Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

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Race Report – Göteborg Marathon – 2017/10/14

VSM marathon 20171014

VSM Marathon 2017/10/14

Planned: training-race. Easy long run. Go for the medal and no bother on the time.

Actual: 3:14:22 – 4th women, 2nd age category in Swedish Championships Masters Marathon (silver medal), 1st or 2nd in District Championships (unsure – tbc). Quite ok for the place and nailing the podium. But time-wise… no comment…

Two-loops route, used usually for training. Windy, not very much but enough to be annoying throughout. Went for the place, definitely not for the time. OK ending 😛

Race Results:
place (M/W) 4
place (age) 2 (Silver medal 🙂 )

Total 49 all runners

Age/grade: 73.84% (2017 Hamburg 74.08 / Tokyo 78.07 / 2016 Amsterdam 79.9 / Ferrara 78.2 / Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (gun) 03:14:22

time total (brutto) 03:14:22

average pace: 4:36min/km… distance-pace…no comment!

Garmin non-official splits:

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

00:21:01

21:01

04:12

ok

10 km

00:43:12

21:11

04:14

Still ok

15 km

01:05:51

22:38

04:32

slow-comfortable

20 km

01:28:40

22:49

04:34

slow

Half (21.1km)

01:33:xx?

25 km

01:51:43

23:04

04:37

What is happening?

30 km

02:15:01

23:18

04:40

Euuuuhhh…distance workout?

35 km

02:38:08

23:06

04:37

Morning run pace…

40 km

03:03:14

25:06(!!!)

05:01(!!!)

Euuuuhhhh….what?!?!?

42.2km

03:14:22

11:08…

05:04…

Seriously???…

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

M Day-8-to-5

Trip to Bucharest. The marathon planned for October 8 was postponed one week later due to another event this same weekend. Could unfortunately not change travel plan for the race. Hence getting there, training 2 days under heavy rain, no visit, alone, bad sleep and then back home on the Monday. Finally marathon-week…

M Day -4

Last session. Rehearsal with race outfit for 5K at expected marathon-pace and 3*4min slightly faster. The marathon pace part went fine but heavy at the end. Did not really want to push much, trained on the race route to get even more miles there. The minutes-intervals went… ok. Too fast pace for the first one, but with a comfortable effort, MP for the second one (including a hill up), and slightly above MP-effort for the last one. Nothing boosting the confidence. But settling in the objective being “make it to the podium and don’t bother the time”. As Micke said “if the elites can jog during championships, why can’t we amateurs do the same?” 🙂 Rehearsal outfit definitely convinced me to skip the singlet and go for as little clothes as possible. The wind might be an issue, but once again, there had been enough training in windy conditions to feel enough-prepared. Run done in the evening after work… The choice was easy: waking up at 5-ish and seeing a “2ºC” on the weather-channel made me keep the head on the pillow and move the workout to the evening. Better weather conditions in the evening, but felt tired after workday… Cannot have it all! Massage in the evening after completing the workout. Evening with friend. Relaxed but feeling a bit sluggish with this no-carb day. What should one do really to get herself in the mood for running???…

M Day-3

Way-too-early up this day… Felt that I had barely slept (which I probably did). Drag myself out despite the drizzle and light cold, as this was the only chance I had during the day to get this workout done. Yeaaaahhh… I know… Marathon week… one workout less is always better than one too many…. But for sure this morning felt like a bad option. Have never had before the thought of “why on earth am I doing out there when I could still be in my bed”… Well, ok. Had probably this thought before, but not that hard feeling of “this is actually a bad choice to be out there”. Felt fine after a hot shower though. Long day at work. And tired in the evening…. Positive of the day? CARBOLOADING started!!! F.i.n.a.l.l.y!!!

M Day-2

Rest day… Nothing really fun, but after the too-early start the day before, a sleep-in until 6:30am, felt like luxury! Working as usual. Meetings back-to-back were probably not the smartest for race preparation, but once again, with the objective for this race that felt almost “ok” with lack of preparation. This is as well what happens when running on home routes. The excitement related to the race never reach the level of a race somewhere requiring travel… Ate a 2 portions-spaghetti bolognese at home, drank 2 bottles of sport-drink… Felt so high on sugar during all day that headaches came to visit about half way through the afternoon… Wonderful preparation… The heavy rains of the night and day as well as the storm-like winds of this day made me questioned (once…) why on earth I had signed up for this particular race… Nothing as stubborn as a long-distance runner…

M Day-1

Definitely feeling the need to run when waking up on this Friday. Too early still, windy only, jumped into shorts and tshirt and took an easy and short leg shaking. Felt good enough. Would have gladly run longer and faster, but that was not the day. Work all day and then the evening came. Carbo-loading working well (maybe still too high on sugar…). Prepared my bottles for the race, with flags and nice cheering words on them. Sport-drink chosen was the Maurten, which I have tested during summer. Felt fine and was thinking, why not? Had planned last food intake around 2-3pm, but finally took a bagel later in the evening. Felt far from “I am going to race tomorrow”, but would do the best of the situation…

M DAY!!!!

At last!!!! Race days have this little something special, which has to be experienced to understand…

Before the race

07:00am – Awaken since a while, but decided to remain in bed as long as possible. Up for breakfast (chia seeds, green mix, Gatorade (2dl) and Maurten sport drink, orange juice, a bagel with honey). And back to bed…

7:30am – Drinking every 30minutes as it should be. Heading to the shower for the longest and warmest shower ever taken before a marathon. Stop the drinking @8:30am. Testing this bladder again… Felt as ready as one can be. Body cream, fixing the hair, warming gel on the legs and anti-chaffing cream on the top (thighs, under HR band, lower back and armpit). Racing gear on (ADIDAS Shorts Response black, Casall sports bra MIK, ADIDAS MIK singlet (to be removed in case it would be too warm), black arm sleeves, Compressport calve sleeves and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Swifty)). Sunglasses on the top of the head before leaving. The skies were looking grey-ish and not really fun, felt windy but at least it was not a combo of heavy rain-stormy wind-and-cold temperatures… Mp3 ready with Icarus song added the day before… Just in case… 2 gels in my back pocket just in case the bottles would not work.
Finished to fill-in my race bottles, throw a bit of everything in my sport bag, long easy pants and MIK jacket on before leaving. Now it was time. Felt more like a Sunday run out there…

Bottles VSM 20171014

8:48am – Cannot wait any longer. Closing the door and heading towards the tram. Still thinking that taking the tram is the laziest thing to do today, as getting to the start would probably take 15minutes with real easy jogging… Anyway…

9:15am – Getting to Friidrottens Hus to pickup my BIB. As this is the Swedish championships masters for marathon, the ones participating to it will also have an age-tag in the back. Smiling when the gal giving me my BIB is also taking a K35-tag 😛 Nope. Liiiittle older this time 🙂 Meeting with Stefan vdB, getting a pen to write my name on the BIB. Chat with Anette K who ran in Wroclaw (where I could not 😦 ) but today is not feeling on the top of her form. Dropping my bottles. Very professional arranged! A box for each water station. My bottles are nicely marked already and get a little place in each box. Heading to the locker rooms. Can borrow a lock and hop! I can leave my stuff inside instead of outside 🙂 Not fully feeling that a race is going to be started soon. But ok. Visit to the loo. Then more anti-chaffing cream. Anette sets my age-tag on the back of my sports bra. And I am ready. And there is still so much time to wait…

10:15am – Off with the easy pants and jacket. Keeping my MIK tshirt and out for an attempt to warmup. Meeting right away Mikael from Lerum and plan to just follow him and his expected MP 4:20/30. Then I see the best-and-only Robban. 🙂 Enough time for a hug and then getting my music in the ears and of course it starts… raining… Yeaaaah… Not much, light drizzle, but enough. 2Km jog on the race route and that’s enough. Back to the locker room. Getting to the loo one more time… trying to set my head into race-mode. Meeting Karin S, who plans to cruise to the finish line at 4:20-pace, which is as well suiting me well.

10:45am – Out again. Meeting MIK-Gunnar and taking off my MIK tshirt so he was kind enough to keep it during the race. Trying to find the other K40-gal who I need to keep an eye on. Nowhere to be found 😦

10:51am – In the corral… No gal in the front though… Only tall and fast guys. Fun to be there anyway 🙂 Meeting Staffan S, who looks good to go!

10:57am – Checking once again my shoe laces. Noticing a gal on my left and here she is 🙂

10:58am-ish – Ooooook! Now we should really start to run… Because I am soooo ready… Or not at all… a bit unsure actually… Hearing a final “good luck” from Staffan. Got a smile from Tricky on his way into the corral a little behind…. When are they going to drop this ribbon in front of us?!?!?…

