Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Posts tagged “Half Marathon

Kind-of-tapering, sun, more work and a training-race under the sun – weekly update…

(Week 20140512-20140518)

Easy Monday, meaning starting up early with light core exercises, then getting to work, back2back meetings, cancelled my running-lunch plans and thought finishing the afternoon working from home. Morning went as planned, but then I got two unplanned meetings at the office, which meant no going back home. Which ALSO meant I could have run at lunch with my colleagues. Saw them leaving the building with a large smile (and me aiming to the restaurant for a nice lunch with a colleague). So lunch run was replaced by an easy afternoon recovery run. Easy pace, no pressure, just nice. A bit sensitive Achilles, which I might see as a result of wearing high heels at work… Solution for race week: wearing snickers (read:running shoes)… Finished the day with packing (light) for travelling on Tuesday.

Long Tuesday started with light core in the morning to wake up the body a bit. Still sensitive heels. Then on a rush: dropp off, fast to work, bus transport for meeting, then back to the office, meetings again, change of lunch plans due to unplanned meeting and then time to get to the train station… 1:45pm and it was lunch time (finally…). Got a sub with chicken teriyaki. OK, I guess. But would trade this for sushi next time. 3hours train-trip. Tried to work but the wifi was rubbish and it was a real pain to get things done. Got the hotel and worked some more (well, what was not done in the train…) and then went out hunting for food. Rest day today. Making me crazy! Felt should have run even just a little bit this morning. Got to an Italian restaurant and ordered pasta, with chicken, mushrooms, leeks and white sauce. Real delicious. Back to the hotel.  Took 30minutes before cramping stomach. Sooooo annoying. Reacting to the cream in the pasta, for sure. But it was SO really good. Took a long hot shower to get rid of the pain and then tired got to bed. Rest day? could have passed on this one!

So what about a “very-long Wednesday” then? Up @6:20am, got ready quick to get to breakfast and there is was already more crowded than NY central station at busy hours… Got a good breakfast, unsure what we would eat during the day. Full day of network meeting. Lovely. Will get my mind busy, getting new ideas and hopefully not thinking about “how-on-earth-I-will-be-setting-a-training-workout-in-today’s-day”… Have the privilege (?) to test-drive 2 trucks (those huge ones, 25.25m and fully load (60tons!)), as well as a city bus and a truck with trailer fully loaded on a gravel road. Pretty fun! Especially when doing it in skirt/jacket and running shoes 🙂 Got finished by 4pm, but our train was not coming before 5:32pm… Did some reading. Even considered (while waiting at the train station) changing to running gear, doing my training as fast as possible so I would not miss the train… THAT is a motivator! Train delayed. Then got pretty slow and more delay. I saw the clock ticking and thought would be way too late to train. Arrived home it was still nice in the air and light, so just had to change to running gear and headed towards a flat place for one long part and pretty fast 2minutes-serie. Not high on the motivation (Heeeeellllo…… got up early and full day work and travelling…) but the 5km disappeared pretty fast (especially when I quickly checked my watch and notice Ooooh, I will soon reached 21min, have to accelerate…which I did…which made my watch beep, …which mean “too slow” I thought….which made me run even faster….still having a beeping watch….until the bout finished and I noticed that…the beeping meant too fast…that I had run 30sec faster than the fastest range planned…OK then…will see how the 2-minutes go. And then were FAST! Felt much better doing them and completed the workout with a smile…tired, but with a smile…(probably of exhaustion…). Light core to complete the day and headed to my pillow .)

And it was sunny Thursday then. Had my high heels in my bag (JIC…) but went to work in running shoes. Not a chance I will get my Achilles feel better this week if wearing high heels all the time… The sunny weather outside felt outrageous…as this was a rest day (again? yapp!). Today was a leg resting day- Light core only 🙂 And still not much sleep (but much work done…)

TGIF! Good start of the day with light core and then getting to work. Running shoes on still. Back2back meetings until lunch time and sushi-lunch in nice colleague company. Little longer lunch – always appreciated 🙂 And it was time for the final meetings of the day before heading back home. By then the clouds were a bit out but still sunny and a bit warm/heavy in the air. Running gear on, took an easy afternoon run, but the motivation was not there. The legs could run on their own, and they did. Achilles heels felt pretty sensitive, especially the right one 😦 no fun. Even though it disappears after a couple of km…it should just NOT be felt this way. Spent the evening preparing my gear, checking the weather and reading my summary from last year’s race… I know this route, but for tomorrow the objective was simply to get around under 1:37 (last year’s time) and if can do, under 1:30. But all would be good as this was not a top-prio race, more to be taken as final long run before Stockholm marathon. Especially considering the past three weeks with over 100km/week which is much for me…

Saturday was race-day. Got to run faster than last year by 7minutes and 4seconds. Got to test how to run without extra energy carried on me, but with a cheering squad ensuring I would get little @two places of the race. More on Göteborgsvarvet 2014 here. Good race, completed in 1:30:01…which makes it necessary (?) to register for next year’s edition and finally getting under 1:30!!! Sunny day, painful Achilles heels after the race, stomach cramps after race and restaurant celebration afterwards… Good day 🙂

To finish the week, came Sunday 🙂 Additional rest day. Up around 7:15am, too much light outside. Rested longer and then finally went up to start breakfast. This was time for G&E races right after lunch-time. Bicycled a bit, body felt fine, Achilles heels felt fine. Got to run as well to get from one point to another one and being able to follow the race… Yapp. Good rest day, finished with home-made pizza. What’s a difference as (rest) day made?….

Week summary: A bit sluggish feeling. Maybe (probably?) the results of three heavy weeks leading to this one. So certainly a good thing to have cut down on the volume this week. Now will start tapering before Stockholm marathon. Hoping that motivation is a bit higher up by then 🙂

Keep on running!


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet 2014/05/17

Planned: Faster than 2013 (1:37…) and if feeling fine, would be nice with sub90 (which was the objective from last year’s race…). Training-race.

Actual: official finish time 1 – 1:29:47 // official finish time 2 – 1:30:01 (on my Garmin: 1:30:02).
SO: either PB on this route by 7min18sec OR 7min 4sec faster than last year’s race… Yapp! 14seconds miss for all starting in the Elite corral… I take the second finish time (even though I would have pushed harder if I would have known…). Weather conditions: warm to hot, Motivation level: low before start, a little higher when the start gun shot, ok throughout the race (well: “ok level for a fast training workout”). Results are fine, especially regarding new PB for the race and the overall preparations (being last weekend of heavy training before marathon tapering)

Splits (official)

Official splits

Official splits

Totals
Place               48 (40 – guntime)
Place (total)  1244
Time total      01:30:01
Average pace 04.16 min/km

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Eyes opened first at 2:33am. Way too early to start getting ready! Too much water-drinking the evening before…Birds still asleep. Took probably one more hour to fall asleep again. Up with the birds this time before the alarm rang at 7:45am. Pretty lazy start for the day. Changed to running gear for a little morning jog. Sure, I don’t change for a short run, BUT for today it felt ok. Stopped shortly for buying croissants (not for me though…) and then ran more-than-easy 2km with croissants in one hand. Not too easy to run… Shower, got ready with race gear and set the hair…and it was not even 9:00am… Time for light breakfast (green mix with red & apple juice, allergy tablet, toast with blueberry jam + jasmin tea/honey). Looked again at the race report/times from last year and see where it became tough then. Hydration well-organized with 2dl water or Powerade blue every 30min.

Planned outfit

Planned outfit

Hoping for one of those splits...

Hoping for one of those splits…

And then it was 11:15am and time to drop T at her friend. Reviewed a final and 56th time where G&E would be during the race and off we left. Walk easy, check mobile numbers and easy jog with bag on the back to the start. Headed directly to IK-Jogg meeting point for final pep-talk and cheering and then to the start tent for meeting colleagues. Walked on muddy/wet grass making my ASICS and race-socks completely wet. Great start 😦 Good with the sun, changed socks and to racing shoes. Met Lars L directly when arriving 🙂 Then French colleagues, Swedish colleagues and a bit of chat around. Got to chat with Jimmy&co and got some pep from it (thanks!)

Nice to see lots of energy, when mine was definitely not on the top. Race outfit had been checked and approved at home and it was well-chosen: Moremiles short shorts, club white singlet lifted in sport-bra, ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost purple and blue sunglasses. If not going fast, at least I would look cool 🙂 A couple of pics before race and then started a rubbish-kind-of warm-up (tricky with crowded place for running and accelerations were far from effective if you included the necessary zigzagging between people running or crossing the road…).

