Monday, October 07, 2013

Nike Winter Flashes

Not too much writing so we can get straight to the photos :) Nike introduced today the new products and materials for the winter collection of 2013 / 2014. It is a part of a Designblok and Fashionweek event, so you can check out the exposition from Tuesday October 8 until Sunday October 13. It is actually pretty amazing and there are lot of other interesting things to see. Unfortunately I had to rush back to work, so I din't see the rest, only ran through it.

The main attraction of the show were probably the jerseys for the Czech national ice hockey team, but I preferred the running section way more :D You can see all the reflective gear how it lightens up with just using the iPhone camera flash. Pretty cool? So I really DO NEED the Nike Flash Jacket, I just don't know where to get money for it ... Hmmm, bummer, I guess my xmas list is getting really long and cannot see many non-running items on it :)

Apart from that, today morning was another easy run slightly over 5 miles and I enjoyed it so much! I am having fun with the off season no training plan time and am really exited to start working hard again.

What are you running plans this week?

Any tips for my running wish list for xmas? :D

Photos from the press conference / event:

... the famous national ice hockey jersey :D

New Nike Aeroflot running vest keeps your chest and core warm, but vents on the back. If it gets warmer, you can fold it in your pocket. How cool is that? You cannot see it on the photo but they are really feather like super light.

These cuties are way more interesting for me!!!
It has been improved from the previous models so it stretches now...

The reflective prints are really fun!

And some official photos ... Check out how Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton are rocking these outfits!!!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

40th Berlin Marathon 2013 - Part 2

Second and hopefully final part of the Berlin Marathon race recap. This should actually be the race recap as I only described the beginning of the marathon weekend in the Part 1 of this mini series :)

Warning: this post is probably gonna get kind of long, so I am putting up important facts first. Berlin was beautiful race, little crowded for how fast I wanted to run, but beautiful and still a huge PR. Trust me, 6 minute PR is huge :D My official chip time: 3:19:01 which places me 216th woman among the 8 992 who finished the race! I couldn't figure out the exact overall result - around 4 300th out of approx 40 thousand runners. The conditions on the marathon Sunday in Berlin were perfect as can be confirmed by the new world record of 2:03:25 that was set by Wilson Kipsang from Kenya. Can you imagine how fast that is? Crazy fast! Florence Kiplagat was fastest among women with 2:21:13 - still have 1 hour to cut off my time :D

The marathon morning: As our hotel was just about 1 km from the start/finish area I didn't need to leave super early. The start was at 8:45 am so the main reason to get up relatively early was to get in the breakfast early enough so I have time to properly digest it. 6 am alarm clock it was, I woke up just few minutes before it. Got straight to the business = eating :D Goat milk cottage cheese with two bananas, bit of home made nutbutter and honey. And double Nespresso - the true one WITH caffeine. Oh that felt great!!! I don't have problem limiting things to lower quantities, but when you totally cross out something, you might be really craving it soon :)

After that I put the warming massage emulsion on my legs to keep them warm in the first parts of the race. It was supposed quite chilly in the morning - around 8 degrees Celsius, rising towards 12 degrees towards noon. I was counting on the sunshine making the temparuter feel little higher. And I am very glad I was right, because if not, it would have been too cold. So dressing up, deciding whether I am taking headband or cap (headband), stocking everything in my dop bag. Bathroom business, final photos and we were ready to go. I started to be little nervous about the time, but still had 45 mintues to go, which meant I started sipping the beetroot juice and took the Tylenol pills (I take them before every marathon/half).

Took few photos at the Unter den Linden street in front of the Brandenburg gate and in front of the Reichstag/Bundestag (the Parliament building) and it was time to say goodbye - as the starting area was restricted to runners only based on ID wristbands attached at the expo. We rechecked the cheering points on the course and I was all by myself. Have to admit, I was getting really emotional. Fortunately, this was good emotional, feeling I am going to put all the hard work in and enjoy the beautiful run in beautiful city. 

Little did I know that I had crazy half an hour ahead of me instead of calm concentration. The closed up area for runners was crowded in the direction of starting corridors and unfortunately the female baggage drop offs were on the way towards corridors so it was double crowded. I called my mom to say hi and figure out where they will be on the course and dropped off my bag. Didn't see any porta potties around and was really getting late so squatting down behind a bush it was - I wasn't gonna screw my race perfomance and all the preparation for not peeing before the race. The warm up and strides were happening on the actual way towards the corridor and here was the trouble. I sucked in my first GU gel and flushed it down with the last bit of beetroot juice on the way to the start. One of the Matt Fitzgerald's tips: when you get the gel/energy in just before the start, it's actually counting towards the calories / carbs ingested during the race, but since you are not running yet, you are not risking the GI distress.

