Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Posts tagged “Stockholm

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 – Stockholm Half marathon 2014 – 2014/09/13

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

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

Race results:

 

Official splits

Official splits

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

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

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BEFORE THE RACE

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

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

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

HM Day:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE RACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy me after the finish line

Happy me after the finish line

nice medal

nice medal

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AFTER FINISH LINE

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

*********

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple

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

********

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

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

 


Stockholm Half-marathon 2014 – 1:28:38 :)

So was it done! 1:28:38

First autumn race. One more sub90 half marathon and a 48th place (women).
36 in Swedish Championship of half marathon.

Form is good 🙂
More to come (when I have access to a computer…)


Race Report – Stockholm Marathon 2014/05/31

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

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

Race Results:

place (M/W) 30
place (ag) 26
age/grade: 76.76% (2014 Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (netto) 03:02:38
time total (brutto) 03:02:38
average pace: 4:20min/km

Official splits:

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

 

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

 

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M Day-1

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

Before the race

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

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

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

On the train to the race...

On the train to the race…

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

Me, my bottles and my flags :)

Me, my bottles and my flags 🙂

Pace-setters balloons...

Pace-setters balloons…

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

The finish line (from the other side…)

The little boxes to be placed at the water stations

The little boxes to be placed at the water stations

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

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

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

my dreaming splits

my dreaming splits

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

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

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

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

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

The race

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

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

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

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

The second half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Official time received later: 3:02:38.

Little me, Tove and Mikaela

Little me, Tove and Mikaela

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

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

Happy me-in the corner :)

Happy me-in the corner 🙂

My lovely medal

My lovely medal

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

After the finishing line

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

After the race

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT.A.DAY!

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

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

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

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

Shoes – ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost – purple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Chocolates to enjoy after a marathon, right? :)

Chocolates to enjoy after a marathon, right? 🙂

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

 


Stockholm 2014 M Day: 3:02:28… 18th Swedish championships :)

Wow… This is the word to use today. All was in place for a great race until my knee started to annoy me (probably I annoy it first…) and definitely questioning the participation to the race. Surely could run, but to what price?…

Turned out quite well. Almost 8 minutes faster than last year, improvement by respectively 2 and 7 places in the Swedish Championships and the women category 🙂
With those pre-race conditions, cannot be happier!

Definitely taking some rest now and will check this knee of mine next week. Stomach all good throughout the race but a bit cramping after an hour after finish line. Probably the extra Dextrosol taken at the end… Have to think a bit. Now will enjoy home-prepared ribs 🙂 my favorite food for after marathon !
some resting now…

Great thanks for all support and kind words of encouragements (during training and during the race :). One more finish line crossed – SO WORTH celebrating!

* Quick body check: apart from the stomach-cramps (too much energy too fast at the end?), butt cramps (here they are again…) and a very tired knee, feeling great! No massage after race but have one booked on Monday 🙂 Aaaaaaall good then!


Race Report – Stockholm Marathon 2013/06/01

Planned: 3:10, or under. Two alternative: either fast first half and do the best during the second OR well-balanced 2 half.

Actual: official 3:10:21 (no time from Garmin as problem at km31) – new PR by 1min 34sec from Dubai 4-months ago (Jan-2013)! Extremely satisfied as the race has been setting new PR for ALL distances measured (5 / 10/ 15/ 20 / halfmarathon / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 and full marathon). Such a fantastic race really, following a serie of races since January, lots of training, sweat and envy! This is of the similar feeling as Dubai marathon really, on the top of being my first marathon in Sweden and participation in Swedish Championship for the marathon distance. Lots of fun meeting friends runners as well. Great ending of the day under heavy rain and nice company.

Planning to rest for a few day now (actually I promised a week!)

