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

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

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

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
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.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 11

Another week of beautiful summer weather, in fact it seems to be getting warmer and warmer. I will have to try to convert into a morning runner to avoid the heat. Running wise this was a fun week.

Tuesday: Brought a map and a compass with me and set off to explore a "new" area. This is a forest area that seems to be scattered with narrow paths. The ones that I've explored so far are beautiful and there is a certain amount of excitement connected with running unknown paths. It's interesting  to discover new scenery and also thrilling to not really know what to expect beyond the next hill. Another thrilling ingredient is the fact that I sometimes don't know where I am or how I'll find the best way towards where I'm going. The run turned out a bit longer than intended (again) but thinking it through afterwards I realized that there is 5km or so just to get to the area. I had a great time exploring and there is more to see there so I'll most certainly go back there again.

Friday: This was the day for the local race Kraftprovet. It's an annual event held in mid July. The race is 11.6 km. Which Is a 10k with an extra mile and towards the end I tried to recall Kevin's voice (from the extra mile podcast) in my head to hear him say "...enjoy the extra mile". I enjoyed the race but can't really say that I enjoyed the last mile that much. The last part of the race is mostly uphill and the day was very warm 24C/75F so I guess most of us struggled in the heat. The surface is partly tarmac, streets in town, and partly gravel, walking paths along the river and canal. It is a nice area and a fun event. I'm pleased with my performance and despite the warm day I finished 17 seconds faster than last year, so a new PR for the event, 1:08:20.
 I ran/walked a 3/1 ratio but the intervals was messed up a bit because of waterstops and hills, where I walked and then restarted the gymboss. Also the walking paths made the run/walk a bit trickier since it sometimes was difficult to pass other runners and that slowed me down a bit. and when walking there I didn't want to be in other runners way so I sometimes walked beside the path and the surface was not always the best. I experimented with adding a walkbreak just before narrower parts to be running the path but I don't know wether that was good idea or not. Run/walking is great, I think, but maybe it isn't suitable in situations like "crowds running narrow sections".

Sunday: Nothing. The only time I had available for running was midday and the thermometer showed 27C/80F and there was absolutely no wind nor any clouds in sight  -  so I chickened out.
This wasn't a long run Sunday so I don't think that was too harmful and I hope to make up for it next week.

Total distance for the week 24.5km/15.2miles.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 10

This week I decided it was about  time to make up my mind for real. Was I just going to train for the Athens Classic or would I actually go ahead and do a serious attempt at the event. I would have liked the training to come a little further before making the final decision but on the other hand, if I later decided to go for it and found out that the number of participants had filled up, I would regret my hesitation. So I registered. But for the rest of that evening I was asking myself over and over: "What have I done?"
 Now a few days later I'm content with my decision and will soon start looking for tickets and a hotel for the stay in Athens.

This was also the week when I recorded the longest distance ever. Probably also the longest distance covered in one run but since I don't have a complete log I'm not really sure if maybe I've done a similar distance earlier. More about the long run below.

Tuesday: Once again I ran further than intended but it is hard to quit when running is going well and the weather is great and you are having fun.

Thursday: Ran a loop of 7.5 kms and by going for the loop I had made my mind up not to go too far. The loop is done on roads some of it is tarmac and some is gravel roads. I tried to take it slow and easy to save myself for the upcoming Sunday run.

