Training for the Tjejmilen–(Sweden’s Largest All Women’s Race)

If I’m not blogging as much lately, it’s because I’m training for the Tjejmilen. “You only live in Sweden once,” a friend told me, adding that if I didn’t run in Sweden’s largest all women’s race, I’d be missing out the opportunity of a lifetime. (Somehow I believed her.) Directly translated, Tjejmilen means, “Girl Mile.” (I’m guessing that doesn’t sound as ridiculous as it does in English). The 10K with 32,000+ participants, has been going on for the last 30 years. The trail covers parts of Stockholm, including the beautiful paths of the Djurgarden. (At least I’ll have something nice to look at while I’m dying).

The only teensy, tiny sticking point in running a race is this: I’m not a runner. I bike, I walk, I do yoga; I don’t run. When I do run, I look like a wounded mallard. My feet turn out as if heading in opposite directions and my arms fly around–one fast, one slow. Nothing is synchronized. It’s not pretty, but Okay, I’m moving, one foot in front of the other (sort of). I’m as slow as a kiddie train at the carnival, (for ages 3 and under), but I’m chugging along, breathing hard, thinking, “I can.”

Having a goal to train for has taught me a couple of things. One is discipline. And two is, just because your disciplined doesn’t mean squat. It’s hard as heck to get myself out there each day. It’s like trying to convince my four-year-old whose tasted squash to eat a whole plate full. Who cares if, “it’s good for you?”

Once I do manage to get myself started down the trail, every step I take I meet with resistance. My resistance. My mind conjures up a hundred other things I could be doing. Laundry, for instance, or tweezing my eyebrows, starting a non-profit, solving world hunger (or just fixing my kids dinner), growing Wheat Grass, getting the cat declawed, (I don’t even have a cat). You see what I’m up against? But I try to put all that aside and listen to my 80’s music and cajole myself into keeping pace or how else will I be able to endure the humiliation when I’m clocked as the slowest runner in the history of Sweden to complete the Tjejmilen?

So as I run, I look at the scenery, breathe through my nose and let my thoughts float off one by one, (like they teach us to do in yoga). That lasts exactly four seconds, until I’m back again to letting my mouth hang open, gulping in huge lungful’s of air. Which brings me to my next point: running hurts, it just does, so expect it and don’t let it stop you. Knees, shins, neck, back, hips, they all cry out for attention. They’re like selfish teenagers who think they do all the work, just because one Saturday they washed the car. Thank them, but pay no special attention to any one of them. Keep your pace steady, stay hydrated and stretch—don’t let the Lactic Acid do the talking.

Up until now I believed people who ran did it because they loved it. I’m certain that’s the case for some, but I’m equally as convinced there are plenty of runner’s out there who do it because it’s the hardest thing they do. It’s challenging in a way that most things aren’t. You push yourself to the wall and then keep going, hoping against hope that time will speed up and the miles will flash by, but they don’t, so you endure.

And then, when you are by some miracle finished and still alive and sweating profusely, you have the intense satisfaction that (for now) it’s over. You can go home, bask in your adrenaline-induced euphoria and sip on your protein shake, knowing that today the battle is won. It might not have been graceful, or easy, or even fun, but you didn’t stop and by my estimation, that’s success.

For more information or to register click here.

To watch a video of the race click here.

12 Comments on “Training for the Tjejmilen–(Sweden’s Largest All Women’s Race)

  1. Wow, Lana, I’m impressed. Good luck with the training. If there is ever a speed quilting or knitting event, you have inspired me to sign up for it! Seriously, I think I’d rather tweezer my legs than run. Good for you signing up and participating.

    • I must be crazy for doing this, but the Norton’s are a little “nuts” (aren’t we?) And just so you know, I’d pick you over any other contender for speed quilting, hands down.

  2. Go Lana!!!!☀ I’ll always be cheering for you in my little corner of the world. xxoo

  3. Good luck!!! I hate to run to, but just downloaded this great app that is a training program called “Ease into 5K” (i’m sure there is a 10 K one too!) — it’s awesome because it doesn’t interfere with your music, but has an entire schedule of runs to get you ready to run a 5K in 30 days. Check it out. I don’t know if it works yet because I haven’t finished, but it is really easy to start. : )

    and keep running! (just pretend there are bears behind you…works wonders for me)

    • Just in the nick of time, when I was most in need of inspiration, thank you! I’m going to download this app today and if that doesn’t work, I’m great at visualization…I’ll picture the biggest, scariest, hairiest bear out there to keep the ol’ legs running.

  4. Sigh…my dear dear girl. i vascillated between wanting to weep and laugh while reading this. Those moments…man, that is engaging in God’s Lessons about Life. You amaze me. Proud isnt’ even the right word here of what I am of you. Delighted? Inspired? Humbled? Yes, I think the latter. Nice work my girl…nice work. Keep at ‘er!

    • It’s quite possible you might be my only friend to have ever actually seen me run. So true about God’s lessons. I feel grateful every day for a back–scoliosis, metal rods and all–that is willing to get stronger (after 40). It’s a fight, but as they say in the Special Olympics, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Amen.

  5. Lana I love you!!! You nailed it everything about running, you nailed it! Can’t wait to hear about the race. Proud of you sister. Keep me in mind while you are running because I really long to be out on the trail right now but the child growing inside of me is taking my air and all other comfort that I would need to make it through five minutes.

    • Are you serious? And here I thought you were one of those runners that just loooved all that hard work. I guess my theory holds true. Maybe if I keep at it I could train myself to hang with you (for about five minutes).

      Sent from my iPhone

  6. Clark and I are driving around Oahu and I’m reading your posts out loud (barely) because we are laughing thru the tears. Trying to picture our beloved, beautiful wounded mallard Lana finishing your training makes me/us so proud! On to the next entry!

    • Haha, I’m laughing picturing you laughing. It’s Saturday morning here and time to go make myself run. Ugh!

      Sent from my iPhone

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