Growing vs. showing

The other day I was running on a rocky beach during an easy lunch session. A guy stood a few meters out in the water swinging his fishing rod and as we greeted he asked: Isn’t it difficult to run on the loose stones?

My spontaneous answer was: Yes, absolutely, that’s why I’m doing it?

– Aren’t you afraid of tripping or slipping?

– A bit, but I get more and more relaxed for every session I run here.


After a brief discussion about the frequency of char in the waters, I continued and my thoughts wandered from chars and stones to the ability to accept ”poor performance” during training. ”Poor” defined as slow splits, low watts, coming in last after every interval etc. I thought this was a topic relevant to share my thoughts on, and my view is very simple:

”Training sessions are for growing not for showing.”

It’s actually a phrase I use frequently in my role as consultant and trainer with managers and teams. All too often I meet development session participants who do their best to show how great they are – instead of being curious, self-reflecting and eager to grow. The same goes for athletes. An easy swim session becomes a threshold session; a steady run is slowly transformed into an all out sprint session. Not to mention the classic: ”What’s your average speed on your long ride…?” As if overall average speed had anything to do with how well my TRAINING session was accomplished. (I never have average speed shown on my bike computer).

It requires discipline to stay aligned with the purpose off the training, and this challenge can be even bigger in group sessions. After all, it’s quite tempting to turn it up a bit just to see if I can pass my training partner(s). But then thou shalt remember:

”There are no medals awarded after training.”

I think this mind-set is a key contributor to my training efficiency: Relatively low hours input and high performance output – in races that is 😉

I hope you can sense that you grow in your next session, and save the show for your races 🙂 .


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Been there, won that.

Time to share more instead.IM SA Fin DAB

Today a year ago I started the season by finishing Ironman South Africa, African Championship. I had labelled the season Podium Tour 2018. The purpose of this was to inspire me through training and then the race season, from October 2017 when I kicked off the very targeted training towards the Podium Tour with Oscar Olsson as my coach, all the way to Kona.

The dreamed that fuelled my training and guided my priorities was to finish on the podium “in at least some” of the five championships I planned to race. I told Oscar that my vision was “to be capable of beating the AG course record in Kona, 9.16.38”, so that was our inspiring “barrier-breaking dream goal”.

The way the season turned out truly was in line with my wildest dreams (i.e. way beyond my sober expectations).

Now, 2019, as a winner of 70.3 WC in PE and IM WC in Kona last year I’m automatically qualified for the 70.3 WC in Nice and Kona.

But I won’t go there.

Simply because I don’t want to.

Or more accurately, because I don’t feel the true temptation, the surge, the inspiration.

I have no inspiring answer to my  Why-question. Instead I’m more like “been there, won that”.

It has taken me a while to realize and admit to myself that this year I’m more interested in getting back to “feeling strong” and if possible share my experiences with other athletes who want to find their true potential.

This means I’ll have a different approach to my training. My main goal for the race season is to “feel fit and strong” during the Ironman Hamburg in July.

It also means that I hope I’ll able to share a lot of the experience I’ve built over the years. This will be on a “better done than perfect basis” since I’ve realised that otherwise there won’t be more than one or two post quarterly…

And here is the first post in line with this new ambition.

My nutrition plan as I had it written in my iPhone as a preparation for Ironman South Africa last year. I won my AG at a new AG course record (9.18.06) with a 48 min margin to the runner up. And the CR still stands after this years IM SA despite the shortened swim (1.6 k instead of 3.8 k) this year. So, at least it was a success formula for me:

Special thanks to Anders Björkqvist for the video.

Nutrition plan Carl Brümmer IM SA 2018

Aero bottle almost 600 ml ”360” = 85 + 20 g carbs (400ml water + mix >> almost 500 ml for one portion. Fills approx. another 1/4 mixed portion.

1 dl of this to special needs 360 bottle which should be 1 port + 1 dl).  Blue bottle for transportation.

Small 0.5 L Maurten btl behind saddle (lower, less risk it gets kicked off).  160 = 40 g

Large 0.75 L Maurten bottle on frame.  1.5 port 320 = 80 + 40 g (mixed volume> 0.5 l)

A total of about 265 g of carbohydrates at start.

Liquid = about 1.7 litres

Estimated additional water requirement about 2×0.5L for a total of about 1L water / h

Drinks 0.5 L 160 first 30 min for replacing fluid and energy for swim.

Throw 1st bottle in 1st aid station Schoenmakerskop, 20 km and then water on the frame.

Use aero bottle for energy in the next hour (some spill accounted for)

10 km to Grassroof, 15 (16) km to TP, 15 (16) back t Groof.  Just over 40 km.

AS2 at TP which is about 4 km out on Elizabeth Road.

Fill from saddle bottle (drink just over 2 dl first!) before Grassroof to prepare for AS3 Sardinia Bay (just after the down hill Grassroof).  Fill before Grassroof!

About 30 km to special needs and AS4.  About 45 min. This leaves about 80 g of carbohydrates for this.

In special needs: 1 bottle Maurten ”360” (1 full and 1 dl ready for mixing to aerobic start) = about 85 g >> Press in aero bottle.  Just over 5 dl takes 25-30 sec to fill with some spill. A little cautious to avoid excess waste. Empty bottle is put in the bag.  Should contain about 5.5 dl of mixed drink.

A small Maurten bottle”360″ = 85 g

A large Maurten 1 port 320 + 1/2 port 160 = 80 + 20 g (barely then mixed volume> 0.5 l)

A total of about 270 g in special needs for lap 2.

Liquid = about 1.6 litres

Estimated additional water requirement about 2×0.5L for a total of about 1L water / h

Add water for cooling to pour over me.

Should be enough for about 2.25 cycling.  The feeling may determine if starting with 380 / 300mix / 160.

A total of 520 g of carbohydrates fluid for bike play.  Estimated time 4h 50 min.

