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
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…)
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…) 😛
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.
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…
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!…
OMG! This is not only a new PB, but under the objective set for this year and done with the whole World Championships experience!!!
How cool is this?! Nice and sunny, a bit windy some times, definitely fast and with correct effort in it… and on the right side of the 1:24:xx!
More to come when I have gone down from my little sunny cloud and travelled back home…
Now it starts to feel real…for real…
Late in bed, early up…not to well for the sleep dose for this week… Got ready, skipped the rehab, took my healthy green mix smoothie with banana, pear and apple juice. Decided to add a little bun with Nutella and drink chocolate oat milk as well…Felt good at the moment, but regretted it shortly after as felt pretty heavy… A bit late for taking the tram to the train station…or was it the tram being late… Got my seat and waited for my travel-mate “Tricky” who hopefully will be a able to run tomorrow.
Long train travel with lots of running chat and then Copenhagen, finally. A bit of orientation and found how to get to my apartment.
Finally getting there and yes it was a great choice! Large room under the roof, jacuzzi in the bathroom and large kitchen area. The hostess was real kind.
Aimed directly to the restaurant (had eaten a banana in the train around 10 and then a twix at the train station), both of us were starving. Lasagnes on the menu as there was not many choices and I wanted to keep the safe side…
Nice food stop completed, it was already 1:30pm when we took the way to pick up our bib. Look what was seen on the street ….
Just have to follow the blue lines 😉 Arrived at the expo, got our bib, a yellow bag with a World championship neck warmer and then through the expo without stopping really. Needing nothing…
And then after those 4.5km to the expo, time to rest the legs….after getting back to the apartment !!! Pretty tired, spent a bit of time resting my legs up on the bed. We had decided with Tricky to get our runs done separately and then meet up for dinner. Change to running outfit and got to the start area. Met some French elite men also taking photos 🙂
And then back to the arrival. Nice in the legs, lots of photo stops. Good weather although little chilly. Just time enough to get ready for dinner. Another Italian restaurant, similar limited menu, so same choice as for lunch: lasagne, with salad and apple juice.
Sooooo, back home, change for bedtime and checked my outfit for tomorrow. Tricky said I should have my club outfit if I run with my club name… Ok then!
Light massage of the legs before sleeping, double checking the times for the race tomorrow. Yes, it really starts to feel real. Plans for tomorrow are simple: get to the start, enjoy the view of elites ahead of me and run as fast as I can 🙂 The fun will be included by default! Especially with the current weather forecast: 12°C at start!!! And sunny!!! And no wind!!!! Perfect conditions 😉
Copenhagen World Championship…. Less than 15 hours to go!!!!