Sunday: The longrun for this week is scheduled to almost 28 kms and I settled for making it exactly 28. Having my last longrun in mind, when booth my knees were aching for the last bit, and considering an 11.6km race this coming  Friday I decided I would be very careful today. I would run slow. I also abandoned the usual 3/1 run/walk ratio to the more moderate 2/1. I was also wondering how I would manage this since I went out unusually early, I left home at 8 am and I usually run evenings so would I make it with only breakfast for fuel. I brought water and some snacks for fueling along the way. The morning was beautiful, sunny but not too warm and the breeze was cooling, I also started out in the shade of trees so I was doing fine. I kept the 2/1 ratio rather strict but did walk some uphill sections in the early stage. I had set out on the same route as last time and was planning an additional loop towards the end to get the distance needed but as I begun to calculate distances I found that the additional loop would be much too long so I abandoned that idea and tried to come up with something new. I needed an extra 5 kms or so and didn't know where I could find them. I could have just run a 2.5 out and back on any road I passed but what is the challenge in that.
  When the Garmin beeped and I looked at it to find it was signalling 7kms I suddenly realized. "Oh, I'm going to run a half marathon from here before I'm done." At that point I felt a little low-spirited but shook it off and kept going.
  At around 10kms I was caught up by a guy and we started to chat. He was from Morocko but now lives here and wanted us to speak English since he had difficulties with the Swedish language. No problems, I'm used to speaking English into the microphone when running but I didn't mention that. It was great to have company and we talked, mostly about running, for 3 or maybe 4 kms. Then we wished each other good luck, he turned towards his home and I continued running in search of the missing 5 kms. Running and chatting with him was great but maybe I did a mistake here since I didn't take the walkbreaks as we were running together.
  So I continued towards the city and instead of turning towards home I ran into town. I ran through one smaller and one larger park and found myself coming towards the canal and since that's a nice area I went on to the path that follows the canal and ran towards the locks. When I entered the canal I was quite warm and felt the need to jump in the water to cool myself but managed to resist that. That would in fact be a very bad idea since the current is strong and the walls of the canal are high and steep. Just as I left the canal I found a place where I could get access to the water and I stopped and soaked my hat. Putting the wet hat on my head felt good.
  Ok, so I kept estimating the remaining distance and according to my qualified guessing I was still 3 kms short. So I added another loop at the edge of a recreational area and then headed towards home. Well on familiar roads with known distance markers like mail boxes, rocks and houses. I found I was still missing half a km, so at the end I resigned and did a smaller out and back on a road. The Garmin was approaching 28 kms and I was approaching home. The Garmin won but that was all according to plan. I stopped the watch and walked the last few hundred meters to cool down.
  My right knee was aching a little towards the end but not as bad as last time and my left knee was fine so by continuing with the stretching of the ITB band I think I'll be fine.

Total distance for the week: 45km/28miles. Rather impressive for being me.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 9

This was the first week when I wasn't able to fit in all three of the scheduled running sessions. It turned out to be good week anyway.

Tuesday: - Nothing -. A busy first half of the week made it impossible to get the time needed for exercise. But when thinking it over, maybe it wasn't all bad. Maybe it was good to get a few days extra rest time after the challenging run I did last Sunday when I finished on aching knees.

Thursday: Even if most of my runs have been very enjoyable, this was one of the most fun. I brought the recorder and recorded some audio for the podcast. I chose roads where I found shelter from the wind and ended up in an area where I've never been before. The "new" area turned out to be very beautiful and there were so many nice paths and small roads that I had some trouble finding my way back home again. Eventually I sighted a familiar road and then it didn't take me too long to enter my home, tired but very uplifted and happy. I'll go back there shortly to explore more of the environment. The run turned out a bit longer (13km/8miles) than planned especially since my intention was to run a short distance at an easy pace to see how the knees held up. But I didn't feel any pain or discomfort in the knee area so that was all good.

Sunday: According to the plan I was supposed to run mile repeats today but since I'm not training for speed and it is also a bit difficult to run mile repeats when living in a metric part of the world and I don't have easy access to a stadium track. Anyway I decided to train for strength rather than speed and looked up my "hill" from week 5. I followed the same routine that I had come up with then including picking up a pebble for each completed run up - jog down - walk break. The pebbles helps me keep track of how many times I've done the exercise. This time I did 15 repetitions and felt good. I could probably have done a couple more but for the last two I did have to put some effort to it so I figured it was time for a longer walk break and then a slow and easy run towards home. Before I left the area I put my pebbles on the same tree stump as I did last time. It is fun to see the tiny pile building up but I hope my muscles build up quicker. Maybe I'll use bigger stones next time for a more inspiring effect.

Total distance for the week ended up at 25.3km/15.7miles which I think is pretty good since I missed out on one of the training days.

Friday, July 5, 2013

RtNP#52 Marathon Training

In this episode you can hear a few recordings in which I talk about my ongoing running and training. We start back in May and then jump forward to July. At the end it turns a bit confused but also exciting as I loose both focus and direction. - I got lost both in my mind and in the real world.

