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Maila: marikawr@gmail.com                      Betalning via Swish.

...MER PRYLAR KOMMER...alla möjliga sorters kläder, isskruvar, skidor, skidkläder, våtdräkter m.m Hojta till om det är något särskilt du söker. Med stor sannolikhet har vi det ;)

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World Champs Down Under

One year ago I was in Pantanal, Brazil taking on a big adventure and competition with my team. Hundreds of k’s through the jungle and wetland. It turned out an even bigger adventure than expected with a truly expedition style race over a long and hard course. That we finished in 7 days.

In just a few days, Thursday, the Adventure Race World Championships will start here in Ulladulla. I’m at site in this little town 230k south of Sydney. Australia so far is amazing, but as always not a lot of touristy things have been done. But I really like that part of Adventure Race, you get to see other things and you get a whole other picture of a country. We're prepping for the race in this cute town at the shore, with parrots everywhere and a beautiful bay where the waves break big just at the peninsulas. Soon we’ll head out in the national parks, beautiful woods and mountains and along the big powerful ocean. Exploring, experience and get to know a place through nature is the greatest thing and a big part of my passion for this.

But I’m not here to race. Sure feels a little weird but also exciting. I’ll be back racing but for this one I got the chance to come along and get in on the media coverage adventure. And I’m happy for that. Curios to see the difference between the 100 teams going along the course and hopeful to be able to help giving a great coverage of the race.

The course is 600k’s including running or trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, pack rafting and caving.

There are almost 100 teams starting on November 10th 12:30 local time. (+11h GMT)

The top teams are competitive, experienced and ready to go hard. This will be a tight and thrilling race.

Where to go to get the updates:

AR World Series You Tube                   Where The Adventure Center will be released every night

AR World Series Facebook                  To get the commentary from the Dotwatcher

AR World Series Website                       To follow the GPS tracks of the teams

See you out there!

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To the finish line

When two hours had passed the 3 teams left together for a short run to then transition into mountain biking. The closer we got to the finish the more the tactics were starting to matter. This were going to be a crucial transition, everybody new it and you could really feel the tension as 12 people strived to assemble bikes, change cloths, pack new energy and be ready to take off as fast as possible and faster that the rest. My team got on our bikes and out of the TA first and now it was nothing but full gas to get away. We got a minor gap and fought to keep it, but as the speed was high and my energy low I had a dead hard time to contribute and slowed down the team enough for us to get caught by the others and we were once again a bunch. As this fantastic piece of bike course went on, up and down along great single tracks and gravel roads our rival teams could get a little gap on us in some uphills, but not enough to keep us away once over the top and going downhill. We were fast and technical and lucky or carefull enough not to break anything.

Photo ARWS

Photo ARWS

We stayed close and waited for the opportunity to make a push and get away. All of a sudden it was time and we managed to pass one of the teams and started the chase for the first one. Now the finish line was getting real close (for an adventure race at least) and as we reached next check point we could state that we now were in the lead with only a few hours to go. The k's flew by on the quick course.

Photo ARWS

Photo ARWS

Not long to go. Still in the lead. Now entering a tricky part of the course, uphill, narrow trails and testing navigation. I always underestimate the last part of the race, feeling like we're so close, almost there, we will be home before dark. But at this part we hit some bumps. With strong teamwork, keeping our cool we made our way trough this maze of dried creaks and rocks, now in the dark of the second night coming.

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Oh the relief of seeing the light of the very last check point, but also now it was really time to go, hard. Only 16k left. 16k to catch up the two teams who passed us in the tricky maze. Not knowing how far they were, we gave it all to catch up meanwhile mentally prepping for a sprint. 

To cross the finish line is always in some ways a happy moment. But this time it was a bit mixed. So close, we had the gold in sight. To finish on the podium in this race with this competition for me is a big win and a big honor. This is all thanks to the amazing guys of Team Haglöfs Silva and the very strong and never ever failing team spirit.

Photo ARWS

Photo ARWS

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Racing in north west corner of China

Racing in China is (in my experience so far) hard, oh so hard. But also incredibly beautiful. With spectacular landscape, colors and mighty mountains. Looking nice, but still offers a lot of suffering.

Photo ARWS

Photo ARWS

Adventure Race World Series presented early summer that a brand new race was coming up in October in the north west corner of China, and this was gonna be something truly special, and hard to get a spot. Just days after this exciting news got revealed, I got a call from Mattias in Adventure Team Haglöfs Silva. They were looking for a girl to join their strong team for this race. So happy to join in for X-trail Altay Expedition.