I was in the E corridor which was the last one going out in the first wave, but access to the corridor was together for E and F even though F was starting later. We found ourselves 50 m from the corridor stuck, because it seemed they were not letting the runners in to the F. 5 minutes to the gun. I knew that it is chip measured race so even if I started with the later waves I was totally OK, but still wanted to start in "my" corridor. Went through the "forrest" with other runners which meant that we reached the barrier around corridor like 1 minute before the gun - crazy! And had to go over it, I was really scared of hruting myself, but fortunately runners are great people so two strangers helped me over the barrier and there were we just few seconds before the gun. No time to overthink. 

The commentator said there were several world record marathoners at the start with Haile Gebrselassie and Patrick Makau among them starting the race. I wondered for few seconds whether Paula was there, but I guessed she whould have told me when we met in Prague few weeks ago. And she is always in my thoughts so no time to disturb myself. After the start I realized that we still have few minutes until we actually cross the starting line. It took me like 5 minutes to get there. The crowd of such a huge race helps you to keep the reasonable pace at the beginning and not go out too fast. As I again rediscovered and reconfirmed that  I need to warm up and get in my pace rather slowly. 

The first kilometers were ticking by pretty quickly, I was around the 7:38 min/mile (4:45 min/km) pace and was pretty happy with for the beginning of the race and wanted to pick this up after 3-5 km towards 7:15 min/mile (4:30 min/km). Little did I know that this wasn't gonna happen. But not due to me not being ready to hold the pace. Unfortunately there were too many runners going at slower pace (I was assigned to the corridor according to my previous best time of 3:25). Note to self: if you want to go at the faster pace of the corridor, get there early enough to be at the front of the corridor. 

Almost forgot the ultimate first that I fortunately didn't let to screw up my race - my lace untied at around km 2-3, which made me go crazy for a moment. I was afraid too tie it to tight as I can easily have shin splints when my shoes are too tight. On the other hand that left me checking the laces every now and than visually, because I was afraid the lace would untie again. As this wasn't happening, I finally let it go of my mind around the halfway mark. Back to the race: at 5 km mark I really wanted to speed up to my goal pace as I was feeling great, unfortunately due to the crowds ahead this was tough to do. I speeded up a little, but kept slowing down and speeding up because of the way ahead of me being crowded. It seems to me that I was especially surrounded by huge numbers of Danish runners. I do not have anything against them, but lot of them were running in groups of 2, 3 or even more - side by side. And it is virtually impossible to overpass such a group. Life was tough and I was getting little frustrated, but told myself that I have to be positive and I will probably be able to use the spared energy in the second half. Unfortunately speeding up and slowing down is way more energy demanding than going at the steady pace.

Another slow down were the refreshment points. They were not as frequent as they are usually in the US races, here they were spaced out 3-5 km at time. That made them really crowded because you couldn't afford to miss one of them. Back on the course, oh yes the course, I cannot really remember lot of it. I was focusing on my race, the pace, the nutrition and the great support I had on course. I knew dad and my aunt were going to be btw km 7 and 8, this is where we were getting close back in sight of Reichstag and yay there was my dad in the first part of a slight incline. Very clever - I was up the climb I even didn't know how, because of the excitement of seeing dad :) Now I knew it was going to be quite some time until the half way mark where I was gonna see them again. But yuppiii there was mom and her boyfriend, cool! it is great to have on course support.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

40th Berlin Marathon 2013 - Part 1

Warning: this post is probably gonna get kind of long, so I am putting up important facts first. Berlin was beautiful race, little crowded for how fast I wanted to run, but beautiful and still a huge PR. Trust me, 6 minute PR is huge :D My official chip time: 3:19:01 which places me 216th woman among the 8 992 who finished the race! I couldn't figure out the exact overall result - around 4 300th out of approx 40 thousand runners. The conditions on the marathon Sunday in Berlin were perfect as can be confirmed by the new world record of 2:03:25 that was set by Wilson Kipsang from Kenya. Can you imagine how fast that is? Crazy fast! Florence Kiplagat was fastest among women with 2:21:13 - still have 1 hour to cut off my time :D

The Czech gang at the Berlin marathon expo.

