Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Posts tagged “pain

Race Report – VSM halfmarathon Hultsfred 2016/09/03

Happy Swedish Champion (Masters K40)

Planned: sub90. Not completely a training-race, but surely not full all-in.

Actual: 1:29:58 – PB on this route (1st time run :-P). Good start, stable first half, confident up to km14, then fight with stomach cramps from km15 and final sprint in 4:06 on the last km. Very satisfied with the place, not that much about the time. But under the circumstances, that will do.

Swedish Masters Championships in half-marathon… Nice 2 loops-route, with 70% gravel and the rest asphalt (yeaaah!). Windy as NOT expected for the stretch down (and of course you get it twice…). Inexplicable stomach cramps requiring a drastic slow down in pace, but enough fighting spirit to get to the end and even sprint to get under 90minutes. Never loose hope!

Place: 1 age category (i.e gold medal & Swedish Master Champion in half-marathon K40) / 4 – all women / 42 all runners 🙂

Splits (unofficial – Garmin)

Split

Time

Diff Min/km Place
5km 00:20:30 20:30 04:06

3

10km 00:42:13 21:43 04:20

5

halfway 00:44:08

5

15km 01:03:28 21:15 04:15

4

20km 01:25:35 22:07 04:25

4

Finish 01:29:58 04:23 03:59

4

Totals

Place 4
Place (age) 1
Place (total) 42
Time total 01:29:58
Average pace 04.15min/km

In short: the time first: real rubbish – should have gone way faster. Now about the placing: Yoooohooo! So glad to get first place and a gold medal. Real cool to be “Swedish Master Champion in half-marathon (W40)”. Surely as cool as being “Vice-world Master champion in marathon (W35)” last year!
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BEFORE THE RACE

The week before…

This special race started actually a week before. Had in mind to run it, had it on my list from spring-planing, but it just disappeared when setting the races calendar for September to October. Completely forgotten it. Came under a discussion with Tricky and after checking the location of the race and the participants, I contacted a registered one for possible co-driving to the race. Took a couple of days to finally got confirmed that I could have a place in one of the cars aiming to the race. That’s how training plans changed a 32km-long run into a Swedish Masters Championships in half marathon…

The day before…

Easy run in the morning with picking up bagels at half-way and then regular workday. The legs felt fine and eager to run. All seemed in place for a very nice race the day after (even though it was not THE race of the year, it is still a Swedish championships…). In bed not too late. Checked at least three times that the alarm was set properly…

Race day

Alarm rang at 4:10am. Felt all fine and ready to run. A pity the race was not starting THEN! Took it easy to wake up mind and body. Breakfast of sesame bagel with honey and mint tea and a banana. Added green mix with green C-vitamin as well. And a little sport drink. Breakfast for champions! Got myself ready with today’s racing outfit being ADIDAS Supernova Blue line shorts, Casall Iconic black sports bra MIK and superfast ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky). Added in the bag an extra change of running clothes as well as arm sleeves and MIK singlet. The bag weighted way too heavy for a race and 3 hours drive… But all the “just-in-case” were included! Had extra food and gels for the race, sport drinks and a change of clothes.

5:15am – Left home to get to the meeting point where Anders P would be picking me up. All fine. Met Mikael Z as well and off we went. Lots of running talk in the front of the car. Nice drive to reach the start area (well, I was resting on the back seat!).

8:15am or so – Reached destination, met with other Lerums runners and picked up our BIB. Quite grey skies, little drizzle. Was wondering a bit regarding the outfit to have. But decided to go for the original choice: sports bra & shorts. Added arms sleeves for the warmup. Got help from Anders P for attaching my age category on the back (this is very good to keep an eye on who is in your age category…and pass them if possible before the finish line 🙂 ).

9:20am – time to get to the ladies change room. And get this warmup done. Easy 3km on light legs. Took a km from the start and then a little bit from the halfway and down. The race being a two loops-route of 10.5km with a 5km loop from start and back and then a 5.5km loop from halfway and back. Dropped my bag and skipped the arm sleeves. The sun was out! A bit a lot of gravel on the route… that would be an experience! Took a gel about 30minutes from start. The stomach felt a bit hungry and empty…

10:05am – start of the marathon race. Just a little more wait…

10:10am – ready to start now. All half-marathoners were also ready. Find two others gals in my age category and those ones are the ones to be watched… Of course trying to follow Karin S was NOT in the plan, but to have 2-3minutes difference to the max would be nice! So for sure the plan was to win the age category and get under 90minutes.

10:14am – final countdown. A couple of runners are getting into position…Sun is shining…

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THE RACE

10:20am – GO! Nice and easy start. No pushing, just well-behaving runners here! Got a good luck from Anders P and then see him disappearing in the steps of Karin S. Running the first 200m on gravel is fine…well a bit too fine as it goes a bit too slow for my taste. Turning left and we get to the asphalt. All fine just running, tricky to get the second turn right as a guy is actually cutting my way and then he settles in a slightly slower/annoying pace. Impossible to pass him without going either on the left (and thee are three on the breadth…) or on the right (and this means running in the field…). I don’t use the “elbow-forward-and-pushing” method. Not on my list (well, at least not when it comes down to finding a place to run right before km1!!!) Passing km1 right above 4min. All fine. The wind is taking its due now and trying to find a wind-shield (or two…) ain’t easy task. Two gals are approaching (one K40 and one KS – senior). They are apparently running together, so my plan is to keep them close and definitely not let them in front of me before the finish line as it would mean not loosing one but two places then (on the total…). The KS-gal is getting on my left after passing this first km and she is quite close to the “slow-guy-that-passed-me”. Not enough to get in-between. Just have to wait for my turn. Turning right and we reach soon km2. I see the opportunity there to pass the guy and the two gals as well. Good. This one is in line with my plan, i.e. all km between 4 and 4:10 until halfway. We pass a little bridge and turn again. Meaning we are soon at half the first little North loop of 5km. And we reach gravel…again. And the wind is coming as well…again. Head or sidewind? Does not really matter. There are no possibility to hide behind someone as by now the head runners are far away and there is only a long line of one or two runners running on the path. Ok, deciding to make it through the next km on my own, even if it means slowing down. Not hearing when passing km3 but noticing that km4 is slightly before what Garmin says. So correcting the lap there. Good good. Feeling fine, despite my feet sliding back a bit on the gravel. Have to really learn how to run on this! Have been passed by a gal during the straight line after km2.5. AAAAAAAnnoying! But she has “KS” on the back, meaning she ain’t in my category. I let her go then 😛 Then follows a bit of “snake-like” running (i.e. the route is a bit zigzaging there. For sure we have had a little uphill as well (or call it a slope or whatever…it just went up and then down between the farms we have passed at km3 or so. Good to know for next time we pass here! More running under the trees and starting to hear the speaker. i.e. the first north loop is soon finished. Reaching the start area, hearing my name, clocking km5 on 20:30 but had no idea as I am fully focused on the next part with the wind 😦 More gravel and still not possible to find any wind-shield. Talk about chivalry manners! Not a single guy ready to sacrifice his placing and/or tempo to cut the wind to a lady in need… The long km (including the km6-sign) is really annoying with the side-wind. And seeing the flags flying perpendicular to the ground AIN’T HELPING! Reaching now a part under the trees where it “feels” easier to run (but it is still stupid gravel and I still cannot run efficiently on this..:) Km6 & 7 are getting pretty slow and way above the tolerance levels I had planned. Seeing 4:2x at this moment of the race is NOT a good sign. Feeling good though, but still not finding the correct steps on the gravel. Passing now runners from the marathon since a couple of km. Getting some cheering and that is cool. Have been listening to music since km2 as it helped covering the wind. Seeing the faster runners of half-marathon coming from the opposite direction. OK, they must be like 2.5km ahead of me or so. Seeing Karin S, Anders P and co passing on the other side. Getting some cheering and thumbs up from a Lerum guy. Soon reaching the turning point. No longer fun… The two gals KS & K40 have caught up on me and pass me a bit before reaching the water station. Nooooo! Kind enough for cheering and encouraging me, so I am settling into their steps. Taking a glass of water, missing the mouth totally and getting only a little. Am more focused on NOT falling or turning badly my ankle on the grass we are running on at the water station. Dangerous here! The two gals are running in the pace I should have, so I try to keep a correct distance right behind them. Still too slow here but surely reaching the asphalt soon…and when we do… I feel my legs having a new life again! Yooohooo! 10-20m is separating me from the two ladies from the moment we reach the asphalt. I get closer to them and by the time we reach the km20-mark (this is for the second loop), I have caught up those stupid distance between us. We are running all three side-by-side and I can see that the KS-gal is the one driving. The K40 is hanging there but the steps she is taking looks so long and easy…I want mine to look THAT easy! Passing km9 a bit slow still but it is only 12km to go and 1.5km to halfway. Back to gravel, difficult to accelerate there. Km10 is passed a little above 42minutes. Good. Still as in the plan. Taking the first dextrosol there. Will do so for the next 5km every second km. Reaching half-way in 44:xx, which my head uses to calculate the potential finish time. Ain’t working too well, so after a few 100s I stop even trying… The KS-gal has taken two glasses of water at halfway and throw them when still on the gravel…and one bumped onto my head. Really surprised! But just laughing at it. She falls into excuses but that’s all ok. No need to worry about an empty plastic cup that flew on the top of my head 🙂

