Planned: sub90 definitely – had set the mind on 1:27 and podium – second place. Training-race.
Actual: 1:27:14 – PR on the route by 2min 47 second AND new second best time ever on a half-marathon! 12 seconds faster than Copenhagen two weeks before! Strong and very stable paced first half with a mid 40s 10K, let it roll for the next 5-6km, tricky run in a close-to-2km-tunnel, understanding I was placed 4th since a while, acceleration at the end and that was it! Very satisfied with the race, the place and the time! No need to run faster, training is training! This one was more than good-enough…and the feeling throughout the race was way better/stronger than last year!
Place: 4 – all women, 2 – age category & 284 out of 11,235 finishers
Splits (non official – from Garmin)
Interestingly the 5K was passed 30 seconds slower than Copenhagen, the 10K 33sec slower and the 15km 1second slower. The 20K turned 7 seconds faster and at the end got 12 seconds total on a route which was definitely not fast and flat as Copenhagen!
In short: yiiiipppiiiiie again! Another sub90!!! Felt very stable paced for the first half, got cruising on the second one. Strong finish. And a NEW second best time on a half-marathon (ya ya ya… still third best time ever when counting the first half of Rotterdam marathon… working on it!)
BEFORE THE RACE
The day before…
Pretty early up after a nice good night’s sleep. Final check on the racing gear, locked the suitcase and after light breakfast (chia seeds & green mix), a bit early so I decided to take another tram to the train station… and it took the time to reach the ground floor for noticing I had forgotten my passport!!! Pressing nervously the button to get up again, key in the door, ran to get the precious passport and out and down again. Had now to rush for getting the tram I wanted. Calmer feeling in the tram. Walked to the bus station. All fine. Would even take an earlier bus than planned. Airport check-in worked fine. Still don’t understanding why it takes sooo long time to drop the bags when having checked-in online… Long queue for the passports check and then just had to mix my sport drink and get to the plane. Easy first plane ravel (I slept most of it). Then had to run in Bryssels to get my connection, but it worked fine eventually. Sat in the second plane reading most of it on “how to crack the marathon code”. Arrival in Lyon went smoothly and after a huge hug I noted the awfully boring weather outside. Rain. Did not matter much actually as the race was the day after… Quick drive home to drop the suitcase and jumping into running gear and then direction Lyon – Place Bellecour for picking up my BIB. Not the same sunny weather as last year. Light drizzle making the red ground very disgusting to walk on. Getting my BIB, noting that I am missing the “Renault Trucks 100ans” inscription 😦 Heading to the information for getting me into the Préférentiel start-group. And then a bit of walking around after picking up my race tshirt. Buying Tiger balm and new brand of gels. Then back in the car and driven/dropped off on the race course at about 5km-mark. Music in the ears and hop! Ran easy the next km as I wanted to check this crazy evil hill around km9 which I really did not like last year. Measured it now and it was “only” 250m stupid uphill. All fine! Passed the bridge and got picked up by my best ever crew a km later. Good feeling on this day before the race. Now was left to get a bit of food (pasta and minced meet), drink a bit of orange juice and prepare my racing gear for the day after. OK. All fine. Late snack with toasted white bread and honey and tea. And got form my best-ever crew 4 bottles of Gatorade! In bed around 9pm. Then sleep.
Waking up at midnight, 2am and then 4am… Feels like a pattern, right?! Felt well-rested anyway. Took a light breakfast of chia seeds, green mix and Gatorade and got back to sleep for a little longer. 5:30am and it was time to get showered and set those running gear of mine (SOC SWE hotpants and sports bra and as previous race the superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Set my two small Swedish flags tattoos on the left arm and that was it! Perfect colouring added the nails and the racing gear. Double-checked my bag with changing clothes, added my BIB to my gear. And that was it! Ready to shine (or something like that…)
6:15am – All in the car to reach the city. Still pitch black out there, refreshing air due to the night rain, but quite fine temperatures with 13ºC. Got stopped by the police when reaching Place Bellecour as it was no longer possible to drive closer. Got dropped off and with half of my best-ever crew I walked slowly to the meeting place. Headed to the Renault Trucks tent, where kind helpers were already very much working their butt off for welcoming the wave of runners who would soon enough arrive. Best-ever crew was growing instantly! 🙂 Met with friends and former colleagues. Tried to find one or two who would be running at similar pace than the one I was planning, so that it would be easier/funnier to run. Maybe? Got indicated that a marathoner Paul would be passing the half in 1:27. Perfect! Got introduced and agreed to meet in the start corral. Olivier A, my pacesetter from last year, was unfortunately injured and would be “only” running the 10K this year. Great.
7:40am – Time to get warmed up. Final hugs to my best-ever crew, pictures while freezing a bit and started to jog easily to the start. This time I had an old tshirt from Dad on me, in order to limit the “freezing-to-death” feeling. Found my corral, continued running a bit along the race course, quick pitstop, and then back on the footbridge. Two additional nervous pitstops before getting inside my corral.
