Tuesday, March 18, 2014

RtNP#56 And Now What?

In the beginning of this audio you will hear me date this recording to the month of February and maybe you'll think that I got it wrong and meant a more recent day but no, February is correct. This is an old recording that I decided to edit and publish to let you know that I'm still here.

The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at musicalley.com

Contact me by e-mail (address in link to the right) or post a comment below.
Subscribe to this podcast by using the links to the right.
Listen to this episode here.  (right click [save-as..] for download).

Monday, December 30, 2013

A beautiful day

My daughter gave me this short video as a Christmas present.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

RtNP#55 Athens Classic Marathon 2013

This episode is a travelogue and a race report, it covers my recent trip to Greece and the Athens Classic Marathon. It turned out to be much longer than usual and I considered turning it into two parts but chose not to. You can easily do that yourselves if/when you get tired of my voice.
I apologize for the amount of traffic noise in some parts of the audio, this season I'm forced to run roads instead of the forest paths and recording a few cars are therefore inevitable. I hope the noise doesn't mask my words too much.

The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at musicalley.com

I discovered this music some time ago and immediately decided to use it for the "marathon episode" but I also had a few other songs, with less heroic titles, as a backup plan. Luckily my performance in the race made this one an appropriate choice.

Contact me by e-mail (address in link to the right) or post a comment below.
Subscribe to this podcast by using the links to the right.
Listen to this episode here.  (right click [save-as..] for download).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

RtNP#54 Ready to Play

Marathon day is now quickly approaching and even if I'm looking forward to the event it still feels a bit unreal. Hopefully I'll understand what it's all about when I'm standing on the starting line.
This episode of the podcast is mostly about my marathon training and my thoughts on following a training plan. I had some notes that I tried to follow when recording this and yet it came out a bit unstructured. I hope you can follow my sometimes incoherent words.

The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at musicalley.com

Contact me by e-mail (address in link to the right) or post a comment below.
Subscribe to this podcast by using the links to the right.
Listen to this episode here.  (right click [save-as..] for download).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

RtNP#53 Old News

Hello again, remember me?

First of all I'd like to apologize for not posting in such a long time. Things have been a bit too busy for a while. Sorry.

I finally managed to put this podcast episode together but I'm afraid the recordings are slightly old by now. I'll do my best to get another episode out before the Athens Classic Marathon. In the mean time you have the chance to listen to this and find out a little about what my summer running was like.

I'm happy to report that even though I've been quite busy I have been able too keep the marathon training up and if I quickly sum up the weeks since I last posted, it have to be something like this: Marathon training is going great. Following the Galloway plan has been a lot of fun. and I have surprised myself with what I actually have been able to accomplish. I'm looking forward to the event. But now I seem to be jumping ahead to what you can expect me to talk about in the next episode.

If you want to hear about some of the background to where I am now, and what a great running summer this has been, I invite you to listen to this episode.

The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at musicalley.com

Contact me by e-mail (address in link to the right) or post a comment below.
Subscribe to this podcast by using the links to the right.
Listen to this episode here.  (right click [save-as..] for download).

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 13

My summer holiday is over and being back to work makes finding the time for running more challenging but with a bit of planning I'm sure I'll manage. This week I only ran twice but since one of my runs was a race I think I did well anyway. In addition to my running I did daily stretching routines which turned out to be helpful for overcoming an ITB issue.

Wednesday: Because of the knee pain I experienced during my last longrun I decided to go slow and easy to see what would happen with the knee and set out to explore a few roads that have made me curious lately. Running went rather well and the new scenery was exciting but for the last bit I did feel a beginning pain on the outside of the left knee. I didn't worry too much since I occasionally experience this but have learned that with sensible running and stretching it usually disappears after some time. I was a little worried though, about doing a race on Friday and wondered if I should call it off but finally decided to give it a try. Probably a stupid decision but it all turned out well.

Friday:  Race report - Läckövarvet half marathon

Since a while back I had planned to take part in a half marathon race called Läckövarvet, which is held on the island Kållandsö in Vänern. Kållandsö is a beautiful part of the country and it is not more than an hour’s drive away. So in the afternoon my daughter Ellen and I headed towards the race area. We were going to combine the half marathon event with visiting my sister and her family on their sailing boat which is harbored on the island. We passed the race place just after 4 o’clock and I registered, then we visited with my sister’s family on the boat. We ate a snack and had some coffee and had a good time talking. After a while Ellen and her cousins went to play miniature golf and I changed into my running gear and headed for the start. My sister said they were coming to see me somewhere along the track and I told them that because of my knee issues last Sunday I would take it very easy and they could estimate around 7 to 7½ minutes per km to figure out when I would reach the point where they planned to show up.

