Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Posts tagged “sunrise

Race Report – Berlin Marathon 2013/09/29

Planned: all under 3:10 is fully acceptable, faster than that even better although considering the last two months with heel problem conscious running was in order!

Actual:3:03:43! New PB by 6 min 38 sec from Stockholm in June 2013… 2nd best Swede and 62nd among women all categories… Enough said! This marathon is to be remembered!!!

Race Results:
place (M/W) 62
place (ag) 14
age/grade: 75.74% (2012 Dubai:66.6/ London:66.47/SF:65.66/Berlin:68.29/2013 Dubai: 72.35/Boston:72.19/Stockholm:73.1% )
time total (netto) 03:03:43
time total (brutto) 03:05:19
average pace: 4:28min/km

Official splits:

time of day
5 km 09:08:13 00:21:38 21:38 04:20 13.88
10 km 09:29:36 00:43:00 21:22 04:17 14.04
15 km 09:50:59 01:04:24 21:24 04:17 14.02
20 km 10:12:44 01:26:08 21:44 04:21 13.80
Half 10:17:28 01:30:53 04:45 04:19 13.92
25 km 10:34:37 01:48:01 17:08 04:24 13.66
30 km 10:56:32 02:09:56 21:55 04:24 13.68
35 km 11:18:30 02:31:54 21:58 04:24 13.66
40 km 11:40:54 02:54:18 22:24 04:29 13.40
Finish 11:50:19 03:03:43 09:25 04:18 13.98

btw…today’s race will also been remembered (!) for a new set male WR : 2:03:23

M Day-1:

early in bed as pretty tired, but unable to sleep. SMS pling @8:40pm… Tried to sleep.. Heard the mysterious clock ringing 9pm…new SMS pling …Turned off sound on mobile (finally!)… Clock ringing 9:30pm.. Still no sleeping…(aso until 12:30am – clock ringing – as I did not hear the clock ringing 1am, I would assume I was sleeping by then, I.e. before 1:00am…)

Before Race:

4:30am: Alarm to go up for breakfast. Stomach not feeling so good. Drank lot of water day before but not helping for the stomach… Ate my oat porridge, sweetened with mashed banana and topped by cranberries and gojjiberries and soymilk (good thing in reprise). Glass of orange juice and 2dl water on the top of it. Back to bed.

5:15am: water drinking (as well as every half hour until finally getting tired-me out of bed. Stomach was absolutely not in good shape. Had heard people complaining before/during race, but seriously when it comes at this time of the day (or night) right before a marathon, you start to get anxious about hydration. Felt like all the drinking efforts done the days before the marathon were failing and that it would be quite tricky to run if I started already empty of water. But strong are the warriors, right?

less than two hours before start... (missade 2:00:00...)

less than two hours before start… (missade 2:00:00…)

6:15am: Rise & Shine, off I showered and fixed my hair and got into my running gear. For today (last minute change), would be my blue singlet from NY marathon, my MoreMiles short shorts, my blue and white Kalenji socks. On my arms, I chose to sacrifice a pair of long socks to use as arm-warmers for the start and to be dropped after first few km, G’s scarf (because it looks nice on me and do not want to get cold on the neck before the start). Rest of the socks used as gloves and to be dropped when not useful any longer.
Put on long pants and warm gosy jacket, double check my Garmin, HR band and sunglasses. Gels in different pockets and mp3 in back pocket….just in case! (Last year was a pain from km34onwards so prepared for some music support …as I said “just in case”). Shoes on, close the door and left to the start.

7:35am: have crossed the central station and see the wave of runners flowing towards the start. Nothing I recall from last year. This is a sight in itself. Feeling good, not that cold. The little bridge towards the start holds fine, although it is literally black of people. Aiming towards my clothes drop-off point. All in my thoughts.

First wave (ha ha ha!) of runners from the central station

First wave (ha ha ha!) of runners from the central station

Aaaaand soon arrived to bag-drop area...

Aaaaand soon arrived to bag-drop area…

on the way...

on the way…

Third wave squeezing all they can on the little bridge...

Third wave squeezing all they can on the little bridge…

Second wave aiming towards the start

Second wave aiming towards the start

7:50-ish am: last pic (smiling but for how long?….) before aiming to starting group. Queue to the loo goes smoothly, despite the Brit behind me apparently eager to go! Stomach felt fine (well, it is definitely empty by now 😦 – found my start group and decide for an easy warmup. Not expecting a fast first kms, warmup of this type will so (felt really spoilt in Stockholm to be able to warmup as I wished and then “hop” in the elit start group). 600+m at a pace not decent enough to be mentioned here. Ran close to the start line. Surprised a bit that the grinds are opened. Meaning anyone can go into the start blocks actually (or close yo them). The security has been higher this year.

Smiling-half frozen me (less than an hour to start)

Smiling half-frozen me (less than an hour to start)

Noticing I still have G’s scarf on, forgot to drop it with my clothes… Will have to run with it I decide as do not want to throw it.

The garden around the start is full with joggers…would not recommend to walk outside the gravel paths tomorrow though. Surprisingly people (read: runners) have no problem using nature at toilets right before start of races… Berlin marathon starting in the middle of a great garden ain’t stopping them…

8:20am: in start block D. Already many are there. Squeezing myself to the first line to check on few runners I know would be in group C. Not knowing them by face, I hope they’ll see me! No success with that. Start for wheelchairs is given. And then… It is FIVE minutes to start. My right shoe lace is bothering me again. Drop to the ground to tie it up once more. Drop the “sock-gloves”. Not cold enough. But keep the “sock-arm warmers”, at least look good with them (I think…). Moved my 2 first gels to my weight and hope they’ll stay there! Only have my Dextrosol in a sock stuck in my sport-bra (I know, I have to find a solution for this really… More about this later!).
First half:

8:45am: START is given. As usual, balloons in the skies, yelling and shouting runners all around… and nothing happens really! Double checking my GPS in my Garmin (no worries! Not for the first time before start… just want to be sure…). Succeed in jogging light before crossing the START line, beep on the watch aaaaaand off I went. Really smooth start. No pushing, no squeezing (ok, a little maybe. Probably not just me… But I am the smallest “squeezer”.. 🙂 I see a green (or was it dark blue?) balloon on the other side of the road and smile. Good I thought, the pace maker for 3:00 is at reach. Just to follow him.

Reaching first roundabout at a good pace already. Thought yesterday about last year race and it was a bit bothering to read I could not run faster than 4:48 then (which was fast for me last year, but a bit slow for this year). No worries, though. Would do great even with a slow start 🙂 notice by then that it is 3:15 written on the balloon… So not really willing to follow along! I drop this sight and continue my Sunday morning run under the beautiful German sunshine 🙂

Km1 checked at the same time as my Garmin and make me happy. I wrote on my hand this morning a few reminders for 3:10, 3:08 and have my armband for 3:05…OK, I did write for 3:00 as well, but really not as an aim itself… Then turning and reaching km2 feels nice. Scarf is falling for the first time (of six? during the course…), attached it tighter around the neck. Starts to get less crowded. Try to find so runners I could follow a bit but at this time of the course… better to trust oneself’s pace as most of us would need a few more km to settle in cruising MP. By km3 my Garmin is already ahead by 70m compared to km marks. I am anyway mentally prepared to run 43+km as last year it clocked this way. Not checking the time per km (as the distance is incorrect), looking at the average pace instead. Got down to 4:18, “decent” I thought. The cramps that started to be felt already from km2 (!) are still there. No more, no less. Decide to ignore them (i.e. not stopping for stretching, which would have been a well-thought move) and continue my race.

