Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Posts tagged “sunrise

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

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

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

Race results:

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

Official splits

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

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

M Day-2 & -1

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

Before the race

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

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

Wishlist for Christmas...

Wishlist for Christmas…

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

Morning on the run towards the start...

Morning on the run towards the start…

Still time enough for some more pics...

Still time enough for some more pics…

Finally reaching my gate...and the long queue

Finally reaching my gate…and the long queue

the "non-fast" lane :)

the “non-fast” lane 🙂

towards the start (I think...)

towards the start (I think…)

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

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

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

The “fast and serious” ones warming up…

"Blurry" me in the tent before start

“Blurry” me in the tent before start

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

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

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

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

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

The race

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

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

SECOND HALF

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

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

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

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

 

Smiling under the sun - done!

Smiling under the sun – done!

Well-deserved medal :)

Well-deserved medal 🙂

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

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

AFTER THE FINISH LINE

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

After the race

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

THIS.WAS.A.GREAT.DAY…AGAIN!

on the way back home under the sun

on the way back home under the sun

still running...

still running…

Celebration maxi "meat and more meat pizza"

Celebration maxi “meat and more meat pizza”

*******

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

Food:

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

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

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

Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost orange

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

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

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SUMMARY:

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

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

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

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

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

A few “after-race thoughts”

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

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

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

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

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


The stars, the soon-to-disappear Moon, the nightly skies, the sun rise…and me

4 hours of sleep ain’t optimal…I know… But at least had lots done before going to bed (late) and going up (too) early. The clock was supposed to wake me up at 6:30am, but the mind woke up slightly before 5am. And nope…was not well-rested. But definitely not possible to fall asleep again.

What was on the menu for today? 13km easy. Not a chance I do that with the form I felt. Will do one of the 8-10km morning runs instead…if I make it to 8km I thought. 7ºC outside, freezing just thinking of it, I opted for long tights and wind shield again. And on the top… a bonnet! Skipped the gloves though. Out, it felt chilly but nice. Off I went and the legs did not turn right as usual but left. OK, then. And what else? Not the harbours? nope. Took the dark alley instead. Good to have bikes now and then. Don’t feel too lonely. Easy peasy pace, reached the bridge without really noticing how and hop! I was the 54th bike (?) to pass over the bridge. Turn back and headed to the city. So nice to be on the bridge when the sun is showing itself shy and bright. OK, the body felt quite fine now. The 8km will be done but if heading home, I will cut the run to 9km and this does not “sound” good. So a little detour would be nice. Took the 14 to 19th km of Göteborgsvarvet and the legs seriously did not want to stop then. Felt really nice, but the stomach started to tell it was hungry (not often happening during a run btw). So turned back instead of pushing the run to 15km+ and nicely aimed back home. 13km. Job is done. Shared with an almost disappeared moon, only a few stars and the nice sun rise.

Quick breakfast, long warm shower and off to work. Good to have had a very painful massage yesterday (I start suspecting he does that on purpose!). The body feels good today. Will see if the 8-10km morning run can be turned into a 8-10km afternoon run instead 😉

Keep on running and great day to you! 🙂


Mr. Sun, …Please shine down on me :)

Sun, intervals, rest, more sun, long run and more rest…what a nice weekend to complete this week!

Saturday started quite fine, sleep in until 8am (despite the sun shining already outside and the birds singing… stayed in bed way longer than usual!), got cracking with rehab and then the sun being high and warm, decided to try the intervals that were set for the day. Skipped the singlet and headed with minimal outfit (and yes, it was way enough!). Easy warm-up, passing by the crazy Tough Viking race on its way to start and then took some moment for easy stretch and accelerations. Change of music and off I went. Intervals felt pretty ok, not much more (ok, the last one went fast, with headwind and seriously tired afterwards but SO worth it!). The legs felt ok. Had massage the knees with tiger balm before the run, JIC. And they worked perfectly. Got all intervals within the expected range, but two were pretty heavy on the way back. And after that easy jogg home. Indeed heavy…when coming back home I recognize that my breakfast had been quasi-inexistent… So, for sure, the intervals were good. And yes, it is still week 1 after marathon (strangely the week right after the race is often called week 0…). SO yes, ok to have heavy legs said L. Then it was just time for lunch. Lazy-me took raviolis and eaten them under the sun… where I spent the rest of the afternoon (carefully creaming with sun protection and drinking water). Tried to do some reading (Noakes) but fell asleep several times… Yapp, really heavy book! And then it was early evening and time for final outing to get the last rays of sun. Ate a chicken fajitas as well (and felt SOOOO heavy afterwards…but what would you do (or not do) when you plan a long run the day after?!?!?…). Evening in front of vampires movies eating ice-cream with chocolate topping (and remember to check what chocolate you use when doing your own chocolate sauce…I had chilli chocolate and it.was.hot!!!).

