Tag Archives: running

Midnight race in Stockholm

One night every summer my part of Stockholm (Södermalm), becomes a circus with samba dancers, cover bands and ten thousands of runners when Midnattsloppet hits the streets. I’ve always despised that race since it’s to many runners in masquerade outfits and more of a street party than a race. But last year a couple of friends taht I run with who was gonna run so I joined them. And this year we were gonna make this into a tradtion.

Last summer I forgot to register in time so I had to buy an entry ticket on a auction website, I bught the ticket of the wife of swedens former minister of justice and had to run in a tight lady T-shirt. This year I also forgot to register but got in contact with a guy who couldn’t run so I ran as Anders Jacobsson. Unfortunally two of my friends called in sick and had to cancel the race in last minute.

But the remaing three, me, Jonas and Staffan, met at my place half an hour before the start for a shot of espresso and pep talk. Me and Staffan started in the first group (but in the back of that group) and Jonas in group two. After the coffee we warmed up with a jog to the start, around 1 k, in a light rain. When we entered the starting area with around 15 minutes to go before the start the warm up was in full swing with loud bad music and aeorobic instructors leading the warm up.

We were standing really far back in our start group but since we raced with chip times I didn’t care that much because people in our startgroup should run in a pace around what I was aiming for. So I took it a little easy till I reached the starting line but wasn’t prepared with all teh people cutting in front of me right after the line. Making me lose a lot of time in the beginning. After aroud 200 meters then I finally could run properly, but not quicker than a 4.50 min/km pace, I was really annoyed and thought I wouldn’t be able to run faster than an easy work out, and I felt really light and quick. After around 500 meters I saw a couple of guys running on the wrong side of the plastic tape that parted the race course from the traffic. i took after them and started to gain places and around the 1 k mark I passed Staffan who started just in front of me but got away much better.

I had to cross the tape a couple of times back and forth because to get out of the way of an ambulance and other things. Thru the whole race I zig zaged up  on the pavement down from the pavement, from the left side of the street to the right, cutting corners taking a longer turn everything just to try to pass other runners.

The 2,5 k mark I passed at 10.47 making an avarage pace of 4.18 for the start of the race even though the start is pretty easy. And with that pace it would be difficult to reach my goal to go under 43 minutes.

But for the next ks I was able to pick up a lot of speed and from 2,5 to 5 k I ran in a pace of 3,56 min/km and gained a lot of places, from 765 to 616. The sixth k is terrible with a 700 meter hill and 50 meters in height difference. I tried to take it a little easy up the hills and just wanted to keep up with the same pace as most of the runners around me. And actually then I started to hear the choir at the foot of the Sofia church I was even surprised that the hill wasn’t longer. I tried to pick up the pace again but had actually problems with not seeing to good in the dark and I think that slowed me down unconciously. Just short of the 7 k mark the course pass one of the most scenic views over Stockholm and I couldn’t help thinking a little about the days that I spent on that place earlier in the week with my job. At the same place where was a water station and the people who worked in that shouted “It’s is only 3 ks left”, but the mark wasn’t until one minute later and that made me mad and the boost from having a good time at what I thought was 7 ks was all ruined and instead i started to get bad thoughts, thinking that it would be impossible to beat the 43 min.

I wanted to gain more speed between 7 and 8 ks and I felt that i had much more power in my legs but still I had problems with getting the pace I wanted and here I could only focus on the runners who passed me without noticing the ones I passed. After 8 ks there is a short but steep climb that I thought was terrible last year but yesterday I had no problems at all and after that it was downhill but the wet cobblestones made me take it a little slower in the corners to avoid slipping.  With 1500 meter left I started my long rush for the finish but for a couple of hundred meters the street is a little to narrow and badly lighten so it was impossible to get a clean path with a steady quick pace instead I had to make short outbursts and zig zag again to past other runners. With 700 meters the course turns in one the final street and I picked up even more speed as I got more space to run in my own pace. With just a couple of hundred of meters left someone shouted behind me that he wanted to pass me on the left. If I had taken a step to the right I would have to slow down because I had a runner slightly in front of me on my right. So instead I sprinted past him before I took right and kept sprinting for as long as I could endure. Of course this made legs full of lactic acid a little to early so with 50 meters I almost stopped because my mind told me “that will do, you are virtually at the finishing line and there is no need to  run more”.