3 gel in frame storage.  75 g of reserve carbohydrates and can be used before run if it feels ok.

Caffeine in frame storage 5 tablets of 100 mg.  Count on using 2-3 pieces.  Easy to lose…

Salt in Maurten + capsules


Use Maurten gels and water from sachets as main sources for energy and fluids:

One lap takes 47 minutes and passes AS 5 times.

3 gels/lap >> about 100 g of carbohydrates / h.

Would then need 5 until the SN

And 7 from SN.

Water sachets are available from T2.

1 gel at;

– AS 2 running (Marine scouts) + lap band.

– AS 4 5th Avenue

– Passage past AS 4 towards T1 / T2 (with own water)

>>3 gels / 75 g per lap.

5 gels with out for T2

7 gel with fr SN.  + salt (4 caps) + caffeine (3 tabl) + 0.5 L Maurten 320 in case tired of gels.  Can sip on it and then throw away if gel ok. 7 Maurten gels weigh 290 g and gives about 175 g C.

From T2 it is 2.7 km to TP1 and then 3.8 km to Special needs.  I.e. a total of 6.5 km T1 to SN. Thus, SN can be reached after

6.5 / 17km or 27.5km or 39km.

17 km gives 1h 16 ‘@ 4.30 PLAN A  (25 km left, 1 h 52 ‘)

27.5 km gives 2h 04 ‘@ 4.30  (14.5 km left, 1h 05 ‘)

____  ____  ____

As you can see, I’m quite detailed in my planning.

I hope this can help you in your planning for your next race.

For shorter post follow me on instagram carl_brummer


Sweet dreams


PS – on the evening the same day I decided not to go to Kona this year I found myself
looking up the course record for Kona in the AG 55-59, so maybe…

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How long should the off-season be?

A simple answer is: It should be long enough.


…Which brings us to the purpose: To establish a physical and psychological status where I’m able to absorb structured training and evolve as an athlete. (This is my own “definition” that I came up with to guide myself during the last months).

This is my third post on the subject since Kona. I had a plan, based on experience and other people’s knowledge. But reality didn’t turn out as the plan…

Compare it to cooking. You might follow a recipe, but (hopefully) you adjust to the circumstances. Maybe a little bit more salt and some extra cream to make it taste as you want. Perhaps the chicken needs a little bit longer in the oven to reach the desired temperature. And I want my training menu to be as tasty as possible!

Since October I’ve ”adjusted to the circumstances” – a lot. The plan (recipe) said 3 weeks completely off, followed by 1-2 weeks easy start and then back to structured training. The completely-off part went according to plan 🙂 . But the 1-2 weeks easy start ended with ”A weak week”-post. And the weak weeks went on and on…

I can’t say it didn’t bother me. On the contrary. I got a bit worried since I couldn’t recognize the way my body felt and behaved. But, I did not push it. Instead I tried to walk the talk and listen to the signals. And the signals said: Take it easy, more rest needed. I tried a couple of swim sessions, some light indoor biking and a few short runs. I also went to the gym. And all this was done with one purpose: Recover & test. The outcome of these tests was: continue with recovery. Like when you open the oven to see if your chicken is ready. Some times it isn’t, even if the time stated in the recipe has passed. Then you can either follow the recipe and eat a partly rare chicken… which might turn out to be a bad decision, or you can be patient and wait.

I chose to be patient. And tried to handle the potential stress emerging from this since I reconed the need for more recovery was due to the stress I had put my body and mind through during the season. Not the least the total exhaustion I pushed myself to in Kona. I’m super happy with the outcome, but the experience during the last 1 k and the 2 hours following my finish is nothing I would recommend. And with that in mind, I shouldn’t be too surprised that my body and mind needed more time to recover than I’ve ever been close to.

But! Today I completed the first session during which I felt the way I want to (and I’m used to) during an easy training session! My mind was clear, the heart rate stayed on an expected level and I wasn’t exhausted afterwards. It turned into a 15 k easy pace run session (the ambition was to try to run at least 12 k with a good feeling).

So, maybe I’m ready to start some structured training again. After 11 (ELEVEN!) weeks of off-season. I’ll give it a try, meaning that I will start planning for about 8 hours of training per week during January. Focus will be on easy sessions and strength training. If it works out as I hope, I’ll then ramp it up in intensity come February.

During January I’ll also finalise my ambitions for 2019. After all, I want to sense that I’m able to train properly again when I set my objectives for the coming season.

And if it turns out to be true that I’m ready for training now – I’ll have a new answer to the question “How long should the off season be?”: “It should be long enough, usually somewhere between 3 and 11 weeks. And I recommend you go for well done”

/Calle – 2 x AG World Champion 2018 and off-season specialist 😀


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A weak week- that’s not unique

The other week I said to my self that it’s time to slowly get back to training after a good off-season resting period. And the next day I could feel my throat getting soar. I got tired and mentally ”clouded”. This is typical for signs when I’m beginning to get sick.

Nothing serious, not even a real man cold (i.e. I didn’t have to be driven to the hospital). But, it was more than enough to put my ”new beginning” on hold.

Normally I’m quite strict when it comes to nutrition, rest and hand hygiene. But during the last weeks I’ve let go of this. I’ve skipped my protein shakes, bananas and power naps. I’ve not used my Hygiene of Sweden (awesome stuff!) as frequent as usual. And may be my ”system” just relaxed after a long period of training and racing.

Now, I find this pretty frustrating. I really want to get back to some kind of structured training since it makes me feel better in so many ways. But since it’s out of my control I have accepted the situation and instead I’ve spent some time reflecting. And one day while driving my car to a meeting it struck me – in August I was riding my TT-bike on this road, but I felt weak and couldn’t complete the interval session that coach OscarIMG_8519 had put together for me. Instead I road a short easy session, stopped for a long coffee break and arrived home frustrated and told my wife ”I done as an athlete again, I feel tired and mentally clouded, and I wasn’t even close to completing todays session as planned”.

