Last Hard Week

One of the challenges with the race season is that it is very hard to know what will happen 6-9months before it starts. You might get sick, your bike might get crushed by the airline, you might get hit by a car, etc, etc. My season was somewhat planned out with Trapaniman (1/2) in April to check the form, IM Lanzarote in May to get back on a hard course and then finish with Laponia IM distance in the north of Sweden in July. This did not work out. Except for Trapaniman I have not raced at all this season – that’s life.

On the way back to Sweden from Italy and Trapaniman my bike got crushed by Norwegian Airlines and more or less straight after that I got The Man Cold. I had to do some serious adjustments to my plans. 

Instead of racing in May and June I had to focus on trying to get back in shape and build up for an ironman distance race later in the season. I ended up only having two weekends where I could race a full distance, one in July and one in August. So the choices ended up being between Ironman Maastricht or a small local Slovakian race called “Slovakman 226” that I found on

If you have read any of my earlier blog’s, I am sure that you can guess which one I am going with.

Small races mean no crowds – small crowds mean no drafting. Quite simple mathematics. Also, I prefer paying money to local clubs and passionate organizers. Sixth of August I will finally race again in “Slovakman 226”.

This past week has been the last hard week before the race and for all of you whom have done multiple Ironman’s, you know what’s it like – It’s the weeks when the training load is so high that you feel like you are on the point of breakdown. It’s also the week when you can’t help but to question yourself if this is really healthy, not to mention – “is it worth it”.

Doing 500km/week in aero position at 50 is quite interesting. Hearing guys who have not even turned 40 talking about how difficulty recovery is “when you are older” just makes me smile and think about what they will say at 50. Hell, Mark Allen won Hawaii at 37 and set the run record that still stands today.  

For the next eight days leading up to the race I know how it will be – been there many times before and have to remind myself what it’s like; fatigue, heavy legs and body, feeling swollen, constant hunger that I have to resist to feed as I’m not burning the 4-5,000kcal/day that I have for the past 4-6 weeks. Possibly a feeling of power and speed 2-3 days before race day when the body is getting close to completely recovered. Or no feeling of power – at all. Worry that I have trained to much, too hard, too little or too slow. Concern that I will have problems with injuries that inevitably surfaces now – in the final weeks before the race. Doubts, fear of failure, fear of the physical pain, concern of my ability to go a little harder than what is really possible for the full distance – instead of playing it safe.  

Those are thoughts that I think most of us go through and it’s all part of the race experience. Deep down, I am happy to be able to be in this situation again and look forward to the challenging day as well as the days leading up to it.

With regards to splits, watts, and finishing place – I don’t know.

On the evening of the 6th I will know.

My goal is to go as fast as I can for the whole duration, remain focused and in a positive flow and that typically leads to as good results as one are able to achieve. The reward is when you can look yourself in the mirror after the race and know that you did your absolut best, you raced honest and clean and you looked the devil deep in the eyes and came out alive.

Good luck to everyone else who’s about to race! Go Hard, Go Deep and Be Happy!

// Der Böse Schwede 

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Cars are hard but some triathletes are HARDER

Shit happens. It happens to all of us – sooner or later. The way we deal with it is what defines us. We all have a choice to either ventilate your misfortune in social medias and play victims or just shut up and use the misfortune as an opportunity to build even stronger character.

A few weeks ago a friend from SPIF was hit by a car on one of his final rides getting ready for the Swedish Championships in Vansbro. I called him up as soon as I heard about the accident to cheer him on and to let him know that anyone who spends substantial time on the bike will eventually get into accidents – it’s just statistics.

He was very disappointed with the situation and the fact that he would not be able to race in Vansbro. but he has the right spirit – brushed himself off and got back up again.

It’s strange that accidents always seem to happens right around 10 days before the race – when you are doing your final hard sessions and your legs are jumpy. I have crashed at least 3 times around 10 days before an Ironman race and have even had stiches removed from my neck on race morning in Kalmar 1994.

