Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

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Race Report – Öloppet Sprint – 2015/08/01

Or… Tale of a “swimclimbwherethef***istherunpart” race…
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Planned: Get around in a good time, test this swinrun thing, have fun

Actual: Experience is what makes us grow, right? Yaaaa…sure! Some experiences ain’t really necessary maybe. But done is done!

Let’s start with numbers:

03:06:35 – time it took for getting us round the route

9 – place mixed team

35 – place total

22425 – length in meters for the whole race

2610 – total distance for the swim

19815 – total distance for the “run”

200 – total of teams registered to the Öloppet Sprint

374 – number of times I said “Sorry” to Johan when not keeping up the pace

218 – number of times I asked Johan to slow down or wait

0 – number of time I thought about dropping of the race

57 – number of times I swore in French during the race (among which 4 were done out loud. Rest was in my head…)

5 – number of times I swore in Swedish during the race (3 out loud, rest in my head)

1 – number of times I fell on the face during the race

54 – weight Johan was pulling throughout the race (mostly during the climbwherethef***istherun parts)

48 – number of small cuts detected and undetected on the hands, fingers, thighs and other parts of the body (more to be discovered I assume – always noticed when in the water)

4:13 – pace of the last 1,6km of the race to the finish line

7*3cm – surface for the bruises on the left knee

6 – number of mixed teams we passed during the final 2,5km

3 – number of sea swimming training done prior to the race…all in July

OK, probably plenty of other fancy numbers can be found. Let’s start with the beginning of this tale… 2012 (?) got suggested by Anton S. about participating to Öloppet. Sounded like an idea but all places were already sold. More talk during 2013, but unsure would suit with the marathon and other races plans. Quiet then until hearing more with Eva F winning 2013 edition and Johan P reaching 3rd place of the shorter Öloppet edition 2014. OK, just a little push and November 1, 2014 registration was done with Johan P as partner in crime. Eight months later, standing on the start line with wonderful green swimming cap and yellow singlets. 12:00 – start is given. A bit back though.

06:30am – up and breakfast @7:00am with chia+banana porridge and green mix. Water drinking. Never done this race so did not really know how to load energy for it.

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Outfit ready for the race

07:30am – bag checked for the 5th time and ready to bike to the ferry.

07:59am – OK, took way shorter time than expected to get to the ferry and lay down on a bench enjoying the morning sun while waiting for Johan. Nice run snack when he arrived and finally on-board the ferry (and more run-talk).Felt very relaxed and all looked actually bright for the day even the weather! Arriving on Styrsö-island and there were the brave preparing for Öloppet (the long one). We get ourselves registered, got our start-kit and spend the rest of the wait taking our breakfast. Decided to eat a bit as my breakfast was a while ago: bread with omelette and 3 slices of ham + orange juice and tea. Johan got a good breakfast and 3 (or 4?) coffee mugs. Hoping that my stomach will keep the food as it is less than 2hours before start.

11:00am – heading to the changing area (walking up up up and finally getting there). Queue to the loo so decided to skip it and get myself ready, which means: warmup cream with chili on the thighs and calves, vaseline all over the body where there can be friction during the race, suncream which is supposed to be repulsive to jelly fish on all body parts not covered by the wetsuit, wetsuit on, repack the clothes, queue to the loo, more Vaseline, cream on the face (which I wondered for a while whether it was Vaseline or suncream and hope for the latter one), drop the bag, find Johan and head to the start.

11:42am – getting close to the first line. Decided that the first run of 400m+ was probably very fast so as good to be first there. Meeting with people Johan knows. Listening to the final instructions.

11:59:50am – final countdown out loud…

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Öloppet Sprint at start - still smiling!