I looked at my watch as I passed the line and saw that I finished at 42.10 making an avarage pace of 4,12 min/km. And with the bad start, zig zaging  and long hills I’m very pleased with that time. It was actually my second fastest 10 k race ever and only 20 seconds behind my personal best.


20 ks in almost sub 90 min

Friday early night I went out for a 20 k run. Just before the work out I read that I wouldn’t be allowed to use my marathon time from last year to qualify for next years Boston Marathon since qualifying times must be made after september 2008 and my time was from august 2008. So I need to make the marathon sub 3.20 once again if I want to run the classic in Boston.

And since I’ve not trained as good this summer as I did last year I’m not very optimistic about doing  that. This was what occupied my mind most of the work out. I felt pretty easy adn quick and decided to go for a quick run. And soon I was running in 4.30 min/km pace and it felt almost effortless so I decided to try to keep up the pace for as long as I could. First I aimed for a time around 1 hour 35 minutes for the 20 k run which should have been a pretty good time.

After around 15 minutes with music I started to listen to a podcast of the traditional swedish summer show “Sommar” hosted by the famous swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren. He talked about creativity and the importance of good products when you cook. And that you should think more about what you buy and that instead of chasing cheap food you should buy stuff of high quality and take care of everything instead of throwing things away. I totally agree with Mathias and wanted to visit one of his restaurants. It was two years ago since I last ate at Matbaren and I can only say that even though it’s expensive it’s worth every single krona. But his talk about paying for quality made me also think about another restaurant visit on one of the other Michelin awarded restaurants in Stockholm. I ate a fantastic dinner that cost around 2000 kronor (200 euros) per person and I can easily say that it was worth it because it was an experience of perfection. except for one thing, me and my friend was billed 15 euros for ordinary mineral water. I’m willing to pay for qualty both in service and ingredients but water for a dinner could never be worth that much.

Midway thru the podcast I arrived at the lake Trekanten there the few bums and junkies from the early winter in the summer warmth was grown into three times more bums. One of them took a big gulp of his warm beer and burped in my face as I met him. The smell of stale beer mixed with bad breath made me stop thinking about the beers I put in my fridge before i went out. 20 minutes later I met an alcoholic couple on disability scooters and I couldn’t help but think how much all the damages from alcohol drinking cost the society.

With only six ks left I felt really good and could keep up the good pace even though the last five ks are the hardest with a lot of steep hills mainly upwards. And I could even sprint with a smile on my face the very last k and almost broke the sub 90 mark. During the last 20 minutes I started to feel confident in my running and thought that I might be able to run sub 3.20 on the marathon in a month.

Sing along running

The last months I haven’t ran as much as I had planned. And this week isn’t any better. Tuesday was the third consecutive day with a short run; aprox 8,5 ks. Since I biked from my work I was pretty warmed up and tried to run in a quick pace. I started my imapmyrun on my iPhone and took off. Everytime I start the app it has problem with finding satellites so in the beginning it tells me that I ran with a 12 min/km pace. I didn’t have much time to run since I hade a date at my pub with my friend stefan one hour after I took off so I really had to keep up a good pace throughout the whole work out which wasn’t that easy. After 2 ks my iPhone showed that I was running in a 4,30 pAce and I could hardly keep this pace. This made it obvious that I miss the hill and interval training. Even if this was the third work out in three days it shouldn’t be at all dificult to keep a quick pace. But at least I passed a couple of runners.
During the run I had a couple of sing along moments that helped me keep up a good spirit. First My Love Is a Flower About to Bloom with Jonathan Richmann. Finally, yeara after I lost my record with that song istore uploaded it so I could buy it. It is One of my fav songs with Jonathan and the song that made me discover him. The second song was Johnnie with the Swedish singer Kal P Dal that includes the line: “I know The Fox, The Thunder and Buffalo Bill. I also had Not Fair with Lily Allen on my playlist and listening to that song on my iPhone made it clear how dirty the lyrics are, not that that is a bad thing. But sing along to it loud with my earplugs in makes not only me but the people I pass smile.

Soundtrack of the run

Art Rules      Chicks on Speed
So Human      Lady Sovereign
No más Myolastan       La Casa Azul
Nonstop Nonstop Nonstop      Jeans Team
My Love Is a Flower (Just Beginning to Bloom)    Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Not Fair        Lily Allen
Jonnie       Kal P. Dal
Letters From a Voyage to Sweden       Cats On Fire
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now       The Smiths
I’m Not Scared    Ladytron
Pop the glock        Uffie
Paper Planes       M.I.A.