We are back to the north loop and the asphalt again. The K40-gal is dropping in her pace a bit, having the best cheering ever from her KS-friend. I am just hanging there. Have stopped the music in my ears since km10. Passing km11 and it is me and the KS-gal now. Side-by-side. Loving it! She has THE perfect step (ie. Completely in sync with mine… or the contrary…I don’t know). Even her breathing is in sync. Of course from time to time it just change, but she is good! Exchanging a couple of words. We are so close that our arms are touching sometimes. The K40-gal is no longer in our steps. I cannot see her (I have no eyes in the back of my head…) but I can feel that we are alone. We are holding a good pace…well…for a marathon… this is too slow for my plans, but it feels good and I am still in first K40-place and 3-4 for the women. Passing the little bridge again and turning right on the gravel again. So nice to know this is the last time we pass this part. Looking at the marathon-signs and calculating quickly that they are 500m different from ours. I count down to the end of this loop and to the end of the race, then to the end of the next little loop and the end of the total marathon. Takes me up to km13 or so where the farms are to remember/realize that I am not in for the full marathon. We are passing a few guys there, both marathoners and half-marathoners. Getting greetings along the way. That warms the heart and the head! We are just good. Back to the “snake-like” part. Passing guys there and who even move themselves to let us pass. All smiles on! Getting closer to the end of this north loop. Hearing the speaker getting closer and closer. Feeling fine still, also a few signs are popping up as I can hear my running buddy pushing me a bit more there. Am I dropping in pace? Getting to the start area again. Hearing our names, taking a glass of water and hop on the head. Feels good. And we are on the south loop now and the stomach starts to cramp. Slightly but becoming more and more distinct. We have now run over 15km and I am a little bit slower than planned. 1Minute maybe? Had in mind to pass it in 1:02+ and we are both over 1:03+. Putting this on the gravel is a bit much. Getting to the km6-sign again I have now dropped a few meters from my running buddy. The wind is not helping. I want to stop but don’t know how much time it would take for starting again. And I don’t do pitstop in a race. Don’t want to throw up neither. The stomach is just not happy. Want to bend and just stop. Putting back music in the ears. Choosing the craziest song I have on it. Good But seeing the leading guy of the half-marathon passing on the asphalt street above my stupid gravel path is giving me even more motivation. I am at km17+ so he really has 2+km to go. I want to be where he is instead of where I am. Looking at the fast guys passing by from the opposite direction is helping my mind to focus on something else than this stupid stomach. Reaching the “under-trees” path now. I don’t even bother looking at the watch. I know I am close to snail-pace. Just don’t let any K40 pass. The KS-gal has not accelerated but she is getting further and further away from me. I am just dropping in pace. Seeing soon Karin S straight and cool in her running, Anders P right in the back. More Lerum guys showing a smile. OMG! Thanks for the help! Focusing on reaching the next km is my mission now. It is just that I am not seeing the km-signs any longer. I just want to stop and do whatever it takes to make those cramps stop. Reaching the grass-area closer and closer to the water-station. The KS gal is too far ahead. I know I won’t be able to make it up before the end of the race. Please give me a marathon instead!!! Trying to reach my gel on the back of my sports bra but it ain’t working. Cannot find it (and there is NOT much place there). Passing the water station ignoring the water. My focus is down and the running on the grass ain’t working well, with an ankle turning a bit strangely but once again I make it and continue running. Don’t want to turn and check if any chick is close to me. Seeing the K40-gal on the way back. And then another lady. And another one. I have NO clue how far we are from each other and I won’t let myself check this. Focusing on the KS-gal who is soooo far by now (well, not THAT far, but by now the mind is not really willing to cooperate. Cannot focus on the stomach AND on estimating the distance at the same time). Finally reaching my gel and feeling that it is stupidly thick like h*ll. How can that be? They can be from liquid when it is quite warm to more gel but here it feels that it is hard like concrete!!! Having trouble to even get some in the mouth. Taking finally a little of it. Mixing with the saliva. Getting cheering from chick on the other side of the road. One more try with the gel before I throw it (sorry… I throw it in the forest part and I did not intend to do it. The mind is even thinking of running back to pick it up and reaching instead the next rubbish bag). Nooo… straight forward. I know the km9-sign is close after we have reached the asphalt. I just want to see it. The legs are getting a new life when reaching the pavement. Hello km9-sign. Just so loving it when I see it! It is 1.5km to finish. Still seeing the KS-gal. The aim is more to pick up place with one or two guys. But not that many ahead of me unfortunately. Passing km20 and turning right. Now it is is. Quick check at the watch indicate over 1:25 close to 1:26. Meaning that if I run a crazy sprint to the end I might make it under 90minutes. Yeaaaahhh…sure… it is not ONE km to go, it is onekilometerandninetysevenmeters, meaning it needs to be completed in 4 minutes or less…the total distance… Superwoman-strengths suddenly came out. What is wrong with me? Where were those strengths 5km ago? Don’t spend too much time reasoning on this. Running behind a guy and reaching …gravel again. But for the last time this time. So great feeling this one. Seeing the little 21km-sign. Loving it so much. Not too fund of the clock though. Ticking up. 1:29:54…55…56… Hearing my name, wonderful…and passing the finish line. Stopping the watch. 1:29:58. OK. I did not make it. Sub90 is gone. (swore little then, noticing it only when I see the smiles from two functionaries after the finish line. Sorry…). At least I got the win in my age category.

Official time: 1:29:58

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AFTER THE FINISH LINE

Not fully tired, I am however walking a bit bend as the final sprint has destroyed completely my stomach. The cramps are close to unbearable. But I still smile. I think. Getting my nice medal. A glass of water and a banana. Waiting a little at the water-table, half-bent and hoping this will disappear. And it does not. Getting a big hug from the KS-gal. Who also apologizes again for throwing her plastic mug on my head. Trying to laugh, but it hurt the stomach so badly that I congratulate here and move to the changing rooms. Meeting Anders P, who recommends to continue to walk so that the stomach would feel better. I don’t even ask his time and turn back for it. Annoying me not even able to be happy for hearing his cool new PB. Changing rooms now. Good that they are empty. So much for the glamour of running (if any), spending time in the loo after the race as the stomach is just emptying itself. The worse is that it does not feel much better afterwards. Getting my bag then because I feel that I should change. Meeting two small girls who are so willing to run that I leave my bag again to their dad and take them to the tack for running a few laps. Real fun. Nothing wrong with my legs, the hips are fine. But the stomach ain’t having fun. By half-way of the track I realize that I am running with twin-girls… (I thought I was so in need for carbs that the mind was playing games with me!). Getting more water, finishing my run. Shower (very hot one), this helps for the stomach apparently. Karin S has run an impressive 1:25-race and all the ladies in the room are mostly happy about their race. Changing to warm clothes and the stomach almost feels better. Taking a protein drink and time to get under the sun. Getting a hot-dog as well before meeting the Lerum guys who are all smiling and laying down on the grass. A couple of PBs (and very good ones). I just want to lay down here on the grass under the sun and rest. Race awards are distributed (missing the 3place by 38 seconds is a bit annoying me…) but climbing the highest step of the podium for my age category and getting a nice gold medal is helping a bit to forget (both the rubbish time and the 3rd-place miss). A few more that I know are reaching the podium too (among others Michael T and Annette K) which is cool!

