Monday 21/12-2009: Finished!!!

Finished!!!!!!!!!!
Yippieeeeeeeeeee !!!!!!

This last stage of the project was the wettest yet.
It has basically been raining steady all day.
I’m soo glad that Barbro Nilsson ran with me:)
Although we both were like drenched cats, but to be two under such circumstances is so much easier than dealing with it myself.
Barbro, beeing such a talented runner, and a real warrior, is so inspiring.
No talk about to plow the veritable lakes that were on the roads.
That the finishing point were as high as possible on the Gibraltar rock was no discussion.

We got out shortly after 10 this morning, and was drenched after 15 minutes.
At 15:00 we had done the first 40 kilometers and was in Gibraltar.
Climb to the summit was a real trial that took both time and effort.
The wind blew strong and cold on top, the fog was dense, so to get a nice view was out of the question.
The small restaurant on the way down was a real treat:)
Apple pies with cream and hot coffee was like heaven after 6 1/2 hours of running and climbing:
I took double helpings, what else?!

A nice cool monkey greeted us on the way down!

So now it’s a very happy Martin who enjoy actually reaching the goal!
3100 kilometers is made, my body has taken the distance very well!
I feel really strong!

On Wednesday my plane leaves for Sweden and christmas!
I long so for my two children (quite big actually at 20 & 16 years) Jonatan and Dalie!
Christmas is awaited:)

I will keep on writing every day on this blog until I realized what this project has meant.
Right now I’m not quite sure, it’s just a fantastic feeling!! 🙂

All the best to you my friends!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Saturday & Sunday 19-20/12-2009: Now we can see the rock!

We caught a glimpse of the Rock of Gibraltar already yesterday!
The 426m high cliff with its characteristic steep one side stood against the farthest horizon.
During the day today it has become noticeably larger.
Tomorrow it will be under my feet!

Yesterday was Saturday, and the plan was to run between Malaga and Marbella, around 55km.
I was a bit worried about my running friend Hakan, who had pain in his right knee after Friday’s 42km.
But a great massage, my knee protection and Voltaren pain gel, and plenty of sleep made him in a descent running condition for Saturday.
Very pleasing since I really looked forward to get running company for the two full days!

Hakan was a much more stubborn person than I thought, so despite stiff legs, sore feet, and pain, he struggled through an another 42km.
Really well done Hakan! 🙂
For my part, my legs move really easily these days, so I did the 55km as I planned.
I feel very inspired!

We spent many hours in a restaurant with very good food with all the guys in the evening. Super nice:)

So today, Sunday was just saying goodbye to the gang.
Already at 7 in the morning, they pulled away up the country to their waiting flight at Alicante.

Thanks for coming down here Anders, Håkan, Bjorn, and Lennart!
It has meant more to me than I can convey through my written words.
If I do try, I feel valued, inspired, and very happy, very much thanks to you!
My running have also been easier, even when I arrived late in bed.
Of course, Hakan a large part of it!

I have filmed a few parts that I shall sit and edit now.
It will probably take a few hours.
Unfortunately for you English visitors you’ll have to go to the Swedish version of this blog to be able to see the films.

I have run a bit today too:)
30km to be exact. No match!
Quickly made at 3.15.
Raw and cold, it is now, not many degrees above zero at all, but I had a tail wind fortunately.
Granada, not far from here, had apparently -3 °.
It has been snowing in Valencia.
I’m just south of this misery;), so here is a little better.
My 30 km today I actually did just wearing a thin linen.

So finally I’ll make the end stage tomorrow, Monday!
Wow!
I will meet up with Barbro Nilsson (member of the same running club -Solvikingarna- as me, and  a great ultra-runner), at 10.00 in Estepona. Together we’ll run the last 45km down to Gibraltar.

I have not decided yet on where exactly the finishing line is.
Is it at the border?
Is it at my hotel in Gibraltar?
Is it on top of the cliff?

What do you think?

All the best!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Sunday 13/12-2009: Eureka!

Eureka!

I’ve got it!

We do not choose, we react.

Sure, it has been one of my dearest hobby-horses in recent years.
The fact that free choice is an illusion.
At the same time there has been a challenge to formulate it, to understand the extent of it.

We do not choose, we react.
I know that almost everyone disagrees with me, ok, but just read this with an open mind once.