Km5 is clocked at a decent pace, no PR but good. Noting that my watch is 1min30sec after the gun time, I plan to keep it this way as long as I can. Taking a little water at first station. Keep hydrated is the motto for today!

Great feeling is continuing. First energy gel @km9, lemon taste and once again boringly thick to swallow. Must be really a problem for the manufacture of this taste. Taking two water mugs to ensure it will go down with enough water.

Meeting a giant in black outfit around km11, telling me my running looks good and asking what time I am expecting to finish in. Less than 3:10 is my answer and you? A bit faster than that he said and after a short quiet pause he add that at this pace I am already passed 3:10. I smiled back saying I can follow along and hold the conversation… as long as he is keeping the pace. Can’t promise singing and dancing, but talking and smiling I can 😉 Arriving at the km12 roundabout. Photo smile (I think…) aaaand turn left and keep in smiling. My Garmin indicated a steady avg pace of 4:15min/km, which is more than satisfactory. Every second or minute ahead in first half are bonus that may be use in case of emergency in the second half! Up to km16, nothing really happens. Try to keep up with other runners, not finding though any good pacemaker for myself. Following a lady in blue/yellow running dress (?) outfit. Felt find to run beside her until I closed my eyes for half-a-millisecond and derive to the right…onto her. There came the swearing! Lots of apologies from my side… Hear her talking Swedish when getting her gels from her supporter so here came my apologise in Swedish too! Got a smile and then I drifted forward.

Km17 -start to feel the friction in my right shoe… Blister in the way! Two choices: choice 1: stop and see if can either re-arrange the sock or shoe or… don’t know what else can be done. choice 2: go along with it and hope it holds until the end (yes, lots if questions and decisions to make! Took approximately two seconds to decide for option 2. Any stop might mean I will feel my body may be tired and not willing to start again. Chance to take.). Cramps are still there in the back if the calves. Have taken water at every station since the start. Not helping though.

Reaching km20 (20.4 on my watch…), happy to get to the first half really. A bit worried when passing the time mats as I do not walk really on them. Think if I am not registered there and disqualified for missing a partial checkpoint…. Pace is still showing 4:15, although the distance is incorrect. Quick thought that would I make it to the end at this pace, I have good chance to get a 3-hours blank marathon. Lifting my spirit this way, I fly to the first half. No PR here neither, as for the previous time check with gun time, still having 1:30 difference although at halfway I calculate I have 1:40 or so.

Second half:

The cruising part is done (yes! I can write I felt like cruising at 4:15 pace!!!). Still smiling, clapping hands when music comes or when seeing French or Swedish flags. Danish flags are also good to cheer for, especially when you shout to cheer for the Swedes. You might notice that everything else you probably will never do in “real” life, you may do it while running a marathon!

Strategy from Pfitzinger is to keep carbs levels high during 21-32km. Followed this in Dubai on the top if good hydration. Planned similar approach thus time. Taking one Dextrosol every km (apart from km22 & 29-took two and the km-mark after the gel @ km27). Keeping myself hydrated at EVERY water station. No walking. No pushing. No falling. Always taking two mugs by km25 onwards for drinking and getting water to cool off the body. Use of plastic mugs is a disaster. Impossible almost to fold them for drinking, d*mn slippery if you happen to run on them, breaking easily… Thumb down for this one, Berlin marathon (cannot think it is good for environment either…). A bit of slowing pace down happens by km23 or so. Drifting away by 5-10sec during this part is fully ok according once again to Pfitzinger. But as I am not checking my km-time only my avg pace, I have no clue how much I am actually drifting. Noticing 4:16, then 4:17… Still pretty amazing to have reached that far at THIS pace and still smiling. As “Trickie” might say: ” if it looks good, it must be good!” So with this thought in mind, I do myself a favour focusing on the “looking good” part 🙂

Sub3 is out-of-reach by now so decide to skip chasing time (if I ever did it today… and I really do not feel I did), decide to fully enjoy and have fun. If I gave high-five in the first half, this second half is winning the price! Keeping pace with my giant in black (he looks like running slow and peaceful when little-me beside him looks like an ant speeding for getting food to the ants colony!!!!). Water stop around 30km is a bit boring. Few runners have dropped out, look like cramping and my giant in black stops for water when I pass him one last time. Have not seen him after that.

Km32 -something happens. Clicked on lap on my Garmin to get “real” km-marks until the end. These are the LAST 10km aka Nothing… A morning run at 5pm. A run from work under the sun. A run with G at his full speed. Am easy recovery run.. NOTHING!!! So digging deep into what is left for energy reserves. Last year was a painful part here. No way it is happening this time I decide. Cramps still there but under control since the beginning. Hoping they won’t explode before the finish line. Blister still there and not going anywhere. just to bite and get along with it. Got time to analyse my run by then, thinking of the level of effort I have been using so far and right now. Definitely not much. Unsure whether could have run faster so far (well, I could have actually but definitely did not give it all in first half to keep on steady pace and energy for this final 10k). What is happening now? Why even thinking of it?!?? FOCUS! Passed km34 in good mood, starting to pass people (slowly but surely). Km35 felt great. Saw was a bit of target for my “1:30-difference -with-gun-time” but the watch indicated a pace of 4:18. So more than fully acceptable!

Final gel taken around km35, enough water with it. So proud of myself I could drink properly without dropping all on me! Then km36&37 passed by, dreadful km38 arrived..and disappeared. Great move I thought to have the beep of km from the watch almost on the km-mark by now. Just mentally it was killing me last year to see km38 was 38,7 (?) on my watch. It was the same this more or less (!) but having reset the km at km32 made the difference “when the km beep” of only 100/200m and not 700!!! Once again time to dig in the reserves (and there was more I can guarantee!). I knew as well that several turns were necessary before getting to final street “Unter Den Linen”… Embraced km40, great 2+ km to go. Cheered for Robert (?) whose buddy tried to get along for the final km. Come on! You made it this far (& ahead if me!) so you are up for a good time!… And passed them.

Started to accelerate (have not checked my pace but at least in my head I started my final 2km sprint!). No woman in sight 😦 who can I pass then? … Happily passed gentlemen full with encouragement (a first to have guys cheering when a gal is passing them while racing!). Got a lady ahead and this was my goal: pass her before the finish line and ensure a gap so she would not pass me right before the line!

This time I actually ENJOYED seeing Brandeburg Tor! The mind telling: “Come on, you got this far, your watch already shows you passed the marathon distance several hundreds meters ago… Take a short pause, stop even. You showed you can go that long and fast. Already rewarded, right?”. Tough tough tough to have this less than 300m from the finish line. Skipped the usual smiling to the photographs this time (!) and aimed for getting a few places ahead passing one, two, three,… well let’s say a few guys right before the finish line. Saw the clock changing to 3:05:01 while passing under… YES! Under 3:05!!! Stop the clock. Quick check. 3:03!!!! But the real time is always different…(Garmin showed 46.74km in 03:03:46…).

Smiling-just-massage-me (not long after arrival)

Smiling-just-massage-me (not long after arrival)

Nice front (no the "40" is not my ranking in the race...)...

Nice front (no the “40” is not my ranking in the race…)…

...and nice back!

…and nice back!

Believe it or not! Berlin marathon is an Ultra!

Believe it or not! Berlin marathon is an Ultra!

Chinese horoscope for Race day (kindly sent to me :) So raced purely and simply on feeling and will apparently!

Chinese horoscope for Race day (kindly sent to me 🙂
So have raced purely and simply on feeling and will apparently!


