This past Sunday I ran a half marathon in Denmark called Løberen Skovmarathon which is a race in the beautiful danish forest near Hillerød. You could choose between a 10K, a half marathon and a marathon. I did the half marathon last year together with Berit and this year I wanted to do the half marathon again, and together with Berit again. This is now something we will do every year. I nice tradition (hopefully we will be able to do the whole marathon once we get even better at running...). My goal was not to beat the time from last year, but to simply get through it without my knee starting to act up again.
Since my attempt to complete the mountain marathon in August, where I had to stop after 16 km due to runner's knee, I've not been running that much. I've focused on rehabbing the knee. So this was the big test to see if all my stretching, targeted lifting and running mostly uphill had helped. I really didn't know what to expect. Along the route you got to pass the same water/fuel station many times and that place was near the start/finish area, so if my knee should start to hurt again I could stop there. So that was my plan. To run as far as possible, hopefully all the way, but stop if my knee should start to hurt.
Here we are at the start:
So off we went. Berit was in a great shape, running faster than me, and all the time about a meter in front of me. She talked a lot, cheered on me and kept our speed a little faster than I actually was capable of keeping. After the first 5 km I was starting to really doubt if it had been a good decision to attempt this half marathon. I should have done the 10K I thought, but then I wouldn't get to know how far I could go..
So far everything else felt great. No pain anywhere. It was just my shape I had completely lost.
Berit's pace made me get a lot of lactic acid build up in my muscles, which in turn gave me very heavy legs and a side stitch that just wouldn't go away. I had to walk a bit, had to stop talking, had to try and run very slowly and then see if I could keep running.. At one point where I'd said to Berit: "Ok, I'll try again and run very slowly" and then started to run in a pace where you might be able to walk fast beside me, she at once was that meter in front of me again and she looked back at me, laughed and said: "yeah, ok... That was slowly!". Btw Berit was very sweet and stayed with me even though she could have run way faster than we did.
Then various pains started to come, besides the side stitch that came and went a lot the next many km. My right calf started to get very stiff and hurt, but it was just the muscle so no worries there. Then my left ankle started to ache but that luckily went away. Then underneath my left foot something started to hurt but that also luckily went away. All the while my right calf just kept getting tighter and more painful. Then at last the left calf joined the right one and both of them were tight and painful. After some time they hurt the same so that at least gave me some balance...
And no sign of pain in my knee at all. I was so happy about that.
When we were about half way we got to a photographer who took this picture of us:
When we reached the sign telling us we'd now run 11 km I said to Berit that I thought she should just run and see if she could beat her time from last year. She was still very energetic and had said a couple of times that she would be able to run faster than we did. So I said I thought she should do that. With the time we'd used to get to 11 km and now having 10 km left to go, if she could do those last 10 km in an hour she would beat her time from last year. She said she thought she might be able to do that and asked again if it was ok, and of course it was, so off she went.
That meant that I could slow down even more and I finally got rid of the side stitch once and for all, and now it was just me, my willpower and my bad shape getting one km at a time closer and closer to the finish.
It was tough. I really wasn't in shape for it. My whole body started to beg me to stop. My legs hurt, my back hurt, even my arms hurt, but only muscles pain. Nothing in my knee. I kept on. Running slowly and walking a bit, then running slowly agian, then walking a bit. It's wasn't a beautiful sight but I did it.
When Berit had asked that one last time if it was ok she ran ahead, I had answered that yes, but only if she'd take a picture of me when I would get to the finish line. She had smiled and said of course. So here it is, me finally after a lot of fighting, getting to the finish line:
And here we are together, happy and proud:
I am so relieved that my knee didn't act up. This means that my rehab so far has been a success. It means that I now dare to run further in my training runs at home in my own forest. It means that I'm on track to be able to complete that mountain marathon next summer.. I'm so happy about this.
Berit didn't beat her time from last year, but I also really slowed her down the first half of the run. I was 10 min slower than last year, but last year I had been able to run a lot more before it and I didn't do it for the time this year.
We got these diplomas after finishing:
After changing clothes we drove into the city and has a nice meal at a restaurant as a celebration and a nice ending of a good long day.
Thanks to Berit for this great day.
Thanks to my Sponsor Fairing for the support and supplements.