Objectively speaking, based on:
To begin with science has -as far as I know-, still not managed to explain what consciousness actually is, and how making a choice really is made.
On the contrary, evidence indicates that most of what we do is initiated in the brain before we become aware of it.
So who is “pulling the strings”?
I? As I said the mind / ego is far from explained.
God? That was a joke, of course, I might as well have written Santa 🙂 because if it is something that does not even merit discussion, it is faith.
What remains is really only responses to external and internal stimuli.
This is what we know right now, and I think that life deserves to be respected for what we know, because only then we ‘ll have a chance to get along without fighting, thereby giving all an opportunity to improve quality of life.

For me personally:
To be able to absorb all this, I have had to push myself to the limit, and by all means a bit over the limit.
Only then, after the border, have my thick head softened, I’ve got to know my limitations, my humanity, and thereby won a humility.
Humility, which is a prerequisite for understanding that we do not choose.
Humility in my case also by the fact that I’m fine in my current fatigue.
I have no more strengt to fight anymore, no strengt to dislike this and that. I’m ok, and so are you. Regardless.
Just wish all a happy life without high ramparts against life itself.

Conclusions:
For is it not true that when we feel bad for various reasons, we diminish our living space to feel that we have control, at least over the small.
This inevitably leads to isolation.
Isolation among humans, isolation without humans, detachment from my emotions, isolation from other people’s feelings.
I myself am a good example of this, and everything just because I have felt bad.
Therefore, I refuse to load myself for what I might have done misdeeds.
I just feel a tremendous joy to be on the road in two aspects.

In my case, food is a major villain in this context.
I am writing is because I still fight an uphill battle against the food, but I’ve had a taste of feeling well, and I’m sure that I’m going to be able to make that taste stay for longer periods in the future.
For you others who sometimes or always feel uncomfortable or bad, there is naturally a thousand and one reasons why.

Two things I say to myself:
I dare to see that there is a better, more sober, more perceptive, and richer life.
I see what must be done, and I do it.

Today I ran 50km on pure inspiration, without even looking at the clock.
It was hilly, the sky totally cloudy, 14 degrees, and wonderfully fresh air!
I passed Sorbas that was my goal, and continued 12km.
Starting shortly before Garrucha it was actually 50km 🙂 awesome!

I see what must be done, and I do it!

Tomorrow is another day, and one day closer to the goal!
My goals are currently two: Gibraltar, and to get home to my family!

Make sure that you feel good!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Saturday 12/12-2009: Here we go!

Here we go, and we’ll see what happens!

From here my logistics will be trickier.
As if it was not difficult to and from in the past.
This path that I chose has in principle no train and bus links.
So now it’s all about hitchhiking.
Today went better than expected 🙂

I started off from Aguilas at 11.30, and with a distance compensating turn in the beginning I steered steps towards Garrucha.
Everything was fine, but where was all the small villages that I expected by the sea?
The road was long stretches and fairly close to the water.
Up hill and down hill, winding back and forth.
Now hills isn’t a problem for me any longer, so it was just nice, and at times quite beautiful.

But where would I buy water?
After 30km, I had to ask a man who had stopped his car for water.
-Possible agua, por favor? Like, I reeled out of me.
It probably sounded quite wiered, but he got out a bottle of water, and thus the day was saved.
There is not much needed, but without any solvent, it is difficult.

At the first gas station that I came to, after 44km, I finally got to buy sports drink and water.
It was just a few miles left to Garrucha, and I was very aware that I had to take me back.
The sun would go down within an hour.
There was a cute girl at a petrol pump filling up her car.
I walked up and asked if she would happen to be on her way to Aguilas.
She looked at me a little searching, probably decided that I looked fairly harmless, and said, “Sure!
Sometimes you should have a bit of luck:)

So during the 40 minutes ride back to Aguilas, we talk about both this and that.
She was happy to practice her English, and I was overjoyed to come to my door at my hotel.
Raquel was her name, and I will send a gratitude given to her, and that people still dare to pick up the exhausted runners on the loose.

What happens tomorrow?
Do not know right now.
Maybe switch to a hotel in Garrucha.
Then it’s just the return I need to worry about.
A little tough otherwize to hitchhike both to the starting location, and then return.

We’ll see.

