Monday, August 18, 2014

Desiree, Your an Ironman!

Desiree, you are an Ironman 13:28 minutes

Its Monday today and I have the race fresh in my memory, a totally amazing experience. Its been a fantastic weekend, and one of the best moments in my life. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to do this, its extremely long and anything can happen. So I am very humble. A lot of competitors didn't complete the race because of cramps, bike failures, energy loss, colds.... I saw them everywhere. One guy didn't make the 16 hour deadline. He had 16.02. But in my heart they are all Iron men. This is my story.

Thursday afternoon:

We left Stockholm in the morning around 8. Bags packed and all the gear we needed (Almost, I forgot my pulse band so I had to buy a new one). We picked up Ignacio (An amazing athlete, he is so cool and analytical its hard to believe he is so fast) on the way to Kalmar which is a 5 hour drive. Once we arrived in Kalmar, the first thing we saw where Ironman flags. Thats when I realized, oh my God, this is what I have been training for, for almost 2 years. Unbelievable. Madeleine my partner in crime, was hospitalized one week before the competition so she couldn't carry though with the race, which still saddens me, cause I know she would have loved it. I am real happy that she was there to support me though. I will always love her for it, and when she goes to Barcelona to do her Ironman, I will be there.

First registrations. This is when you get all your race info, bibs and bags... and the Ironman back pack. Oh I wanted that back back so bad.... Thing is, can't use it if I don´t complete the race.... ahhhhh....nervous.. Pre race meeting, a tennis hall full with 2 700 athletes and 1 400 that have the ambition to accomplish their first Ironman. What a party, damn, music, hug screen, Ironman logo... very American and very very fun. I met so many friends and other triathletes, and everyone is so excited and wishing each other good luck. Its a very humble sport, and everyone is so encouraging. Just love it.

Friday, the day before race day.

Today is final preparation day, do final gear check, pack transition bags, check-in bike. Sleep, rest, eat. My coach Andreas was in Kalmar as well as my swim coach, Jeff, which felt really really good. Andreas made sure that I had good wheels on my bike, both Jeff and Andreas mounted them. Early bed, had a hard time falling asleep, I was a bit excited

Saturday race day, 04:00

Alarm goes off, Björn my husband got food poisoning and had been to the john, like 5 times, and I was almost certain that he wasn't going to make it. But he ate like 4 Imodiums (he is probably not going to do anything for a week) We filled all of our water bottles, and did our final preparations, breakfast at 4.30. At 5:10 we went to the transition area and checked the air pressure in our tires, mounted our water bottles and checked that everything was in place. 6:00 back at the hotel, put on our wetsuits and left the hotel at 6:30.

Race 7:00

Swim  1.49 hours

Rolling start this year, the pros started at 6:55 am. Age group competitors where placed in different groups depending on estimated swim time. Björn and I started in the 1.45 group. I was scared shit. I was happy to have my husband by my side. Swimming has been the part of the race that has worried me the most, Its like my swim coach told me (after the race), when you started your lessons, you sucked. I know, I am still not good, but much better. I entered the water at 7:16 am. The water was luke warm and calm. Warm outdoor weather. The first thing that hit me was that I forgot to check which color buoys where supposed to be on my righthand and lefthand side. So I swam in the wrong direction, after a while I noticed that everybody else where going somewhere else... hahahaha... well I got my act together. The water was nice, lots of jelly fish and the thought going through my head was extend and glide, extend and glide... just like my swim coach instructed me. My swimming was slow but it went well, I never lost my breath and I was calm. When I finally got out of the water, I was so happy, It felt like the worst part of the competition was completed, even though it was the shortest part. After a 10 minute transition, I was ready to bike.

