Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

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Race Report – XXI WMAC Marathon (Lyon) – 2015/08/16

Planned: complete the course, hopefully not last + if feeling fine, get into a nice finish under 3:30/25 + ensure the body is remaining happy throughout the run.

Actual 3:08:29 🙂 a silver medal for age category in the XXI World Master Athletics Championships, a 6th place total women, a personal fan club on site ensuring both cheering and bottle handling and a body not too bad during and after the race. Quite satisfied with the preps of this race 🙂

Race Results:
place (M/W) 6
place (ag) 2
age/grade: 74.99% (2014 Chicago 75.97 / 2014 Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / 2014 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) 03:08:29
time total (brutto) 03:08:29
average pace: 4:28min/km

Unofficial splits (from Garmin):

Split Net time (difference)
5K 21:37:00 (21:37)
10K 43:23:00 (21:46)
15K 01:05:11 (21:47)
20K 01:27:14 (22:03)
Half mara 01:31:50
25K 01:50:03 (22:48)
30K 02:12:34 (22:30)
35K 02:35:33 (23:00)
40K 02:58:45 (23:12)
Marathon 03:08:29

Nice for a first (?) World Championship, right?

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

M Day-1

Little reminder here… Final morning run done under the sun. Effortless. Final try-on for race gear and pics in the garden. Final carboloading day with pasta lunch, gummy bears and sport-drink. And lots of water as well. Travel to Lyon. Check of final km of the race route. Felt ok for the race (well, as ok as can be… Felt like forever I have gotten myself ready for a race!). Headache until 10:30pm. Quality sleep between 10:40pm and 1pm… Excitement was in the air…

image

Before the race
Awaken 3:00am… But I just closed my eyes. Frozen brain for a few seconds to remember why I should go up so early. Had heard my roommate being called on her phone around 1:15am… Felt the alarm should be for her. Dragged myself out of the bed. Into the kitchen. Out with the porridge and banana. Ate in the dark and kept quiet for not waking up my roommate. Green mix drink (no shaker, so it was real disgusting to stir and drink with small packs of powder 😦 ). 2dl Gatorade blue. Back to bed. Sleep.

3:30am
– Water. Sleep.

4:00am – Gatorade. Sleep. No,… wait. Remained half awaken as I started to calculate the time I would have to get myself ready, prepare my bottles and get to the start.

4:15am – Up 15minutes earlier as my still-asleep brain required more time for getting ready. All bottles on the table. Filling half-way with either Gatorade blue or water. Taped the flags. Shower. Cream on and dressed with running gear except for the shoes. Writing splits on my hand. Not working. For reference mostly, writing 3:00, 3:03, 3:05 & avg pace + 10K on my hand. Nooooo way this is achievable, but the brain wanted it. Was left my full-length of left forearm for the splits between 3:10 & 3:30. 10K, halfway and 30K. No more place available! Racing shoes in the bag and off to the race. Final beet-shot at 4:30pm.

5:00am – final drink with water. No more eating.

5:14am – Late on my schedule by 14 minutes… Dark outside. Not a soul out there (apart from me). Nice in the air. All dressed in black for getting to the stadium feels a bit awkward… Looking like a thief… with nice nails. Walking is going fine. Brain is relaxed. Body feels good. Getting to the park… Where is the park? PITCH BLACK out there… Decide to keep walking under the street lights. Seeing a flow of walkers a bit ahead at the end of the street. All heading towards the stadium. Cool 🙂 Now I remember the pre-race feeling 😉

5:45am – Pitch black all around us. Confusion. The stadium is still locked. No one seems to know what to do, where to drop personal bottles (which were to be dropped latest 6am). But when asking to the volunteers helping, just getting mixed answers. Good to be able to speak French in such case! Having a chat with a guy in bike and he indicates the route is fast. Set for a PR. I tell him the contrary. Chat about diverse races we have done and he highly recommends Paris. Time for him to go. He will cheer on the side for me he promises. Meeting two other Swedish runners, marathon Karin S and half-marathon Eleonor Ö. Quick chat and see you soon. Karin ain’t sure of the daily form due to problem with her foot. She had run the 10,000m on Monday though. In 40 minutes. Faster than what I can possibly do right now…

6:00am – Still unsure what to do with the bottle. Still pitch black. Still chaotic. The stadium doors open and a flow of runners get inside. Lost probably. Finally appear two tables: “A” and “B” indicated an official… Eeeeeeee…. What A or B? Give me numbers, man! 5, 15, 25 or 10,20,30… Something I understand!!! Finally getting that “A” – that most runners understood as being the first water station at 5K – was actually the one close to the start and turning points… Very confusing!!! Whatever, leaving my bottles on the 5-15-25-35 table (aka “Table B”) and the 10-20-30 (aka “Table A”). Fun fact: the day after the race, I found published on the WMAC site a guide indicating important facts prior to the marathon and semi-marathon. The “Tables A & B” were mentioned and location indicated there… Good to know after the race… Anyway, the tables got filled pretty fast. I was proud of my flags but see that loads of bottles have also flags… So now I not only have to look for the bottles with flags, but will ALSO have to check which flag is attached to the bottles… Brain, please help me!

6:15am – Heading to the stadium, very much hoping the bottles will be there when I need them. In the dark, getting down to the tent close to the stadium, tent that was used as call room for other events. Where is the call room for the 800+ semi-marathon runners and the 400+ marathoners? No one knows… In the tent, four people changing. So I get a spot in the back, pretty dark and take off my extra clothes. Chat with the French changing close to me. Scared a few times by a gigantic grasshopper that get into my hair, then on my shoulders, my arms and finally my bottle. The French guy get it to leave 🙂 Cannot find my Vaseline in the bag, so NOK-cream it is. Thighs, underarms, lower back and higher back under the sport bra. I look pretty white then! But better white that burned… Putting my Dextrosol in a little sock and on the back in my sport-bra. Should be tight enough for not burning. I think. I hope. No more people enter the tent as a volunteer in wheel chair stops everyone and tell all to give there bag do they can have a bit of order in all this… It starts this way: “the French team? In this corner. They are many, better to make place for them. Brazil? Here in the middle. Spain? Yaaaa it’s close to Brazil. Put their bags there. Italy? Separate from Spain, better this way…” And it just goes on 🙂 Nice and fun chaos in the tent. (Have I talked about the necessary preparation prior to a race? The required mental quietness needed? The “everything has to be going on rails” thoughts?… On this day, you better forget all of this!!!!). Leaving my bag to a lady in the tent. She gets ready to drop my bag in the French corner when I stop her and indicate to find a nice place for the Swedish. “Put the nice gal in the corner” I hear the man saying. Cool… At least I’ll find my bag! Good luck to the right, good luck to the left, cheering to any Swede I meet in the way to the start. Soon start…

06:37am – Happy faces from G & MT right before the start mat. Cool! The fan club has arrived! 2 at start and 3 at km5 water stop. Final pics. Passing the mat (Fun fact: after the race, in this guide on “final stuff prior to the marathon”, they did mentioned that this may would be acting as “call room”, and therefore all runners were to pass on it. Good to know…afterwards…).

Before race smile :-)

Before race smile 🙂

6:45am – Four rows already on the starting line. Enough place for doing my lunges matrix. Not much of a warmup, but that will do. Final smile to Karin S and then I get myself smoothly to the second row for the start 🙂 Still having place for breathing. Call from the speaker to all runners to get to the call room. Having a handful Spanish on my left. Half marathon (numbers in black on the BIB) and marathon (numbers in red). They look d*mn fast… Having one of the Central African guys right to my back, quick chat. He hardly recognise me though, Swedish outfit on. The air is becoming thinner. The place around each runner becoming more expensive. Hearing an apparently fast guy right behind me not understanding that there are no seeding or start group. He wants to finish in 2:28 (!!!) and talks to a nice lady planning “an easy” 3:15. That can’t be right!!! He has a nice smile 🙂 Feeling someone getting in front of me. An older lady (W60) with long grey hair has just taken my spot… Well, I hope she is fast and careful, because the guys all around ain’t going to show any mercy when the gun will shot…

6:55am – Haaaaa!!! Have to tie up my laces for the third time again. And I promise that getting down on the ground for this ain’t fun when everyone is packed like in a too small box… “There won’t be any countdown” says the speaker…Hmmmm? OK? How do we know when to start then? The clock is…behind us?!?! Maybe a little “10-9-8… would have been nice” says the 2:28-guy… Looking at my watch I suggest more likely to be a “120-119-118…” J And got a smile back and a good luck and then the head just shut down.

6:58am – Feels so quiet now. Crazy quiet. When actually it is not. But in the head it feels like no sound is getting in. Trying to find out where the start-guy is with the gun, but cannot see much. Getting much grey hair in the face again. Zipping the end of my Gatorade blue. Oooops! Where will I throw it now.

6:59am – O.M.G… with no countdown, this becomes the longest minute of marathon history… Bodies all around are getting ready. You could probably hear a butterfly passing by over us…
*********
THE RACE

Loop 1: 0-10,400m

07:00am – Right on time, hearing (hardly) the gun shot and the runners are hitting the pavement like a horde of wild horses. Feeling a bit of pushing, but I am more scared for the old lady in front of me than for myself. A push is making me drop my bottle, which I did not like. But it is probably crunched by the hundreds of feet pounding soon this little space it fell on. The start is for both half-marathon and marathon, meaning there will be pretty crazy differences in pace. And with no start group, that makes the whole thing even crazier. Passing by G & MT already cheering. I take it easy. As Coach said: “take it easy at start, find your rhythm, don’t both the others, make it your race”. A bit easy said, but I know the route now. Almost by heart. So by the first turn, I have already slowed down (!) and still getting a 4:02min/km tempo. Just multiply this by 42 tells the brain to itself. I actually laugh at this thought! Can see ahead the fastest runners and then followed by the next fastest and then the crazy runners who think they can hold this pace throughout the course and then comes me 🙂 and a bunch of others behind. Karin S is passing me right after the first right turn and before the first km. OK, let’s take the second Swedish female place then 🙂 A bit surprise when reaching the next turn towards km2, because I had thought it would be going right and then sharp left turn, instead getting a “nice and smooth”-like left turn towards the long straight path. Getting passed by so many people so far, that I hardly want to look behind me, if this is to see I am the last one or so… a few more hundreds and sharp 90-turn into a way narrower path. And this part I don’t like. The asphalt is not plane, but broken, there are lots of turns and a few hundreds before reaching km3 there is a sharp left turn, slightly up. NOT.liking.this.one. But I like the loooooong straight line after that. Asphalt. Thank you. Then back under the trees, a few turns and getting to the main straight path again (after… yes, you guessed it: a sharp 90-turn). Loving this part (yes, I do!). Have done my intervals of Tuesday there. So I know exactly (almost) where to count 200, 400 and 800m-marks 🙂 Passing the km4 and then under the Park signs. But this is not reaching the km5 that is driving me then. I know my second half of fan club should be there. Please make them be there. And here they are. Small dark silhouettes at first. But they see me as well. E&T. And hearing “Come on, mummy!” is the best cheering ever heard! Don’t even bother keeping the pace there. I want them to have the smile and hello they deserve J Less happy when reaching the water station as after the water mugs there are two tables full with personal bottles and I cannot see mines! Even going back to find them. Finally shouting “Sweden! Where is Sweden?” in both French and English and getting a volunteer to hand me a bottle…which was set on a bench right after the other tables… and of course… I get my “km15-bottle” and not the “km5-bottle”. Continuing towards the end of the path, hearing the officials saying my BIB-number to indicate I had been passing this checkpoint and executing the U-turn and coming back, slightly downhill (Yes, it IS downhill). Drink, drink and drink. Gatorade it is. Almost drinking all of it, and throwing it on the side. “Hello there” to the fan club on the other side and then focusing on the race again J The watch has been checked a few times, but honestly it shows faster than 4:18/19, which is way faster than expected. The body is responding fine, so I let it continue. Long and straight line to km6. Trying to get some encouragements from the people coming along the route. Getting a nice “Allez IKEA” (“Come on IKEA”) when passing a group of French and it is well appreciated. Yes, as usual, all cheering is good cheering! Can see that there are lots of people behind me still. Good J I am not last. But I have been passed by lots of people. I am checking mostly women as the competition is done per age category. Cannot see any ahead of me. “One swede before you” I had heard from my fan club at km5 and I know it is Karin. But how many women?… trying to hang along others to reach km7, but it is not too easy. Reaching back two Finnish older men and they kindly ask whether I really will do the full marathon… (Yap! Km7 and we can still chat at a nice pace!). They look impressed. I am feeling that it would be good if I can just follow them for the next 3 laps and that would be good. But once again, lots of people are actually not yet in marathon-pace and running too fast. Back to the main road after the very uncomfortable-to-run km7-road and sharp turn (one more!) to the left and we are under the trees again. Long straight line towards the hippodrome and km8. This is what I checked yesterday, so it feels good. The pace is good. The mind feels good. Nothing can really go wrong (for now at least!). Along the hippodrome the road is pretty bad and it is easier to run on the right of it. Which ALL others in front of me agree upon… meaning that there is need to pass a few on the left, which means “cross-country-on-broke-asphalt” 😛 I see Karin S on the other road on her way back. Quick calculation: she must be 4-500m ahead of me. And as usual, I am rubbish at estimating the distance. So I really have no clue how much ahead she is, but “4-500m” sounds an “OK”-distance to keep between us J Turning point. Sharp turn right AND up AND on rubbish path. As expected my left foot is falling into a small hole and not liking it. Have to be careful for next lap. Because yes, the brain has started the countdown. Not of the km (well, yes, it always counts down the kilometres from the moment the gun is shot!), but of the number of laps left. ONLY THREE TIMES PASSING HERE I can hear in my head. Hmmm ok. Reaching the nice “40km”-mark, after the 9km and this part is not fun (for me) because it is light elevation. Not Norwegian-fjord-elevation like, but still. It is NOT flat. That’s the thing. At the 30km-mark it is better (I just like the “30km-mark” because it means 12km left J). Downhill and turn left and Wow! Nice! They have cleaned the path and there are almost no stuff from the pine trees on the path (which would have been very slippery to run on…). Seeing other runners getting into the woods for their km8 and I am getting to haaaaaaa…another sharp 90-turn on the right. And asphalt again. Good rhythm. Body ok. Just run. In front of me the Finnish are a bit ahead, but I have a French guy which seems to have the rhythm I want. He gets cheered by his friend and I ask (the friend) for cheering for me as well next time J Next 90-turn on the right is taken a bit bad and I hit my left leg on a lower wood fence. Looking down for getting more strength and up with the eyes towards the end of the…street…where is ending the street exactly? Straight it is. Many half-marathoners and marathoners are passing on the other side. Cool to see. Looking the fade 41km-mark on the street (see you soon! I think!) and straight a bit more. Hearing fan-club nr2 on the other side, looking straight forward, passing the mat, seeing my BIB and time (and no, I did not noted what my time was then!), getting to the end and around the fence and back on the mat again and that was it. Passing the white stripe on the pavement which was the starting line.
Loop 1: completed!