Time to get back home. Anders P and Mikael Z get some energy for the road. I get a coke, but really feel so bad that I would rather remain laying here on the grass under the sun than sitting in a car for three hours, even with nice company. Good drive home with only one stop and more coke to drink. Celebration will have to wait until the stomach is ready for it… That was still a great day for racing and not regretting to have taken this race before a 32km-long run 🙂

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Weather: 17.8° Cloudy, Feels like 17.8°, 14 kph WSW wind, 94% humidity – well, it was actually sunny and nice. But windy.

Food: breakfast (bagel w/honey + tea + banana + green mix/C-vitamin) @4:30am / banana +sportdrink during transport. / After: banana soon after arrival+protein drink after the shower. Then coke right before leaving home and another one after 1/3 of the drive.

During: Aptonia melon after warm-up, Dextrosol: 1 @km10-12-14, red gel @km18.5 (no water)

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova blue line shorts, Casall Iconic sport bra MIK, arm sleeves. Shoes felt all nice and ready to rock!

Shoes: ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost – Purple (Quicky)

15/ Stable 14 up to halfway, then less effort during next 5km as slowing down for stomach pains, the final km was a blast, but not too sure it went that high on effort level. Annoyed to have missed 87 & 88 minutes, but still and for sure, a sub90 by 2 seconds ain’t THAT fun, but it is still a sub90 😉 Gravel ain’t my favourite terrain. But it treated my Achille’s well (no sensitivity whatsoever after the race!)

******

A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Third sub90 on “training-race”. Even though not fully happy to be that close to the 90minutes… Definitely not all-in on this one.

NOTE: Weather-wise, I cannot do anything about it. Sidewind was no fun to run in. Happy to have trained in this still. But more work to be done to be stronger there.

NOTE: Time and place? Rubbish for the first one and wonderfully happy for the second one 🙂 Have a clear understanding on how the pace dropped and why and when. Nothing could have been done differently from this part to the end. Very happy to have not stopped and completed the race this way anyway.

NOTE: Warmup? Maybe a bit faster than I should have. But felt ready for running at expected pace from start: Would have gladly run a couple more km before the race though.

NOTE: Drinking & energy during the race? Drinking was as usual close to in-existent. (this is a copy/paste for all the race I think!!!) and using plastic mugs is even worth than paper ones. Cannot fold them correctly and cannot drink. Dextrosol worked fine. Red gel was too thick, but definitely kicked in at the end.

NOTE: a repeat from Halmstad/Prinsensminne regarding the stomach pain. Although in Halmstad the pains arrived 2 hours after the race and remained for the rest of the day: But absolutely not this level of cramping as I had today.

NOTE: Cool and cosy race on a quick fast route. Good organization. Recommended!

And to finish a huge thanks to Anders P for driving me down there, otherwise I would not have run this race 🙂

A happy runner after the race 🙂

A nice and well-deserved gold medal!


Cannot run…doesn’t mean cannot train…

Early wake up thanks to the sun shining (still pretty freezing close to zero degree though…). Snoozed a bit trying to figure out how the hip would react when I’d decide to go up. Which actually worked better than expected. No limping today! Well, not FULLY limping today. Working on sitting position ain’t the best. So I kept reminding myself to go up and leave the chair on a regular basis to ensure the hip would not stay stuck on the sitting position. Painkillers taken only once today. Hopefully the sunshine is helping (if only the temperatures would get over 20ºC…).

Cannot run – that’s a fact… – so decided to get the body moving another way. Apparently got 7,000 steps according to my mobile phone (a bit strange it records the number of steps when it is in my bag…). Adding the steps done when I was NOT carrying my bag. That would do it for a day 🙂 Decided to take two days of rest over the weekend, i.e. swimming and if ain’t hurting, some bicycling as well. Will see how it goes.

For now, 30 days to go. Started 30 days challenge…for abs, butt and easy pushups. 1 day done, 29 to go 🙂 ‘night!

30Day3


178 days left…and the Evil Hip strikes again…

Hopefully 178 days to get a stronger and better hip...

178 days to -hopefully- get a strong(er) and well-functioning hip

 

Still 3-digits number of days left. Still time to train and prepare. Which is GOOD. Because the Evil Hip has stroked again during the night, making it completely impossible to even walk (ok, I could walk with lots of screaming and cursing – in my head). Painkillers were of no help at all. Hot bath probably burn the skin more than help the hip pain. So after 3 hours, could finally fall asleep again. Probably of exhaustion. And it was 4am…

Interestingly (?) the pain is not what I am used to (which is no fun to write because no one should be “used to” a certain pain). Usually it is in the front of the hip, groin area. Here it was actually on the “outside”, although when trying to find the area itself, I could not really find a specific spot. Which makes me think it might be “inside” in a way. Once again, lots of googling later provided more worried thoughts than helped. Use of a crutch has been the best decision of the day… Figure out! Alternating hot gel pads and cold spray is also the alternative treatment for today.

Not being a fan of painkiller, I tried to endure the pain, but honestly when the foot cannot touch the floor without getting a little scream of pain… it is time to re-consider. No surprise here, but today will be a (forced) rest day.

So, countdown to 178. Definitely a nice number of minutes to reach 🙂


Race Report – Öloppet Sprint – 2015/08/01

Or… Tale of a “swimclimbwherethef***istherunpart” race…
image

Planned: Get around in a good time, test this swinrun thing, have fun

Actual: Experience is what makes us grow, right? Yaaaa…sure! Some experiences ain’t really necessary maybe. But done is done!

Let’s start with numbers:

03:06:35 – time it took for getting us round the route

9 – place mixed team

35 – place total

22425 – length in meters for the whole race

2610 – total distance for the swim

19815 – total distance for the “run”

200 – total of teams registered to the Öloppet Sprint

374 – number of times I said “Sorry” to Johan when not keeping up the pace

218 – number of times I asked Johan to slow down or wait

0 – number of time I thought about dropping of the race

57 – number of times I swore in French during the race (among which 4 were done out loud. Rest was in my head…)

5 – number of times I swore in Swedish during the race (3 out loud, rest in my head)

1 – number of times I fell on the face during the race

54 – weight Johan was pulling throughout the race (mostly during the climbwherethef***istherun parts)

48 – number of small cuts detected and undetected on the hands, fingers, thighs and other parts of the body (more to be discovered I assume – always noticed when in the water)

4:13 – pace of the last 1,6km of the race to the finish line

7*3cm – surface for the bruises on the left knee

6 – number of mixed teams we passed during the final 2,5km

3 – number of sea swimming training done prior to the race…all in July

OK, probably plenty of other fancy numbers can be found. Let’s start with the beginning of this tale… 2012 (?) got suggested by Anton S. about participating to Öloppet. Sounded like an idea but all places were already sold. More talk during 2013, but unsure would suit with the marathon and other races plans. Quiet then until hearing more with Eva F winning 2013 edition and Johan P reaching 3rd place of the shorter Öloppet edition 2014. OK, just a little push and November 1, 2014 registration was done with Johan P as partner in crime. Eight months later, standing on the start line with wonderful green swimming cap and yellow singlets. 12:00 – start is given. A bit back though.