Bike - 6:17 hours

The biking was completely amazing, since I was one of the last people out of the water I had loads of competitors to chase. I had a great bike day. It started with the Bridge of Öland, a 6K Bridge, and on the other side I saw Happy, mom, Åke, Lilian and Kalle (part of my support team) It gave me loads of energy. The Island is beautiful, and the support along the road is amazing. I was strong, and my legs kept going. I had an energy intake every 15 minutes, just like coach Andreas instructed me to do. I was smiling constantly and I felt Happy and free. I passed a lot of cyclists, I felt like I was in a nintendo race game. my mind was empty, waving at everyone on the sidelines that encouraged me. I just focused on going forward. After Öland it was time to take the bridge back to the main land and we had a head wind that was quite tough, on the top of the bridge it started raining and a local thunderstorms with lightning. I just wanted to get off the damn bridge. The rain was intense but short. After 122K I met my other support team, Madde, Johanna and Anna. (The best girls in the world, I luv them to death) I stopped for a short moment to fill my bottles, Madde told me that I was 10 minutes ahead of my dream time. It felt good. So I continued my journey. 20K left to goal, I felt that okey, this has been fun, but its enough now.

Run - 4:56

Oh, this is when it gets tough. The marathon. Three 14K loops. The first thing I see, is my girlfriends siting on the sideline drinking Rosé... hmmm.. Evil... hahaha.. My first 6K, my mind was like, damn... I can't do this .. my legs are killing me... But why?... What keeps me going is that, I know its going to feel like this in the beginning, but I know it passes. After 6K I was good. I kept a pretty slow pace, and walked at every aid station. The run is fun, Its social and everyone is helping you every step you take. (A lot of people fart and run and the same time.. its like .. gunshots) The audience is amazing, they call your name and in the city it was crazy. (Denise)  My legs didn't like the cobble stone, but who cares, with happy people everywhere. Personally I liked the part outside of the city better. The habitants of Kalmar sat in their gardens praising you, they sang, played music and told you what a hero you are. The first loop was quit good. (I got to kiss Happy) but when It was time to start the second loop it gets hard, 14K is quite a distance and I knew I had 2 loops to go. In my mind... oh no, not two more of those... I had to quickly change my mindset, thoughts like that don't help. So I tried to keep going. After the second loop, I was still a little low until I started talking to a women that I passed, she said. ( Man I envy you, I still have two loops to go), and then I realized, yes I only have one loop left, so after 30K I got my energy back. All the people I met through out the course the encouraged and helped me on the way. My support teams, my Norra Stockholm Endurance team mates, Utbrytarna, competitors, the audience... So many family and friends that I don't want to name them cause I'll forget someone.

When I only had 2 K left, I Knew that I would make my marathon under 5 hours, my goal. Thats when I realized, damn.... Soon I'll be an Ironman. When I entered the homestretch, the people where cheering, It was sooo unreal. Desiree, your an Ironman! Family, friends, my coach, and most touching of all my daughter Happy in tears, "mom, I am so proud of you". To hear those words from a 13 year old, who had to spend most of this summer on her own because I had so much training, meant the world to me.

This was my first Ironman, hopefully not the last one. It was amazing.

My Ironman Pack back! yeayyyyy!!!

Pre race meeting

Gingerpower fixing my bike, my brakes had to be fixed

Transition area

Evening before race day

A happy couple, I think we smiled through out the race

Coach Andreas and Jeff, you guys are amazing, could never have done this without you

My girls, missing Anna W, one more family member

My bike, isn't she a beauty?

Friday, August 8, 2014

As prepared as I'll ever be

I know, I haven't written anything in a very long time. It's not because I didn't want to, I simply haven't had the time. My summer has been quite different than a normal summer. Not only has Sweden had this amazing heatwave (love warm weather) I have been training at a level that I have never experienced before. These past weeks add up to more than 12 training hours a week. Its amazing how the body can adjust. It hasn't always been fun. Its been tiring and really tough  sometimes. Train - eat - work. But its a little NIKE... Just do it.

9 Days left, I think. My god if you knew what has been going through my mind lately. " Desiree, what is wrong with you? Why are you doing this? Who do you think you are? " What if you can't do it? I have asked myself loads of questions and I have had doubts. I have cried like a baby and laughed like a crazy person. But you know what, whatever the result and however I perform this has truley been my calling. I have made the most fantastic friends, and I am part of a community that I want to be a part of. Everyone I know have different goals and different oppertunities but in the end, its like we are in this together. We help each other, give each other tips and push each other. Everyone wants everyone to succeed. Amazing

I have been worried about my swimming. I still have a lot to learn but I'll be okey. My focus is not to panic even if I have loads of people around me. Its for me the worst part of the race. Its least time consuming but scariest.

