Wednesday 27 September 2017

Berlin marathon

I personally prefer trail runs over road runs but when it comes to marathons Berlin is special. And it was great to be part of it, especially this year when three of the world’s best marathon runners challenged each other in attempt to break the world record. Kipchoge came close, probably as close as one can get on a rainy day, but Dennis Kimetto’s world record time from 2014 still holds. Surely there will be new attempts.

There’s always hype around big city marathons but in Berlin it gets into another level. It’s a city with deep history and a lot to see, but yet, on the fourth weekend of September there were only two things: Berlin marathon and parliamentary election. And definitively in that order. Despite huge Angela Merkel posters staring at you in every corner, marathon took over the elections in the street view. Runners were everywhere and the atmosphere was electric. It was very difficult not to get overexcited.

Before I go to the race I must mention that it was a big moment for me when I ran my first half marathon in Birmingham in 2011 and got to run it together with Haile Gebrselassie (okay maybe not really together with him but at least in the same event). Now, six years later, I got to stand on the start line with Kenenisa Bekele, Eliud Kipchoge, and Wilson Kipsang, and of course 43 852 other runners. What can I say? Definitively the strongest start field I’ve been part of even if Simone Niggli and Minna Kauppi were not along.

Ok, to the race then… It’s a great race and a fast course. Of course the rain made it a bit more challenging, but personally I prefer +13C and rain instead of +25C and sunshine when it comes to racing. I didn’t mind the rain; it was water on the road that was mildly disturbing. But still, the external conditions were excellent. It’s a flat course that passes many of Berlin’s famous landmarks. There were also all sorts of music and entertainment along the way and we got to enjoy cheering of hundreds of thousands of spectators. I have no words to describe the atmosphere. Right after the start, when I was eagerly observing everything, we passed the huge Victory column and a bit later came Bundeskanzleramt and the Parliament house. Then the route went around Spandauer Vorstadt before coming back to the south side of the river Spree. A few kilometers after half way we passed Schöneberg City Hall but I was already in trouble and more or less focused on myself. Kilometers from 25 to 35 went in a blur and all I could think of was quitting. The partially ruined Gedächtniskirche at 35k I couldn’t pass without notice. I was in great agony at that point but knew that there wasn’t much left. Next we passed the National gallery and the Philharmonie but all I was waiting for was the Brandenburg Gate, the gate that used to separate east from west before the fall of the wall. It’s a massive landmark that waited for us just before the finish line. When I finally saw the gate I knew I had made it.

My race was very good up to half way and went according to plan quite effortlessly until my stomach suddenly let me down. Everything had been perfectly well but after two gels my stomach got so upset that I could barely continue. It’s something that has been bothering me for some time and got slightly worse recently but still it was hard to accept that my race was over so early. I can handle pain and small niggles but bad stomach is something that takes over and there was nothing I could do except slow down and jog home. I was totally helpless in my battle and lost over 10min to myself on the second half but at least I managed to finish. Thinking back now it was kind of achievement per se and I most certainly worked on my guts (ha-ha!) and persistence! After all, marathon running is so cruel that you have to try to find something positive in your run each time to keep going. 

Watch the highlights of the event here

Made it!
Victory column
Post race gathering in front of the Reichstag

Cheering the last runners in front of the Brandenburg Gate

Angela watching over you
Best way to see the sights after the run

Berlin Cathedral

Thursday 31 August 2017

Matterhorn Ultraks

Matterhorn Ultraks is a mountainous trail race on alpine paths around Zermatt, a lovely car-free village at the foot of Matterhorn. There were three courses to choose from: 16K, 30K, and 46K. When I entered to the event I pondered between the two longer courses but was quite pleased to choose the 30K as it turn out to be 2K longer than reported. That seems to be very typical for mountain races. So 30K meant 32K with 2000m vertical climb. The course starts and finishes in Zermatt and goes through three peaks: Sunnegga (2260m), Riffelalp (2222m), and Schwarzsee (2583m).

