Don’t worry, you’ll pass out before you die

keep-calm-and-don-t-worry-you-ll-pass-out-before-you-die

So last weekend the 11th of June was the start of Swimrun season 2016 for Team TYR Warriors.  Unfortunately, my teammate Fredrik was having some issues with his calf muscle as late as Monday the 6th, so we decided it was better he continue with rehab and save himself for our other two races coming up in July.  Luckily through Facebook and my swimming friends I was able to find a replacement for Stockholm Swimrun. Marius contacted me and a day later it was decided. I was very clear that I was going to be slow, so it was going to be more of  a workout for him than a race, and he was ok with that.

With the little amount of training I have this year, I thought that running around 6:15-6:30/km would be an ok pace for me. Since I thought that I was a good swimmer, and Marius thought I was a good swimmer, we decided to stand up front for the start.  The easiest way to explain a swimrun is, that it is a race were participants start the race with wearing a wetsuit and shoes, then run, swim, run, swim around a course that usually has 11 runs and 10 swims but distances vary from 8 km up to 70 km. Stockholm Swimrun is roughly 23 km running with 4 km swimming.

R 1 401 m: The start goes off at 14:00.  The course is about 10 ft wide at the beginning but then quickly gets down to 4-5 ft so it was a good thing we were standing closer to the beginning.  it was not easy for people to pass us, and it was not easy for us to attempt to pass others.  I just tried to keep on the backs of those in front of me, and get to the first swim. As always, I ran too fast.  My heart rate jumped, and we were running around 5:40/km. We are currently 142 out of 215 teams.

