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.
So, as for us (Team Say No! to Doping) Lake to Lake swimrun is always a good opportunity to catch up with likeminded friends we have not seen for a while. While chatting to people left right and center, Krisse kindly reminded everybody to get ready. Last year we were put to the test by the super strong Mäkelä brothers (Jaako and Ville). The difference was less than a minute at the finishline. This year there was some serious competition coming from Team Kuosu (Sampo and Aapo) but for some reason this was not enough for Jassu…so she miraculously managed to break two fingers while falling out of bed a week before race day…can you believe it? Great! So I asked her: “How are we supposed to tackle 22 transitions! in a time period of just 1 hr and 22 minutes? She said: “It’s simple you just have to strap my hand to the paddle, pull me on the swims and pull me out of the water at every transition. Mmmmh, perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut…
Anyway this small hick-up did force us to practise the course (and all it’s transitions) a week in advance so by the time we reached race day we had a safe and pain-free routine figured out for every transition. That’s what I call team work so when the gun went off we already knew that we were not going to be so fast in the water hence the fact that we ran sub 4:00 minute/km pace to the first and longest swim of the day. Swimming like a friggin maniac I was waiting for some super swimmers to pass us (I mean the likes of olympic level…) but luckily we got out of the water with a small 50m lead to the next team. Barely out of the water I wanted to say to Jassu: “damn I killed myself on that swim….what were you doing…looking at the fish or something?” She never heard me because all I see is Jassu taking off like a rocket seemingly flying over a bunch of fallen trees….it probably reminded her the good old track and field days as a 400m hurdler. Anyway after a few hundred meters, while trying to get a gel down, my body started to heat up nicely and the second swim already felt a lot faster and efficient.
In the meantime, the course covered some shorter run and swim stretches which really put our transition routine to the test but all went according to plan. Only once the pulling rope got tangled up and we had to disconnect in mid swim but we managed to stay calm and focussed. I say this because normally we are not very “zen like” (i.e. we panic, get pissed off and start arguing). As we always say: “who needs marriage counselling? Just say anything you feel like during swimrun so you can be relaxed at home). In the meantime forty five minutes into the race and totally emerged into our own little bubble I say to myself: ”Shit, I am really getting
tired but this is so much fun...let’s keep going!” All of a sudden I hear somebody scream: “timing chip!”.....oh yes I almost forgot why we had to put it on our wrist and not ankle. Later it turned out that some people put it on their ankle (including our friends Markos and Merja) who were caught doing some very advanced…(yoga?) positions to reach the timing sensors at 1.5meters high….wow you guys are really multi talented! While moving through beautiful lakes and trails there was only one 2.5km run and a short swim left to do. By this time my legs were starting to feel like spaghetti but we were still leading so we tried to keep pushing on the short uphills and pick up momentum on the downhills. I guess the tough interval sessions we always do in the build-up to a race did pay off.
Then, finally running towards the last swim section we were greeted by our two “out of control screaming monkeys” aka Elvin (5) and Viivi (2). Looking at their faces and intense happiness it made me realise in a weird way that nothing really matters if you set your own (team) values right. In other words there is no point in “suffering without meaning” and for us that meaning is to try and enjoy things in the broadest sense you can imagine (inspired by the book: “The subtle Art of not giving a F*ck”….don’t be fooled by the title by the way). Crossing the finish line Krisse told us we broke the course record of last year by almost three minutes. “Not bad for a good day” is all I could mumble. While catching my breath Elvin had already asked me three times: “Papa can we open the bottle of champagne?….now now now”…. Recovery with two hyper active kids? I don’t think so…but that’s our choice and we love it.
So, if you ask me what made us faster this year compared to last year then here are some clues:
1. practise the course - so you know what is coming on race day
2. an efficient transition routine is worth a lot – it saves you minutes not seconds
3. train in the same gear as you will race in – experiment what works best for you
4. Go fast WHERE you can go fast – go slower WHEN it make sense to go slower
5. Include intensity in your run & swim distances – it’s one big interval session at the end of the day
6. Learn from others but stick to your own plan – team dynamics are unique
7. It’s unconditional - support each other during training and on race day
8. Don’t focus on the end result otherwise you loose the enjoyment of the journey
9. Please do make mistakes – it does not make you better or worse it’s merely another experience you can share and build upon – also known as living…
10. Each training session should have a purpose – No garbage training
Finally, I would like to say that Lake to lake swimrun is an event that is perfect for aspiring swimrunners (because of it’s relatively short swims) as well as elite level athletes who are looking for a fast and intense work-out.
Thanks everybody for having such a great day and see you out there, no doubt!
Team Say No! to Doping
Partner: Jasmina Glad-Schreven
P.S. If you like our training philosophy and want to know more how we train and race – we can organise a swimrun clinic. Just let Krisse know and we can set something up for September.
Photo: Teemu Oksanen / Järvestä järveen swimrun www.laketolake.fi
Me: Thomas Schreven
NEW!! Subscribe to receive notification to your email about our latest blog post.
info (at) advenu.fi