12:47am – Warm-up completed. Got a final glups of Powerade, for the thirst. Met Johan P before start and then it was time to get ready towards the little yellow line for Elite-start. Impossible to get the first line as for the giants already positioned there… and THEN little before start time arrive the international elite…. Wooooow! THAT is SO definitely COOL! They are looking so composed and focus, even if smiling some do give some “hi there”. Spotted a short elite woman who succeeds to push herself on the front row…Coool! Surrounded by giants, it feels a bit lost. Had seen a few Swedish elite women and will see if can hang along with them a liiiitle while before they disappear 🙂

12:59pm – Definitely not ready to start. Garmin is ready though. 30sec to start is announced. Final jokes from Swede Elite-guys (how can they still joke now?!?!?!). 10sec…

1:00pm – PANG! Once again not realizing really what I am doing, pressing start on my watch at the same time (as this is gun-time counting for Elite start), passing the start-mat like in trance which continue for a while. Fireworks in the skies are really loud and follow us for a short while. Little up goes fine and then down. Passing the little elite-woman who stopped already to fixed her shoe laces (no worries, she passes me pretty soon after…). Quick check on the watch and yes, 3:44 IS too fast, but seriously if it is the way it should be, then be it! I’ll be tired anyway within short time… Passing first km in 3:55. OK 12seconds faster than last year, but at least I am trained for this pace this year 🙂 Continuing on the wave, but still like not really being there. Passing the water-control and grabbing a water for dropping my hands in it. And km2 is reached already. Slightly slower, but still 12sec faster than last year. Recommendations of taking it easy for the first km in Slottskogen are NOT easy to follow when being in this start group. By km2, Johan P and Olivier A have passed me with a good luck smile. Getting a few cheering during the climbing of Sälsdammsbacken (which IS pretty long… should definitely not train only on the first 200m for next year!). But still reaching the top and then it is downhill and continuing to be carried by the human wave and the cheerings from both side of the road. Not many women passing by by then, which is fine. Got a cheering from Lars W from MIK around km3 (Nice to hear my name so early 🙂 ). Feeling is ok, but not more. I know it is too fast, but I have a meeting with G&E at km11 between 40 and 43minutes after start. So better hold this tempo until then! Got to chat with Andreas S before he disappeared 🙂 And more cheering by David P in Majorna/Mariaplan. There is is REALLY crowded on both sides. THANKS! And then it is just to run down to water station of km4. Taking 2 mugs of water: little drinking and already showering my legs. There are drizzling-showers throughout the route, but it is annoying to go through them when having sunglasses… Getting the uphill to the bridge at ok-tempo. Not fast but fine and good-enough for today’s plan. Passing km5 a little above 20min, (20:26 I noted on the results) and this is 1 minute faster than last year. And good to go for a 1:28-tempo. But I know it is too fast for this route and for my daily-form.

Following close the back of a gal with blue Runacademy-singlet, almost got passed by another gal on the bridge, but on the way down towards km6 both of them disappear. Almost slowing down in the downhill from the bridge (sorry, H, I changed this shortly after noticing it!), passing a few there and turning towards the water station. Remembering last year awful place here. Taking a sport drink for mouth-rinsing and drink a couple of glups of water. Turning towards Eriksberg, seeing for the FIRST time the sign “km7” (never noticed it in previous races, nor km8…) and thinking of Per M cheering for me last year (still unsure if I would have completed the race last year if it was not for this particular cheering at this point of the race). I know he started a little after me. Thinking of what he said, taking the race as a training run and completing it. And yes, that actually it would have been nice to have him here today for a bit of both cheering and pulling… Until I here my name and a well-known voice. Turning my head and here he is! (and no, I have not started yet with the hallucinations…). SOOOO nice to hear a friendly voice and chat for a while. Sweaty both of us, but I.AM.HAPPY! Letting Per M moving along and after a while my focus on his back is stopping. Once again, nice to be woman and in the start as we are not that many. When a cheer comes for “come on girl”, I know it is for me 🙂 Not bothering too much to check the pace now. Getting to the shadow street. Noticing we are running in the middle of the road. Were we doing it last year? I thought we ran on the pavement then. Passing the water-station and then turning right to the little windy street. “Look, mum, she has only 3 numbers this one” is cheering a little girl on this road 🙂 Back to the side of the water and the sun. Straight line along the harbour, trying to get the crowd to cheer by lifting my hands and yes, it does help! Not to run faster, but to be more present. Hearing my feet pounding on the pavement as well. Turn right and it is just a little more to km10. Passing the 10K a bit over 41min (41:17). Which mean I am still ok to reach the meeting-point at the ferry station.

Running on the small street stones, remembering the cheering from AL last year at this point. Nothing this year as he is running as well. But “memory-cheering” work as well (especially when you get tired…) 🙂 Turn right and seeing a little hand outside the line of people and getting closed and the red hood-jacket and here they are! My best cheering-squad ever! Getting the cheering and my little bottle of yellow Powerade at the same time. You can do it I hear and then turning left. Have drank the Powerade quick, but the baby-bottles were not real smart to drink from at this pace. Being passed by a guy in nice short underwear (don’t know if that helps to look at other’s butt, but sometimes in races with these temperatures, you don’t bother really 🙂 ). After passing km11, it started to get boring and a bit heavy. As usual, lack of people all around is not helping keeping the mood up. Passed a couple of guys before reaching SVT-house, where a bit more people were cheering. But not as loud as would have been good! Boring run towards the second bridge…Boring how? Well, THAT much that I take the little outside curve to go through a photo-place instead of the inside curve as I usually do. (must be there I lost some seconds ;)…among others places!). Starting the way towards the bridge, not really motivated to accelerate as I usually do at this place during training. The body is fine, but the mind has got enough…since…a….while! Quick check at the watch to see that it indicates 5:02min/km…WHAT?!?!? OK, this is out-of-question! Can do better than that. Starting to run on the top of the toes and it feels so much lighter. Even catch up several places this way. Feeling good now! Even noticed the km14-sign somewhere… Reaching the top of the bridge and it is just to run down. Good flow. Getting a guy shouting to us “Come on almost finish” (First thought being “Thanks for the cheering” and quick second thought being “Sure, can see this is not you running” and the first thought coming back (thanks!)). Turn around the foot of the bridge, getting to the water-station which I ignore by far staying on the left side. Not a chance I am loosing more time. I’ll get water later I thought.

Km15 is passed and turning towards the Avenyn. Now it is heavy (or has it been heavy all the way?). Don’t even bothering checking my watch anymore. 1:27 was no longer on the possible finish time since a while and I kissed 1:28-goodbye probably already after km11… So just to keep it real and fine and finish in less than 1:37 was good enough for a training-race (best time on training for this route has been so far 1:41 on a Sunday morning and empty stomach. No sweat). The long street feels so extremely hot, and I know it is because I must be dehydrated or close to it. Bad call to skip the water-station @km15. Passing cheering crowd on both side and starting to hallucinate (?) again. Feels like running in slow motion, seeing this little girl I recall being friend to T and thinking I have to remember to call them after the race…when the mind quickly realise that this is not an hallucination, she is there! I say her name and hear back her mum cheering crazily at me 🙂 Yoooohoo! Have to be a little more straight in my running! And smile 🙂 And here is Pia on the left side…So cool to have here here and cheering! OK, they did their part of the job, so I just have to keep up the crazy slow pace I am having now to reach km18+ for the next cheering-squad station 🙂 Feeling fine (not good, just “fine”). The running up towards “Poseidon statue” is not that fun. Would have like more cheering from the crowd (which is actually thicker than usual I felt). Having a gal almost passing me on the way up, but I try to keep her pace for NOT letting her pass (yes, I know…there are still lots of km left for her to pass me…and I know it). Seeing on the other side of the road the women that started at the same time as me, quickly calculating that they would arrive probably 3-6minutes before me 🙂 Good for them. They look good. Seeing Espen R on the way down, cheering as loud as I can but he looks pretty focused (maybe I should be too…). Turning around the statue after grabbing a cup of water (directly on the legs…missed the drinking…), skipped the sponges, aaaaand it is now time for running downhill. Really? Is it downhill now? Not really feeling it, but seeing that I am passing a few blocks on the way (which is always nice). Turning left towards Vasagatan, which is terribly boring to run at any time of the year due to the traffic all-around. Now it would have been great to have cheering there as well (I will probably email the organization of the race for indicating which spots are to be filled with cheering squads for next year…). OK, now it is just a straight line to km18 and water-station (which I ignore nicely) aiming towards the turn left to ÖverHusargatan. Looking as far as I can and here they are, ready to give me a little bottle of blue Powerade and loads of smile and encouragements. Cannot let them down, well! I like this street, I can get up to speed slightly. More cheering for the crowd (hoping there are no gal behind me, because I doubt being able to increase the pace much more). Reaching the first little tunnel and getting some cheering from the guys on the side (thanks!) and then continuing upwards towards the bridge. Thanks for the people sitting there and indicating it is not far from the finish line, just have to bite a bit more! Taking the bridge up on the top of the toe, pretty calm and focused, passing a few blocks and the bridge is passed and it is the shadow of the trees now. Km20 time-mat is reached!