Personal bottles on tacl "B"

Personal bottles on table “B”

Loop 2: 10,400-20,800m

Reaching the water station, I got handed perfectly my 10km-bottle. A smile and more cheering J Throwing away the flag, opening the bottle and zipping a bit and running and zipping a bit and running. Takes until almost 11km-mark to zip this bottle. Which I think is good, for not having a too heavy stomach. Long stretch towards the next km-mark. Not that many runners around but still a good mix marathoners and half-marathoners. Passing a few of them. Straight line towards km12 (there is a trick here: every lap the km-signs are 400m ahead of the signs from the previous lap, i.e. km12 is 400m before km2, km22 is indicated 200m before km12 aso. So this is a trick I used for calculating the distance passed: when reaching the sign km3 on the asphalt, it meant during loop2, that I was at km13.4 J OK, maybe it is making no sense for anyone but me, but at least it kept my head busy and happy!) The way under the trees towards km13 is still not fun (in case it would have been changed since previous loop…). Unfortunately witnessing a runner cutting straight from the path to take to the one coming back (cut of 1.5km or so). Not fair play. (btw after this there has been an official checking this part actually…). Still annoying part, but I like the Argentinean lady who is cheering for her teammates and still having voice for shouting “Ola, chicas, vamos” 🙂 Abrupt turn right and up once again (“2 done, 2 to go”…let’s keep thinking positive here!), the straight line, passing the km3-sign and back under the trees. Still impossible to find someone with similar pace. Am I the only one on Earth with rubbish and dysfunctional pace?!?! Nobody wanting to join my team?!?! OK, I continue alone then. Passing people and cheering for them. Some are in their first loop still. Good fighting. And back on the main road (remember, after this 90-turn right?). Seeing Swedes on the other sides, but they are in their first loop I think. And straight line towards km15. The pace? Oh yes, the pace. When under the trees, the Garmin is getting crazy. But it is still indicating a 4:20-stable pace. No worry on the side of the body. So keeping this way. Soon they are there. Fan-club ready and cheering 8and even taking pictures! Getting my “15K-bottle” from the hands of Dj and E (which makes me wonder a bit….because I have been drinking it during the first lap…). [Fun fact: E told me after the race that someone had taken my 15K-bottle and drank on it during the first lap, so they went to pick it up and they filled it with the 5K-bottle to be ready for my next passage… Good to know J I was the one drinking this bottle in the first place 😛 ] One zip before reaching the policemen, then the U-turn, large smile to the officials and back. Still zipping. Shouting “next time it is the gel” when passing E&T&Dj. Realizing afterwards that nope. This is not a gel at next stop… Hoping they will look at the km-mark on the bottle… Having a nice Spanish guy on my right side now. Reaching the long stretch towards km16 and his pace is pretty well suiting mine. I can almost hear one step when our feet hit the pavement. Even our breathing are in sync (well, actually he breathe out when I breathe in and then he breathe in when I breathe out. All good! I finally found my step and breathing twin!). I like him because he gets cheering from friends (like “Vamos Espana”) and each time he adds “common friend. Common friend”. We are pretty close to a Polish lady W40. She has a good rhythm too. And she looks real good when running behind her. She was right before me at the km15-water station but slowed down for her bottle and now she has caught up with us and even passed us slightly. She has a little bottle, just suiting into the hand. Pretty handy. She keeps it until km 17 and throws it. I want one like that!!! The Spanish guy is accelerating a little bit and find himself at her level now. I am right behind. We are back on this “km7-broken road” part. I am very careful for not falling on broken asphalt and lost a bit of time in this (but better safe and slow, than not checking and breaking an ankle). They are reaching the main road ahead of me. Thinking now that the Finnish guys are no longer to be seen. Nor the French one neither 😦 And back to the “under the trees” and towards km18. The Polish gal is having a good step, and it is actually difficult not to stop running and just looking. The Spanish guy has dropped a bit and is right in front of me when we reach the hippodrome. But by the end of the straight line and the U-turn, he is at my level and sounds like he is having it pretty heavy. But I like to have him around for pacing. He is for the half-marathon, so I can take the luxury to push him a bit to keep me in a good pace 😛 He probably understand this because he is accelerating a bit, but suddenly he told me he cannot carry on and wish me good luck, but fair game I encourage him to just follow me as he “just have to finish this lap, when I have two more to do”. He laughs and agreed he can continue a bit. Even thanks me 🙂 Cute! But by the final left turn under the trees he says being in pain and I accelerate and wish him good luck. 90-turn into the main street. Asphaaaaaaalt again :-)*100 Getting cheering from the French guy from lap 1 and then right turn to the last straight line. Light acceleration. I really would like to be close to 1:30/32 for halfway. Which would allow to have drifting time during the second half. Now I hear “Luis” coming back. So I cheer for him, tell him to pass me and just to give it all (and to come back after his finish line to cheer for me). Seeing Karin S drinking at the water station on the other side of the road. “Luis” passes me right before the mat with a big smile and a thank you. Apparently more strength are found when there is only 400m left 🙂 Turning back and on the second mat. Finding more strength for a kind-of acceleration there. Officials are separating now the half-marathoners to complete their race and go left to the stadium and the marathoners and other to finish their additional loops (no need to tell that a split of a second, I wished I was a half-marathoner…)
Loop 2: completed!

Loop 3: 20,800-31,200m

Soon the water station. Seeing the banner with my name and the hand holding my water-bottle with a gel taped on it.  Run run run. Want to reach the half-way before the time turns above 1:33. OK, Half-way mark passed. Have been struggling to un-tape my gel, now it is time to struggle opening it with the teeth, swallowing the fortunately liquid gel and drinking the water of the bottle. Sounds like it takes forever for doing all this, but it does not. OK. Have been cruising at 4:21min/km for the first half according to my watch. Which is more than decent and acceptable today. Just have to go through this third lap and then it is the final 10K-stretch left. Throwing my bottle around the 11km-mark (i.e. I have run now for 21.4km, which seems pretty little in my mind, but ok). The loooooong stretch towards the left turn to km 2 seems way longer than the previous lap. Did someone stretched the asphalt there? A couple of older men-runners are passing me, sounding like heavy breather. Not fun at all 😦 OK have to focus. No woman ahead of me for any possible acceleration. I authorize myself to drift up to 4:25 for this lap (Yeaaaah, I know….”I authorize myself”… like I am in control of everything now…Better believe it though! :-)). Getting the cheering from the French gang after the turn, once again the stretch towards km2, third time I pass here. I start to be fed-up. No negative thoughts. Go away! Grabbing my Dextrosol stuck in the back of my sport-bra (Once again, really not smart solution for storing energy, but at least I had not been skin-burned there). One tablet every km will do until the next water station. “Vamos chicas” once again from the Argentinian. Even succeeding in smiling when she takes her photo. I KNOOOOOW…it is not me she photographs but the Argentinian right beside me… but at least I will have a smile on the pic 😛 Soon the annoying left/abrupt/uphill (YES IT IS UPHILL WHEN PASSING IT FOR THE THIRD TIME!) turn and the long-nice-asphalt stretch along the parking lot. One more Dextrosol when seeing the 23km mark on the ground (don’t know if I really see it, but at least I know where the 3km-sign is and then counting backwards 800m before 🙂 Wow that IS tricky to run a marathon and do maths at the same time!). Thirsty there. I would have like to have those sponges-stuff there had been promising right before km3 and at km7-like. But could not see them in the past two loops. Is everybody else supreme beings and not needing extra water there? Am I the only one?!?! OK, stop. Pass this guy (M55. At least one less before me) and finally the left turn to the main road again. I WANT THIS TO BE FINISHED… thought during 1.5seconds before hearing cheering “Allez les gars” from the side of the road. Don’t care they cheer for guys and their friends. Once again, any cheering is good cheering to have! Passing km24 and.I.just.want.to.get.to.km25 (because it is one km closer to the end…). Have been taking one dextrosol every km-mark between km22.5 and 25. Cheering squad in place when I arrive. Feeling that I have to stretch a bit the back. The steps are a bit slower and shorter. Have to work on this. Next loop, I’ll fix that. Seeing T with her banner and huge smile. Seeing E holding my 25km-bottle with Gatorade and Dj saying that I asked for the gel-one. Good that E knows my plans though 🙂 Taking the Gatorade bottle, admitting loudly that I mistakenly asked for the gel during my previous lap. Zipping once before the U-turn. Smile to the officials. They are cool and cheering. Have been counting the gals on the other side passing me. Could see 3 W40, Karin S and no other woman. Am I really first W35? Nooo, cannot be. The others must be so crazy lightning-fast that I have missed them since a while. No more fast woman from the half-marathon though. Downhill after the U-turn. 25km done. Less than half to go. (and yes I know the “less than half to go” is actually working since a while, but this is good for the spirit! Well,for my spirit at least). New running mate on my right. A Spanish guy. Cool. He ain’t having the same steps as Luis, but that will do. Checking my watch and the pace has dropped crazily much. But as long as I am not crawling on the pavement, I guess it is fine. The Polish W40 is passing us right before the km26 mark. Not trying to catch up with her. Still liking her still. Still liking her little bottle in her hand J What am I doing?!?!? Stop looking at her. Focus on Luis-friend and run! She is getting a bit of distance ahead of us. The Spanish guy is not running stable pace, which is fine with me, as long as it is not too slow. More “Come on IKEA” on the way towards km27 and turning. HERE.IT.IS… a lonely table with water bottle on it. Is it the “sponge”-place? Really? Passing it. Turn left to the broken-asphalt path. Passing the medic and asking them to get ready to carry me during the next turn. And finally on the main road and the right turn already towards the hippodrome. My Spanish friend ain’t following any longer. Have to run on my own. Have been zipping a bit of Gatorade at km26 and 27. Good. Finishing the bottle at km28 (I think) and throwing it. Oooooohhhh what I want to stop and take some water at the little fountain close to the hippodrome there. But nope. Cheering for Erika from Germany. Passing a few there. Cannot see the Polish gal any longer. Ooohhh.. she is already on the other way, back already. I must have drifted heavily there! And.here.comes.the.left/up turn and I just enjoy it because I just have ONE time left to pass it 😛 (think positive, think positive…). Reaching the km40-mark and I just so much want to BE at the 40km-mark. But nope. One more lap before I can enjoy this thought! This is tough to run there. Not physically, but mentally. No one really around. Ahead and behind. Not on the side. One more Dextrosol at km29. Passing a dad with his two kids and getting a very kind “Allez la Suède, Allez..Svvvveeerrige”. Which is once again so appreciated. And here it is” the 30km-mark on the pavement! Yououououhhhhhooouou! Only 12km left. Almost finished. Even have this thought that it would take less than an hour to reach the end. Have no clue how long I have run. Just want to get out of this forest. English lady cheering once again. Cool. And the right turn to the main road. Just once more to pass here. THAT is what I call motivation! Getting my foot badly into a broken hole on the turn here. But matters not. There are less than 12km left! Cheering from the French guy. Cool he is now cheering “Allez Sweden” to me! And this stupid left turn towards the straight final line. O.M.G. Will this never end? Feels almost like running in a maze and that you recognize passing there already, but that was not the correct path, but not knowing where to go… Run run run… Less people on the other side. Hearing from the speaker when I pass the mat that the first guy of the marathon course will be soon arriving…. Recognizing the name, but cannot figure out HOW I can recognize it. Mat 1- passed, turn, mat 2- passed. OK.
Loop 3: completed!

Loop 4: 31,200-42,195m

Now smile because this is the last time you pass this water-station. G hands my last water bottle with gel. Sweet he has taken away the flag and I “just” have to struggle with the gel opening, swallowing the disgusting paste in it (no liquid this time :-() and getting some water on the top. Passing by Karin S talking with Eleanor. They smile and sheer, apparently Karin takes it easier. Water on the head once again. I have been feeling a burning sensation in the lower back and am pretty sure that my SWE hotpants are burning this little place again. Wonderful! Passing the “halfway”-mark. Having the Polish gal on my side now again. OK. New plans. I stuck to her steps, whatever pace she takes. Just not letting her go in front of me. Once again, this is this last 10km stretch that any marathoner is looking forward to (or is it just me?!?!). She gets a good step, have cheering from her coach. We even smile (a little) to each other and run side-by-side. Passing the left turn towards km2-mark, the guy telling time and distance is encouraging us by our name 🙂 Cool. Stretch towards the left turn and the “under-the trees”-part. This is not fun BUT this is the bloody last time I run there. Magdalena (the Polish gal) has slowed down. I kept my pace. Not a chance I drop somewhere here. I still here “Vamos chicas”, but I thought I was alone for gal. And now….seeing a British W40 passing me. Noooooooo! Not now. Final little left/up turn. Taking the outside curve to get a bottle of water. Most of it on the head. The British gal is in front of me and at a good pace. But she suddenly stops and zip her gel and water. I pass her. 33km have been passed! Hear that she is starting again and of course (!) a British guy is arriving and encouraging her. WHERE ARE MY SWEDES for encouraging me there?!?! Or French? Or Spanish?, Japanese? Brazilian? Whatever nation, I would accept the cheerings here and until the end! She has a good step, but not as coordinated with me as Luis or  the Polish gal. And she is not even breathing at the same pace as me. Aaaaahhhh…this is all disturbing now! She passes me at the right turn to the main road and is ahead of me for a few 20-50m. But I pass her. Not a chance she gets this one. Cheering squad in place. Getting my final gel for the “about 35-36km”-mark. Cheering from officials when I turn and hearing that I am at the 6th place!!! … but not for long as the Brit is passing me like, 15m after this U-turn. Once again…Nooooooo! OK, run run run. Cannot do anything else but taking my gel and drinking my water. Shouting to my fan club that they better hurry to the stadium or I will arrive before them J Getting laughs back… (thanks for the trust is my lightning-speed!). OK, forgotten the Polish gal. and the British one is increasing the distance. Reaching deep into whatever storage of strength, glycogen, stupidity or boldness that maybe left, I actually make my steps a bit longer. Stupid probably, but it does not feel much more effort to be put into this change. Less people on the side. Probably moved to the stadium. Mental pacing here – whatever it means… Final turn to the km7/17/27/37 road. All by myself. And left turn to the broken-asphalt road. Last time here as well 🙂 Acceleration (or kind-of…) to the right turn and into the woods again. Long stretch to the hippodrome – for the LAST TIME. Seeing a black guy on the side and this is my Central African runner friend. Recognizing me he cheers loud and clear that it looks good and not much is left. (well, easy to say, when you are on the side of the road… but thanks :-)). Fiiiiiiiinal stretch along the hippodrome. Have taken out my dextrosol and taken 2 at km39. I need this energy kick. Whatever it takes. 2 dextrosol after the left/up turn (where I.actually.walk.up!!!) and off.I.run. The Brit gal is out of reach. But the 40km-mark on the pavement gets me the largest smile ever! 2 more Dextrosol and that would do. How much extra energy can a brain take exactly? A zip of water would have suited well here btw… but as usual no rest for the warrior, independently how thirsty he/she might be! The British gal is stopping 150m in front of me. She walks! Tired apparently. She has a team mate reaching her however and encouraging her so she starts again. And me and my thoughts are still at this 7th place and just thinking to keep the distance stable and not letting it increase. At least I am passing the British guy 😛 And all in for what is left towards the last left turn under the trees. My Central African friend has moved up, he talks on his mobile on the side of the road and starts shouting “looking good, looking good, almost finish, looking good…no not you (to the person on the phone) I’m shouting to the gal running for Sweden you know”. At least it makes me smile J And the shadows of the trees are disappearing when I turn FOR THE LAST TIME to the right on the main road. Final cheering from those still cheering, FINAL turn left to the last straight line. OMG! Where is this 41km-mark on the pavement? Has someone moved it? Throwing my little sock and the rest of Dextrosol. I want my hands free. And I just run. Probably not the sexiest running steps in history, but who cares? More cheering from some Spanish team on the the right of the road. Here is the stadium. And the first mat. And…and…and… nooooo, happens what I thought would happen…the final U-turn is actually 140m away from the one used during lap 1, 2 and 3. All for having this race to the correct length… The British gal ain’t that far anymore and another British man is close to her. I happily pass him, turn and this is the final stretch. Actually no. It is not. There is still 240m straight before turning to the stadium and THIS means reaching the final 300m. Tunnel vision and obviously shutting down all hearing abilities as well. The only thing I see is this British back and the only thing I want is to pass it. Final left turn along the stadium, the British gal is before me and then final downhill on the right to the Stadium. She is getting on the red path before me. But there (and that the coolest and strangest thing ever experienced), the body DOES find extra strength. I pass her a bit after entering the Stadium, but not only that. I also continue to push extra. No clue on what time it is but time is irrelevant. The only thing that counts is the Red arch above the tracks. Must pass it. Acceleration (and yes probably this extra speed was in my head and I was slow like a slug, but that the thought that counts :-)). And.Here.It.Is! FINISHED!!!

