Archive for August 19, 2012

What I blog about when I blog about running

August 19, 2012 2 comments

Saturday this last weekend was a special day. I went up at 05:50 and got to bed past midnight. Parts of the day was cloudy and rainy. In between I drove my car for about 9 hours, spent 2-3 hours waiting far out in the countryside and ran through the forest for a bit less than 24 minutes. And I loved this day and would do it again, in a heartbeat!

Warning – this blog post has nothing to do with MMOs, but rather one of the things I do when I am not playing MMOs – running.

Saturday was the day for Vasastafetten, which translates to Vasa Relay Race, for those whose Swedish is a bit rusty. Some people may be familiar with Vasaloppet, which is a well-known long-distance ski race in Sweden – 90 km long.  The ski race is obviously in the winter time, but in the summer time some other races are also arranged, with pretty much the same distance and path as the ski race. This includes Cykelvasan (mountain bike race for 90km) and thus also Vasastafetten. The latter is a bit over 90 km and a competition between teams of 10 people.

This year I and 9 colleagues of mine participated for the first time in Vasastafetten. The participants in the team comes from three different cities in Sweden, so there was a bit of planning to do who would pick up who and with what car. The different relay points of the race are a different points out in the country-side, typically somewhere in the forest near some small village. It is up to the different teams how they handle transport arrangements. However, the organizers of the race  did a tremendous job of handling all the cars driving and parking at the different relay point – it worked quite well. This with 458 different teams with 10 persons in each time, plus some supporters, friends and family etc that was around just cheering for the runners.

The ten distances in the race are divided up into different lengths, with the longest one being a bit more than 15 km and the shortest ones slightly less than 5 km.  Thus there is opportunity for a mix of running experience levels to participate in the same team.

My own distance was a short one and one I was not worried at all about completing – I run longer than that pretty much every time I train running. But it had been a while since I tried to to run fast, plus when I checked the path on Google Earth I got the impression there could be a fair amount of uphill running in some areas.

Once it was my turn to run I started off in a fairly high speed, for me anyway, and I did the first kilometer in 04:50 – with less strain than I expected. I was still worried that there might be some uphill paths coming up and slowed down a bit to conserve energy. However it turned out that the path did not have as much uphill as I had expected, I had misjudged or misread the info on the Google Earth map. The path was mostly forest trail with some muddy parts and a bit of gravel road. Towards the end I increased speed again and ran to hand over to my next team member.  The overall pace for my distance ended up at 5:09 minutes/km, which I am pretty happy with.

The total time for the team ended up roughly at 8 hours and 18 minutes, which included some mishaps on the way that effectively increased the time by a number of minutes that was not running-time. After the race and some showers and sauna we headed off to have some dinner and celebrate a bit in the evening.  Then after dinner we all headed back home (a few hours of driving).

Since it was our first time doing this we learned a few things that can make this an even better experience next time. Everyone also agreed that we should do this again and try to get more colleagues to participate – at least two teams next time, which would be about 25% of the employees.

Running the race was a great experience, very fun and enjoyable, great surroundings (it is a very beautiful area) and lots of friendly people. This kind of experience is part of what makes running so much fun.

I have three more races on my schedule in September and October, all 10 km races and all local, or at least quite close to where I live.  So there will be 3 more Saturdays of sharing fun with 1000s of other runners this year.

The title of this post is of course inspired by the book What I talk about when I talk about running, by Haruki Murakami.

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