After the finish line

Fell in the arms of a lady volunteer in smile and close to tears. All good I say before giving her a big kiss in the chick! Moved forward, feeling the tears coming. Quick body check: no cramp ahead, hamstring right side making itself reminded (I did forgot it while running!), blister what?, feet tired… No crippling through the finish line! Yippie!

Took the way to the massage after congratulating two giant Swedes. Got half a banana and a quarter of apple. Skipped the energy drink (disgusting!), glass of water. Waited max 5 minutes, laid down on the stomach, cramp under right foot. Best 4-hands massage ever! Could have been harder, but definitely did the trick. Turned to get a quick one on the front of the legs and barefoot, aimed to pick up my clothing.

A bit cold then as the clothes area for me was in a nice shadowy place. Got to a sunnier place, asked a nice block to take a photo of me and start putting socks on and eat a liiitle. Met XXxx and Jonas from home town. Nice with bit of Swedish in this international ocean of language that most marathons are!

Aimed then to the gravure area, got FINALLY my time confirmed :3:03:43, place 62!!! (Got the results already through my mom on my mobile… Best race-follower ever! Always get comments on my races reaching my mobile either during the race or right after finish… Cool with live comments afterwards!). SMS to coach and greatest friends/supporters. Ecstatic, careful with what I wrote as when you are so HIGH on adrenalin, you never know! 😉

Ate the salted sticks from the goodie bag and aimed home. Much less people towards the central station. Tapped an ice-cold bath (ya, getting a habit!), ate banana, chocolate croissant, power fruit bar and drank a full powerade bottle. 10 minutes in the bath and changed to alternate hit/cold shower instead. Felt deeply frozen by then (wonder why!!! Took my bath with clothes on…).

More messaging, massage with cold gel from France and then laid down in the bed with double cover and three pillows under the feet. Rested for one hour and aimed to meet S for lunch/dinner. No spareribs ahead do aimed for steak with fries and little Pepsi. A bit of wall to Alexanderplats to take the subway to Kosmos, where the marathon party was taking place. Met Miguel and girlfriend Julie from Paris while waiting. First marathon for Miguel in 3:40 (if my memory is not failing). Nice talking to them. No queue outside but took a while to get to the “engraving” of the mi time bracelet. In the queue I met Björn and Pål from South of Sweden. Respectively 6th and 3rd time running Berlin. Björn showed proudly all his mi time bracelets from previous years 🙂 Got my time engraved and left for home. Met the two Swedes again in the subway and finally made it home. Packing of all the stuff around, little messaging and time for bed (way too late!).


Weather: chilly 6ºC at start from home, probably a few degrees up at start and much better while running. Sunny, little windy (around km30?) – perfect running weather


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

> right after: banana, apple, salted sticks, water

> One hour after: powerade blue, chocolate croissant, cereal bar, banana

> During: vitargo gel @km9, 17.5, 27?, 34.5. Dextrosol: 1 tablet every km (between km21 & 32) except the ones with gel+one after. 2 tablets km22 &29 + 2 @km40?

Gear: Moremiles short shorts, NY singlet, arm warmer, scarf (off after km 25 or so), sunglasses – shoes? What can I say, but GREAT! They deliver every single time. Was a bit scared the heel would not like running with them as being maybe “less” (?) stable than the GT2000, but seriously, wonder what can replace them!

Outfit was great for the race and weather. Should have skipped the scarf (!) and probably could have run in sport-bra or alike. Lifted my singlet from km25+…

15/ Effort level never reach a top. Some km like km30 was tougher for the mind but no more effort was put in it. Unsure whether could have pushed more, to run faster and get a higher effort level. For this time, 15 will do! Feeling was so right!


SUMMARY: Greatest race so far done, without having the greatest preparations in mind (problem with Achilles heel since mid July making me cancelling the few planned races before Berlin, stomach not really fun on race morning, 2 tapering weeks with hectic at work…). Not trying to find excuse here, just facts.

Best overall feeling since Dubai for a long race. First marathon with NO WALKING AT ALL, not even during water pickup. Mindset on the top for 98.99% of the race (hey! nobody’s perfect! 🙂 ) – Body responding good to the training done so far and despite the inconveniences of the heels since July and the stomach in the morning. Body feeling great afterwards, even the day after.

Stable pace most of the race, drifting slightly during the second half, but only for 1min 57sec. Slower first half, but definitely strongest second half I had since Dubai in January. Good to know there is no need for PB on all distance for fixing an overall more-than-satisfactory PB for the full marathon distance!


(Last but not least…THANKS for all the support and kind words of encouragement during both training, pre & post race. Since July the motivation has never reached a decent level – maybe for specific workouts but not as general – making this race and its results even more satisfying.
Yes it IS a long race report, but for a race deserving it!)

1 week off running now and we’ll see what is happening next 🙂

Not every run can be a home run or “How today turned into a bad workout day”…

Up at dawn (well, actually…before dawn as it was still pretty dark when I woke up), drank a little orange juice and headed out int he dark (well, actually… under the street lights). All was set for long intervals to be run and be back home before 6:30am…

Yesterday being a rest day, we spent it in the city, visiting museum, walking in the streets, eating long lunch and enjoying the in/out of shops to benefit of their air-conditioning system… all to occupy ourselves under 30ºC hot sunshine (yes, I know… one day you complain  because it ain’t there and the day after you complain (or did I?) because it is back in full power…). Anyhow, during a walk down a hill in gardens, we went dow stairs and my right foot landed strangely, which made it feel pretty painful and aching for a short while. Thereafter no problem. Rest of the day walking went fine. In the evening, I did massage both heels and headed for my pillow.

Why on earth am I writing about this? Well, actually… this morning warm-up went pretty slow and not fully fun. Difficult to get a decent pace and I completed the 3km finely but not fully satisfactory. Ran in a street close to the woods, which was pretty spooky and dark, then passed a field on the right which was “just-dark” and when looking on the other side, noticing the field on the other side of the street having this little spooky-ghost-feeling-fog above the ground (and still could not have an acceleration on this part neither!). Stretch in the dark on the side of the road and choice of the correct music. Off I went… well, actually… not THAT fast. Took a while to get on the correct pace and by half-way it was 10/15sec/km slower than planned and expected. So pushed a bit and got the first 3km interval in 12:30, which was fine. Rest of 3minutes and choice of new music. Started pretty fast but took approx.a few 100m to start feeling a pain in the right heel (the one that hurted yesterday). As I was having a nice pace, I decided to change my running steps into more front-feet-landing-type (not that I am an expert and far from it actually!) but it felt better. The only thing is that I could only sustain the first km this way and as soon as I started to run like normal (!) the pain came back. Continue to push for a while, but decided to cut short the interval after 2km for not having a too much pain feeling in the heel. Rested a bit and the pain disappeared. But as soon as I turned back home, I thought I could jog back… well, actually…no! Too painful, so I started with powerwalk which went fine… well, actually… for a little km because it was difficult to keep up this pace as well while walking. Once again I could reflect on the fact that this was the first morning for the past 2 weeks that there was so few cars passing by (typipcal! the day I could ask for a lift…). Walked back 2.5km and enjoyed a beautiful red sunrise before showering and heading for breakfast. B-day to prepare and then heading to the city zoo for some more…walk!!!  After a couple of hours the right foot was still painful (had it under a bandage, unsure if was good or bad, but at least it helped the head!). Then time for restaurant (Chinese buffé, Yummy!) and then back home. Got my foot under cold and then warm. Then ordered new running shoes which will hopefully arrive next week (well, actually… had planned for these shoes for the past two months and now I am in deep need for new shoes, which are not there yet…). Rest for the day will hopefully help, but unsure so far. The long run tomorrow is for the moment under question. Will see how it feels tomorrow morning.

