Planned: original plan was “sub3 would be nice” or at least faster than Stockholm 2013 AND no walking… Revised plan after last Friday and week with knee pain became: complete the race if possible, all good if slightly faster than 2013, quit the race if the knee is showing signs of incredible pain…
Actual:…3:02:38… New PB on this route by 7 min 43 sec since last year edition… 30th women and 18th in Swedish championships !!!! So great the knee held so long until 36/37km and then made itself reminded… But enough said: great race and with such pre-race conditions, could not be more satisfied!
place (M/W) 30
place (ag) 26
age/grade: 76.76% (2014 Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (netto) 03:02:38
time total (brutto) 03:02:38
average pace: 4:20min/km
18th place in Swedish Championships (2 place improvement since 2013) not bad, right ? 🙂
Little reminder. Travel to Stockholm. Meeting my friend to pickup my bib. Got a nice evening run and could test the knee for a fast pace km. Felt ok enough to start the race. Not much quality sleep, but that’s often the case before a race…
Before the race
Awaken around 4-ish… Dreamt my clock showing 7:37am and my Garmin 8:47am. Hearing from my friend that was ok because GPS was not working from the room I had. Not understanding anything apart that I was pretty late for dropping my bottles and would never make it and and… Woke up and saw the time was 4:xx am, all quiet and all under control 😉 More sleep and then up for shower and getting ready. Only fixing the hair as I was planning an easy “wake-up-the-legs” run when arriving at the stadium.
07:00am – Decided to change my original food plan and take my breakfast at home instead of carrying it to the race. Half portion oat porridge with mashed banana and soy milk + Powerade blue. All good. Never ever drunk sport drink for breakfast before… Checking again my bottles and filling in the ones for water + sticking the gels on them.
07:20am – Got company to the train station and off I went. Slightly falling asleep in the train and re-thinking the race. Showing my bib for the controller and then we were already at the end station. Had drunk as usual alternate water/sportdrink from 8:00am and then ate a banana as well. Walked slowly to the clock tower of the stadium. Not many people around. Some runners on the way to pick up their bib. The start area not yet set… Almost disappointing. Do they know people will run today?
08:30am – meeting with HR and dropping my bottles after taping my little French flags on them 🙂 Headed to the locker room and on with running gear. We took an easy 3km run. The knee felt more than yesterday but once again, good enough for starting. Running on terrain yesterday was certainly kinder for the knee than this morning asphalt. Back at the Stadium and the wait started.
09:25am – meeting ladies in the changing room. One I met last year. Pretty quiet. Laid down and listened to music. Not much else to do. Stopped drinking at 10:00am.
10:25am – still unsure weather outside. Going out a couple of time to decide what to wear. Singlet and shorts for sure (I don’t have anything else anyway!). Arm sleeves? Sunglasses?
10:45am – more women come to change in the elite room. Some look very focused and other very stressed 🙂 Really cool to share the room with the elite women from Kenya. They look so tiny and fit and cool and focused 🙂 Writing my splits on my hand – surely not thinking of reaching any of them, but a bit of pep can help…
11:00am – massaging the knee with chilly cream. Will probably not help as I suspect it is nothing muscular (but what do I know really?…) but at least it helps the head 🙂 More resting and getting my racing gear. Lots of back&forth to the loo in the corridor (in our locker room, there is no hand tag 😦 ). Meeting Isabella Andersson in flashy pink bonnet/top and black tights. Wishing good luck for the race and getting it back 🙂 Cool 🙂
11:20am – bored now. Arm sleeves on, left to the start, tried to warm-up a bit on the arrival street but the left knee is not fully cooperating. Taking two rounds on the track. Change slightly the plans and definitely would take it easy and controlled the first half (still thinking it will hold at least that long) & then happens what happens. Heading to the start and it is pretty bright outside. Hesitate a bit and run back to the locker room to take my sunglasses. Meeting Tove there and got extra pepp from her smiles 🙂
11:45am – no stress, getting to the start after chatting a bit with a volunteer helping and wanting to send us another way for the start. Convincing him (?) the start group A should go straight and passing him without waiting for an answer. Starting drizzle and then a bit more. Meeting Helena (fast chick who ran Göteborgsvarvet in 1:24…), Lotta from IF Linnea (sprang half marathon in Copenhagen with me), meeting Marie and Emma before start, hug to Caroline as she is a bit stressed.
