Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Posts tagged “sub3

Race Report – Amsterdam Marathon – 2016/10/16

happy-soon-finish-2

Happy and soon finishing

Planned: 2:57/58, definitely sub3. Second target top 20, third goal top30…

Actual:……2:59:56. 22nd all women, 6th age category, 2nd Swedish woman, 488 out of total 12,182 finishers. Ok-result but not fully satisfied as missing sub3 in gun time by 13 seconds and had a too relaxed 5km before reaching 40km-mark and waking up for final 2.2km sprint to the Olympic stadium. Still, it is another sub3 and that cannot be ignored…

Race Results:
place (M/W) 22
place (age) 6

Total 488 (out of 12,182)
age/grade: 79.9% (2016 Ferrara 78.2% / Dubai 73.83 / 2015 NYC 75.93 / 2015 WMAC 74,99 / 2014 Chicago 75.97 / Stockholm 76.76 / Rotterdam 78.43 / Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (gun) 02:59:56
time total (brutto) 03:00:13
average pace: 4:16min/km

Official splits:

Name Time Time (split) Pace min/km
5 km 0:20:57 20:57 04:11 min/km
10 km 0:41:37 20:40 04:08 min/km
15 km 1:02:26 20:49 04:10 min/km
20 km 1:23:51 21:25 04:17 min/km
21.1 km 1:28:28 04:37 04:13 min/km
25 km 1:45:08 16:40 (21:17) 04:16 min/km
30 km 2:06:56 21:48 04:22 min/km
35 km 2:28:40 21:44 04:21 min/km
40 km 2:50:34 21:57 04:23 min/km
42.2 km (Finish) 2:59:56 09:22 04:16 min/km

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M Day-5 

Carb depletion day 1. Had eaten slightly less carbs for past two days. Feeling almost the irritability growing during those days…(or maybe I am always irritable…). As final quality run, I did an interval run with former colleague, run which turned out to be pretty bad for the self-confidence. Would have probably interrupted the run if I had been alone. Wind most of the time, tired, missing my carbs (yeah, let’s blame it on the carbs!). Nope. Rubbish and sluggish feeling. Disappointed at myself for not being stronger. Coach commented it could be the body tired from the last half-marathon run 1.5 week before. Maybe.

M Day -4 

Morning run at 5am and 6°C in a pitch black city still sleeping. Good start of the day and perfect to forget the rubbish run of the evening before. Nice easy and light feeling. Few 200m accelerations at the end got the legs very happy. Slight “electric chock” feeling in the left calf and foot made me a bit worried as it happened as well during the last interval the day before. Continuing cab depletion. Work all day. Massage pre-race in the evening with laser treatment on the Achilles heels and left calf. Got also taped light on the left calf to help and relief for this “electricity” feeling. Probably a nerve malfunctioning.

M Day-3 

Extra rest day. Never took rest on this day-3 prior to a marathon… Worked all day. Took a walk in the cold after working my day. Pack my suitcase and best of all… started carboloading!!! Noted everything single little piece of food I ate today in order to check (afterwards) how much energy I am actually taking. Body feeling fine. Really want to run.

M Day-2

Travel day! Yeaaah…. For once had booked a flight mid-morning, i.e. could sleep as normal and not wake up before the sun and birds to get to the airport. Light breakfast before leaving home and then toasted ciabatta with ham to complete this at the airport. Slept most of the flight. Well-arrived in Amsterdam, long queue to get my train ticket, 30 minutes later I had found my place in Rembrandtpark. Dropped my bags and took the bike my host let me borrow to get to the expo. Got my BIB, met a Swede “Anders” who hope for sub3 too. Waited a while without seeing Henrik D, went through the expo and cycled back home via the Olympic stadium (unfortunately closed for this day as preparing for the race). Changed gear, bike back to km1 of the race, left the bike, ran 10km easy on the race route and then back home again, with a stop at an Italian deli for a large portion of tagliatelle Bolognese to-go. First real meal since the ciabatta of this morning… Had eaten many bananas and drunk isostar during the day. And the day ended with nice chat with my host Rick before I went to bed around 10:30pm.  Less than 48hours to go…

M Day-1

Started the day with sleep-in until 8:30am… Had waken up a couple of times during the night, fearing I had slept too long and missed the start. Running gear on and hop! To the chilly and foggy Dutch morning. Ran easy 5km with a stop at Lidl for some bread and sweets. Finished the run under drizzling rain with a few 100m accelerations. Took 4 of them to get to a fast and decent pace…on slippery pavement… Late and large breakfast at 11:30am and then rest at home until late afternoon. Final meal taken around 3pm. The plan was to have only liquid stuff and easy-to-chew food for the rest of the day. Met Tricky with big brother Christer for their dinner at 5:45pm. Ordered pasta, but took it away with me as I did not feel like eating more. Especially not so “late”. Bike back home in the dark and without light in my bike. Finished to prepare my gear for the race. Review for the 123rd (???) time the route fir the race and when to take my gels. Felt good. Felt ready. Did not feel fast, but enough to make it under 3 without problem tomorow. In bed by 9:30pm. Checking the race route again. Sleeping around 11:40pm (awaken when roommates came around midnight and showered for a while)…and a final check to the race route…and ZzzzzZzzzz…

M DAY!!!!  

Finally!

Before the race 

00:15am – awaken by the roommates back home and showering. Back to sleep.

2:22am – nice time but still not for waking and going up. Back to sleep.

4:10am – opening the eyes and still not understanding that time was passing sooooo slowly. Back to sleep. 

5:25am – awaken before the clock rang. Good! A few minutes sleep-in. Did not want to get fully awaken. Walked quietly to the kitchen, blended some Isostar, ate my breakfast of champions (chia seeds, green mix, isostar. Had no white bread nor bagel, so took 2 slices of brown bread with honey. Glass of water). This should get me up to 200g carbs. All set. Back to bed…

6:00&6:30am – drank water and isostar. Half-asleep/awaken (probably more asleep..)

6:57am – did not want to wait any longer. Got up and headed to the shower.  Eye drops for skipping the crying eyes during the race, cream all-over the body (including anti-chaffing cream), fix the hair, set the Swedish flags tattoos (2 small ones on the left arm and a larger one on the right back shoulder). Hoping they are in the correct sense… Jumping in my racing outfit (SWE hotpants and singlets and ADIDAS Adizero Adios Boost Purple (Quicky)). Sunglasses on the top of the head as expected some sun (and some wind). Had 2 gels in a sock in the front of sports bra, 2 in the back of the sports bra and 1 in the little back pocket of my hotpants, with a full Dextrosol. Double-checking again my changing gear for after the race. Getting an extra long pants, a tshirt to throw before start and my running wind jacket. Ready?

08:15am – TIME TO GO! Of course the elevator is the slowest in the whole wide world this morning… Getting to the bike, the air outside is pretty nice. Sun shining, but a bit chilly. This time I found my way in the park without any problem. Reaching closer to Vondelpark and seeing more and more runners walking in the same direction. Parking my bike at the bus stop of “km1-of-the-race” and walking the rest to the stadium. Had thought of jogging a bit, but it is pretty much impossible. Getting to the bag drop area. Taking off my extra clothes apart from the old tshirt Dad gave me, leaving my bag after a quick chat with a Dutch guy telling me that if I made a great time in Rotterdam, I should expect a “best-ever” on this course. Into the stadium, getting myself directly in my starting corral (Yellow) and queuing for the loo….for 16 minutes!!! Good to be on time. Because the queue behind me is getting longer by the seconds passing! Thinking that peeing 30 minutes before start should be well enough. Back to the corral and out again to try to find Tricky in the corral behind. No success.

