Saturday, 8 October 2011

Göteborg Marathon 2011

I went, I saw, I conquered. And, even though my thigh muscle never for a minute let me forget that I kept abusing it, it went so smoothly, so -do I dare say it without getting slapped by someone?- easy.

My somewhat realistic goal was just to get around. My hope was to do it in less than 4 hours 30 minutes. I didn't have a dream goal, because I didn't think anything else was realistic. I was wrong.

I started off easy, but realised immediately that the pace of 6.30 min/km that was necessary to get a 4.30 finish was just not going to happen. I never run at that pace, which makes it awkward to even try. I settled for a 6 min/km, my little-slower-than-usual long run pace. I fell behind people I thought were keeping the same speed as I did for a while, then ran past them if they slowed down. This strategy took me through the first half of the marathon. Then a lot of participants disappeared, as they were only doing half the distance.

The first half went by quickly, thanks to running into (pun not intended) several people I knew. Karin and Alexander, there as spectators, whooped and applauded enthusiastically. Hans accompanied me on his bike for a few kilometres keeping me entertained and distracted with some easy conversation. J cycled back and forth taking photos and helping me bear the weight on my shoulders. He just had to smile and I knew he was there with me.

I had now left the stadium for the second time and the stretch I'd dreaded the most was lying ahead of me. I put my earphones on. I had both fast and slow songs on my mp3 player, to help me along depending on my mood. Some real heart breakers were on first, and I was overwhelmed by emotion. I was doing it! It felt great! I was counting down kilometres and surprising myself with how few the remaining ones seemed. 15 kilometres? No problem. 13? 10? 6?? Why did I ever think that the other half would be more of a struggle than the first one?

I kept munching on my "runekakor" and washing the sticky bars down with water and coke from the stations. Which were the only places I had to walk, because I didn't want to spill coke all over my jacket. This steady intake of sugar seemed to do the trick and I never hit the infamous wall. I wasn't even close.

With a few kilometres left, an older gentleman came out of nowhere and whooshed past me. What the...?! How is this possible? This is a marathon! You're supposed to be knackered at the end of it, not pick up speed! So I did the only reasonable thing: I picked up speed too. The last three kilometres were run at 5.32, 5.20 and 5.07 respectively. Not lightning fast exactly, but fast for me.

I crossed the finish line strong, if a bit tired, with a big smile on my face. J was waiting for me, and I think he might have been even happier than I was. As soon as I stopped running, I stopped being able to move altogether. My feet hurt, my thigh hurt, my knees hurt, new previously unknown muscles hurt, but they were nothing in comparison with my shoulder that was screaming in pain. That was all fixed with a good stretch and cold shower afterwards.

So, first marathon race completed and I have the medal to prove it. But the eagerly awaited elation somehow failed to make an appearance. I wondered if it was post race numbness that was blocking my emotions, but no. Firstly because I was as lucid and present as I ever am, and secondly because, as several people have told me since the end of the race, I have done this before, just not in a race. So it wasn't a first.

Oh well. I'll just have to find a new challenge now.


  1. Jättegrattis till en bra prestation! Trots diverse problem har du verkligen haft en grymt löparår i år, med ultra och halvmaror och helmaror! Du förtjänar verkligen att känna dig riktigt nöjd med dig själv!

  2. Grymt bra! Skövde 6-timmars nästa år? Jag måste säga att det för min del var årets höjdare. Fast till nästa år ska jag försöka se till att inte gå in i den nyupptäckta 5-timmarsväggen.

  3. Congratulations on your first marathon :) Maybe the pride and elation will be a slow burner and it will come to you gradually. :)

  4. Karin: Verkligen! Det är lätt att glömma ibland när jag är så upptagen med att tycka synd om mig själv pga mina skador. Tack för påminnelsen!

    Hans: Ja, varför inte? Någon gång måste det bli debut i ultralopp också. Men först ultraintervallerna i november.

    Maria: Thanks! I hope you're right. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't burst into tears when I crossed the finish line. What's wrong with me?! ;)

  5. OMG du är gryyyym! Gbg-maraton måste vara ett av de tuffaste med tanke på de två varven och att det är så lite folkfest runtomkring om man jämför!

    Du är fantastisk! Och taack för din pepp. Igår var det jobbigt. Bättre idag igen! Tur att livet är så vist inrättat! ;)

  6. Tack snälla AKA! Det var precis det jag var rädd för, men det gick mycket bättre än jag trodde. I get by with a little help from my friends...
    Vad bra att det är bättre idag! Lycka till med allt!

  7. My godness! What à debute! Amazing! Yay ready for Ultra no problem! Well done !!