Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fredrikstadløpet (2012)

Race #1 2012 - 21.1 km - 1:32:29

21.1 km to go run - photo by Randi Helen Gran

What a day


Yes, what a perfect day it was!
This was the day for many, having hibernated in the "Tunnel of Sweat" during winter, to come out and see the sun for the first time. At least it could seem like it, with so many happy runners with huge smiles on their faces. A beautiful "summer" day, not a cloud in the sky, great temperature for both running and chilling in the sun. And least but not last, a wonderful atmosphere. This was it, the 2012 season has started!

The event
It was my first time at Fredrikstadløpet. Never before I've started the racing season this early. Overall the race was a good one. It was great doing four rounds of about 5km (+/- some meters). Nice since you got used to the track through the city centre of Fredrikstad. And also positive for the runners seeing people almost everywhere along the track, and the audience seeing their favourite runner four times during the distance. A race like this is easier to organise as well, as you only do need one drink station and less people on duty for managing traffic and runners. I almost did crash with a woman, as she didn't look around when crossing the track. I had no other problems like that during the race though.

Some examples of kilometres that clearly was positioned wrongly.
One issue I did find annoying was the placement of the kilometre signs. They were not positioned correctly. I did manual lapping and the first kilometre was way too long. I was pretty sure I had a good opening pace, but when I lapped and did get 4:36 I started to worry. Personally I do think that the organisers are better off without using signs every kilometre if they can't put them in the exact right spot. Or maybe I have to learn running more on my body than on my watch. The latter might be a good idea.

I got 21.31 km as a total distance, same did other runners I spoke with. The GPS is never 100% accurate, and the organisers did state that the distance had checked and verified. Compared to some other half marathons I've tracked on my watch 21.31 km do seem like a sound result. Hence I do believe we actually did run 21.1 km. Below are a comparison of different half marathons I tracked with my Garmin 310XT last year. They do vary from 20.68 km (seems like this one was too short) to 21.33 km (Norwegian Championship in half marathon, hence I do believe that distance here was correct). Whether the GPS tracks a too short or too long distance do of course depend on the track. Track-wise Drammen was quite similar to Fredrikstad, and the distances measured by Garmin here were almost the same.

src: Garmin Connect

src: Garmin Connect

src: Garmin Connect

src: Garmin Connect

src: Garmin Connect

src: Garmin Connect

A nice shiny toilet, me like!

One thing I almost always complaint about is the lack of toilets in events like this. Here the organisers had made a deal with the local movie theatre, so we used their toilets. I only did find two toilets, but there might have been more as I didn't have to queue up for more than about five minutes to get a seat for the "pre race dump ritual".

The track
The track as it was recorded on my GPS. And no, I did not take a short-cut as it might look like at the top of the map. During our first round all runners did run straight. Hence the first round was a bit shorter than the next three.


My race

I felt SB was within reach and had to smile - photo by Randi Helen Gran

Before the race I planned to try to start in a 4:20 pace and my goal was to try to finish in about 1:32. However due to misplaces signs I had no idea what pace I did keep. My only valid reference was each time I did pass the start, as we did the same round four times. The first time I did pass in exactly 23 minutes, which I thought was an exact pace for 1:32. After the race I did realise the first round was shorter though. The second round I did pass in 46 something. Then I did pass in 1:09 something. In the end my official time became 1:32:29. I did end up running on my own for a while, and some parts along the quay were a bit windy. I neither did have the extra gear today though. The capacity to push myself was none-existing. Hence I kept a more even pace, and did not manage to increase the last kilometres as I'm used to on really good days. Overall I'm satisfied with my result this time of the year. Guess what? It was a season's best as well, yay!

I had no problems with "gas under pressure" nor did experience any "cable issues" (read the "Thursday" section in this post for more info about that) during the race. However I do believe I felt what is described as "runners knee". Around 8-9 kilometres I suddenly felt a severe pain on the outside of my right knee. It was as if I was stabbed with a knife and it was almost impossible to run. Luckily the pain quickly did let go. I was afraid of getting it back. If I had there would have been no way for me to complete the race. Luckily it stayed calm and I managed to complete without this being a big problem. I can't even use it as a valid excuse for not running faster. After the race it was painful walking down stairs though. I've struggled with this issue earlier so I know I do need to do some stretching. Hopefully it'll go away soon.

More pictures
Below are just a few pictures. Note that a complete set of all my pictures from the event can be viewed on

Race brekkie, pancakes with chocolate sauce. Yummy!

