Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

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Race Report – Prinsensminne 2016/8/13

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Happy sub90-runner 🙂

Planned: sub90. Training-race. Tempo longrun

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

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

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

Splits (unofficial – Garmin)

Split

Time

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

8

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

8

halfway 00:44:19

6

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

6

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

5

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

5

Totals

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

The day before

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

Race day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

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

Official time: 1:29:00

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet 2016/05/21

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Happy finisher

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

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

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

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

Splits (official – Swedish championships place)

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

Totals

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

 

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BEFORE THE RACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

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

Official time: 1:29:44

 

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

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

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

=> should have drunk more water after the race

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

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

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Let the barking dog out until the sleeping lion wakes up (or a fortnight of (close-to) misery…)

Long time no see (this is the obligatory 4 words when no post has been added for a while, correct? :)) Today it is Saturday and hopefully the last fortnight of (close-to) misery will end soon. Let me take you through it…

Started with a Monday which is “pancakes’day” in France and despite all my planning, I woke up too late to have that done before work. OK. Not too good, but there were still some hours left in the day to redeem myself! Left to the office early, having a workshop which I was holding. Better not being late then. Stupid snow and ice still out there on the streets and pavements, so had to be careful with my shoes. And apparently not careful enough when after 500m or so, I slided (?) on a little bump which I thought was snow, but had actually ice right under. Fell on my right knee and my left elbow/arm. Most of the impact felt however in the left shoulder. Nobody for helping to get up (?) until one guy stopped by asking how I was (well, I am on my knees in the snow and apparently not having the winter oufit justifying that I am starting a snowman…what wo you think?…). He was kind enough though to help me getting up (after I asked him to…). Heavy left arm to the office, but more focus on my workshop than my arm then. It was only around lunch that I actually recognized that something must be not too fine. At the end of my lunch with my colleague, I had to ask for helping to get my coat on. No good 😦 Got back to the office and there, typing on the keyboard was making my arm hurt… Right… Left directly to get to the doc. Had to wait for 1,5hour at the drop-in and finally got a check done. Nothing apparently broken, probably the muscles being sored. Still been sent to the xray (twice in the last 6 days!). No preliminary result as I got there just before they closed. Spent a nightmare of night (a bit redundant, but it was really like that!). Had taken some paracetamol as the doc suggested against the pain, and it worked…NOT! Got 4 hours of sleep divided into 3 times… No need to say that Tuesday morning I was a bit tired (understatement…). Worked from home to skip the walking and sliding. Talked to coach for seeing how to plan the training in the next few weeks as the left foot was still not fine and the shoulder was definitely far from allowing any training (well, the doc said ok for bike and swimming). A call to the doc and got the results of both xrays: shoulder “ok” (i.e. no fracture), so have to be patient (!) and rest the muscle and foot “ok” (i.e. no fracture either), so have to be patient (!!!) and rest the foot a while more. No running until the foot is 100% back to normal. Had no chance to try the cross-trainer on Monday, and would probably wait a while before I do, so that the shoulder is fine again. So Tuesday turned into rest day (from training) and indulged myself with a foot treatment. Apparently did not have much to treat, a little dry heels, and got tips for keeping the feet up and running (ha ha ha!). So rest day, with actually a left foot that was half-ok today.

So what about Wednesday then? Got an hour bike intervals (indoor) done and visited the naprapath in the evening to fix this shoulder problem. Pain pain and more pain… when she used the pressure points for solving this shoulder problem, that was FAR from nice. But once again, if this is what it takes to be back on track, I’d say: “bring it on!”. Got to sleep this night as well, thanks to the “horse medicine” prescribed by the doc. Well, it not really “horse medication”, but the way I feel after taking them, make me think that maaaaaaaybe a horse would be taking it and fall asleep as fast as I do! But once again, this is this OR not sleeping at all due to the pain 😦 Thursday got a visit to the physiotherapist who confirmed that “Yep. have to wait before we can do anything with the foot. Bike and water-running… Help yourself!). So headed right after to the gym and got a bike intervals workout once more. Friday and up early for T’s celebration day :), then work and finishing a bit earlier as well. And headed to the gym for…trying the cross-trainer. And yes… the bike has found its king of boredom… the CROSS-TRAINER. OMG! this was so extremely annoyingly boring to stand on this machine…for more than an hour… Luckily, the program was included some intervals, otherwise I would probably have closed my eyes, fallen asleep, fallen from the machine and got to the doc and the Xray once more!!! Not as sweaty as the bike. Foot felt ok. Tried as much as possible to skip using the handles when “walking” to be sure the shoulder would not hurt. Fastest shower ever and then restaurant with flag and fun. Everyone was pretty tired. But celebration it should be, so ended the day with cosy time on the soffa watching a movie.

Saturday started later than planned (but went to bed late and had this horse medication as well 😦 ). On the bike, intervals, sweat and 56 minutes later, was done. This was the same workout as the one done one week before but outdoor, and I can tell that all the joy from outdoor biking was NOT there, when sitting in this gym! Easy rest of the day. Especially because the left should had been behaving badly. The pain was no longer in the muscle (triceps/biceps) but in the scapula on the back. A bit of shopping, finding a place having Gatorade 🙂 In the evening? Impossible to sleep. So on the Sunday, got to book a last minute massage and man!… this.was.not.enjoyable.at.all!!! Cannot remember when it felt that painful really. And if I have trained and the massage is helping to recover, then I can endure the pain as I know it is coming from the training. But HERE… did not do anything to deserved this. One hour later, decided to get a rest day. After all…it was Sunday!

SOOOOOooooo… this was one week. Hoped for having an easy week after that, but nope. The Monday after the massage, the shoulder was still painful, but could bike (so I did. Indoor. still…). So hope was not (completely) lost. And for the fun of it (!), joined colleagues to a spinning workout on Tuesday morning…7am!!! OK this is not crazy early compared to one and other runs I had taken in the morning… BUT… this meant getting there to change and be ready before 7am… No ferry until 7am neither (apart from the one I took, a paying one). Which meant…bicycling to the ferry, wait 7 minutes in the cold and considering whether or not to bike the 5km to the gym (over a bridge…), finally waiting for the ferry, getting fast to the office to drop my laptop and biking to the training center and almost ready on time 🙂 Meeting A there. T had forgotten his outfit and M was nowhere to be found. Matters not, had actually fun. 30minutes spinning, not increasing too much the difficulty, but enough for feeling it! After that it was planned circle-training, but due to the shoulder, I remained in the room and biked for 15 more minutes talking to A. All good. Shower after that and free breakfast. Ready to rock at work before 8:20am 🙂 THAT’s the way to start a good day! Wednesday got an early cross-trainer workout. 45min and fartlek on the menu. Set the “hill” program and off I went (well, I went nowhere as I was on the cross-trainer…). And after that, the day passed… Friday was decided to be rest day (from training). Early up, early work and got to have a massage for the shoulder again. Not as generally painful as on Sunday, BUT there was these knots that the masseur is so good at finding (and which are so painful). So let’s talk about pain: this was not “painful-like-I-am-gonna-cry”, but “painful-like-I-am-gonna-swear-so-bad-that-it-will-probably-hurt-my-ears” (and I did not do the swearing, but bite my lips pretty hard :-(). No afternoon tea as planned, but evening with girlfriends and that was pretty fun. Ate in this Italian restaurant. And by the end of the dinner, I think that most of my brain had checked out and the rest was on survival-mode, using only the little necessary to be able to get back home on bike without falling (the cold outside helped to keep the eyes opened!). Right back home, impossible to fall asleep, so directly on the soffa to watch the end of the Matrix (Revolution, I think. Just loving this movie :)). So no need to tell that this morning Saturday) the eyes were red and puffy and the hair probably would have scared forest-trolls (not the trolls leaving under the bridges, because those ones are crazy scary…). A bit of tea, C-vitamin and swimming suit on. Just got ready to (finally…) bike to the swimming pool for a session of water-running. THIS.IS.NOT.FUN.AT.ALL!!! When you are used to swim, this water-running is no fun. I guarantee! 10min easy (felt like being a little dog unable to swim) and then a little fun arrive (anyway!): 3 times 15 minutes (with 5minutes under tempo, 5 minutes at tempo pace and 5 minutes sub-tempo). And nope. I do not know what is “tempo-pace” when doing water-running. But the first serie felt like testing a bit. The second serie was a bit of fun: I had found a French song which was suiting perfectly the “tempo”-pace. And for the “over-tempo”, I just continued to sing… just faster 🙂 So the final 15 minutes disappeared fast (well, it still took 15 minutes!). Then 5 minutes easy and 10*45sec fast with 15 sec easy. This was nice to finish the whole workout… 70minutes all-in-all. Would never believe I would actually complete it when I jumped into the water! Got a long sauna after that, to relax. And then bike home. Felt pretty hungry (had not eaten anything prior to training… :-() and spent the day chilling out (read: fixing at home, folding the clothes, reading…).

SO, this was how the past fortnight went. No bed of roses directly… But as someone wise told me: “What hurts you today, makes you stronger tomorrow”… Keeping up the pulse and ensuring to keep up the shape…All to be ready when the foot and shoulder allow to get in my runner outfit again.

So I surely have this little barking dog out for now…pretty useful…for now… just wait until the sleeping lion wakes up 🙂


When the countdown reaches the one-figure number of days left…. THEN it is for real!

Today, the countdown has reached M Day-8… Yapp, the countdown that starts so many days, weeks, months before is now down to this little figure… Aaaaaaaaaahhh! What should be done now. Since Thursday the left foot has not been cooperating too well. Got a rest day on Friday as planned and an easy run on Saturday. But when getting my butt out on Sunday… took a few 20-40m to feel the foot was not too well, and 2-400m to decide that I would not jeopardize my foot for a training 2 weeks before a race. So back home and run cancelled. Probably the first time EVER (?) that I cancel a run after a few hundreds. Rested on Sunday and Monday was “copy/paste” from Sunday (although I went to work and got to bed indecently late). Did massage this stupid foot every evening and slept with a nice scent of tiger balm in the bedroom. Tuesday morning felt ok, almost the foot that I forgot I had! Did massage it with tiger balm before going to work and thought afterwards that I would probably not be the best colleague to sit beside during the morning training as my foot was having this strong liniment scent 🙂 Nobody complained (or nobody dared to complain…). Anyhow, Tuesday ended with a 21km bike tour in the dark and the crazy cold. Could hardly feel my fingertops and my toes after 4km… and it was still 4ºC outside… Hot shower, more massage and bed time. Did my light core exercises in the morning btw and this is always those 10minutes bringing all the strength required for the day 🙂 Great!

Today Wednesday started late(r) than planned. Got to rush the preparation of breakfast and headed to work pretty fast. Until it was lunch time and there I happily (and anxiously?) changed into running gear. Hit the pavement with a bit mixed feelings and started to run. The left foot felt like running on the FULL under foot, when the right one behaved as usual. Got to km3 with the heavy feeling of running “blue whale-style” (if blue whales could run, they would do it this way…). Really heavy feeling and thought I was way off in the slow-motion paces. But nope. sub5 and continuing the rest of the run this way. The left foot made itself reminded from time to time, but nothing terrible or harmful. When stopping the run, it felt…nothing. So yes, maybe the shoes can impact a bit. Definitely possible to run the race next week at this pace, but that would mean being 50 minutes slower than my plan… would be a good long run under the sun…not fully satisfactory though. Anyhow, it will go the way it will go. No need to make plans at the moment as the foot is not fine and far from optimal. Not even running on endorphins would help at this point. Will see then…

Time for more tea before resting and bed time (already gasping…)

8 days to go 🙂 


To rest or not to rest? THAT is the question…

Since Sunday, got a conscience check: to rest or not to rest. That was well enough to take two day of rest for noticing whether this stupid left foot would let it go (or not). Gave it a try yesterday (Tuesday) with taped foot, and it worked fine. Easy 10km ended with a good feeling. So nice that I actually could spend the rest of the day walking as normal 🙂 Not bad right? And filled with this enthusiasm, I even made my own day with a long workout for core & stability. Yes, it does help for the running (and not just to set nice patterns on the stomach 🙂 ). Too late in bed, but satisfied as there had been no snow falling as it was forecasted…

Saying this quick because this morning, there was a light white cover waiting for me on the streets when I headed for an early morning run 😦 Not too fun as it was slippery. And wet and cold (in the water pools…). But otherwise, it felt nice to run. Once again, taped foot, but so what. If this is what it takes for the next 15 days… so be it. Rest of day working (i.e. sitting most of the time in meetings), so the foot did not complained too much. Had a talk with the naprapath that checked my knee, hip, foot and he said that taping was fine and that if all felt OK tomorrow, I could give it a try for the running plans I have. After this one, then we would see how it goes. Probably needing a bit more rest. With so short time left before the race, the only thing that can happen is to screw up the training if not taking it easy and intelligently running.

So yes, the question remain: to rest or not to rest? Suggestions?


New torture massage runners-style…

Easy end of the weekend, mostly due to this light sensible pay on the outside of my left foot. Tricky to describe where, but it felt for sure. So skipped the running and went for a rest day, watching table tennis tournament and keeping my foot at ease. Surely some core exercises were included in this unplanned rest day.
Today Monday, back to work. Although it did not start as I wished with a morning run. The left foot was still sensitive, so the choice was easy: 17 days to go before first race of the year?  Nothing can be improved really, but much can be destroyed by doing extra runs when the foot clearly says there is something odd. Work all day and then it was time for dinner already. Followed by movie and massage of the foot with Tiger balm. Does it help? Don’t know. But at least it is worth a shot.
And news for today: finally got a little foamroller worth patterns on it. Not as torture as with a coca cola bottle actually. Could do full 18 minutes of rolling with almost no pain. Most of the ache came from the hands that had to support the body while rolling in certain positions. Got a 2 minutes each exercise (quads, calve, hamstrings, butt, ITB, back of the thighs). All good.  A bit red afterwards, but still ok.

Now time for some rest,  going tomorrow will allow for an outing. Without the snow that one of the weather forecast sites is announcing though…

Keep on running and have fun!


Race Report – Chicago marathon 2014 – 2014/10/12

Planned: As usual there was a plan 🙂 This time it was in this order “sub3, sub2:58 and anything faster than the fastest so far is nice” 🙂 Preparations had been going well, but a bit bumpy with the left calf issue that has bothered me the past 3 weeks before the race.