08:15am – Noted 3 other gals already there. Found Paul there as well I his plastic bag 🙂 Quick chat about the race. “Do your own race” was the advice and that he would be starting easy. Perfect! This is exactly what I generally do not do! Good to follow someone then. Met then the lady who won last year. She was not pushing too much today as she was heading to NY marathon a few weeks later. Great! Like what I did last year! Saw as well an elite-chick in the corral in front of us. OK…here go the two first places, I thought. Just have to keep track on aaaaaall the other gals!
08:17am – A bit of talking from the speaker. Got an official commenting the fact that there are 50% (?) of the runners being female…and his next comment being “wonder who is keeping an eye on our children then?”…. Not very well appreciated comment by the runners (and I am surrounded by 99% of male runners…Great with supporting guys!). The funny speaker makes then all of us runners going down in order to do the biggest wave ever. Looks like the elites are not understanding the jokes said in French as they are looking at each others a bit puzzled. Finally even they get on their knees to do the wave! Supercool!!! Aaaaaaand woooow! Real fun.
08:27am – Off with the old tshirt. Got a kind guy throwing it away for me. No freezing feeling with all the runners in pack and so closed to each other. Final check to the watch while walking slowly to the start mat…
08:30am – Aaaaaand BAM! Start is given. This time I think I heard it (not too sure). Have wrongly appreciated the distance to the mat and I press the start-button at the “BAM” and not when I pass the mat. Not mattering much as I estimate being 1-2seconds after. No real push. Following the lady-winner-from-last-year as she makes her way in the wave of guys. Good technique, running with the elbow a bit on the side for having a bit of space and avoiding people to come and push too close to her. Got a smile from Paul and we have started. I have music in my head and that feels good (I mean really “in my head” as I have no mp3 with me). Easy funny run towards the little bridge. We probably look like cows going finally to the other side of the field where the grass is greener 🙂 Carefully running up and then up the pavement. We have already good place among the runners. Careful still along the bridge for not falling and down on the other side. Easy-peasy-that’s-so-funny! 🙂 Having Paul slightly before me looking back from time to time. I feel the tempo is not crazy fast as in Copenhagen, but doubting seriously it is slow as I thought it would be. Daring a look at my watch when passing km1 and seeing a 3:56-tempo… Eeeeeeeuuuuh…what? This ain’t easy start. OK, we still have time to slow down. We WILL eventually slow down. Right? Passed on the left and right by (too) enthusiastic runners and on the slope on the side of the first bridge, I hear the cheering of Mum, closely followed by a few cool runners who cheer for me on my name after hearing her 🙂 Best of luck to you too! Passing Dad on the right and more cheering all around. All good and fine. Passing km2 a bit slower, but still at 4min-tempo. Paul is a bit more before me and I decide to skip following him as it would mean running faster than I planned. And I want my 87 minutes (blank or not!). Running along the river looking like a snake is once again an experience. Pretty calm and empty of people, the next 2km are just kilometers to run and that’s it. Avoiding the fall on the pavement, and the railways. Avoiding the runners who still try to pass on the left, the right and why not, just putting themselves right before me and slowing down afterwards… you name it! Could see the long line of runners along the river and the first fast ones far far away already! Sun shining out there. Quite enjoyable. Got to the little down-under-the-bridge-and-up-after-that. This is what is killing one’s tempo. Those small ups&downs on the road. Finally reaching km5. Recognizing from the day before where I had been left and then ran all the way to the bridge. Felt in well-known territory and that felt nice. Nothing really happening there. Apart from a tall runner passing me and me passing him and him passing me again and so on. Until we reached km8 with Île Barbe on the right and where I noticed that this guy had no clue I was existing apparently! He had headset on and probably loud music (ok, this one is for free…). But I got really angry when he ran on my right and on the little way up with the island on the right he just cut down in front of me and place himself there. NOT A CHANCE! The road was wide open, no car and seriously there was way enough place for all. So he got a loud “HELLO THERE! WATCH OUT!” from little-me and from this moment, I did not get bothered any more. Down the little slope and more run run run. And here it came…the little nasty-evil hill around km9. Well… it arrived, and disappeared. I felt way stronger and fitter than last year on this one. Last year I needed all the cheering from Olivier A for getting to the top (and no I was not going to walk then, but would have probably slowed down quite a bit). This year was not such year. I even took the final 50-60m on the top of the toes. Feeling strong, knowing that after the uphill…comes the downhill. Which I took very controlled actually. Took a first Dextrosol there (more for training in how and when taking extra energy than because it was needed) Happy to have gotten a few places there, we continued along the river to soon reach km10 and the little bridge Paul Bocuse. Clocking my 10K under 41 minutes. That was more than good enough. And hop! Bridge and then downhill. Got kind cheering from both the guys I passed and the very few passing me. Took another dextrosol at the water station after the bridge with a little (not enough) water and that was it. Half was done and half was to go!