1:24:xx on the clock there…quick calculation. I must be able to finish within less than 5minutes now. Starting a little accelerations under the trees and then turning left to the pavement and accelerating even more. Getting to pass some more guys who seem pretty tired. Waking up even more at the howling of Eva F (THANKS!) and it is time to take the last strengths on this little stupid slope they placed before the arrival. And it is done. Passing more blocks. Entering the stadium and trying to read the clock. 1:29:…29…30…31… “Now this is the final runners who have the chance to be under the magic limit of 1hr30 who entered the stadium – yelled the speaker – cheer for them”… Getting max gear towards the finish line and DONE! Pressing my watch on 1:30:02 and the speaker saying (after I passed the finish line) that now the magic 1:30 has been passed. YES! I did it under 1:30…

After the finish line is crossed, getting water from the kind people all around. Feeling fine. Is it already finished? Meeting Oliver (finished in 1:17…and yes, he found the route a bit tough too :), walking around. Meeting Per M again (did it in 1:27:xx…I knew I should have followed him closer…). Off with my right shoe to take off the chip. Walking slowly towards the exit. Got thanked by a guy who tall me I had a nice running step and that was easy to follow. Great! Could have passed me and helped I thought and said 🙂 He did finished right before me. Dropping the chip and getting out of the stadium. 2 mugs of water, 1 of energy drink, one banana and then meeting Jimmy J again. He did it easy and nice in 1:22:xx… and Robban A right above 1:23. Have lots of people to pull me next year! Meeting Gabriel L E from Jogg (nice to have a real person behind a name and posts… 😉 ). Walking a bit with Jimmy and saying goodbye. Heading towards company-tent for massage. Meeting Lars again (unfortunately DNF, but understand it was the better decision for today). Then water (2 mugs) and blueberry-soup (2 mugs) and an apple. When I am done with the massage, my cheering squad has arrived. Quick pic “after race”. Changed of gear, waited a little to see some colleagues starting and then having changed shoes, heading back home with really easy jog.

Smile after-race :)

Smile after-race 🙂

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

Weather: 16ºC, Feels like 16ºC, 11 km/h W wind, Humidity 63% – Pretty sure it was warmer than 16ºC. Not the same warmth as in Spain last week and humidity was definitely not feeling that high). Warm? Definitely. Not like last year though.

Food: Green mix+red&apple juice+banana+tea+nutella toast @9-ish/
water/gatorade: 2dl every 30min (alternate)
During: 0.5/6dl powerade km11&18+
Right after: banana, kex chocolate, 1 full glass of ISOstar, 2 full glasses of water . In the tent: 2 mugs of water + 2mugs of blueberry soup + apple. Chausson aux pommes during easy jogg home. Later dinner: meat+French fries and large coke (+ice cream during evening walk)
Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), SOC sport-bra on elastic, MIK white singlet (lifted under the sport-bra) – sFast running ADIDAS Adizero Adios boost purple. Fast shoes, no doubt. A little sensitive Achilles at start but nothing afterwards. Good to feel light during the uphills!

17/ A good 17 on the effort level. Mostly the mind trying to keep up with the body however. Final kms were not that high of a 17 though a strong 14 would be definitely it. Good race, tough but not to the extreme (especially compared to last year’s race). Would definitely run Rotterdam marathon twice than doubling Göteborgsvarvet-race… 🙂

NOTE: After-thought => Route ain’t easy. Weather conditions quite ok. A bit warm but not too much. Drinking: rubbish. Noted a loss of 2.5kg before/after race (and this includes the drinking during the race and right after before reaching home…). Have to check this drinking, because I thought I did fine during the race.
Official results: passing the finish line at place 40 (women), final rank 49th (as there were gals running a bit faster than me in other groups and having a net time faster) AND an improvement of 7min+ compared to last year. PB was not the plan at all, (it can’t be all the time!). Great from a training perspective. A bit of rest now!

***************************
After the race, got an easy jog home, which went pretty easy as I had serious cramp in the tummy. Shower, rest with legs up during 30minutes and then walk to near-by restaurant to enjoy a nice dinner. Sensitive Achilles heels felt better by the time to get to bed, which felt quite nice.

Great day: Best of it being having a cheering squad moving around, unexpected cheering along the route, chat (!) with running buddies during the race and of course the before/after meeting with running buddies. Sun shining? For sure! Good training for starting the tapering before Stockholm marathon in two weeks!

 

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: training-race sounds quite tricky and they are. Not pushing too much, giving the possibility to test things, to have a pace faster than a fast-training pace… and still be in a run with thousands of other runners 🙂

NOTE: Quads? felt fine during the race. A bit sensitive during the cool down jog.

NOTE: Achilles heels? Fine during the race but sensitive before the race after later after resting at home. Quite ok in the evening

NOTE: Warmup? Rubbish to non-existent. Still a problem and today I actually had the possibility to warm-up as starting in the first corral. Unsure what to do though. Have to continue working on it.

NOTE: Extra energy during the race? Tested to have just a little energy-drink at km11 and 18.5. First one went all down, and I think it did good. The second one went half out / half in. Not sure it was necessary. Probably water would have been just good enough.

NOTE: sun-cream during sunny races is a must. Felt I missed some parts in the back of both arms and was pretty warm there. Fortunately no sunburn.

NOTE: Had thought being done with this particular race. Although not being under 1:30, does make it boring 🙂 So surely planning for participating to next year race, 5 minutes faster…Should be feasible 🙂

 


Race Report – Copenhagen Half-marathon (World Championships) 2014/03/29

Planned: go for under 1:27 and closest to 1:26, the better 🙂

Actual: 1:24:58 – new PB by 2min41 sec since Semi de Paris two weeks ago (March 2nd, 2014), on a fast and flat route…and while experiencing a World Championship as participant! 🙂

Place: 126 – all women 🙂 / 9 – category “women 35-39” / 1215 all runners 🙂
SO.EXTREMELY.HAPPY of this result in the Danish capital. Definitely far under what I was expected and thought even possible, beating my 2014 half-marathon objective by far at the same time… Fun and sun all the way, lots of effort but surely no pain, this is so far the greatest ever run half-marathon I have done! Perfect weather conditions, great final two weeks preparations, body and mind in sync and ready for a nice “one-of-a-lifetime” race… Truly got more than expected! Even could see the elite women receiving their price right after I crossed the finish line…the same line they crossed for the World Championships!!!
Still great feeling afterwards, not fully tired and ready to enjoy both sun and a good meal!
Ambiance of London or Berlin marathon… running a bit away of the elites, but meeting them at start and when our paths met during the race… Perfect outside-of-the-country outing for a Saturday 😉

Splits

Splits

Splits

* adjusted lap on Garmin
(from Garmin: km-marks not exactly at the Garmin beeps, but should do):

First half: 42:14
Second half: 42:45
Average pace: 14.96km/h – 4.01min/km

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

BEFORE THE RACE

3:xx am – Woke up during the night, not too well and really sweaty… Not sure it would be fine a few hours later for running 😦

7:25am – Awaken without alarm, but kind workers outside building/repairing I-don’t-know-what (but seriously… a Saturday morning???). Sunshine already 🙂

8:00am – Breakfast with apple juice,red juice and green mix and banana and little bread. Had eaten enough the day before and did not feel needing more in the tummy.
Drink almost every half hour, but took the safe side (i.e. Not too much to avoid pit stops during the race…). Laying in the bed reading about everything and nothing after breakfast. Not always I can have a lazy morning 😛
(And surely, most of the reading was about running…like when to take optimally an energy gel during a half marathon…could be handy today, I thought…or what splits to have for diverse finish times…).

10:30am – Last drink and banana before shower and getting ready. This is a World Championship… If I can’t run fast, at least I will look pretty!

Not much time left before start...

Not much time left before start…

11:25am – Now turning around a bit in my room, sending final thoughts so they are not bothering my head during the race and jumping into my shorts, singlet and fast running shoes. The weather forecast is pretty nice: 12°c at start, 13°C for the two following hours. Unsure the arm sleeves will follow (even though it would look real cool!).

