...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Countdown to Tjejmilen: 77 days to go!

The good news is that I'm already registered for Tjejmilen, the 10-kilometer women's run in Stockholm at the end of August. It's the largest women's event in Sweden and lures an average of 22,000 runners each year (In contrast, only 8,000 people were registered for the Vår Ruset in Norrköping). Tjejmilen is a more sought-after event not only because it's national (Vår Ruset was held in 18 cities at different times) and has been in existence for a longer time (This year is Tjejmilen's 25th anniversary). Besides being a Fun Run, Tjejmilen also has a competition class, so the atmosphere of the run is entirely different.

The track goes around Djurgården, an island in Stockholm (Picture from Tjejmilen's website).

Together with Karin and Sara, with whom I went to Vår Ruset with, I've chosen to enter the competition class, so I'll get to know my official personal time and rank in the race. Of course the plan is to run as fast as I can sustain. According to last year's statistics, out of 7,000 who chose the competition class, only rank numbers 1 - 30 ran under 40 minutes; the next 100 (rank numbers 31 - 130) ran between 40-45 minutes; around 1,600 people (rank numbers 131 - 1,750) ran under 50 minutes; another 1,500 (rank numbers 1,751 - 3,335) ran between 50 minutes and an hour. I'm hoping not to stay in the track for more than an hour myself. 55 minutes seems to be a good, realistic time. Faster than 55 would be really good but ambitious. Let's see. ;-)

The better news is that my knee seems to be healing. I've previously been continuing running even if it had been feeling strange (supposedly, this is good to build muscles in the legs to prevent future injury), but we jogged last Saturday and my knee didn't hurt for the first time in weeks! I think a lot of it has to do with my new insoles. The Medicinskt Centrum here in Norrköping has a so-called Foot Shop that deals with pains and problems related to running. The diagnosis showed I don't have a "neutral" running step and this puts stress on my knee and thigh muscles on longer distances. Rather than buying new anti-pronation shoes, I had my foot moulded for insoles.

Basically, they make a mould of your feet in a machine that contains a bag of sand, and suck out the air from the bag to reveal your footprint. Then a pair of heat-mouldable insoles are placed on the mould, which you then step on for a couple of minutes so that the insole will be to the exact shape of your feet. Supports are then added under the insoles depending on your problem. The insoles really do seem to work, and after some weeks of training with them, my knee pain is gradually going away – or I can at least run longer distances now before it starts to act up. In yesterday's run, I only felt it after the 8th kilometer, but I was still able to complete all 10.

I also had thoughts of buying – and running with – knee support in Tjejmilen, but after reading some runners' forums where they said that its effects were mostly psychological, I think I'd rather train without it and make my muscles gradually repair and adapt on their own. What knee support does is do the stabilizing for you so that your muscles won't need to do it themselves, and this can weaken your muscles in the long run. So, I think that if I'm really going to seriously invest my time in running events in the future, running with (a bit) of pain is actually a good thing.

More about my Tjejmilen training in future posts.


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4:41 PM


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