When I woke up in the morning it was raining and the mountains were hiding behind dark clouds. I started to panic a bit and packed a jacket and gloves with me but by the time of the start the rain had stopped and the mountains looked less evil. But I didn’t mind carrying some extra weight, I was just happy that it cleared up and we could enjoy the views.

First climb to Sunnegga was fairly gentle and runnable. First 5K went on road and gravel and it wasn’t too steep. I took it on purpose quite easy in order to spare my legs for the upcoming climbs. My plan was to wait until the last climb up to Schwarzsee before I killed myself. Despite that I ran almost all the way up to Sunnegga, except the final steep kilometer. I felt great, took my first gel, and headed down.

Second climb up to Riffelalp started with a steep climb where everyone changed to walking. It was a mutual agreement and no one protested. Soon it turned more runnable and we started to run again. At this point we had covered over 10k and people around me were running approximately the same pace with me. I hadn’t seen many women after the start, but those few that I saw I kept seeing for a long while. There was one particular who I ran with the first half of the course. She was slightly better climber but slower in descents and we kept passing each other back and forth. It’s always good to have someone who pushes you further. When we came to Riffelalp I saw my chance to pass a few runners if I skipped the feed station. So I did that and felt good about it for a short while before I realized that it was the last feed station before Schwarzsee. Oh no!

We continued the hillside for a few kilometers before the technical descent down to Furi. That was the only part of the course where it got a bit packed and I was slowed down by other runners. I overtook some of them but most of all I just tried to calm down and not to stress. There would be plenty of chances to pass them later on… After the technical part there was a more runnable stretch where I sped up a bit before the suspension bridge over a ravine. Suspension bridge? Oh yes, I had almost forgotten it. For me it was definitively the worst part of the course and I was absolutely horrified. My legs felt like spaghetti immediately when I saw the bridge and I hesitated to step on it but somehow I got over to the other side in one piece. What a relief!

In Furi I filled my water bottles and headed to the last long climb up to Schwarzsee. It was the toughest climb of the course with over 600m climb on a 3K stretch. But I felt strong and overtook a lot of people there, among others a friend who was running 46K. For me it was nice to meet him just a few kilometers before the summit and get some cheering. It worked just as well as a gel without upsetting my stomach. I reached the top in 3:03 and started to dream about a sub 4h time. Just 10K downhill, how hard can it be? Well, it was definitively harder than it sounds and surprisingly undulating for a downhill but I'm very pleased that I kept fighting and finished strong in just under 4h. On top of that I came 10th woman overall and got a prize for my efforts. Very happy! After all, it was my first podium in a bigger mountain race. 

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Kia Fjällmaraton 43K

Kia Fjällmaraton from Vålådalen to Trillevallen was my first fell race in Sweden. It’s a beautiful course that goes through three peaks: Ottfjället (1265m), Hållfjället (900m), and Välliste (1025m). Total climb on the 43K course is 2100m. The profile is fairly gentle and nice compared to European mountain races but this time the wet weather made it pretty tough and challenging. Mud was expected but what surprised me was the amount of duckboards. They may be okay to run when dry but awfully slippery when wet. And the layer of mud on top of it acted as lubricant. I thought I had right shoes for wet conditions but realized soon that it wasn’t the case. I had absolutely no grip whatsoever on those wet wooden paths and chose to run aside in marshes. It was definitively better but tough.

I had an ok start but could feel some tiredness in my legs early on (that tempo run a few days ago wasn’t such a good idea after all). I try to take the first long climb up to Ottfjället as easy as possible. There are many other orienteers along and it's fun to meet with friends I didn’t know were running. I climb up Ottfjället with Lilian Forsgren, a Swedish national team orienteer from Tisaren. But then in the first descent she disappears quickly. It’s wet, muddy, and slippery and I’m struggling big time while trying to keep balance on the way down. My shoes have no grip in the mud and I’m sliding wildly. For me mud is much more challenging than rocky alpine paths. I fall a few times before I decide to take it cautiously instead of risking. After all I want to run the whole thing and don’t want to get hurt. Elin Dahlstedt-Tysk, a former national team orienteer and an old friend from Lidingö, catches me on the way down and I continue running with her. It’s good to chat with a friend. She reminds me why we are here and I forget my frustration over the mud for a while. According to route description there should be nice views on the way down but it’s so foggy that I don’t see a thing.