11:47am – Leaving the apartment (without arm sleeves), having painted Swedish and French flags on the front of the thighs, both calves and on my arms as well. So at least some of those country cheerers will cheer for me (maybe). Have written my splits on my hand. Sun glasses on. A bit late, took a street I did not recognised, felt really lost and a bit stressed. Followed the few “yellow bags” on the street, hoping they took the correct direction….

My dream splits...

My dream splits…

Yippie! Sun is shining!

Yippie! Sun is shining!

11:58am – arriving a few 100m from the starting line and hear the opening ceremony. Real cool feeling! A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP…. and I won’t be a spectator… Stop to photo the elites warming up… Really cool again to be sooo close. They ARE running the world championship..

Before race - with the start in the back

Before race – with the start in the back

French elite men team

French elite men team

Elite men warming-up

Elite men warming-up

Find my way to the starting corrals and then took the looooong way to the baggage trucks (way too far, if I may give my views). Because had to go aaaaaaall the way back after (i.e. From the last start group to the first one… remember? 30,000 runners? Yaaa, you get the picture!). Similar feeling as in Paris, going against a human wave and then sloooowly back. Quick and last visit to the loo before the race. A bit early but do not want to wait the last minute… and there was almost no queue neither where I stopped. Great (!) to queue for the loo with all the male runners having the standing pee-stuff close-by. Cannot think of any other events where you would consider this as… yes, normal…!

Wow, so many people on this side as well!

Wow, so many people on this side as well!

Far away...close to the baggage trucks

Far away…close to the baggage trucks

not far from the baggage trucks

not far from the baggage trucks

12:20am – Not a chance to warm-up as I wanted so took a front place to see the elite women starting. And this, my friends, is just beautiful to see. One moment they are here and PANG! They are just gone!!!! (Will meet them again while reaching km2… They are by then at km11….)

12:32am – Going back to the start group “under 1:30”. Had seen the pace setters for 1:25 with their green balloons and thought either I place myself back and close to them so they hold the pace for me ooooor I set myself further front and run like h*ll hoping they won’t pass me during the race… Took the second option (without the “like h*ll”-part).

12:42am– So now I am in my start group, surrounded by giants (ok, I am not that tall, but not real small neither… But still those guys were just like…like their heads could touch the clouds! And from where I stood, looking up, their heads DID touch the clouds…). Red everywhere, either Denmark or Norway…or other countries I could not remember… Felt a bit odd in white at first. But so many around were also in white (because white might be the new red, or?…). New check to my shoes, deciding not to tie them differently, even though felt liiitle tight on the right shoe and liiitle loose on the left shoe… Or was it all in my head?….

12:4xam – Elite men going to the start. Wow! Impressive! Cannot see much but enough to spot a Swede among them. Heja Sverige! Countdown starts way too soon… No warmup apart from running on place and jumping 5 times… I know, have to work on this warm up-part for such races…

12:53am – Smiling right, smiling left, feeling the wave moving slowly forward aaaaaand…

THE RACE

12:55am – START IS GIVEN!… But liiitle happens really. Still slowly reaching the start line and pressing “Start” on my watch. Estimating it took 30-40seconds to reach this line, just have to keep this time difference 😉

The first km was slow… well, appeared to be slow. Because by the first left turn, my watch indicate 3:2x for pace!!!! Not much pushing as such, but so not much place to run. Had spotted a few women around me before start and planned to keep up with one of them, when we start to have a stable pace. To reach km1, I choose to take the blue line path, completely on the left. Quite good because most if the people are in the middle. Passing the first km in 4:05. As planned. BUT knowing there is always a distance difference “real vs Garmin”, so I had in my head to aim for having 2sec faster than planned on the Garmin. This should compensate for the distance difference, I think. Having run this part yesterday, I turn the gear up and reach km2 @3:50… Ok, maybe I had a gear too fast here. Distance difference with Garmin being approx.20m. Seeing the elite women passing by on the other side of the route… and yes, you slow down to watch! The following stretch to km4 goes well. Taking a glass water, more to clear the mouth because 1) the glass is half full and 2) it does not work drinking at this pace! Passing a couple of gals, feeling the pace might be too fast to hold for the whole race, but guys! This FELT good to run at this pace, so if this would mean having a dreadful second half, I was actually ready to pay the price if having this feeling at the start!

Km5 is reached faster than expected, won’t complain though. Almost in sync with the Garmin. But turning towards km6 seems really long and some head wind starts to play around. Or side wind. Unsure. Reaching km6 and noting there is a greater distance difference, so “lapping” it on my watch and checking the avg pace. 3:58 (!!!). But while passing km5 the total time corresponded to 4:02-pace. So my plan is to keep 3:58 as avg-pace throughout the race, which will mean ending at 4:02 official pace… Yes, sounds complicated and really that I should be focusing on the running instead… But this is the running! Trying during this length towards km7 to take the back of tall guys as wind-shield (I knew those tall guys from the start would be handy to have somewhere in the race…). Unsure it did much, but from time to time I could feel their pace dragging me forward. Then km7-8 felt really warm & hot, not much shadow. Seeing the other runners on the other side of the street and realising I have done more than 1/3 of the race. Youhou! Still pounding the pavement at avg-pace 3:58 on the watch. All good!
Had an eye on a Swedish gal from IF Linnea ahead of me since a short while. Just have to keep up with her pace I thought. But got closer and closer, quick “looking good” and a smile back (thanks!) and off I went. Took my gel a little before the water station at km9.1 and two half-full mugs of water. Once again, questionable choice to have plastic mugs instead of water bottles. When I pass this station, and not that many have passed it before me, it is already full with mugs on the street and slippery already… Still 28.900+ runners to pass by this water station… You get the picture!

New turn to reach km10… Seeing the clock indicating 40:xx – no chance for PB on this distance (for today), but decent time indeed. Soon reaching half the race and still having my Garmin on 3:58. Got a bit worried for short second, maybe my watch was ACTUALLY stuck on a dummy avg-pace and my stupid mind was stuck on it… Got to turn towards km11 and THIS.FELT.GOOD! Estimated having passed the first 10K in 40:20?30? and this meant still keeping a good pace.

Halfway done, halfway to go! The long stretch to km11 was nice; I knew what was after km11! A bit disappointed not having cheering Swedes at this spot as expected. But lifting/waving up the arms is turning the crowd into cheerleaders! Noted as well to my surprise that this stretch was actually upwards… by seeing the other runners from km2 running downwards… Did not noticed the downhill when I was there…
Turn right after Oslo plads and time to shine! Quick calculation: could I get the final 10K in 41 minutes, that would give me under 1:26… Ok. My calculations at this point of any race can be questionable,… but entertaining! Real hot part here. No shadow, passing the museum of art and turning left (yesterday I skipped this part and continued straight forward). Feeling nice flow for the body but the legs despite being string do show little signs of… fatigue? boredom? too warm?… Well, do not stop to ask their view and get along with the race. Had passed another guy from IF Linnea. Feeling good to start now with the giants runners being less. At least I can see the road 😉 To km13 and end of the street, take protection behind guys again. Decide to do a “complete body check” when reaching km14.
Forget doing it as I recognise the street from yesterday… until we turn right again so check point is set at km15. This time checkpoint felt good..no, great! My time splits on my hand indicate I am just a few seconds above the time for a 1:25 finish. Decide to take Dextrosol at km16-mark.
Passing the elite water-station and shout at the Swede standing under the Swedish flag to cheer (& he did – THANKS A LOT). Extra boost if energy. Taking 2 Dextrosol when my Garmin beep for km16, but no sign of this km16… Even looking back to check if I missed it… Nothing ahead neither. D*mn, I hoped I really have a well-functioning watch so I am not reaching the next sign seeing km15-16 was actually 1.9km instead of 1….
And here came Fredriksberg allé…km18… Had read yesterday evening there would be flags and really the atmosphere of a World Championship and man! This WAS true. Imagine a long street with Danish flags on both sides, public cheering and seriously… YOU ARE part of this eminent event! Could not help waving and calling for more cheering. My countdown had started km17… Only 4km to go!!! (Ok, my countdown always starts at the starting line… But emphasis was today at km11 (only 10 to go), km13 (only …21-11-2.. Ya, need help in calculation when the sun is on the head and the sugar rush effect from gel-km9 has disappeared…8km to go), km17 was the latest one. But now! THREE little km to go. N.O.T.H.I.N.G!!!! New boost in the legs and feeling so good I even start cheering for the guys I am passing. Passing a short “street-stones” bit (thanks for this info “Tricky”. Even if it was short this “stone-part”, was good to know!). Passed by a short fast lady there. She looks tough so decide to skip this chase. Enough men can be passed until the finish line 😉 Waiting for seeing the Hard Rock café from yesterday as it indicate almost km20…but nowhere to be found…until I am just passing it. From this moment it is just all in. Passing km20 mark with a large smile and this last km I know it. The three giants of Running NGO (?) are no gentleman and pass me on the right and the left and stand as four really tight. Not a chance to pass them. Don’t care. Almost last turn right. This one IS tough. Mentally. The legs can but the head is a bit reluctant to continue. HELLO THERE!?!?! Somebody home???  The non-existent bridge does feel under my tired feet. Quick check on the clock. 500m left. Enough strength for a sprint could be found in Dubai after double the distance, and in Paris after a hilly km – so this one will be done as well. Km21 stands right at the turn to the right again and there.is.the.finish.line. 1:24:58..59…1:25:…doesn’t matter. Might not make it under 1:25 but sub1:26 is out-of-reach… Pushing close to max and hop! Finished!

