A Vansbrosimningen (3km) a Day Challenge

I understand that a lot of swimmers got upset this summer. I was more than upset. On April 29th I along with 13,000 other swimmers got an email that this years Vansbrosimningen was cancelled. It was to be expected that we would not be able to race since Sweden had just implemented a rule forbidding more than 500 people to gather. So to be honest I was not so upset about the race being cancelled, but I was upset about the way they informed us and the way they proceeded with the cancellation.

We were given three choices. You could swim at home and submit your time, for their “Home Edition”, You could chose to donate your starting fee to the local sports club, or you could ask for 50% av your starting fee to be returned. For those that signed up to swim one of the many races in Vansbro that might have seemed like a good deal. But for me and my daughter that signed up for a combined 14 starts, we were talking about 900 USD. I would have prefered to be given the chance to move my start to 2021 as so many other races did this summer. Not in the mood to be giving I requested half of my starting fee back.

Then I started to think about the “Home Edition”, and what a good idea it really was for those that felt swimming 1000m, 1500m, 3000m or 10,000m was a challenge. Local teams around Sweden would offer help to find a suitable course, and in some cases hold a “Home Edition” event so people would not have to swim alone. It was nothing for me personally, but the idea of helping others when it comes to swimming and especially OW swimming was something I could not pass up.

So I help my swim team organize a “Home Edition” event, and helped spread the word about our swim course in the lake where you could swim 1000m, 1500m or even 3000m. On the day of our event it was bad weather so we only had about 15 swimmers. I have no idea how many swam in the lake on our course over the summer, but I did meet a few during my regular training sessions.

So how could I use the “Home Edition” to motivate me and my swimming. It came to me just a week or two before the start of the Vansbrosimningen Home Edition. They offered people to swim their races at home from Saturday the 3rd of July until the 31st of August. So what better challegne then for me to swim one Vansbrosimningen a day every day from the start to the finish of the “Home Edition”.

I already had plans to swim alot this summer to help me reach my 1,000,000 meter goal. But at the same time I had said that I would not let swimming effect my family’s time off over the summer. However, it would not be as big of an issue as I thought since our activities were limited because of the Covid-19 situation. Sweden never closed down, but we followed the guidelines to help lower the curve. All of our adventures this summer were either near water, or we didn’t have to leave home until after 0900. So I swam as early as 0600 and as late as 2100 to get my swims in.

On August 2nd I managed a 21km swim with friends and that spawned the idea to test the 42km distance, another race that was cancelled. The idea of swimming 42km alone was not fun. So how to attracted some company in the water? I decided to break it up into 14 Vansbrosimngen. Starting a new 3000m every hour for 14 hours. On August 16th I did just that. 14 Vansbrosimningen in one day.

On August 31st I jumped into the lake forthe last 3000m or more swim of this challenge. Little did I know at the time, but it would be the last day I would remain healthy. Tuesday afternoon I started coughing, and that caused me to miss 8 days of working out. Me previous day off from training was the 8th of May since I was travelling by train from 0600 until 2100.

So thanks to my #envansbrosimningenomdag challenge I managed to swim roughly 467km during June-August 2020.

42+km swimming, yes swimming

Last year in October I was one of 14 swimmers with the honor to be able to sign up for 42+km swim. The race was called The Viking, and was a two way swim of Vidösternsimmet (21+km). The 14 of us would start at night Friday the 7th of August, calculating average swim speed in order to get to the start of the return no later than 07:00 the 8th. I went all in for this race. I had one of the strongest swimmers I know (Hampus Carlsson) as my partner for the first half night swim, and I started pushing myself on our Wednesday distance workouts like never before with our super distance coach Nedal. In January I took on the 1,00,000m challenge to help motivate me to get the distance training I would need for this years goal.


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Halfway through 2020

2020 is not the year that anyone saw coming. I am just happy that I live in Sweden and we have not closed down society or had a lock down.  Sure we have restrictions to follow like stay home when you can (ie only essential travelling), avoid contact with the elderly, working from home if you can, not more than 50 people at gatherings, high schools and colleges closed for home schooling as well as lots of companies had to send their employees home with materials for production could not be delivered. Swedish Nationals for Seniors, Juniors, Youth and Masters have been canceled. One by one open water races, bike races, runs, triathlons have had to cancel because of the travel restrictions and/or the max 50 people per gathering rule in place.
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The Perfect Swim that never was…

Monday after work I go home, make some chili and rice for dinner, but don’t have time to eat before my planned 18:00 swim. So while I am cooking dinner for the girls I make two hot dogs as a snack to make it through swimming.  I had skipped lunch by mistake and knew I needed something in my stomach to be able to swim 4500m.

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Beyond Expectations, the month of May

So I recently wrote about missing lots of swimming because of a business trip. But it looks like I was able to bounce back nicely, thanks in part to the start of Open Water swimming and my teammates that show up day after day to swim with me. In the graph below you can see the plateau when I missed 3+ swims. I managed to build back up my buffer by the end of the month.

Progress against the 1,000km target pace

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Rough start to May

My first business trip since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. I knew that I would eventually have to travel again, and I has 100% aware that it was not going to be easy from being at home for the past five months working out on average 12 hours a week to nothing for upwards of six days. But having the last 3 trips cancelled or postponed I was kind of hoping that this one would be push up too.

Due to the limited access to public transportation and the roughly 1300km distance I had to travel to get to site, I wound up traveling by car for nearly 13 hours on Sunday the 3rd of May with two colleagues headed in the same direction. Everything in the town I was visiting had shortened hours. Most things closed between 1600 and 1800 daily. This limited my options for food and the hotel we stayed at had no fitness room.

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100km in April

I was not expecting this, but thanks to the Million Meter Challenge I have just had my best indoor swim month since I stopped swimming back in 1996. It didn’t hurt that I was able to get in a good 10 day swim streak either. One other time in the last 12 years I have managed over 80km in one month in a pool was back in Jan 2012. I have now had 4 months in a row with over 84km. And now in April thanks to an extra 3km OW swim when putting out the buoys in the lake I landed at 108,560m in April

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1/4 of the way to 1,000,000m

So we have made it through the first 3 months of the year. Feb-Mar 2020 will not soon be forgotten. Everywhere you look there is something about the Coronavirus. Luckily for me Sweden is taking a more scientific approach and leaving politics out of the decision making. So while many of you are on lockdown and not allowed to go to your local pool or gym, I am coming off one of my best swimming weeks since moving back into the pool in September 2019.

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Health Assessment

My gym has an intern from a local college working for two weeks, and as a part of his internship he was offering health assessments. So I contacted him directly and booked a time on his first day. I have done this kind of test, or something similar twice before. Once back in 2013 on a bike to check my VO2Max and try to estimate what my max heart rate was going into my triathlon carrier. The second time was in march 2015 when I wanted to check my levels running after a bad winter training period. That test you can read about here.

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