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Here are a few photos from Tjejmilen weekend:

On the train to Stockholm. This lady was like something out of a children’s book, and actually she quite resembled a triplet from “The Triplets of Belleville“. The man on the left was her equally eccentric-looking husband.

Me, before Tjejmilen, grimacing

Kostia and “the Russian fil”, fil being a cousin of yogurt. They don’t seem to sell kefir in Falun so Kostia was excited to find it in Stockholm.

Here is a photo from last weekend:

We were invited to a party and instructed to bring a pie, a savory one, not a dessert one, so I looked in my Russian cookbook and made a kulebyaka, which is basically a big pirozhok. This one has meat inside. That’s supposed to be a hedgehog on the side. The decoration leaves something to be desired but hey, it was my first attempt.

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We went to Stockholm this weekend and I ran Tjejmilen, the 10K for women. It was an interesting experience. After all my agonizing over which pace group I should join I found myself passing walkers for the duration of the thing. I probably ran more than 10K since I had to do so much weaving around them. I sort of wanted to finish in under 70 minutes although my fastest training time was 72 minutes. I finished in 70 minutes 23 seconds. Don’t laugh, at least I ran the whole thing unlike most other people in the field. One of the walkers I passed had two energy bars in her hand. It’s 10K, people, it’s not a marathon. Usually I don’t drink or eat anything over such a short distance, but I did try one of the fancy sugar cubes they were handing out at the 6th kilometer.

The whole thing was OK but not the best race experience I’ve had. Sometimes I miss living in DC where there was a fun run every other weekend. Still, I achieved my goal of getting up off the couch (or away from the computer) and even feel motivated to keep training and improving my time. Soon it will be winter again in central Sweden. I need to find a gym.

Some days one just doesn’t want to go running. Today was one of those days. But I’ve had too many “rest days” lately, and I’ve got something to do early tomorrow and I knew I wouldn’t be running then, so I had to run today. I told myself, just 5K, just a gentle jog. It felt like crap the whole time, but when I got home and mapped my run, I had run 6K and the exercises I’ve been doing to improve my pace must be working because this jog was about 40 seconds faster per kilometer than a really hard run a few weeks ago. So, not bad.

I ran 10K last Saturday and it felt great except for my left knee. I am always paranoid that I am grinding my knee cartilage into dust, so any knee pain freaks me out. But with the magic of the internet I determined that I probably had “runners’ knee”, where your kneecap slides around too much because your quadriceps are weak, and the solution is to do quad strengthening exercises and rest. It seems to be working. No knee pain today.

10 days til Tjejmilen.

After a pretty easy 8K a few days ago, and after receiving my race info packet from Tjejmilen, where I learned that at my current pace I should start in the eighth of nine pace groups, I decided my conditioning is good enough to complete the 10K and I should use the remaining few weeks to work on my speed so that I can start in the seventh pace group. It’s a sad goal, but it’s important to have goals nonetheless, right?

Even though I’ve been running fun runs off and on for almost 9 years now, and even ran a marathon six years ago, I’ve never really done anything in particular to try to improve my speed, other than just push myself to run faster and sometimes do fartleks (it’s a Swedish word, but in common usage!) where you change up your pace for short distances. When I did the marathon I did a training program, the goal of which was just to get us to finish the damn thing, so there was no talk of improving speed.

I did some internet research on improving 10K times and now I am doing all kinds of crazy shit like walking lunges around my apartment on my off days and running 5K at just under a pace that would kill me. Today I went to the track and ran fast 1200 meters alternated with slow recovery runs. The total time for the 6K I ran was more than it would take at my normal slow pace, since the recovery runs were really slow. Well, also I was running in the outermost lane, so maybe I ran more than 6K.

While I was running I was treated to the scene of two American football teams warming up for their game. To clarify, the teams weren’t American, the football was. Actually, I think one of the coaches was American, since he was shouting at his team in English. I didn’t stick around to watch the game, because one of the reasons I’m an expat is that I hate American football. But American things like football and classic cars are really popular in the Swedish redneck community, which is pretty sizeable around here.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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