01 June 2012

Hej from Stockholm

After spending the bulk of the day trekking around Stockholm in a less-than-pleasant cold rain with frequent gusts of bone-chilling wind (people were actually throwing away their umbrellas in defeat - see above for photo documentation), I am now settling in and taking care of final preparations for tomorrow's race. Since the most recent news item on the marathon website warns:
The weather forecast says that the temperature will be 8 degrees Celsius during Saturday, and this is a very chilly weather for the season. The coldest Stockholm Marathon ever is the 1987 race when it was 7 degrees. The warmest year was 1982 with 32 degrees.
much of today was focused on finding appropriate clothing for such unexpected weather. Having packed for Stockholm's awesome 60-70 degree weather from two weeks ago (for those who don't know, I've been in Europe since 18 May facilitating a graduate student study abroad trip), I'm rather ill prepared for the expected race time conditions. The combination of inhospitable weather, running shorts (of the really short variety), and singlet should make for an interesting race. Quite nervous about tomorrow's race, I'm still not entirely sure what to wear for a forecasted high of 48 degrees, wind, and rain. Although a rather miserable forecast, I don't want to over insulate (this would be ok for training, but for a full-exertion racing situation, where the race bib must beware on the outside, it is critical to get things right and get them right from the start). As I discovered in Bozeman this past November, even in cold conditions, too many layers can make for a truly exhausting race. After much searching. I settled on a pair of CEP compression socks and a long sleeve Nike top made of a polyester and merino wool blend with a 1/4 zip and thumb loops/fold over hand mitts (thanks Löplabbet for having both items in stock and providing great customer service). So much for keeping things consistent ahead of a major event!

If you are interested in keep track of my race progress (bib number 851), the ASICS Stockholm Marathon website will provide intermediate splits for each runner. Additionally, in the USA, Universal Sports Network will air multiplatform coverage of the 2012 ASICS Stockholm Marathon on Saturday, 2 June. Television coverage will air from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET with expert commentary and analysis from longtime running commentator Toni Reavis and elite distance runner Josh Cox. In addition, UniversalSports.com will provide live online coverage of the race $4.99. Review the marathon website for ore details about viewing options around the world.

Although my spring training was sporadic (longest run since Chicago was 15 miles) and I'm still struggling with a pulled hamstring, I remain optimistic about the possibility of finishing under three hours. That said, even if I am unable to break the three hour mark, I am thrilled to have this opportunity to run in Stockholm!

Since race day is rapidly approaching, I am going to keep this brief and rely upon images and a few well placed words to summarize the past 24 hours in Stockholm.

After landing at Arlanda Airport, I zoomed into the city centre aboard the convenient and rather swanky (it conveys a sort of James Bond feel) Arlanda Express train.

After navigating the T-Bana, I found my way to the Gärdet district in central Stockholm. Part of the world’s first national city park, Gärdet features expansive fields with fantastic areas for running (or post-marathon recovery walks). Strolling through a lovely wooded park, I eventually emerged to find my clean, inviting, and snug little hostel.

After a relaxing evening, this morning I set out for the marathon registration expo. Along the way I was greeted by a number of encouraging visuals.

Eventually I made my way to Stockholm Stadion (home of the 1912 Olympics)

After completing the official registration process, I enjoyed a complimentary pasta lunch and listened to some American rock n roll classics as belted out by a Swedish band. All things considered, a pretty awesome (albeit darn cold and damp) lunch!

The weather might not be great, but it will be amazing to complete 42.195km on the official Olympic track.

The rest of the day involved an afternoon coffee break and lots of leisurely strolling around Stockholms Stad. Stockholm is an absolutely beautiful city (I'm excited to have some more time on Sunday and Monday to explore more the city with more breadth). However, I am surprised to find the city terrain rather hilly. Hopefully the gorgeousness of the cityscape will distract me from the undulating terrain during tomorrow's marathon.

Now that I've had some dinner, prepared my gear for the morning, and completed a light workout, it is time to let go of my nervous energy and get some rest.