The start was at 7 o’clock in the evening and at that time it was still 27C/80F and rather hot for running so I figured my plan of 7 min/km or slower would be a good approach. 

There was also a 8.4km race that started with the same gun shot and all of us ran together for a few kms then the 8.4 runners turned right and we, the half marathon runners, continued on the road. Up until that point the group of runners had stretched out a bit and, as it usually is in the beginning of a race, it was a little chaotic until we all had settled in for our preferred pace.  I had passed a couple of runners and some had also passed me. I had started at the back of the field to avoid irritation from others when I took my walk breaks. I started out with a 3/1 run/walk ratio to see how things went but as it turned out I was ok with that ratio for the whole distance. I even shortened the walk breaks to 30sec for the last couple of kms.

After we left the 8.4 runners to do their thing the chaos faded and tranquility emerged. At that point I knew I was second last but I didn’t mind, I was going to do the race my own way without worrying about other runners. There were just over 100 runners in the half marathon and apparently most of them were focused on racing and only a few of us seemed to be running without competing.  So I was second last and pleased with that, I could hear the woman behind me get closer as I was walking and also sense that the distance between us increased as I ran. I had a guy in a yellow shirt quite far ahead of me and the distance between us also changed as I did my interval thing.

We were running a paved road in the sunshine and heat and there was no wind and I wondered how I would manage. I was also concerned that my ITB related knee pain would flare up. I remember thinking “if it only holds up for 18 or 19 kms I will be able to finish. If the pain starts earlier than that I will quit, call my sister and they’ll have to come and pick me up”. I had prepared with diligent stretching over the week and now there wasn’t anything more I could do other than hope and send up some prayers. 

We soon turned into another road and even if the sun and the temperature was the same we now faced a gentle breeze, that wasn’t really cooling but nevertheless felt good. I realized I was gaining on the yellow shirt guy and left the woman further behind. My knee felt good and I was enjoying the evening. The scenery was beautiful with forests and fields around, lots of crickets and birds and I started to feel better and better. 

At 5km I realized I was running much faster than I had told my sister and wanted to prepare them for the possibility that they might miss me so I sent a text message during one of the walk breaks “5km in 30:25 I’m doing fine”. Soon after that I passed the yellow shirt and he looked tired. 

At 10 km I sent my sister another text message ”10km in 1hour and 1minute”

At half way the sun was beneath the treetops and the temperature seemed to drop - but I didn’t, I seemed to gain energy and kept going. Now I could see two runners in blue shirts far away in the distance, then we entered an area with more trees and the roads were twisting so I lost sight of them. For a while I was completely alone, I couldn’t see anyone behind me or in front of me and I was worried that I was running the wrong way. The track was well marked where the road split or the track turned but I had enjoyed the scenery for a while and I could have missed a sign but I soon found a km marker and knew I was on the right way. 

I met my sister, her family and Ellen just after 15km and it was so great to see them waving and I gained more energy from that. Then I passed one of the blue shirts and felt even stronger. 

On the island there is an old castle - Läckö slott - and the trail passed close to it, seeing that lit by the setting sun was a beautiful view that made me feel like I was running without touching the ground. Here is a photo of the castle http://media.basetool.se/ProductImage/124677/1000/3/144588/640/402
Even if I felt a bit like flying at this point I did see the castle from a slightly different angle.

I felt strong, my knee was doing fine, I passed a couple of runners and my supporters met up again. I felt great. I was even able to shorten the walk breaks and pick up the pace a little for the last bit towards the finish. 

When I entered the finish line my supporters were there to see me finish strong and as I ate a banana and drank some water they told me that I had looked stronger and had run lighter than many of the other runners. My shirt was soaking wet, not only from me sweating but also from the water I had pored over myself at the many waterstops. My strategy from start was to drink half a cup and the rest over my head but for the later part I had only sipped some water and pored most of it over me to keep cool. There were plenty of waterstops, in fact I think they had increased the number because of the heat. The race was well organized, the track was well marked, the surface was paved roads and gravel roads. There weren’t any hills to speak of even if it was a little undulating but most of all, the surroundings were absolutely beautiful. I’m so glad I did this race because it was fantastic fun all the way. I performed much better than I had dared to hope for, I think I finished as number 5 counting from the back, too late to attend the prize ceremony but the dressing room and the showers were less crowded. In fact, I think everyone else was heading towards their home when I took a shower. I was pleased that there was still hot water left for me.

