So on a whim and with a little nudge from my lovely coworkers, I decided to train for my first-ever HALF MARATHON!!  13.1 miles of pure fun.

Since it would be the longest I’ve ever run (previous PR being ~6 miles on sore knees) I embraced this challenge and prepared my legs and mind for the Stockholm Halvmarathon, on September 9th, 2017.

  1. Here’s the front area of our Airbnb.  The location was incredibly difficult to find (our taxi driver spent 15 minutes just locating the place with the help of dispatch).  When we arrived in the pitch black at 9 pm, we were greeted by a very happy (and thankfully robed) *coughdrunkcough* landlady.  She was an absolute hoot.  Gave one of our other guests a biiig hug and then immediately described how she’s been horribly sick for the past two weeks.  We assume she was mixing special pain-med cocktails :0  Oh yea, after talking to us for about 15 minutes, playing with my hair and telling us all she “loved us” she left, but returned with a special gift for me:

2. The landlady gifted me a VS nightie!  Now I expect a gift from every airbnb host in the future :3

3.  It’s actually a cute shirt 😛  You should’ve seen the poor lady’s face when she saw us all leaving at the end of our trip.  Talk about a walk-of-shame.

4. John’s backpack is flat before we loaded him up!  He was our designated pack-mule.

5.  I liked the train tracks.

6. And the stop light.

7.  Our amazing guides figuring out our next stop!

8. Finally seeing some of Stockholm!

9. The race didn’t start until 4pm so we had a leisurely time wandering the city.

10.  Love the teal roofs.  My favorite color, especially with the copper/gold/shiny lettering.

11.  There were tons of statues on top of the buildings.  I liked that strange hollow spire on the right.

12. LOTS of gold embellishments.

13. European streets have such a warm, inviting ambiance.

14. More gold!  This was a flower on top of a wrought-iron gate.

15.  Giant rustic chain, just hangin’.

16.  I’m so mature.

17.  Beautiful architecture/arches.  I mean even the street lights are classy.  You can tell we’re getting closer to the halfmarathon starting point because of all the neon colored clothes.

18. Pretty building.  The concrete ribbon details are beautiful.

19. John photobombing a photo of a photo.

20.  One of the starting areas!  I think I was in the very last group since I didn’t have any previous race data.

21.  This was several hours before the race.  It’s pretty empty.

22.  I liked this building so much I took another photo.

23. Ah, the random spire building.  I will get a zoom lens soon so next time I can get even cooler shots!

24.  Oh the open urinals.  A mother brought her son (who was way too short for one of these) and picked him up to show him how it would be used.  I think the kids grimace said it all hahaha.

25.  I didn’t read the plaque but I imagine this statue is thinking “come at me, bro”.

26.  Gotta get the Swedish flag.

27.  This type of intricate artwork was everywhere.

28.  Look at that guard, doing his thing.  You go guard!

29.  And here we are, half marathon registration!  Very organized, but lacking in free stuff (from what I’ve heard, you usually get a goodie bag.  Especially when the price tag for this race was ~$70)

30.  The bags had weird handles, maybe they were easy to tie closed or something?

31.  Titan’s cousin!

32.  I signed the wall 🙂

33.  Not my best handwriting, but it is mine!

34.  The runners!

35.  Still had some time to kill, so we started looking for a place to eat.  Oh look, a pretty flower!

36.  We found this amazing little cafe, with a waiter who belonged in a magazine.  I should’ve snuck his photo……but at least I got these desserts instead.

37.  We ate them with our eyes.

38.  Need that zoom lens! This photo is a little blurry.

39. More gold and statues.

40.  I took a photo of that bag/jacket thing just in case it was evil…then we sat next to it waiting for the race to start.  Yea, logic.

41.  There was a stream about 20 feet below.

42.  Too bad there was scaffolding!!

43.  Deep thought.

44.  Smile!

45.  Pre-race wooo!

46.  I was number 20,195.  That’s a lot of people to race with.

47.  Gotta love that face!

48. Father & daughter, awwww!

49.  Freedom for ??????

50.  The whole group with our bibs.

51.  He’s judging you!

52.  John got up high to take photos as we were herded to the starting line.  Where’s Waldo??

53.  I kept looking for my white hat and poof of hair.

54.  There were pacers with backpacks and balloons attached to them.  I tried sticking close to the 2:00 pacers until I finally lost sight of them.

55.  Near the end of the race it started raining.  There was also a tricky blow-up Garmin arch that made you think you were at the end, when you really had another kilometer to go.

56.  Everyone made it!  My time was around 2:09.  I probably would have been slower, but the tricky Garmin arch got me to sprint early…Also, during my training, I always used miles.  So when race day came up and everything was in kilometers, I didn’t know exactly how far I had to run.  I estimated about 20km, but learned that it’s actually 21…

57.  After the race we changed at a far-away (like 2 miles) stadium and then took the train.  One of the escalators was off and about a million miles long…we took breaks every now and then.  Once we got to the top, the escalator started up…..*shakes fist at sky*

58.  These statues were IN the train station.

59.  Another photo of the train station stop lights!

60.  The colors were vibrant and dry, I liked it.

61.  Rusty rail road.

62.  Our final day (Sunday) we had enough time to wander to old town for lunch.

63.  We stopped by a touristy looking building.

64.  With whatever this flag represents???  A prince?

65.  Pointy and gold.

66.  Cute statue.

67.  I couldn’t quite get a photo of the flag stretched out, but the contrast of the lighting still came out nicely.

68.  A fish-eye lens might be cool here.  I’m going to get one of those too and will have fish eye photos til I get sick of them!

69.  Everything was so elegant.

70.  The blue and red really complemented each other.

71.  With the flag this time.

72.  Tall building…have no clue what it was for.  You can tell I’m all about the history 😉

73. Ride that lion!

74.  Look at that adorable round building.  I want one!

75. 😀

76.  I like the background of this one the most.

77.  Green and yellow, green and yellow.

78.  I love this one.  It looks unreal.

79.  Oh creepy snake eating its own tail.  This is eerie considering I just finished watching Hemlock Grove.

80.  Latin.

81.  So refreshing.

82.  I want to live here!

*Looks at cost of living*


83.  This reminds me of James Bond.

84.  The wagon wheel chandelier was pretty inside the burger restaurant we went to.

85.  Can you tell I like desserts? I take more photos of them than I actually eat, I swear…

Well we had an amazing trip and I’m really glad that I did it.  Training for this half-marathon taught me a lot about my own personal limits and how not to push myself too hard.  It’s true when they say that running races like this is 90% mental.  My only goal was to finish, and every time I felt like I was pushing too hard, I would tell myself,

“Slow down. It’s okay to slow down.  You’re doing this for yourself.  No one else cares what time you finish, only you.  So why stress?  It literally doesn’t matter.  The whole point to this race is to do it.  So might as well enjoy it!”

And that’s what I did!  🙂


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