06:30am – up and breakfast @7:00am with chia+banana porridge and green mix. Water drinking. Never done this race so did not really know how to load energy for it.

image

Outfit ready for the race

07:30am – bag checked for the 5th time and ready to bike to the ferry.

07:59am – OK, took way shorter time than expected to get to the ferry and lay down on a bench enjoying the morning sun while waiting for Johan. Nice run snack when he arrived and finally on-board the ferry (and more run-talk).Felt very relaxed and all looked actually bright for the day even the weather! Arriving on Styrsö-island and there were the brave preparing for Öloppet (the long one). We get ourselves registered, got our start-kit and spend the rest of the wait taking our breakfast. Decided to eat a bit as my breakfast was a while ago: bread with omelette and 3 slices of ham + orange juice and tea. Johan got a good breakfast and 3 (or 4?) coffee mugs. Hoping that my stomach will keep the food as it is less than 2hours before start.

11:00am – heading to the changing area (walking up up up and finally getting there). Queue to the loo so decided to skip it and get myself ready, which means: warmup cream with chili on the thighs and calves, vaseline all over the body where there can be friction during the race, suncream which is supposed to be repulsive to jelly fish on all body parts not covered by the wetsuit, wetsuit on, repack the clothes, queue to the loo, more Vaseline, cream on the face (which I wondered for a while whether it was Vaseline or suncream and hope for the latter one), drop the bag, find Johan and head to the start.

11:42am – getting close to the first line. Decided that the first run of 400m+ was probably very fast so as good to be first there. Meeting with people Johan knows. Listening to the final instructions.

11:59:50am – final countdown out loud…

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Öloppet Sprint at start - still smiling!

12:00pm – start is given and the race is on. As expected it goes like crazy fast directly left and shortly after right. Johan is passing in front of me and I follow gladly (hoping that the pace would be sliiiiightly slower afterwards!). Reaching the water I get the rope from Johan and attach it to my home-made rope-belt. Swimgoogles on and off in the water. I think we were quite early in the water. And it did not even feel cold. Johan had shown me the flag to follow on the other side which is the first island t reach. Crazy many people swimming and the rope between us is a very good idea. I got to pull for the first part and then Johan changed as I headed a bit wrong. It feels long but ok. Don’t like having people swimming on each other at the pool and here it is exactly what is happening. But ok.

First island is reached, tricky to get up on the feet as it is pretty muddy (and me who does not like the mud or anything close to it…). Johan is heading directly to the little cliff to climb. Yapp…starting with some climbing, but I follow where Johan’s feet are landing. Feeling fine. I am expecting a good run when reaching the top of the cliff…and meet…more climbing, sliding down the hill, Johan having a good rhythm but the rope between us means I have to follow a similar rhythm. And playing the mountain goat ain’t my cup of tea (and will never be). There starts the first “please slow down”, mixed with a couple of “sorry”. Try to follow Johan’s instructions of NOT slowing down when going down the cliff and just follow (otherwise it takes forever AND I probably slide and fall). Little swim to the next Island Köpstadsö and there…Nope…still no running and more climbing. When we finally get some running, we miss the left turn. I shortly stop for tying my stupid shoelaces (and yes, I did a double knot before start) and we run incorrectly at a really decent pace to find ourselves with 3 other teams in a stop area. Turn back and find the correct path. Loosing quite a lot of places there. More climbing and walking and finally some walkswimwhateveryoumaycallit to the next island. Long swim there (cannot remember much of it apart from that I pulled and then Johan pulled and then I pulled and finally arrived on the next island Asperö. Johan takes the lead and it ain’t easy to get out of the water. Nothing enjoyable that I recall there. Climbing, run on stones (wet ones), happy to get in the parts with real roads to run on…but it is already time to jump into the bloody water again (cannot understand we do that when there IS actually a ferry doing this route 😛 ).

OK, here is a part that I have NO idea where it is during the race, but I think it is before Brännö or before Asperö. There is water ahead so we plan to swim. On with the swim glasses and in the water. Walking a bit, it is muddy. Very muddy. Trying to swim but my hands are touching the bottom and cannot see anything in the water (which is so mud-filled). Decided to skip the swim and do some walking instead, which makes my legs going deep into the mud (up to the knee-like?) which does not make the walking very practical. So question: there is water. You cannot swim and cannot walk. How do you get to the other side? 😦 Not liking it.at.all.

Have to recognize that after the first swim I said “one done, eight to go”, I knew that after passing Galterö we would have gone half the full distance and there was only two long swim left and running. BUT this was when I had checked and studied the route map. Well on place and running, the only thing I focused on was not to fall. Looking at Johan’s footsteps and setting my shoes where he had set his. During a slippery-stone passage (which was called “run”…), Johan advised wisely to run with light steps, spend the shortest time on each stone and go fast. For a while my mind only thought about “light feet, fast feet, light feet, fast feet…”. Worked well! Tips which I followed for the rest of the race. And THEN when we had reached quite a good rhythm on those stupid #%&!!?& stones or whatever, happened what I did not want to happen. I fell. Unsure exactly where we were (no comment on my orientation abilities here: I AM good at orientating myself, but here, no clue where we were and seriously, I was not really enjoying the landscape and only looked at…yes, Johan’s footsteps and calve. He made it looking so easy and light. “Mountaingoat” ability: ON). Arriving at a progressive downhill, almost dried stones, focusing as usual on light steps, quick steps and there comes this guys from the left and “take.my.stone”… Meaning this was the stone Johan had his foot on and just left and that my foot was to use. Now I just got without stone and my left foot just met nothing but the emptiness. Fell fast and quick reflex got my hands first. Right hand got a bad smash on the palm, cannot recall what happened with the left hand but only that it got on a stone as well. The face fell right on a stone as well. Left side. And the left knee hit a stone as well (but mostly because this particular stone was a bit big, otherwise the knee would have been kind-of fine). Remained this way, face on the stones for what seemed forever. Noticed the shadows around of the guys stopping to check on what happened. Johan coming back and asking how it is. Felt terrified that my face was all bloody and with a bone broken. Really did not want to turn on my back then. Which I eventually did. Heard voices, comforting ones. But honestly the only thing I recall was the sun in my eyes, shadows all around, Johan checking up on me and asking kindly how it was. Suggesting to stop for a while. Felt tears in my eyes and hearing myself that we were just to continue. That the knee was fine but the face must be checked. Johan telling the face was not showing anything wrong and no bleeding, that we could rest a while. Seriously, cannot remember how long time took this whole happening, everything went so extremely fast and I just did not want to see my face completely broken. Don’t know how I got on sitting position and then standing. The left knee was clearly hurting a bit after the fall, but the worse was to feel the pain on the left side of my face. Looked at my hand palms. They had been covered with blood since the first going out on the first island and now they had blood and dirt. Which I really did not want on my chick. Which felt really crazily swollen. Johan wisely took a slower pace and was carefully asking how it was. I kept looking around for some water, any water to get on my face for cooling down the pain. But nope. There.was.no.water.anywhere.to.be.found. We did eventually reach the end of Känsö to get into the sea. Must be there we had to jump (and yes, this is on the list of the things I put my full trust in Johan. Just jumped).