All the best friends!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Saturday 21/11-2009: A really good day

A really good day!

70km!
In 8 hours!
I hesitated about todays stage, but my preparation was good.
Got in bed early, and had 10 hours of sleep, that’s condition number 1.
No junkfood, that’s condition number 2.

The result: -A really good day!

On top of this after running for 1 1/2 month practicly solo, without running into someone special on the road I met first Attila from Hungary who had a big sign saying “GIBRALTAR” on his suitcase.

He was hitch-hiking through Europe as a project.
Of course I stopped and chatted for a while!

As we stood there Peter and Lena from Sweden passed us on bicykles on their way to Marrakech in Marrocco.
Peter stopped and we talked a bit too.

When I finished todays stage in Valencia after a fast last 10 km to catch my train, I met my coming company for the next few days.
A good friend from Sweden -Petra Laurell- is going to ride her bike while I’m running.
That’s going to be great 🙂
Tomorrow we start off from Valencia, and head down along the coast towards Alicante.

So all in all a really good day with nice meetings!

I wish you friends out there all the best!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Thursday 19/11-2009: Up and running again!

Up and running again!

It was just temporary!
My stomach got angry, and told me what I could and could NOT do (eat).
After that I needed a cleansing, lay sick for a day, and now I’m back on track :)

The day today became just as planned.
I took the train from Castellon de la Plana to Vinaros, a little extra run, then down to Torreblanca, and on to Torrenostra by the sea.
There I took the first swim in the Mediterranian Sea :)
Torrenostra was like a ghost city, and the few people who saw me probably wondered what crazy person I was swimming in the middle of the ”winter”.
But hey?!… I bet it was between 18-19 degrees in the water. Just like a refreshing swim in the Swedish summertime.
Otherwize the complete day has been cloudy, but on the other hand, that is perfect for running :)
So nothing bad that doesn’t bring some some good!

I made a total of 52km today, just as planned. That’s not bad!

Tomorrow they say it’s going to be sunny.
It’ll work :)

So take care my friends!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Tuesday 20/10-2009: Full focus, forward…

To start out late has a point….

Now when I’m driving my car myself things tend to take time in the mornings.
Yet I thought that I got up in pretty good time today.
But when I had checked out, driven to Mulhouse, took in my luggage in the next hotel, a cab to central station in Mulhouse, train to Selestat, another cab to Marckolsheim, wow….
I didn’t start running until after one o’clock.

Ok, it’s 56km to my next hotel in Mulhouse, and it starts to get dark around 18.30.
The conditionts for running is perfect, 10-11 degrees, no wind, and sun!

Full focus forward…

Nothing bad that doesn’t bring something good  as well.
The first 42,2km (a marathon) took 4,50 :), not so bad, eh??
After that I took it a bit easier (is that possible wonder all the runners out there :))
It added up to a 6,30 on the 56km.

Thus I had no time for any food stops, just some stops “behind-the-trees”.
My stomach gave me some pain between 30-40km, but let go after that.
It’s totally useless to to try to run with stomach ache, it was all about gases to be frank.

Just eating during running is a tricky part.
As today -to not eat at all- feels almost as the best in some aspects.
On the other hand is the risk of running out of gas not too appealing.
I really don’t know where my limits are, but I guess that thats’s what I’m testing right now :).

Otherwize I found a way to lessen the time consuming process each morning.
Let’s say I do 50km each day (it seems to be that way now after 17 days on the road).
Then I plan to drive my car 100km every second day.
This means that I always stays 2 nights in every place.
The first day I need to go back to that days starting point.
The second day I need to came back after that days running.
Piece of cake, right?

Now I had a big steak with lots of fat sauce, soon there’ll be potatoes with olive oil and butter.
I cook everything for myself, and that feels absolutely great 🙂

I hope you all feel good dear friends, I really do!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Monday 19/10-2009: On the road alone…

Well, then I’m on my own again….
It feels something like this…..

Go to the Swedish sight and listen to my recording of Body and Soul where I play all the instruments by myself.

It’s an incredible big difference in doing this project by myself instead of as up til know -two.
Just the silence…. for good, and for worse…
Now I’m very used to beeing alone, so that’s not a problem.
It just became so very different all of a sudden….

