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1st October 2007

Lidingöloppet, Stockholm or How To Suffer For 30Km

Lidingöloppet is an event that lasts 3 days and groups a few races for runners of all ages. It is located in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a very popular event and was announced to be the biggest event of this kind in the world, with around 30,000 runners. The highlight is the 30Km race that happened yesterday (Sat 29th). This is not your typical jogging: the track is almost never flat, uphills and downhills are steep, very steep … and since it was raining and the track is mostly going through the forest, it was very muddy !
I got tricked into it by a Swede friend of mine against whom I’m gonna have to device a revenge :) just kidding (or not)
It was definitely much harder than I thought. I both was over-confident and underestimated the race. As a result, my training was not even close to being enough, and I started way too fast … and worse of all, my friend finished it before me and is gonna talk about it for years to come :)

To start with, we barely made it to the starting line, as the queue to get our number+chip was so long, and the office located 2km from the starting line. We had to run quite fast to get there, and reached the behind of the group just when the start signal was heard. After that, I wouldn’t see my friend until the finish line.
Since we were behind the pack, it was impossible to run at my pace, so I decided to pass from the left, even if that meant going very fast for 15 seconds to pass a group, slowing down behind another one because the track tightens, repeating the operation a million times. That also meant never really running at my pace anyway, but i thought it was better option.
Around the 10th Km, I was still ok, even though uphills already took a toll on me, and I was still optimistic. I was also ahead of my friend. I also realized I just missed the water point. 2Km later, I realised that I was already walking for all the uphills, but since almost everybody seemed to do the same, I thought it’d be ok. Somewhere around the 15th my friend passed me, but we didn’t notice each other.
A bit before the 20th, a very painful cramp forced me to stop by the side. it took me several minute to recover and I had to go on walking. Every time I tried to run for 100m, I’d need to stop for 2 or 3 min :( Situation didn’t get better, as my legs grew tired of walking, getting more painful in each uphill/downhill.
You can’t imagine what a relief it is to see the finish line just 200m ahead of you. I’m of the stubborn kind, but still there is always a moment when you ask yourself if you are really gonna make it. Seeing this line is like seeing the doors of heaven when you have been condemned to crawl in hell for 30Km … And passing it, is both bringing so much joy (that you cannot show much because you’re totally cramped, and cannot talk much) and so much pain as your muscles get colder.

I’m happy and proud I finished it … but there is lot of room for improvement, and if my friend manages to trick me into it next year, I’m really gonna have to train seriously !
The race itself is quite nice, otherwise: running in the forest means softer surface to run on (roads make my knee hurt like hell after a few Km). Occasional part out of it show nice fields, cute houses, well-maintained gardens and beautiful seascapes. I believe that going to this island in the summer must be an excellent idea if you like walking, picnic, and of course running/training for the Lidingöloppet !

This entry was posted on Monday, October 1st, 2007 at 1:14 and is filed under in English please !, news, voyages. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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