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Neopren without limits


Had the pleasure to visit ORCA Nordic and see the new things they bring out 2019. Must say that I am really impressed. I didn’t think that anyone could come up with new things and innovation when it comes to wetsuits that has been around for so many years but I was blown away – especially by all the innovation with regards to the swim-run gear. The fact that ORCA Nordics is a substantial contributor to ORCA’s global sales gives them direct contact to the R&D team and a lot of the ideas from Swedish swim-runners have been implemented.

Here are a few of the highlights:

ORCA S7 – High quality at affordable price. Many of the benefits that you get when you buy from a quality manufacturer with high quality neopren and no cheap crap. I am not sure I heard right when they said it would be priced under 2,000SEK – that basically means that anyone who just want to try triathlon or open water swimming can by a brand new good quality wet suite (that no-one else has peed in) instead of trying to find secondhand gear that don’t fit.

 

My favorite wetsuit Predator has also received several upgrades after input from Ironman World Champion Sebastian Kienle. CLS system that keeps your hips straight – even when you are getting fatigued, Yamamoto neopren, Nano Ice Coating that provides the worlds fastest glide in the water. Improved collar and protection against chafing due to a thinner and softer fabric around the neck.

 

Next up was two new swim-run Perform and RS1 wetsuits which really display the innovation that results when you have a sport where the regulation on what is allowed is ”anything you want to carry”. Very impressed with all the smart thinking that has gone into the design – so impressed that I almost consider doing a swim run race just so I can get the gear 😂👍

Great event and inspiring to see the innovation and new products.

I’m really looking forward to get my hands on a new Predator so that I can use my old for training – it’s only 4 years old but the improvements justifies an upgrade! I will also get the awesome transition bag – I am so fed up with all crap backpacks you get at the Ironman races.

Happy swimming !

Magnus

 

 


Riding the rollercoaster of life


2018 was a challanging year with the crash at Ironman 70.3 Jönköping broken clavicle followed by operation, infection, 450 gram of antibiotics over the course of 3 months and finally a DNS at Ironman in Hawaii, followed by another operation. Many friends have asked me how I deal with the setback and the fact that I basically lost most what I have built up in fitness over the past years. It is easy to loose faith and feel like a victim but I chose to try to look at it as the reality of life – it goes up and down. It has been a hard period but now I am on the path to recovery and have been able to start training normal again (more or less).

The first couple of weeks after the doctors ok to start training again has been difficult physically and mentally. Trying to get the stomach back to normal condition after the massive dose of antibiotics takes time and getting the body used to regular training was much harder than it usually is as I still healing.

 

 

To get better structure and even more important an external view – I have decided to work with Johan Hasselmark at Aktivitus and the first week of base training is just about to be completed with the last session of the week. My target is to race Ironman Lanzarote 25th of May but I will wait to sign up for another couple of weeks just to make sure that the pain in the shoulder continues to be reduced even as I have started to swim again.

Have a good and safe training and racing year!

Magnus

 

 


G’day from the bottomless hole

G’day from the bottomless hole


I have been thinking about writing something for quite sometimes but have found it hard – to do anything actually. It’s easy to lose motivation and enthusiasm when what you thought was a little set back (broken clavicle) turns out to be the beginning of a descend into a bottomless hole, along slippery slopes of pain, infections, doctor visits, surgery and antibiotics.  Hopefully I have now landed on rock bottom and can start the climb up. Here is a little update on what has been going on in my glamorous life over the past 3 months and my plan moving forward.

 

Started to just move after the surgery 18thof July and tried my best to adhere to the doctor’s order – not sweat into the wound – which was quite difficult as it was the warmest summer since we started to measure temperature in Sweden. Seven or eight days after the operation the wound “erupted“ during the night and I woke up with a pillow full of blood and ”guck”.

Visit to the emergency, new bandages and a 10 day batch of antibiotics later, the wound started to become less painful and swelling started to go down. Started to build up training again and 8 weeks post-surgery I had another x-ray that showed that the clavicle was healing. Finally, the doctor gave me ok to start swimming and I basically had 4 weeks to get ready for Hawaii. After a week of swimming and a few little harder and longer sessions two boils started to stick out at the top and bottom of where the plate has been installed. I went back to see the doctor that looked more concerned than I was. We scheduled another visit with blood samples and x-rays and while I was running – the day before the visit – one of the boils broke and there was no doubt what was going on in there. New tests and we had two days before departure to Hawaii. The doctor said that he was certain that it is a staphylococcus infection that is residing on the plate and that it will not be cured until the plate is removed. Picked up the largest dose of antibiotics I have ever heard of – 200 tablets just for the next 30 days.