12:00pm – start is given and the race is on. As expected it goes like crazy fast directly left and shortly after right. Johan is passing in front of me and I follow gladly (hoping that the pace would be sliiiiightly slower afterwards!). Reaching the water I get the rope from Johan and attach it to my home-made rope-belt. Swimgoogles on and off in the water. I think we were quite early in the water. And it did not even feel cold. Johan had shown me the flag to follow on the other side which is the first island t reach. Crazy many people swimming and the rope between us is a very good idea. I got to pull for the first part and then Johan changed as I headed a bit wrong. It feels long but ok. Don’t like having people swimming on each other at the pool and here it is exactly what is happening. But ok.

First island is reached, tricky to get up on the feet as it is pretty muddy (and me who does not like the mud or anything close to it…). Johan is heading directly to the little cliff to climb. Yapp…starting with some climbing, but I follow where Johan’s feet are landing. Feeling fine. I am expecting a good run when reaching the top of the cliff…and meet…more climbing, sliding down the hill, Johan having a good rhythm but the rope between us means I have to follow a similar rhythm. And playing the mountain goat ain’t my cup of tea (and will never be). There starts the first “please slow down”, mixed with a couple of “sorry”. Try to follow Johan’s instructions of NOT slowing down when going down the cliff and just follow (otherwise it takes forever AND I probably slide and fall). Little swim to the next Island Köpstadsö and there…Nope…still no running and more climbing. When we finally get some running, we miss the left turn. I shortly stop for tying my stupid shoelaces (and yes, I did a double knot before start) and we run incorrectly at a really decent pace to find ourselves with 3 other teams in a stop area. Turn back and find the correct path. Loosing quite a lot of places there. More climbing and walking and finally some walkswimwhateveryoumaycallit to the next island. Long swim there (cannot remember much of it apart from that I pulled and then Johan pulled and then I pulled and finally arrived on the next island Asperö. Johan takes the lead and it ain’t easy to get out of the water. Nothing enjoyable that I recall there. Climbing, run on stones (wet ones), happy to get in the parts with real roads to run on…but it is already time to jump into the bloody water again (cannot understand we do that when there IS actually a ferry doing this route 😛 ).

OK, here is a part that I have NO idea where it is during the race, but I think it is before Brännö or before Asperö. There is water ahead so we plan to swim. On with the swim glasses and in the water. Walking a bit, it is muddy. Very muddy. Trying to swim but my hands are touching the bottom and cannot see anything in the water (which is so mud-filled). Decided to skip the swim and do some walking instead, which makes my legs going deep into the mud (up to the knee-like?) which does not make the walking very practical. So question: there is water. You cannot swim and cannot walk. How do you get to the other side? 😦 Not liking it.at.all.

