Well hello there!

I finally feel like blogging again. I guess it is because I finally feel motivated to run.

What has happened since I left? Well, I have finished 2 half marathons. Not fast, not strong, but I finished. And just 4 weeks apart.

It started with Oslo Marathon, half, september 19th. Not at all prepared, I got to the start with one thought in my head: I will just go for a slow run, maybe 10-15K, then I will get out of the race. Why?

Well. Three weeks ahead of the race, I had a really bad run. I went out to do 19K, just a normal slow run. I did not bring any nutrition, ´cause I never do. That has never been a problem, but on this run my body just broke down. I did not understand anything, and I took some stupid choices on where to run, so it ended with 19,5K running, and 8,5K walking to get home. I was so hungry, tired, and cold, and did not understand until later what had happened: I got out of the house too late, about 3 hours after breakfast, and should have filled up on something before running. It is easy to explain, but anyhow – the next three weeks I was not able to get into my running shoes and go out for a run. I did manage to train intervals with my buddies, but no way was I going for a run on my own. Scared, I was. Stupid.

When the weekend of the race came, I picked up my bib and decided this was a good time to get myself out there. I needed to run, and now I would run in a huge crowd, and get both water and nutrition regularly. Perfect.

At the start.Smiling on the outside, at least ;-)
At the start.Smiling on the outside, at least 😉

And so I did. I started really slow, and walked through all the drinking stations having both water and nutrition. I was discussing with my selv (in silence, that is) when to get out of the race, but with all the music and fun along the course I really did not want to quit. So I decided to get myself to the finish line, allowing myself to walk also on the few uphill stretches on the last half of the race. I finished in 2:03:14 and it felt good, strangely enough. Just last year I did a “long-and-slow” 21K run all alone on a random Saturday, finishing in 1:56, but that was last year. I have not trained enough, and was not prepared or even trying.

So I was tired enough, and actually happy to have completed.

But I mentioned 2 half marathons in the intro, didn´t I?

On my birthday in July I got a present from my hubby – a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, on the weekend of the Rock´n´roll Marathon. He told me to sign up for the race (half), but I never did – thinking maybe to just spend a nice weekend in a lovely city. Well, I could´t help myself: although the website said it was all sold out, I went to the Expo and asked. And they let me register. So on October 18th I was to run my second ever Half Marathon Race.

I got my bib, and the official shirt & cap, although the website said "sold out"
I got my bib, and the official shirt & cap, although the website said “sold out”
The night before the race I wanted proper fuel - and had this wonderful burger at a lovely little restaurant close to our hotel. The chips made of sweet potato was the best ever!
The night before the race I wanted proper fuel – and had this wonderful burger at a lovely little restaurant close to our hotel. The chips made of sweet potato was the best ever!

The Half Marathon in Lisbon starts at Ponte Vasco da Gama – the Vasco da Gama Bridge. To get to the start, you need to use the transportation provided by the race – buses that leave the finish area 1,5 – 3 hours before the start. With a weather forecast that said heavy wind and rain, I was not very keen on going to the start in only my race outfit, leaving all clothes with my hubby at the finish area. Hubby was going to be just fine – there is a shopping center there, and he did some serious shopping while I ran – but I was so worried to be standing on the bridge for an hour and a half getting wet and cold. But when I realized that they handed out rain ponchos on entering the bus, I was thrilled! Perfect, thank you so much!

Just entered the bus - still a bit of rain in the air.
Just entered the bus – still a bit of rain in the air.

The bus ride was really nice – they actually drove all across the 10K long bridge, just to turn and go back – letting us off some hundred meters from the start.

View from the bus, crossing Ponte Vasco da Gama
View from the bus, crossing Ponte Vasco da Gama

Then we walked up the bridge until we met the crowd getting there before us. There were several toilets on the bridge, but I should have guessed there would be a serious lack of toilet paper. A nice girl standing in line with me saved me – she had brought some paper in her sack. I did not even have a sack with me, just my phone to keep in my Flip-Belt. Next time I´ll stash some paper as well in my belt, for sure. Rookie mistake.

