26.2 miles är mindre än 42195 meter

Det verkar som New York
Marathon
är 30 meter kortare än de europeiska marathonbanorna. Det
är säkert en del, men inte hela, sanningen bakom att jag kapade 12
minuter på min tidigare marathontid. Men vi tar det från början:

Preludium: Vägen till Staten Island

Det var över ett år sedan de första tankarna på en marathon i New York
föddes. Jag hade sprungit Stockholm marathon, och överlevt. Den
påtagliga smärtan bleknade ganska fort, och så även minnena av den
mentala ansträngningen som den fjärde milen utgjorde. Kvar var bara
känslan av att ha klarat en massiv ansträngning och att ha vunnit över
sig själv. Jag behövde en ny fix, men större. Och vad är större än New York marathon?

Inledning: Fort Wadsworth

Innan starten går står vi och huttrar i den tidiga
höstmorgonen. Bussarna släpper av oss klockan sju, men starten går
inte förrän tio över tio — det är mycket logistik med att få 37000
löpare i ordning på en ö. Vi fördriver tiden med att stå i kö till te
och bagels, jag får massage av en elev
på Swedish Institute
. Oron över mitt stela högerben tilltar — det
är en skarp, om än inte så stark, smärta när jag provjoggar. Löparna
ställer upp i fållorna och leds sakta ut mot Verazano-bron. En
acapellagrupp sjunger amerikanska nationalsången med avancerade
harmonier. Startkanonen ljuder, ur högtalarna strömmar Sinatras ”New
York, New York”. Bak i fältet där jag står rör vi oss mycket
långsamt. Sinatra hinner ta slut, och efterföljs av Bruce Springsteens
”Born To Run”, innan jag når startlinjen. Jag sätter ner foten i
tidtagarmattan, mitt chip registreras och jag inser att det är nu det
börjar.

Första milen: Verazano – mitten av fjärde avenyn

Startfältet är stort och indelat i tre grupper. Min grupp – grön – får
inte springa på den övre bron, utan den undre. Det är bättre ur
vindsynpunkt, men jag känner mig lite lurad på upplevelsen som
beskrevs i resebroschyren. Jag vill ju känna bron gunga under
tiotusentals löpare. Sväljer förtreten och börjar en lätt joggning
uppför den lätt lutande bron. Känner mig lite stel, men framförallt
nervös. Minnena hur den fjärde milen egentligen var i Stockholm börjar
komma tillbaka.

Tid för första milen: 0:59:48 — jag har ingen klocka, så jag vet inte
detta då. Har en känsla av en ganska långsam första mil, men en mil
under timmen är ganska snabbt med min måttstock (tider finns här — mitt nummer är 19746)

Andra milen: Fjärde avenyn – Greenpoint

Fjärde avenyn i Brooklyn är riktigt riktigt lång. Och bred. Tre eller
fyra filer åt vardera hållet, och varenda meter är full med
löpare. Åskådare kantar vägarna med plakat som bär uppmuntran till
deras nära och kära. Bästa var nog en riktad till någons blivande
svärson: ”Run while you still can”. De hejande åskådarna byts under
någon kilometer ut mot svartklädda allvarliga män med rejäla
korkskruvslockar när vi springer genom de chassidiska kvarteren i
Williamsburg. Stelheten har försvunnit, och nervositeten ger också med
sig. Löpglädjen börjar infinna sig — konditionen är inget problem,
kroppen svarar bra, och inget slitage att tala om än. Förmiddagssolen
ligger på. Jag börjar känna att det kanske blir för varmt med
överdragskläder. Knyter jackan kring midjan och känner den svettigt
varma överkroppen bli behagligt tempererad igen.

Tid för andra milen: 1:10:11 — långsammare, märkligt nog, med tanke
på hur bra den här milen kändes.

Tredje milen: Greenpoint – första avenyn

Gör samma procedur med byxorna — förutseende nog hade jag shorts
under. Det ser lite märkligt ut med en hel träningsoverall knuten
kring midjan, och funderar på att kasta den — många andra gör det,
och kläderna tas om hand och delas ut till behövande. Vågar dock inte
lita på att jag inte behöver dem senare, och det är ju ingen
modetävling. Bron över till Queens markerar att halva loppet är
avklarat, och en viss smärta börjar ge sig till känna i benen och
framförallt fötterna. Får en dos Tylenol vid en vätskekontroll — all
kringservice är på en riktigt hög nivå. Queens passerar snabbt förbi,
men vägen till Manhattan går via den otroligt långa Queensboro
Bridge. Nu ser man allt fler människor som inte orkar springa längre
utan går. Funderar på att göra likadant, men föresätter mig att jag
ska orka till åtminstone mile 16. Väl där föresätter jag mig att klara
mig till mile 18, där energigel ska delas ut. När det också går satsar
jag på att springa vidare till 30-kilometersstrecket.