Actual: 3:04:32… PB on the route (this is the first time I run here, so PB it is J). No crazy time, but the ranking made me happy: 172th place (women), 35 (age category) and 1380 (total out of 40,418 participants completing the race…). So surely was a bit far from the time objective, but having a complaining calf from km15 does not give many options… Enough said: great race, superb support from the public of Chicago and with pre-race + mid-race conditions, I am satisfied! This was an experience really (especially before the start and the last 2 km…)

Race results:

Place (M/W) 172
place (ag) 35
total 1380 (of 40,418 participants!)
age/grade: 75.97% (2014 Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (netto): 03:04:32
time total (brutto): 03:04:32
average pace: slow 🙂 (4:22 min/km)

Official splits

Split Net time (difference)
5K 20:48:00 20:48:00
10K 41:46:00 20:58:00
15K 01:02:54 21:08:00
20K 01:24:36 21:42:00
Half mara 01:29:14
25K 01:46:34 21:58:00
30K 02:09:02 22:28:00
35K 02:31:54 22:52:00
40K 02:54:57 23:03:00
Marathon 03:04:32

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

M Day-2 & -1

Little reminder: pretty late arrival in Chicago on Friday before the race due to issue with the air traffic control. Made my arrival after midnight instead of 8pm… Good I am an easy sleeper on plane 🙂 Saturday was dedicated to…walking !!! Walked to the Hilton hotel for taking the bus to the expo. Boston marathon feeling to be only runners in a school bus to somewhere J Pick up of the BIB (cool to be in the #1 pick-up area out of 50). Then walking around with Tricky in the expo. Found sunglasses and off to Starbucks for hot soychocolate and a pain au chocolat and headed home. Walk back home. Finally met my host, a bit of chat and headed out there for final run. Took the subway to the McCormick Place (Chinatown) and ran the last 2+km on Michigan avenue + to the finish line. Good. Now back home…via a bit of tomorrow’s race on Adams’ street (this is so powerful to see those blue stripes on the pavement…). Back home, shower and hunting for food. Discarded the Italian close to home as it looked mostly pizza and I wanted pasta. Could not find my way to Little Italy 😦 and stupidly walked and walked and walked to find back the Vapiano I saw while running…not knowing it would take me back to close to Millenium Park. Food. Linguine Bolognese. Safe choice. Took forever to walk back home as I took wrong sense and got North instead of heading to Greektown. Really annoying to add all those km in the feet. Whatever. Back home. Chilling out. Slept a bit. And prepared my gear and review the map for tomorrow. Double check where to drink and take the gels as well. Cold shower, massage of the legs and headed to bed.

Before the race

Started early, with the alarm ringing 3:20am. Once again this feeling of shouting “who set this stupid alarm so early” reached the mind, not knowing really WHY I should be going up that early. Quickly settling with myself that it was time to get ready. Had been in bed around 10:30pm but took a little while before sleeping deep and definitely was deeply in dreamland when it rang! Oat-porridge (well, half a portion as looking at the full portion made my stomach a bit unhappy) + Nesquick milk (could not find less than extra large soy milk bottle so I bought the day before a little bottle of chocolate milk which I know my stomach had taken fine before). Green mix with apple juice as well. And a banana. And back to bed.

4:00am (and every 30minutes after that) – drinking alternatively Gatorade and water. Making the mouth a bit dry to have Gatorade directly in the morning, but you gotta to what you gotta do, right? 5:30am – final drinking and off to the shower (cold). Getting ready. Added my stuff in the transparent plastic bag for the race. Wrote the expected splits on my hand (decided for the fastest pace :)) and it was already after 6am and I was therefore late according to my schedule…

Wishlist for Christmas...

Wishlist for Christmas…

06:20am – Headed to Grant park in the dark and under the light of the city. Nice in the air. Jogged my way to the start. Alone at first, getting some “good luck” from policemen already in place for the next to start event of the day (aka the Chicago marathon J). Lots of car traffic at this time of the day…a Sunday! The closest to the park, the more pedestrians to meet and most of them (if not all of them) were of my kind: runners J Still jogging easy to the start. Had a 7:30am start, but being in the American Development program I had to be in the tent and changed before 7:00am to head to the start before the Elite. So yes, I was late. Same nice feeling as other great marathons starting early in the morning, seeing this wave of people moving towards one spot. Soooo extremely nice. Found my way to Gate 1. Quick chat with two guys in the queue. One congratulate me to be in the American Development program. He is also aiming for sub3, starting in corral B. A funny chick is asking to an official volunteer whether there is an “express lane” to the corrals J Made us laugh a bit. I could do with an “express lane to the finish line” if there is any! Gate 1 is reached, turning a bit around to find the tent of the American Development program. Really cool! Special entrance and there you can see those crazy-fast people already warming up in a specific separated area. Trying to spot some of the elite, but honestly they ALL look fast to my eyes. To the tent, choosing a table in the corner, taking off my warm clothes and the speaker sounds already that we have 7 minutes (yes, SEVEN!) before we leave the tent to the start… Fastest un-clothing ever, anti-chaffing cream where it is supposed to, massage of the calve with chilli cream, asked for a before race photo and closing my bag. Fastest stop at the loo ever (great to be in this American development program as the area is sealed and aaaaaall the porta potty are for us (for now). No queue. Washing my hands with alcohol gel and remembering that I have my splits and gel time on my hands… They are fading away already… and we have not started the race yet… Aaaaahhh…We are leaving now…

Morning on the run towards the start...

Morning on the run towards the start…

Still time enough for some more pics...

Still time enough for some more pics…

Finally reaching my gate...and the long queue

Finally reaching my gate…and the long queue

the "non-fast" lane :)

the “non-fast” lane 🙂

towards the start (I think...)

towards the start (I think…)

6:46... not much time left to reach my tent...

6:46… not much time left to reach my tent…

The "fast and serious" ones warming up...

The “fast and serious” ones warming up…

"Blurry" me in the tent before start

“Blurry” me in the tent before start

07:00am – an official get us to the start through a little passage. Getting a cheering hi from Tricky on the other side of the hedge and then it becomes all quiet (kind of) in the head. Very cool. We are placed in a start corral right behind the elite wheelchairs runners. So, here I am. Chicago marathon 2014. First line. Don’t even dare looking behind me. 40,000+ are supposed to be behind me. Listening a bit to the chat all-around. To the gal being asked how she will do today “Oooh, aiming for 2:39 if this is a bad day” she answers and the guys asking her answering back “Yeaaah, such days happen as well. Then I would do probably 2:26-29. Good luck to you then and hope for a good day”… Hmmmm…. OOOOOOOOKAAAAAAYYYY…. I feel COMPLETELY misplaced here. I KNOW there are fast people, I have SEEN some, I saw that in Chicago there ARE fast chicks (100 first last year were sub3), but this? Seriously? Should I move back to the next corral? Some of the girls are looking so tiny and cool. And all are talking sub 3 (nooo. Sorry, not “sub3”, but sub2.50 (for the slowest…)). Does not matter. I did qualify for this group, so I have right to a spot here. The American Development program is a specific one recognizing some of the athletes that have a good regional or national level but not on elite-level. They also accept international runners in this corral (as long as you do the qualification time, which I did). OK, I’m in. Checking for the third time my laces on my shoes and then doing the stupid thing of checking how my calve are… which results in my left calf not being happy. Noooo. Not now. In 42km it will be fine, but not BEFORE the start, I think. Too late for withdrawing. Not that I would have done it anyway, but seriously putting a shield on the part of my brain which KNOW that there is something not good in this left calf. I choose to ignore it. If running fast enough, it won’t hurt. Just have to do it for the full marathon distance… Hmmm, ok, then. Game on!

7:17am – National anthem is sung. That.is.so.beautiful. The sun going up in the skies, this angelic voice singing. The tears are actually coming to my eyes. Same feeling before start as in Chicago and Boston when this song hit the air. Could just stay here for a while…

7:20am – Start of the wheelchair race. Strangely did not hear the gun-shot of the start. Just saw them starting. Then runners with disabilities are feeling the place left. And we are actually asked to move to the close-by corral to be behind the elites…WHAT? And we all thought we would be starting in the lane parallel to the elites (like group C in Rotterdam – see race report) L Finding my way to a nice spot close to the start line. Can see some of the elite, like the guy who won Rotterdam this year. SECOND time I see him (last time he had a large smile on his face and was just passing km40 at Rotterdam…when I was heading to km30…) and the little gal who won last year the Chicago marathon and the Boston marathon this year. She is smiling already 🙂

7:28am – the air feels loaded now and there are less and less people talking. Is there anything happening soon? The music is still on.

7:29am – on my watch. It is quiet now. No more music. Waiting for the countdown to start….

The race

07:30am – I noted an official raising the hand and saying quietly (he is a few meters from me) that the start is soon….and it IS the start! Did not hear any start shot whatsoever. But all runners are moving and I press my watch right away (being in the American Development program, this is the brutto time that is taken. So as good to be 1) as close to the start line as possible and 2) start the watch on time). No real push, but once again this wonderful wave feeling towards one goal: the finish line (which ironically is literally a km or so BEHIND us… we will just take a little detour of 42.2km before getting there… :)). Passed by many, I am careful not to get a too fast pace from start. Thought that if I can maintain a 4:08/10 until half way, then I should still be in good shape for either continuing on same pace or derive a little bit (and still have good chance for a nice time). The start feels like it is going a little up towards…a TUNNEL! Now I cannot remember having read how long is this tunnel, but really hopes that the GPS won’t disappear already so early in the race. And it seems fine. A bit tricky to run in the dark there. Already the runners are spread across the whole tunnel. Lots of place for everyone. Hearing a chick beside me recommending to a friend to run “ON” the blue dotted line because “someone told me this is the shortest path to the finish line”. I smile to this comment 🙂 Breathing under the tunnel is quite ok, but not perfect. But soon it is over and the sunrays are upon us. Km1 is reached after taking our first turn left (Chicago has 31 “90-degrees” turns…and still is one of the fastest races on this earth!). Mile 1 is passed in 06:30. Which I think is a bit fast. But this is not crazy fast. So ok. My watch is as well showing 1.6km at this mile1-mark. So no GPS issue. And new turn into State street. This is magnificent already. It is 7:30am. A Sunday. And your ears are submerged by the shouting and cheering of the people all here in the street. Really? Just for us? Wow! That.is.cool! Down down down the street and new turn to Jackson Blvd and then to LaSalle street. (Yes, I know. I studied “a bit” the map and know – almost by heart – which street to pass and when.  But mostly in the middle of the city.)

Mile 2 is passed in approx. 13min +. Still fine pace I think. Have skipped the first aid station. The plan is alternate energy and water until half way. So I am taking Gatorade at the second aid station. This is a bit after the 5km mark. But I never SEE the 5K-mark 😦 My watch has been beeping and yes I know the 5K is supposed to be a little bit after the mile 3-mark, but still. Have I missed as well the time-matt? And here comes the lady holding a … 6km-mark sign… NOooooo, I am almost telling her. 6km-mark is a bit before where you staaaaaand…. Heading forward. Looking good. It is not too fast and not slow either. Cruising pace and I like it. Can be going well today. Entering Lincoln park (already?). And second aid station. Water it is. Those aid-stations are incredible: loooooong, on both sides of the road, soooo many people giving the energy drink first and then the water and not only that… they are CHEERING as well (surely, I think by then, that it is because it is the start, they are just not tired yet… but it is actually like that for ALL aid stations on the course!!! THUMBS UP FOR THOSE VOLUNTEERS REALLY!). Can’t tell I really enjoy the scenery in the park. Having three chicks in front of me, which I am following closely. Close enough to hear they are chatting about all and nothing. 4:06min-tempo and those gals are having a “chat-tempo” 🙂 Running for a while behind them, close to them, passing them, passed by them. All good. And all with the sun shining on our side. Just feeling that the stretch to mile 7 will never end… And then after that I cannot see the next turn left coming either. Have they changed the route, I thought? This part is run with the motorway on the right-hand side. Can remember this from the youtube video I checked before the race 🙂 Aaaaand the turn arrives….aaaaand the next as well. And I am SOOO happy to see mile 8 mark appearing and the aid-station as well. The windy part is arriving. And no one to get the back to. Aaaaa! I don’t like this. Need to accelerate or to slow down a bit. Not a chance. I’ll run on my own then. Have even the time to read some of the many posters along the way. I like the “I thought they said 2.62 mile” or “You can run slower tomorrow when no one is watching”. Other original ones are “Smile if you’ve peed in your pants” or “In our eyes, you are all Kenyans” or “My friends are running faster than yours”.  Or “WTF??? = Where is The Finish line???” (he he he, cheering people CAN be so creative!). I also liked running and hearing the crowd cheering for “James”. Must be a famous guy this one, I thought, but did not dare to turn and check. When he passed me, he had simply (daaaa!) written his name on his tshirt. This made the trick! And surely I got a large smile from him when he passed me 🙂 I even enjoy being passed sometimes! Here right after mile 8 and reaching the aid station, I think (?) I mistakenly took some Gatorade instead of water. But redeemed myself (!) by taking some water right after 🙂 New stretch to half-way. Well, I think more “up to km20 and it will be soon finished”. Reaching km15 ain’t a dance in the park (we had left Lincoln Park anyway…ha ha ha :)). The left calf felt a bit and I don’t like it. No stop though. I am still on a good time and this is more a “feeling” than an “ache”. First thought (of many during the rest of the race) saying “if the calf gonna explode, it won’t be helpful at all (not now and not ever after)…better do regular check on this”. Energy drink at the aid station after km15. The km-marks are now 100/150m away from my Garmin-“beeps”. So I lap the time when coming to 15km. Feeling still fine (apart from this *#%%&! calf). Trying to see the Willis Tower (which is the new name of the Sears Tower for anyone asking…). I am still a bit behind the now-“two chicks with the “4.06min-chat-tempo”. One of them has dropped behind and is behind me slightly. Not many gals passing by, but enough for me to think that this is extra place in the finish which I will have to get before the end. More energy at the aid-station after mile 10. Cheering is just continuing on and on and on. And I liked this looooong stretch on Wells street. Especially for 1) being a looooong straight stretch and 2) passing again Ohio St, which is one of my reference mark for saying “soon to the 20km-mark”. Skipping all aid-stations after this one and just running. Which is fine, but now the calf is not happy and says it clearly. [Take a towel in your hand and hold it loose (each hand on each extremity). Then pull to straighten it. And pull a bit more (like it feels it is going to break). Yap. You have now what it felt in my calf.] Good for me that, by now, the right front thigh is happily cramping a bit. So I can balance my thoughts on both sides of the body 🙂 ANYTHING but thinking of the pain itself. Km20 is reached and I see that I am not gonna make my planned 2:56 and not even 2:58. Even though for this later one, it looks still “kind-of ok”, I know myself and that I won’t hold this pace one more half of the race. Smile on the face and turning into Adams street. I KNOW THIS STREET! Have ran it yesterday (and walked in it later the same day when I lost my path in the nice city of Chicago…). Being passed by a Swedish chick from Hasselby. Heja Sverige 🙂 Had been passed already by two Swedish guys before that and they cheered for me. So I am just passing it on as well 🙂 Passing the bridge (Ooooooops. Almost falling there. Good they had those mats on the bridge btw to cover the holes) and seeing the mile 13 mark. It was not there yesterday and I am so happy to see it. Push push push and the 13.1mile mark is there. 1:29-something. Sub3 won’t work this time. Just make it to the finish line and keep this smile on the face J

SECOND HALF

Adams Street is just straight and a long stretch, meaning I.like.it. OK, I would have liked it even more without this stupid calf pain, but I have agreed with myself (!) to get this over with. Surprisingly, having passed the half-way mark is giving me extra strength (not that it shows on the pace, but at least I know I am less than 21km away from the finish line 🙂 ANYTHING will work for motivating the mind!). Greektown is crazy. Cheering is just everywhere. They had surely been there for a while, but still…GUYS! IT IS SUNDAY!!! Trying to see if I can recognize my hosts in the crowd, but too many are shouting. Taking first gel at the aid station before mile 14. Beurk. Orange sticky stuff in the mouth. Not good. Thanks for the water (which I take quite well actually. Thoughts I have by now is that the drinking at aid stations has been working quite well. Apart from one where I got some energy drink in the nose…). Have also thrown water on the left calf & knee at all aid stations since it started to feel unhappy. At least for a liiiiiittle while, the cold feels it helps.