Have to recognize that after the first swim I said “one done, eight to go”, I knew that after passing Galterö we would have gone half the full distance and there was only two long swim left and running. BUT this was when I had checked and studied the route map. Well on place and running, the only thing I focused on was not to fall. Looking at Johan’s footsteps and setting my shoes where he had set his. During a slippery-stone passage (which was called “run”…), Johan advised wisely to run with light steps, spend the shortest time on each stone and go fast. For a while my mind only thought about “light feet, fast feet, light feet, fast feet…”. Worked well! Tips which I followed for the rest of the race. And THEN when we had reached quite a good rhythm on those stupid #%&!!?& stones or whatever, happened what I did not want to happen. I fell. Unsure exactly where we were (no comment on my orientation abilities here: I AM good at orientating myself, but here, no clue where we were and seriously, I was not really enjoying the landscape and only looked at…yes, Johan’s footsteps and calve. He made it looking so easy and light. “Mountaingoat” ability: ON). Arriving at a progressive downhill, almost dried stones, focusing as usual on light steps, quick steps and there comes this guys from the left and “take.my.stone”… Meaning this was the stone Johan had his foot on and just left and that my foot was to use. Now I just got without stone and my left foot just met nothing but the emptiness. Fell fast and quick reflex got my hands first. Right hand got a bad smash on the palm, cannot recall what happened with the left hand but only that it got on a stone as well. The face fell right on a stone as well. Left side. And the left knee hit a stone as well (but mostly because this particular stone was a bit big, otherwise the knee would have been kind-of fine). Remained this way, face on the stones for what seemed forever. Noticed the shadows around of the guys stopping to check on what happened. Johan coming back and asking how it is. Felt terrified that my face was all bloody and with a bone broken. Really did not want to turn on my back then. Which I eventually did. Heard voices, comforting ones. But honestly the only thing I recall was the sun in my eyes, shadows all around, Johan checking up on me and asking kindly how it was. Suggesting to stop for a while. Felt tears in my eyes and hearing myself that we were just to continue. That the knee was fine but the face must be checked. Johan telling the face was not showing anything wrong and no bleeding, that we could rest a while. Seriously, cannot remember how long time took this whole happening, everything went so extremely fast and I just did not want to see my face completely broken. Don’t know how I got on sitting position and then standing. The left knee was clearly hurting a bit after the fall, but the worse was to feel the pain on the left side of my face. Looked at my hand palms. They had been covered with blood since the first going out on the first island and now they had blood and dirt. Which I really did not want on my chick. Which felt really crazily swollen. Johan wisely took a slower pace and was carefully asking how it was. I kept looking around for some water, any water to get on my face for cooling down the pain. But nope. There.was.no.water.anywhere.to.be.found. We did eventually reach the end of Känsö to get into the sea. Must be there we had to jump (and yes, this is on the list of the things I put my full trust in Johan. Just jumped).

This long swim was tricky. Boats on each side, but it was very broad between them. And it felt we took the outside part. Was pulling for a while and then Johan corrected the direction and took the lead. All the bruises, cuts, pain on the face were just not feeling at all in the cool water of the sea. Nice. Skipped thinking about the darkness of the sea under us and focused on following Johan. Changed from crawling to breaststroke as it made my left knee moving and felt actually better. Was able to keep up the pace from Johan, so that was ok. But man…this was a long swim! When reaching the stones, Johan got slightly on the right and off the water. Unfortunately I could not get out.at.all. He pulled but it was too slippery. A guy behind me took my hand and tried to help, but still slippery. He then kindly told me that we did not know each other but would be friend now and nicely push my bum up J Nice and happily on the first stone, I thanked him and noticed we still had a bit of climbing to do. But it felt fine (well, it was climbing on the whole four, so not enjoyable, but we made it worked). We were way off timewise. Checked my watch indicating 2hrs 30 and we were still NOT on the last island. Got to the final swim, which I think went well (and yes, I did not listen to Johan and left myself be pulled. Swam on the side of him, unsure it was good or bad, but at least we reached the final ladder at the same time).

FINALLY, last island. Styrsö. 6km plain run. Starting with a bit of stone climbing, Johan being very good at orientating where to go. Reaching the little harbour, swearing for getting my pullbuyo in place, hearing a friend cheering (always nice to hear my name in a race) and it was on! The feeling on the asphalt under the feet…hmmmmm…so crazy nice! Passing a mixed team and asking whether this had been the last swim and they confirmed it. Johan was strong and running well. Pulling definitely but I felt that I was able to run and keeping up the pace. Not in those stupid uphill that the route had, but for the rest. “2 mixed ahead, we take them” – said Johan. And indeed we passed them with not much effort. Just continuing. Was a bit (read: completely…) disoriented and was not sure how long was left. Turning left and passing one more mixed team. Always this done. And then seeing the arrival…but we had to turn left and up the little hill, very stiff and Johan that still makes the whole thing looking like “piece of cake-running”. Passing two giants walking and I do my best to run up on light feet and mostly front feet. But there is more uphill. WHY? This is an island and not a high one! Getting into the forest or whatever it is. Been there last year, so I recognize a bit. “Keep right” I hear Johan saying and the people we pass are kindly doing it and cheering bit. Passing 2 mixed teams in the woods and more running and finally on the asphalt again and turning left. This is the final km a gal is yelling to us. Yaaaa….sure… have heard that before. We are meeting teams with white singlets, those on the final line from Öloppet. Johan has increased slightly the pace and it feels good to run, passing people and getting some cheerings. Looking in front of us and there is one mixed team – “we get them as well” said Johan quietly and I just agree. Aaaaand done. Last little bump to run and there is this nice light downhill and straight.to.the.finish.line…Nooooooo! there is a mixed team still in front of us. Yes we take them as well. Johan had this extraordinary strength since we reach the last asphalt and he still finds extra strength for running and pulling me. My feet are no longer touching the ground. The mixed team must hear us coming and they turn to look and accelerated, the gal getting closer to her partner, but Johan is just wow-running fast. I hear myself telling him it is too fast but the finish line is just there. My feet get on the grass and then it is only short to the finish. Passing the line. Hearing our names and team name from the speaker. Stupidly short area for the arrival makes me bump into a guy in front of me and falling nicely on the back on the grass. We done it. We arrived. We are finished. Johan smiles and look far from tired.