My guess is that most of us (tri)athletes experience periods of feeling sick, weak or just mentally low. Or why not lumbago or severe Achilles pain. We all get periods of illness or small ”injuries”.

If this occurs in off-season as for me now, it’s not too bad, but during key training periods or even during race season – that’s far more challenging and rarely a welcome experience.

Now to the good news: This year I had the season of my life – AND – I had periods of feeling sick, weak or just mentally low during this year. And lumbago 14 days before IM 70.3 European Championship nearly put me in a DNS.

This means that from now on when I have these short periods off a cold, lumbago or what ever reason there is for an unplanned break, I’ll remind my self: Calle – this is exactly what happened during 2018 – and it predicted an awesome race and an astonishing season!

I bet you also experience interruptions in your training for various reasons. I hope this short post can help you accept the situation and use it to rest and build motivation. It might be that you’re about to have the race of your life!

The force is still with you!


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My view on mid season and off-season breaks.


Today I did my first run session since Kona. Not long, not fast, but wow was it great! 30 min easy trail jog in the autumn sunshine along the fjord. It was a spontaneous run during lunch and I felt that I ready for a new beginning.

Since Kona Oct 13thI have had no structured training, and actually almost no training at all. Oct 20 I returned to the swim start and jumped in the water 07.05 for an easy 1,9 k swim. It was our last day in Kona and I wanted to enjoy swimming there before heading home to Sweden. After that I didn’t train until a 20 min gym session Monday last week. Last Friday I “swam” 20 minutes, trying how it was to swim with a freestyle snorkel. I’ve also completed a 30 min exciting off road roller ski session and a 30 min relaxed gym session. I retrospect I can see that this weekend I slowly started training again. Structured training with swim, bike, run focus will however not occur quite yet.

So, I gave myself 3 weeks almost completely off. And I’ll give myself a 1-2 weeks easy start. Why? Because I’m convinced that I need it, physically and mentally. You see, I’m a true believer in the power of recovery.

And even though I’m not done with defining my “vision” for 2019, I want to make sure that I build a solid foundation for what ever inspiring goal I’ll decide to strive for.

Now, for most athletes the power of recovery is no news, at least not on a “knowing” level. But quite a few seem to struggle with the transfer from knowing to doing in this case.

So, to encourage those of you who are afraid of resting too much and loosing everything you built up during all these hard sessions for the past year, I’d like to share a secret: This is not my first break during 2018.

Actually I’ve used it twice during the season in order to be able to get as close to my full potential as possible. One longer and one shorter.

i) After ITU Long distance world championship in Odense in July, I took 10 (ten) days off 🙂 . 8 of these days were spent with my beloved family in Croatia. OK, not completely off, since I had one aqua gymnastic session in a hotel pool in Croatia (with my wife and some 20 other tourists), two family gym sessions and two easy run sessions. In total I registered 4 hours of training (aqua gym included 🙂 ) during these 10 days.


ii) In August I turned 50 the weekend before IM 70.3 World Championship. My wife had arranged a surprise trip to Italy, so we got up at 3 am on Wednesday and came back after midnight on Saturday. During these four days focus was on relaxing, enjoying good food and even better wine (much food and even…) and the company of each other and our friends Maria and Magnus that just happened (sure) to be scheduled at exactly the same trip. I did swim for 20 minutes one morning, and I completed a hilly 14 k run session in the heat. But I’m quite sure this was not the most common way to train the last week before heading for Port Elizabeth and IM 70.3 WC.

Outcome of this “unorthodox” way of preparing for the World Champs: I had a great race and executed one of my best 21 k runs ever, 1.19.31, to take the victory in my AG.

1948 WHO defined health as: ”A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

I believe that in order to perform as an Ironman athlete, we should make sure we keep track on all these three aspects of health. My four days in Italy with my wife and close friends at a wonderful vine yard with an excellent kitchen and wine cellar might have taken a tiny portion off my physical form compared to a standard preparation for a 70.3 race. But the mental and social well-being boost I was able to get outweighed that ten fold.


Trust the power of recovery.

Keep track of all three aspects of your health: Physical, mental and social well-being.

Dare to follow your own path – chances are it will lead further than you imagine.



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World champion, course record and physical meltdown.

Fragment of memories from a memorable day.

– He is at 104 degrees, put him in the ice bath – Now!

– There is no stretcher.

– We’ll use a blanket a pull him over.

– Hurry up!

– Ready, got him! One two three go!

6-8 (?) nurses and doctor’s work as a well trimmed team. They lift me from the beach bed used in the medical tent and the ice-cold water surrounds me, leaving only my head and my left arm (with the i.v.) sticking up. Initially I don’t feel much but soon it hurts all over. It’s simply freezing.

– Please take me out, it’s cold.

– Not yet.

– Please!

– Carl – look at me, can you open your eyes?

I open my eyes and look into a friendly and concerned face.

– Do you know where you are!

– Yeah! Hawaii – hang loose…

– When did you arrive?

– …mm October… I sort of see the figure 2 in front of me, but can’t remember if it’s a date or what it is.

– Please call my wife and say I’m OK (obviously a lie…)

– We’ll do that later – first we have to take care of you.

– Please take me out!

– Soon, just one more minute…

– Please call my wife!

– OK – what’s her number?

– …+46… wait…+46…7…I don’t know, please call her

– We will, we’ll find her…

Next thing I remember is lying on one of the beach beds again. I can feel the cold plastic ribbon against my lower back and realises that they must have cut my brand new swim skin open for some reason. I remember thinking ”Too bad but ok, obviously they had to.”(They haven’t. As everybody else I took of the swim skin in T1, and I’ve been racing in a 2-piece tri suit…). My legs and stomach starts cramping – It hurts. Actually it hurts all over me. As my mind slowly becomes clearer as a consequence of my body temperature coming down and the i.v. , I sense how fear grows. It strikes me that I don’t know how this will end.