Turn left at the end of Adams Street, a bit quieter (which is appreciated actually) and one more turn (have stopped counting down the 90-degrees turns after Lasalle Street….). New aid station (already?) and energy drink. And water. I actually walk there. Around km25. Not because I am tired. Far from that. But I want to feel how my calf is. And it is hard like stone. The right one is also hard, but can be massaged a bit. Not the left one. OK. I skip touching it until the end. The 3:00-group is catching up on me and I could not care less. I just want to get to the finish line in one piece and having a calf that can still carry me home. There will be other races. And the most important: I am still happy running 🙂 Taking my second gel at the next aid-station. Once more, incredible disgusting stuff with orange taste in the mouth. Difficult to swallow even. Water water and more water. I am happily cruising towards the end. My watch indicate 4:12 but I know that it is at least 4:16-pace. Don’t care. No, actually. I do care. But it just does not matter. I am closer and closer to km30 and I like it. Warm becomes warmer. Decide to lift my singlet and risk to have a cold stomach. But would not care less. I am warm by now. More turns. More energy drink. In Little Italy there is a street towards University Village where we got cheering from both sides and so close to us that the ears are close to exploding! Thanks anyway. Keeping my lips smiling! Km30 is reached. 12km to go. Nothing. A morning run. A “back from work” run after a long Monday. Just have to make it to km32 and then I can start racing, I thought. I will have done a nice 32km-long run and finish strong with a 10K-race 🙂 Yap! Still believing in my strength to carry me to the end! Water at the next aid-station. Cannot tell that I noticed the “no man’s land” of “half-way to km32” in this race. There has been sooooo many cheering all the way, that I never felt alone, whatsoever. Probably one of the few races I can recall feeling this way. Reaching km32, I even think “where is the limit of the no man’s land? What is before or after km32-mark?”. Energy at the next station and finally crossing the water one last time (I was soooooo looking forward to this… Felt surely like rubbish then on this final bridge (it DOES feel like an uphill), but did not matter. It.was.the.last.crossing.of.the.river!). One more turn and tried to keep up with the two gals that passed me on the bridge. Energy gel. Good this time. Cola-taste. OK, it taste disgusting, but at least it was liquid! Long stretch along the road and towards Chinatown. Gosh, this felt so great hearing my watch beeping km35. My (tired) brain has calculated “down” the km left. And now it is 7 to go. THIS.IS.NOTHING. Because in a short short while, I will be at km40 (and yes I knew it was 5km to go to km40, but this is how my brain is reasoning at this particular moment. No comment needed 🙂 I let it work its way towards the finish!). Energy drink and water at the aid station after mile 22. A bit boring stretch there I have to recognize. Did not get much energy but from the sun in the face (should think of some ways of using the sun energy when I run…). One more turn and one more and one more and… WHEN.WILL.THIS.EVER.FINISH?!?!? I WANT TO BE IN MICHIGAN AVENUE NOW! I DESERVE IT! And suddenly a last turn and here it is. Cannot recognize it directly as I never went than far south. But when taking my final gel after mile 24, I know… I know it is soon finished. Mile 24 is only 2.2 miles away. Which my brain cannot calculate in km, but does not matter. It sounds short and easy anyway. Passing McCormick Expo on the right and I.AM.HAPPY. Because I know the rest of the route.

By km40 I cannot understand what is happening with those legs of mine. We are now not many runners (well, we might be many but I cannot see a lot in front of me and the avenue is soooooo large that we have the place we need!). I feel like flying. Surely not a WR-pace but I don’t care. I am happy (did I say it already?). I have only one goal now. Passing people before the finish line. And for once, there are gals ahead of me. They look tired. They MUST look tired. I am getting closer and being a good runner, I even cheer them and others when passing by. I hear  more and more my number – 435- go for it. Not sure I thank the people for that, but gosh, this feels good. Because it must look good, right? Otherwise they would not be cheering, right? Passing the gal with black short shorts and blue singlet. One done. Paaaaaaaaasssing the other gal with the rainbow socks. And one more done. Gosh, the next one is accelerating or is it me slowing down? Passing the 25mile sign and then the 25.2mile sign. CAN’T THEY RIGHT 1KM TO GO? My brain does like the “1” in “1 mile to go” but it does not correspond to any mark I know. But here it comes. The “800m to go” sign. Yoooooohooo! Soon there. And behind me this guy running is cheering all other runners: “Come on, the finish is over there on the other side of the bridge. You can do it. Don’t stop now”. (And no, this is not my brain talking. The guy is REALLY there). This gal ahead of me is tricky to get. The little bridge to the finish line does feel in the legs, but by now my feet ain’t touching the ground any longer. My arms are balancing so like crazy. This is the finish. Smile right and left for the guys taking pictures. And passing her and…nooooo there is another chick ahead of me. 200m to go. Can make it. Can make it. Won’t make it. Can make it. Don’t care less. The clock is under 3:05 and that just feels good. And HERE.IT.IS.FINISHED

Official time received later: 3:04:32 (same as on my watch 🙂 )

 

Smiling under the sun - done!

Smiling under the sun – done!

Well-deserved medal :)

Well-deserved medal 🙂

Smiling me after the finish line, the massage and a bit of food in the tummy (with the skyscrapers in the background...)

Smiling me after the finish line, the massage and a bit of food in the tummy
(with the skyscrapers in the background…)

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Not much happens or so much happens… thanking the rainbow socks girl. Getting a few smiles but lots of people seem to be in pain. No wonder… YOU HAVE ARRIVED BEFORE ME!!! You were too fast. Learn this! 🙂 Walking, walking and walking more. Getting my space blanket and heading forward. Medal with extra cheering from the lady giving it to me saying she likes it so much to see women crossing the finish line 🙂 Sounds cool indeed. More walking. Getting my goodie bag. Grab a banana. Getting some protein drink (and yes vanilla taste is disgusting! Even after a marathon!). Getting a plastic bag full with ice and my knee and calf thanks for it. But I do not stop. Unsure I would be able to start walking again. Heading forward and more and more… are we going to do the full race again, I thought? ( I need carbs, because the brain does not think straight now!). Finally getting my way to Buckingham fountain. So nice and sunny. Forgotten the wind I felt during the race. Now it is finished and it is sunny. A bit painful to walk, but does not matter we ALL walk the same way “penguin-style” 🙂 More walk and more walk. And the post-race party field is in sight. As well as the crowd waiting for their runners…and before that 4 terrible steps to walk down… sounding like ouch ouch ouch and ouch (and not just for me but for the guys before as well :). We understand each other!). Reaching the massage tent. Giving my name, getting a table with two gals and hop on the stomach for massage. Niiiiiiice! Getting to the American Development tent. So much more people than this morning and this sun! What a sun! Showing my BIB on my bare stomach and getting my bag back. Walking slowly the few meters to the grass and after having dropped my stuff on the ground, asking a nice guy to take a few pics (always good to do it when the adrenaline kick of the finish line is still keeping all levels up as well as the smile. Pain is no longer an issue. Distance is no longer a problem. All is good now…for a little while :)). Now I can sit (!) on the warm asphalt. Taking of my shoes and socks and sending the few sms required. Then the fun part arrives (always try to have fun…): getting off those somehow sweaty clothes and get into fresh ones. Yoga postures are far from being easy and I would dare anyone to say they are tougher than trying to get undressed and dressed after running a full marathon. Anyhow, got into new clothes. Enjoyed a bit of the sun for a while and then decided it was time to head back home. A good race in a nice and sunny city. Good way to end the week, indeed!

After the race

Back home. Walking with the most proud smile on my face (ok, maybe it is pain making me smiling, but the mind does not get it and the people around neither!). Receiving so many “good job” and “congratulations” on the way back home. The legs are feeling fine. I am happy. Crossing Hulsted street where some runners are still there. Wow, I am even more happy and stopping for a short while to cheer for them. They all look good to me. Finally home. Cold shower (does not matter as the body feels nothing by now – well, this is not correct. Cold water IS cold water!). Into fresh clothes and then resting a bit with the legs upright. Hmmm, that feels good not to do anything at all…until I have to move a bit to write email in the business center downstairs (the wifi is still not back at home). Feels like 187 years old… but still smiling (so it cannot be THAT bad). After resting, heading to Starbucks for hot soychocolate and a pecan tart. Meeting Tricky and pizza for celebration. Add to this, 2 pints of coke. Yapp, calories are the least of our concerns this evening. We just need food and chat non-stop of what we’ve been through.

THIS.WAS.A.GREAT.DAY…AGAIN!

on the way back home under the sun

on the way back home under the sun

still running...

still running…

Celebration maxi "meat and more meat pizza"

Celebration maxi “meat and more meat pizza”

*******

Weather: Nice in the air at start (8ºC according to Garmin. OK it would have been good to have a little blanket like the “2:39-on-a-bad-day” gal was having and to throw before start). Pretty nice from the moment we started running. A  bit windy on the way down South. But all good overall. Saw the temperature signs along the road showing 11ºC, 14ºC, 62ºF, 71ºF, 52ºF and not in this order probably…

Food:

> before: oat porridge +nesquick milk+banana + green mix/apple juice @3:30am / Gatorade&water alternate every 30min
> during: Vitargo gel @km13.9, 26.4, 33.6 & 38.9 (i.e. aid stations #10,12,16 & 19) – energy drink (Gatorade) at stations 2,4,6,7,11,13,15,17 and water at the other aid stations (Dextrosol: can recall taking two dextrosol around the end and close to an aid station but don’t know when exactly. Must be the one before the last gel)
> right after: banana + 2*Gatorade protein drink.

> late after (5pm?): garlic bread+salsa + 2 slices of “meat and more meat” pizza shared with Tricky+2 pints of coke…

Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), MIK Singlet, arm sleeves and  blue sunglasses (the new ones). Shoes felt perfect. Once again they felt like nothing. Was a bit anxious that the Achilles heels would feel afterwards, but nope. Nothing. They are good shoes. No, GREAT shoes J
> outfit was perfect for the weather. Could even have run with my calve sleeves if they were not that “thick”. It would have been good with some support, but would have been way too warm really.

Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost orange

16/ here comes the tricky part again. Until km20, the effort was a good 14/15. No pushing nor extreme effort. To reach halfway it required a bit more than that. But was it effort level higher? Or was it the pain that increased? Because by not pushing more nor accelerating, the effort was not increasing much. Surely have the thoughts of stopping juuuuuust for a little while crossed my mind a few time, but definitely would not set a 17 as overall effort not even for the part where the pain was higher (NOTE: it was more some ache than pure pain. Pure pain would have been to push harder and stupidly think I would make it unharmed… By not pushing much, the pain was contained and the effort remained “low” ore decent). So strong 15/low 16 average I would say even though might have reached 16 during a few km before km25 and then went down to 15 after the 3:00-group passed me. Good level of effort for this result. The final 2 km did see an acceleration but effort-wise it did not feel high – mostly because it was not “high” to start with. As a sign was showing during the race “if you haven’t peed in your pants yet, that means you are not running fast enough!”. So yapp… probably I did not run fast enough… 🙂

Pain level: Nothing from start. Even though had felt a bit in the left calf before start, it did not feel anything until km15 or so. This is those things that if you do not touch there is no pain. As soon as you touch, THEN it is painful. Conclusion: do NOT touch! 🙂 No excruciating pain as I felt in the knee during Stockholm. Was smart enough for not pushing at all after km25. There will be other races for achieving faster times. I don’t have any other calf….

********
SUMMARY:

Good race! With those weather conditions, I would have loved to write “GREAT race”, but the body felt otherwise. And the mind was smart enough for not asking more than necessary for this time. Final race of the season, it would have been nice to have a little better time, but once again, finishing was an accomplishment in itself. And the time is decent after all. As said “long run until km32 and then 10K-race” J Feeling great to see the first half was stable and very close to the previous race in Stockholm. Definitely got caught in calf-problem from km20 onwards. Still having enough strength to finish the last 2km in a decent 4:10-tempo and final 200m in 4:02 J a bit of order in this world, please J What went really good was the carboloading, no problem with stomach (apart from cramp the first day drinking Gatorade…probably too much in too short time), good pre-race day (apart from the 15+km walked & run…I know I know…)… I.AM.HAPPY. Crossing this particular finish line made me feeling in love with the world! (thanks Mr Sun for shining down on me (and all the other runners!).

Support for the crowd? Once again, they get my full points. Awesome. Top notch. More than brilliant. Setting this race to the same high level point as London marathon. Both got my favorite times with the crowd. I just never felt alone. And if I did, the crowd put be back on track so fast that I did not noticed it. THANKS!

First half went as planned until slowing down around km20. Well-controlled, decided from start NOT to go fast as I did in Rotterdam, but nicely and easy. Which worked well. Stability is the word for this first part of the race. Hanging along and would have very much like to have some running buddies to run with for conversation J Second half went as planned with the “reviewed plan”. So fine by me this half too!

New distribution of thank-you and more: for the supporting words, the trainings, the cheering, the laughs and other runs over lunch or early morning…. Just pick! As usual there are limits you believe cannot be pushed but they are. Not always in terms of time or distance. But of “will to finish”. All finishers get stronger just by crossing this finish line (and I got a rush of love at this time 🙂). So once again: THANKS!

