The agony of leaving a friend in the lurch

The last few days I’ve experienced a new kind of challenge linked to training and racing. About a year ago Antti Antonov and I started talking about racing ÖtillÖ, the swimrun world championship, as a team. Antti is a ÖtillÖ veteran with several podium finishes including a win with Björn Englund some years ago. I had the opportunity to race ÖtillÖ last year on a short notice with David Svensson when his team mate got injured a few weeks before the race, so I knew what a huge and awesome challenge it is.

The fact that Antti and I would ad up to 99 years of age lead to that I started to talk of us as “oldies but goldies”, since we are a bit older than most of the guys heading for the podium, and the podium was our goal.

ÖTILLÖ 2015

So, during winter I added a lot more trail running to the schedule than previous years, I used paddles more in swim sessions and I frequently visualised us racing through the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm. In May we raced Utö Swimrun together to get to know each other during racing conditions (i.e. under physical and mental stress) and in July we trained together on the ÖtillÖ racecourse for three days. We practised swimming together, we adjusted equipment, scouted the trails and calculated nutrition plans. We discussed were and how to make the transitions in and out of the water as smooth and fast as possible and the race strategy was set.

Simply put – we were serious about our podium ambition, and thus we put serious effort behind this ambition.

IMG_6525

We even tried out the menu at the aidstation at Nämndö Solvik. They actually served hamburgers and beer, even though we didn’t expect this to be the case on race day🙂

 

 

 

One of the best parts of racing swimrun is the teamwork. Usually I race alone as a triathlete, but in SR we’re a team. My first swimrun was the inaugural Rockman Swim Run 2014, a race I did with my brother Jacob. It was extremely beautiful, hard as hell

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and awesome. The opportunity to share the joy and the pain with a friend and team partner adds a very valuable dimension to the race experience.

 

 

As long as your teammate shows up on race day…

And I won’t be in Sandhamn Monday morning feeling the nerve just before the gun goes of at 6 am. The decision is right for sure, since the virus that found its way to my throat is of an endurance kind… Most athletes who race for a couple of years will sooner or later experience a DNS due to health issues. It’s always a pity not to be able to race as planned, and if it’s an important race (such as a world championship) it’s even worse of course. When it happens I use different mental tools and techniques to gain perspective to the fact that I can’t race as planned, and usually it works. Handling my own disappointments is at least partly a skill you can practice.

But leaving a healthy, fit and super motivated team partner on the shore without the chance to race is a totally different story. Especially if you know that this race his the last long distance race he has the intention to do. His Grand Final.

Now, just to make it clear; Antti never expressed any anger or disappointment. Of course he wanted to race, but he never put any blame on me. I guess that’s how most people would act, and I think it’s harder to forgive your self than someone else in this situation. I can understand that intellectually. But the challenge is to emotionally handle the feeling of letting someone down. To tell a friend that you won’t show up, and as a consequence he or she wont be able to fulfil his/her dream.

Today I got a sense of that experience, and I’m happy enough to be saved by the bell, or rather Henrik.

With less than 40 hours left before race start, Antti finds a new team mate. The relief I feel in that moment is immense. Suddenly it’s only my loss, and that is something I can handle. I’m truly grateful to Henrik Jaensson who on extremely short notice changes his schedule and agrees to race, and race hard, with Antti.

Obviously – the upside of racing with a team partner comes with some down sides. I’d say the one I faced today is one of the harder to handle.

I wish you all healthy happy racing!

//Calle

 

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Ready to race

BIB ready to race for tomorrow’s Challenge Roth. 

  
3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42 km run. 

A race I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. An A-race, hence no safety pins for the BIB, but fine light weight aero-stitches 😄

Follow the race at:

http://www.challenge-roth.com/cockpit/index.html

Starts at 06.30 and I’m in the first wave. 

Time to get some sleep. 

/Calle

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A puzzling race

Raced Vansbro ½ IM-distance a week ago. A very nice race with awesome facilities. As an example: No waiting in line for WC before start – and 900 people racing!

But when it comes to my own performance I’m a bit puzzled, and that bothers me quite a bit since I’m racing Challenge Roth July 17th, i.e. next Sunday.