Race started with a short demonstration prologue, nothing counting for the result but a nice warm-up and get to know the area. This also killed the nervousness in a efficient way. Felt ready to go harder next day.

Expected a super speedy start, like we were supposed to run a couple of k's not 300 k's. We got off in the very front of the bunch and felt right away that it wasn't a crazy rush, but don't be fooled the pace was high, and as the elevation started the pace kept high and the heart rate rose. Heat was on no mercy and a bunch of 5-6 teams stayed together, meaning pushing pace both up and down.

Photo ARWS

Photo ARWS

With all these teams gathered coming into the first transition to kayak there was no time to spill, you'll wanna go out with the train of boats to catch a wave and not get left behind. We were first out on the clear blue lake, and a little group of 3 teams formed. But due to a eating stop, some issues of who was gonna be in the front together with hard to steer kayaks and a quite strong downwind we all got separated. We lost a couple of minutes but had the teams insight. As the first night threw the darkness (and cold) upon us we entered the 2:d TA (transition area) and the 2 teams ahead of us were still there and the chase was still tight. 

Photo ARWS

Photo ARWS

Out on yet another running session with elevation to gain. Started straight off uphill, and we kept spotting the teams just in fornt of us and by the first check point we were once again all together. It got clear to us pretty soon that they were gonna stay with us, to get some good navigation through the darkness and mountains. Aaron were solid in front of everybody and the rest of our team tried to stay close and next in line. At the end of this section we were following a narrow trail, all in one line, and it just goes on and on, this part of adventure racing is kind of special. It's a lot of hours spent without anything exciting or particular happening, nothing really changes and during this time it feels so endless but after I can't even remember what I was thinking about all this hours, the memory is so brief, feels like we only spent minutes.

Next up was a STOP (!) Oh yes "the noodle stop", as a part of the race and a connection to the local culture we were gonna stop for 2h to make noodles. "What? 2 HOURS ???!!!" you'll ask, thinking about the 1 minutes instant noodles you made in the afternoon after school as a kid. Well this was a little more, real starting with a dough. But Mattias and Rob took on the task, while me and Aaron hit the sleeping bags for a nap. Our plans were to swap if the noodling were gonna take some time. But pretty soon Mattias and Rob could serve us all some delicious noodles and then also get some sleep or at least resting with closed eyes. As it was humid and cold and a bunch of teams squeezed in together and others coming in the actual sleeping was kind of limited. 

...to be continued...

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Success, fail and what's inbetween

I learned that if it’s not a success, it might not be a fail either”

Ö till Ö coming up was special for us. Big expectations upon our shoulders. Built by our smashing win last year and our incredible high ambitions and set goal for this year. Within this, it's important to keep it real. Keep it fun and not stumble on the feeling that this is something you have to do. And so far for me I was on the success road. I was looking forward to this day, I felt like it was gona be a fantastic day on the course and that it was a day filled with opportunities. Not sh*t I was nervous, but controlled and happy.

Photo: Henrik Kindgren

Photo: Henrik Kindgren

Biggest issue was my left ankle that I sprained really bad just a week before race. With Monday and Tuesday on crutches, it seemed unlikely me being other place than the couch for some time to come. But with some magic I got good enough to give it a try. And actually this took some toughs away from the scary things that otherwise would have ended up in my head. 

One of my favorite moments of the course is the first swim, the big day is setting off, the sun is coming up and the power is filling me. This year we were off with a rough start, fighting for water to swim in with a bunch of other teams. What? Why? Last year you were all off to the far left, go there again, don't go straight. We got a bad feeling. Coming out of the water far behind what we anticipated we put the focus ahead and started chasing. All the way to Nämndö we were up and down battling with a big group of teams with different strengths and super powers. In my head the biggest battle were taking place. Trying to keep focus ahead, but with no goal to fight for. Titel? Podium? Finishing? What was possible from this position? Just keep fighting, knowing that it's a long day and the only way is to keep a high pace going on.

Photo: Henrik Kindgren

Photo: Henrik Kindgren

Going up at (or against maybe?!) the big run at Ornö we had already made contact with the 3d team passing them on land and being overtaken again in the water. We could smell them, almost. Wetsuits pealed down, without a word both me and Staffan knew. We're in it to win it. We could have played it cool and smart, that would have been the thing to do. Secure the 3d. But naaa, we toke a high shot and got speedy. Ornö takes and Ornö gives, reaching water at the south end we were 2d. At this point last year I got filled with the feeling "We got this, control it from here!" But being here in this position is not new to me either, I've been 2d here before too. This two different scenarios makes different kind of impact on the level of smashness you experience after finishing, my legs could tell you a little story about that.