9:08am – Back to the Yellow corral. Which was for expected time 2:40 to 3:00…Eeeeeuuuh what? How can it be such a large range? It is like setting in the same start a Ferrari and a fast…Volvo (?). Anyway. After a nervous warmup jog, settling in the corral. Chatting a bit around. Saying hi to a Swede (not difficult to recognize with the Swedish outfit he has 🙂 ) Chatting in French, Swedish, English and even a little bit of Spanish. Just loving this moment. The music playing is not always the enthusiastic one you may expect, more likely to be for a nice evening bal or such… Laughing at it with French guys talking about “Bal-musette” 🙂 Not many women here, but the few I noticed look more Ferrari-like, than Volvo-like… Feeling a bit out of my league here (ok…feeling COMPLETELY out of my league!). Hearing a voice I recognize and getting a large smile from Kent M. Nice with a friendly known face. Ready to rock for a sub2:55-like 🙂 Have my pacebands set on my arm. Runners are getting closer to each other. Asking kindly to a French guy before me for having his anti-chaffing cream. Had put some before leaving home, but feel that it is better to be safe than sorry and have some more under the arm pits and the inside of the thighs. Throwing my old tshirt away.

09:25am – presentation of the elite. Could not see our Swedish star (Louise Wiker) in the front corral, but with all those giant guys all around me, that’s understandable (we should have corral per height… the short people first, so we can see a bit better…).

09:28am – Countdown started since 09:00am just continued. Of course it is completely the wrong time to check my shoes as at the same time all the runners are walking forward. Loosing Kent there, but still seeing my French friends. Gels in place where they should be. Still having my little 3dl water bottle with 2.5dl Isostar lemon in it. Taking a glups and deciding to keep it with me for a little while…

