...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I survived the Tjejmilen!

My medal on the 25th anniversary of Tjejmilen.*

A 10-kilometer track. 25,000 participants. In the biggest women's running event in Sweden for both elite and amateur runners, I came up as number 3,794 in the timed race and fulfilled my personal goal of running under an hour.

I survived being on my feet for 58 minutes and 27 seconds, the weight of my body being transported one step at a time by just the power of my legs. But a lot of it was also mental, in terms of planning and self-pepping. I overtook (and was overtaken by) a mass of people. Strategizing a route takes a lot of energy, and your eyes move left and right almost by instinct, looking for that teeny-weeny gap between a tight group of runners ahead. The running tempo was also much different from running training by yourself. I had to spurt a lot of times to get ahead of others, yet at the same time had to stop pressuring myself to run faster than the people getting ahead of me, to save energy. Because in the end, it's all about optimization, and you have to remind yourself just to run your own race.

The promised sunny weather didn't turn out that warm at all either. The weather was fickle; cold rain showered on us participants before and sometime during the race. But when we were all very warm from running, the rain was actually welcomed. I was even feeling warm in my shorts and sleeveless top at the end of Swedish summer, about 15 degrees. If it hadn't rained and if it were sunny all the way, I probably would have been tempted to get a mug of water to pour on myself.

I only had one rule for myself during this Tjejmilen race: Don't stop. I told myself that I had trained enough so that I'd never need to stop even for water (I didn't), and that I could slow my tempo down by jogging if I ever felt tired (I did; I felt tired, believe me). And in the end, I think that was the motto that took me to the finish in less than an hour, which was the goal I had for myself, but never really knew I could fulfill. It's my first official sports-achievement so far – we even used a time-taking chip on our shoe, how cool is that? – and right now, I feel that I can do it all over again. There should be free Swedish cheesecake at the end too, though :-)

Here we come Tjejmilen 2009! Anyone want to be the fourth team member so we can be a Tjejmilen Kvartett? ;-)

* The Swedish "mile" (mil) is not 1.6 kilometers but 10. This measure of distance is used in both Sweden and Norway, where it is instead called the Norwegian mile. According to this Wiki article, the distance was equal to a very old unit of measurement representing a suitable distance between rests (see, you can run Tjejmilen without stopping!) However, in today's time, the Swedish mil is used only informally to refer to distances; road signs are in kilometers. In the Philippines, 10 km is roughly like running from NAIA international airport to Manila. Interestingly, from the race start at Gärdet, a school for the deaf called Manilla [sic] – apparently named after the city of Manila according to a guided tour we had a year ago – was only 6 kilometers away.


Anonymous chip said...


1:18 AM

Blogger aka Cheryl said...

congratulations, joy! :) i think you'd enjoy watching "Run, Fat Boy, Run."

5:37 AM

Anonymous Lara said...

congratulations, joy! bravo, bravo!

7:09 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Thanks guys!

Cheryl: I read the plot at Wiki and IMDB, and... it doesn't really have anything to do with running, does it? :-D But alright, I'll try it. Run, Cheryl, run! (Thought of any conquer yourself-projects? If not, running is a good start!)

2:00 PM


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