Passing the finish line and stopping my watch. Unsure if having a smile in the finish photos, but my watch indicate… What? 1:24:59!!!! Quickly hoping there won’t be a similar time problem as Paris last year. But who cares? My watch shows under 1:25!

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Checking again my watch…still this 1:24:59 staring at me! Shouting a bit (and heard some echoes from other runners 🙂 We understand each other! Walking a bit and stopping in front of the medal ceremony of the 2014 World Half-marathon Championships!!! The three ladies there are just glowing and look so beautiful, it brings me tears up to the eyes 🙂 Meeting with Lona from IF Linnea and chat a bit, smiling. Meeting two other of her fellow-club mates, including Mikael K with the largest smile ever on his face 🙂 Real fun to meet runners you have met in other races…
Then starts the long long long walk to get back to the baggage trucks. Receiving (finally!) my wonderful medal. A bit after take 2 bottles of water. Drink drink drink. Legs, feet, mind: quick body check saying that all is functioning perfectly. Receiving a couple of energy bars (I really find those disgusting, but after a race, I just eat them and swallow with water. Today was mixed with a delicious apple!). Was missing bananas and energy drink actually. Picking up my bag, getting a few after-race pics and then…. no it was not finished yet… long walk to get to the finisher t-shirt trucks. No sign whatsoever indicating where it was. Looked like a no-man’s-land, when earlier this morning over 30,000 people had conquered those streets… Getting my t-shirt (XS-size are already all gone!!! so have to be satisfied with a S).

After race photo - still smiling :)

After race photo – still smiling 🙂

One of the nicest medals I have won

One of the nicest medals I have won

Summary? Fast and furious! This was the greatest run so far for this distance. Body fine, mentally strong, weather ideal and great ambiance! Unsure if this was an “all-in” from start to end, but definitely focusing on the race and keeping the mind focus IS an art! The inside forces saying from time to time to take a rest fight against stronger ones keeping the legs moving, which is fantastic! Could not even dream of such a race experience for today!

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

Weather: 12ºC, Feels like 12ºC, 5 km/h ESE wind, Humidity 54% – definitely perfect conditions for running. Slightly chilly during the wait in the corral (as it was in the shadow), although having all those tall guys around is cutting from any possible wind and do not underestimate the human warmth when all are so close to each other! Sun shining during all the race, felt a bit hot (!) in some part and there was wind as well in some parts. But seriously, I would take those weather conditions ANYTIME for ANY RACE or ANY TRAINING!

Food: 8:00am green mix + red juice and apple juice + banana / 10:30am red juice 2.5dl + apple juice 1dl + banana // right after the race: 1 “before race” energy bar, 1 apple, 1 water bottle // 40min later: 2dl apple juice // 2.5later after: late lunch (entrecote, potatoes, veggies, coke, champagne, banana-split xtra chocolate sauce on the top)
During: km9.1 Vitargo lemon + water // km16 (?) 2 dextrosol // water at almost every water-station (zipping more than drinking)

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova blue line, MIK white singlet – shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple: 1st race and what a race! Those are fast shoes and really glad I have them onboard!

16/ effort level was not really constant to 17, first 2-3km were at a nice 14/15, enjoying the run 🙂 around km4 felt a bit overwhelmed and thought the pace was too fast for 1) being real and 2) being maintained throughout the course. So mostly mentally difficult 🙂 Thereafter a good 16/17, effort level constant like the pace 🙂 and this 16 felt easier effort-wise, than the 16 of SdP 🙂

 

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

AFTER THE RACE

Walking easy towards home. Chatting with another room-mate who is impressed I can still talk and walk and smile after a run… Shower, a bit more drinking of apple juice, finishing my packing and saying goodbye. Walking towards the restaurant found by Tricky, I see runners still aiming towards the finish line. Incorrect GPS helped only to make me get lost and then finally found the restaurant. Largest smile ever waiting for me as well as two glasses of champagne! First time ever I am celebrating this way a race…and what a race! Having so much talking to do, both of us, I am still amazed we got food eaten! Entrecôte with potatoes and vegetables and a coke (I know, some may have chosen wine, but seriously, I am fine with coke after a race! Even though Tricky tries to convinced me that wine as champagne are good carbs to re load!). Dessert is pretty obvious on the menu: banana split with extra chocolate, let’s be crazy! It really feels that this should be the meal after a marathon… not counting calories here, just saying! BUT this is a race to celebrate! We had both worked hard to get there, had planned to celebrate whatever the outcome of the race and we were both happy to complete how we did (Tricky ended in 1:31, after a week with knee-injury, forgetting his favo-water bottle but had a good warm-up before! Congrats again to you!).
After that, final hug when the train arrives and I am aiming back home…in a fully loaded train…No place to stretch the legs during the first 2 hours, then changed place and had my feet (in socks) on the opposite seat during 10minutes until someone came and sat in front of me for a short while… Tram homes, emptying the bags, quick shower aaaaaand… not bed. Was not tired AT ALL! A bit hungry so had cereals in front of the tv and then, when the clock indicated past midnight, I decided it was time to hit the pillow…
WHAT.A.DAY!!!

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: same as in Paris: do not underestimate the time for bag drop off. It killed again my planning before race, cutting on the warm-up (OK, making the warm-up non existent…)

NOTE: same as in Paris: plan better the warm-up for this type of race. Not too late in the corral, but due to the long walk back and forth to the baggage drop, no time at all nor place for warming up. Have to check how others are doing!

NOTE: gel in the hand? Worked perfectly. A bit sweaty at the start of the race, but due to the sun-cream…

NOTE: sun-cream blue factor 10? not to be taken. Feeling fine until started to run. After 300m, felt like scratching the skin on the legs…

NOTE: Had read about energy intake for half-marathon. I think I could have waited a couple of km before the gel, but then would not have had any water. So good to have dextrosol to get a kick (?) at the end (maybe)

NOTE: shoe question is solved!

The watch never lies...

The watch never lies…

Champagne and coke :)

Champagne and coke 🙂

Yummy for the tummy...

Yummy for the tummy…

Of course this is too much!!! so what?...

Of course this is too much!!! so what?…


Copenhagen HM-Day: 1:24:58…during the World Championships…

1:24:58…
OMG!
This is not only a new PB, but under the objective set for this year and done with the whole World Championships experience!!!

How cool is this?! Nice and sunny, a bit windy some times, definitely fast and with correct effort in it… and on the right side of the 1:24:xx!

More to come when I have gone down from my little sunny cloud and travelled back home…


Race Report – Semi de Paris Half-marathon 2014/03/02

Planned: easy and if all good under 1:30 (no pressure, taken as long run)

Actual: 1:27:39new PB by 16 sec since Helsingør in November 2013, on a fast route but far from flat… and 2min 25sec faster than last year 🙂

Place: 26 – all women 🙂 / 21 – category “senior” / 1059th all runners 🙂

Quite satisfied to a long run in the French capital. Definitely “under control”-run from start, no “fast-fast-fast” at first and “let’s see what is left” afterwards. “Fun long run” where could test a bit running progressively (not working too well…), running “under control” (ok, I guess), energy intake (good to have a plan B!) and “all in” final sprint on last km (J’adore!). On the top of that, having a little improvement in my half marathon time is the chocolate topping on the chocolate cake.