Official time received later: 3:08:29 (Garmin shows 2 seconds more 🙂).

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

After the finish line

Time does not matter. Well, yes it does. I cannot really believe that it went so well. And so fast. Surely far from lightning fast, but definitely way faster than the expectations set prior to the race! My legs are shaky. Could probably have run a bit longer, but not really after this final sprint. Taking a water bottle on the table. A few prunes and walk a bit. Back for one more water bottle and heading to the exit for the tracks. Stopped by a nice lady telling me that she was in the group cheering “Allez IKEA” and hope that it was ok to say it this way as she did not know what language to use. Of course she got a smile from me to this! Looking right and left. Nobody I recognize. I hear after a short while that the third W35 is going to cross the finish line…which makes me…the second W35! J A bit of walking and then heading back to the bag tent. Meeting G&E then. Got smiles and congratulations. Telling them that we probably have to wait a while as I have made it to the podium. More smiles. E is sent to pick up my bags, but comes back being told that only athletes can go there. Meeting the rest of the fan club. And Karin S that completed the race as well (3rd position for her age category). Quick pic and headed to the bag tent. Quick chat there to get my bag. Meeting my Central Africans running buddies. Getting a large hug from one of them, hearing that he had to drop off the half-marathon due to lack of training and too fast start. Getting a hug from his friend that apparently had been in my back since second lap without passing me at any time after I passed him. Walking back to the cheering squad. Looking at the podium and hearing we have to wait one hour for the marathon podium to start. Getting a nice place in the sun for this wait. Shaking my recovery drink mix. Changing into my easy pants (not smart to have them black as the sun is showing up and it feels pretty hot then!). Feeling clearly the deep burn in the lower back due to the seam of my hotpants. Yapp. Must be fixing this. Definitely. Keep on walking and talking. Thanking a lot for the cheering and bottle handling. All perfect! E kindly remind me my promise that if making a podium here, I would take them to the next WMAC…in Australia… Hmmmm ok, sure… I am a bit tired now. Let’s rest on this 🙂

11:45am – Getting closer to the podium. Meeting the French-speaking guys from the start, (the “2:28-guy”). How did it go then, I asked. What about the 2:28?. Well, 2:28 it was, he answers. Whaaaaaat?!?! You are the one who won the race, I answer. (yes, I know, behave should be the first thing coming to mind, but surely it is pretty cool to have chatted with a guy at start, that this guys happened to finish in exactly the time he expected AND that he is as well to be crowned world master champion W40. Respect! Meeting the two other gals to join on the podium. The winner (a Polish gal) is just so cool. She is just talking non-stop. She is drinking lots of water as she must go through anti-doping test but cannot get to the loo. This is her official PR she said. She has run in 2:40-ish before, but in smaller races or so and then there was no official time taken…. Huuuuuummmm…ok….. THAT’s the reason why I never see her throughout the race. She probably was 2km ahead of me in the first lap and by the time I finished she had increased to 4km the distance between us… Good job! Finally our turn to get on the podium. Pretty cool. Third place…blablabla…Second place….my name 🙂 …and the world champion W35…blablabla. Polish anthem to listen to and photo session for the three of us. REALLY COOL (and highly recommended 😛 )

Podium – XXI WMAC marathon W35

Down from the podium, more pic with my little fanclub, photo with the “2:28-guy” (I will learn his name, so next time we meet I won’t call him this way… Separating for having some going to the restaurant directly and E&myself walking back to the apartment. 2km feels all fine after the race. We meet this grey hair lady (W60 from the start line). She had felt a couple of time apparently, was bleeding on her shoulder, but she was so close to finish and still smiling. Respect! At the apartment, my very kind roommate had been doing my dishes. Taking a shower (NO FUN with this burn mark on the lower back), packing everything, leaving a note and the keys and time for reward at a Chinese buffet restaurant with my own personal little fanclub J Then back home the belly very happy. The body being behaving like after any regular long run. Just have to jump into my bikini, sun-cream on and enjoying the rest of this sunny afternoon laying on a sunchair in the garden. WHAT.A.DAY!

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

Weather: 16ºC, Feels like 16ºC, 11 km/h NNW wind, Humidity 68% – Perfect at start, perfect in the middle, perfect at the end (when the sun decided to show itself behind the cloud cover). Got some wind during the final stretch line towards the mats during lap 2 & 3, but on the other side it was tailwind after turning. So no complaining. Great weather for running!

Food:
> before: chia porridge with banana, with soy milk + 2dl Gatorade (3am)

> right after: Vitargo Green, water, few prunes

> 2.5 hours after: Chinese buffet + 2 coke

> During: vitargo gel @km10, 20, 25, 35 (at the water stations). Dextrosol: 1 tablet every km (between km22 & 32) except the kms with Gatorade (25+, 26+, 27+). 2 tablets @km38.5, 39, 40.

Gear: SWE outfit (hotpants & singlet), sunglasses – shoes were just all-this-that-you-want-from-a-race-shoe-and-never-dare-asking. Just loving them.

=> perfect outfit for today and the weather. Only issues were 1) lack of pockets for having the dextrosol (was solved well and without burn mark, but still, not practical) and 2) burn mark due to the seam of the hotpants. To be fixed before next race.

 

16/ First half was well-done and under control. No pain, effort as it should be, no pressure. Third loop was a bit more mentally exhausting. Not easy to get along a bit alone and therefore dropped on the pace there. Last loop felt all fine (even though when looking at the time it was quite slow), but the feeling was there and the mental was very strong. This extra strength after turning towards the stadium, and then this whatever-it-is-that-I-could-have-for-breakfast-every-morning when reaching the final stretch on the tracks… Wow! This is just so extremely cool. [Fun fact: have pic and film from those last 200m on the track towards the finish line. And once again: nope! The medal of the sexiest way of running was not won there! But who cares?!?!? This was just great to feel this rush and finish high with a smile!]

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

SUMMARY: Great day, going completely not as expected but so rewarding! Having a person fan club on site should not be undermined! And seeing them 4 times in 2 places was the cherry on the cake! Being the first marathon of the year, after 4.5months with no running because of a crazy left foot and a stupid tendon (apparently), 12 weeks only to prepare, a full week of heat workout to prepare for crazy hot temperatures expected on race day and ending on perfect running conditions on this Sunday… Tell me about the importance of planning! I’ll tell you about all the plan-B, C, D… that might be of used in a race 🙂 The course route was nothing but fast. Tricky part, broken asphalt and gravel, lots of U-turns or abrupt turns, ups and downs as well… Nope. Not really the WR-conditions with this 4 loops-route. But apparently it worked. On a straight line route like Dubai, the time would have probably be different. But stop with all thoughts about if or why. This was today and today only. And the route worked. (and yes, the comments I make about the route was similar to the words from the Polish world champion. She too was very surprised with all those turns and uphill and gravels and to have to go through this 4 times! She was really cool and fun while talking about this 🙂).

What makes this race great is surely the ranking and the silver medal and the fanclub, but also that the body reacted so well. Definitely not pushing much throughout the race (a bit more mentally during the 3rd loop, but this is always the case in marathon…), it was nice to see it can hold so well. And even after the race. Sure the body feels tired and stiff (I have yet to win the medal for “superwoman-not-feeling-anything-after-a-marathon-race”, if ever…), but apart from left knee and strange feeling on the bending top of the right foot, all felt fine. Light cramps felt coming during the race, but disappeared pretty fast afterwards. No sensitive Achilles heels afterwards, which makes me thing that the adjustment of the insoles was a good work. Was also cool to see the stomach and well defined abs after the race (yes, I know, that is probably due to dehydration of some kind and that was gone the day after – but still, that looked cool!)

Once again, the need for a personal pacer is still there. Anyone? I can do the talking during the race if anyone is interested in doing the pacing 🙂 And as usual, just wanting more after that. But carefully taking care of this body of mine, to ensure there are many more races of this kind in the future…and faster ones too 😛

(Lots of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks. Not many were told about this race, as it felt a bit stressful actually to tell about it (this is after all a first World master championship!). And was very much hoping to have a body fit for the race. Thanks for you sending encouragement via sms the days before the race. Great thanks to my personal little fanclub, which had to bear with me during this last week of carb depletion and carboloading and training and sunbathing and and and… Sooooo rewarding to have you there. Time to rest a bit now under the Swedish sun…before next great adventures!) THANKS!

Happy smile after podium

Happy smile after podium

Nice and well-deserved silver medal

Nice and well-deserved silver medal

Me and the "2:28 guy" (aka World Champion M40)

Me and the “2:28 guy” (aka World Champion M40)

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: the body felt all fine during the week before the race. Reacted well to the heat in France during the first few days. The stomach cramps felt during the final heat workouts in Sweden were just non-existent after arriving in France. Everything felt fine for standing on this starting line!

NOTE: warmup? Copy-paste from other races probably: Totally in-existent. Nothing. Not even a jog. Only lunges matrix and off you go. Apparently the body was fine with it.

NOTE: Energy/refueling during the race? Additional thanks for the fan-club and their help while handing the bottles. This makes a few seconds win actually. And that was great to be able to drink what I actually wanted. What was available otherwise was plain water. And this would have meant having the gels on me. And having no pocket on my outfit… No cramp in the stomach after swallowing (and chewing first) so many dextrosol at km38-40. Don’t know the effect and if it gives a kick, but probably a splash of water would have been welcome!

NOTE: Beetroot loading? OK, I had to try this. Because if not for the effect on the body, it could have had an effect on the mind. Had small little bottles of Beet-it but did not follow the loading suggested as it was to start during my carb depletion days and I did not want to screw up those days. So I took from carboloading day 1 up to race day. Not completely disgusting to drink, but not nice neither. Did not feel any effect of it. Don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe some kind of magic-potion-like-in-Asterix-and-Obelix… I don’t know. Anyway, I skipped the 3 first days (with one shot) and started on Thursday. 2 shots in the morning after breakfast, one extra shot at 7pm on Saturday evening and one final shot on Sunday morning 4:30am. No reaction from the stomach. Surely a bit of fun (?) to pee red, but otherwise the effect was zero. So, as I know I can run fast(er) without this (done it a few times already), as good to skip spending money on extra stuff.  At least it was tested 🙂

NOTE: Dextrosol in the sport-bra, on the back? WORKING! Not optimal to take it out, but as it has to be done only once, that works. Still, another solution and better one is yet to be found.

NOTE: XXI WMAC? Definitely fun enough to be participating in the future again! Strongly recommended. So fun to have so many nations mixed into so many events in one place at the same time 🙂


When the 3Ds of yesterday are replaced by the 3 Ss of today (lost post from 22/1)

Let’s give it a new try… Post from 22/1, retrieved from brain memory, i.e. not fully accurate to the original post probably… Related to Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 January 2015…

Soon race day and still no functioning foot. Spent the last few days wondering really about all this. So here are some thoughts (certainly in a nice disorder, but after all this post was written 3 days ago and there was THEN some order in my thoughts…)…

After a way-too short night of less than 4 hours (got early to Dubai, trip to my apartment, settling a bit, showering after a whole day travel, sending a few work emails and crashing on the bed…), it was Wednesday . Got ready to go to SkyDive Dubai, where the BIB delivery was done this year. Unsure why, because it is literally on the other side of the city. But staying close to Dubai Internet City, I jumped into my BGS and made the 6km there easily (OK, not too easy, because I had to cross some roads than maybe pedestrians are no allowed to). Walk walk walk, and finally arrived. The left foot felt ok, not 100% fine, but no screaming. At the distribution tent, I asked a nice guy at the entrance whether there was any chance for transferring my registration to next year as I was not able to run. Indeed in my twisted mind, I still thought it would be possible to register either to the 10K or even to the 4K-FunRun, but when arriving at this moment, I had for the first time the thought of transferring the registration…) Got directed to a nice lady called Lery who told me that “Sure. Email to this address and indicate you talk to me and wish to move the registration to next year”. That was enough to get me crying and hugging her. (Did I say that my mind was twisted in a way? Must have looked pretty foolish actually…but I would not care less!). Happy with the largest “H” on the planet, I left the tent without looking back. I would be there next year and just like that, it felt that a huge and heavy stone was removed from my chest blocking my breathing. On the way back home, I realized I did not have any food since a while, so stopped by a foodstore. But nothing appealed my appetite, so ended with a bottle of water and a protein Arabic bread (super yummy!). And continued to walk. But if the left foot was actually behaving (making me think that the theory advanced by the shoe store on Monday may have had some ground here, i.e. BGD was a better shoe for my feet), the right one was actually starting to burn. And THIS, my friends, this is ABSOLUTELY not something a runner want to feel in their shoes. The brain just tried to ignore it, making the footsteps a bit shorter and the pace a bit slower. Finally got home through a shorter path. 12km by foot… (This was strange actually to be back here. I am staying close to the place I was the first time I ran in Dubai, but it was pretty empty of everything back then. Now it is filled with new buildings (4 years later) and still building!). Back to my wonderful feet. Reaching home, removing the sock and tadaaaaaaam! Yapp, the largest blister ever seen on the back of my foot was the reason for the burning feeling. Good move not to have stopped and remove the sock earlier! OK, what to do with this? Someone wanting to tell me that NO, YOU SHALL NOT RUN (?)… Probably! So the afternoon went pretty easy with work and when finished, core / push-ups / sit-ups challenge, a bit of food shopping and evening reading. Tired for sure!