11:50am – Raining a bit now. Start group B waiting under the rain when most of the group A is protecting themselves from the rain. Getting out for a few back&forth strides, sunglasses on the top of my head…(I know, not looking that smart now…). Knee feeling ok for starting. Good luck to the right, good luck to the left…Even lifting the hands when it is only few minutes left to start (what-am-I-thinking-about?!?!?)
11:58am – already? No more music. I find myself on the front row (!!!) surrounded by a little fast runner and two fast Swedish chicks… Way out of my league! But no time for moving back. Hands on the Garmin… 20sec to go… 10sec to go…
12:00pm – PANG! Start is given. Pretty nice to have this place and once again it felt great to avoid the pushing from half-marathons races (could you note this, gentlemen? No pushing!). Getting a nice run to the first left turn, passed of course by many, but I don’t care. Not thinking of the knee. Catching up with Tove slightly before km1. Too fast already: 4:06. But ok, it is the first km. I have 41km to go and slow down to have the knee happy (I really feel relaxed at this pace). Passed by Johan P (finishing in 2:46, place 88…btw…) before km1, appreciating really he took time to chat with me and encourage me 🙂 then hanging along behind Tove. Passing km2 after the little slope, all good. Still too fast, but not crazy fast as Rotterdam 🙂 Reaching the water-side and getting a giant in red outfit between Tove and me. Recognising Staffan D (finishing in 2:50, place 142… btw…), cool he chats with Tove…and turn to me and presenting him 🙂 Real cool! Looking really relaxed in his shoes. I let them chat a bit, but think it is pretty fun to have people chatting at 4:06 pace in a marathon 🙂 Getting my first sport-drink bottle at km3.8 from a kind guy who run by my side and give me the bottle. What a service! Hope it is like that all the way. Can drink at my pace. All good. Hearing cheering around. Fun. Reaching km5 and the sun is out. Definitely planning to skip my arm sleeves when I see my runner friends on the side. Km5 passed a little under 21 minutes. All fine. Still a bit faster than planned, but body feels ok (and the knee does not feel at all…). The 3:00-pacesetter is right beside me at this part. Under Slussen did not hear my watch loosing satellites as last year… Did I run that fast?… But km6-sign is no longer in sync with the Garmin. Pressing lap on the watch to be able to follow km-pace instead of whole distance pace. I like this part on Södra Mälarstrand. Not many people but it is nice to run there. Getting a water mug from a girl at km7. Perfect catch. Perfect hold. Almost perfect drinking. Good. Turning left to the bridge and I hear the speaker talking about the 3:00-flag… Going up to this bridge is a little painful but ok. First third taken fast, second third a bit more controlled and last part controlling definitely and especially the downhill. All good. Reaching km9.x and getting my sport drink from the table. Not many bottles but good to have a flag on mine 🙂 Easier to spot. Once again, drinking good and had passed the 3:00 group. Fine! Passing the 10K-mark a bit slower (41:xx) but still fully decent time. The long stretch to km12 is pretty boring as I remembered from last year. Trying to get some speed but it feels the wind is there as well. Still some guys around, so can follow and get some wind-shields 🙂
Turning left, up the bridge, down in the tunnel and turning left up to the train station. Taking two mugs of water but sipping more than drinking there. Continuing my little trip towards the stadium. Have started to count down the km… since km1… and it helps. Long slightly up stretch towards km14 where I have a kind little girl spotting me and giving me my sport drink. She made me so happy and she/her friends cheer as well 🙂
Chatting with two French guys before km15, asking them to prepare a cold coca cola for me at the finish line 🙂 They are fun and will hang along until km30/32, then I’ll loose them. Back to km15, can no longer read my time splits on my hand, and cannot trust my watch neither… As long as the 3:00-group is not passing me, that is all good 🙂 Tricky to get to km16, seeing the Stadium….. and turning right towards km17 where I catch my sport-drink from a nice teenager running beside me. Still having Tove in sight. Getting passed and passing back a Finnish woman and decide she would be good to follow (as long as the knee continue to cooperate).