THE RACE

First half

11:00am – BAAAAM! Cannot really get that this is a real start. Feeling my legs moving, my feet starting to get to a running rhythm, seeing the fastandcrazy guys moving forward. The start is in the stadium, and we have 300m-ish on the track before we leave the arena. The K40-gal is right behind me at the exit. Hearing a cheering on my name right after leaving. And the focus is just falling into the full body. The music set to “May-2012” should bring me to km28-29, before I need more music-kicks 🙂 Gravel, not liking it, then light up on the asphalt and then down. And we are already on the cycle path. Wet there. Light wind, but there are people around me, so it is ok. Passing the first km in 4:07. All fine. Does not feel fast, had drunk a couple of glups from my Gatorade red and dropped the bottle halfway. So it feels nice to run. Getting up the little slope and then it feels like a Sunday run. With way more people than usual. Had been passed by Karin S right after km1 and by Martina H (K40-gal). But does not matter. There are 42.2km on this race and now I know that everything can happened during this time on the road, especially during the second half and final 10km… Passed by Mikael T and it looks good, but a bit fast for me. So I keep my own pace. By mid-way to the first water-station, seeing the best smile in the world from Gabriel 🙂 Not really possible to talk at this moment, but we promise each other to meet at the end of the race for catching up 🙂 Cool! Best way to meet people I know is to get into a race!!! Have no clue about my pace, quick check when grabbing my first bottle @km4 indicate 4:13, which is what I wanted. Especially because soon after is coming the dreadful slope of Järnbrottsmotet (Yeas, I hate it during training and even more now I am running it during a race….). Taking it slower than I should on the way up, but once again, the objective of the day is not to let gals passing me and make it to the podium. Kept my bottle in the hand until I get to km5-ish. It felt that drinking at km4 would be too early in the race. This also meant I would run a km with a slope up, with my bottle in the hand. Concessions have to be made sometimes… Having had Johanna J from Solvikingarna right before me since the km2 stretch onwards, and I know she can beat me on the half marathon. Not much but enough. So I decided to keep close to her as much as I can and as long as I can. Getting the next km under the feet feels nothing like being in a race. Feeling focused, thanks to the gal ahead of me, but I know I could run faster, but I just don’t do it. Why?!?!? Passing my “8km-mark-from-home” which is “5.5ish km for the race”. I just know this road so well. And here I see coach Ulf F, smiling and cheering on the side 🙂 I am alone at this time, Johanna J has drifted a bit further, but I feel fine. Music in the ears, cheering from the volunteers on the side waving and telling me I am fourth women. Yiiiihoooo! And it just continue. Running this Sunday-long-run on a Saturday with hundreds of other crazy runners. The weather is nice, if it wasn’t for the wind. Passing Askimsbadet and getting to the km-stretch where the wind is always so vicious. Thinking of last week run, when I trained there and saw Sara H and Yannick T. Feeling fine. Reaching km8 and swearing a bit as my “km8-bottle” is laying down on the table. Tricky to pick it, throwing the flag and running along. More cheering and smiling at the water-station helpers. Getting to the annoying wind-sensitive-along-the-sear part. This one is short (400m?) but can be SOOOOO scary when the wind is over 30km/h from the sea… which is not the case today though. A car is passing by my side and its stupid driver is actually…accelerating! On this route where people are running obviously! A very nice guy cheering on the side gets very angry at him and shout to slow down. So he gets a smile from me and a big thanks! This drinking in little bottles is not working well. Not the sport-drink itself, but those small bottles have only a regular cork, which means that I cannot open, drink and leave it opened without getting sport-drink on my hands… Sticky hands since km5-ish and it just gets worse now. Run run run… feels like bla bla bla… Still seeing Johanna not too far… had had another gal in red-ish singlet close-by but after passing me she stopped to take off here extra long sleeves… What was it I say?…. So many found it strange (read “probably crazy”?) when I got to the starting line in sports bra and shorts, but at least I knew how it would be during the race. Around km9, got passed by a gal in blue singlet. No age-tag in the back. Meaning she is not in the Swedish championships. But this also means I am dropping from my 4th place 😦 And soon after, the red-ish singlet gal is passing me. Looking good, until I spot her “K40” on the back…. Noooooo! Not another one! Still on the way to the turning point, so the placing ain’t to be deemed to remain as it is… Seeing the first crazyfast marathoners coming from the other direction. Good. This means not too long before the turn. Meeting Henrik S-MIK from our club relay-team. I thought I would meet him later, which means I am a bit slower than I thought I would be. Still no idea of the pace. I am running comfortably and yes, probably too comfortably…. Seeing Marina H, cheering for her, seeing Karin S, getting a smile. And soon it is the turning point. Confirming that I am at the 6th place total and 3rd for my age category in the Championships. No gal close to me though after the turning. Good 😛 One stretch done, 3 to go! OMG, what I don’t like to run on this stretch. I would rather run a long 21km-stretch along the sea-side and then turn back. Like during training. I feel that I’m gonna die of boredom by running 4 times this same stretch… Running back “home” is just going fine. Slower, but ok. I am alone. No one really to hang with. Had quickly dropped my hands into a water puddle around km11-ish. Was so annoyed with my sticky hands… Meeting Tricky not far from me after the turning point. And then seeing Lars and Björn Suneson. Reaching my 13km-bottle and at the same time seeing the bike preceding the crazyfast half-marathon runners…. Well, the first one was just crazy fast. Stormy-Olle. Wow!… So my plan to ensure that I would reach halfway of my race before the fast halfmarathoners are reaching me felt a bit tougher than thought. For sure they started 30 minutes after us, but still… Seeing Sweco Loco runner and then Christopher-MIK. Searching for Patrik B, but not seeing him in the crazyfast batch and definitely not expecting him in the fast batch. Stopping to look after a while. Just smiling along. Giving a few cheers. Seeing the crazy fast Annelie J surrounded by guys. Not far behind Anna H-MIK… OK. Focus on your race now. More cheering from the volunteers. Drifting a bit and the pace I reached feels almost embarrassing for a race… Trying to get a bit up the speed on the way down. Had been drinking @km15, and indeed I confirm to myself that running with a bottle in the hand is NOT something I like and definitely NOT something I am good at. But I have fun in the running down after km15…. before reaching the little tunnel and the slope towards Järnbrottsmotet. I decided to actually take 5 walking steps and then run. This allows me to catch up with the runners who did run all the way up. From now on, the race-feeling is almost gone. Down the slope and getting my km18-bottle. A bit of a kick when drinking it. I really HATE this stretch of 3km forward: it goes slightly up and I never can get up to speed during training. Well… that is not fully true. I CAN get up to speed, but the feeling is almost always that I am slow like a snail….or an elephant with three legs…or a combo of both… And it does not miss this time neither. Remember last year race when I was there and just cheering. Thanking very much all the people who are on the side and cheering. Have now caught up with Johanna J and I am pretty determined to pass the half-way right before here. Question of (stupid) principle. She is running well, but can see that her steps are a bit slower. Still looking comfortable though. Passing her before km20 and the downhill. When I have the feeling that I am pressing a bit more. Probably I am not even accelerating, but at least the head is in a good place and the mood is fine. I can see the stadium. I just wish it would be for the last time today. Down the slope, up the little one. Meeting the fast marathoners has been for a short while already. Too warm with my arm sleeves, I have taken them off and on the way up the slope I see Stefan vdB and throw them to him. He will put them on the table he said. Martina H is met when my watch indicate 1:31:xx… and I am still outside the stadium…, Karin S, seeing a smiling Gabriel and that is all I needed. Accelerating on the gravel, passing the grinds, hearing the cheering Robban who receives a waving from me and final 100m stretch…. Yiiiihoooo! No idea what snail-pace I have but at least I am 5th on the half-way line! Two stretches done, two to go!

Second half

Grabbing my 21.1km-bottle, tearing off the gel from it and getting myself ready. Hearing Robban’s voice at the end of the stadium aaaaaand I’m on my own again. In with the gel…. Yummy! Water to top it. Throwing the bottle before heading down to the little slope. OMG this feels good! I am running like a lazy snail on a Sunday outing and still feeling fine! Wonderful smile and hands clapping on the way down and then the little up. Passing km22, and the slope up and I feel wonderful. 🙂 Seeing Gabriel coming from the other direction… The brain is so crazy slow to note this and thinks that I have reached the turning point… ALREADY?!?!? Lovely smile I receive and a “too much wind, I stop”-like. Try to get him to follow me, as at the pace I am having, it won’t hurt him a bit 😛 But he answers he will head back to the stadium…. Feeling a bit sad for not seeing him later on on the route, but there are more km to cover. Focus again. Wind is there. From km23 I just cheer on each and every runner who is coming from the other direction… Tell me about this focus again??? I take time to read (almost) all the names on the BIBs, if too tricky they get a “come on guys” or “Go girls”. And just for the smiles they gave back, I think it is worth ruining my pace and my final time for this race. As long as I don’t fall from the podium… Getting to km25 and my bottle. Taking it right away. I can feel that the gel has been giving some extra energy. Loooooooving it…. and here comes the slope of Järnbrottsmotet again… I take two walking steps. OMG I am SOOOOO LAZY! And alone… And down the slope and I continue my cheering. It might look like I am doing a separate race. Really. And towards the long stretch to km27-28-29… Why am I just running on my own?!?!? There I recognize the runner ahead. Mikael T. Looking like there is a bit of trouble in the running kingdom… Trying to have him to follow. Getting a smile back, but it looks very much in pain. But still fighting. So I continue on my own. Right after Askimsbadet and the “km14-mark-in-the-other-direction” here he comes!!! The fastest guy on the marathon race. Look actually crazy fast to me and he does not even looking like he is running a marathon, but a 5km tempo. REALLY cool! Almost as cool as meeting the winner @km30 of Rotterdam when he was passing his km40 🙂 Back to my race. Long stretch with the side wind from the sea. Had been cheering on IronMan-Mattias since km27.5. Being right before and hoping he will get before me for helping a bit at some points. Reaching the water-station km29…and MISSING MY BOTTLE!!!! So I actually stop and take a few steps back. Ironman-Mattias is passing me. OMG I am not happy with this. Throwing the little flag and waiting to have reached km30 before drinking. Gel and water. But the euphoria from passing the mid-point has passed now. I want it to stop. I want a gel. Another one. Something to sharpen my focus. Increase my motivation towards faster pace. I want to get a push from someone. I see a guy with a green singlet and I remember he was following pretty close the gal in blue singlet during the second stretch. OK. Let’s get close to him. Let’s pass him. And…. aaaaahhhh! I don’t like this… He is actually slightly accelerating after I passed him and putting himself so extremely close behind me, feels like I can hear his breathing despite my music in the ears. I tell him to pass me, but he says he is fine there. Yeaaaaah! For you! Not for me!!! So I try to run a bit in zigzag, trying to accelerate a little. I don’t want to slow down as I can feel that I must have reached a distance-pace already… Seeing the two first ladies in the other direction. Trying to calculate the number of minutes ahead they have, but my brain feels like mashed potatoes and calculation are NOT working in this head of mine. I push a little more. I see the turning point. Jon-MIK is here and has finished his stretch for the relay and cheers loudly 🙂 I want it to be finished there. WHY didn’t I register for the relay-team? For stretch 1, 2, 3 and 4? Only a long and stupid 10.6km left… Seeing Mikael T after the turning point. And he has been moving along. Yeaaaaah! Meeting Tricky who kindly throwing me a “looking still strong!”. And then Lars and Björn and plenty of other who have been cheered after I left the stadium. Just loving the gals showing “thumbs up” or “go girl, you rock”. Adoring the guys smiling larger than life and all this is just making me not running faster but making me happier. I am at the fourth place I think. I have seen the two first and then the blue singlet Therese. But could not see the red singlet K40-chick. Knowing I haven’t passed her, this means that either I missed her before the turning point or she has dropped off the race. FOOOOOOOOCUS! I want to stop. I am not tired, but soooooo bored to run here… Getting to km34 and almost last bottle. Cannot feel that I need MORE energy, but different energy. Gosh I haaaaaate this stretch. I hated it the first time and I hate it DOUBLE this second time… Even though it means I am closed to the end. Passing Askimsbadet and from there it takes a LOOOOOOT to get me keeping a tempo which is NOT a slow-comfortable-distance pace. Have stopped looking at my watch since a while. Have no reference for my possible finish time. Looking behind me: no chick. Looking before me: no chick. So that is pretty simple choice: just move this left foot in front of this right foot and get to the end. No chick will pass you during those last 5km. Reaching the stupid Järbrottsmotet slope, I decide I am in training and walk up a short bit. Then run up and then walk and run up. This allows me to actually pass a couple of guys. And then down and then to the final water-station. Km38 and my final bottle. Had taken out my liquid gel from my back pocket. There, it has been feeling a bit scratchy since a while and I really don’t want to think about the reason for this scratching feeling… Running with the gel in one hand. Water on the hair. Had listened to Icarus since right after the turning point… Cutting these final 10.6km into buckets of 8+minutes. It does not work well as I have no idea how fast/slow I run. But this gives a boost every time I start the music again. Taking the gel. Feeling a bit of a boost, but nothing compared to my red gel. Missing it today. There is not much left. Passing a guy from Lerum. Cheering. Another guy with a black singlet. Cheering. When there are 3km left or so, I am dead bored. This is not a race. I am actually alone here and I can see two guys a bit ahead and 2 a bit behind. WHERE ARE ALL THE OTHERS?!?!? So I walk. For 20m or so… and then press the pace for a while until almost the end of the km. And then walking again for 10m or so and then pressing again the pace… OMG… I feel like I am running a bad intervals-workout… And indeed a guys passing me, looking pretty tired asks what I am doing, that I cannot run intervals at the end of a marathon and looking still fit. Reaching the final 1.5km. I see the stadium. Seeing the first gal in the stadium. Getting some cheering from here 🙂 And I accelerate in the downhill. And then this stupid little up… AGAIN… Walking a few steps… Cheering from the volunteer in the corner. Passing the guy in blue singlet, headwind there and yes I still hate it. But now it is the end. Down and gravel and in the stadium. Finally. Less than 100m. Indecently accelerating. Hearing my name. Seeing the poor time I will record on this finish line. Doesn’t matter. Time was not the point today. But it is still always is a little, right?. Finish line. And that’s it. Finished.