BUT as one may say, today may have turned into a bad workout day (OK, let’s face it: it TURNED into a bad workout day!), it is still for sure that not every run can be a home run. Got a good 3K and even a good 2K despite the pain. 21 days left to the next race and 10 weeks before Berlin. All training done so far has been between good and great, so no need really to focus on today’s bad workout. Rest for the foot could be the key (I am suspecting once again that the shoes are the reason for this pain and extra-sensitivity of the heel…).

Tomorrow will definitely be another day 🙂

NOTE: game of the day: How many time did you read “well, actually…” in this post? 😉

Stockholm M day -3

Birds Birds Birds, what have I done to you? Not too late in bed, but awaken with the light song of the birds outside. Tried to focus on NOT hearing them and of course it does not work this way! 3am it was then. Would have gladly gone and run but once again, there’s a marathon in a few days and have to refrein myself a bit. But seriously…3am !?!?!?

Opened all windows for fresh air, but more birdies songs went in. So by 4:30am got enough and prepared myself for final light run/jog to empty the rest of glycogen reservs. Does carb-depletion really work? It alwasy feel so depressive during those two days. I coudl probably go on with protein and fat and sallad in a normal day, without any problem, but those TWO days are getting the worse out of me (OK, not really…this was a bit exaggerated here! 🙂 ). Anyway, ASICS short shorts and jogg tshirt. Not windbreaker this time, no chance. Accuweather showed alread 14/15ºC so no way!. Got out and dropped my mp3 back in my mailbox as for this moment I kind of wanted to enjoy the birds songs… Started on quite tired legs and slight ache in the back side of left thigh. Should not be there… I had a massage yesterday! Whatever. Went along and planned a short turn at thethird bridge. Bur right in front of the Botanic Garden, I changed my mind. These gardens are cool: they open and close with the sun set and dawn 🙂 So below are some nice views of the gardens. Although what is missing is the whole feeling, the smell of lightly wet grass, the sound of the wind in the trees and the song of the birds, the sound of the helicopter leaving the hospital, the water running on the stones and between the trees… Delicious feeling. And the clock was not showing 5:30am yet! So worth it then to have those crazy birds waking me up for this! It was almost a shock to leave the forest and return to the asfalt (which I love really!). Felt like having been in a fantasy book and then closing it and back to reality. 6km easy pace – enough to justify the nice breakfast afterwards 🙂 1/4 cup of soygurt with a touch of honey, 2 eggs with chicken sliced and a niiiiiice glass of soymilk with chocolate.  Soooo feeling good breakfast!

Now work for the day – with this delicious time of carboloading 🙂 Got an sport drink for the day to drink slowly and enjoy, got my bananas and apples and my bottle of water. Will be so nice with a carb-lunch. Yes, it sounds like I am addicted, but no. Just felt like something was missing during two days (and indeed it was!). Feeling is fine, body a bit tired but have run three days in a row (even though not really fast runs, the body needs some rest from time to time!). Now will see to relax for the next days to come and enjoy my carbo-load…

Have a great day!

Stockholm… 3 days to go (really? where did the time go?!?!?)


Wild horses in the park!


Sunset behind the church…just look and enjoy!


This is what attracted my attention from my regular run path…


Magical sight almost!


just continued…

First outing of the year for my camel…

Long run in sight, I woke up at 5:00am (YES on a Saturday!) to get some energy (oat-porridge, frozen blueberries and oat-milk) and back to bed until 7:30am… Took a while at 5am to understand why on earth the clock was ringing and nice it was to have lights already outside! Took a little while to get body & mind up&running (ha ha ha, so much fun to play with words!), but was set and then out it was.

Today‘s plan was a long run of 29km mix, including a long 12km easy pace, alternative km fast/slow during 8km, 3km easy, 3km of alternative minutes super-fast and fast (!) and end with 3km cool down. Decided to skip the phone with me, so no picture in this post, although they would have been beautiful. The sun was already shining half-high when starting and I was glad I took my sunglasses! First bridge came after 2,5km or so, but felt light under the feet. Even took the time to say “hi” to the fellow walkers on the bridge! Took btw the other side of the bridge, compared to yesterday. Then started a long and honestly quite boring line on the water front (ok, the positive was to be on the water front!). Ended stupidly my 12km by running stiff uphill to the second bridge and right on the bridge… my “alternative km” started (and with a fast one of course!). Went fine though and then along I went, good feeling. This type of series in long run is not new, but I always have a problem running the fast km a bit too slow and the slow km a bit too fast. This time it went like on wheels! Apart from fast km #3 which was unfortunately getting both uphill and dead-end obliging me to turn back, all km were as planned in the pace range. Yippie! (and strangely all fast km were at least starting with a slope to climb… Sooooo convenient!). Then my mp3 died on me around km18 so had to continue my run without music but the sound of the wind in the trees and from time to time brave birds in the cold! Took energy gel at km9 & 18 as if would have been in marathon. Continued with Dextrosol as well but did not have enough to take as I planned. After the alternative km, felt great and had a 3km easy pace. Sun shining still and not many people out there! When the “alternative minutes” started, a bad calculation (again!) made the first one for an uphill, but after that it felt great great great! The previous last fast minutes was a bit tough as uphill again, but seriously I had it @4:00/km pace… so quite satisfied, really! And finally a 3+km cool down after that. The alternative km were fast: 4:18, 4:17, 4:27, 4:13 and slow: 4:46, 4:48, 4:46, 4:54. For the “alternative minutes”: @3:51*3, 4:00 (uphill) and 3:34 and the slow minutes @4:46*3, 5:00, 4:33… So yes, today was a great day to run: 30,5km in 2hr30min 🙂

Ended this run with some light stretching in the tram: yes, at the end of the run I was planning to have 30km. Unfortunately the first tram stop would have made it less than 30km and the one after made it more… Just testing the mental training here! Did not want to stretch the run any longer especially due to this long run being the third training day in a row and tomorrow will hopefully be easypeasyrecovery day. Sushi for lunch and 2 hot-dogs as afternoon snacks were the rewards of the day! Spent all afternoon then in a gym hall so no need to say that the body felt pretty stiff afterwards! But now it is ok. Will probably hit the pillow pretty early today as well. The body feels fine despite the mind being busy thinking lately…

Boston is soon to come, feeling good so far about it (well, it goes up&down). Hopefully S can act as pace maker during a part of the marathon, which may be good to push me faster OR may be bad as pushing me too fast too soon… Still some weeks to go to think a good approach for this marathon!
And yes, today was the first outing for my camel(bak)… which has been very patiently waiting on the back of a chair for the first day of sun and relative ok-temperature (today was -9ºC outside, but seriously feeling much warmer!)

Boston… 24 days to go!!!

Like a Phoenix raising from the ashes…

OK, this might be a bit overkill but this is how it feels today. Last night was really feeling depressing (kind-of… it would take much more than cramps in the stomach and a foot that plays around pain-no pain-pain-no pain to bring me down and feel depressed!). Let’s turn it into: yesterday was not a “all time high” in any way. Good night’s sleep and believe it or not, the clock rang at 5:45am (ON A SUNDAY…) and I felt good and relax, ready to rock’n roll (ok, not directly rock’n roll, but run , definitively!).