Had planned to go up early today (Sunday) to avoid doing my long run under the expected heavy sun. But 6am??? nope. Got up for a bit of drinking and then back to bed and sleep-in for a little longer. 8am I hit the pavement, decided to run the first 15km of Göteborgsvarvet and then run back home. All this at real easy pace and low pulse. But once on the way, it was really too nice, so continued towards km17 and then had to run back down the long street…why not running back home towards km18… and when reaching it…it is sooooo close to the end of the race…. juuuuust 3km…. so, sure, why not. All the run was done carefully with low pulse and slow pace. But when reaching the final 2km, not a chance the legs would complete this run without a bit of speed! Got the final 2km at a very nice and fast pace and reached the side of the Stadium…happy…and thirsty… Unfortunately, the water had been cut and I had to turn back and run real easy back home…turning my 15K into a 25K… But sooo worth it! Fun to have a workout titled “Half-marathon + before breakfast” 😛 Shower, protein drink and then massage. Niiiice! No pain whatsoever. Of course there is always some places more sensitive than others, but no pain. To celebrate this, I ordered some take away and got a nice piece of meat, nice French fries, special salad and bearnaise sauce…and a coke. Yes, it IS ok to eat what you like, even though it may not look healthy… As long as you do live healthy and so on… Lunch done, so more reading to do 😉 Sun cream on, water bottles in the fridge, ready to read with my vanilla ice-cream that melted under the sun faster than I could eat it… Nice rest for the afternoon and nice tan as well 🙂 Perfect preparation! Of course, when the sun is hiding itself, there are all the chores left to be done, but that is ok. Soon time for bed as tv is offering only rubbish to watch… Tomorrow is the start of a short week again!

Sun sun and more sun… should be this way like…everyday!


Why does the transparent coat dry slower than the green one?…

Up early enough on Wednesday (sleep in until 06:30am…), could fit a core&stability session right before starting work. Always feeling lame before starting, but so great afterwards. Had the rehab exercises in it and it feels good to have this done so early before anyone else even start thinking about breakfast 😉

Long work day, sunny but not THAT warm outside, when the clock showed 4pm, I started to be pretty tired… Tried all the tricks for keeping the mind alert and the body awaken (like working harder, then when finished, clothe folding, eating dinner (@5:30pm…), even watching tv…but nothing worked…. By 6:30pm I was already in bed sleeping…and no, I did not wake up later on before midnight….

but @3:30am this morning (Thursday), I felt fresh and well-rested… but it was still dark…and early! so had to wait…until 5am and then it was boring to wait longer. Hop in the running gear and time to run. Checking the temperature…2ºC! really? definitely long sleeves, wind jacket, half-thigh shorts and calves sleeves. All good! Real nice in the air actually (after the first chilly feeling!). Ran ran ran and hope for being on the top of the hill to see the sun going up (according to accuweather, it would go up @5:32am…). Short pit stop at gas station and this killed my schedule! Arrived liiitle too late and the sun had gone up already. But what a sight! SOOOOO delightful (and no photo…). And off I went back home. Easy nice morning run. Got ready, quick breakfast and off too work early to get all done. So nice weather I could see through the window from the office. By lunch time the sun had gone up and was warm on the face…making me regretting a bit to have run in the morning (cosy) instead of lunch (warm)… But done is done and no regret actually for the morning run! When leaving the office, the sun was still high and warm, so planned for a second easy outing. While arrived at home… it was too easy to just drop the working outfit and jumped into running gear…and sitting in front of the tv… NOPE! did not stay long. Took a mars and a little bag of gummy bear (yes, one can eat this before a run!) and off I went. As I had an unplanned rest day yesterday, where hillwork was planned, I wished to have a little hilly route today. So headed towards the big bridge and back and forth and got back home, nicely tired, 12km more in the legs 🙂 Quick core-workout and then shower, banana+orange juice and a little work on the computer. Now I am nicely tired still, but could easily go out for a run again (OK, I am not mad…the MIND thinks this is possible/feasible, but the BODY would probably say stop pretty fast 😉 )

Time for bed and beauty sleep!