Official time received later: 3:14.22…

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

After the finish line

Walking a bit. Receiving my medal. Seeing Staffan S and getting a sweaty hug. Walking a bit around. Disappointed for the time, even though it was not the aim for today. This could have been run outside a race on a Sunday morning. Drinking some sport-drink (beurk!) and coke (yummy). Not able to eat on the food proposed unfortunately (butter, cinnamon… nothing for me). And that’s it. Walking a bit around. Getting my stuff in the locker-room, and outside again. Congratulating Tricky and then Mikael T. Should I even wait for the podium? After this rubbish run/time? Meeting with the MIK-relay guys, who won their category without too many effort. While waiting, getting off my race outfit and seeing a very bad burn mark on the left hip, from the chaffing of the gels I had in the back pocket… Wonderful… I definitely won’t take a shower here at the stadium and will wait for home. Getting into dry clothes and other shoes. After a while it is time for podium. Getting a nice 2nd place and silver. Waiting more to see the podium with the guys relay. And then time to get back home.

Rubbish race-time. Just have to get over with it. At least the body is aching like after a long run. And hopefully it will be well tomorrow… Walking the 3km back home. Cleaning carefully the burn marks on the hip, the lower back and due to the HR band and then rest with legs up for a while. Walk in the afternoon and “celebrating” with a burger and fries. Looking at my medal back at home… OK, I’m happy 🙂 Good to have done this race before the undetermined rest starting on Monday. No more race planned for 2017… but a good 2018-race plan under discussion 😛

**********

Weather: 12.2°C, cloudy, Feels like 12.2°C, 21 kph W wind, 100% humidity. Probably good temperature for running, but this wind… this wind…

Food:
> before: chia porridge with green mix and gatorade, orange juice , bagel with honey, Maurten sportdrink (5dl?) (7:am) Little bottle of red juice 2 hours before

> right after: 2 glass of sportdrink + 2 glasses of coke.

> 3.5 hours after: burger, French fries, Coke.

> During: gatorade red right after start, Maurten sport drink 160 @km5-15-25, 320 @km10-35, Aptonia gel (salted butter/caramel) @km29. Powergel apple @km21.1. Coffeine Powergel at km39. Sportenine @start & hour 1 & 2.

Gear: ADIDAS Shorts Response black, Casall sports bra MIK, ADIDAS MIK singlet (to be removed in case it would be too warm), black arm sleeves, Compressport calve sleeves and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Swifty). Sunglasses. Shoes very good for the job.
> extra clothes dropped before start: MIK tshirt

=> Perfect outfit? Absolutely! Had decided that only snow or real cold temperatures would make me run in singlet. The wind was not cold to make the stomach hurt, which was good. The shorts were working fine, but…OMG! Why on Earth is that inside pocket not working for having a gel and not creating chaffing?!?! This is not the first time I have those shorts and not the first time I have gels there. And this HR-band… what is WRONG with it?!?! Probably to skip the HR-band for the next race or have another one. For the gels… still searching…

15/ A pity I did not press a little more. Was in better shape than before Hamburg (I think), but this wind… Had a similar boring-slow pace as in Hamburg, but during the last 10K this just went from bad to worse… Not because it was painful or I was tired, but pure boredom and impossible to re-focus into a “race mode”. But that’s ok. I was expecting this would happen on this particular race and route…

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

SUMMARY: Once again, the results got well-aligned with the expectations. Nothing more really. Just getting out there and running. Weather was as expected as well (windy) and the route… well… the same as during training… So the conclusions are very simple: Yes it is possible to run a Sunday long run on a Saturday and as long as a marathon, and still feeling fine the day after. Yes it was quite disappointing to get this rubbish time even though it was in the plan. Yes I am not fully happy. Yes it should have been on the highest place of the podium with not much more effort. Let’s close this 2017-season with still a nice ranking on the Swedish level and age category. Forced rest for a while to solve some physical issues and then get ready for the next season. Worse case scenario…there will still be some running possible 🙂

There is alway more races… Italy and France should be kind to me next year, right? 🙂

LOTS of thanks for the support and cheering during the preparation. Especially as the running had been non-existent during summer months due to knee problem and therefore had to cancel the participation to two main races I had in plan after summer. If the wind would have been a bit more clement today, that would have helped… or not.

Huge thanks for all the runners who cheered along the course or smiled or just clapped their hands. This is SO giving extra strengths and happiness. Cannot be explained. Have to be experienced 🙂

Lots of loving thanks to my little ones, not so little, who still considered that being on the second place of the podium after a “Sunday run-paced race” was not too bad. Being silver medalist in the Swedish Championships masters was a great achievement in their eyes (and mine 🙂 ).

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Body check? A bit stiff at the end and while waiting for the medal. But I would count this as normal: had to wait, did not get back home before way later than planned and seriously… I should have eaten a banana or two after the race probably… The body felt well throughout the run, which made me happy. The stupid problem with the left knee in July was totally nonexistent. The gigantic blisters which came with the new insoles were no longer in the way a week or two before the race, which was good. Hips felt ok. Knees felt ok. Apart from the chaffing burns, all good!

NOTE: Warmup? As usual… nothing to be done really before such a race. It was nice to be able to run a 2km right before, but unsure whether it made a difference or not. Should have done some strides a bit after. But once again… warmup before a marathon?… There are about 21km at the beginning of the race to get warmed up enough… lol

NOTE: Energy/refueling during the race? As usual, it was very nice to have one’s own bottles along the route. Chose to try Maurten and I guess it can be a good option… if it wasn’t for the small bottles used today which were handy during training but not at all during the race. Sticky hands were annoying. Throughout. Gels taken were all fine and work well. The small messages on each bottle did the tricky, also it worked a bit better in Hamburg where I read all of them. This time, I read only half and did not really bother the others… A bit tricky though to have the water-stations placed every 4km-ish and not every 5km…

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Not done this time. No need for a training-race really.

NOTE: then…gels in the back pocket of the shorts? Had 2 there and seriously, I was a bit concerned before starting, but had tested it during training and never had a problem. Major burn after the race. Hence, will not have gels there next time!

NOTE: …and no gel in sport bra in the front/back? Yihoooo! Skipping the chaffing issue this time! At this place at least…

NOTE: Gothenburg marathon is hereby the most boring route marathon I have ever run 😛 VERY well-arranged event. It is just the route that I really don’t like.

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. Sunday off with a long walk. Monday travel for surgery. Full easy-recovery planned for the rest of the week at least. With no training at all. Will see how this works…

Looking forward to new adventures …soon…

 


Race Report – Tokyo Marathon – 2017/02/26

tokyo2017-finishline-thedayweunite

Happy finisher with double rewards!

 

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

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

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

Total 1,527 (out of 33,947)

age/grade: 78.07% (2016 Amsterdam 79.9% / Ferrara 78.2% / Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)

time total (gun) 03:02:31

time total (brutto) 03:02:37

average pace: 4:20min/km

Official splits:

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

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August 2016…

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

M Day-6&-5

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

M Day -4

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

M Day-3

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

M Day-2

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

M Day-1

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

M DAY!!!!

Finally!!!!

Before the race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE RACE

First half

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

Second half

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

Official time received later: 3:02:31…

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After the finish line

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

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

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

**********

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

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

> right after: banana+Pocari sweat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

******

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

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A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New adventures on the way…

 


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

barcelonahm2016

Nice medal, DAB before start and smiling after.

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

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

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

A good start for the year anyhow!

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

Splits (official)

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

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

Totals

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

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

The 2 days before…

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

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

Race day

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

 

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

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

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

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

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AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

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

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Race Report – Málagathon – 2016/12/04

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


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

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

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

M Day-5

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

M Day -4

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

M Day-3

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

M Day-2

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

M Day-1

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

M DAY!!!!

At last!

Before the race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did miss not crossing the finish line though…

**********

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

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

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

> right after: banana+water+Gatorade blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Race Report – Amsterdam Marathon – 2016/10/16

happy-soon-finish-2

Happy and soon finishing

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

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

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

Total 488 (out of 12,182)
age/grade: 79.9% (2016 Ferrara 78.2% / Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (gun) 02:59:56
time total (brutto) 03:00:13
average pace: 4:16min/km

Official splits:

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

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M Day-5 

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

M Day -4 

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

M Day-3 

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

M Day-2

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

M Day-1

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

M DAY!!!!  

Finally!

Before the race 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE RACE

First half

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

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

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After the finish line

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

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

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

 

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

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

> right after: banana+water+Isostar orange

> 3 hours after: ribs party 🙂

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

new adventures will soon to come…

 

 


Race Report – Run In Lyon half marathon 2016/10/02

ril2016-arrival2

Final turn towards the finish line…

Planned: sub90 definitely – had set the mind on 1:27 and podium – second place. Training-race.

Actual: 1:27:14 – PR on the route by 2min 47 second AND new second best time ever on a half-marathon! 12 seconds faster than Copenhagen two weeks before! Strong and very stable paced first half with a mid 40s 10K, let it roll for the next 5-6km, tricky run in a close-to-2km-tunnel, understanding I was placed 4th since a while, acceleration at the end and that was it! Very satisfied with the race, the place and the time! No need to run faster, training is training! This one was more than good-enough…and the feeling throughout the race was way better/stronger than last year!

Place: 4 – all women, 2 – age category & 284 out of 11,235 finishers

Splits (non official – from Garmin)

Split

Time

Diff Min/km Total sex cat
5km 00:20:02 20:02 04:01

3

1

10km 00:40:41* 20:39 04:08

4

2

halfway 00:42:46
15km 01:01:29 20:48 04:10

4

2

20km 01:22:48 21:19 04:16

4

2

Finish 01:27:14* 04:29 04:05

284

4

2

*official time

Interestingly the 5K was passed 30 seconds slower than Copenhagen, the 10K 33sec slower and the 15km 1second slower. The 20K turned 7 seconds faster and at the end got 12 seconds total on a route which was definitely not fast and flat as Copenhagen!

Totals

Place 4
Place (age) 2
Place (total) 284
Time total 01:27:14
Average pace 04.08min/km

In short: yiiiipppiiiiie again! Another sub90!!! Felt very stable paced for the first half, got cruising on the second one. Strong finish. And a NEW second best time on a half-marathon (ya ya ya… still third best time ever when counting the first half of Rotterdam marathon… working on it!)

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before…

Pretty early up after a nice good night’s sleep. Final check on the racing gear, locked the suitcase and after light breakfast (chia seeds & green mix), a bit early so I decided to take another tram to the train station… and it took the time to reach the ground floor for noticing I had forgotten my passport!!! Pressing nervously the button to get up again, key in the door, ran to get the precious passport and out and down again. Had now to rush for getting the tram I wanted. Calmer feeling in the tram. Walked to the bus station. All fine. Would even take an earlier bus than planned. Airport check-in worked fine. Still don’t understanding why it takes sooo long time to drop the bags when having checked-in online… Long queue for the passports check and then just had to mix my sport drink and get to the plane. Easy first plane ravel (I slept most of it). Then had to run in Bryssels to get my connection, but it worked fine eventually. Sat in the second plane reading most of it on “how to crack the marathon code”. Arrival in Lyon went smoothly and after a huge hug I noted the awfully boring weather outside. Rain. Did not matter much actually as the race was the day after… Quick drive home to drop the suitcase and jumping into running gear and then direction Lyon – Place Bellecour for picking up my BIB. Not the same sunny weather as last year. Light drizzle making the red ground very disgusting to walk on. Getting my BIB, noting that I am missing the “Renault Trucks 100ans” inscription 😦 Heading to the information for getting me into the Préférentiel start-group. And then a bit of walking around after picking up my race tshirt. Buying Tiger balm and new brand of gels. Then back in the car and driven/dropped off on the race course at about 5km-mark. Music in the ears and hop! Ran easy the next km as I wanted to check this crazy evil hill around km9 which I really did not like last year. Measured it now and it was “only” 250m stupid uphill. All fine! Passed the bridge and got picked up by my best ever crew a km later. Good feeling on this day before the race. Now was left to get a bit of food (pasta and minced meet), drink a bit of orange juice and prepare my racing gear for the day after. OK. All fine. Late snack with toasted white bread and honey and tea. And got form my best-ever crew 4 bottles of Gatorade! In bed around 9pm. Then sleep.