The weeks leading up to Vansbro Triathlon were spent in the USA. First a week in Tennessee with visits at Hilde’s (our daughter) host family and friends in Clarksville, Nashville sightseeing, and a wide selection of burgers and local beers🙂. Then a week in New York – with more sightseeing and a bit of shopping… The training during these weeks was reduced to running and gym sessions (incl. 2 x bike sessions on a standard gym bike – I’ll never forget that saddle… ) But! The final training session was a wonderful bike session with Lars Rönnberg in Prospect Park. Racing around a 5 k loop in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on a Sunday morning certainly was an inspiring moment and not like any other bike session I’ve experienced. Special thanks to Lars!

So – we came back from the US on Tuesday in the week leading up to Vansbro on Saturday, and since I’ve been running more frequently I went to Vansbro with the expectation of an ok swim and bike and then I would really feel strong on the run.

Outcome: The Swim felt terrible – heart rate booming and I had issues with breathing, I couldn’t keep up with the swimmers around me and found my self swimming on my own after a while. I even turned to breaststroke to be able to breathe properly. But – still, 27.37 isn’t a bad swim split for me and I exited the water as no 13, which also was my BIB, out of 80 in the elite field (since I don’t race as AG in the Swe Championship).

Out on the bike I almost immediately find my rhythm. I ride solo so it’s easy to race according to my own plan and preferences. My bike split is 2.16.04, the 13th (!) in the field… And it’s a ride I’m really happy with.

And then comes the run… and I just can’t fin my running legs. Now – it’s relevant to ask if I went too hard on the bike, but I don’t think I did. A kept an eye on my Garmin all the way, and watts and pulse were according to plan. I keep running, but my Achilles tendons really hurt and the speed declines and at km 8 I even walk for a while. I’m not sure whether I should continue or not, but decide to value it as a quality training session. With a run split of 1.29.53, which is more than 10 minutes slower than last years Swe Champ race over the distance, I finally reach the finish line as…no 13 IMG_6342

Since the race I’ve tried to get back on track, not the least mentally. I’ve rested and I’ve tried to build some self-confidence through targeted training session, but “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”.

 

To boost myself I go back to the ITU European Championship at Powerman Denmark in May and the my AG 2nd place there, and to the strong race I had in Gothenburg Triathlon just before we went on holiday.

Certainly I can’t expect a top 10 finish at the Swedish Championships if I don’t prepare accordingly.

I’d like to express my thanks to Kari Martens who helped me to analyze the race and see what I should be happy with and also reminded me of the fact that the preparations for the race were all but perfect. I really wanted to race in Vansbro, but also wanted to go to the US and meet our daughter Hilde and spend a couple of weeks with the family on holiday. You know – a least some times you can’t have your cake and eat it too…

And some more reflections are:

  • Maybe I had too much caffeine before the swim start, and that the high dose in combination with some race adrenaline triggered my heart rate to go bananas? I mean, after all – the swim wasn’t bad, it just felt terrible.
  • Maybe I proved to my self that I’m capable of a 90 k solo ride at 40 km/h without going all out – that’s actually really good.
  • Maybe I didn’t fuel properly during the bike and run?

I don’t know if this post can help someone else, but I realise that it did help me to sort out the thoughts and feelings during and after Vansbro Triathlon. I guess we all have our periods of doubt a regarding our own potential and capabilities. And sometimes these thoughts are triggered with really bad timing.

Now I will focus on next Sundays race in Roth, taking care of my Achilles and build some mental strengths – I know I’ll need that in Sundays full IM distance race.

May the force be with us all!

/Calle

PS – Already looking forward to next years Vansbro Triathlon and the Swedish Championship – I just have to figure out how to get a BIB between 1-10 and then prepare so that I finish accordingly🙂

 

 

 

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Sub9 enough for Sub9?

Time will tell,

but it’s time to race and get an indication.

One of my main objectives as an athlete this season is to race the ironman distance in Challenge Roth in July. I’m inspired by the vision of finishing sub9 hours. I know it’s a true challenge, but the thought of it gives me motivation for training.

Now – everybody understands that finishing an a race over 3.8 k swim, 180 k bike and a 42.125 m marathon run does need a whole lot of preparation in many aspects – no matter what your desired finish time is. But I sometimes get the impression that some train too much in their strive for the finish line, and instead they end up injured or simply drained mentally and physically. Maybe not just because they train too much/hard, but more because they rest and recover too little in comparison to the level of exercise. I’ve commented on this before, but now I realize that I’ve actually trained less than 9 hours/week since the beginning of this year, and this in order to finish a full IM-distance sub9.  When I check my stats this is what I see:

Skärmavbild 2016-05-06 kl. 20.22.20

This means an average of less than 9 hours/week Jan-April. In fact it’s just less than 8 h/week and this includes a 10-day training camp in Spain in April…In Jan-Mar I ad up to 4-6 h/week. The figures in December is incorrect since I switched to register my training on Garmin Connect during December, but the rest should cover the time I’ve trained almost completely.