 

 

(What about the transparent and green coats?… he he he! I was painting my toenails on Monday evening as I had planned to have open shoes on Tuesday (and having 2 nails of blue colour might not be that fashionable…) so painted them in dark green and same for the fingernails. Done under the sun, so thought it would dry fast. But just in case I added a transparent coat on the top… HUGE MISTAKE! in the morning my fingernails showed diverse patterns of all kind and not the ones I wanted to have. SO all off in the evening and once again, green coat on. No transparent this time. Surprise this morning to see that… the colour was nice and without pattern 😉 So conclusion: transparent coat dries slower than green coat. WHY? )


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…..

*********
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 🙂

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After the finish line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

> 2.5 hours after: pizza + coke

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Pizzeria stop to celebrate

Inside the restaurant - cosy

Inside the restaurant – cosy

Pizza and coke... carbo-loading again?

Pizza and coke… carbo-loading again?

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

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

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday...

Ha ha ha! Sundae on Monday…

Yummy hot chocolate after race

Yummy hot chocolate after race


Would you hug me if I was sweaty? (or summary of a week…)

(week 10032014-16032014)

Hilly, foggy, sunny, shorty, stressy, funny, lengthy, bridgy… this would be a better summary for this week 😉

Starting with Monday, had a lunch run planned with colleagues. 10K over lunch including bridge and good company, what else would you ask for? Well, if asking me, I would say some sun maybe? Left home early to the office and the sun was there. Fine. A bit chilly, but hey, it is still March… By 10am, it was already difficult to see through the window at work…and the fog just got thicker and thicker. By lunch time, it was impossible to see across the river and from the office, no possibility to see the ferries either… OK, no sunshine then. Remained 10K, bridge and good company 🙂 Which was a good start for the running week… kind of… Had informed the pace should be max 5min/km and after a slow start, I had to accelerate to keep up with two colleagues. So incredible how some people can make a pace feel so easy and casual and when you look at your watch you note that despite the ability to talk while running, the pace is WAY faster than planned… Up the bridge we had a “San Francisco Bay”-feeling, with the top of the bridge hidden in the thick fog. Of course, I had shorts (!). Explanation needed: after the weekend runs, I felt a bit of training aches on the front of both thighs and therefore decided for running in shorts (so to be cold and have the ache disappearing…). Well, was not cold directly, but warm was not on the menu! After the bridge, short stop for stretching and have another colleague catching up. This was then I started to feel a pain in the backside of my right thigh. Continuing to run, while talking to a colleague…4:33…Heeeelllllooooooo?!?!? where is the 5min/km I ordered? The pain in the thigh continued to grow so I let my two colleagues running ahead and thought (!) I was slowing down a bit…of course the rain started to fall… and finished with a sprint to catch the ferry back to the office (which we missed…). Spent the afternoon with a real pain in the thigh. Not too fun, can tell you. In the evening it was time for massage with tiger balm and….freezing when going to bed (try it: massage with tiger balm is making this coooooold feeling in the muscles… better off using it before training than after…).

Woke up early on Tuesday, so time for core&stability workout (half session). Then work work and late afternoon, I took a very slow recovery run. 1) the thigh was still hurting but way less than Monday (massage did do good!), 2) a bit tired after long working day and needed some fresh air and 3) let’s be honest: does anyone need an excuse for going out running? Had in my head to take the flattest route I would find… which ended in 15km with hilly parts (which I did not take fast!). Included some drills as well (which made me thought it might be a bit stupid to do some of the drills as it started to burn a bit in the thighs…But fun to do!). Quite tired when reaching home… good run for closing up this day!

