Someone has made a race for me…
That was what was going through my mind when I came to Norway for the first time and was driving the race course just one week before Norseman 2009.
And then I saw the mountain… I couldn’t help blurt out “leck mich am Arsch” – hopefully not too many people speak German here, but my friend Jens Richter quoted this helpless response on www.tri-mag.de after my first view of the Norseman finish line.
I got over that initial shock quickly and the pre-race week was full of happy hours. Then came race day. I was able to finish with a win – one of my best performances and my best experience in racing. So, of course, I returned in 2010, and even if I felt a little tired during the race I was able to take the crown again and also to set a new course record. That means a lot to me, for sure.
Compared with 2009 there was not much time to rest after that exhausting race as I was already signed up for a second iron distance – Challenge Copenhagen – just one week later. It was quite tough to concentrate and to force my muscles to perform again, and especially difficult when my knee began to hurt and swell after 150 kilometres on the bike. It was quite painful to get to the end of that race but I managed to finish ninth overall in 10:31 hours. That result was ok considering I was racing only one week after Norseman, but I would have liked to have known what was possible without a swollen knee and joint pain. Anyway, the main goal for the year was to defend my title at Norseman and to set a new record. I achieved both, so I finished my 2010 season very happy.
Then a long break. Every year I take nearly three months off from sport. Tomorrow we´re off for some days in the snow, but mostly it’s just about recovery – attending to my company and recuperating for the next season. After returning from the mountains, I will go back on to the track and start with some short runs, then some nice outings in the snow and some more less than nice swim sessions with the regional club.
After losing so much time in the swim at last year’s event I decided I have to go back to do some swimming training again. Last year, I did not care at all about my swimming so it is time to do something about that. My personal best for 3.8 kilometres is 58 minutes. However, last year I reached Eidfjord in 1:08 hours, so there is a reason to get back to some serious training. My swimming coach is my company partner Matthias Fritsch – luckily for me he is a very talented swimmer.
I love to run and I love to bike even more – especially on my mountain bike, away from the streets. But normally, I don´t really like to swim. I have thought about this quite a lot recently as I have actually enjoyed my first two weekly swimming training sessions. Ok, the first time I arrived an hour late, but the second session I was nearly on time in the water and I swam the whole programme without feeling tired, bored or whatever other reason I often feel to want to get out of the pool earlier than the rest. So it feels good that finally the swim is a little fun, not too bad for my planned schedule for 2011.
Next year will be different, but very exciting. I will start the new season in May with XTERRA Italy in Sardinia because I want to race more cross triathlons in the future. I’ll then do XTERRA Austria in June before making my way back to Norway and Eidfjord in August to race Norseman Xtreme for a third time.
There are good reasons for not doing too much before my main goal – I need to save my energy and focus completely on Norseman to perform in a good way. But afterwards, it gets a little busier. Two weeks after Norseman, I will race XTERRA Germany and another three weeks later XTERRA Switzerland. A further week after that I’ll take on my second seasonal highlight for the iron distance at Henley in the UK. I’m really looking forward to that race and very happy that the challenge series is expanding more and more and now finally includes a race in the UK, where I’ve been successful twice before, with a third and a fourth place at IM UK.
That should be it then – because I don’t think it’s possible to qualify in the elite field at XTERRA for the world championships in the first year… but I need goals for next year.
Here you will be able to follow my way to Norseman 2011. You will read the story about my own training and hopefully get some helpful advice about other subjects, such as nutrition or race tactics etc.
My first one: Train smart. That means do not just care about exercises, but also about recovery! And race hard. That means don´t blow out all your energy in training – save it for the race!