Kristian is a dedicated, humble and very talented young man and it only took days until he was out running again – with his arm in a cast! He adjusted his plans and got on with it. I am sure that he will have a killer Ironman race this year – a little later than the planned Kalmar, but most likely with even better results. I hope that he will make it to Kona 2017. 

Go Hard Kristian!

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The ManCold

God created man and woman equal with regards to resistance to suffering and pain. Women received the gift of a high pain threshold to be able to handle the (for a man) unimaginable pain at child birth, men got the almost supernatural ability – to surviving one of the most horrific illnesses known to mankind – The ManCold. A deadly synndrome that no woman can comprehend.

Sometimes The ManCold is scrutinized by women and belittled and called a ”normal” cold. That is not nice.

It has been many years since I last had a ManCold, maybe 15years or more – I have been so fortunate, but now the deadly sickness almost took my life. In fact I am still unsure if I made it.

To celebrate my 50th birthday I didn’t want to have a big party and speeches and junk, most of my really close frineds would not be able to make it to Sweden anyway. We decided to spend it family only – and have plenty of possibility to (swim/bike/run). So we took a quick trip down to Mallorca and arrived in perfect time to perfect weather.

We landed on Saturday and I managed to get a quickie out to Formeltor. On Sunday I felt odd so instead of doing 120km in the hills I did 90km flat. Monday was my birthday and that has always to be done in style (but I promised my family not to do more than 4,5hrs so I cut it short), 3,500m OW swim, 90km Hard&Hilly repeats followed by a 7km fast brick run. Felt perfect – mentally – but physically something was not right.

Tuesday I was going for the mountains again – but had sore lungs, coughing and heavy head. Did 120klm flat instead and came back. That night it hit and it hit hard. Rest of the trip I had fever, coughing my lungs out and was stuck in the hotel room. Flew back on Saturday, still sick as a dog. Monday no better, Tuesday I finally went to a doctor. The doctor just shook her head when she received the X-rays and test-results back. “So you have been training with this infection in your system?.  Antibiotics next and 10 days later (after two full weeks completely knocked out) I manage to do my first easy 30 min jog on Bambi legs.

”Who the hell are you?”

”I am the Death”

”Ah, that explains the darkness”


So what can we learn from this? The obvious is “Don’t train when you are sick!” which is as effective to say to a passionate triathlete in Mallorca as to say to an alcoholic “Don’t drink” when he is in an open bar and thirsty like a destert dog.

I think we need to be a little more flexible here.

What I have learned (and obviously didn’t practice on myself this time) is following general advice that I got from coaches and doctors over the years: 

  1. “Bellow the neck” – when you feel a cold coming on above the neck you can often continue with easy training (if not fever etc). If you feel a cold coming on that is affecting your chest and respiratory system rest a few days. If you neglect this and still train when you have a real ManCold – it is very likely that it will hit you really hard. 
  2. If you just have runny nose and sore throat – it can be allergy rather than a cold (depending on time of the year of course). My wife reminded me about this for the first 15 years of our marriage, when I was saying that I was getting a cold in May – every May. Symptoms are almost identical.
  3. Ease back into it – give yourself a week to build back into your program if you have been out for two weeks with antibiotics. If you are only out for 3-5 days and feel you can jump straight back into hard training – you probably just needed a break and some downtime and were not really sick. 
  4. When in doubt – see a Medical Doctor.

NOTE1: All above is based on my own experience only and has not been verified in any study that I know of. However, I know that there is significant funding and on-going research on The ManCold and it is likely to become listed by WHO as one of the most dangerous illnesses know to man, alongside with Ebola.     

NOTE2: Obviously the comparison of pain and suffering between giving birth and The ManCold is a joke. Women get epidural and “laughing gas” but when you get The ManCold you are lucky to get an aspirin, a pat on the head by your wife and you are on you own.

// ManCold Surviver 

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The Big FiveO – Progress update

I set out to become faster at 50 than 30 around two years ago. Now I feel an obligation to report back on status. Last week was the Big Day and I have now officially passed over to the “death half of life”, as one of my friends encouragingly describes the transition from 49 to 50. 