Race day

Waking up at midnight, 2am and then 4am… Feels like a pattern, right?! Felt well-rested anyway. Took a light breakfast of chia seeds, green mix and Gatorade and got back to sleep for a little longer. 5:30am and it was time to get showered and set those running gear of mine (SOC SWE hotpants and sports bra and as previous race the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Set my two small Swedish flags tattoos on the left arm and that was it! Perfect colouring added the nails and the racing gear. Double-checked my bag with changing clothes, added my BIB to my gear. And that was it! Ready to shine (or something like that…)

6:15am – All in the car to reach the city. Still pitch black out there, refreshing air due to the night rain, but quite fine temperatures with 13ºC. Got stopped by the police when reaching Place Bellecour as it was no longer possible to drive closer. Got dropped off and with half of my best-ever crew I walked slowly to the meeting place. Headed to the Renault Trucks tent, where kind helpers were already very much working their butt off for welcoming the wave of runners who would soon enough arrive. Best-ever crew was growing instantly! 🙂 Met with friends and former colleagues. Tried to find one or two who would be running at similar pace than the one I was planning, so that it would be easier/funnier to run. Maybe? Got indicated that a marathoner Paul would be passing the half in 1:27. Perfect! Got introduced and agreed to meet in the start corral. Olivier A, my pacesetter from last year, was unfortunately injured and would be “only” running the 10K this year. Great.

7:40am – Time to get warmed up. Final hugs to my best-ever crew, pictures while freezing a bit and started to jog easily to the start. This time I had an old tshirt from Dad on me, in order to limit the “freezing-to-death” feeling. Found my corral, continued running a bit along the race course, quick pitstop, and then back on the footbridge. Two additional nervous pitstops before getting inside my corral.

08:15am – Noted 3 other gals already there. Found Paul there as well I his plastic bag 🙂 Quick chat about the race. “Do your own race” was the advice and that he would be starting easy. Perfect! This is exactly what I generally do not do! Good to follow someone then. Met then the lady who won last year. She was not pushing too much today as she was heading to NY marathon a few weeks later. Great! Like what I did last year! Saw as well an elite-chick in the corral in front of us. OK…here go the two first places, I thought. Just have to keep track on aaaaaall the other gals!

08:17am – A bit of talking from the speaker. Got an official commenting the fact that there are 50% (?) of the runners being female…and his next comment being “wonder who is keeping an eye on our children then?”…. Not very well appreciated comment by the runners (and I am surrounded by 99% of male runners…Great with supporting guys!). The funny speaker makes then all of us runners going down in order to do the biggest wave ever. Looks like the elites are not understanding the jokes said in French as they are looking at each others a bit puzzled. Finally even they get on their knees to do the wave! Supercool!!! Aaaaaaand woooow! Real fun.

08:27am – Off with the old tshirt. Got a kind guy throwing it away for me. No freezing feeling with all the runners in pack and so closed to each other. Final check to the watch while walking slowly to the start mat…

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

THE RACE

08:30am – Aaaaaand BAM! Start is given. This time I think I heard it (not too sure). Have wrongly appreciated the distance to the mat and I press the start-button at the “BAM” and not when I pass the mat. Not mattering much as I estimate being 1-2seconds after. No real push. Following the lady-winner-from-last-year as she makes her way in the wave of guys. Good technique, running with the elbow a bit on the side for having a bit of space and avoiding people to come and push too close to her. Got a smile from Paul and we have started. I have music in my head and that feels good (I mean really “in my head” as I have no mp3 with me). Easy funny run towards the little bridge. We probably look like cows going finally to the other side of the field where the grass is greener 🙂 Carefully running up and then up the pavement. We have already good place among the runners. Careful still along the bridge for not falling and down on the other side. Easy-peasy-that’s-so-funny! 🙂 Having Paul slightly before me looking back from time to time. I feel the tempo is not crazy fast as in Copenhagen, but doubting seriously it is slow as I thought it would be. Daring a look at my watch when passing km1 and seeing a 3:56-tempo… Eeeeeeeuuuuh…what? This ain’t easy start. OK, we still have time to slow down. We WILL eventually slow down. Right? Passed on the left and right by (too) enthusiastic runners and on the slope on the side of the first bridge, I hear the cheering of Mum, closely followed by a few cool runners who cheer for me on my name after hearing her 🙂 Best of luck to you too! Passing Dad on the right and more cheering all around. All good and fine. Passing km2 a bit slower, but still at 4min-tempo. Paul is a bit more before me and I decide to skip following him as it would mean running faster than I planned. And I want my 87 minutes (blank or not!). Running along the river looking like a snake is once again an experience. Pretty calm and empty of people, the next 2km are just kilometers to run and that’s it. Avoiding the fall on the pavement, and the railways. Avoiding the runners who still try to pass on the left, the right and why not, just putting themselves right before me and slowing down afterwards… you name it! Could see the long line of runners along the river and the first fast ones far far away already! Sun shining out there. Quite enjoyable. Got to the little down-under-the-bridge-and-up-after-that. This is what is killing one’s tempo. Those small ups&downs on the road. Finally reaching km5. Recognizing from the day before where I had been left and then ran all the way to the bridge. Felt in well-known territory and that felt nice. Nothing really happening there. Apart from a tall runner passing me and me passing him and him passing me again and so on. Until we reached km8 with Île Barbe on the right and where I noticed that this guy had no clue I was existing apparently! He had headset on and probably loud music (ok, this one is for free…). But I got really angry when he ran on my right and on the little way up with the island on the right he just cut down in front of me and place himself there. NOT A CHANCE! The road was wide open, no car and seriously there was way enough place for all. So he got a loud “HELLO THERE! WATCH OUT!” from little-me and from this moment, I did not get bothered any more. Down the little slope and more run run run. And here it came…the little nasty-evil hill around km9. Well… it arrived, and disappeared. I felt way stronger and fitter than last year on this one. Last year I needed all the cheering from Olivier A for getting to the top (and no I was not going to walk then, but would have probably slowed down quite a bit). This year was not such year. I even took the final 50-60m on the top of the toes. Feeling strong, knowing that after the uphill…comes the downhill. Which I took very controlled actually. Took a first Dextrosol there (more for training in how and when taking extra energy than because it was needed) Happy to have gotten a few places there, we continued along the river to soon reach km10 and the little bridge Paul Bocuse. Clocking my 10K under 41 minutes. That was more than good enough. And hop! Bridge and then downhill. Got kind cheering from both the guys I passed and the very few passing me. Took another dextrosol at the water station after the bridge with a little (not enough) water and that was it. Half was done and half was to go!

 

Everything seemed to go as planned. No rush, Just happy to run. The stable pace from the first half continue a bit, feeling that I just had to roll easy-peasy the next 6km to the tunnel. Which I did. I think. Met a older marathoner around km11. He asked me what I was running and answered the half. He quickly calculate and cheered a bit telling at this pace that was a sub90 guaranteed. I ran along with him for a while. Got a little deep around km13, focus was not 100% by then. Took a Dextrosol and calculated that I was going to miss my plan for reaching km15 (under 62 minutes). Which made me a bit sad. Well, still a bit under 90 minutes, but not in the 87-range. Which I really really wanted. I reached another km-sign and could not really read it. Did not want to check my watch neither. I was so scared it would indicate km13 and that I would be way off my plans. But good to see it was km14 and that – for sure – I was slowing down, but I was was still in the race! My race! Km15 was reached within target (Yiiipii!). Had been passed earlier by a guy to whom I asked whether there was/were gal(s) behind me. A bit surprised he recognised that nope. He hadn’t seen any for a while and that I might have been alone on this race 🙂 Good! I understood by then that I was still in 4th place as I had been passed by a gal around km5. I had here in sight for a long while, but it was tricky to catch up with her (which I understood why a bit after the finish line…). One last Dextrosol right before the water station and then we were at km16. This is where the marathoners and half-marathoners are separated. Said good luck and good bye to my runner-in-crime. Got it back as well. And that was it. A little deep when entering the tunnel…this is in the middle of it that I lost the second place of the race last year. So really wanted not to let it happen today! Started the tunnel with a bit tired legs. Last year Olivier A helped a lot with cheering and encouragements and keeping the pace (which was quite slow then) was going fine. Here it was only me, myself and I and no help from outside. Passed by a few runners who encouraged me pretty kindly. Passed km17 a bit slow in the middle of the tunnel. My watch was still indicating the kilometer-mark properly until then. After km17, it started to show very slow pace and honestly I did not know what to believe. But 4:27-pace I was pretty sure that I was NOT that slow running. Tricky to breathe inside the tunnel. Tricky feeling to run and not seeing the start nor the end. Tricky not to know how long is left. Tricky to have strange-funky-watery music played inside the tunnel….and here it came… I could actually SEE the light at the end of the tunnel! For real! And it was sunshining! Yooohooo! Got along with a guy right before the end of the tunnel and we encouraged each other. OMG! Less than 3km to go when we reach the bridge… and then downhill and turning right. Lifted my arms to wave to the little crowd there and got the response I wanted 🙂 Uplifting cheering! The motivation was on the top. And there I could not yet see them, but heard them from far away. My best-ever crew was at their right position! One at the start almost of the bridge and the second one in the middle. Could just not stop smiling! Sunshine had reached the building! And the slope ended and then the bridge. “Strong legs, lift the knees” – I recalled all the words from Olivier A last year at this special place. Passed two guys. And then it was a little down and then around the roundabout and left and then abrupt right-turn again, where a guy throw me a “You are the 4th! You are the best! Only 2km to go!”. I still had no idea how far I was from the 3rd one. Passed km19 without really noticing until I did it (note: this was a large air-filled arch above the street apparently…). Reaching place des Terreaux. Was very careful not to fall on the slippery ground. Looked at all the runners who were turning then and running “back” towards km20. Could not see a single chick. And same procedure after turning back…no gal after me neither. OK. Tried to accelerate and then turn right into Rue de la République. Noticed by then that I had forgotten to take my red gel. No time now. Passing km20. Still looking good. Had difficulties to calculate how fast I should run to get under 88 minutes, but under 87 was lost for sure. Not too much fun to run on the hard pavement of this large pedestrian street. But there there was way more people at the end. And if I was to miss 87minutes-blank anyway, I could at least enjoyed the waving and cheering of the crowd! Turning right, along Place Bellecour. Sun shining. Passing two more guys and another left turn. Hearing someone screaming at his friend he was good to reach 87 minutes and I took this as my new mission. NOT letting this guy too far from me. Final left turn. I remained on the right side this time. Less people there. Another gear had been passed. Could accelerate without any problem. Where was the clock? Could not see what I was aiming for… And that.was.it! Stopped the watch. I.AIN’T.TIRED… Where is the rest of the race?!?!

Official time: 1:27:14 (i.e. a new second-best half-marathon! 12 seconds faster than Copenhagen two week before!!! and on this route! Brilliant!)

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

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Caught up by the speaker after the finish line, who recognised me and told me I had missed the podium this time and was fourth in the race and that was still good. Grabbing the mic, I answered that I trained a bit and reached the finish line 3 minutes faster than last year…but that the other chicks had apparently trained a bit too! And that with an invitation to next year’s race, I would probably even run faster! 🙂 Yap! Happy and very satisfied and absolutely not tired. Feeling nice and light, jogged (!) to the massage tent. On the way I met the 3rd lady, who was looking pretty exhausted. Had finished 2 minutes before me. And that was then I noticed that I had been following a guy with a pink tshirt and not her with her pink tshirt… Congratulating her and heading to the refreshment table. Water and cereals bars. Then queue to the massage. Got a long and nice massage of both legs. Was asked if I had been running as apparently the leg muscles were not showing sign of it (apart from sensitive Achille’s…). Banana and more cereal bars and a cup of Coke and jogged back to the Renault Trucks tent. More people than this morning there! Between the half-marathoners arriving and the 10K-runners on the departure. And still the best ever crew with red jacket from RT 🙂 Met my own best-ever crew. A few pic. Sun shining, meeting more colleagues and friends. Sunshine and happiness were floading here! Wonderful Sunday morning!