This is when I ask myself: Is less then 9 hours training per week enough to finish an Sub9 ironman? I admit that I’d happily added a few more hours/week, and I hope to get some longer runs and bike sessions during May and June, but the figures are facts, so maybe (just maybe!) I’ll make it in Roth and hopefully then I can serve as an inspiration to others who struggle with a constant stress over the fact that they never are able to train according to the training plan they have (which sometimes is a little bit too inspired by full time pros when it comes to training load, but not in terms of rest and recovery). Well – as mentioned; time will tell, literally, whether I’ll make it in time for the Sub9 mark in Roth or not.

For now – its time to race! On Sunday I’ll race for the first time this season when I start in Powerman Denmark/ITU European Duathlon Champion. The distance is 10 k run, 60 k bike and another 10 k run. It’s a lot shorter than a full ironman distance, but still I regard it as an indication on whether my training has been efficient, i.e. did the precious time I invested pay off? I sure hope so and I’m really looking forward to racing on my new super bike – Argon 18 E119 TRI+ delivered by Lasse Bike Tyson i Kungsbacka. The bike is ready – that’s for sure. You can follow the race on this link:

http://live.ultimate.dk/desktop/front/index.php?eventid=2870

My BIB/Race no is 725 and my AG starts at 8.40.

Wish you all happy training and racing!

/Calle

E119TRI+

 

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Awesome bike for an awesome season to come – and a question to The Swedish Tri Community 

A great finish of a great work week. I’ve had a fantastic week working with awesome companies Mon-Thursday and several inspiring meetings today. 

To crown this I got my new super road bike handed over from Bike Tyson himself in the sunset. An Argon 18 Nitrogen Pro (the frame is 835 g and so aero!)

 For a closer look check in this clip https://youtu.be/axn6Fa3r50A

And for details go to

https://www.argon18bike.com/en/bikes/road/nitrogen-pro

If you want one – go to 

http://www.biketyson.se

Tyson has a Nitrogen 2015 on sale right now…

And now the question:

My friend and team mate at this years Ö-till-Ö SwimRun World Champs Antti Antonov finished an Ironman sub9 the year he turned 46 (2011) and at that very race he became a great source of inspiration for me and my training ever since. 

Is there any swedish athlete who finished sub9 in Ironman distance at a higher age?

Or would I become the oldest if I make it at Challenge Roth this summer…?

//Calle in the search for inspiring goals

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Piece of  art on its way

Today I stopped by at BikeTyson to see the progress… Lasse is getting my road machine ready for the coming season and it sure looks good😀

It’s amazing to see how the industry continues to develop the bikes step by step. Just look at these handle bars – and it might be relevant to remind you that this is road bike, and still the bars are far more aero than most TT-bars just a few years ago. 

  
More photos of this beautiful work from Argon 18 and BikeTyson will follow. 

Good training is great

Good equipment is quite nice too🙂

//Calle

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What’s your Rest-and-recover strategy?

 

Ups and downs, and higher up…

Summarizing my January training: 30 h 30 min. i.e. not quite 8h/week. Rest and recovery sessions not included, so actually I would say it’s a false figure.

Last Wednesday evening I had a really good treadmill session with 6 x 1 k at 3.30 pace. To be honest I’m not sure if the speed was correct since it felt quite easy. From the treadmill I went straight to the strength training session with squats, curls etc. for an 1 h tri-strength work out. The whole training was very inspiring and I could sense that the training is developing the way I want.

Thursday and Friday did’t give the opportunity for proper training, so I turned them into two consecutive R & R -days. On Saturday I aimed for a long distance run session. It turned out however that I was all but ”in shape”. Starting out with the ambition to go for 21 k, I repeatedly adjusted my plan. It took 45 min to find any kind of ”run feeling”, and I decided to make it into a 1 hour session. When the hour was due, I had covered just over 12 k… with an average tempo of 4.51/km. Now, for some this is fast, for others its quite normal and yet others consider it slow. For me it’s the latter, and I felt as if I had forgotten how to run. But, I know that sometimes two R&R-days makes me a bit off and I didn’t put to much attention to it.