When I saw one of the photos from Trapaniman a few weeks ago (rigth) I saw some similarities to a pix from Ironman Lanzarote 1997 (left). 

To structure the update into something that makes sense and minimizes the risk of incoherent, unwrought nonsense – I have tried to summarize my findings below.

Swim: As a birthday present to myself I started the day with a 3,450meter open water swim in Alcudia bay. Freestyle, some back and not really pushing – did it in around 55 min with some of the 100rds in 1;15 pace. Ok, I was using my ORCA Predator wetsuit which basically is so fast it’s like swimming with a outboard motor attached to your rear. Anyway, swimming it seems, I’m as fast now (or as slow – depending on your point of reference) as I was 20 years ago. If I train swimming 2-3 days a week I can do 55min IM swim. If I train 4-5 days probably around 50min again.   

Bike: Never trained or raced with power meters and all the tools that we have today so it’s hard to compare current values to past values other than race times and distance. I’m tracking somewhere around 4,500km year to date, much less that I’d like, but outdoor season just started so I will catch up. As I do much more high intensity indoors now than before – total kilometers will be less.   

Trapaniman half IM bike landed at a 2;35 bike split doesn’t say much as it was a mad 4 x through downtown with the worst road conditions imaginable on open roads, but as it’s all I got, so perhaps 5:00-5:20 on the IM distance? Should gain a few minutes if I put on a pair of race-wheels, instead of trainer-wheels, in the next race.

Run: Feels good and have been putting in decent km’s this year around 850km year to date. As I have built a solid base over the past two years, there has been no injuries even after shifting over to more high intensity training this spring. Never focused much on splits and zones in the past so very little to compare with, but my first ever 5km run test landed around 18:30 and my 1km repeats are in the 3:20-3:30 range.

Trapaniman half IM run landed at 1;34 which I think is ok for an old-non-tapered-man. Don’t know, but that could probably put me at around a 3;15-3;30 IM marathon? Who knows – ”anything is possible” – I might slip on a banana peel or have the run of my life. 

Revised target: 9:12 is my PB from 1996 in Roth. 9:30 seems possible, 9;15 not unachievable so my target for the season is 8;59 – why not?

As I recently chose to be coached by – I’m not as sure about what times I can expect in races. We have changed a lot in my program and so far I am really pleasantly surprised of how quick I have made huge improvements.      

Race venue and time of year – To Be Done. Most likely not Laponia as planned due to the ”airline negligence broke my bike situation”. Maybe Mastricht, Vischy, Podersdorf or Almere.  

Other reflections: The best thing and the real bonus is that my happiness is not depending on if I make <9hrs or not, my life would not change if I did. I would not make more money so I could buy things I don’t want or need. My self-perception would not change. My kids would not love me more. My wife couldn’t care less if I did 8;45 or 14;45 (just be pissed-off too have to wait). In fact, it might be hard to imagine, but the world as we know it would actually remain pretty much unchanged independently of what finishing times I do (or anyone else for that matter).      

In the process of this little project I have found my way to real joy and peace-of-mind though training and racing again. I have come to realize more and more that my first well-defined (traditional) goals in hours and minutes have matured into goals of how I like to feel and live for the rest of my life.


Conclusion: We are all different and chose different paths in life – and it’s all good!

Some work to be able to live.

Some live to work with a purpose and something that makes a differance.

Some don’t even think about why they do what… 

Some train to….

…. race and make money

…..look fit and flex their muscles  

…. race to beat others

…. race to beat themselves(up)

…..race so they can justify all the fun training 

I’m sure there are hundreds of combinations, for me the last example works best with regards to training …race so I can justify all the fun training. 

There is no contradiction between fun and results, rather the opposite, I train harder and more disciplined than most I’ve ever met and I race like if the devil is chasing me – because I love it. I don’t check the watch for time anymore when I race. I only look at it for information on heartrate and speed, to make sure I’m in the right zone (and don’t blow-up). But I dissconnect my results from my emotions and don’t beat myself up.