Then I have biking, 180K. Quite a distance, and It will be a challange,  but It will be fun. I had a real bad biking day when I did the half Ironman distance in Vansbro, my legs where like spagetti, my back was killing me and I lost a lot of confidence after that race. But Ironman biking isn't really fair. The better bike you have, the better chance you have of performing better results. I have a new and better bike that fits me and this competition. One amature athlete that impresses me most, is Ignacio, a 30 years old student with a 12 year old bike that he has modified, he is a monster on "gamla Bettan" (its name) a true driven amature athlete that can perform with whatever gear, amazing! I wish I was more like him, he counts on his inner and outter strengh, what I beleive the whole Ironman race was all about initially. 

Finally, the marathon. I already know what thats gonna feel like.  PAIN. I'll probably be okey the first 18k after that its gonna hurt. BAD.  But Its going be fun. Thats when I get to see family and friends. I just hope knees, calves, and that my body doesn't fall a part.

So I pray that I stay healthy so that I get the chance to experience my first Ironman ever. Almost 2 years of training and the day is here soon. 

I want to thank you all for the amazing support. Family, especially my daughter Happy who has basically spent the summer holidays on her own, friends, my sponser, collegues, my lecturers, business contacts, training partners, my job, all of you... The love, energy and support has been amazing.  Every word, every push, every hug, every link, every comment, everything....   has  meant the world to me. Thank you!

High lights...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I really need all of my friends

Its been an interesting 2 weeks since my last blog post and half marathon in Germany. I have had this inner strange feeling. One day I feel really strong and the next day, I feel like I am not even going to be able to run 5K. I have had nightmares, and have had this strange feeling that everything around me is out of my control. Until I realized why. Since my sick leave last year I have been on SSRI anti-depression pills. I have started to reduce my intake (It takes 3 months) and every time I reduce my intake I get withdrawal symptoms, this time worse than ever. Feel like a drug addict. I understand that I needed these pills before, but It is really scary to be so addicted to something, and they sell them as none addictive... my ass. I can´t wait until this phase is over. I have learned so much about myself this year, and I have become so much more humble towards myself and others. Talk about wake up call.

I am happy that it hasn't affected my training. I have been able to focus on my schedule and I am very pleased with my results. My next competition is Stockholm Marathon which I am really looking forward to. I am not going to race the clock, I am going to see it as a training session for Ironman, and do it my way. If I feel pain, I am not going to complete the race..... I think.... or I am really going to try not to be stupid proud.... Ironman is this year goal, nothing else. But I really really am bad at giving up... really bad..... Anna a new friend of mine, is a ultra runner (Completes 100k races) might run and hold my hand, just for the fun of it. It would be nice if she could set the pace so I don´t start out like superwoman or something.

This weekend is a tough one. Its pouring outside and I am going to meet up with my homie, Madde and do a 3 hour biking session. and tomorrow I have a 2 hour run. But its so much fun. Just love doing all of this...... I am really happy, and I have the best friends ever that inspire me... and complement me as an inspirer for others. Some are impressed that I can work full time, train like a crazy person and still have a social life. I have thought about it, and Its TV time that I don't have anymore and my husband and I do this together. And a lot of discipline of course. Every Sunday I go though next weeks training schedule and I book when and what in my calendar. I have to. I also have the best and most flexible employer. If I swim during lunch and come in late, it takes 2 hours. My employer doesn't fight me. I stay in late instead and work extra evening hours. It would really be hard without my family's and friends patience.