Waiting in line. Lots of nervous runners.
Waiting in line. Lots of nervous runners.
I have got the rain poncho on, but the sun is getting out. The poncho was still nice protection against the wind, so I kept it on until the last minutes.
I have got the rain poncho on, but the sun is getting out. The poncho was still nice protection against the wind, so I kept it on until the last minutes.
I did not wear the official shirt - I never try out a new singlet on race day. I used the opportunity to promote a local Oslo race ;-)
I did not wear the official shirt – I never try out a new singlet on race day. I used the opportunity to promote a local Oslo race 😉

When the race started, the crowd started moving slowly, but I was soon able to establish a 5:30 pace. I was not going to run fast, my goal was to run all the way through, slow and steady. There was a lot of people going a lot slower than me, so I had to run and tip-toe around people – that continued for many, many kilometers. It was not until my own pace dropped, around 17K, that I stopped passing runners.

From 17K I got serious stomach problems. Not to be talked about, but it surely made it hard to keep the steady 5:30-pace. I have to say I am pleased to get to the finish line. I even tried to sprint the last 100m before the finish line, just to realize that what I thought was the finish line was no such thing. So when the actual finish line got closer, I was concentrating on just getting there. The time? During the race I was hoping for around 1:56, since it felt ok running at the 5:30 pace. But with the last 4K being troublesome, I was happy to finish at 1:58:50.

We got ice cream in the goodie bag afterwords. Nice!
We got ice cream in the goodie bag afterwords. Nice!
I love the medal <3
I love the medal ❤ and I now know that Meia is Portuguese for Half 

It was a nice race. I have to say that Oslo has more music and entertainment happening along the course, although Lisbon is a part of the worldwide “Rock´n´roll” running events. Strange. Maybe there was more going on along the full marathon course, that could be it. And the weather? It turned out just fine. No rain, just a bit windy, but not as bad as predicted.

I am very pleased with actually running two half marathons this fall. So what next? I am strongly motivated now, and have started on a “23-weeks-to-Berlin-half” plan. This week I ran 40K, and from next week starting tomorrow I will be back at minimum 50K per week. My goal is to PR with 10 minutes in Berlin. Will I make it? I have no idea. But am I eager to do it? Oh yes. I am happy and running again, and looking forward to a new season of winter running. I know for sure that the mere thought of Berlin half on April 3rd will keep me going when the weather gets rough. I will run strong and happy this winter.

I am back!

Me-

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The pleasure of a good run

After this week´s 2 crappy sessions, I was in no way sure on how I would handle today´s task – finishing a long, slow 16-18K.

Oh, the pleasure! I ran 11K before I turned to go back home, and only the last 3K felt hard. I managed to keep a somewhat steady slow pace, and clocked in at an average of 5:55/km. This is slower than my usual long runs, so I am pleased with that – it might sound strange, but my usual problem has been to not differentiate enough in speed.

Seeing the map, I realize how long a distance 22 K actually is. Feeling good about this.
Seeing the map, I realize how long the distance of 22K actually is. Feeling good about this. Actually, feeling GREAT about this 😉
Good distance, long duration, good slow pace and a hole lot of calories! My darling hubby made lunch while I was in the shower - what a man!
Good distance, long duration, good slow pace and a whole lot of calories! My darling hubby made lunch while I was in the shower – what a man ❤  I never focus on calories, but I sure felt hungry after this run.

The feeling from Wednesday, when every meter was a struggle, was gone. Now I just ran, and didn´t even think much about it. I am so happy – I was a bit scared to experience another crappy run this week, and worried about what that would do to my motivation. Now I feel calm and collected, and ready to move on.

I need to lay plans for the next 7 weeks – it will be important to get plenty of mileage to build capacity to run my next race strong. The race is in september, but in July/August I will spend 3 weeks on summer holiday, and I am sure it will be difficult to get enough training done when the weather is hot, and the family is lazy 😉 I get lazy too, you know!

So the next 7 weeks are important, and again – after the holiday there will be another 6 weeks before the race. I need to do some hard work to accomplish what I want – to run a sub 1:50 half marathon on my first try. For a (kind of) old girl like me that would be wonderful, I think. I am not sure I will get there, but for now I would like to focus on trying.

