Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Posts tagged “Dubai

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!


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). 


NOW I AM ANNOYED!!! (and yes I am shouting!)

Not only I could not run the race I like BUT as well my two last blog posts have been saved locally on my android and apparently the recent update of WordPress app (which I smartly did on Wednesday while away from home) made my life not much fun with just removing all my posts and not being able to refresh them… Well, this is what the stupid app is saying since two days. And still waiting for the support to help. If any help can be given.

About this post then? Well, written from my laptop. But my local drafts are supposed to by on my android. Not sure any more. Will try to re-write them (I felt inspired 🙂 ). But would Shakespeare re-write Romeo and Juliet if he had lost his original manuscript? Probably. But it would be different. Will se how I do.

For now, resting a bit after a full day under the sun at the pool, trying to figure out what to do with my feet…

More to come…real soon 🙂

 

(and yes, if anyone out there has this problem with their android and wordpress, please post a comment on how you solved it!)


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?


Dubai – Recovery Day 3

Then the 3rd day she shall travel back home… Plane to Frankfurt? Did not feel it taking off. Had already closed my eyes. The man and his wife took two seats letting one between me and them. So their two small ones could sleep. By the time I open my eyes, serving sandwich (good I ate extra before leaving!). Watch a movie called “Now you see me”, and recommend it. Quite cool. Then it was only me and the wife left sleeping on the 4 seats and after halfway, i was alone so could try to lay down on 3 seats then. But way less comfortable than on the way down to Dubai. My last thought before falling into deep sleep was that I could feel fine enough after the race to wait 4 days before a massage, but that 5 hours flight would probably require an osteopath session to solve all the aches and pains this flight would create! Arriving at Frankfurt, as usual B.O.R.I.N.G. Nothing opened almost (and for what it is, it does not really matter!). Finding my gate and taking 2 free hot chocolate and surf a little. Got to read there should be new additions of fast runners in my club, which sounds really cool. Running alone I like, but no surprise that training from time to time with others is giving some pep to the training.

Frankfurt-home? same procedure as earlier: did not see the plane taking off, barely heard the breakfast serving and woke up when we landed. Snow-covered landscape was NOT what I wished to see on the arrival. Luggage, bus, tram and finally home. 30 minutes later – laptop on and ready for work.

By the end of the day, there had been way more snow falling and it was a very white-christmasy-feeling outside (ok, now I said it so the snow can go away!). The body had felt fine today as well apart from a walk on good tempo done mid-afternoon where the inside front of the hip made itself reminded and this was no fun. Almost stopped at the doc to be checked (but then it disappeared). Had a phone call from HR and discuss this. Will see how it goes and if not better or popping up again, then will be visiting the doc.

Late evening, several washing machines later and it was time for bed. Return to reality? check!


Dubai 2014 – Recovery Day 2

The tricky with recovery days is as far as I am concerned to actually take it easy for real. After a marathon it happens that M Day+1 I just don’t want to run at all. Might not be related to any particular pain but more that a vacuum has now breached and a breathe can finally be taken. Can also happen that there is pain or ache hindering any wish to run. When reaching M Day+2 (i.e. Recovery day #2), it starts to feel pretty dull to rest. Once again there can be physical pain or ache still, but the brain is already up and running (ha ha ha! Figure of speech, of course!). After Berlin, I just did not want to run. Today it felt different. Body feels fine, as bit tired/sored calves but fine thighs, stomach muscles felt better as well… So the walking went fine, but now the rest of the day was still ahead… And sunbathing is fun, but to a certain limit. This was anyhow the way I spent the day, close to the pool because I seriously was not up for visiting. Checkout at noon makes it also tricky to plan much. So rest and sleep and more sun cream and more sudoku… You get the picture. Recovery is on the way!

Tougher than I thought to get some sleep yesterday. Probably by midnight I was able to get some rest… for waking up 5hours later…& then 7:30am when I finally got up. Prepared breakfast to go (same as the days before with a luxury topping of honey) sun-creamed myself and started to walk towards Medinat Jumeira, where I took my breakfast in the silence of the little pond inside the Medinat. Then back to the hotel and could not get my room longer than noon so pack everything possible and decide for more sunbathing. Checkout @11:30am, back at the pool until lunch @1:00pm (lamb chops and rice, yummy!). Then nothing very exciting really, resting, sudoku, cold/warm bath and eating fruits and drinking water.

Body feels really fine. Of course. The going-down-the-stairs ain’t the most easy part of my day, but it seriously feels fine. The one-hour breakfast power-walk did good! Now the sun has left the roof top, so changed to walk in the Mall of Emirates one last time. This Mall is very different from Dubai Mall. Huge is an understatement (did I say I lost my way a few times?) and you cannot really feel you are in Dubai. Could be any HUGE Mall in the world really. Skipped the visit to Deira this morning for sake of time (and honestly, I was not looking forward to walk around there alone. Been there two years ago with G and that was fun).

Did this last walk in the Mall of Emirates, eating dumplings (beef & shrimps) – yumyum! And got the hot chocolate from Starbucks I have been cravings for since day 1… Then back to the hotel to get my luggage, walk to the metro and got to the airport…5.5 hours ahead of schedule…
Waiting for the check-in to open, I got to meet a nice French couple being here for business/leisure and then a kind Scotsman from Aberdeen who came over to Dubai for an interview. Check-in went quick and then got more food in the tummy (new version of grilled chicken sub with fries). Last day of rubbish food 🙂 The long wait until boarding is made shorter when meeting again the Scotsman. Lots of fun discussing running, work, countries, travel, EU and monarchy.

Time to board now. Only two seats for me this time (don’t dare to ask the guy on seat no4 if it’s ok to have my feet on him!). Getting ready for a long & not too comfortable flight… Good after all with a recovery day resting under the sun…

NOTE: right after picking up my suitcase and aiming to the metro, I felt a huge pain in the front of the hip. Unsure how to describe it, because never had such. Did make me walk a bit strangely but by the time I get on the metro, it has disappeared. To be checked…


Dubai 2014 – Recovery Day 1

Recovery starts actually from the moment one cross the Finish Line… More in previous post and race report. Missing there is that it took a while to get to sleep. Tired? Yes. But had to have my legs up for a while and it ain’t comfortable to sleep with three pillows under the feet!

Awaken at 4:40am, checking wether I had dreamt the race, but the medal in the bed table reinsured me it was not 😉 Back to sleep then. Awaken after that by 8:20am and really had to go up because the mouth felt pretty dry.
Easy up, checking again my medal and finally decided for breakfast. Disappointed when going to the “bakery” of the corner street as it was more a quick-food restaurant than “croissant-and-bread” bakery. So oat-porridge again with honey on the top as a touch of reward and luxury 😉
Prepared myself for going out and enjoy FULLY if the sun. My left foot blister not looking to good I decided for lazy-pool-day instead of walking-6km-to-the-beach-day.
Really resting, full sun protection. Every hour or so doing an “alternative baths”, i.e. 30sec in the freeeezing cold pool, 1min in the jacuzzi and back to the cold pool. The jacuzzi ain’t warmer than “room-temperature”-warm but it felt hot compared to the pool. Spending the whole day there, seems like. Water, snacks, fruits and sudoku to pass the time. Lunch around 1:30pm from the grill restaurant in the corner. Choosing chicken with rice. Getting a chicken of a size I’ve never seen, so protein in the recovery meal? Check! Carbs are in the rice.

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Lunch box: grilled chicken combo with Biriyani rice

Afternoon plans? Same as the morning… Meeting the Austrian runner and his wife from yesterday. We chatted a bit and I remain speechless when he says he ended in 3:21 and not happy because the long line between km16 and 36 was a killer… No my silence is when he says he is 50+… because he ain’t looking like that! Go runner, go!!!

Ending the day with cold shower (did not burn myself during the race yesterday, but have a nice red chest and stomach at the end of the day today…). Little reading and even though not hungry, got out to buy a grilled chicken burger with fries and topping it with a Power Boost freshly mixed fruit-juice (carrots, apple, orange and ginger… Wonder how I will sleep after that!).

But now M Day+1 touches to its end and it is good. A bit boring not to do anything after a fully packed schedule preparing for a marathon. Massage of thighs and calves with tiger balm red. Apart from smelling much and liiitle cold effect, I am not convinced what this balm does. Booked anyhow a massage for Wednesday at home so my magic-hands masseur can take care oft tired muscles (& nope, still no pain really, neither from hamstring nor from heels).

Tomorrow’s plan is quite simple: leaving the room at 12:00pm so will aim for a walk maybe to the sea and then more sunbathing (probably with stronger sun-protection though…). I can well spend the rest of afternoon either under the sun or at the Mall… It’s gonna be tough to fly back home as usual. Why does the world continue to turn when going away for a dream-race?… Of course, busy schedule from Tuesday onwards…

Time for bed now (if the Sandman would be so kind to come soon… Ha ha ha…the Sandman… He must be living in the desert around Dubai 🙂

Once again, lots of thanks for all the kinds words received since the race!!!

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From extreme right (cannot see Burj Khalifa but it there somewhere) to extreme left with the high buildings: this is the stretch from km16 to 36...