Tid för tredje milen: 1:12:32 — det börjar kännas.

Fjärde milen: Första avenyn – Central Park

Men där är det stopp. Varje steg hugger till i fotsulorna, skenbenen,
låren och andra blandade delar. Smärtan tvingar fram några hundra
meters rask promenad, men förbipasserande löpare, tillsammans med en
tilltagande åskådarskara, sporrar till att börja småjogga igen.

Den fjärde milen är vad maratonlöpning handlar om. Det handlar inte om
kondition eller styrka längre — allt som räknas är vilken smärta jag
står ut med. Smärtan kan avbrytas närsomhelst genom att bara börja gå
istället, men gör det ändå inte. Istället stänger jag in mig i en
mental bubbla med mitt självpåtagna lidande. Under Stockholm marathon
var jag inte beredd på det här — jag vet inte om man kan läsa sig
till hur man förbereder sig — och det kändes riktigt tungt. Men nu
försöker jag tänka bort smärtan och bara springa. Det går riktigt bra
— resten av kroppen har inget problem med att hålla ett efter
omständigheterna högt tempo.

Tid för fjärde milen: 1:10:44 — Förvånansvärt bra upphämtning med
tanke på att jag ändå gick en del sträckor här.

De märkligt långa avslutande två kilometrarna

Nu är vi inne i Central Park. En park mitt inne i en storstad kan inte
vara så stor — det passar inte in i min världsbild av storstäder och
parker. Men det är den. Vägen ringlar fram med en del uppförsbackar —
ingen lutning att tala om, men vid det här laget är varje motstånd en
tung vikt på axlarna. Det lättas upp av publiken, som vid det här
laget står flera led djup, och vars jubel närmar sig
öronbedövande. Det är en fantastisk upplevelse, men det är svårt att
uppleva den på ett medvetet plan. Skyltar med meterbeteckningar börjar
dyka upp – 800 meter, rundar ett hörn, 400 meter, jag ser nästa
direkt, 300, 200, 100 följer och plötsligt ser jag målet.

Jag inser att alla bilder från marathonen jag sett på nätet visar
målgången från andra sidan — vanligtvis en bild i helfigur på
vinnaren som sträcker upp armarna i en segergest. Målgången ser
annorlunda ut från löparsidan — nästan overkligt. Mekaniskt sträcker
även jag upp armarna inför de sista stegen över tidtagarmattorna, men
det är som jag inte riktigt är där. Ansträngningarna över de senaste
fyra milen och nästan fem timmarna kommer ikapp mig på mållinjen. Det
är en känslosam, nästan överväldigande upplevelse. Benen tappar all
styrka. En medalj, en värmefilt och en flaska vatten sträcks åt mig
från olika håll. Insikten om att jag klarat det — en marathon, i New
fucking jävla York. Förlåt, THE marathon.

Epilog: Dealen med långdistanslopp

Av alla svåra saker man kan göra är långdistanslopp de enklaste. När
man småpratar och marathonlöpning dyker upp (som det av nån anledning
ofta gör — den delen av mitt undermedvetna som styr konversationer är
lite tjatigt på det viset) hör det till protokollet att den som inte
sprungit en mara ska säga hur svårt det måste vara, och att jag svarar
att det inte är så farligt, och att det bara är att sätta ena foten
framför den andra sisådär 40000 gånger.

Men det är det som är dealen med långdistanslopp. Att skriva en
novell, skriva ett användbart datorprogram, eller laga en schysst
trerätters till tolv gäster är svårare än att springa en mara, eftersom det är svårare att veta vad nästa steg är. Men för en marathon, så
länge som benen inte går sönder, är det faktiskt bara att sätta ena
foten framför den andra 40000 gånger, och ignorera smärtan. Det är som
att vrida volymen till elva, hälla i hela flaskan tabasco, svepa en
LIIT i en klunk. Maximal mängd av allt. Det är enkelt, dumt och saknar
all subtilitet. Det är så destruktivt som folkhälsomotion nånsin kan
bli.