On my Garmin I have one of the fields showing average time /km from the start and for a couple of kms between 10 and 15 km it showed around 6:15 or close to 6:20 /km but I managed to pick it up and reached a total average of less than 6 minutes /km, I’m very pleased with my performance and I had so much fun running the race. I finished in 2:05:45 which is 5 minutes or so slower than my PR but when analyzing afterwards I cannot see that I could have done it differently, especially in the heat. But I wasn’t aiming for a PR this time, my purpose was to enjoy running and that I did indeed.

A great running week with a fun race that also boosted my self confidence. It is looking good for future training. Total distance for the week 29.1km/18 miles.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 12

I'm not sure whether I should call this week No.12 or No.13 but I decided to go with 12 since this is my 12th week of training. I have, however, swapped the weeks around a little and this week has followed the week 13 of the program.
 I am skipping week 12 for now, moving weeks 13 to 19 of the program up a week and then I'll stick week 12 back in there and from week 20 I'll be back on track. I allowed myself to do this change without consulting anyone and the reason is that I hope to take part in a couple of upcoming races and this way the race dates fits better with the training plan. My plan for the races is only to participate and to get the chance of running with and meet some other people. And also to run in some other locations which I believe to be beautiful.
 Ok, a sum up of this week, week 12/13 of the Galloway marathon plan.

Monday: Since I didn't run at all last weekend I thought I'd do a shorter run on Monday. I was hoping to be able to run three times during the weekdays. Three short and easy sessions in preparation for the long Sunday run of this week. Unfortunately I only managed to run two times but I'm pleased with that.
 I did an easy 5k around the neighborhood on a beautiful summers day and enjoyed it very much.

Wednesday: I took it even easier on this run and went out in the morning, which is a new experience and a skill I hope to learn. I explored a few "new" roads to extend my gallery of runable roads to choose from. But these roads didn't really qualify for runable because the surface was very unpleasant with larger stones that made it rather uneven and tiresome for the feet and legs. It was fun though to see some new places and there are still other "new" roads waiting to be explored.

Friday: This planned easy short run didn't happen. But I'm ok with that.

Sunday: The scheduled longrun for week 13, that now is my week 12, was supposed to be 20miles or 32.2km. The distance made me a little nervous because I have no experience of this kind of long runs nor do I have any known loops that covers these distances.
 According to the weather forecast the morning would be the best time to perform this challenge and since I'm learning how to become a morning runner I went out a little before seven o'clock. I had hoped to be on my way even earlier but I probably need a bit more practice before I'll be a true morning runner. I had mapped out a loop that I thought would bring me up to the distance wanted but just as I was going out the door I changed my mind and decided to start out in another direction. So I started with a well known loop of 12-13 kms and then I connected that with parts of the route I had mapped out. I wasn't sure if the roads I chose would take me where I wanted to go but that turned out to be just the right way and I ran over some really beautiful field areas where summer flowers still were blooming, some forest areas where a few birds still were singing. You can tell that summer has peaked but from what I saw today there is still a lot of beauty to be admired and enjoyed.
 After almost 20kms I entered a recreation area with many trails and to add distance to my loop I ran a lap of the 5k trail and after that a lap of a 3.5k trail. That brought me close to the distance needed before I headed towards the railway station where my run was going to end today. Besides getting the longrun done my task for today was also to pick up a car at the car park there.
While I was running the trails my left knee started to bother me (again) and soon after that the right one also acted up. So I had to slow down a bit and do more frequent walkbreaks. It also started to rain but the temperature was pleasant, 18C/65F, and I don't mind running in rain as long as it isn't raining too hard. I put my cap on to keep my glasses dry and the vision clear and enjoyed the fresh oxygen rich air. A real setback, though, was that I couldn't fill up my water bottles at the recreation site. Apparently you need to be a member to get access to the facilities, at least for the weekends. I was out of water but what could I do. On my way towards town I passed a friends house where I hoped to get some water but they were not at home so I had to postpone the drinking until I got home. It would have been a major disaster on a warmer day but today it wasn't really any crisis, only a discomfort.
 On my way towards the railway station the running got a bit troublesome, because of the knees, and I did more walking. But I endured and finally ended up at the car park and drove home. My estimation of the distance was pretty accurate and I did 32.7km/20.3 miles. Definitely the longest distance I've run, so far.

Not a bad week with a total distance of 43.5km/27miles. But I am beginning to slowly comprehend how long a marathon really is and during the tough later part of the Sunday long run I almost questioned my decision to take part in a marathon event. Now, comfortably seated in my home, I find it to be a great idea.