Race Report – Dubai Marathon 2014/01/24

Planned: under 3:03 but secretly hoping for right under 3:00 (& of course, faster would also be nice…)

Actual:…2:58:59!!! New PB by 4 min 44 sec from Berlin in September 2013… 3rd best Swedish woman and 25th among women all categories… (with strong representation of elite women from Ethiopia and Kenya on the leaderboard…)
SUB3: Enough said! This marathon is likely to be remembered 🙂

Race Results:
place (M/W) 25
place (ag) 3
age/grade: 77.74% (2012 Dubai:66.6/ London:66.47/SF:65.66/Berlin:68.29/2013 Dubai: 72.35/Boston:72.19/Stockholm:73.1/Berlin 75.74% )
time total (netto) 02:58:59
time total (brutto) 02:59:03
average pace: 4:14min/km

Official splits:

Split time diff min/km
10K 41:51 41:51 4:11
HALFWAY 01:28:32 46:41 4:12
30K 02:06:20 37:48 4:13
Finish 02:58:59 52:39 4:14

********************
M Day-1

After final try of gear for the race, check of what to take to the start and when, having all the alarms set for the morning preps, setting my virtual Garmin friend to 4:14… 😉 (not that I really plan to follow it, but that would be cool, huh?), took a warm shower which should make me tired and sleepy…not!

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Final prep


19:25 – drinking 3dl Gatorade (mixed blue and orange 🙂 ) and 2dl water, aimed for bed. Probably too early. Eyes closed but mind alert. Almost sleeping when bouncing noise started outside (on the top of the constant far away noise from the cars – can really hear them from the motorway?!?). Bouncing noise continues until passed 9-ish. By then I have got up twice already. Then just laying down in the dark, trying to count sheeps when they turn suddenly into runners crossing the finish line. Yapp! Fun and I did not drink any alcohol… No more Gatorade-mix I presume! Checking the clock every half hour or hour. No sleep. Read a little. Still no sleep.
11:58pm – Still turning in my bed…
And same 30minutes later aso… Went up at a moment to applicate patch on my little stiff shoulders, but did not help the sleeping.

Before the race

SO when the clock rang 2:55am, I had just fallen asleep probably. Got up for preparing my porridge (still need practice to do that in the microwave…)+ banana, cranberries, gojjiberries, nuts, little sugar and oat milk. Orange juice and C-vitamin on the top of this (&allergy medicine and iron tablet as well). Water and back to bed.

3:30&4:00 am – Same procedure for water. Hesitated in drinking some Gatorade as well but skipped it. To keep it safe… Put chillout music as well but still in bed.

4:30am – Sloooowly getting out of bed, shower, more water, getting my hair ready and massage with red tiger balm (worked fine yesterday…. & I know, should not try stuff the days of a race…my conscious has already said that). Sun cream all over, hoping it would work without having running cream in the eyes. Running gears are: More Miles short short, SOC sport bra (yes, it is important and will write later why), SOC purple singlet, pink Kalenji socks (you can run and be colour-conscious 😉 they suit well with the singlet and the shoes), sunglasses & ASICS Gel DS Skyspeed.

5:00am – Already? This arrived too fast! Still preparing myself, changing tactic for the gels: 2 in side pocket of my singlet, 1 in back pocket with Dextrosol and 1 in the hand. Lifting up my singlet so the gels are making a little bump on my back, but better looking like a camel than burning my chest again. Throwing change outfit and extra shoes in my marathon bag and sunglasses on the head, wind-jacket on, it is time to leave.

5:44am – jogging easily to the start. Quite nice in the air, moon shining in the sky. Feeling better than last year. Following the human wave growing to the start. Lots of traffic there as well.

6-ish – Arrived at the marathon village. Photo pre-race taken? Check! First stop at the loo as there is no queue. Lots of ambiance there. The place is better I think than close to Burj Khalifa (although it was nice to start there). Dropping my bag around 6:15 am. Last visit to the ladies (now it is a queue..) and aiming towards the start.

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Soon to the start


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The Finish Line, on the other side of the road


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Smiling (almost) before bag drop


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Marathon Village

6:35am – Start to jog light a few 60m as not much more place for warming up. 5 minutes or so of this. Then wait a bit while walking and then 2-3 minutes of same 60m with acceleration one way and easy jog back. Not much of a warmup, but that will do.

6:50am – Well placed in front row, discussing briefly on my right and my left and in French 🙂 Countdown starts, 5 minutes to start… Really? Was not 10minutes left just 2 seconds ago?!?! Fixing my laces on left shoes for the fourth time. Hoping it won’t be too tight as I am pretty bad at stopping to tie my laces up during training, so for a race would not like it…

Few minutes left – we slowly walk our way towards the start. The elite field is way more crowded than previous two years. Getting a great place right behind the two Swedish chicks (Louise Wiker and Lena Eliasson) who are racing for a place in the Swedish team to be sent to the European championship this summer. Luxury enough: both have great pace makers with them (respectively Anders Szalkai and Martin Lundqvist, a giant in green outfit. Ok, both are giants!).

THE RACE
First half

07:02am– Then hold it, hooooold it, hooooooooold it…. And PANG! Start and the race was on! Not too much pushing, although the congestion is certain. Seeing our Swedish elites drifting away and sure I can follow them the first 200m… Tricky start because lots of starters are actually not fast and not planning to be. So they push, run like h*ll the first 200-400m and you are obliged to keep their pace, until they just stop after 5-600m and start cruising. No offence, but could not they start in the second lane instead of the front row? Anyhow, starting a bit fast, but feeling good. Km1 disappears in 4:05 and it was not expected. Stabilising the pace to 4:10/4:11 by km5, which feel fine. By km3 I already have a burning feeling on the back of my left foot, not understanding why because I did put double band-aid on the potential area for blister… right under the ankle… and what I feel is actually in the back of the foot. Skipping thinking of it won’t make it disappear nor getting better (probably the contrary), but there is no way I am stopping to check. Taking a little water & 2 Dextrosol at first water station (5K). Having a bunch of guys ahead of me and it feels ok to follow them. Ok, maybe it is faster than planned, but knowing how I work (or how I think I work) if I slow down now, it is gonna be painful. Up to now it was a bit foggy (well, cloudy maybe), but now the sun is going up and can be seen. Nice because it will not be like last year foggy race. Chatting briefly with an older man in green outfit and he happens to be Norwegian 🙂 Few words exchanged in respectively Swedish and Norwegian and I drifted away with another runner. All goes fine, having music in my ears from start because unlike other large cities races, there is 1) not much public to carry you when it hurts and 2) not many people to hold on to after 10km as most of the runners have established their pace by now.
Km7.5 is the intermediate water station where I grab a bottle, emptying half of it (too heavy to carry otherwise…) and run with it until km9 where I take my first gel (the one I carried in my hand from start). All ok so far. Happy not to have my HR monitor as it would probably have indicated already a high pulse… But feeling is fine. Seriously nothing happening until km10, where I finally catch up with a gal with bright yellow compression socks and top and black skirt. Had her far away in sight from km2, but planned to just keep her in sight as long as possible, but now she was here. Hanging along with her after the 10K-water station but noticed I drifted seriously on the pace during the following km by adapting to hers (4:19), so accelerating slightly, trying to catch up with the previous guys. Completing km15 in 4:08 🙂 So much for NOT compensating for lost time as suggested Pfitzinger… (& no, I don’t do all what he writes and suggest!… But like the style and approach).
From km10, have calculated quickly (the brain is still alert) how many km are left until we turn back. If recalling right, I met the elites men on their way back when reaching km13 and was expecting the elites women 5-10minuted after, but felt it took longer time. Large group of elites runners still. 2dextrosol at km15 with little water. Seeing our Swedish women runners and cheer for them (thinking afterwards they might not like it at all if it disturb their focus…). Anyway, reaching km16 or so and it is time to turn. Wow, so nice because since a while, we were running on the route from last year (i.e. from approx. where we turned then for halfway), but never could guess where we were really as it was the second half by then (i.e. reduced brain activity when reaching this point!!!). But reaching this km16 and a 180-turn, which was approx.9.5km last year, I am “home” now. Accelerating deliberately to get the guys group from the start and hope they keep a 4:10/4:11 pace much longer.
Km17 is tricky as I have to take a gel from my singlet pocket (singlet which I have lifted up into my sport bra to have bare stomach and same in the back). No easy task, real boring solution, loosing time and focus. Have to put the singlet back as well 😦 Gel taken @km17.5 with the intermediate station. (Yes, this thing about intermediate water station: water-station every 5km from km5 to km40 and THEN intermediate station half-way… Could not they say: “water-station every 2.5km” instead? And yes I know there are other stuff like sponges, Gatorade… distributed, but still… Too much for the mind really!). Following the guys group since km16 or so and now it is windy!!! Cannot see any flag like at home to indicate where the wind come from so I can take cover. It cannot be that I am THAT fast and producing a resistance force to the air which can then be taken as wind, right? (No need to explain here, my physics lessons are a bit far away and definitely not a priority at this particular moment). What I noted is that being behind kind of the guys is NOT helping… until I see flags and understand it is side-wind we have… I think… Still cruising (cool, right? 4:10 and cruising!!!). Effortless? Nope, I do feel I am running slightly faster than planned or should, but so what. The two guys from South Africa in the group indicate they won’t hold this pace much longer and will probably follow me rather than the contrary. Hmmm… Here disappears my hope for personal pacers from km21 to 32. Seeing km21 sign and deciding for trying to get another help a bit ahead of me.

Passing half-way in 1:28:30, which happily gives me potentially 1min30 extra to drift during the second half and still make it under 3 hours.