09:29am – Everything seems soooo quiet (or is it just in my head?)…

THE RACE

First half

09:30am – BAAAAM! Well, actually, a bit unsure I heard it. A guy on the left did make a noise slightly before the start was given and then could feel the runners moving forward. Same tactic as in Lyon and keeping my elbows a bit on the side. Passing the mat and pressing start on my watch. Had heard about the sluggish start in the stadium and indeed. It just feels like I am walking. Already hearing impatient runners pushing a bit, but I feel fine. Seeing Kent disappearing. We run about 150m in the stadium before leaving it. Careful on the pavement out there. Seeing people cheering already. I feel like a snail would have left the stadium faster than I actually did. Don’t want to check my pace as I might scream if I see how slow I probably am… And anyway, it is better to wait until the first km. Passing under the “500m left” sign and want to check a bit my time anyway. Juuuuuust a little pick…. and good for me! The watch is indicating a distance run of 0.00… and time 0.00… What the….?!?!? Starting it again by pressing start-button. OMG… I am not happy. Can we start this all-over again? Am I in a stupid dream telling me NOT to do that in real life?!?!? Hearing Henrik D’s voice, a good luck and he is passing me on the left. I feel so puzzled for a bit that my legs just run on the habit, rather than for the race. Seeing Kent M on my right. What? He should be far away already. We reach km1. Kent is NOT happy neither with this start. The worse he has had ever. All I want to know is what my pace is. Where is km1-sign? Are we there yet? Passing my bike. No km1-sign I see. Be careful on the road with the tram rails. Running like in a dream or something. Not really in the race at all. Kent is gone. No need to follow him. I have no clue how fast or slow I am. Entering VondelPark and hearing a cheering in Swedish. A guy in black tri-outfit and a cap is talking to me. Still I feel like on a cloud. He asks me what will be my finish time and I hear myself answering “under 3”. Good, we can run together he adds. He starts to talk a lot. Asking if I have run under 3 before. Passing km2, pressing my lap button. OK. At least from now on, I am set for every km. Getting close to km3 and seeing Christer-the-big-brother. Large smile back. A little wave with the hand. And this is soon the end of the park already. Km3 has disappeared in 4:14. The Swedish guy said we were exactly on 4:10-tempo at the entrance of the park. OK. Have to wait until we reach km5 to see exactly how much time difference my watch has to the gun time and take that as reference. Getting to km4 without much trouble. It is actually right under the Rikjsmuseum. Difficult to see as it feels a bit dark there, but not feeling the pushing and crowdedness that people had talked about. When leaving this little path on the other side, THERE you can talk about crowdy! Cheering people on both side and then a runner with a wheelchair with another participant starts shouting to all to move along. Indeed he is fast and being on his way will probably end badly. Passing him on the left and then we turn right and then left and then after a short stretch, left again. Right along the river. Still no clue about my pace. I am just running. I feel however that my bladder is not just functioning, as I really feel like stopping for peeing… Not a chance, not after less than…42,2km! Not taking long before…yappp… the glamour and joy of running….and having a bladder not cooperating at all… Doesn’t really matter… it feels it’s too late anyway. Reaching km5 right after 21minutes on the large clock. OK. Meaning my watch has approximately 3 minutes difference with gun time and that I am right under 2:58-finish time. Looking good! Drinking the little bottle with Isostar and throwing it away. Brilliant plan! So I skip the first water-station! The Swedish guy (“Jonas”) is from Gothenburg and talks a lot. OK, he might not talk a lot, but while I ran, feeling pretty wet (and that ain’t funny), counting down the km to the finish line, the last thing I want is to be talked to. Cannot see the km6, but my running mate tells that we are a bit fast but that’s ok. We meet the fast elites coming back on the other side, turn right and then left and then little bump and left again. Passing a couple of guys and left and we are back to the same road again, seeing a flow of runners coming the other way around. We are good. Running is flowing fine. I feel completely wet and actually I don’t care. Continue to run and hearing the advice that I should alternate sport drink and water at every second water station, so that the stomach handles it better. I actually want to tell him to shut up, but it feels pretty rude to do so. So I do it in my head. I know he probably means well, but I don’t want to start talking about my marathon resumé because I never do and that will not do any good/bad and that’s it. Keeping my mouth shut. Or probably smile. Have turned on a long(er) stretch now. Pretty stable flow of runners all around. Got asked if I am still ok. Answering yes. This was nice asking. Hearing the watch buzz every km or so. Well.. Slightly before every km-mark. Which makes me soon realize that if my watch is always 10-15m before the km-mark and ends at 42.2km, well… the real distance would be way longer… Getting to km10 even before the sign as the comments have already started (or have they ever stopped?). That we are right on time if we do this or this. That we are good for under 2:58. I just want the calm in my head and seeing what the gun-time clock indicates. 41:xx… D*mn! I wanted to pass this one right under 41 minutes and I am off now: Sure, it is still under 2:58-end time, but above my plan. Jonas seems happy on the other side as we nailed the exact time he had thought about. Ok, then. Taking my green gel and a bit of water. Probably not enough though. But felt ok. A bit more running and then we turn back 180-degrees. Feeling like in Rotterdam where there was such a turn which felt completely unnecessary and really strangely placed on the race route. What I want now is to reach km14, see the river and hope for wind-free. What I was not expecting was the stone-paved street. What?!?!? Are we going to run on this? Recalling that someone had told me there was a short path with those. OK, stop whining and run. The sun is shining. More cheering before the right turn into the riverside road…which is still with those cement-plates-or-whatever-they-are… NOT liking it. I can feel that my knees, my feet, my hips are not liking this. And the road is not even plane. It is slightly bumping in the middle. I try to find the most optimal way to run, but whatever side I choose on the road, my hips feel like they are going to pop out or something. Have passed this km14, meaning that on the other side of the river it is km24! Yoohoo!… OK…Not helping at all…but the mind is at peace by remembering this clue. Jonas has disappeared by now. I think I recognize Henrik D slightly before me. Trying to catch up, but this first half is the “cruising” one. Meaning no rush. I want to pass all those guys in the last 10K, so let them run 🙂 I am hanging along a group and then another one and then passing guys who passed me aso. Feeling fine. Have taken 2 Dextrosol at km15. Those were some extras I had put in my sports bra with the gels, just in case. Have passed right above 1:02:xx at this gun-time-clock. Still ok. Still running. Around km17 we can see the fantastic elite men running on the other side. WHAT.A.SIGHT!! Even with the river between us we can see the easiness they have for running. This is just beautiful. We laugh with the couple of guys around me. Asking each other what we are doing here when it looks like the party is on the other side of the river 🙂 I like the sun on my face. What I like less (or not at all…) is the side wind, slightly in our face. Doesn’t matter, I think. Let it do what it wants. We’ll have it helping us on the other side of the river. Seeing a couple of lonely elite runners. And then the female elites. The tuning point bridge feels sooooo far away. I am even thinking that I am recalling wrong the map and that we might turn far far away from where we are. Km18 is passed. We hear some karaoke-music (?) from a little boat on the river, singing “It’s not unusual to be looooved by anyone”… Ooooook! Could we have some little more entertaining music, more drums, more whatever and less of this? At least runners around me are smiling at it! And here it comes… another one little bump… slightly up to the bridge to cross the river (yeaaaaah! It feels like a LOT of elevation gain…for too long… Leaving the guys passing me and getting their legs tired on the way up… and catching up on the way down (is that possible that there is WAY less elevation on the other side of the bridge?!?!?). Could already feel that the wind ain’t going to help on this side. Liking the “Go go ladies” and “Come on, you look good” cheerings. Liking less the plates on the road we are running on. Suck it up! I think. Stop complaining to yourself and get to this halfway under 1:29. I have lost my hope of getting close to 1:27. But under 1:29 ain’t gonna fly! Passing km20 under the time written on my armband! Yooohooo! I’m still in this race! 1:23:xx. Feeling strong. Counting that a 4minutes-run would get me to the halfway. Seeing all the other runners on the other side of the river makes me smile. Feels like a while ago I was there myself. Taking another green gel. Where is the water?!?!? The brain is getting clearer and realizing that the “4 minutes to go to halfway” is actually completely wrong. There was 1.1km to go, not 1km. And there is no chance I am fit enough to get down to this pace. I see the km21-sign. Feeling so happy. Passing under the arch for 21.1km. UNDER 1:29! Yiiiiihaaaa! I have made it. I am not tired. I am happy. And it’s sunny. Feeling a rush of adrenaline. Accelerating a bit. Only one half to go!
Second half
This surge of happiness had made me accelerating…I thought… but apparently I took it pretty easy after that. Getting closer to a group of guys and recognizing Henrik D there. Right when I am to start talking to him, I hear a “Heja Sverige!”. I answer thanks at the same time as Henrik D and turn to him to say with a smile that the cheering was for me 🙂 So, here we are after half way and three Swedes together. Few words exchange but I get along with the pace my legs have and let the guys behind. Catching up with two Italians who have a nice pace, I think. And they receive plenty of cheering as well, so it is good to run with them. Well, they don’t know I do. They are chatting about stuff, and my limited Italian knowledge together with my tired brain do not really let me comment. Just running. Noting right before passing under the bridge that they are actually on a “too-much-cruising” mode and I leave them behind. Continuing towards km25. Have taken 1 Dextrosol every km since km23. Running along the river is pretty nice and peaceful. Still feeling like on a cloud and not really in the race. Km25 is reached and as for the previous water-stations, I take a paper cup of water, a glups, throw the rest on the head and catch another cup to do the same. Catching as well one or two sponges. Feeling very good. Now what is left is 5km to the next meeting with Christer-the-big-brother. Good to cut the race in small pieces. Have thought about it at km14…one third done, two third to go! To reach km30 it is the simple “5km to go” with reference to where I train. And by km26 I was “at the roundabout close to home”. At km27 I had reached the big gardens. And so on. This part reminds me again of Rotterdam. Less people. We have turned to the right on the map and no longer are along the river. Just road and this lovely asphalt. Too quiet and peaceful and the pace is dropping. I know it and don’t do anything about it. It is under control. Then I see a friendly face I recognize… Christer! But??!?! What? Am I already at km30? And nope. He had made it to km28 for cheering for us and I am still to reach km30. After this meeting, I hang along with guys but often they are slowing down after a short while and I am to catch another guy or group. Not necessarily accelerating, but not really slowing down neither. Reaching km30 where I take another gel. Yellow. I am still on time for a good 2:58 finish. 15-20seconds off, but I feel fine. I know I am actually slow here, but the pacesetters of the 3:00 have not yet passed me. Have seen them and their balloons around km6/7 and since halfway, I should be 1 minute before them. Just have to keep it this way. Talking to a guy who I caught up with and indicating there were only 12km to go. Receiving a fade smile and he cannot keep up. 12km to go. That is nothing. That is less than an hour. That is a morning run. This is what I have trained for. Just a back and forth in Dubai. N.O.T.H.I.N.G! Run run run! Passing km32 and catching up with a French guy. He looks fine and he has a great pace. He looks a bit surprised to see a chick here, but we talk a little bit for a while. 10km to go. Quickly thinking of the pace. OK, 43-44minutes max. Otherwise it won’t work to be under 3 hours. Running in the houses-area reminds me once again about Rotterdam. Although here there is way less people cheering. But I don’t care. I have a mission and that is to make it to the finish line under 3 hours. Just thinking of it. Relaxing though when thinking of J’s words and not thinking of the time. Just enjoy. Well… I would probably enjoy WAY more if I knew what was my current pace. But the clock is still showing 3 minutes or so after the gun-clock. Close to km35 I take another Yellow gel. Missing to drink water, so I grab two sponges and press them in my mouth. Disgusting as it could be expected, but it does the trick. We are now turning left on the map. Got passed by a Swede who cheers for me (good idea this Swedish flag tattoo on the shoulder!) and tells me to hang along. He is going for 2:57 and indicated he had passed the 3:00-guys and has 3 minutes before them. Yap. But I have not. Welcoming very much the little downhill and under the bridge and the Swede with grey singlet disappear. Not like a rocket, but still…faster than me. We are back in the city. I know there is less than 7 ridiculous km to go. This is absolutely nothing. And still… a gal is passing me… NOOOOOO! Trying to hang along. This works. For a little while… until we run down under a little bridge and…I get passed… by another gal!!! Which actually look like the same age. DOUBLE-NOOOOO! Passing km36 and I hear this guy saying “what goes up must go down”… not understanding really as we have just gone DOWN and then UP… The two gals are right before me 15-20m ahead. For the next 2km. I am mistaking km36 with km38. I hope to see the entrance of Vondelpark, but it is only this stupid asphalted street which is in front of me. At least it is going slightly down. My legs are just running and I am no longer thinking. Preparing my final gel – red. Taking it when seeing the km38-sign. No water in sight. And this all-but-liquid gel in the mouth. Doesn’t matter. Have taken an extra Isostar gel in one of the water-station and hop. In the front of the sport bra. I can feel by now that this was a veryveryvery bad idea and will probably feel sorry when I get undressed and into the shower. But for now, focus is on the snake-like street bringing us – FINALLY! – to Vondelpark. I want to see km39. Trying to find Christer-the-big-brother, but honestly not really doing it. I just hold onto this feeling of passing-people-in-the-last-km-is-the-best-feeling-in-the-world. Km39 is passed. 3km to go. NOOOOOOTHING! But isn’t this km the longest of the race? Feeling like it! Seeing a bit ahead of me the Swedish guy I met in the start corral. The fast one Kent M introduced me too. I know there must be something wrong if he is here…as I am here too. And I am not THAT fast. But the brain ain’t thinking straight on this one. It just tells itself to accelerate to keep up with the fast Swede. Not looking good actually. So passing him and telling him to hang along with me. Less than 2km to go. I can feel he is following. Passing km40 exactly on the 3:00-finish time… I am disappointed. I am not happy. So I push a bit more. I talk to my Swedish runningmate, not really sure what words I am using, but it is probably as much for him as for me. Stupidly going to the water station before leaving Vondelpark. Grabbing a sponge. WHYYYYYY?!?!?! I don’t even need it! Cannot remember the name of my Swedish runner, but he is right next to me and that helps! I think I am smiling. Less than 2km. We will make it under 3:00. Running on the street with the tram railway feels trickier now. Hearing myself screaming/shouting at runners who have stopped running and walk now that they should keep their right. I don’t want to fall. Not now. Not ever. We get to the roundabout where I parked my bike. 1km to go. Cannot see km41-sign. I don’t care. I just run. Straight forward. Under the shadows of the trees. Turning right. Seeing the “500m left” sign. Seeing the clock ticking. Calculating that even in a good and fit shape I would not be running the 500m as fast as I have to right now to make it under 3hours. Sun in the eyes when running. Hearing my name from the speaker and the cheering. Yooohooo! I even wave! And turning right. Passing the “I AM AMSTERDAM”-sign. The stadium gate is there…Entering and getting passed by a guy. Pressing to another gear or whatever it is. There is less than 150m to go. Reaching the inside line of the track. Getting the sun in the eyes again. Seeing the signs counting down. Seeing the stupid clock ticking… and noooooO! 3:00:00….01….02… Feeling completely disappointed, but feeling that the legs are strangely still running. Why on earth are they doing that? The clock has passed the 3hours. Seeing 3:00:08…09… and then getting on the finish mat. Stopping the clock. I am deeply disappointed. And not even tired.