Nästa år blir det Triathlon. Ironmandistansen. Mer av allt.

Musik för motionärer

Det blev inget skrivet varken igår eller förrgår. Så kan det vara när man jobbar tolv timmar om dagen, minsta lilla kräftskiva kan få det övriga fritidsaktivitetsschemat att spåra ut totalt. Om en stund är det iaf dags för kvällens joggingtur, och jag tror tillochmed det blir den långa rundan (8,5 km till skillnad från den korta på 3,5). Ingen joggingrunda utan musik, dock. Såhär ser min nuvarande motionsplaylist ut:

Bad Religion – Stranger Than Fiction (Stranger Than Fiction, 1994)
Bra inledningslåt. Som med all motionsmusik är det viktigt med tempot, och den här låten har en enkel rytm som passar bra för de första minuterna, som på min runda består av en lång utförslöpa.
Biohazard – Shades Of Gray (Urban Discipline, 1992)
Lite tuffare tongångar och lite mera groove. Den här låten funkar inte lika bra som jag trodde att den skulle funka, men det kan vara att den ligger lite för tidigt i listan. På tidigare listor har jag haft exempelvis Hatebreed efter ~30 minuter, då funkar de tunga gitarrerna utmärkt för att ge lite extra energi.
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (Born To Run, 1975)
Det är något visst med låtar med ett metaforiskt löpningstema — Promoe’s ”Long distance runner” har funkat utmärkt på en tidigare lista. Det enda som är fel med den här låten är väl breaket mot slutet, men det är kort nog för att inte förlora tempo nämnvärt.
Danko Jones – Rock Shit Hot (I’m Alive And On Fire, 2001)
På min korta runda kommer den här låten på precis när jag är vid foten av den längsta och tyngsta backen, vilket passar rätt bra till det stökiga soundet
Fjärde Världen – Johannes 6 8 (Live in Malmö 2001)
Inte riktigt rätt tempo, men det är ett riktigt pepp-beat. Och den fullständiga triolfestivalen i slutet av verserna är inte att leka med. Dock inte riktigt lika bra som ”Mina Hundar” med Fattaru, vars tempo stämmer kusligt exakt överens med mitt löptempo.
Kyuss – Odyssey (Welcome to Sky Valley, 1994)
Vid det här laget börjar jag bli lite trött. På min korta runda kommer den här precis på sista sträckan hem, och jag kan avgöra om jag får en bra eller dålig tid beroende på hur långt in i breaket jag hinner innan jag är hemma. Vem behöver tidtagarur?
Lauryn Hill – Lost Ones (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998)
Den här hamnade på listan inspirerat av en tidigare medplockning av ”Hip Hop” av Dead Prez – teorin är att det extremt sparsmakade beatet funkar bra att springa till. Tyvärr funkar det inte riktigt lika bra med den här låtens tempo, men det är ju iaf en grym låt.
Machine Head – Davidian (Burn My Eyes, 1994)
Nyckeln till en bra motionsmix är, förutom låtar med bra och jämnt tempo, variation. Så här långt in i passet är det dags för de tunga gitarrerna igen. Tyvärr ett onödigt downtempobreak även i den här låten.
Mano Negra – King Kong Five (Best Of, 1989)
Här är det egentligen bara att lyssna på låten, så går benen på autopilot. Tyvärr kommer den här låten precis på det tyngsta stället, en fyravåningstrappa, som egentligen skulle behövt något långsammare och tyngre.
NWA – Straight Out Of Compton (Greatest Hits, 1996)
Fin-fint beat att springa till, speciellt kontrabassaxofonen (är det väl?) Man får dock passa sig så att man inte börjar sjunga med, det kan bli fånigare än inledningsscenen i Office Space.
Paradise Lost – Say Just Words (Reflection, 1998)
Jämn och fin rytm med utpräglad enkel rytm. Pianoklinkandet passar rätt bra efter förra låtens rätt stökiga beat.
The Haunted – 99 (rEVOLVEr, 2004)
Och så en sista rökare att verkligen krama ur den sista musten ur kroppen med. Här går det undan.

