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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!