...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Monday, August 31, 2009

10km in 56:46!

Ran Tjejmilen this year again – it's the biggest race for women in Sweden with more than 21,000 participants this year. The Swedish "mile" (mil) is not 1.6 kilometers but 10, and is an old unit of measurement for a distance you can walk or run without needing to rest.

The track was both harder and easier than I remembered it to be last year. Although I knew in my head what to expect (and that gave some kind of psychological readiness), my body is still new to this track. The brochures describe the track as a "friendly" track, but it gets really hilly after the 5th kilometer before it straightens out and rises to a long, long killer hill at the end. It was a real endurance run from the 7th kilometer on for me.

The positives:
- I beat my old time by almost 2 minutes! (last year's result was 58:24; this year's is 56:46). That's despite
stopping to pour a glass of water on my head on the 7th kilometer.
- I also felt that I ran at a more consistent speed than last year. My time at 5 kilometers was almost exactly half that of my 10-kilometer time. That's great, but that also explains why I didn't have energy enough to sprint at the end: I think my body really has to get used to running distances longer than 10.
- I'm not in a lot of pain the day after :-) I stretched and took a cold shower after the race, and I biked slowly home from the train station when I got back to Norrk
öping from Stockholm.

The negatives:
- I get annoyed at people who line up in the wrong (faster) start group. Why line up in the under-59-minutes group if you plan to walk after the first kilometer? It makes it hard and stressful for us who want to run and keep a goal time to have to weave our way through you, especially since you also tend to walk in lines blocking the road. The sign already says you have to run – not jog – all the way if you want to have the slightest chance of getting under 59 minutes. So, please, ladies! I appreciate it that you want to get motivated to exercise, but if you haven't been training in the spring, please start in a slower start group.
- In an attempt to be environmentally friendly, the organizers stopped giving the participants bottled water when they reach the finish line. Instead, they had compostable paper cups which volunteers filled with water from a bucket. That's all well. The thing is, I saw a woman who, after drinking, dipped her cup a second time into a bucket in front of these volunteers. In this time of swine-flu paranoia, that's just sick!
- I was a bit sniffly a few hours after the race. I drank a vitamin C drink first thing when I got home.

...With the sniffles gone, only a very slight body ache, and a good result though, I'm willing to temporarily forget the negative bits and look forward to next year's race. It's part of the experience, I guess. And overall, Tjejmilen is really a very good, well-planned and exciting event that really tests personal goals.

My goal for next year is to run under 55, which means that I have to run so much faster in average (12 seconds faster per kilometer) to put the time down an additional 2 minutes.
Then there's the endurance part, too: keeping that speed without losing gas. It's a hard challenge. Come back next year and see how I do ;-)


Anonymous Lara said...

congrats, joy!

1:13 PM

Anonymous Mats o Margareta said...

Roligt att höra att det gick så bra! Grattis till det fina resultatet!

10:42 AM

Anonymous Lara said...


during the blodomloppet, jaakko and i scored 56:39 for a 5km walk! hahahah :-)

7:34 PM


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