Second half

After this extra push, I complete the next two km at 4:08 (!) and then 4:09!!! This marathon is great because the km-signs are ca.30-70m after the Garmin beeps. So quite ok. From km20 to 32, taking 1dextrosol every km except when taking gel+1km. Worked fine last year’s race and the following marathons, so let’s keep it up then… Km22 makes me happy, because it is only 20km to go, 2*10, less than half, and soon the mind will be calculating the distance to km35 (Mats knows why…).
Km25 makes me really p**sed, because I try to shout I want an open bottle and get a locked one impossible to open, missing almost the sponge and drinking too fast starting then to cough. (And I am really sorry now that I swore at the kids giving the bottles, but at this time, sorry was not in sight….). Km35 is only 10km away… Finally getting a water bottle a bit before km27 and once again, a real pain to get my gel out of my singlet-pocket-which-is-lifted-up-under-my-sport-bra. Nope, this is definitely not a solution. But now I am finished with all gels but the last one in my shorts pocket. Have been carrying carefully the Dextrosol in my bra (having a sock for it to avoid burn marks). Not optimal either… Lots of work still to do!
Seeing Burj Al Arab (still a bit away), and new strengths are felt (ok, can maybe not be seen in the pace, but the mind was happy, because it meant being closer to the last 12km, or just 2km before the last 10k, or 3km until I could see Mats (yep, at this time, I was really expecting it to happen…). Drifting away started during this “no man’s land”. Could not estimate how much drifting was ok, the brain was almost off and when it was on again, it was stupidly (or wisely?) doing a body check and saying softly that it was high time to call it for the day….
Km30 was tough. No one in sight to pull me or even run beside/behind/in front of me. The loneliness of the long-distance runner?… TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!! Fortunately meeting then more people and finishers from the other races (10k & 3K). And my hope was still to get to see someone at km35…
Passing Medinat Jumeira and continuing on the loooooooooong way to km36 (here there should be more “o” in “long”, because it was really THAT long). Meeting elite men on the other side (they are like few km to the finish line), makes me smile. Better looking at them and the way they make this finish look so d*mn easy (sorry I swear…). “Drifting” is now an understatement. “Drifting” takes a WHOLE new level and sense. I explain why: you find yourself on a long long street for which you cannot see the end (I am sure that if you continue to the end you are falling from the Earth… if the Earth was flat), sun heating your head, no shadow, a *#!$ side wind or wherever it is coming from which is annoying you, three runners ahead but probably respectively 70, 100 and 150m in front of you (in other words: you CANNOT reach them…) and the pavement is seriously getting on your nerve… Not even this description is detailing the feeling of loneliness and the wish to quit that reach your mind and play with your thoughts. Seeing the elite women on the other side brings only little joy to my pain. Yes I said it. Pain has reached the building!!! The blister on the back of the left foot is there to stay since the start (and this was good to let it be ignored!). Have been however throwing water in my legs at almost every water-station, incl. intermediate ones. On the top of that, took 3 or 4 times sponges… So by now I am soaking wet (well, my socks are, my shorts are (yeah, I am not to good at aiming the thighs and generally get most of the water on the shorts. Water which thereafter runs down the legs OR apparently remains in the shorts and makes me a few kg more heavy!!).
Back to the pain… My mind is now laughing when/if looking at the lap pace. Still keeping a 4:12 pace for long time though. Have passed by now three elite women who have dropped the race and I think that I saw one female runner far ahead who was not “elite” but fast was her second name, for sure! All good for me as it meant a few free places on the ranking (any thought is good by then for keeping the spirit up). Meeting an elite woman around km33 and I make it my personal mission to not only pass her but keep her behind me until the end. The first one is done without any problem, even though I have now km-pace of 4:20 or so. She seems to have no more strength left (ok. I take this back because she has reached so far and STILL is running to the end. I say “respect” instead). Ok, pain? Drifting? Loosing it? Yaaah, all at once. The countdown from km32 (aka “last 10km as any 10K-race”) is not really smashing clear in my head. Should I be able to make this last 10k in sub40?!? Not a chance with this weather!
Reaching km35 and disappointed not to see Mats and his accompanying thoughts… Matters not, says the mind. He must be at the next km-sign. Nope! None there neither (the mind plays tricks and this one worked up to km39… where I stopped looking for Mats…). Turning-point at the end of this motorway-like street. Km36 is reached. I am not a quitter, so I won’t quit. (On the top of that, this would mean walking back to the start for 6.2km… No way! Call me lazy if you wish!!!). Taking my last gel @km35, cola-taste. I like normally, but today not. Smart mind is telling me the body needs it so let it be then! 6km is nothing. Back and forth to the main tram stop or the arena at home, what I ran yesterday before breakfast, N.O.T.H.I.N.G. From this turn of km36 happens something however (and not a wall). Passing I think 5-7 people until the end. But even better, I have a man running beside me the WHOLE way. Unsure if he should be “that” slow (read: “me-slow“) or if he is actually staying with me on purpose. In either case, he is my saviour. Not a word, just running (& not “around” this time!). Sooo many times until km39 it feels like it should be so much better to stop in the side, take care of my feet, rest for juuuust a little while… But once again, NOT A CHANCE! Seeing km39, checking the watch, quick calculation (& by now doing maths is not on the priority task-list of the brain, if I may add!). If I run @5:00/km, I should be exactly on the 3:00-mark. The watch indicating I am now drifting @4:14, it should be ok. JUST not make the clock change to 3:00:00 when I still can see it. I started pretty much at gun time, but have seen the car prior to the men elites the first time we met and I noted 2-3 seconds difference from my watch.
Km39 is now passed. Left is the distance I usually take as warmup for intervals. 3km. Nothing. Fuel is gaining the brain again. Because btw the legs ARE fine. Ok, there has been 3-4 small cramp-alerts throughout the race but nothing needing to stop. So let the mind keep up for once. Km40 is there, sooner than expected. Getting encouragements from marathon runners in the other side of the road (on their way to the dreadful km36-turn… but I say nothing…keeping smiling). Now it is less than 2km to go. 9 minutes at most (you never know how long are the 195m after km42-sign…). And I see km41… Already? Soon I turn and it should be 500m left. Time for a final sprint (yes, I call this final km a sprint because it ended in 4:09…!!! Where was this pace on the way to km35-36? Huh?!?). Unsure I smile, cannot see the clock with the sun in the face (smart place to put the finish line…)… Noooo it turns 2:59:xx right when I can still see it.. WHAT? 2:59?!? Yiiiiipie! This is less than 3:00, right? I JUST MADE THE SUB3-CLUB!!!

Takes a few steps to notice I did not stop my watch (therefore I continue for a while to be a very happy runner with a 2:59:xx-time…).

Official time received later on: 2:58:59.

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Smiling after race, massage and medal engraving


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HAPPY (even with THIS time!!!


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THE medal 🙂

*******
After the finish line

Started to howl when seeing my watch (& I don’t care if I look disturbed, really!). Making my way to the massage tent, getting my medal, goodie bag and getting my number for the massage, I start waiting and chatting with the guys under the massage tent. It goes in French, English and Swedish. I stop at Arabic with a smile as I cannot this one. And yes, no woman in sight (but no runner gentleman enough to let me their massage place! 🙂 ). My shorts and socks are wet like I would have showered with them on… Have to work on my refreshing technique as well. Water-throwing and sponges ain’t working well… And Gosh! It is just SO GOOD to have a massage afterwards. Laying down on the massage table.
Takes 2 minutes before the right hamstring cramp like h*ll and when it goes away the left hamstring and calf take the following… Yeay.. 😦 Anyway, nice talk, will meet probably one of the guys in Paris for the Semi.
Putting back my dirty-sweaty-soaking-wet socks in my no-longer-comfortable shoes and aim to the marathon village.

Queue for medal engraving and once more howling when seeing my official time: 2:58:59!!! On the right side of the 2:58! Receiving lots of congrats, must have looked pretty excited then! Picking up my bag, photos and read sms from coach and mum confirming my time. Texting quickly to friends and then walking home. Feeling actually ok (not like I would start it all over again right now, but good it felt). Have drank my Gatorade, bottle of water and eaten my banana. A bit short of food for me I think…

Cold bath in the bathtub (although not freezing cold, it would do the trick), then hot/cold shower and 45minutes with legs up and rest and drinking. Then sms from my friend who is stuck working in Istanbul, so aimed to the mall for eating.

2:00pm – Restaurant finally. Large beef ribs with French fries + water. Served by Sudesh. Eating bread with olive oil&vinegar and sausages while waiting for the food (starving by now!). A bit too much with a whole ribs (although all went down…), but had to add an extra baked potato (& still could have eaten one more…). A bit stiff in the legs while standing up, so walked to do a bit food shopping (mainly fruits) and back home. (Ok, probably walked too much already after the race? Check!) Quick change to bathing suit, fully sun creamed and rooftop for sunbathing under the last sun rays reaching the pool area.

Not much celebration as alone, and definitely tired and not hungry in the evening. Chilling out rest of evening, eating Arabic bread, Arabic pastry (he he he!), drinking peach ice tea and looking at my so well-deserved medal…

******
Weather: +15°C at start is my guess, 23°C at arrival (real feel ? 25?). Humidity 78+ at start and 60-65 at end. Sun shining from km5 onwards. Side wind from km16 all the way to the end…a bit humid but still ok for running. Unsure the wind impacted much between km30-36, but definitely before and after

Food:
> before: oat porridge with banana, cranberries and gojjiberries topped with oat milk

> right after: gatorade, water, banana

> 3 (!) hours after: beef ribs with French fries (liiitle), coleslaw and one baked potato. Water.

> During: vitargo gel @km9, 17.5, 27.5?, 35/35.5? Dextrosol: 2 tablets @km5&11&1@km15&20. 1 tablet every km (between km21 & 32) except the km with gel+one after. Unsure how but think I had some until 36/37?