Som kanske synes är det viktigaste med en motionsplaylist inte att låtarna i sig är odödliga klassiker, utan att de går i rätt tempo och ger energi och variation när det behövs. Det här är inte den bästa listan jag gjort, men den funkar hyfsat för mina nuvarande rundor.

Stockholm Marathon 2004: Race report

So, finally after training for this since new year’s, I was standing
in the starting pen for this year’s Stockholm Marathon. I did not feel
well. For the last couple of days, the right side of my neck had felt
inflamed, and I felt like I was coming down with a cold of some
sort. To make matters worse, the sun and the general nervousness had
given me a headache. I took some pain relievers and hoped it would
pass somehow.

The starting pen was packed. 16000 runners had entered this year, I
don’t know how many of them showed up, but definitely most of them
(however, only 9957 finished) After a lot of waiting, the start was
announced and — absolutely nothing happened. I was in the last
starting pen, and it took at least a minute before people even could
start moving. It took us a little over five minutes to reach the
starting line, at which time the pace had picked up to a slow jog.

1. Lidingövägen-Valhallavägen

During the first kilometer, the street was packed with
runners. It was possible to advance a few positions if you really
wanted to, but as I liked the pace, I just went with the flow. I saw
one runner in full military camouflage, including thick helmet and
backpack, one in a chicken costume, and one runner with black
metal-style corpsepaint. I hope he had waterproof makeup.

2. Vallhallavägen-Filmhuset

At this point, I started to look for the paceholders in the race. They
were supposed to have flags so that you could spot them in the crowd,
but it was hard to find anyone. I spotted a few people with finishing
times posted on their backs, but it turns out these people were
ordinary runners with an intention to make those times. Later in the
race, it became appearent that their intentions were not always
matched by their abilities (after about half the marathon, I saw a
couple of 5:00 runners ahead of a 4:15 runner). A few spectators were
present, which was fun, but they were very quiet. After reading
reports on Stockholm marathon by runners that have run in other
countries, the consensus seem to be that the swedish crowds are
numerous, but a silent.

3. Lindarängsvägen

This kilometre saw us leaving the city and enter the greener
surroundings of Gärdet. Just at the exit of Vallhallavägen, there was
a heavy rock band playing from a lorry. They were no Entombed, but it
was good to hear some heavy music all the same. The running still felt
really easy, but I continually reminded myself that I should take it
easy and keep my own pace. At this point, my headache had
dissappeared, but my right foot started to hurt real bad.

4. Lindarängsvägen-Kaknäsvägen

At this point, the road got a lot narrower, and so it got a little
more crowded again. I saw Ian, who was arranging a refreshment
station with punsch (a swedish liquour), but I didn’t manage to say
hi due to the crowd.

5. Kaknäsvägen-Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen

This kilometre saw the first real refreshment station, where wet
sponges was also passed out. Ever since the start, the sun had been
shining, and it felt really good to cool down a little. I ended up
keeping the sponge during the whole race, like a little mascot. I had
another Ipren (pain reliver) with some water at this station, which
seemed to kill off the pain in the foot for good. There were new pains
to come, though. At this point, we also saw our first official race
clock. I didn’t have my own clock, so it was good to see how I was
doing. Fairly well, my first 5 km took around 31 minutes.

6. Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen-Dag Hammarskjölds Väg

This kilometer was run in the blistering sun, with no shadows of any
kind. Spectators began to appear again, cheering a little more this
time around.

7. Engelska Kyrkan-Strandvägen

At this stage, we began to get back into the city again. I think this
was where I first encountered the run-through showers. Those were
really great, as it was still pretty hot.

8. Strandvägen-Kungsträdgården

The second refreshment station was near the end of Strandvägen. At this
stage, I still felt pretty good and was eager to push on, so i tried
to drink while running. Not a good idea, most of the water ended up on
my clothes. Apparently, both Marika and my aunt was standing at
Kungsträdgården, wanting to cheer for me, but I missed them both. At
this stage, there was a lot of spectators, and a fair amount of
cheering. It did help, as I was beginning to feel a little tired at
this stage (did I mention that it was hot?)

9. Kungsträdgården-Slussen

This kilometre went through the middle of Stockholm, over bridges and
with plenty of sights to see on all sides. Since I’ve lived here for
quite some years, I wasn’t that impressed and enjoyed the second
run-through shower much more.

