Not much swimming happening these days. It’s status quo regarding my elbow. I can warmup and begin a set, but if I try to push a bit towards a 1:20/100m tempo I feel that slight pinch on the outside part of the elbow. I’ve been trying to modify my technique a bit and use my back muscles more by focusing on my body rotation instead of applying more pressure on my arms, it seems to help, but I’m not confident enough to increase the swimming load. I’m doing one or two sessions a week right now.
As indicated by the title of this article, I’m actually doing more running than swimming! Last week I took part in my first track event, it was the Triathlon Väst club championships over 5000m. The race was held in the Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, an arena of 45.000 seats and many athletic ghosts. It also occasionally hosts some big-time concerts (Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Robbie Williams, Madonna, U2, Håkan Hellström) that we can usually hear clearly enough all the way from our apartment two kilometers away. But I digress.
About 30 of us showed up, we got split into two groups, those would had already sprung 5000m in less than 19 minutes and the others. The speedy ones got to run first and the members of the second group were acting as timekeepers. I got assigned a certain Lars G. who ended up being in second place for about 10 laps before overtaking his bunny-rabbit and taking the win in 16:30, wouah! It was then the second group’s turn. I started cautiously at the back of the group and got to overtake a couple of runners during the first half of the race. With a bit over 1km to go I got a side stitch, as often, and had to focus on my breathing and slow down slightly. I finished the 12 and ½ laps just under 21 minutes: 20:58, a PB by more than one minute. Not necessarily surprising since it was my first time on such a track. Greta was my timekeeper and informed me that I kept my lap times nicely consistent at 1:40. Very satisfied I was!
Just over a week later, time for my second 10-kilometer race ever, Finalloppet in the Skatås park. I had high hopes of a PB, having managed to get two months of “training” (going from run-walking for 15 minutes to running 5km three times a week) for the first time. A couple of days before Finalloppet, it dawned on me that this was actually a “terränglopp” i.e. a hilly, muddy race in the woods! Oh well.
11am on the 1st of November, a short warmup close to the starting line. I tried to stretch my diaphragm by successively breathing in and pulling my belly in and then breathing out and taking my belly out. This was supposed to prevent the dreaded side stitch. 11:20am, start of the race, I’m roughly in the middle of the pack and just go with the flow. After a couple of kilometers, of course, I start to feel a hint of stabbing feeling on my left side … faaan … just like during Blodomloppet in June, I end up being on the verge of having the stitch for almost the entire race. “Oh well” again.
The Finalloppet track is quite fun, up and down on various types of terrain. On occasions we need to jump from stones to roots over the mud, great fun! I cover the distance between most of the kilometer markers in about 4:40, good good. With two kilometers to go I become a bit braver and dare overtaking a few runners, including one of the men that I had used as a rabbit for a little while. Fun fact, he was actually dressed as a rabbit, a middle-aged rainbow-coloured fluffy rabbit with huge calves! The final 500 meters are on grass, time to give it all, I take the last right turn, look at my watch and smile all the way to the finish line. My time? 45 minutes and 40 seconds! Three and a half minutes better than in the heatwave of June!
What’s next then? Not sure yet.