Official time received later: 2:59:56...

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

After the finish line

Stopped my watch. Looking around pretty puzzled and not happy. Runners all around showing signs of tiredness. I am bending a bit on my knees and then up again. Seeing Svend, my Swedish running mate. At least we made it together to the finish line. He even smiles as he said his watch shows under 3 hours. Yapp… But mine is showing a stupid 2:57:07 and I have no clue of my finish time. Apart from that it is above 3 hours. Soooo annoyed. Getting a cheering from a few runners, thanking for the run, asking how it went aso. I think I am smiling but the heart ain’t there really. I want to leave the arena and go home.  We walk together to the exit of the stadium, receiving our medal, taking pictures. Outside the stadium waits a bit of food and drink. Getting an Isostar Orange and a banana. Final chat and hug to Svend. He said he felt pretty bad and that was good I passed him and we finished together. Yapp. For this I found it was a fun end. But nothing else. Cannot understand how I could  not make it to under 3 hours when the pacesetters of 3:00 have not passed me. Walking to get my bag. Then to medal engraving. As I had planned and trained for a great finish time, I did plan for an engraving. It feels like a waste of money. Giving my medal and waiting a few minutes on the other side of the tent. Sun is shining. I am probably the only unhappy here. Hearing my name and getting my medal… seeing surprised a 2… and then a 59… and does not really matter what is after. I burst into tears and scream. Getting a hug from a runner close to me. Feeling so d*mn happy. Standing here. Legs still fine. No pain in the body. And a sub3 engraved on my medal. The sun may continue to shine! Drinking the isostar bottle, asking for a photo and then taking off my hotpants and singlet to get into dry clothes. Not really comfy with sweaty underwear, but better this than getting cold and sick. I decide to skip the massage and walk back to my bike. Encouraging the runners on the way to the stadium. Re-assuring them that there is less than a km to go. Bike still there. Cycling easy under the sun back home. Shower. Clean clothes on (carefully as I got burn marks on the chest “as expected” and on the inner-thighs… as it apparently always happen with this hotpant). A bit of food (the pasta from the day before, topped with an egg and 3dl isostar taste like a Queen’s meal!) and rested under the cover with legs up to rest.

After a bit of resting, bike to Vondelpark to meet with Tricky and big Brother-Christer. Took a bit longer as the afternoon race is still going on in the park. Dropping my bike at their hotel and we walk to the bar I found with “ribs at while” menu. Suiting pretty well to celebrate: ribs with French fries and a large coke. Lots of talking. A bit of walking to a coffee place for dessert (mine is a chocolate muffin with chocolate topping and hot chocolate for drinking…) and then enjoying the darkness falling down on the city while talking out ourselves about the race. Cycling back home and throwing everything in my suitcase. A bit of chatting with my host and his mate. And then in bed. Could not fall asleep before midnight, but it does not matter.

A good day in the Venice of the North…and almost making it for the goals set… 

 

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Weather: 10.0°C, Sunny, Feels like 7.8°C, 14 kph SE wind, 87% humidity. A bit chilly at start, but as soon as getting the legs running, it felt nice and perfect for running. Estimating the average temperature throughout the race to be 13-14°C. Windy along the Amsel. Sunny.