Race Results:
place (M/W) 37
place (ag) 32
age/grade: 73.1% (Dubai:66.6/ London:66.47/SF:65.66/Berlin:68.29/Dubai 13: 72.35/Boston:72.19 )
time total (netto) 03:10:21
time total (brutto) 03:10:21
average pace: 4:31min/km

Swedish Championship – Marathon : place – 20!!!

Official splits:

Split
time of day
time
diff
min/km
km/h
place
5K

12.20.51

0.20.52

20.52

04.11

14.39

34

10K

12.41.51

0.41.51

20.59

04.12

14.29

31

15K

13.03.21

1.03.21

21.30

04.19

13.95

34

20K

13.24.35

1.24.36

21.15

04.15

14.12

35

Half

13.29.27

1.29.27

04.51

04.26

13.55

31

25K

13.46.46

1.46.46

17.19

04.27

13.52

31

30K

14.09.57

2.09.58

23.12

04.39

12.94

31

35K

14.34.45

2.34.46

24.48

04.58

12.10

34

40K

14.59.43

2.59.44

24.58

05.00

12.01

35

Finish

15.10.21

3.10.21

10.37

04.51

12.39

37

_________________________________________

Before Race:

5:34am – Awaken really thirsty after 7.5hours good night’s sleep. No bird this time, Stockholm is still sleeping. Get back to bed

6:42am – my friends’ small ones are going up for their breakfast. Cute to hear them having fun in the living room. Feeling well- rested and seriously bored that the race is 5 hours ahead and not 2!!!! Drink a large glass of water.

7:45am – preparing breakfast, oat porridge with crushed banana and milk (with 50% extra protein – this was the smallest packaging I found, thinking afterwards that it was a bit stupid as the extra protein are from milk protein and could upset my stomach. Taking my chances on thus own). Then start/continue the water drinking as usual every half hour. Probably 2/2.5dl each time. Have drunk not too well in Friday so try to compensate here! Outside weather looks great, definitely not a rainy weather as planned…(I would eat this one later on!).

9:00am – getting myself ready with my gear, fixing the hair and double checking my bag. All set! Checking as well how to get to the start (yes, a bit late but cannot be that bad)

9:51am – Have left home with biggest hugs ever from the small ones. And the bus is still not there. Finally arriving with a driver welcoming me onboard until I tell him where I go and he indicate the other side of the road (where I gave seen already 2 busses passing by). Stress is coming. But finally get onboard. Chatting with another female runner. This is her first marathon. Reminds me of those I met in London on the way to the start.
Getting to the subway and more “blue bags” there. A bit crushed into the train to the Stadium station, lots if eager runners! Meeting Tom on the rolling stairs to the exit 🙂 Always nice with such a smile before a run (even though it took me a few minutes to get out of my bubble and realise it was Tom… By the time I turned, just saw the wave if runners… Promise I will be more careful next time, T!).

Smiling in the stadium before the start

Smiling in the stadium before the start

10:45am – finally in the women locker room for elite runners. Quite nice to have silence and peace while changing. As well as the luxury if sharing on bathroom! Lots of them look pretty fit (well, they must be to be here!). Seeing Isabellah Andersson, a few other of international female elite runners as well.