Wednesday started with early as well and core&stability – the sequel – went on before changing gear for an easy recovery run. Took the same route as Tuesday afternoon but the other way around (Tuesday run – the sequel.. kind of!). WHAT A CHANGE! Starting with three hills and then it felt like going upwards all the time… until a flat part and then a hilly part. BUT the feeling while running was way better than the day before. No pain really, took the final hill on the top of the toes and was gratified with the best view EVER on the sun rise above the woods nearby. The plan was “no stopping” so I enjoyed only briefly this beautiful landscape and then downhill and off back home. 15km on the clock this time as well. All good and a nice way to start the day!

Thursday was a bit special. Had important meetings (and yes, all meetings are important otherwise why having a meeting…). Had now had two days of distance, skipped the intervals planned on Tuesday (I CAN show flexibility 😉 ) and for Thursday was hill workout on the program… But seriously I had been looking forward to running both those sessions but with the backside of the thigh being better and the right hamstring making itself reminded… not a chance I would do the hill workout. SO decided for a run over the “lower” bridge. Generally take it twice and then back home. This time it felt special: started the first run onto the bridge when the skies were still dark, but little light started to appear far far away… 19 bikes had passed the “count-control” on the other side of the bridge 🙂 Ran up the little bridge and then back to main bridge. Not even questioning, the legs went straight under the bridge and on it for the second turn. This time the light had taken more of the darkness… Not stopping on the bridge top (still: I took a large glance at the lights going up…)… 33 bikes had passed the “count-control” and little bridge and back to the main one. This time the legs felt a little tired, but racing against bikes on their way up is giving a nice kick 🙂 especially when you run faster than they bike 🙂 🙂 🙂 By the time I reached the other side, my brain was discussing with itself the pros and cons about doing a third run on the bridge… Not fast enough to decide probably, as the legs had already started the climbing of the bridge for the third time… This time the sun was out and its sun rays were illuminating the hills a bit away…What a sight! (yes, I did regret not to have my mobile for a pic…) and 46bike had passed the “count-control” and for little-me was just to continue what I did good already twice this morning: little bridge and back on the main bridge for the last time (for today!). And back home easy pace. 15km this time as well 🙂 Light breakfast after that and work work work…Lunch visit to the physiotherapist for checking this hamstring and the possible strain on the right thigh. All felt quite fine for her and I got a new set of rehab-training to complete the one I have… WHEN I will find time to do this rehab is the tricky part… 3 times a week, 1hour… Wouldn’t it be so much easier if one could only participate to races? no training necessary, no rehab/prehab required, just would be missing the long runs….and the intervals….and the hills….and the sunshine moments like this morning…and the sun going down on the sea….and and and… ok. Training it is then! But seriously, the day was not finished yet: The sun had been shining ALL day long and I was there working inside… Afternoon run to see how the legs were feeling now: time to do those Tuesday’s intervals. Took a long 5km warmup (with hills…what-am-I-thinking…?!?!). Little stretch and off it started. Wow! sunshine in the face AND headwind: not a problem for NOT having a fast interval! But it went really well. Had a whole serie with wind, up&downs and even thought once to quit (2.5sec and it disappeared). Could have cut the reps short to 12, but when you have fun you want more, right? so did the set of 15 and was happily uploading my training and comparing with similar workout done before Dubai in January… 1+sec faster for each interval 🙂 he he he! What the sun is doing to one’s body should not be underrated. So this ended with a nice interval session and no real pain in the thigh – yipppie!

TGIF is as well not to be underrated: took a full rest day with only light rehab. Not much to say about the day, apart from TGIF!

