fredag 29 januari 2010

18.5 km, 1 h 52 min, -14 C. Una experiencia!

Every day is a learning experience. This week more than normal. While running home from work today, I had some time to contemplate, reflect over some learnings.

First some workrelated:
  1. If there is no formal process for solving a problem, it is per definition impossible to solve.
  2. Having no access to email and no possibility to prepare for meetings is inversely proportional to the number of action points recieved at the meetings.
  3. Moving to Central America was so much more easy than moving back to Sweden.
And some other:
  1. Running 18 km in -14 C feels slightly longer than running 18 km in a tropical country.
  2. Boiling sportsdrink in a bottle reach room temperature in around 20 minutes in -14 C and start to freeze in yet another 20 minutes.
  3. Cyclists in Sweden are even more crazy than the runners. On my run from work I met 3 runners and 7 cyclists. You have to be truly crazy to bike in this temperature.
  4. It is very nice to drink warm sportsdrink after almost two hours running in a somewhat chilly weather.
What will i learn tomorrow?

In any case. Now its Friday. And time for some swedish whisky!


Posted by ShoZu

måndag 25 januari 2010

Running home from work

Starting to gather my stuff around 4.30 pm. Its dark outside, but not completely. The snow lightens up, and even deep in the wood it is bright enough to run.

Almost half an hour later I have prepared everything. Heating up the sportsdrink to avoid chewing ice halfway home. Energi-gel, not because I am running very long, but because I need everything I can think of to keep my energy. Salsa is gooooood, but it will only take me so far..

5 pm and I am off. Calling home to anounce that I will be a bit late. No surprises this time, running a known way home. Actually the shortest one, I think, that is possible from Kista to Hägersten. A little more than 17 km, 1 hour 30 min.

Temperature around -5 C at the start, dropping towards -10 C towards the end. Fairly ok, but when I stopped for two minutes to take a call, the cold air is there directly. Have to run a bit faster to get warm and realize that I probably need to buy a wool sweater as well, not only long underwear pants of wool.

Its different to run on snow and ice. My icebugs (running shoes with short spikes) works wonderfully, but when there is pure ice its a bit slippery anyway.
And the snow.. Works good, but on the places where the snow is a bit soft, its almost like running in sand.
Its difficult to cover all skin, and my nose starts to get really cold. I try to cover it the best I can, with the know effect that the scarf get wet from my breath and then freeze to ice. Nice!

The run felt good, everything was working and my knees didnt hurt so much today. I actually start to believe that I might survive the cold here. For a while.. :-)

söndag 24 januari 2010

A lot of clothes and new findings

6.30 am. Not as early as in Panama, not by far. But still. Dark. Cold. Silent. Sunday morning.

To avoid the last weeks curious feeling of trying to drink ice after 20 minutes of running and the waterbottle froze, I decided to put my "camelback" to test. A new insulating cover for the "drinking tube", and heating up the sportdrink to almost boiling.

Also testing home made energy gel. After the disastrous experiment with the Rune cakes in December, I decided to try something new. Why not make my own energy gel....

Bananas, cacao and a lot of other stuff. Honestly, it looked really discusting. But tasted ok. Lucky me. Hmm. Not really gel, so I decided to put it in my waterbottle. Getting started after 7 am.

Light is slowly coming. The sunrise in Sweden is so long compared to Panama. In Panama, its like a light switch is turned on, its really fast.

In Sweden, the sunrise last for one or two hours.
Which is nice.
During winter, sunset starts directly after sunrise.
Which is not so nice.

Beautiful in any case, and while running in Årstaviken, I have to stop and take a phot- its so beautiful! But stopping for just a minute, and the cold is kreeping in. I dont have a thermometer, but it feels a bit colder than just a few below zero.

Continue Årstaviken runt, crossing Liljeholmsbron on the way back, and decides to turn right and go pass the small lake Trekanten, then continue to the historical place, Vinterviken, where Alfred Nobel made explosives many years ago.

Now its really cold, even though the sun is coming up- behind the clouds. Luckily, they have put up a sign- No Diving. Great, I was just about to jump into the water, sorry, on the ice...

I decided to cut the planned 2 hour run to 1:40, around 16 km. It really is a tremendous difference running here, not being used to the cold, the snow and the ice.

Checking the web, I could see that the temperature was around -12 C when I started. Not warm. And a lot of funny things happens. To the body of course, knees, feet, face, hands.
Covering the face with a scarf to handle the worst cold results in ice building up on the scarf, and after 20-30 minutes of running, the scarf have turned to ice.