– I’ afraid…

– It’s going to be all right Carl

– I fucked up, I failed, I don’t know what went wrong, It hurts, I’m scared

– I’m right here with you.

A nurse sits down beside me. I grab his warm soft brown arm and hold on to it tight. He looks at me with a calm smile.

– I’ve got you – it’s ok

The doctor asks if he may give me something against the cramps via the infusion and I appreciate it.

I don’t know how much I’m awake during the approx. 2 hrs. I spend in the medical centre, but when the situation becomes stable I remember how the team that has taken care of me starts to greet each other and introduce themselves. I realise that these guys formed an emergency team the moment I got carried in to the med.tent. They are all volunteers from different part of the country and haven’t met before.

– Wow – we did well didn’t we! Hi, I’m NN and I’m from Arizona…

I get even more impressed and grateful! I can’t remember any names except the dr. Lindberg /Lundberg(?) who I met next evening at the awards. If any of you read this – I hope you are super proud of yourself! You were simply amazing and definitely my champs. Thank you!

– Carl – you won your age group! You’re a world champion! Congratulations! 9.05 that’s awesome! World Champ!  

One of the nurses has checked my results in the tracker app. Lying on a bed wrapped in emergency blankets I let it sink in: I did it.

The goal I defined a year ago as the ultimate achievement has become reality; Winning my age group in Ironman World Championship and setting a new AG course record.

But there and then, on that beach bed in the shadow of King Kamehameha’s hotel I’m not completely sure how I feel about it.

Now, 2 weeks later, I am proud, happy and grateful. And I’ve been able to recap some key moments from the race that I’d like to share with anyone who’s interested. So, let’s turn back to that beautiful morning Saturday Oct 13, Kona, Big Island


After a good night sleep I arrive early at body marking. I fix my bike as everybody else and put on my swim skin. A short swim warm up at the Kamakahonu beach and a chat with Nelker, Annika and a couple of other Swedish athletes. Then it’s time to head for the swim start.

BANG – the cannon shot declares Race On! Anna-Karin’s (i.e. instructions on repeat: Catch, easy, frequency, catch, easy, frequency… I get a good Swim start FPstart and manage to keep calm. No stress, it’s going to be a long day. Form beats force.

As we approach the turning point 1.9 km out I navigate towards the right to get a tight turn. I’m perfectly placed and swim alongside the Body Glove ferry that marks the turn around. Well done I tell myself.

Some 500 m after the turn around I find myself swimming beside a guy that obviously has the same pace.  We swim parallel for a while and I watch his stroke; perfect catch, high elbow through out the stroke and he even pulls through with the palm facing back all the way. I come to the conclusion that this is a skilled swimmer, and then think of coach Oscars last text message: You don’t have to swim super fast – but try to find good feet to follow. So I decide to fall back and see if I can stay behind this guy. This turns out to be a good move and I’m able to keep this position for the rest of the swim.

My race plan is to swim steady with good form without pushing it. When asked I’ve said that a dream is to sit on the bike when the race clock reaches 1 hour. I exit the water and glance at my Garmin: 56 minutes… Yes! I know I should get through T1 in about 3 minutes… A perfect start, and

Swim HL focusI celebrate with a hang loose to the cameraman 🙂

Bike – On the way up Kuakini Hwy on the loop in Kona:

  • On the upside: After a while I realise that there is no one coming down yet… this means that I’m actually close to the front pack of the age group athletes – again I tell my self that this is definitely a good start!
  • On the down side 1: I hit a pothole and hear the typical sound from a bike bottle hitting the ground… I look back and see that I lost one of my bottles. Since I completely rely on my own nutrition during the race, this is not the best start… Fortunately it’s the bottle with ”160”. It only contains some 40 grams of carbs since I wanted to empty it before the first aid station to make up for the sweat loss during the swim. I carry 2 extra Maurten gels as back up, and these will cover the carbs so the main issue is that I’ll be a bit behind in terms of fluids during the first part.
  • On the down side 2: The saddle suddenly tilts and I find myself sitting on a down sloping saddle… Note to self: Check ALL bolts before check in next race. Not much to do now, and since there is only 170 k left I decide to leave it this way. It will work even if it isn’t perfect. (This is entirely my own fault since I adjusted the saddle 2 days ago. BikeTyson – my bike dealer has made a superb job in my bikes through out the season)

When we get out on Queen-K I really start to appreciate the fast swim. Sure it’s good from a swim split perspective, but it’s even better from a bike perspective! Plenty of room. Not once during the race do I find myself having to break loose from a group. Sure there are a couple of guys who clearly draft deliberately (and show the most surprised ”I don’t understand what you’re talking about-face” when approached) and I’m getting passed by some small groups that obviously don’t have the ambition to join the #IKNOWTHERULES movement. But these where the exceptions and I also witness the referees taking care of some of them :-D.

Most of the time I can ride relaxed and ”alone”.  A bonus is that the photographers from Finisherpix get plenty of time for a series of great shots focus just on me when I ride by 😀

Bike out sharp 1Bike out sharp 1.5Bike out sharp 2

Close call… the most dramatic sequence of the bike leg occurs on the way back to Kona. I enter an aid station and grab a bottle of water as I do in every aid station. I sit up with my left hand on the handlebar and switch between drinking from the bottle and pouring water over my speed top to keep cool. I register that a guy in front of me aims for a bottle of Gatorade but misses the catch and knocks it out of the volunteer’s hand. The bottle flies across the lane, lands and start rolling away…but since it’s a full cone shaped bottle it rolls in a circle… Everything happens very quickly but it feels like slow motion, and I remember thinking – theoretically that bottle could turn around and cross my path… This is exactly what happens. Since the bottle is moving in a circle it’s hard to predict its course. I tighten my left hands grip on the bar and hope for the best, still holding to water bottle in my right hand.  Since my saddle is down sloping I have way more weight on my left arm, and thus the left part of the cockpit, than optimal. The full Gatorade bottle and my front wheel share the exact same GPS coordinates fractions of a second later… BANG!