Gear: Moremiles short shorts, SOC purple singlet, sunglasses – shoes were pretty great as usual. But it is time for replacement really… ;(

Outfit perfect for the weather and race. Only drawback is still the storage of the gels. Should change brand to have smaller ones maybe. No burn mark on chest, but a little one in the back (!) where the zip from the singlet pocket was against the skin… No solution is perfect…

17/ would like to set a 17.5 for effort level. First half was moderate/high effort like 16, although manageable. Second half was mainly high on effort for the brain not wanting to shut up (well, if it would have been for encouraging that would have been fine…but it sounded like a loooong complain instead. Body checks indicated that physically it was fine).

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

SUMMARY: What a way to start the racing year but with a new PB and yearly objective already reached (told you, history DOES repeat itself… 3rd time’s a charm!). Preparations since Berlin had gone well especially thanks to the clement weather at home allowing outside workouts until the snow and cold reached the city 2 weeks before the race… Tapering period was not easy with REAL rest days and a day of stomach sickness less than a week before the race. Carb loading went ok, but not more.

Overall feeling far from Berlin 2013, which I think is more likely related to the weather conditions than the faster pace itself. Moreover the ambience on the marathon route is pretty differing between those two races! No walking during the race, which makes me super proud and mindset on the top for a lot of the race (the dips were there but short… Just to make the mind wonder if it could really make it. Sooooo 75-80% on the top, as actually the dips were pretty disappearing as soon as I was checking the avg pace, which made me smile every single time (& made me push for it until the end…). Good response overall from the body, no hamstring pain, no Achilles heel shouting and no burn mark…. Sitting for lunch was a bit uncomfortable for the left hamstring, but could not have my feet up on the table then… After not too comfortable night, body is fine the day after (read: won’t try jumping, skying, dancing but the walking is fine!).

Stable and fast pace for the first half and drifting afterwards. In a race with more people, I would guess (!) this would have been less of a problem as could have hang along with others. Not here. Should have my personal pacer next time! Anyone???? Second half almost exactly 2 minutes slower than first one, which makes me thankful to have listened to myself (!) and had a good pace at first to potentially allow such drifting.

IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE SUB3!!! Feeling like howling again…but I won’t 🙂

(And like other races, a lot of support and encouragements have been received throughout the preparation of Dubai 2014. As usual post & per-race kind words are highly appreciated. Work, personal life and training are not often easy to arrange and combine and having feedback from time to time is just what is needed to continue pushing the boundaries (or even just remaining close to the ones already reached and not dropping back). So THANKS!

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After-race: starter...


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...and after-race meal (without the baked potato here....)


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Hmmmm....dessert!


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What I should take instead!


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...or this


Dubai 2014… M Day: 2:58:59!!!

Wow, it actually worked out! Still cannot believe it… SUB3, my friends!!!

Marathon goal for 2014 achieved? CHECK!!!

Resting a bit before getting food in a little while, but more to come 🙂

Thanks for all support and encouragements and advices and all! And for believing I could do it as well 🙂 OMG! Feel SO great*!!!

* ok, the feet are tired, have a blister on left heel, left hamstring ok but a bit aching… As I said, feeling great!


Dubai 2014 M Day-less than 24 hours away!

Wow, now it came pretty fast to the last half day to the start.

Awaken around 6:30-ish, that felt great with almost 11 hours sleep. Received a blink from home, which made great the start of this day. Feels a bit cloudy though and I needed to double-check today’s date (just in case I slept over to Friday morning…). Got ready sloooowly for a morning easy jog. Got to the start and was disappointed not to see the START and FINISH signs. Most important is that they are in place tomorrow! Ran a bit on Jumeira Beach Road and could feel the pollution on my skin. 😦 so many cars already – pretty different from my run last year in the quietness of the morning. Could feel that the humidity would be painful tomorrow, having my sun cream already dropping on my face. No heavy sweating, but at this pace it felt still strange to even sweat!

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Sun shining already high...

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Car queue...on the marathon arrival road

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View on the start of the race route

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Just so you know... For tomorrow

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Apparently winter is here... Where?

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Marathon route will be empty of cars tomorrow! The road to the people!!!


Turned back after a couple of km and saw elites runners on the other side of the road, jogging on the pavement. Back&forth on 200m (and it WAS really slow, like “me-slow” (not even “me-easy-pace”!). And closer to Medinat Jumeira, a whole group of elite runners were also jogging. Ok, feeling at least I do THIS thing like them. Just have to hang along tomorrow with them, right?
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Not much more done after that apart from breakfast (same as yesterday evening, oat porridge with banana, cranberries and gojjiberries and oat milk), resting, reading and double checking my gear (ok, must be the fifth time I do that, but still…). Decided for lunch in the Mall (rice with chicken) around 1:30pm (slightly later than planned)

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Skipped the cabbage, not sure good for the tummy, otherwise good


and more grocery shopping (like juice, Gatorade, honey, tea…) and it was only the whole afternoon left… Last banana eaten around 3-ish. The 30-minutes sunbath from this morning on the hotel roof was by then long gone. So an extra 15-minutes did the trick while housekeeping was cleaning my room. Pity anyway to stay indoor when the sun is just shining outside 😦

Probably one more check for the gear, and bedtime (if any sleep possible). The plan for tomorrow is pretty simple (always keep it simple!): wake up, food, drink, easy to the start, look at the elites and start eating their dust. Hopefully will be crossing the finish line before lunchtime 🙂

Live steaming this year as well (the link is in the marathon site – start 3:00am CET/race 4:00am CET). Unsure if I would bet for a WR as it is pretty humid and quite warm, but who knows. Fast they will be in either case! And that’s enough for today…

Dubai…SO not many (read:”enough”) hours to the race start when I am publishing this post…


Dubai 2014 M Day-1

Early start (story of my life?…) with a landing at 6:45am. Lots of walking to get to the passport control with no queue there, but 30+ minutes wait for the luggage. Used to the city now I took the metro to the Mall of Emirates where my hotel was close by. Never been in this mall so lost my way several times and was close to tears until I found my way out. More work to find the hotel and to hear my room would be ready earliest at noon 😦 Cleared myself a bit in the ladies room and left to pick up min bib (#1078) after an hour of rest reading/surfing in the lobby. Bad calculation to keep jeans, long sleeves and jacket on. If the weather is similar on Friday, it will be dangerously hot. Saw the preparations for the arrival and got to the Madinat Jumeira. Once again, pretty empty. Got my bib, my tshirt and bag and just aimed back home. No fair is a bit boring I think for an event qualified of this level. No need for London or NY fair, but a little one could be fun. 3km from hotel to start – perfect warm-up!

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As I had to wait for my room, I walked a bit in the mall and bought some food. Will definitely return to Carrefour after the race!

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A lot of fun to look at Ski Dubai, a ski place inside the mall…
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Got my room finally and was not disappointed 🙂 20140122-185602.jpg

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After eating my portion of pasta with tomato sauce, buying band aid for my newly-arrived blisters 😦 and arrived back to my room, visited the top floor with view and pool 😀 Slept there approx.3*30minutes and then back to the room. 20140122-185616.jpg

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As my stomach feels a bit odd still, decided to skip pasta or else and go for oat-porridge done in the oven. Extra banana, berries and nuts20140122-185637.jpg

Ok, pretty tired now and typing all this with one finger on a mobile is not the funniest… Thought today when starting to fall asleep under the sun… What do elite runners do at M Day-2&1? I think I have reflected about this prior to another race ( probably Dubai last year actually…). But I bet they are not sun bathing (daaaa!) not walking around in a mall. Pretty sure someone is picking up their bib as well…

Time for some rest now . Not too late, but as good to rest now… Two alternative outfit for the race already wait on the table. For tomorrow, will take the one I won’t race in 😉

Dubai – not much more over a day to go now…


And place and sleep She should have…

Started already in Munich actually…they have thought of everything… They do have “nap pods”, where for a fee you can get an isolated cabin to sleep in… What about that?!?!

Flight to Dubai got an early boarding and this was with great pleasure I sat on my seat (which I had changed) and got… a WHOLE row for myself…

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Four seats is ideal to be able to sleep and lay down at the same time… Tried to remain awaken so to catch their late dinner while watching a movie of very high quality (“Elysium”…) and yes I am bring sarcastic here. Food was simple: pasta with tomatoe sauce. Even take a bit of salad and ensure to continue the drinking.

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Looks like worms, but tasted ok...

