My view on mid season and off-season breaks.

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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.

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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.

Conclusion:

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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/Calle

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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

Sunrise

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. Simcoachen.se) 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*.

/Calle

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…

 

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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.

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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.

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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 😀

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* 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

Preface

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?

Outcome?

Ridiculously good, really great and simply awesome.

I

WON

MY

AGE GROUP!

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 Simcoachen.se 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

Finish:

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

IM SA Fin DAB

 

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Time to race!

My inspiring mantra this year is PodiumTour2018. Now it’s time to see whether I’ll make it to the podium on this seasons first race; Ironman South Africa, African Championship. I’ve no idea how the competition is in my AG since I’ll do my own race anyway. Time will tell (literally).

My plan is to have a steady relaxed swim and the forecast seem to say calm waters. If I exit the water with a sub 1-hour swim I’ll be satisfied.

T1 is quite long (approx. 2,5 min)

Regarding the bike I aim for an even pace and I know it might be a challenge since the tarmac is quite rough with frequent bumps, but still, that is my plan. It’s hard to estimate how long it will take but I’d like to get off the bike having spent less than 5 hours in the saddle.

T2 is just as long as T1 since it’s the same route in the opposite direction.

For the run I’ll aim at 4.30/km for a start. If it gets very hot I might have to drop the pace accordingly, but it would be awesome to run close to 4.30-pace most of the 42.2 km.

So, now you know my plan.

My BIB is 204 and the race is covered with live reports here at Ironman Live.

Race starts at 06.30 local time here in Port Elizabeth = CET.

 

 

 

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Optimising your training – the art of separating right thing from right way.

Last weekend the schedule said: Fri swim 3 k and a gym session, Sat 4 h bike followed by 30 min brick run. Sun 28 k run.

This weekend the schedule said: Fri swim 3.5 k and 15 km run, Sat 4 h bike followed by a 45 min brick run. Sun 30 k run.

As you can see I’m building up to IM SA April 15th with a few key long distance sessions in end of Feb and beginning of March. Since it’s winter I do all biking inside on my Kickr, and brick runs are also done inside on a treadmill (due to minus 1-10 degrees outside…)

With 6/7 weeks to Ironman South Africa I’m of course keen to stick to the plan. Especially on weekends since that’s when these crucial long sessions are possible.

So, how did I do regarding training these two quite similar weekends? Very well! …In two totally different ways:

Last weekend started strong with a perfect early swim session Friday morning before a full day workshop (covering change management…), but in the evening I felt tired and decided to skip the gym. Saturday morning I still felt tired and not entirely well. After breakfast I decided to cancel the bike & run session, even though it was one of these key long distance brick sessions I so desperately need in order to prepare for Ironman SA. Come Sunday and I’m still not feeling ok. I.e. the 28 k run is converted into a 20 min easy walk (completely Lycra free!)

This weekend started of just as good with a 3.8 k swim (300 m extra yes, and 1.30/100) and a strong 15 k run in the evening (IM pace: 4.30/km). Saturday gave the opportunity to start the brick session in great company at O2 Konditionscenter, even though I was alone the last part of the 4-hour of biking and for the 10 k treadmill run… (4.25/km). The Sunday 30 k run was scheduled as “easy”, but I’d lie if I said it felt easy to get going. However, 2 hours and 27 min later I’ve covered the distance and I had done it as planned in zone 2.

IMG_4502

I would summarize the training these two weekends as optimal. Not the planned or preferred last weekend, but optimal taken into account the circumstances. And if I have a good race in SA I will use these two weekends as a reference for future situations when I, or someone else, should realize that the planned sessions will serve their purpose best by being cancelled.

(But I would argue that if I don’t succeed in SA we couldn’t say that it’s because last weekends cancelled training. That’s simply a misinterpretation of casual relationship)

So – to get to the conclusion of this post:

Effective – when I adjust to reality and execute the right thing. The sessions that will serve my long-term goals best (which sometimes means the planned sessions, sometimes something totally different).

Efficient – when I focus and execute the session in the right way.

Optimizing my training would be a combination of adjusting to reality and execute the sessions focused and with good form. I.e. execute the right session in the right way.

I would say I did that – both weekends!

I hope you can find the strength to cancel the right session for you – and thus optimize your training and achieve the goals you’re striving for.

All the best

Calle

 

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What does it take to win?

April 15th I will start in this years first race; Ironman South Africa, which also counts as African Championship. IM SA is one out of five prioritized races I plan to participate in during 2018. The others being one European Championship and three World Championships.