This long swim was tricky. Boats on each side, but it was very broad between them. And it felt we took the outside part. Was pulling for a while and then Johan corrected the direction and took the lead. All the bruises, cuts, pain on the face were just not feeling at all in the cool water of the sea. Nice. Skipped thinking about the darkness of the sea under us and focused on following Johan. Changed from crawling to breaststroke as it made my left knee moving and felt actually better. Was able to keep up the pace from Johan, so that was ok. But man…this was a long swim! When reaching the stones, Johan got slightly on the right and off the water. Unfortunately I could not get out.at.all. He pulled but it was too slippery. A guy behind me took my hand and tried to help, but still slippery. He then kindly told me that we did not know each other but would be friend now and nicely push my bum up J Nice and happily on the first stone, I thanked him and noticed we still had a bit of climbing to do. But it felt fine (well, it was climbing on the whole four, so not enjoyable, but we made it worked). We were way off timewise. Checked my watch indicating 2hrs 30 and we were still NOT on the last island. Got to the final swim, which I think went well (and yes, I did not listen to Johan and left myself be pulled. Swam on the side of him, unsure it was good or bad, but at least we reached the final ladder at the same time).

FINALLY, last island. Styrsö. 6km plain run. Starting with a bit of stone climbing, Johan being very good at orientating where to go. Reaching the little harbour, swearing for getting my pullbuyo in place, hearing a friend cheering (always nice to hear my name in a race) and it was on! The feeling on the asphalt under the feet…hmmmmm…so crazy nice! Passing a mixed team and asking whether this had been the last swim and they confirmed it. Johan was strong and running well. Pulling definitely but I felt that I was able to run and keeping up the pace. Not in those stupid uphill that the route had, but for the rest. “2 mixed ahead, we take them” – said Johan. And indeed we passed them with not much effort. Just continuing. Was a bit (read: completely…) disoriented and was not sure how long was left. Turning left and passing one more mixed team. Always this done. And then seeing the arrival…but we had to turn left and up the little hill, very stiff and Johan that still makes the whole thing looking like “piece of cake-running”. Passing two giants walking and I do my best to run up on light feet and mostly front feet. But there is more uphill. WHY? This is an island and not a high one! Getting into the forest or whatever it is. Been there last year, so I recognize a bit. “Keep right” I hear Johan saying and the people we pass are kindly doing it and cheering bit. Passing 2 mixed teams in the woods and more running and finally on the asphalt again and turning left. This is the final km a gal is yelling to us. Yaaaa….sure… have heard that before. We are meeting teams with white singlets, those on the final line from Öloppet. Johan has increased slightly the pace and it feels good to run, passing people and getting some cheerings. Looking in front of us and there is one mixed team – “we get them as well” said Johan quietly and I just agree. Aaaaand done. Last little bump to run and there is this nice light downhill and straight.to.the.finish.line…Nooooooo! there is a mixed team still in front of us. Yes we take them as well. Johan had this extraordinary strength since we reach the last asphalt and he still finds extra strength for running and pulling me. My feet are no longer touching the ground. The mixed team must hear us coming and they turn to look and accelerated, the gal getting closer to her partner, but Johan is just wow-running fast. I hear myself telling him it is too fast but the finish line is just there. My feet get on the grass and then it is only short to the finish. Passing the line. Hearing our names and team name from the speaker. Stupidly short area for the arrival makes me bump into a guy in front of me and falling nicely on the back on the grass. We done it. We arrived. We are finished. Johan smiles and look far from tired.

The adrenaline of the final run made me forgetting about my knee and my face and it all comes back now. Up on my feet. Getting water and a Redbull. Salted pickles. More water. Getting our finisher bag and meeting Johan in the crowd. Hug and smile. Checked at the medic tent. She does not think anything is broken on the face nor on the knee. Nothing can be done. Just wait and see how it will look like later. Got all the cuts on the fingers cleaned up and that is all.

AFTER THE RACE:

Walking back to the change area (i.e more climbing), and yes Johan is correct saying that I am far from being trained for running on terrain, but that the route this year was far from fun as last year. Climbing was just NOT part of the deal. Quick shower, not feeling any burn mark on the body – which is good, meeting Johan outside. Chat and then heading back to the tent for eating. Johan takes an early ferry and I remain on the island for a bit longer. Bike home in the evening then, feeling that my right wrist is not too kind with me when changing the gear of the bike.

SUMMARY: Been there, done that, got the tshirt and won’t do it again. Seriously, some parts felt pretty dangerous and not just because I am not an elite runner on terrain. Saw a few falling and many must have ended with bruises and bloody bodyparts. The challenge of running terrain and swimming in the sea was definitely on and it is done. The second part for the swimming in the sea went strangely better than expected (apart from the disgusting swim-walk parts in muddy water). But the run was far from fun or entertaining. Way more climbing compared to last year apparently and this made the whole experience far from fun. Thanks for Johan it went fine from start to end. Without this incredible pulling force ahead of me, it would have taken way longer time to complete the whole route. The evening was spent with massaging the knee with anti-inflammatory cream and arnica cream for the bruises on the face. Surprisingly the right hand and fingers stopped functioning in the evening, impossible to move them at all. Which felt a bit scary. In the morning they were “fine”. The whole body felt a bit tired and sore. Nothing that could stop from going out on Sunday morning for a long run (heat workout…) however. 🙂


What is pain? Baby, don’t hurt me… don’t hurt me…no more..

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What is pain?

Good start for the day seems to be those predawn runs in a quiet city. When the body had approximately 10 minutes max from the moment it stopped the clock ringing, get into those running gears and hit the pavement. When the only people you meet are either those closing the night-clubs or the guys cleaning the roads.When you probably disturb the rabbits in the park and wake up the dogs in the gardens.

You might feel far from at ease with your eyes trying to adapt to the light (during summer) or the darkness AND the (city) lights (during winter).

All this is just the greatest way of starting the day. Any day. Slow recovery run, while just setting one foot in front of the other. Interval workout, as shocking your body with a pace you would probably would not even dream of. Long run, letting you see the sun going up slowly and completing it with the greatest hunger ever for a well deserved breakfast. Follow it with a bit of body strength exercises. No need to build up those crazy muscles. Just take advantage of your body being warm and ready for a little bit more exercise. Yes, those workouts which always seem to be cumbersome but for which it feels so good when they were done.

Pain is always around. Might come physically during any moment of your run. A cramp, an ache. But can also be mental. Can I really do one more? This pace seems crazy fast, has anyone in Earth ever run this fast? D*mn, more rain and the music went off – and still 10km home – what am I really doing here? … Whatever shape it may take, pain is inevitable. Yapp. But the greatest gift everyone had is to actually push the limit when it will appear. To actually postpone it or even vanquish it. All is a question of training. And no. It ain’t easy nor simple. And yes. This is feasible. Because after all, we are runners. We are able to outrun the sun. We are running on ice in the pôle. We are fighting against the heat in the deserts. We are getting up early to get this training done.

So just do it. Go for it. Embrace it. Accept it. Recognise it is there… because it will then diminish… No no no, it won’t disappear. Probably change into a new shape. But it is a part of you. Be smart. You are always better than this…

Run happy!


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 🙂


Meet my new “friend”…

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This bike will be my friend for a little while…

 

One week has passed since being back from Dubai and still not running.

Monday was travel-day. Leaving 3:35am for arriving after lunch at home, loosing approximately 20°C during the trip and being welcomed by snow, rain and cold. I knew I should have stayed in Dubai… Took this day as rest day.

Tuesday this week was dedicated to finding out what was wrong with me left foot. First a 40-minutes wait before getting to the doctor, regular check of the foot. Walked on the toes and then on the heels. All ok. The doc suggested as well that it could be overwork. But really? After one week doing nothing, it should feel a bit better and not worse. Because now it feels even when I walk… Got sent to take an X ray of the foot. To check whether it could be broken or a stress fracture or nothing. Walked slowly to the xray place. Took 6 minutes including the wait for my turn and I walked back home. Checked with the doc if I could/should go to the physiotherapist now or wait for the results of the xray (which are taking up to 4-5 days…). So biked to the physio Erik S. and there, got him to press on my foot, compare both feet and conclude that until we know for sure if there is or not a stress fracture, it was better to just bike or run in the pool. And avoid all foot-specific workout. Back home and more work to do.