What next? Quick change of clothes in the tent (yaaaaa.. it was full of people, but honestly I did not really bother. I could not get back home in sweaty/wet outfit and risk to catch a cold. Better strip and have dry clothes on. Ate at almost all little table (pain aux raisins, scrambled eggs, drink juice, got a cake). SO very well-organized! Then time to drive back home, have a well-deserved shower, nice lunch and took a bit of rest for a while. Best finish of the week ever! Once more confirmation of good form. Just want the sun to be kept high and shiny up there and all will be fine!

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

Weather: 15.0° Cloudy, Feels like 15.0°C, 5 kph wind, 94% humidity – perfect weather conditions. Could not ask for better, really. Wind non-existant, sun shine just as much as perfect. What to ask for more?

Food: breakfast (chia seeds + green mix + gatorade + banana) @4:30am, red juice @6:30am, after: water, banana right after the race. Later in the RT tent: mini pains aux raisins, scrambled eggs w/bacon, orang juice, water. Late lunch around 2pm (?)

>During: little gatorade right before the start, Dextrosol 1 @km9, 10.5, 13 and 15+.

Gear: SOC SWE hotpants + sports bra. Shoes delivered as usual. Just adoring them!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

14/ would sound a bit cocky to set a 13 for the whole race, but having set a 14 for Copenhagen, this one was surely on a lower effort level. Probably a good 13/low 14. Did not feel making any effort throughout the race. Just running. For sure there was a deep at a moment, but never it has felt that the effort level was very much higher than the rest of the race. Very satisfied to have run slightly faster on this route compared to Copenhagen which was pretty flatter (but windier!). No tired body, apart from tired and sensitive Achille’s. No sign of racing the day and days after. Good sign?

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: confirming my subscription to the “sub90-club” 🙂 And even better to get close to this 87 minutes once more and within so short notice! Very good for a training-race!

NOTE: Weather-wise, nothing to complain at all about! Perfect temperature. Sun shine. Humidity but ok-level. No wind. What else to ask for?

NOTE: Time and place? This went precisely according to plan. Finish time is fully satisfactory, especially for a training-race. Place in the race is fully satisfactory as I had really no chance for the two first places on the podium, and for the third one this year, I would have had to push a bit more actually… So yap! All fine!

NOTE: Warmup? Same procedure as last year with Olivier A. Worked perfectly. For sure was freezing a bit before start, but the warmup ended up quite close to the start (well, close enough). So good!

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? Not a chance I can tell I have been drinking properly during the race. Throw most of the water on my head for cooling down. And that felt enough. Took a few gloops at km15-water station and that was enough. Got cramps under the feet during the after-race massage and the first question I got was “did you drink properly during the race?” and my answer was “nope. Did not need to drink”. Dextrosol was easy to take and I definitely did not need the final gel. For the double distance however, I would have taken it.

NOTE: Real nice and cozy race. Not very many watching on the side of the river, but that’s fine for me. They compensate with a warm welcome when reaching the final stretch along Place Bellecour, and that is working well for me. Highly recommended!

Lots of thanks as usual for all who gave supporting words during training and those who actually cheering along the race. Thanks for Marianne C who took two very-well located places for cheering and that was just great! A very special thank too for the Renault Trucks helping team, who made the life of runners so much easier before and after the race! Always a pleasure to meet them! And of course, a huge thanks to my best-ever crew on-site (and the one off-site too!).

Run in Lyon slogan this year was : “RIL, what else?” and indeed, I could not think about anything else. But the warm-up is still going on…


Race Report – Prinsensminne 2016/8/13

wp-1471194606502.jpg

Happy sub90-runner 🙂

Planned: sub90. Training-race. Tempo longrun

Actual: 1:29:00 – PB on this route (1st time run :-P). Half frozen before warmup, drizzle and strong headwind for the first half, cliff and sand for the second half… Still not understanding really how it all worked out so well!

Windy-rainy weather for an wavy route with beautiful landscapes and views all around. Easy and comfortable pace throughout the race. No pushing really, even when accelerating a bit in the middle . Counting on sub90 but lost the hope of 87:xx after km17…still hoping for the sub 🙂 More than happy. And definitely ready for a second half of the same kind!

Place: 5 – all women 🙂 / 3 age category / 42 all runners 🙂

Splits (unofficial – Garmin)

Split

Time

Diff Min/km Place
5km 00:20:52 20:52 04:11

8

10km 00:42:01 21:09 04:14

8

halfway 00:44:19

6

15km 01:02:56 20:55 04:11

6

20km 01:24:41 21:45 04:21

5

Finish 01:29:00 04:19 04:19

5

Totals

Place 5
Place (age) 3
Place (total) 42
Time total 01:29:00
Average pace 04.13 min/km

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before

After workday, easy run under the rain in order to ensure there would be no problem with the planned outfit. Picked-up the rental car and got the evening to prepare my racing bag. In bed @8:45pm, dead tired. Awaken again around 11:30pm – had to check the alarm were set correctly…

Race day

Alarm rang at 6:15am. Felt a bit off, but took only few seconds to get up and direction kitchen to take out of the fridge all the needed stuff for the sandwiches. Then shower, wake up GET and get them to have breakfast while I got myself prepared. Breakfast turned into a sesame bagel with honey and mint tea. Green mix with red juice and orange juice was also there. Time to get all the necessary stuff in the bags (food for GET, race stuff for me). Checked at least 4 times that the race outfit and backup outfit were in the bag: race outfit for today will be SOC shorts small trapezes, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK, sunglasses (in case of sun or wind only), Boston cap (in case of heavy rain only) and on the feet, the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Swifty).

7:15am – all in the car and ready to drive south to Halmstad. Quite calm and easy drive, under the rain. But ok. Arrived at the race place around 8:50am. Parked the car and walked to the start area to pick-up my BIB. Quick recognition to see that the arrival would be on a grass field and the start on gravel (with sharp turn right after the start of the race). Just had to wait to 11am for starting the warmup. Not much fun for GET to remain in the car while I rested. Changed to racing gear, applied the necessary anti-chaffing cream. No hesitation for the outfit. 17ºC outside will not have me wearing more clothes on, even if it rains cats & dogs… Enough time for 3 pistops before the warmup even started…

11:00am – start of the 10K-race and time to get to the start area for dropping the bag and warmup a bit. Got a plastic poncho on as it was slightly rainy and I did not want to look like an ice cube from start. Final kisses and goodbye and headed to the start area. Dropped my bag to the appropriate tent and orientated me on where we would be running. Met Robban A, Jimmy V and Annika-Ultra. Quick hugs and started my warmup, rain poncho still on. Took the first 2.5km of the race. Good to see that it would start on gravel, then middle of the forest, then asphalt and then back to gravel and then sand along the sea. Strong headwind and rain while running was definitely expected, but not fully appreciated. Had read the weather forecast planning wind of 30km/h… (if only they are heading to the finish line, that’s better!). Took the final 2.5km of the race in the woods, quick pitstop, got passed by the fast 10K-runners. Finally back to the start/finish area and warmup completed. No longer frozen. Kept the poncho on anyway.Taking a powergel with a little water. Breakfast feels a bit far away now…

11:45am – final pitstop before heading to the start. Meeting Jesper E and got a large hug and smile. All the warmth in the world in it 🙂 Not much to do apart from getting under cover for the final minutes before start.

11:50am – nice surprise to see GET coming and cheering for the start. Final kisses and then it was time.

11:55am – OK, nobody really seemed to head for the elit-start but a bunch of runners were anyway in the 4min/km-corral… Checking a bit the competition (yes, it is a training-race, but always nice to see who’s in it… Hoped for being in top 10 secretly. Last 2 previous year finish-times were decent enough for ensuring that. But you never know…).

11:57am – large smile and cheering from Jesper E. Surprisingly no pushing at all in the start corral.

11:59am – ok a bit of movements towards the starting line, but really? No pushing?!?!? Final try on my mp3. Off with the rain-poncho…hearing the countdown…

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THE RACE

12:00pm – GO! Well, quite easy jog towards the starting mat. Still no pushing… Liking this race already! Seeing Jesper E on my left side. Nice to know 🙂 Passing the mat, starting the watch and the mp3 and starting to run. Not a chance to even guess the pace I am having, turning right and preparing to throw my rain poncho to GET on the right of the path. All fine, got my last cheering-squad smiles and I’m on my own. Following Jesper E for a little while, but guessed it won’t take long before he gets into a faster pace than I plan to have. Thinking to have the 2 first km completed in 4:10-pace and then fight the elements to keep up the pace up to km5. Then if all is going well, try to accelerate towards km10 and see after what is left. Yapp! Sounded like a plan! Running starts in the little wood path, still no pressure and no pushing. A bit careful for the slippery parts I noted during the warmup. Passing the first little wooden bridge (of many during the race…). Got passed around km1 by a bunch of runners which I think started slightly after me. Passed by 2 gals (a blue singlet and a black cap) and right after one with a white singlet (got to her at the end though…). Hmmm… ok. No clue how many gals are already before us, but I am then already 4th in the group here. More running in the wood and we finally reach the asphalt…and the headwind. There it is tricky to run. I have a group of 5-6 runners (including the 2 gals) before me, but they are 20m ahead and I am not too sure I want to follow their rhythm already. Have to make a decision, because the wind is not fun to fight alone. Being in the pack would mean running faster than my plan, but at least I would have a wind-shield. Chose the second option to run on my own and fight the wind by myself. A quick look behind me showed there was no runner close enough to make me slow down and join a pack behind me. OK. Passing km2 in 8:15 or so… Great. A bit faster than planned, but it feels good. Rain pouring. Seeing Jesper E disappearing when we are to turn left and soon after the pack of runner before me…and then me. Quick after a new right turn and we are on the gravel part under the trees, with the sea on the left-side. Nice view indeed. Skipping the first water-station. Focusing on the two guys before me and checking that I am not dropping to much behind the two gals. The two guys before me seem to run together as one is just stepping right in the footsteps of the guy before him. Annoying a bit as the pace is not the one I want. Not daring to pass them that early though. Decide to have patience and run slightly on the side of the second guy instead. This way I keep a full visual on the back of the blue singlet gal. Only a few meters ahead of me. The stretch towards km5 is going like on rail. No check on the watch, just following the two guys and the blue singlet gal. That would do. Trying to adapt to this environment which I am not familiar with. Terrain, I can do. Not good, but ok. But sand?… Feel a bit slippery under the feet, but the pace is fast enough for not needing to bother. No much passing during this time apart from a couple of guys maybe. The gal with a black cap is quite ahead of us, but still in sight. Reaching the cross-roads of km6. Another little bridge to cross. Straight forward on terrain, seeing a goat crossing the road across a few runners in front of me. Funny! Quick check at the watch and I am on time. 4:10/11-tempo. That is fine. Fearing to reach the little hill which pops up on the elevation chart of the course. Have not been able to find a corresponding hill/slope at home, but when turning finally left and seeing the little slope ahead, I think that OK, here is the start. Just take it easy and nice and the rest of it will follow. Seeing the blue singlet gal and the two guys getting a bit further from me, but it does not matter. I have my rhythm and I’ll get back to my former place soon. By the time I have finished to think we turn right and I am looking a bit surprised that there is no hill ahead. No slope. No nothing. Was the scary slope the one we just run up? The one I took “easy on the top of the toes”? Seeing shortly the sign km7 and yes, it confirms what I though. The main difficulty is apparently behind me. The pace has dropped a bit to 4:12 but according to the description of the course, the fast km are soon arriving after km8. The blue singlet gal has passed the black cap gal by now. We are on asphalt since a while and when we turn left to the bike path, it just feels…good! Those long stretches…just what I like! Taking first Dextrosol around km9. Considering quickly what to do then. Accelerate to get the fast km, fast or run mostly moderate and keep strength for the end. Screw the second option, and get the fast km fast, and see what is left after them. Noted that I passed the 10km slightly on 42minutes. OK, could have done faster, but that felt all ok. New dextrosol. The past 2km have just disappeared like magic, and the same for the two gals which I passed during this time. The blue one was quite close so that felt fine. But the black cap one was looking strong in her run. Even better feeling when passing her. First half is done. Lapping it on my watch for checking it later…