Thursday started pretty early, but turned into my bed not really well-decided to go up. Got to meet one of my roommates, Simon from Australia, chatted a bit and then prepared my food box (fruit salad) before leaving to Jumeira Beach Park. Walked to Internet City and took the bus there. He he he! Feeling almost home, knowing which bus line to use to going to the beach 🙂 The only little thing was that arrived at Jumeira Beach Park it appeared under renovation and I had to wait for a bus on the other direction to go to Jumeira 3. There it was really cool. They have arranged a running track with “soft” (?) material to run on. Really quiet and cozy. Took my spot on the sand and stayed there the rest of the afternoon. By 4pm the wind was annoying enough to make me move back home. Bus back (unfortunate problem with all my FOUR cards which had a too low value to use the bus, but must have looked desperate to reach home, because the bus driver was very kind and let me in the bus until the end station. Thank you again!). Walking home was no easy. The left foot had woken up in the morning and not happy and the right foot just could not be in a close shoe, because of the bubble in the back of it. Shower and more food shopping. Got to chat with Simon again and then it was time to examine this stupid right foot. Not much of a blister, more a bubble of hard skin, so extremely painful when touching it BUT when having a gaze and tape on it, it was fine to have the foot in a shoe… Don’t ask. Don’t know how this work!). Decided to jump on the saddle in the gym downstairs and got to choose the program “random” (i.e. up&downs, changing every 10seconds) for 45 minutes and to pep the ride a bit, I chose to do a 10-minutes alternate minutes with standing and sitting between minute 20 & 30. Of course, having most of the standing minutes when the stupid bike-program is changing to “hill” instead of “flat”… Me and my luck!… But at least it felt nice with some training. Added core&stability as well. The biking got me so extremely sweaty and I probably drunk 1l during and more afterwards. Got to do more work and tried to get some sleep. But the brain and body were not fully agreeing on that. They are still on for a race tomorrow. My plan is to wake up early enough to bike and then to get to the marathon route and cheer for the runners…

Soooo…more to come then…

What about the Ds and the Ss then? Got through Disappointment of not running a race I really like. Not only because of a stupid foot, but most of all because this happened to closely to the race. Shortly followed by Disbelief, which made me think that maybe this was a sign that the body did not want to do it any longer, the running part, that it was showing loud and clear that enough was enough. Could I even be running more and soon? Because pretty soon came Disarray, what about my plans, my lovely and fun running plans? Direct to the rubbish bin? At the same time as the bunch of shoes that are occupying my entrance hall at home?… (Yaaaa, you probably got the point by now… not a highly motivated feeling in the mind by then). But after meeting this nice lady, it felt different. First for the Sun, because I am a true believer that the sun and the warmth are solving a lot of things (and if not, they are at least more pleasant to have than the current cold we have at home in Sweden…). Followed by the Sea, which is so nice and blue and beautiful here. And despite not bathing (well, I did (twice!) bath up to the belly, but seriously?!?!? it is cold water here!!!), it is so relaxing to rest on the sand, listening to the sound of the waves, the wind and the regular calls for prayers. Nice indeed. and finally Serenity (which is not only the name of the wifi in my apartment here – very convenient name!), but once again, having been able to postpone my participation seemed to have put a part of my mind at peace (for a little while at least). 


Two weeks in one post…HOW will this work?… (still no laptop-week…)

OK, has been a bit quiet here, but seriously. Having no laptop does not make life easier. So let’s try to make a quick summary of all the good and bad things that happened during these last two weeks.

Week 04082014-10082014…

Back to vacations 🙂 Quite nice and enjoyable. Monday got its share of training with double run – easy morning recovery run (from the heavy long run the day before) and then in the evening I joined the Urban Tribes for a “Pace” workout. Easy warmup, 4km @5min/km and then back home. Probably should have skipped one of the runs…or both of them. Was pretty tired already in the morning and by bedtime it was tricky to get contact with me…SO tired I was! (not that much the head, but the whole body was out of energy really).

Therefore it was a well-deserved rest (Tues)day which followed. Check for the knee at the physiotherapist. All looking fine (well, at least not worse than before)., Rehab to continue every day or every second day (being stubborn and well-decided to get this knee back into place, I chose the first option…). Nothing but resting for this day, including a thai massage which was far from enjoyable, but afterwards it felt the body really needed this.

Wednesday arrived and it was time for intervals. Actually a bit odd-feeling as generally interval-day is Tuesday and/or Thursday. But other plans for those two days so as good to turn this Wednesday into what it was not! Fast 5min and then extra fast 1min – not that I am used to this! Really stable series and a crazy fast minute as well: Really pleased with the session…which made me exhausted to the bones…for the rest of the day! Took a lot of extra strength to even go for a walk in the afternoon and try to enjoy the little sun… late in bed…

…which made going up on Thursday even more difficult. THIS is the challenge of those days. You have a fixed time to follow and have to arrange the rest of the day all around it. Sounds like a military bootcamp, but nope. A nice outing in the islands to meet with friends and hopefully the sun as well. How to make this work with the training programme? The 5 o’clock ring signal did not last long… and the snooze button got tired as well… until the brain decided to call it the day and told the body to get ready for core and rehab. That would do for the day. Then breakfast, bicycling to the ferry. Quite snack waiting for the ferry (and noting duly… that I forgot to eat my own breakfast… great! one of those days….). And then we spent a nice day under the sun, with bath in the sea (not me), bicycling, checking the island viewpoints with a very accommodating host & kids 🙂 The tricky part to get back home (i.e. ferry and bike home) went actually pretty well…but all were dead tired when opening the home door and it was pretty much time for bed (even if early and on vacation…). A nice day on Earth!

Which made the Friday not starting too early. And nothing was working really for getting out and running. The “running is easy…only to jump into your shoes and hit the pavement” was definitely not the way it worked on Friday. Did my rehab and then nicely prepared myself to the second interval workout of the week. But something did not want me to start this workout. While waiting for my Garmin to find the satellites I was doing some eccentric heel raises and checking the workout on the watch…Surpriiiiiiiiise! NOT THERE. Back home and starting up the computer again, took forever so decided to enter the workout manually. All good. Back to the street waiting for the satellites and then the mp3 music died in my ears… Brilliant! back home for charging the battery enough for the workout. Prepared the lunch in the meantime and then time to go….reaching the street and noticing I forgot my water bottle…REAAAAAALLLLLY?!?!?!? OK, it was by then noon when I was planning to run at 10 o’clock… No need to say that the weather did not make me a favor… It had become way warmer/sunnier that I had thought. On the top of it I even felt hungry as I had eaten early for the workout of…TEN O’CLOCK! The energy levels were definitely not on the top. Still did warmup and stretched before a crazy workout. This was now time intervals and if the first serie went fine, I always think that it is anyway slow because the body need to acclimate to the training. The second serie went not too good and the lack of water + the heavy sun did not help really. I thought I’ll redeemed myself with the final serie… Third serie was even more rubbish than the second one…Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh! Time for final serie, this will be fine…all will be fine… Starting with a 3min interval slow like ….well, slow! NOOOOOOOO!!! this is NOT the way intervals work. Started the second interval of the final serie and this thing called “DIG DEEP, YOU STILL HAVE STRENGTH HIDDEN SOMEWHERE”, well, it just happened. By half of the interval the watch had been shouting enough to remind me how slow I was and this made me not too happy so, being the last one of its kind, as good to get all out for this interval…which actually worked!!! Second best interval among all four series…Time for the final one and this one was a hammered one! Tears afterwards and definitely feeling like laying down blank in the middle of the bike path (which I did not do as it was not really safe there…). Pretty emptied of strength after that. You know those slugs crossing the road sloooooooowly when it is raining…Yapp! this was me after the workout and for the rest of the day. (and here you have to take the slowest and laziest slug….).

Yaaaahhh… by now you might have guessed something was ongoing… Saturday started early, heavy and not too good. The scratching throat I had a few days earlier had disappeared (with all the gallons of tea+honey I drank?… no wonder it disappeared!). But little stubborn me still did her rehab and headed out for a recovery run. Easy-easy-easy until I reached km6 where the legs did not want to carry me much faster than the slow pace I already had and being 2km from home I did not want to take the tram (this is the emergency trick to take the tram…when there is an emergency, an accident or whatever…not when the LEGS don’t want to carry me any longer…). So stubbornly continued the workout (if can still be called this way…) with a power-walk for 2km. Even this felt slow. And being without tshirt was not helping (you are getting warm when running, but the pace of my power-walk was so slow it felt it was chilly out there). Back home, hot tea, hot shower, and ended under hot cover with fever for the rest of the day after GET had left. Yeaaaaah! perfect way of starting the weekend and ending one’s vacations…SICK! By bedtime it felt a little better, but feeling quite off anyway…

So it was with surprise that Sunday started with sun shining and enough strength for a 30km trail long run under the sun. Yes, I DID feel tired afterwards, but nicely tired. Directly to thai massage w/M after and then food food and more food. Felt I could eat for 5 persons after this long run. Nice indeed not to feel sick anymore and a much better way to end the week…

=> so was the week that preceded this one…

Week 11082014-17082014…

Back to work (for real this time…). As usually for a Monday (?), should be easy or rest. Took another chance at testing a Run Pace workout with the 5min-group. Was late for the workout so “my” warmup to the meeting point was more like an interval run…to see that we were three arrived and nobody else. Then a little easier run and the drills, before starting the run pace. First km was as usual slightly faster than planned, but ok. Second km was with a little slope and I chose to pass my group a little (because I am kind-of rubbish when running slow uphill…) and then another runner caught up with me and we ran at a faster pace than planned definitely. Got to the turning point and turned (!) and then the pace just kept on accelerating to finally end the final km at interval-pace. NOT GOOD! this was a recovery run for me… But so much fun 🙂 easy back home. Good start for the week.

SO to make things right, Tuesday started with an easy recovery run (a real one this time!). 8km – easy peasy pace before work. All good (and yes, it ALWAYS feels good when reaching the office and knowing you have already sweat more than what most of your colleagues will during a full day at work 😉 ) Quick pause mid-morning for knee rehab. End of workday and feeling pretty sluggish and not really tired, but needed some air for the brain to function correctly… So off I went. There is a race on Saturday next week (Midnight Run) and I decided to take the route but the other way around. Easy and nicely. Took aaaaaaall the slopes and the downs and seriously it felt really nice afterwards to have done this second run (even for the hilly parts!). Good sleep afterwards!

Wednesday was rest day. Nothing special. Working. A bit tired. But fine.

Then went up early on Thursday and seriously had to refrain myself for not going out running because I had planned to join the Run Tough workout after work. So rehab and core before work and then when finally completed the day, changed for running. Easy warmup to the meeting point, a bit of chatting and THEN… I understood what the word “TOUGH” meant for the workout… Got to do 5*600m followed by 4*300m at a specific pace. We were divided in different groups and I had the joy (!) to be alone in mine and had the instructor for just me. My personal pacesetter. Great! She was really cool to encourage and push and act as wind-shield when needed. After the 2 first 600s she noticed that I generally go all in at first and then slow down and then accelerate again. So she paced me so to start slow(er) and accelerate progressively (OK, it was NOT easy and I need practice!). Anyhow, this was a great workout, and surely my program was indicating more reps, but this was good enough for the day! Back home, second part of the knee rehab and bed. All good!

How would a Friday be without a bit or (early) running? Up early (unsure why, because I felt so nicely rested in the morning I thought I overslept!), light core exercises and off to do the Midnight Run route again, but the right way this time 🙂 Took the bike to close to the start as warm up, run the distance and then back home by bike. All nice and easy. 7:15am – 13km already done, just shower and light breakfast before work and that did the trick! Nice and easy day at work before the weekend started.

Surely the weekend is supposed (?) to be  for resting, but for runners there is often this long run-thing to place as good as possible somehow for not disturbing the peace of the rest of the people around you :). Saturday started with a long time-interval workout. CRAZY! Never did this workout (3*10min) but it was actually FUN (yaaaaah, ok, I recognize it…running might be enjoyable…from time to time 😛 ) What made this workout crazy is that the final interval was the fastest and with a pace comparable to fast 1km-intervals. Of course I am not the kind of “steady pace all the way” runner… so I started snail-slow-pace for accelerating and ending at 3:47-pace (which is the fastest pace I have had for 10min ever (I think). So surely nice workout. But why stopping the fun there? Sweat running all over the face when reaching home, quick stretch, quick shower, change of gear and biked to meeting point for training with IFK Göteborg Athletism club. Well, I joined for their warmup and took it as my cooldown. Pretty nice to see what a decent warmup should be… SO after that, bike home and rest (for real!). Easy afternoon, decided from out of the blue to do my knee rehab and then it was time for preparing dinner for friend company. And so Saturday had disappeared already! Almost faster as an interval…

Unfortunately the rain woke me up on Sunday morning. My plan A to run in the woods had been changed the day before to plan B run half the distance on asphalt and half the distance on a 1K-trail track. Then sms made my plan B to almost change back to plan A but the rain made me back off and choose plan C – full distance on asphalt BUT at steady pace (Yes, I can work on the parts that are identified as not really my strengths…). Having read a part in Szalkai’s book that for a 3:00-marathon the long run should be at 4:40min/km pace (talkable pace), there was NOT A CHANCE I would do that. I nicely chose to aim for a steady 5:00min/km-pace. Spent my morning watching the final men marathon of the European championship in Zürich. THIS is what I call inspiration. Having a guy running away from the group from km8 and dominating the race until km30/35 (?) and then quitting due to cramp/stomach…and having a race for the first place not really clear until the final 5km arrived. Marathon is just that: it REALLY starts after km30… Anyhow, happily inspired I left to my long run with my NEW SHOES! Yapp, Christmas in August. Two new pairs of volume-shoes had landed on Friday to my home. My choice went to ASICS GT-2000 2. Simply because the tighter model (GT-2000 (2A)) was not available anywhere and after checking the other model, I noted not too much difference. Probably not the best to take a new pair of shoes for a long run, but still. It has to start somewhere, right? So…how did the run go? well, 20km as planned, although at a pace of 4:42min/km… Unsure how it went as the first kms were close to 5min/km and it felt nice to keep it this way. The new music mix in the ears made all change really. I noted myself singing loudly “I will neeeeeeeever love again” during something like probably 10min or so, before the brain actually started to analyse what the sound coming out of my mouth was actually meaning!!!! So it can happen when running! And THEN arrive the crazy wonderful part that DJ Eclipse ALWAYS has in his mix, those parts that bring you so high you feel like flying…. And indeed I reached at this moment a downhill and once again the brain registered after a while that I was singing vocalises on a pretty high tons and that actually (!) sounded nice…and yes, I was as well running downhill with my arms imitating an aeroplane… No shame, No glory 🙂 SO much fun actually. Took 2-300m after this slope for being in a nice tailwind road and decided to skip the tshirt and that was even nicer to run. No need to say that the 5min/km plan was no longer in place. Ended anyway the run and spent as usual a bit of time resting with legs up and took an easy afternoon to finish this weekend. Resting indoors, because the rain Gods decided to turn the skies into showers during this day (apart from the time I was out apparently!).

 

That was it. Almost updated on all that happened training-wise for the past two weeks. Hopefully a laptop is on its way…

Keep on running!


The Seven Sweaty days of a sunny week (summary of a sweaty week…still without laptop)

(week 21072014-27072014) 7 days for creating the world and this week they became 7 days of crazy hot temperatures requiring lots of activities (or none at all!)