Wednesday turned into a rest day as well. Lots at work to catch up as well as trying to figure out where I could be training as biking outdoor seemed impossible due to the weather and the next two weeks program includes bike and water-running. Cannot run in my bath-tub…

Thursday, time to raise from the ashes!!! And move that butt a bit. Long day at work and directly followed by interval workout on bike outdoor in the dark. Worked quite well actually. A bit unsure what “tempo-pace” is while biking, so took the fastest I felt I could. 3*(2-4-6 minutes). Woke up the body pretty well. Quick shower afterwards and directly to the cinema to watch an Indian movie on the court system there. (forgot to eat right after the bike, so had to buy a vanilla bun before the movie…). Good movie, but after a long working day and bike workout, I felt pretty tired and my eyes closed themselves a few times… No problem to fall asleep after that.

And finally it was Friday. Early start, work and chat with the physiotherapist Anna. When the day was complete, went to the gym closest to home to try a free session. Bike. Intervals on time. Got to drink my water bottle and lots of sweat. Stretch. And bought a gym-card, so I could bike indoor at any time of the day while my foot was not back on track.

Real slow start to the weekend. Saturday lunch arrived after a bit of tv-watching and then time for workout. Bike indoor. 3*10 minutes. Increase of pace every two minutes to reach tempo-pace. Once again, nor knowing really what to refer to, I arbitrarily decided on the rpm to have. The final two minutes of each serie went however way fatter than I thought I could handled, being at the end of the 10-minutes interval. All good. Especially when noticing there is a little fan on the top of the bike… Could be handy when biking for a while and getting sweat! Rest of the day turned into easy at home. And late in bed after movie almost watched to the end… 2.5 seconds and I was gone to Dreamland…

Final day of the week, Sunday started to early for my taste. But had to get prepared breakfast for the first one to get to the athletics competition. Took this time for getting in the mat for a core&stability workout. Not to good balance on the left foot… But not too much better on the right one either! Anyhow, took 26+minutes. Time to jump into bike-shorts and off to the gym. Good to see that “my” bike was available. Decided to go for a hill program, 60 minutes. Started the little fan on low after a couple of minutes and it was just to pedal pedal and pedal more. Lots of water drinking again, but thanks to the fan (?) did not feel really sweaty. Light stretch and back home. In shorts and bare legs. Through the streets with snow and 2°C outside. The large plate of pasta with green peas and ham felt well-deserved after this workout 🙂 Not much rest after that, as it was high time for the afternoon indoor-athletics competition. Got to find some Gatorade (which was not possible before here in this cold country…). As well as having new references for 600m (E) and 800m (G) for how fast I should be running my intervals in the near future… Challenge is on! Still snow outside. Chill out rest of the day, preparing for a fully-booked week ahead. One more week with bike and water-running workouts. Hope to get at least once to the swimming pool…and that the Xray will show something or nothing, but at least that can start taking care of this foot of mine…

Great week to you! Keep on running (or biking, or swimming, or walking…)


The day a race was run and I was not in it (almost…) (lost post from 23/1)

And the day arrived finally. The day I would not be able to run, which I thought my head and body were fine with, but after all this is what I had been training for and so much looking forward, so it was not really true that I did not care at all… But anyway got all my thoughts on post and this one disappeared as well. So once again, called to the rescue brain memory and let’s share how went this day then…

Friday 23/1 – Up a couple of times during the night, strangely at the time I am used to wake up for eating and drinking before the race. Remained in bed so and around 6am, decided that it could be good to maybe perhaps possibly lift the heavy thing that might be called my body and head to the gym. THE plan was to get through a bike workout before going to watch the race. A bit unsure though whether to go to the arrival or along the route. As there were super stars running, tv-coverage aso this year, I was expecting to have pretty much lots of people at the arrival. SO, bike workout it was. Slowly seeing the clock ticking and turning into 7am. Start of the race. And I was not there. Bike harder then. 7:15am – ok, quick calculation on where the men elites were approximately. Same procedure a couple of time during the bike session. Changed a bit today, having 10 minutes alternative with 2 min standing and 1 min sitting. Felt actually easier than the day before. Stretched the ride to 50 minutes (including 5 min cooldown) and then on the mat. Pushups/Situps challenge and light core. Lots of sweating this morning again. Probably more than if I had been running so far. Back to my room, got a banana and turned on the live-stream from the race. Took 10 minutes or so to get it to work… on my mobile! Anyway, Pretty cool to see the elite men running and remembering (almost) every single cm of the route and the feeling it felt last year. Of course, the trip to Memory Lane was a bit in fast-forward as those guys were running way faster than 1) what I usually do and 2) what my brain could get the images out of its  well-sealed images bank. Anyway, got ready and checked the Swedes running. Three in particular: Sara Holmgren, Fredrik Johansson and Fredrik Uhrbom. Noticed their turn at km15.65 and expected time to finish. Wow! That would be fast. Quick thought and planned to go to see Sara after the turn of km36. Would be missing the elites and the Swedish guys, but as fun to see her run her first marathon. The annoying part this year is that the time was shown only at km15.65 and km36.25. Which can be completely incorrect with estimated time. Anyhow, Sara was planned to pass the second time tracker after 2hr 30, so I aimed for that. Well, I did take a bit of time to see the arrival of the elite men (niiiice!), and the elite women (CRAZY beautiful!). Last year I got the elite women passing by when I was on my way towards the dreadful km36 and this actually gave some extra strengths (not probably seen in the pace then, but still!). Back to today, got myself ready for the beach, suncream, bathing suit and shorts. In with my ASICS (only shoes that seem to work at the moment without having to much crippling…) and of course, I was short on time. Ran to the metro and thought to take it to the next stop so I would have some extra time to get ready to take pictures of Sara. But the metro is CLOSED on Friday until 1pm… Yeaaaah! Run more then, under a pretty nice and warm sun, crossing the Internet city, the Knowledge Village and hoping that I was in the correct place. Seeing some people running a bit away confirmed it. Took my place and started to look. Cheering for every single runner there. They ALL needed it, I can guarantee that! Don’t know how I look like at km38+ of a race, but there was definitely need for water and cheering… Got to run and chat with a couple of runners, they all got a personal cheering with their number from me, as at this part of the race, there is most likely NOT to be a lot of people running together. After a while I thought I had missed Sara and planned to go back home. When turning back, noticed a gal stopping on the side and definitely not feeling good. OK, this one will get more attention I thought. Going back and cheering a bit, until she passed me and I recognize her. Hmmm, that was a little off the estimated time, but who cares. Missed my shots, so I ran along her and cheered a bit. Talked and talked. Asking how she went (not too good…had stopped a couple of time…stomach not optimal at all…heavy…) and proposing to run along her (Yeaaah! at this time, I was not caring much about my stupid feet). Which she accepted with a bit crisped smile. So I did 🙂 Did the talking and she did the running. That felt heavy. Chatted and chatted and chatted more. Asked a couple of times whether it was bothering her, but that was ok. Just to continue. Check whether her boyfriend would be at the arrival, and he would. And we were at km39. Almost there. Definitely not the best outfit for running I had. And nope, the suncream was not adapted neither. Felt it running along the whole body, like I was showering. But if that would make Sara finish, that was all fine. Closer to the last water station. Sara took a bottle and a few zips. She did not want more to drink. Had no idea of the pace we had and just hoped she was fine with what she was running. Got my camera out (yes, I was running in bathing suit (with a singlet) and shorts and had my phones in one hand and my little purse in the other one. As I said, the optimal outfit for running…NOT!). Got Sara to smile and nice pictures were taken. He he he! Now I know I can run and take nice pic as well! And we were at km40 already and 41 was shortly passed. Tried to described as much as I could and remember the route to Sara so she would have something to focus on (OR I was completely screwing her concentration but she was too tired to tell otherwise… I think she was fine with my talking though). And arrived the final turn, 600m, full sun in the eyes, could no longer run by her side on the road so got on the other side of the fence and ran there as long as I could. Still cheering and off I let her go. Could not run more unless I would have run on the people watching the race on the side… Quick stop at the loo for showering the body (feet, legs and up to the belly). Nice indeed! The suncream was really scratching all over the legs and belly. The face was red and seriously looking like I needed special care. Out to find Sara, but after checking with a runner who did not find her in the massage tent I headed back home. No walking but light jog, as the feet remembered their original state and reminded me right away how stupid it was to have run. Took 2.5km before I capitulated and took a cab home. Indeed in my happiness for running beside Sara, I did not thinking really that I would have to get back home the other way around afterwards…