The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at

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, July 2, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 8

This was a week when I felt less inspired and I struggled a little with myself to get dressed and go running on the evening runs during the week. When I finally got out I found myself enjoying the experience and wondered why I had hesitated before the run. When the weekend arrived I was in a better mood though and really looked forward to the Sunday long run scheduled to be 24.1 kms.

Tuesday: Started out very tired but felt increasingly better and stronger with each covered km. I don't have much to say about this run. I just ran it rather empty headed.

Friday: This run turned out to be tougher than what I had planned. I decided to run a few forest paths in an area where I haven't been for a while and found that the trees were chopped down. The surface was covered with branches and the path was ruined by the heavy machinery that had made deep tracks in the ground. I had to do a lot of jumping around to avoid the obstacles. I knew I was coming to a smaller road later on so I resisted the temptation of turning back and kept jumping. When I eventually entered the road I found that to be under construction and it was covered with quite large rocks that will form the foundation I guess. It was very uneven to run and I had to adjust pace and stride continuously. This was probably a good strength exercise but since I had anticipated a contemplating restful session, experiencing the calmness of the forest I wasn't really prepared for the effort.

Sunday: This run also turned out to be a bit tougher than I had wanted but for the first three quarters of the distance it was a fantastic experience and I enjoyed the summers day tremendously. The weather was perfect, maybe a bit warm for running but perfect for being summer. I saw so many beautiful flowers and trees and fields, in fact everything was beautiful. Even the snakes, an adder and a grass snake, that I saw had a bit of charm connected to them. But I have to say that the buzzard sailing above me when running next to swaying fields with the scent of clover flowers was probably the most charming. I felt like I was flying too.
  For the last couple of kms I experienced some pain in my knees and had to gradually slow down and increase walkbreaks but now a few days later the pain seems to be gone.

What started out as an uninspired week turned out to be quite good and when looking back I think it's wise to learn from the setbacks but it is the good things that are worth remembering. Total distance for the week ended up at an impressive, for me, 40.3km/25miles. One of my best weeks ever distance wise. And following the Galloway marathon training plan will lead me towards new achievements in this department.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 7

Summer is really here and we've just celebrated midsummer. Running is going great and I'm getting used to think, plan and run marathon training. A year ago I never could have imagined that I actually would consider and train for a marathon. Now I think it is a lot of fun and in my head I can see myself crossing the finish line at the Panathinaikos stadium in Athens. In my  imagination I'm running the last bit inside the stadium very strong, looking like an experienced marathoner. Well, we'll see what happens when the day comes but there is nothing wrong with having the dream.

Wednesday: I started out thinking this would be an ordinary, 7km or so, run but enjoyed myself so much that I extended the planned distance with a couple of kms.

Friday: I was forced to go running in the midday sun to not miss out on my exercise as we were going to celebrate midsummer with friends in the evening. It was much too warm to make this a pleasant run but I tried to stay in the shade of trees. It was still quite warm. For the last half of the run I was running in an area with fields around me and there were no shade but instead there were a steady breeze which brought some cooling. It was still very warm. The idea of extending this run never crossed my mind.

Sunday: The plan called for a magic mile trial today and I started by warming up and also transport myself to the mile that I've measured up on the bike path. When I got to the starting point I walked for 5 minutes and then restarted my Gymboss and set off. Wise from my last attempt I started out in a more moderate pace. I took the one minute walkbreak after running three minutes which occurred quite close to half way. Then I ran to the finish point and stopped my watch. It showed 7:49, 5 seconds faster than last time. After my "sprint" I walked for 5 minutes before I headed towards home. When I came closer to the village I thought it was a shame to just go back home and "waste" the beautiful summer evening so I turned left and ran/walked a loop of 6-7kms. Running went well and I had a great time. The nature is beautiful now and the scent of clover flowers followed me most of the way. That is a scent that I connect with my childhood summers. I only wish I had found some wild strawberries, that would have made the memories complete.