It's "never" too late to join a race
Trond Hansen, ready for another fast 1/2 marathon
One happy crew

First some stretching, a tad later a new PB was a fact

The true barefoot runner, Mr RKM. Today's result was a PB

Stian celebrating his PB

I managed to convince Vemund to celebrate his PB as well

One very happy and very fast family in the colours of SK Vidar

Another happy couple, Tim and Silja

I could have won my age group if I had skipped the last round

The final metres - photo by Turid Grøtli Aalholm

Even more
For more of my pictures do check
Full overview of my data can be viewed at Garmin Connect.
Official home page for the race is located at
Check this page for official results.
For more text and pictures check out

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Living life in the fast lane

src : twitter

This was my second day of "living life in the fast lane" and on my path to achieving my 400 meter goal, the 400MP. Earlier this month I spoke with a guy at Olympiatoppen about running. I found out that this person was quite a decent short distance runner a few years back. Mr Jean, originally from sunny Caribbean, move to Paris in his youth. There he ran a lot, and he ran fast. His personal best on the 400m is 46.7 (or 46.3?) seconds and on the 800m it's 1:46.6. Those times are solid. I'm not sure when Jean did set his PBs, but I assume it was during the late 60's or early 70's. In the 1960's the world record for the 400m was around 44 seconds, and for the 800m it was around 1:44. Being about two seconds behind the world record on the 800m is good, very good.

Jean is still training frequently. Twice a week he is doing track work. I asked him if I could join, and he welcomed me. Now I have a 400m mentor. Today was our first session together. It was a good one. We warmed up for long, first by running slow, then by doing some running drills. Today's session was 10 x 200m. In the pauses we walked slowly the next 200m to the start line. The goal was trying to get used to the surface. Trying to finding a good rhythm. As I was told to lift my legs a lot more than I'm used to I got tired in a different way. My thighs got worn out. During the last 200m they did feel like jelly. And that was without running that fast. Because times were not important today. That we'll deal with later.

Preliminary Race Plan 2012

From Drammensmaraton 2011, photo by Heming Leira.

Last year I participated in 52 races. This year I don't think I'll do as many. I've already signed up for a few races though. Below is my preliminary list.

The following races are booked in my calendar:
28th of April : Sentrumsløpet : 2011 report
5th of May : Råskinnet : 2011 report
12th of May : Göteborgsvarvet
9th of June : Hovlandsnuten Opp : 2011 report
22nd of June : St. Hansgaloppen : 2011 report
Mid July : The "other" race (a secret race for a few invited people)
22nd of September : Oslo Maraton : 2011 report

And then some more:
Next to the races mentioned above I might as well do Fornebuløpet, Norway Cross, Karlstad Stadslopp, Nordmarka halvmaraton, Rødtangen Rundt, Kongsvinger Maraton, Kodalmila, Halvtraver'n, Oslos bratteste, Nøklevann Rundt and Hytteplanmila. And of course, not to forget the race carousels Sognsvann Rundt Medsols, Øykarusellen and Maridalsalpenes Motbakkeløp. And since I've started the 400MP I better find some track races as well.

Let the race season begin!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The 400m project

src : twitter

I do like setting goals and I do like working towards achieving them. Right now I'm doing the MUP12, and when I started running my main goals were getting below 40 minutes on the 10 km and sub 1:30 on the half marathon. I did reach those goals last year hence I needed a new goal. Since I also do like trying out new sports, but do enjoy running, my new mission is sub 60 seconds on the 400m. That is the 400m project, or the 400MP. I will argue that 400m is a different sport to long distance running. You have to train differently and you have to run differently.

Vegeir, former weight-lifter, now short distance runner.

Today I did my first session on my path to reaching my new goal. I ran 9 x 200 meters, starting every two minutes. There will be a lot more track work to come the next weeks and months. Hopefully I will get my shorts below 60 seconds sometimes this year. It might not sound that fast at all, 60 seconds. And to be honest it's really not that fast either. But I'm getting older and I've never before done any sprint training. And as many do know you don't naturally grow faster with age. But I want to reverse this process. I want to become faster than I've ever before been. Hence I need to do some work. Neither gravity nor age will slow me down!

Split times for the nine 300 meters:
60.9 - 61.6 - 61.7 - 61.6 - 63.5 - 63.2 - 63.6 - 62.9 - 58.2
Which gives an average of 62.7 seconds.

20 very efficient minutes.

Here is a video from my first and so far only time I've tried running a 400 meter, together with Mr Ringom:

If you want to read more about the 400m race above you can check out this link.