Still nice feeling afterwards and not fully tired.
Strongly recommending this early season race! Looks like French have taken their Sunday run to a whole new level 😉

Splits

Garmin

km

official

sum

per 5K

5

20:43.00

20:35.00

20:35.00

10

41:17:00

40:59.40

20:24.40

15

01:02:13

01:02:15*

21:16.20*

20

01:23:23

01:23:29*

21:13.60*

21.1

01:27:39

01:27:41

04:10.30

* adjusted lap on Garmin

(from Garmin: km-marks not exactly at the Garmin beeps, but should do):

First half: 43:0

Second half: 44:33

Average pace: 14.67km/h – 4.09min/km

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

BEFORE THE RACE

03:xx – Already awaken. Took a while for sleeping (the afternoon nap was nice, but definitely not optimal for sleeping at night…), noticed had the window open and the air was really nice outside. Until the clock rang, no real sleep however.

06:00am – breakfast time! Orange juice and pain au chocolat. And water 🙂 then back to bed. Water drinking as usual, listened to chillout music trying to fall asleep again.

07:30am – what a luxury really to live to close to the start! Shower and got ready. Double checked the weather but by the air from the window it felt the outfit was pretty straightforward: singlet, shorts, arm-warmers and maybe sun glasses. Yaaaa, I know… the arm warmers are brand new from yesterday and one should NOT use new gear for a race… Chancing here. Back to bed for a little longer (all dressed for the race minus the shoes 🙂 ).

All gear ready

All gear ready

08:45am – started to get out of bed and double check the backpack. Last visit to the loo and left a short moment after. A little chilly outside but ok (had my cosy pants on the top of my shorts and my wind jacket as well as bonnet and sunglasses). Meeting 3 French guys just out of their car and changing to running gear. “Out for a run?” I ask. “No, going to the swimming pool” was their answer as well as a huge laugh, smile and good luck for the race. French humour IS underrated… Tried to jog to the start, a few pic taken and already there! Nice view as usual. More pic and dropping of my bag. Took forever, got me stressed and finally had 25 (!) minutes before the start to 1) get a final pit stop, 2) warm up and 3) get to the start corral… Had to walk against the flow of a huge human wave going to the other corrals (apparently all in my corral are already there…). Pitstop done, aimed to the corral “préférentiel”. No time for warming up. Getting myself as close to the first line as possible, but despite French men being real gentlemen in regular cases, a start of a race is an exception!… Would not challenge this. Throwing my plastic SdP plastic protection. Warm enough already. Got to talk with Laurent and his friend; they plan 1:17 & 1:21. Wow, am I in the right corral then?

Splits ready on the hand (easy to all in...)

Splits ready on the hand (easy to all in…)

Not much time left (I know I should do something else than checking the time...)

Not much time left (I know I should do something else than checking the time…)

Frost on the cars... good sign?

Frost on the cars… good sign?

Chilly morning on the little pond close to the start (ducks don't mind!)

Chilly morning on the little pond close to the start (ducks don’t mind!)

"Before"-smile

“Before”-smile

Runners on the castle side...

Runners on the castle side…

...and on the corrals-side

…and on the corrals-side

09:56am – Regular jokes before start, the speaker tried to get some response but this corral is pretty quiet (read: focused and quiet). Not many women around so will have to find afterwards who I can follow!

THE RACE

10:00am – BANG! Start is given. Usual pushing, also it is working liiiittle better with the three guys around me keeping others from pushing little-me. Very thoughtful. Passing the start mat quite fast and the 3 guys running forward waving for good luck. Usual craziness with guys running everywhere, jumping, swearing… And little-me working this pretty calm with “September 2011” beating in my ears. First km was planned slow but aimed not to walk as last year : 4:09 🙂 Good! 14 sec faster than last year and 20km to go. Took a few more km to settle in a nice pace. My right shoe feels a bit loose. Checking down a few times, but they are well tied up. Wondering a few times if should stop to check it, but decided not to. Bothering me the first 2-3km before I forgot it. Passing km2 with a gal in my side and it felt she is really light like air, with her long ponytail waving as she runs. Long road along the forest and the horse racetracks(?). Reaching km3 quite satisfied. Km-signs are 50m ahead from my watch, so still “kind of accurate” pace. Changing music to “June 2.0” as it feels the other one might make sleep… THEN in the downhill, enjoying the sun,… my gel fell from my “not-that-super-smart-idea-to-have-it-under-my-wrist-sweatband”. &@!!?#%*^$€?! was probably what I thought, but just got a little quiet “d*mn it” out of my lips still smiling. Here goes my energy plan away… Plan B then: I did have a plan A to take my gel at km7/8 (before the hill) and then grab a Powerade bottle at km10 for the rest of the course. Had as well Dextrosol, JIC… Plan B was to skip the gel and try to do water at 1st station, Powerade @2nd station and if needed, water @km15+ and Dextrosol if need be. No secret here 🙂 just testing. Long runs under 27 /30km are usually fine without extra energy…so why not trying here?
OK, back to the race. Downhill felt nice, but definitely controlled. As P rightly said: why not trying to accelerate progressively during the race (& get actually tired at the end…). Let’s try it then. Watch showing a steady 4:06 but with the difference with the km-signs it must be 4:07/8, more likely. Still fine. All under 4:10 is fully acceptable 😉
Km5 – Already? Grabbing a bottle of water out of nowhere, not really understanding how it got in my hand (sure, I know it must have been someone that handed it to me!!!). Have been following a gal in white tshirt and long tights since she passed me km2.4/3. She has a good footstep and pace. So keeping her in my radar 🙂
On the way to km10, my only plan is to focus on the hilly km8. Passing two women there, not seeing them afterwards 🙂 This hilly part might be the only one really “tough”, but knowing it is there does help! Legs are strong, I kind of even enjoy it… Then the downhill afterwards felt once again way too controlled. Lifting my singlet in my sport-bra because it feels really warm…and here comes the wind… Too late. Won’t spend time lifting up and pulling down my singlet. Rather have a cold stomach for a short while. Quick look at the Garmin still indicating 4:06. Km10 is served Powerade…in cup!!! WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!? Do they know how sticky it is to have that on the hands, face, clothes…for the rest of the race???? Grabbed anyway two half full cups -or half-empty depending on your view about life 😉 (2cups? feeling lucky…or bold…or simply stupid… No need to comment here! 🙂 ). First cup went down almost without spilling anything (surpriiiiiise!!!). Now, second one. Not trying too much, focusing in the holding and hop in the mouth (almost). Powerade-challenge of the day: checked and completed successfully ! Would still have preferred a full bottle instead of cups. Good thinking though was the water station (with bottles) soon after. Half the bottle for cleaning the hands, face and the rest in the left thigh feeling a bit warm…. But where is the third half for drinking a bit? Too late. Throwing the bottle into the huge garbage container and missing it… No career planned in “water bottle basketball”, I continue my run.

Halfway (already?) – Along the Seine it was quite windy, not very much but enough to annoy. Trying to take the back of someone but no one in close sight. Apart from the white tshirt/long tights woman. But she is as tall as me (or little smaller)…so no optimal wind shield.. Doing my best to slow down when a guy arrives beside me in order to have him right before me… Not too successful. Enjoying the view of Notre Dame (…and the firemen cheering kindly with smiles and loud “Allez les filles”… More smiles to distribute here… Told you this would be a nice long run!).
Second half seems to start here, when we are turning after km13. A bit slower, the watch showing alternatively 4:06/07. Still ok. After that it feels a bit dull running with almost nobody or only few cheering on the side of the road (& mostly for the runners they know… Next time I might run with a sign “I am not from here. So cheer for me”…). Reaching km15 feels taking an eternity. Difference between Garmin km and km-signs are now approx. +/-100m. Decided to press extra lap when passing under the km15 to have a better expectation for when the km is finishing.
New bottle of water taken around 15.5km. A few gulps and YES! Bottle in the can 🙂 Am not completely useless today! If the run ain’t going fine, should start this “water bottle basketball” some day… (& I did shout of happiness as well…).
Km16 felt ok but not more. The women in white tshirt is still there and this helps very much. Tried twice to cheer her up but wondered if she understand French (or just ignore my cheering). Whatever. She does pull me and I am very thankful for it. I knew it would be tough to reach km17 on the top of the slope… But WHERE was this stupid slope?!? Took indeed 4:20 to get there 😦 This was my limit (no km slower than 4:20, better if all under 4:15…). Km18 got my smile back : 4:00!!! And exactly on the SdP km signs!!! Good to have run this one yesterday 😉
Then long and slow uphill towards km19. I don’t care. I know this one as well. Getting a clap on the back from a fireman running, a great smile and encouragements. The mind is alternatively shouting to stop and to bring it on. Sooo easy it would be to stop for a short rest and give it all afterwards…but NO! Focus it is (yes, I can focus, E! 😉 )and then the end is close (no, I am not dying…yet). Done this km before and will get to the finish line stronger (than now…). Km19 is a bit long so lap my watch again. The turn towards km20 ain’t easy. Runners start slowing down… But not me. I think then that I might be unable to walk after the finish line or needing to be carried to the medic tent, but I WILL NOT SLOW DOWN!
Km20 sees me passing fellow runners, who look as surprised as I do!!!! Yeeeaaaaah, soooon to the finish line. Got disappointed last year and lost, not knowing when the finish street would be… I was prepared today! Passing km20 and clocking it in 4:14.. Yooohoo! More to give! Happens then something crazy…as in Dubai there is this rush of whatever it may be (note: would gladly have this throughout the race next time!). The legs get a life on their own, they just remember (I think?) running here yesterday at 10k-pace and feeling good. But here… Stupidly checking my watch after 400m and seeing 3:3x… Cannot be! This is the LAST km, there cannot be enough strength left to do this… Seeing the finish line? Not yet, hearing my name from people screaming around, more “Allez les filles” (noooo, don’t make a chick passing me now…) and finally the finish line, sorry for the photographs, might have kicked one while passing by (why sitting in the middle of a finish line?!?!?). Seeing (a bit disappointed…) the clock passing 1:27.. Not a chance I let it pass 1:28… And finish on a red carpet and stopping the watch on 1:27:41. Ok, that will do for today. Tired? Sure, but because of this final km. Seeing other runners in way worse conditions, I am questioning once again the disposition of this race…

