could probably have run a bit longer, but not really after this final sprint. Taking a water bottle on the table. A few prunes and walk a bit. Back for one more water bottle and heading to the exit for the tracks. Stopped by a nice lady telling me that she was in the group cheering “Allez IKEA” and hope that it was ok to say it this way as she did not know what language to use. Of course she got a smile from me to this! Looking right and left. Nobody I recognize. I hear after a short while that the third W35 is going to cross the finish line…which makes me…the second W35! J A bit of walking and then heading back to the bag tent. Meeting G&E then. Got smiles and congratulations. Telling them that we probably have to wait a while as I have made it to the podium. More smiles. E is sent to pick up my bags, but comes back being told that only athletes can go there. Meeting the rest of the fan club. And Karin S that completed the race as well (3rd position for her age category). Quick pic and headed to the bag tent. Quick chat there to get my bag. Meeting my Central Africans running buddies. Getting a large hug from one of them, hearing that he had to drop off the half-marathon due to lack of training and too fast start. Getting a hug from his friend that apparently had been in my back since second lap without passing me at any time after I passed him. Walking back to the cheering squad. Looking at the podium and hearing we have to wait one hour for the marathon podium to start. Getting a nice place in the sun for this wait. Shaking my recovery drink mix. Changing into my easy pants (not smart to have them black as the sun is showing up and it feels pretty hot then!). Feeling clearly the deep burn in the lower back due to the seam of my hotpants. Yapp. Must be fixing this. Definitely. Keep on walking and talking. Thanking a lot for the cheering and bottle handling. All perfect! E kindly remind me my promise that if making a podium here, I would take them to the next WMAC…in Australia… Hmmmm ok, sure… I am a bit tired now. Let’s rest on this 🙂

11:45am – Getting closer to the podium. Meeting the French-speaking guys from the start, (the “2:28-guy”). How did it go then, I asked. What about the 2:28?. Well, 2:28 it was, he answers. Whaaaaaat?!?! You are the one who won the race, I answer. (yes, I know, behave should be the first thing coming to mind, but surely it is pretty cool to have chatted with a guy at start, that this guys happened to finish in exactly the time he expected AND that he is as well to be crowned world master champion W40. Respect! Meeting the two other gals to join on the podium. The winner (a Polish gal) is just so cool. She is just talking non-stop. She is drinking lots of water as she must go through anti-doping test but cannot get to the loo. This is her official PR she said. She has run in 2:40-ish before, but in smaller races or so and then there was no official time taken…. Huuuuuummmm…ok….. THAT’s the reason why I never see her throughout the race. She probably was 2km ahead of me in the first lap and by the time I finished she had increased to 4km the distance between us… Good job! Finally our turn to get on the podium. Pretty cool. Third place…blablabla…Second place….my name 🙂 …and the world champion W35…blablabla. Polish anthem to listen to and photo session for the three of us. REALLY COOL (and highly recommended 😛 )

Podium – XXI WMAC marathon W35

Down from the podium, more pic with my little fanclub, photo with the “2:28-guy” (I will learn his name, so next time we meet I won’t call him this way… Separating for having some going to the restaurant directly and E&myself walking back to the apartment. 2km feels all fine after the race. We meet this grey hair lady (W60 from the start line). She had felt a couple of time apparently, was bleeding on her shoulder, but she was so close to finish and still smiling. Respect! At the apartment, my very kind roommate had been doing my dishes. Taking a shower (NO FUN with this burn mark on the lower back), packing everything, leaving a note and the keys and time for reward at a Chinese buffet restaurant with my own personal little fanclub J Then back home the belly very happy. The body being behaving like after any regular long run. Just have to jump into my bikini, sun-cream on and enjoying the rest of this sunny afternoon laying on a sunchair in the garden. WHAT.A.DAY!

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Weather: 16ºC, Feels like 16ºC, 11 km/h NNW wind, Humidity 68% – Perfect at start, perfect in the middle, perfect at the end (when the sun decided to show itself behind the cloud cover). Got some wind during the final stretch line towards the mats during lap 2 & 3, but on the other side it was tailwind after turning. So no complaining. Great weather for running!

Food:
> before: chia porridge with banana, with soy milk + 2dl Gatorade (3am)

> right after: Vitargo Green, water, few prunes

> 2.5 hours after: Chinese buffet + 2 coke

> During: vitargo gel @km10, 20, 25, 35 (at the water stations). Dextrosol: 1 tablet every km (between km22 & 32) except the kms with Gatorade (25+, 26+, 27+). 2 tablets @km38.5, 39, 40.

Gear: SWE outfit (hotpants & singlet), sunglasses – shoes were just all-this-that-you-want-from-a-race-shoe-and-never-dare-asking. Just loving them.

=> perfect outfit for today and the weather. Only issues were 1) lack of pockets for having the dextrosol (was solved well and without burn mark, but still, not practical) and 2) burn mark due to the seam of the hotpants. To be fixed before next race.

 

16/ First half was well-done and under control. No pain, effort as it should be, no pressure. Third loop was a bit more mentally exhausting. Not easy to get along a bit alone and therefore dropped on the pace there. Last loop felt all fine (even though when looking at the time it was quite slow), but the feeling was there and the mental was very strong. This extra strength after turning towards the stadium, and then this whatever-it-is-that-I-could-have-for-breakfast-every-morning when reaching the final stretch on the tracks… Wow! This is just so extremely cool. [Fun fact: have pic and film from those last 200m on the track towards the finish line. And once again: nope! The medal of the sexiest way of running was not won there! But who cares?!?!? This was just great to feel this rush and finish high with a smile!]

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SUMMARY: Great day, going completely not as expected but so rewarding! Having a person fan club on site should not be undermined! And seeing them 4 times in 2 places was the cherry on the cake! Being the first marathon of the year, after 4.5months with no running because of a crazy left foot and a stupid tendon (apparently), 12 weeks only to prepare, a full week of heat workout to prepare for crazy hot temperatures expected on race day and ending on perfect running conditions on this Sunday… Tell me about the importance of planning! I’ll tell you about all the plan-B, C, D… that might be of used in a race 🙂 The course route was nothing but fast. Tricky part, broken asphalt and gravel, lots of U-turns or abrupt turns, ups and downs as well… Nope. Not really the WR-conditions with this 4 loops-route. But apparently it worked. On a straight line route like Dubai, the time would have probably be different. But stop with all thoughts about if or why. This was today and today only. And the route worked. (and yes, the comments I make about the route was similar to the words from the Polish world champion. She too was very surprised with all those turns and uphill and gravels and to have to go through this 4 times! She was really cool and fun while talking about this 🙂).

What makes this race great is surely the ranking and the silver medal and the fanclub, but also that the body reacted so well. Definitely not pushing much throughout the race (a bit more mentally during the 3rd loop, but this is always the case in marathon…), it was nice to see it can hold so well. And even after the race. Sure the body feels tired and stiff (I have yet to win the medal for “superwoman-not-feeling-anything-after-a-marathon-race”, if ever…), but apart from left knee and strange feeling on the bending top of the right foot, all felt fine. Light cramps felt coming during the race, but disappeared pretty fast afterwards. No sensitive Achilles heels afterwards, which makes me thing that the adjustment of the insoles was a good work. Was also cool to see the stomach and well defined abs after the race (yes, I know, that is probably due to dehydration of some kind and that was gone the day after – but still, that looked cool!)

Once again, the need for a personal pacer is still there. Anyone? I can do the talking during the race if anyone is interested in doing the pacing 🙂 And as usual, just wanting more after that. But carefully taking care of this body of mine, to ensure there are many more races of this kind in the future…and faster ones too 😛

(Lots of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks. Not many were told about this race, as it felt a bit stressful actually to tell about it (this is after all a first World master championship!). And was very much hoping to have a body fit for the race. Thanks for you sending encouragement via sms the days before the race. Great thanks to my personal little fanclub, which had to bear with me during this last week of carb depletion and carboloading and training and sunbathing and and and… Sooooo rewarding to have you there. Time to rest a bit now under the Swedish sun…before next great adventures!) THANKS!

Happy smile after podium

Happy smile after podium

Nice and well-deserved silver medal

Nice and well-deserved silver medal

Me and the "2:28 guy" (aka World Champion M40)

Me and the “2:28 guy” (aka World Champion M40)

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: the body felt all fine during the week before the race. Reacted well to the heat in France during the first few days. The stomach cramps felt during the final heat workouts in Sweden were just non-existent after arriving in France. Everything felt fine for standing on this starting line!

NOTE: warmup? Copy-paste from other races probably: Totally in-existent. Nothing. Not even a jog. Only lunges matrix and off you go. Apparently the body was fine with it.

NOTE: Energy/refueling during the race? Additional thanks for the fan-club and their help while handing the bottles. This makes a few seconds win actually. And that was great to be able to drink what I actually wanted. What was available otherwise was plain water. And this would have meant having the gels on me. And having no pocket on my outfit… No cramp in the stomach after swallowing (and chewing first) so many dextrosol at km38-40. Don’t know the effect and if it gives a kick, but probably a splash of water would have been welcome!

NOTE: Beetroot loading? OK, I had to try this. Because if not for the effect on the body, it could have had an effect on the mind. Had small little bottles of Beet-it but did not follow the loading suggested as it was to start during my carb depletion days and I did not want to screw up those days. So I took from carboloading day 1 up to race day. Not completely disgusting to drink, but not nice neither. Did not feel any effect of it. Don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe some kind of magic-potion-like-in-Asterix-and-Obelix… I don’t know. Anyway, I skipped the 3 first days (with one shot) and started on Thursday. 2 shots in the morning after breakfast, one extra shot at 7pm on Saturday evening and one final shot on Sunday morning 4:30am. No reaction from the stomach. Surely a bit of fun (?) to pee red, but otherwise the effect was zero. So, as I know I can run fast(er) without this (done it a few times already), as good to skip spending money on extra stuff.  At least it was tested 🙂

NOTE: Dextrosol in the sport-bra, on the back? WORKING! Not optimal to take it out, but as it has to be done only once, that works. Still, another solution and better one is yet to be found.

NOTE: XXI WMAC? Definitely fun enough to be participating in the future again! Strongly recommended. So fun to have so many nations mixed into so many events in one place at the same time 🙂


Meet my new “friend”…

image

This bike will be my friend for a little while…

 

One week has passed since being back from Dubai and still not running.

Monday was travel-day. Leaving 3:35am for arriving after lunch at home, loosing approximately 20°C during the trip and being welcomed by snow, rain and cold. I knew I should have stayed in Dubai… Took this day as rest day.