Monday, 19 March 2012

On the Move

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online "habit" is defined as 
"a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up"
and defines it as
"an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary"

Not sure about how many times a person move residences on average. I did some searching though and in America the number seems to be around 11-12 (stated here, here, here and here). I'm sure SSB has got some numbers for Norway as well, but I didn't find them. Anyhow, I don't think it's that much more than in America.

Based on these definitions I think it's safe to state that I've got a habit of moving and that I've moved a lot more than Average Joe. I've finally made an updated list. Just In the last 1.5 years I've moved five times. In total though I've moved houses 28 times, I've moved cities 14 times and moved countries 4 times. It has not been 14 difference cities or 4 different countries as I have moved back and forth, but still it is a lot. I was born in Haugesund, grew up in Sauda, I've lived in Lakselv, Lillehammer, Sandefjord and Oslo. But I've also lived outside Norway, in Australia. There I've lived in Sydney, Melbourne and a short period in Kiama Downs. At the moment I'm at Jordal Terrasse in Oslo, but I've lived at Bislett, Kringsjå, Sogn, Røa, Gamlebyen and Enerhaugen. It has been a lot of moving, and I'm not at all done. Right now I'm looking for a new place to move since I want to get out of the city centre.

It is no overstatment saying I'm tired of moving. Even though I've done it a lot it's still bloody stressful. A lot of work to be done, often in a short period of time. Just the thought of having to move again makes me sick. So why do I move? Well, during the first years of my life I had no choice. I was moved. Divorced parents that were moving frequently gave me that start. Then I got my first apartment, in 1999. I kept that place for ten years, but during those years I moved a few times due to studies. In 2009 my, now ex, girlfriend moved in with me. We upgraded to a bigger place later that year, before we decided to move to Australia. After I moved "down under" my relationship (actually my marriage) got messed up, big time. The result was me moving back to Norway again. Since then I've been unable to settle down. I'm now in the process of selling my current apartment and am searching for a new location where I can stay for hopefully a few years.

I thought of how to write this section of the post. I can structure it focusing on the positives:

So has moving this much affected me? It is very obvious it has, in positive and negative ways. First of all I seldom get too emotionally involved with people or things. When being used to move away and "lose stuff" you care about, since being a child, you learn it's better keeping a distance. And having moved this much has made me restless. It's to me hard to think that I will stay in one location for very long. I'm longing for having a base though, a place I can have my few (compared to an average Norwegian in my age) things stored.
But over all I reckon moving this much has made me stronger. I find it very easy to settle in at new locations, I'm good at getting organised and getting my life on track even though I'm in a new city or a new country. If I do miss something where I live I make the best of the situation, finding alternatives. I'm very independent and used to fixing everything myself.

Or I can structure it focusing on the negatives:

So has moving this much affected me? It is very obvious it has, in positive and negative ways. I find it very easy to settle in at new locations, I'm good at getting organised and getting my life on track even though I'm in a new city or a new country. If I do miss something where I live I make the best of the situation, finding alternatives. I'm very independent and used to fixing everything myself.
But I  seldom get too emotionally involved with people or things. When being used to move away and "lose stuff" you care about, since being a child, you learn it's better keeping a distance. And having moved this much has made me restless. It's to me hard to think that I will stay in one location for very long. I'm longing for having a base though, a place I can have my few (compared to an average Norwegian in my age) things stored.

What is closest to the truth of the two versions above I'm not sure of. The only thing I do not know is that I can do nothing about my past, only my future.

And what the future will bring I don't know. Who does? At the moment I'm very happy staying in Oslo. However one day I might pack my stuff and once more search for new adventures.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

One week in running

Every time I do run past this place I can't avoid smiling. From my Sunday trip last week. Guess where.

Monday : 13.33 km (intervals w/SK Vidar)

In "The Tunnel of Sweat"...

... we start sweating at 5:30 pm every Monday and Thursday

Due to being sick I only got 28.31 km last week, so this was my first proper session in one week. I ran far from fast but I was satisfied completing the interval session in "The Tunnel of Sweat" with SK Vidar. My right calf was a bit problematic, as it has been for a while.

Tuesday : 5 km (slow)

The warmest day in March, in Oslo, ever.

A beautiful summer day with the warmest March temperatures ever measured in Norway. I left work early and chilled out in the sun for three hours. Wonderful being able to sleep outside in the sun this early in the year.

ref : twitter

Ran 5 km on the treadmill followed by strength training. Later that night I dropped by a local restaurant and had dinner. While eating I realised the employees there being a tad unhygienic. Guess I won't visit that place again.

Picking your toes and nose in between serving feed and without washing your hands; Mattilsynet, hello!

I just had to...