Total distance for the week: 30.6kms/19miles. A great week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 6

This was yet another very busy week. I'm really pleased that I could fit the running in but my plan of running Tuesdays and Thursdays had to be abandoned as I was forced to swap days again. The weather have been a little cooler and we've had a few thunderstorms with heavy rainfall and strong winds. Luckily my exercise days have been mostly dry.

I apologize for not being able to podcast in a long time. I would like very much to talk about my training with you all but life has just been too hectic lately. I 'll be on summer holiday soon and my first project for the time off from work will be producing a new episode. In the mean time, here is a sum up of this weeks marathon training.

Wednesday: Just an ordinary maintenance run without any special events to report. This week have been less eventful than earlier weeks with nearly no animal spottings at all. Well, there are lots of birds around and I've seen a deer or two but that is the normal thing for the roads and paths I chose to run. I felt a bit stiff as I started the run probably because of the hills I ran on Sunday but I loosened up pretty quick and felt very good after just a short while.

Friday: I couldn't really find the time for running but the thought of skipping this run made me disappointed so as I finally got myself ready and headed out the time was after 11pm. Since it was that late I only did a shorter, 5ish km, run out and back on the bike path. Summer nights can be beautiful here, and it was even if it was a bit chilly and not nearly as light as it can be because of the clouds that drifted rapidly over my head in the strong wind. I'm glad I could fit the run in.

Sunday: This weeks long run was supposed to be 20.1 km and I had planned what loop to run. I wasn't really sure what the distance would be but was pretty sure it was going to be quite close to 20. As I started out on our street and was going to make my first turn I realized how windy it was and very quickly decided to run the loop the other way around so I turned right instead of left because I thought that way I would experience less headwind. As it turned out it was the wrong decision. I had the wind in my face most of the time and the long stretch where I thought I would benefit from having the wind at my back was more or less sheltered by trees and buildings so I don't think I got much help from the wind there.
 I know I'm running my long runs too fast but find it difficult to slow down because it feels awkward and that might be because I'm concentrating too much on my pace and steps. So this time I decided to not pay any attention to the Garmin, I was just going to run the way that felt good. I focused on being relaxed, run with a good posture and breath properly. It was successful and I felt very good for most of the run. I ran my fastest km in 6:08 and the slowest in 6:59, so I think I kept a fairly even pace throughout the distance. The variation in pace can't be explained by being earlier or later in the run, me being more tired at the end, but is more likely to be caused by the surface. Forest paths are usually slower than tarmac roads, running uphill is often done a bit slower than running downhill etc.
 As I was closing in on home I realized that the loop would be a little short of 20 kms so I extended my run with another little loop to increase the distance and to be able to cool down by walking a little before I reached my home. At 20.4 kms I entered a railroad bridge and I found the climb there to be a good point to stop running and start the cool down walk.

I've had a good running week with a total distance of 34.1km/21.2miles.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 5

Another great week of running. A fantastic week when it comes to experiencing the forest and the wildlife. I still think marathon training is a lot of fun, the weather has been good, my training is going great and I feel invincible. I suspect that this feeling might change later on when the distances gets longer and the inspiration perhaps fades. But I'm very thankful for every good day and I'm so happy that I can do this.

Tuesday: A thrilling run in which I came upon at least three wild boar that I apparently scared, and I saw them cross the path I was aiming for and disappear into the woods. They were only around 20 meters from me and finally seeing them and not only their tracks made me both excited and and a bit nervous. The ones that I saw wasn't too big they were probably born last spring and now, comfortably seated in my home, I can't really understand why they made me nervous but I would be really scared if I ran into a group of a mother with her newly born. I don't want to come between them, or surprise a fully grown male at a close range.
 The encounter uplifted my spirits and I ran the rest of my run almost euphoric.

Friday: I postponed the Thursday run one day due to a headache but felt fine on Friday and headed out to explore a "new" road. It is only a shorter stretch of a known loop but it will give me the chance to chose a different scenery. I ended up taking a wrong turn which led me on to a surface that wasn't really runable and then I had to do a bit of climbing to get back to the road but I now know where I should have turned and will do so next time.
 On this run I saw a moose on a field beside the road. The moose stood just beside the road and I stopped to see what he was going to do. We looked at each other for a short while and then the moose turned and ran across the field giving me free passage. I enjoy seeing animals when running but not too close. And it's the same thing with moose as it is with boar I would be really scared to come too close to a mother with her calf. Most of the animals, however, are more scared of us than we of them and will retire if they have the chance. I'm sure there have been many animals that have heard me coming but went further into the forest before I got the chance to see them.

