So finally the spring classic has come to an end – the annual Göteborgsvarvet. There has been some confusion that I was aiming for 75 minutes, but I would firmly like to deny that I had any such ambitions. This year. I have only said that mathematically it would be appropriate given former years improvements.
This year, the conditions were quite hard actually. My goal time was about 1.17, but my worst case scenario was 1.20. I even said on twitter that if I fail with the 1.20 limit, I will DNF just before the finish line. In the end, I didn’t.
This year the organizers had new policy for the starting groups, and I was in start group 1, compared to last years Elite group with the Kenyans. Disappointing but no catastrophe.
I believe my fitness level is OK, but I haven’t had any real speed workouts, so I was unsure about how fast I was. Actually, I have only done 2 sets of interval training this year, and both were last week!
Strangely I also had a bit of plantar faschiitis last week, but the pain subsided, and I assumed it should be no problem.
So in general, I believed I would do well, but no personal best.
Race day was very very hot. About 28 degrees. I thought this would be ok, as my belief is that the warmer it is (I don’t mean Hawaii-hot) is better. But the wind was also very strong. I had checked the wind direction and concluded that we would have a back wind on the exposed sections on Hising Island. But I must have read wrong.
I started the race in good spirits. I always start hard on Göteborgsvarvet. Splits about 3.35 the first 4-5 km. Not a very good starting positition in group 1 but OK. But even though I had warmed up quite OK, something very strange happened after 200 meters only (sic!). I got a very strong cramp in my plantar fasciitis – directly after start! I just pushed on, thinking it would subside. It eventually did become better, but not until after 10 k or so. During the first half of the race it was actually very bad. I tried to ignore, but sometimes I had to slow down a bit due to this. The turns were very very painful.
Anyway. At 5 km I had an OK split, but I was weakened and understood I had to slow down. So over Älvsborgsbron and onto Hising island things became gradually slower. My confidence got weaker and weaker, and with the splits I really lost my fighting spirit, thinking that my 1.17 goal was too hard, and I even understood the 1.20 was probably lost too. It was very very hot, but the wind (no back wind, only a very strong headwind) was probably even worse. I splashed water over myself on almost every aid station, but never drank anything during the race.
Also on Hising island – I became quite mad with the organizers – a section of 500 or 1000 meters was on gravel. You might think its not a big deal, but I was disturbed by it. It also increases the likelyhood of falls on that section as people are unprepared for this.
After all – if Göteborgsvarvet is the Worlds Largest Half Marathon – would it be too much to ask for some extra tarmac?? That is NOT “Weltklasse” in my book.
I should as this point have looked more on my fellow runners (who were equally weak and slow), rather than be devastated by the bad splits. I wasn’t doing any worse than anybody else – but my focus was on my personal bad performance!
The lesson learned of this is of course that during such a race, ignore the splits, and count positions instead!
The wind was so strong so we had to take turns in breaking the wind. This worked OK sometimes. But when I placed myself directly behind another runner by SVT-huset, he must have been angry, as he stepped aside and slowed down, just like a f*cking cyclist who don’t want to take his turn. So I upped my pace and left him behind instead. His loss!
Götaälvbron was hard, but I ran fast on the downhill and then took about half a gel. Up avenyen is always a boost, and when I saw my mother, son and daughter at Seven Eleven, I just had to run hard. I high-fived them and pushed on. Continued to push hard downhill avenyen. At Vasaplatsen my father cheered me on, and a couple of other friends cheered on Skanstorget and Övre husargatan. Incredible that new power can be mobilized in those situations. Thank you – it helped me a lot.
Finally approaching the finish line. Very hard, and during the 3-4 kilometres I calculated all the time, but was just a bit too much behind in order to meet my lowest expectation of 1.20. I really sprinted hard the last 500 m or so, and approaching the finish line faster and faster. Quite fun to look at the pictures (see below) which running stride I had before and on the stadium.
Finish time of 1.20.52 and disappointed. It was not until I understood this was an 81th position that I became somewhat happy with the performance, not in terms of time, but in terms of position.
After the race, all my club fellows from Triathlon Väst were just so disappointed, most of them failed their ambitions with 5-10 or even 15 minutes. I think the conditions were worst for the early starters, as the later start groups had some rain and less wind. Even the elite runners had poor times, first place was 1.03, when expectancy was sub 60 minutes.
In my post race analysis I can conclude that I actually overtook competitors during every part of the race, despite my slow pace. Even more interesting is that last year, I was on 164 place at a time of 1.17.50 and this year I was 81th , despite 3 mintes slower! People must have been really slow this year! Unfortunately, it was no personal best in terms of position either, as I was 64th a couple of years back. Interestingly, I had Bib number 333, and IF I had been in the Swedish championship (SM) during Göteborgsvarvet, I would have been 33rd. (My personal opinion of this is that this is a very bad performance of all Swedish championship runners, (and also my own performance of course)).
I was running in Ecco Biom Evo Racer – worked very well, and maybe these have developed my stride last years (see below). A couple of years back I was actually quote disappointed when analyzing the photos after the race – as I ran hard on the heel. I also had my great X-Kross sport shades and Fusion race kit. Naturally socks from GoCoCo, and compression socks from GoCoCo after the race.
I also did some post race analysis of my running stride, (see photos below), and I am quite happy with them actually. During the 3-4 sets of photos during the race, all have a powerful and nice stride. Sometimes too powerful, almost sprinting type of stride…
After the race I went biking for 50-60 km. I was OK, but no real power. A bit of cramps when I pushed harder on the pedals. What was interesting with the biking was the hail that we came across in Lindome. Look at the photos below – they were crazy! Fortunately we passed this section AFTER the hailstorm, otherwise I believe that our helmets would have broken!
Sunday had a very nice morning, and it was a beautiful breakfast over the sea. Then some biking into Göteborg again in order to look at my son (8 yr old) who was running Lilla Göteborgsvarvet 1300 meters. Its great to see him, he is quite competitive, especially as he won a local running race a few weeks back. But Lilla Göteborgsvarvet has some track and field runners that are very fast. Anyway, He did very well, and came in 31st position in his race. At a time of 5.00 minutes. Well done.
When looking at the photos after the race – this little guy really has potential! Look at THAT stride!
All the best.
Taking positions every 5 k, but very slow running!
Great breakfast morning after race.
Running stride analysis, but a very fat guy on some of the pics (images have been a bit skewed).
Happy runner after the race, and a fantastic stride!