Tuesday this week was dedicated to finding out what was wrong with me left foot. First a 40-minutes wait before getting to the doctor, regular check of the foot. Walked on the toes and then on the heels. All ok. The doc suggested as well that it could be overwork. But really? After one week doing nothing, it should feel a bit better and not worse. Because now it feels even when I walk… Got sent to take an X ray of the foot. To check whether it could be broken or a stress fracture or nothing. Walked slowly to the xray place. Took 6 minutes including the wait for my turn and I walked back home. Checked with the doc if I could/should go to the physiotherapist now or wait for the results of the xray (which are taking up to 4-5 days…). So biked to the physio Erik S. and there, got him to press on my foot, compare both feet and conclude that until we know for sure if there is or not a stress fracture, it was better to just bike or run in the pool. And avoid all foot-specific workout. Back home and more work to do.

Wednesday turned into a rest day as well. Lots at work to catch up as well as trying to figure out where I could be training as biking outdoor seemed impossible due to the weather and the next two weeks program includes bike and water-running. Cannot run in my bath-tub…

Thursday, time to raise from the ashes!!! And move that butt a bit. Long day at work and directly followed by interval workout on bike outdoor in the dark. Worked quite well actually. A bit unsure what “tempo-pace” is while biking, so took the fastest I felt I could. 3*(2-4-6 minutes). Woke up the body pretty well. Quick shower afterwards and directly to the cinema to watch an Indian movie on the court system there. (forgot to eat right after the bike, so had to buy a vanilla bun before the movie…). Good movie, but after a long working day and bike workout, I felt pretty tired and my eyes closed themselves a few times… No problem to fall asleep after that.

And finally it was Friday. Early start, work and chat with the physiotherapist Anna. When the day was complete, went to the gym closest to home to try a free session. Bike. Intervals on time. Got to drink my water bottle and lots of sweat. Stretch. And bought a gym-card, so I could bike indoor at any time of the day while my foot was not back on track.

Real slow start to the weekend. Saturday lunch arrived after a bit of tv-watching and then time for workout. Bike indoor. 3*10 minutes. Increase of pace every two minutes to reach tempo-pace. Once again, nor knowing really what to refer to, I arbitrarily decided on the rpm to have. The final two minutes of each serie went however way fatter than I thought I could handled, being at the end of the 10-minutes interval. All good. Especially when noticing there is a little fan on the top of the bike… Could be handy when biking for a while and getting sweat! Rest of the day turned into easy at home. And late in bed after movie almost watched to the end… 2.5 seconds and I was gone to Dreamland…

Final day of the week, Sunday started to early for my taste. But had to get prepared breakfast for the first one to get to the athletics competition. Took this time for getting in the mat for a core&stability workout. Not to good balance on the left foot… But not too much better on the right one either! Anyhow, took 26+minutes. Time to jump into bike-shorts and off to the gym. Good to see that “my” bike was available. Decided to go for a hill program, 60 minutes. Started the little fan on low after a couple of minutes and it was just to pedal pedal and pedal more. Lots of water drinking again, but thanks to the fan (?) did not feel really sweaty. Light stretch and back home. In shorts and bare legs. Through the streets with snow and 2°C outside. The large plate of pasta with green peas and ham felt well-deserved after this workout 🙂 Not much rest after that, as it was high time for the afternoon indoor-athletics competition. Got to find some Gatorade (which was not possible before here in this cold country…). As well as having new references for 600m (E) and 800m (G) for how fast I should be running my intervals in the near future… Challenge is on! Still snow outside. Chill out rest of the day, preparing for a fully-booked week ahead. One more week with bike and water-running workouts. Hope to get at least once to the swimming pool…and that the Xray will show something or nothing, but at least that can start taking care of this foot of mine…

Great week to you! Keep on running (or biking, or swimming, or walking…)


The day a race was run and I was not in it (almost…) (lost post from 23/1)

And the day arrived finally. The day I would not be able to run, which I thought my head and body were fine with, but after all this is what I had been training for and so much looking forward, so it was not really true that I did not care at all… But anyway got all my thoughts on post and this one disappeared as well. So once again, called to the rescue brain memory and let’s share how went this day then…

Friday 23/1 – Up a couple of times during the night, strangely at the time I am used to wake up for eating and drinking before the race. Remained in bed so and around 6am, decided that it could be good to maybe perhaps possibly lift the heavy thing that might be called my body and head to the gym. THE plan was to get through a bike workout before going to watch the race. A bit unsure though whether to go to the arrival or along the route. As there were super stars running, tv-coverage aso this year, I was expecting to have pretty much lots of people at the arrival. SO, bike workout it was. Slowly seeing the clock ticking and turning into 7am. Start of the race. And I was not there. Bike harder then. 7:15am – ok, quick calculation on where the men elites were approximately. Same procedure a couple of time during the bike session. Changed a bit today, having 10 minutes alternative with 2 min standing and 1 min sitting. Felt actually easier than the day before. Stretched the ride to 50 minutes (including 5 min cooldown) and then on the mat. Pushups/Situps challenge and light core. Lots of sweating this morning again. Probably more than if I had been running so far. Back to my room, got a banana and turned on the live-stream from the race. Took 10 minutes or so to get it to work… on my mobile! Anyway, Pretty cool to see the elite men running and remembering (almost) every single cm of the route and the feeling it felt last year. Of course, the trip to Memory Lane was a bit in fast-forward as those guys were running way faster than 1) what I usually do and 2) what my brain could get the images out of its  well-sealed images bank. Anyway, got ready and checked the Swedes running. Three in particular: Sara Holmgren, Fredrik Johansson and Fredrik Uhrbom. Noticed their turn at km15.65 and expected time to finish. Wow! That would be fast. Quick thought and planned to go to see Sara after the turn of km36. Would be missing the elites and the Swedish guys, but as fun to see her run her first marathon. The annoying part this year is that the time was shown only at km15.65 and km36.25. Which can be completely incorrect with estimated time. Anyhow, Sara was planned to pass the second time tracker after 2hr 30, so I aimed for that. Well, I did take a bit of time to see the arrival of the elite men (niiiice!), and the elite women (CRAZY beautiful!). Last year I got the elite women passing by when I was on my way towards the dreadful km36 and this actually gave some extra strengths (not probably seen in the pace then, but still!). Back to today, got myself ready for the beach, suncream, bathing suit and shorts. In with my ASICS (only shoes that seem to work at the moment without having to much crippling…) and of course, I was short on time. Ran to the metro and thought to take it to the next stop so I would have some extra time to get ready to take pictures of Sara. But the metro is CLOSED on Friday until 1pm… Yeaaaah! Run more then, under a pretty nice and warm sun, crossing the Internet city, the Knowledge Village and hoping that I was in the correct place. Seeing some people running a bit away confirmed it. Took my place and started to look. Cheering for every single runner there. They ALL needed it, I can guarantee that! Don’t know how I look like at km38+ of a race, but there was definitely need for water and cheering… Got to run and chat with a couple of runners, they all got a personal cheering with their number from me, as at this part of the race, there is most likely NOT to be a lot of people running together. After a while I thought I had missed Sara and planned to go back home. When turning back, noticed a gal stopping on the side and definitely not feeling good. OK, this one will get more attention I thought. Going back and cheering a bit, until she passed me and I recognize her. Hmmm, that was a little off the estimated time, but who cares. Missed my shots, so I ran along her and cheered a bit. Talked and talked. Asking how she went (not too good…had stopped a couple of time…stomach not optimal at all…heavy…) and proposing to run along her (Yeaaah! at this time, I was not caring much about my stupid feet). Which she accepted with a bit crisped smile. So I did 🙂 Did the talking and she did the running. That felt heavy. Chatted and chatted and chatted more. Asked a couple of times whether it was bothering her, but that was ok. Just to continue. Check whether her boyfriend would be at the arrival, and he would. And we were at km39. Almost there. Definitely not the best outfit for running I had. And nope, the suncream was not adapted neither. Felt it running along the whole body, like I was showering. But if that would make Sara finish, that was all fine. Closer to the last water station. Sara took a bottle and a few zips. She did not want more to drink. Had no idea of the pace we had and just hoped she was fine with what she was running. Got my camera out (yes, I was running in bathing suit (with a singlet) and shorts and had my phones in one hand and my little purse in the other one. As I said, the optimal outfit for running…NOT!). Got Sara to smile and nice pictures were taken. He he he! Now I know I can run and take nice pic as well! And we were at km40 already and 41 was shortly passed. Tried to described as much as I could and remember the route to Sara so she would have something to focus on (OR I was completely screwing her concentration but she was too tired to tell otherwise… I think she was fine with my talking though). And arrived the final turn, 600m, full sun in the eyes, could no longer run by her side on the road so got on the other side of the fence and ran there as long as I could. Still cheering and off I let her go. Could not run more unless I would have run on the people watching the race on the side… Quick stop at the loo for showering the body (feet, legs and up to the belly). Nice indeed! The suncream was really scratching all over the legs and belly. The face was red and seriously looking like I needed special care. Out to find Sara, but after checking with a runner who did not find her in the massage tent I headed back home. No walking but light jog, as the feet remembered their original state and reminded me right away how stupid it was to have run. Took 2.5km before I capitulated and took a cab home. Indeed in my happiness for running beside Sara, I did not thinking really that I would have to get back home the other way around afterwards…

Back home, shower, a bit of food and then time for resting at the pool. Reading, half-sleeping and definitely no bathing (freezing cold water). Got a nice tan and well-rested feet. That was the plan (at least for the second part). Evening spent with one of my roommates Simon, watching movies on tv and chatting about life, Dubai, Australia, Sweden aso. After Wolverine and IronMan, it was highly time for bed. Which completed very well this day a race was run and I was not in it (almost…)

So happy one can be when there are only a few km left of a marathon :-)

Sara Holmgren… So happy one can be when there are only a few km left of a marathon 🙂


When the 3Ds of yesterday are replaced by the 3 Ss of today (lost post from 22/1)

Let’s give it a new try… Post from 22/1, retrieved from brain memory, i.e. not fully accurate to the original post probably… Related to Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 January 2015…

Soon race day and still no functioning foot. Spent the last few days wondering really about all this. So here are some thoughts (certainly in a nice disorder, but after all this post was written 3 days ago and there was THEN some order in my thoughts…)…

