Tokyo Marathon – Less than 1 month to go (#SoNotReady)

Sometimes life throw you a curve ball that takes you totally by surprise and forces you to re-evaluate all plans…. 1 week ago, with only 1 month to go before Tokyo Marathon, my biggest concern was whether I will be able to complete at all and get my big, fat six-star-finisher medal. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and suddenly Tokyo seemed inconsequential. After 10 days back and forth to the hospital for MRI, CT, colonoscopy and you name it, we finally got the good news yesterday that the tumor seems operable and that the cancer seems not to have spread to any other organs. Safe to say we cried of relief of that message.

So, given the good news, my trip to Tokyo is back on. But, of course, having used all my energy on worrying, my immune system was quite beat, so no I am out cold with fever, sore throat and an aching body… In other words, I think it will take a few more days before I am wearing my jogging shoes again.

Even being quite unprepared (but then again, what else is new?), I am starting to look forward to my trip to Tokyo. My knowledge of the city is quite below par, and what springs first to mind is sumo wrestling, sake, supporters who actually pick up their own litter after world cup football games (even when loosing big), and of course the a bit too close proximity to a sometimes trigger-happy Kim Jong Un. After reading “The Runner Handbook” that arrived last week, I must also found some of the warnings to be quite interesting and new: First was a list of what was prohibited to bring to the starting area. I mean bottles and cans, unless for commercial unopened container for less than 500ml are prohibited. A bit strange, but OK. Then to the a bit more bizarre: it is not allowed to bring advertising, boom boxes, animals (!) and plants…. But, what really got me freaked was the necessity of actually having to specify the prohibition of bringing pepper spray, knives, poison, fire works and explosives!

A couple of other warnings in the handbook are also new to me in marathon settings.

» If the Japanese Government’s nationwide warning system J-Alert sends an alarm related to ballistic missile launches, follow the instructions.»

and

»If an upper 5 or greater earthquake strikes Tokyo, the race will be discontinued immediately»

Not very comforting, I must admit, but hopefully it will be OK. At least I feel my lack of preparation is not my biggest concern at the moment…

Happy New Year

A new year has come to an end, with trips to Gran Canary, Ras Al-Khaimah, Dubai, Chicago and Barcelona as travel highlights and definetely the marathon medal in Chicago as a running highlight.

Wish you all a happy new year and let us hope 2019 will bring even more travel and running histories to remember. ❤️🍾

Christmas in Dubai 2018 – Morning jog on the beach

Coming as a constantly freezing Norwegian to Dubai awakes feelings in me that are hatd to put into words, but to sum up: AMAZING!

Since the Friday Brunch took up most of our time yesterday, I decided to get an early start today. I jumped out of bed at 7AM, which of course is a lie, since it was more dragging of body involved at that was after I had argued with myself for a while why I couldn’t just relax since I was on vacation and all… Well, me and myself came to the agreement that instead of doing the 120min Z2 today, I would to 10 min warm-up + 4×5 min Z4 intervals instead.

After just the first interval, with legs feeling as if I was wearing led shoes, my goal was readjusted to only 3 intervals. After my second interval (and also after a mental slap to the back of my head for not sticking to plan) it was readjusted back to 4 again. Timewise I did OK with a 25 sec/ km improvement from the last time I did the same session back home (but again, that was with three layers of clothing and shoes with spikes, so maybe I didn’t do so well after all.

But time aside, just the feeling of wearing normal jogging shoes, T-shirt and shorts again was incredible and the beautiful scenery with the beach, palm trees and Ain Dubai in the background was a much appreciated bonus.

Stockholm Marathon – Storm and heart problems, but third time’s a charm…

First time I tried to run the Stochkholm Marathon was in 2012. Race day started out with heavy rain and stormy conditions and it hadn’t been so cold on June for almost 100 years (#luckyme). As if that was not enough, I had come down with a cold and was a bit feverish. Safe to say the conditons were not exactly excellent,

At 10 km I was soaking wet and at 20 I start loosing sensation in my fingers. At 25 km, most of my fingers were blue, and I started to fear for my life. At around 30 km I caved, and surrendered to the medical personell who brought me back to the starting area.

It was a real downer to get a DNF (Dod Not Finish) on my resume, and I was a bit bummed out when I later went for dinner with my boyfriend and a couple of collegues who had actually made it through. In a moment of severe lapse of reason (with his finisher’s rock in his pocket; they did not start with medals until 2 years later), my boyfriend managed to mention his favorite quote later that night: “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts for ever”. Safe to say I could have killed him on the spot, but I settled for a promise to myself that I would eventually complete this course.

The next year, I was about to try again, but ended up at a cardiologist right before the race due to chest pains, so had to forfit once again.

The chest pains turned out to most likely be benigned, so then I signed up for Stockholm Marathon for the third time. This time I finally made it and was 5 minutes away from setting a PB. This year they also started with real medals instead of rocks with bo other function than serving as a door stopper.