10. Slussen-Söder Mälarstrand

A lot of cheering people at Slussen, as well as the first photo
opportunity. A company called Photomotion had their
photographers stationed around the course, the idea being that they
take your picture, identify you by the number bib, and offer to sell
the picture to you later. I’ll have to see how they turned out.

11. Söder Mälarstrand

Söder Mälarstrand is a fairly long, straight stretch, with not much
variation, but here I encountered the 10-km timing mat, which you run
over and, through the magic of the timing chip fastened to your shoe,
your time is recorded. I did the first 10-km in 1.06.06, which I’m
pretty happy with, since I was trying to conserve energy. At the
refreshment station, I took my first shot of energy gel (I had six
shots in total), which really worked. At this stage, I hardly felt
tired at all, but my feet and knees had started to hurt a little.

12. Söder Mälarstrand-Västerbron

Yet more running on flat ground, leading up to the feared Västerbron
(”West bridge”) At the base of the bridge Erik, Helene and Filippa was
standing, cheering for me. I went over and exchanged a few
words. Cheered up, I went on for Västerbron. This is a bridge that’s
also the highest part of the course, going from 5 m above ground to
around 30 in only a few hundred meters. I did manage to run the entire
climb, and was fairly satisfied with myself.

13. Västerbron-Rålambhovsparken

At the crest of the bridge, I exchanged a couple of brief words with a
danish runner in his 50’s, saying that ”Now the worst is over”. Little
did I know… The slope down was nice after the hill climb, but it was
almost too steep. At the end of the bridge, there was another
run-through shower, again made full use of. Rålambshovsparken is one
of the nicest and biggest parks in Stockholm, and normally on a
Saturday there are lots of people there, but I can’t really recall how
many spectators there were. I think I was just longing for the next
refreshment station, which appeared at the end of
Rålambshovsparken. At this stage I started to take longer walks while
making sure I drank at least two cups of energy drink.

14. Norr Mälarstrand

My standard 9 km course goes by Norr Mälarstrand, so this was familiar
ground. Although, when I run it, i run on the small path near the
water, but of course that wasn’t an option this time.

15. Stadshuset

Close to Stadshuset, a calypso band was playing, and a lot of pretty
smiling girls were samba dancing. If I recall correctly, clouds began
to appear around this point.

16. Stadshuset-Fleminggatan

Fleminggatan slopes slightly upward, so I took my time at the
refreshment station here. When I had run my practice runs, I’ve missed
the exit to this street, due to me running at small path close to the
water. You have to run on the alsphalt street to get to
Fleminggatan. At the refreshment station, I had my second energy gel
shot, and continued to do one every other station. The energy
gel
didn’t taste that good, though, sort of a syrupy kind of fluid
with a slight citrus taste.

17. Fleminggatan-S:t Eriksbron

Now we were starting to get close to where I live. I often walk over S:t
Eriksbron to Fridhemsplan (close to where S:t Eriksgatan and
Fleminggatan cross). Again, a lot of people were cheering at this
stage.

18. S:t Eriksbron-Odengatan

At the end of S:t Eriksbron, a sign saying that grape sugar was
dispensed 100 m ahead appeared. Great! At this point, my knees started
to get really tired, and I could use a energy boost.

19. Odengatan-Karlavägen

At this point, cars with the current race time started to pass us, so
I got the feeling that the leaders of the race, now on their second
lap, was close to us. And sure enough, two racers soon sped past us in
the left lane. It’s one thing to see how these people run on TV, but a
whole different thing when you’re running beside them, having almost
half a half marathon behind you. Truly impressive. Most of us runners
still on the first lap applauded as they went by.

20. Karlavägen-Sturegatan

Now we were starting to get really close to the end of the first
lap. On my practice runs, I had usually been a lot more tired at this
stage, but now my worst problem was the increasing pain in my knees
and legs.

21. Sturegatan-Fältöversten

At Sturegatan, people were passing out pickles, of all things. I took
one, thinking that it would be good to replenish some salt, but it
tasted really really bad, so I quickly spit it out. Speaking of which,
the amount of junk (cups, sponges, pickles, grape sugar tablets)
beeing thrown on the street was absolutely staggering. People were
showeling junk away all the time.

22. Fältöversten-Gärdet

Soon after Fältöversten, the 21.1 km timing station was set
up. I clocked at 2.20.32, which was ok, but I had really hoped that I
would do better, to around 2.10. I had, however, advanced from place
9045 to 8967 (which I didn’t know at the time)!

