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.
Is there doping abuse in swimrun? Yes? No? Not sure? then keep reading…
I never imagined writing a blog about rehabilitation, but I guess there is a first time for everything. So for those who don’t know what happened, on October 5th I fell with my knee on a sharp rock during the epic Ötillö swimrun worldchampionships in Sweden. In a split second my right quadriceps tendon was cut right above the knee cap. After two surgeries and liters of different antibiotics I was finally released from hospital albeit in a full leg cast running from hip to toe. Hopping around like an “outcast penguin” futile things like: sitting on a toilet seat, driving a car or a spontaneous wrestling game with my son became a major hurdle. So hereby, respect to all those people out there who have a mobility issue because no matter how you look at it everything just takes more time and more effort.
My recent knee injury (and Jassu’s broken foot from two years before) made me realise just how vulnerable we are. One minute I am happily running a split second later I am on the floor with an open knee cap and a ruptured quadriceps tendon. At least for me these injuries forced me to rethink my approach towards personal safety in swimrunning. “Think First, then Act!” immediately springs to mind. The question I struggle with…was it pure misfortune or actually lack of focus? I guess the answer lays somewhere in the middle. In my case I have been accident and injury free for many years simply because I thought I knew what I was doing. However, this self knowledge is by no means a guarantee that nothing will ever happen, as I found out. Only now, after 4 years of practising the sport of swimrun, I really start to understand and appreciate the real risks involved and also what we (as a team!) can actively do to lower or even mitigate certain risks. Below I have summarised three scenarios where I believe we made mistakes and what we could possibly do to prevent it from happening again. This is by no means a conclusive “idiot proof guide” but merely a personal write up of specific situations. Of course by sharing this information I hope that people will also rethink their own approach and attitude towards personal and team safety.
Me: Thomas Schreven
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