After a bit of a break from running during the holidays the year started with challenging conditions in Stockholm. My Strava logs paint a picture of icy trails around the city and my runs being hit and miss every time. The body would feel perfectly fine one day and incredibly tired the other. But come February things started to look better. Long runs were actual long runs and the training was consistent by then.
In March I did my very first speed block which took some time getting used to, and I still am trying to figure it out. I did a lot of 200m intervals but soon it turned out I probably had the necessary leg speed, my problem was my thresholds, they were way too low. But instead of changing up that speed block I continued what I was doing and tried to improve as much as I could from that kind of training.
To escape the monotony of running in Stockholm me and a friend decided to visit another friend in Lisbon for a training week in April. The idea was to get away, get some good training in and hopefully even some climbing. Even though we didn’t get to do much climbing cause it was wet, it was good to get away and we got a solid week of training.
After that I went straight to Nice to visit a friend there and try to get some vert. This turned out to be my biggest training week to date with around 140km and 5000m vert. Nice is beautiful and even though not optimal for running itself, one just have to go inland a tiny bit to get to some beautiful mountains connected to the alps.
The week after I got back I foolishly decided to do my first parkrun ever. It’s a free timed event every week all over the world. Local volunteers help make this possible and it’s just a prime example of the fantastic community this sport has. My body was a wreck after the big weeks and I was a lot slower than I thought I’d be in 19m40s for the 5k. It is a hilly course but that’s no excuse, I should’ve been in the low 18’s. But that didn’t discourage me from doing my first ever marathon distance the week after that. Sweden Irontrail Marathon, and I ended up finishing 7th in 3h18m. It’s a fun local marathon on trails and gravel roads with some vert, definitely check this out if you’re in the area.
During the last build up for my race season I decided to do another small race in Stockholm just for fun, Stockholms brantaste. This is so far from my comfort zone it’s ridiculous. Climbing an 80m hill three times on a 3km course, brutal. I ended up 49th in 19m11s completely wiped out. My excuse is that I ran there and back home, but not really.
Then it was time for my big race of the year, Lavaredo, and I was psyched for this one. I was in good shape and I knew I could do well but unfortunately things didn’t go according to plan. I haven’t written anything about this race yet since I’m making a short documentary about our experience. It has taken longer than expected but I’m hoping to get it done as soon as possible, keep an eye out for that one!
Tradition is tradition and even though my ankle was still not recovered from Lavaredo (Oops spoilers) I decided to start Swedish Alpine Ultra anyway. My goal beforehand was to at least make it to Kebnekaise station since that’s really the point of no return, after that you might as well finish the race instead of turning around. I set off in the lead but felt almost instantly I for sure wasn’t going to be able to finish the race so I continued pushing to just after the Kebnekaise station where it’s possible to sit down and see really far in both directions. I waited for the ones behind me and cheered them on before I turned back and continued cheering people on as I met them. I’ve written about this race many times before and I can warmly recommend it. Read about my experience last year here.
Now it was time for probably the biggest event of my running year but it wasn’t a race or anything like that. I had decided to move to Chamonix to be in the mountains but I didn’t really have a plan and nowhere to live but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. With only a tent and I suitcase of essentials I took a flight there in the beginning of August and I haven’t looked back since. Maybe I’ll write a longer post about this later but for now just now it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time.
My last race of the year was going to be the MCC which is the shortest race under the UTMB umbrella is only for locals (that’s right) and volunteers. But just a week before the race I took a fall going down a peak and initially it didn’t seem that bad but the next days would prove otherwise. I hade irritated the ruptured disc I have in my back and it was incredibly painful again. I was forced to bed rest for almost the entire week leading up to the race. Fortunately it was good enough on race day and even though it wasn’t optimal I could run. It was an incredibly hot day and even so I managed to hit my first split but it would soon be apparent I had pushed too hard and I ended up falling off pace more and more after that. With spent legs and not being used to the heat I fought hard to get through it and I ended up in 60th in 5h10m. Far off prediction but I was happy to not have abandoned the race, cause I was pretty dang close.
The rest of the year I spent exploring the Chamonix valley. The possibilities and beauty is endless here. There are so many trails and so many mountains that can be connected in so many ways. I will do a follow up post with all my favorite routes in Chamonix in the future.
By the numbers
Distance 4,162.3 km
Time 414h 57m
Elev Gain 120,778 m
What was your running year like?