Food:
> before: chia porridge with green mix and banana, with Isostar Lemon + 2 slices brown bread with honey (5:30am)

> right after: banana+water+Isostar orange

> 3 hours after: ribs party 🙂

> During: isostar in my little bottle @km5, green gel @km10 & 20, yellow gels at km30&35, red gel at km38 (at the water stations). Dextrosol: 2 at km15 and 1 every km or so at km23-24-26-27-28. Full Dextrosol pack eaten…

Gear: ADIDAS SWE outfit (hotpants & sports bra), Casal Iconic black Sports bra MIK, sunglasses, shoes to perform on the feet! Just so great. Forgetting almost they are on. Feels like flying, like not touching the ground…

=> Perfect outfit? Could have done without the singlet. It was convenient when it was a bit windy to have it on the stomach, but mostly felt a bit “warm”. The hotpants looks good, but were annoying again and despite anti-chaffing cream, they gave me burn-marks on the thighs and in the lower back. And rubbing slight under the belly-bottom. Have to find new ones. Looking as good… Carrying the gels was very poorly achieved once more…

14/ Decent 13/14 for the first half. Felt in control and good. Would have been even better without the bladder incident… After the half-point it was too comfortable and there was no real possibility to get along with runners at the pace which have been good until the end. Settling into a comfortable pace made the second half actually feeling “easier” than the first one. Thought about Berlin 3:03 and cannot feel like today was harder or even the same effort level. Felt well and controlled. A deep around km35-40. Not enough water drinking? Did not feel dehydrated. Could not really push as much as I wanted from km40 to the end, but got the pace up to the end. And still missing the 3:00…

 

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SUMMARY: Had looked forward to this race. Had limited the number of longer races (read: marathons…) after Ferrara in march in order to focus on this one. Had done the training accordingly. Had not gone down in time for the half-marathons races as I wanted, but was satisfied enough to feel like having back a good level kind-of “2014-like”. Felt fit. The race was nice. The route was perfectly fitting me (apart from the stupid plates along the road). The wind? I can even forgive this one, as it was nothing compared to training back home or in other races (including Rotterdam). Can at least feel satisfied to finish in this time without major or minor pains. The body felt like handling the pace pretty happily. Maybe a bit too comfortable… The preps the days prior to the race felt all fine (apart from the intervals session). All was set for a good race. Apart from the watch not starting properly. Focus was there, the legs were there, the head was there. Feels good to be in the sub3-club….so good that you wish to get to a starting line very soon again!

 

(Loads of thanks for support and cheering during the preparation weeks and months. Tricky to prepare with so many changes happening in the past four months, but the “every-second-weekend-race” since August did provide a good base for this race  Missing top20 is a pity, still being in top25 is great. 3rd sub3 and 3rd best marathon time ever. OK…probably there is some stuff to be celebrated here 

Thanks to all the runners who cheered (more or less) during the race. To the Swedish guys along the route. To the French ones and the Italians too. To all those who gave a smile or encouragement when I was passing. To the people cheering along the road. Special thanks to Christer-the-big-brother for cheering along the course and taking pics. For you too, special people who are counting very much and always giving supporting words or tips when needed. A special thought to Z who would have celebrated her birthday this same day. This sub3 is for you!

Special thanks to my little ones left at home and being the best-ever crew one can wish for. For their faith in me and their constant words of encouragements. Receiving a smiling “I’m proud of you” is worth all the medal (and sub3) in the world!

The return to Sweden was -as often- done under grey skies and cold(er) temperatures. Sunshine? Nope. Rain on the other side… Time for a well-deserved rest now. The body felt indecently fit after this race. Good sign? New adventures already in mind… THANKS!

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A few “after-race thoughts”

NOTE: Let’s start with this body of mine. Which did not feel tired at all after passing the finish line. Cannot really comprehend this. After shorter races, yes I know. I don’t push enough to get tired. But here we are talking 42.2km. A bit of pain should be felt somewhere. Tired? Yes. I am no robot! But pain, nope. Not even the Achille’s.  The calve behave properly, the bum/thigh muscles were just as fine and the hips never screamed. OK…listing all this makes me think that there must be something wrong somewhere… Won’t complain. Can be a bit of luck. Let’s see how the next sub3 ends… 🙂

NOTE: Warmup? What’s that? Nothing at all this time. The nervous jog was not enough to warm me from the chilly temperature. OK. The 500m for start did act as warm-up probably…hi hi hi… Anyway, the body could settle in a proper pace around km1.5 or 2. Would have been good to know how the first 500m went…

NOTE:…which brings me to the “watch incident”. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?!?! Still don’t know how it turned itself into pause. Did I push twice? Did I start and then with people around it pushed on stop? Don’t know. But will definitely be extra careful in the next few races…

NOTE: Energy/refuelling during the race? This I am very satisfied. Have to do some calculations, might have taken too much, but never felt any deep. The little bottle in the hand until km5 worked as a charm. The gels were planned for 20-30-35-38/40 and taken at 10-20-30-35-38. Had an extra one just-in-case and took one isostar just-in-case-just-in-case  A full Dextrosol pack went down and it worked fine. Particularly happy not to have had any stomach cramp. Never felt thirsty. Did take liiiittle water at every water station (read: a glups max!). Satisfied for this part.

NOTE: Beetroot loading? Tested this time as well. Honestly? Don’t know what it does. Have run faster races without. And as usual, cannot know how it would have gone without…

NOTE: then…gels in the sport-bra, on the back? Worked well. Sitting pretty tight and not moving around, which means no chaffing. Cutting the ventilation expected in the back of the sports bra however…

NOTE: …and gels in the sport-bra, in the front? As usual…. I know, I know… did not work this time neither…Suspecting however that it worked fine until I took the extra one (isostar) as this one was not in the little sock…

NOTE: Post-marathon recovery on-going and working well. Felt a bit stiff when sitting a bit long or when going up from the bed. But nothing different from during training  Day after? The body felt all fine. Massage on M day + 1 and M day +2 are really worth it. Just a few more days without running and that will be it as…

new adventures will soon to come…

 

 


Race Report – Rotterdam Marathon 2014/04/13

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

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

Race Results:
place (M/W) 22
place (ag) 4
age/grade: 78.43% (2014 Dubai 77.74 / 2013 Berlin 75.74/Stockholm:73.1/Boston:72.19/Dubai: 72.35/2012 Berlin:68.29/SF:65.66/London:66.47/Dubai:66.6)
time total (netto) 02:57:25
time total (brutto) 02:57:25
average pace: 4:10min/km

Official splits:

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

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

And PB on 5K, 15K, 30K and 35K… 😀

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M Day-1

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

Before the race

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

 

Weather forecast is fine for me!

Weather forecast is fine for me!

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

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

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

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

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

The "before-picture"

The “before-picture”

Changing facilities

Changing facilities

The orange squad?

The orange squad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE RACE

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

Second half

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

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

Official time received later: 2:57:25.

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

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

Final time on the Garmin :)

Final time on the Garmin 🙂

Well-deserved medal :)

Well-deserved medal 🙂

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

After the finish line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

> 2.5 hours after: pizza + coke

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Inside the restaurant - cosy

Inside the restaurant – cosy

Pizza and coke... carbo-loading again?

Pizza and coke… carbo-loading again?

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

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

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday...