So thank I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for pushing me, believing in me, complementing me, giving me positive feedback and participating in my beautiful journey in becoming an Ironman. Without you guys it would really be hard to stay inspired. (Colleagues, business partners, twitter friends,  Facebook friends, swimming partners, training partners, best friends, family, insta friends, old friends, new friends, club friends, crossfit solid friends... all of you inspire me and keep me going! Thank you

German flowers in my hair

A short break on todays  tour

Beautiful landscape although wet and cold

Looking focused

Pee pee place

Feeling pretty good about ourselves. We did it. Alrhough cold and wet outside

One of my best friends, Anna, entered a competition and her motivation below just blew me into tears. Anna thank you!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lübbenau Halv marathon

Lübbenau Galb Marathon a 22,2K race, not 21,1. 

Lubbenau, is one of the most fantastic towns ever. Its located in former East Germany and carrys alot of history. My dear friend Jana escaped East Germany at the age of 17, and didnt get to see her family again until the fall of the Berlin Wall. This town is definiatly different. No Wifi anywhere, people actually talk to each other, people leave theirs keys in their apartment doors, most apartments have their own gardens and few speak English. Its Germanys Venice, with channels everywhere.

I have been speaking German..... You should hear me....I suck.. Hahaha. Okey... Good enough to keep small conversations going and I understood a little. People honestly enjoy that I try. Another observation is that I was the only brown person around... Weird feeling. I mean ONLY.. 

Jana a dear friend and my travelcompany is an intelligent fun-loving women that I enjoy being around. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for sharing her home town, experience, family and  interesting history of how it was to live in East Germany. Janas mom has cooked the best meals and she is spoiling us rotten. I feel like 15 again. 

This part of the trip was fantastic..... So the part I really dont want to talk about... The race...

I started this season with my worst race ever. Awful. I knew I was kinda tired still after Mallorca Training camp, but everything else was good. Nice weather, 23 degree celcius, fantastic company, sunny and the surrounding are amazing. I slept well the night before and breakfast was really good. I started out confident and kept a pretty good pace. My first hour I did 11, 5K, and knew that if I kept my pace I would do great, really great. They had 4 energy stops, with cider, coke and loads of candy. No sportsdrinks. At stop 15k I decided to eat my powergel. Very stupid Idea, after about 5 minutes I felt nausia, then I threw up. Disgusting. Luckily I was carrying a water bottle. At 17 K my calves started cramping. Both. I was about to give up. I had to stop and stretch constantly. I slowed down to a 6 - 6:30 minute per K pace. However, I wanted that damn cucumber. So I had to just keep on going. Lübbennau is known for its cucumbers. My mind was set. However I feel kinda dissapointed and I know I have to do much better If Ironman is going to be a reality. At this moment I have the need to talk with my coach. My confidence got hurt, bad. Just feeling not good enough. My watch stopped at 1:59:06 when I passed 21.1 which is okej, but the feeling of my body not being good enough.... 

Next race is planned for Thursday, Vasby Duathlon.... Feels very distant at this moment.... However I am not giving up, never..... ever... All I need now is my coach and some positive energy

Getting all fired up

Its all about the cucumber, worked for me... Kept me going

Might be the flatest Marathon but 21 bridges with stairs and 6k stone paths was pretty tough

Flowers, birds, nature, clean, everywhere. We Swedes have LOTS to learn

Castle of Lübbenau

And a celebration Champagne.. If course...

This is the scenery... Just beautiful

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A summary of Mallorca Training Camp

This very moment, we are on our flight, on our way home, after a simply amazzzziiiing week.  I feel really good about myself, both inside and out. I had set one important private goal before my trip..... I wanted to shine (Like Spains sun) compared to last year. My goals are always my own and I never compare them with anyone else. Like I always say, I am David, an underdog, doing my own thing, my own way, my own speed and under guidance of my amazing coach Andreas Lindén. I overcame some personal doubts this week.