Up with the birdies, Saturday meant possible race day. Light breakfast @8:30am and off to the race place. Took my BIB and went for a short warmup. Good to do because I could notice the headwind on the start of the route (yeaaaah?!?!?). Changed gear to shorts, arm sleeves and tshirt (sunglasses – of course!) and off I went to the start. Little chat with club-buddy and other runners I met in other races. Set myself on the front line (read: which became the 4th line after all the fastfastfast runners took their place) and off it went. Will write a little later about the race. Hilly it was and got a nice 32:21 for 7,777km (don’t ask about the length of the race route…). Back to the club cabin, noted would not meet with a busy friend, so I decided to trade tshirt and arm sleeves for long sleeves, neck warmer and bonnet. And off for the long run of the week. Had some HMP parts, but seriously, the route around the lake was so hilly that I decided to skip even trying to reach this pace and instead to have the HMP-parts faster than the others 🙂 All in all Saturday ended with 3 runs and 33,8km 🙂 Once again, regretted not to have taken my cam with me as the run along the lakes offered a really fabulous view and the sun… (and of course the headwind…). After the run I took a sauna and then.. a bit bad planning however regarding the food. Bought a proteindrink on the way to take the tram and then went directly to a thai restaurant for a real food this time 🙂 Rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out (with some time laying with the legs up). A bit worried for my second toe – right foot as it had been hurting since the beginning of the long run. Should have taken another pair of shoes maybe to change after the race… The toe was really red and sensitive…not sock-friendly I can tell! Anyhow… after such a day one may expect that it would have been bedtime pretty early…but no. Stayed awaken pretty late (or early!) and then hit the pillow. Took probably 2.5milliseconds for reaching the palace of the dreams…

…which was left @7am on Sunday morning. Bright outside, serenade from the birds… and not tired at all. So what one would do in such case? Gear on and off for a very easy recovery run. Backside of right thigh was definitely fine. But the right hamstring/butt… Oh my..! although running made the pain disappear, it came back when I stopped. Real easy day with sunshine. Busy cleaning the windows, buying some elastic bands for my rehab program and chilling out under the sun until it disappeared. Completed the day with a thai massage… painful is an understatement… Yes, Sunday was a nice day too…

This week felt a bit dull if looking at the workouts done. But while doing them, it was really nice and fun. Of course, quality workouts may sounds more fun than distance, but seriously the bridges*3, the sunshine on Wednesday, the long run on Saturday and the intervals on the top of it: Great running week!

2 weeks to go to next race… time to start focusing (again!).

What about the post title? Well, there are numerous discussions about why runners do or don’t say hi to each other when meeting on the road. Which I find really intriguing.  Sure, when I have my “thief-running-outfit” during the winter, nobody see I am smiling behind my neck warmer, but if I raise a hand, it might mean “hello”… and when running with my glasses…yes, I do see you coming on the other side and yes it is nice to get a smile back… Could write way more… but the point is that: before a race, runners talk to each other, even though they do not know each other. After a race, you even might hug people and yes, they are sweaty and yes, you don’t know them and yes, you probably will never ever see them again… but you hug them… way more than a “hi” or a smile while training… What makes people changing their way of behaving when race time has arrived…


…and some still do it in the dark, over a bridge…twice…

What a nice long night of sleep can do on the body is underrated. Woke up before the birds (he he he!) and quietly changed to my running gear for an easy early morning recovery run. Still dark outside, but my guess is that it won’t take long before the light starts to show up in those early 5am-runs… Already turned right instead of the planned left, then aimed to the bridge instead of to the harbours and started the bridge with nice easy pace and fit legs. The temperature felt pretty nice despite being on the bridge. 19 bikes had been passing the bridge when I ran the first time. Over the little bridge and down and back on the other side. Liiitle heavy start on this side, but reached the top after running on the top of the toes, so…heavy is good! The watch beeped on the top and it was just to run down easy-peasy. Passing under the bridge, starting easily to run up…considering whether to cut it for today and run back home oooooooorrrr…. continuing the bridge (of course, by the time my reasoning was finished, I had crossed half the bridge already…). By then there was 23 bikes that had passed the bridge… same procedure as before (I really like this bridge and doing it twice is double-fun!). Then it was time to cut the fun a bit and run back home. Still controlled pace liiiitle acceleration at the end (cannot help it…the legs do decide sometime!). Still quiet, time to get those pancakes done as promised yesterday. Added black sesame seeds in it and it looked really fun.

5 pancakes and a tea later, it was time to get ready for work 🙂 Meeting meeting and meeting and then back home. Quick lunch (had red meat to ensure my little red cells are building up correctly 😉 and then moooooore meetings. Suggestion of the day: “back-to-back” training does have a certain appeal and indeed can be good AND fun to do. BUT “back-to-back” meetings are leaving you and your brain in a very high level of tiredness so you have to ensure to have the window opened to get fresh air in!