Then slept the rest of the trip on my four seats…luxury in economy class 🙂 Arrived in Dubai and got this wifi therefore a quick update…


Carbloading, run, work and travel…

(noticing I am having trouble with my posts not being published lately…despite pushing the button… Corrected now…)

Ok, where were we? Yap, bedtime not too early, after going round round round at home, having 20 ongoing things to do and really not tired at all. Took probably 2 hours after midnight before I feel asleep. But this morning it was ok. A bit of rewinding here…

Yesterday evening, I printed all the necessary papers for the trip and the rave and of course checked the website of the marathon. They announced the participation of a nice group of fast female runners a few days ago (sub2:25) and it sounded quite cool…until I read yesterday the elite women field… 25 super flying ladies will be on the starting line on Friday. Don’t know of they ever had so many fast women at once (and here we are talking sub2:30-fast…) And one is a Swede making her marathon debut… So goodbye my dream of keeping my 2nd place in the Swedish women there 😥  Change of plans then… Let’s keep a nice “finish the race”-objective and everything under training time is fine 🙂

So, wake up time was completely not in sync as the other previous days  (i.e. opening the eyes at a time of potential arrival at the finish line). Today it was 06:00am, when waking up (and nope, there is no plan for crushing the world record on Friday!!! At least not for me 🙂 Weather check before aiming to the door for a final run at home. -6°C, real feel -11°C…sure, that had been said before… 2 layers on however…which were not extra stuff to wear. It took 3-4 km to be able to feel my fingertips again… Rest of the body was fine. Took a round tour and finish by the French basket to order dough for my French cake I promised at work. Then back home. Extremely careful run as it was still a but slippery and slush all over. But got the body and mind in a better mood.
Well-arrived at home, time for work. Finalizing all ongoing stuff so that you won’t have to think of it for a while is actually an art in itself. Leaving to Dubai without laptop feels like travelling naked almost… Good smartphones were invented then!
By lunch time the only food accepted by the tummy was a banana and a glass of apple juice. Still ok, loading with carbs, correct? Keeping it to liquid carbs when possible to ensure hydration (unsure I know what I an taking about, but it sounds like making sense…).
By noon all was set, emailed, packaged and got even time for extra check on my backpack with all the necessary stuff and my suitcase certainly filled with 79% of unnecessary stuff… Final check around and off I went. Short stop at the sushi place got buying my lunch to-go and then pharmacy for medicine against bad stomach. Never used it and not intending to, but JIC… (btw. great that I read the notice as well as this medicine has lactose in it, can give dizziness, tiredness and rash on the skin… Brilliant! Will definitely not use it!!!). Got the tram and bus to the airport, check-in, luggage drop, sushi lunch and queue to get to the gate. Of course pretty early, but the mind cannot focus at all right now so better occupy it somehow. As usual, buying a RW, filling my water bottle and stupidly trying a new hand cream giving me red rash and burning feeling… All better when spraying myself with a little Kenzo 😉
Now wait wait wait until the first flight leaves… As it felt a bit ok to be hungry, decided to eat a banana and buy one of those rice porridge with jam (I choose the non-lactose one) and had a focaccia toast with turkey, tomatoes, mayo and cheese. Had most of the cheese removed though. Warmed a bit and eaten slowly. Perfect timing to get on the first plane to Munich.

From now on I start to be really asocial and annoyed with everyone sneezing, coughing, blowing their nose…you name it! Just do not want to be sick right now! Ate my rice porridge on the plane, with tea and orange juice. A bit of reading, sleeping and dreaming (of the race of course and plenty other things…which are nice usually but bothering when trying to visualize a race…).

Anyhow, just arrived in Munich and have to hurry to next plane…not. This airport is really nice and it us boring I cannot eat really. Lots if nice restaurants 🙂 Next plane soon, I will sleep then. And will arrive tomorrow morning in Dubai. Yippie!

Probably not updating here for a little while though. Will post and antedate instead. Someone is actually trying to focus here.. 🙂

Dubai… 2 days and a few hours to go (actually should have started to count the hours to the race since a while…)


Recap 2013…

Short summary on how 2013 went…

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

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

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


Recovery day 3…

Ok, tried to rest but by 2:30am I had been listening to music, walking around singing in my head, otherwise could not sleep correctly. A bit mad at seeing the first flight to Istanbul leaving at 3:35am and not being in it! No reading as it should be sleepy-time…

Woke up at 3-ish, uncomfortable and bad rested. Noticing no one is left almost, I take the 3 seats on the outside of a row and lay down as I should have done from the start. Freezing cold here, air conditioner blowing cold exactly on the waiting seats… Smart!

By 5:40am, check-in is done and aiming to the gate. Stop at Costa Coffee for a warm chocolate and a turkey/omelette hot roll. As good to get some energy now as unsure what food will be served in the plane. 2hrs left to the take-off. Really want to leave now. Despite the terrible cold at home, can’t wait to be there. Hopefully can rest in either flight so to be fresh and rested tomorrow at work!

About Costa Coffee: discovered them in Budapest while travelling there for work. Their ice tea is great. Highly recommended!

The body and mind continue to amaze me. The former one goes on with its recovery. Have walked at steady pace under the sun for over 7km yesterday and today it does not feel that a marathon was run recently not a long walk done… Still taking it easy not to trouble the necessary rest after the race. The latter one, i.e. the mind, is a strong thing… Not yet fully understanding/registering what was completed on Friday, it does start to think about what tactic to use for Boston in April, knowing that the Semi de Paris stands a month from now… It takes some strengths for not letting go yo such thoughts and jumping hastily in my running shoes (btw my ASICS GT-2160 “Pink” have now officially a hole in both of them. So must buy new ones shortly!)

Flight no 1 going fine. Ate partially the served breakfast, watched the end of “Thor” and “X-Men first class” (love the Thunder God in the first movie and the music and actors for Magneto & Charles in the second). Then set a playlist of music and slept, lucky me having three seats to lay down! So fine fine for this flight.

Break at Istanbul, ice-cream break as well and reading. Second flight looked trouble-free and it was. Slept for a good while.

Home at last: dirty snow on the side of the road, wet for the rest and a temperature of +3. Ok, back to reality!


Recovery day 2…

Day 2 after Dubai marathon. Starting to sink in, but not quite. Woke up early this morning – again. Started a bit if packing before breakfast. No pic of the breakfast as quite similar to yesterday. As I plan a whole morning at the beach, it is as good to eat right and skip the struggle of finding something decent (i.e. not fried or burger-like). Almost everything is inside the suitcase and I got a later check-out at 2:00pm (would have wished one hour more but give and take!)

Massively creaming myself again before taking a cab to the beach. Don’t mention being lazy here: my day will be filled with walking later on so can spare my feet for now! The burning sores look better, but still… 3.5hrs of sun to regenerate the batteries, highly recommended! Not even reading much, just enjoying and resting. Lunch was simple: 2 wholeweat half baguettes with small chicken sausages, 2 bananas, 1 apple and 2 oranges. On the top of drinking water. Eating was done in small portions throughout the beach visit as wanted to ensure my stomach would keep it all.

The body feels much better, almost back to “normal”. Writing almost because I can feel if I do a wrong movement or so that it can be painful. Ya, I know, I can be careful and NOT doing wrong movement, this would ease for me, right?!? Back of left thigh is close to fine, although I do no running. But during the walking or light light jogging, it feels fine. Blister on left foot looks well…like a blister! On its way to be better (with the correct shoes not rubbing on it!).

14:30 – check-out completed and left all bags at the hotel. Walked at good pace to Dubai Mall: 2.5km (to the marathon start sign)- shorter than the way I found on Wednesday. But quite glad I took a taxi in the morning of the marathon and skipped walking int the construction areas.

At the Dubai fountain, see below the interesting sign: which one to follow? 8 or 5km speed???

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Picked up my ticket to “At the Top”. Was suggested (ok, highly recommended!) by my friend so booked this in advance. If you do so, the ticket is less than half the price than if bought at the desk same day and you are guaranteed a spot in the elevator! Walked a bit in the mall, got 2 pains au chocolat and 0.5l carrots/orange juice and now enjoy the sun before going to the top.

Sunset from Burj Khalifa’s 124th floor: factors out of max 10:
– impressive factor: 9 (pretty high!),
– romantic factor: 1 (sat alone watching the sun sloooooowly going down, so no sharing = no romantic factor!),
– worth to go up factor: 7.5 out of 10 (a bit like going up the Eiffel Tower 2nd floor in more impressive. But some other place are more worth to do. Once fond is fine)
Btw for romantic factor to the max, aim for the beach close to Burj Al Arab at sunset. You won’t regret it. Will post photos taken last year so you can judge by yourself!

“At the Top”: check! Lost in Dubai Mall: check! Watch fountain show twice: check! Watch “water, fire” show outdoor: check! My feet do wish to rest so got my bags at the hotel and took the metro to the airport. Ya, pretty early but nothing to be done and tired. So now will get my nap waiting for the check in…


Recovery day 1…

In bed at 2am, up at 7:30 am, off bed 7:41am… Slept tight though! Not much to do so went for breakfast… a REAL one!
Thought my hip had been hurting all along since yesterday but the more the day went the more it felt back as earlier: back side of left thigh just under the bum. No picture as nothing to see really! 🙂

Woke up with this today...

Woke up with this today…

Correct breakfast. right?

Decent breakfast. right?

As soon as up from the bed, did mail the Boston marathon about my new time (had received en email the day before Dubai marathon, that if wished to seed with a better time, the deadline was soon… Great as I already updated this seeding time after Berlin and now after Dubai (and no, there won’t be another update before the deadline!)

Chilling in front of my laptop after breakfast and then aiming to the supermarket before beach time. Not much happening there neither. “Creaming” up the body, carefully, especially on the burnt zone (which I cover to avoid direct sun), turning every hour… Read only little, ate 2 half baguettes with chocolate with hazelnuts (not to smart when sunny and warm to have chocolate in the bag…), drank also iced tea and water. Between two turns, did try myself to the sea… Brrr, so cold (really!). But once in the water, took some length and trained the legs. So nice not to feel the ground and being so light!Soooo rested when the afternoon finished. Quick shower at the beach and then feeling the legs, feet and thighs were fine, decide to walk back home. Easy pace but quite tactful. Barefoot after 1 km as my blister behind left foot was no longer protected and the shoe made it painful. Once again my estimations were erroneous and had to walk more than planned. Body fine anyway.