Everything seemed to go as planned. No rush, Just happy to run. The stable pace from the first half continue a bit, feeling that I just had to roll easy-peasy the next 6km to the tunnel. Which I did. I think. Met a older marathoner around km11. He asked me what I was running and answered the half. He quickly calculate and cheered a bit telling at this pace that was a sub90 guaranteed. I ran along with him for a while. Got a little deep around km13, focus was not 100% by then. Took a Dextrosol and calculated that I was going to miss my plan for reaching km15 (under 62 minutes). Which made me a bit sad. Well, still a bit under 90 minutes, but not in the 87-range. Which I really really wanted. I reached another km-sign and could not really read it. Did not want to check my watch neither. I was so scared it would indicate km13 and that I would be way off my plans. But good to see it was km14 and that – for sure – I was slowing down, but I was was still in the race! My race! Km15 was reached within target (Yiiipii!). Had been passed earlier by a guy to whom I asked whether there was/were gal(s) behind me. A bit surprised he recognised that nope. He hadn’t seen any for a while and that I might have been alone on this race 🙂 Good! I understood by then that I was still in 4th place as I had been passed by a gal around km5. I had here in sight for a long while, but it was tricky to catch up with her (which I understood why a bit after the finish line…). One last Dextrosol right before the water station and then we were at km16. This is where the marathoners and half-marathoners are separated. Said good luck and good bye to my runner-in-crime. Got it back as well. And that was it. A little deep when entering the tunnel…this is in the middle of it that I lost the second place of the race last year. So really wanted not to let it happen today! Started the tunnel with a bit tired legs. Last year Olivier A helped a lot with cheering and encouragements and keeping the pace (which was quite slow then) was going fine. Here it was only me, myself and I and no help from outside. Passed by a few runners who encouraged me pretty kindly. Passed km17 a bit slow in the middle of the tunnel. My watch was still indicating the kilometer-mark properly until then. After km17, it started to show very slow pace and honestly I did not know what to believe. But 4:27-pace I was pretty sure that I was NOT that slow running. Tricky to breathe inside the tunnel. Tricky feeling to run and not seeing the start nor the end. Tricky not to know how long is left. Tricky to have strange-funky-watery music played inside the tunnel….and here it came… I could actually SEE the light at the end of the tunnel! For real! And it was sunshining! Yooohooo! Got along with a guy right before the end of the tunnel and we encouraged each other. OMG! Less than 3km to go when we reach the bridge… and then downhill and turning right. Lifted my arms to wave to the little crowd there and got the response I wanted 🙂 Uplifting cheering! The motivation was on the top. And there I could not yet see them, but heard them from far away. My best-ever crew was at their right position! One at the start almost of the bridge and the second one in the middle. Could just not stop smiling! Sunshine had reached the building! And the slope ended and then the bridge. “Strong legs, lift the knees” – I recalled all the words from Olivier A last year at this special place. Passed two guys. And then it was a little down and then around the roundabout and left and then abrupt right-turn again, where a guy throw me a “You are the 4th! You are the best! Only 2km to go!”. I still had no idea how far I was from the 3rd one. Passed km19 without really noticing until I did it (note: this was a large air-filled arch above the street apparently…). Reaching place des Terreaux. Was very careful not to fall on the slippery ground. Looked at all the runners who were turning then and running “back” towards km20. Could not see a single chick. And same procedure after turning back…no gal after me neither. OK. Tried to accelerate and then turn right into Rue de la République. Noticed by then that I had forgotten to take my red gel. No time now. Passing km20. Still looking good. Had difficulties to calculate how fast I should run to get under 88 minutes, but under 87 was lost for sure. Not too much fun to run on the hard pavement of this large pedestrian street. But there there was way more people at the end. And if I was to miss 87minutes-blank anyway, I could at least enjoyed the waving and cheering of the crowd! Turning right, along Place Bellecour. Sun shining. Passing two more guys and another left turn. Hearing someone screaming at his friend he was good to reach 87 minutes and I took this as my new mission. NOT letting this guy too far from me. Final left turn. I remained on the right side this time. Less people there. Another gear had been passed. Could accelerate without any problem. Where was the clock? Could not see what I was aiming for… And that.was.it! Stopped the watch. I.AIN’T.TIRED… Where is the rest of the race?!?!
Official time: 1:27:14 (i.e. a new second-best half-marathon! 12 seconds faster than Copenhagen two week before!!! and on this route! Brilliant!)