Kayak-stop :)

Kayak-stop 🙂

Sweaty day #1: or also called “Sweaty Monday“. Crazy enough, started the week with rehab for the knee and a sunny morning run with hillwork. Could push to 12km but by halfway (or even before…) I felt pretty thirsty. Of course no water at hand at this time of the morning. Sun sun sun already. Took it easy for the knee’s sake and it went quite well. But by the time I reached my hill location, I was really in need for whatever but hills! Stopped by a café and with the largest smile I asked kindly for water. The guys in the café left me the place (probably scared by attempt at smiling or by me smelling too bad … or both 🙂 ). Anyhow, got my water and the waiter asked me if I was to faint now or shortly… All good I answered, left my empty glass and headed to the hilly street. Got a serie of 6-7. Felt the knees were pretty light, the legs felt good (WAY better than during the 12km before, which were pretty flat and easy) and up&down with perfect music, people passing-by and not understanding what the strange person I was not only to run up&down but at this time of the day and by this weather… W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R!!! Completed the workout with the daily core challenge, extra stretch and kicks. To push the vice further (!), I did 3minutes of G’s chair as well… All for getting this knee in good shape. Rest of the day dedicated…to rest 🙂

Morning run 8AM @23ºC

Sweaty day #2: which nickname is “Sweaty Tuesday“. OK, running in the morning might not suit everyone, but with the crazy temperatures we were having, better run early. Took an early alarm to get my long interval workout done. (as well as I had a time to follow, going to the physiotherapist at 08:30am..don’t ask me why taking this early timeslot during my vacation…). Got a nice warmup and then headed toward three long intervals. Completed as wexpected although the middle one had to be cut into three. Tricky to hold the expected pace  and moreover, the feeling was to move at snail-pace-under-hot-sun… Had chosen my fast Adidas Adizero Adios boost Orange for the pace and they worked perfectly. No problem whatsoever with the heels 🙂 Pretty fast shower before jumping on my bike to get to the physiotherapist. Who confirmed that the problem was ON the knee cap. The pain felt earlier (before Stockholm marathon) was situated on the left outside of the left knee, but this has disappeared. Now it is apparently an overuse (?) of the tendon on the knee cap. Close to “Jumper’s knee”, which is better (?) to have than “Runner’s knee”. Caught when it is the beginning apparently, I have now to continue the rehab exercises already in place but on a daily basis. The best exercise being the one leg bend 😦 OK, then. Daily it is! Back home. Change to beach outfit, got a quick lunch and off to the sea after resting a bit at home. HOT outside, but at the sea it was warm and large clouds were covering conveniently the sun 🙂 All good, nice company there and on the way home, got stuck for a while under a little tunnel while heavy rain was falling down on us. Here it went my timeslot to go and buy some more tape for my knee… Got a pizza for dinner and then biked home. Tired in the evening. Prepared my stuff for the next day outing and it became pretty late then. Just more sleep needed (if those stupid seagulls could let me sleep…for ONE night…)

Morning run 5:19AM @18-20ºC

Sweaty day #3: but you may name it “Sweaty Wednesday” if you wish…also planned as rest day… Sure! Got up early to bike to the harbour and join friends for a day kayaking 🙂 Last time I did kayaking was when I was way smaller than now (!) and it ended with the head in the water and chosing wind-surfing on the lake the day after (for the record, the wind-surfing ended as bad as the wind stopped blowing when I was in the middle of the lake…meaning paddling with the arms all the way back…). Anyway, got the instructions, and hop in the kayak (ok, not really “hop” because otherwise I would have finished in the water!). Paddling paddling paddling… The secret being to paddle thinking of being Superman (not for the super powers (I wish!) but for the hand up when he flies (this means skipping hurting the wrist while paddling). Got to a nice little island where we settled down (I did not bath more than the legs… too cold for my taste), nice lunch and talk and sunshine and then time for going back home. Paddling all around the little island was real fun (especially when we went in this liiiiiittle and very narrow path, the kayak almost touching the bottom of the water and then being surrounded by beautiful landscape. Of course, this also meant some extra distance to paddle and on the way back home having to cross the sea (which felt like an ocean…) with side or head wind, lots of boats fouling around and making so much waves…. Yapp, a bit tired at the end that even thinking of being Superman with super powers was not really helping… Completed the tour with boat cleaning and then bicycling back home. Real nice day. Definitely not resting, but who cares when you are in good company and have fun! Tired in the evening and a bit anxious to see how the body would be feeling the day after (as the muscles used for paddling are not directly the same as while running, right?…)

Kayak throughout the day: 25-28ºC a bit cloudy sometimes

Sweaty day #4: Wow, thought it would finished at 3 but nope. Sweaty Thursday came up like a charm! Woke up well-rested and got in my gear for an easy 10-12km in the woods (as recommended by the physiotherapist). Drank an ice tea right before and biked to the Gardens. And there… started to run in the forest and it felt so extremely nice that I did a little game, i.e. taking all the exits on the right and go until asphalt is reached and then turn back, run to the nearest crossroad and turn right again aso. Yes, I played this little game earlier, I know. But pushing it to 25km was not directly in the plans… Lack of water was the main little problem during the run. When running on road, it is often possible to at least find a gaz station or little shop for buying or getting water. How do you do that in the woods? When the brain started to think about it, it was exploring all kinds of possible water sources… and I mean all crazy possible water sources. I saw a tree and thought could get to squizz it and have water from it. Or from the moss (think here… no rain or only a few showers since past two weeks… how do you think the moss looks like…) or from the pine cones that had fallen on the ground (YES, I KNOW! THEY ARE DRIED OUT ALREADY… I have been pointed this out a couple of times already now…)… the brain started to think on an uphill that if taking this little stone right there and throwing it right through the slope, it may deflate like a tyre, making the slope easier to climb (and NO, I did not try this). Reaching km19, was too tired to think and got to run 1.4km as two circles around trees (i.e. two laps of 700m). Felt good and crazy stupid when the brain started to tell itself that I could continue like that until the end of time… (which I did not listen to…otherwise I would not be writing here!). When reaching the Gardens again, the delicate feeling of the asphalt (yes, the tired brain is talking here) and the great music in the ears just made the legs forgetting all pain and tiredness and just flying downhill. S.O. E.X.T.R.E.M.E.L.Y  N.I.C.E. Reaching the bottom of the hill and Gardens entrance it was 24km perfectly. Saw a sprinkler for the trees, dropped my mp3 and sunglasses and just stood there in front of the water… BEST shower EVER! Of course in such case, it raises some eyebrows, but the kind Garden caretaker just agreed with me that it was nice to shower this way after a good run 🙂 Good shower, the plan was to get back home now… but the body had received what it needed and decided to run up&down the hill one last time 🙂 25km it became (and surely the left knee was a bit tired at the end of this final km…but the whole body & mind felt just.GREAT.!). Bike home, a bit of food, shower, massage and rest under the sun. Until it was time to meet a friend in those same Gardens where we walked (!) for 5km. Good recovery indeed… which continued with biking to the sea with a friend and diving into the cooooold water (what would you not do under pressure?!?!?). But it was actually nice with this heavy sun heating up the whole landscape. Easy bike home and then good rest for the day (I mean sleeping through the night with window and door closed for skipping hearing the crazy seagulls outside…).

Morning long run @7am: started @17ºC, ended @27ºC…

Sweaty day #5: because after 4 it is 5! like after Thursday, you will with high probability reach “Sweaty Friday”… Started the day with kicks, core and rehab exercises before heading to the pavement for a recovery run. Once again, thought that the body would be dead-tired after the kayak and the long run, but nope. Felt all good. Had been taping the knee with this blue elastic tape for a few days and if just placebo effect (because the sexiness of having a blue tape on tanned knee ain’t the top, I would say…), the knee feels good about it during the running. Easy pounding the pavement, almost continued too far, but turned back after 7km and then back home. Not many up&downs, just to rest the legs. All good. Lunch and easy rest under the sun until headed to the sea on bike where – hold on to your seats… – I did SWIM in the sea. This day I had taken my flippers as promised to my friend to swim along with her. And I was thankful for this idea, because it was fun. Not much swimming, but enough for having a good feeling. Then after enjoying a heavy hot sun, we got wet by two HEAVY showers and the second one made us decide to bike home and call it the day. Easy evening after that. A good Friday (sorry… “sweaty Friday”).

Recovery run @8:42am: 23ºC at start and 26-27ºC at end…

Sweaty day #6: And the week is almost finished, you reach the weekend with the famous “Sweaty Saturday“. Seriously, in this country I would have guessed for 1 or 2 (OK, make it 3) sweaty following days, but not SIX! Anyhow, once again had a great plan of going up early for running short intervals… You got it by now…did not work out so well and get out on the pavement around 9am, when the sun was already high and hot (I wish it would have been “only” warm!!!). No warrior would let him/herself impressed by this weather, correct? 🙂 so started with an easy warm-up and by its end, was already regretting not to have taken a bottle of water. I had in my brilliant training plan to run on a track those intervals. Where there is water available. Unfortunately the tracks were closed and I got to run on the bike path (which DOES NOT have water available… well, I did not have any money with me neither for stopping at the close-by supermarkets neither… smart plan, right?). It ended that the short intervals went as they went but had to cut 7 of them into two. Not that I planned it, but felt like stopping (!) after a short while and it happened that it was falling at half-way. Anyhow, got the whole thing done and it was just to get back home and shower and started to smelt under the sun (here I mean “resting”, but seeing the temperature I even had the parasol out and fell asleep under it. Woke up with the rain falling (and here we are talking CRAZY shower rain!). Waited until the rain started to reach me for going back home…and then rested some more 🙂 Evening out in nice restaurant – nice company, nice talk, perfect end for a “Sweaty Saturday” evening!

Morning intervals @9am: 25-28ºC

Sweaty day #7: So when it was decided to make the week of 7 days, nobody thought about the facts that SEVEN sweaty days are VERY much to handle at once! So this Sweaty Sunday started with core exercises and recovery run in the forest. So nice to actually could run there because the temperature was really nice. A bit tricky with running in the woods is that the path never looks the same…especially after rain and leaves falling on it! Anyhow, got a nice and easy recovery run, enjoyed a bit the sun from time to time when leaving the comfort of the trees shadows and then bike home for…yapp! More resting! Of course some rehab for the knee and then a bit of shopping in town before easy afternoon with friend. Just relaxing for last day of vacations before working again. Nice 🙂

Recovery run @9:15am: 20ºC
So was my sweaty week completed! Got lots done, approximately same distance done on bike and on feet 🙂 And definitely lots of activities which were not planned at all…that’s what vacations are for! How was your “sweaty” running week?

Morning uphill to reach the forest/trail path...

Morning uphill to reach the forest/trail path…

 

 

 

 

 

 


The days I…. (summary of a week without laptop)

(week 140714-200714) Running is easy…just jumping into running gear, lacing your shoes and hitting the road…But what a life when one’s laptop is suddenly hibernating and not wanting to wake up… Almost (?!) as painful as a knee not functioning as it should, right?…

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The day I rested… As usual, started the week with a Monday. After four days running, it was high time for some rest. Being a bit late (and/our lazy?) on Sunday, no strength workout was done. Therefore it was time for it. And as usual, it took 30 minutes and felt so good afterwards…WHY is it so tricky to even start this workout?!?! Then core challenge still continuing… Having spent the whole day planning for an outing, bike tour it became. Two easy stops (one for water and one for early light dinner). All bikes worked perfectly and of course we had the company of Mr Headwind… Great workout with GET on a rest day. No need to add that the whole crew was pretty tired at the end of the day!

The day I’ve been cracked… Late up on Monday evening, but ready to run in this Tuesday morning, as at 10:00am, it was time for naprapath check. Easy pace run under the sun, knee quite ok but right hamstring making itself reminded…, stretch and nothing more. Felt a bit heavy, but having skipped the massage after this weekend long run, it was expected to have a stiff and slow body. At the naprapath, time for some cracking 😦 Back, neck, even had a painful massage on the front of the leg (where I am SURE there is NO muscle, just skin…aka therefore the burning pain, right?…), the knot in the top of the left calf… Well, yes, … once again, no dance on roses. (btw: dancing in roses IS painful, not that I tried, but sure if it!). Rest of the day pretty easy with some walking to get the legs moving… Skipped the knee rehab as was a bit tired. And rest day from core challenge as well. OK-day.

The day I closed my eyes, burn myself and could hardly walk… Well-rested on this Wednesday morning, time for intervals. Surely still annoyed because my laptop shows clear brain damaged…it was just to change and get ready for hitting the pavement. Decided to have my heavy training shoes instead of the fast light ones. So that my Achilles heels would not complain before and after (during? Nope, they never shout then). Easy warm up, including eccentric heel raises and stretch. First long interval went fine although too fast start. A short rest and then half the distance, slightly faster. Gosh, I hate this head wind that comes when you really don’t want it… (ok, you probably never want to have head wind…). Short rest and then second long interval, which turned into a painful distance length. Stopped after a few hundreds due to a pain on the front of the left knee cap. Nothing like before on the outside. Massaged a bit, did a few moves and then felt ok to run – although took it easy(er). The final km-interval went however pretty nice and fast…Well, a little thing just… I happened to close my eyes at a moment (!…don’t ask why I do that!) and crossed to the other side of the bike path directly into the bushes of nettles. The burning feeling woke me up immediately and kept on running to the end of the interval. Fully ok pace though… Then finished with an easy cooldown back home. The knee felt all ok then. But shortly after, the pain started. Could hardly change from sitting to standing position without a huge pain on the front of the knee cap. Called the naprapath who suggested to stop doing what is starting the pain (which mean stop “walking”, changing position… and basically lay down and not move…?!?!?). Noticed after a while that the pain was disappearing a bit when walking. Got a lot of reading done on “jumper’s knee” and sounded like it suited pretty much. Unfortunately, there was no magic solution to get this gone (and I mean “for good”). Ended the day with core challenge and core&stability + rehab for hamstring. Not a good day (for running…)

The day I cut my run into two… The evening training as well as the extreme massage I did on the thigh must have helped a bit, because when I went up on Thursday morning, the knee felt better. Not fully fine unfortunately. A bit sensitive. Enough ok for testing it on a short distance run. Am so happy to be able to run slow (!), i.e. the “Swedish runner’s knee” aspect seems to have disappeared. Took an easy 6km, enjoying the sun in the face during most of the run. A bit of stretch did help, but the knee felt a liiittle throughout the run. Shower and the day went on. A bit of walking during the day made the knee feel a bit better, although not fully ok. Decided to get some running done in the evening as well as it was looking ok. Same as in the morning: short distance (took it the other way around just – having the evening sun in the face then!). And once again, the knee felt a bit, but fully ok. More like a tired knee, than a pain in the knee. Same core workout as usual. Felt all good. Not funniest day, but got some running done there.

The day I let an egg fall on my foot… Friday was rest day. Despite this, got up early for doing pancakes as G was leaving early… What to do after that then… Chillout day really, with walk in town under real hot sun. The knee did seem to like all this walking… With all the reading done about jumper’s knee, got that the muscles above the knee had to be strengthened. G’s suggestion was doing the “chair”: back along the wall, you sit as if you had a chair under your bum (but you don’t…). Could get a few minutes (with rest in-between!) but G did all of them without the rest I allowed me… Did some extra stretch as well and abs on the blue ball. Enough for a rest day! Cozy evening to celebrate E in advance and late in bed.