 

I was told that they would contact me in Hawaii and let me know the results but strongly advice against racing with this kind of infection in my system. They actually recommended that we should stay in Sweden – but I would not have the heart to tell my daughter who has been packing her bags for the last 3 months that we are not going.

Still a ok place to be in even if you can’t train and race

 

Not much to do but to take a raincheck on the Ironman Hawaii race and suffer on the sidelines looking at everyone having fun and racing. But actually – it was not too hard to stand on the sidelines as I really feel sick by the side effects of antibiotics and low energy level that comes from a stomach that is killed  by all the medicine.

On the way back to Sweden my doctor calls me up while we are in transit in LA and ask me to come in as soon as we are back. When I come in, she says that the plate needs to come out as soon as possible and tells me that the initial infection has been on the plate the whole time. The staphylococcus bacteria can’t be killed as they attach themselves to the plate and build a mucus to protect themselves from the body’s immune system. She can’t understand how I have been able to ramp up training to around 20hrs / week again with this infection in my system. She also told me that I have been really fortunate that the infection didn’t spread to the heart and/or blood stream. Hearing that I understand why I have felt more tired than normally after the crash and even had to skip a few sessions, not getting the quality I usually would get.

Now the operation to take out the plate is set for 5thof November. It’s not ideal as the clavicle is a very thin bone with poor circulation and slow healing and should have the support of the plate preferably a year – but I hope it will hold.

I can only hope that there will not be other complications. Unfortunately they will cut the muscles off to get to the plate and the 13 screws and after the removal they put them over each other which makes them tight and the neck feels like a to tightly strung violin.

I am trying to see what I will gain or learn from this experience , it will take a while before I can. A long while.

I will catch the next one

 

Do I feel doubt to continuing my quest – yes, have I been thinking about quitting – sure.

Will I be back racing next year – I am planning on it, but first I need to get my health back.

It’s easy to take basic things like health for granted and complain about how your last race was not perfect or the lack of motivation to train when it’s cold and dark outside. Until you are truly down in the hole. Perhaps that is the most important take away. Who knows.

I can assure you that I will appreciate every hour of training that I will get in the future without medicine and broken bone pain – a lot.

 

//Magnus


Keep the sport clean!


Many people who just see Ironman as a thing on the ”bucket list” might not care about if the sport if clean or not and will perhaps never reflect on the fact that testing athletes is very unusual (except among the professionals) but for those of us who have been in the sport for a long time and are ”somewhat more passionate” it is really embarrassing and frustrating that events that are called ”World Championships” don’t even have mandatory testing for the age group winners. 

I have written before about my own experience and disappointment with doping and there are many articles about people getting caught one way or another. The fact is that there is a real issue here but it seams that Ironman Cooperation (WTC) are not really interested in taking the problem seriously. It’s easier to cater for the transient participator who just want a finisher medal and sell Ironman labeled stuff rather than deal with the issue.

One of the long term ambassadors and protectors of the sport – and a legend to many of us – is Belgian Triathlete Rodolphe von Berg. I first met Rodolphe in Hawaii in 1996 and he was already then a legend that had been racing almost since the beginning of the sport in 1978. He usually win his age group then as now and has since then also brought up a family of successful triathlete, his son a top ranked professional and daughter a successful age grouper. 

Yesterday Rodolphe won his age group (again) at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in South Africa, now 60-65 and given our common interest in getting this sport clean I asked him if there was any drug testing of the age groupers – and of course – there was no testing.

Rodolphe has started a great initiative to fight this situation which is a Petition for AgeGroupers who wants Ironman to clean up the sport and AT LEAST test age group winners at world championship events. Please follow the link and sign the Petition – it only takes 30seconds and you don’t have to donate any money if you don’t want to – what is important is that we can show WTC that we want a clean sport and more serious activities than some silly poster to sign at registration.  

Please go in and sign and let’s put some pressure on Ironman to clean up the sport.