Carefully cleaned my sores, and now resting. Was a but hungry but not wanting to go to the mall so checked the restaurant but a but early so was empty. Ate my cereals instead for dinner. Now feeling pretty tired surely due to the sun. So bedtime it is really soon(7:40pm!).
Tomorrow have to leave my room at noon so have to fix some stuff before the beach and visit to Burk Khalifa (end afternoon). Probably will spend my evening in the Mall (they close at 1:00am if recalling right!)

Summary first day of recovery: does feel that I ran yesterday. Would have been home, would have gone got a foot & body massage. To be booked right upon my arrival home! Feet ok, body ok apart from left thigh and blister left foot. Seriously, could be so much worst! Rest it is for a week at least… Training will resume after that, will see how the mind reacts. Feels empty after the race and being alone ain’t helping, therefore the beach! So still incredible what happened yesterday… Looked twice at my medal after getting up and yes, still engraved: 3:11:55

Highly appreciated all the support and nice words of both encouragements and congratulation. Cannot wait to come back home and show to the small ones, although for the rest of the world life has being going in as usual during my stay here… Work, school, cold… What I leave here on Monday is not easy to replace! Maybe I should just stay…

Bedtime now!


Race Report – Dubai Marathon 2013/01/25

Planned: Nothing really apart from completing and under 3:40 (due to last days and weeks of troubling body!)

Actual: official 3:11:55 (corrected from Garmin:3:11:58) – new PR by 10min 35sec from Berlin 4-months ago (Sep-2012)! More than very satisfied of the result especially due to 1) health pre-race and 2) body pain now and then spookying the whole training. No world record this year on the marathon, but a great performance for little me (!) Obviously could qualified as MORE-THAN-GREAT RACE, enjoyed the company of runners throughout the race and afterwards. Great ending at the beach and evening. (For once, the marathon race distance was pretty much the same as my Garmin and close to 42.2km!). Rest for a few day now!

Race Results:
place (M/W) 20
place (ag) 2
age/grade: 72.35% (Dubai:66.6/ London:66.47/SF:65.66/Berlin:68.29)
time total (netto) 03:11:55
time total (brutto) 03:11:58

Splits (from Garmin watch):

km per 5K sum
5 0:22:47 0:22:47
10 0:22:14 0:45:01
15 0:22:28 1:07:28
20 0:22:22 1:29:51
25 0:22:36 1:52:27
30 0:22:57 2:15:24
35 0:22:46 2:38:10
40 0:22:58 3:01:08
43 0:10:49 3:11:58

Official results: Splits

Split time diff min/km km/h
HALFWAY 01:35:15 01:35:15 04:31 13.29
netto 03:11:55 01:36:40 04:35 13.10

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2:55am – pre-alarm clock – snoozing it as really the brain does not understand under which circumstances I would want to go up so early.

3:00am – same as earlier. Why one earth go up now? And slowly the brain awaken and time to prepare my porridge. Boiling water, pouring it on the porridge and let it like that a few minutes. Worked perfectly. Add banana, tran berries and oat milk. Taking as well regular iron and anti-allergy pill. Drinking 2dl of water (on the top of 1dl with vitamin C). And back to sleep (or kind of).

Too early to be true...

Too early to be true…

Breakfast - yummie!

Breakfast – yummie!

3:30am – same ritual as usual, but 2dl water is going down (and bed again)

Really?

Really?

4:00 and 4:30am – similar procedure J Cannot really sleep after that so up to the shower (thanks, there is hot water! Last year had to shower at 4:00am with freezing cold water…). Fixing my hair, getting sun cream on the body after massaging the thighs. They both feel fine this morning (Yippie?). Gear on and it is 4:50am and I am reading… A bit left before the marathon. Looking at my blog and read two more encouragements. Great to have, can tell you! Not believing that it is soon time to go.

5:20am – reception calls for my taxi arrived…20minutes in advance! But staying on the bed still and focused. Reviewing briefly (incorrect here: “longely”!) the route of the marathon, double checking my gear, number, gels and all is set.

Ready to go, for sure!

Ready to go, for sure!

5:40am – in the lobby finding a nice block to take a photo of me – still smiling. Always good for checking the before and after state 😉 The taxi brings me to the Dubai Mall metro station in a foggy road. Aaaaaannnd it is 5:48am and I am soon at the start! Still a bit to go. Enjoying the ambience, kind of cozy still. Few more pictures from fellow runners. Queuing to the loo, noticing after a few minutes that I am surrounded by guys only… wrong queue! Surprisingly the female toilets have no queue (that’s a first!). All good, looks like I have drunk good enough and “it “looks well and correctly hydrated. Outside it is kind of freezing – says the one coming from Sweden where the temperature when she left was below 8! But being in singlet and shorts at 6am ain’t something usual (as least for me at home!). Anyhow, by 6:20am cannot wait any longer, drop my bag at the marathon baggage, jog and go for a final visit to the ladies bathroom. So nice and warm inside 😉

Aiming then to the start. There are lots of people already lining up for the 10K but only few for the marathon. Took the opportunity to do some little warmup, back and forth, no pressure, listening to Queen and “The show must go on” on my mp3. Because I decided to have my mp3 in my back pocket, just in case. Last year from km30 it felt quite empty and some music would/might have helped. Anyhow, the marathoners are starting to fill the place, chatting a bit but seriously I keep myself turned inwards. Checking my watch once more, satellites found, multiple heart devices as well J Soon announced less than 5 minutes to go. Can see the elites runners in front of me (standing right at the line) warming up. Cannot see our Swedish star, but she must be there somewhere. Then we (common mortals) finally mix with the elite runners, ready – steady aaaaaaand GO! Fast start especially due (I think) to the bunch of male runners in this race! They want too much too fast. My strategy – by the way – was 1) complete the marathon and 2) finish it within 3:40 or such as this correspond to our Manhattathon time in NY! Cannot be that hard to beat right? Have my virtual trainer set on 4:44/km which corresponds to 3:20:00 time. In my dreams, yes!

Freezing cold, but smiling and ready to rock!

Freezing cold, but smiling and ready to rock!

Inspiring... Which one should I go for today?

Inspiring… Which one should I go for today?

First half:

It is so extremely foggy, cannot recall I am in Dubai (apart from my running apparel, reminding that I am not home!). By km1 I decide to put on the music in my ears as the groups of runners are too disparate and cannot drag me well. Passing first km at 4:37 (pace for a 3:15 marathon) – the sign is exactly when my watch pips. Perfect, finally a marathon agreeing with my Garmin! Still too fast as planned to have my 1st km between 4:50 and 5:00. Decides quickly after having the music on that I go for it, keeping the pace as I feel good but keeping careful and listening to the body (which is magically working after those last few days of troubling stomach and weeks of troubling thighs and calf…). Continuing to check on the km-pace and when passing km4 @4:26, I think that there is something strange happening here. Had checked yesterday my race from Dubai 2012 and Berlin 2012 and I am far faster than both of them… But still smiling and enjoying. Meeting French guys from the Djibouti Foreign Army. Cool as I met some of their colleagues last year! A bit of French in the ears on the top of my music is helping! Km5 feeling outstanding and km6 is down to 4:22!!!Am I doing intervals, here? Did not my brain realize it is a 42.2km to do? Still foggy, skipping the water at km5 but taking a bottle at km7.5 to take my first gel at km9 (Staffan’s strategy from Berlin: gel at km 9 – 18 – 27 – 36 : which I am going to follow instead of starting my gel with same km-marks but having always skipped the one at km9/10). Passing the 10km sign in 45:01 according to my Garmin. Feeling good after taking first gel. The French guys are keeping in troup and steady pace. By km12/13, my watch is indicating a pace of 4:30, which sounds impossible. This is for 3:10-marathon!!! Not even in my dreams… OK maybe in my dreams I had seen it, but not 1) with today’s conditions and 2) my preparation for the past weeks (and yes, Staffan, you incidentally name it a few times, but hard to believe right?) . One French guy talks to me and he tells they are several aiming for a 3:15, which suits me very well so tell him to keep me by their side, kind of “no matter what” ;). So much for the asocial woman I feel I am being with my mp3 music in the ear. Seriously, hearing in my head constantly almost what I read in the race-day strategy of Pfitzinger: “First half is for cruising… do not use mental strength yet…” (kind of Obi-Wan voice in the head at this moment…suiting well the DJ Eclipse mix from Maj 2012!). Cruising at 4:30/km pace… ARE YOU NUTS?!?!?! Strategy was also to keep myself 1) well-hydrated and 2)well-fuled with carbs. So every 5km took 2 dextrosol with little water. Recognizing the km18 where Jumeira Beach Park is (where I sun bathed yesterday!) and it is sooooo foggy really that my sunglasses are not leaving the top of my skull. Music on, keeping pace with either the French guys or two ladies from the Dubai creek striders. Feeling good, not really understanding where the strength is coming from: 4:29/km pace when I arrive close to mid-race… Looking quickly on my home-made pace bracelet: Great at least I have some minutes in advance in case… well just “in case”. Can finish under 3:20 if something may happen by the end. The distance between km12 and 21 is pretty empty of people, no one really passing me which I not pass shortly after (and back & forth). Feeling good with personal pacer in front of me – they just do not know it! Km18+ taking my second gel with water. Working better this time as it is orange taste and not filled with “pieces” as the first lemon gel I took earlier. Finally see the elites men passing on the other side of the road – COOOOL, kind of short after followed by the women (including Isabella Andersson, looking strong but after the female pack though). Does not matter really, would gladly trade my current place with hers! A few more km to go, one more destrosol and… the km21-sign shows itself…

Passing half way in 1:35:15 (New PB!!!) And it is soon time to turn back on Jumeira Road. Enjoying so much the turn that I smile and sounds like a wolf in a full moon night.