The day I went for a long run and smiled… Japp, .the “late in bed” never helps before a run, except for races. Did feel similar actually (or was it the gallons of tea I drank on Friday that hindered me from sleeping?). Anyhow, only a few hours of sleep and up @6am without alarm: this means “Change into running gear and let’s go”! Saturday‘s long runs are pretty different than Sundays long runs. When you are done, you still have a full day with a city still awaken and can still do stuff… Had found a way of taping the knee to support (?) the knee cap (one of the videos here – I added as well a stripe perpendicular to those shown in the video (from above the knee-through the knee cap-under the knee cap)) and this is how I started my run. First 8km went pretty easy. Stopped for a bit of warmup with heel raises and stretch and the knee was reacting well. So went along with it. Got 8km with alternating fast and slow km and then 6km back home. Got 22km at a more than decent pace and a knee which did not complain…during the running. Back home, pancakes were waiting for me 🙂 Shower, breakfast and off I went for a massage (at this time the knee was pretty sensitive and painful – or just tired?). Anyhow, I would not have been able to run to the massage place. Ask to insist on the left knee area and right hamstring…which she did…OUCH! But if this is necessary to get better, so be it! Back home and a few washing machines later… What do you do when you have trained, massage, cleaned and the clock is indicating 11:11am still… 😛 A bit of rest under the sun – legs up to rest from the long run, and light lunch and then time for a bit of walking. Needed some sun cream and went to not one, not two but THREE shops for not even finding the one I wanted. But at least I got some walking to release any tension in the legs. And what best after a long run, rest under the sun, lots of walking… but a bike tour to get the long-searched sun cream you wanted?… 🙂 On the bike, the knee felt a little sensitive in the uphil as had to stand for pedaling but otherwise, the legs were undecently fit for this day! And unfortunately, not even the large supermarket store had the sun cream I wanted. So I settled for another one (which btw can be found in the shop less than 200m from home…no comment…). Does not matter. This was a very nice way of ending the day. Light dinner and then Batman on tv (not all of it, as I was pretty tired…but still trouble sleeping with all the noise outside…).

The day I went for an easy trail run… When the sun went up, it took a while before I noticed it. Sundays are (or should be) done for sleep-in…except when the weather is expected to turn to warm/hot shortly after 10am… Running gear on, warm tea in the stomach (did not have time for ice tea yesterday… or more likely, I forgot to prepare ice tea on Saturday evening!) and on the bike for warming up an easy(er) way before terrain run. All good to get to the Garden. But when the run starts with one km UPHILL (and here we are talking STEEP uphill), you wonder if this was a good or bad idea. Anyhow, got a full 10K in the woods, loosing my way only 3 times (!) and ensuring to stay on clearly marked paths though. When a km uphill is forcing for walk and get close to 9min…THEN you are talking trail!!! And surely when the final km in the forest is so steep that you have to walk it down (yes, I know…some are so good then can jump down such slopes, but I am not one of them!), surely you are on terrain! Such a relief when reching km9 towards 10 and just unleashing those legs on light downhill was sooooo great! and not only this, but when entering the Gardens, there was still this wonderful km downhill which I used for warmup at start. It went down this time and so crazy fast, I just smiled AAAAAAAAAALL the way (and even continued to run outside the Gardens to finish my final km 🙂 ). All good then. Trail-run for the month? check! A bit of stretch and bike home afterwards. Prepared right away some ice tea and then on the mat for core workout… and strength exercises as well (were planned for Saturday, but felt like not doing it then). The body felt pretty happy after this and needed some well-deserved rest under the sun (and needed a nap as well apparently!). Skipped the plan of biking to the sea, too tired for coming back! So reading and chillout afternoon, when the temperature measured from the kitchen were above 30ºC… Not a bad day, not at all! Completed the day with some good food and a bit of celebration for E with chocolate ice-cream, chocolate brownie and chocolate hundred&thousands with crunchy cake under 🙂 Yummy! Now time for finishing this week review!

Rain, sun, hot, average temp, knee pain, sunbath and some runs as well… Finally the week ends… On the way to be better… (otherwise, all those core and strength workouts will be a good preparation for “Beach 2015″…!)

Have a great running week!

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Nice and hairy cows we meet while bicycling!


Sun, run, sun, run, a missed race and…. did I mention the sun?

The tropical climate continues (without the rainy part…). Humidity pretty high for the past two days, although less than during the week (yeaaah?!?!?). So how to get some workouts in such conditions then?

Friday was planned last work day and had either rest/swimming/other alternative/or easy jog on the program. Chose the easy jog 🙂 R.e.a.l.l.y. s.l.o.w. o.n.e… Averaged at 5:51min/km for 8km with 3km above 6min/km. Well, could have probably increase the pace, but had promised myself to NOT to do that. Heavy feet and legs at start, I stopped for a few minutes after just 500m or so for some eccentric heel raises. No need to say that the passing cars must have wondered what I was doing, facing a shop window and going up & down on one foot for a while… Not bothering me much, I can tell 🙂 When starting again the run, I caught up an older man with a heavy backpack running somewhere (…da!!!) and decided to hang along with him, thinking he could not run THAT fast. A bit surprised to get quick to 5:25 tempo, so I stopped the following and started to run on gravel in the garden. Nice, but soooooo slow….but still keeping this pace. The knee was surprisingly not making itself reminded at this pace, so why not continuing. Two rounds in the garden and off on the asphalt again towards the water….and the sun…. Got pretty warm and sweaty for the last 2km, and really had to slow down for not accelerating way more at the end and get this run out of the way…

And of course, when it is done, you wish you would have run longer… Cold shower, sun cream on, traded running gear to beach outfit and off we left. Spent the rest of day enjoying this first glimpse of vacations 🙂 Back home not too late but ALL were definitely tired. Not missing the rehab and core workout and then time for sleeping…finally…

Woke up today before the alarm rang. Saturday‘s alarm ain’t the funniest, but you got to do what you got to do, right? 😛 After still resting a bit, decided to go up for a run as nothing was planned today, but wished to skip the possible heat for running. Had in mind a 10K easy pace 5:30 or so… The left Achilles heel was quite sensitive at first and I was thankful I did eccentric heel raises for waking up those heels (I think it helps, but a bit unsure…). Took 3km before the heels stopped whining and then it just started as in a great running flow. Turned at km5 and decided to push on extra km and turn back after that (which would turn my 10K into 12K by the time I reach home). Getting to my km6-mark, it felt nice and I continued straight forward, making it the 14/15km-round. All good. Did not have any water, but was still ok. The legs had been tired and a bit heavy at first but ok by then. When reaching to km11, I changed a bit my mind and turned right instead of left, which would make my 10K-which-was-now-a-12K-which-had-turned-into-a-14/15km into an 18km… A long run is planned for Sunday so could as well take it today if the body felt like it. (OK, tomorrow’s long run is 15km, but today it felt like running longer…). Real nice feeling but a bit tired by km13, when was passed by a running couple and decided to follow them a bit close 🙂 Which killed my pace (i.e. I started to run faster than planned, but nicer for the body & mind). So extremely nice it is to have someone deciding the pace and you just hand along. Pace not too fast, not too slow… had music in the ears and it felt great. Dropped the couple 3km before home as they took a shorter way than I wanted. Reached home with a final km acceleration into a decent marathon pace of 4:23/km 🙂 I was happy (and not too sweaty…) 🙂 Even incorporated some drills during km10 (if running at a slow pace, it felt as good to do some drills at the same time…). This is the first decent long run done since Stockholm marathon

Tried to keep the energy intake to the necessary one when reaching home. Indeed, since Stockholm marathon there are a few kilos that have piled up (which is usually the case during the few weeks after a marathon) but it feels they will be hard to loose… So better check it is good & healthy food I eat 🙂 Rest of the day as just dedicated to chilling out. Lunch? New potatoes sautées in the saucepan with pork chops and garlic home made sauce. Dessert a bit after turned to be fresh fruit salad 🙂 Followed a bit on internet the 10K-race I had planned to run today: first of its kind, it was the Swedish Championship for 10K on road… Not a chance I would run as I wish I would have. So this was good to stay home… Patience and rehab and training… Chicago will come soon enough…

One and a half hour table tennis and basket ball later and it was already evening and time for dinner… Home made fajitas…Yummy! as well as fruits and tea (and a Twix while vaccuum-cleaning because I was starving!). Watching “On the other side of the Edge” while doing daily core exercises and now the battle for place 3 of the Football World Cup has started to the advantage of Holland…

Long day ahead tomorrow…and sunny probably…need some rest…

NOTE: from the knee front, it feels ok. No pain nor ache while running, which is nice and enjoyable. For sure the other parts of the body make themselves reminded (hamstrings, calves, arms…) but I would set that on the account of the lack of decent training done for the past few weeks. Feeling nice not to feel the knee 🙂


Run, Sun, Sweat, Rest and a pinch of jalousy… Summary of the week

wpid-20140621_151907.jpgOne more week ending. Seriously – how can time disappear so fast sometimes all the time?!?!? Just back form vacations and it is already Monday tomorrow… Back to work after a sunny week and no possibility to run… how could this work, right? Let’s start with the pinch of jealousy… Sure it is painful to see runners all around, to have a nice weather (or rain) and not being able to get into running gear…So yes, a bit of jealousy when seeing others being able to run when I can’t. Sorry – just had to complain a bit. Now it is done. So there went the week:

Monday started in Turkey with travel back home. No need to say that when crossing the door, all went to bed but me. Time well-used for unpacking starting the laundry and a bit of work…well work which ended late in the afternoon. Noticed around lunch that it was high time for food, without having really time for cooking (read: ate fruits and drank an energy drink…). 6:15pm was time for check at the physiotherapist… Hold on… Yapp! Was smart enough to book a time DURING the soccer game I wanted to check… No worries though, could follow all from start on my mobile, then there was a tv in the waiting room, had to listen carefully to the physiotherapist and then hurry back home to sit in front of the tv 🙂 OK, the physiotherapist said that was good response from the knee, added a couple of exercises to complete the rehab and then new check in three weeks. Rest day – nothing done. Fell asleep like a stone…

Up early, little drizzling outside, running gear on and ready for a fast & short distance on Tuesday. Easy and short warm-up and off I went… but not at all as expected. Stopped several times during this rubbish 6km run. No pain really, but the head was NOT at all ready for running and not even for pushing to continue when it felt hard. Not a chance however to walk back home (had forgotten my tram card…which would have been conveniently used this morning…) so better run-cry-swear-stop-run again and all over until home. Change and directly to work… better to focus on something else, right? Evening got the first updated rehab program (added straight kicks with elastic band and lunges). The rehab program is now to be done every second day. Tired in the evening. Day 2 – gone…

Decided to go for a little “July challenge”. OK I started it on Wednesday July 2nd (so will do it until August 1st). As the running can anyway not be done more often than every second day, let’s work on this core 🙂 Daily Ekvall’s core serie for 31 days…who’s in? 🙂 At least if I cannot run, I’ll have nice abs … he he he! Evening was dedicated to alternative training with bike tour for an hour and then back home for Core&stability (2) workout and Ekvall’s core. Yapp – a bit late for all this, but feeling so good to fall on the bed and sleep right away!… Was it already Day 3?

to wake up early on Thursday morning ready for running intervals 🙂 Had just rained before I went up, so fresh and nice in the air…kind of. Got time intervals for this stupid knee to hold fast tempo. 4*5min and 3*2min. OMG, this felt really nice to run fast! (ok, not super-crazy-fast, but decent-faster than it has been lately and with a nice feeling as well). Core challenge right after (NOTE: not recommended to do planks right after a sweaty run. Tricky to hold on the elbows!) And after well deserved shower, off for long work day. Full with lots to do. Nice to get back home and change for evening with friends. Nice company and good food. Perfect end for this evening….well, there was still some rehab to do before bedtime. A bit tired, but I hold the every-second-day-rehab-program. Really tired after that! More of Day 4 ending 🙂

So Friday started with Core challenge right after getting up (not simple, but at least it is done!). Rest day was declared (read: from training). Heavy at work, nice company at lunch compensated with a bit dull food and then it was soon time to get back home… Tired like no one should be, I rested a bit and got for a thai massage. The main focus areas were simple: left side of the body from slightly above the knee, the thigh, the hip and strangely the shoulder and arm. Nothing fully painful, but far from enjoyable. If pain makes pain disappear, then shall be it! No problem to sleep, despite the short sleep earlier. Definitely needed some rest. Day 5 just disappeared…

Not too late sleep-in, the sun was high and shining on Saturday so got ready for an easy 10K run which turned into a very nice and decent-pace 12K on the hour 🙂 Really happy that the knee did not complain at whole. Nice to feel the sun and the wind on the skin. Sweaty at the end it felt great to start the day this way. Quick shower and changed for getting to Åsa where was held the 10K-race I was expecting to participate. Met club-mates who could run (happy for them). But felt ok to watch the race. Even got the surprise to see Robban on front line for start and ending nicely the race 🙂 There was a 5K as well this day and would I have known, I would have definitely register for running. But too late when I discovered that. The surprise for the day was the amount of food eaten…3 (home made) hamburgers and one sausage, drank coke and juice as well. Not all at once!!! during the day I meant 🙂 Lots of discussion and grilling in good company with club mates. Not too late home, but had still a bit to do: core challenge, rehab and core&stability for the day… Pretty crazy-tired after all this, but as usual it feels so nice when it is DONE! Day 6? already completed…

And today was Sunday. Final day of the week. I know I said the runs should be every second day, but felt fine this morning, so did some eccentric heel raises to “warm up” the heels, got the core session out of the way and changed to running gear after massaging carefully the legs with chilli warmup cream and arnica oil and off I left for a real warm and sunny run…which ended into 16km at nicer pace than yesterday-already-nice-run-pace 🙂 Lots of sweat, even got some cheering on the way, two whistlings (I put this on the “cheering” side), small kids even clapping…Yapp, this was a great run. No knee pain. I.am.happy! Just took a shower to cool down the body, got some fruits and drink and jumped on the bike for a little hour tour 🙂 SO HOT!  During the first half, it felt pretty warm on the back with the sun shining. Small stops for shopping and then turned back home…with strong headwind (and not feeling the sun at all although it felt pretty warm still.  Back home for the third shower of the day and then resting on the mat for a little while under the warm sun. 26ºC – felt nice 🙂 Rest of the day spent pretty easy and chilling out. Enjoyed very much the final of Wimbledon on tv (and it is NOT recommended to iron at the same time such a match is on tv..you may burn yourself…just warning…). A bit of food shopping and doing a quick knee check: still no pain. Now time for a relaxing bath before a good night’s sleep. Final work week ahead before vacations…

 


Sweat, Sun, Sleep, Sluggish and more – in one week

Morning run along the beach...

Morning run along the beach…

After a late evening, went up on Monday morning, planning an easy run. Well, not too early as started around 6:30am… and the sun was already out above the mountains and warm… Not too easy to run then, huge change with home… Despite being along the sea, there was no wind nor air to breathe really. Did a 10km but the body felt really sluggish (yes, “sluggish” is definitely a description suiting well for the last weeks…). The rest of the day went pretty easy with beach, morning gym at the beach club, lunch, swimming-pool (sunbathing part), dinner, evening walk to the sea and sleep… One day done!