If you have any tip for me, please comment. If you want to support my efforts, please comment. If you have run long (and maybe even strong) today, please comment. I did not run all that strong today, but I did what I set out to do, and that makes me feel great!

Run long, short, strong or slow – but alway run happy!

Me-

Persistence is everything

Another crappy training session. My interval buddies this evening – not so many in numbers – could witness a Happyrunner in slow motion 😉 Good to get it over and done with, and you know what? Those crappy training sessions are the best and most important ones. The ones you should never skip.
Don´t get me wrong – I think it is ok to skip a session if you are really tired – you need restitution if you have pushed your body too hard. But this week, I ran my 18K ECO trail Oslo on Saturday, and then rested for 3 days. That is plenty. I am really pleased to get two crappy sessions done yesterday and this evening. It´s a dirty job but someone´s gotta do it 😉 And when it comes to running, you need to do the job yourself, that´s for sure!

Still happy, still running. Crappy happy running! 😉

How happy can you get from running? This is me, spotting an old friend with a camera, back in 2011 - running my first ever race, the 10K in Oslo Marathon. Good memories :-D
How happy does running make you? This is me, seeing an old friend with a camera, back in 2011 – running my first ever race, the 10K in Oslo Marathon. Good fun.

Me-

The worst run ever?

Well, probably not. But close. After saturday´s ECO trail I needed some rest, but suddenly 3 days had passed and I forced myself out there just after work today. Decided to do only 10K, but never have 10K been so hard. I was not trying to run fast, and I didn´t, but my body was really struggling to keep up a moderate pace. Maybe running in the afternoon is not for me – I went out there without filling up on any kind of nutrition, I thought maybe lunch would be sufficient? But running at 5-6 in the afternoon, when you had lunch at 11, might be kind of stupid. I know. I feel stupid 😉

Anyhow – a run like that is not motivating in itself. SOMETIMES I am able to think “I´ll kick your ass the next time” after a tough run – but most of the time I just feel like giving up. My mind went a bit for the latter, but no way: I will not let this run beat me. Tomorrow it is time for intervals with my buddies at Friskis & Svettis Oppegård, and I will make sure to eat something a couple of hours before. I refuse to feel like this tomorrow evening.

I finished my run, went straight inside, kicked of my shoes and hit the shower. Then straight into the kitchen and made dinner for myself and the kids. Hubby still in the office, I wonder if he reads this? After cleaning up the mess in the kitchen, I synced my tomtom with my mac and found the stats for today´s run:

Not the worst pace, but I usually have no problems keeping this pace - today it felt like a hard tempo run, although I knew all along that it was no such thing.
Not the worst pace, but I usually have no problems keeping this pace – today it felt like a hard tempo run, although I knew all along that it was no such thing.
This is the 10K I have run like a
This is the 10K I have run like a “thousand” times. Today I hated it.

I have no further explanations to why today was so hard – 3 days with rest after ECO trail 18K should be plenty. But hey, I´ll kick this 10K´s ass soon. And no matter how bad I felt – after syncing my tomtom, I received an e-mail from Runkeeper: a new personal record for running, most activities in a month! Hey, that´s more like it! And I still have plans for more runs before May is over, so this is looking good!

My head is spinning around my first half marathon in September in Oslo – how to get my old speed back, to be able to run it fast? And also: will I be able to run a full marathon in Berlin September 2016? I need to lay some plans and strategies, and stick to them. Do you have any tips for me, please comment. If you in any way can add to my motivation, please comment. I would really like to hear from you.

This is for me, and for all my fellow runners: Don´t let the bad runs bring you down. Always run happy!
(And for my hubby: I love you, you know that? Thanks for letting me run when i should have oiled the terrace ❤ )

Me-

ECOtrail Oslo

Weeeee! I did it! Not an ultra race, no no. I joined the 18K at ECOtrailOslo, but it was the hardest 18K I´ve ever experienced. Never before have I used more than 60 min per 10K, but as the race went on I ended up being happy to finish under 2 hours. It was painful, hard, exhausting. And today? I realize my body took a hell of a beating.