Down and Out


Heading down one of the last long descents at Ironman Jönköping 70.3 I was staying low on the aerobars, taking in the last sip of energy that I had in my frame bottle when I hit the pavement, shoulder first at 60km/hr. I have no idea what actually happened and what caused the accident but all of the sudden I was on the pavement in a lot of pain running the normal “crash diagnostics” to evaluate if I would be able to continue, it seemed possible until I got to the shoulder and felt the sharp piece of the clavicle bone, almost penetrating the skin. I realized that it was broken and that I wouldn’t be able to complete the race today. As I like to race fair and follow the rules I always keep 15-20meter to any other cyclist so no-one else was affected by my crash.

 

Leading up the race: After Ironman Lanzarote, my “A race” 2018, I have been taking it a bit easier. Ironman 70.3 Jönköping was going to be a training race to wake the body up and start the build to get in shape for Hawaii in October. I had promised to help Unitedcycling at the Öster Cykel stand and represent Argon18 on Saturday as Martin had to drive down to Germany that afternoon.

It was really a different and fun experience to help stressed out triathletes with last minute hydration systems, spare tires and valve extenders instead of resting and recovering the day before a race. As my bike was on display both Friday and Saturday, I had no chance to go through it other than stick a spare tire and CO cartridge in one of the bottle holders and put on the race number. I was over an hour late to check in and was really lucky that there still was someone in the transition area that could give me the race chip.

 

Race morning & swim: After putting my bike in order, I met up with an old friend that used to race in the 90ties and we had a really nice time until it was time to get in the water. I took it quite easy on the swim and stayed by myself as I like to. Finished the loop in around 28minutes (apparently 6thplace in AG).

 

Photo by Mario Dahlgren

Bike: Long run to the bikes and I felt a bit rusty to get going. Someone had told me that there was a long climb early on and I took it quite easy as I wanted to have a good steady training session above normal pace but not maxing it out today. It is really a beautiful bike course with rolling hills and fantastic crowds along the way. After 30km my whole bottle cage holder fell off from behind the seat post, I was able to turn around and pick it up. I placed it in my other cage holder between the aerobars and rode on. In a downhill at around 50km it fell out again in a bumpy section and flew into the woods. I decided to just leave it this time. Apparently, I gained positions on the bike even if I had some problems and was in the lead of AG 50-54 when I went down.  

Emergency care: It took me approximately 20-30 seconds to realize how bad shape I was in and during this time a couple of spectators ran over the road to help. They took the bike of the street, made sure that I didn’t jump up to quick and called the ambulance. I lost a lot of skin to that road and were bleeding from the road rashes and my left side shoulder and ribs hurt like hell.

Ambulance came and took me to the emergency. They cut up my race suite to be able to brush the gravel out of the wounds and sent me of the x-ray. When the doctor came in after a few hours and said that “we will let you go back to Stockholm tonight” I was both relived and surprised – so many questions, are you not going to operate straight away so I can start the rehab as soon as possible? How will I be able to sit in a car for 4 hours hurting like hell? How will I find someone that can do the operation in Stockholm?

Fortunately, my family was with me on this race and my wife drove us safely back to Stockholm. Everyone was fine emotionally as they (unfortunately) are rather used to see me with the bruises you get in sports.

 

Not feeling my best – stopped at MAX around 20:00. 14 hours after last meal.

In the morning I started to call insurance companies, orthopedic surgeons trying to get a time for operation as soon as possible. It didn’t work at all as the private insurance care givers (the supposedly faster alternative) all are on vacation and closed for surgery during the summer. I had to go back to the emergency room, this time at St Görans hospital and sit in the waiting room for 5,5 hours just to get them to take a new ex-ray and conclude that the diagnosis that they had made in Jönköping was right and that I needed a time for surgery.

Ten days later I had the operation when most of the road rashes were healed, perhaps this is why they prefer to operate the clavicle later in Sweden than in other countries – to avoid open wounds that will increase the risk of infection.

 

In surfing we call those kind of skin deep injuries ”souvenirs” 

And those kind of injuries are called ”trophies”….. 12,5 cm metal plate with 13 bolts.