The training program is more or less screwed up, and I have to focus on slowly getting used to the cold.

The race in April... Well, lets see...

tisdag 12 januari 2010

Discovering Sweden

The only way to get used to my "new" country, is to embrace it openly- but with a tremendous amount of clothes on!

Time for run number two. I have realized that it will take some time to get used to the cold and get to my normal level of training. I am actually slightly worried about the race in April, and is actually considering the 50-mile version instead of the 100. With that, I can relax more in my training and give more time to adapt to the climate, the new job and everything. And give more time to my family and friends.

So, no freezing, that is the goal for now. This is what I tried today:

-Thick underwear (kalsonger)
-Long underwear, 50 % wool! (bought in Dressman of all places. Apologize to my panamanian and other latam friends, but Dressman sell clothes for men, no training stuff. Normally..)
-Thick socks, 100 % wool.
-Windproof running pants.
-Thick underwear (synthetic) on upper body.
-Another layer of fairly thick shirt/jacket.
-Windproof running jacket.
-Windproof gloves with fleece.
-Head-band, windproof.
-Cap/hat, thin
-Running shoes with spikes (the, in Sweden, famous Ice Bugs:
-Water-bottle, handheld
-Ipod (of course..)


-Feet, feeling warm and good
-Legs, perfect
-Body, feeling good, but got cold when I had to stop for a minute in the middle of the run. Easy to get warm again while running though.
-Hands, perfect
-Head, not good. Was ok first half, but when there was a slight breeze I got cold directly. Need to buy some completely windproof
-Face, ok. Thinking about what I should do if it gets slightly colder and a bit more windy.
-Waterbottle. Ok for about half an hour. Then I started to get ice instead of water to "drink"... This will be a tricky one, and now it wasnt even "cold"!!!

Run a nice 7.5 km run. Except for freezing a bit in my ears and left knee hurting a bit, it was actually pretty nice. It is cold for sure, but it is also incredibly beautiful! On the picture, I am passing the old headquarter of Ericsson at Telefonplan. I also remember coming with my father to his office there when I was a kid, playing "lunar landing" on his Texas programable calculator. That was really coooool!

There are so many things I rediscover now. The special feeling of pain behind the ears while running in cold for example.. But also the silence, which is emphasized with the snow. The snow is eating all sound, and with the cap on, you hardly hear a sound. Scary or magic? Pick your choice!

When I look at all the people, I think "wow, how can we live here? All nine million! Are we nine million crazies or what?". On the other hand, I think the climate makes us tough! Both Sweden, Norway and Finland have pretty tough dudes/dudas. We have to, in order to survive. Physically and mentally.

I realize now, thinking about when my dear friend Dino came to Panama last August to visit and run the marathon, that we are stubborn indeed. After only two days in Panama, he run a tough, tropical marathon. And made it! I know he suffered, his feet swelling up, cramps, everything, but I think the swedish mentality just kept him going.

We are a tough bunch! :-)

måndag 11 januari 2010

Cold run- shortest this year?

Cold cold cold. At least for me... Time to try real running in Sweden. Not too cold, really, but still some 35-40 C colder than I am used to. Having no idea what to put on, I just took what I had.

First I thought about running for around an hour. Coming out a bit late, I decided to cut it to half an hour. After 10 minutes I decided that it was enough. Running back, and finishing what will probably be the shortest run this year. Less than 3 km.

This is what it looked like during the run:

This is just about how it feels. Coooooooooold. But I know it is just something I will get used to. But I can not imagine how I could stand this for many hours in April, for the TEC-race. 12 or 24-36 hours. What did I think of when I signed up..?


Pic: view from our house in Hägersten. Sun is going up, painting the trees with gold.

First run in Sweden, but to be nice to myself I took the treadmill track, i.e indoor. 3 minutes walk to Västertorpshallen, then I could get started. Looking at the snow, salsa in my ear. Strange feeling...

Did a fairly tough run, sort of pyramid-run (whatever it is called in runner-lingo), starting slow, going faster, then slower again. All in all 11 km, with the following speed in min/km:


I was really tired towards the end, but at least I am awake! Almost one week without running, I really needed this!

3:45 was maybe a bit too fast, couldnt really keep a good stride, but it feels so good to not be scared of the sub 4 pace. I am confident I will go below 40 min/10 km this year, something of a "dream-barrier" for an enthusiastic office-dude.

Today, I will dress up for my first outdoor run. Not sure I have all clothes, but I will only go a few km. Then I know what works and what does not work...

söndag 10 januari 2010

Balboa, 5.2 km, my last race in Panama for a while- and three swedes running!