Down in Nordbottnen is the first drink station at 15,6K. I’ve already taken one energy gel in the top of Ottfjället and here I grab a piece of energy bar before I continue. Next we climb up Hållfjället. It’s steeper but shorter than the first climb to Ottfjället. After the steepest climb comes a plateau with another drink station at 19,2K before the last short climb to the top. Here they serve air-dried meat and thin bread deli chips. I take a slice of dried meet and it tastes heavenly. Lilian (who had stopped earlier to help a friend) and Elin come right after and pass the station much quicker. I’m still chewing my thin bread chip but try to hurry up and catch Lilian as she runs off. But she’s fast and there are already a few runners between us. I follow her from distance and reach the summit at 21K just half a minute later. But then again in the descent she vanishes quickly and I need to focus in my steps. It feels like the descent from Hållfjället down to Ottsjö takes all my strengths. Downhill is supposed to be the easy part but I feel defeated. Once again, there should be magnificent views over the lake Ottsjön but all I see is mud.

After Ottsjö at 28K I more or less give up. 5h time goal doesn’t seem to be within my reach anymore and it hits me hard. I continue but there’s no drive anymore. I lose whole 20min on the last climb up to Välliste and a few positions too. It’s unbelievable how much time you lose after you give up trying. To my defense my legs and abs were cramping, making it impossible to push. After reaching the top of Välliste at 38K I thought the worst was over. Just 5K down, how hard can it be? But the last descend is the worst. The path is ok and nothing compared to previous two descents but with cramping abs it’s nearly impossible to run down. I lose 5min and one position on the way down but there’s nothing I can do. I just have this awful pain in my tummy and it is only afterwards I realize that it was my cramping abs. I finish 15th with the time 5:10. Gutted to lose so much in the end. It leaves you with an empty feeling. I had really hoped to go under 5h but the conditions made it quite hard. Feels like I have still loads to learn and improve before I can call myself a mountain runner.

Anyway, if I forgot to mention, Swedish fells are indeed incredibly beautiful and on the top of Välliste the sky actually cleared up for a while and the views were pretty nice. Even if I had a bad day the event itself was great and the atmosphere was very nice and relaxed.

Pictures taken from organiser's site (

Climb up to Ottfjället

One top reached, two more to go
Body language tells it all

Laughing to my own clumsiness
Not my best day on fells but still worth a smile

Friday 30 June 2017

Marathon du Mont Blanc 42K

There's something special with long mountain races. I can’t really put my finger on it but they are unique, beautiful, and challenging races with very special atmosphere and most often held in gorgeous places with amazing views. Once you get hooked there’s no turning back.

Mont Blanc marathon was my third mountain race but it was almost two hours longer than those that I’ve done before so it was in another level and I really didn’t know how my body or mind would cope with it. Also the week leading to it was far from optimal and I felt quite weak and insecure before the race. I had flu earlier in the week and hadn’t really got my strengths back. And then just a few days before the travel I got news that my grandmother had passed away and after that I felt like I’d lost all my mental strengths too. I was hesitant whether to travel there at all but I’m glad I did. When you throw yourself into something with full heart and then somehow find strengths to survive from it, you realize that you are actually much stronger than you thought. It gives you perspective, appreciation, and strengths to cope with whatever troubles you may face in life.

Race started at 7am in the middle of Chamonix. We were too many, the streets were narrow, and it was quite chaotic. I was far back in the pack and there were hundreds of slower runners in front of me but I tried not to stress. There was nothing I could do before we came off from the town. After a kilometre streets changed into a trail and I could pick up the pace and start to overtake slower runners. It took while and quite a lot of energy before I found my place in the group and could settle in before the first climb.

