I completed the 21 km race in 1 hour and 56 minutes. That's not a great time compared to the really good runners -- they finished in about an hour. But it's a great time for me! This was my first race and the first time I have run more than about 16 km; so I'm pleased with the result. A few minutes into the race I caught up with Lisa. I ran with her for a bit but then passed her when I fell into my regular pace. There were lots of folks along the way cheering us on, including some friends of mine. I saw Åsa and Kevin twice early in the race. Thanks for the cheers, guys! I also saw Inger when I passed the bridge to Riemersholm near Hornstull. I think I was pretty exhaused by that point, and it was nice to see a friendly face! The last 4 kilometers were really hard and I felt like I absolutely had to stop; but somehow I managed to keep going. Thanks to my fellow runner who yelled "Kom igen nu!" when I slowed down to walk for a bit during the last kilometer; I had contented myself to walk the rest of the way and aim for a time of just under 2 hours. I was so exhausted that this seemed preferable to running any farther. But after hearing her shout of encouragement I started running again and probably shaved a couple of minutes off my time. Running is 20% physical and 80% psychological, so cheers and shouts of encouragement really do help! Lisa ran the race in only 1:58 despite having a cold. Bravo, Lisa!
The new shoes worked well, but I did get some small blisters on the edge of the balls of both feet. Perhaps the shoes are a bit too narrow; or perhaps I just need to put some surgical tape on the areas where I got blisters the next time I run such a long distance. In any event, the blisters I got with these shoes on a run of 21 km are not as bad as the ones I got with my old shoes on a run of 12 km; so I consider the new shoes an improvement. I was lucky that the shoes worked so well the first time I ran any significant distance in them.
I had another problem that was quite frustrating: I ate too much for lunch, and too late in the day. I had four big breakfast tacos around 13:30, and the race began at 17:10. The tacos attempted to escape my stomach on several occasions during the race. As a consequence I had to slow down periodically to let my stomach calm down. I also didn't dare to drink very much of the water and sports drink that was on offer at several points along the race course; drinking only seems to make a full stomach a bigger problem. Next time I'll have a big breakfast early in the morning and then just have a couple of pieces of fruit for lunch.
I am absolutely beat. I am probably more exhausted than I've ever been. This definitely tops the 12 mile backpack to Black Mountain Camp at Philmont. At least on that hike we had all day to do it! The race was very hard, but I am glad I did it. I think if I run more regularly and try to run longer distances at least once a week the next race will be easier.
I'll sleep well tonight.