Running in Frascati with a hangover

A run in a park in Frascati with a hangover

Today I took a run in the beautiful city Frascati, 30 minutes with train from Rome. I had found a nice but small park then I took a walk in the city earlier in the day and saw a bunch of runners doing lap after lap but then I arrived to the park after an easy jog from the hotel, the scene had changed. Now at five thirty the park was filled with people dressed up for the saturday mostly teenagers in large gangs. I could only see three other runners in the park. I had messuered a course zig zaging in the park at mapmyrun.com and found a lap that was exactly one k. I wanted to run between 4.00 and 4.30 but wasn’t sure that I could do that because I haven’t been able to train as mauch as I wanted due to a lot of work.

Some streets that I had marked at mapmyrun.com didn’t exist so I had to change the course and the first lap was sub 4 minutes even though i didn’t have a quick pace. It was clearly short of 1 k so for the next lap I chnged the course a little and with only a little quicker pace I was still at the 4 minute mark as I lapped so for the third time i changed the course and ran the third lap at 4.20.

200 m of the lap was in the direct sun and I started to feel the warmth that made the hangover from the day before. The headache made me recall the night before and the very nice dinner I ate on a piazza with a view over Rome that started with the huge plate of antipasti; porchetta, coppa, salami, pecorino and a lovely mozarella. This would have been enough for a whole meal but then in Rome… So after tha antipasti I had a plate of pasta with zucchini, eggplant, sundried tomatoes and for entre I ate trippa romana (tripe in tomato sauce) and for dessert a cake with ricotta cheese and preserved strawberries: But it wasn’t all that I had eaten that made me suffer as I ran. It was all the wine.  Around the dessert a couple on my left said I had to take a glass of their wine because that would be a perfect match with the cake. The wine was a sprakling sweet red wine and they were right. After I finished the cake they offered an other glass and said I had to try it with the local specialty round bisquits called ciambelle that you should dunk in the wine. Of course they were right  it was really good. But on its own the sparkling red wine was actually quite awful. After the couple left I finished the dinner with a glass of grappa because I was so full. Actually it wasn’t finished completly the young couple on my other side offered me a glass of wine so I could cheer with them and we started to talk and drink more wine for half an hour even though they didn’t speak a word english and my italian is not much to write about.

The hangover didn’t do good for my running but catching up other runners did especially as they looked as serious runners in their linnens making the fourth and fith lap go around sub 4.20.  But at the end of the sixth lap I couldn’t keep up the pace anymore so I stopped at 4.30, drank some water from a fountain and sat down for five minutes before I started to jog again. Since the run with ”high speed” didn’t go on for longer than 6 ks I didn’t want to return directly to the hotel so I took off upphills to the backside of the park and ran into the make out place for the cities teenagers. I also took a short tour in the residential parts of Frascati trying to find the Amadeo Amadei arena named after the AS Roma legend that was born in Frascati. I only found the september 8th stadium but that is no big matter. Yesterday I met an other Roma Legend the great (but tiny) Bruno Conti.

I jogged home to the hotel and in total I think I ran around 11-12 ks.

20 ks, Västgötabengtsson, sleeping junkies and running past peeing girls.

I started this week with a 20 k run and I took off in a comfortable pace and the only aspect of my running that I was concerned with was that I wanted to keep my steps short. This is thanks to tips from Rick.  I know the secretbehind becoming a good long distance runner is more than just run with a short and quick stride but I still haven’t had time to go thru all the films and litterature on the subject. But I will, I promise and thanks a lot Rick!

I had downloaded a podcats from swedish radio about the dialects from the province that I come from, Westrogothia. The show was made 1979 (I think) by a local dialect expert called Västgöta-Bengtsson and it consisted of recordings that he made as early as 1947 with people born in the mid 19th century. He started the show with talking about how much the technical revolution has changed the world. And to listen to a man pre the internet, cellphone era talk about how difficult it was for older people to understand the concept of recording voices in a portable machine and later listen to the same voice, really set things in perspective.