Climb to Lavancher (1248m) at about 6k was still quite gentle. Some people started to walk but I ran the whole way. After Lavancher there was a fairly nice flat stretch to the first drink station in Argentiere (1257m) at about 10k. There I realized why I needed to carry a cup. You don’t get anything if you don’t have a cup. Ecological, I understand, but no one told me that! My cup is deep down in my backpack that I have tied tightly around me with no intension of opening it unless in case of emergency. But they have strict ‘no cup, no drink’ policy, so I just pass the station and take a sip from my own hydration pack.

Then we climb up to Coldes Montets at 1465m before descending back to Vallorcine at 1260m. I’ve run the whole way but try to take it steady before the big climb that is waiting for us after the second drink station at 18k. There I stop for the first time, open the ropes of my backpack and search for the cup. Elated I show it to the officials and get it immediately filled. I grab some food too. Now is the time to eat whatever you can get in because we are about to climb almost 1000 vertical meters during the next 6k. That is probably the hardest part of the course and I approach the climb very humble.

I tramp along in the line and settle in for the tempo that people around me are keeping. I feel like I could push a bit harder but I rather spare my strengths than put extra energy in overtaking others. I reassure myself that it’s better to be in a group that is a little too slow for you than being in a group that is slightly too fast. Climb goes well and surprisingly easily. It’s still foggy and rainy and we don’t see much when we reach the top of Aiguilles des Posettes at 2201m. I raise my hands in the air and yell aloud. Runners around me look astonished but I think it’s worth a yell since it’s the highest point of the course and the worst seems to be over. I get an SMS from Sami who tells me the same. The worse is over now. I smile and continue.

Next comes a long descent that is very rocky and technical, especially when wet, and our line stops moving. Some of my fellow runners get really scared and start to walk. I get a bit irritated when the line is not moving. It feels like a waste of time. It’s downhill, it’s free, why aren’t we running? But since it’s foggy and wet, it feels like risking your life in every overtaking. But after a while I get bored and gradually I start to pass slower runners whenever there’s a chance. There are a few stretches between the groups where I can run freely and it’s amazing. I’ve never been very good at descents but now it feels like I’m flying and I’m really enjoying it. We come down to the valley again and I realize that I’ve forgotten to eat. I don’t feel hungry but I try to follow my plan to eat something in every 45min or so.

We pass the village of Le Tour and there are lots of people cheering on the streets. Bravo Riina! Super! Allez Riina allez! Hyva Suomi! Yksi, kaksi, kolme. It’s hard not to smile when you hear it. I’m surprised how great I feel. After all, we’ve been out for 3,5h and climbed about 1700m.

We come to the drink station at 30k and I notice that my hydration pack is almost empty. I know that the rest is mostly upward and it’s hot so I need to stop and take off my backpack once more to get it filled. It takes a while to do that but it’s definitively worth it. I take a few pieces of banana, some crackers, and a handful of salted cashews before heading off to another 300m climb. After climbing up to Le Bechar at 1691m we descend back to the valley at 1400m before the final climb towards the summit finish in Planpraz at 2016m.

It’s getting harder now and I’m feeling more and more tired but it I’m able to keep going all the way up to the last drink station in La Flégère (1865m) at about 38k before my quads start to cramp. I’ve been surprised how well my body has taken it all up to that point. I’ve felt strong and on the last climb I’ve passed about 40 runners so I’m not ready to give up. At La Flégère I stop for the last time, take some salted nuts and coke, and try to shake my quads a bit before I continue. It works and I’m able to continue running. 

The last stretch from La Flégère to Planpraz is fairly nice and runnable with beautiful views of Mont Blanc range and Chamonix valley below. It’s been cloudy, rainy, and foggy most of the way but just when we reach this beautiful balcony path the clouds disappear and the breathtaking views open up. It’s hard to describe but I feel incredibly good considering the exhaustion. Suddenly it’s all very clear. Not just the view but my mind too. Obviously I’m tired and exhausted but I feel alive and happy. I’m still a few kilometres from the finish line but I’ve beaten my demons and I know that I’m going to finish the race. I’m even able to speed up a bit and pass a few more runners before the finish. I reach the finish line far behind women’s winner Megan Kimmel but I feel like a winner nevertheless. After all, I’ve beaten the course and I’ve beaten myself. It’s just a bonus to be 17th among senior women and 22nd overall.

