Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stockholm Half Marathon

What a fantastic day to run in a great city with so much support along the route. Weather was 20C with a moderate breeze from the south east which would make some of the longer stretches tough going when running against it.

It hasn't been the most ideal preparation in the past 2 weeks after picking up a calf injury 13 days before the race and being unable to train at all in that period. The only outing I made was  a test jog in Oslo earlier this week (really to see if Jon would need to be prepped to run instead). Niki at form had confidence though that he could fix it up and that I WOULD run on Saturday. Inspired by his positive outlook I knew I had to run, I had to run through it and I would finish.

So I found myself standing at the start line in Stockholm at 15:35 after 3 treatments of having needles stuck in me together with cold laser treatment. 12 days previous when I shuffled into Form to see Niki, unable to walk I never thought this would happen. I was uncertain though how it all would pan out, would my calf hold? Would the lack of training over the past 2 weeks really show? Was this going to hurt?...and how much?

This is my fifth Stockholm Half Marathon and I mentally break it down into smaller sections and a race plan. Generally I think the first 5km as a marker, the next 5km as a consolidation, next 5km to push if I can and the final 6km to hang on in there and see what happens :)
The first 5km went through in a breeze, it felt good, was on the plan and timed perfectly but every step I knew I wasn't 100%. Between 8-9km it quickly went into a struggle and I was already digging deep to keep going and this wasn't half way yet! The first10km actually came in on the plan but it was not going to get easier. As you come through the centre once again between 11-12km you're insprired by the crowds it just drags you on. But every km I could feel the energy drain from my legs and my form became pretty awful (will explain the sore hip and knee today). At 13km you see the leaders coming back and you know it's actually ONLY 8km to the finish so only a matter of minutes really...focus!! Power Bar, water, sport drink, gel, energy tablets I had them all, I was loaded with carbs!
At 17km on the south side of Södermalm you start the final climbs, leg sappers but again so many people willing you on, screaming, clapping...not far to the finish now! And then you finally get the chance to open the legs and let it ride downhil past Slussen and onto the final 1500m. I ached all over, this had not been an easy race but I WOULD finish :)

1:48:09 was the time, top 40% of all male participants. I'm still not sure if I am pleased or not. I am dissapointed as I wanted a time under 1:40 but with the preparation I guess I should be happy to have run at all.

I was exhausted but the organisers have such a well stocked bag of goodies for you afterwards they soon get your blood sugars up again. I used to laugh at having FIKA at the end of the race where coffee and bulle are served, but now I'm a convert (becoming too Swedish perhaps!).

So now that's done and dusted and I can look forward 2 weeks to Lidingöloppet when 30km is the distance.

Train hard!

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