11:15am – Dropped my stuff to the security and listen to music a bit. Wonder if I should take my mp3 with me as in Dubai and mostly for getting a boost at the end (have got from L that the km in Gärdet and Djurgården on the second lap are quite tough and not much of a public there… music could help!). But let the mp3 in my bag. Not really sure what to do actually. Getting bored, so decided to aim to the start as unsure what is to be fine with us.Meeting Tove, looking nice like a flower and smiling 🙂 Ready for the race (later you’ll see how it went…). There I see the wave of runners aiming to ÖIP but wish to skip going around so aim towards the start. Took 30seconds before I am stopped and ask where to go. The other way around I am told. Even for elite runners I ask? No is the answer, they can go right to the start but you have to go around… Until her colleague shows my BIB and understand that “ooooh! You ARE an elite runner (then I am looked up from top to toe), then please go ahead…” Thanks! Going to the first group and ask for going in the other side of the line where a few runners are already there and warming up. No, here I am told. But I have to go to my group?! Yes, m’am, and it is here where you are. I turn around and see nothing but the mat for clocking the chip in front of me…Oooooh, is it there?!?! (Yes, there us a first time for everything!!!)
Start a warmup-like (5minutes), with easy jog back & forth, regretting a bit as I apparently I am the only one in the A-group to be there…. Well noted for next time! A bit nervous to have so many looking at me during a “try-of-warmup”… Getting a few strides and accelerations, tried to time it as suggested by Pfitzinger. Then stretch and walk. Same once more (ca.5min each part). Finishing the “warmup” around 10/13minutes before start. Good timing?! And now the real ones are coming! Really cool to see the elites runners both from Sweden and international… and actually RUN side-by-side with them (for probably 2.5 seconds at the start, but it is worth it!). Music is on, some are even dancing at the rhythm of Mamma Mia. Cheering from other runners who I do not know, but cool really! In the group behind (B-group) the male runners are ready to boost and you can feel the testosterone already! Pure adrenaline!!!

11:55am – The bubbles are everywhere, a few runners are still smiling, but honestly the pressure can be felt. Not a such as during the half-marathon I ran 2 weeks ago, where there was push already before the start. Here it was much more subtle and well controlled.

11:59am – 10 seconds to start… the guy tell us to hold since 2 minutes…feeling like horses that will be released free in the nature. Sooo cool feeling and “PANG” it is starting…

First half:

Strangely I do not feel this “human wave” pushing me as in the half-marathon. I am running and the pace is controlled and nice. Some runners from behind are starting to pass us already before the first curve, but seriously I feel on a cloud. Great opening, not feeling fast but at the first check on my Garmin, I noticed that it cannot be happening. The strategy was to get a slow first km and get on speed until km8 (Västerbron – the “scary” bridge). Passing the first km-sign @4:02km… do I really have this in me? I mean when I am not running intervals? Calm down, let other runners pass you and keep you pace. Second km passed @4:07… Seriously? I have by now let most of the female elite runners passing me. I think one or two might be behind me. As the B-group is only male runners, I plan to stick to letting men passing me and not women (as this would mean I start to loose not only pace but also place). Third km after the little slope is ending at 4:02 as well. Now I start almost to worry. I feel good…no I feel GREAT, but it does not correspond to what I see on my watch (and for once, the Garmin is ticking almost at the same time as the km-marks (+/-50m). I skipped the first water station. I am fine. However I want to have some at the second one. Unsure where it is however.

Really strange feeling when I pass the 5km mark and been clocked: Did I see 20:xx on the clock? As I started in the Elite group, my net and brutto time will be the same so I do not have to do difficult calculations when seeing a clock! Very practical (you will understand later why!). OK, feeling good? Check! Smiling? Check! High-five to people? Not check (a bit tricky to get speed then – my plan is to high-five during the second lap) Correct pace? Not check. Way too fast. Passing in the little tunnel of Slussen. As expected the clocks become crazy and from this moment the race is clocked a bit ahead of the km-marks. The long road of Södermälarstrand is a bit boring. Good I ran it the day before. Boring in the way that it is actually beautiful to run close to the water and admire the landscape. But at this speed, no way I can enjoy the view! Reaching the feared little slope before Västerbron. Running up easily, not long not stiff, it is a regular slope actually. The bridge on the other side was longer than expected. Not like the one in Gothenburg (which are shorter but higher) more like the Golden Gate bridge I would say. Keeping up the pace. Average pace is showing now 4:13/km… REALLY? Have not seen this except in the half-marathon of Paris… Yes, a half-marathon! So my plan is slightly changing. I aim for a 1:30 half-way so all minutes ahead can be bonus to be used if need be in the second half.