The adrenaline of the final run made me forgetting about my knee and my face and it all comes back now. Up on my feet. Getting water and a Redbull. Salted pickles. More water. Getting our finisher bag and meeting Johan in the crowd. Hug and smile. Checked at the medic tent. She does not think anything is broken on the face nor on the knee. Nothing can be done. Just wait and see how it will look like later. Got all the cuts on the fingers cleaned up and that is all.

AFTER THE RACE:

Walking back to the change area (i.e more climbing), and yes Johan is correct saying that I am far from being trained for running on terrain, but that the route this year was far from fun as last year. Climbing was just NOT part of the deal. Quick shower, not feeling any burn mark on the body – which is good, meeting Johan outside. Chat and then heading back to the tent for eating. Johan takes an early ferry and I remain on the island for a bit longer. Bike home in the evening then, feeling that my right wrist is not too kind with me when changing the gear of the bike.

SUMMARY: Been there, done that, got the tshirt and won’t do it again. Seriously, some parts felt pretty dangerous and not just because I am not an elite runner on terrain. Saw a few falling and many must have ended with bruises and bloody bodyparts. The challenge of running terrain and swimming in the sea was definitely on and it is done. The second part for the swimming in the sea went strangely better than expected (apart from the disgusting swim-walk parts in muddy water). But the run was far from fun or entertaining. Way more climbing compared to last year apparently and this made the whole experience far from fun. Thanks for Johan it went fine from start to end. Without this incredible pulling force ahead of me, it would have taken way longer time to complete the whole route. The evening was spent with massaging the knee with anti-inflammatory cream and arnica cream for the bruises on the face. Surprisingly the right hand and fingers stopped functioning in the evening, impossible to move them at all. Which felt a bit scary. In the morning they were “fine”. The whole body felt a bit tired and sore. Nothing that could stop from going out on Sunday morning for a long run (heat workout…) however. 🙂


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

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

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

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

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

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

How was YOUR Sunday?


Meet my new “friend”…

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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 🙂


Would you do it FOUR days in a row?…

Tired yesterday but awaken before the birdies thus morning and pretty well-rested…@3:36am! No need to say I did not go up! More rest and from 6am did some reading and finally went up for easy breakfast. Got myself ready with little energy and water and time for more bike. Fourth day in a row…Is there something wrong with me, Doc? 😉 Humidity in the air, mostly cloudy but when the sun showed itself, it was nice. Got a planned city name I wanted to reach, but did not find it on the bike paths marks. Do aimed for another city. Took only 12km… So had to continue well! (but well-noted for a long run of 24km 🙂 ). From this moment it was a bit chillier, reached a forest area where it had rained recently. Got the hills there as well! Beautiful sights on a lake. Took a pause after 25km, for energy gel and water. Done toe exercises as well for my heel. Grey skies and windy. Not really nice to be in singlet. Saw a deer crossing the road. Poor little thing as it looked wounded and scared 😦 Took another path home, which was nice. New stop at km 40 for additional energy gel and off home. Heard a strange noise and noticed my rear tyre protection was loose. Could not fix it and it was making a great deal of noise! Back home after 48km bike.