After a way-too short night of less than 4 hours (got early to Dubai, trip to my apartment, settling a bit, showering after a whole day travel, sending a few work emails and crashing on the bed…), it was Wednesday . Got ready to go to SkyDive Dubai, where the BIB delivery was done this year. Unsure why, because it is literally on the other side of the city. But staying close to Dubai Internet City, I jumped into my BGS and made the 6km there easily (OK, not too easy, because I had to cross some roads than maybe pedestrians are no allowed to). Walk walk walk, and finally arrived. The left foot felt ok, not 100% fine, but no screaming. At the distribution tent, I asked a nice guy at the entrance whether there was any chance for transferring my registration to next year as I was not able to run. Indeed in my twisted mind, I still thought it would be possible to register either to the 10K or even to the 4K-FunRun, but when arriving at this moment, I had for the first time the thought of transferring the registration…) Got directed to a nice lady called Lery who told me that “Sure. Email to this address and indicate you talk to me and wish to move the registration to next year”. That was enough to get me crying and hugging her. (Did I say that my mind was twisted in a way? Must have looked pretty foolish actually…but I would not care less!). Happy with the largest “H” on the planet, I left the tent without looking back. I would be there next year and just like that, it felt that a huge and heavy stone was removed from my chest blocking my breathing. On the way back home, I realized I did not have any food since a while, so stopped by a foodstore. But nothing appealed my appetite, so ended with a bottle of water and a protein Arabic bread (super yummy!). And continued to walk. But if the left foot was actually behaving (making me think that the theory advanced by the shoe store on Monday may have had some ground here, i.e. BGD was a better shoe for my feet), the right one was actually starting to burn. And THIS, my friends, this is ABSOLUTELY not something a runner want to feel in their shoes. The brain just tried to ignore it, making the footsteps a bit shorter and the pace a bit slower. Finally got home through a shorter path. 12km by foot… (This was strange actually to be back here. I am staying close to the place I was the first time I ran in Dubai, but it was pretty empty of everything back then. Now it is filled with new buildings (4 years later) and still building!). Back to my wonderful feet. Reaching home, removing the sock and tadaaaaaaam! Yapp, the largest blister ever seen on the back of my foot was the reason for the burning feeling. Good move not to have stopped and remove the sock earlier! OK, what to do with this? Someone wanting to tell me that NO, YOU SHALL NOT RUN (?)… Probably! So the afternoon went pretty easy with work and when finished, core / push-ups / sit-ups challenge, a bit of food shopping and evening reading. Tired for sure!

Thursday started pretty early, but turned into my bed not really well-decided to go up. Got to meet one of my roommates, Simon from Australia, chatted a bit and then prepared my food box (fruit salad) before leaving to Jumeira Beach Park. Walked to Internet City and took the bus there. He he he! Feeling almost home, knowing which bus line to use to going to the beach 🙂 The only little thing was that arrived at Jumeira Beach Park it appeared under renovation and I had to wait for a bus on the other direction to go to Jumeira 3. There it was really cool. They have arranged a running track with “soft” (?) material to run on. Really quiet and cozy. Took my spot on the sand and stayed there the rest of the afternoon. By 4pm the wind was annoying enough to make me move back home. Bus back (unfortunate problem with all my FOUR cards which had a too low value to use the bus, but must have looked desperate to reach home, because the bus driver was very kind and let me in the bus until the end station. Thank you again!). Walking home was no easy. The left foot had woken up in the morning and not happy and the right foot just could not be in a close shoe, because of the bubble in the back of it. Shower and more food shopping. Got to chat with Simon again and then it was time to examine this stupid right foot. Not much of a blister, more a bubble of hard skin, so extremely painful when touching it BUT when having a gaze and tape on it, it was fine to have the foot in a shoe… Don’t ask. Don’t know how this work!). Decided to jump on the saddle in the gym downstairs and got to choose the program “random” (i.e. up&downs, changing every 10seconds) for 45 minutes and to pep the ride a bit, I chose to do a 10-minutes alternate minutes with standing and sitting between minute 20 & 30. Of course, having most of the standing minutes when the stupid bike-program is changing to “hill” instead of “flat”… Me and my luck!… But at least it felt nice with some training. Added core&stability as well. The biking got me so extremely sweaty and I probably drunk 1l during and more afterwards. Got to do more work and tried to get some sleep. But the brain and body were not fully agreeing on that. They are still on for a race tomorrow. My plan is to wake up early enough to bike and then to get to the marathon route and cheer for the runners…

Soooo…more to come then…

What about the Ds and the Ss then? Got through Disappointment of not running a race I really like. Not only because of a stupid foot, but most of all because this happened to closely to the race. Shortly followed by Disbelief, which made me think that maybe this was a sign that the body did not want to do it any longer, the running part, that it was showing loud and clear that enough was enough. Could I even be running more and soon? Because pretty soon came Disarray, what about my plans, my lovely and fun running plans? Direct to the rubbish bin? At the same time as the bunch of shoes that are occupying my entrance hall at home?… (Yaaaa, you probably got the point by now… not a highly motivated feeling in the mind by then). But after meeting this nice lady, it felt different. First for the Sun, because I am a true believer that the sun and the warmth are solving a lot of things (and if not, they are at least more pleasant to have than the current cold we have at home in Sweden…). Followed by the Sea, which is so nice and blue and beautiful here. And despite not bathing (well, I did (twice!) bath up to the belly, but seriously?!?!? it is cold water here!!!), it is so relaxing to rest on the sand, listening to the sound of the waves, the wind and the regular calls for prayers. Nice indeed. and finally Serenity (which is not only the name of the wifi in my apartment here – very convenient name!), but once again, having been able to postpone my participation seemed to have put a part of my mind at peace (for a little while at least). 


Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience…

Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don’t so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head.
– Joe Henderson

Ok. Time to leave now. The heart is definitely not there, but the left foot ain’t there either…

Weekend on bike turned a bit differently than planned. After core workout, got ready for an easy hour bike tour. The only little thing that stopped me was… this stupid lock that a neighbour had unfortunately closed on my bike as well… Really annoyed, got to skip my bike plans. Cleaning at home became the morning workout then! Had to rush a bit to see the arrival of Sandsjöbacka trail marathon and got there exactly in time to see “Tricky” rushing the final 200m. Muddy legs was an understatement!!! Really admiring those who ran, for the toughness of the route and the weather conditions. Could talk with my naprapath about my foot (he ran the race and was kind enough to still talk about my foot 🙂 ). Overwork probably and resting is the solution. After providing a bit of post-race assistance to “Tricky” (I know how it is after a race, so no issue to help getting food, water or bag), headed to the city for a nice afternoon hot chocolate and walk in the parc with nice company. Talking talking and talking…. does help to forget this stupid foot. Then home, a bit of packing and evening out, eating moules – frites with another friend. Yapp, not the food planned before the race, but as I cannot run it, as good to eat something I like even if it means carbs in it (oooh, Yaaaa!  Dessert was a hot chocolate fondant 😉 ). Late back home and still with my bike locked to the other one. So had to take action…25 minutes later my bike was free.

Late in bed and early up. Core challenge fine and time for bike tour with a friend. Under drizzling rain. And more talking. Short stop at the sea and then back home and freezing. Rest of the day chilling out. And working. So the weekend was completed then!

Finally-Monday arrived with early meetings. Got as well the chance to have a time at the physiotherapist Anna, to look at my foot. Which she did. Apparently having a left foot a bit “tight” (?) and should add some routines to smoothen it. Would probably as well impact positively the calf and hamstring on the same side. Almost horrified with the way my hips are working (or rightly said “not working”). So stretch for this as well. She also sent me to a shoe place working with insulates. Spent some time there. Listening carefully but honestly not understanding all what was said, apart from:1) my Asics shoes are apparently rubbish after 300-500km and 2) indeed an insulate might help the foot/leg/hip movement. No time unfortunately to solve this for Dubai, so will come back to be checked next week.
SO: final meeting and work, and it was time to close this suitcase (including 2 pairs of running shoes… You never know! But definitely not for the marathon). Got a fun time looking at possible races for 2015 🙂 Tricky to sleep as the head and body were really preparing for a race. So it turned into real late in bed. And surely forgetting something in my packing which I will discover when I arrive…

Up at regular hour today, double checked my bag and suitcase and got on the mat for core challenge. Hot tea with honey for the throat which is making me coughing. And here it came, the time to leave. A bit of traveling to get there. It is snowy here and hopefully the sun of Dubai will compensate a bit for the inability to run the race I like. Airport check-in competed. Books purchased. Sandwich chicken-tomato-avokado eaten (Yummy!!!). Soon boarding…

More to come. New countdown to start soon… 🙂


Recap 2014…

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

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

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

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

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


Race Report – Chicago marathon 2014 – 2014/10/12

Planned: As usual there was a plan 🙂 This time it was in this order “sub3, sub2:58 and anything faster than the fastest so far is nice” 🙂 Preparations had been going well, but a bit bumpy with the left calf issue that has bothered me the past 3 weeks before the race.

Actual: 3:04:32… PB on the route (this is the first time I run here, so PB it is J). No crazy time, but the ranking made me happy: 172th place (women), 35 (age category) and 1380 (total out of 40,418 participants completing the race…). So surely was a bit far from the time objective, but having a complaining calf from km15 does not give many options… Enough said: great race, superb support from the public of Chicago and with pre-race + mid-race conditions, I am satisfied! This was an experience really (especially before the start and the last 2 km…)

Race results:

Place (M/W) 172
place (ag) 35
total 1380 (of 40,418 participants!)
age/grade: 75.97% (2014 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): 03:04:32
time total (brutto): 03:04:32
average pace: slow 🙂 (4:22 min/km)

Official splits

Split Net time (difference)
5K 20:48:00 20:48:00
10K 41:46:00 20:58:00
15K 01:02:54 21:08:00
20K 01:24:36 21:42:00
Half mara 01:29:14
25K 01:46:34 21:58:00
30K 02:09:02 22:28:00
35K 02:31:54 22:52:00
40K 02:54:57 23:03:00
Marathon 03:04:32

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

M Day-2 & -1

Little reminder: pretty late arrival in Chicago on Friday before the race due to issue with the air traffic control. Made my arrival after midnight instead of 8pm… Good I am an easy sleeper on plane 🙂 Saturday was dedicated to…walking !!! Walked to the Hilton hotel for taking the bus to the expo. Boston marathon feeling to be only runners in a school bus to somewhere J Pick up of the BIB (cool to be in the #1 pick-up area out of 50). Then walking around with Tricky in the expo. Found sunglasses and off to Starbucks for hot soychocolate and a pain au chocolat and headed home. Walk back home. Finally met my host, a bit of chat and headed out there for final run. Took the subway to the McCormick Place (Chinatown) and ran the last 2+km on Michigan avenue + to the finish line. Good. Now back home…via a bit of tomorrow’s race on Adams’ street (this is so powerful to see those blue stripes on the pavement…). Back home, shower and hunting for food. Discarded the Italian close to home as it looked mostly pizza and I wanted pasta. Could not find my way to Little Italy 😦 and stupidly walked and walked and walked to find back the Vapiano I saw while running…not knowing it would take me back to close to Millenium Park. Food. Linguine Bolognese. Safe choice. Took forever to walk back home as I took wrong sense and got North instead of heading to Greektown. Really annoying to add all those km in the feet. Whatever. Back home. Chilling out. Slept a bit. And prepared my gear and review the map for tomorrow. Double check where to drink and take the gels as well. Cold shower, massage of the legs and headed to bed.