Turning left and short after right again. Slightly up. And I try to remember how much longer is left before we see the sea…and here it comes…BREATHTAKING! This view is so wonderful that it is almost annoying to continuing running without stopping and taking it all in! Continuing the run though 🙂 Having a guy right before me that I want to pass, but not sure I will be able to keep on this place (and pace) on the way up (as who says “running down”, says “running up right after”…). Passing him on the way down the cliffs and I take all my focus possible to run up the path towards the next km. Thinking of what this smart ultrarunner told me a few months ago “you get good at what you train for”… And indeed, I have trained those ups & down and this wind and all this. OK, would have been great to try the race route as well, but could not make it really. Happy like h*ll to reach the top without stop, without whining and with actually a large smile on my face. Continuing under light cover and then back to the sea side. The wind is now from the side and slightly behind, coming by waves, which is a very nice push towards the finish line! Passing a swimming place and heading forwards. Trying not to check the watch, but knowing I have dropped in pace. Still looking good, but not super-fast good… On the way to km14 and passing two Iron man guys. Getting some more cheerings when they see it’s a gal is passing them. I answer by a smile and a thanks. I think… Next. Seeing a few Solvikingarna guys running together ahead of me. Good formation. Next goal is to get closer to them. Which is happening sooner than I expect. I must be breathing so crazy heavily, because the fist guy I am passing is actually looking back to look at me. Trying a smile towards him. Unsure it worked. Passing him and a few to go. Down to the harbour and hearing there that there are not that many women ahead of me. Great! Good news of the day. I can feel the blue singlet gal is right behind me, but not dropping on the pace, I continue the best possible on this terrain which I am not to well-trained for. Reaching km15 finally. The same crossroad as km6. Seeing the little bridge I have passed not such long time ago and now heading towards the final km of the race. And as I feared, the blue singlet gal is passing me right then. Fairplay I cheer for her (always fun to give a push to other): Get some cheering back. Trying to hang along, but honestly, cannot do that on this terrain. Another dextrosol (took one at km13 too). Feeling fine, but not like it is a life-or-death race. Nice and easy. Seeing km16-sign and getting closer to a Solviking then. Will hang to his footsteps until the end. The cheering along the route is priceless. Music in the ear is definitely driving the pace. Taking red gel at km18 in order to have time to swallow it before the water station of km18.5. Really thick gel. Loosing a bit of time taking it. But the drinking worked fine. Not enough maybe. But it is now less than 3km to go. Calculations are going in my head. Maximum 15minutes if I am at 5min-tempo. Have actually no idea what pace I am having. Surely the average pace is now closer to a 1:29 than the 1:27. but still. Not yet over the 90minutes… The run in the woods is a killer. Turning right and left and right and left. Feeling like running in the stomach of a snake. Increasing the volume of the music. Focusing on whatever I can. Screw the time now and just don’t let anybody passing me. Seeing a gal with a white singlet on the side of the path about 2km from the arrival. Not looking well, but can hear she starts running right after I passed her. Tunnel-vision? This is an understatement! With the trees all around, the little narrow path we are taking…there is no need to adapt the vision…we are IN a tunnel! And seeing the 20km-mark. The few little wood-bridges have been passed . Without falling…Yoooohoo! The best vision is yet to come, with seeing GET on the left side of the road (thanks for the green rain jacket easy to spot!). Getting extra strengths from them. Soon after hearing and then seeing Jimmy V and more cheering. One more little turn, a few more meters on this stupid grass… Seeing the clock ticking…1:28:56..57..58…PASSING THE FINISH LINE! Stopping my watch. 1:29:01. Done!

Official time: 1:29:00

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Walking a bit around as the legs never really like to just stop like that after running so well 🙂 Getting my medal. Seeing the large smile of Jesper E and getting a nice sweaty hug. Having a guy helping me to take off the chip attached to my shoelaces. Sitting on a chair. GET finding me and congratulating for my 5th place 🙂 More chat with Jesper who got to the finish line before me in a very decent and fast time. Got a few pics too 🙂 Passing through the tent getting a banana, a little orange drink and a little cardemumma bun (which goes directly to G as I already feel bad smelling it…allergy ain’t that fun!). After the tent, getting more water and spotting fastfeet Robban A who got a new PR! Heading towards the massage tent where I happily see Annette K who kindly help me with my tired calve and little sensitive right Achille’s heel. Meeting Peter S who also run with new PR. Wow…so many fast people there!

Time to get back home. Walking to the shower place, changing and then under a heavy rain getting to the car. Drive home with a short stop for celebration meal at Max (hamburger with extra bacon, French fries and large coke :-)). This was a good day for racing!

*********

Weather: 16.1° Light Rain, Feels like 16.1°, 23 kph WSW wind, 94% humidity – Drizzle almost throughout the race, strong headwind up to km8-9, then sidewind/tailwind on the way back

Food: breakfast (bagel w/honey + tea + banana + green mix/red juice/orange juice) @6:40am / banana +water right after. Sportdrink Lidl orange while showering. Max original menu + fries + coke around 4:30pm
During: power gel apple after warm-up, Dextrosol: 1 @km9-10-11-13-15, red gel @km18 (water @km18.5)

Gear: SOC shorts small trapeze, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK. Shoes perfect for the run!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost- Purple (Swifty)
=> hole in the net – right foot 😦

14/ Nice tempo run. Effort-wise, felt all fine throughout. Surely could feel that training of the past weeks in the wind and ups&downs are helping. Not fully pushing during the race. Definitely calculated and well-controlled run. Great feeling, a bit annoyed to have missed a few seconds to get under 1:29, but all in all, a great long run at tempo pace in foreign elements!

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Second sub90 on training-race. Really want to have this done during training too…

NOTE: Had asked Jesper E to fix some nice weather and not too much wind…Turned out to be quite ok weather for running. OK, the headwind of the first half was not fun, but not crazy strong as the one I have had during a few workouts in the past weeks at home. The rain was not a problem neither. More like drizzle. The heavens just got crazy after the race with really heavy rain on the way back home… Outfit was perfect for the race 🙂

NOTE: Time and place? Well, both were as planned. But feels a bit annoying to have missed a few seconds for 1:28:xx and the gal before arrived 1min 11sec ahead of me. Cannot understand the pace dropped that much in the last 2km. My explanation is that it was mostly due to the snake-like path not really making it easy for increasing the pace…

NOTE: Definitely a great training-race. Enjoyed it from start to end. Meeting friends before and after was the cherry on the cake! (and a personal cheering-squad on site is always great to have!)

NOTE: Warmup? For once (I think?), I felt really satisfied with my warmup. Maybe could have added a few accelerations or so, but overall, good. Could definitely start at the pace I wanted from start. Not feeling anything from the right calf at all 🙂

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? Drinking was as usual close to in-existent. Tried to grab a papper mug with water 3 times. And got a few glups in the throat twice. Dextrosol was probably not needed, but it helped concentrating on something else than the wind, the competition ahead of me, the drizzle, the cliffs… Could have skipped it fully.

NOTE: crazy stressed stomach starting 2 hours after the race and rest of the day. Unsure what has gone wrong, but very happy it did not impact on the race.

NOTE: the start of the race was exactly the way I like. Calm and easy. Despite starting with the elites and crazy fast runners. No pushing, no pressure. Did not feel it, not even in the woods of the first km when the path was pretty narrow and tricky to pass people. Very well-behaved runners there!

Definitely a well-arranged race, a very nice route to run on and despite the wind and the rain, somewhere I can absolutely consider running again!


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet 2016/05/21

image

Happy finisher

Planned: sub90. Hopefully closer to 87, more likely 88. Training-race.

Actual: 1:29:44 – PB on this route 🙂 17 seconds faster than last time. A fall at start, a well-executed first 5km, a slow mara-pace following 5km and a little “bored” rest of the race. Kept on the plan for not arriving last at Swedish Championships though…

Adequate weather conditions with sunshine and a bit of (annoying) wind. Not really pushing throughout the race, a bit unsure why. But so it was. Kept on hoping for a sub90 and dropped the hope around km18 and got it back when seeing km20-mark indicating 1:25:07. And made it under the bar! Happy!…and ready for the second half…

Place: 26 Swedish half-marathon Championships, 78 – all women 🙂 / 10 age category / 1467 all runners 🙂

Splits (official – Swedish championships place)

Split Time of day Time Diff Min/km Km/h Place
5km 13:20:53 00:20:53 20:53 04:11 14.36 29
10km 13:41:44 00:41:43 20:50 04:11 14.39 28
15km 14:03:13 01:03:12 21:29 04:18 13.96 26
20km 14:25:08 01:25:07 21:55 04:23 13.69 26
Finish 14:29:45 01:29:44 04:37 04:13 14.26 26

Totals

Swedish Championships 26
Place 78
Place (age) 10
Place (total) 1467
Time total 01:29:44
Average pace 04.15 min/km

 

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

BEFORE THE RACE

Awaken at 6:30am. No longer tired. Waited a little bit before jumping into running gear and head out for a very short and slow jog for waking up the legs. Quick stop for buying 2 bottles of Powerade and then home again. Nothing special really to be done. Felt like preparing for a long run. Breakfast taken at 8:45am – chia seeds, soy milk, banana and honey on the top, glass of orange juice and a tea. And then…wait…and more wait… at least for long run or early-start races I would have eaten my breakfast in the middle of the night and got back to bed. Spent time watching tv instead. And checking 20 times or so whether my race gear were ready or not… Outfit for today will be ADIDAS Supernova Blue line shorts, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK, calve sleeves Compressports, sunglasses and on the feet, the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Their first race 🙂

11:15am – time to get ready. On with the gear. Pin the BIB on the sports bra. Final kiss before leaving and hop to the street. Met Henrik S not long from home. He preferred to walk to the start so I started to jog easily to the start. Not many people out there compared to 2 years ago (where the weather was very sunny already and hot). Today it was fair and nice. Humidity could be felt almost. Cloud cover was not helping. Reaching the start and checking the IK Jogg-meeting point. Quick chat with Peter-Jogg and then the tent for meeting colleagues. As the grass was wet, the shoes and socks got humid as well. Good to have 2 extra pairs…just in case… Chat with Henrik S finally arrived. Large smile from Patrik B getting ready as well.

12:30pm – off with the extra clothes and time for final pitstop and short warmup. The woods around the tents were not much of empty places… Did a quick back and forth jog and then headed towards the start area. Lots of people there. Checking out the gals running with yellow BIB and a Swedish flag (i.e. they were to run the Swedish Half-marathon Championships with me). Ran with my Powerade bottle and little leftover in it. Back and forth and back and forth. Not much place to warm-up really. Tried a few accelerations, but not very successful. Felt a bit lost with all the people around actually.