Turning to the “country side” part of the second lap. Better feeling than last year. Have taken off my arm sleeves since km18 and have then in my sport bra. Looks like I have push-ups 🙂 Seeing two guys on bike and thinking it must be HR and GLE… but they are way before half-mara sign as they had planned… Trying to wave…Noticing tattoos on HR arms which I did not notice in the morning when we run… and on his legs as well. He waves, I wave back… I want to drop my arm sleeves to them… They stop… aaaaaaaaand those guys are not my runner-friends!!! (Therefore the “I cannot remember the tatoos on the arms” part is making sense now!). Skipping looking at them and continuing. French guys are there again. A bit of chat. Seeing a clock… 1:24:xx… WHAT?!?! Am I completely nuts and out of sync? I said I would take it easy and reach half way with a new PB?!?!? Until I settle down and see it is the 20km-mark… Good, I think… NOoooo, not good… I have to accelerate now to reach halfway in the time planned!!!! Remembering that the 3:00-guys caught up with me at this place last year. Cannot hear them and don’t dare looking behind me…. Getting a large smile from Gabriel after this, proposing me a gel. But I am good. I however throw my arm sleeves in his face (sorry…) and after this cheering I reach halfway. 1:28:xx. Good. Like for the original plan (before the knee got annoying…). Feeling good, cheering from the French guys again.
The second half
…and turning right, passing a little woman (don’t know how she got ahead of me…). Grabbing my bottle with water and gel. A bit tricky to handle both, but working anyway. Sooooo nice once again to be able to drink the “correct” amount of water with the gel! Around km22, chatting with Pierre-Andre (PA) again. Still aiming for sub3. I like his pace and run nicely (finishing in 3:03:46…btw… Well done!). His friend is funny. He runs very light and relaxed, turning and looking back, I even spotted him running backwards at this part (!!!) and running BACK (!) apparently searching for other runner friends. Just enlightening my day!
This long part was a huge black hole from last year. I know why; nothing is happening there!!! Km22 is straight/flat with industry area (?) on the left and woods on the right. Then I think I missed km23, turning left and right within the wood again. Feels nice with this refreshing cover from the sun. Km24 I get my sport drink in a way I cannot recall. Starting to get a bit tired. Have tripped twice on my left knee. But got more ache in the ankle than the knee (yeeeeah???). Trying to get a little longer. No shame with stopping, this race is not worth getting me a trouble knee for lifetime… Caught up by the Finnish woman (finishing in 3:02:01…btw…), chatting a bit under the tree cover. She is heading for sub3. I am hanging along I says (but seriously wondering what I am doing here with the knee in this shape and talking about sub3…Probably starting to get high not just on adrenaline but with all the energy-stuff I have taken…).
Missing again (!) the little bridge that we apparently pass around km24/25. Guessing the time splits on my hand… estimating quickly that whatever time I make at km25… the race will start anyway in 5km from now 😉 Reaching back to the people, seeing Tove’s hair a bit ahead 🙂 Cool, give me strength (not that I would ever catch up, but knowing she is more stable than me on her splits is good for my mindset!). Little up and then down. Passing Gröna Lund (correct?), getting my water bottle with gel at km27 (sooooo welcoming the nice guy catching up with me for this). I don’t like this part. The ground is uneven, with tram railways.. No longer focusing on my run but on not falling down. No tripping, no tripping… Throwing a bit of my water in the head… Nice. I have skipped the showers until now, only getting my hands under, but from now on, the whole little-me get under every shower of the race! Back to the water-side. More people cheering. Here was where I met Staffan in the first lap. Good! Not much left to the end I think.