Even though they spoke in my  dialect I had a hard time to understand everything they said but I understood that they talked about an old blacksmith that used to put shoes on oxes, since no one could afford a horse in the village that they grew up in. The difference between shoeing an ox and a horse was that you needed 8 shoes for an ox instead of 4 for a horse.

While I was listening to the show I was passed by a runner who ran slightly faster than me. I watched his stride and compared it to mine and I was really glad to see that he used a much more powerful and energy draining stride and I was still able to almost keep up with him. A couple of minutes I started to gain on him without any effort and after two ks I passed him, still running with a much more energy saving stride.

After the show about dialects I listened to an other historical show from swedish radio; one of the subjects was about the mediveal Ingvar Kamprad or Bill Gates, the richest man in swedish history, Bo Jonsson Grip. The thing that made most impression on me in the show was that the historician that was interviewed talked about that Bo Jonsson Grip has been painted as an all together evil person, and that tha is not the whole truth. And after that he told a story about how Grips first wife died in childbirth and how Grip had her gutted to get the baby boy out alive just so the boy could inherit over 100 farms from the dead mother. Just hours or a day later the poor baby died and Bo Jonsson Grip could inherit the farms (if the baby hadn’t been alive at birth the properties would have been returned to his wifes family.

The second part of the show was about Carin Göring, Herman Görings wife, or actually it was about the mystery regarding her remainings. Then Carin died she was first buried in her family grave in Sweden but Herman Göring later dug up her body and took it to a mausoleum in his estate, Karinhall, outside Berlin. At the ending of the war Göring destroyed Karinhall because he didn’t want the russians to get their hands on it. But he saved the mausoleum so the russians plundered the  grave (the corpse wore a lot of jewlery) and soldiers desectrated the body. For example it is known that they played football with Carins head. Later the remainings were found, and she was cremated and buried in Sweden again. The story could end here, but years later someone found a wooden coffin with a corpse in it where Karinhall was placed. The DNA analysis showed that this was a close relative to Carins brother and that the corpse was from a “not that old woman”. So now there is two dead Carin Göring.

As I listened to this i passed the lake Trekanten, and now with the spring in full bloom the benches around the strand were filled with bums drinking beer and one or two junkies sleeping in awkvard positions. This made me change my mind about going to this lake to try to catch some fish later this spring. Sharing the lake with the cast of a modern version of Les Miserables isn’t the same as fishing in a calm nature.

Then I had finished listening to the radioshows, my mind wandered off to think about something I said first as a drunken joke to David january 2008; “2009 is gonna be my year!” and then this year started I wrote a text message to my friend Pontus “already a year ago I said that 2009 is gonna be my year and you’re hereby included” and after a slow start there has been signs that my prophecy might become true.

After a little more than half the run I saw a couple in the woods 20 meters from the path, since one of them was squating in a strange position my reflex was to stare at them as I passed, just to relize that the couple was two runner who had made an emergency stop. And I found myself staring at a girl in runners clothing who was peeing. I qucikly turned my head away and made it even more obvious that I had been looking at her.

15 minutes later I met a group of jogging girls, all of them a little round in their edges if you know what I mean. And they were all dressed in T-shirts with the print “Military Training” on their chests. I couldn’t help thinking that if this was the swedish military we might as well tell the russians or US or Poland or San Marino: “you are welcome to invade this country if you want to”. Now I googled “Military Training” and found this site. By what I saw I wouldn’t use words like “the toughest training you ever experienced” rather “if you want to go jogging in a slow pace with other plump girls join us”.

Since the whole purpose by the run was to take it easy I was very satisfied that I could hold a pace sub 5 minutes/km for the whole run without getting tired at all. This despite all the hills and the pollen allergy. The hardest part was actually trying not to speed up.

Soundtrack of my run:

Bedsitter – Soft Cell

Västgöta-Bengtsson – Sveriges Radio

VR Historia – Sveriges Radio

Art Rules – Chicks on Speed

Busy Doing Nothing – Love Is All

This Month, Day 10- Cansei De Ser Sexy Cansei De Ser Sexy

Memorabilia- Soft Cell

Predict The Day- Ladytron

You Take My Breath Away- Knife

Kyberneticka Babicka Pt. 1 – Stereolab

Come Live with Me- Heaven 17

Me Plus One- Annie

Sexy Results (MSTRKRFT Edition)-Death From Above 1979

Ladykillers -Lush

Love Life – Chicks On Speed

Soon- My Bloody Valentine

Nice 10 ks in Skaraborg

This weekend I had planned to go to Borensberg to run “Kanalloppet” a race at the bank of Göta Kanal. But at a meeting with a company this friday a job opportunity  appeared that would make it impossible to go to Mölltorp to visit my parents next week. Therefor I decided to skip the race and visist them this weekend instead.