S 1 460 m: by the time we get to the water, I can see others 200-300m out. Various strategies for the different teams, means the start of the first swim is slightly hectic. But we make it out fairly quickly and start to swim.  All of a sudden I start having a hard time breathing.  I get mad at myself, not knowing why, struggle to swim 100m, then have to stop, my wetsuit was not sitting correctly and was pushing my big belly up into my lungs. so once I finally adjusted my suit I was able to swim better, but not fast. The lack of training caused my high heartrate from the running to stay with me longer into the swim than usual. Around 750m I finally felt ok.  We managed to swim up to 47th, but I knew that it was going to be a bad day, when I couldn’t even get into swimming smooth.
R 1 772 m: a faily flat path along the water side, with a few ups and downs around the rock edge. We get passed left and right by teams with runners. By the time we get back into the water we are in 99th place.
S 605 m: a relative short swim, but with good navigation from Marius we were able to swim passed 22 teams and came out of the water 78th. This swimming felt so much better than the first. But I was still not able to get any speed.
R 2 780 m: Sticking to the edge of the water this running was still relative flat, or rolling is better.  We are now holing a pace around 6:40-7:00/km but I feel stabile.  But it’s hot, and I am getting hungry. So at the end of this run we take a gel. We’ve dropped form 78th to 123rd.
S 390 m: The first of the short swims, we jump from a deck and then swim into what seemed like a toilet bowl for ducks. The swim out was at a beach, with 18-24 inch thick mud which made running/walking out very hard.  Not many of the other teams are in sight, but we still managed to move up to 111th.
R 4 111 m: the longest and for me the hardest of the runs.  We started in a field slopping upwards, and then into the woods for what felt like a mountain climb.  It was so steep that I didn’t see anyone else “running” up, but everyone was walking/climbing as fast as they could. These hills really did a number on my lower back.  I had to stop to stretch all the time, but we made it through the woods and back down to the waters edge and continued on the rolling course. 53 teams passed us on this long run, and we are now 164th.
S 360 m: A short and straight swim was just what my legs and mind needed.  little to now navigating needed.  Marius keeps us moving at a good pace and as we climb out of the water we again moved up and are now 155th.
R 2 510 m: more “mountains”, crap not what I was looking forward to, but we push through. but not long into this run and I started getting cramps in my left calf. My pulse was constantly going up with every hill.   Even walking up the hills was tough for me.  But apparently it was tough for others as well, since only 22 teams managed to pass us, and we are now 177th place. Here I take my second gel of the day.
S280 m: a short swim over to an island
R 385 m: a nice run/walk over the island
S 50 m: followed by a “you can almost walk over” swim back to the mainland. These two short swims and a short run between were actually really good for me.  The placement of the time check-point/flag up from swimming was placed well to the right of the beach, and the next run was off to the left, so I think that over 100 teams took the shortest route and our placement is no longer real, since it shows us moving up to 73rd…  too bad so many teams did not follow the course.  in my mind they should have be disqualified or given a penalty time.
R 3 550 m: the last of the long runs, this time along Stocksundet. lots of rocks, roots and rolling hills, so by now I am having to walk more and more often, but we are keeping our pace under 10:00/km. By the time we get to the next swim we are in 186th place. There is no way 113 teams passed us during that run, so my theory that teams took a short cut, seem to be real. Here I take my third and last gel, but we have just over 6 km left.
S 150 m: We swim over to Bockholmen and I start to get cramps in my left lat.  Scary since I almost never get cramps in my back muscles.  As we get up out of the water i let Marius know about the cramp, in case I have to stop during the next swim to stretch. We are also now in 182nd place. And there are very few teams around to gage our placement.
R 692 m: Running over the little island we get to Bockholmen restaurant were to our surprise there are meatballs being served, and not just water and energy drink. Marius, myself and the other teams comment to the volunteer that this was the first food we had seen all day. She commented back that we were not the only tema to say that.  She even mentioned that at other stations the volunteers were offering food from their own lunch bags to racers.  Not knowing how fatty or spicy the meatballs were I stuck with the water and energy drink. As we start to walk to the next swim, and we can see the first swim area, I start to think, wow, we might actually be able to make it under 4 hours and 30 minutes! Then out of the blue I get a feeling of weakness over my entire body, I start to walk to a bench at the same time I try to inform Marius that I felt dizzy.  But apparently the words never came out of my mouth as I start to fall over the bench, Marius helps me sit down. After what felt like a quick moment I stand up and try to get Marius to go with me to the next swim.  It’s only 50 m away. But he asks for the volunteer to call for medical help, and I sit down in the grass. I get a half of a snickers, and some water while waiting.  I feel so much better after just a few minutes. By the time the medical team come I feel like I am ready to go on, but with three swims and roughly 6 km running remaining we decide it better to be on the safe side and quit. So we take off our racing bibs and they call for a bus to pick us up.  Our last check in time after the last swim was 3:21.
During the short ride back to the start/finish area my mind is racing.  I am so mad at myself for not eating a bigger dinner, or breakfast or getting more food in me during lunch. But then I get mad at the Race team.  They had stated during the pre-race meeting that there would be food/energy along the course.
“VÄTSKEKONTROLLER
Det kommer att finnas vätskekontroller utmed banan där deltagare får dryck och energitillskott. De tävlande får ta emot energi/vätskedrycker av släkt och vänner samt tävlingsfunktionärer längs banan under tävlingen.Vid energi/vätskestationerna kan egen flaska fyllas med sportdryck från GU Energy, det kommer också att finnas GU Energy produkt “Chomps”.
Samtliga fyra restauranger, som alla håller absolut toppklass, har på sin egen “Checkpoint” lovat att de kommer att bjuda på en egen-producerad produkt. Vad det blir kommer alltså att vara en överraskning för dig och din lagkamrat, något att se fram emot.

1. Start
2. Kräftrikets Värdshus
3. Koppartälten
4. Ulriksdals Cafe
5. Bockholmens Värdshus – first location of food after 3 hours and 20 minutes on the course.
6. Mål”

Not finishing really sucks, but not finishing because of poor nutrition management sucks even more.
But 22 km in total for roughly 3:21 knowing that we only had 6+ km left feels good.  I know that we could have finished under 4:30 had I been able to continue.
Hopefully Fredriks calf will be better by the 2nd of July and we can attempt to beat our time from last year in Karlskrona at the Kustjagaren.

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