söndag 21 juni 2009

3rd place in the relay in our class, prize money to Funda Ayuda!

Just so happy after we, shockingly, finished third in our category!

I was actually in my car about to go home, when I heard our name over the speakers, "Pura Voluntad". What?!? Must be something wrong! Well, obviously not, and now we have 80 USD that we proudly can hand over to Funda Ayuda. It is not an fantastic sum, but everything counts. And it feels goooood! A true team effort!

Will try to write more about the race, a 5x5 km race, a bit later.

Picture: Carlitos is running the last relay, making us all proud!

torsdag 18 juni 2009

Interview in swedish radio!


After about 18 minutes, there are a few minutes intervju! Thanks Lasse on Radio Stockholm for taking your time for a few minutes chat!

onsdag 17 juni 2009

Incoherence, Interviews and 2000 USD to Funda Ayuda

"Coherence describes all correlation properties between physical quantities of a wave".

Right now, there seem to be a lack of correlation between body and mind. Have been out running a few times last week, not long, no more than an hour. The mind have been both eager to get running, and reluctant when gaining speed. The body have felt good one moment, only to protest in anger the next. This is an aspect i did not think about before. I expected to feel tired, for the body to feel heavy. But not the ups and downs, the incoherence. Sort of.. interesting..?

Had a nice talk with Lasse on the swedish radio, Radio Stockholm P4, http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/stockholm/sport/amnessida.asp?grupp=7561. They will actually send this tomorrow Thursday 3.30 pm swedish time. Que cool, as they would say here in Panama. Tried to persuade Lasse of the joy of running a bit further and to have him join Hornstull to Järna, http://www.embrace.se/hj2009/Hornstull_-_Jarna_2009/Startsida.html the 4th of July in Stockholm. Maybe I should tempt him with some reward.. Any suggestions are welcome!

Finally, what partly kept me running the last painful hour last weekend (in addition to all wonderful co-runners from the club of course..), the 2000 USD Ericsson would give to charity if (or rather when) I would make it. Yesterday, the money was handed over to Alfredo Maduro, representative for Funda Ayuda on the Ericsson office here. That felt really great!

Picture: from left to right, Carlos Retally, myself, Björn Welmer (country manager, Ericsson), Alfredo Maduro (Funda Ayuda), Luis Carlos Stoute and Hector Arias (controller, Ericsson)

onsdag 10 juni 2009

Runners Blues

Emptiness. Lack of direction. Runners blues?

The long preparation, the focus, the excitement and scare on the racing day, the fight, pain and finally exhilaration throughout the race and then- nothing?

It is not easy to put a finger on it. The sudden lack of goal? A realization of the seemingly meaningless activity to just run? Or some strange physical reaction from the body after such a run? Some sort of opposite to “runners high” that you can get from running?

Do I run from? Or to? Or just run?

Maybe the best way to find out is to… run!

tisdag 9 juni 2009

A dream come true!

Sabanitas outside Colon. Saturday evening, 9 pm.

Colon has a proud history, this part of the world have played an important part, from the Spanish “gold-era” to the building of the canal. Now it is more famous for crime and violence, and a lot of poor areas. What a fantastic moment it must have been for the people of Colon last year, when Irving Saladino won the first Olympic gold medal ever for Panama!

We were supposed to meet at Rey, and we got out of the car. We didnt really blend in, one head taller than everyone else and white as a sheet of paper- even in my runners clothes I scream “Money” to the surrounding. It felt a bit secure knowing that the police station is on the other side of the street, 30 meters away, but I can not say I was 100 % comfortable in the crowd.
I called Carlos to see where he was. Carlos and the other guys from the runners club went to get a cup of coffee, and we tried to coordinate ourselves. Then a middle age lady came forward- recognition! The friendly lady from the restaurant from two weeks earlier when Ida and I did reconnaissance of the route! Hugs and greetings. “Your friends are in the café”.

Armando, whom I met on my first race here last year, that introduced me to the club. The two brothers from Ecuador, Juan Pablo and Federico- two runners with an amazingly smooth flow in their steps. Luis of course, the really crazy guy training for his 100 miles later this year. And Carlos- the doctor with an eternal smile on his face.

After we had signed our names at the police station and exchanged a few words with the police escort, we headed back for the ocean. A few seconds of panic at the police station, when we checked the map. “Lago Gatun” it said on our starting spot. What! The damned lake?!? Not the ocean?? After some thinking, and double check with Luis we realized that the map at the police station was actually wrong. We would run from ocean to ocean, not from some sea to the ocean.

Picture 1: the start at the Atlantic. From left to right, Carlos, me, Armando, Federico, Juan Pablo and Luis.