Before the race

Started early, with the alarm ringing 3:20am. Once again this feeling of shouting “who set this stupid alarm so early” reached the mind, not knowing really WHY I should be going up that early. Quickly settling with myself that it was time to get ready. Had been in bed around 10:30pm but took a little while before sleeping deep and definitely was deeply in dreamland when it rang! Oat-porridge (well, half a portion as looking at the full portion made my stomach a bit unhappy) + Nesquick milk (could not find less than extra large soy milk bottle so I bought the day before a little bottle of chocolate milk which I know my stomach had taken fine before). Green mix with apple juice as well. And a banana. And back to bed.

4:00am (and every 30minutes after that) – drinking alternatively Gatorade and water. Making the mouth a bit dry to have Gatorade directly in the morning, but you gotta to what you gotta do, right? 5:30am – final drinking and off to the shower (cold). Getting ready. Added my stuff in the transparent plastic bag for the race. Wrote the expected splits on my hand (decided for the fastest pace :)) and it was already after 6am and I was therefore late according to my schedule…

Wishlist for Christmas...

Wishlist for Christmas…

06:20am – Headed to Grant park in the dark and under the light of the city. Nice in the air. Jogged my way to the start. Alone at first, getting some “good luck” from policemen already in place for the next to start event of the day (aka the Chicago marathon J). Lots of car traffic at this time of the day…a Sunday! The closest to the park, the more pedestrians to meet and most of them (if not all of them) were of my kind: runners J Still jogging easy to the start. Had a 7:30am start, but being in the American Development program I had to be in the tent and changed before 7:00am to head to the start before the Elite. So yes, I was late. Same nice feeling as other great marathons starting early in the morning, seeing this wave of people moving towards one spot. Soooo extremely nice. Found my way to Gate 1. Quick chat with two guys in the queue. One congratulate me to be in the American Development program. He is also aiming for sub3, starting in corral B. A funny chick is asking to an official volunteer whether there is an “express lane” to the corrals J Made us laugh a bit. I could do with an “express lane to the finish line” if there is any! Gate 1 is reached, turning a bit around to find the tent of the American Development program. Really cool! Special entrance and there you can see those crazy-fast people already warming up in a specific separated area. Trying to spot some of the elite, but honestly they ALL look fast to my eyes. To the tent, choosing a table in the corner, taking off my warm clothes and the speaker sounds already that we have 7 minutes (yes, SEVEN!) before we leave the tent to the start… Fastest un-clothing ever, anti-chaffing cream where it is supposed to, massage of the calve with chilli cream, asked for a before race photo and closing my bag. Fastest stop at the loo ever (great to be in this American development program as the area is sealed and aaaaaall the porta potty are for us (for now). No queue. Washing my hands with alcohol gel and remembering that I have my splits and gel time on my hands… They are fading away already… and we have not started the race yet… Aaaaahhh…We are leaving now…

Morning on the run towards the start...

Morning on the run towards the start…

Still time enough for some more pics...

Still time enough for some more pics…

Finally reaching my gate...and the long queue

Finally reaching my gate…and the long queue

the "non-fast" lane :)

the “non-fast” lane 🙂

towards the start (I think...)

towards the start (I think…)

6:46... not much time left to reach my tent...

6:46… not much time left to reach my tent…

The "fast and serious" ones warming up...

The “fast and serious” ones warming up…

"Blurry" me in the tent before start

“Blurry” me in the tent before start

07:00am – an official get us to the start through a little passage. Getting a cheering hi from Tricky on the other side of the hedge and then it becomes all quiet (kind of) in the head. Very cool. We are placed in a start corral right behind the elite wheelchairs runners. So, here I am. Chicago marathon 2014. First line. Don’t even dare looking behind me. 40,000+ are supposed to be behind me. Listening a bit to the chat all-around. To the gal being asked how she will do today “Oooh, aiming for 2:39 if this is a bad day” she answers and the guys asking her answering back “Yeaaah, such days happen as well. Then I would do probably 2:26-29. Good luck to you then and hope for a good day”… Hmmmm…. OOOOOOOOKAAAAAAYYYY…. I feel COMPLETELY misplaced here. I KNOW there are fast people, I have SEEN some, I saw that in Chicago there ARE fast chicks (100 first last year were sub3), but this? Seriously? Should I move back to the next corral? Some of the girls are looking so tiny and cool. And all are talking sub 3 (nooo. Sorry, not “sub3”, but sub2.50 (for the slowest…)). Does not matter. I did qualify for this group, so I have right to a spot here. The American Development program is a specific one recognizing some of the athletes that have a good regional or national level but not on elite-level. They also accept international runners in this corral (as long as you do the qualification time, which I did). OK, I’m in. Checking for the third time my laces on my shoes and then doing the stupid thing of checking how my calve are… which results in my left calf not being happy. Noooo. Not now. In 42km it will be fine, but not BEFORE the start, I think. Too late for withdrawing. Not that I would have done it anyway, but seriously putting a shield on the part of my brain which KNOW that there is something not good in this left calf. I choose to ignore it. If running fast enough, it won’t hurt. Just have to do it for the full marathon distance… Hmmm, ok, then. Game on!

7:17am – National anthem is sung. That.is.so.beautiful. The sun going up in the skies, this angelic voice singing. The tears are actually coming to my eyes. Same feeling before start as in Chicago and Boston when this song hit the air. Could just stay here for a while…

7:20am – Start of the wheelchair race. Strangely did not hear the gun-shot of the start. Just saw them starting. Then runners with disabilities are feeling the place left. And we are actually asked to move to the close-by corral to be behind the elites…WHAT? And we all thought we would be starting in the lane parallel to the elites (like group C in Rotterdam – see race report) L Finding my way to a nice spot close to the start line. Can see some of the elite, like the guy who won Rotterdam this year. SECOND time I see him (last time he had a large smile on his face and was just passing km40 at Rotterdam…when I was heading to km30…) and the little gal who won last year the Chicago marathon and the Boston marathon this year. She is smiling already 🙂

7:28am – the air feels loaded now and there are less and less people talking. Is there anything happening soon? The music is still on.

7:29am – on my watch. It is quiet now. No more music. Waiting for the countdown to start….

The race

07:30am – I noted an official raising the hand and saying quietly (he is a few meters from me) that the start is soon….and it IS the start! Did not hear any start shot whatsoever. But all runners are moving and I press my watch right away (being in the American Development program, this is the brutto time that is taken. So as good to be 1) as close to the start line as possible and 2) start the watch on time). No real push, but once again this wonderful wave feeling towards one goal: the finish line (which ironically is literally a km or so BEHIND us… we will just take a little detour of 42.2km before getting there… :)). Passed by many, I am careful not to get a too fast pace from start. Thought that if I can maintain a 4:08/10 until half way, then I should still be in good shape for either continuing on same pace or derive a little bit (and still have good chance for a nice time). The start feels like it is going a little up towards…a TUNNEL! Now I cannot remember having read how long is this tunnel, but really hopes that the GPS won’t disappear already so early in the race. And it seems fine. A bit tricky to run in the dark there. Already the runners are spread across the whole tunnel. Lots of place for everyone. Hearing a chick beside me recommending to a friend to run “ON” the blue dotted line because “someone told me this is the shortest path to the finish line”. I smile to this comment 🙂 Breathing under the tunnel is quite ok, but not perfect. But soon it is over and the sunrays are upon us. Km1 is reached after taking our first turn left (Chicago has 31 “90-degrees” turns…and still is one of the fastest races on this earth!). Mile 1 is passed in 06:30. Which I think is a bit fast. But this is not crazy fast. So ok. My watch is as well showing 1.6km at this mile1-mark. So no GPS issue. And new turn into State street. This is magnificent already. It is 7:30am. A Sunday. And your ears are submerged by the shouting and cheering of the people all here in the street. Really? Just for us? Wow! That.is.cool! Down down down the street and new turn to Jackson Blvd and then to LaSalle street. (Yes, I know. I studied “a bit” the map and know – almost by heart – which street to pass and when.  But mostly in the middle of the city.)

Mile 2 is passed in approx. 13min +. Still fine pace I think. Have skipped the first aid station. The plan is alternate energy and water until half way. So I am taking Gatorade at the second aid station. This is a bit after the 5km mark. But I never SEE the 5K-mark 😦 My watch has been beeping and yes I know the 5K is supposed to be a little bit after the mile 3-mark, but still. Have I missed as well the time-matt? And here comes the lady holding a … 6km-mark sign… NOooooo, I am almost telling her. 6km-mark is a bit before where you staaaaaand…. Heading forward. Looking good. It is not too fast and not slow either. Cruising pace and I like it. Can be going well today. Entering Lincoln park (already?). And second aid station. Water it is. Those aid-stations are incredible: loooooong, on both sides of the road, soooo many people giving the energy drink first and then the water and not only that… they are CHEERING as well (surely, I think by then, that it is because it is the start, they are just not tired yet… but it is actually like that for ALL aid stations on the course!!! THUMBS UP FOR THOSE VOLUNTEERS REALLY!). Can’t tell I really enjoy the scenery in the park. Having three chicks in front of me, which I am following closely. Close enough to hear they are chatting about all and nothing. 4:06min-tempo and those gals are having a “chat-tempo” 🙂 Running for a while behind them, close to them, passing them, passed by them. All good. And all with the sun shining on our side. Just feeling that the stretch to mile 7 will never end… And then after that I cannot see the next turn left coming either. Have they changed the route, I thought? This part is run with the motorway on the right-hand side. Can remember this from the youtube video I checked before the race 🙂 Aaaaand the turn arrives….aaaaand the next as well. And I am SOOO happy to see mile 8 mark appearing and the aid-station as well. The windy part is arriving. And no one to get the back to. Aaaaa! I don’t like this. Need to accelerate or to slow down a bit. Not a chance. I’ll run on my own then. Have even the time to read some of the many posters along the way. I like the “I thought they said 2.62 mile” or “You can run slower tomorrow when no one is watching”. Other original ones are “Smile if you’ve peed in your pants” or “In our eyes, you are all Kenyans” or “My friends are running faster than yours”.  Or “WTF??? = Where is The Finish line???” (he he he, cheering people CAN be so creative!). I also liked running and hearing the crowd cheering for “James”. Must be a famous guy this one, I thought, but did not dare to turn and check. When he passed me, he had simply (daaaa!) written his name on his tshirt. This made the trick! And surely I got a large smile from him when he passed me 🙂 I even enjoy being passed sometimes! Here right after mile 8 and reaching the aid station, I think (?) I mistakenly took some Gatorade instead of water. But redeemed myself (!) by taking some water right after 🙂 New stretch to half-way. Well, I think more “up to km20 and it will be soon finished”. Reaching km15 ain’t a dance in the park (we had left Lincoln Park anyway…ha ha ha :)). The left calf felt a bit and I don’t like it. No stop though. I am still on a good time and this is more a “feeling” than an “ache”. First thought (of many during the rest of the race) saying “if the calf gonna explode, it won’t be helpful at all (not now and not ever after)…better do regular check on this”. Energy drink at the aid station after km15. The km-marks are now 100/150m away from my Garmin-“beeps”. So I lap the time when coming to 15km. Feeling still fine (apart from this *#%%&! calf). Trying to see the Willis Tower (which is the new name of the Sears Tower for anyone asking…). I am still a bit behind the now-“two chicks with the “4.06min-chat-tempo”. One of them has dropped behind and is behind me slightly. Not many gals passing by, but enough for me to think that this is extra place in the finish which I will have to get before the end. More energy at the aid-station after mile 10. Cheering is just continuing on and on and on. And I liked this looooong stretch on Wells street. Especially for 1) being a looooong straight stretch and 2) passing again Ohio St, which is one of my reference mark for saying “soon to the 20km-mark”. Skipping all aid-stations after this one and just running. Which is fine, but now the calf is not happy and says it clearly. [Take a towel in your hand and hold it loose (each hand on each extremity). Then pull to straighten it. And pull a bit more (like it feels it is going to break). Yap. You have now what it felt in my calf.] Good for me that, by now, the right front thigh is happily cramping a bit. So I can balance my thoughts on both sides of the body 🙂 ANYTHING but thinking of the pain itself. Km20 is reached and I see that I am not gonna make my planned 2:56 and not even 2:58. Even though for this later one, it looks still “kind-of ok”, I know myself and that I won’t hold this pace one more half of the race. Smile on the face and turning into Adams street. I KNOW THIS STREET! Have ran it yesterday (and walked in it later the same day when I lost my path in the nice city of Chicago…). Being passed by a Swedish chick from Hasselby. Heja Sverige 🙂 Had been passed already by two Swedish guys before that and they cheered for me. So I am just passing it on as well 🙂 Passing the bridge (Ooooooops. Almost falling there. Good they had those mats on the bridge btw to cover the holes) and seeing the mile 13 mark. It was not there yesterday and I am so happy to see it. Push push push and the 13.1mile mark is there. 1:29-something. Sub3 won’t work this time. Just make it to the finish line and keep this smile on the face J