One glass of orange juice, two layers of gear on (G finally found my winter long underwear, which I had missed during a whole week… Not that I froze my bum that much, but it always take a few km to get warm especially with those crazy temperatures we have had lately!) and off I went. Well not THAT long, as I noticed the HR pulse was jumping like crazy and wanted to double-check whether my heart was ACTUALLY beating this way (anf it kind-of did…). Anyhow, rested a few minutes and started again. No check on pulse today, only running aiming for a 15km or so, easy run to feel that my left foot was fine today.


Gloomy start

It was a slow starter, but such a bless to have “Killing the Snow”-mix  from DJ Eclipse in my ears – just so perfect for any run and this morning it gave me wings! Turned first 6K at a decent 29:15 and then just went along. Did not think really of pace or pulse (good as this latter one looks sick on the Garmin Connect pic!). Just running. Eyes closing was part of it as well, once again. No real effort on the run. At the end of the run though, reaching km12, had to stop for letting the cars pass and when started again I felt a slight pain in the front of the right shinbone so had to listen to the voice of reason (once again!) and stop the run. In a race or would there has been no race in a week from now, I would have continued the last 2km. But here, no way. Ended in 12.35km in 59:32 (avg pace: 4:49/km). Stretched extensively and carefully. Then jumped on the tram for two stops (yapp! TWO stops, i.e. 1.5km, i.e. 7 minutes or so at this pace… a bit disturbing isn’t it to be able to calculate distance and time so fast nowadays… THEN you know you are a Runner! 🙂 ). But reason is reason. Like yesterday when I was told not to run but to jogg by the guy from the shoe store… I did KNOW it was the best thing to do, but I would certainly not have done it if 1) not have heard it from someone else (!) and 2) would have been running on my own and not with T on bike… Yapp! Reason is reason (and you do not always listen to it, or is it just me?!!!)


Nice with the sun rising up during early runs 🙂

Energy in the body right after the run (Gainomax + banana), long hot shower to get the blood moving again and skipping frozen toes and really white feet! Then a large blueberry yoghurt with cereals to complete the energy load after run. Chilling out for the rest of the morning before aiming to G’s athletics competition. Listening to Pink Floyd while cooking right now and will definitely take this one to the next long run after Paris. Not fast pace, but great feeling (… will probably fall asleep while running!!! 😉 )

Semi de Paris: 7 days to go (in a week from now I will have run 36minutes already!!!) Hopefully this week will go fast…

How to pass time when you cannot run…

5:00am – also was ready to get up, when I saw the temperature of -6ºC (RealFeel -14ºC), the whole body just said “NO”! One more hour of sleep and then up for some light indoor morning training, aka core. Back to basics with single set of S’s program (but so good at the Vs!) and two sets of the second program. The painful point being the 3-4 last rep of the ball pikes… EVERY TIME IT IS THE SAME! No worry, I will get through it (until I enjoy the full set!)

1*[S’s program incl “full V” 10*10sec – excl. hover
+ Ball bridge 10]

2* [single leg push press *10 each side
+ “walk on the mat” *10 each side
+ regular hover w/ bottom lift *10 each side
+ side hover w/ arm+leg raise *10 each side
+ Triceps press sitting *15 rep
+ back extension*15
+ “table abs – 2 legs” 15
+ bench dips on low table *15]
+ “walk with ball” *20
+ Swiss ball superman *12
+ Ball pike *12]

Light breakfast as stomach not really willing to get food (turned into a glass of blood orange and a banana… I know, not much, but seriously better than nothing!). The small ones however got something in their plate to talk about at school (see below 🙂 )



On the way to work, lifted the eyes to the skies and noticed some had been fed up with running probably!


Flying shoes…

Intense day at work for the mind, with nice lunch (Indian tandoori chicken, difficult to resist, really!) and then nice chat with fellow runner S, who was down-town for receiving his award after his more-than-nice time in Berlin marathon this autumn 🙂 Quick food cooking (boiled potatoes and boneless porkchops with nice oat-milk sauce with thyme and rosmarin) before rushing to T’s training. I took this opportunity to put on my gear (2 layers, as it was after all -4ºC, but could not find my extra tights…), changed slightly my shoelace on the left foot to release any pressure and ran back home (easy 3.5km @5.04/km). At least I could see/feel that my foot was fine (almost 100%) and should not be a problem for tomorrow morning’s training with colleagues.

OK, have to recognize as well that I left this post in draft after starting it and then… I ran more this evening. Back to pick up T, so theoretically same distance as earlier, right… NOPE! it became a 3.64km @4:44/km. WHAT a FEELING! So nice to run (despite actually starting this latter run with a hill and finishing with a hill – as the previous one started and finished with a down-hill…). so now, promised to myself that this was the last run for the day! Feet are feeling fine. Noticed as well that my right shoe of GT-2160 Purple was not tied up as the other one was (i.e. before I changed it this evening…). Will see how it goes tomorrow. Hopefully the foot will be fine and the training can continue. Looking forward to the intervals workout planned for the morning (especially as should run it indoor!)


New way to tie up my shoe not using the last top hole

And seriously, I did not plan to run today after this morning core training…It just happened.


What about having a semi-marathon before breakfast…

Had a good night’s sleep, almost without dreams. Strange right? Planned a very early long run but seriously (!) when the alarm rings at 5:00am on a Sunday morning, you really wish you were to prepare for running a marathon race or so! Snoozed it until 7:00am when the brain started to wake up. Vitamin-C with allergy & iron complement, on with the running gear and off I went (you cannot imagine how nice it feels to right those words again!).

Wanted to run easy on TIME and not DISTANCE. Therefore aiming for a 2hours long run, easy pace (i.e. 5:10-5:30/km). After 2km stopped for some light stretching. Body felt really fine. Noticing on my watch that the pace was already too fast for what I planned. But had a great music mix in the ears (DJ Eclipse – October 2012) and reach the stretching area (see photo below 🙂 ) when one of my favourite parts of the mix. Soooo nice! So rewind a bit after the stretch and started again.

Stretching area carefully watch by Mummy hen and her little chick!

Stretching area carefully watch by Mummy hen and her little chick!

Got some nice views of the water and the bridge. Below one of the tunnels I am crossing from time to time. Seriously, the pic does not reflect the feeling it was. It looks quite spooky here, when actually the feeling was more: “Wow, nice light on the other side!”)

Scary (?) tunnel - or how to be sure there is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel? ;)

Scary (?) tunnel – or how to be sure there is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel? 😉

Back on the bridge, no car, nobody, only little me there… enjoying fully the view! This bridge has not been part of my route since December if recalling right, so was nice (!) to run up the stiff slope to reach it and finally get to the middle and enjoy the shy sun rising on the still sleeping city.


Over “älven” with dawn lights and ice on the water

Morning dawnlight over the bridge

Morning dawn light over the bridge

A quite boring part of run was done in construction areas and then along the river again. A bit icy from time to time, but good feeling. Once again only few people were outside, and mostly (or ONLY?) because of their dogs needing to get out I would guess! Fun to see a guy fishing ON the water at a little harbour on the route I took.


Got Him who knows how to walk on water 🙂 (or how to fish the Swedish way!)

Here was a part I had to tackle differently than usual! Climbed down on the little pontoon, which was btw REALLY slippery (but thanks to the comments of my friend A, I DO AM CAREFUL when running on wooden parts… Thinking briefly that would I ever fall here, I would probably drown and my body will be found in a couple of months when the ice has been melting… Yaaa, this crossed my thoughts a really brief half-second…)


No need to say I did not RUN there! but walked…

Then continued along the river still meeting one or two courageous runners, fighting against the cold (it seemed like!). Then reach the 10K mark of Göteborgsvarvet. Could not resist taking a pic of the sun on the roof of the houses on the other side of the water. Once again, the pic does not really translate the feeling there.


