This will get long and I’ll most likely revise it a few times as more memories come back to me or I find more photos of me during the race.
I’d like to start this race report off with a huge thanks to my wife. Back in September/October 2019, pre Covid, I asked her if it was ok if I were to attempt a 42km race. I explained that it would mean lots of extra swimming for me. She gave me the ok. Little did anyone know what was coming our way and a 11 month training plan would eventually turn into a 23 month commitment. Without her understanding of the level of training I wanted I would not have been able to be in the swimming shape I am today.
Sept 28, 2019 I get an email from Vidösternsimmet with the official invite to swim a special 10th anniversary double Vidösternsimmet they called The Viking Edition 42+km. They gave two options. I could either swim solo or with a partner. I was quick to decide to swim with a partner and that partner would be Hampus Carlsson. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take to get Hampus onboard with my plans, but 2-3 texts later and we were registered.
Sunday the 8th of August will not be a day that I forget for a long time. The plan was to leave home around 0720, drive up to the lake in Stenungsund arriving about 90 minutes before the last check-in time, eat an early lunch or big snack, swim as fast as I could and be home by 18:00.
I leave Växjö on time, but get informed that Pär and Emelie have car problems about 120km north of the race. I offer to pick them, up, but Pär thought they could make it. As I get to my exit for the lake I get a call, they only made it 60km, so I offered to pick them up so he could make it to the race on time. So my 90 minute window got reduced to 5-10 minutes. I continue north and find them on the side of the road near a highway on ramp. We quickly get them and their bags in my car and go back south. After taking the scenic route to the lake, we get lucky with a parking spot close to the lake, walk to the race area and check in with 2-3 minutes to spare.
In the area of Sweden I live, week 8 is our winter break, or a direct translation from swedish is sport break A large portion of the people in sweden use week 7,8 or 9 to go skiiing every year. The country splits up this week off so that only 33% of the country try to go up north skiing each week during the winter break.
I don’t usually write about specific workouts here on my blog. Maybe that’s because I have a training journal that I document everything I do on Jogg.se. Since the fall of 2018 our Masters group has been greatly improved by the presence of a former Syrian distance swim coach Nidal. During his first fall session with us he was there to help our newer swimmers with their technique. Watching everyone in the pull and offering tips on how they could improve their technique. That kind of one on one feedback was greatly appreciated. Then I am not sure how it happened, but with all my traveling in 2019 he took the initiative to offer our distance swimmers a distance workout on wedensdays as an option to the sprint workouts I was writing. With only three lanes, that group swam in lane 1. Up until 2019 we rarely swam anything over 400m at practice, and when we swam what I thought were hard series it was usually base pace for the shorter series and base pace +5 for the longer series.
Since I am hoping to get another eight swims and even a few Crossfit workouts in this year I am not ready to summarize 2020, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I stay healthy and can keep my motivation up for next summer.
I only have on goal for 2021, and that is swimming the first 42km Viking Swim in Värnamo on Aug 13th to the 14th. Or if the weather looks good, maybe we start at midnight so the entire swim will be on the 14th. This year I swam 42km in 14 hours with short stops every 3km. Next year with the start being around midnight I will most likely need to get in an energy stop every 40-45 minutes, but only for 45-60s to avoid getting cold, or starting to cramp. Since I will be swimming with a partner, our biggest challenge this spring/early summer will be planning those feeding breaks and what to give the kayaker to hold for us.
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.
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.
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. Continue reading →
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.
Saturday the 13th of June was the first time in the history of our local OW race that I actually was able to participate. In 2016, it was a very very small race with two distances; 925m and 1850m. I spent all morning helping to get the race area set-up, then all afternoon on a boat keeping an eye on the swimmers. The distance 1850 came from the year that Karl-Oskar and Kristina left Sweden on their way to the US. A masters swimmer and local artist helped up create our logo from a photo of the two. I really like the way it turned out.