So instead of a race I took a training run around the lake Kyrksjön. Since this is my favourite run I didn’t use my iPod since I wanted to enjoy the nature at the fullest. I couldn’t help thinking about the job opportunity but since nothing is decided and I’m can’t write about it I tried not to think about it anymore.

My stride was light and easy and I had no problem with keeping a good pace without any effort at all. I tried to keep a short stride and thought about something I read the other day. A running coach said in an interview that you should try to have a short stride if you wanna train for long distances. Nothing new but he also said that a thing that a lot of runners do wrong then they try to improve their technique is that they focus on the foremost leg then it’s actually your rearmost leg that you should focus on. I must say that I can’t see how this advice could help anybody; partly because he didn’t say what you should focus to do with the leg and partly because I doesn’t understand how you could focus on one leg for the short time it’s the rearmost and then change and start focus on the other leg.

Thinking about this made me realize that my stride has become very straightforward and that the sideway movement of the body is very little. The effortless running made me enjoy the surroundings even more; the weather – around 13° C and a spring breeze – was perfect for the run, the views around the lake are really beautiful, forest, small red houses, green fields (on one I saw a pair of newly arrived cranes), and other small lakes.

The 10 ks took around 48 minutes and the overall feeling was that I could have kept up for an other lap in the same speed despite just getting 3-4 hours sleep last night.

Bad week that ends in good speed

This week has been a backlash compared to last week. Only three runs. If I want to find excuses I guess I could put the blame on the pollen fever that has hit me this week or a lot of work or that I had planned to run a 10 k race and wanted to take it easy to get in top shape. But the truth is that I’ve been lazy.

Today, for example I had planned to go for a long run, 20 ks or more. But I waited a little to long before I went out so I had to shorten that to a 12,5 k run. My body felt pretty heavy and it took a couple of ks before I could get up some steam. I thought that I should try to pick up the pace little by little the longer I ran so that after 10 ks I would be running close to my maximum.

After 2-3 ks I started to feel good and the old school hip hop tunes Worthy Rappinghood by Tom Tom Club and Hip Hop Be Bop by Man Parrish made me think about if it’s possible to run over benches turn around and start to run backwards without slowing down, without tripping. I’m not talking about making advanced tricks like these guys just to add a little spice to my ordinary run.

After 5 ks then I reached the island Långholmen I started go a little quicker. June the 14th it’s time for the annual Långholmen Race, organized by Janne Kask. We usually are around 10-20 friends who meet to find out who is the quickest to run around the island. The race is a little over 3 ks long  and starts with a couple of steep hills and even contains a couple of stairs. After the hills where I took it pretty easy I felt really light and got an impulse to try to run the rest of the lap really fast and I actually had no problem at all too keep up a really good speed.

I even had the energy to think about proposing to Janne that we could have a dinner after the race at my place for all the contestants (if we won’t be more than 20). I ran the lap sub 15 minutes without problem and I even had energy left so then I approached the second last k I tried to catch up a cyclist that was biking some hundred meters in front of me. I ran that k in 4 minutes and cut the difference to the cyclist by half.

The very last k I tried to take it a little easy but that was hard cause my legs wanted to run faster than my mind.

Soundtrack of the run:

Ladykillers    – Lush

I Can’t Be Satisfied    –   Talulah Gosh

Wordy Rappinghood    – Tom Tom Club
Paper Planes   –    M.I.A.
Bitter Sweet   –    Marc Almond

Hip Hop Be Bop (12″)    –    Man Parrish

All Tomorrow’s Parties    –    Japan

Horoscop    –   Cats On Fire

Älska mig/Skjut mig!   –    Pascal

Letters From a Voyage to Sweden    –   Cats On Fire
Mis nostálgicas manías    –    La Casa Azul

Längtar efter dig    1.58    Pascal    Galgberget    Rock        14    2009-05-03 22.52
Lay Down Your Arms   –   Cats On Fire

La revolución sexual  –  La Casa Azul

Higher grounds    –    Cats On Fire