So when the clock rang at 5:00am on Tuesday morning, the whole me said pretty easily “nope”. Decide for a rest day. Woke up G&E as they had planned to play tennis at 8am… More sleep for me 😉 Up for 9-ish breakfast and headed to the beach with the hotel bus. Morning gym at the beach club, rest under the sun, sea gym with T and older ladies (pretty fun and not that easy with all the waves!), more rest then back to the hotel and swimming pool, reading and dinner time before short walk before bedtime. Got a back massage from G as it felt pretty stiff after so many days without really training correctly. Second day and pretty tired as we headed towards the pillow before 9pm…

Therefore started Wednesday pretty well at 5am without any problem. Pretty windy outside, sounded great when I saw the sun was not above the hills yet 🙂 The knee feeling ok, time for some running. 26°C at start, easy 4km and decided to get the pace up and went for 6*1km at tempo pace with 1min rest. Felt quite nice (and once again, I fully understand those running marathon @3:4x pace… It is really nice and enjoyable 😉 Completed the run with a few short hills (the temperature had risen to 30°C then) and then back to the hotel, change of gear and direction to the tennis court… 7:10am – already hitting some balls with E. Of course, it was early, but by 8am the temperature had changed from 31°C to 36°C and more than half the court was under the sun already… Breakfast after well-deserved shower and then, beach. No activity as the entertainment team had a full day off… Decided for a “no fried food day” as it had been a bit too much French fries and other dessert or food well fried… Lots of resting under the sun and by the evening, had a very nice tan turning to dark red on the chest and the thighs… Nice with the chocolate colour I got already!… Evening early in bed after dinner. Long day at the beach = tired in the evening!!!

Evening view during dinner

Evening view during dinner

Which allowed to go up early on Thursday, well-rested and ready to run. Achilles heels feeling pretty tired in the morning…probably due the lack of activities during the day… After easy warmup, got a serie of 400m intervals done. Ok, only the first two were real 400s as the others were cut at half. Mostly due to the head not really willing to push and scared for hurting the knee (knee which, btw, did not make itself heard 🙂 Aaaaand rest of the day (read: from after breakfast taken @9:00am) spent relaxing at the beach (read: mostly sunbathing, turning on a regular basis, putting suncream for not burning, drinking, eating and resting more…). Actually this type of day feels mostly exhausting… Late evening watching the “black & white show” in the hotel auditorium. Pretty fun and nice 🙂

Therefore Friday was decided as day-off…from running. Up late, breakfast late, at the beach late but just on time for the morning gym. No need to say that the body felt extremely stiff and far from flexible. Doing the gym under 36ºC hot sun making the whole thing not much easier…and as a follow-up I joined for an hour beach volley-boll…still under hot sun. It was after all rest day! Lots of drinking, still not understanding how the body can sweat that much when laying down under the sun doing nothing and then to the pool. As usual, knee rehab and torture massage on bottle. Although it does not feel like torture any longer. Mostly boring to spend 10minutes doing this!

Saturday was the last day planned for training. Motivation was not very high, have to recognize, but wanted to skip running on the last day abroad. Easy warm-up before a serie of 3-minutes fast run. Had to stop after the 4th rep as it felt liiiiittle bit in the knee, but the final four went fine. And easy run up the slope with sun in the face towards the hotel… finally…finished…time to relax a bit! Easy stretch before going back to bed…and waking up with the worse pain in the left calf. Like exhaustion ache 😦 massaged with tiger balm and off for breakfast and easy day at the pool. Yap! ALL-DAY-LONG! Still took time for the morning gym (ouch! for the left calf during the stretch) and the aquagym in the pool (ouch! for the calf when kicking in the water) and played table tennis w/G under crazy hot sun (but not running much, so it was ok 😛 ). Wanted to test Zumba but after 10minutes and seeing all the other women jumping, I decided to stop because the calf wanted me to… and back to the pool and rest…again. Finished the day with dinner, walk along the beach as every evening and then last show at the hotel (yeaaaah… election of the hotel miss….). Time for bed!

Final slope...ALWAYS with the sun in the eyes

Final slope…ALWAYS with the sun in the eyes

Took a longer sleep-in on Sunday because everybody deserves such rest form time to time! Rest day, staying close to the pool, did not even take out my book as it has not been possible to read anyway (I felt asleep for every try this week!). Quite some swimming today and table tennis game as well as shuffle and dart. Perfect final day of vacation under hot sun of 36ºC… Early dinner with a bunch of Dutch people ready to watch the game. Game, crazy finish, getting ready for travelling back home with long bus trip to the airport, check-in, a bit of wait at the airport…and it was Monday, 3:00am and time to travel back home…

 

Summary of the week: HOT, HOT and HOT. Unsure I have ever been somewhere with  a temperature of 43ºC! Lots of resting, lots of sweating, not much running (and most of it being rubbish – I could blame the heat, but seriously I won’t…), too much eating… Good change for body and mind. If only the knee was 100% back…

No one swimming here...

No one swimming here…

...nor here either (until I jumped :) )

…nor here either (until I jumped 🙂 )


Let’s continue to recover, shall we?…

Recovery is an art in itself, I think. After training intensively and racing eventually, the after race is often felt as an emptiness to be filled.

Enough time travelling during the past days, so the race report for Stockholm marathon is here. Monday started pretty early for lot of working and quick pause for additional massage (how can my shoulders be so stiff when I had a massage the day before…) and the evening was spent travelling.
Arriving late, impossible to sleep before early morning (1:xx am surely…), the alarm ringing at 6:35am was NOT popular… Long work day. Lots of eating. Lots of thinking. Glad to reach my bed now and hopefully will get a good night’s sleep.

Recovery ongoing? Check!


Race Report – Stockholm Marathon 2014/05/31

Planned: original plan was “sub3 would be nice” or at least faster than Stockholm 2013 AND no walking… Revised plan after last Friday and week with knee pain became: complete the race if possible, all good if slightly faster than 2013, quit the race if the knee is showing signs of incredible pain…

Actual:…3:02:38… New PB on this route by 7 min 43 sec since last year edition… 30th women and 18th in Swedish championships !!!! So great the knee held so long until 36/37km and then made itself reminded… But enough said: great race and with such pre-race conditions, could not be more satisfied!

Race Results:

place (M/W) 30
place (ag) 26
age/grade: 76.76% (2014 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) 03:02:38
time total (brutto) 03:02:38
average pace: 4:20min/km

Official splits:

Split Net time (difference)
5K 20:45:00 20:45:00
10K 41:52:00 21:07:00
15K 01:02:59 21:07:00
20K 01:24:02 21:03:00
Half mara 01:28:37
25K 01:45:14 21:12:00
30K 02:06:57 21:43:00
35K 02:28:49 21:52:00
40K 02:52:01 23:12:00
Marathon 03:02:38

 

18th place in Swedish Championships (2 place improvement since 2013) not bad, right ? 🙂

 

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

M Day-1

Little reminder. Travel to Stockholm. Meeting my friend to pickup my bib. Got a nice evening run and could test the knee for a fast pace km. Felt ok enough to start the race. Not much quality sleep, but that’s often the case before a race…

Before the race

Awaken around 4-ish… Dreamt my clock showing 7:37am and my Garmin 8:47am. Hearing from my friend that was ok because GPS was not working from the room I had. Not understanding anything apart that I was pretty late for dropping my bottles and would never make it and and… Woke up and saw the time was 4:xx am, all quiet and all under control 😉 More sleep and then up for shower and getting ready. Only fixing the hair as I was planning an easy “wake-up-the-legs” run when arriving at the stadium.

07:00am – Decided to change my original food plan and take my breakfast at home instead of carrying it to the race. Half portion oat porridge with mashed banana and soy milk + Powerade blue. All good. Never ever drunk sport drink for breakfast before… Checking again my bottles and filling in the ones for water + sticking the gels on them.

07:20am – Got company to the train station and off I went. Slightly falling asleep in the train and re-thinking the race. Showing my bib for the controller and then we were already at the end station. Had drunk as usual alternate water/sportdrink from 8:00am and then ate a banana as well. Walked slowly to the clock tower of the stadium. Not many people around. Some runners on the way to pick up their bib. The start area not yet set… Almost disappointing. Do they know people will run today?

On the train to the race...

On the train to the race…

08:30am – meeting with HR and dropping my bottles after taping my little French flags on them 🙂 Headed to the locker room and on with running gear. We took an easy 3km run. The knee felt more than yesterday but once again, good enough for starting. Running on terrain yesterday was certainly kinder for the knee than this morning asphalt. Back at the Stadium and the wait started.

Me, my bottles and my flags :)

Me, my bottles and my flags 🙂

Pace-setters balloons...

Pace-setters balloons…

The finish line (from the other side...)

The finish line (from the other side…)

The little boxes to be placed at the water stations

The little boxes to be placed at the water stations

09:25am – meeting ladies in the changing room. One I met last year. Pretty quiet. Laid down and listened to music. Not much else to do. Stopped drinking at 10:00am.

10:25am – still unsure weather outside. Going out a couple of time to decide what to wear. Singlet and shorts for sure (I don’t have anything else anyway!). Arm sleeves? Sunglasses?

10:45am – more women come to change in the elite room. Some look very focused and other very stressed 🙂 Really cool to share the room with the elite women from Kenya. They look so tiny and fit and cool and focused 🙂 Writing my splits on my hand – surely not thinking of reaching any of them, but a bit of pep can help…

my dreaming splits

my dreaming splits

11:00am – massaging the knee with chilly cream. Will probably not help as I suspect it is nothing muscular (but what do I know really?…) but at least it helps the head 🙂 More resting and getting my racing gear. Lots of back&forth to the loo in the corridor (in our locker room, there is no hand tag 😦 ). Meeting Isabella Andersson in flashy pink bonnet/top and black tights. Wishing good luck for the race and getting it back 🙂 Cool 🙂

11:20am – bored now. Arm sleeves on, left to the start, tried to warm-up a bit on the arrival street but the left knee is not fully cooperating. Taking two rounds on the track. Change slightly the plans and definitely would take it easy and controlled the first half (still thinking it will hold at least that long) & then happens what happens. Heading to the start and it is pretty bright outside. Hesitate a bit and run back to the locker room to take my sunglasses. Meeting Tove there and got extra pepp from her smiles 🙂

11:45am – no stress, getting to the start after chatting a bit with a volunteer helping and wanting to send us another way for the start. Convincing him (?) the start group A should go straight and passing him without waiting for an answer. Starting drizzle and then a bit more. Meeting Helena (fast chick who ran Göteborgsvarvet in 1:24…), Lotta from IF Linnea (sprang half marathon in Copenhagen with me), meeting Marie and Emma before start, hug to Caroline as she is a bit stressed.

11:50am – Raining a bit now. Start group B waiting under the rain when most of the group A is protecting themselves from the rain. Getting out for a few back&forth strides, sunglasses on the top of my head…(I know, not looking that smart now…). Knee feeling ok for starting. Good luck to the right, good luck to the left…Even lifting the hands when it is only few minutes left to start (what-am-I-thinking-about?!?!?)

11:58am – already? No more music. I find myself on the front row (!!!) surrounded by a little fast runner and two fast Swedish chicks… Way out of my league! But no time for moving back. Hands on the Garmin… 20sec to go… 10sec to go…

The race

12:00pm – PANG! Start is given. Pretty nice to have this place and once again it felt great to avoid the pushing from half-marathons races (could you note this, gentlemen? No pushing!). Getting a nice run to the first left turn, passed of course by many, but I don’t care. Not thinking of the knee. Catching up with Tove slightly before km1. Too fast already: 4:06. But ok, it is the first km. I have 41km to go and slow down to have the knee happy (I really feel relaxed at this pace). Passed by Johan P (finishing in 2:46, place 88…btw…) before km1, appreciating really he took time to chat with me and encourage me 🙂 then hanging along behind Tove. Passing km2 after the little slope, all good. Still too fast, but not crazy fast as Rotterdam 🙂 Reaching the water-side and getting a giant in red outfit between Tove and me. Recognising Staffan D (finishing in 2:50, place 142… btw…), cool he chats with Tove…and turn to me and presenting him 🙂 Real cool! Looking really relaxed in his shoes. I let them chat a bit, but think it is pretty fun to have people chatting at 4:06 pace in a marathon 🙂 Getting my first sport-drink bottle at km3.8 from a kind guy who run by my side and give me the bottle. What a service! Hope it is like that all the way. Can drink at my pace. All good. Hearing cheering around. Fun. Reaching km5 and the sun is out. Definitely planning to skip my arm sleeves when I see my runner friends on the side. Km5 passed a little under 21 minutes. All fine. Still a bit faster than planned, but body feels ok (and the knee does not feel at all…). The 3:00-pacesetter is right beside me at this part. Under Slussen did not hear my watch loosing satellites as last year… Did I run that fast?… But km6-sign is no longer in sync with the Garmin. Pressing lap on the watch to be able to follow km-pace instead of whole distance pace. I like this part on Södra Mälarstrand. Not many people but it is nice to run there. Getting a water mug from a girl at km7. Perfect catch. Perfect hold. Almost perfect drinking. Good. Turning left to the bridge and I hear the speaker talking about the 3:00-flag… Going up to this bridge is a little painful but ok. First third taken fast, second third a bit more controlled and last part controlling definitely and especially the downhill. All good. Reaching km9.x and getting my sport drink from the table. Not many bottles but good to have a flag on mine 🙂 Easier to spot. Once again, drinking good and had passed the 3:00 group. Fine! Passing the 10K-mark a bit slower (41:xx) but still fully decent time. The long stretch to km12 is pretty boring as I remembered from last year. Trying to get some speed but it feels the wind is there as well. Still some guys around, so can follow and get some wind-shields 🙂

Turning left, up the bridge, down in the tunnel and turning left up to the train station. Taking two mugs of water but sipping more than drinking there. Continuing my little trip towards the stadium. Have started to count down the km… since km1… and it helps. Long slightly up stretch towards km14 where I have a kind little girl spotting me and giving me my sport drink. She made me so happy and she/her friends cheer as well 🙂

Chatting with two French guys before km15, asking them to prepare a cold coca cola for me at the finish line 🙂 They are fun and will hang along until km30/32, then I’ll loose them. Back to km15, can no longer read my time splits on my hand, and cannot trust my watch neither… As long as the 3:00-group is not passing me, that is all good 🙂 Tricky to get to km16, seeing the Stadium….. and turning right towards km17 where I catch my sport-drink from a nice teenager running beside me. Still having Tove in sight. Getting passed and passing back a Finnish woman and decide she would be good to follow (as long as the knee continue to cooperate).

Turning to the “country side” part of the second lap. Better feeling than last year. Have taken off my arm sleeves since km18 and have then in my sport bra. Looks like I have push-ups 🙂 Seeing two guys on bike and thinking it must be HR and GLE… but they are way before half-mara sign as they had planned… Trying to wave…Noticing tattoos on HR arms which I did not notice in the morning when we run… and on his legs as well. He waves, I wave back… I want to drop my arm sleeves to them… They stop… aaaaaaaaand those guys are not my runner-friends!!! (Therefore the “I cannot remember the tatoos on the arms” part is making sense now!). Skipping looking at them and continuing. French guys are there again. A bit of chat. Seeing a clock… 1:24:xx… WHAT?!?! Am I completely nuts and out of sync? I said I would take it easy and reach half way with a new PB?!?!? Until I settle down and see it is the 20km-mark… Good, I think… NOoooo, not good… I have to accelerate now to reach halfway in the time planned!!!! Remembering that the 3:00-guys caught up with me at this place last year. Cannot hear them and don’t dare looking behind me…. Getting a large smile from Gabriel after this, proposing me a gel. But I am good. I however throw my arm sleeves in his face (sorry…) and after this cheering I reach halfway. 1:28:xx. Good. Like for the original plan (before the knee got annoying…). Feeling good, cheering from the French guys again.