23. Greve von Essens Väg

I had told myself that I would allow myself to start walking after
21.1 km, but for some reason I kept on running. At this point, the sky
was more or less completely cloud-covered, which probably was a good
thing, but it would have been nice to run this part, leading away from
the city into green surroundings, in some sunshine. I think it was
somewhere around here that bananas were handed out. Unfortunately,
they were pre-peeled and stored in big jars, so they were
slightly… icky.

24. Greve von Essens Väg-Djurgårdsbrunnsbron

At this stage, my legs finally gave in, and I started walking. I had
passed plenty of people that were walking up to this point, so I felt
it was only fair. However, I got a little stressed by all the people
passing me, so I started running soon again.

25. Manillavägen-Djurgårdsvägen

This part had some hills, which was fun, but I started to walk up the
hills, to save my knees. Normally, these are really nice surroundings,
with beautiful nature, but I was a little past being able to admire
that now, particularly as the sun wasn’t shining anymore.

26. Djurgårdsvägen

Ah this point, my mood started to change. There were no spectators, no
sun, my knees and feet hurt, and the pace was really slow, so there
were no things to pick me up. I considered getting my mp3 player from
my pocket and use some music to cheer me up, but decided against it, as
music mostly seem to help me in the beginning of a run. A few days
before the race, I decided that I would mostly run without music, so
as to not shield myself from the other runners, the crowd, and the
general vibe.

27. Djurgårdsvägen

…and this part was just more of the same.

28. Djurgårdsvägen-Strandvägen

At this stage, leading in to the city, we passed a house where 7-8
kids where standing, hands outstretched, and whenever a runner
high-fived them they would cheer. So I did that, and it really cheered
me up, as well. Thanks, kids!

29. Strandvägen-Kungsträdgården

Although the sun was not shining anymore, it was still kind of hot, so
I took one water cup at the refreshment station and poured it over my
head. I quickly found out that there was more in the cup that I had
thought, as the front of my shirt got troughly soaked. Now I started
to really miss the sun, since it got cold. I realized the only way to
get the water out was to keep running to evaporate it. So that’s what
I did.

30. Kungsträdgården-Slussen

At the bridge over to Gamla stan, on the way to Slussen, my knees gave
out again, and I started walking again. Of course, that’s when a
photomotion photographer appeared and took my picture. I wish I had
faked a couple of running steps.

31. Slussen-Söder Mälarstrand

Here was the 30-km timing mat. I clocked at 3.26.41, and advanced my
position from 8967 to 8965. Not much, but still! Of course, at the
time I did not know this, and so I plodded on.

32. Söder Mälarstrand

Veteran runners say that the last 10 km are much harder than all the
kilometres leading up to them, and I can see what they mean. At this
point, I was hurting all over, the energy gel was not of much use (it
wasn’t that I hadn’t the energy, it was my feet and knees being worn
out), spectators had begun to go home, and even the arrangers was less
entusiastic than on the previous lap.

33. Söder Mälarstrand-Västerbron

Here, Erik, Rickard and Niklas was standing and cheering for me. I
paused for a while, talking, and they convinced me that even though
4.30 was out of the question, I might still make 5.00. With renewed
self-confidence, I started running again, but had to walk the ”hard”
part of västerbron (the bridge has a fairly flat part with just a
little ascent, but following that, there’s a much steeper part). Some
traffic passed us on the left side of the bridge, and when a pickup
truck passed, I briefly thought of jumping abord it.

34. Västerbron-Rålambhovsparken

The slope down from västerbron went fairly well, and I managed to keep
running all the way to the refreshment station. At this point, my spirit
wasn’t that high. I kept telling myself ”only 8 more kilometres to go,
that’s nothing, I can do this!”, but I didn’t really convince myself.

35. Norr Mälarstrand

Some percussionists were playing along the way, and the Swiss fanclub
had a couple of lawn chairs up, drinking beer and cheering on. Were
there a lot of Swiss people running this year?

36. Stadshuset

The samba girls were still present, but they weren’t smiling much, and
mostly seemed to want to go home. At this point, I wanted to,
too. Kept telling myself how short of a distance it was left, and that
I knew every step of the way.