If you read this far you may also want to check this video clip from the event!

Room with a view
Summit finish looming behind the clouds

Start of the race on the day before

An hour before the start. Getting crowded.. 

Summit finish in Planpraz at 2016m

Long last kilometre...
Views in the finish

Made it!

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Trail racing

Last week I ran my first trail races of the year. First Milspåret 10K race around Djurgårdsbrunnsviken on Thursday evening, and then Lida Löparfestival 18K trail race in Lida Naturreservat on Saturday morning. They both were wonderful events in beautiful settings. Milspåret wasn’t really categorised as trail race but it went mostly on undulating gravel road in beautiful milieu so it certainly felt like one. And all of this in the hearth of Stockholm, just a few kilometres from the main railway station. Pretty amazing.

I had just run Kungsholmen Runt a few days earlier and didn’t know what to expect from Milspåret. Usually you get very focused on your time in 10K races but it was obvious that it wasn’t going to go faster than in Kungsholmen, rather the opposite. So I couldn’t expect a better time. But it was indeed a beautiful course and a gorgeous summer night, so I just thought to have fun and enjoy it.

I started off at my normal 10K pace but noticed quickly that the sand under the feet was quite soft and loose and it was difficult to push hard without a good grip. The undulating course profile didn’t help much either. I saw early on that I was among the top three women but after a few kilometres I had to let those two girls in front of me go if I wanted to survive the second lap. We did two laps around Djurgårdsbrunnsviken and I wanted to do a faster second lap. At least that was the plan. But it seldom goes as you plan.

First lap went fairly easily but already in the first hills of the second lap I could literally feel Tuesday’s hill reps in my quads and had to slow down a bit and let a lady who had been on my heels for a while to pass me. She was pushing really hard and suddenly I was far behind her. I just wanted to spare my legs to the end. After passing the hills on the second round I gradually picked up the pace again and started to close the gap between us. I had just reached her at 9K when she glanced over her shoulder and accelerated. I was really struggling to keep up with her at the end and it wasn’t before the final hundred meters before I knew I could pass her. I crossed the finish line just a few inches ahead but got the third place. I don’t know how I did it. It’s amazing how you can find some extra power in your legs at the end of a race that you didn’t know existed. I’m just grateful to see that I’ve found back something that I thought I had lost for good.

Views along the route
Start and finish by the Maritime Museum 
One lap to go (Spårvägens FK)

A few days later it was time for Lida Löparfestival, a longer trail race in Lida Naturreservat in Tullinge. You could choose distances from 8K to 89K. I chose 18K, which was one long loop in the forest. It was very runnable and incredibly beautiful course on heavily undulating trails. Steep hills made it tough and I could feel it early on in my quads but somehow I managed to ignore the pain and ran a decent race very close to the men's winner. I started offensively and ran the first two kilometres behind the two top men. But they pushed hard in the hills and after a while I couldn't keep up with them anymore. Then I was on my own for some kilometres until a third guy came and passed me just before the half way mark. After the drink stop at 9K I perked up a bit and decided to push harder in order to keep the third guy in sight. After a while there was an easier stretch where I managed to close the gap between us inch by inch. At 13K I caught up with him but he left me again in the next hills. I was able to close the gap one more time but then he pushed hard the last 5K and I wasn’t able to follow. I kept seeing him until the end but had no chance catching him in the hills. Anyway I was happy to finish as first lady not too far behind the fastest guys. 

These trail races were not only great confidence boost but also perfect steps in my transition from roads to mountains. Especially Lida with its brutally steep ascents. None of the hills were very long but they were definitively steep enough to induce the burning sensation in my legs that I must be prepared to endure for a long time in the Alps. It’s clear I need a few more rounds of Väsjöbacken. Back to hill work then!

