As far as small-scale events go, this one is as small as it gets… Only 12 athletes showed up for the first edition of the Terheijden Long Course Weekend: swim 3.8km on friday, bike 180km on saturday and run a marathon on sunday, sounds like fun!
After being brought to the swim-start by a local farmer it’s time to get into the choppy water. The first 3km we have to battle the waves and the wind, and with so few swimmers in the water it’s a solo challenge. I’m working hard, and after what seems to take forever I get to the only turn on the course: after 3km I turn right for the final 800meters, finally a bit more shielded from the wind. When I exit the water I look at my watch and am pleasantly surprised: a 1’07 swim is a new personal best time! Now time to get some food and rest before tomorrows ‘race’….
Sorry, I tried to keep it short this time (how much can you tell about a swim?), but thàt hasn’t really gone according to plan… So here’s a long story about a long swim…
a short version for the impatient reader (spoiler alert!):
prerace – start – swim (repeat a long time) – finish
After two years with big goals (The Double in 2016 and The Triple in 2017), and a new big plan in the making for 2019 (more on that in a later blog-update… stay tuned…<edit: more on that plan here…> ), 2018 was supposed to be an ‘easy’ year. ‘Easy’ meaning: just a lot of fun stuff to do, and just enjoy myself without the pressure of a training-schedule that’s leading to a terrifying race… But with all the fun and ‘unimportant’ races this year, there was just one goal that I really wanted to achieve this year… A 20km swim!
So this winter I started to look for a nice place to go swimming: I wanted a ‘point-to-point’ course (so not a swim where start and finish are at the same place, I wanted to ‘go somewhere’), and although a solo swim (with someone on a boat for support) would be acceptable, an organised event would be more fun… And then I found the Swedish ‘vidösternsimmet’: a ‘21+km’ swim (that little ‘+’ after the 21km is a nasty one…) which is ‘Sweden’s longest open-water race’ and, according to the website also ‘Sweden’s toughest swimming race’… So, consider me interested 🙂
It’s a sunny day on the bike, and I’m riding on the Brutal course. Somewhere during the terrible climb to Waunfawr I know the climb has to end after the next corner; I know from last year that it’s slightly longer than you would think, but this time, after that next corner, someone decided to move the little village even further uphill! I forgot; the climb isn’t ‘slightly’ longer, but it’s ‘a lot’ longer (and steeper!) than you would think, even if you know the course!
The Big Brutal Swim is always a good excuse to come to Wales and do some training, and enjoy the pre-Brutal nerves. A week of swimming, cycling and running around Snowdon it is, with all the variations in the weather that you can expect; it’s been cold, rainy and stormy, but also nice and sunny… Continue reading “August update…”
Sometimes I forget that it’s only been 4 years since my first irondistance-race… What once started as a ‘once in a lifetime’ thing turned out to be a serious addiction, and it kind of spiraled out of control from there…
So after my debut at the 2013 Challenge Roth I’m now back on that course again, but just to do an easy swim and bike (and run, although that was not on the actual course, and with the heat it surely isn’t ‘easy’) on te days before the race, so that I’m totally free to support some friends who are racing in Roth this year. It’s great to be back, the atmosphere is unlike any other race, and when the gun goes of on race-morning I feel kind of sad that I’m not in the water myself… Continue reading “July update…”
January seems to have passed without any epic stories (which sometimes is a good thing…). No races, just consistent training… and training… and training… It seems that the open-water season is finally over (although most swimmers would have said that a few months ago…) The first outdoor-swim of the year was a short one, and even with the full winter-kit on (gloves, booties) I didn’t stop shaking for quite a while… Turns out that 6 degree water does not make for a nice and relaxing swim… But I have to say: I do like those short, cold sessions! Unfortunately winter has started, and when there’s people ice-skating on the lakes where I usually swim, I know that it’s a good excuse to go to a nice and warm pool…
Early August the big pre-race panic (or should I say ‘PANIC!!!!’) started to get to me… Although I am physically in great shape, the mind starts to play tricks on me. Self-doubt is a problem for me before every big race, but for a double, that feeling triples (or quadruples)… So, after a short search into the psyche of someone who thinks a double is a good idea (which should all-ready be reason enough to doubt ones sanity), the result is that I book a plane to Wales, and enter the Big Brutal Swim… Last year I did the 10km swim, and ran the ‘easy lap around the lake’ (I just keep calling it ‘easy’, let’s hope that helps with the pre-race-nerves…) and partially up Snowdon. I didn’t get a chance to ride the bike-course though, and that part of the unknown causes most of my current stress… Continue reading “August update”
I smile when I exit my street. It’s 2.30AM, and I just decided to add a small extra lap to my bike-training, just to make sure I reach the seven hours that were planned for today (well, for tonight, since it’s been about riding in the dark and dealing with tiredness on the bike…). The legs feel better than they ever felt after a long ride, and mentally I feel strong; I just did a hard and long session, mostly in the dark; it was one of those moments when you realise what you’re training for…
Finally, after 220 kilometers, I get home. Happy, and knowing I’ve got the same session planned two days later, I try and get some sleep, hoping that I can forget that tomorrow morning there is a hard interval running set planned… (sometimes I think that my Coach must really hate me…). Continue reading “June update”