Quick shower and directly to the doc to check my heel. Unfortunately the drop-in was finished so aimed to town for new shoes and came back. Got anti-inflamatory pills for the pain and to continue toe exercises. My half marathon in 16 days is more than compromised. Cannot run, not even jogg. It is painful to walk just! So cannot even cheat on this one even if I would have wanted… But at least an additional week he said. Should be fine for Berlin though… Time for lunch (ribs and pasta) and then aiming to the sea close to home for resting under the last sunrays of the day. Niiiice and relaxing. Gave an additional 11km bike for the day.Not bad, not bad at all.

On the top of this, got 2 series of toe exercises during the day as well as ab roller session and less workout. Yapp, you will find the fun in odd places sometimes…

Now time for real relaxing evening in front of the Matrix…and time for bed soon.

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Km10

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Km15??

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Dear in the middle

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Wing path apparently!

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Nice mansion in the side of the road

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Beautiful view on the lake

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Km35

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Km40...soon home 🙂

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Sea view for ending the afternoon


Good day for a mini-triathlon…

Ok, sounds a bit catchy 😉 but so was my day. Start with waffles and not to early, then getting ready for a swim. Running gear on and fan-club on bikes, started our adventure of the day. 3km easy pace and talking tempo to reach the swimming pool. Well arrived, swam 2*650m free style, first one in 25m pool and second one in the 50m pool. Not really my plan, but on my last length I hit a line crossing the pool…they did not take the time to stop me and informed they would need half the pool for the jumps… So continued in the close-to-empty larger pool. A but worried for my heels/ankles as they felt/sched when turning. Anyway, after this, run to Subway for lunch. I had achieved two Subway challenges giving us free subs. Here was mine:

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Subway lunch

Then started to run back home when had to trader my feet to G’s bike as E had other plans. So bike on the way home then. This was my mini-triathlon of the day!

Pretty tired after this. Rested most of the afternoon, then dinner time with couscous, green peas, carrots and chicken satay. Nice ending of the say with cosy movie.

Pouring rain outside. Won’t be trail running tomorrow! Not a chance…


90+10 = 100?

Started the day early and ended late – therefore this post entered the day after…

Up and ready for my bike tour, I left quite happy (after lots of suncream all over the body, just in case). Despite lots of indications when I rented the bike, I followed and followed and followed the bike signs towards the University of Alicante without finding it. After short 4km (?) my saddle fell (!). Yes, the  bike was too small and I raised the saddle, to the maximum…well a bit too much to the max. I had a choice to make: shall I turn back to the rental and change the bike to a taller one or should I continue with this one. As the rental was opening at 10am, I did not want to turn back and face a closed door and even worse to have to come back to here as it was a pain to find indication for the road! After 11km I was still in town and ready to aim towards the other side of the catsle (i.e. the completely other direction!). Stopped a guy on a bike and asked for direction to reach Agost. “muy lejos, muy lejos, chica…Yo trabajo allí…” enough of my Spanigh told me it was 1) very far from where I was (I knew it, the rental guy checked and it was ca.28km one way) and 2) this is were Manuel was working and he would returned there shortly. “no importa, Agost con la bicicletta” – yes my Spanish IS very rusty!. But I got the instructions and started to ride again. And ride, and ride and ride. Got into an industrial area and seriously planned to turn back, really mad at this rental guy and his instructions (and no I did not have a detailed map!). Found a Decathlon and asked for directions – only one nice guy could talk inglés, the only tricky part was he was from North of Spain and did not know the area… Anyway, got myself on a bike route and get along… until I really thought I had it all wrong and planned to turn when TADAAAAAAM! Here was the sign of Agost. No km indicated, but who cared really!