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: the body felt all good during the week before the race. Surely a pain when touching the left calf right before start. Still not thinking it was unsmart to start. With the knee pain in Stockholm, this was stupid to start. But not this day. Once again, listened to the body and went along with what it could give for today.

NOTE: warmup? Totally inexistent. Surely had jogged to the start, but no real warmup. Not an issue really I think. Felt ok.

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? Once again, felt it worked great. A bit tricky to keep up with which station to get what, but apart from one station which I think I took incorrectly form what I had planned, all worked as on rail. Good mix. Was it too much? Don’t know. Kick at km 39? Worked as a charm!

NOTE: Vitargo gel in the sport-bra? NOT WORKING! This has to change really. No burn mark this time (had cut the sharp edge and had them in a sock), but still. Probably need to change brand for my gels to have smaller and more practical ones.

NOTE: Chicago is definitely on my list of “to be run again”. Unsure if it is that fast for my taste, but next time I’ll be ready to take on the windy city as it should be!


Race Report – Stockholm Half marathon 2014 – 2014/09/13

Planned: sub90 and if all good sub88 would be nice (of course all under is mostly welcome!)

Actual: 1:28:38…new PB on this route (he he he this is the first time I am running it = automatically PB!) 48th women and 36th in Swedish Championship of half marathon. Satisfied with the race, as a good rehearsal before next challenge 🙂 A bit faster than Göteborgsvarvet in May which has a similar profile (although different…).

Race results:

 

Official splits

Official splits

Totals
Place                  48 (46 – guntime)
Place (age)        39
Place (total)    533

Time total      01:28:38
Average pace 04.13 min/km

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BEFORE THE RACE

HM Day -3: Final quality run in the morning with intervals at 5:26am (only time available this day…) Form seems fine. Then…evening at the restaurant – ending with stomach cramps all evening and late at night.

HM Day-2: wake up with stomach cramps and have them coming back&forth all day 😦

HM Day-1: almost ok, at least no cramp. Travel to Stockholm. BIB pick-up with J and easy evening at home. Feeling good and relaxed.

HM Day:

2:37am – awaken shortly. Well rested. Definitely ready to run now! But a few hours left before going up. 07:42am – still too early. Quick visit to the bathroom. Maybe drank too much water yesterday. 08:00am – finally time to go up… Take anyway almost an hour before leaving the bed and getting into running gear. Quick morning run. Finally finding the correct way to the lake, promising myself to take a run there on Sunday if time allows before leaving to home.

09:20am – breakfast of large Earl Grey tea with honey, one egg, two small buns with raspberry jam. Breakfast for champions 🙂
Then chilling out rest of the morning. Listening to music, reading a bit, packing my bag to the race. This wait before afternoon race is killing me really!

1:30pm – Writing my splits on my hand: 1:25 1:27 and 1:30. (secretly writing 1:24-splits on the forearm, but I know I cannot see it all easily during the race anyway…). Am ready. Finally leaving with J. Train to the city then subway and a short walk to the sunniest place today, aka. Stockholm Kungsträgården. Full with runners everywhere. We are a bit ahead of schedule so as good to take a first stop to the loo before the queues become crazy long. Finally finding where to go for start, so we separate with J wishing both good luck to each other.

2:45pm – meeting other gals in the elite tent. Nice to have so many smiles at once. Even though don’t know half of them, that’s cool. Chatting with Karin S to see if I could join their group for  workout back at home and seems working well. Heard as well she will go to Chicago. Fun 🙂 meeting as well Caroline from Stockholm marathon, Lona from IF Linnéa, Mikaela K…

3:00pm – new stop to the loo and heading to the warm up area. Quick chat with the 1:24-pacesetters. One I recognize being the 3-hour pacesetter from Stockholm marathon. He aims for stable 3:59-tempo throughout the race. Not a chance I hold this. Warming up on the first 400m of the race. Slight slope, which I did not know… and then turn back. Then do a serie of up and down the street to reach almost 2km. Tempo pretty slow and the cool thing is having a male elite (the fast kind) warming up at the same pace and place as me. For once my warmup cannot be that bad, right? …

3:20pm – easily going back to the start area.  Final stop to the loo.  Chat with pacesetters. Then hi to Isabella Anderson (everybody must say hi to her and I felt I might destroy her concentration.). But it is so cool to see all the ladies who ran for the Swedish team in Zürich marathon (European Championship): Frida Lunden, Lena Eliasson, Annelie Johansson… Cool, really cool!  Dare even approaching Louise Wickner (ran in Dubai this year) and got the largest smile before start 🙂

3:25pm – already in the group heading for the start line. Drinking a bit left of Powerade. Cannot see any woman before me. Don’t dare this time to put myself in the front row. Looks already WAY outside my league. And all the fast ladies are calmly behind me… Doesn’t matter.  Feels good here. Adrenaline is high. Concentration at the top. Feels nice. Finally.

3:27pm – Aaaaaaaah! Final check to my shoe laces. All good. Feels like going into a shell and not hearing anything else but the guy telling us the countdown and that we should not rush…

3:29pm – … same guy who carefully back off from the front line, still telling us with his calm voice to take it easy and that there is plenty of time left…

THE RACE

3:30pm – start is given. Feeling a little push, like a human wave starting to move. But really nicely forward. Don’t feel any pressure to follow them anyway… and it feels during the first pretty slow 500m!!! Then right turn towards the tunnel, I begin to find the right speed but then we turn left into the tunnel. Not at all fun to run there. Loosing completely the little capacity I had to appreciate my pace.  Does not feel too fast though.  Tricky to breathe. A bit muggy in the air. The organisers really have to change this start!!! Hearing all the beeps from clocks loosing the GPS connection. Right before the end of the tunnel got passed by the 1:24-pacesetters. They are always cheering for me in Stockholm marathon so as good I return the favour 🙂 and get some cheering back too 😉 Finally outside the tunnel and reaching km2 a bit under 8 minutes. All good. Pressing lap in my watch to have a correct “km-time” after that. Then it is a few boring km from the central station towards km5. Do not like this part in the Stockholm marathon and this is the same today. Slowly upwards. Can still see the 1: 24-guys a bit ahead of me. Was passed by another couple of girls (i.e. the fastest had passed me before the last turn towards the tunnel already and two in the tunnel). Loosing time on the first water station because 1) had completely forgotten there was one so soon *!!!*, 2)  here was a big lump in front of me that just kindly (?!?!) stopped for a mug or two. Took two cups and threw on my head. Why?  Don’t ask! Nice and easy towards km5. Got them a little bit over 20min. Good, but already thinking this pace won’t hold for long… Mostly because I have NO IDEA of my pace. Not feeling fast nor slow. Can’t check the watch because it misses 4-500m due to the tunnel… So much for the confidence and “running by feeling”…
Noted that after paging the lap button at km2, most km-signs are like 50-70m after the beep of the watch anyway… A bit warm as well by now, so deciding to lift my singlet. By all means, Karin A could do this easily during her Rom marathon, I did not find it easy. Took the two lower security pins away and then lifted into my sport-bra. Soooo much nicer (and less warm). OK, the BIB on the sweaty stomach felt a bit sticky, but way better than having the singlet fully 🙂

Towards km10 was not at all fun. The route was as it was, but once again, I could not appreciate how and how fast I was running. No high effort either there. Just following the people before me. Am I really in a race? Felt comfortable strained. Whatever this may mean… ;P Second water station is not as bad as the first one but once again could not see it coming and skipped it. Passed two girls during the stretch to km10. Little bridge before km9 offered a VERY narrow passage with a hedge on one side separating from the road and the side of the bridge in the right side and it worked well running with the gal beside me but I thought if there are more people coming, it is gonna be a disaster. Took a gel at km9.3 but then came the waterstation quite far behind. Succeeded in grabbing two mugs of water (don’t ask how…) but not much goes into the mouth. Had passed by then the gal with blue singlet who was ahead of me since a while.  Pressed a bit to reach km10. Anything to keep the distance with 1:30 flags. 41:04. Have already lost 1minute but still have a little margin left.

Towards the castle was the continuous thought “I am in the middle of it. As good to finish this”. Don’t like the end of the long street towards km12 in Stockholm marathon (Norr Mälarstrand) aaaaand it was the same here. Was a bit alert around km11 to see if L and the boys had got enough time to reach the place for cheering. Nope. Hopefully they’ll be there for J when he passes here I thought. Moved along. Getting to a short paved stones part. No fun. Little bridge to the right, under the porch and then reaching finally the castle. I like this part in the marathon and same today. Felt nice with the crowd around. Crowd that I notice for the first time I think since the start of the race!!! THEN I began to feel good. Km13 I cheer for a guy looking pretty tired but my “Come on. Only 8km left” doesn’t seem to have the effect I expected (at least he did not curse at me…). Still ok when racing through the little tunnel of Slussen. After that, tried to raise the tempo (whatever it was by then). Really like this part during the marathon 🙂 Counting down the km and feeling good to be able to just run, run and run. Slower than planned for sure but still. Happy. Km15 at 1:02:28, when I was hoping to reach it at 1:00-1:01. Still a little time left before the 1:30-flags would be possibly passing me. Two girls had passed me during the time but I had them within short distance all the time.

Happy to reach km16 through passing under Västerbron 🙂 Those 2km to reach the km17? They disappeared just like that. Feeling so nice with the sun in the face. Inner peace has reached the building :-p Turning into the park, skipping the water station but taking some Dextrosol and then should reach soon the tough part of the race… But though, it was not directly. Well, it was more heavy, yes, but not tough. A little more narrow (and longer?) than Över Husargatan in Göteborgsvarvet, a bit crowded and a bit windy. But definitely not “tough”. Nor steep.  (Good that L had described it to me yesterday at dinner: “not steep, but long and not fast” 🙂 ). Two girls in front of me and it was the only and final goal I have then: follow them to the top and pass them before the finish line. The only mission which I would ever accept at this point of the race 🙂 By the time I am still thinkthis, arrives km19.5 (got a little scared when I saw the hill that continued forward but much steeper in front of me …. But we did fortunately turned left aaaaaaand downhill. Yooohoo!). Two turns and one lady passed. One left in front of me. And pressing really the strengths the legs still have (told you that I had no control about the effort put in the race so far… ). Got to shout a few times “Keep right” to guys who apparently thought it was ok to take the whole street to themselves. No time to be polite. Feeling so powerful to run down towards Slussen.  Reaching km20 at 1:24:10. 2min slower than hoped for but still ok sub90 / 89.

Crazy fun to run beside the runners reaching their km13 / 14 (in the other direction). Thought for myself “oh, have I already run this?” Would love to have cheered for them but honestly I only had one objective in my head which was to pass the last girl in front of me and then increase the pace if possible to the end. Finally passing the gal. She seemed to not be able to follow. And then one of the last left turn, I saw another girl (nooooo…. not one more!) but did not know how far we had left to the finish line. I was totally wrong in which bridge we would get to and was surprised with this left turn (as expected a right turn). HOW MUCH IS LEFT EXACTLY?!?! Run run run and run faster … Could see nothing else but the clock ticking in red: 1: 28: xx. You got it. The cheering from the guys that I passed is priceless. Just giving additional strengths. So cool and thanks! Tunnel vision. Nothing is more important than the red numbers up there!

1:28:38. 48th place (women) – 36th in Swedish Championships. I.am.happy.

Happy me after the finish line

Happy me after the finish line

nice medal

nice medal

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AFTER FINISH LINE

Have just the time to realise I have cruised the finish line and I am welcome by a few claps in the shoulders from guys arriving behind me and the largest smile from Staffan D in his red singlet. Best welcoming ever after a finish line. Then another great smile from a short-hair Gabriel in black. Perfect finish 🙂 Got to the elite tent. Picture time and quick chat 🙂
Changing gear in a way-too-small tent for so many gals. Congratulating all. Most of the ladies have run towards new personal best. (Which in practice I did too… as first run on this route he he he 🙂 ).
A bit of food. Checking when J would be arriving and he actually made it 2 minutes faster than I thought!!! Definitely something to celebrate! Back home and hot shower (stomach cramp since the arrival) and food and chilling in front of tv. Took a few hours to finally fall asleep. Good race day.

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Weather: nice and sunny. Perfect running weather. Garmin says at start: 18℃, Feels like 18℃, 13 km/h NE wind, Humidity 64%

Food:
> before: oat porridge +red juice+soymilk @12:30 / little left Powerade a few minutes before start
> during: Vitargo gel @km9.3, Dextrosol 2 @km13 & 17
> right agfer: Kex chokkad and banana. Protein drink.

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova blue line, MIK Singlet, blue sunglasses. Shoes felt perfect. Actually they did not feel at all! Very happy to have them

Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple

17/ let’s be honest. This was no easy race, but when having the time to make a body check at several points during the race, thinking that “now I could be maybe slowing down, or not, or maybe”. Taking time to actually admire the sun reflecting its lights on the water… Nope. Full effort it was not. When seeing how the last two km could be finished – for sure it was downhill, but it does not always mean you can push towards the finish line, right?

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Summary: not easy route. Thought that sub90 could be completed without too much effort and sub88 possible. Lost the flow (if I had it at a time ever…) right from the start (after the tunnel) but managed to enjoy after Slussen (km13 +) to the end. After the finish line, I would have gladly continued for a while.
Third half marathon sub90 (not counting the first half of my three marathons this year). Super Happy? No. But satisfied that the form is here. The left knee could hold without complaining (a little feeling sometime but disappeared). The right hamstring never said anything, not even a whisper. Just to keep up the pace for one more half marathon and then I’m happily aiming to Chicago 🙂

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Waterstation took far too much of my time. Not at all well disposed and no order with runners who just stop… Water was good to have due to the temperature and the sun.

NOTE: Warmup: ok, not much of a warmup, but actually I was happy to be able to run 2 easy km before the race. Not starting crazily cold then.

NOTE: Last 2km – long tough hill which I took carefully because everyone had said it should be taken this was. But same as in Göteborgsvarvet: nothing to be afraid of. Now I know it!

NOTE: Stomach cramps soon after the finish and a few hours afterwards too. Food and rest later in the day. Impossible to sleep until midnight.

 


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!


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…

 


Do what it takes, it is worth it…eventually (?)