Back home, shower, a bit of food and then time for resting at the pool. Reading, half-sleeping and definitely no bathing (freezing cold water). Got a nice tan and well-rested feet. That was the plan (at least for the second part). Evening spent with one of my roommates Simon, watching movies on tv and chatting about life, Dubai, Australia, Sweden aso. After Wolverine and IronMan, it was highly time for bed. Which completed very well this day a race was run and I was not in it (almost…)

So happy one can be when there are only a few km left of a marathon :-)

Sara Holmgren… So happy one can be when there are only a few km left of a marathon 🙂


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

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

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

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

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

Soooo…more to come then…

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


To run or not to run, that’s no longer a question :-(

And so arrived the final well and with it a left foot which does not seem willing to cooperate. Really unfortunate. Got a full day rest yesterday, hoping today would start well. But this stupid foot made itself reminded already before going out of bed. Skipped the planned training with colleagues and stayed longer in bed instead.
Which dis not help apparently. Work all morning, meaning not much effort from the feet. Got ready for an easy run at lunch and it took 200m to feel it was just not ok. Turned back to go to the shoes store close to home and asked them to check how I was running. Apparently a bit inside but it looked normal to me. He said I maybe tape the wrong part (should be lifting the inside and not the outside of the foot according to him). Off with the tape and out to run. But still not ok. Speed after 3.5 km. Got ready to test a very short and fast bout.  Worked perfectly… Pace wise. Because the foot hated it. Just had to get back home,  shower and back to work for not crying over this.
The long story made short: no race next week. Should not and cannot risk a foot for a race. Feels really rubbish. But so it is.
Will drown my sadness into bicycling over the weekend. At least I will remain in good shape even though I cannot run.  Not to good start for the year ;-(


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 🙂 


30K @3 or “a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do”…

Day to check this foot. Not too late in bed yesterday. Ensure had eaten enough carb (took extra sweets, just in case 🙂 ). Final check to the weather before switching off the light: great! 5ºC and rain on the menu. Have seen worse! WHen the clock rang at 3:20am – yes, you read correctly -, the brain was clear and peaceful, but a bit unsure why I needed to wake up at this time, especially when hearing the rain pouring down outside. But once again, the little warrior in me (there must be one, really, to justify going up at this time of the night for going out for a long run!) move that body and got it dressed. And it was time to start running…under the rain…and no men… 😛

Had thought running close to home just in case the foot or another part of the body would be complaining. But apparently the brain had better ideas. Headed towards the water and got a nice run along the harbours. Of course the rain was out to play. Of course there was headwind or sidewind. But shortly I felt a nice little tailwind and just.enjoyed. Got to this nice little 1km track in the wood, but apparently nobody is supposed to run there at 5:25am…because there was no light at all. And running in pitch black in the woods ain’t on my program 🙂 So headed back home on this lovely wet asphalt instead. Just so extremely nice to be out and run. Surely a little chilly when the rain hit the bare skin on the thighs and when the wind is making it even worse. But at the end, this little morning long run turned into 30km no more no less and I still had time to shower, eat a little snack and prepare breakfast for the kids before laying down on the mat with the legs up and resting for 35 minutes 🙂 Timing IS everything! And after this little morning escapade, and the well-deserved rest, I did some little rolling on the foamroller for the hamstrings. Nice actually 🙂 The left foot felt a bit while running, but all-in-all, it worked out quite wel.

Then it was time for work. Meetings on meetings, crazy hungry at 9:30am (ate my rice and 2 avocados) and then already lunch (sushi). And more meetings in the afternoon. The walking back home on heels shoes felt really long and slow. The dinner of tagliatelle with smoked salmon was a blessing 🙂 Took 2 portions! Now tea and easy evening watching a movie. And it is only 6:40pm… Want to go to bed…now…

Enough for one day!

 


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?


Recap 2014…

First week of the new year reaching its end… Time for a short summary on how 2014 went…

Figures first: Races: 4 marathons, 4 half-marathons, 3 10K, 2 smaller races.

Back to the beginning: Dubai marathon. Great start with a new PB by 4min 44sec and year objective reached by 1min 1 sec… Could not wish for better first race of the year. Once again, tricky conditions for training with rubbish weather in December and January, BUT a really good finish of the year training with 477km run in December which probably helped a bit for getting this result. Sun shining… and surely starting to think about what other objectives should be set for this marathon distance for the rest of the year… Next step: busy March with first : Semi de Paris. New PB by 16sec for a race which was counting as training-race. Good way to train the running, the “Oooohhhhh nooooo… I dropped my gel and had only one for the whole race…what should I do now”-energy plan and enjoy fully the scenery 🙂 Two weeks later, had nothing else to do but to register to an 8km Spring run and got a PB on it (once again, first time run = PB 🙂 Liking it!). And then came the cherry on the cake: Copenhagen half-marathon, standing as well this year for World championships in half-marathon. CRAZY new PB by 2min 41sec since SdP at the start of the same month. Getting as well WAY under the objective set for the year. And a great celebration with running-buddy “Trickie” who was joining the race as well. So after this, the cup felt full and happy I was. The year had only gone 3 months and all felt fine… Got to run our 4km terrain club championship and got first place woman 🙂 Still fine year, right? But it was without counting Rotterdam marathon in April. Dubai, Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Chicago were the A-races of the year. But having set PB in Dubai and Copenhagen, I was more than happy to run a fast race in Rotterdam and that would do… But nope. All preparations had gone well, two weeks after Copenhagen I was standing in Rotterdam with stomach aches and not able to keep anything in my tummy. So the plan was just to complete the race… Which ended with a first half in 1hr25 and a final time of 2:57:25, new PB by 1min 44 since Dubai… and 4th in age category 🙂 Wow, the year was just great. After that focus was on Chicago in autumn, with a few races on the way there. First was mid-may with III Subida a la Cruz de Benidorm, 10K race which I took first day of “training-vacation” in Spain and got happily to cross the finish line first of all ladies (after a huge 2km uphill and a super fast 2km downhill in the middle). This fun training-race under the sun was followed by a lovely sunny training week in Spain (and crazy pain on the front of hamstrings… which made me understand WHY downhill training is of importance sometimes!). Back home it was time for Göteborgsvarvet. There was a dip in motivation for this race. Which was anyhow planned as training race and hopefully to get sub90. Which I did…for a couple of hours…until the elite field was granted with 14 extra seconds for all times due to issue with the start clock. Ending 1sec above 90min… Next stop was two weeks later, the capital and Stockholm marathon. Once again this was as well Swedish Championships and even though it was not top-race on my plan, sub3 was a wish… This was without thinking of a bad turn that happened the week before and the pain in the knee until the race. Got the race done, half way as planned but by km30, the knee just did not want to cooperate. Good time anyway with 7min 43sec faster than last year, but missed the sub3. No worry, I had my knee still there and that what’s matter right? A PB without knee? Not too good 😉 Followed a recovery month, meaning crazy daily rehab training, skipping the 10K-races planned in July and finally got to run ONE 10K on the 2nd day of Augsut. Musselloppet. Crazy time right before the race (took us over 2 hours for driving a distance which should have taken us like…30min?), arrived at the race 10min before start and understood when getting there that it was NOT a flat race, but a 2-laps race with hills… No crazy time, but got the “knee-test” passed. No pain. All good for next race at the end of August: Midnattsloppet Göteborg. This one is a midnight run and started with 5min heavy rain on us, right before a delayed start. got a good training (when I woke up after 4km reminding myself it was a 10K and not a 42K…). Once again, knee-test ended well. So training continued and it was time to get ready for the test-run before Chicago: Stockholm half-marathon (standing for Swedish Championship this year). Great weather, body fine, still took it easy for not pressing the knee. Which ended in a PB (he he he…you know…first time for this race = automatic PB 🙂 ) and a sub90 half-marathon which gave me a 36th place in the Swedish Championships. Happy, because there were crazy fast chicks this year! Got to congratulate JP for his crazy achievement in this race too. So nice to be able to celebrate after a race with people you like 🙂 All-in-all, it felt that “more ready cannot be” and October was already there. And Chicago marathon. Spent a week in crazy warm North Carolina the week before and got to Chicago where a mild weather was given to us. “Tricky” was there as well, which made this race even more fun. Right before the start, the left calf did a bit of boring reminder like “youhouhou…I’m here…”-like, but race is a race and it was just one of the most amazing experiences to be in this race. Until 20km, all felt good and perfect, but then the calf did not cooperate too much, and the choice was pretty simple: I have two calve (got them at borth: no change nor refund possible) and there will be other races… Chose to slow down and complete the race. Will be back there in better shape. Missed the sub3, but got rewarded with a 1380th place out of 40,418 participants. 172nd woman. I think it is good 🙂 Got some rest after that. A bit of motivation was lost due to this “miss” in Chicago, the calve were not too happy, letting me run but not as much I wanted really. So skipped all races for the rest of the year and focused on training to get the best start in 2015. Ended December with a new all-time-high in volum with 513.5km run 🙂 A good ending.