Completing the day with the second half of the core&stability workout (yes, the dreadful “core” part… not really dreadful, but when done after a whole day work, ball pikes are NOT that appealing… are they ever any appeal, btw?…

Still a bit of evening left for cosy reading and chilling out. Early morning tomorrow too…Yippiiii…

 

NOTE: tested my new blue leg sleeves today…under a long tights. OK, maybe not optimal, but it felt quite fine. Have been washing them and they look pretty smaller now. Good my calves aren’t too big, but I think they won’t last long. From Monday running with the black ones, it felt quite fine on Tuesday. Although the run was not that much more than a recovery one. Will see to have one pair during the quality run later this week or during the long run…more to say…


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


Recovery, stress, legs vs head and a bit of sunshine :)

(week 181113 – 241113)
Promised to take a real whole week of recovery (well, I agree to run slow, low effort-level and short runs…nothing else!)

Monday will always start the week, so better get used to it! Easy day (training-side only), got into my running gear only for easy transport jog from concert hall back home. Slippery on the pavements, night already… better be careful. Extremely tired, was not difficult to fall on the bed and sleep…

Tuesday got a late start (well, early for working as did not feel like running. Cancelled meeting got me a little time-slot for an easy 8km (and yes, it was done carefully slow). A bit amazed actually as my mp3 had died and I was to run SLOW and WITHOUT music. Which generally is not a good combination. Would rather run fast without music to get it done… But went fine. Got along with the working day and completed the whole day with a second easy 8km (this time in shorts…) over the bridge and back . Yes it was a bit cold, especially on the bridge with little wind, but felt ok otherwise. Tricky to get some sleep after that though… I also discovered that I passed just quite rightly the 10km/day this day 🙂 To keep up this daily average, still have to run from this day until 31 December (included) approx. 418.3km… Will see how it goes 😉

Wednesday started with a bit of hesitation, and really staying in bed longer was more appealing than going out when the temperature is expected to be -2/3ºC… Instead of the 8km planned, dragged myself through an easy 7km, buying croissants for the first meeting of the day (Oh…have to mention that the bakery is about 1km from home… so yes, I took a little detour…). Long day at work, so needed some fresh air and oxygen to keep the brain up & running (ha ha ha!). Ended with a nice easy pace 10km, where actually the head said several times to stop but the legs would not listen… A bit of coordination to work on apparently 🙂 So no this type of easy pace run is NOT helping at all after a long day at work for cleansing the head…. Tough workout would have done great (but once again… I did promise to take it easy…).

Thursday was once again a very long day of work so an evening run was quite nice to have. As I did not take any “short run” in the morning, I decided to have little longer one in the darkness of the city. Went a bit faster than planned, but seriously the feeling was easy, and the effort pretty low. So I would give it a “Pass” anyway.

Friday once again served as rest day. Better off training with the workload this day. Got to finish the day with a very nice concert where E was singing, a good dinner in restaurant and a vampire movie to complete the evening. Got pretty late in bed after that… so much for a rest day!

Saturday got to see me awaken quite early, but still wondered how to set the running during the day. One run, two runs, one short+one medium… until I was called for duties to cheer at the Athletics competition… 5 hours later, the legs felt like running. Had in mind an easy 10/12, by km 3-4 changed my mind to a 15km and when I saw the bridge I could not resist to get on it back & forth before aiming back home for an evening of laundry. Evening half-marathon. Quite fun 🙂

Sunday would have been the last of the easy recovery week… and it was. Got up at a decent time, so took breakfast and waited an hour before jumping into my gear. Planned once again not to check what the watch was recording, just hearing the km-beeps. 10-12km easy pace ? or double ? or whatever?. Got today again some warm-up chili cream on the legs and they respond well (the tricky is after the run and under the shower where it is really burning then!). This turned into a very nice long run, easy feeling and no pressure. Sunshine in the face most of the time, ran along the harbours (meaning slippery on the pavement where there was water pools…). but all-in-all it turned into a very nice and easy 25km with everything but a slow pace… The effort itself was low nevertheless… Got to have my recovery drink after that and it was just a bit of wait until my massage. Surprisingly, the hamstring was not the most painful, far from it. The shoulders however were loaded with tension (which is translated into “stress is in the house!”). So will have to check this out. The legs felt fine and I was really grateful for the foot massage as they were a bit tired actually. Now the evening is already there and the darkness has fallen on the city. Evening activities are simple: tidying, working and pretty soon sleeping!

