Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Something more than just a tempo? Stockholm Marathon 2015

Stockholm Marathon 2015: start

In the beginning of June, in 2014, I was cheering for my friends Daniele, Manuel and Tito while they were running Stockholm Marathon. Frankly speaking, that was one of those days when you wonder "why are they doing this?". At the start of the race, it was raining and the temperature was really cold. Then, after just one hour, the sun started burning the asphalt and the experience was more similar to a mid-may jog in Dubai than a Swedish June running race.
I thought that the course was pretty nice, well tracked, even if I do not believe that it is designed for breaking any record, since there are more than 400m to climb during the race.
After running Lidingolöppet (September 2014), I lost my motivation in training and I didn't run that much (around 70-90km with one-two interval session(s) per week), but I would have like to run Stockholm Marathon this year, maybe just to prove myself that I could still run 42km in a row (it's not that easy, uh!?). I tried to contact Stockholm Marathon organization several times (I was expecting to run right below 2h30m), asking for an elite group bib. Unfortunately, I've never gotten any answer. Actually, I was pretty disappointed. I know that with 2h30m you can basically enter for free in almost every marathon in Europe. Still, I know that the majority of the runners are paying a lot for entering those races, so sometimes I feel a little bit ashamed for pretending to have a bib for free.
In the end, I stopped thinking about preparing the marathon and I just enjoyed my daily training. Suddenly, last Thursday my colleague Fraser told me that he was not able to run Stockholm Marathon anymore and that he could have given me his bib if I wanted that. I thought it could have been a good tempo training, maybe just for 30km. So I got his bib. Unfortunately, his starting group was the very last one (no. 23000+, more or less after 15m from the first start), so I already knew that I would have to overtake quite few runners in front of me.
"Never mind, it's just a training, let's do it".

Stockholm Marathon 2015: refreshment
I would have been really happy to run around 3m40s/km for 25-30km. It would have been a really good session. So I went to the start biking from home right 10 mins before and I started. I felt pretty good in the beginning, but frustrated by having so many people in front of me. I was forced to run a fartlek for more than 20km before my pace could become stable. The hardest part was to overtake the pacemakers, since runners were forming a cluster around them and it was impossible to find a way through. Surprisingly, after the first 20km I was still feeling all right. The weather was just bad (strong wind, rain and cold) but I crossed the 30th km without thinking about that too much. It took to me a while to decide whether to continue or drop the race at that time, and when I got the conclusion, it was already the 35th km. The conclusion was exactly the answer I would have gotten from my friends running the race the year before to the silly question "why are you doing this?": simply because, in a runner mind, that is not even a question!
I finished the race, keeping an average pace of 3m37s/km and passing more than 20000 people. I'm very happy for that.
Doubtlessly, this tempo training was a unique experience, but I wouldn't like to repeat that in the feature...

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