Sunday: There is no long run scheduled for this week so I thought I'd do some hill training instead. Since the Athens marathon is more or less one long hill, I think that some preparation of running hills could be useful when the day comes. The area where I live is fairly flat but I looked up an undulating part of a forest road and ran the "hill" up and down for a while. I ran up, jogged down and walked for a long minute,  and the routine fitted very well with the 3/1 run walk ratio so I let the gymboss signal be the start for each "climb" during the exercise. For each completed interval I picked up a pebble to keep count of how many repetitions I did. When I was done I put ten pebbles on the top of a tree stump and for my imagination I could see the stump all covered up with pebbles by the end of the summer. We'll see whether I'll be able to keep doing the exercise, I can't really say that I enjoyed it that much but hopefully it was good for me.
 When I was bored with running back and forth, up and down, I took a detour through the forest on my way back. I'm glad I did because the forest was absolutely amazing. It was a bit wet after a couple of thunderstorms and rain this afternoon but I didn't mind. The air was so fresh and rich of oxygen, and the birds where singing louder than ever. The sun was setting and spread a warm light, giving everything a yellower tone. The sun was shining on a male deer with fairly long antlers and I had to stop and just watch and listen and take in the atmosphere. The sun was also shining on a layer of mist rising over the fields I passed. The mist appeared to be of gold dust. And again I had to stop and enjoy what I saw. This has been an incredible week. I can't really grasp how lucky I am that I'm able to run and that I can experience the beauty and the magic of the environment that I enjoy so much - the narrow paths.

Total distance for the week, 25.6km/15.9miles but maybe that isn't very important since the Galloway plan doesn't count distances other than for the weekend run. The middle of the week runs are measured by minutes and not distance. Anyway, I think it is interesting to keep track and I'm very pleased with what I've accomplished so far.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 4

Once again a very busy work week with some traveling that forced me to swap the training days around. I assume that there isn't anything wrong with that and I'm pleased that I had the opportunity to get all of the scheduled running done.
 When traveling I brought my mp3 player and listened back to The Extra Mile Podcast - Galloway Edition. I listened to the episodes that covers the first weeks of the program in hope of learning more about how to train. One thing that came very clear is that I am running my long runs too fast. I should probably slow down at least 1 minute/km or even 1:30/km and I also ought to run a 2/1 ratio instead of the 3/1 that I'm currently doing.
 So for the Sunday long run of 17.7km/11miles, according to the plan, I tried to slow down but... read more about it below.

Wednesday: After a terrible day at work it was so good to be running in the forest. The weather was perfect, the scenery was breathtaking, the air was filled with birdsong and after just a little while all the negative thoughts and the stress that I brought home from work just disappeared. I'm very lucky to be able to run and to have the environment that I enjoy so much nearby. This run was, beside the training, therapy for a stressed mind.

Friday: As I started the run I felt good and strong and I begun to wonder what would happen if I skipped the walk breaks. I haven't run without walk breaks for a long time so I got curious to find out if I was strong enough to run 5kms without them. I didn't turn my Gymboss off, I just ignored the vibrating signals and kept running. Around 1½ - 2 kms into the run I still felt good and strong and my curiosity changed focus. Now I begun to wonder how fast I could run 5kms without walk breaks. So I turned the run into a race and speeded up a little. I'm aware that running the way I did isn't described in the Galloway program but there is the opportunity of doing fartleks or speed play runs so let's consider this run as that. I ended up a little more tired than usual but very pleased with my performance. I finished the 5k in 26:29.