Already Monday, after very work-busy week and run-poor one… Just have to get along with it, right?…

A bit undecided when the clock rang. But seeing that it was 10minutes before 6am and not 10minutes before 5am, I chose to skip the running and went up directly to the coca-cola bottle rolling. Well, must have been still half-asleep because I rolled pretty slow and did no screaming nor crying… But for sure it was painful (read: this is an understatement…). Stretch added to this wake-up call and then time for rushing : breakfast, shower, clothes on and headed for work. You do not make Japan wait on a Monday morning, right? 🙂 Got to eat a banana between two morning meeting, then nice girl-lunch at sushi-place close-by and then back to workshop all afternoon. Felt pretty hungry all afternoon, so got in a piece of brownie, nice italian bread and a banana 🙂 as well as tea and water 🙂 aaaaaand it was already time for home. And nope, it was not early. Had 1,5hour before late meeting, so change to running gear right after arriving home and that felt so nice to hear my feet pounding on the pavement. The knee was ok, meaning there is something there annoying the whole me, but not enough to call it pain or ache. Noticed that the first km was already way faster than expected, by I let the legs run as they wished. Turned after 3km to skip the little slope (nothing fancy really,  but with this annoying knee, I rather skip even a little bump on the road). Those first km were under something like heavy sun and no air really. Was nice (!) with side&headwind on the way back. A bit of stretch after 5km and decided to try running on the front of the feet…which made the next 2km sooooo light and fast 🙂 and yes, will probably have calve ache tomorrow, but that would be worth it…eventually! Back home, just had time for shower, a bit of brownie and tea and ready for final phone meeting of the day 🙂 And of course, had to complete this beautiful day with rehab exercises.

Now it is not yet time for the first soccer game of the evening and my eyes are already closing themselves… Probably time to hit the pillow. Time for extra rolling on coca cola bottle before bed. And yes, would do what it takes for making this stupid knee better… it is worth it eventually… (but really? rolling on a coca cola bottle?!?!?!…twice today??!!?? 🙂 )

And for those that do not follow football World Cup, France won 3-0 yesterday 🙂 So worth going to bed very late 😉

And yes, I am very happy to have run today 🙂


Pain, pills, scream and tears – a regular week under the sunshine…

(Week summary 20140609-20140615) – Sunshine was probably the only positive part of this week’s training…

Following the thought that the knee could have an inflammation, I did start an anti-inflammatory pill “treatment” on Sunday. Monday I took one tablet pretty early in the morning (as it makes me sooooo exhaustedly-tired, better take it early and avoid falling asleep at the office…). Decide for doing easy core before work, just to remind the body that there would be some running at lunch. Early work – and then it was finally lunch-time. Picked up my running colleagues and settled for an easy back&forth to the bridge. Felt pretty naked without my Garmin on my arm (had forgotten it at home in the morning), and decided to follow the slowest of my colleagues… Which was not THAT slow. Let them run up to the bridge while I ran back&forth on flat road until they came back. Did some stretch while waiting as well. And hang along when they were back. THEN the knee started to feel. Pretty diffuse ache-feeling. Probably would have hurt/ache more if it was not for the anti-inflammatory tablet (which also probably started to stop having an action on the inflammation by this time…). Stretch afterwards. Not really fun afternoon with “ache-feeling in the knee”. Pretty tired in the evening, anti-inflammatory pill before bed and lots to think about…

But when I woke up it was Tuesday 🙂 Decided for reason this time and did light core and stretch and went for a rest day. Much at work so it would have actually been nice to run afterwards… Restaurant outing to skip the cooking for dinner. Greek 🙂 Yummy! Easy evening with little walk and then bedtime. Anti-inflammatory tablet morning and evening.

Although when there is an early bedtime, this often means early wake up. Wednesday 3:30am birds singing and sun already shining. Changed to bike outfit and went for an early bike tour. Nothing fancy, 23km on the hour. Then light core and stretch. Nothing much happening. Anti-inflammatory tablet in the morning only. Reason being that I would go to the physiotherapist the day after and I did not want to arrive with no pain/ache in the knee… Got to bed by 7:45pm and did not see the clock turning to 8pm…

Thursday – Way too early up (!)… what do you do then…if you cannot run, want to skip the bike, and definitely not feel for doing core training… Anyhow, the knee felt a little or not at all. But the body was pretty stiff of not doing anything really. Got to meet the physiotherapist at lunch break. Took not long for having his view on my knee: “Runner’s knee – Swedish style” (aka “löparknä”). I write “Swedish style”, because “löparknä” seems not to be exactly “runner’s knee”. And indeed when I read about it, it does not fit fully. Whatever it may be called, I got 3 exercises to do (leg pull with elastic, side plank with leg&arm lift and one leg bend with little book under the heel). On the top of that, was added stretch exercises…and not 10-15sec like I usually do after running… THREE (3) TIMES 60-90SEC!!! each knee. 2 positions… We are talking 12minutes stretch (without counting the time to change the knee position, the change of knee and the re-adjustment of the pillow under the knee otherwise it would kill it…). Yapp, what you wouldn’t do to get better… Fortunately (for me) the first time I did this rehab serie was today – Thursday – first day of the World Cup, which made the stretching way less boring that it is actually (and yes, it was boring to stretch!). A bit disappointed match as well, so in bed after the first half… Back to the rehab plan: to do everyday once of twice a day. Stretch can be done extensively apparently throughout the day (like I have nothing else to do, right?…). Run can be done but only short and if it does not get worse afterwards (or under). Check in two weeks. In the meantime, no plan for races in June/July/August – apart from small short races that would be nice to have in training mode… BUT to get better, as I say, one should do what is necessary to be done! The main races are in September/October – so not a chance I am NOT rehabing until then!

TGIF! Went out for an early morning run and seriously… changing for 5km ain’t really fun. and the pace was pretty dull as well…and the body felt sluggish and heavy…and and and… Yapp! Lots to complain about, if it was not for the beautiful sunshine and lack of STRONG wind during this run. Started to feel the ache in the knee after a few 100s but it seemed to release after 5km (therefore I pushed the run to 6km… and yes it was pretty tempting to go for extra 500m…or why not a couple more km to get to 10km…which I did not do…). Pretty early at the office for meeting with Sweden and then Japan (when I closed my day pretty late the day before to work with the US…). Much to do, lunch that went too fast and did not help to get all the thoughts out of the head as a good run would do, and back to work. Done the knee rehab and the stretch AND I added a torture moment in the rehab (which I adequately call “torture with coca cola bottle”). Having no foamroller at home, got suggested to use a 2L coca cola bottle…for massaging the ITB (side of the thigh aaaaaaall the way to close to the knee). Was planning for 5min easypeasy and seriously started to scream after 10seconds… Could get through TWO (2) long minutes with loads of screaming (and a bit of swearing probably). NOT A CHANCE I AM HOLDING 3 MORE MINUTES!!! then I changed to the right leg and it took a full minute before it started to get a bit painful. But definitely feel the difference between left and right! Quick shower and got myself on the soffa for the match…and fell asleep before 15minutes had passed. Awaken during the second half and then to bed. No problem at all to fall asleep deeply again there… Heavy week and no training = pretty tired!

As a result, Saturday got me up early (!) and I took the chance for getting out in my running gear. The knee had been “feeling” since Thursday (i.e. from the day I started the rehab) and did not disappeared at all since then. Always a bit diffuse feeling/ache in the knee. I did stretch several time at the office on Friday (standing in front of my desk… not looking strange at all with me pulling me knee to my butt and getting it this way for 45sec a couple of times throughout the day…). Did some stretch during this morning run (laying on wet grass, asch!) – quite ok, but once again, we are talking about 6.5km… ;( Breakfast after that and some biking to release the legs and knees. In the afternoon, I got to my rehab program once more. Nothing strange about the exercises, but seriously feeling tired in the legs to do them… Is that because it is 2 weeks after Stockholm marathon and I did not really run since then? nor done any activity? The torture with coca cola bottle went sliiiiightly better, with less screaming, but then replaced by tears (and cursing…) for THREE (3) long minutes! (Yoooohooo! 1 more minute than the day before!). Pizza for dinner and movie to relax and fall asleep.

Sunday always arrives so freakishly quick in the week! Early up (I think this was the theme of this week “early up”…) and as I am not allowed to do long runs (nor medium runs btw), I jumped on my bike for a long workout-type. Not really motivated, did not take time for even having breakfast before leaving. Just biking around and hoping for getting 44km (doubling Wednesday workout distance). It turns out that I am pretty good at estimating the distance but on foot and limited to 36km… Because despite taking a long detour, it turned into being short on km when I was heading home. So had to take a little extra round to get to 41km…noticing that this was pretty much the pace that marathon world-record and fast guys are running on…on their own feet…and me on my bike… I tried not to cry 🙂 Hesitated with starting right away with the rehab, but was unsure if the legs would like it. So took a bit of time to prepare smoothie with nectarine and banana and croissants 🙂 before getting rolling on my coca cola bottle. 3min ea leg. Almost no screaming, a few tears and a crazy fan encouraging throughout this painful rehab (indeed I did not want to kill the enthusiasm when I thought “Saying “Come on – 2min 45sec left – you can do it” is NOT really encouraging…!). After the torture, came the rehab and it went “ok”. The balance exercise on one leg feels better, but the side plank with arm&leg lift is NOT fun nor easy to do… Spent the rest of the day chilling out and then massage-time (have noted that the top of the bum-muscle was pretty aching since a few days, which corresponds to the start of the rehab. So better to have someone else pushing there to release the pain as it is real impossible to do it yourself). And once again massage does not mean relaxing, nice, or whatever you may think. This is purely painful! Discovered knots in the middle of the back, in the neck…and this was the “nice” part. The thighs, calves and hips were not to play with. But once again, if pain is necessary to get rid of the pain, then so be it! Biked back home, knee still fine. Early dinner and then just in time to get ready and see France starting soon to play in Brazil.

All-in-all, a very sunny and warm week – all done for running…which unfortunately was not on the program this week. Hoping the torture massage, the stretch to the extreme, the lengthy rehab exercises and the way-too-short-allowed-runs will soon turn into regular weeks of training. But once again, better have this now and getting ready when summer arrive, than having it continuing and standing on a starting line this autumn with a malfunctioning knee…

Keep on running!

 

 

 


Recovery, recovery…Aaaaaand more recovery…

Week of rest and recovery ain’t often very exciting to talk about. Just like last week. Travel for work was suiting perfect with a week of after-marathon recovery.

Tuesday started early and finished late. The body felt all ok and the knee even allow for wearing high heels. No swimming as planned as 1) the swimming pool at the hotel was close to the breakfast room and tables (I mean REALLY close) and 2) the pool was only opened in afternoon and late evening when I would rather have gone up early for a swim.

Wednesday was a bit better for start, did a light core exercises and little rehab. Nothing much really, but it felt nice to actually do something. Day spent at work went fine, rainy weather and changed my high heels to running shoes in the evening before going out. Went all fine…until we left the restaurant and had to walk downhill to the hotel. The pain in the left knee was excruciating when walking this way. I tried walking uphill and it worked without problem. When reaching flat surface then it was better. Meaning? the left knee is NOT happy. Tricky night with ache in the knee coming back&forth.

Thursday felt a bit better in the knee, but still this day was filled with little aches now and then. OK, the high heels could/should have been skipped, but they were not. Evening was nice to change to jeans and running snickers! Good night sleep aaaaand…

…it was Friday already. Up early to get my first flight home. 25 minutes for changing in Paris and then home…without my suitcase. More rest during the day (read: doing nothing…). A bit of bicycling in the evening and it was it.

Saturday had arrived and got some bike done again, but no real workout. The knee was still aching a little now and then, so decided to skip doing more training. Spent the afternoon under the sun with the monsters and then a very nice evening at friends. Delicious Indian food had been prepared and served 🙂 Not too late home, it became late though when getting to bed.

Sunday got the sun up way too early. Decided to test the knee and went for an easy run. 3km warmup on asphalt to reach a running track. There I decided to go for 25 laps (or 10,000m). 4K clockwise, water – stretch, 4K against the clock, water – stretch, 2K clockwise, water-stretch and then 3km back home. The knee did not like at all this outing. And it was well-noted. No swollen knee when reaching home and it felt all ok to walk afterwards. However the kicks done in the afternoon felt pretty hurting 😦 Decided then to go for anti-inflammatory tablet in the evening and see whether it helped. Got tired pretty quick from it… but the knee felt as “normal”.

So was the end of the after-Stockholm marathon recovery week. Nothing really fancy nor fun nor exciting from a training perspective. Only a boring reminder that the knee was not fine. Have to check this and get it solved. More later…


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

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

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!

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

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

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

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? 🙂

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

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…!)

 


Such a beautiful daaaaaaaaayyyyyy, today :)

You wait and wait and wait and FINALLY! after 364 days long wait, it finally arrives… 😉

Having worked late yesterday, the PLAN was to do NOTHING today… Of course the birds were way too happy to celebrate as well and woke me up before 6am (and no I was NOT happy with their singing). Stayed in bed for a while, and seriously by 7:30am I was seriously bored already! Up for light breakfast, had to resist for not getting into my running shoes (rest day as well today… well planned!). The only scheduled activity for the day was 90 minutes thai massage at 9am 🙂 Noticed one of my toes still hurt after yesterday’s run…and indeed I had a little blister all-around what I thought was a ward. And nope, it was not a ward, because I froze it two days ago and by looking at it, it must be something else from the running but definitely not a ward. The blister is really painful in a close shoes, so had special tape on it for the day. (lesson learned: do not freeze something if you are not 100% sure it is a ward 😦 ). Back to the massage, first arrived, heard myself saying that “sure, you can press a bit harder”… and it was done. But ok, not as much pain as expected. Would have been nice to have it right after the race though… And then it was 10:35am… a full sunny day ahead. Sushi for lunch, few errands and then ended sunbathing for a little while after reading in my new marathon book. Lazy as a bee (because bees CAN be lazy…or?) for the rest of the afternoon. Restaurant for celebrating and then back home under a sun still high and warm. Did some thinking with GE for the water system to adopt during Stockholm marathon and now time for bed. Early start tomorrow and hoping for an early finish too!

Stockholm marathon…1-digit figure is reached!!! 9 DAYS LEFT…
(if only it could be 2…)

 

NOTE: no training but light core workout today…


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

(Week 20140512-20140518)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on running!


Race Report – Göteborgsvarvet 2014/05/17

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

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

Splits (official)

Official splits

Official splits

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

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

Planned outfit

Planned outfit

Hoping for one of those splits...

Hoping for one of those splits…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smile after-race :)

Smile after-race 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Recovery 1, 2, 3… How does it work?

