It’s January 5th 2019 and we’re about five months into our daily cold-water immersion routine. So far, this alternative approach to a “chronic cold & cough free” winter seems to work. Our kids (Elvin and Viivi) are pretty determined to proof us wrong though. Every day they consistently smother us with a fresh dose of “highly trained bacteria” ready to infiltrate deep inside our bodies. Now here’s the thing, in the past we simply used whatever was available from the pharmacy to prevent us from getting sick. But…. more than often we ended up being sick anyway… so last September (basically after ÖtillÖ) we decided to try something else and rely on a more natural approach to stay health. As far as cold water therapy is concerned the experts say that it raises the amount of white blood cells that in turn boosts your metabolic speed rate. So, besides the (side) benefit of losing weight (white fat) it also triggers a process that is more effective in fighting off unwanted diseases and infections. Eureka! This is exactly what we are interested in: 1) staying healthy and 2) injury free. Now the question is: Does it work? Well, in our case we have not been sick for five months so I guess there is some truth in it, provided you do it the right way…but more about that later.
Highlights of the year 2018: 2nd place Utö swimrun, 1st place overall at Järvestä Järveen (Lake to Lake), 3rd place at the ÖtilllÖ Swimrun Worldchampionships. In resume, Utö felt like: “we’re back in business but some body parts strongly disagreed…”, Lake to Lake felt like: “somebody was non-stop chasing us…”, worldchamps felt like: “kids waiting at the finish line – just get there…”
Anyway “negative thoughts out of the window now” let’s enter the dark season with some snow and creative blog writing. This winter I try to focus on three main subjects:
Race Report 2018
Photo: Teemu Oksanen / Järvestä järveen swimrun www.laketolake.fi
Last Sunday the 3rd edition of Lake to Lake swimrun took place in the beautiful nature of Luukki national park, close to Espoo and Helsinki. Despite a weather forecast of thunder and rain a record number of 111 teams participated in the race. What makes this event stand out in my opinion is the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Sometimes I almost forget that we are there to do a race and not just socialise catching up with friends, first timers and Ötillö finishers. I have to say that Krisse Vaano (Race Director) and a bunch of other passionate swimrunners (like for instance Janne Räsänen & Co) really did a great job at building a unique swimrun community in Finland. I think that people start to realise that swimrun is really all about sharing emotions and experiences no matter who you are or what you do. There is no fancy gear to show off and let’s be honest trying to look pretty in a wetsuit is a bit overkill. So the race is about 12,5 km long with 12 run sections and 11 swim sections of which the longest is 560m and the shortest around 50m. The terrain varies between single trail, gravel paths and some rocky outcrops. The longest run section is about 2,5km.
Utö swimrun is one of our favourites. Why?...because it was our first ever race as a team, back in 2014. It took us by surprise then and still 4 years later it’s no different. It’s so friggin intense! I think it’s the contrast that is unique in this race: hot runs vs cold swims and fast gravel roads vs technical rocky trails. For us it’s on the Island of Love where the swimrun season truly starts. “You can run but you can’t hide!” We already figured out a few years ago that pacing and monitoring energy levels were going to play an important role on this course.
Five months into my rehab things are going into the right direction. In this blog I would like to share a few things that helped me get back on my feet again. The first three months were completely without training: one month in hospital followed by two months in a full leg cast. The good thing is that it allowed my body to start the healing process without me constantly interfering with it. Nevertheless when the leg cast finally came off I felt pretty handicapped and lost. Where to start? Muscle imbalance, shortened tendons, a wound not wanting to close and last but not least I was unable to bend my (right) leg. Luckily it didn’t take long to figure out that the answer to a speedy recovery was simply to dive into the world of non-impact training. So for the next two months I spent hours in the pool aqua jogging with the oldies, cross trainer in the gym, uphill walking and off course lots of swimming, stretching and foam rolling.
Me: Thomas Schreven
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