Second half:

Now it is according to Pfitzinger’s words, the “no-man’s-land” of the marathon until km32. Recalling the advices: keep myself well-hydrated and well-fuelled in carbs. Recalling this, I note as well that I cannot see my French bodyguards any longer, nor my female pacers, so keeping up with the good feeling (yes, I can assure you that I was feeling good!). I get along with one and other runners with similar pace, b t a bit tricky to keep up as they are too long and have bigger strides than me…until I found MY ULTIMATE PACE-BODY! Unsure whether he liked it or not, but I remain by his side from km23 to 32! My aim was keeping up with him until km32 mark and see that after that either go for it – kind-of or continue to follow. Similar length and strides, he suited me well. Km27 taking my third gel (orange). Between km22 and 32, I took 1 or 2 dextrosol tablets + little water when available each km (apart from when taking the gel+1km after that). Feeling fine, not high, just fine. The body still is making itself reminded that 42.2 IS a long distance to cover! The sun makes its appearance around km28/30 and it starts to get pretty sweaty (well, might have been probably so before, but not with the warmth as it was foggy). Km32 is reached and I do not fear it like last year where my brain stopped working really! This time and with the help of my personal pacer, it went fine. So I could go through the “no-man’s-land” without dying or stopping, so just 10km to go!!!

I noticed by km25 that my pace was no longer under 4:30/km but above. But once again, I had some minutes over thanks to the first half. Kept an eye on my watch and noticed I had moved to 4:30/31 by this km-mark. Noooo worries, body feeling good and after all “all under 3:20 mara is just ALL BONUS” (kind of motto during Berlin marathon which was working fine here as well!).

From km32, it really is different. I could recall that when 30km were left I reminded myself what distance it was at home, then when 25 was left, then 20… But from “it-is-only-a-10K-left-to-go” though and making the brain understand what to do, it IS a challenge! Keeping up with the music (had to restart the “October 2012 – mix” as it last only for 1hour 30+ or so… it does keep up the pace. Each time we received sponges, I carefully wet my left thigh (especially the back), and from km32, just use the water bottle first half to drain my legs under cold water…. LOVELY!!! I ran into a French trooper again but he seemed in pain, so went along for a short while and then moved on. Saw in front of me the Dubai Creek Striders kind of 200-300m in front of me. Still fine, I guess! Some of the elite runners had dropped off the race by now. Feeling good that I am still in the run! Have definitely stopped looking at my bracelet as it is no longer accurate and I do not want my brain to work too hard (!) on calculation when I needed it for focusing on the road and keeping my eyes… well, yes: OPENED! Strangely those last 10km felt not too bad (under the circumstances), recalled the one from Dubai 2012 and Berlin 2012 and really put them in another place of my mind. I just felt good (well, not physically – pain was there, but really the mental was strong to continue).

Reaching km36 – I think, I walk for TEN-LONG-SECONDS. And it took some strength to start again, but it worked. This km is ran in 4min 35sec!!! including the 10seconds walk… Taking my last gel at this mark: Cola-taste: never had it before and indeed as suggested somewhere I cannot recall, having this new unknown taste in the mouth make my brain waking up! Water again when available and dextrosol (new taste as well from mid-second half) every km when no gel is taken. Gosh! What the last km are long. I recall last year hating (really!) the people from km36 onwards to km40 as they were cheering kindly but the pain did not take it in. This time, I might even have smiled actually at this part as well. Not many people anymore at this time. On my own until the end. Km38-mark: French guy in trouble, trying to help a bit, cheering, but it is too tough. Promising him a kiss at the finish line, but he seemed to have a really painful calf cramp. Cannot do more really so off I went. Km 39… ALREADY?!?!? Seeing km40 but not Burj Khalifa… Have they moved it while I was running I am thinking? (Yes, by this time the brain is not ALWAYS thinking clearly!!!). More people on the side, cheering and finally another French trooper. This one I take him along for the last push. I need some energy and yelling at him is actually helping me! We are side-by-side from km41 to the end. Promising once more a kiss on the finish line would he pass at the same time as me! Cannot really understand what I am saying by now. Just seeing the yellow sign and thinking like in London: “800m left to go” Yeeeeeee!…. BUT NO! It is only 400m to go! So reaching in the last strength I have and pushing my body to the maximum I can for the last km and those last long (no actually this time I found them short!) 400m. Brain calculating quickly how fast I can do a 400m in my intervals training…STOP IT! Focus on the race, you iiiidiiot brain! AND I look at the clock 3:11:XX, could not make the 3:10, I think and WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, REALLY?!?!?! Got my kiss from the French guy, so nice and sweaty (blääääärk! But do I really care by now?!?!?). Just want to jump and cry and shout (the first one I really cannot as my legs may still have strength to carry me along, they cannot do the jumping part!). Stopping my watch: 3:11… For just a second, I cannot believe it…

After the Finish Line:

Walking to get my goodie bag, my banana and direction to the massage area, with a great welcome from the French troopers J One recognize me from last year (what an impression I must have made…. Oh ya, I remember: last thing he saw of me was when I fainted in front of them and was carried to the doc tent!). We have a nice French chat, and it felt sooooooo great. Now I can actually calculate a bit: 10minutes and 35sec improvement from Berlin in September… What about the “take it slow and make small steps improvements”-plan? Who cares? Right now I am happy, I am in pain, I speak French and suddenly Swedish is talked to me. Runner-body from jog has recognize me (how?) and congratulated me: I knew one was registered but unsure how to recognize him! Massage felt good (had drunk my water bottle, my energy drink and eaten a small crisp bag and my banana while waiting). Walking barefoot to the marathon baggage tent. Getting a Swede (among all other guys here running, have to pick up one from a group of Swedes!) to take my finish photo (still smiling!) a bit of Swedish chat with him and his mates and aiming to the marathon village for medal engraving. While waiting, texting to 1) my best supporter for the last week (you know who you are…), 2) my coach (thanks for the support!) and 3) my Greek mate living now in Dubai. Wait for the medal is killing me. I want to shower, to eat, to cry, to do something, whatever but waiting! Finally I get it, as well as my official time: 3:11:55! Yippie! Made it through. Got a first text informing I have improved my placement by 2 compared to last year: 20th of female runners (2ns in my category – first one is under 3hours…).

Still smiling!

Still smiling! What else?

On the clock!

On the clock!

Weather: chilly in the morning, foggy until km28 or so and sunny afterwards. Windy (slightly) at some places though

Food:
> carbo-loading on natural food – not working due to stomach not keeping it. Day before race last meal: chicken + rice. Morning before race eating oat porridge/oat milk/banana/cranberries @3am
> during the race: 1 vitargo @km 9, 18.5, 27, 36. Dextrosol tablets: 1 every km (almost) from km22 (except when gel taken)
> just after race: all that was given in the bag!
> later on: 3 hours after arrival: burger/fries+ Coca cola / tea and dinner later in the day (+ lukum in the afternoon) :)

Gear: ASICS Vesta shorts/UNICEF singlet – super-flying-lightSkyspeed perfect shoes for this race (once again they DELIVERED!)

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Then everything became a big blur: showering in the ladies bathroom, noticing that once again I burned my breast when carrying my gels in my bra… have to find another technique really! Getting dressed, walking around the village and then aiming back to the hotel for changing. Walking a while to find the metro station, for finally hear that they would not open until 1:00pm (it is Friday). So cross the motorway and start walking to my hotel, after 400m take a cab as I really cannot endure it any longer. Hotel, unpack, pack again for afternoon at the beach, taxi to Barasti beach. Then enjoying good company and eating a great burger. Rest of the afternoon under the sun, then back home to my friend before we left again to take a tea (they smoked sisha – not me!) and then time for dinner. Restaurant might be 20minutes walk from the apartment, but cannot really feel my left hip is with me tonight, so we take the car there. Well arrived at the Mall, I almost fell on my left foot, leaving a pretty bad feeling in the left hip, which will remain all evening. Eating at an Italian restaurant, meeting with a former colleague who also moved last year to Dubai with his wife. Really great evening. Then time to go back home and ultimately sleep (not before mailing a last one about the day experience…)

NOTE: Kept myself well-hydrated throughout the day after the race. Not only with the just-after-finish-line drinks but also, water, 2 cokes at the beach, marrocan teas, and more water 🙂 Food to replenish the empty batteries as well 🙂

ALL-in-ALL my friend: This day was GREAT. Not one but two PB, a thigh feeling good (i.e. “normal”), a burnt chest and a hip in pain. For the small price of 3 HOURS 11 MINUTES and 55 SECONDS!!!

Well-deserved medal

Well-deserved medal

Well-deserved lunch

Well-deserved lunch

Well deserved dinner (not showing the chocolate fondant for dessert...)

Well deserved dinner (not showing the chocolate fondant for dessert…)


Dubai – M Day: 3:11:55!!!!

Ok, already received comments without publishing this post!

3:11:55!!! Incredible but true. Still hard to realise (apart from burn on the chest and pain in the hip making it soooo very real!)

Very tired now so writing more later during the day!

Thanks a lot for all comments of encouragement and congrats!