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Meeting Delphine (the woman in white tshirt and black long tights). Congratulating each other. When thanking her for the pulling help throughout the race, she said no problem and hoped I would return the favour after km16 but that it was too tough to follow in the slope (at least some of my training paid off 😉 ).

Medal (making a young lad very happy to give his first medal to a woman 🙂 ), banana, water, Powerade. A bit bored people distributing the food… Too bad! Would have gotten a smile from me… Picked up my bag (still a mess to get it back… Hope they will do better next year…). And finish photo in front of the castle before queuing for a massage… In the massage tent, the largest smile is welcoming me from the guy checking for which masseurs are available and shouting “Première féminine!!!” (“First woman”). Loads of applauds and smiles… Definitely worth the 2minutes wait in the queue! Now have the possibility to even choose my table, receiving on the way very nice proposal (“Si tu finis le Semi, je t’épouse” (“If you finish the Semi, I’ll marry you”) shows one sign… Hmmm, tempting, but no thanks 😉 )Got two great podiatrists (foot doctors) massaging me for a long while. No pain and it feels so different from after a marathon (!). Got as well harder massage on the knots on the side of left thigh and gentle massage under the feet 🙂 Thanks ladies! Changed to clean/dry clothes and out of the massage tent to the sunny but now a bit cold weather. Looking at the long queue for the massage now! Bonnet, neck warmer, wind jacket, long pants and sunglasses. On my way home through the sunny garden with lots of Parisian out. Would be great having this close to home!

"After"-smile

“After”-smile

Summary: “let’s try stuff”-long run. Not planning to go “all in” and did not either. Tried to keep focus though and have a pace progression. Not working too well. Would rather do all in at first, slower second half and all in in the last 2km… More practice is needed! Great weather for this 3rd edition of SdP for me. Real good training run.
Only got my official time when reaching home (thanks for the sms, E!): 1:27:39… EVEN BETTER!

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Weather: Garmin says: 4℃, Feels like 4℃, 6 km/h SSE wind , Humidity 81% – I say: 6°C at start, sun shining feeling warm already. Probably good 8-9°C during the race (or am I getting so warm while running?!?). Windy on the sides of the Seine. So perfect racing weather!

Food: 6:00am pain au chocolat+banana+orange juice / after: Powerade, 2bananas, half an orange, water. 2.5hrs later: late lunch (meat, fries, greens, chocolate mousse, coke)
During: Dextrosol 1 before start/ 2@km6 & km16 (should have been before the water station…real dry in the mouth after.but good energy kick!) Powerade: 2 half-cups @km10. Water: 2dl km5&15.5

Gear: Adidas Supernova Boston shorts, NY singlet, Kalenji (new…) arm warmers – shoes felt…nothing as usual. Apart from first 2-3km where left shoe felt a little loose, light and flying for the rest. Really great shoes 🙂

16/ effort level definitely higher than Berlin marathon or Helsingør half marathon, but still “easy” (read: not max and unsure how far from max it was): could cope with no stop (even if tempting once), change in energy intake plan, uphill in fast pace, uphill in slow pace AND a faster-than-ever final km…without weeping 🙂 Surely, might not smile at the finish line, most likely because of the final sprint and for the time on the clock rather than for the overall effort… Happy to finish!

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AFTER THE RACE

Well back home, bad surprise. No water in the apartment. Waited for the landlady, but took too long time so aimed for restaurant in clean clothes. Good it was not a marathon, the skin would have felt soooo salty. Quick “shower/cleanup” in the restroom before late lunch (steak-thing with French fries and haricot verts, coke and mousse au chocolat. Tummy? Satisfied!). My plan to go shopping dropped dead as the large store was closed and I did not want to go to the other side of Paris for that. Aimed to Gare de Lyon. Walked a little around reaching the road we ran in (pretty empty now!) and decided to go to the airport. Smooth trip there and then new stop for food (burger & fries – I know… And I don’t care…). Lots of wait to my first flight and long delay in my second flight…(in my bed @2am…). Long day, really…but so worth it!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: do not underestimate the time for bag drop off. It killed my planning before race, cutting on the warmup.

NOTE: plan better the warmup for this type of race. In the corral latest 20minutes before start for an optimal place means warmup easy before this. Do not count on gentleman-manners when it comes to leave place forward to women in a race…even in France 😉

NOTE: really have to find a solution for those @&#%*$?! energy gels. Wrist sweatband? No longer an option… Next!

NOTE: energy intake? Needed or not needed during a half marathon? That’s the question. Under training, no. At this pace? Maybe.

NOTE: music vs no music? The races done with music are few. SdP all three times. Is it limiting the pace to have music?…

NOTE: blood giving is great. 2 weeks before a race? A bit unsure.. Will not make today’s race result on the blood giving table, but can have impacted in a way. Had two tapering weeks before the race with great times in boring workouts. Those are definitely linked to the blood giving. More thinking and planning next time…

NOTE: shoe question is becoming an emergency… Little hole above the toes on right shoe…the search continues…

Nice medal for a well-disposed (?) long run :)

Nice medal for a well-disposed (?) long run 🙂

On the clock!

On the clock!

Yummy for the tummy

Yummy for the tummy

...and of course dessert!

…and of course dessert!

Nice Gare de Lyon

Nice Gare de Lyon

Avenue Daumesnil (on the way to 10K?)...empty this time

Avenue Daumesnil (on the way to 10K?)…empty this time

For sure, I'll be back!

For sure, I’ll be back!

Final hill (!) for the day...in order to reach my gate

Final hill (!) for the day…in order to reach my gate


Paris 2014 HM-Day: 1:27:39…

1:27:39…
Ok, this is a new PB but the race itself felt way too controlled. When there is a stable pace throughout the race, enough time to noticed how nice is Notre Dame under the morning sun and slow down around…15km (?) but enough energy to complete the final km (on my watch) in 3:49… There was clearly strengths left!
More to come when all has settled down and travelled back home.

(Got 1st female place in the massage queue though… Second year in a row 😉 )