SECOND HALF

Adams Street is just straight and a long stretch, meaning I.like.it. OK, I would have liked it even more without this stupid calf pain, but I have agreed with myself (!) to get this over with. Surprisingly, having passed the half-way mark is giving me extra strength (not that it shows on the pace, but at least I know I am less than 21km away from the finish line 🙂 ANYTHING will work for motivating the mind!). Greektown is crazy. Cheering is just everywhere. They had surely been there for a while, but still…GUYS! IT IS SUNDAY!!! Trying to see if I can recognize my hosts in the crowd, but too many are shouting. Taking first gel at the aid station before mile 14. Beurk. Orange sticky stuff in the mouth. Not good. Thanks for the water (which I take quite well actually. Thoughts I have by now is that the drinking at aid stations has been working quite well. Apart from one where I got some energy drink in the nose…). Have also thrown water on the left calf & knee at all aid stations since it started to feel unhappy. At least for a liiiiiittle while, the cold feels it helps.

Turn left at the end of Adams Street, a bit quieter (which is appreciated actually) and one more turn (have stopped counting down the 90-degrees turns after Lasalle Street….). New aid station (already?) and energy drink. And water. I actually walk there. Around km25. Not because I am tired. Far from that. But I want to feel how my calf is. And it is hard like stone. The right one is also hard, but can be massaged a bit. Not the left one. OK. I skip touching it until the end. The 3:00-group is catching up on me and I could not care less. I just want to get to the finish line in one piece and having a calf that can still carry me home. There will be other races. And the most important: I am still happy running 🙂 Taking my second gel at the next aid-station. Once more, incredible disgusting stuff with orange taste in the mouth. Difficult to swallow even. Water water and more water. I am happily cruising towards the end. My watch indicate 4:12 but I know that it is at least 4:16-pace. Don’t care. No, actually. I do care. But it just does not matter. I am closer and closer to km30 and I like it. Warm becomes warmer. Decide to lift my singlet and risk to have a cold stomach. But would not care less. I am warm by now. More turns. More energy drink. In Little Italy there is a street towards University Village where we got cheering from both sides and so close to us that the ears are close to exploding! Thanks anyway. Keeping my lips smiling! Km30 is reached. 12km to go. Nothing. A morning run. A “back from work” run after a long Monday. Just have to make it to km32 and then I can start racing, I thought. I will have done a nice 32km-long run and finish strong with a 10K-race 🙂 Yap! Still believing in my strength to carry me to the end! Water at the next aid-station. Cannot tell that I noticed the “no man’s land” of “half-way to km32” in this race. There has been sooooo many cheering all the way, that I never felt alone, whatsoever. Probably one of the few races I can recall feeling this way. Reaching km32, I even think “where is the limit of the no man’s land? What is before or after km32-mark?”. Energy at the next station and finally crossing the water one last time (I was soooooo looking forward to this… Felt surely like rubbish then on this final bridge (it DOES feel like an uphill), but did not matter. It.was.the.last.crossing.of.the.river!). One more turn and tried to keep up with the two gals that passed me on the bridge. Energy gel. Good this time. Cola-taste. OK, it taste disgusting, but at least it was liquid! Long stretch along the road and towards Chinatown. Gosh, this felt so great hearing my watch beeping km35. My (tired) brain has calculated “down” the km left. And now it is 7 to go. THIS.IS.NOTHING. Because in a short short while, I will be at km40 (and yes I knew it was 5km to go to km40, but this is how my brain is reasoning at this particular moment. No comment needed 🙂 I let it work its way towards the finish!). Energy drink and water at the aid station after mile 22. A bit boring stretch there I have to recognize. Did not get much energy but from the sun in the face (should think of some ways of using the sun energy when I run…). One more turn and one more and one more and… WHEN.WILL.THIS.EVER.FINISH?!?!? I WANT TO BE IN MICHIGAN AVENUE NOW! I DESERVE IT! And suddenly a last turn and here it is. Cannot recognize it directly as I never went than far south. But when taking my final gel after mile 24, I know… I know it is soon finished. Mile 24 is only 2.2 miles away. Which my brain cannot calculate in km, but does not matter. It sounds short and easy anyway. Passing McCormick Expo on the right and I.AM.HAPPY. Because I know the rest of the route.

By km40 I cannot understand what is happening with those legs of mine. We are now not many runners (well, we might be many but I cannot see a lot in front of me and the avenue is soooooo large that we have the place we need!). I feel like flying. Surely not a WR-pace but I don’t care. I am happy (did I say it already?). I have only one goal now. Passing people before the finish line. And for once, there are gals ahead of me. They look tired. They MUST look tired. I am getting closer and being a good runner, I even cheer them and others when passing by. I hear  more and more my number – 435- go for it. Not sure I thank the people for that, but gosh, this feels good. Because it must look good, right? Otherwise they would not be cheering, right? Passing the gal with black short shorts and blue singlet. One done. Paaaaaaaaasssing the other gal with the rainbow socks. And one more done. Gosh, the next one is accelerating or is it me slowing down? Passing the 25mile sign and then the 25.2mile sign. CAN’T THEY RIGHT 1KM TO GO? My brain does like the “1” in “1 mile to go” but it does not correspond to any mark I know. But here it comes. The “800m to go” sign. Yoooooohooo! Soon there. And behind me this guy running is cheering all other runners: “Come on, the finish is over there on the other side of the bridge. You can do it. Don’t stop now”. (And no, this is not my brain talking. The guy is REALLY there). This gal ahead of me is tricky to get. The little bridge to the finish line does feel in the legs, but by now my feet ain’t touching the ground any longer. My arms are balancing so like crazy. This is the finish. Smile right and left for the guys taking pictures. And passing her and…nooooo there is another chick ahead of me. 200m to go. Can make it. Can make it. Won’t make it. Can make it. Don’t care less. The clock is under 3:05 and that just feels good. And HERE.IT.IS.FINISHED

Official time received later: 3:04:32 (same as on my watch 🙂 )

 

Smiling under the sun - done!

Smiling under the sun – done!

Well-deserved medal :)

Well-deserved medal 🙂

Smiling me after the finish line, the massage and a bit of food in the tummy (with the skyscrapers in the background...)

Smiling me after the finish line, the massage and a bit of food in the tummy
(with the skyscrapers in the background…)

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Not much happens or so much happens… thanking the rainbow socks girl. Getting a few smiles but lots of people seem to be in pain. No wonder… YOU HAVE ARRIVED BEFORE ME!!! You were too fast. Learn this! 🙂 Walking, walking and walking more. Getting my space blanket and heading forward. Medal with extra cheering from the lady giving it to me saying she likes it so much to see women crossing the finish line 🙂 Sounds cool indeed. More walking. Getting my goodie bag. Grab a banana. Getting some protein drink (and yes vanilla taste is disgusting! Even after a marathon!). Getting a plastic bag full with ice and my knee and calf thanks for it. But I do not stop. Unsure I would be able to start walking again. Heading forward and more and more… are we going to do the full race again, I thought? ( I need carbs, because the brain does not think straight now!). Finally getting my way to Buckingham fountain. So nice and sunny. Forgotten the wind I felt during the race. Now it is finished and it is sunny. A bit painful to walk, but does not matter we ALL walk the same way “penguin-style” 🙂 More walk and more walk. And the post-race party field is in sight. As well as the crowd waiting for their runners…and before that 4 terrible steps to walk down… sounding like ouch ouch ouch and ouch (and not just for me but for the guys before as well :). We understand each other!). Reaching the massage tent. Giving my name, getting a table with two gals and hop on the stomach for massage. Niiiiiiice! Getting to the American Development tent. So much more people than this morning and this sun! What a sun! Showing my BIB on my bare stomach and getting my bag back. Walking slowly the few meters to the grass and after having dropped my stuff on the ground, asking a nice guy to take a few pics (always good to do it when the adrenaline kick of the finish line is still keeping all levels up as well as the smile. Pain is no longer an issue. Distance is no longer a problem. All is good now…for a little while :)). Now I can sit (!) on the warm asphalt. Taking of my shoes and socks and sending the few sms required. Then the fun part arrives (always try to have fun…): getting off those somehow sweaty clothes and get into fresh ones. Yoga postures are far from being easy and I would dare anyone to say they are tougher than trying to get undressed and dressed after running a full marathon. Anyhow, got into new clothes. Enjoyed a bit of the sun for a while and then decided it was time to head back home. A good race in a nice and sunny city. Good way to end the week, indeed!