Dubai – M-Day less than 24 hrs

Good to great night’s sleep! Eyes closed quite early, for a normal day would be but even more strange for days before a run! Slept like a stone until 10:50pm (kids playing in the corridor woke me up). Did some mail reading and little chat and fell asleep like stone again until the clock rang at 6:30am. Up to fix my hair (so dry in one day in Dubai!), on with my running gear (hesitated between singlet and t-shirt and took the wrong alternative> the tshirt!). Ran from my hotel direction Jumeira Road, hoping to see a bit of the race route.

Got a beautiful sunrise in the buildings on the other side of the motorway. After a lot of turning around, finally got to Jumeira Road. Quiet surprinsingly, with signs of the future event of tomorrow (Route closed). Sunrise behind one of the several mosques close to Jamaica Road was really breathtaking (although not translating fairly into picture from my phone 😦 )

Sunrise between the towers

Sunrise between the towers

Jamaica Road - almost quiet

Jamaica Road – almost quiet

Gonna be quiet anyway on a Friday

Gonna be quiet anyway on a Friday

Sunrise behind a mosque

Sunrise behind a mosque

Back home, shower 1/3 of gatorade blue and direction breakfast room. Quite busy with lots of kids being here for an sport event I would guess. Was actually a bit hungry so fill in my plate with quite a lot (not for being at a hotel breakfast, but considering my stomach feeling for food lately…). Still did not chance on the milk and cereal so grab my cereals from home with my oat milk from home. So all-in-all it became: 2 glass of orange juice, one cup of tea, one orange in pieces, cereals+chocolate+oatmilk+banana, 2 small beef sausages, little scramble eggs (this might have been not too smart), a brown bread slice, one mini croissant and three mini-pains aux raisins.

Breakfast at the hotel

Breakfast at the hotel

Having a bit of time to kill, decided the plan for the day. Skipped to go to Dubai Mall (the pasta experience from yesterday was not that memory I wish to have from this Mall, but it will do for now… Have a few days left to get along with the Dubai Mall again 🙂 ). A bit of work (although most of the answers would be received probably later during the day as there are time differences to take into account!). Prepared my bag to go to the beach, planning to stay there all afternoon (well leaving at 11-ish to be back around 15-ish, as promised not to sunbath too much!). Took a cab to get there, not due to laziness (I did run to there earlier in the morning) but to save my legs. Get inside and found a nice spot on the sand. 1hour reading in front of the sea, busy beach but still quite comfortable for relaxing. Drank Gatorade orange during the day + water of course. Had 2 bananas on the beach as well as an apple and some crisps left from yesterday little bag.

Feet in the sand, eyes to the horizon :)

Feet in the sand, eyes to the horizon 🙂

At 12:45pm time to find a place for eating some rice: just on the other side of the Jamaica Beach Park was a restaurant called “Chilli”, where I found what I was looking for. It became chicken marinated in Margarita (!) with kind-of brown rice. Seemed quite a lot in the plate so definitely not doing the same as yesterday with the pasta, listening to the body when it felt full!

Last meal before the marathon

Last meal before the marathon

Margarita grilled chicken with rice

Margarita grilled chicken with rice

Margarita Chicken with rice - finished!

Margarita Chicken with rice – finished!

Then direction the beach again. Still drinking water and gatorade. Last banana eaten at 2:30-ish. Will be last food before tomorrow. Now focusing on water (I know, S, not too much!) and relaxing. Walked back to the hotel (loosing my way once more, making the walk a bit longer than expected… the day before a marathon!).Found the following article at the restaurant at lunch, talking about Dubai marathon:

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Apparently should not change anything before a marathon…

and the “All-in” from Adidas (no ad in this post, just liking it):

Am I all in for the Dubai marathon? Am I?:::

Am I all in for the Dubai marathon? Am I?…

And of course ending with a nice panorama of the buildings on the way to my hotel:

20130124-165114.jpgNow back at the hotel, chilling a bit. Will go for some more water bottles in a short while and thereafter no more news from me until after the race. Planning for the rest of the day is pretty simple: finalize the prep of my gear, check once more the marathon route, a bit of water drinking, a bit of reading and when feeling llike it a bit of sleeping. Tomorrow up planned for 3:00am for light breakfast.  Will see how the whole thing goes. Having no real expectation now due to this dull past three days. Definitely no PB tomorrow. Hopefully completed marathon, in a correct time range AND not fainting of de-hydration after the race.

It will be a fast race tomorrow, both male and female athletes from the elite are very loaded and eager. Hopefully can see their back before we start 😉 You can follow the marathon in live streaming from the Dubai marathon website, from one hour before the start (i.e. streaming from 6:00am Dubai time = CET+3).

Dubai marathon: 13 hours left to go (when I press the button “publish”)…


Dubai M-Day -1

Start of a new day? Well, still the afternoon here. Have picked up my BIB (#1169). A bit disappointed by the pick-up place. Pretty emtpy at this time (but this cannot be compared with London or Berlin, right? Moreover, who really is coming to pick up his/her BIB at 12:30pm of the first day of pick up… apart from me!). Missed the conference with the Elite by an hour, so no autograph this year. Next opportunity is to run faster than them on Friday and wait for them at the Finish Line (he he he!).

Dubai Marathon Route

Dubai Marathon Route

 

Feeling fine so ate 2 pears and continue drinking water. Decided to walk to the Dubai Mall to see how long it will be for Friday. Took longer than expected through ways I would not recommend! But here it is: the start entrance for the Marathon. On Friday it will be still dark and will not take picture then. So as good to have a “proof” I was there !

Start Entrance for Marathoners

Start Entrance for Marathoners

What would be Dubai without Burj Khalifa?

What would be Dubai without Burj Khalifa?

Decided to eat at the same restaurant as last year. Pasta with tuna fish, black olives, spinach and tomato sauce. Under hot hot sun and in front of the singing fountain. Went fine to eat until almost all was down. Unfortunately decided to get the whole plate in and it was not the best move, really. Stomach felt heavy, but still fine. Took not long before I walked and got some groceries for the evening and had to rush and empty my stomach again (sorry for the details!). SO much water out I had to compensate after that with drinking sport drink to ensure I would not completely be deshydrated tomorrow…

Pasta lunch

Pasta lunch

Unsure of what this means, I rushed again to buy alternative food as I AM GOING TO RUN THE MARATHON ON FRIDAY, NO MATTER WHAT!. Might not be the day to set a personal record (!) but will definitely complete it. So more shopping and I ended with sport drink, chips, banana and Haribo gold-bears (which apparently some runners are carbo-loading with…). I do have with me porridge and cereals from home, so can be as well an option for today. But DEFINITELY NOT pasta with sauce or anything else with sauce. Will go probably for rice or similar

Food supply for carbo-loading alternative...

Food supply for carbo-loading alternative…

Ended the day with an hour reading under the last rays of the sun (well, before it disappear behind the buildings close to my hotel). Find a perfect spot in front of the hotel to enjoy them. Rest of the day was quite dull. Double-checking my gear for the race, preparing my gear for tomorrow light run and a bit of writing. Until I almost fell asleep in front of my laptop.

Night night, it is soon 6:30pm and my eyes won’t keep themselves opened… More tomorrow!

Dubai, soon less than a day to go!


On its way… (Cont.’)

6:00pm + – finally boarding but not leaving yet. Sitting close to a sad old man telling me he is sick and on his way back to his home country where his son is no longer and he wants back to Sweden. Heartbreaking really, on one hand I focus on the word “sick” and wish to change place right away. On the other hand, feel compassion for him. Little chat & he seemed feeling better. Back to my book, then comes… the food tray. I choose the chicken and succeed to get it down, despite my stomach complaining. Thereafter ate a pear and the stomach definitely do NOT like this treatment. But surprisingly I am able to keep the food and read for a while. Then woke up when we are 40 minutes from Istanbul. Take a handful tram berries, ok, but still not perfect. Awful! Drinking that much might keep me hydrated but need to have to visit… the dreadful loo of the plane. Anyhow, apparently a few people are sick on thus plane. So really hope my body immunity is not down right now!

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10:20pm – finally off the plane. Directly looking for my new gate to Dubai. New water bottle as not trusting other water sources. Passport check and waiting for next flight (leaving at 00:40am, i.e. tomorrow !) Am looking quite like a ghost at the moment, very pale face and tired eyes (despite the sleep in the plane…). Try getting a KitKat in my belly and read interestingly that ONE KitKat is providing 12% of GDA (@2000 kcal/day)… Astonishing really. Probably will stick to my bananas next time!

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The positive in all that can be resume into this number: 20… This is the temperature in Dubai at 1:26am…

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Nothing to be done but waiting, so resting a bit for today!

1:30am or so – “breakfast” – nothing appealing on the top of all alternatives having cheese in it. Got to eat my bulgur salad with tomatoes & cucumber. Went down but a but upset still. Not that much water drink, almost less than normal… Not good! Watched Eragon on tv and took a nap.

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7:40am – Dubai time 1 banana / hazelnuts. Slept at least 2.5hrs listening to music. Nice and rested. Thirsty though.

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No queue at the passport control (compared to the over-an-hour from last year!). But wait for my bag, although having turned above Dubai for over an hour before landing at 8:15am I do not feel on a rush…

Found the metro station, put money on last year card and… missed the metro by a few seconds… Got reminded not to eat in the cars under penalty of 100 AED. So I won’t eat there!

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Feeling strange as it is really foggy, all grey but warm

-heavy in the air. Won’t complain… for today! Hope the skies clear up for Friday.

Little walk to the hotel, tea break + nyponsoppa to drink while my room is prepared. Now will chill a bit and aim to the JW Marriott Marquis to pick up my BIB. Now it feels real!20130123-174137.jpg

More later on…