Otherwize I must say that this day went very well.
I got up at 8, feeling real good.
At 09.30 I was driving my car south towards Marckolsheim.
There I found a hotel, and by 11.15 I sat in taxi on my way to the nearest train station.
So shortly after 12.00 I got of at Strasbourg main central station.
Since it was at the same distance as the hotel I stayed at in Strasbourg I could start running directly.

8-9 degrees in the air, no wind, and a shining sun is quite ok for running 🙂
I almost got to hot with all my layers that I put on.
As planned I made a cool 55km in 7 hours.
The only complication, and a one that make me feel really bad is dogs.
Yes, dogs…. barking dogs….
I appreciate all tips I can get about how to handle this.
In every little village that I pass through there are several dogs in every other house that completely barks their heads off at me.
It makes me just as jumpy every time, and at one time one was loose and ran after me.
Now this one turned around as I turned around, but what about the next, and next….??

After a high number of getting barked at, the result were that I tip-toed through the villages because I noticed that my running triggered them.
This triggers me…
My fear and anxiety turns to anger and rage that I have a hard time controlling.
I become furious, and this spoils a big part of the good experience.
You don’t want to know what I’m planning….
What to do???

Anyway, now I’d just finished eating, and I’m sitting in a very nice hotel room making plans for tomorrow.
Mulhouse is waiting! This will be fun 🙂

Take care my friends!
Warm running greetings!
Martin

Saturday 17/10-2009: France

Thanks Germany for this time!

Nice lady who ran the hotel in Rastatt!
SANY1483 komp

The red devil is now going into France!

SANY1484 komp

Vive la France :)
IMG_0070 komp

Yes it became a really good day!
I havn’t had any pain anywhere during the whole day!
I took it quite easy, and enjoyed getting into a new country.
I’ve mixed walking and running and made 56km in 7,30.

After crossing the border I had 25 fantastic kilometers along the Rhein with the sun in my face.
I could feel the heartbeat of history in the area.
Moments like this makes all the hard work on the road worth while.
Actually even more, it’s simply gold :)!

It became dark before I reached my hotel, but that’s not a problem these days.
I just follow the little blue spot along the purple line on Google Maps on the iPhone.
A piece of cake to find the way through all the streets.

Tomorrow is a day of well earned rest!

Warm running greetings to you all!
Martin

Sunday 11/10-2009: Food

We stayed at the very nice Alter Bahnhof in Schleusingerneundorf am Rennsteig :)
Pumped up Martin before start, and with Marcus from Alt Bahnhof. Thanks Marcus!
SANY1402 komp SANY1404 komp SANY1397 kompBeautiful view of Alt Bahnhof :)

Let’s get the technical stuff over and done with:
I started out from the little village of Zeilfeld, and headed straight west to Römhild, and another 7 km before I turned in a south-west direction.
Todays target was Schweinfurt.
The distance today came up to 65 km, and it took me 8,30.
A tough day with a lot of rain.
A friendly police officer drove up beside me after 50 km and asked if I needed a ride.
I thanked him, but said no 🙂

Partly drowned och finished Martin after 65 km.
SANY1410 komp

FOOD:
A lot of this days thoughts have circled around food.
The fact is that one of my big challanges with this project is about food.
Or to be more specific the carbohydrates in the food (especially the fast ones).
As a sugar addict it’s the carbs that makes my days hard.

I can state right away that this situation by no means is optimal for addressing an addiction.
The days are tough much because of the strain of all the running, and this becomes a stress factor that triggers a behaviour that I have when I handle stressful situations.
My tactics has anyway been to trade a lot of the carbs for fat.
In this spirit I have eaten a lot of different cheeses, salami and other sausuges, a lot of olive oil in everything, butter, tons of creme fraiche, etc..

I guess that it havn’t gone enough time yet, but it feels partly as it’s going in the right direction.
On the downside have I eaten a couple of Snickers bars. Only during running though.
Certain days I’ve felt quite powerless, but then again I got to give my body more time.

Now it’s getting late, and I need to go to sleep.
At least I started up the subject of the food, and it will continue.
Feel free to write comments with reflections. It’s highly appreciated.
I was planning to upload another video that Richard edited, but that have to wait til the morning.
You’ll find the videos on the Swedish verison of this blog.
Subtitles in English is coming, but not yet.

Take care!
Wet running greetings!
Martin :)