(week 20140414-20140420)

Quiet and calm, training-free (almost), and rest… and sunshine… This could summarize the week after Rotterdam marathon 🙂

Monday started pretty early. Actually, it felt like Sunday never stopped really. After packing all my stuff , tried to get to bed. Well, got to bed, but sleep did not come. Saw the hours passing and after 1:30am, cannot remember if I saw more, but when the clock rang @6am, it felt like I had just jumped into bed… Decided to go for a quick shower and skip breakfast. Packed the final stuff, ensure all was emptied and left the room. Walked in a fresh-air-Rotterdam towards the train station. Felt quite fine. Until I could not see my train, but only the one afterwards. Bought my tickets, skipped the chocolate at Starbucks (I was looking forward to it though…) and aimed for the platform… to see that the train coming was the Thalys and yes, it was going to Amsterdam Shiphol, but not with my ticket… Just had to wait 25 more minutes…which gave me time enough to get my hot chocolate 🙂 Rushing into the train and got lucky to have a seat for the 25minutes to the airport. There, everything went smoothly: checked in, dropped the bag and then just have to wait at my gate (Oh, yes…I also ate a sausage roll 🙂 Just loving this when I come to the Netherlands!). Flight went fine and easy, had two seats for myself. Kept on drinking to be sure will be well-hydrated. Then it went fast: landed, bag pickup, bus, tram and home…. and 30minutes later was sitting in my first afternoon meeting for work 🙂 Thanks to G I got sushi for lunch though 🙂 The body felt pretty fine. A bit stiff of course, but would guess that the lack of sleep and the travel were not helping after Sunday’s marathon. The head was however somewhere a bit high… Did I really run a marathon yesterday? The medal says so, so it must be true. After a serie of meetings, it was time to close the laptop for a day of rest 🙂 – First day of recovery? Check!

A light sleep-in on Tuesday and it became a quiet relax day. No work… No running… and still able to fill in the time of the day! With a looooong thai massage @9am…Good way to start the day! 🙂 The body was feeling actually pretty nice by then. No real ache, apart from when stretching the front of the thighs. Pressure points did not wake up any pain more than light ache. Chilling out all day, walking a bit as well. – Second day of recovery? Check!

Too early start for a Wednesday, but the day was expected to be long. Breakfast and then work. Meetings back2back until lunch. Lunch with G and then headed for afternoon long meeting. Body feeling quite fine, a bit stiff (a wild guess would be it came from the massage the day before…). Felt a bit dizzy a few times during the day, despite eating quite well… Have to check this. During afternoon meeting, had to stand up as my left thigh felt asleep a bit… Still no training and started to get…well, a bit bored. The day was long and headed to bed quite early, unable to keep the eyes opened… Good the long weekend was starting then! – Third day of recovery? Check!

OK, now it was Thursday. After a good night’s sleep, woke up a bit early but was not too motivated for going up and doing my rehab. So skipped it. Probably not too good (last rehab was exactly a week ago…). Lots of walking today, boat visit and more walking under the drizzling rain on the way back… Would have been sooo nice to be running instead of walking… Noticed I had been eating similarly to the past week (i.e. extra carbs and regular of large portions…) and without doing any exercises whatsoever… Great! 😦 Feeling a bit ready for more than recovery now… – Fourth day of recovery?!?!?! Check!

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y… Friday… back with a bit of training… ok, still no running, but serious core&stability and rehab workout. Felt soooo nice to actually train! But took it easy and did not change anything in the routine. Will probably update the workouts next week though. Got a nice power-walking under the rain with GET and that was it for today. Well, ended the day with a rehab routine. Not much, but could not sleep, so as good to use the time, right? – Fifth day of recovery/rest?!?!?! Check!

Saturday was starting with great sunshine and light core workout. Felt that the stomach was strong but the “walking on the ball with plank position” felt pretty tough… Indeed, I had set the time to 2minutes (=120seconds) instead of the 80seconds I was doing earlier (which were already pretty tough…). Time for a walk with GET and climb of the stairs towards the redoubt…192 🙂 and running the first 120 stairs… Right after lunch, bag packed with water and cookies and bike on! Dropped T for egg hunts while GE and myself headed for a nice bike tour under the sun. Body felt fine. Real easy pace, no pain. Stopped after 11km for cookies and water 🙂 and headed back home again. Headwind throughout the bike tour (of course?…). He he he, had even a friend noticing we biked for almost a half-marathon under 1hr 18… Would be a nice time for a running half-marathon, wouldn’t it? 😉 Easy evening with double-movie… Yapp! Late in bed and really tired!

And so it was Sunday again…Really? Has a whole week passed without (almost) noticing it?… Quick rehab and light core. Muscle of the stomach felt a bit less aching that before, but still there. Sun shining outside? You bet!Easy morning walk under the nice sun (already warm in the air), running up the stairs to the redoubt again (actually twice as we did not agree on the numbers of stairs… = > so make it 192*2…). Started preparing lasagnes and then headed out for a run under the sun. Felt so incredibly light to run. Took 3km before taking off the singlet. Nice side-wind and astonishing sun in the skies. Make it a 13km under the hour 🙂 Then it was just to shower and rest under the sun for a few hours. Got a little walk for playing table tennis with ET and then back home for resting (this sudden sun DOES make one tired!). Dinner was turned into sushi close to the redoubt (but this time we skipped the stairs and walked up the street which has a 10% inclination instead…), enjoying the still warm rays of the sun. Well back home, just had to brown pancakes to make the day complete 🙂

Week of recovery? DONE!

 

NOTE: this was quite nice to have this recovery week falling during a vacation week… Hopefully the “no running”-imposed days are helping for recovery (but definitely not against boredom…)

NOTE: Now it is set: Chicago will be the final marathon of the season 🙂 Looking forward to it really!!!

 


Race Report – Rotterdam Marathon 2014/04/13

Planned: under 2:58, but after Copenhagen half-marathon 2 weeks before (way below expected time…) thought fixing sub3 would be good and really satisfactory

Actual:…2:57:25!!! New PB by 1 min 44 sec from Dubai in January 2014… 4th within age category…
SUB3: Enough said! Well, actually lots can be said because the previous day and race day were far from optimal… But for now, it IS enough said! 🙂

Race Results:
place (M/W) 22
place (ag) 4
age/grade: 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) 02:57:25
time total (brutto) 02:57:25
average pace: 4:10min/km

Official splits:

Split Net time (difference)
5K 20:07:00 (20:07)
10K 40:02:00 (19:55)
15K 01:00:23 (20:21)
20K 01:21:02 (20:39)
Half mara 01:25:49
25K 01:42:12 (21:10)
30K 02:03:39 (21:27)
35K 02:25:37 (21:58)
40K 02:48:06 (22:59)
Marathon 02:57:25

And 2nd Swedish female runner in this great international race 🙂 not bad, not bad…

And PB on 5K, 15K, 30K and 35K… 😀

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M Day-1

Rewinding a bit here. Started Saturday with sleep-in and a last morning run (mostly to check the start and final km)… Run which extended to 15km… Way too long, but nice and easy pace. As a result, breakfast was later and after that generally spending the rest of the day doing nothing but relaxing… Felt quite hungry earlier than expected and went for Italian… But did not end well 😦 Upset stomach and went worse later on the day. So expectations for the race changed pretty much to: finish it… Drank much water in the evening, hoping it would compensate… kind of… (which made me go up twice during the night… Not to good planned this…).  Not planning more food after lunch generally, I ate porridge around 6-7pm, but just the look was upsetting the stomach… All went fine though. Need to have something in the tummy, right? In bed @9pm, turned in bed probably until midnight… Good to have had a nap in the afternoon…

Before the race

No need for a clock top open the eyes… 5:46am – Awaken and hoping the body would feel better today. Breakfast at 6:30am was more forced than wanted. Half a portion porridge with banana and dried cranberries, topped with honey. Felt like cement in the stomach… Good to have taken only half! This meal was more to compensate for yesterday’s food loss… Changed as well drink intake, taking orange juice twice instead of water and red juice at last. Did not forget my allergy pill as I did yesterday before my morning run and topped it with nose spray. Hope it will help for breathing the air here…

 

Weather forecast is fine for me!

Weather forecast is fine for me!

7:00am & 7:30am – drinking procedure… which I actually thought of changing a bit this time, but once again with yesterday miserable loading it felt better to keep the drinking as usual.

7:45am – up for shower. Hurt a bit my right heel while going down the steps, definitely feeling the sensitivity of this part 😦 Great, just needed this as well… Got ready. Another change (as I was seriously thinking that the race would happen but probably for a finish and no more): set my hair in a high ponytail… Would end the race crippling probably, but looking good 😉 No, seriously, wanted actually to see if I was stuck with my pigtails for performing in race (as someone mentioned once… Nope, no secret power in my pigtails). Cream on the body, skipping the sun cream after the boring part of Copenhagen half mara when it felt itchy right after starting the run… On with gear, cut the edges of my gels making them easier to carry in my pocket, choice of sunglasses done… All set!
Oh yes, wrote my planned splits as well… 3:00 to 2:56.. Not a chance to reach any of them, but it would work as motivator to reach eventually the finish line, I thought.

My splits (if all would have been fine yesterday...)

My splits (if all would have been fine yesterday…)

8:45am – Easy jog to the changing facilities. Took way shorter time than yesterday. Quick pic when entering the changing area. And just dropped my bag in a corner under the tent. Great I chose my club running gear and not my flashy orange tshirt… SO many are having this colour… (I know, this is Dutch colours, but still… At least I can be seen in white… for once 😉 ). Something odd was that there was no luggage area. We were all under a huge tent and everyone was changing there (yes, there was some nudity there and I thought for a quick moment that I was in the men’s tent… I did go to the men’s toilets, so would not be surprised I took the wrong tent!!! But no, this was a mix tent 🙂 ). Left my bag under a bench in a corner and aimed for the start.

The "before-picture"

The “before-picture”

Changing facilities

Changing facilities

The orange squad?

The orange squad?

09:20am – Already at my start corral… The C-one. Felt a bit odd to start on this one because I did not get how we will start C and elite in parallel… Must be a catch I thought. But after reading Espen’s race report, I actually understood that it is “better” to start in C group than in B as C and elites start together ;P

9:40am – Corral C opened. Congrats received for being the first woman in 🙂 Directly to the loo (this is great in this marathon to have porta-potty IN the corrals as well. So you can get in and skip queues outside and rushing to the start). Taking a pic for a Dutch guy and chat a bit. He is aiming for 2:58. He has trained for a while and this is his 3rd time here… and he is well prepared: arm wrist indicating each km, camelbak with sport drink, pockets with gels… Wow, I still have lots to learn about the art of carrying energy during a race!!!! He kindly offers we run together and I am seriously considering it as I feel it gonna be painful anyway, so as good to have a running mate on my side. Had time (after my rubbish night) to think of what I’ll get out of the race today and thought : all-in (for real…) during the first half, just to see if I can ever match my time from 2 weeks ago or if it was luck… (I could run on luck everyday if it gives nice time and feels good afterwards 😉 ) and for the second half? Well, just see how it goes… Meeting Ben, who I ran with yesterday. He looks good and fit. His mate David is in group D, could not seed himself at the expo… No worries I said. As he aims for 2:51 he will probably pass us before the bridge!…

10:05am – One more visit to the loo (little queue now and it might have been a bit much drinking earlier this morning… Great not to have to queue outside the corral anyway!). My new running mate has gone to “reserve a nice spot” on the front line as they are taking pictures he said. Ok, I made myself looking good, so fine for pictures 😉 Several guys a sitting on the pavements chatting. Probably used of having this spot… I am not. So all smiles out (despite the freezing when the wind starts blowing right in our faces… THAT was the catch of being in corral C!). Got fun chat with some of the officials. Feeling little alone for gal between all this testosterone around. But have spotted a few gals earlier in the corral and even got smiles and encouragements from them… Probably look like I will need them…

10:15am – Taking back my plastic bag I throw a few minutes before. It’s freeeezing out here. Seen the elites warming up on the other line… Another benefit of corral C 🙂 (ok, we can’t warm-up but we see the elites doing it…). Have Galvin behind me who is aiming for 2:45…but after having run Rotterdam a few times he says it will be tough after km30 aso because it is windy there… Getting some singing from a well-known Dutch and it is now 5 minutes to the start. We are asked to have our feet right before the yellow line (which is right before the time mats). Cannot believe it… I felt real bad yesterday afternoon, slept half-bad (or half-good?), had a heavy stomach with half a breakfast and froze my bones for an hour… And I am standing here… First line of this great marathon of Rotterdam… How dumb is this strategy?

2 minutes to start – Turning back to the runners behind me a kindly asking not to push when we start… Maybe my smile might help… Drinking quickly the dl of Powerade blue I took with me (this is a first…drinking RIGHT before start…) and disposing of the bottle.

20 seconds to start – Gosh! Stop this music!!! It is KILLING me…..