Summary of the week: S.L.O.W. this is how the week could be summarized.  It can be fine to take some time off, but the slow running would have to count as such. Now there are two more weeks of stress as well as running to do. Will see how the whole thing is working out… Strength training has been on the “absent”-side this week, only got the visit of Hovers on a regular basis…There is ALWAYS time for a straight hover (or two or three…).

Sunshine through the trees

Sunshine through the trees

Curious swans

Curious swans

A bit of forest in an ocean of asphalt...

A bit of forest in an ocean of asphalt…

 


Rest, pitch black run, rabbit friends and sponge cake with chocolate

Saturday was a clear rest day. Up way to early with dizzy thoughts, got back to bed after a while for being awaken by a nice bowl of freshly cut apple brought to my bed. Pancakes smell took me outside the bed completely! A bit of shopping, easy lunch and then cosy afternoon, before meeting Indian friends for dinner. Great evening, no difficulty to fall into Morpheus arms after that!

And then it was 4am (I think I will stop searching for what is actually happening at this time of the night, as it definitely must be something!). This time, did not try to get back to sleep, woke up slowly and then in my gear…to notice my clock’s battery was dead… a bit of charging (time for emptying dishwasher and hanging clothes…), changed gear to 3/4 socks instead of short shorts as it indicated 3ºC on my mobile… (Could not have been more wrong! By km3 I was already to warm (and still it was 5ºC apparently). The two long sleeves were not helping either…) and off I went in a pitch-black city. Reaching the harbours is always nice, quiet and calm, lights reflecting on the water…I noticed having had 55 bikes passing this particular spot before me today (on a Sunday!!!). Cannot remember really how I reached the bridge, but then I was easily in the middle and admiring quietly the city lights. Then easy down to the other side of the water, crossing the “trucks-sleeping-area” and then quick stop to see the skies starting to lighten up a bit. Tricky run as some parts were lacking of lightning and it looked a bit slippery from time to time. But kept myself on my feet. Hi to the guard ensuring no one is incidentally coming into the companies on this side of the water. Then I met my first two little rabbits friends (the photo is a little blur, but could not get too close). They did disappear pretty fast as well (and my legs seriously did not want to give them a match this morning!). Reached the first wood-bridge and decided to skip all of them for avoiding to fall on their slippery surface (which meant doing a detour along the harbours of a total several hundreds meters – there were three bridges…). After the second bridge I just stand and looked as the sun showing himself slowly at the horizon. What a sight. Not even the photo below gives it justice. Then tried to continue on the harbours but this time the constructions have started seriously and it was VERY closed. Climbed the second bridge and then ran under it and then flat until home. 18km at real easy pace and low pulse. Best way to end this run? Stopping by 7Eleven for buying croissant for breakfast! (This is Sweden here, and not France…No bakery would be opened at 7am on a Sunday morning!) AND following the stretch exercises by a 2-minutes plank (with a smile).

Rest of the day spent chilling out. Final touch of the day: Food! Breakfast was a clear winning start with croissants, lunch a good second place with oven-baked saithe with lemon sauce, home-made potato purée and green peas and dinner turned into spaghetti carbonara…followed by heart-shaped sponge cake with chocolate in them… Yapp! Time to get good food on the table is definitely Sundays!

Long day anyway, end of “zero week”. Training has been the lowest since a while…Time for ramping up tomorrow 🙂

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Nice to see I am not the only crazy one up so early on a Sunday morning…

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Little blurry, but so nice in real…

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Peaceful view from the bridge

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Already on the other side of the water (and the lights popping out …)

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One of my fast (and blurry) furry friend – too fast for me this morning!

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Sunrise on the harbour

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Fishy, isn’t it?

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Up the bridge…

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…and down the bridge!

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BREAKFAST ON THE WAY!

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Time to cut the ribbon…