I chose these races already last September, and since then they’ve played their role as guides for my daily decisions very well. So far the ambition to reach the podium on some of these races had led to tree major changes in regard of my training:

  • fullsizeoutput_770I’ve hired a coach. Oscar Olsson at O2Tri is now guiding me in my training programme and I visit his training centre on a regular basis to get inspiration and feedback.

 

 

  • fullsizeoutput_772I’ve increased my participation in the training group FastLane under supervision of head coach Anna-Karin Lundin at Simcoachen.se. Add to that individual coach sessions incl. video analysis and tailored drill programmes.

 

  • I’ve become a Wahooligan. Since I got my Wahoo Kickr I’m able to conduct high quality sessions on my TT-bike several times a week, no matter what the weather is outside.

    In my power cave it’s always the perfect temperature and a light breeze 🙂 .

Living in Sweden means that I can’t conduct really race like training sessions for at least another 2 months. It’s too cold for open water swim sessions, long hard rides on a TT-bike or run activities that simulates race circumstances. But thanks to the changes mentioned above, I sense that I’m on the right track; I’ve lowered my swim CSS 4 secs since November, I consider my 120 min Kickr rides ”business as usual” and I run my 1 k FTP-treadmill intervals ”relaxed” @3.25. This would not have been the case had I not decided to challenge the way I plan and execute my training.

So what is it I’m striving for? Honestly it has taken me some time to really understand and grasp what’s really driving me this year.

And then recently on a flight back from a workshop in Munich I took the time to relax and seek inside my self. And in a combination of reflecting on the crucial ability to separate my view of me as a person and the view of my performance in a given situation, and what I want to achieve with my training and racing this year I realised: I want to win.

Now, it might sound obvious and simple, but to me it wasn’t that simple. Partly because I felt a strong need to avoid striving for ”being the best”. Being the best would to me be too close related to me as a person and thus don’t serve as a guide for performance. I don’t want to be the best; I want to execute a great race, fast enough to win. I don’t focus on my competitors, since they can’t guide me to my best performance. I focus on my own race. Of course like to know how I’m doing during the race, but I don’t use my position during the race as a guide for decision-making until the last 10-15 km of the marathon in an Ironman. This helps me to race MY race, and by doing so I feel that I’m more able to deliver a good performance. A performance that defines whether I reach the podium (”I did great!”) but do not define me (”I am great”). Thus, I want to win, not be the best. Some may say it’s semantics, and I won’t argue against that, I just use it to my advantage during training and racing 🙂 .

This is also one of the most frequent challenges I discuss with younger athletes. How to understand, deeply and truly, that my performance in a race does not define me as a person. Once we honestly believe this, the door to our full potential is opened. Mainly because it allows us to try, to experiment, to fail and to grow. And I still want to grow as an athlete.

Last year my theme was ”Just for fun – with a purpose”. It guided me to a great season with my 8.52.12 in Ironman Sweden as grand final. AG 1st, 5th Swede and 14th overall including male pros was a very inspiring way to round off a Just for fun – season before leaving the 45-49 AG.

 

Cbr i rondell

Now with only two month left until Ironman South Africa I feel curious to see to what extend I’ve been able to develop. Will the swim sessions with Simcoachen transfer to the open water swim in Mandela Bay? How will my Kickr-sessions do as substitute for outdoor bike rides? And will my strength training and treadmill workouts help me to keep it all together during the long hot marathon in Port Elizabeth? Eight weeks from now I will know.

Now you know what I’m aiming for during this season.

And I’ll get back with updates as IM SA gets closer.

/Calle

Instagram carl_brummer

 

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OnTop@50

2017 I’ve had Just for fun – with a purpose as guiding mantra.

2018 I’ll turn 50 and I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to use “OnTop@50” as inspiration and guide for my training and racing next season. On top in the meaning feeling content, balanced and “on top of things”. I want to build on my experiences from 2017 and further develop my physical and psychological capabilities in training and racing. There is also a competitive touch to the mantra, and therefore I’ve put together a race schedule labelled Podium Tour 2018. I think stretched targets help me prioritize and stay focused during training, and I definitely aim for at least some podium positions for 2018.

 

Podium Tour 2018

Ironman African Championship, Nelson Mandela Bay, Apr. 15th.

Ironman 70.3 European Championship, Elsinore, Jun. 17th.

ITU Long Distance World Championship, Odense, Jul. 17th.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Nelson Mandela Bay, Sep. 2nd.

Ironman World Championship, Kailua-Kona, Oct. 13th.

 

So I guess it is time to start training…:-)

/Calle

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