The second half

…and turning right, passing a little woman (don’t know how she got ahead of me…). Grabbing my bottle with water and gel. A bit tricky to handle both, but working anyway. Sooooo nice once again to be able to drink the “correct” amount of water with the gel! Around km22, chatting with Pierre-Andre (PA) again. Still aiming for sub3. I like his pace and run nicely (finishing in 3:03:46…btw… Well done!). His friend is funny. He runs very light and relaxed, turning and looking back, I even spotted him running backwards at this part (!!!) and running BACK (!) apparently searching for other runner friends. Just enlightening my day!

This long part was a huge black hole from last year. I know why; nothing is happening there!!! Km22 is straight/flat with industry area (?) on the left and woods on the right. Then I think I missed km23, turning left and right within the wood again. Feels nice with this refreshing cover from the sun. Km24 I get my sport drink in a way I cannot recall. Starting to get a bit tired. Have tripped twice on my left knee. But got more ache in the ankle than the knee (yeeeeah???). Trying to get a little longer. No shame with stopping, this race is not worth getting me a trouble knee for lifetime… Caught up by the Finnish woman (finishing in 3:02:01…btw…), chatting a bit under the tree cover. She is heading for sub3. I am hanging along I says (but seriously wondering what I am doing here with the knee in this shape and talking about sub3…Probably starting to get high not just on adrenaline but with all the energy-stuff I have taken…).

Missing again (!) the little bridge that we apparently pass around km24/25. Guessing the time splits on my hand… estimating quickly that whatever time I make at km25… the race will start anyway in 5km from now 😉 Reaching back to the people, seeing Tove’s hair a bit ahead 🙂 Cool, give me strength (not that I would ever catch up, but knowing she is more stable than me on her splits is good for my mindset!). Little up and then down. Passing Gröna Lund (correct?), getting my water bottle with gel at km27 (sooooo welcoming the nice guy catching up with me for this). I don’t like this part. The ground is uneven, with tram railways.. No longer focusing on my run but on not falling down. No tripping, no tripping… Throwing a bit of my water in the head… Nice. I have skipped the showers until now, only getting my hands under, but from now on, the whole little-me get under every shower of the race! Back to the water-side. More people cheering. Here was where I met Staffan in the first lap. Good! Not much left to the end I think.

Reaching km29 and once again seeing a guy shouting to the Sport-drink table “253 arriving, catch her before she misses it” 🙂 VERY appreciated! The drinking plan goes fine. Stomach is fine. Mind is fine. A bit cramping now and then since km4 on the lower part of the right calf, the left hamstring and front legs… Never stopped to stretch though. Waving to people after throwing my bottle. Hearing my name in the speaker… Soon to km30. AND HERE HE WAS… Runner friend from Göteborg unable to run but still here to cheer. Got the largest smile ever, string high-five and an energy boost that could have gotten me to the moon (if it was not for this stupid knee). Thanks for the cheering, Patrik! Continuing. Once again, real cool to be a woman as not many are there and the “go girl” are only for me here 😉 Have heard the speaker indicating a “flag-guy” was in the way… Ok, still fine under 3:00 and soon at km30. Quick shower, HR & Gabriel are at the planned spot (a bit further than I planned, but all good 🙂 ). Getting water and this felt nice with this extra spot. Being passed by the 3:00 guy right at km30 mat. OK, I follow you then. A chick in pink shorts is passing me here and this is my other alternative to follow. Right under Slussen I spot a black singlet with my club written on it (Majornas IK)… True! Emil is here as well! Cheering and hoping we could hang together, but I so want to get behind the 3:00-guy… After the little tunnel, I lost Emil. Ok. Quick check. Crazy knee? Check! Painful? Not quite! Tired? Of course..I have run 30km at a race pace for sub3….!!!! All good then!

Back to Södra Mälarstrand. Chatting a bit with the 3:00-guy. Looking good he said. Thhhaaaaannnkkkss! As there is a pack around him, and I don’t plan to run faster, I get good backs to act as wind shields… Working brilliantly… until we reach km32 for taking my sport drink. Here they have place an extra table for warm stock… right before the sport drink table. Finding myself in a sticky wave of men wanting to reach this first table, walking, slowing down… Missing my bottle…running BACK to grab it (and definitely swearing loud at all those guys who cannot behave when I need to take my bottle)… THERE I lost my 3:00-guy he is a bit ahead and will not be able to catch up ever.

Reaching the foot of the bridge “yes, there are French in the race, raise your hands”… Up with the hands… If I cannot make sub3, I can still have fun and behave like a clown, right?!? The little slope to the bridge is painful, not due to tiredness, but the knee ain’t liking it. Thought to walk would help, but three slower steps prove me wrong. Feeling like the knee gonna explode in billions pieces if I continue this way. So run up the little slope on top of the toes (yapp, crazy painful but better than slowing down).

Must have been biting my lips throughout this second time on the bridge. First third is kind-of ok. Still seeing the 3:00-guy and actually still thinking I can take him back after the bridge… Second third is real tough. I hit my thighs for keeping up the pace. Thinking of stopping a short short while at the “ice power”-spot, but don’t. By this time, the second 3:00-pacesetter is passing me. Ok, not a chance I can get passed those two. Cannot really see the third part, already in the down slope. No I am not happy. Getting cheering from a kind guy calling me “Majorna”, realizing afterwards that my club name is also on the back of my singlet (Oooooh, that’s why so many cheered this way I realized then). He got me a smile 🙂 aaaaaand I am (almost) happy again.

Running down, turning right, catching my water+gel, thinking it is highly unnecessary to take it…it will anyway take ages before I reach the stadium… Seeing the friendly face of Markus N there (thanks for the smile and yelling my name! Gosh, this felt so nice for a short while…). Same feeling as last year on this second lap on Norra Mälarstrand: bored, tired, sad, trouble breathing correctly. I am sooooo close to stop and walk, but 1) I said I would NOT walk this year and 2) just thinking of the pain I felt in the knee when I slowed down before the bridge make me having a pinch of extra strength for NOT stopping! Cheered by a guy in my right, nice, kind, want to die right here, why is it so long…until I notice I am running with Superman (ok, not the REAL Superman, this one is a runner with a Superman tshirt. But at this time in the race, I don’t care. He’ll be Superman for me!). Got a little kid cheering loud for him and even telling his mum(?) to “look! Superman has a girlfriend!”. This type of comment is SO refreshing. Ok, I’ll continue a bit more then. Passing km35, not even caring to check the time on the clock. Thinking only 7km left, less than an hour… (would mean very slow km, but the growing pain in the knee made my mind thinking this sounded right). Reached the Garmin stand, with half warm coca cola (tasted delicious last year…) and coffee. Not a coffee drinker myself, but consider taking one in case it would get me high and unable to feel the pain. I skipped this idea as I thought it could also upset my stomach. And not a chance I would finish 7km with upset stomach + bad knee.

Got passed by a chick right after the Garmin stand. Don’t care. She looks running good, therefore she deserves passing me. Over the bridge (the sequel), in the tunnel (the sequel) and turning towards the train station. Cheering from HR & Gabriel. (Sorry if I said something rude then, but did not feel like chatting..).

Getting two mugs of water, dropping half of one, hardly drinking anything and when throwing the rest on my head both mugs are empty… Yeeeaaah, what a wonderful day 😦

Heavy up along the train station. Limping with the left leg, wet in the back with my singlet having suck so much water… Not a chance I win the contest of the sexiest footstep of the race!!!! Passing actually a few guys… Not even making me smile. Don’t dare to bend the knee “fully”, unsure if I will be able to stretch it again. Like I thought before the race: if the pain comes after km37, not a chance I stop the race. Stupid? Check! Non sense? Check! Whatever…. Grabbing 5-6 Dextrosol at km39. Trying to get an extra kick for the end. The mouth had difficulties to chew and no water in sight!!!! Turning right and remembering that there is a water station at km40. Stretch towards km40… Got passed by Marie in red. She looks fine. Good. She deserves it. Drinking one half mug and it feels better. The heart is no longer there… Hold on! TWO KM LEFT! Stop whining. Bite those lips of yours. And just finish. Limping slightly faster. Seeing the Stadium. This year I am prepared and I KNOW this is still not the end. Counting down. Straight line. Passing guys. Turning right. Final stretch before for final 250m. Skipping the little water-pool before the entrance of the stadium (I noticed it this morning while warming up…) A.N.D. This is the stadium. Missing the smile I got last year from Ulf at this particular spot, but I am already on the track. It is warm. It is sunny. And it is the end…(ok, it is soon the end). Not at all strong like other races due to my knee, I still can dig extra strength for accelerating. Passing two guys. Gosh, this feels good! And the final stretch. 3:02:xx… Yoohoooo! Can be under 3:03… No, Mister-on-my-left, you-shall-not-paaaaaaasss! Giving it all for those last 40/50m.. And it.is.done!!! 3:02:xx with a knee expected to break before halfway… Not too bad, not too bad….

Official time received later: 3:02:38.

Little me, Tove and Mikaela

Little me, Tove and Mikaela

My Garmin in sync with the official clock (almost!)

My Garmin in sync with the official clock (almost!)

Happy me-in the corner :)

Happy me-in the corner 🙂

My lovely medal

My lovely medal

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After the finishing line

Unlike me, I aim to the side and want SO MUCH to lay down and not going up before late in the evening… Trying to catch my breathe again. Nope, not working. As expected, when starting to walk again the left knee is no longer playing along. “Limping-K” shall be my name from now on! Getting my medal, scaring probably the girl giving it to me with my heavy breathing (at this point of time, I feel like I am breathing like a cow… A tired one… Not even knowing where this comparison comes from). Getting to the little elite tent (sooo tempted to stop by the medic tent, but not wanting to be kept for whatever they surely find is wrong with me now…). Getting my goodie bag, have to sit, breathing too heavy and feeling dizzy. Tears so close to come out. The nice guy from the tent is getting in his knee to cut my chip attached on my shoe (good because I could not lift my leg to the table!). Seeing Tove chatting a bit away. Now it is “fine”, can “walk”. Stopping Isabella Andersson and congratulating her for the race and the win. Got a smile back and congrats as well. Limping nicely to the locker room. There have the faster ladies landed 🙂 Smiling Tove (finishing 2:58:21…btw…), Mikaela Kemppi (finishing 2:49:34…!!!btw), and other fast ones. Smiling here and there. Knee is in pain. Getting a pic with two fast chicks and a single one 🙂

After the race

Shower, self-massage on the knee (like it would help…), bye to Tove and see you next year :), walking to the ÖIP to get my finisher tshirt. Having strength enough to joke about the runners before me walking soooo slowly down the stairs. Getting my tshirt, size small (S for “Snygg” – “Pretty” in Swedish… Told you I was in a great mood, despite the knee!).

Meeting HR, catching Tricky for a hug and then stomach started to get upset, cramping-like. Getting under a tree so could lay down with feet up. Other fellow-runners joined us and time for some SMS and chat.

Well-deserved chocolate cake and hot chocolate (after race of course!)

Well-deserved chocolate cake and hot chocolate (after race of course!)

When feeling better, left the place, saying goodbye and headed to a coffee place to get chocolate cake with whipped cream and hot chocolate with whipped cream. I know, the cream would probably upset my stomach (which it did…), but at this moment it sounded like the best idea ever. Chat and then time to head back home. Train trip goes smoothly. Got met by J on the way, so nice with a welcome halfway home. Then a bit of rest with feet up on the bed, eating delicious grilled ribs with French fries, carrots and parsnip (and nice wine 🙂 ). Then a hot sauna where the knee felt a bit better and then chillout rest of the evening until late.

WHAT.A.DAY!

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Weather: drizzling/rain at start, sunny and nice from km3 onwards. A bit cloudy around halfway. Windy from time to time.

Food:
> before: breakfast (oat porridge, banana, soy milk) + powerade @7:00am/ usual drinking a alternate 8-10, banana at 8am.
> during: sport-drink @3.8, 9.x, 14, 17, 24, 32 – gel: 21.1, 27, 34.x – water at the water station – 5-6 (!) dextrosol @km39
> right after: maxim protein drink, banana. 1hr later – chocolate cake+warm chocolate
> 19:00pm-ish: nice dinner 🙂

Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), MIK singlet, arm sleeves, blue sunglasses. Shoes? What to say, but WOW so fast! Perfect race shoes!
> Outfit was exactly what should be. Could have skipped the arm sleeves at start maybe, but would have also worked to have them the whole run

Shoes – ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost – purple

17/ good effort level throughout the race. Seriously reaching 18/19 during last 2-3km, but unsure I pushed frankly neither there. Probably a good 15-16 for most of the race, slightly increasing after km22/23

Pain level: ok to nothing during most of the race. 18-19 during the last km

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SUMMARY: Brilliant! Not prioritized race for the year, with real drop of motivation after getting back from Alicante, got it back after Göteborgsvarvet and it never left. Felt like smiling and on a cloud for 2 weeks before this race. SO unlike the two previous marathons of this year. All felt good until this stupid thing with the knee. Could make it work anyway, which please me very much. Preparations went well, although the half marathon 2 weeks before got more like a fast training long run than a race really. But the carb depletion (I know I know, never fun) but this time it did actually feel “better” or “easier” than usual, then the carboloading part went smoothly. Did change slightly with more drinking maybe. Good pre-race lunch, good company, support message before the race…seriously? I.AM.HAPPY!

Support from the crowd is different in every race, making some parts of the run becoming a face-2-face with yourself sometimes, but this is what the long runs are for, right? To train you to be alone in a race where you actually share the pavement with several thousands crazy people like you J Apart from the mindset which was up&running correctly until km35/36 and the knee started to take commando, the body felt fine.

First half done well-controlled (reminds me the first half of Berlin 2013), like planned. Real surprised that the knee was not complaining earlier (or was it the mind choosing to ignore the pain?). Felt stable (in a way), having Tove ahead as reference point (for a while…) and then after the second run on the bridge, just hanging along and having for objective to pass guys before the finish line 🙂

Third best marathon-time on a crazy knee – feels nice!

Distribution of thank-you notes here; for the support, the training, the chat, the listening, the laughs… all you guys will find yourself in this list. Once again, boundaries were pushed this day, no PB, but the way the body and mind could handle the race was just great! THANKS!

 

Chocolates to enjoy after a marathon, right? :)

Chocolates to enjoy after a marathon, right? 🙂

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: was it really smart to run on a knee not fully fine? Probably not. Would it have been the half-marathon before, I would have probably chosen to skip the race. Why running the longest distance then? Well, I thought it was fine if taken carefully and listening to the body.

NOTE: The usual question about warmup… Took it pretty carefully while running the few hundreds along the stadium and even more careful on the track. Definitely not necessary, but I think felt good to have done it.

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? GREAT! Had the possibility to drop my bottles where I wanted at the water-stations and it worked great. Was a bit unsure at first, but the mix sport-drink, water, and gel work well. Regarding the final kick @km39 with the extra Dextrosol… won’t be doing this next time. Have to find another “kick” J

NOTE: Right after the race, I thought I would be fine and not needing/wanting to run it again. Day after, the thought is gone, and definitely looking forward to get on the starting line next year and skipping the limping of the 5 last km (and definitely not letting the 3:00-flag guy passing me this time…!)