37. Stadshuset-Fleminggatan

There were a lot of Finnish people cheering around here. And a lot of
Finnish people in the race. I even heard something about there being
more finns in Stockholm marathon than in Helsinki marathon, can this
be true?

38. Fleminggatan-S:t Eriksbron

While most of the streets where the marathon ran was totally closed of
for car traffic, S:t eriksgatan was only half closed off, so there was
a bit of traffic beside us. Still, I think this wasn’t the best day to
be driving in Stockholm.

39. S:t Eriksbron-Odengatan

Passing S:t Eriksplan, I briefly thought about taking a detour to my
apartment to get my knee support thingy (I tried running with one
during practice, but decided against it for the race, since it made
actual leg bending movement harder). But that would have meant running
an extra 500 meters, so that was out ouf the question. Again, they
passed out grape sugar tablets. The ground was white for the next 100
meters, of all the dropped tablets that had been crushed under
runner’s feet.

40. Odengatan-Karlavägen

At this point, I passed a car with a race timer, which said that I had
to run the last two kilometres in six minutes in order to achieve my
5:00 goal. Needlessly, this didn’t feel at all achievable, and so, I
started walking again. But there’s something about beeing passed by
the other runners that bring out the competitivness in me, and so I
started running again soon after.

41. Karlavägen-Sturegatan

Now I felt that the goal was within reach, which lifted my spirits,
and so I decided to try and run the last part. I think I gained more
than a few positions during this stretch. No pickles was passed out
this time around, which was just as well.

42.2 Sturegatan-Stadion

It was great to see the sight of Stadion. I didn’t really know how the
last part of the course was laid out, so I got a little frustrated
when it dawned on me that we had to run outside the entire lenght of
the stadium, and enter through a back entrance. But entering the
stadium was great. The first thing I saw was this giant ”Välkommen i
mål” (Welcome to the goal) message on the light screen, then I saw the
crowd, who was still numerous, even though the race had been going on
for five hours. The last 200 meters took place on the running track,
which felt so much better to my feet than the asphalt. I even
increased the pace slightly. Looking at the race clock at the goal, I
saw that I came in at around 5.04, but since I crossed the starting
line about five minutes after race start, my effective time was
4:59:09, and my place was 8743, meaning that I overtook over 200
runners in the last 12 km! That’s not so bad.

Here’s the result page for me

Afterwards, I was of course exhausted. I got my medal and stretched
for a while, but since most of the pain was in my knees and feet, I
had no idea of how to tend to them. There was a tent set up from a
massage school where I probably could have gotten some help, but it
had an insanely long line. Instead, I got some bread, chocolate and
soft drinks to start the recovery process, after which I went home.

So, was it worth it? The five months of intense training, all focused
on this race, and the five hours of running, the pain in the knees,
the loniness of the second lap, the nausea later at night? Of course
it was. Immediately after finishing, I was dissappointed with my
finishing time, as I had aimed for 4:30 (actually, I originally
trained for 4:00), but with a few hours of perspective, I’m really
happy that I finished at all. I think that most people have the
ability to get in the shape needed to finish a marathon, but very few
ever do. I’m glad I managed to, and I’m happy I managed to reach the
goal that I set for myself over five months ago. I’m now looking
forward to resting for quite some time without feeling bad about
it. Some say that the recovery period should be the same as the number
of miles in the race (26 in this case). Sounds about right.

Would I do it again? I don’t know. I sort of proved that I could do
it, running it again wouldn’t prove anything. But it would be great to
be able to run the race through, and to get my time closer to 4
hours. And in particular, running the New York Marathon would be
really cool…

Tomorrow is the big day!

Tomorrow at 14.00, this year’s Stockholm Marathon begins. I’ve been training for this event since the very beginning of the year (actually, I began training in december, but it wasn’t until I made it my new years resolution that I committed to it). For the last five months, I’ve been running around 15 km per week, on average. I would have done more, but my legs and feet have protested when I tried to train harder. Still, it’s 315 km this year, not counting all other kinds of excercise (particularly on elliptic trainers), so I feel fairly well prepared. I have abandoned my initial goal of running a four hour marathon, but 4:30 should not be out of the question. It would also be nice if I avoided being lapped (it’s a two-lap race) by the frontrunners 🙂

I went and got my race number bib today (10335, come cheer for me!), and saw all the others would-be marathoners for the first time. It was nice to see that I was not, in fact, alone — a lot of people have gotten the same crazy idea.