Today the plan was to cover a 90 min pyramid interval session on the test bike. The intervals vary from 1 up to 10 minutes and the cadence varies from 60 to 90+. I try to stay over FTP (290 w) for the shorter intervals and allow my self to go 5-20 watts under FTP for the longer intervals. At the end I push it hard and the last 1 min interval I was able to stay at 450 w almost the whole way which is very very good for being me. After the session my Garmin calculated a new VO2 max afterwards (67). So – yes – I was really happy with how I managed to stay focused and push it all the way.

I’m convinced that my ability to focus just as much on the R&R sessions as on the FTP sessions is one of the ”secrets” behind my ”success”. I train and race with very clear goals and loads of determination, but I’ve never been the one who will log most training hours. Often my first question to people who train a lot and ask for my advice is ”Whats your rest and recovery strategy?” And all too many don’t seem to take these R&R sessions seriously. I’d say I divide people into three categories when I discuss their training:

Those who train 1-3 days a week. Focus will then usually be around inspiring goals, key sessions and maybe some nutrition comments.

Those who train 4-6 days a week: For these it’s often a combination of inspiring goals, rest and recovery strategy, key sessions and maybe some nutrition comments.

Those who train 7 days a week: For these athletes I only focus on R&R-strategy. Before they start taking recovery seriously no other advice will be relevant if you ask for my opinion.

Below is a picture taking during one of me key sessions to build strength, endurance and motivation for the coming race season. It’s a favorite 15 min session🙂

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…and some pics of the output of these R&R sessions (in combination with active exercise of course…🙂 )

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sportograf-64605110SM plakett Duathlon 20120476_61256

 

 

 

 

I hope you take your R&R seriously and is able to view days without training as really important days on your way to your inspiring goals!

Sweet dreams

/Calle

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I got a text from Hilde in the US…

”Hey dude, you better post something on that blog you say you have…? ”

And I guess she’s got a point there. I haven’t stopped training, and you bet I’ll be racing this coming season. I just haven’t felt I had something to post, but that’s maybe a bad excuse if I say I have an ambition to share my thoughts on training and racing – so I’ll shape up. 

And blog post often benefit from pictures – so here is one from today’s bike session (posted according to the quote ”done is better than perfect”)

  
 I often allow myself quite some time do define the goals for the season, and I’m still in the process for 2016, but it’s likely to contain phrases like ”overall top10 Vansbro SM…”,”…sub9 Challenge Roth”, ”…podium IM 70.3 European Championship…”, ”…team with Antti Antonov…podium…SwimRun World Championship Ö-t-Ö…”  

Of course there might be some changes to the objectives before I finalize them – but there will be the word podium included – more than once – that’s for sure. 

Looking back at 2015 the victory at ITU World Championship was undoubtedly the achievement that inspires me most. I realize now that it means that I’ve won the Swedish Championship (Duathlon 2012 – overall!) the European Championship (IM Frankfurt 2013 AG) and the World Championship (ITU LD 2015 AG). This should mean that I’m entitled to call my self SEW-Champion😀

That gives even more inspiration to train hard for the coming season – and I’m determined to show that even if I’ll turn 48 this summer, Sub9Top10 is still my motto. 

I hope you either have or will set up an inspiring goal for yourself for 2016. The power that lies in a well defined inspiring objective is amazing. Just make sure it is YOUR wish that is captured in your goal.

Btw – if you want to join me and Oskar O2 for a super nice training camp in April at La Manga Club you’re very welcome to check out the details at Invictus Travel Tri Camp

All the best to all of you

/Calle

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Out of the comfort zone

Time to cross the limit of the comfort zone, and become Me.Just stronger!Tomorrow I will team with David ”No Limit” Svensson and try to concur the Ö till Ö course: approx 10 k ow-swim between and 65 k running over 26 islands!

We’ve attended the race brief, eaten our pasta and tried our brand new Orca SwimRun wetsuits- WE ARE READY!

  
The race is also the SwimRun World Championships and teams from 26 countries including South Africa, Australia, Mexico, USA, France, Italy, Germany etc will line up for the start early tomorrow morning. 

