Wednesday, 17 May 2017

From road to mountains

After Paris marathon I just put my road shoes aside for a while and tried to find my inner orienteer again. First I gave myself two weeks rest and recovery but did a few jogs in the woods just for my soul. I really love walking and running around in the woods and I missed that a lot during my marathon training.

Three weeks after Paris was Tiomila, the highlight of the spring for orienteers. I was probably more nervous than ever before since I hadn’t practiced orienteering during the winter and only had time for a few rounds in the woods with a map before the race. I had hoped to get a technically “easier” leg to be able to maximize my running capacity and to get some help with orienteering. However, I wasn’t convincing enough, and got a second leg. I did a controlled run technically, with only a few small mistakes, but I was far too defensive to match the best ones on my leg. I really enjoyed the run and the beautiful terrain of Partille but felt like I did too little. I just lacked the confidence to push hard and I was barely exhausted after the run. My teammates Rebecka, Johanna, Julia, and Hilda were terrific and our newly formed team had good chances to a top20 position but unfortunately we had some bad luck on the last leg and had to retire. We’ll be back in Venla!

After Tiomila I started my training towards Mont Blanc marathon. The closer it comes, the more horrified I become. It will be like a jump towards unknown. I have absolutely no idea how (or if) I’m going to survive there and how to approach the race. It will be very different from everything I’ve done before and I’ve never done a race that long and challenging. I did Jungfrau marathon in 2012, which is probably the most challenging race I’ve done and the closest thing to Mont Blanc, but the first half of Jungfrau was on road, which made it significantly faster. Jungfrau was a bit over 4h race for me, whereas Mont Blanc will probably take around 6h or more. I really don’t know. But I do know that it will be more or less like an ultra race for me, almost like a double marathon. It really makes me humble.

The crucial elements in my preparation will be hills and overlong long runs. The more hours I spend on hills and in rough terrain, the better. So now I’m back in my element again, running on trails and in terrain. I just love it and it suits me better than the roads. However, in order to retain some speed in my legs I decided to run a few shorter road races just for fun. Last weekend I took part to Kungsholmen Runt 10k run, which was absolutely brilliant. It was beautiful weather, great atmosphere, and a nice course around Kungsholmen. First half was almost flat and I clocked it fairly easily in just under 20min. The second half was tougher with several climbs, sharp turns, and gravel, which made it impossible to keep a steady pace. I lost a bit but managed to run the whole thing in 40:50, which is one of my fastest 10k runs in Stockholm. I was probably in better shape just before Paris but after all problems with the pollen allergy during the past weeks I was very happy to do a sub 41min 10k. Now time for some hill reps!

Excitement of getting back to green pastures (Photo: Sami Takaluoma)