Fortunately the bottle happened to roll in and meet my wheel at almost exact a 90-degree angle and I feel very VERY lucky. In my mind I send a ton of grateful thoughts to the design engineers at Argon 18 for coming up with an incredibly stable bike and a super rigid cockpit. I think the adrenalin boost I get from this episode lasted for the rest of the bike ride.

In T2 I change from the long-sleeved speed top to a short-sleeved tri top. I’ve modified the top by cutting off the ends of the sleeves for faster transition and Åsa has sewn a net pocket at the upper back that I will use to carry ice for cooling. Since I started using ON-running shoes I don’t wear socks, not even during the Ironman marathons, so I save a couple of seconds there 🙂

I load the pockets with my 8 Maurten gels I want to use for the first 2 hours of the run. I also have a bottle of 160-mix that I carry with me for the first part in order to somewhat compensate for the sweat loss that I expect to take off rapidly once I begin to run.

About 1 k in to the run I see Åsas bright smile and she shouts ”2 minutes to the leader”. This is the first time I get any info regarding how I’m doing compared to the other athletes in my AG, and it’s suits me fine. When asked before the race what I know about the competition I’ve shared my simple view: I don’t know since I don’t care. My rational is that in order to maximize my performance I focus on my race. I have a plan for the swim, for T1, for the bike, for T2 and for the run. I will of course adjust according to outer circumstances such as loosing a bottle of Maurten and weather conditions. But allowing someone else’s appearance on the start line interfere with how I execute my race doesn’t make sense to me in a race like the Ironman Hawaii. Not until a bit in to the run, and then more as inspiration than as basis for changing tactics.

Simply because I aim for getting as close to my full potential as possible, and to do so I feel that I need to continuously assess my own status and make decisions based on that.

So, I welcome the fact that I, as I interpret it, is 2nd in my age group and there is still 41 k to run before any awards are distributed…

Run Alii passing

Early in the run I realize that the temperature will vary between hot and hotter. Plan A is to walk through all aid stations in order to have time to put ice in my ice pockets and drink at least 2 cups of water – I stick to the plan. The pace is ok and when I pass Åsa on the way back from the first turning point 5.5 km out on Alii Drive she shouts ”1 minute”. So, the trend is positive.


I run (well, not exactly run, but anyway) up Palani and share a whole lot of high fives with the Hannes Hawaii tour team that, as always, have a crazy crowd right after the run course turns left on to Queen-K.

The rest of the run is a mind battle. I struggle to keep running between aid stations, telling my self that I’m allowed to walk through but not between them. The Finisherpix photo below is probably from an early stage of the run on Queen-K, since I obviously smile to the camera.

Run Queen K HL 2

The road seems endless and it feels like an eternity before I reach 21 k. Still 21 kilometres to go… this is crazy. I don’ recall many parts of the run, but I remember heat, pain and how I fight to convince myself to push on. Just one more aid station…again and again.

The plan is to finish strong in case someone is coming from behind. I have no idea whether someone actually is approaching from behind, but during ITU Long distance world championship in July and 70.3 World Championship in Sept I was able to pass for 2nd and 1st position respectively in the last 1-2 km by pushing through all the way. With 10 k to go I try to increase pace, but I’m not sure I actually do that. Maybe it at least keeps me from slowing down.

Experiencing my race from within at this moment is a completely different story from following the race from the outside. It’s obvious of course, but after the race I’ve used the tracker app to see how the race actually evolved and how a spectator probably experienced it:

I start off with a great 56.07 swim followed by a 3.10 T1 leaving me starting the bike leg with 44 sec before 1 hour racing – awesome!

I then nail a 4.42.03 bike split, which for me is simply amazing albeit with favourable weather conditions on the bike. We all share the same weather and I exit T2 as 2nd in my AG. In KONA!

At the 14.3 k split time I’m in the lead by 8 seconds, and from then on the gap grows steadily: 16.9 k 1 min 9 secs. 22 k 2 minutes. At 30 k the gap has grown to 5 minutes and my pace is equal to or better than the others. This looks good! Just relax, make sure to monitor the carbs and salt intake, and keep drinking water and cool down with ice in every possible way.

Too bad I don’t have the tracker app at hand…

What I experience is this:

I feel how every part of my running machinery is deteriorating, and I fear that strong runners will catch me.  I fight the temptation to stop, and it’s a fierce fight. At this moment ”Pain is temporary, glory is for ever” is far more than a catchy phrase. It’s my source of  ”Mana”* and over and over again I tell my self that this is what I’ve been training for and invested so much in. All those hours on the Kickr, in the gym etc. Don’t give up now!

Finally I reach the top of Palani and turn right down the hill, 2 km left. I try to ”roll” down, but my legs seem to be of another opinion. With 1 km left I spot Åsa that shouts, ”8 minutes – just keep it together now Calle”. The implication of this should be – take it lc3b6p-1-km-kvar-ljusare-c3a5sa-b.jpegeasy, and maybe even enjoy the moment. But that kind of complex reasoning is way over my brain capacity right now. I’m stuck in mode ”faster – all the way to the finish no matter what”. The photo to the right is from this moment.


Mia Ekström says we met when I ran down Hualalai Road and she was on her way up. Apparently we did a high five. I don’t even remember running there. What I do remember is that on the last stretch on the red carpet the noise from the crowd is overwhelming, and that I’m having issues keeping the balance. I run leaning heavily to the left and with 10(!) meters to go my legs collapse.  I try to get up clinging to the fence. My legs won’t carry me and after a couple of attempts I give up and see no other option than to crawl the last meters in order to reach the finish line. Neither legs nor arms are particularly cooperative and my last meters are best described as a crawling version of Monty Pythons Silly Walk. The finish film shows an attempt to dab before falling over…

The next thing I remember is

– He is at 104 degrees, put him in the ice bath – Now!