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday…

Yummy hot chocolate after race

Yummy hot chocolate after race


Race Report – Dubai Marathon 2014/01/24

Planned: under 3:03 but secretly hoping for right under 3:00 (& of course, faster would also be nice…)

Actual:…2:58:59!!! New PB by 4 min 44 sec from Berlin in September 2013… 3rd best Swedish woman and 25th among women all categories… (with strong representation of elite women from Ethiopia and Kenya on the leaderboard…)
SUB3: Enough said! This marathon is likely to be remembered 🙂

Race Results:
place (M/W) 25
place (ag) 3
age/grade: 77.74% (2012 Dubai:66.6/ London:66.47/SF:65.66/Berlin:68.29/2013 Dubai: 72.35/Boston:72.19/Stockholm:73.1/Berlin 75.74% )
time total (netto) 02:58:59
time total (brutto) 02:59:03
average pace: 4:14min/km

Official splits:

Split time diff min/km
10K 41:51 41:51 4:11
HALFWAY 01:28:32 46:41 4:12
30K 02:06:20 37:48 4:13
Finish 02:58:59 52:39 4:14

********************
M Day-1

After final try of gear for the race, check of what to take to the start and when, having all the alarms set for the morning preps, setting my virtual Garmin friend to 4:14… 😉 (not that I really plan to follow it, but that would be cool, huh?), took a warm shower which should make me tired and sleepy…not!

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Final prep


19:25 – drinking 3dl Gatorade (mixed blue and orange 🙂 ) and 2dl water, aimed for bed. Probably too early. Eyes closed but mind alert. Almost sleeping when bouncing noise started outside (on the top of the constant far away noise from the cars – can really hear them from the motorway?!?). Bouncing noise continues until passed 9-ish. By then I have got up twice already. Then just laying down in the dark, trying to count sheeps when they turn suddenly into runners crossing the finish line. Yapp! Fun and I did not drink any alcohol… No more Gatorade-mix I presume! Checking the clock every half hour or hour. No sleep. Read a little. Still no sleep.
11:58pm – Still turning in my bed…
And same 30minutes later aso… Went up at a moment to applicate patch on my little stiff shoulders, but did not help the sleeping.

Before the race

SO when the clock rang 2:55am, I had just fallen asleep probably. Got up for preparing my porridge (still need practice to do that in the microwave…)+ banana, cranberries, gojjiberries, nuts, little sugar and oat milk. Orange juice and C-vitamin on the top of this (&allergy medicine and iron tablet as well). Water and back to bed.

3:30&4:00 am – Same procedure for water. Hesitated in drinking some Gatorade as well but skipped it. To keep it safe… Put chillout music as well but still in bed.

4:30am – Sloooowly getting out of bed, shower, more water, getting my hair ready and massage with red tiger balm (worked fine yesterday…. & I know, should not try stuff the days of a race…my conscious has already said that). Sun cream all over, hoping it would work without having running cream in the eyes. Running gears are: More Miles short short, SOC sport bra (yes, it is important and will write later why), SOC purple singlet, pink Kalenji socks (you can run and be colour-conscious 😉 they suit well with the singlet and the shoes), sunglasses & ASICS Gel DS Skyspeed.

5:00am – Already? This arrived too fast! Still preparing myself, changing tactic for the gels: 2 in side pocket of my singlet, 1 in back pocket with Dextrosol and 1 in the hand. Lifting up my singlet so the gels are making a little bump on my back, but better looking like a camel than burning my chest again. Throwing change outfit and extra shoes in my marathon bag and sunglasses on the head, wind-jacket on, it is time to leave.

5:44am – jogging easily to the start. Quite nice in the air, moon shining in the sky. Feeling better than last year. Following the human wave growing to the start. Lots of traffic there as well.

6-ish – Arrived at the marathon village. Photo pre-race taken? Check! First stop at the loo as there is no queue. Lots of ambiance there. The place is better I think than close to Burj Khalifa (although it was nice to start there). Dropping my bag around 6:15 am. Last visit to the ladies (now it is a queue..) and aiming towards the start.

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Soon to the start


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The Finish Line, on the other side of the road


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Smiling (almost) before bag drop


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Marathon Village

6:35am – Start to jog light a few 60m as not much more place for warming up. 5 minutes or so of this. Then wait a bit while walking and then 2-3 minutes of same 60m with acceleration one way and easy jog back. Not much of a warmup, but that will do.

6:50am – Well placed in front row, discussing briefly on my right and my left and in French 🙂 Countdown starts, 5 minutes to start… Really? Was not 10minutes left just 2 seconds ago?!?! Fixing my laces on left shoes for the fourth time. Hoping it won’t be too tight as I am pretty bad at stopping to tie my laces up during training, so for a race would not like it…

Few minutes left – we slowly walk our way towards the start. The elite field is way more crowded than previous two years. Getting a great place right behind the two Swedish chicks (Louise Wiker and Lena Eliasson) who are racing for a place in the Swedish team to be sent to the European championship this summer. Luxury enough: both have great pace makers with them (respectively Anders Szalkai and Martin Lundqvist, a giant in green outfit. Ok, both are giants!).

THE RACE
First half

07:02am– Then hold it, hooooold it, hooooooooold it…. And PANG! Start and the race was on! Not too much pushing, although the congestion is certain. Seeing our Swedish elites drifting away and sure I can follow them the first 200m… Tricky start because lots of starters are actually not fast and not planning to be. So they push, run like h*ll the first 200-400m and you are obliged to keep their pace, until they just stop after 5-600m and start cruising. No offence, but could not they start in the second lane instead of the front row? Anyhow, starting a bit fast, but feeling good. Km1 disappears in 4:05 and it was not expected. Stabilising the pace to 4:10/4:11 by km5, which feel fine. By km3 I already have a burning feeling on the back of my left foot, not understanding why because I did put double band-aid on the potential area for blister… right under the ankle… and what I feel is actually in the back of the foot. Skipping thinking of it won’t make it disappear nor getting better (probably the contrary), but there is no way I am stopping to check. Taking a little water & 2 Dextrosol at first water station (5K). Having a bunch of guys ahead of me and it feels ok to follow them. Ok, maybe it is faster than planned, but knowing how I work (or how I think I work) if I slow down now, it is gonna be painful. Up to now it was a bit foggy (well, cloudy maybe), but now the sun is going up and can be seen. Nice because it will not be like last year foggy race. Chatting briefly with an older man in green outfit and he happens to be Norwegian 🙂 Few words exchanged in respectively Swedish and Norwegian and I drifted away with another runner. All goes fine, having music in my ears from start because unlike other large cities races, there is 1) not much public to carry you when it hurts and 2) not many people to hold on to after 10km as most of the runners have established their pace by now.
Km7.5 is the intermediate water station where I grab a bottle, emptying half of it (too heavy to carry otherwise…) and run with it until km9 where I take my first gel (the one I carried in my hand from start). All ok so far. Happy not to have my HR monitor as it would probably have indicated already a high pulse… But feeling is fine. Seriously nothing happening until km10, where I finally catch up with a gal with bright yellow compression socks and top and black skirt. Had her far away in sight from km2, but planned to just keep her in sight as long as possible, but now she was here. Hanging along with her after the 10K-water station but noticed I drifted seriously on the pace during the following km by adapting to hers (4:19), so accelerating slightly, trying to catch up with the previous guys. Completing km15 in 4:08 🙂 So much for NOT compensating for lost time as suggested Pfitzinger… (& no, I don’t do all what he writes and suggest!… But like the style and approach).
From km10, have calculated quickly (the brain is still alert) how many km are left until we turn back. If recalling right, I met the elites men on their way back when reaching km13 and was expecting the elites women 5-10minuted after, but felt it took longer time. Large group of elites runners still. 2dextrosol at km15 with little water. Seeing our Swedish women runners and cheer for them (thinking afterwards they might not like it at all if it disturb their focus…). Anyway, reaching km16 or so and it is time to turn. Wow, so nice because since a while, we were running on the route from last year (i.e. from approx. where we turned then for halfway), but never could guess where we were really as it was the second half by then (i.e. reduced brain activity when reaching this point!!!). But reaching this km16 and a 180-turn, which was approx.9.5km last year, I am “home” now. Accelerating deliberately to get the guys group from the start and hope they keep a 4:10/4:11 pace much longer.
Km17 is tricky as I have to take a gel from my singlet pocket (singlet which I have lifted up into my sport bra to have bare stomach and same in the back). No easy task, real boring solution, loosing time and focus. Have to put the singlet back as well 😦 Gel taken @km17.5 with the intermediate station. (Yes, this thing about intermediate water station: water-station every 5km from km5 to km40 and THEN intermediate station half-way… Could not they say: “water-station every 2.5km” instead? And yes I know there are other stuff like sponges, Gatorade… distributed, but still… Too much for the mind really!). Following the guys group since km16 or so and now it is windy!!! Cannot see any flag like at home to indicate where the wind come from so I can take cover. It cannot be that I am THAT fast and producing a resistance force to the air which can then be taken as wind, right? (No need to explain here, my physics lessons are a bit far away and definitely not a priority at this particular moment). What I noted is that being behind kind of the guys is NOT helping… until I see flags and understand it is side-wind we have… I think… Still cruising (cool, right? 4:10 and cruising!!!). Effortless? Nope, I do feel I am running slightly faster than planned or should, but so what. The two guys from South Africa in the group indicate they won’t hold this pace much longer and will probably follow me rather than the contrary. Hmmm… Here disappears my hope for personal pacers from km21 to 32. Seeing km21 sign and deciding for trying to get another help a bit ahead of me.