Km9 to 13 – the plan was to run faster than planned pace… What do I do now? I am already 17sec/km faster than my expected pace… Relax and enjoy. Taking first gel around km10. Once again the water station feel a bit strangely placed on the route. I have already taken 2 dextrosol @km5 and will have 2more @km15 and 20. To keep the energy levels up. The long road of Normälarstrand is pretty boring, windy and when trying to get the back of runners, they cannot keep a steady pace so have to pass them. Must have been a nice back to run behind though! The slope towards Norrmalm and Odengatan is not as terrible as planned. Can feel the inclination but seriously, nothing to bother really.

Reaching km15 and then I miss km16 turn and … see the stadium! Yippie, this mean the first lap is soon finished. This is a particularity of the Stockholm marathon: two laps, although not identical. Passing km17 with nice pace and still smiling. Getting water for my second gel. Not enough water though. Turn right to the same little slope, this time it is a bit tricky as people are complaining on it. Not listening, not listening. I am in a good mood and just feel like flying! At the end of a road I notice that we turn into a field-like road…Oooooh ! Now we are in the second lap which is in the “garden” parts. The boring one as not much public. I start to feel slightly tired and really want to reach this **** half-way mark on the clock 1:30. please please please… just so the effortless feeling of the beginning until now is paying off. Surprisingly I have now a wave of male runners starting to pass me. I hear cheering “Majornas IK, come on”, “Go girl, looking good”… and recognise one of the pace-keeper of 3:00 which I talked to before the start. What is HE doing here? And his colleague is there as well cheering for me… That is pretty cool to be a female runner at this moment, because we are only few at this pace and lots of cheering are directed to us. How is this working? I am soon at half way and the guys running for a 3:00 or sub3 have been behind me all along? What is wrong in the picture? “One minute ahead of schedule” yells one of the pace-keeper! Ooooh, how refreshing… WHAT? Do you mean that even I am one minute ahead of YOUR pace? Cannot be real. Smiling at the half-way mark, noticing that I should have made the 1:30, so now can just continue to run.

Second half:

Not much public, a bit boring to run there. I get company of another elite female, which will stay with me until ca. Km27 more or less passing one each other. Seeing S for the second time, once again surprised that I was not passed before (like around km2-3?).

Km25 is reached and I start feeling pain in the legs. Yes I could walk up the slopes, but I know that if I do, I will not get fast enough afterwards to run and win back the time. So take on the energy I have and run up. The mind starts wandering around, seeing other runners walking and just thinking “please, just take a couple of walking steps, this will make it good for the body and rest of the race”. But no, I am not listening. I get some pulling help when the Finnish elite female pass me with a smile a we have done all along so far. Great, she give me some boost energy to accelerate in the downhill (on the top of hearing H voice saying “run faster downhill, do not slow down!”). Start seeing that the pace is going down. Missed a water station in Djurgården when wanted to take some salt. But there was so much pushing that my water mug was empty when I got it. Did not want to do like in the Olympic games when one of the head runners came back to the water station to take his bottle and ran back to the front of the group… I am not THAT strong! (but would have been cool to do!) Arriving finally on Strandvägen again. Back to the route of the first lap. Thanks to the public, it feels I can continue, but seriously I don’t wish to continue. I have a new PB on 5K, 10K and half-marathon. Why should I continue? Stupid thoughts really.