12:45pm – start getting ready to the start line. Drank the rest of the Powerade. Ate a sugar stuff Isostar. Noticing that lots of runners are already very quiet….when others are talking about their weekend like the race ahead is a walk-in-the-park-like…

12:55pm – “Back one more meter” says the official for the third time. Not many want to go back. Have lost my spot on the second line when a tall Swede set himself right before me…and his two buddies arrived and pressed themselves right close to him…So much for the chivalry-manners… 😛

12:58pm – more pressure from all around. Counting down. Cannot really hear anything any longer. Just staring at the guy with a gun and barely hearing the countdown…

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

THE RACE

1:00pm – BAM! The start is given. The feeling of being wild horses leaving finally the corral is definitely there. No pushing but having this human wave transporting you. Pressing the start button on my watch. Starting to run. And out of nowhere I see two male runners falling already on my right. Cannot see much of it before realizing that two small elite-women have also fallen badly in front of me. I can jump above one but that would have meant setting my foot on the second one who was right before me. Loosing my balance. Feeling the pressure of the wave moving forward. Falling and seriously fearing for my life for a short while. Bam! On the hard asphalt. Got back on my feet thanks to runners behind me (thanks whoever helped me there). Seeing Lona on my right on her way to fall. Seriously?!?!? What is happening. Everything went so fast and so slow at the same time. I check my watch and I am already on my feet. 70 meters done… Being passed by a brilliant smile and cheering from MIK Christopher. Tried to smile. Nothing is making sense in my head. Feeling tears coming close to the eyes. But strangely I am already turning left. Should I really run this? Feeling that a bad start cannot really make a good race. Well, a bad start cannot make anything good. Seeing Karin S from IF Kville ahead of me. Then a few elite gals from Stockholm. And we are at the first right turn. I am actually running. No tear made its way to the eyes. Good. Still having very confused thoughts during the first km. Cannot really understand where I am, just that my feet are running. My plan was to take it easy up to the exit of Slottskogen at 4:10-tempo. Thereafter if I could reach the bottom of the bridge around km4 at average pace of 4:06, that would be great. Then a slow up the bridge and then catch up progressively to an easy 4:06 by the foot of the second bridge. Well-thought plan for reaching the arrival under 90 minutes and close to 87. But I am now running up to Plikta. Passed by a light-and-fast-feet Lona. Smart move of her to pass on the extreme left. Passed by MIK-Jon. Nice smile again. OK, I am (almost) back on track. Running down to km2 goes like on rail. Counting down already: 19km to go… Passed by IF Linnea Staffan S somewhere there. So nice once again with a cheering and a kind smile. Sälsdammsbacken has started already. For once I decided to run on the right side….as everybody seems to believe there are faster than light and always push and press on the left side. And indeed…the right side is pretty nice to run. Apart from the guys distributing Kex choklad and really killing my rhythm. A bit slower than planned to reach the top, but feeling that it disappeared quite fast anyway. Downhill now. Passing the penguins with average pace 4:11. All according to plan. Apart from the original fall at the start… And now it is just down. Almost fell on the right turn to the street as a giant runner just pass me on the left and not-so-kindly set himself RIGHT in front of me…while turning. OK, I get a sorry and be careful. But I was NOT really in the mood for thanking him! Straight line now. Just rolling down. Feeling a bit warm. The head needs a bit of cooling as the mind is still a bit confused by the fall and not really focused. Mariaplan. All fine. Feeling warm, but ok. Reaching close to km4 and MIK-Magnus is here for cheering. Yoooohoooo! I think I might have smiled! Taking 2 dextrosol here. Not sure they are needed though. Checking the pace on my watch and it is indicating a nice and steady 4:06. Hmmmm… ok. Nice! Pressing “lap” at 4.3km in order to check who is the faster on this distance: G or me (as he has started running Cityvarvet – 4.3km – at 1pm as well). Glass of water taken and thrown on the head. Forgetting to get some in the mouth. The first up to km5 feels fine. Then a little tougher as it becomes steeper. But soon is the bridge. Km5 is passed slightly under 21 minutes. All according to plan. Now the bridge. We are about 4-5 gals running up…and I am the last one of them. But that feels ok. Looking on the right and seeing the other bridge…far away…just want to be THERE…NOW! Reaching the top of the bridge and passing 2 gals. On the downhill it feels good. I accelerate as planned. Not crazily fast, but enough to be sub4. Turn right and then straight line. THERE IT STARTED. The slowing down. Cannot understand it always happen during Göteborgsvarvet. I reach the water-station. Quick mouth-rinsing with sport drink and water on the head. Turning left and straight to Eriksberg. Yiiiippi! I saw the km7-mark (I always miss it…). Wow! 4:2x-pace has been reached now. I know that the satellites are a bit odd on this part with the buildings, but I should absolutely not be THAT slow. And no Per M to be seen for cheering and pushing me further. Feel extremely lonely there. The group of gals are ahead of me. Passing the banana station. Not even funny. Turning right and reaching the shadow of the parallel street. Slight up and crazily slow. Trying to keep up with the few gals that have caught up with me. I don’t like this. Trying to find positive thoughts. Intervals ran with Christer B and MIK-Christopher T. THAT was fun. Ok, turning right already and back to the sunny side. And the concrete water-side. Passing the sculpture and running on the straight line of Sannegården feels fine. I know I am slow. Not even sure I am at marathon-pace (although the watch tells this to me). “Come on Girl” is one of the cheering that helps the most at this moment. And hearing my name. Turning and seeing a brilliant smile from Markus R from work. Nice! Cannot really let the gal ahead of me running alone, right? Accelerating a little bit and soon reaching the 10km-mark. Under 42minutes. OK, but way slower than planned. I should be closer to 40 than to 42 I thought. Turning right and getting to the cobblestones. First half is done! At last! Only one half left to go!

Passing along Ericsson. Quite empty this year. Running a little behind the gal with pink sports-bra. Trying to keep up. No. Not trying. I AM keeping up. The wind we are having on this side of the bridge is killing me. Not the strongest. But enough to bother. WHO said we would have tailwind here?!?!? More running and missing the km11 and km12-signs (unsure there were any). 2 dextrosol for keeping me awaken. Dry in the mouth. But it feels ok. Passing another gal and the pink sport-bra one is now behind me. Reaching SVT-house and it feels too warm for being ok. Need to chill out. Where is the water station? Passing it actually as there was a bit of crowd there. Aaaaaand I got passed by the light-and-fast gal with pink sport bra. Again… Average pace has dropped to 4:14 by now. Completely off the plan of reaching the second bridge in 4:06…which I know is possible as I have done it in other half-marathons. Sub90 starts to feel a bit of an utopia by now. So I take precious seconds for passing under the arch for a photo and some high-fives. And back to the bridge. 😦 If only it could become flatter by the time all the runners ahead of me have run on it. That would be great. Have lost the gal with pink sports-bra. Not ahead of me. And when I thought I would start walking a bit, I hear my name. Turning left and seeing the large smile of Christer B. So kind to give cheering on his way up. Hopefully I answered something nice back as well. Looking at his way up, I just want his legs! They are just light and fast and eat probably bridges for breakfast every morning! All good. I calculate that if he makes it in 1:27 I would be above 90minutes. But the way he runs makes me think that the fastest plan is on its way! Happy! Caught up by the gal with pink sport-bra on the top of the bridge. Noticing now that she has music in her ears. I WANT MUSIC IN MY EARS TOO! I know it helps crazily much! Running down and around the foot of the bridge. Passing the first tables of water and getting one paper mug and all on the head again. There she comes again. Passes me and will never let me pass her again. Running slow now. Well, don’t finding the motivation to run faster as sub90 is soon out of reach. So it felt as good to just “finish” and keep some strengths for more run later in the day or the day after. The weird thing is that there are strengths left. I just don’t want to use them. Looking right and left. Reaching Kopparmera and seeing the large smile from Sandrine B. Yooooohooo! Nice again. More motivation. Sub90 ain’t lost until I said so (well, or until I drop the pace even more…). The way up to Poseidon statue feels fine. I am running on the side or close to another IF Linnea chick. She makes it looks easy and light with a poney-tail and long hair moving from left to right all the time. Seeing Lona on her way down and soon turning. Got passed by Henrik S and more cheering. Focus on the way up. Hearing my name once more. Unsure who but I turn and smile and wave. Now the turning point is almost there. Catching a large smile in the crowd and one more cheering in Jay P 🙂 Wow! That IS cool to have so many cheering on the way up. One glass of water taken. Two sponges taken and the way down is now reached. 4.3km to go. Nothing. G has run that earlier. And my cheering-squad should be waiting at the planned spot for me to pass within 1:15/18. Cannot let them down really. Once again feeling that Vasagatan is the most boring place on Earth for running, but knowing they are waiting after it give some strengths. Skipping the water. Just want to see them. Taking off the neckwarmer from my hair and throwing it to them. So nice with their warm smiles. Now it is time to run a bit faster. Forget the sub4 as it was planned. Just get to the end. Not too much above 90minutes. That should work. Final stretch before the bridge. Cheering from Solvikingen Stefan 🙂 And the bridge. Which I take…on the top of the toes! And it works. I knew I was not running out of strengths. Far from it. And down to km20. Seeing the clock indicating 1:25:xx right when I pass it. This tired brain of mine is calculating quickly that running the last 1.1km in 5min would give right on 90minutes. I can better than that. Seeing the IF Linnea poney-tail gal probably seeing the same clock as she is accelerating as well. Passing people there. Always feel so good. Now Villa Belparc. And hearing not much from the crowd. Just focused on finishing this. Little slope at the end. 500m to go. Reaching the gravel part. 300M to go. Don’t know how I got into the stadium, but I am in it. Quick check on the watch and I should make it. Seeing Solviking Hanna passing me in her final sprint. I am fine with pushing slightly to get under 90 minutes. By 16 seconds. Mission accomplished!

Official time: 1:29:44

 

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Got water sprayed on my face. Meeting Henrik S. More smiles from IF Linnéa group. Hugs to Lona and Stefan. Congratulating to great times. Walking slowly to the end. Got hug from Christian L from jogg. More smiling! Off with the stupid scrath-band with the chip. Which once again got me a nice burn mark on the ankle. Starting to feel again the pain from the fall at the start of the race. It was gone during the first 5km and felt a bit in the downhill from the first bridge…and remains throughout the race. Nothing stopping the running. But annoying enough to wonder what is going one. Getting my medal. Grabbing a banana and chocolate cookie. Glass of sport drink. Chat with Henrik S to get back to the tent. Crossing over the human wave. At the tent, meeting a large smile from Patrik B who ran in indecently 1:14 (!!!). My cheering squad has also reached the tent. Perfect. Off with the wet clothes. On with dry ones. A short massage. A hot-dog. And walk back home.

Weather: 12.8°, Feels like 12.8°, 14 kph S wind, 82% humidity – probably 12/13ºC at start. But at the arrival it felt much warmer. 15/16º? Windy on Hisingen side. Humidity? Definitely!

Food: chia seeds+soy milk+banana+orange juice+tea @9-ish/
water/powerade: 2dl every 30min (alternate)
During: 2dextrosol @km4 and 12
Right after: banana, 1 full glass of ISOstar. In the tent: 1 hot dog. Later dinner: chicken legs & curry potatoes in oven

=> should have drunk more water after the race

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova Blue line shorts, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK, calve sleeves Compressports, super fast ADIDAS Adizero Adios boost Purple (Quicky).

15/ Effort-wise, it did not feel sky-high. Falling at start made the first 5-600m feeling like being in a parallel world with plenty of foolish people running away from something… Just hanging along! Up to the bridge was moderate effort, and then it just felt like drifting and reaching a nice steady marathon pace. Tough up the second bridge was probably to 16, but then down afterwards was all fine. For sure the climbing of the second bridge was not easy, but at the pace I was having, there was no real effort done. No pushing for going faster. Not really tired at the end. Not even by the sprint in the stadium (a bit unsure I even sprinted there… According to the watch the final stretch in the stadium was fast 🙂 ). Quite OK-race. Really disappointed that it did not go faster, but considering the bad start, it might have impacted on the rest of the race. No excuse here. Just trying to figure out how the first half of most of my latest marathons are always faster than this stupid race… OK. Sub90. Mission accomplished. Could definitely not say I pushed hard on this one. No need to run this race any more!

