Sunday, 29 June 2014

The day I ran 60 km

A cold, dark, rainy evening last November, I was having dinner with some friends from the club. Then, I blurted out:

- You guys. Wouldn't it be cool if we put together a 6-hour event?

It wouldn't be official. Just a fun club thing maybe. Just to see how many people would turn up. Were people interested in this kind of thing?

I had run a race like this before. Skövde 2012. 6-hour races usually take place around a loop of approximately a kilometer. You have 6 hours to run (or walk) as many loops as you can and want to. I had had a great time in Skövde and broken my personal distance record. I wanted to share the elation I had felt then with my friends and everyone else who wanted to participate.

My friends were immediately on board with my idea. We started planning on the spot. It was going to take place by the river, on a 5,5 km long loop, on the 28th of June. I am so happy to have friends who share my kind of crazy.

As months passed and winter turned to spring and then to summer, all the bits and pieces slowly fell into place. We worked hard, fueled by enthusiasm and love of running. I won't lie and say that it was always easy. There was some stress involved. Especially on my part. But I knew that my friends were there, working just as hard if not harder, and we were going to make it.

A few days before the event, I borrowed some bibs and water tanks from the club secretariat. This was it. It was really happening. As this fact slowly dawned on me, excitement and trepidation took turns occupying my brain. This was not just a club thing anymore. The news had gotten out and people outside the club wanted to participate in our unofficial race.

This was serious business. Even if it was ”just for fun”, I felt I had a responsibility to make sure that everyone had a good time, everything worked as it should, hell, even that the weather was good enough.

Again, my friends were there. An hour before the event was due to start, we gathered at the start/finish area and started getting things in order. Signs, bibs, food and drink, a makeshift toilet, tables, chairs...

People started showing up to get their bibs. They chatted with each other as the sun shone on us all, and spirits were high. Soon, AIK showed up too. They were going to run the same loop as us, partly to keep us company and also, for those that wanted it, to provide pacing. I was so happy to have them there, both for the sake of the event but also on a personal level, knowing that many of my running buddies and our coach were out there.

Friday, 20 June 2014


It's like holding your breath. You tighten your muscles until your face turns red. And then, when you finally release that breath, your shoulders slouch so much you almost fall forward. That's what the last weeks before going on leave feel like. You try to keep it together although every cell in your body is screaming at you to stop and relax already, because you know that if you exhale too soon, your colleagues might have to send you home a sobbing mess.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

My hips don't lie: 3x22 km

When I took my shorts off after this morning's run, it looked like I was still wearing shorts. White shorts. My legs have been exposed to a lot of sunshine the last few days. If only they could speak, they'd have great stories to tell.

Like what they were up to this morning. They'd tell you how they were still inexplicably fresh, despite the two long runs the last couple of days. They'd tell you how quiet it was around town at the beginning of the run, and, by contrast, how busy it was down by the river at the end of the run. They'd tell you how hot it was, because the brain of the body they are attached to may have been planning on heading out at 6 this morning to avoid the heat but slept until 6.40 and didn't get out the door before 8.30. 

Three 22 km runs in as many consecutive days. I've never done anything like this before. The fact that I did it is not in itself the best part of it all. The best part is how easy it felt to get my body going day after day. How pain-free it was. Of course, I am not stupid. Past experience tells me I always get injured when training is going really well. I need to be careful. But for now? For now I'm dancing with joy.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Back-to-back yet again, part two

My brain has been having a party since yesterday, getting drunk on endorphins and high on vitamin D. Warm nights and hot, sunny days, beautiful girls in summer dresses and guys in shorts, jumping into the river in their underwear to escape the sun to the soundtrack of boat engines, sending waves of sunscreen scent molecules straight into my nose and making me fall in love with life.

Days like these make me consider emigrating to Jamaica or some place, where the weather is like this all the time. J says I'd get bored of it and miss the snow. LET'S GO FIND OUT SHALL WE.

After yesterday's long run, I was a little apprehensive as to how well my legs would respond to another long run today, this time with SAIK. 10 km into the run, I started wondering if I could manage a third long run tomorrow. That's how fresh my legs felt. They did get a bit more tired towards the end, but curiously enough I only realised that right after I left SAIK and turned to run back home. Coincidence? I think not. SAIK makes your legs feel fresh.

Pictured here: lots of fresh SAIK legs

It was a lovely run. Great company, high spirits, beautiful surroundings down by the river. Some of us were more adventurous than others and even jumped into the river. I wasn't feeling as adventurous so I just splashed some (lukewarm) river water on my face and arms. I needed it. The flood of sweat I was producing wasn't enough to cool me down.

Ok, so there are a few things I would miss if I emigrated to Jamaica. SAIK is one of them.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Summer in the city

Today is Sweden's national day. Being the good citizen that I am, I had to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with a run. Off I went after breakfast, letting my legs decide where to take me, with the radio playing rock music in my headphones.

As the temperature slowly rose from warm to ohmygodmyskinisonfire, I happily sang along some cheesy glamour rock under my breath. That is, until I ran straight into a swarm of gnat. My protein intake suddenly skyrocketed. In order to continue being able to call myself a vegetarian, I shut my mouth and tried to breathe through my nose. It wasn't hard. My pace was so low I hardly had to breathe at all.

That was soon to change. I left the paths and roads after about 10 km to enter the woods. Roots and stones, mud and undulating trails forced me to lift my feet, which in turn craved a greater respiratory effort on my part. Good thing the gnats kept away from the forest. Too bad the spiders did not. I wonder if spiderwebs are as nutritious as gnats.

It was an easy 22 kilometres. It had to be. Tomorrow, I plan on doing it all over again.