We Finished the 2016 Stockholm Half-Marathon!

It’s been a week since the race and I still can’t get over the fact that we actually finished the 2016 Stockholm Half-Marathon. We actually ran 21,1km.

What an amazing experience the whole day was.

On race day, the first thing we did was to make sure to have a really good breakfast at the hotel. I had a big bowl of oatmeal and some fruit. Sandy had a boiled egg, fruit and a pancake.

It was kind of hard to keep the food down because I was getting so nervous.

breakfast-on-race-day

We went for a short (very short) sightseeing walk around the city.  Then both Sandy and I went back to the hotel to rest our legs while Per and Keira did some sightseeing around the harbor.

sightseeing-stockholm-short-trip

When lunch time rolled around, I wanted to avoid eating, but Sandy kept saying that we had to fuel (her favorite word of the day because she kept saying it). So we ate at a very cozy sandwich shop around the corner from the hotel.

lunch-at-wiener-cafe

We gathered at our meeting point at 3:30pm, and we were amazed at the energy and the amount of people that were participating. In fact, there were 15,000 participants from all over the world. The weather was gorgeous and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky.

starting-line-stockholm-half-2016

at-the-starting-line-for-stockholm-half

Here’s a picture of us at our meeting point. Non-sweaty. Eager to start. Nervous. But, excited.

Are there lots of hills?

The night before the race, we poured over the map trying to figure out how bad the hills were going to be.  Sandy was psyching herself out over the number of hills because she felt like she hadn’t had any good hill training at all.

stockholm-half-marathon-course-altitutde

And we’re off

I remember that at the first bend, we ran through a tunnel. I have never been through a tunnel on foot before and I have to say that experience has changed my view on tunnels forever.

The tunnel had no air circulation. Or at least it felt that way. And the smell. OMG. The sweaty smell of the people (actually, it was only the men which were smelly) running around me was overpowering, to say the least.  Tip for any dudes reading this. Please make sure to use deodorant and take a shower before the race. The runners around you will be ever so grateful.

map-of-stockholm-half

At 10-12 km

I promised my physical therapist that if I were to run, the most I was going to run was 10-12km. And I pretty much stuck to that — Kind of.

I stopped at 10km for a little bit and I didn’t feel any pain in my Achilles. So, I kept going to 12km, since that would be my hard stop.

At 12 km,  I didn’t really feel any pain in my Achilles, and decided to run 500 m to the drink station and wait for Sandy since she had fallen a little behind me, just to say hi and give her a high five.

When she got to the drink table, she was crazy tired. She said that the hills were killing her. I didn’t want her to give up and so I ran with her another 500 m.

At 13km, we saw Per and Keira with the cheering crowd.

I clearly remember yelling to Per, “What should I do? Should I keep going?” And I remember him waving me to continue and saying, “Go! Go!”

And go go I went

I continued running after that. Much as my wedding day was a blur, running the race was a blur too.

I remember the cheering crowds. I remember the hills. I remember that there was ocean on the right hand side at 17km. And although I don’t remember much of the event itself, I do remember the feelings I felt.

I remember running happy.

running-happy

I was so grateful for being able to participate in the event.

I didn’t feel pain. The only time I felt pain was when I stopped for a few steps to check how my Achilles tendon was doing.

I was so happy that I trained where I trained because there are hills. Lots of them.

And I was so happy that I wasn’t dying, like I did in the  Fornebuløpet which happened in May.

When I crossed that finish line, the amount of emotion that filled up in me was overwhelming. Yes, I cried.

I couldn’t believe that I finished. I still can’t believe that I finished. It seems like such a dream.

Sandy, on the other hand, will say that she remembers everything. Every painful hill. Every dragging step. Her nemesis, the dreaded hills, literally dominated the course. And when you’re training only on flat ground, any semblance of a hill is overwhelming.

I have to say that my sister is amazing. She said that she wanted to stop at 5 km, but she didn’t. She talked herself into finishing the whole thing and I think that is some pretty amazing will power and strength. She’s still my hero.

finished-stockholm-half

The Aftermath

We were so tired after the race. We basically ate some dinner that we can’t really remember and then back to the hotel for some rest and sleep.

And on Sunday morning, it was time to checkout and make our way back to Oslo.

For those of you who plan on running next year’s Stockholm half-marathon, I highly recommend the Nobis Hotel. It was a lovely hotel with the perfect location, right in walking distance to the race.

checking-out-of-nobis-hotel

Thank God for my husband who not only drove to Stockholm on Friday night after work to watch us race, but also drove home on Sunday afternoon. He’s the most awesomest husband in the world.

per-driving-from-stockholm-to-oslo

 

keira-and-sandy-in-the-back-seat

Keira and Sandy goofing around

sandy-snoozing-in-car

And the piece de resistance, Sandy snoozing in the back of the car.

Time to say goodbye

saying-goodbye

This whole week was an experience that I’ll never want to forget. We set a goal, we trained towards that goal and we fulfilled it. And we did it together.

It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

But, alas, all good things come to an end and on Monday morning (super early Monday morning, may I say), it was time to say good-bye with much hugs and tears.

Thank you for a wonderful time, sis. Thanks for being my support. Thanks for being there. I will miss you.

I look forward to another race next year! 🙂

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