Passing half-way in 1:28:30, which happily gives me potentially 1min30 extra to drift during the second half and still make it under 3 hours.

Second half

After this extra push, I complete the next two km at 4:08 (!) and then 4:09!!! This marathon is great because the km-signs are ca.30-70m after the Garmin beeps. So quite ok. From km20 to 32, taking 1dextrosol every km except when taking gel+1km. Worked fine last year’s race and the following marathons, so let’s keep it up then… Km22 makes me happy, because it is only 20km to go, 2*10, less than half, and soon the mind will be calculating the distance to km35 (Mats knows why…).
Km25 makes me really p**sed, because I try to shout I want an open bottle and get a locked one impossible to open, missing almost the sponge and drinking too fast starting then to cough. (And I am really sorry now that I swore at the kids giving the bottles, but at this time, sorry was not in sight….). Km35 is only 10km away… Finally getting a water bottle a bit before km27 and once again, a real pain to get my gel out of my singlet-pocket-which-is-lifted-up-under-my-sport-bra. Nope, this is definitely not a solution. But now I am finished with all gels but the last one in my shorts pocket. Have been carrying carefully the Dextrosol in my bra (having a sock for it to avoid burn marks). Not optimal either… Lots of work still to do!
Seeing Burj Al Arab (still a bit away), and new strengths are felt (ok, can maybe not be seen in the pace, but the mind was happy, because it meant being closer to the last 12km, or just 2km before the last 10k, or 3km until I could see Mats (yep, at this time, I was really expecting it to happen…). Drifting away started during this “no man’s land”. Could not estimate how much drifting was ok, the brain was almost off and when it was on again, it was stupidly (or wisely?) doing a body check and saying softly that it was high time to call it for the day….
Km30 was tough. No one in sight to pull me or even run beside/behind/in front of me. The loneliness of the long-distance runner?… TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!! Fortunately meeting then more people and finishers from the other races (10k & 3K). And my hope was still to get to see someone at km35…
Passing Medinat Jumeira and continuing on the loooooooooong way to km36 (here there should be more “o” in “long”, because it was really THAT long). Meeting elite men on the other side (they are like few km to the finish line), makes me smile. Better looking at them and the way they make this finish look so d*mn easy (sorry I swear…). “Drifting” is now an understatement. “Drifting” takes a WHOLE new level and sense. I explain why: you find yourself on a long long street for which you cannot see the end (I am sure that if you continue to the end you are falling from the Earth… if the Earth was flat), sun heating your head, no shadow, a *#!$ side wind or wherever it is coming from which is annoying you, three runners ahead but probably respectively 70, 100 and 150m in front of you (in other words: you CANNOT reach them…) and the pavement is seriously getting on your nerve… Not even this description is detailing the feeling of loneliness and the wish to quit that reach your mind and play with your thoughts. Seeing the elite women on the other side brings only little joy to my pain. Yes I said it. Pain has reached the building!!! The blister on the back of the left foot is there to stay since the start (and this was good to let it be ignored!). Have been however throwing water in my legs at almost every water-station, incl. intermediate ones. On the top of that, took 3 or 4 times sponges… So by now I am soaking wet (well, my socks are, my shorts are (yeah, I am not to good at aiming the thighs and generally get most of the water on the shorts. Water which thereafter runs down the legs OR apparently remains in the shorts and makes me a few kg more heavy!!).
Back to the pain… My mind is now laughing when/if looking at the lap pace. Still keeping a 4:12 pace for long time though. Have passed by now three elite women who have dropped the race and I think that I saw one female runner far ahead who was not “elite” but fast was her second name, for sure! All good for me as it meant a few free places on the ranking (any thought is good by then for keeping the spirit up). Meeting an elite woman around km33 and I make it my personal mission to not only pass her but keep her behind me until the end. The first one is done without any problem, even though I have now km-pace of 4:20 or so. She seems to have no more strength left (ok. I take this back because she has reached so far and STILL is running to the end. I say “respect” instead). Ok, pain? Drifting? Loosing it? Yaaah, all at once. The countdown from km32 (aka “last 10km as any 10K-race”) is not really smashing clear in my head. Should I be able to make this last 10k in sub40?!? Not a chance with this weather!
Reaching km35 and disappointed not to see Mats and his accompanying thoughts… Matters not, says the mind. He must be at the next km-sign. Nope! None there neither (the mind plays tricks and this one worked up to km39… where I stopped looking for Mats…). Turning-point at the end of this motorway-like street. Km36 is reached. I am not a quitter, so I won’t quit. (On the top of that, this would mean walking back to the start for 6.2km… No way! Call me lazy if you wish!!!). Taking my last gel @km35, cola-taste. I like normally, but today not. Smart mind is telling me the body needs it so let it be then! 6km is nothing. Back and forth to the main tram stop or the arena at home, what I ran yesterday before breakfast, N.O.T.H.I.N.G. From this turn of km36 happens something however (and not a wall). Passing I think 5-7 people until the end. But even better, I have a man running beside me the WHOLE way. Unsure if he should be “that” slow (read: “me-slow“) or if he is actually staying with me on purpose. In either case, he is my saviour. Not a word, just running (& not “around” this time!). Sooo many times until km39 it feels like it should be so much better to stop in the side, take care of my feet, rest for juuuust a little while… But once again, NOT A CHANCE! Seeing km39, checking the watch, quick calculation (& by now doing maths is not on the priority task-list of the brain, if I may add!). If I run @5:00/km, I should be exactly on the 3:00-mark. The watch indicating I am now drifting @4:14, it should be ok. JUST not make the clock change to 3:00:00 when I still can see it. I started pretty much at gun time, but have seen the car prior to the men elites the first time we met and I noted 2-3 seconds difference from my watch.
Km39 is now passed. Left is the distance I usually take as warmup for intervals. 3km. Nothing. Fuel is gaining the brain again. Because btw the legs ARE fine. Ok, there has been 3-4 small cramp-alerts throughout the race but nothing needing to stop. So let the mind keep up for once. Km40 is there, sooner than expected. Getting encouragements from marathon runners in the other side of the road (on their way to the dreadful km36-turn… but I say nothing…keeping smiling). Now it is less than 2km to go. 9 minutes at most (you never know how long are the 195m after km42-sign…). And I see km41… Already? Soon I turn and it should be 500m left. Time for a final sprint (yes, I call this final km a sprint because it ended in 4:09…!!! Where was this pace on the way to km35-36? Huh?!?). Unsure I smile, cannot see the clock with the sun in the face (smart place to put the finish line…)… Noooo it turns 2:59:xx right when I can still see it.. WHAT? 2:59?!? Yiiiiipie! This is less than 3:00, right? I JUST MADE THE SUB3-CLUB!!!