Reaching km29 and once again seeing a guy shouting to the Sport-drink table “253 arriving, catch her before she misses it” 🙂 VERY appreciated! The drinking plan goes fine. Stomach is fine. Mind is fine. A bit cramping now and then since km4 on the lower part of the right calf, the left hamstring and front legs… Never stopped to stretch though. Waving to people after throwing my bottle. Hearing my name in the speaker… Soon to km30. AND HERE HE WAS… Runner friend from Göteborg unable to run but still here to cheer. Got the largest smile ever, string high-five and an energy boost that could have gotten me to the moon (if it was not for this stupid knee). Thanks for the cheering, Patrik! Continuing. Once again, real cool to be a woman as not many are there and the “go girl” are only for me here 😉 Have heard the speaker indicating a “flag-guy” was in the way… Ok, still fine under 3:00 and soon at km30. Quick shower, HR & Gabriel are at the planned spot (a bit further than I planned, but all good 🙂 ). Getting water and this felt nice with this extra spot. Being passed by the 3:00 guy right at km30 mat. OK, I follow you then. A chick in pink shorts is passing me here and this is my other alternative to follow. Right under Slussen I spot a black singlet with my club written on it (Majornas IK)… True! Emil is here as well! Cheering and hoping we could hang together, but I so want to get behind the 3:00-guy… After the little tunnel, I lost Emil. Ok. Quick check. Crazy knee? Check! Painful? Not quite! Tired? Of course..I have run 30km at a race pace for sub3….!!!! All good then!
Back to Södra Mälarstrand. Chatting a bit with the 3:00-guy. Looking good he said. Thhhaaaaannnkkkss! As there is a pack around him, and I don’t plan to run faster, I get good backs to act as wind shields… Working brilliantly… until we reach km32 for taking my sport drink. Here they have place an extra table for warm stock… right before the sport drink table. Finding myself in a sticky wave of men wanting to reach this first table, walking, slowing down… Missing my bottle…running BACK to grab it (and definitely swearing loud at all those guys who cannot behave when I need to take my bottle)… THERE I lost my 3:00-guy he is a bit ahead and will not be able to catch up ever.
Reaching the foot of the bridge “yes, there are French in the race, raise your hands”… Up with the hands… If I cannot make sub3, I can still have fun and behave like a clown, right?!? The little slope to the bridge is painful, not due to tiredness, but the knee ain’t liking it. Thought to walk would help, but three slower steps prove me wrong. Feeling like the knee gonna explode in billions pieces if I continue this way. So run up the little slope on top of the toes (yapp, crazy painful but better than slowing down).
Must have been biting my lips throughout this second time on the bridge. First third is kind-of ok. Still seeing the 3:00-guy and actually still thinking I can take him back after the bridge… Second third is real tough. I hit my thighs for keeping up the pace. Thinking of stopping a short short while at the “ice power”-spot, but don’t. By this time, the second 3:00-pacesetter is passing me. Ok, not a chance I can get passed those two. Cannot really see the third part, already in the down slope. No I am not happy. Getting cheering from a kind guy calling me “Majorna”, realizing afterwards that my club name is also on the back of my singlet (Oooooh, that’s why so many cheered this way I realized then). He got me a smile 🙂 aaaaaand I am (almost) happy again.
Running down, turning right, catching my water+gel, thinking it is highly unnecessary to take it…it will anyway take ages before I reach the stadium… Seeing the friendly face of Markus N there (thanks for the smile and yelling my name! Gosh, this felt so nice for a short while…). Same feeling as last year on this second lap on Norra Mälarstrand: bored, tired, sad, trouble breathing correctly. I am sooooo close to stop and walk, but 1) I said I would NOT walk this year and 2) just thinking of the pain I felt in the knee when I slowed down before the bridge make me having a pinch of extra strength for NOT stopping! Cheered by a guy in my right, nice, kind, want to die right here, why is it so long…until I notice I am running with Superman (ok, not the REAL Superman, this one is a runner with a Superman tshirt. But at this time in the race, I don’t care. He’ll be Superman for me!). Got a little kid cheering loud for him and even telling his mum(?) to “look! Superman has a girlfriend!”. This type of comment is SO refreshing. Ok, I’ll continue a bit more then. Passing km35, not even caring to check the time on the clock. Thinking only 7km left, less than an hour… (would mean very slow km, but the growing pain in the knee made my mind thinking this sounded right). Reached the Garmin stand, with half warm coca cola (tasted delicious last year…) and coffee. Not a coffee drinker myself, but consider taking one in case it would get me high and unable to feel the pain. I skipped this idea as I thought it could also upset my stomach. And not a chance I would finish 7km with upset stomach + bad knee.