Sooooo: for last year: 2014 was a great year for running. In figures (because it is fun!): 3,929.1km and over 313 hours spent on the roads (the number of steps added to 3,384,900 (calculated with an average of 180 steps/min :)), on 3 continents. Travelling is part of it and fun, but not all the time. Food? a couple of problems before races, which strangely gave me the best times achieved this year. Looking a bit more on food for recovery. When I have time… Long runs? not as many as I wished, but definitely lots of fun out there! Massage? Should be sponsored by a massage company for all the time I spend there too! Core exercises? Surely a great improvement since last year. Can be seen on pictures 🙂 but as well in the running where it feels better longer. Back ache? nope. Alternative training? biking a bit and not enough swimming (this will change this year!). Running on terrain? Surely added this in summer and late autumn (will continue this year too!). Trained under any weather condition and did take time for resting too (thanks for a wonderful crazy sunny summer, got a nice tan as well ;).

Would say that the year had gone all well as a whole. With surely some times with feeling down, bits of lack of motivation, knee and calve showing that one should clearly respect one’s own body when running and training in general. But when looking back, it was a great year. Let’s see what 2015 brings us, shall we?


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!

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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!


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?…

image

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…

 


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

Morning run along the beach...

Morning run along the beach…

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

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

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

Evening view during dinner

Evening view during dinner

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

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

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

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

Final slope…ALWAYS with the sun in the eyes

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

 

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

No one swimming here...

No one swimming here…

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

…nor here either (until I jumped 🙂 )


Almost there…

Pain in the knee from Tuesday turned the following days into rest days. Not a chance I run on this knee.

Wednesday could have started with bike tour, but this would have meant pretty early start as I was to leave for work @7:30am… Got the rehab and torture massage done instead before breakfast. Which was good because the “back home” hour got pretty late, after long day at work and evening with colleagues. A bit more work and then it was already 12:20am and just  time for a torture massage before going to bed. No need to tell how tired I was by then… No pain, probably because I must have been half sleeping already!

Not enough sleeping hours later and Thursday started fast as well. Early at work, long day stretch to ensure continuing the rehab and then back home. Did the torture massage pretty soon after and the rehab. The side of the thighs felt pretty aching by this day, due to the regular torture massage. Hope this won’t continue… But the knee was feeling good so decided to plan for a run on Friday.

TGIF! and not any Friday… Day off so to have Sweden celebrating Midsommar. The knee still feeling fine, got my running gear on and off on the pavement. After minimal warm-up, little stretch, started a serie of 3minutes fast. Got to cut it into pieces by 1min or 1.5min, but got all of them done (and half with headwind and the sun in the eyes). The knee never felt really. Little ache maybe during the 2nd and 3rd intervals, but nothing to stop for. and then easy back home. Right after, got the torture massage done and went along with this sunny day. Stretch, rest under the sun, fixing at home… All good before starting the rehab program in front of France-Switzerland on TV. Definitely not the best for focusing on the rehab, but would have not missed this game…and indeed it was entertaining (probably will be without voice tomorrow, but who cares!). And if you have not seen it, watch the replay 🙂 5-2… French football at its best 😉 – Time for bed soon, and hopefully the knee will be kind enough tomorrow for following for a run…

Keep on running…


What was it I say?….

Slept like a stone and woke up ready to run 🙂 Always good to wake up this way. Jumped into running gear. The thighs felt a bit after “before-bed-torture-massage-of-the ITB”, but ok. The plan was a 10K which I hoped would go like yesterday (or better). Took 1km before I had to stop for stretching the left knee. No cooperation, but well, it was early…so continued a bit and stopped again…new stretch…started to run again a bit faster…and stopped again…what.is.going.on?!?! Stretch not working I gave me to km2 to solve this. The last 350m to reach km2 were painful, like the knee did not want to bend almost. So I stopped the run. I promised I would stop if it was painful. Not a chance I am testing to reach a 5/5 level of pain. But this was easily a 2.5-3/5. Of course only for short, but still. Aaaaand the little stubborn in me did not want to go back home walking (and the tram was not an alternative as I had no tram card with me…) so decided to complete my 10K…fast-walking… WHAT.A.PAIN… I mean it was not painful AT-ALL. But this pace just killed me. Had my arms balancing like crazy, trying to follow the pace of the music in my ears… But seriously: I run probably 2 to 3 min/km faster on this music in normal runs… So no, it was not fun, not enjoyable, not something that should be lengthy…. But once again, the little stubborn in me did not want to go back home just. Too early to go to work, to late for getting back to bed, so as good to really do this +#%%%&”*! 10km finished! Turned back after 7.5km and then started to run from km8 to 10. NOT.AT.ALL.ENJOYABLE. The pain was just gone while walking fast, vanished, “Puff”, disappeared… But as soon as I started running it came back (well, first the legs felt like two heavy pieces of wood…and then the pain started when I thought I would be able to run normally…). Still stubborn, I kept on running, pretty sure that I was not bending my left knee at all  (which I did, I know, but the feeling of “not bending the knee” was there).

Back home, went directly on the mat for Coca Cola bottle massage-torture and completed the whole thing with stretch on the mat. Nothing fun. Changed for work and opted for having my Saucony, to ensure good shoes on the feet. Not fun at work neither… the knee started to make itself reminded about 1.5hr after completed the run and the ache/diffuse feeling of pain was there ALL-DAY-LONG… 😦 So I tactically sat in the back of the room so I could stand up and stretch during the day. No fun, really. But the stretch did help.

And it was late already and time to head back home. The knee was not better but not worse by then. A bit of food and checked the latest news of the World Cup and then headed to the mat…again… but for core&stability workout…followed by knee rehab program…followed by Coca-Cola bottle-massage-torture (the sequel). This time the “massage” was increased from 3minutes each leg to 4minutes each leg. And pretty slow. And stopping on pain point… Yapp, you really learn how to handle the pain as a runner 😦 But seriously now, the second massage of ITB this evening went way better than this evening. Even scored it as a 12/20 in pain level… Now it is way enough for today.

Time for resting a bit (neither Brazil not Mexico were scoring, so not really lost to have done my workouts half watching the game…)


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!