Takes a few steps to notice I did not stop my watch (therefore I continue for a while to be a very happy runner with a 2:59:xx-time…).

Official time received later on: 2:58:59.

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Smiling after race, massage and medal engraving


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HAPPY (even with THIS time!!!


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THE medal 🙂

*******
After the finish line

Started to howl when seeing my watch (& I don’t care if I look disturbed, really!). Making my way to the massage tent, getting my medal, goodie bag and getting my number for the massage, I start waiting and chatting with the guys under the massage tent. It goes in French, English and Swedish. I stop at Arabic with a smile as I cannot this one. And yes, no woman in sight (but no runner gentleman enough to let me their massage place! 🙂 ). My shorts and socks are wet like I would have showered with them on… Have to work on my refreshing technique as well. Water-throwing and sponges ain’t working well… And Gosh! It is just SO GOOD to have a massage afterwards. Laying down on the massage table.
Takes 2 minutes before the right hamstring cramp like h*ll and when it goes away the left hamstring and calf take the following… Yeay.. 😦 Anyway, nice talk, will meet probably one of the guys in Paris for the Semi.
Putting back my dirty-sweaty-soaking-wet socks in my no-longer-comfortable shoes and aim to the marathon village.

Queue for medal engraving and once more howling when seeing my official time: 2:58:59!!! On the right side of the 2:58! Receiving lots of congrats, must have looked pretty excited then! Picking up my bag, photos and read sms from coach and mum confirming my time. Texting quickly to friends and then walking home. Feeling actually ok (not like I would start it all over again right now, but good it felt). Have drank my Gatorade, bottle of water and eaten my banana. A bit short of food for me I think…

Cold bath in the bathtub (although not freezing cold, it would do the trick), then hot/cold shower and 45minutes with legs up and rest and drinking. Then sms from my friend who is stuck working in Istanbul, so aimed to the mall for eating.

2:00pm – Restaurant finally. Large beef ribs with French fries + water. Served by Sudesh. Eating bread with olive oil&vinegar and sausages while waiting for the food (starving by now!). A bit too much with a whole ribs (although all went down…), but had to add an extra baked potato (& still could have eaten one more…). A bit stiff in the legs while standing up, so walked to do a bit food shopping (mainly fruits) and back home. (Ok, probably walked too much already after the race? Check!) Quick change to bathing suit, fully sun creamed and rooftop for sunbathing under the last sun rays reaching the pool area.

Not much celebration as alone, and definitely tired and not hungry in the evening. Chilling out rest of evening, eating Arabic bread, Arabic pastry (he he he!), drinking peach ice tea and looking at my so well-deserved medal…

******
Weather: +15°C at start is my guess, 23°C at arrival (real feel ? 25?). Humidity 78+ at start and 60-65 at end. Sun shining from km5 onwards. Side wind from km16 all the way to the end…a bit humid but still ok for running. Unsure the wind impacted much between km30-36, but definitely before and after

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

> right after: gatorade, water, banana

> 3 (!) hours after: beef ribs with French fries (liiitle), coleslaw and one baked potato. Water.

> During: vitargo gel @km9, 17.5, 27.5?, 35/35.5? Dextrosol: 2 tablets @km5&11&1@km15&20. 1 tablet every km (between km21 & 32) except the km with gel+one after. Unsure how but think I had some until 36/37?

Gear: Moremiles short shorts, SOC purple singlet, sunglasses – shoes were pretty great as usual. But it is time for replacement really… ;(

Outfit perfect for the weather and race. Only drawback is still the storage of the gels. Should change brand to have smaller ones maybe. No burn mark on chest, but a little one in the back (!) where the zip from the singlet pocket was against the skin… No solution is perfect…

17/ would like to set a 17.5 for effort level. First half was moderate/high effort like 16, although manageable. Second half was mainly high on effort for the brain not wanting to shut up (well, if it would have been for encouraging that would have been fine…but it sounded like a loooong complain instead. Body checks indicated that physically it was fine).

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

SUMMARY: What a way to start the racing year but with a new PB and yearly objective already reached (told you, history DOES repeat itself… 3rd time’s a charm!). Preparations since Berlin had gone well especially thanks to the clement weather at home allowing outside workouts until the snow and cold reached the city 2 weeks before the race… Tapering period was not easy with REAL rest days and a day of stomach sickness less than a week before the race. Carb loading went ok, but not more.

Overall feeling far from Berlin 2013, which I think is more likely related to the weather conditions than the faster pace itself. Moreover the ambience on the marathon route is pretty differing between those two races! No walking during the race, which makes me super proud and mindset on the top for a lot of the race (the dips were there but short… Just to make the mind wonder if it could really make it. Sooooo 75-80% on the top, as actually the dips were pretty disappearing as soon as I was checking the avg pace, which made me smile every single time (& made me push for it until the end…). Good response overall from the body, no hamstring pain, no Achilles heel shouting and no burn mark…. Sitting for lunch was a bit uncomfortable for the left hamstring, but could not have my feet up on the table then… After not too comfortable night, body is fine the day after (read: won’t try jumping, skying, dancing but the walking is fine!).

Stable and fast pace for the first half and drifting afterwards. In a race with more people, I would guess (!) this would have been less of a problem as could have hang along with others. Not here. Should have my personal pacer next time! Anyone???? Second half almost exactly 2 minutes slower than first one, which makes me thankful to have listened to myself (!) and had a good pace at first to potentially allow such drifting.

IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE SUB3!!! Feeling like howling again…but I won’t 🙂

(And like other races, a lot of support and encouragements have been received throughout the preparation of Dubai 2014. As usual post & per-race kind words are highly appreciated. Work, personal life and training are not often easy to arrange and combine and having feedback from time to time is just what is needed to continue pushing the boundaries (or even just remaining close to the ones already reached and not dropping back). So THANKS!

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After-race: starter...


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...and after-race meal (without the baked potato here....)


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Hmmmm....dessert!


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What I should take instead!


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...or this