Got passed by a chick right after the Garmin stand. Don’t care. She looks running good, therefore she deserves passing me. Over the bridge (the sequel), in the tunnel (the sequel) and turning towards the train station. Cheering from HR & Gabriel. (Sorry if I said something rude then, but did not feel like chatting..).
Getting two mugs of water, dropping half of one, hardly drinking anything and when throwing the rest on my head both mugs are empty… Yeeeaaah, what a wonderful day 😦
Heavy up along the train station. Limping with the left leg, wet in the back with my singlet having suck so much water… Not a chance I win the contest of the sexiest footstep of the race!!!! Passing actually a few guys… Not even making me smile. Don’t dare to bend the knee “fully”, unsure if I will be able to stretch it again. Like I thought before the race: if the pain comes after km37, not a chance I stop the race. Stupid? Check! Non sense? Check! Whatever…. Grabbing 5-6 Dextrosol at km39. Trying to get an extra kick for the end. The mouth had difficulties to chew and no water in sight!!!! Turning right and remembering that there is a water station at km40. Stretch towards km40… Got passed by Marie in red. She looks fine. Good. She deserves it. Drinking one half mug and it feels better. The heart is no longer there… Hold on! TWO KM LEFT! Stop whining. Bite those lips of yours. And just finish. Limping slightly faster. Seeing the Stadium. This year I am prepared and I KNOW this is still not the end. Counting down. Straight line. Passing guys. Turning right. Final stretch before for final 250m. Skipping the little water-pool before the entrance of the stadium (I noticed it this morning while warming up…) A.N.D. This is the stadium. Missing the smile I got last year from Ulf at this particular spot, but I am already on the track. It is warm. It is sunny. And it is the end…(ok, it is soon the end). Not at all strong like other races due to my knee, I still can dig extra strength for accelerating. Passing two guys. Gosh, this feels good! And the final stretch. 3:02:xx… Yoohoooo! Can be under 3:03… No, Mister-on-my-left, you-shall-not-paaaaaaasss! Giving it all for those last 40/50m.. And it.is.done!!! 3:02:xx with a knee expected to break before halfway… Not too bad, not too bad….
Official time received later: 3:02:38.
After the finishing line
Unlike me, I aim to the side and want SO MUCH to lay down and not going up before late in the evening… Trying to catch my breathe again. Nope, not working. As expected, when starting to walk again the left knee is no longer playing along. “Limping-K” shall be my name from now on! Getting my medal, scaring probably the girl giving it to me with my heavy breathing (at this point of time, I feel like I am breathing like a cow… A tired one… Not even knowing where this comparison comes from). Getting to the little elite tent (sooo tempted to stop by the medic tent, but not wanting to be kept for whatever they surely find is wrong with me now…). Getting my goodie bag, have to sit, breathing too heavy and feeling dizzy. Tears so close to come out. The nice guy from the tent is getting in his knee to cut my chip attached on my shoe (good because I could not lift my leg to the table!). Seeing Tove chatting a bit away. Now it is “fine”, can “walk”. Stopping Isabella Andersson and congratulating her for the race and the win. Got a smile back and congrats as well. Limping nicely to the locker room. There have the faster ladies landed 🙂 Smiling Tove (finishing 2:58:21…btw…), Mikaela Kemppi (finishing 2:49:34…!!!btw), and other fast ones. Smiling here and there. Knee is in pain. Getting a pic with two fast chicks and a single one 🙂
After the race
Shower, self-massage on the knee (like it would help…), bye to Tove and see you next year :), walking to the ÖIP to get my finisher tshirt. Having strength enough to joke about the runners before me walking soooo slowly down the stairs. Getting my tshirt, size small (S for “Snygg” – “Pretty” in Swedish… Told you I was in a great mood, despite the knee!).
Meeting HR, catching Tricky for a hug and then stomach started to get upset, cramping-like. Getting under a tree so could lay down with feet up. Other fellow-runners joined us and time for some SMS and chat.