After the race

Back home. Walking with the most proud smile on my face (ok, maybe it is pain making me smiling, but the mind does not get it and the people around neither!). Receiving so many “good job” and “congratulations” on the way back home. The legs are feeling fine. I am happy. Crossing Hulsted street where some runners are still there. Wow, I am even more happy and stopping for a short while to cheer for them. They all look good to me. Finally home. Cold shower (does not matter as the body feels nothing by now – well, this is not correct. Cold water IS cold water!). Into fresh clothes and then resting a bit with the legs upright. Hmmm, that feels good not to do anything at all…until I have to move a bit to write email in the business center downstairs (the wifi is still not back at home). Feels like 187 years old… but still smiling (so it cannot be THAT bad). After resting, heading to Starbucks for hot soychocolate and a pecan tart. Meeting Tricky and pizza for celebration. Add to this, 2 pints of coke. Yapp, calories are the least of our concerns this evening. We just need food and chat non-stop of what we’ve been through.

THIS.WAS.A.GREAT.DAY…AGAIN!

on the way back home under the sun

on the way back home under the sun

still running...

still running…

Celebration maxi "meat and more meat pizza"

Celebration maxi “meat and more meat pizza”

*******

Weather: Nice in the air at start (8ºC according to Garmin. OK it would have been good to have a little blanket like the “2:39-on-a-bad-day” gal was having and to throw before start). Pretty nice from the moment we started running. A  bit windy on the way down South. But all good overall. Saw the temperature signs along the road showing 11ºC, 14ºC, 62ºF, 71ºF, 52ºF and not in this order probably…

Food:

> before: oat porridge +nesquick milk+banana + green mix/apple juice @3:30am / Gatorade&water alternate every 30min
> during: Vitargo gel @km13.9, 26.4, 33.6 & 38.9 (i.e. aid stations #10,12,16 & 19) – energy drink (Gatorade) at stations 2,4,6,7,11,13,15,17 and water at the other aid stations (Dextrosol: can recall taking two dextrosol around the end and close to an aid station but don’t know when exactly. Must be the one before the last gel)
> right after: banana + 2*Gatorade protein drink.

> late after (5pm?): garlic bread+salsa + 2 slices of “meat and more meat” pizza shared with Tricky+2 pints of coke…

Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), MIK Singlet, arm sleeves and  blue sunglasses (the new ones). Shoes felt perfect. Once again they felt like nothing. Was a bit anxious that the Achilles heels would feel afterwards, but nope. Nothing. They are good shoes. No, GREAT shoes J
> outfit was perfect for the weather. Could even have run with my calve sleeves if they were not that “thick”. It would have been good with some support, but would have been way too warm really.

Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost orange

16/ here comes the tricky part again. Until km20, the effort was a good 14/15. No pushing nor extreme effort. To reach halfway it required a bit more than that. But was it effort level higher? Or was it the pain that increased? Because by not pushing more nor accelerating, the effort was not increasing much. Surely have the thoughts of stopping juuuuuust for a little while crossed my mind a few time, but definitely would not set a 17 as overall effort not even for the part where the pain was higher (NOTE: it was more some ache than pure pain. Pure pain would have been to push harder and stupidly think I would make it unharmed… By not pushing much, the pain was contained and the effort remained “low” ore decent). So strong 15/low 16 average I would say even though might have reached 16 during a few km before km25 and then went down to 15 after the 3:00-group passed me. Good level of effort for this result. The final 2 km did see an acceleration but effort-wise it did not feel high – mostly because it was not “high” to start with. As a sign was showing during the race “if you haven’t peed in your pants yet, that means you are not running fast enough!”. So yapp… probably I did not run fast enough… 🙂

Pain level: Nothing from start. Even though had felt a bit in the left calf before start, it did not feel anything until km15 or so. This is those things that if you do not touch there is no pain. As soon as you touch, THEN it is painful. Conclusion: do NOT touch! 🙂 No excruciating pain as I felt in the knee during Stockholm. Was smart enough for not pushing at all after km25. There will be other races for achieving faster times. I don’t have any other calf….

********
SUMMARY:

Good race! With those weather conditions, I would have loved to write “GREAT race”, but the body felt otherwise. And the mind was smart enough for not asking more than necessary for this time. Final race of the season, it would have been nice to have a little better time, but once again, finishing was an accomplishment in itself. And the time is decent after all. As said “long run until km32 and then 10K-race” J Feeling great to see the first half was stable and very close to the previous race in Stockholm. Definitely got caught in calf-problem from km20 onwards. Still having enough strength to finish the last 2km in a decent 4:10-tempo and final 200m in 4:02 J a bit of order in this world, please J What went really good was the carboloading, no problem with stomach (apart from cramp the first day drinking Gatorade…probably too much in too short time), good pre-race day (apart from the 15+km walked & run…I know I know…)… I.AM.HAPPY. Crossing this particular finish line made me feeling in love with the world! (thanks Mr Sun for shining down on me (and all the other runners!).

Support for the crowd? Once again, they get my full points. Awesome. Top notch. More than brilliant. Setting this race to the same high level point as London marathon. Both got my favorite times with the crowd. I just never felt alone. And if I did, the crowd put be back on track so fast that I did not noticed it. THANKS!

First half went as planned until slowing down around km20. Well-controlled, decided from start NOT to go fast as I did in Rotterdam, but nicely and easy. Which worked well. Stability is the word for this first part of the race. Hanging along and would have very much like to have some running buddies to run with for conversation J Second half went as planned with the “reviewed plan”. So fine by me this half too!

New distribution of thank-you and more: for the supporting words, the trainings, the cheering, the laughs and other runs over lunch or early morning…. Just pick! As usual there are limits you believe cannot be pushed but they are. Not always in terms of time or distance. But of “will to finish”. All finishers get stronger just by crossing this finish line (and I got a rush of love at this time 🙂). So once again: THANKS!

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: the body felt all good during the week before the race. Surely a pain when touching the left calf right before start. Still not thinking it was unsmart to start. With the knee pain in Stockholm, this was stupid to start. But not this day. Once again, listened to the body and went along with what it could give for today.

NOTE: warmup? Totally inexistent. Surely had jogged to the start, but no real warmup. Not an issue really I think. Felt ok.

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? Once again, felt it worked great. A bit tricky to keep up with which station to get what, but apart from one station which I think I took incorrectly form what I had planned, all worked as on rail. Good mix. Was it too much? Don’t know. Kick at km 39? Worked as a charm!

NOTE: Vitargo gel in the sport-bra? NOT WORKING! This has to change really. No burn mark this time (had cut the sharp edge and had them in a sock), but still. Probably need to change brand for my gels to have smaller and more practical ones.

NOTE: Chicago is definitely on my list of “to be run again”. Unsure if it is that fast for my taste, but next time I’ll be ready to take on the windy city as it should be!


Chicago marathon 2014 – 3:04:32 :)

And finally the last race of the season was completed in 3:04:32.

Second autumn race. Missed the sub3 objective, but a quick health check around km15 made the choice pretty simple: either push slightly harder and hope the left calf would not explode on the way to the finish line OR make it through the kilometres left at a still quite decent pace and get happy to complete one more race. (I chose the obvious second option! There will be other races…).

Happy place 172 (women), 35 (age category) and…1384 (total out of 40,418 participant runners…). Not bad,  not bad…

Form is still good 🙂 No pain in the calf a few hours after the finish line.  Sounds fine to me.
More to come (when I have access to wifi and a computer…)


Chicago 2014 – M Day – less than 10 hours to go…

Back a few hours: Flight left 9:40pm, landed well. The issue was that there was a fire 2weeks ago in Chicago and the air traffic control still have problem because of that… Landed late, got on the train and one hour later was arriving in the nightly city. Took not long to get to the apartment but there, the doorman could not get to contact my host and I almost fell asleep on the couch in the entrance. Midnight and I had finally reached home, got a shower and was in my bed. Counted until 1 and ZzzzzZzzz…

Up early, felt quite rested. But seriously? 5:am and pitstop already? Back to bed for a bit longer and 7:30am direction shower (cooooold and then a little less coooold). Got ready for breakfast but having arrived late home, I did not have neither oat nor soymilk. Not chancing on cow milk, the breakfast became: green mix with water and a banana. Left home to walk to the Hilton hotel for taking the bus to the expo. Nice and sunny in the air, hoping it will remain the same for tomorrow. Boston marathon feeling in the bus full with runners 🙂 Met Tricky at the entrance of the expo. Picked up my BIB at #1 desk out of 50 🙂 Cool with a 3-digits BIB number. Then easy around the expo. Getting new sunglasses (one pair similar to my current one which has fallen once and have annoying marks and one pair… for being cool 🙂 ). Then hot soy chocolate and pain au chocolat before heading home.

Best view to start the day...

Best view to start the day…

right?

right?

Boston-marathon feeling - taking the bus to the expo

Boston-marathon feeling – taking the bus to the expo

Pick up area #1 :)

Pick up area #1 🙂

Smile smile and more smile

Smile smile and more smile

 

Suuuuure!

Suuuuure!

Met my hosts and chatted a bit before leaving for a final easy run. Took the subway to Chinatown and ran the last 2km on Michigan Avenue. Easy up the avenue, running carefully on the sidewalk. Good to see how it looks like for tomorrow. Then turning right to the crowded little bridge towards the last 600m and then seeing the finish line. Good to know! Ran along the park to the start and seeing where my start corral would be. Right behind the elite field 🙂 Cool! Then headed home through Adams street. This is where the halfway mark will be tomorrow. Nice to do some recognition 🙂 Then back home and shower. Before going out to hunt for food.

The dotted blue line :) More smile!

The dotted blue line 🙂 More smile!

Aaaand so close to the finish line

Aaaand so close to the finish line

REALLY close!

REALLY close!

and this is the start.

and this is the start.

More blue line

More blue line

Missed where Little Italy was (!), so aimed for the Vapiano I saw while running. Yapp… Not remembering it was that close to Millenuim park (meaning walking 2.5km to get there…). Finally arriving, getting my linguine bolognese + extra bread with olive oil on it 🙂 3:32pm. TWO hours late on my planning. But the food was good.

LInguine blolognes + bread and olive oil - good carbolunch

LInguine blolognes + bread and olive oil – good carbolunch

Then back home would be 2km right (as I would not go through searching after Little Italy..:)…but nope again! Got to the wrong direction and when seeing the TRUMP building coming closer and closer, I knew something was wrong. Yap. Got to turn around, find a Starbucks for updating my map and noticed I was way off track. So turn and turned and turned again and finally got to Adams street again (the same one I ran a few hours before) and almost tears in the eyes, got back home. Now, took a tea and got my legs up (finally!) and took some rest. Slept 1.5hr, well-deserved and then up again. If I would sleep now, I would be up all night… Took the time needed for preparing my gear, packing my bag and re-checking the route for tomorrow. Finally got wifi as well with my kind hostess’s husband making a hotspot on his iphone so I could use it for getting to the outside world 🙂 Had a last check on the route on youtube and then it was already 10pm and time for bed.