Pic: Start!

A week ago now, which feels a bit distant. More so than normal, with the unusually cold weather in Sweden now.

Anyway, it was a fantastic way to finish my running in Panama for a while, meeting many of my new friends in Panama. We had friends from Sweden visiting, and Jacob 15 years wanted to run the 3 km race. Also Ida was running out of competition, before the race started. So, in practice, there were three swedes running. New record for Panama?

A perfect race for me I think, starting flat the first 6-700 meters, then going quite steep uphill the next km, going up some 40 meters. I knew from the El Valle race, and my previous experience that I am fairly strong on the hills. Also, Luis Carlos kind words after El Valle helped me looking forward to the uphill.

Coming to the start area around 6.15 am, start should be at 7 am. "Dont worry, Jacob, they will start around 7.15 at the earliest". Also, the race from last year had more participants than usual, which would mean further delays when a lot of people needed a number. Warmed up slowly, went to the bathroom around 6.45 am. Came out just before 7, jogging slowly towards the start. "Maybe we should intensify the warm-up a little bit", then we passed Margaret. "Guys, the start is now!!! Have you gotten your numbers???".
What? Its only 7 am? How can it possibly start now???
Running towards the start, and now I see that they are just about to get running! Wow, incredible!

Not the perfect warm-up, but off we go! My idea is to run a 4 min/km speed, and do the uphill in 4.30 min/km pace. That would give me a finish-time around 21m30s on the 5.2 km race.
Start off slightly faster, as always. But slower than many others..
"Jacob, how are you feeling?"
Wow, he is keeping up with my 3.50 min/km pace, I am impressed!

Coming to the uphill, going slightly slower, but not much. Around 4.15 min/km, and passing several runners. Jacob is slightly behind me now, and I am hoping that the turnaround for the 3 km is clearly marked.. It turns out, that it was not...
I can see Fer ahead of me, I wont catch him today either. Of course.. :-). One day, Fer, one day.

Passing Moises Barragan and Victor Liao, that normally beats me in the races. On almost the same place, I was passed by Moises in the marathon last year (he actually blew passed me, superstrong!). Both are strong runners, and very nice guys. I think this is the first race I actually pass them, and of course it boost my confidence further. I feel strong as I pass more runners, and come to the top where the first water point is.

Taking longer strides now, using my long legs to gain further in the downhill towards Panamerican Highway. Realizing that I have not seen any turnaround for the 3 km. "Damn, this will be tricky for Jacob".

Panamerican Highway now, going up and down. Running close to two other runners, passing eachother in turns. Noone want to let the other pass, ofcourse!

Turning right, and going uphill again. Last uphill, and I pass one or two more runners. Going downhill, but getting passed by Maria Viera. "What! How can she pass, when I have so much longer legs..?". A bit confused, I just continue pushing downhill, but she stays ahead of me.

Last km now, going flat. Thinking "Damn, time to really stretch my strides..", and passes Maria Viera. I think she tries to follow, but its not very far with my legs being so much longer. Sort of cheating...

Doing the last turn, 20 meters to go and I make a last effort, sprinting passed yet another runners, crossing the line at 20m33s. I am sooo happy about the time!

Asking Ida about Jacob, and as I feared, he didnt make the turn for the 3 km. He continued on the 5 km race...

A few minutes later, Jacob came in just above 24 min, looking really angry! Actually furious! "Welcome to Panama!" I greeted with a smile, and then told him what a marvelous race he had done! Talked to Elmer a bit later, and had Jacob signed in for the 5 km race officially. I doesnt matter that he is listed as "Daido" Sidambah, he is in the list.

It felt strange to leave, knowing that the flight to Sweden was in two days. There is so much I will miss, and the races and the crazy (and wonderful) runners are high on the list! But again, I am so thankful for everything, for all the friendly people, the open atmosphere and for an (mental) environment where I can fulfill my crazy dreams.

Love to you all!

Pic: Cixnelle, winner of the 3 km race! 6 years, and running a tough 3 km race in 16 min 25 sec- look at that stride and fighting face!!!

Pic: Veronica running for the finish!

Pic: Fer is rocking!

Pic: hmm. I actually look a bit tired..

Pic: Jacob, just after finish a 5.2 km race, 2.2 km longer than he expected to run!

Pic: slightly angry eyes...

Pic: Luis, always with a smile!

Pic: And Daniel, thank you for the good runs. Sorry we didnt do more of them, but there will be more opportunities. Keep running!

Thank you, Ida, for taking the pictures!!!