Around km27/28, I took my third gel at this moment, but unsure of the effect. I kept getting energy during the second half with 1 dextrosol every km from km21 to 30 (excpet when taking a gel + the km afterwards). Cannot find anyone with the correct pace to follow. No pull help. Nothing. And this is the EASY part of the lap… Just before turning to Kungsträdgårdsgatan, I get my5 seconds of fame, when the guy animating the corner spot my number and name and comment on my race. What a boost to hear my name and all the applauses while passing by! But by the time I reach the water, the boost is over… Until a new one arrives when H pops up before the 30km mark, but honestly I have no more strength to speed to the 30km mat for clocking the time. I just want to walk… no actually, I want to lay down and rest a bit. Have been going under the showers a bit too much, my singlet is soaking wet. Thanks to the skies, it is drizzling rain falling now. Arriving at the tunnel of Slussen again, no more fun in my mind. Run run run… Make this stop. When the tunnel finish, my stupid Garmin shows a km-pace of 3:53… YES, SURE!!! stupid tunnel and stupid watch. I press the lap button when I pass the REAL km31-mark. So that my watch will show correct from now… When half way to km32, I am surprise that I have run only 425m… checking again… 425m, 425m, 425m… NOOOOOO! I pressed the Start button, not the lap button… So now I am having approx.800 to 1000m difference… Crap! Really? Now??? Like it is not hard enough to continue…

Km33: Reaching the little curve before the bridge and take L’s strategy. I hear my name and number yelled in the mic, give a big smile and wave to the crowd, but seriously the heart is no longer there. I walk up the slope and then run the bridge. This time I am lucky to have one guy on both of my sides and this feels comforting 🙂 Although they slow down in the downhill, when once again I accelerate. Reaching the water station to take my last gel. I actually STOP there to drink two full mugs of water. This second time on Norrmälarstrand is not fun. I walk and I half-jog, and walk and half-jog. I close my eyes and feel the head is not good. Ready to faint at least 4-5 times, I am once again happy to be a female runner as the little public around this long part is cheering much for me (and if it was not for me it does not matter. I took it as I really needed this support! But honestly there was no female around at this point!). At a corner I get offered some Coca cola and take it. Yummy! No bubble, half warm… delicious! 🙂 The long Vasagatan is real pain although better than the previous street. Maybe the gel is starting to kick. I get a few “Heja Majorna” from time to time. So nice to have the passing-by runners taking time to read the back of my singlet and cheering for me 🙂 THANKS FOR YOU DOING THIS!
Torsgatan is disappearing finally and I see the 40km sign. I check my watch where only the time is indicated. HERE it is great to have started at 12.00 and that my time (brutto & netto) will be based on this clock time. Because after my Garmin problem in Gamla Stan, I cannot check my pace or so. Have to rely on the clock time and it shows me that I can still make it for a 3:10. Actually passing the 40km for a slightly under 3.10. Digging deep in the energy levels I have left I start to raise from the bottom I had felt into, I do certainly not run well, nor fast, but who cares. It is only 2.xx km left. My mantra repeated in my head is “less than 2, less than 2, less than 2…” until My mind realize that” hold on a sec… how long will it be before it change into “less than 1…”?!”… Gosh, what this km was long, but finally I see the 41km mark and then the Stadium. Thanks to L, I know that I have to expect that it will still be long from the moment I SEE the Stadium and the moment I enter and finally run towards the finish line. Before turning to the Stadium, I hear my name (!) and then “Majornas IK”. Whoever you are who cheered me there… THANKS A LOT! IT MEANT REALLY MUCH! And then one passed me and seriously my mind did not recognized who you are neither. But thanks for the cheering to MIK! And then on the way along the stadium, my Boston Norwegian friend met me and thanks for the extra boost… Reaching the entrance of the Stadium… Nooooo! Got passed by a female runner, seeing my coach smiling at the entrance and then it is just 300 little meters left. Giving all I can, seriously thinking I could keep up the pace of the other female, but my eyes are just on the clock of the arrival. I SAW IT… the 3:09:58 turning into slowly the 3:10 and then it is kind of a blur when I passed the finish line. Did not fully see the crowd in the Stadium but heard their cheering. So nice to the heart and mind! 3:10:21… will take ca. 1 hour before I get my official result…(as my watch showed incorrect time…)

Happy finisher-face!

Happy finisher-face!

Another well-deserved medal!

Another well-deserved medal!