I’m as fit as I’ll ever be, I’m fully carboloaded, and expecting good weather conditions tomorrow. All that remains now is to fasten the time measurement chip and then try to get some sleep.

Stockholm Marathon: Three weeks left

So, I did another half marathon today, and did NOT run into the wall this time. I ended up with a finishing time of 2:15:15, which all in all is OK, but it’s going to be difficult to hit my goal of a four-hour marathon with that kind of pace. I’m hoping things will be a little better on race day, what with proper rest before, spectators cheering, energy drinks instead of water, and not having to carry the fluid around myself (I had 1,3 liters with me today, and that does make things even more exhausting).

Still, it will be a challenge to set out for that second lap (the Stockholm marathon course consists of two almost-identical laps around the city), particularly since the actual endurance isn’t my weakest spot. Rather, after running for a long time (like 15 km), my knees, feet and other parts start to ache a lot more. It will be ”interesting” to see how much they’ll hurt on the second lap…

The half-marathon and ”the wall”

Eric mentions that he did a half marathon last weekend. I say ”way to go!”, particularly since I did one myself 🙂 My plan was to run the first lap of the Stockholm marathon course, however, my legs gave up after around 17 km.  If I count the warm-up jogging i did from home to the starting point, I do come pretty close to a full half-marathon, so I think it counts. Neverthless, it was a little disturbing to find my legs totally giving up on me. I’m used to be able to run pretty much indefinitely if I just adjust my pace (well, within limits) but this time the muscles was just flat-out refusing to cooperate. I think this might have been what they refer to as ”running into the wall” (well, that’s a direct translation of the swedish ”springa in i väggen” — i don’t know what english-language runners call it).

I’m told that it’s much preferable to to encounter this condition before the race than during it, so all in all it’s probably for the best. I hope that it was a combination of  a lack of rest, food and fluids during the race (since I was running on my own, I had only my fluidbelt, which only was filled with water) and that next attempt will go better.

The marathon is now less than four weeks away. My plan is to do one, possibly two, more half marathons before that, and to fill up big on carbohydrates the week before. Mmm, pasta….

I’ve got my number!

I’ve recieved my starting number for this year’s Stockholm Marathon. In case any of you wants to follow the race on the web, or even on the streets of Stockholm, the number to cheer for is 10335. Five weeks to go! My general shape is ok, but I’m still slower on the 9km run than I need to be. And I need to squeeze in another half-marathon or two before the big day.

7 weeks to go

I still do train for this year’s Stockholm
Marathon
, but I haven’t recorded my progress
in a long time. I’ve more or less given up on the official training program, and just try to run my regular 9 km run three times a week, with the occasional
half-marathon now and then. Since spring has arrived,
I now can run outside, which really is better than the treadmill. I’m close to my goal pace on
the 9 km course, but then there’s the small problem of keeping that pace for an additional 33 km…

My stupid foot

I’m still trying to keep up with the training
program
for the marathon, but my feet and legs are refusing to cooperate — after
running as little as 6-8 km, my feet in particular hurt like hell, making it hard
for me to run at all for the next 2-3 days. I even went to Löplabbet to
try out new shoes, and while they seem to help about the pain in the legs, my right
foot still hurts.

Well, I guess I’ll have to train my feet on shorter distances first. Meanwhile, I
had a one-hour workout and burned 1200 kcal today. That’s like… insanely much, by
my standards. Now if I could only loose some weight by doing this…

Sunday’s long run

Sundays now means long distance running, and the program for
today was a 17 km run at around 1.42-1.59. I finished at 1.48, which I’m fairly pleased
with, however, the program describes this as slow pace. I don’t know
if I agree with that. In two weeks I have to run 18 km in the same time, and preferably
a little faster. That’s going to be interesting. I haven’t been to Löplabbet to
try out new shoes, so I fished out the old ones they recommended to me five years
ago, and they worked beautifully. Ran 6 km with them yesterday and didn’t feel a thing
today. We’ll see how my legs like it tomorrow.

I listened to the Rory Blyth.Net
Rocks
show during
the run, and it was fun, if a little more devoid of actual content than the Sam
Gentile one
. However, I think it’s great news
that Rory will co-host
the show from now on, I think he’ll make an even better
host than interviewee. Just make sure he’s got plenty of his drug of choice before
you start to record.