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 found it interesting that I did not write about this, but based on my OW season totals I thought I would be able to pass 1,000,000m swimming around the 20th of Sept. But getting sick on Sept 1st did not help. I eventually surpassed the 1 million meter mark on Sept 30th.
Back in April as the world was shutting down I was contacted by Mark Johnston about an online event that he was putting together. It didn’t take more than a day or two and then the event was online, and I was registered and started to recruit others in Sweden and the US to join in.
The idea of being able to compete in a time when all IRL races were being postponed or canceled felt like a really good idea. Nothing beats the heat of the moment, but knowing someone somewhere else was trying to swim faster than me was going to have to be enough this summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
So I did it, I managed to keep my taper plans. It took more will power to follow through with it considering there was no Swedish Nationals to taper for. But luckily for me, my swimmers were up for some practice races and I managed not only to reduce my swimming, but cut back in all of my normal training over the last two weeks.
It’s actually been a long time since I was in such good shape that I needed to taper, or even was interested in tapering my workouts prior to a race. Last summer I swam though the summer with no real taper before my long swim. The last 4-5 Swedish Nationals have also fallen in a time frame, where I was travelling a lot with work prior to and after, so my focus has not been 100% on pool swimming.
Swedish Nationals is nine days, and last night was the start of my taper in the pool and today I started to reduce my outside the pool training. I haven’t had a real taper since 2013, so it will be interesting to see how my body and my mind will react.