January is generally a bad time of year for me. Being an accountant, January means closing of the books and long hours. Which is probably why I often book vacations in January as it gives me something to look forward to. Last January was particularly awful, but I knew the end was in sight as I had booked tickets to Australia and Sweden!! It was also in January that I read Karla’s article about Nike expanding their Women’s Running Series. I was intrigued. I was ecstatic when I saw there was a race in Stockholm around the time I would be there. (Side note: they had a London race but the date hadn’t been announced otherwise, I might have tried to do both!) I slightly shuffled my Stockholm plan and signed up. Signing up for that race had me doing a happy dance at 1 a.m. (while still at the office).
After looking forward to this race for so long, it was hard to believe it was finally race day! I hadn’t fully appreciated that being so far north would mean that this night race would still seem like day time.
There weren’t traditional bibs, instead we had a strip of paper with our number that acted more like a D tag (fastened to our shoe). We were given wristbands to indicate what corral we were in.
The corrals were super crowded but soon we were off! The race course took us towards Gamla Stan and past the Royal Palace. Pretty soon Jessica and I were at the back of the pack. But that’s okay – we were still running. In Stockholm!!
Since Stockholm is a series of islands, most of the race took place along the water. The course really was beautiful. We left the more touristy area and ventured into a more residential area. I enjoyed all the encouragement I got, even if it was in Swedish! 🙂 There were two particularly rowdy cheer stops that were fantastic!!
Jessica kept urging me to go ahead – the month of travelling had taken a toll and she was struggling a bit. I was just enjoying the moment, and so stayed with her.
City Hall came into view, and with that our hotel. I joked to Jessica that she could stop at the hotel but she was determined to finish.
With about a tenth of a mile left, several volunteers surrounded us to run us in to the finish line. Knowing that Jessica was going to make it, I started sprinting with one of the volunteers matching me stride for stride and yelling encouragement. It was truly an amazing feeling. I crossed the finish line to hugs and high-fives. I turned to cheer on Jessica and then we received our finisher’s necklace.
Even though we were among the last to finish, the after party was still going strong. With our water and recovery drink in hand, we wandered around a bit before heading back to our hotel (we still had to pack for an early morning flight).
This was truly a great race and I’m so glad I was able to experience it. I got to see parts of Stockholm I wouldn’t normally have seen, and there was a really fantastic atmosphere throughout the race.