Off to the start, parked the cars and walked down 50 meters to the ocean. Neighbors watching, wondering about the police car with blinking lights and some crazy guys in white shirts.. A few photos by the water, sorted out the last details and then off. Running? No, walking up to the police car, sorting out who goes first and then- running!

10.08 pm. What an amazing feeling! Six guys running in a nice smooth pace, police car behind us with blinking lights, a few more support-cars and full nightlife on the streets! Starting in a steady 6.30-pace (6.30 minutes per km), taking left on Transistmica after 1.5 km. Next: 7 km steady uphill, almost 140 m difference in altitude.

We slow the pace to around 7 min/km, talking and joking ourselves through the first hour of running. A lot of traffic going out of the city, but already after an hour the traffic is almost gone. Most of the sound comes from restaurants, where the full Saturday night parties are ongoing!

After 4 km comes a pretty steep section of the hill, and Luis says: “don’t worry, we are almost at the top, I recognize this”. Yeah, right! 10 minutes later we are still struggling uphill, Luis quiet with me and Carlos teasing him. From now on, every uphill we started with the by now famous words “don’t worry, we are almost at the top..”. Poor Luis.

After 12 km, approximately 1.5 hour, we got a steady downhill, and the pace went up a little bit. Everyone was feeling very good, and there was still a lot of chatter among the runners. Not much traffic now, but the evening was young and the parties plenty. Maybe we should stop by for a beer…?

Picture 2: still feeling good. Me and Carlos.

25 km, 3 hour, and we all started to feel a bit sleepy. Just after 1 in the morning, and the parties were still plentiful. No traffic though, and the sounds from the surrounding djungle were amazing. Full moon giving some light to the surrounding. Fantastic! The talking and joking have turned into silence, and everyone is contemplating their own thoughts. Knees starting to hurt a little bit. Not much, but together with the realization that there is around 6 more hours of running.. Not a pleasant thought.. But it feels very good to have Ida in the support car, always supporting, cheering. Giving energy.

33 km, 4 hours, and we are now crossing River Chagres, the most important river in Panama, feeding the canal with the water necessary to handle all the ships going through. Knees are a bit painful, but I knew that would come.
Armando thinks that 4 hours of running is enough, and settle for the bus. Probably the smartest guy in the crowd.

I think it is now we pass a cement factory. The air is a dense fog with cement particles, making it difficult to breath for a few km. The headlight shows millions of particles that wants to enter and destroy my lungs- and there are houses here! I feel so sorry for the people that have to live in this environment. I don’t even dare thinking about what their lungs would look like. This is poverty showing its worst side, when people are forced to suffer, to try and survive in an environment that eventually will break them down. I am just a passing guest, suffering for a few minutes. This is their home.

After 5 hours we reach Chilibre. 41 km, and now everyone is hurting. Some more, some less. But from now, pain is everyones companion. My ecuadorian friend also decides that this is enough. He started running 1 ½ month ago, and now he is running a marathon!!! We are so impressed, incredible!

Now we turn into the pitch dark djungle, the road towards Gamboa. The djungle is creeping closer, and even though we have our support cars, they are mentally so far away- in another world. The link is there, when I handle over the empty bottle to get a new one, to grab a sandwich or a snackbar. But the car is really another planet, another universe with the arm being a wormhole through space.

Thoughts are now getting a bit incoherent, and I stop taking photographs for the blog. It is simply to difficult a task to do, requires too much thinking. All thoughts are now focused on moving the feet forward, one step at a time, and the 5 minutes of walking we do twice an hour (the so called 25/5-method, 25 minute running, 5 minute walking etc) is a true reward to fight for. I am repeating my new mantra, “it is only pain”, to sort of persuade the body that it is only pain, and that I will not break or get injured. And if it is only pain, I can “think it away”. To my surprise, it actually works. Well, at least a little bit..

After 6 hours we pass the road up to Gamboa after 49 km, and my mind somehow registers relief- its less than 20 km left. Constant pain now in both knees and feet, in particular the uphills- they are real killers.

7 hours, some light at the horizon in the early morning hours. We are met first by three runners from the runners club. This is what it must have felt for Christofer Columbus when he was crossing the ocean, seeing the first birds indicating land somewhere ahead of him- a smell of land, in this case a smell of the finish line, or rather an ending of the pain.

Picture 3: getting support from Agapito the last few km.

More runners meet up, and we are soon 15 runners or more on the street. Tired Panamanians look at us when we pass, now knowing what they should make of it on an early Sunday morning. What a bunch of crazies!