When feeling better, left the place, saying goodbye and headed to a coffee place to get chocolate cake with whipped cream and hot chocolate with whipped cream. I know, the cream would probably upset my stomach (which it did…), but at this moment it sounded like the best idea ever. Chat and then time to head back home. Train trip goes smoothly. Got met by J on the way, so nice with a welcome halfway home. Then a bit of rest with feet up on the bed, eating delicious grilled ribs with French fries, carrots and parsnip (and nice wine 🙂 ). Then a hot sauna where the knee felt a bit better and then chillout rest of the evening until late.
Weather: drizzling/rain at start, sunny and nice from km3 onwards. A bit cloudy around halfway. Windy from time to time.
> before: breakfast (oat porridge, banana, soy milk) + powerade @7:00am/ usual drinking a alternate 8-10, banana at 8am.
> during: sport-drink @3.8, 9.x, 14, 17, 24, 32 – gel: 21.1, 27, 34.x – water at the water station – 5-6 (!) dextrosol @km39
> right after: maxim protein drink, banana. 1hr later – chocolate cake+warm chocolate
> 19:00pm-ish: nice dinner 🙂
Gear: Moremiles short shorts (2), MIK singlet, arm sleeves, blue sunglasses. Shoes? What to say, but WOW so fast! Perfect race shoes!
> Outfit was exactly what should be. Could have skipped the arm sleeves at start maybe, but would have also worked to have them the whole run
Shoes – ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost – purple
17/ good effort level throughout the race. Seriously reaching 18/19 during last 2-3km, but unsure I pushed frankly neither there. Probably a good 15-16 for most of the race, slightly increasing after km22/23
Pain level: ok to nothing during most of the race. 18-19 during the last km
SUMMARY: Brilliant! Not prioritized race for the year, with real drop of motivation after getting back from Alicante, got it back after Göteborgsvarvet and it never left. Felt like smiling and on a cloud for 2 weeks before this race. SO unlike the two previous marathons of this year. All felt good until this stupid thing with the knee. Could make it work anyway, which please me very much. Preparations went well, although the half marathon 2 weeks before got more like a fast training long run than a race really. But the carb depletion (I know I know, never fun) but this time it did actually feel “better” or “easier” than usual, then the carboloading part went smoothly. Did change slightly with more drinking maybe. Good pre-race lunch, good company, support message before the race…seriously? I.AM.HAPPY!
Support from the crowd is different in every race, making some parts of the run becoming a face-2-face with yourself sometimes, but this is what the long runs are for, right? To train you to be alone in a race where you actually share the pavement with several thousands crazy people like you J Apart from the mindset which was up&running correctly until km35/36 and the knee started to take commando, the body felt fine.
First half done well-controlled (reminds me the first half of Berlin 2013), like planned. Real surprised that the knee was not complaining earlier (or was it the mind choosing to ignore the pain?). Felt stable (in a way), having Tove ahead as reference point (for a while…) and then after the second run on the bridge, just hanging along and having for objective to pass guys before the finish line 🙂
Third best marathon-time on a crazy knee – feels nice!
Distribution of thank-you notes here; for the support, the training, the chat, the listening, the laughs… all you guys will find yourself in this list. Once again, boundaries were pushed this day, no PB, but the way the body and mind could handle the race was just great! THANKS!
A few “after-race thoughts”
NOTE: was it really smart to run on a knee not fully fine? Probably not. Would it have been the half-marathon before, I would have probably chosen to skip the race. Why running the longest distance then? Well, I thought it was fine if taken carefully and listening to the body.
NOTE: The usual question about warmup… Took it pretty carefully while running the few hundreds along the stadium and even more careful on the track. Definitely not necessary, but I think felt good to have done it.
NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? GREAT! Had the possibility to drop my bottles where I wanted at the water-stations and it worked great. Was a bit unsure at first, but the mix sport-drink, water, and gel work well. Regarding the final kick @km39 with the extra Dextrosol… won’t be doing this next time. Have to find another “kick” J
NOTE: Right after the race, I thought I would be fine and not needing/wanting to run it again. Day after, the thought is gone, and definitely looking forward to get on the starting line next year and skipping the limping of the 5 last km (and definitely not letting the 3:00-flag guy passing me this time…!)