AFTER THE FINISH LINE
Caught up by the speaker after the finish line, who recognised me and told me I had missed the podium this time and was fourth in the race and that was still good. Grabbing the mic, I answered that I trained a bit and reached the finish line 3 minutes faster than last year…but that the other chicks had apparently trained a bit too! And that with an invitation to next year’s race, I would probably even run faster! 🙂 Yap! Happy and very satisfied and absolutely not tired. Feeling nice and light, jogged (!) to the massage tent. On the way I met the 3rd lady, who was looking pretty exhausted. Had finished 2 minutes before me. And that was then I noticed that I had been following a guy with a pink tshirt and not her with her pink tshirt… Congratulating her and heading to the refreshment table. Water and cereals bars. Then queue to the massage. Got a long and nice massage of both legs. Was asked if I had been running as apparently the leg muscles were not showing sign of it (apart from sensitive Achille’s…). Banana and more cereal bars and a cup of Coke and jogged back to the Renault Trucks tent. More people than this morning there! Between the half-marathoners arriving and the 10K-runners on the departure. And still the best ever crew with red jacket from RT 🙂 Met my own best-ever crew. A few pic. Sun shining, meeting more colleagues and friends. Sunshine and happiness were floading here! Wonderful Sunday morning!
What next? Quick change of clothes in the tent (yaaaaa.. it was full of people, but honestly I did not really bother. I could not get back home in sweaty/wet outfit and risk to catch a cold. Better strip and have dry clothes on. Ate at almost all little table (pain aux raisins, scrambled eggs, drink juice, got a cake). SO very well-organized! Then time to drive back home, have a well-deserved shower, nice lunch and took a bit of rest for a while. Best finish of the week ever! Once more confirmation of good form. Just want the sun to be kept high and shiny up there and all will be fine!
Weather: 15.0° Cloudy, Feels like 15.0°C, 5 kph wind, 94% humidity – perfect weather conditions. Could not ask for better, really. Wind non-existant, sun shine just as much as perfect. What to ask for more?
Food: breakfast (chia seeds + green mix + gatorade + banana) @4:30am, red juice @6:30am, after: water, banana right after the race. Later in the RT tent: mini pains aux raisins, scrambled eggs w/bacon, orang juice, water. Late lunch around 2pm (?)
>During: little gatorade right before the start, Dextrosol 1 @km9, 10.5, 13 and 15+.
Gear: SOC SWE hotpants + sports bra. Shoes delivered as usual. Just adoring them!
Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)
14/ would sound a bit cocky to set a 13 for the whole race, but having set a 14 for Copenhagen, this one was surely on a lower effort level. Probably a good 13/low 14. Did not feel making any effort throughout the race. Just running. For sure there was a deep at a moment, but never it has felt that the effort level was very much higher than the rest of the race. Very satisfied to have run slightly faster on this route compared to Copenhagen which was pretty flatter (but windier!). No tired body, apart from tired and sensitive Achille’s. No sign of racing the day and days after. Good sign?
A few “after-race thoughts”
NOTE: confirming my subscription to the “sub90-club” 🙂 And even better to get close to this 87 minutes once more and within so short notice! Very good for a training-race!
NOTE: Weather-wise, nothing to complain at all about! Perfect temperature. Sun shine. Humidity but ok-level. No wind. What else to ask for?
NOTE: Time and place? This went precisely according to plan. Finish time is fully satisfactory, especially for a training-race. Place in the race is fully satisfactory as I had really no chance for the two first places on the podium, and for the third one this year, I would have had to push a bit more actually… So yap! All fine!
NOTE: Warmup? Same procedure as last year with Olivier A. Worked perfectly. For sure was freezing a bit before start, but the warmup ended up quite close to the start (well, close enough). So good!
NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? Not a chance I can tell I have been drinking properly during the race. Throw most of the water on my head for cooling down. And that felt enough. Took a few gloops at km15-water station and that was enough. Got cramps under the feet during the after-race massage and the first question I got was “did you drink properly during the race?” and my answer was “nope. Did not need to drink”. Dextrosol was easy to take and I definitely did not need the final gel. For the double distance however, I would have taken it.
NOTE: Real nice and cozy race. Not very many watching on the side of the river, but that’s fine for me. They compensate with a warm welcome when reaching the final stretch along Place Bellecour, and that is working well for me. Highly recommended!
Lots of thanks as usual for all who gave supporting words during training and those who actually cheering along the race. Thanks for Marianne C who took two very-well located places for cheering and that was just great! A very special thank too for the Renault Trucks helping team, who made the life of runners so much easier before and after the race! Always a pleasure to meet them! And of course, a huge thanks to my best-ever crew on-site (and the one off-site too!).
Run in Lyon slogan this year was : “RIL, what else?” and indeed, I could not think about anything else. But the warm-up is still going on…
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 🙂
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):
Nice for a first (?) World Championship, right?
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…
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…).
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…
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!
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 😛 )
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!
> 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!
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 🙂