I can hardly run in the uphills, each step painful. 6 km left someone says, but he could have said “only 10 hours more”. No difference to me. 6 km, an eternity. The only thing I know is that I have to keep my feet moving. 4 km. I can hardly keep my tears back, a mix of pain and excitement. I actually gonna make it- and with a fantastic support from the surrounding runners!
“You look good!”, someone says.
“Mentiras (lies)!”, I mumble. Everyone laughs.
“Yes, but it makes you feel better anyway”.
How true it is. 2 km, and I can almost see Amador now, the finish. Eyes with tears now, met by a wonderful crazy swede in a yellow shirt- Henrik!
“Here is some coffe. I didn’t know which beer you prefer, so I have both Balboa and Corona when you get to the finish”. That’s a true friend! Rounding the corner for the last 100 meters, Carlos and Luis waiting. “We wanted to wait for you, to finish together”. Oh my, I don’t believe it. Well, we made the journey together, and I am so happy to finish together as well.

Picture 4: Me, Carlos and Luis a few hundred meters from the finish.

Picture 5: supporting runners at the finish!

I can actually finish running and I cant help smiling, a sea of yellow ahead, colleagues and friends, applause in the air. The rest is hugs, photographs and thanks to everyone that helped me fulfill my dream. This was a journey within but also a journey with friends and family.

Picture 6: Pacific Ocean. Puentes de las Americas in the background, bridge of Americas crossing the canal.

Picture 7: Carlos, me, Luis and Federico. Four happy companions.

I have realized that I can do so much more than I think is possible, and that if you have friends to do it with- you can do even more (and have some fun on the way too).

söndag 7 juni 2009


Been sleeping most of the day, ice on my knees and legs. Will write more later, but one things is for sure- I would never have made it without the company of my friends from the runners club.

We were six runners starting from Sabanitas and the ocean, four run all the way to Amador. Well, running and running, a bit of walking as well of course, and the last hour was not a high speed run.

Thanks also to the bunch of runners that met up an hour and a half from the finish, supporting us the last, really tough and painful part of the race. And the cheering at the finish, with all the swedish flags. Fantastic!!!

The fantastic support from my wife Ida and friend Carlos, who spent the night in the car supporting me all the way.

Tom and Julianne, our great friends who joined us the hours before the race and helped us to take care of John and Noomi. And being a great company the dinner before the race. Damn, that table of deserts, postres, looked really nice..

All our swedish friends that waited at the finish. Björn and Yvonne with kids, Henrik with a viking helmet full of ice and a cold Balboa, Ira and Jörg, Ulla from the swedish consulate.

My colleagues and friends from Ericsson, Agapito that made me company running the last 10 k and Veronica in her car. Fabio, my dear friend that has taken a much more brave decision, good to see you there!

Now its time for a bath, a Balboa and to enjoy the beautiful sunset!


Aj aj

Posted by ShoZu

7 hours 57 km

I actually think i will make it

Posted by ShoZu

6 hours 49 km

4 runners left on the road, 6 started. Pitch dark in the middle of the djungle.

Posted by ShoZu

5 hours 41 km


Posted by ShoZu

4 hours 33 km

Crossing river Chagres. Pain in right knee but ok

Posted by ShoZu

3 hours, 25 km

The support car. After 2 hours of talking, everyone is quiet, in their own thoughts. Pain here and there, but not much. Not so many parties on the road any longer, 1.15 am

Posted by ShoZu

2 hours 16 km

Feeling good, getting a little tired, sleepy..

Posted by ShoZu

1.5 hour 12 km

Carlos looking good. Little traffic, a lot of animal sounds, djungle

Posted by ShoZu

1 hour 8 km

Feeling good. Some of my fantastic friends that joined.

Posted by ShoZu


Posted by ShoZu

We are running!

Posted by ShoZu


A few wonderful hours at Meila Hotel in Colon, at Gatun Lake. Half an hour before we meet up at Rey in Sabanitas. Feet are taped, some more sensitive areas as well, but I better not go into details...

Ready as I can be, nervous and excited, eager to get going.

lördag 6 juni 2009

Resting my feet..

Resting my feet a few hours before, on the Colon side. Passed Erving Saladinos house, really small with two huge cars outside. A drizzling rain, almost like Sweden. A little bit warmer though.. Now, some sleep.

Posted by ShoZu


Posted by ShoZu

Rain rain rain...