Nordmarka Forest Marathon – My first marathon (#stupidfool)

Give me any kind of ball and I can play a decent match in just a few sessions (handball, football, basket, table tennis, squash, golf, volleyball, etc.. ) Ballgames have always come easy to me. The same can be said about swimming. I did competitive swimming 2 years when I was like 14-15 years old, but I have only been swimming on holidays since. I found out, however, when going to the municipality pool a few months ago, that I still was a fairly good swimmer, and I also got a lot better after just a month of training.

Now, this is not meant to be a blog about bragging… It is just to set the scene for the disappointment I felt when I started up with running. Since athletics have always come easy to me, I kind of had the same expectation when it came to running. No such luck… A mental trainer I once had a meeting with, told me that we are never to tell our self that we suck at something. We are just to say that we can get a bit better at something. Well, I can be a lot better at running. That is even true 8 years after my first marathon.

I was fast approaching my mid-thirties and had a one year old at home and a husband working afternoons and nights at the local hospital. I wanted to pick up volleyball again (I played 2 years in the premier league in Norway), but since my little bundle of joy could not be by himself, I had to settle for my life-long hated sport… namely running. I have always considered running, unless it was in chase of a ball of some kind, as a waste of time. Now I did it as a mere necessity to try get rid of some of the baby weight and to keep myself sane after early mornings for a couple of years (we are talking around 04:00 AM here..).

Like I said, running did not come easy to me and after a couple of months of effort, I still couldn’t run for 2 km without breaking for a walk and my motivation was approaching rock bottom. Then I decided, just for the hell of it, to sign myself up for a half marathon, so that I had something to look forward to (I have always had a soft spot for medals..). So, 1 month later I ran 21.1 km in Oslo and at a terrible pace of course (sorry;the pace could have been better). I then promised myself to never run again and to throw away my running shoes. So, I went home and 1 day later I had signed up for a full marathon at Nordmarka Skogsmarathon a few months later (my selective memory sometimes plays tricks on me).

Sooo, the marathon day arrived with 4 degrees Celsius and rain, and part of the trail was in something best describedas a swamp. After 1 km, I was soaking wet and freezing. I looked at my watchand remember myself thinking “OK, only 41,2 km left..).

What I lack in talent or fitness, I take up in stamina. I was not about to quit, so I alternated between walking and jogging, walking and jogging, walking, walking, walking and then a bit jogging right before the finishing line. Along the way, I started to talk tomyself, watched with interest the small frogs that kept jumping around my feet and trying my best to ignore the many ambulances that drove past me (apparently a few persons had fallen ill during the race).

I more or less crawled across the finishing line and barely had time to recognize the feeling of disappointment over that they instead of a finisher medal had a finisher…cup (what the f***???).Well, I grabbed the damn cup and had to throw myself in my car and drive for 2 hoursto get home in time for a shower before a birthday party 45 minutes later.

Boston Marathon – the flu, pneumonia and vertigo, but new medal in the bag

Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the more prestigious to run. It is very hard to qualify, and they have very few charity spots. For us runners that are a bit challenged pace wise, the only option then is to pay a fortune to secure a spot through a travel agent. Since Boston is one of the Abbott World Major Marathon and we needed it to get the big, fat six-star-finisher medal, we were therefore very happy that we were able to buy our way in through Springtime.no in 2017, after 3 years on a wait list.

The training for the marathon was everything but perfect. The race is in Apriland in January I got the flu that lasted for a week and developed intopneumonia which I left untreated for a month. In the whole of February I hadthe cough of a patient with COPD still smoking 60 cigarettes a day, but inMarch I started on antibiotics and recuperated quickly. I managed 3-4 runningsessions before I got ill again, this time from Ménière, a vestibular disordercausing vertigo spells, fullness in air tinnitus and nausea. I could not movemy head for the last days before departure, but suddenly, the night before ourflight, I got much better, and started to pack my gear in a hurry to board theplane the next morning. 

We were a group of six persons, where 4 of us where to participate in the marathon and we arrived in Boston on Thursday afternoon. I went straight to bed after check in at Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill hotel.

On Friday I woke up early due to the jetlag and I lay completely still,trying to check if the world was still a rollercoaster. Luckily not, so then Iwas ready to join the others for sightseeing. Boston is the lobster capital ofthe world and since lobster costs as much as gold back in Norway, we atelobster several times a day for the entire stay.  

Oldest restaurant in Boston

On Saturday we went to a baseball match, which was very exciting, but a bitcold since it lasted for 4+hours the temperature was not exactly all that.

On Sunday we took the metro to Harvard and spent the day there hoping to grow some brain cells before we went back for an early pasta dinner the night before the race.

On Monday, the weather suddenly turned, and we got temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius. The course was interesting, but with my lack of preparations, I had a hard time completing. But, I did it with a whole minute to spare before the time limit, so I did get my medal. It felt very strange jogging up the same path as where the bombs went off five years earlier.