Sign indicating Agost... FINALLY

Sign indicating Agost… FINALLY

So when I finally reach the roundabout reading Agost but forbidden to bike… I say “no way” (read with quiet voice: “so I took the path anyway”) and reach the “CV” road and it was after a couple of km that I breath again as I saw ONE bike on the other side (“Holá”!).

OK, new trial... where should I go?

OK, new trial… where should I go?

Very beautiful landscape all around me, few cars (but driving VERY fast), enjoying the sun and off with the singlet in cotton which was way not adapted for the bike ride. And after 2km after this sign, I stopped for a pic and who do I meet… MANUEL! he was very surprised to meet me there again and was on his way (still on bike) to his work! Said goodbye and continued my discovery tour.

On the way to Agost...

On the way to Agost…

Still on the way to Agost

Still on the way to Agost

And finally: reaching Agost (Took a pic for being sure I’ve been there for real!)

 

 

Yes, I made it!

Yes, I made it!

Took a bit of visit in Agost, and finally settled in the natural parc of the village for my lunch break (45minutes after having biked for 29km). Enjoyed home-made sallad with couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, aspargus and tuna fish, followed by nectarines and apple. AND water! After  a few pic and lots of suncream (again), started to ride my bike.

The mountain (hill) which was so close at a moment is now behind me...

The mountain (hill) which was so close at a moment is now behind me…

Lunch pause in the middle of a natural parc @ Agost

Lunch pause in the middle of a natural parc @ Agost

Choice: back home or slightly more to Novelda...

Choice: back home or slightly more to Novelda…

Bye bye Agost!

Bye bye Agost!

Had now to choose: BAck home via San Vicente Del Raspeig (which was the orignal plan) OR make a detour via Novelda (which was suggested by the reantal guy)…What are 12km really when you have already biked 30?!?!? Continued then my bike tour to Novelda, then to Aspe and Elx (which was the second choice to do: Back to Agost, with ALL the uphills I had as downhill to Novelda OR turning to Aspe without knowing how long it was or if it was difficult road – but surely there was a way to get back to Alicante this way, right?)

New choice: back home or little longer...

New choice: back home or little longer…

Nice to turn back and see where I was coming from...

Nice to turn back and see where I was coming from…

Little bike problem on the slope up to the National road...

Little bike problem on the slope up to the National road…

A bit sad not to be able to take the motorway though as it was REALLY nice (and fast). Then the whole trip was sunny and hot and definitely with lack of water or any other type of food after eating my banana on a fast downhill. Yes I do think that most of the roads I took where OK for bikes (I did say that earlier). Good anyway to see on the other side of the road people (only very few) biking as well! By km74 the brain was in DEEP need for energy or whatever really. I had planned to make a stop @km60 for resting and food, but there was nothing then, and after that I just wanted to get home. So stopped at a gazoline station, got a super Twix, Gatorade blue and 1.5l of water. The Twix disappeared faster than you need to say it, the Gatorade effect came pretty quick and HOP LA! Fit for fight again… Well no, the bike was too small, my bum was hurting, the position needed on the back was making my lower back a bit aching, so the fastest home the better. Never been happier than when I saw the castle of Alicante and the sign of “entering into Alicante”. Back home, directly shower and LOOOOOOTS of cream on my poor back which had been getting the sun ALL day long. And despite of the sun cream was aiming towards a tomato-red-on-nice-brown-skin-colour-like!

Rested a bit, and then went out for a short run… The sun was STILL on my back (don’t know what I did to him!!!) and then it was not anymore… probably because I lost my way and was really far from where I was supposed to. SO all in all after a few turns (more or less lycky!) I saw the castle again and then it was just going back home, and more showering and more creaming!

Summary of the day: 90km on bike and 10km easy run. Not bad for a rest day, don’t you think?

and still the countryside

and still the countryside