Perhaps I will not be faster at 50 than at 30 – perhaps I will. Independent of which; the journey has physically and mentaly brought me back to a happier self that I thought I lost, I really apprechiate that and finishing times are now just numbers!    

I realize that this became a long post and appreciate you taking the time to read it. Hope that it gave you something to think about and/or laugh at and perhaps even be inspired by.


In a few years I will compare photos of my old self again – hopefully it will take another 20 years before I run as the older version of my ”potential future self” (right). But it really dosn’t matter – as long as I am having fun!

I bid you farewell and wish you a happy and safe training and racing!

// Juan Pelota

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Nutrition – Sport Drink Test

20 years ago I was asked by the Magazine Café to do energy drink test. I forced myself to drink 8 different kinds of sports drinks during training. Some of them where really difficult to get down and even more challanging to KEEP down without an explosive ”return”.

It’s good for mankind that some of those energy drinks are gone…. 

After the test I stayed away from sports drinks for quite a few years. Just the thought of the sticky, acid fluid made me nauseous. I don’t know how many races I have had stomach problems in, if it’s due to acid sports drinks or not, I don’t know, but one thing is sure – when you are racing at 85-90% of your max, it’s more difficult to keep energy and electrolyte levels in balance and you need something more than water.     

As I have committed to try new things to improve performance (at my senior age) I have decided to give energy drinks another chance. In races in Belgium and Germany they used Isostar when I was racing in the nineties and I remember that it worked ok, so I contacted them and got my hands on some samples to try out in training and racing.

For the past months I have been experimenting with the product range and have found what works and noticed following benefits: 

  1. Increased ability to maintain high heart-rate at the end of long sessions (> 3-4hrs)
  2. Reduced recovery time – less fatigue and better ability to reload for afternoon/evening session.
  3. Ability to train and race without solid foods (bars).

The Isostar product range is very large but for my specific purpose and need, I have narrowed my consumption and this article down to what I find useful.

Bellow is a short overview of what and why:


Energy tabs that dissolves in water. A lot of electrolytes but not so much carbohydrates – good for up to 90min high intensity workouts or before a race to top up the electrolytes in your system.


Hydrate & Perform:

Powder that you mix with water. Provides electrolytes and carbohydrates – good for the 60-120 min sessions. They have a version for sensitive stomachs with neutral taste, I have been using the normal lemon or orange and even if I have a sensitive stomach I have had no problems with that.


Long Distance Energy:

Powder that you mix with water. Provides mainly carbohydrates – good for the over 90 min sessions. Can be mixed really strong without sticky taste, which is really strange as this contains the most carbohydrates it should be the one that is the most sticky – but it’s rather the other way around – this one tastes like water even when mixed strong! (up to 79g of carbohydrates per 500 ml water). 


High Energy Actifood (energy gel):

90g of gel with essential vitamins. Tastes like baby food fruit, which is really quite all right compared to the traditional gels (read GLUE) that you get on most races.

Larger container that is easier to open and close than the GLUE version you bite off (and find that you either bit off too much – you get the content on your body rather than in your mouth or too little – end up trying again and end up with the content in your face, hand or on your chest…..    


High Energy Fruit Boost:

Small sweets (like gummy bears) but with vitamins and caffeine – easy to eat on the bike leg as long as you have unwrapped them before the race.

Energy Shot:

Perfect to have in the transition area after the bike and take when you start the run. 6cl of vitamins carbohydrates, caffeine, ginseng and guarana.   

Reload – After Sport:

Good recovery drink direct after hard sessions. Contains carbohydrates as well as protein (20%). I use this if I have done a hard morning session and also have an afternoon session that I need to get ready for.

High Protein 90:

Protein powder with slower absorption for the night after a long hard day….

Another positive aspect is that you can now get Isostar at Apotea at really good prices and don’t have to run around looking for it.

I am sure that there are many other good products on the market that have also evolved since my 1996 horror experience but I am surprised that some of the brands still manufacture energy drinks that can strip paint off your bike, bars that can’t be opened with one hand (or eaten with a heart-rate over 135bpm) and work like fast drying cement between your teeth.