Timid sun rising above the houses

Now the body felt a bit tired, but soon seeing the sun rising will bring energy and with the perfect music in the ear, it felt just like being invincible and so powerful. The body no longer feel obeying to any command, it just RUNS. Seems like a perfect fusion mind and body working together and this is just SO great!


Aaaaand I am just melting here! Who wouldn’t?!?!?

So passing the second bridge I noted that I was at 14km, so why not completing the full GV then?!?! Up the Aveny (Hi to my former Kung-Fu instructor and Kung-Fu Sifu who was on his way to the airport), then down the Aveny, turn up on the final long run of the race route, up the little bridge (a few howls on the way 🙂 – you would probably be scared running beside me some times!) and running down back home: 21.11km in 1:41:01 (exactly my MP from Berlin this September :)) Stretching afterwards felt good, could have run longer really. A bit of food after a well-deserved HOT shower: Gainomax + cereals/dried blueberries/chocolate/oat-milk and water of course.

Now after that, chilling for the rest of the day. Lunch became rice with tomato sauce and meat balls. Will see whether having more rice in my food is as good as Staffan suggested 🙂 Awaiting now for going to a foot massage (!) which was strongly recommended to have by one of the guys I met at the massage area of the Dubai marathon. Will see how it goes…

NOTE: bum/thigh still needs the stretching recommended by Jörgen. But it does feel better. Of course not now when sitting on wooden chair for a while (!), but otherwise it really feels slightly better.

NOTE: my pulsband seems not to work properly: for this run I got an average puls of 128 (could be ok, but really, I am not THAT good!) and my Garmin watch was nice enough to calculate an energy spent of…133calories for the run… So either my body is using pure air for functioning and I reach an optimal-efficient-energy level (!) OR -which I am more likely to believe!- the calculation is completely wrong… previous run of this distance were using more likely 900-1100C…

Have a great day! Cheers!

Race Report – Dubai Marathon 2013/01/25

Planned: Nothing really apart from completing and under 3:40 (due to last days and weeks of troubling body!)

Actual: official 3:11:55 (corrected from Garmin:3:11:58) – new PR by 10min 35sec from Berlin 4-months ago (Sep-2012)! More than very satisfied of the result especially due to 1) health pre-race and 2) body pain now and then spookying the whole training. No world record this year on the marathon, but a great performance for little me (!) Obviously could qualified as MORE-THAN-GREAT RACE, enjoyed the company of runners throughout the race and afterwards. Great ending at the beach and evening. (For once, the marathon race distance was pretty much the same as my Garmin and close to 42.2km!). Rest for a few day now!

Race Results:
place (M/W) 20
place (ag) 2
age/grade: 72.35% (Dubai:66.6/ London:66.47/SF:65.66/Berlin:68.29)
time total (netto) 03:11:55
time total (brutto) 03:11:58

Splits (from Garmin watch):

km per 5K sum
5 0:22:47 0:22:47
10 0:22:14 0:45:01
15 0:22:28 1:07:28
20 0:22:22 1:29:51
25 0:22:36 1:52:27
30 0:22:57 2:15:24
35 0:22:46 2:38:10
40 0:22:58 3:01:08
43 0:10:49 3:11:58

Official results: Splits

Split time diff min/km km/h
HALFWAY 01:35:15 01:35:15 04:31 13.29
netto 03:11:55 01:36:40 04:35 13.10


2:55am – pre-alarm clock – snoozing it as really the brain does not understand under which circumstances I would want to go up so early.

3:00am – same as earlier. Why one earth go up now? And slowly the brain awaken and time to prepare my porridge. Boiling water, pouring it on the porridge and let it like that a few minutes. Worked perfectly. Add banana, tran berries and oat milk. Taking as well regular iron and anti-allergy pill. Drinking 2dl of water (on the top of 1dl with vitamin C). And back to sleep (or kind of).

Too early to be true...

Too early to be true…

Breakfast - yummie!

Breakfast – yummie!

3:30am – same ritual as usual, but 2dl water is going down (and bed again)



4:00 and 4:30am – similar procedure J Cannot really sleep after that so up to the shower (thanks, there is hot water! Last year had to shower at 4:00am with freezing cold water…). Fixing my hair, getting sun cream on the body after massaging the thighs. They both feel fine this morning (Yippie?). Gear on and it is 4:50am and I am reading… A bit left before the marathon. Looking at my blog and read two more encouragements. Great to have, can tell you! Not believing that it is soon time to go.

5:20am – reception calls for my taxi arrived…20minutes in advance! But staying on the bed still and focused. Reviewing briefly (incorrect here: “longely”!) the route of the marathon, double checking my gear, number, gels and all is set.

Ready to go, for sure!

Ready to go, for sure!

5:40am – in the lobby finding a nice block to take a photo of me – still smiling. Always good for checking the before and after state 😉 The taxi brings me to the Dubai Mall metro station in a foggy road. Aaaaaannnd it is 5:48am and I am soon at the start! Still a bit to go. Enjoying the ambience, kind of cozy still. Few more pictures from fellow runners. Queuing to the loo, noticing after a few minutes that I am surrounded by guys only… wrong queue! Surprisingly the female toilets have no queue (that’s a first!). All good, looks like I have drunk good enough and “it “looks well and correctly hydrated. Outside it is kind of freezing – says the one coming from Sweden where the temperature when she left was below 8! But being in singlet and shorts at 6am ain’t something usual (as least for me at home!). Anyhow, by 6:20am cannot wait any longer, drop my bag at the marathon baggage, jog and go for a final visit to the ladies bathroom. So nice and warm inside 😉

Aiming then to the start. There are lots of people already lining up for the 10K but only few for the marathon. Took the opportunity to do some little warmup, back and forth, no pressure, listening to Queen and “The show must go on” on my mp3. Because I decided to have my mp3 in my back pocket, just in case. Last year from km30 it felt quite empty and some music would/might have helped. Anyhow, the marathoners are starting to fill the place, chatting a bit but seriously I keep myself turned inwards. Checking my watch once more, satellites found, multiple heart devices as well J Soon announced less than 5 minutes to go. Can see the elites runners in front of me (standing right at the line) warming up. Cannot see our Swedish star, but she must be there somewhere. Then we (common mortals) finally mix with the elite runners, ready – steady aaaaaaand GO! Fast start especially due (I think) to the bunch of male runners in this race! They want too much too fast. My strategy – by the way – was 1) complete the marathon and 2) finish it within 3:40 or such as this correspond to our Manhattathon time in NY! Cannot be that hard to beat right? Have my virtual trainer set on 4:44/km which corresponds to 3:20:00 time. In my dreams, yes!

Freezing cold, but smiling and ready to rock!

Freezing cold, but smiling and ready to rock!

Inspiring... Which one should I go for today?

Inspiring… Which one should I go for today?