Now it’s almost a week since the operation, the swelling is going down, I am not allowed to train so that I sweat as it increases the risk of infection and complications in the open wound. Exercise without sweating is difficult when it’s the warmest summer in decades with 28-30C°. I have been taking walks to stay in movement, but I am not feeling good and get extremely tired. The plate feels strange and creates some kind of cramp on the left side of the neck which I really hope is temporary. The Doctor said that 50% who has this operation take out the plate after the bone has healed and I am really hoping that I am one of the ones that can leave it in without and complications. I have phased out the painkillers 3 days post operation, as I want to feel what is going on in my body but occasionally have to take one when it feels like someone are hammering a 15cm nail into my shoulder.

 

Hawaii plan: The plan remains to go to Hawaii but to participate rather than to race for a new PB. I’m however really uncertain if I will be able to recover and get back in shape in the little time that is left. The different parts of the injury will heal in different time; skin in 2 weeks, tissue in 4-5 weeks, bone 6-8 weeks. I have large black and blue hematomas areas (blood from internal bleeding) that are affecting mobility in the knee and hip and I don’t know how fast they will dissolve and if they will affect my running.

Training outline (optimal recovery without complications):

30 – Current week, walks and easy strength training

31 – Allowed to train again (run & bike easy, getting body back in motion)

32 – Build up to 10-12hrs/week (endurance, some “one-arm” swimming)

33 – Build up to 15-20hrs/week (endurance, some “one-arm” swimming)

34 – Big Training Block

35 – Big Training Block

36 – Big Training Block

37 – Allowed to lift left arm over 90° – start swimming again, easy week.

38 – Big Training Block

39 – Big Training Block

40 – Big Training Block, taper later part of the week

41 – Kona race week

 

Reflections: I have received many well wishes and nice words from close and remote friends all over the world when I posted the information about my crash on social medias. For that I am truly thankful. The reason I write this long story about the crash and plan forward is not to get sympathy and encouragement – but to share my view on the situation. It has taken me a lifetime to learn how to deal with the fact that one second you are feeling great and the next you are down and out and don’t know if you ever will be able to do what you love again. If I can share some of my experience it might actually help someone else deal with a situation where everything seems hopeless and dark. It’s really easy to lose motivation, hope and energy. It’s easy to give up. Equally it’s easy to ignore the pain and jump straight back into training – to be “tough” but actually just delay the recovery.

 

Here are my top five recommendations how I deal with crashes (pretty obvious but always good to repeat).

 

  1. Perspective: For most of us Age Groupers it’s really not so important if you make the podium (at least not if you have some perspective on life and realize that being the fastest in your AG in any race is really not going to have any impact on anything or anyone else in the world than your ego). Accepting yourself for who you are not what you accomplish is much better and will also make sure that you are nice to others. If you need to prove yourself it’s perhaps better to see a shrink or get platform shoes or hair implants. 
  2. No regret: It is very unusual (….) that you can change the past and un-do a crash that you have been in. Quickly conclude what went wrong and make a note to yourself how to avoid it in the future and move on. Dwelling over the past and what you should and should not have done is a waste of time and energy.
  3. Accept the statistics: If you ride a lot of bike you will sooner or later be involved in an accident, I used to have one every 1-2 years but since I ride more indoors this is the first crash from when I got back into serious training (3years). If you can’t accept the statistics – go and play golf or some other recreational activity in which you are sure to be protected from any accidents or adrenaline.
  4. Be happy that you are alive: One of the worst crashes I know in triathlon was when the Belgian super talent and pro triathlete Marc Herremans had an accident training in Lanzarote. He fell and hurt his back so bad that he has been in a wheelchair since the accident. But with his amazing attitude he continued to train and race and completed Ironman Hawaii again 3 times using hand-cycle and wheelchair http://marcherremans.com/about-marc-herremans/ If you are alive after a crash – be thankful and happy no matter in how much pain you are in.
  5. Get back on your bike: It’s going to be painful for a while and you will feel really weak and crappy. But this too will pass. Make sure to enjoy every little bit of progress and repeat 1-4 to yourself when it feels shit.

It’s as simple as that!

 

Now I will go and enjoy a 10min ridiculously easy sweat free ride on the trainer followed by a 20min sweat free strength exercises that will make a Kundalini Yoga class look like a Paratroopers boot camp.

Leave a comment if you found this blog useful and good luck with your training!

May the force be with you and keep you away from crashes!

 

//Magmoose