Wednesday : 3 km (slow)

This became the big procrastinating and muscle-up day. My plan was to run 10 km, but since I wasted more than 3 hours before I got onto the treadmill I got too hungry and only managed 3 km.

Thursday : 14.17 km (intervals w/SK Vidar)
After far too little sleep the previous two nights I was very tired. I considered skipping training but forced my self not to. Ran from home till Bislett as warm-up, an extra 5 km. Felt OK. Then when I started doing intervals in the Tunnel of Sweat I felt this was my day. I manage to run faster than in a very long time, and it felt good. I don't have that many days where I feel I manage to run without getting all puffed out. I left the stadium with a huge grin on my face and started on my way home. Towards me came a pretty "Oslo babe". She looked at me, for long, and I at her. "In da zone" I though and continue running while smiling. A few more meters up the road I met another pretty girl. I got eye contact with her as well, and then the third babe in a row came and same thing happened. They all looked at me, for long. They gave me "the look". I was really on the go. "Yay", I told myself, "wonderful day this one". I continued on my way home. Then I met a guy. He as well stared at me. That was when I realised the girls did not look at me because they liked my look. They looked at me because I had spit all over my cheeks. I quickly wiped my face. To the next girl I met I once again was air, she did look straight through me.

Grünerbrua to the rescue.

Suddenly I got severe stomach pain. I had to stop running as it was really painful. I waited for a minute and tried running again. I only came about 500 meters before I once more had to stop. The pain got worse and it was as if my entire stomach was about to explode. I tried to "open up", but quickly realised that there was a lot more than air that would escape my body if I did released the pressure. "T minus 1 minut". I had to find somewhere private very soon. "T minus 45 seconds". I quickly scanned the area. Being in the city there are a few limitations when it comes to hiding away. Luckily I was close to a bridge. I looked down and saw I could manage to get under the bridge and hide away if I climbed a fence. But as soon as I started walking towards it I understood that was no option. I would not manage to keep the pressure while climbing. "T minus 30 seconds". As fast as I could I walked off the road in stead, and found my way to a parking lot where I continued towards the edge of the river. "T minus 10 seconds". In a haste I looked around and realised this spot had to do. "8 .. 7 .. 6". I pulled down my pants pronto and crouched. "4 .. 3 .." I conceived that I only sat about 10 meters from the bridge and everyone walking across it would see me quite clear if they did turn their heads. I just hoped that they would not do that. "2 .. 1 .. KABOOOOOOOM!!!" My guts exploded and created a loud sound while loads of shit came flying out. The two guys at the bridge quickly turned their heads. I looked down hoping they would continue and forget all about me. Continue they did, but forgetting, I don't think so. I won't go more in details but there was a lot of liquid yuckiness. You do get the idea. After my guts were empty I understood that there was nothing around I could use to wipe myself. I thought of using my beanie or gloves but that would be too grouse. I had to closed my eyes, think of something else, and pull my pants back up. Walking the next 4 km home was no fun. I tried moving as careful as possible. As I had planned to run back home I had no dry tee either, and with only three degrees outside I got quite cold. Anyway, I got home. Carefully undressed and threw my pants in the washing machine. Finally being in the hot shower I could relaxed. I looked down and saw the water turning light brown as it ran down my body. "In da zone, not completely."

Friday : 0.0 km
Friday I spent at Olympiatoppen doing strength training. No running.

Saturday : 22.63 km (slow)
Another weekend where Mr Ringom arranged a long run. Last time I ran 30.5 km, but today 22.63 km was all I had time for. A great initiative by Espen these trips. A good crew meets up and eats some kilometres for breakfast. We were 11 runners in total. You can read more about this trip here (in Norwegian). It was a great run with good company, and today I also did learn from Tim never to take any short cuts. By taking short cuts you fool no other than yourself. What matters is gaining km.

11.00 we started from Kaffebrenneriet at Aker Brygge.

Tunnels and runners, there is something magical about it.

Espen "S100" Ringom.

The crew, and since I don't remember all the names I won't mention any.


Bygdø sjøbad.

Espen always asks me to take close-ups, he loves them.

Mr United Bakeries, and to the left Mr GSK not sure what he is checking out though.

The S100, a great friend.

The bridge over Oslo-S, 2.2 km from home.

The total.

Sunday : 3.4 km (slow)
Another beautiful day. Ran one round around Sognsvann before I lied down in the sun for a while. On my way home I dropped by Olympiatoppen and did an hour of core exercise.

Total : 61.54 km

Running more than 60 km is to me quite a lot. Despite some minor "accidents" week 11 2012 was a good one.