Hope that this can article can help you to create your own training and racing nutrition plan so you can reach your best performance and have great racing experiance.    

Safe training!

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Trapaniman 113 – Urban Adventure Racing

First race of the season is completed and it was a fantastic experience – quite different to what you would consider a well-organized race, rather a magical experience to survive and tell stories about.

Trapaniman113 half ironman was arranged for the 5th year. Since the start it has been moved from Trapani to the north west peninsula of Sicily and the town San Vito Lo Capo. A dream beach resort with cristal clear water and a beautiful beach. 

Pietro – the organizer – looking out over the race start beach.

Training leading up to the race:

I had signed up for the race already in January as a few of my friends at SPIF had heard about it and had booked travel and accommodation. My training had kind of stagnated after Christmas even if I was putting in between 15-20 hours per week.

My good friend and former coach Jean Moureau has retired from coaching and as our club SPIF have signed a partnership agreement with Uperfrom I thought – ”It’s time to try something new!” and did what every coach hates, told them that I was racing in a few weeks and that they need to get me in shape and get me fast – in a hurry.

The program I received from Teresa was quite low in volume compared to my normal weeks but when I started to read the intervals (and they were many) I realized that this is either going to kill me or make me fast.

Basically I only had one week of testing and a couple of training weeks leading up to the race and I was very unsure how it would turn out given the fact that I was still doing really hard intervals just 3 days before the race.

Pre-race meeting:

As you would expect the pre-race was all in Italian. When they realized that there were a few international athletes in the audience, they quickly made an adjustment to the program, found someone in the restaurant where the pre-race meeting was held that could speak English and carried on. Unfortunately the Pizza Chef that spoke English had no experience of triathlons – but did his best and translated the most important information.

Fortunately there was a really nice Dutch guy who helped us get the main points, I later realized that it was Chris Brands a professional triathlete who later finished third overall in the race.   

Race day:

The wind was really hard and half the transition area almost flew off the beach.

Gun went off 30-40min later than scheduled and we were all happy for that as most of us where freezing really bad after the long wait. I kept to myself on the left in the field for the full lap and did not have too much problems and got out of the water in top 10.

Great to swim in cristal clear water

Bike was quite hilly course with heavy wind and many parts of bad asphalt and the occasional dogs running out and chasing you to make sure that you did not go slow…. 

Total chaos with cars everywhere as the roads where open and slow bikers doing the sprint at the same time as the half. Not too bad as it were not so many participants (200-300).

Run was through town, along the beach walk that was not closed and full of people walking their dogs, kids and eating ice-cream – completely surprised every time one of those crazy people in superman suite ran passed and jumped over their dog. After the first 1,5 km on the run we got out of town and had a turning point at the lighthouse.

Wind basically blew out the transition area 

The water, gels, and bars that we were supposed to get twice on the bike loop and run loop – well, logistics is not really the thing in Italy. At least we got water every loop.

I was really happy that I had decided to carry my own energy and didn’t have problem with dehydration. During the past 3 months I have been trying out Isostar products as I often have stomach problems in races and this was the first time that I could race only on liquids (sports drink and gels) and no bars and feel 100% the whole way.


”Small esspresso to go please” 

No drop in energy or heart rate and no pain in stomach. I used their Powertabs the day before the race to load up on electrolytes and the Long Distance Energy drink in the strongest mix – which gives you 79g of carbohydrates in 500ml.

This race was more of a test race and I didn’t pay attention to my overall place or time so I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I won my age group (50-55 this year) and that I placed 13th overall with a time of around 4:32. With some more training and a proper taper the goal to get down to a low 9 hr Ironman might be achievable.   

Really surprised that there were so many current and former professional triathletes in start field even if there was no pro-class or price money.  In many ways the relaxed atmosphere is the beauty of this event and this is what brought many of the international athletes and pros to the race. Everyone I spoke to said that they loved the event for it’s family feeling, crazy organization and complete absence of corporate greed and profit focus. 

Pietro arranges this race because he loves triathlons, I say – Bellisimo, Bravo!


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