First half:

It is so extremely foggy, cannot recall I am in Dubai (apart from my running apparel, reminding that I am not home!). By km1 I decide to put on the music in my ears as the groups of runners are too disparate and cannot drag me well. Passing first km at 4:37 (pace for a 3:15 marathon) – the sign is exactly when my watch pips. Perfect, finally a marathon agreeing with my Garmin! Still too fast as planned to have my 1st km between 4:50 and 5:00. Decides quickly after having the music on that I go for it, keeping the pace as I feel good but keeping careful and listening to the body (which is magically working after those last few days of troubling stomach and weeks of troubling thighs and calf…). Continuing to check on the km-pace and when passing km4 @4:26, I think that there is something strange happening here. Had checked yesterday my race from Dubai 2012 and Berlin 2012 and I am far faster than both of them… But still smiling and enjoying. Meeting French guys from the Djibouti Foreign Army. Cool as I met some of their colleagues last year! A bit of French in the ears on the top of my music is helping! Km5 feeling outstanding and km6 is down to 4:22!!!Am I doing intervals, here? Did not my brain realize it is a 42.2km to do? Still foggy, skipping the water at km5 but taking a bottle at km7.5 to take my first gel at km9 (Staffan’s strategy from Berlin: gel at km 9 – 18 – 27 – 36 : which I am going to follow instead of starting my gel with same km-marks but having always skipped the one at km9/10). Passing the 10km sign in 45:01 according to my Garmin. Feeling good after taking first gel. The French guys are keeping in troup and steady pace. By km12/13, my watch is indicating a pace of 4:30, which sounds impossible. This is for 3:10-marathon!!! Not even in my dreams… OK maybe in my dreams I had seen it, but not 1) with today’s conditions and 2) my preparation for the past weeks (and yes, Staffan, you incidentally name it a few times, but hard to believe right?) . One French guy talks to me and he tells they are several aiming for a 3:15, which suits me very well so tell him to keep me by their side, kind of “no matter what” ;). So much for the asocial woman I feel I am being with my mp3 music in the ear. Seriously, hearing in my head constantly almost what I read in the race-day strategy of Pfitzinger: “First half is for cruising… do not use mental strength yet…” (kind of Obi-Wan voice in the head at this moment…suiting well the DJ Eclipse mix from Maj 2012!). Cruising at 4:30/km pace… ARE YOU NUTS?!?!?! Strategy was also to keep myself 1) well-hydrated and 2)well-fuled with carbs. So every 5km took 2 dextrosol with little water. Recognizing the km18 where Jumeira Beach Park is (where I sun bathed yesterday!) and it is sooooo foggy really that my sunglasses are not leaving the top of my skull. Music on, keeping pace with either the French guys or two ladies from the Dubai creek striders. Feeling good, not really understanding where the strength is coming from: 4:29/km pace when I arrive close to mid-race… Looking quickly on my home-made pace bracelet: Great at least I have some minutes in advance in case… well just “in case”. Can finish under 3:20 if something may happen by the end. The distance between km12 and 21 is pretty empty of people, no one really passing me which I not pass shortly after (and back & forth). Feeling good with personal pacer in front of me – they just do not know it! Km18+ taking my second gel with water. Working better this time as it is orange taste and not filled with “pieces” as the first lemon gel I took earlier. Finally see the elites men passing on the other side of the road – COOOOL, kind of short after followed by the women (including Isabella Andersson, looking strong but after the female pack though). Does not matter really, would gladly trade my current place with hers! A few more km to go, one more destrosol and… the km21-sign shows itself…

Passing half way in 1:35:15 (New PB!!!) And it is soon time to turn back on Jumeira Road. Enjoying so much the turn that I smile and sounds like a wolf in a full moon night.

Second half:

Now it is according to Pfitzinger’s words, the “no-man’s-land” of the marathon until km32. Recalling the advices: keep myself well-hydrated and well-fuelled in carbs. Recalling this, I note as well that I cannot see my French bodyguards any longer, nor my female pacers, so keeping up with the good feeling (yes, I can assure you that I was feeling good!). I get along with one and other runners with similar pace, b t a bit tricky to keep up as they are too long and have bigger strides than me…until I found MY ULTIMATE PACE-BODY! Unsure whether he liked it or not, but I remain by his side from km23 to 32! My aim was keeping up with him until km32 mark and see that after that either go for it – kind-of or continue to follow. Similar length and strides, he suited me well. Km27 taking my third gel (orange). Between km22 and 32, I took 1 or 2 dextrosol tablets + little water when available each km (apart from when taking the gel+1km after that). Feeling fine, not high, just fine. The body still is making itself reminded that 42.2 IS a long distance to cover! The sun makes its appearance around km28/30 and it starts to get pretty sweaty (well, might have been probably so before, but not with the warmth as it was foggy). Km32 is reached and I do not fear it like last year where my brain stopped working really! This time and with the help of my personal pacer, it went fine. So I could go through the “no-man’s-land” without dying or stopping, so just 10km to go!!!

I noticed by km25 that my pace was no longer under 4:30/km but above. But once again, I had some minutes over thanks to the first half. Kept an eye on my watch and noticed I had moved to 4:30/31 by this km-mark. Noooo worries, body feeling good and after all “all under 3:20 mara is just ALL BONUS” (kind of motto during Berlin marathon which was working fine here as well!).

From km32, it really is different. I could recall that when 30km were left I reminded myself what distance it was at home, then when 25 was left, then 20… But from “it-is-only-a-10K-left-to-go” though and making the brain understand what to do, it IS a challenge! Keeping up with the music (had to restart the “October 2012 – mix” as it last only for 1hour 30+ or so… it does keep up the pace. Each time we received sponges, I carefully wet my left thigh (especially the back), and from km32, just use the water bottle first half to drain my legs under cold water…. LOVELY!!! I ran into a French trooper again but he seemed in pain, so went along for a short while and then moved on. Saw in front of me the Dubai Creek Striders kind of 200-300m in front of me. Still fine, I guess! Some of the elite runners had dropped off the race by now. Feeling good that I am still in the run! Have definitely stopped looking at my bracelet as it is no longer accurate and I do not want my brain to work too hard (!) on calculation when I needed it for focusing on the road and keeping my eyes… well, yes: OPENED! Strangely those last 10km felt not too bad (under the circumstances), recalled the one from Dubai 2012 and Berlin 2012 and really put them in another place of my mind. I just felt good (well, not physically – pain was there, but really the mental was strong to continue).

Reaching km36 – I think, I walk for TEN-LONG-SECONDS. And it took some strength to start again, but it worked. This km is ran in 4min 35sec!!! including the 10seconds walk… Taking my last gel at this mark: Cola-taste: never had it before and indeed as suggested somewhere I cannot recall, having this new unknown taste in the mouth make my brain waking up! Water again when available and dextrosol (new taste as well from mid-second half) every km when no gel is taken. Gosh! What the last km are long. I recall last year hating (really!) the people from km36 onwards to km40 as they were cheering kindly but the pain did not take it in. This time, I might even have smiled actually at this part as well. Not many people anymore at this time. On my own until the end. Km38-mark: French guy in trouble, trying to help a bit, cheering, but it is too tough. Promising him a kiss at the finish line, but he seemed to have a really painful calf cramp. Cannot do more really so off I went. Km 39… ALREADY?!?!? Seeing km40 but not Burj Khalifa… Have they moved it while I was running I am thinking? (Yes, by this time the brain is not ALWAYS thinking clearly!!!). More people on the side, cheering and finally another French trooper. This one I take him along for the last push. I need some energy and yelling at him is actually helping me! We are side-by-side from km41 to the end. Promising once more a kiss on the finish line would he pass at the same time as me! Cannot really understand what I am saying by now. Just seeing the yellow sign and thinking like in London: “800m left to go” Yeeeeeee!…. BUT NO! It is only 400m to go! So reaching in the last strength I have and pushing my body to the maximum I can for the last km and those last long (no actually this time I found them short!) 400m. Brain calculating quickly how fast I can do a 400m in my intervals training…STOP IT! Focus on the race, you iiiidiiot brain! AND I look at the clock 3:11:XX, could not make the 3:10, I think and WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, REALLY?!?!?! Got my kiss from the French guy, so nice and sweaty (blääääärk! But do I really care by now?!?!?). Just want to jump and cry and shout (the first one I really cannot as my legs may still have strength to carry me along, they cannot do the jumping part!). Stopping my watch: 3:11… For just a second, I cannot believe it…