– There is no stretcher.

– We’ll use a blanket a pull him over.

– Hurry up!

– Ready, got him! One two three go!

Afterwards my daughter Vendla said ”Dad – I think you lived up to the phrase I sent you before the start: ”I don’t finish when I’m tired, I finish when I’m done”.

I’m not sure what went wrong – I’ll try to dig a bit in to that so that I’ll be able to avoid physical meltdowns like this in the future. I did stick to my plan through out the race, especially regarding carbs, fluids and salt. May be I lost track of caffeine intake. May be I overused my mental strength turning it into a weakness not listening to the body’s signals.

Or… maybe maybe the run course was too long. A marathon is 42 195 meters, and my Garmin actually measured 42 290 meters which could explain why I was wasted before reaching the finish 😀

But for now I just relax, enjoy life and roll in contentment. Every day I remind my self of how I felt for the inspiring and challenging target I had. Together with Oscar I’ve tried to find a way to get as close as possible to the ultimate goal of breaking the AG course record and win. There were other levels that would have been great to achieve – but this is the one that has nurtured my training sessions through out the year. Not because it was probable, but because it was possible. And in Ironman – anything is possible!

I wish you all a wonderful off-season and that you are able to find your inner well of Mana*.


IRONMAN AG World Champion and Kona AG course record holder 🙂

*In Hawaiian culture, Mana is spiritual energy of power and strength, it exists in objects and persons. It is the Hawaiian belief that there is a chance to gain mana and lose mana in different hints that you do. It is also the Hawaiian belief that mana is an external as well as an internal thing.

Calle m VM skål vid havet. Åsa


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Long distance world championship – winning a silver medal – pictures and comments.

So, the distance to cover was an open water swim over 3 km in the harbour of Odense, then a 120 km bike ride, and finally a 30 km run.

This means it’s somewhere between an Ironman and a 70.3. Hence the plan was to go a little bit faster/harder than in a full distance IM, but not as hard as the other week in Elsinore.  I wanted to reach the podium and thought that on a good day I’d absolutely have the chance to at least be involved in a battle for the victory in my AG.

Equipment for the race: Orca Predator wetsuit – brand new, Argon 18 E-119TRI+ with Corima disc and 78mm front since the course was fairly flat. Spiuk aero helmet and bike shoes. Swe national team 2-piece suit. ON Cloudflow running shoes, no socks. Throughout the race I rely on my own nutrition: Maurten 320 on the bike and Marten 100 GEL on the run.

In retrospect it’s clear that I was never close to win this race, but on the other hand I surprisingly pushed my self to a runner up position – without being aware of it. So to conclude: I’m very happy with how I played the cards I had in my hand in this long distance world championship.

I don’t think a detailed report on every aspect of my race is interesting; so I’ll limit my notes to some take home messages to myself and those who might be interested:

Race morning: Inspired by my friend Lars Rosencrantz I was on site early. Actually before they opened the transition area. This turned out to be a huge advantage since the organisation was ”not the best”, leaving many athletes still in line to get in when the first wave started (!). For future events: Be there early – it’s simply not worth sleeping an extra 15 minutes.

Swim: AG 18-49 started a few minutes before 50+. I started ”firm but not rushing” leaving a little gap to the front pack in my wave after a few hundred meters. But for the first time in my life I was able to close that gap! @simcoachens instructions on repeat inside my head; initiative, catch, relaxed. After 500 m we started to catch the slower guys in the previous start wave. From then on it was open water slalom…



At 1500 m there was an Australian exit – if I had known this was a photo session, then I’d try to look less like a bad Voldemort look alike.

Special cred to Adam Kjellström who managed to take the in action swim photo below.de13e595-b5cb-4e7c-a3e6-3cd23884970c

T1: Interesting arrangement not letting the athletes see where their T1 bags are hanged up before the race, leaving us running around like maniacs searching for our bags and trying to interpret small hand written signs with BIB numbers… no more comment needed…


Bike: A beautiful two-loop bike course on the Danish countryside, and it was totally closed for traffic – simply superb. The weather had changed and the previous days 30 degrees and sunshine was replace by clouds and a bit of wind. The wind made the bike course harder than I had estimated, and after a quarter of it I started to feel that this wasn’t a great day for me. I struggled to keep watts and couldn’t find a relaxed ”in the zone” feeling. I didn’t want to risk my run performance, so I adapted to the fact that I didn’t have a great bike day and just focused on doing a good job anyway.


The craziest moment during the bike ride: With 20 km to go the ventilation of my Spiuk Aero helmet was demonstrated: A bee is sucked into the helmet from below the visor. It gets stuck above my left ear and I hear the characteristic buzz of a bee that is not comfortable with its beeing (!). For a second I hesitate, and then I start hitting the helmet on the left side as hard as I can and try to squeeze the bee by pushing the helmet around.

The bee did not hesitate for a fraction of that same second… And I feel the pain from the sting slowly get more intense whilst smashing and squeezing the helmet. I would have loved to have this sequence on video; it must have looked very awkward and quite funny.

After a while I realise that the pain is there and that it will stay for a while. But I’m not too worried since I’ve had bee stings before during racing, and my experience is that the
pain goes away after an hour or two.

Take home message: Even if it’s not my best day – just keep on working – medals are not distributed based on how I feel during the race.

T2: Dismount line at the end of a downslope(!) into a parking garage… This is the first time I get of my TT-bike with locked brakes standing on the front wheel. I’m not sure but it could be that I did an ”over-the-aero bars-pj77rmuauxsgie8jcibnmehou.jpgdismount”.