After the Finish Line:

Felt in the arm of an official, just for a few seconds and then it is fine. I get my medal and look around. Cannot believe it. A new PB!!! Not as fast as it could have been, but ended as planned! Getting directed to the Elite runners tent for getting my goodiebag and finisher t-shirt. Meeting Tove again (the Swedish cute female version of a Speedy Gonzalez!) who got the great time of 2.55:59 and 6th place in Swedish Championship, meeting + chat with my coach, little pics and then well-deserved 10 minutes massage before being back in the elite runners locker rooms. Drinking my Coca cola and protein drink. Nice shower (although noticing that I burnt myself AGAIN while carrying my gel in my sport-bra 😦 ) Nice chat with other runners and then rain rain rain outside. Meeting H, I am just not stopping talking really, and nicely H does not interrupt 😉 Getting a nice second massage (once again with pressure where it hurts!) and finally time for celebrating with a nice dinner (for me Chicken Bimbimbab and Coca cola). Then aimed for home, meeting the small ones and staying up until laaaaaaate in the evening. No need to say that once I reach my pillow it took probably less than 1 seconds before my mind started to sleep!

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Weather: 21ºC or similar, high humidity (100% according to the weather forecast), sunny, drizzling rain from km30 or such until the end. Started to rain heavily when I left the Stadium though. Pretty glad I was not running then!

Food:

> carbo-loading on natural food: Worked fine. Added a Powerade on each day before the dace on the top of extra fruit and little extra carbs in the plate. Day before race last meal: grilled chicken + japanes rice + Raw fruit juice. Morning before race eating oat porridge/milk/banana @8am
> during the race: 1 vitargo @km 9, 18.5, 27, 36. Dextrosol tablets: 2 @km5, 10, 15, 20 and 1 every km (almost) from km22 (except when gel taken) to 32.
> just after race: in the euphorie of the arrivall, did NOT eat all that was given in the bag! Only coca cola, water and protein drink.
> later on: 2 hours after arrival: Bimbimbab chicken + Coca cola + banana + kex from goodiebag/ tea + 3 small toast w/ ham and 2 eggs and baby tomatoes later in the day :)

Gear: ADIDAS Supernova Boston/MIK singlet – super-flying-lightSkyspeed perfect shoes for this race (once again they DELIVERED!)

> Supernova shorts: not happy as this is second race where I get burn on the top of the legs. Unsure why as does not happen during training.

> MIK singlet: too long. With all the water and rain, it get soaking wet and too heavy really.

NOTE: Apart from the mind that did not really want to continue from time to time… the body felt pretty good throughout the race. A few feeling/aches in the knees now and then, tired arms after 25km (a few shakes and went fine). Afterwards however both massages found lots of places which were aching! Among others Bum/thigh muscle, calves, back side of the thighs. Surprisingly the front of the thigh were fine.

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All-in-all, this marathon is the fastest done ever. First half is SIX MINUTES faster than previous marathon in Boston and the effort was much less today. Need to understand what happened at km25 although I knew there would be slopes to conquer and I probably took them pretty bad. Finishing under a drizzling rain was a bless really. I know what is my capacity now because it was not luck who drove me during the first half. Definitely not what was planned but controlled and easy. The second half should have been handled a bit better, although considering all the walking and stops that were done during this part, it is quite an achievement in my eyes to have finished this fast anyway. I cannot wait to get to the next race really!


Stockholm M day-1

Slowly but surely it is coming…

Very late in bed, had to check once more my bag, running gear, backup plan if weather turns out like last year… But eventually, eyes were closed. Opened briefly at 6 am to switch of the clock… Yes, toy read directly, I switched if the clock, not snoozed it…which I noticed 30 minutes later….so a bit if rush for morning preparations. Still time for breakfast (mini croissant, pain au chocolat & pain aux raisins + soymilk) and time to run to first early meeting. Now lots to do on the way to Stockholm. And why do I have such a huge bag? Should not be to heavy nor full…for a 3:12 (?) race…

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Heavy bag

Had to plan for 2 outfit and 2 pairs of shoes. The rest, I am unsure what I packed! Anyway, I am on my way 🙂

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Wonderful weather here in Stockholm when I land. 20°C and sunshine, no wind… Should be running today! Weather forecast has changed and they expect rain and sun and more rain for tomorrow…but decent temperature either way. So be it!