Race outfit ready for tomorrow

Race outfit ready for tomorrow

10:23pm – time for one final gear check and heading to the pillow. Tomorrow it will be for real…

NOTE: Today was a bit odd because had to make so many pitstops to the loo and did not feel like drinking much more than normal for a day before marathon. But probably should have eaten more carbs to have this fluid remaining in the body. To be noted for next time…and hopefully won’t have any similar “problem” tomorrow while running…

NOTE2: Weather-like it felt quite nice today and hoping that tomorrow will have a similar weather. No rain nor wind. That would be brilliant! But whatever weather it is, I will be happy, because I will be running 🙂


Race Report – Stockholm Half marathon 2014 – 2014/09/13

Planned: sub90 and if all good sub88 would be nice (of course all under is mostly welcome!)

Actual: 1:28:38…new PB on this route (he he he this is the first time I am running it = automatically PB!) 48th women and 36th in Swedish Championship of half marathon. Satisfied with the race, as a good rehearsal before next challenge 🙂 A bit faster than Göteborgsvarvet in May which has a similar profile (although different…).

Race results:

 

Official splits

Official splits

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

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

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

BEFORE THE RACE

HM Day -3: Final quality run in the morning with intervals at 5:26am (only time available this day…) Form seems fine. Then…evening at the restaurant – ending with stomach cramps all evening and late at night.

HM Day-2: wake up with stomach cramps and have them coming back&forth all day 😦

HM Day-1: almost ok, at least no cramp. Travel to Stockholm. BIB pick-up with J and easy evening at home. Feeling good and relaxed.

HM Day:

2:37am – awaken shortly. Well rested. Definitely ready to run now! But a few hours left before going up. 07:42am – still too early. Quick visit to the bathroom. Maybe drank too much water yesterday. 08:00am – finally time to go up… Take anyway almost an hour before leaving the bed and getting into running gear. Quick morning run. Finally finding the correct way to the lake, promising myself to take a run there on Sunday if time allows before leaving to home.

09:20am – breakfast of large Earl Grey tea with honey, one egg, two small buns with raspberry jam. Breakfast for champions 🙂
Then chilling out rest of the morning. Listening to music, reading a bit, packing my bag to the race. This wait before afternoon race is killing me really!

1:30pm – Writing my splits on my hand: 1:25 1:27 and 1:30. (secretly writing 1:24-splits on the forearm, but I know I cannot see it all easily during the race anyway…). Am ready. Finally leaving with J. Train to the city then subway and a short walk to the sunniest place today, aka. Stockholm Kungsträgården. Full with runners everywhere. We are a bit ahead of schedule so as good to take a first stop to the loo before the queues become crazy long. Finally finding where to go for start, so we separate with J wishing both good luck to each other.

2:45pm – meeting other gals in the elite tent. Nice to have so many smiles at once. Even though don’t know half of them, that’s cool. Chatting with Karin S to see if I could join their group for  workout back at home and seems working well. Heard as well she will go to Chicago. Fun 🙂 meeting as well Caroline from Stockholm marathon, Lona from IF Linnéa, Mikaela K…

3:00pm – new stop to the loo and heading to the warm up area. Quick chat with the 1:24-pacesetters. One I recognize being the 3-hour pacesetter from Stockholm marathon. He aims for stable 3:59-tempo throughout the race. Not a chance I hold this. Warming up on the first 400m of the race. Slight slope, which I did not know… and then turn back. Then do a serie of up and down the street to reach almost 2km. Tempo pretty slow and the cool thing is having a male elite (the fast kind) warming up at the same pace and place as me. For once my warmup cannot be that bad, right? …

3:20pm – easily going back to the start area.  Final stop to the loo.  Chat with pacesetters. Then hi to Isabella Anderson (everybody must say hi to her and I felt I might destroy her concentration.). But it is so cool to see all the ladies who ran for the Swedish team in Zürich marathon (European Championship): Frida Lunden, Lena Eliasson, Annelie Johansson… Cool, really cool!  Dare even approaching Louise Wickner (ran in Dubai this year) and got the largest smile before start 🙂

3:25pm – already in the group heading for the start line. Drinking a bit left of Powerade. Cannot see any woman before me. Don’t dare this time to put myself in the front row. Looks already WAY outside my league. And all the fast ladies are calmly behind me… Doesn’t matter.  Feels good here. Adrenaline is high. Concentration at the top. Feels nice. Finally.

3:27pm – Aaaaaaaah! Final check to my shoe laces. All good. Feels like going into a shell and not hearing anything else but the guy telling us the countdown and that we should not rush…

3:29pm – … same guy who carefully back off from the front line, still telling us with his calm voice to take it easy and that there is plenty of time left…

THE RACE

3:30pm – start is given. Feeling a little push, like a human wave starting to move. But really nicely forward. Don’t feel any pressure to follow them anyway… and it feels during the first pretty slow 500m!!! Then right turn towards the tunnel, I begin to find the right speed but then we turn left into the tunnel. Not at all fun to run there. Loosing completely the little capacity I had to appreciate my pace.  Does not feel too fast though.  Tricky to breathe. A bit muggy in the air. The organisers really have to change this start!!! Hearing all the beeps from clocks loosing the GPS connection. Right before the end of the tunnel got passed by the 1:24-pacesetters. They are always cheering for me in Stockholm marathon so as good I return the favour 🙂 and get some cheering back too 😉 Finally outside the tunnel and reaching km2 a bit under 8 minutes. All good. Pressing lap in my watch to have a correct “km-time” after that. Then it is a few boring km from the central station towards km5. Do not like this part in the Stockholm marathon and this is the same today. Slowly upwards. Can still see the 1: 24-guys a bit ahead of me. Was passed by another couple of girls (i.e. the fastest had passed me before the last turn towards the tunnel already and two in the tunnel). Loosing time on the first water station because 1) had completely forgotten there was one so soon *!!!*, 2)  here was a big lump in front of me that just kindly (?!?!) stopped for a mug or two. Took two cups and threw on my head. Why?  Don’t ask! Nice and easy towards km5. Got them a little bit over 20min. Good, but already thinking this pace won’t hold for long… Mostly because I have NO IDEA of my pace. Not feeling fast nor slow. Can’t check the watch because it misses 4-500m due to the tunnel… So much for the confidence and “running by feeling”…
Noted that after paging the lap button at km2, most km-signs are like 50-70m after the beep of the watch anyway… A bit warm as well by now, so deciding to lift my singlet. By all means, Karin A could do this easily during her Rom marathon, I did not find it easy. Took the two lower security pins away and then lifted into my sport-bra. Soooo much nicer (and less warm). OK, the BIB on the sweaty stomach felt a bit sticky, but way better than having the singlet fully 🙂

Towards km10 was not at all fun. The route was as it was, but once again, I could not appreciate how and how fast I was running. No high effort either there. Just following the people before me. Am I really in a race? Felt comfortable strained. Whatever this may mean… ;P Second water station is not as bad as the first one but once again could not see it coming and skipped it. Passed two girls during the stretch to km10. Little bridge before km9 offered a VERY narrow passage with a hedge on one side separating from the road and the side of the bridge in the right side and it worked well running with the gal beside me but I thought if there are more people coming, it is gonna be a disaster. Took a gel at km9.3 but then came the waterstation quite far behind. Succeeded in grabbing two mugs of water (don’t ask how…) but not much goes into the mouth. Had passed by then the gal with blue singlet who was ahead of me since a while.  Pressed a bit to reach km10. Anything to keep the distance with 1:30 flags. 41:04. Have already lost 1minute but still have a little margin left.

Towards the castle was the continuous thought “I am in the middle of it. As good to finish this”. Don’t like the end of the long street towards km12 in Stockholm marathon (Norr Mälarstrand) aaaaand it was the same here. Was a bit alert around km11 to see if L and the boys had got enough time to reach the place for cheering. Nope. Hopefully they’ll be there for J when he passes here I thought. Moved along. Getting to a short paved stones part. No fun. Little bridge to the right, under the porch and then reaching finally the castle. I like this part in the marathon and same today. Felt nice with the crowd around. Crowd that I notice for the first time I think since the start of the race!!! THEN I began to feel good. Km13 I cheer for a guy looking pretty tired but my “Come on. Only 8km left” doesn’t seem to have the effect I expected (at least he did not curse at me…). Still ok when racing through the little tunnel of Slussen. After that, tried to raise the tempo (whatever it was by then). Really like this part during the marathon 🙂 Counting down the km and feeling good to be able to just run, run and run. Slower than planned for sure but still. Happy. Km15 at 1:02:28, when I was hoping to reach it at 1:00-1:01. Still a little time left before the 1:30-flags would be possibly passing me. Two girls had passed me during the time but I had them within short distance all the time.

Happy to reach km16 through passing under Västerbron 🙂 Those 2km to reach the km17? They disappeared just like that. Feeling so nice with the sun in the face. Inner peace has reached the building :-p Turning into the park, skipping the water station but taking some Dextrosol and then should reach soon the tough part of the race… But though, it was not directly. Well, it was more heavy, yes, but not tough. A little more narrow (and longer?) than Över Husargatan in Göteborgsvarvet, a bit crowded and a bit windy. But definitely not “tough”. Nor steep.  (Good that L had described it to me yesterday at dinner: “not steep, but long and not fast” 🙂 ). Two girls in front of me and it was the only and final goal I have then: follow them to the top and pass them before the finish line. The only mission which I would ever accept at this point of the race 🙂 By the time I am still thinkthis, arrives km19.5 (got a little scared when I saw the hill that continued forward but much steeper in front of me …. But we did fortunately turned left aaaaaaand downhill. Yooohoo!). Two turns and one lady passed. One left in front of me. And pressing really the strengths the legs still have (told you that I had no control about the effort put in the race so far… ). Got to shout a few times “Keep right” to guys who apparently thought it was ok to take the whole street to themselves. No time to be polite. Feeling so powerful to run down towards Slussen.  Reaching km20 at 1:24:10. 2min slower than hoped for but still ok sub90 / 89.

Crazy fun to run beside the runners reaching their km13 / 14 (in the other direction). Thought for myself “oh, have I already run this?” Would love to have cheered for them but honestly I only had one objective in my head which was to pass the last girl in front of me and then increase the pace if possible to the end. Finally passing the gal. She seemed to not be able to follow. And then one of the last left turn, I saw another girl (nooooo…. not one more!) but did not know how far we had left to the finish line. I was totally wrong in which bridge we would get to and was surprised with this left turn (as expected a right turn). HOW MUCH IS LEFT EXACTLY?!?! Run run run and run faster … Could see nothing else but the clock ticking in red: 1: 28: xx. You got it. The cheering from the guys that I passed is priceless. Just giving additional strengths. So cool and thanks! Tunnel vision. Nothing is more important than the red numbers up there!

1:28:38. 48th place (women) – 36th in Swedish Championships. I.am.happy.