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

 

NOTE: Still have to get this done sub90 on training. Any volunteer? 🙂

NOTE: weather conditions were not optimal, but not too bad. Should have stopped throwing water on my head after km10 as when reaching Aveny and km17/18 my shorts were heavy wet and that was not comfortable to run in!

NOTE: Official results… Hmmm… Placed 93 (total women) after the race. After a check at the results, found out at least 15 results which were run by a guy instead of a woman. Dropping my place to 78. Surely nice, but hey! Stop doing this. That ain’t fun. Run under your own name or change with a guy. OR do not run that fast and get in the Top 100. This means disqualification right away.

NOTE: Official results… Hmmm(2)… got into the categor D55 (women 55). Hey! Changing age the day after the race does not make me THAT old (yet)… Changed the day after (as the age category was apparently incorrect for many)

NOTE: a good training-race. Enjoying fully the sub90 of my own as well as the other fabulous subs from friends 🙂

NOTE: warmup? Felt quite ok actually. The jogg to the start and the few back&forth and accelerations were ok. For starting at a decent and almost race-pace.

NOTE: drinking & energy during the race? Well the drinking was inexistent. Mouth-rinsing worked better. Dextrosol were a bit overcourse actually. Could have run without.

NOTE: falling at the start was not a great experience. Have to work on this (i.e. not the falling, but the starting with crazy adrenaline/testosterone filled runners…).


Race Report – Näsetloppet 2016/04/30

Näsetloppet 2016 - Happy MIKs!

Näsetloppet 2016 – Happy MIKs!

 

Planned: under 45, revised to “all under 47 is good” (review done after the warmup and recognition run prior to the race…)

Actual: 46:06 for 10.6km
place: 7th 🙂 – Happy!

BEFORE THE RACE

Pretty good night’s sleep. Heard the rain falling all night long, i.e. that would be crazy wet when we would be running. Up around 8am, reading, breakfast at 9:30am with chia seeds -choco/banana mix. Nothing to do really until leaving to the race, so spent the next 1.5hr cleaning at home (bathroom, vacuum-cleaning, dust cleansing, dishes… Well-use of the time!). Had prepared my race clothes yesterday, so it was “just” to prepare the extra change-clothes for after the race. Packed all into a bag and off to the tram. Arrived at the end of the line, took an easy walk for the 1.5km to the race start. Met Christopher T from MIK arriving at the same time and using my alternative transport choice: the bike! I had hesitated a bit between taking the bike to the start (adding a 24km ride -from/to the race) OR having the possibility to run back home after the race. Chose the second option. We headed to the place for the distribution of startkits. Changed my registration to Elite-group where Christopher would also be. Direction the changing rooms. On with race outfit and on the top long pants and warm winterjacket. Met Christopher outside and we talked about our recent marathon-adventures until we could leave our bags. Chose to do a warmup/recognition run from the start to km2.5 and the first hill. Easy tempo, all fine, chatting all the time. A bit muddy and wet, and windy (although it was a bit covered in the side of the forest). Then tested the heavy first hill and turned back down to the start. All fine. Just have to wait for the gun to fire then! Separated from Christopher now. Found a toilet in the club cabin where there was actually no queue at all. Fixed up my hair and that was it. Ready to start.

Headed to the warm-up area where people were starting to line up. Was asked if I was an elite by an person from the race sponsors and if I could talk to a little girl for which this was her first long race. Cool 🙂 I went there, talk to her a bit, cheering and then it made my day (and apparently hers as well 🙂 ) Felt very honoured to do that 🙂 Time to get to the start. No real extra warm-up, but ran until the first turn. Quick pitstop into the woods and then back to the start. A few up&down the first slope and that was it. Time to get to the corral. My watch indicated 1:55pm already… Quick chat with a girl from Solvinkingarna. Not many ladies in the elite-group but guessing that all will fire off pretty fast and I will eat their dust. Not that it is my plan, but on this particular course, there is not a chance I will hold their tempo!

Going forward to the starting line. Final cheering from/to Christopher T. 45 seconds to start already. Light light rain falling. 30 seconds. Everything goes so fast, but it feels so slow at the same time… Did I really register to the race yesterday evening?
The RACE

Start is given and all run ahead of me 🙂 Getting use to it. It is just that for such a short distance as here (10.6km) there is no way I can catch up… Good start, feeling fine. No pushing. Everybody in his/her best behaviours! Easy to the first turn. All the elite group has passed me apart from one lady. She does it after the first right turn into the border of the forest. Easy run. For a short moment I am alone and the start-group behind us catch up on me. All fine. One gal gets to my side and she has a good tempo. Well, this is not km2 yet and the hills are a little after. Passing the first km sub4 was expected, but it did not feel the effort level was high. Second km is on terrain already, so definitely slower still decent 4:16-pace. Turning right after the 2km sign and it is light rain falling. And headwind blowing. Only focus is on breathing correctly (and pretty calmly actually!) and getting ready for this stupid first hill. Almost considered to stop right there at the bottom of it. But nope. I take it nice and easy (read: “tough and breath-heavy”), trying to keep up with the lady that passed me at km2. The race is having a nice dressing code: all runners have their running tshirts on (green for men and pink for women) except for the elites. So it is quite easy (for the ladies) to spot where other ladies are in the green wave of men runners 🙂 I keep to the one lady close to me as the one I can see if too far ahead. Finally up this hill. Want to stop and just be happy of this achievement. But nope. There are still some kilometres to run! Passing km3 a bit too heavy-breathing to my liking, but I am hanging in there. Downhill now, taking off my nose the neckwarmer as there is no much wind that annoy my breathing. And I can also smile to people on the side who are cheering for the runners. All fine. Got passed by the gal right before the water-station. Which I am skipping. And I got ahead of her. Takes 200m before she is in the lead again. Now we are running along the sea. Nice. There I did my training last summer prior to Öloppet Sprint. I know this path. And I don’t like it particularly… (well, during training it is nice. During race it is not). And uphill after the little beach. Killing my steps. But I want to keep close to the pink gal. On the top finally (and no it is not a 1km-stiff hill, but it feels like it!). And downhill. All fine. Still fine. Getting out of the seaside and back to the parking place with the water station. Taking one water cup. Try to drink and most of it get into my face and my left eye. I actually laugh at myself then. Pace has dropped with this stupid thing and I have to catch up with the pink gal. Which is done quite soon. Passing the halfway mark feels good. I get closer to her and tell that “one half is done, one half to go”. Receiving a nice smile and thanks and good luck to you to. 🙂 All fine on this race. No one is really passing us. We run along each other. I take the lead and run left carefully on two small wooden planks set on a muddy/watery small area (great to have that in a turning point as well…). And it is back to asphalt (thanks!). Run run run and more run. The brain is not really happy that the legs continue to run. The legs are not fully understanding why the brain does not tell them to stop. And I am here in the middle of the conversation… Counting down the km. That feels so crazy short! Compared to marathons where the countdown is quite long to get to 1 figure km… Passing km7 happy. And warm. Off with the singlet and the gloves. MUCH BETTER! There are ups & down. Not too tricky, but not knowing really where to turn is annoying. Should have done some recognition for the full route prior to the race… Too late now. I know we are getting to an awful hill like the first one, when we reach km8 or so. Have the pink gal behind me now and am a bit ahead as I cannot see her in the corners of my eyes when I turn right. And wow! Getting to another hill-slope-call-it-what-you-want-but-it-is-not-flat! Decide to actually walk…10 seconds. One guy passes me. And then I continue. This gave the pink gal the time to catch up with me. We hang along and when she passes me, she is cool enough to encourage and tell there is so little left to run now. Grate her with a nice smile 🙂 And finally the downhill from km9 or so. Which – with my head doing calculation – means 1.6km left to go: Yeaaaahhhh! This is tricky to actually consider a race of 10.6km instead of 10km. Not that I have checked my watch since km2. Have no idea how long we have been running (Oh, yes, I did check at km5+ where it was “kind-of” the middle and I passed 22:38. Meaning that 45minutes was still achievable (the higher hand of 45 minutes, but still 45 minutes…). Down down and more down now. Passing between cheering people close to shops. And suddenly we arrive to the little tunnel under the road. Tunnel that Christopher had shown me during our warm-up. Yippie! Not much long then. When turning left to the final straight line, I try to see if there is any pink tshirt behind, but nope. None to be seen. Passing two guys on this final stretch. And it feels so incredibly long. Was it THAT long during the warm-up? Has someone stretched the street to add a few100 meters?!?!? Got passed by a crazy fast guy about 50m from the final right turn. He is young. He probably does not understand what he is doing 😛 It makes me happy to see this actually. And got extra strengths to push after the final right turn. Hearing the speaker saying another female runner is coming. Lifting my arms and giving a nice smile to the people cheering. And that’s it! Missing the 45+minutes but so very happy to cross this finish line.

=> official time: 46:06 – place 7

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Weather: 10.0° Rainy, Feels like 7.2° , 23 kph S wind, 66% humidity – quite nice weather to run actually.

Food: chia seeds+choco/banana mix at 9:30am, banana about one hour prior to the race, right after the race: 6-7 pieces of energybars (homemade – yummy), banana during cooldown
During: 2 dextrosol right before start, 2 about km3,5, 2 around km8,5

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova shorts Blue line, MIK singlet black, compression socks compressport, arm sleeves black, SOC windgloves, neckwarmer Icebug.

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Swifty)
************

16/ Difficult to set an effort level here. I would rather find a full marathon easier on the effort level than this race. But having definitely not push much, it cannot get that high. Would have very much like to have a flat race and see how was the form for a 10K. But that was not today!
NOTE: Hilly is far from my speciality or preference. Gravel and terrain follows closely. During training that is one thing. But during a race… Good to have done this one anyway. Very good training!

*********

AFTER THE RACE:

Getting home-made energybars (yummy! Especially the one natural with oats!). Getting my medal, drinking some water. Meeting with Christopher at the bags-drop. A bit of chatting. We take a couple of photos and then easy cooldown round round round the football field. Enough. I am cold now 🙂 On with some more clothes, getting more of those energy bars. And goodbye to club buddy. Changing to other clothes (i.e. putting dry clothes on wet racing clothes… wonderful feeling!). Watched the podiums ladies and guys. Headed to the bus stop. No running back home. My butt is feeling too cold and it ain’t fun to run in sweaty wet clothes. That was it!

NOTE: For an unplanned race, on a very strange distance, on a non-preferred hilly route, after a couple of weeks with annoying hip… that was a good Saturday training run!

NOTE: According to Garmin I was in the max zone from start to end… 95% of max… Would be good to finally do this HR-max test and see what it is for real…

NOTE: Can actually think of having this race on the plans for next year 😛

NOTE: Just loved the cheering from a young boy about km8 somewhere, saying “Come on, you Gladiator-girl” 😛


Race Report – Ferrara Marathon – 2016/03/20

Ferrara-Arrival

Finish line with a smile

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

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

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

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

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

average pace: 4:17min/km

Garmin splits:

Split                                    time               diff              min/km

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

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

M Day-5

A few days before…

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

M Day-4

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

M Day-3

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

M Day-2

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

M Day-1

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

****
M Day!!!

Before the race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Countdown to 10seconds has started…

THE RACE

First half

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

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

Second half

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

Official time received later: 3:00:45.

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After the finish line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New adventures soon to come…