Saturday, 27 November 2010

Drumroll please...

I woke up nervous this morning. Yesterday's excitement had turned to what can almost be described as catatonia. Doubt started seeping in my mind. Who the hell did I think I was, believing I could run so far with so little experience? I was almost paralysed, unable to think or do anything. I hadn't even started packing until half an hour before I had to leave.

Somehow I pulled myself together. The World's Best Husband® drove me to the train station. I soon met up with Hans and Johan B. We were expecting a few more people to show up, but when the train started pulling out of the station and they hadn't come, we began to wonder what had happened. When we arrived in Alingsås, however, the head count was correct. The others sat on another train car. 7 eager runners prepared to start running.

I can honestly say that the first part of the run was my favourite. We ran in -7 degrees, through frozen fields, on snowy roads, the rays of the sun hardly warming up our faces but turning the snow into glitter.

Our first pit stop came after about 11 km. I had some water and a dextrose tablet and admired the view by the lake.

Our next stop was Floda train station just after we had passed the 20 km mark. We had run in the forest, on paths that were not ploughed, and I for one was thankful to stop and eat something more substantial than dextrose. I ate a "runekaka" that I'd modified by adding chocolate chips and ginger cake spices. It tasted amazing!

At this point, not knowing if there was more forest running in the cards, I started thinking that I'd be content if I managed to run more than my old distance record, even by a half kilometre (my record being just over 30 km). Our group had split in two, one faster that ran ahead, and one slower, that took it easy and even walked a bit of the way. I was in the second one, with Niklas and Johan B. Johan O. ran back to get us, and soon we joined up with the others in Stenkullen. The group then split again and I ended up running with Mia, Hans and Steve.

I was told that there were some hills just before Jonsered, which was to be our next pit stop. My body had started feeling like it was falling apart. My Achilles tendon complained, my toes had gone numb, and - what was worse- the evil cramp on my left foot was back with a vengeance. I doubted I could make it to Jonsered, which at that point was still 5-6 km away. I managed to pull through it, thanks to Hans who told me many interesting stories about local history, among other things. Time (and distance) flies when you're in good company.

Just before we arrived at Jonsered, our group split up in three. Mia and Steve ran ahead, Hans and I in the middle and the rest somewhere behind us. Hans and I left the main road to take a shortcut and met up with the first group in Jonsered. We stopped and waited for the others. I quickly munched on some more runekaka and washed it down with some water. The temperature made it impossible to take a long break. That's when we lost the others.

We met Johan B. at Jonsered's train station. Unfortunately some health problems were forcing him to take the train home. He informed us that the others were now ahead of us. We scratched our heads and wondered how we'd missed them.

The going was now tough. The wind seemed to have picked up, the surroundings were not as beautiful any more the closer to the city we got, and we were tired. The only thing keeping me going was the promise of hot chocolate near Partille, some 38 kilometers into the run. And of course the thought of being so close to completing the marathon distance, and Mia egging me on.

Meeting this man was like meeting a guardian angel. I don't take such acts of kindness for granted. I mean, he didn't have to make both coffee and hot chocolate, buy some gingerbread biscuits and stand in the cold waiting to meet us. It was the best hot chocolate I'd ever drunk. Thank you Stefan.

It was tough to start running again after this pause. I was frozen to the bone and exhausted. The marathon benchmark came and I raised my arms in the air in celebration, but I didn't feel it. I was emotionally numb, just so completely knackered that I could only concentrate on what was left of the run. The people I ran with kept me grounded and focused on the task, and talking to them helped me enormously through the last few kilometres. Yet, I never seriously considered stopping to take the train home, until we entered the city.

Darkness had started falling and we'd been running for approximately 5 hours, not counting the breaks. Traffic, high buildings, noise, people, roadworks and a sense of disorientation all contributed to my getting fed up. I just wanted to go home. Physically I could have perhaps run further, though it wouldn't have been wise. Emotionally however I was ready for a warm bath.

My husband picked me up at the train station and we drove to a pizzeria. I was so cold that even after I put on all the clothes I'd taken with me, I still shivered uncontrollably. I didn't really get warm until I'd eaten the pizza, drunk some beer and had a hot shower.

It still hasn't sunk in, what I did today. I'm not surprised; it was the same after I'd ran 30 km. Maybe it will and maybe it won't. I enjoyed every painful minute of it, mainly thanks to all the wonderful people I ran with, the nature and the fact that my legs managed the distance. All in all it went so much better than I thought it would.

Now, my body needs to rest. It hurts in both expected places (foot, knees) and unexpected (the underside of my arm?!). Today's run, not counting the breaks: Just over 49 km and a total running time of 5 hours 15 minutes. No matter how painful it is right now, or how numb I am, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I think I'm waiting until spring though.


  1. Fantastisk läsning! Det är intressant att läsa hur andra mår längs vägen, sådant man inte har en aning om.

    Själv ser jag långpasslöpningen som en mobil fikapaus. Man pratar med än den ena, än den andra och vips är man framme (och har ont i benen).

  2. Ja, det är precis därför jag tycker det är så kul att springa med er. Man blir dessutom så inspirerad av er som har sprungit längre!

  3. Otroligt inspirerande läsning och jag är så grymt imponerad av din JÄRNVILJA att bara fortsätta framåt!

  4. Det var bättre än alternativet, dvs att stå och vänta på tåget i -7 grader ;) Allvarligt talat, jag hade inte kunnat göra det utan de fantastiska människor jag sprang med...
    Roligt att du hittade hit, hoppas du stannar!