Happy me after the finish line

Happy me after the finish line

nice medal

nice medal

********

AFTER FINISH LINE

Have just the time to realise I have cruised the finish line and I am welcome by a few claps in the shoulders from guys arriving behind me and the largest smile from Staffan D in his red singlet. Best welcoming ever after a finish line. Then another great smile from a short-hair Gabriel in black. Perfect finish 🙂 Got to the elite tent. Picture time and quick chat 🙂
Changing gear in a way-too-small tent for so many gals. Congratulating all. Most of the ladies have run towards new personal best. (Which in practice I did too… as first run on this route he he he 🙂 ).
A bit of food. Checking when J would be arriving and he actually made it 2 minutes faster than I thought!!! Definitely something to celebrate! Back home and hot shower (stomach cramp since the arrival) and food and chilling in front of tv. Took a few hours to finally fall asleep. Good race day.

*********

Weather: nice and sunny. Perfect running weather. Garmin says at start: 18℃, Feels like 18℃, 13 km/h NE wind, Humidity 64%

Food:
> before: oat porridge +red juice+soymilk @12:30 / little left Powerade a few minutes before start
> during: Vitargo gel @km9.3, Dextrosol 2 @km13 & 17
> right agfer: Kex chokkad and banana. Protein drink.

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova blue line, MIK Singlet, blue sunglasses. Shoes felt perfect. Actually they did not feel at all! Very happy to have them

Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple

17/ let’s be honest. This was no easy race, but when having the time to make a body check at several points during the race, thinking that “now I could be maybe slowing down, or not, or maybe”. Taking time to actually admire the sun reflecting its lights on the water… Nope. Full effort it was not. When seeing how the last two km could be finished – for sure it was downhill, but it does not always mean you can push towards the finish line, right?

********

Summary: not easy route. Thought that sub90 could be completed without too much effort and sub88 possible. Lost the flow (if I had it at a time ever…) right from the start (after the tunnel) but managed to enjoy after Slussen (km13 +) to the end. After the finish line, I would have gladly continued for a while.
Third half marathon sub90 (not counting the first half of my three marathons this year). Super Happy? No. But satisfied that the form is here. The left knee could hold without complaining (a little feeling sometime but disappeared). The right hamstring never said anything, not even a whisper. Just to keep up the pace for one more half marathon and then I’m happily aiming to Chicago 🙂

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Waterstation took far too much of my time. Not at all well disposed and no order with runners who just stop… Water was good to have due to the temperature and the sun.

NOTE: Warmup: ok, not much of a warmup, but actually I was happy to be able to run 2 easy km before the race. Not starting crazily cold then.

NOTE: Last 2km – long tough hill which I took carefully because everyone had said it should be taken this was. But same as in Göteborgsvarvet: nothing to be afraid of. Now I know it!

NOTE: Stomach cramps soon after the finish and a few hours afterwards too. Food and rest later in the day. Impossible to sleep until midnight.

 


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

So was it done! 1:28:38

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

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


Sweat, Sun, Sleep, Sluggish and more – in one week

Morning run along the beach...

Morning run along the beach…

After a late evening, went up on Monday morning, planning an easy run. Well, not too early as started around 6:30am… and the sun was already out above the mountains and warm… Not too easy to run then, huge change with home… Despite being along the sea, there was no wind nor air to breathe really. Did a 10km but the body felt really sluggish (yes, “sluggish” is definitely a description suiting well for the last weeks…). The rest of the day went pretty easy with beach, morning gym at the beach club, lunch, swimming-pool (sunbathing part), dinner, evening walk to the sea and sleep… One day done!

So when the clock rang at 5:00am on Tuesday morning, the whole me said pretty easily “nope”. Decide for a rest day. Woke up G&E as they had planned to play tennis at 8am… More sleep for me 😉 Up for 9-ish breakfast and headed to the beach with the hotel bus. Morning gym at the beach club, rest under the sun, sea gym with T and older ladies (pretty fun and not that easy with all the waves!), more rest then back to the hotel and swimming pool, reading and dinner time before short walk before bedtime. Got a back massage from G as it felt pretty stiff after so many days without really training correctly. Second day and pretty tired as we headed towards the pillow before 9pm…

Therefore started Wednesday pretty well at 5am without any problem. Pretty windy outside, sounded great when I saw the sun was not above the hills yet 🙂 The knee feeling ok, time for some running. 26°C at start, easy 4km and decided to get the pace up and went for 6*1km at tempo pace with 1min rest. Felt quite nice (and once again, I fully understand those running marathon @3:4x pace… It is really nice and enjoyable 😉 Completed the run with a few short hills (the temperature had risen to 30°C then) and then back to the hotel, change of gear and direction to the tennis court… 7:10am – already hitting some balls with E. Of course, it was early, but by 8am the temperature had changed from 31°C to 36°C and more than half the court was under the sun already… Breakfast after well-deserved shower and then, beach. No activity as the entertainment team had a full day off… Decided for a “no fried food day” as it had been a bit too much French fries and other dessert or food well fried… Lots of resting under the sun and by the evening, had a very nice tan turning to dark red on the chest and the thighs… Nice with the chocolate colour I got already!… Evening early in bed after dinner. Long day at the beach = tired in the evening!!!

Evening view during dinner

Evening view during dinner

Which allowed to go up early on Thursday, well-rested and ready to run. Achilles heels feeling pretty tired in the morning…probably due the lack of activities during the day… After easy warmup, got a serie of 400m intervals done. Ok, only the first two were real 400s as the others were cut at half. Mostly due to the head not really willing to push and scared for hurting the knee (knee which, btw, did not make itself heard 🙂 Aaaaand rest of the day (read: from after breakfast taken @9:00am) spent relaxing at the beach (read: mostly sunbathing, turning on a regular basis, putting suncream for not burning, drinking, eating and resting more…). Actually this type of day feels mostly exhausting… Late evening watching the “black & white show” in the hotel auditorium. Pretty fun and nice 🙂

Therefore Friday was decided as day-off…from running. Up late, breakfast late, at the beach late but just on time for the morning gym. No need to say that the body felt extremely stiff and far from flexible. Doing the gym under 36ºC hot sun making the whole thing not much easier…and as a follow-up I joined for an hour beach volley-boll…still under hot sun. It was after all rest day! Lots of drinking, still not understanding how the body can sweat that much when laying down under the sun doing nothing and then to the pool. As usual, knee rehab and torture massage on bottle. Although it does not feel like torture any longer. Mostly boring to spend 10minutes doing this!

Saturday was the last day planned for training. Motivation was not very high, have to recognize, but wanted to skip running on the last day abroad. Easy warm-up before a serie of 3-minutes fast run. Had to stop after the 4th rep as it felt liiiiittle bit in the knee, but the final four went fine. And easy run up the slope with sun in the face towards the hotel… finally…finished…time to relax a bit! Easy stretch before going back to bed…and waking up with the worse pain in the left calf. Like exhaustion ache 😦 massaged with tiger balm and off for breakfast and easy day at the pool. Yap! ALL-DAY-LONG! Still took time for the morning gym (ouch! for the left calf during the stretch) and the aquagym in the pool (ouch! for the calf when kicking in the water) and played table tennis w/G under crazy hot sun (but not running much, so it was ok 😛 ). Wanted to test Zumba but after 10minutes and seeing all the other women jumping, I decided to stop because the calf wanted me to… and back to the pool and rest…again. Finished the day with dinner, walk along the beach as every evening and then last show at the hotel (yeaaaah… election of the hotel miss….). Time for bed!

Final slope...ALWAYS with the sun in the eyes

Final slope…ALWAYS with the sun in the eyes

Took a longer sleep-in on Sunday because everybody deserves such rest form time to time! Rest day, staying close to the pool, did not even take out my book as it has not been possible to read anyway (I felt asleep for every try this week!). Quite some swimming today and table tennis game as well as shuffle and dart. Perfect final day of vacation under hot sun of 36ºC… Early dinner with a bunch of Dutch people ready to watch the game. Game, crazy finish, getting ready for travelling back home with long bus trip to the airport, check-in, a bit of wait at the airport…and it was Monday, 3:00am and time to travel back home…

 

Summary of the week: HOT, HOT and HOT. Unsure I have ever been somewhere with  a temperature of 43ºC! Lots of resting, lots of sweating, not much running (and most of it being rubbish – I could blame the heat, but seriously I won’t…), too much eating… Good change for body and mind. If only the knee was 100% back…

No one swimming here...

No one swimming here…

...nor here either (until I jumped :) )

…nor here either (until I jumped 🙂 )


Recovery, recovery…Aaaaaand more recovery…

Week of rest and recovery ain’t often very exciting to talk about. Just like last week. Travel for work was suiting perfect with a week of after-marathon recovery.

Tuesday started early and finished late. The body felt all ok and the knee even allow for wearing high heels. No swimming as planned as 1) the swimming pool at the hotel was close to the breakfast room and tables (I mean REALLY close) and 2) the pool was only opened in afternoon and late evening when I would rather have gone up early for a swim.

Wednesday was a bit better for start, did a light core exercises and little rehab. Nothing much really, but it felt nice to actually do something. Day spent at work went fine, rainy weather and changed my high heels to running shoes in the evening before going out. Went all fine…until we left the restaurant and had to walk downhill to the hotel. The pain in the left knee was excruciating when walking this way. I tried walking uphill and it worked without problem. When reaching flat surface then it was better. Meaning? the left knee is NOT happy. Tricky night with ache in the knee coming back&forth.

Thursday felt a bit better in the knee, but still this day was filled with little aches now and then. OK, the high heels could/should have been skipped, but they were not. Evening was nice to change to jeans and running snickers! Good night sleep aaaaand…

…it was Friday already. Up early to get my first flight home. 25 minutes for changing in Paris and then home…without my suitcase. More rest during the day (read: doing nothing…). A bit of bicycling in the evening and it was it.

Saturday had arrived and got some bike done again, but no real workout. The knee was still aching a little now and then, so decided to skip doing more training. Spent the afternoon under the sun with the monsters and then a very nice evening at friends. Delicious Indian food had been prepared and served 🙂 Not too late home, it became late though when getting to bed.

Sunday got the sun up way too early. Decided to test the knee and went for an easy run. 3km warmup on asphalt to reach a running track. There I decided to go for 25 laps (or 10,000m). 4K clockwise, water – stretch, 4K against the clock, water – stretch, 2K clockwise, water-stretch and then 3km back home. The knee did not like at all this outing. And it was well-noted. No swollen knee when reaching home and it felt all ok to walk afterwards. However the kicks done in the afternoon felt pretty hurting 😦 Decided then to go for anti-inflammatory tablet in the evening and see whether it helped. Got tired pretty quick from it… but the knee felt as “normal”.

So was the end of the after-Stockholm marathon recovery week. Nothing really fancy nor fun nor exciting from a training perspective. Only a boring reminder that the knee was not fine. Have to check this and get it solved. More later…