Friday afternoon. Rain season, and the tropical rain drowns the streets. No surprise there, but I realize I have to prepare for a bit of rain tomorrow night..
Lunch yesterday with the running club, Corredores del Istmo (http://www.marathonpanama.com/), yesterday planning the run. I have received a fantastic support from the club. They have organized so that a bus will take runners from Amador early in the morning and drop them off 30 km and 20 km from the "goal", to join me for the last hours, to give me support and company the last few hours. Wonderful!
23 hours left, and I do feel a bit nervous. Article in the swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, http://www.aftonbladet.se/kropphalsa/article5316716.ab. "What if I dont make it..". Well, that is not really "on the map", but since I have never run further than 50 km before, I will break new ground. New for me. Which is exciting, but also a bit scary. In any case, I will be among friends in a fantastic country with friendly people. Could it be better?

fredag 5 juni 2009

New starting time! 10 pm on Saturday!

Due to different reasons, I will start the run at 10 pm on Saturday. This means that times on the map posted earlier needs to be adjusted, simply add one hour to the stated times. Well. If everything goes as planned. Again, since I have never run this far before, I do not really know what will happen the last hours..

It looks like I will have company for most of the run. Two panamanian friends will join me for the first part (if I can not "fool" them to join longer of course..), several more will join for the last part. That feels good, it is for the last hours I will need the support the most!

onsdag 3 juni 2009

Why run 70 k at all..?

Three days to go, and I ask myself why I do this. Why run 70 km at all? What is driving me? When I think of it, why not go surfing instead..?

I think part of it, maybe a large part, relates to an inner journey. And curiosity. After 20-30 km, things start to happen with the body, pain starts to make itself noticed. It sort of moves around after that, sometimes the right knee, other times the left, both, the feet. But it never quite go away. That is the know factor.

What I do not know, is how my mind will react. What will I think? How do I motivate myself when I have run for 7 hours, pain, a long uphill in front of me and the rain starts to pour down? This is the exciting, or rather interesting part. Well, not the pain, but how I react and feel, and how I handle it. When I have encountered that, I know I can handle so many other situations, and I know how I will react, how I function.

When encounter difficult situations in my daily life. I can take with me the certainty that I for sure can go beyond what I might have thought were my limits, and I know how.

3 days to go..

tisdag 2 juni 2009

Running and cancer, anything in common..?

Running and cancer, do that have anything in common? Maybe not at first glance, and even though running as far as 70 km is a challange, fighting against cancer is a fight for life. 

Ericsson, the company I work for, have promised to donate money to Funda Ayuda if (or rather when!) I make it all the way to the Pacific. Funda Ayuda collects money to support the fight against cancer, and I feel honored to run for this cause. I am sure the last part of the race will be painful, the legs will hurt, I will think of quitting- then this will give me extra energy. If I make it, I help others. That feels good.

My toe continues to irritate me. It is still very blue, and not very comfortable running with it. I guess I have to stick with it, and hope for the toe to get better. In a way, it adds to the excitement...

Surfing, blue toe and a fast lap

Surfing is fun. Even, or maybe especially, for someone from the far north where skiing is more common. But taking the waves are not so easy. Happy just to get up, it is very easy to be just slightly too much in front of the board, with the result that the forward end of the board gets stuck in the water. The result: spectacular falls and hitting the seabottom hard. 

It is sort of fun, believe me, tumbling around in the wave, not knowing what is up and down. Arms above my head to avoid getting hit by the board, then finally finding the surface when the wave have passed. The whole head full of water, a big smile on my face. Fantastic!

When I surf, or try to surf, I spend more time below the surface than above. Eating sand. This time, a rock decided to hit me on my toe, quite hard as well. Nasty rock. My toe decided to go blue, and I had to cancel the long run on Sunday. I could move the toe, so it was not broken. I decided to test it today, Monday, just to see if it works.

Decent pace from work to the park, 2.5 km like warming up. Then a fast lap, around 4 km in 4:16 min/km pace. Felt the toe, but it worked. Jogging down home, 3 km, a little less than 10 km today. But a good test. Now cooling down the toe. It is still blue, but hopefully ok in a few days. 

Last three weeks have been a bit difficult from a preparation point of view. A lot of travelling have made for difficulties keeping the continuity: 
Guatemala-Panama-Sweden-Panama-Costa Rica-Panama-Honduras-El Salvador-Panama-Guatemala-Panama in 3 1/2 weeks. A bit difficult, and the last week have been pretty bad. The week before better, 70 km, which is a normal weekly running-diet.

Now I am looking forward to get started- I am curious about the last 20 km. I have run only 50 km in a race before, and the last 20 k will be an exploration of the unknown for me, to see how I react, how my mind works. Of that, I am curious.

måndag 1 juni 2009

Problematic preparations..

Surfing one week before the run might not have been a good idea. Hitting the bottom hard with a very blue toe as result...