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THE RACE

10:30am – Well on time, the canon shots (yes, for real! A few meters from us!)…. And we start running. This is already incredible. Imagine a 3-500m street with people shouting and encouraging… It is 10:30am!!! On a Sunday… Feeling that I might have done something wrong because I see the elites and groups on the other start line running, but I am still alone on my line… An Italian guy passes me after a 100m (?) then another one, my running mate says we are too fast (!?) but we have not reached 400m yet, my watch shows 4:20… and still no rushing testosterone around me (even daring glancing back just to check it was our turn to start as well… Yapp! All good. Guys are daring passing me 😉 we change side of the road, by running over a pavement in the middle of the street (had to be careful there). Still too fast, shout the guy. But my watch still shows 4:14…
Looking right looking left, I am now advancing in the common line. Wow, that feels good! Still no rush. The bridge is arriving quick and the wind with it. Fun to see all the runners kindly (?) running behind each other in a nice line on the left 😉 Broadest ahead of me is probably 3 runners beside each other, but mostly one behind each other… and I follow diligently… aaaand the bridge is finished (I am sure it is shorter than when I ran it yesterday…). By now I have lost my running mate and not really planning to check behind me. Legs are fine, stomach good, head cool… Let’s give it a try then. A bit windy towards km5 (and there is a little bridge there!!! Why do people say a marathon is flat when the course has bridges?!?!). My watch has been beeping exactly on the km-marks so far (or close) and it shows 4:0x… Can’t be really. I don’t feel I run that fast. From km2+ after the bridge, I am hanging along with a couple of runners (a man and a woman) who seem to plan running around together. At this pace I can follow them for a little while and reach halfway in a decent time. A male runner is a bit annoying during this time as he is passing from right to left, behind me, then in front of me (& I am like less than a meter (?) from the couple…. You get the picture…). He also has a biking coach on the side encouraging him and carrying his drinks… This I would need after halfway I thought, not now…
Passing km5 around 20+minutes… Checking my hand for the splits mission impossible… It works reading when standing still, or walking… But now I see that my pace is fast because I really have to concentrate to read the line (good to remember for next time…Do NOT write THAT much on the hand for a marathon!!!). Feeling good, enjoying the ride and taking 2 Dextrosol (new ones… never tried before… The ones with minerals in it. Don’t know if that helps at all, but the head thinks so right then). Taking a mug with water. Cool stuff, they have 200-250ml in the mug and a sponge on the top with 2 small triangles cut for drinking. Not easy, but get a few gulps down. Have to be careful with the drinking I think. Feels like it’s gonna be warm today. Now my pace is around 4:01 on the watch. Quick calculation with a brain not on the top makes me deduct I am aiming for a faster half than in Copenhagen if continue this way. All-right then! At least there will be a good part in this race. Arriving to a street and seeing runners on the other side coming back… Where are we, I think? Have they taken the wrong way? And then remembering there is a little 180-turn (completely unnecessary if someone would ever ask me… Slowing down more than doing good… and yes it shows I do have to train on such turns as well… on my to-do list…).
Towards km10 I am preparing my first gel (right hand). (Tricky not to be able to take it as “usual” around km9, but I have changed all gels intakes for today’s race.) And drink at the water station. Not enough I think, but seriously?… I am passing the 10K after 40 minutes… No personal best, but close 😉 Still all fine. But the wind is really bothering. Trying to get the back of guys in front of me, but the wind comes from everywhere…(Am I at home and training here? Did the Swedish wind follow me to the Netherlands?…). Having the couple just a short meter before me does help and whenever I can I actually find myself surrounded by runners (i.e. 2 in the front and 1each side… Not much wind is going through THIS wind shield 🙂 The pace is still cool and apart from the wind, all feels fine. Being passed from time to time by male runners, but no women passing by. Good! Keep it this way I thought!
Arriving close to km15 I am a bit unsure if my mind plays trick on me. Am I really going through a PB for this distance? What I have written on my hand is not even close to the time I get… All good! Every minute and seconds ahead in the first half are precious for the second half 🙂 By this point in the race, the cruising pace has dropped from 4:00 to 4:01… Yaaa, sure… I recall thinking in Dubai earlier this year that I was “cruising” at 4:10 in the first half… What should I call the current pace now?!?! As the km-signs are still more or less correct with my watch (I have adjusted for certain km though, but 5-10-15 felt almost correctly), this means I can (almost) trust the pace shown… of 4:01?!?! This pace was not even in the plan for Copenhagen marathon two weeks ago (& no half marathon neither for this year btw…) but ended almost there and I am NOW running a MARATHON at this pace??? Not even in my dreams 🙂
Dropping a bit time at the 20K water station and taking my second gel (left hand). Well, I like this race because they clearly indicate 200m and 100m ahead of the water station and several stations have water on both sides. Which allows 1) to take the gel a little before and then drink water at the station and 2) avoid the craziness of slowing down or stopping runners at the water-stops. By now the pace is slightly slower. The couple did not stop at any station but one, as they have people giving them their drinks along the course… But this matters not. I am now having Kent (?) in red and from Germany (?) running in my side (he does not know it but I am hanging along him…). Reaching the halfway is great… 1:25:xx NO WAY!!! Just above my best time ever in Copenhagen… (OK I still have the same distance ahead, but let me appreciate this moment for a while…). Actually no… Rewind a bit to mid km20 to 21… There I felt like a star. At the last turn before km20, there a LOADS of people on both side. Being a woman is even calling for more cheering (or I am really tired by then and imagining they are all here for me…). People cheering and yelling your name (OK, I am not dreaming this one actually!). I even waved with the arms, getting even more cheering. Feeling additional strengths in the whole body, extra large smiles all the way… I am in Heaven (for runners…). 🙂

Second half

Second half is starting at the halfway mark this time (NOTE: Surely halfway is halfway, but for some races, it feels the halfway starts after actually… and definitely for a marathon the race itself does not start before…km30?34?…). A bit less people now towards km22 (I saw it on the pavement), but I have Kent on my side (I think his name was Kent… and I will call him this way until the finish line and after 😉 Kids on the side cheering and making me smiling…I know what is coming and I still cannot understand I am holding this pace without crying of pain, stopping for some rest or even doing a 180-turn and running back from where come (I am pretty sure this thought crossed my mind at this time, because I was thinking that I would have then tailwind most of the way back to start…). Yapp! Started to take Dextrosol every km from half-marathon sign to keep the head and body alert (I think?). Great pace, but dreadful start from km23 with the wind. I dare a smile and encouragement to Kent, but he looks straight ahead very focused. Far from me to let him loose this focus… And we turn towards km25… OMG! now I am glad for all the &@?!#% training runs with headwind I have done! What is going on? What should I do then (because there is no pack of runners ahead of me…). And something happens… Kent is actually passing me and settled… right in front of me…!!! Unsure he does this on purpose, but he does look a couple of time a bit behind and there is only me there… WOW, I am grateful! And if he did not do that in purpose, I am grateful too! Cutting a bit off the wind for me, I am fighting really to keep the distance as short as possible… The only thing I can see is his calves… Too low, I think. The posture cannot be fine if my eyes are focusing on calves which are less than a meter from me… So I’ll look slightly up 😉 3rd gel, a bit of water and km25 is reached and if for not Kent and the cheering a with my name, I would have stopped for a short walk… because there is two more turns and the bridge ahead… Same procedure this way as well. Runners in line 🙂 Have dropped the hope of even seeing the couple during the end of the race, but there is this woman in green singlet and one blond with small pigtails and pastel pink (?) singlet which I really would like to keep in sight. Where is Kent?!? I lost him. And I am on the bridge, feeeeeeeling the struggle…. hearing my name and “Come on Girl, you know better than stopping in a bridge… You’re stronger than most of the guys here…” (Thanks to you who shouted this on the middle of the bridge! I thought for a split of a second I was actually talking to myself!!! And yes I do sometimes and probably every one does it as well!). Quick check on the watch: no wonder it is painful: it shows 3:47 pace!!! On the way up!?!? Then turn left and seeing “my” Kent again a few meters away. Turning carefully right (yaaa, sure… Have to work on those turns when running full speed!) and in the tunnel it says km27. Approx.40-60m difference with my watch. Shoot, this feels good! And up after the tunnel. (OK, it felt a bit heavy up there…). Thanks to the guy cheering in French there (on both ways… ) and I am now in know territories. I have run this part yesterday and I can the next 3km towards km30. Grrrrreat! Painful and heavy but great. Meeting Kipchoge the first elite men at his km40… Yelling his name, seeing his smile and ease at running… This is just a delight!!! Soon there myself (I mean: I will soon be at km40-mark… because by THEN, I will probably not be smiling any longer, have dropped all hope in being under 3-hour (yes, this was a little hope I had seeing how the first half went…but is there anyone really running on “hope”?…) and I am not talking about the “ease in running”…this one has left the building before km25 and the bridge…). Counting the seconds until I see elite men no.2 & 3 and they are like 15 seconds behind, less smiling, but fast running for sure. (Would change my place for theirs…ANYTIME! Yes, I do think this for a few seconds actually!). Turning left and there IT.BECOMES.HEAVY… If it was not for the crowd doing a brilliant job, I would probably still be there. “Soon on the other side” I hear (my mind thinking too fast that someone wishes me dead here… but he meant “on the other side of the road… on the final stretch to the finish line”…Ooooh, I see…). This little drop in energy is lasting a few 100s and it is head up and smiling that I pass km30 (I think I was smiling… or face-cramping, cannot recall really) and towards the “woods”. Shortly after entering my stomach starts cramping big time. Similar to London marathon. But.I.Shall.Not.Stop! Not when there is less than 12km ahead, make it an hour more/less. Probably incorrect calculation, but at this moment in the race, I don’t really care. If the head says “an hour more/less”, then it means “an hour more/less”… Not many runners passing by… apart from a little gal with a 3-digits BIB. What was she doing being me all this time??? She runs on light feet and with straight back. Real cool, especially at this moment of the race. Decide to follow her. Since km25 I have changed my watch screen to see km per km. All under 4:14 is acceptable at first. (Will stop looking at it pretty much short after…). The head is strangely calm, focusing on all but the cramp aching in the stomach. Looking right and left and we are surrounded by woods… Should I do a quick stop and just empty my stomach? Which would mean loosing even more time than I have not yet lost, unsure it will even help (quick thought about London and the stop under the bridge, the “hour-long”-seconds spent in porta-potty without even doing anything… Yaaa, wish to forget this one). So nope, no stop. Hanging with the light-running gal, right behind. But it feels a bit slow (WHAT?!? How can I even have such thought??). Passing her and continuing my little run. Not really enjoying the scenery, but it IS nice to run here. Have to come back another time because it is a pity not to enjoy the running in this environment. Well, actually… I do like the run right now. Way slower than first half, not even pushing for running faster. I will make it to the end and THAT is what is important. Gosh, so much talking in the head…which makes it easier to reach km33…and the wind back. Seeing a runner from the back and think I recognize Galvin from the start corral. Slightly increasing the pace (well, at this point anything else than my current pace is faster…) and trying to stick to his shadow (figure of speech, because it is way to sunny to HAVE a shadow! It is nevertheless quite nice with the sun and not crazy warm. Just nice). Running either by his side or behind him, we go through the turns here and there towards km35. WHAT? Already? But I am supposed to take a gel and I just took one? Oooh, was it 10km ago? A bit unsure now when I took the previous gel… I took anyway my last one at km35… Nice! I almost got the water-drinking correctly. I am happy!… Until we turn again, with cool music…AND more wind! What is this race really? Wind on order when I am coming? At km37 I see the large screen where messages are popping up. Hoping to see one for me, I accelerate and then it is a huge ad popping up on the screen 😦 Not cool! I wan to stop. But Galvin is there and I tell him (!) to hang on, that we are less than 5km away from the Finish Line. I even tell him it’s looking good…and got “right back at you” and a smile with a bit of effort… Yes, at this point of time, I do call for compliments, whatever they may be! Aaaaaand we finally see ahead of us a line of runners entering into the “woods”… Yoooooohoooo! The long circle is completed, now we turn back to the road I know and it is km39 (which I do not see anywhere). But does not matter. Running towards the finish line in a “narrow” street, having the pack of runners heading towards km30…THIS gives you a boost! Once again having distance-comparison in the head with training-distance from home. I jungle with all the comparisons possible to keep myself busy. Stomach no longer aching (don’t know when it stopped, but by then it is sunny, it is liiiitle windy and I am on my way to finish…might even skip the crippling at the end…well, not there yet…). Got passed by a jumping little Swedish gal looking on the top of her form. Even got a smile! Coool, I…..will….follow….her….another time. She looks too well for me to accelerate. Galvin is gone, Kent has left the building…who is helping me now? NOBODY… It is just me aaaand km40 passed. Now it is time to bite it, take a little water (YES! I am actually mastering the water-drinking by this final water station!!!) and no no no no, not slowing down. Accelerating. I realized yesterday evening just before going to bed that the “last km that was so long after km40-mark” when I did my Saturday final morning run…was actually a 2.195km… THEREFORE it was so long. 😛 Had in mind a half-marathon distance and therefore planned a sprint for the last km. But now I am prepared (for double the distance for the final sprint). My legs are strong (kind-of), the mind is (almost) on the top (OK, this is a top that is “way lower” than the top reached at km21…but still on the top!). Soon finish, final turns, not much left…this is what I hear now…in any language and it does not matter…At this moment of the race, you understand ALL languages! Turn towards Blaak and it should be soon km41…Cannot see it…where is it??? And here I have my French supporter yelling my name again (SO THANKFUL FOR THIS ONE!) and on the road the mat indicating 1,000m left. Reaching the final turn…OMG! Is it really that long to the Finish Line? No time to check the large screen for any kind of message… 500m is reached… Quick check on the watch indicating I reached a pick under 4min/km before the final turn… REALLY?!?!? This is so extremely cool this last-stretch-moment. All possible pain, sweat, spaghetti-legs, cramps… ALL IS FORGOTTEN! This is what I have trained for. This is the last 200m (thanks btw for indicating it on the side!). People on both sides of the road are just shouting, encouraging…Not even having people passing me (OK, there was a couple of guys passing me around 500m line but not after I think…I just see one thing…the arch indicating the Finish Line…and the 100m sign and I don’t even try to smile (I have it in my head and that will do for today!)… and I see that surely 2:56 was so close…and passed…but I.DON’T.CARE! I am passing the Finish Line, trying not to run into 3 runners apparently feeling pretty bad right after the line, pressing stop on my watch (what on earth am I thinking here?!) aaaaand falling in the arms of a guy in red jacket… I.HAVE.FINISHED!

(I dare looking at my watch, smiling to the 2:57:27…whatever time I may have…I TAKE IT!)

Official time received later: 2:57:25.

A very happy-me after the race (in an empty tent...)

A very happy-me after the race (in an empty tent…)

Final time on the Garmin :)

Final time on the Garmin 🙂

Well-deserved medal :)

Well-deserved medal 🙂

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

After the finish line

The sight of my time is making me SO happy (and yes, it deserves an howl this time as well… I really do nor care the staring.. I said I AM happy!). From the start where we were all so close to each other eager to run, to the race with share struggle, to this finish line… feeling so good… and then it is empty… Apart from a few runners now and then in front of me…it is very empty…really! Getting a flower like all women arriving, congratulating the green-tshirt woman who passed right after me. Got a huge smile from a tired Galvin and hearing his congrats means a lot! And who’s there right after I start walking again… Kent-in-red! Good to see him again (unsure when I passed him though), he said lots of encouragements stuff and head off towards the bananas-stand. Right before I am meeting one of the guys who helped at the start. He is very quiet, but by the smile on his face, I feel rewarded. Having him jogging to the guys/gals with medals, taking one and coming back to me and passing it around my neck! Wow! THAT is cool 🙂 I have not win the race, BUT I have similar treatments! A hug, one more smile and seriously have to continue walking. Stomach aching a little now. Got a bottle of sport-drink right after the finish line (unsure how and unsure who gave that to me…but it is soon finished…30m after the finish line…). Getting a little one, a banana and now it is REALLY empty of people. Where this morning there was all the 10K-runners arriving at this particular spot, it now empty. Following the few runners ahead of me, stopping at the loo before leaving the arrival area, but leaving it shortly after as it is only stomach aches and nothing else (well, it does ache!). Walking up the little bridge towards the changing facilities (Ooooh, what I feel lonely when I see the kids rushing to their dads after leaving the arrival area… should have had one of GET following… a little ego, but fun maybe?). Tricky going down the stairs (they did that on purpose…to place stairs right before the changing area!!!), but that is working fine. Went into the tent (which is now filled with runners’ bags and stuff…but empty of runners… Am I the first one to arrive???). Getting my yellow bag and hoping for a massage. Getting an after-race picture (yes, I have to work on having a nicer background when taking those photos…). Stopping to have my time engraved on the medal : Yippie! 2 seconds faster than Garmin says! 2:57:25!!! Then heading to the medic tent for massage. There the lady at the entrance insists that a shower is to be taken BEFORE the massage…seriously? I need to take off all the clothes (and that is after a marathon-race a similar challenge as the race was), THEN getting my clean clothes on (new challenge) and THEN I can get a massage? For THEN walking back home and taking a new shower?… After smiles and quick chat with the lady, I am shown the table I am struggling a bit to climb on. Rita is going to massage me. Gently she says, because you do not want a deep massage, do you? (Well, at this moment I do not care much because I am laying down on my stomach and actually I am tired (and suspect that I am feeling a burn mark right under the elastic of my sport-bra…great!). I then get FIFTEEN nice minutes of massage. Luxury treatment! Legs feels fine. Changing to clean clothes, shoes on, got sms asking how it went and happily answering it went way better than the email I sent after going up this morning and then heading home.

