Today, on Saturday 12th of May, I ran and won Göteborgs Varvet (in Sweden), which is the biggest half marathon in the world, if you go by the number of participants. Today more than 62.500 people ran the half marathon alone. Can you imagine? I was really impressed.
I felt confident coming into the race, since my last weeks of training had gone really well. I felt the shape was improving and I was ready for it.
On Tuesday Hugo and I traveled to The Netherlands and on Thursday we continued our journey, from Amsterdam to Göteborg, Sweden - in this way I made sure I was fresh for the race. We were welcomed by the organisation in a very beautiful hotel and in general I can say that we had an extremely pleasant and well organized stay in Sweden. The organisation was very kind and really did their best for us top-athletes.
We knew the race is big, but not very fast. The course record for the women is 1.09.04 by Joyce Chepkurui (who later ran two minutes faster than that). It's quite hilly and also the weather is often not great. For this years edition the weather was not bad, about 12 degrees Celsius and no rain. The only disturbance was the strong wind. I had decided that I would not try to run a good time, but would focus on my position alone, which is normally my strongest point.
The race: from the start 2 ladies were leading; Alemu Bekele from Ethiopia and Rose Chelimo from Kenya. I followed not far behind, with Ana Dulce Felix from Portugal and Helah Kiprop from Kenya, who both have a faster personal best than me. After 7 kilometers, we got up with the leaders. Chelimo dropped, but Bekele hang on, so we continued with the four of us.
From the 10k point, which we passed after 32.40, I was leading all the way, sometimes with Kiprop next to me. First Felix dropped (later she would pass Kiprop again), after about 18k Kiprop dropped. Than it was between me and Bekele from Ethiopia. Although I felt strong enough for a finishing kick, I did not want to take the risk, so I decided to kick with about 800m to go and she had to let me go.
The result was like this:
1. Hilda Kibet (Netherlands) 1.09.27
2. Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia) 1.09.31
3. Ana Dulce Felix (Portugal) 1.09.50
4. Helah Kiprop (Kenya) 1.10.09
5. Isabelah Anderson (Sweden) 1.10.30
6. Rose Chelimo (Kenya) 1.11.04
Despite the fact that I ran faster before (1.08.39 is my personal best, which I ran in RAK), I consider this race to be the best half marathon I ever ran, because of the course and circumstances.
Off course I am very happy with this victory. It shows to me, what I already thought and hoped; my shape is improving.
In 3 days I will fly to Boulder, Colorado, where I will do my preparations for the Olympic Games. I am going there with a lot of confidence, knowing that I am strong and ready to start the marathon training. It's still 12 weeks until the marathon at the Games, so there is a lot of time to improve my shape further.
Below my last 80 meters of the race.
At the moment I'm back in Kenya, in Iten, where I train most of the year. Here I have the altitude, the good weather (most of the time) and my trainingpartners and pacemakers. I am happy with how my training is going. The shape is slowly improving.
This week I ran about 155 kilometers (96 miles), with the following important sessions:
- a 16k run on a hilly course, with alternating 1k in 3.15 and 1k in 4.00.
- a session with 12x 30 seconds uphill sprinting
- a 32k run (20 miles) in exactly 2 hours.
Apart from that I did another 7 sessions of 45-70 minutes easy or moderate running, and off course some strenght exercises for the whole body.
My next race will be the Göteborg half marathon on May 12. I am looking forward to that race and hope to do well, like in New York last month. The course is pretty heavy, I heard, so I don't expect to run a personal best, I just hope to run a good race.
After that race, Hugo and I will leave to Boulder in the USA. We rented a house there and will stay for about 2 months, so I will do the biggest part of my specific marathon preparation there. The reason I decided to go to Boulder, in stead of staying in Kenya, is that I want to get away from my normal life. Even though I can train very good here in Kenya, I still have some distractions. When I stay in Boulder, I am very sure that I don't have to care about anything, only running. And besides that, it's always nice to train in different places. I have been to Boulder some years ago and it's one of the best places to train.
This week my sister Valentine came back to Kenya, after running 3 races. As I wrote last time, she ran a personal best of 32.16 on the 10k and I am very proud of her.
Also, the rains have finally started, after a long time of drought. We have 5 cows, but they didn´t give us a lot of milk anymore, because it was so hot and dry. Now that the rain started, the grass will get greener and the cows will get healthier again. Also, Hugo and I started planting trees and flowers. We love planting trees, this time we planted about 230 flowers and trees in our compound, to make the place look beautiful.
The only problem with the rain is that our compound is sloppy and when it rains hard, a lot of soil is washed away. To prevent soil erosion and to avoid future problems, we are now trying to make some gutters and trenches to lead all the water out of our compound. So as you see, there are always things to do in Kenya.