Sunday: For my long run I was determined to slow down and my aim was to run a pace of 7:30/km or so in order to follow the Galloway program more strict. I didn't dare to change the run/walk ratio as I now am so used to the 3/1 that I would probably get very confused not run/walking the 3/1. But, I really tried to run slower but I didn't feel comfortable and my running didn't feel natural so I gave up and just ran the way that felt right. I didn't pay too much attention to the pace or to the Garmin but only ran to feel good. I did pay attention to my breathing since Mr Galloway strongly forbids huffing and puffing on a long run. I might have huffed once or twice going uphill but not a single puff was heard during the entire run so I think I might get away with running faster than stipulated in the program.
 All in all a great running week with a total distance of 31,3km/19.4miles.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 3

Another busy week at work, and at home, but I managed to follow the schedule quite well. Running the shorter weekday runs is not too difficult it doesn't need to take up too much time and is manageable in the evenings after work. But the warm and sunny weekend have made me realize that if I'm going to fit in the longer weekend runs later in the program, in the middle of summer, I will probably be forced to start running early Sunday mornings before it gets too hot and that will be a challenge since I'm not a morning person. But I guess I'll have to adjust.

Tuesday: I felt tired and my legs hadn't really recovered from last weeks longrun but I ran 7 kms in the neighborhood. Even though the weather looked like it was going to rain any minute I managed to get back home without getting wet. Running this season is great in any weather, the trees and flowers are amazing and the forest is filled with birdsong.

Thursday: I was not in the mood for running but I reluctantly went out, much too late in the evening , and after running only a few hundred meters everything turned around and I felt so good. Running was fun, and I wasn't feeling as tired as I did just before I went out. The bad mood I was in turned into a really good mood and the bad and boring thoughts I carried with me from a not so good day at work suddenly disappeared. I ran a few hills without feeling too worn out and I once again ended up running longer than planned.

Sunday: It was time for the first magic mile of the Galloway training plan that I'm following so after warming up I ran a mile on the bike path. I have measured it up on google maps and think it is accurate enough. The mile I had measured up more thoroughly and used for magic mile running a few years ago is no longer there because of road construction and a new bridge over the railroad.
  As I started out I hadn't decided weather I would take a walk break or not when running the mile but at halfway I realized that I had been running a bit faster than my current fitness level allowed so I walked for almost a minute before heading on. The time for my first magic mile was 7:54 and even though I'm not going to set a time goal for the marathon I couldn't resist doing the math and see what the time might predict. I also have to be aware that this is only the first magic mile but the time hints towards a finishing time of 4:30 if I run at "full speed". 
  I am not going to run the marathon at full speed though, that is not the way I prefer to run. I enjoy running for experiencing things along the way, taking in the scenery of places that I pass, watching trees, animals, buildings and things and for a marathon in Greece I also hope to get the chance of chatting with fellow runners along the way. Running at full speed might limit the possibility to enjoy the event the way I want to. Nevertheless it was interesting to see what the prediction pointed at.
  Total distance for the week ended up at 24.45km/15.2 miles a bit shorter than last week but this was an easier week according to the plan.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 2

This week was a bit tougher, maybe not running wise but I had a very hectic week at work which involved too much sitting on trains and meetings. Long days of traveling also made it difficult to get enough sleep. I haven't been able to squeeze in any stretching or strength exercises this week but I'm very pleased that I could fit in the running days according to plan. All the sitting made the legs a bit heavy and stiff at the start of each run but I warmed up pretty quick and after a little while running (run/walking 3/1) was easy and I felt strong.

Tuesday: I celebrated my 53rd birthday with a 53 minute run on the narrow paths. I had a very good time and ended up with 7.55 km even though the plan said less running but I thought I'd cut back a little on the other days of the week to compensate - little did I know.

Thursday: The first really warm and summer like day and I got the chance to run a bit earlier than usual in the afternoon. Even though the temperature was a bit too high I couldn't resist  to go running in the sunshine. First run in shorts for the season. I ran smaller loops not too far away from home with my winter white legs in bright contrast to the marine blue shorts. I had such a great time that I kept adding loop after loop until I finally, after a 9 km run, arrived at home.