A good difference with Dubai: did not finish soaking wet (I did use the sponges for cooling down the thighs, but not really throw water on the legs. Which was good. Probably not that warm neither compared to Dubai, so not really needed.

Skipping the cold shower at home, because felt really freezing and decided to have a hot shower instead (so much for the recovery starting right after the finish line…). Checking quickly the race website for having a confirmation of my time (no, really..I know I started exactly at gun time, but the time result seems out of this world. Sure, Garmin says and medal says…but the mind is not really believing it. Problem on the website (I hope!) because I cannot find my name and when checking on the country I can find only 4 fast Swedes… Really hoping there was no problem with my time-chip…maybe I did miss a mat…did I take a shortcut without noticing it? Wow, I hope this shows soon… Careful massage with relax-col-cryo cream and then, put on relaxing chillout music, lay down on the bed with the legs on the suitcase and rested this way for over an hour…

6:00pm – Finally up again. Decide to skip the Grill restaurant I spotted on Friday as it meant walking approx.4-5km (back&forth) and chose the pizzeria two streets away. Before that, I went to the Moroccan bakery I had seen a few times on my way home and bought a bunch of Morocaan small cakes…Yummy! Will be appreciated when back home as I cannot find those in Sweden (and always take some back home from France 🙂 ) – Back to the pizzeria: highly recommending it, cosy, good pizza… a pity it was not opened yesterday while carbo loading… Siciliana pizza and a coke. That would do for celebration for today 🙂 Cool to hear people coming in and talking Italian…for a moment I forgot I was in the Netherlands! Then decided to walk to the train station for buying my ticket to Amsterdam airport for the morning after. Stopped at Starbucks Coffee for a tall hot chocolate with soy-milk and whipped cream…and sat down there for a long while. Got to chat with an American who was there with his family. 4th marathon and improved each time. Then with a Spanish guy leaving in Germany and who had studied in Sweden (what are the odds?!?!?). When the clock indicated 9:xxpm, the sun had disappeared since a while and it was time to leave the warm Starbucks with a hot tea in my hand…

Back home, packing all my stuff for early departure the day after… Looking back at the past 24hours, I really needed to check my medal to believe it actually happened. Not only completing the race (which is the first objective of all), but in a (quite) good shape and with a really great time. Took several hours after midnight to finally close the eyes… WHAT.A.DAY!

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

Weather: 11ºC, Feels like 11ºC, 14 km/h WNW wind, Humidity 76% – probably liittle more like 9-10 at start, felt that the wind was stronger than this but during some of the parts in the race…the sun was there most of the time. GREAT weather for running (Yapp, even with this not-welcome wind)

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

> right after: AA-drink iso lemon, water, banana

> 2.5 hours after: pizza + coke

> During: vitargo gel @km10, 20, 25, 35 (at the water stations). Dextrosol: 2 tablets @km5&km15. 1 tablet every km (between km21 & 32) except the km with gel+one after. Extra 2 after km40. Not for the effect, but more for the fact of taking something

Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), MIK singlet, sunglasses – shoes were JUST BRILLIANT. First race with them and hopefully not the last one.

Outfit was exactly what it needed today. Should have had clothes to throw before the start as it was a bit freezing with the wind. But when starting, never got cold really. Gels were stored in the back pocket of the shorts (2 of them – with edges cut… which was good idea !) and 2 in the hands (almost drop them a few times, so was happy when taking the second one!). Had 2 Dextrosol packs in double socks in sport-bra…worked really well…until I noted after km32/33 that it felt like scratching/itching right under the elastic of the sport-bra… Not a chance I would stop and check, so continued to run this way. Km35 took final gel and move the Dextrosol left to the back pocket of the shorts… Result: burn mark on the chest… Still some work to do…I know…

17/ The tricky part: For the first half, I would set a comfortable-to-good effort of 15 (!). Yapp, felt this way. BUT for the second half, it probably started with 15, up to 17 around the bridge and passing it, then down to 15 again, up to 18 for 2-300m on the stretch towards km30, then down to stable and steady 17 for probably the rest of the circle towards km38/39. Up to 18 during 100m (?) at the water-station of km40 (probably because (?) gathering last strength for the final stretch) and a good 16 for the last 2km. The joy and happiness felt during the final 1,000m, 500m, 200m, 100m… definitely makes the effort level difficult to estimate there! Felt light and easy but was definitely not that light and easy!

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

SUMMARY: Wow-day starting not as planned and finishing far from planned! New PB, second for the year…noticing a bit better the potential existing for this long distance. Being the second marathon of the year, I was kind-of prepared to have like the past two years a good-2nd-marathon-but-not-as-good-as-the-1st-one-of-the-year (London ended with faster 1st half than Dubai but with total time slightly slower / Boston ended with faster 1st half than Dubai but with total time slightly slower… this year? Rotterdam ended with WAY faster 1st half than Dubai AND total time faster than Dubai 🙂 ) Preparation for Rotterdam went well and being the second important marathon race of the year after Dubai, it feels great. Was a bit anxious after the great result of Copenhagen than surely the body felt pretty in good shape before Rotterdam, but maybe it had been going too far/fast then… So had good expectations but not more (and those were changed after the boring half-day before…). Feeling like I have been tapering down since I came back from Dubai! Final weeks went well, although the legs really wanted to run more (maybe not faster, but longer… had to refrain the will for longer long runs…). Carbo loading went kind-of ok until it went out and ruined the whole prep on the food-side. Have to check this, but not everyday can be a good day for the tummy…

 

This marathon race is just outstanding. The ambience along the route is of prime quality, surely some parts are a bit lonely, but it is SO compensated by all the rest where people are shouting and cheering. Better than Berlin and of the same level of London… Yapp! THAT good are the cheering in Rotterdam! A few down-moments during the race, which made all the long runs and trainings in poor conditions at home SO worth it. The body was way fit enough for the run and the head could have made it stopped…. No music in the ears, which I am so very proud of. The crowd is carrying you…ALLLL the way! No cramp, hamstring felt fine (before/during/after), real sensitive Achilles heels after the race (but only when touching them) and a stomach that felt “OK” afterwards. Not much sleeping after the race and travel early back home. Body felt a bit stiffed, but ok (heels were almost 100% fine)

Great and fast pace for the first half (really surprised!) and expected drifting in the second half. Good to have people running all around (even though after km27 or so, everybody seems to struggle…but we do it together 😉 ). Had no personal pacer, but had three opportunities to hang along with others and this made a huge difference! Of course the second half wass completed WAY slower than the first one, but with a total time fully acceptable 🙂 Brilliant and definitely wanting more!

Second marathon of the year, second SUB3 – Feeling good!

 

(Lots of thanks for kind words of support and especially last days sms before the race. This is just so great to have these in the head when the race feels a bit heavier to run… Boundaries exist and they are here to be pushed. Today was one of those days 🙂 THANKS!

 

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Inside the restaurant - cosy

Inside the restaurant – cosy

Pizza and coke... carbo-loading again?

Pizza and coke… carbo-loading again?

Will take a larger suitcase next year...more place for the delights :)

Will take a larger suitcase next year…more place for the delights 🙂

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday...

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday…

Yummy hot chocolate after race

Yummy hot chocolate after race


That carb depletion could be feeling well… (kind of)

Now time is barely enough to spell the number of days and hours left before next race 🙂

Today started early and with the nice sound of the rain pouring down on the roof tops. Not a chance I am NOT going out for a run. No time would suit later during the day and I had planned a massage before lunch. So this had to work. By the time I change to my running gear, the rain had stopped. Fresh in the air and still dark, started a little warm-up at easy pace. After 3km, completed with accelerations and it felt fine. Stretch, music change and set the watch to the first workout bout. 10min @90% of 10K pace (yes, it does sound complicated in my head and had to check what pace I should actually run this one…). This felt nice and easy and the main effort was not to run faster and reach current MP. Followed by a little jogging part awaiting for a runner or a bike to pull me for the start of my shorter minutes intervals. 5 of them and it went well…with head-wind throughout 😦 But once again, completed and happily finishing this workout with an easy run back home. Light stretch in the elevator and directly on the mat for core training and light rehab. Felt great and then it was just to prepare breakfast, set it on the table and take a long hot shower. The skin was way better than yesterday when I started the day with rash and scratch. No new cream for now on! Keeping the simplest and usual one.

Worked until I biked for a massage. For once (?), had no pain in the body to be relieved and it felt like a nice massage. Of course, when starting to push on the pressure points it felt a bit, but nothing like before. The back side of left thigh did feel a bit during the accelerations of the warm-up this morning and was a little sensitive during the massage. But ended all good. Bike back home. More work and headed for a nice company lunch. As this is carb-depletion day 1, the morning workout was followed by green mix with water (= disgusting) and 2 eggs. Lots of water drinking and tea during the morning. Lunch turned to a sashimi plate with two rice balls. When the company is nice, you could eat anything, right? 😉 No seriously, sashimi IS good. Could have eaten 3 times what I had in my plate… Back home and more energy for working. Afternoon snack was turned into tuna fish and egg mix (added herbs as well). More tea drinking and water. Until it was dinner time. There it became red meat (I think it was an entrecôte, but seriously unsure actually…), with home-made herbs butter and spinach. Hmmm, yummy! Chilling out for the rest of the evening and now it is time for rehab before sleeping.

This thing about carb depletion, I probably write it before each marathon. Unsure whether it is good or bad, working or not… but this is the first time I actually feel nice during the day. OK, right now I am a bit tired, but surely because it is a bit late (?). Previous carb depletions have always turned into a real fight for not eating carbs (!) and keeping awaken during the day and having not much strength. (ok, might be a bit exaggerated here, but “feeling not too good” was definitely the way it went previously). Today went well. Felt having enough energy and sure, I really want to eat banana and drink the sport-drink I have in the fridge for tomorrow… but apart form that, all good 🙂 Keeping my fingers crossed that it continues!

Feeling ready for Sunday. Legs are fixed, toenails are cut, massage made it well for the body and having this little glycogen store – emptying makes it feel that something is up to. Have a few days left for packing, checking the route, working a bit more, travelling and then…without noticing it…it will be Monday again!

OMG! 86hours to go…. (OK, when I write it this way, it sounds like it is a loooooots of time left, but actually it is only 3 days and 14 hours…

Weather forecast...still time to change... but I'll take this one :)

Weather forecast…still time to change… but I’ll take this one 🙂


Recovery, easy and cold…

Back home after a long train trip…definitely still on a cloud, three days spent in a more than easy way…

Sunday was set for recovery… up with the sun (ok, little after, but way too early anyway), had to change the clock in all “non-automatic” clocks at home and then … time for some bike. Chose an easy route, without many up&downs (let’s be honest, it was pretty flat!) and sun shining and no wind… took 27km to decide that it was enough for today. Listened in the meantime to 2 podcasts from Runners Connect. Started with “How to reach your potential while balancing work, family and everything life throws at you: An interview with Nate Pennington” and then continued with “Is Focusing on Race Goals Holding You Back? Why your first priority should be improving your ability to train. An In-depth Interview with Greg McMillan“. Both gave quite good insights and food for thoughts. Nothing’s easy in life, better get used to it! After back home, took a green mix with fruits and then went for a looooong thai massage. Surprisingly no as painful as I would have expected for a day-after-race. Then not much for the rest of the day apart from little restaurant celebration with GET (my nice result and E’s soccer tournament). Time for bed after that? Unfortunately the mind was not at rest and it took long hours before hitting the pillow.

Monday was not planned to be an early morning (well, it was at first, but nothing in the body felt like going up and it took lots of snooze before deciding to leave the bed…by then it required fast preparation to get on time for work…). All good during the day, full with meetings and it was a real pleasure to jump into running outfit when arriving home. Drop-off at the dance and then took off for a bridge run. Easy planned and easy executed…OK I had to have a bit of fun as well. I met a ferry at a specific station, 2 stations away from the one I planned to take. Approx. 2.5km by foot… Game on! The ferry left the station and I left by foot. Not seeing it coming after a while, I thought it was the other line going to the other side. But reaching the intermediate station, I was a little after the ferry, that left when I arrived. Not a chance I would let it win though! I pushed a bit (ok, way too much for being after a race), having the final km at a very indecent pace and arrived with a smile (and no more breathe!) just when the ferry arrived at the station. Large smile, telling them they were pretty fast. The girl opening the gate looked at me a bit puzzled and asked whether I was the one they met two stations before… 😉 After that, stretch on the ferry and run back home. Final stretching and directly putting my feet under the table for enjoying spaghetti with green peas and ham 🙂 Yummy! Late evening once more after that. Not much sleep…

And we arrived to Tuesday… not much sleep is an understatement. When the clock rang at 5:00am, I seriously wanted to swear and wondered who was stupid enough to set it that early… no need to answer on this one… took 5 minutes to go up and had to change my gear plans as the thermometer was showing…-2ºC!!! Brrrrr…coooold. Already up, so as good to leave for a run. A bit stiff in the legs (!), it went fine running and would have continued longer if it was not for …oooh, yes… had to prepare breakfast before going to work! Good morning meetings, followed by sunny sushi lunch in very nice company and chilling out under the sun a bit before getting an ice cream and heading back to work. Long afternoon in meetings and then time to get back home. Had been exhausted all afternoon… no wonder why! Got to help for the dinner preparation: steamed potatoes with dill and gravlax. More tired after the dishes and clothes folding and I still had to search for flights and accommodations for Rotterdam… I know, I am a bit late for this one… awaiting answer for an apartment there. Hope to have an answer tomorrow and it will be booked!

Real easy days after the race. Still difficult to realize I ran this fantastic race on Saturday, if it was not for the medal I have been wearing around my neck since this day… Check the website of Stockholm marathon as would like to register for the Swedish Championship… 60 days to go! Nothing…nothing at all… How will this work out…..

For now, focus on Rotterdam and its world-record-fast route 🙂 11 days to go!!!