The find-your-bag-if-you-can-arrangement was copied from T1, and just as bad as in T1…

Run: A four loop run course in the beautiful city of Odense. And just as the bike course, the run course was an athlete’s only area. That was really great! No risk of colliding with pedestrians or strollers, so we could fully focus on our running… and looking for toilets in case any of the 1000+ athletes would find themselves in need for a bio break during this 30 k run… Unfortunately the organisers had missed this little detail…so our search was in vain… To be fair they realized this little mistake and arranged a few during my last lap. Ironically this meant that some of the athletes that spent almost an hour in line for the toilets in the morning, now lined up again during the race…

sfy2qhnvbfdkosut7dfz6hq8ts.jpgMy own running didn’t live up to my expectations either: I usually wait 2 km to assess the run form since I know it takes some time to switch from biking to running. But once again, I searched in vain: I didn’t have that flow feeling I so badly need to be able to pull of a good run. I timed my self approx. +10 sec/km compared to race plan. So instead of making up time, I was falling further behind.

Until now I didn’t know how I was doing compared to competition. This is according to plan since I want to race my own race, but now I was curious. Two friends standing about 1 km apart shouted that I was fourth after lap 1. I then passed a friendly Danish athlete who said, ”Now you only have to catch Krüger to take the lead”. This was a surprise. But Krüger was several minutes ahead, and I was more occupied with a mind battle regarding whether to finish or not. I simply could not keep a good rhythm. Occasionally I had short episodes of good run feeling, but most of the time I had to fight physically and mentally. I was passed by an US athlete in a furious tempo and almost gave up. The following two laps I was told I was in third position. I had no idea how far it was to 2nd or 4th when I headed out for the last lap. For the last lap I found motivation in my ”PodiumTour2018” mantra. I was in third position, it was the world championship, and ”pain is temporary…” I told myself that if I loose that 3rd position, at least I should make them have to fight for it. So, I keep running the best I can. This turns out to be a very good decision: Unaware of it I pass Oliver Degenhardt for 2nd place during the very last kilometres. The American that passed me in high speed and almost made me give up was in another AG… So i’m really happy I finished strong after all.


Conclusion – don’t quit when it hurts* and I’m tired, quit when I reach the finish line. The reward might be greater than I expect.

Michael Krüger was outstanding and the man for the top of the podium this day. Personally I’m really happy with the outcome and proud that I showed myself that I could pull off a good result by compensating a lack of perfect physical day form with mental focus and determination. It didn’t come easy – but podium positions never do 😀


* I’d like to point out the importance of judging the situation and differ between ”bad pain” such as an injury or real health issues, and ”good pain” which is a natural consequence of the racing at high effort. See blog post from 2014





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2 B prepared 4 a B race

To get extra speed pacing and also for the joy of racing: Tomorrow Saturday May 12 I’ll join the young guys in the Swedish duathlon championship. 10 k run, 40 k bike and finally a 5 k run.

Racing a non priority race is a good opportunity to practice a chill approach to a start. I’ve prepared my space ship like super bike, but otherwise I don’t want to get carried away with all preparations.

The training has only been adjusted slightly and I’m already looking forward to Sunday’s long distance bike ride.

Next Saturday I’ll run GöteborgsVarvet, the worlds largest half marathon race. Again – a non priority race to get a quality session and have fun.

Those to ”BIB-training sessions” will serve as great fun opportunities to gain some speed for the upcoming 70.3 European Championships in Elsinore June 17th.

For me the key is to remind my self that it is B-race, and I must admit that it’s not always easy 😁. But I’m getting better at it for every year!

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Finish Ironman South Africa 2018

Running on clouds down to the finish line in African Championship April 15th 2018.

Big thanks to Anders Björkqvist for this high quality clip!

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Race reflections from a CHAMPIONship


This year my inspiring mantra for training and racing is PodiumTour2018. This translates into five main races during which I will try to reach the podium in my AG. The races are

  • Ironman South Africa, African Championship
  • Ironman 70.3 Elsinore, European Championship
  • ITU Long distance World Championship
  • Ironman 70.3 Port Elizabeth, World Championship
  • Ironman Hawaii, World Championship

Sunday April 15thwas the first race, Ironman SA, and the outcome was good – to say the least. Actually, I struggle a bit with how to deal with the outcome. Since I have the ambition to share as much as I can with those who are interested, I want to write a race report. However, I have found it hard to feel at ease with the ”Now I’d like to tell you…”-perspective. One reason being the fact that I’m a bit overwhelmed by the outcome of the race. I fully understand that it may sound weird, but that’s obviously how I’m wired.

Hence, after some thinking, I’ve decided to write to myself instead. Hereby I hope to share an open, honest and prestige less view of my race. Whether it will be of any value for you as a reader is up to you. I’ve done the best I can and leave to you to use it at your will or discard it

Think of it as explicit art – if you don’t like explicit art – don’t visit an art exhibition with explicit art.

So, if you don’t like to hear the thoughts of a guy who just won his age group in Ironman African Championship with a 48-minute margin, I urge you to stop reading and spend your time on something you like instead.Sweet dreams

Dear diary,

You know I was curious regarding my form since I hadn’t swam open water since Ironman Kalmar last August, I have done all bike training since October indoors, primarily on my Kickr, and even the run sessions have to a large extend been indoors at O2Tri and different NordicWellness gyms across the country due to business trips. Would I be able to translate all this indoor training to a relevant IRL-race performance in (for a Swede) hot conditions mid April in South Africa? And just the fact that the first race since the Ironman in Kalmar would be a full Ironman 8 month later – how would that be?


Ridiculously good, really great and simply awesome.





With a 48 minutes margin! …Not  ”four to eight”, but forty-eight!!

Yes – it’s true. You know I wouldn’t lie to you – you’re my diary.

I’ve actually asked myself how it was possible, and if the result is ”valid”. And I think it is, you see, it was my first race in AG 50-54, but I would have won the 45-49 too, finished 2nd in 40-44 and third in 35-39…

How do I tell anybody something like that without coming across as simply too full of my self?!