18k of Lida wasn't as painful as it sounds like (lida=suffer)
Floating sauna and first dip of the year 
Thrilled about the swim

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)

Thursday 13 April 2017

Marathon de Paris

Ever since my first road marathon in Valencia in 2012 my aim has been to beat 3h. On my first try I didn’t have a goal, I just went and run on feeling. No time goal, just running for the experience. Plan was not to push before 30k and enjoy the race. That’s what I did and it went ridiculously easy. I ran 42,2k in 3:01:11. My official time was a few minutes slower (3:03:21) due to some zigzagging on the way and thus a longer distance (42,6k). Anyway I was within sub 3h schedule up to 37k, which made me think that with a bit of training I could easily run it some minutes faster. Now I’m not that convinced about the easiness anymore.

After Valencia I’ve had a few tries and a few failures. A year later I ran Florence marathon in 3:06:41, which was obviously a huge disappointment. Maybe the route there was slightly slower due to sharp turns and cobbles but I also went off too fast in the beginning. I was a minute ahead of my target in the half way and ran out of energy much earlier. I managed to run 30k within sub 3h schedule but lost loads on the last 12k. I realized that the key to a good finish time on a marathon is a steady pace.

After Florence I haven’t really had a chance to beat my goal before now in Paris. Last two years I’ve struggled with injuries and haven’t got to the start line uninjured, so getting there in one piece was already an achievement. Training towards Paris wasn’t smooth and unproblematic but at least I managed to get to the start line. I had some niggles on the way but reacted fast and cut my long runs short when needed. I just tried to avoid risks at all costs. My longest training run was 32k so I wasn’t sure how I would survive the last 10k. Still, I was quite confident because I knew I had trained better and more marathon-specific than before and I was in fairly good shape.

I did the preparations as well as I could but some things you just can’t control. For instance, when I went to pick up my bib number the day before, there was an unexpected stop in the underground and I got to walk some extra miles just because the train wasn’t working. Not optimal, especially when my morning run had already been a few kilometres too long, and the Italian restaurant, where we went for dinner, was also further away than I had hoped. Nevertheless, I was feeling good and optimistic when standing on the start line.

Starting at Champs-Élysées with Arc de Triomphe in the background was pretty amazing. I ran the first half controlled and steady in 1:29:08, just as planned, with all four 5k splits within 10 seconds. I was still feeling quite alright at that point but I was sweating heavily. The weather was well over +20C and just getting warmer and warmer the longer we got. After doing most of my training in sub zero temperatures I just couldn’t handle the heat. I believe it became harder than it should have because of the weather and therefore I burned more energy early on than necessary. I wasn’t able to replace the liquid and salts I lost through sweating and I started to faint after 25k.

Sami was yelling at me euphorically at 28k, just before the Eiffel, but it didn’t help. He was sure I was going to beat my goal but I knew I wasn’t. I was just getting slower and there was nothing I could do. I was able to hang in there for 30k but not further. The remaining 12k were really painful with stomach cramps and empty legs. 3:00 pacers passed me around 35k but I couldn’t accelerate. I tried but nothing happened. I just watched them to vanish in the horizon. During the last 10k I was constantly thinking about quitting so I’m kind of proud that I didn’t. I finished 52nd among 10339 women. When you put it like that it doesn’t sound too bad. However, my time 3:06:37 was 6:38 slower than I had hoped for, but when you change to jogging the minutes pass fast. I was really looking forward to not having to train for another marathon but now I may need to postpone that. Oh dear.

Whether I continue with marathons remains to be seen but right now I’m enjoying the recovery and looking forward to get back to trails and forests! After all it’s there my hearth lies. I have learned to like the simplicity of road running and the easiness of seeing progress and measuring yourself but in my hearth I’m still an orienteer. 

For the vibes, check out this video

Pont Alexandre III 
Sunrise over Seine
French breakfast

Less springy legs today

Finisher t-shirt!