Not too sure on how happy I was with the time. I finished at 62nd place, out of 206 women. Maybe that is ok?
Not too sure on how happy I was with the time. I finished at 62nd place, out of 206 women. Maybe that is ok?

1.56:44. Sounds really bad for an 18K race. My darling tomtom measured it to 18,7K, and a lot of people said they measured it to 19K. No excuse, still not a good time. I blame it mostly on myself, but still think it can be explained. So, this is me making excuses 😉

If I had known what kind of path the trail would include, I would never have entered the race. I dread narrow paths, with tree roots and other obstacles. I love walking in the woods, and I surely understand why people love running there – with birds singing and no traffic noise. I wish I could enjoy it. But I don´t. I have always had problems with my knees, and prefer to run on even ground. After 2013, then I tripped on a long run and got seriously injured, I have been almost hysterically afraid of running in the woods. I cannot even blame my fall to anything “woods related” – I have no idea why I tripped, and the medical doctors actually speculated in other theories – did I maybe fall because my muscle ruptured, and not the other way around? I really don´t like that theory, so the falling part is always my main concern.

My race on runkeeper, via tomtom. Love my tomtom <3
My race on runkeeper, via tomtom. Love my tomtom!

Anyhow, back to the race. It started off with gravel roads, very crowded and slow, but after a while the pack stretched out and I was able to run at something close to my target pace. But soon enough it all changed – the trail changed to those narrow paths that I dislike so much. Up, down, roots, stones, almost tripping, other runners falling, me getting more stressed and anxious by the minute. Not a good feeling, my pulse went off and it really drained my strength. Moving slow, lots of walking – and I realized that my goal of an average pace of 5:30 was going to be impossible.

Finally we passed Lysaker, I was able to pick up the pace and get my pulse down. I started to get a good feeling, and tried to focus on finding my own rhythm. Although some runners came up from behind and passed me, I was pleased to notice that I passed other runners – men included. Passing 12K, all going well, and then – I tripped and fell. Flat to the ground, with my bad knee (and my hands) taking the fall. Guess what happened to my heart rate! I need to say that all the runners around me was just SO nice, everyone asked how it went, and I just hushed them along – I did not want them to stop and get their own race ruined. Thank you so much, all of you – it is so good to know that you were willing to stop and help ❤

I got back up on my feet, and carefully tried out the knee – it was ok, not too painful. After a few seconds I started walking, still not too bad. I walked for a while, and then slowly went back to running. Trying to pick up the pace I had before the fall, but at that point I realized that it was not going to happen. I still managed to find a kind of rhythm, and was able to pass most of the runners that passed me when I fell. All in all, not so bad.

I have to say that running Tjuvholmen and Aker brygge was a strange experience – at that point I was getting tired, and it was strange to see that none of the people seemed to notice that there were people racing. Then the last part of the race – around Akershus Festning. I often run this stretch on my runs to work, just the opposite direction, but it has NEVER felt so long. I could not wait for the “1K left”-sign to appear, and there it was – together with a smiling young man, showing the way and cheering, I just had to smile back. Thank you!

The last K was hard. Someone said it was more than 1K, and it sure felt like it. Passing the Opera house, my stomack cramped and I had to stop – but then this sweet runner that I had just passed, told me to not stop, the goal was just around the corner. I knew that, but the cramps! Well heck, I picked myself up, and was able to turn the corner, and ALMOST sprint the last meters to “Sukkerbiten” and the finish line. Never have I been more happy to cross that line.

I have run 18K before, several times, so I never thought this race would be THAT hard. I was not prepared, and I should have done my homework. Trail running is not like asphalt running. Now I know. And my aching body tells me to never ever run ECO trail again. Like ever.

Well, who knows. In a few days the body will be back to normal (I hope) and I might look at it differently. For now, the e-mail I just received, giving me a 30% discount on the entrance fee for next year, is not enough. I actually said NO out loud when reading it. Not a fat chance, I said. LOL!