And how do I use this outcome wisely now that I want to continue my ”Podiumtour2018”?

I’m not sure yet. I think I’ll grant my self a few more days in ”contentment & recovery mode” and then start planning for the coming weeks of training together with Oscar. And I think I’ll ask Anna-Karin if we could find some time to sit down and reflect on my swim since I’ve obviously have taken a leap forward there under her coaching.

Imagine if I could build on this and rip of a 55 min non-wetsuit swim in Kona in October – that would be awesome. And there has to be a way to get there – we just have to figure out how.

I’m so blessed to have met her, Anna Karin @simcoachen. Had she not decided to quit working as a teacher and start her business AND then continually strived for improving her services, then I would never even been close to the swim I had in thefullsizeoutput_772 Ocean in Nelson Mandela Bay. Her kaizen-way of swim coaching is a fundamental prerequisite for me being able to act according to; what got me there won’t get me there. It’s interesting to reflect on how another person’s courage, determination and mind-set makes me successful.

I’m also really happy for my decision to get a tri-coach for the first time in my life. I’ve always been self coached as a triathlete, and I think me and my self have had a really fruitful coach-athlete relationship with many good achievements, the latest one being a new Ironman PB of fullsizeoutput_7708.52 in last years IM Kalmar.

And yet, again, what got me there…Asking Oscar if he could take me on was my first choice and I’m of course super happy that he accepted. He’s got the relevant education, he’s got the experience, also as an athlete, and he’s committed to his work. This all adds up to a coach that really challenges my way of training without losing the success factors that has helped me up till now. At he obviously knows what he’s doing 🙂

So, dear diary, writing these lines I realise that I really want to make sure I tell these two great coaches how much they’ve contributed to my achievement in SA.

Now to the race: I’m not sure where to start. I mean, the outcome feels a little bit unreal. Yes I had high expectations. Yes I aimed for the podium in my AG.

But AG course record and a 48-minute margin…

I’ll make it short, more like a note to self that I can use as guide in future races:

Really relaxed morning strolling down to transition with Fredrik Ekström and Maria Åberg 04.45.

Success Factors: prepared Maurten evening before, light breakfast, staying in my own race when thinking of the day to come.

Lined up for swim with Lisa Hansson in row 7. Great to have someone to chat with. Felt relaxed, I know I can swim 3,8 km without getting tired. Beep – jogged into the water and started swimming with focus on technique, Anna Karin’s instructions on repeat in my head for the next 55 minutes 🙂

IM SA Swim to T1SF: Focusing on my own race, finding my rhythm, relaxed, initiative in catch and avoid over gliding.

Transition swim to bike – turned out that my time T1+T2 added up to approx. what many competitors used for T1…

SF: Know my gear and my route through transition.


Bike: A bit lonely…:-) I’m glad that I managed to stay focused and calm even though the splits weren’t the ones I had hoped. With my 4.41 bike split in Kalmar and all the Kickr-training I thought I should be a bit quicker, but then again; speed is secondary, power is primary. I felt I was fairly able to keep the planned power taken into account that the tarmac was worse than I thought, giving me quite a challenge to stay smooth with even pressure on the pedals. This is the first race i finish with bruises on my elbows – and no, I did not lose the pads.

SF: Stay calm, as long as I’m not too far from target power and don’t get overtaken too often, I’m doing a good job. Stay focused and disciplined, and leave the beautiful views to the photographers to use. I enjoy the view of rough tarmac and potholes for 5 hours…

IM SA Bike 1lap

T2 – pain is temporary…I’ve never experienced such sharp T2 surface to run on off bike. I even took a glance under my feet while putting on my ON:s to see if I was bleeding (no, I wasn’t).

SF: Keep running even if it hurts, transitions are quite short after all…

Run: Felt quite fresh off the bike and once again focused on finding a good rhythm. The water sachets were new to me and I think they worked really well. Cold and fresh tasting water that I could carry with me between aid stations. On the way up to the 2nd turning point at approx. 8 km I saw Björn Andersson and asked him if he had any idea I was doing compared to competition. On the way down from the TP he had checked and shouted ”it’s 20”.

?!? Twenty? Twenty what? I asked. Minutes he responded. What do you mean 20 minutes? You’re leading your AG with 20 minutes.

This was the first time during the race that I got any info regarding how I was doing compared to my fellow age groupers. I got a bit confused. Since it was a rolling start someone could have started 5 minutes behind me, now be 3 minutes behind me and thereby lead by 2 minutes, so up till now I had not spent much energy on what the other guys did.

Lap 2: ”About 25 minutes”.

Lap 3: ”It’s 30 and you’re running 30 sec/km faster than those behind you”.

I honestly had a hard time believing this was true. I excuse my self with the fact that as the race go on I simply get lets say less and less clear in my mind….

But – the last kilometres I relaxed and just enjoyed the unique cocktail of feelings that only a long distance triathlon is able to provide: Pain, exhaustion and pleasure – it’s simply such a fantastic feeling.

Success factors: Great to have Maurten in special needs – fueled me well all day long. Staying in my own race, stick to the plan and don’t cut corners on nutrition.

IM SA Red carp flying


Dear diary – I got a clip from my super supportive beautiful wife Åsa who followed the race back home in Sweden. I posted it on facebook and after a couple of days it had over 2000 views. I think I’m behind at least 1000 of these views. Don’t tell anyone – but it just fills me with so much inspiration and joy to watch this clip. Then Anders Björkqvist posted a clip that was even longer so I can hear Greg Welch & Co when they realize I’m AG 50-54. Yes – THE Greg Welch & Co. How cool is that!

May be it wasn’t a coincidence that I bought the German magazine Triathlon at Frankfurt airport on the way to SA. It contained a very inspiring interview with Patrick Lange in which he shares his favourite training track: “Erfolg ist kein Glück” with Kontra K.

/Calle – one down four to go – PodiumTour2018



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