My first doubt, climbing those damn mountains..... The scenery is beautiful and its fun..... but really really tough. I have always had problems with going uphill. This year I did a fab job. The first mountain, the first day built my confidence (When my pulse blew max), so when it was time to climb mountain number 2, on our long biking tour day I had made up my mind in advance. You can do this Desiree and you can do it good. I wanted to do approximately 10K per Hour. A lot better than last years 7-9K per hour. My stupid thing (bike computer) was set on MPH which I forgot about, so while going uphill my computer didn’t go higher than between 7 – 9 (Mph). Feeling kinda low, but not giving up. When I finally reached the top, I was like 20 minutes earlier then my personal schedule, and thats when I realized that I had been doing about 11,2 -14,4 K/h which is almost double last years speed. For the first time in my life, I was one of those that got to rest a little while on top, waiting for other members in my group to show up!!! A new experience..... Before I was ALWAYS last (Every single mountain), so as soon as I was on top, it was time to continue, tired as hell. That really was a bummer.

My second doubt, open water swimming. This one I didn’t overcome completely this year. I was better and more confident then last year but still not good enough for Ironman. I kind of panic, hate salt water in my mouth (Feels  DRY..... like an old lady's mouth with dentures) and I still get a bit seasick. Madde did some swimming with me and she gave me invaluable tips. One perfect tip was to do the back stroke if I loose air for a little while until my breathing is back to normal. (I wont loose as much speed that way) Liked that one a lot .

I feel quite confident with my running, I feel relaxed and I know I have a pretty good pace, although I am a heavy runner……. I always gain weight when I am under a lot of stress or not feeling mentally relaxed. I have had some really tough weeks at work, which is right on my hips.... again. But I feel and know that everything is going to be okey. I had some amazing results this year. On our final race day,  I did a 1,5K run keeping a 4:24 minute per K pace!  The best compliment ever came from my dearest friend Madde: Desiree I wonder if its your indian blood, because your are a quite runner. (A very good thing) My goal is to keep my feet as light as possible to avoid to much stress on my knees and limbs.

My strongest recommendation to anyone who wants to go on a Tricamp with a personal touch, where your personal goals are taken into a lot of consideration, Mallorca training camp should be one of your alternatives. 

3 words that define my experience: Personal, unique and professional

So Andreas and Jeff, you guys are the best. You gave us a fun and challenging week (Don't think otherwise). I feel like a cocktail queen that just entered the next level of her triathlon carrier. Thank you guys!

A special thank you to all the cool endurance athletes, Ironmen (male and female) and other trialtheles during our boot camp. Thanks for all the laughs, pep, tips, stories and simply the best travel company ever!

Lena, Madde, Johanna, Björn, Happy, Snabba Ida, Snabba Emil, Mona, Olga, Mia, Johan, Martin, Jimmy, Ingvar, Patrik, Jeff, jennifer, Andreas, Inte lika snabba men tillräckligt snabba Ida. Hope I got everyone, cause you all made or trip memorable and painful (In a good way)


And I met Sofie, my first energetic and funny spinning instructor from Sollentuna, she actually started it all and Mathias W a inspiring friend/business contact that I met through work! Mallorca is a paradise for Swedes.... obviously....

Our 110 kilometer biking tour

Running intervals after a biking session 

We bike up these beautiful mountains, the view is stunning, but its hard to take pictures from up there

A swimming race the last day, that I avoided. I would have ended up doing a 180 degree turn, like Ida.

The water was unbelievably clear

Best girls/women/ladys ever, Johanna - half marathon and long distance bike competition, Mia - 4 times full distance Ironman, probably alot of other races I don't know about, me, Madde several long distance bike competitions, triathlons, long distance swim races, long distance cross country skiing, Lena really a lot of long distance biking like 14 years in a row... Amazing. Bike races are between 100 - 300K.

All the guys in the group have completed full distance Ironmans (except Björn, Ingvar and Emil, Emil however is a phenomenal cyclist (No one compares to Emil uphill), we are missing Johan who got food poisoning. Hope he is better... 

Coach Andreas and Ida, saying good bye, here with Emil and his speedy wife Ida, She completed a 100 Kilometer run... Yes you heard med 100 K running. It took her 11,5 hours. 

Old Alcudia, a beautiful little town

This is a female Ironman tan

Yepp, thats us! Best gang i da world

Bye bye