After the Finish Line:

Walking to get my goodie bag, my banana and direction to the massage area, with a great welcome from the French troopers J One recognize me from last year (what an impression I must have made…. Oh ya, I remember: last thing he saw of me was when I fainted in front of them and was carried to the doc tent!). We have a nice French chat, and it felt sooooooo great. Now I can actually calculate a bit: 10minutes and 35sec improvement from Berlin in September… What about the “take it slow and make small steps improvements”-plan? Who cares? Right now I am happy, I am in pain, I speak French and suddenly Swedish is talked to me. Runner-body from jog has recognize me (how?) and congratulated me: I knew one was registered but unsure how to recognize him! Massage felt good (had drunk my water bottle, my energy drink and eaten a small crisp bag and my banana while waiting). Walking barefoot to the marathon baggage tent. Getting a Swede (among all other guys here running, have to pick up one from a group of Swedes!) to take my finish photo (still smiling!) a bit of Swedish chat with him and his mates and aiming to the marathon village for medal engraving. While waiting, texting to 1) my best supporter for the last week (you know who you are…), 2) my coach (thanks for the support!) and 3) my Greek mate living now in Dubai. Wait for the medal is killing me. I want to shower, to eat, to cry, to do something, whatever but waiting! Finally I get it, as well as my official time: 3:11:55! Yippie! Made it through. Got a first text informing I have improved my placement by 2 compared to last year: 20th of female runners (2ns in my category – first one is under 3hours…).

Still smiling!

Still smiling! What else?

On the clock!

On the clock!

Weather: chilly in the morning, foggy until km28 or so and sunny afterwards. Windy (slightly) at some places though

> carbo-loading on natural food – not working due to stomach not keeping it. Day before race last meal: chicken + rice. Morning before race eating oat porridge/oat milk/banana/cranberries @3am
> during the race: 1 vitargo @km 9, 18.5, 27, 36. Dextrosol tablets: 1 every km (almost) from km22 (except when gel taken)
> just after race: all that was given in the bag!
> later on: 3 hours after arrival: burger/fries+ Coca cola / tea and dinner later in the day (+ lukum in the afternoon) :)

Gear: ASICS Vesta shorts/UNICEF singlet – super-flying-lightSkyspeed perfect shoes for this race (once again they DELIVERED!)


Then everything became a big blur: showering in the ladies bathroom, noticing that once again I burned my breast when carrying my gels in my bra… have to find another technique really! Getting dressed, walking around the village and then aiming back to the hotel for changing. Walking a while to find the metro station, for finally hear that they would not open until 1:00pm (it is Friday). So cross the motorway and start walking to my hotel, after 400m take a cab as I really cannot endure it any longer. Hotel, unpack, pack again for afternoon at the beach, taxi to Barasti beach. Then enjoying good company and eating a great burger. Rest of the afternoon under the sun, then back home to my friend before we left again to take a tea (they smoked sisha – not me!) and then time for dinner. Restaurant might be 20minutes walk from the apartment, but cannot really feel my left hip is with me tonight, so we take the car there. Well arrived at the Mall, I almost fell on my left foot, leaving a pretty bad feeling in the left hip, which will remain all evening. Eating at an Italian restaurant, meeting with a former colleague who also moved last year to Dubai with his wife. Really great evening. Then time to go back home and ultimately sleep (not before mailing a last one about the day experience…)

NOTE: Kept myself well-hydrated throughout the day after the race. Not only with the just-after-finish-line drinks but also, water, 2 cokes at the beach, marrocan teas, and more water 🙂 Food to replenish the empty batteries as well 🙂

ALL-in-ALL my friend: This day was GREAT. Not one but two PB, a thigh feeling good (i.e. “normal”), a burnt chest and a hip in pain. For the small price of 3 HOURS 11 MINUTES and 55 SECONDS!!!

Well-deserved medal

Well-deserved medal

Well-deserved lunch

Well-deserved lunch

Well deserved dinner (not showing the chocolate fondant for dessert...)

Well deserved dinner (not showing the chocolate fondant for dessert…)

Good morning, World!

Early long runs are not overrated! Peaceful, time disappear really and you have the roads for yourself (almost!).

Christmas feeling in this early morning

Christmas feeling in this early morning

Today was the trick to get 25-27km easy pace. So decided the “Harbours route” which is quite nice when the sun goes up (if it ever does nowadays!). The first 10km went fine, good pace, breathing fine, weather ok (+3-4ºC), just enjoying. Then reached the first little harbour and here it was – my worse fear for this winter training : ICY PATH… Was not looking like there was too much of ice so went along and it took approximately 500m to get my left thigh/bum on the ground and thereafter took it REALLY easy. It became ca. 5km of walk, half-jump/run on snow or pools of water and being careful. Water in the shoes were not too nice to have (although it was refreshing and kept me alert!). From km15 was slightly better so skipped the bike road and went clearly for the car path (not too appreciated by the early birds!). It ended with 27km in 2hr35. Not satisfactory as did not enjoy the run (well a bit of it yes, but not the mid-part!).

Icy? no kidding?!?!

Icy? no kidding?!?!

Morning sunrise on the country side

Morning sunrise on the country side

Now to the mental part: during marathons, I noticed that the last 5-7km are mentally a challenge. So today I did push longer than what the mind really wanted. First thought (especially after the 5km in the snow, water, icy part) was “get to the mall and take the first tram home”, but my watch shown 19km only. Cannot really stop at this distance… so continued and convinced myself to reach the half-marathon distance and take the first bus passing by… Missed the clock so next thought was “23km or this tram stop, whatever comes first”… but arrived at the tram stop, it was missing a few 100s for making the 23km so “25km or the tram hall”… as you may guessed, reach 24km just before the hall and then by the following tram stop I noticed that it was only 2km left home (including 3 hills!) – so what’s the problem?… and made it home in 27km… This mental part is really what is driving one during the final km of a marathon, so as good to work on it!

Hot showered, food and update of training diary + blog post. All set now for some last-minute Christmas shopping 🙂

Easy morning run is a good way to start the day!

Up at 4:30am this morning! Without any clock… No worries, stayed in bed until 7:30am and then up, breakfast and gear on. Planned an easy 8-10K as tomorrow will be long run day. Difficult to run as the pavements are now cleared out form the snow – but not all of them – and therefore, started the run on the thin path with dirty snow which is left by the road cleaners!


Side of the road I ran on: snow side


Side of the road I PLANNED to run on: snowless…

So happy I became when finding a path with packed snow and icy feeling 😉 Great grip which enabled me to get three fast km, ending the workout at 7km (with last km fast speed workout!). Quite some extensive stretching while watching kids playing table tennis indoor, and then back home to hot shower (yes, warm is no longer enough to unfreeze me!) and the day just continues.

Quite tired around 3:30pm so slept 40minutes and then, much better. Good carbs at dinner when eating home-made lasagnes and now chilling out and hopefully early in bed. Training ached in the thighs are no longer and will plan a massage on Sunday or Monday to ensure the body is really relaxing. Ciao!


Ever seen such a morning sky?