Sunday: The plan said 14.1 km and I decided to run a loop that I thought would be around 15 but after 5-6 km I realized that I was wrong and that I would have to run much longer to get back home again. I tried a few shortcuts even though running shortcuts in an area you're not familiar with can turn out even longer. I managed to decrease the distance a little but ran longer than intended for the third time this week. Distance for the week ended up at an (for me) amazing 33.05km/20.5miles. I've also surprised myself with a really good pace and a feeling of being strong. All in all a great week.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Aiming for Athens - week 1

Hopefully this will be a series of posts where I'll reflect on my marathon training. This post will sum up week one of the training and I intend to write down some of my experiences over the weeks to come.

After having a hard time deciding whether I could/should run a marathon or not I finally made up my mind. I decided to give it a try. The Marathon that I have in mind to try is the Athens Classic in November 2013. I am going to follow the Galloway marathon training program and I have chosen the time goal program. I am not going to set myself a time goal though but will run the marathon with a "to finish" approach. The reason why I picked the time goal program is that I think I have a good enough base to start from and feel that I will enjoy the longer distances involved in this program.

I have never run a marathon before, I have done a couple of half marathons and in order to prepare for them I have run slightly longer distances. The longest distance that I've covered is probably around 25km, so in a way this will be exploring uncharted territories. I have been run/walking the Galloway way for a few years and have found that it suits me well. I am confident that the Galloway program will guide me through the training and later on also the race.

Ok let me sum up week one of the training.

I've had a fantastic week of running.

My intention is to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays but this week I had to swap the days around a bit.

Tuesday: I started my training by running a local 10k race and manged to squeeze one second off my old PR. I finished in 54:03 which I'm very happy with. To me that's a fantastic start to the training. I ran/walked the race with a 3/1 ratio with minor adjustments.

Friday: My daughter Ellen joined me for an easy run/walk which turned out to be more walking than running but after running hard during the race I didn't really mind. She brought her camera and produced the great video that can be seen in the last post. We had a great time together in the forest and I really appreciated her company.

Saturday: The plan called for a long run of 12.1km and I went for a loop that I have used for several weekend runs lately. It is slightly longer but I thought I'd run slow and easy and that one more km would not be harmful. I ended up running a bit faster than I intended but felt good through most of the run. I ran/walked 3/1 this time also. That is the ratio I have come to use on most of my runs and found to be good. The distance for this run turned out to be 13.8km and the total distance for the week ended up at 28.6km/17.8miles. That puts this week among the top 5 distance wise so far this year but probably as number 1 when it comes to the having fun category.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Here is a video produced by my daughter. Take a look and you'll get a glimpse of the Narrow Paths where I enjoy to run.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RtNP#51 Pinocchio

This is an episode with a few signs of spring, a report from my visit to the physiotherapist, some reflections on the course of times .... and also a few thoughts about the tragic things that happened at the Boston marathon.


The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at

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).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

RtNP#50 Slowing Down

In this episode you can hear me explain why I'm running slower and shorter distances at the moment. We continue to celebrate the 5 years of podcasting. And I talk about a scary running experience that involves darkness and wild animals.

 Links to things mentioned:
The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at

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, February 11, 2013

    RtNP#49 Five Years and Counting

     This is the five year anniversary episode of this podcast and it has been one of the most fun episodes to produce. It turned out a very special episode to me and I hope you'll enjoy listening to it.

    Thank you all who took part in the celebration.
    Thank you all who downloads and listens to my podcast.

    These five years of podcasting has been an eventful time in many ways but the lasting impression, when looking back, is all the friends I have come to know. Thank you all who has been along on the journey. -  Hmm, I sound like this is a farewell but it's not. No, I will go on podcasting and running and it will be very interesting to find out what the coming five years will bring. 

    The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at

    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, January 3, 2013

    RtNP#48 Looking Back..and Ahead

    So the new year, 2013, is here. Let's hope it will be a good one. I recorded this episode on my first run for the year and according to the way I felt I think 2013 might be a very good year for me. As the title suggests there is a bit of looking in both directions in this episode as well as a book review .. among other things.

    The next episode will be the 5 year anniversary of this podcast and if you want to participate, please send a short audio or written words to: krister(dot)wson(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll include your voice and/or words in the episode and that way we'll make the episode together. I will need the material within this month.

    The music is from Mevio's Music Alley, at

    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).