I am writing this with one eye on the tv and “the girl with the dragon tattoo”, having a glass of red wine. I hope to be able to go for a nice and slow recovery run tomorrow, but at the moment it is hard enough to cross the room 😉

A friend of mine ran the same race, and I am so proud of her – never to have run more than 14K previously, it is really impressing to finish this tough race. It was easy to smile afterwords – look how happy we are!

Me to the left, Anka to the right :-)
Me to the left, Anka to the right. All smiles!

Although tired and “broken”, I still feel like planning other races. I will work hard to do a good half at Oslo Marathon, and I am still thinking about doing a full marathon next year. Turning 50 is a good excuse to go the full distance, isn’t it?

Well, lets see. This is not the right time to set all details. I need to sleep on it 😉

Keep running. Stay happy!

Me-

Sentrumsløpet? Sad to say, it never happened.

Being off this blog for way too long, I suddenly realised that I actually wrote about Oslo´s “spring adventure” Sentrumsløpet 10K the last time. Well, that was before I had my five-weeks-no-run.
Overall, this has been a crappy winter, and I have only myself to blame. For the first time since 2011, I´ve had a winter with no serious virus infections, no new injuries. I could have made this my best winter ever, but no. Not enough motivation, and a much too busy job, made my plans fall apart. Crap.
If you have read my blog earlier, you probably know that I´ve been running to work a lot – but the distance of 14K, including a serious climb, made it impossible to start up that routine. So when I suddenly realised that I could run just a part of that distance – taking the train the first 6 K, and run only 8K without that much dreaded climb – made me get back out there. Yes!

I skipped the 10 K last saturday, but I am now back. Not on track, but you just have to make other plans. I will be running 18K at EcoTrail Oslo on the 23rd of May, and although I will not be able to push hard for those 18K, I will be able to finish – 4 weeks of steady training will get me through this. And the next chapter – my first half marathon in september – will not be as strong as I intended. But sticking to my new training plan, building myself up again, will make me able to run decent enough. I hope. My goal was to run a 1.45 race, but I will be happy to finish at 1.50-1.52. That is not so bad for a first timer, at 49 years of age.
Still 48, I have to say. My birthday is in July, and will be celebrated with a long run and a glass of champagne 😉

I have really been struggling with motivation this winter – ever since my 16K in Porto. I really don´t know why – I would have guessed that running abroad would give me inspiration and even stronger motivation. For some reason it gave me a feeling of emptiness that lasted for a really long time. If anyone can explain that to me, go ahead – I need to figure it out!

Not running Sentrumsløpet, but I picked up my bib and checked out the offers, and went home with a new watch – the TOMTOM Runner Cardio. So far I think it is money well spent. Easy to use, easy to log my activity. Brilliant.

I love my new TOMTOM <3
I love my new TOMTOM ❤

It is Sunday evening, and i really want to stretch the weekend a bit, but hey – I will be running my shorter way to work tomorrow morning, so I´d better call it a night. Remember – run short or long, but alway run happy!

Me

Motivation needed

When you feel that too much “stuff” in your life gets in the way, taking all your time, and you suddenly realizes that a week – maybe two – has passed without running. How do you find motivation to get back out there, and not just quit? I have to admit – the last months has been like a roller coaster. I have been starting up again too many times, and it makes me feel kind of stupid – as if I don´t know how important it is with continuity in my training.

I signed up for the half marathon at Oslo Marathon in September, but that is so many months away. I then signed up for Sentrumsløpet in Oslo in April – a 10K I have run 3 times before, never liked the course but it´s kind of a festive day in the city – but come on: you don´t need much mileage to be able to run a 10K, do you? (if speed is not an issue, I have to add).

I needed more. So this weekend, when an offer from Runner´s World Norway popped up on Facebook, I jumped at it – and signed up for ecoTrail Oslo in May. A new race, mostly for Ultra Runners, but offering a distance of 18K as well. That´s more like it – to run an 18K you need to get your weekly mileage up a bit. And considering that my longest race so far has been the 16K in Porto in November, I think this is a great plan.

I did my intervals on Thursday. I did a slow semi-long run (14K) yesterday. I will pick up my “running-to-work” habit tomorrow morning, as long as I get enough sleep tonight. Let´s see what happens.

ecotrail

Run happy. Run far.

Me