Crossing the finish line of a long race, a race that you prepared for a long time will be emotional in some way. And this was an all in one mix of everything. Deep disappointment, proud of fighting back, happy with the podium, sad for the missed win and lost record. 

Photo Ö till Ö

Photo Ö till Ö

Was this a fail? At Nämndö I was thinking that. But it's not! And we made it become different. But to reach a success it takes more, and I guess it's rare. But hey I learned that if it's not a success, it might not be a fail either. It can be good performance, even great. And solid. And to be clear, I'm happy with what we did and with the podium. The winners where simply to strong this day, impressive performance by Eva and Adriel.

Thanks for the greatest support and believing in us, Head Swimming Nordic and Apollo Sports. Thanks family and friends for all the love and positivity your throwing our way. 

 

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Åre Extreme Challenge

Happy and proud with results, humbled by the strong girls racing with and against me

I thought I'd give you my race in a bunch of great pics, I added just a few words of my day.

How hard can you push it if you need to? I proved to my self once again that I can push it pretty far when the reward is clear and high. 

This is what lactic acid looks like...you just gotta love it.

Photo by Jesper Jeppman Andersson - jeppman.com

Photo by Jesper Jeppman Andersson - jeppman.com

Åre Extreme Challenge was a sweet day for me. Going from Tännforsen down the river a bit slower that expected but only minor troubles and with the best mindset still intact

1000 vertical meters up over the mountain bouncing between feeling strong and feeling like a dishrag then full speed down to Huså.

Crushing hard on my bike on the way back, chasing the girls in front hard, never getting closer but still keeping it up. Trying to get away from hunters from behind even harder. Finishing the last uphill with more than maximum lactic acid but still pushing more.

Happy day, solid performance, happy with my mental game, best support crew I could ever dream of, happy and proud with results, humbled by the strong girls racing with and against me.

Photos by: Jesper Jeppman Andersson, Johan Huczkowski and Staffan Björklund

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My new backyard

From todays running session, that started just outside my door.

It feels like a dream, and it is in a way since it's got a given time. But living here for a couple of months will be a good dream and a sweet life.

What´s your dream?

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China - A fist punch in the face

I went to China with expectations sky high, mostly from myself. But I also came with a mission, I was hired to perform. Well! This China adventure didn't really turn out the way I wanted. 

I could present to you a million excuses, or at least 10 or so. And they should all be true and most likely also played it's part in the outcome of this race. But I won't. Because I feel like if I do, I also tell myself that it was okay, and it's not on me. Instead I'm gonna take the slightly harder way out of this. To actually focus on what I could have done and didn't and learn something from that.

Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

The race was hard. Fast, hot and demanding, with a lot of climbing both in biking sections and in the very long running sections. Kayak sections where few, only two in four days, unfortunately.

Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

First day was a break point already from start. The biking went okay but when we came to a part where we had to carry our bikes, I felt like my body shut down totally. I felt like a dishrag. I could barely move my legs. Recovered a bit on the bike at a fun downhill section. But that drained feeling came storming back at the running section. For every cave we passed I got more and more broken. The caves were a lot more up and down and up, up, up than I imagined. Normally I grow stronger into a race. I feel like when I push my self, I always find a source of power. It might be awfully hard, and involving a decent portion of pain. But there's always power. This time not so much. And this took me to the next problem. Not recognizing myself challenge my mental strength at a new level.

Second day. It could only be better, I could only be stronger. Kayak start, and with confident and determination of pulling of a great day we did a solid performance and got to TA as 4th with a great mindset to head out biking. But more carry bike where ahead, and it hit me even harder. With no excuses, my bike is one of the lightest in the market and I'm not one of the lightest girls in the game, so I should be abel to carry my super light weight carbon bike.

Third day, dust yourself off, pick yourself up, back in the game. This day was a killer. Warmer, more humid and offering a long and hilly running section. The pace in the team was over all a little less intense today and I manage to hold myself at the right side of the line. But strong and powerful...not so much. 

Fourth day. Please just let this be over now, but also somewhere deep down I had the urge of doing a good days work. But no, no magical power arrived during night. Another tough day, just longing for it to be over. I actually had some brief moments in the running section where I felt pretty okay. But it passed.

Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

After long and messy travels home, I first just let disappointment fill me for awhile. For me this was helpful. Not to rusch the part where I had to figure out some good stuff and get back up, because then I also didn't stretch the negative thoughts, it lasted for a couple of days and then I moved on. I now know how I'm gonna handle this situation better next time. How to make more to avoid it and also how to fight it better.

I have a habit of looking into details  in a race, don't actually know why but it was something I picked up from a presentation about working with goals. To find the things you actually did good. In this race I found out that we where second best team at the swimming section and the fastest team at the finishing orienteering. So out of 24h we were kick-ass in 40 minutes. That calls for a big celebration.

And somehow (and this is a bit dorky and cliche, so go ahead and mock me in the comments) a failure and a punch in the face slowed things down a bit. Things have been picking up speed, like an objekt falling free. When it goes well, expectations tend to accelerate to astronomical speed. And in that pace it's hard to see the fist aiming at you face.  

I'm not gonna say that after all I'm just human (hey, we need some kind of boundaries when it comes to cliches). Well I am, well we all are. But in this case I was hired to be a machine. And I know that I can be. So I will be again. But I'm also learned to cut myself some slack. And to stay me, a bit humle and a bit nervous and happy and loving the race, the challenge and getting tired. 

Jag är inte klar på långa vägar för jag sitter på en dröm
med tusen skäl för varför jag ska resa mig igen
har tusen skäl till varför jag ska sträva framåt
och tusen skäl till att visa att jag kan nåt
— Petter, Jag sitter på en dröm
Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

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Season's sneaking up

Since I came from US it's been some intense weeks alternating hard training and work. So time flew. FAST. Now first race is only one week away. 

Baise Outdoor Quest in China starts April 18:th and I have the opportunity to race with a new solid and experienced team. In strong competition we're gonna take on the 4 days of stage racing. A bit different from the non stop racing I did last year in the Adventure Racing World Series. Getting rest and sleep at hotel might seem like luxury but in exchange the pace and output will be much higher each day. So 4 days of racing adds up in a total winner after last day. 

Corse seems decisive, with a lot of vertical climbing both running and biking. We'll see about that biking, there's a risk of hike bike or push bike. Not my favorite but once there I'll carry that bike as far as needed. And then of course kayaking, and I'm stronger than ever so really looking forward to it. In addition there will be some swimming and abseiling as well. All the info is still a bit confusing, but it dosen't really effect me, things will clear eventually. At the latest during the race and then it's just pushing trough what ever happens as usual. The core of Adventure Racing. 

Really looking forward to get into race mood and to get to push some limits. I feel ready and with home work done even though it's kind of a new game. 

Photo Danny Hallmén - Kajakcoachen.se

Photo Danny Hallmén - Kajakcoachen.se

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My commandment of rest and recover

A friend made a wish on her blog about recovery as a rising star on training heaven (Visit Jessica Claren, where you also can read a bunch of other smart peoples words on recovery). I agree on this one. A lot. Both for my self and what I think I see around me and I felt like I wanna be a part of fulfilling that wish. I've been given this a though or two in the past years. I went through the dark side of over training or what might be a more proper way to put it: under resting. Actually I trained a lot, but not as much as I do now, and I didn't train hard, simply because I didn't have the energy to. But I didn't rest and I never recovered. 

I wanna share my commandment of rest and recover. This is my way of getting the highest pay back of the hours I invest. It might not work for you exact the same way, but I wish to inspire you to look into your own recovery, give it a little more gravity in your life and and make it a part of your training. And if you feel like you don't have a clue what your doing or feeling doubtful about the gain just feel free to adopt my commandments straight off. And down the road you'll find out what's your game. 

 

1.  One rest day a week. Always!

2. My rest day is always scheduled!

It's not that day of the week that every thing got messed up and I didn't train for some reason like time, forgetting something, traffic jam or whatever. I believe this is important for my soul and mind. My rest day is associated with relaxing and positivity. Not stress and bad conscious. 

3. It's rest day!

Not easy training day, not going to the gym day, not biking to work day.

4. It's a non stressy day!

I believe my rest day should be restful not only free from training. I do not schedule my rest day on a day that I know's gona be packed. Then I might have a training free day, and the rest day another day.  

5. Always remember magic dubble rest day!

If I feel shitty, if I can't push my self as I know I usually does it's time for some magic. It's time for dubble rest day. 

This way of thinking takes me to the place I wanna be, improving. Do I always follow this? No way. But I try, and I believe in this and it makes me feel confident. This let's me do what I love the most training hard, pushing limits, exploring the stars and the world. 

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