Now let's get to the lengthy version :o) Berlin was definitely my "A" race of 2013. With Amsterdam 2012 and Boston 2013 not going as great as I expected, I really needed a race to confirm to myself that what I am doing makes sense. Running is my thing, it is what I decided to do and what makes my life full and meaningful. Admitting this and sorting this out was a huge thing for me. Also huge relief, makes things way easier when you take time to sort out what you want to do. Having the mental coach as a part of my team for the past two months helped a ton! Nike and Matcha Tea are also supporting me on my way toward becoming the best runner I can. Long story short, I really needed to have a solid race. But didn't wanna put too much pressure on myself :)

After the work related stressed kind of screwed up my performance in Amsterdam 2012 I was gonna be sure this does not happen, so I took Friday off work. Had an easy relaxed day, bought some food supplies so I am not dependent on what is available in the hotel and as my dad picked me up at 5 pm we were ready to hit the road. Berlin is just 350 km far, so was an easy ride. Up to the point when we hit the evening traffic jam upon arrival to Berlin. We finally got to the hotel around 9 pm, checked in, got a crazy upgrade for our room (we had a steam cabin in our bath room apart from beautiful shower and bath tub). All that ment it was 10 pm when we got to the dinner. Beef broth, steak and baked potato it was. Broth and potato for the marathon nutrition, steak to spoil myself :D Have been eating mostly carbs in form of fruit and honey etc. all day, so the steak was delicious.

Saturday morning I woke up at 7, but put my sleep mask on to avoid the sunlight and managed to sleep until 8:30 :o) We met up with my aunt who was staying at the same hotel (she is like a sister to me - just 4 and half years older than I am) and went for a breakfast. Honestly, having delicious breakfast buffet is a torture when you love all the great food, but you actually cannot eat what you want because of your race. But you know, as runners we do sacrifice way more in the months coming toward our race, so the decisions should be smart not screwing up everything on the last few days :) I have read Matt Fitzgerald's new book: The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition before coming to this race - lot of valuable information!

Treat part of the bfast was salmon and bit of eggs followed by the carb loading part of fruit, jam and honey ... Was pretty full after eating all this, so got an easy massage from my aunt to let the food set in and went for the last pre race tune up run at around 11. The weather was beautiful, I checked the way to the starting area that was only about 1 km from our hotel. Did little over 1 mile at the race pace which I can now say I intended  to be around 7:15 min/mile. My heart ratew was little higher than in the last training but I knew that was all due to the  excitement. Seeing the Brandenburg gate where I knew we would be runnig towards the finish next day... I don't think the pre-race glitters ever get smaller before marathons :)

Took a shower and we went for a lunch because the dinner was gonna be early - involves lots of eating this marathon thing :) We went to an all you can eat sushi place - soo yummy! Great choice and I think I am making this my new pre race tradition having sushi for lunch before the race day. 

And off we were in taxi towards the race expo which was at an old airport that actually is almost in the city center and now serves as a convention center. The expo was pretty huge and unfortunately not very well situated, so we had to cue to pick up the numbers. Was kind of funny as this was my dad's first time at race expo. 

Met with the great Czech running gang at the number pick up where we somehow also decided that the next year's autumn marathon is gonna be New York for us :) Wandered through the expo, my dad got me a cute Nike event tshirt because the official tshirt is Adidas and I have always been a Nike girl! I am pretty proud that it was the only thing I got there.

We couldn't get the taxi so took subway on our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately there was some construciton going on, so we ended up walking quite a part of the route. 

Saturday afternoon the inlineskaters did almost the same as marathon route - this is the first guy - so damn fast!!!

Made it to the hotel just in time to get a bit of nap before the dinner. I made the clever thing to reserve us paleo restaurant for the pre race dinner - I wanted me some delicious broth and sweet potatoes. Both were succesfully achieved at the Sauvage - can only recommend this place. Grat food, great atmosphere, great interior and great service!

Amuse bouche: pumpkin puree in coconut oil.

Turkey broth ... yummy and powerful for the race.

Turkey breast and sweet potato with more sweet potato puree on top - I actually gave up the bacon on the top of the puree to my dad and aunt and didn't finish the meat and asked for extra sweet potato ... Carb loading for the race is a tough job!!!

... the extra sweet potato

Interesting decor at the Sauvage restaurant - lamps made of fish skin.

Back at the hotel, I laid out all my racing gear and my aunt gave me the final massage - so cool to have such a great support team with me. Final touch was painting my nails of course! I also spent some time going through photos from previous races - especially NYC and Prague. Re-read the NYC marathon race recap and was looking forward to enjoy the race day at least the same. Fortunately I only woke up once and had a good night sleep.

Since this got really long ... TO BE CONTINUED in Part 2 :)