Webcast starts at 5.45

Race start at approx 06.00 (depending on when the BIG ferries from Finland cross the firs swim leg…😛🚢🏊)

Www.otilloswimrun.se/live

Our BIB 46 (start number)

#otillo15 #swimrunforlife #orca #youjuststronger #32GI #fusion #LaMangaClub

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Two guys meet in the athletes area after IM 70.3 World Championships in Zell am See.

Bike ZaS Single TT

This is the conversation between two athletes who just finished the IM 70.3 WC in Zell am See. They end up sitting beside each other at the buffet in the athletes’ area and, as often happen, they start chatting about todays race.

– Hi, how was your race?

– Hi, great actually – really great. I finished 6th in my age group! I mean top 10 at the world champs sure is something to be proud of, especially on a day like this when the heat was a true challenge not to mention the bike course!

– Oh, congrats. Cheers on you mate! (They serve non-alcoholic beer at the buffet). So – someone should be proud of you.

– Yes for sure – I am🙂 ! And I hope my family is as well. My wife told me I was the fastest athlete from the whole country today. So – to the 6th position I can ad another “fastest guy of the nation at the world championship” to my CV.

– O boy – double congratulations then!

– Thanks! How was your race?

– Actually I’m quite disappointed. I can’t say I’m surprised since I’ve been having health issues the last week with fever and stomach pain, giving me a hard time to eat. And light taper week sessions was out of the question. So, not surprised, but disappointed.

– But you did start then?

– Yes I did. But already on the swim I felt weak and had a hard time deciding whether to continue or not.

– Oh, too bad. So you had a DNF. today?

– No, I took my time in T1, partially walking instead of the normal speedy run, and headed out for the bike. Even though I felt powerless at the bike as well, I managed to pull of a descent ride given the circumstances. I took my 32GI-gels, added caffein according to my plan and stayed tucked in aero position to get as much speed as possible out of the watts I was able to deliver today.

– I guess the run wasn’t your fastest either then or?

– No – that’s for sure. I don’t think I ever in my life have had such a weak performance on a 21 k run. It was a struggle. I mean, I didn’t have to fight to keep running really hard, which is usually the case, but I had to fight hard to keep running – at all.

– So, with such a race experience I understand that you’re disappointed. How did you do compared to the others if I may ask?

– Well, actually I also finished 6th in my age group.

– No kidding!?

– Yepp – its truth and noting but the truth. Actually I also was the fastest guy from my country.

– Ha ha – that’s amazing. I mean, of all the 2700 athletes we end up sitting here sharing our experiences from today’s race with the same results in numbers, but two completely different views in terms of satisfaction and disappointment!

– Yea, it’s odd isn’t it?

– What’s your age group?

– 45-49.

– Pardon me?!

– 45-49.

– What’s your finishing time?!?

– Well, I’m not sure, 4.34 something I think. Didn’t care too much actually.

– BIB?

– Excuse me?

– Your BIB? What’s your starting number?Skärmavbild 2015-09-03 kl. 22.14.23

– 902

– No way! That’s mine!

– What?

– 902, Brümmer from Sweden, that’s me!

– Wow! That’s me too!

– So you mean we’re the same guy sharing the same race from two completely different perspectives!

– Seems so! A bit strange I must say, but at the same time I find it interesting and somehow very nice. I mean, I can allow my self to bee disappointed, and at the same time I can share your joy over the outcome of your race and go home with a nice blend of positive and negative feelings.

– Why don’t you let go of the disappointment?

– Actually I think it’s important to allow negative feelings when they occur and accept situations of disappointment. The opposite would be to deny my true feelings and that wouldn’t help in the long run.

– But admit that it’s vital to see the bright side as well!

– Definitely – we need both. It’s like a team with complementary skills adding up and making the sum larger than the separate parts.

– Or like a marriage where two people work together through good times and harder times.

– Yeah! We would make a great couple wouldn’t we :-)?

– No offence, but I’m already happily married.

– I know – I’m married to the same great woman as you might realize.

– True – She’s great isn’t she.

– She sure is.

– So – what will be our next race?

– Well, correct me if I’m wrong. But we have Ö till Ö, the SwimRun World Championships coming up on Monday. Remember David Svensson called us last week and asked if we were available – and I think we both agreed we were.

– OK – I remember now  – Let’s make that a great experience with the main objective set at having a long wonderful and positively painful day in the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm.

Deal!

Greetings from a reloaded athlete🙂

//Calle

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