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Weather forecast


Get to my friends through the subway, not to careful anymore about people sneezing or coughing all around. One again, am I not sick yet, well, should not be tomorrow either… A bit more work and met another friend to get to the Stadium. So much traffic in town for this Friday afternoon… The BIB pickup ain’t taking long. Short number, yellow background, swatch flag…Yippie! Feels good already!!! Quick tour at the expo and getting a bottle of water at the pasta party. Then we aim to a place to eat. More talking. Ate grilled chicken and double portion of jasmin rice +raw juice of carrots, tomatoes, apple, orange and surely something else. Fruity and nice! Headache since I arrive and despite having taken painkiller. No fun! 😦 I might have been drinking on the “least to drink”- side today maybe. Time to head home. Final check and talk about the route and possible tactics for tomorrow.
After short chat with my friends, I quickly change to a last evening run. Maybe not to smart, but honestly 1) the legs need it, 2) the head needs it and 3) I need some air… Running along the water, easy pace, took a part of the route of the race and reached the terrible and feared bridge. Will see how it looks tomorrow, but this evening under the sunset, it looks magnificent… 5.5km, no pressure. Just the road, the sun, the wind and my thoughts.
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Wow!


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Start soon to come


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Magical landscape


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Marathon route


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THE bridge...


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Lost but nice things to see around..


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Subway to the rescue!

Got a bit tricky too get back home and NOT running back home, but could be managed. Later chat with my friends before sleeping, getting my gear ready, final check at the route and time for bed really. Tomorrow is another day…

Stockholm… Less than a day to the start!


Stockholm M day-2

Time to pack, time to check, time to rest, time to think… so much stuff on the list and so little time!

Got a good (no, GREAT!) idea to prepare all my gear yesterday evening for checking that all was there. It is now waiting on the living room table to be thrown into a bag for tomorrow’s trip. Today was good. Slept not too long, but deep and nice. Spent time before closing my eyes yesterday looking at the marathon route and read about the description I got from another runner. Good to have those small tips in advance (as the description on the race site is a bit “flat” for my taste…): Disappointed a bit as I could not find a film with the route as there are some on You tube for Berlin,SF, NY or Boston. One can be found, but too fast for getting a good idea of what to expect… Whatever. Will be lots of fun to BE there tomorrow.

Spent the day almost eating all the time. Not true, but feels like it! Breakfast of freshly pressed orange juice, 2 small croissants, cereals, chocolate and soy milk, then well at work it went down a few tea mugs, 1 bottle of water, 1 sport drink, 2 bananas, 1 apple, 1 gigantic Twix and cashewnuts. Lunch was not that fun, but good with chicken breast and potatoe puree and red wine sauce. Yummy? Ok, I guess. Then evening meal was fresh pasta with bacon/pork filet and soy sauce. Promised a cozy evening so dinner was under the sun outdoor and sweet for dessert (yes… either you carbo-load… or you don’t!). Soooo nice to eat normal again. Carbo-load is just same-as-usual with an extra banana and this time I added a sport drink to drink over the day… Quite boring actually as it is sweet all day long in the mouth 😦

Now time for finalizing the whole thing…bag, time band, food whatever is needed. The most important remaining my gear. The rest can be left aside!

Summary: today felt great. Sun shining, tummy happy with its carb(y! – for the rhyme…), head full with peace & quietness, body feels fine… yes. time for running soon before the thunder goes down! No matter what the weather is, I cannot control it anyway.

Stockholm…2 days to go ( and less than 40 hours to start…)