Paris 2014 HM-Day-1

Almost there… Something’s in the air, really… Must be…

Good night’s sleep, or rightly said “woke up @3:25am, well-rested, thinking a bit whether could take a run now (…!), a bit more warmth in the room and slept back (light sleep though)”. Snoozed until 8:00am and got up for drinking my orange juice before getting ready. Outside temperature showed 3°C, a bit wet on the pavement outside, so after getting my ASICS Vesta shorts on, I chickened out and changed to long tights… Wrote on post-it the route to take for getting to km16 and then run “the correct way” to the finish line. After 600m I was already too warm… Not a chance I have those tights tomorrow! Shorts definitely! Got to the correct street (avenue Daumesnil) and ran it “the other way around”. Got to the Place Felix Eboué and then according to my really good memory I aimed to the street on the left (which should have been Rue de Reuilly)… But stopping short after as did not recalled the passing under a rail bridge (Berlin? Yes. Paris? No). Looked around, asked for directions in a café for the St Antoine hospital (km16), and was answered to take the subway… Skipped this advice (!), took Rue des Charentons and got back to avenue Daumesnil. Stopped shortly for stretching, turned back not recognising really the route but got it run to the top and was back to Place Felix Eboué. Nice feeling to recognise the most welcome downhill of the SdP ends… Tried to took it slow (kind of), because the legs reeeeeeaaaaally wanted to speed up. Must have had the largest smile on my face anyway!
Reaching the top, got a bit confused which street to take but found the route de ceinture (the problem is that there is no sign at all indicating yet the SdP route… They will have to work hard later on today to have it all done! In comparison, Berlin has its signs a while in advance…). Reaching the first crossroad, I wondered if it was really THE one to take (double check on th GPS… Not helping… So checked the bus station map… Ok, looked like correct)… Finally the almost last street (avenue de St Maurice), what a nice feeling seeing the corner of the final street (back to avenue Daumesnil) on the right. NOT A CHANCE I am taking this final street easy 🙂 Accelerated slightly and a bit more and more and ended the final km from this corner at a very nice 10K-pace 😉 Slight pause and easy back home. Max 1,5km! Really close then.
A bit of thinking then for the day: shower, breakfast (1 banana, 2 pains au chocolat and mint tea with honey and some water) and ready for visit to Decathlon. On the way there, short stop for chausson aux pommes and half a baguette. At Decathlon, bought a bunch of running socks, tried compression leg sleeves, got arm warmers and a yoga easy pants. Strongly recommending their socks (intensive ones). Will try the compression stuff next week and see how they are.
Then back home with a stop at the Japanese restaurant for lunch (13:15). Same menu as yesterday apart from the jasmine tea. Still delicious 😉

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Mint tea at home, tried on my running gear, still unsure whether to have a tshirt or a singlet… Would be colder with the latter one…. Good reason to run fast(er) 🙂
Plan for the rest of the day: rest, rest, a bit of walking and more rest.

SdP 2014:… Less than 18 hours to go!!!!


Paris 2014 HM-Day-2

Late in bed and early up… Ringing a bell? Had way too much stuff left to do yesterday evening, which ended with checking 12 times my bag, even though the only important in it are my shoes. Sure the gear are as well, but would rather race in new outfit than in new shoes!!! 4:34am – was already awaken and really resist to go up and take a run… Well-disciplined (?), waited until 6:10am to go up and do my rehab. And I know, one should not change anything before a race…. But I did 🙂 I did my rehab exercises starting by the end… He he he! A little craziness on a Friday morning…. Final check(s) for my bag (3 or 4 times? Lost count…), prepared breakfast to the still sleepy monsters and was ready to leave. Got to the door and the last question before kissing goodbye was “when should I wake up on Sunday to check you are finished?”… Answered by another voice (not mine) :”11:27am should do” 🙂 Cool to see some have confidence in me!

Missed my tram (should I write “of course”?). So had fun taking another tram line, bus, new tram (with a very welcoming and smiling driver – thanks for making my day!) and finally got to wait for the airport bus.20140228-080254.jpg
Much lighter package this year and way “nicer” weather for travelling (read: no cold & snow/freeze like last year…. Only rain). Hope Paris will offer a similar (or better?) one on Sunday… Airport procedures as usual, got a RW, toasted turkey sandwich and a bottle of water. First flight was short and my guess is that I slept… because I did not noticed at all we even left the gate after hearing the safety procedures and then it was time to land… A bit of wait in Copenhagen, forgot my sandwich at home, so 2eggs were my snack while waiting. Plane to Paris will take longer and once again, opportunity to sleep 😉

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Indeed once again, did not notice the plan lifting… Awaken briefly when they switched off the seatbelt sign and slept more. Pretty smooth arrival, long walk to the exit, but really easy to have only hand luggage. Took an Air France bus to Gare de Lyon. Ate a Mars (had no time enough to grab food before the bus leave). My main thought during the bus trip was that the weather is just RIGHT! 10-11°C, sunny behind the thick cloud cover… Make it stay!!!! (& of course this is not my only thought, but made me pretty happy). Got the bus to drop me at St Mande and then walked the 3+km to the Parc Floral. Great sunny weather, runners in shorts… Definitely how it should be…on Sunday!
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Pickup of bib number went smoothly, nice number 🙂 and then going around the exhibition a bit. Won a bottle of Powerade after doing 15 squats….
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Then left under light rain and walked walked walked to my room. Actually not too far from my hotel in 2012. Great to be settling down and getting out to eat a bit (have missed lunch…). Very kind hostess too.
Left for a walk & few purchases. Food for breakfast, bananas, pains au chocolat, honey, tea and stuff that cannot be found at home (like honey & avocado shampoo, argan shower oil…). Completed my walk at a Japanese restaurant. Soup and salad to start with. Then dumplings and mix of skewers with rice. Yummy! What the body needed.

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Back home, shower, check of running gear for Sunday (seriously thinking a similar outfit to Berlin marathon, even if raining…). Got my Garmin detecting satellites after a while. So ready for bed.

SdP… 2 days to go…


Recap 2013…

Short summary on how 2013 went…

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

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

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


Easy, cosy, sweaty…SUB-90…& a victory…enough said!

(week 111113 – 171113)
From a rest day after sub40 and long run to a race day with sub90 and victory… this week seems to have gone pretty fast!

Monday started the week (as usual) and this was a well-deserved rest day. from everything (well, at least from training). Mountain of work and lots to do at home…the day was well-used!

Tuesday started heavily and not really with the motivation to get out of bed for running (yes, that happens some times!). Got to start the day with pancakes anyway and after a long day at work, it was time to change gear, put on my little LED-lights and aimed home. The ferries had stopped their strike in the morning, but still I took the long way home getting a long bridge and enjoying the lights of the city.

Wednesday got to see me up very early and on with the gear. Way too much this time. If the day before I was having 3/4 tights, this morning saw me going out with long tights, long sleeves top, wind-jacket, throat cover and wind-gloves…on the top of winter long underwear and winter sweater… Took 1.5km to realize this stupid choice and my mind wondered a bit if I should stop and take off one of the tights and one of the sweater… Considering that it was pretty early 5am+ and still pitch black, this idea appeared clearly out of this world (stripping in a park when it is dark?… sure!). So continue my workout already feeling I was in a sweat suit! Got to do 3*10min with diverse combination. A bit difficult for my head (still asleep?) to understand the point, but when it came to the last part and the run of the 5 last minutes faster for every minute…NOW you are talking! The legs woke up pretty fast!. Then the usual: home, shower, breakfast, work. The evening offered a little special treat with an invitation from T for a run… Took my easy pants, running shoes and windjacket. Shared my LED-ligts (I got the white and T got the red) and…off she went! light as a feather just started to run and actually I was so surprised that I had difficulty to follow. Estimating the pace to 5:45/6:00 for the first km, without stop (apart from one traffic light) and then we continued uphill…racing! (not MY idea!). Easy walk, then more run. And on the way back…still not MY choice, we ran up (yes, RAN) up the hill and then down again… Really cosy run, which should be done more often (but next time I will be wearing proper running gear!).

Thursday offered a very nice lunch run. Once again the waking-up did not work really well. But working early from home, got a lot done so when my lunch meeting was cancelled, it was pretty fast I jumped into my gear to get my daily workout. Easy 10K ending with short and fast hill work. REALLY FUN TO DO! Could have done more reps, but had a meeting waiting… Had done a 3*1:30min plank between two meetings earlier and the body felt really well after the whole training. Became a long day btw!

Friday was a rest day as I was planning for a race on Sunday. Got to check food intake (not that I do something special before a half-marathon, but never be too careful 🙂 Got cramp in the stomach all afternoon and this was not feeling really well for the next day…

Saturday was easy-peasy-day. Pancakes breakfast from T, rehearsal in town for soon-to-come-concert for E and then a bit of shopping in town before aiming back home. Packing all the stuff for the trip and race of Sunday. Got to check the directions for getting there, printout the PM of the race, double-check all the gear (as I was taking a few changes, just in case there would be some changes in the weather forecast… According to G, I had more running gear changes than when we went to Dubai last year.. (NOT!)

Sunday started early and ended late. Got to record a new PB with sub90 and a victory on an international course (ya, sounds really cool when a jogg-buddy said that :). Race report is already saved here. The race went fast, and finished too soon. Got way more energy too give (but yes, probably could not have run much faster, but definitely longer! 🙂 ). Long drive back home, late evening and the week was ending…

Summary of the week:Fast, fast, fast! Second objectives set for next year achieved… Have to do MORE thinking now! Next week will be under the sign of recovery and easy-peasy feeling (I do not right “pace” because it can be fast but feel easy…). Taking back what I wrote last Sunday: Shorts are STILL on! a bit chilly but winter-kit are not getting out unless my legs turn blue… (OK, maybe I’ll get the winter gear on, before that!).

Almost half-way of the race

Almost half-way of the race

400m left to the finish line :)

400m left to the finish line 🙂