Season is 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 myself and what I believe I see around me. I felt like I wanna be a part of fulfilling that wish. I've been given this a thought 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 can, than 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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Leaving sad, arriving happy

Had to leave beautiful, playful Telluride and head back to Stockholm. Why? It was time. Season is getting closer and training needs to be refocused. And a lot of hard but exciting work has to be done. It was truly sad to leave. Felt far from done in Telluride. So much to explore, so many playgrounds to enjoy. But will one ever be done at that place? Don't think so, I'll be back for sure.

Stockholm greeted me in best way possible, spring in the air and sunshine. Made me feel better and I also forgot about that it's not the normal set up around here. Allready psyched to start setting things straight and plan ahead this made my actually happy to be "home" or back or whatever...here!

 So besides training I'm currently spending a bunch of time at the computer and meeting great people. Very different from spending all my time outside exploring and playing. But it's clearly a different kind of fun. And also part of the base that gives me the opportunity to this sweet life. 

 Photo Mike Thurk

Photo Mike Thurk


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Winter life

As an adventure racer you don't really get an off season followed with some back to basics training before entering the grand competing season. In one way every adventure race holds it’s own season. You’ll have to prepare and train specific for every race and after there’s time, and need, for recovery and maybe (likely) called for some building up the body.

However a new year comes with a new race calendar. And that gives a bit of a mental reset. I took the opportunity to use this short break in best way possible by spending the winter at high altitude in Telluride, Colorado.

¨I’ll surely benefit a bunch from messing with training routines and mind while also soaking in energy from the mountains, the snow and the sunlight.

I’m spending the days mostly ski touring and ice climbing. The ski touring gives me big days out, with a lot of hard work but not really an effort. Why not? Cause it’s just so awesome to be out in the snowy mountains. The ice climbing is the real mess up thing. It’s new and it’s challenging. Training some mental skills and I believe that learning new things, new movements, new skills is benefitting also in other disciplines.  

And plans then, what’s on for 2016? It’s not all set yet. It’s for sure going to be an other exciting year as an adventure racer. I’ll get to focus on training and competing thanks to my employer who believes in me and let me have time off for this purpose.

I do like the planning season of the year. You get to dream big and you get to feel like anything is possible, you can win anything, accomplish all you want and it’s still time to work hard for your goals. And the hard working part is already on of course.

 Photo: Mike Thurk

Photo: Mike Thurk

Thanks for following me, for daily updates go to instagram @idamarika

Love

 

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The Adventures of Pantanal

The Adventure Racing World Championships took place in the Brazilian region Pantanal. It was hot, it was long, it was hard and it was completely wonderful. The best of Adventures!

I don't think I'm gonna be able to explain what went down in Pantanal. How ever I'll give it a try. And you may then send me all of your questions that remains and I'll put them together as a follow up post here. Post questions here, on Facebook or throw me an email. This will be fun!

Pantanal is a wildlife paradise, so beautiful and unique. It's green with colorful birds and endless rivers running through. And far away mountains hidden in haze. 

With this picture we started the grand race. A paddle start, witch always feels very safe for me. Up until now we had the best of preps, everything went just our way with traveling, gears and so on. But not far into the race we got our first hitch. One of our kayaks sank. Crazy but true. Probably affected by the swelter, it just like Titanic got filled with water and left us at the very very end of the field. With a new kayak and a eagerness to get back to the top we did a heroic paddle leg and transitioned to the first trekking in 7th place. The moral was truly high at this point and we kept passing teams.

In this long races moral is everything, at least from my point of view. As long as you can hold the moral and spirit of the team high, despite holdbacks of any kind, you'll also keep the speed up. What's truly hard on the motivation is stages that seems endless. And we got a lot of that.

Every stage turned out way longer than predicted and challenged us in so many ways. In the dawn of the second day we headed out on a pack rafting stage. Pack raft is an inflatable boat that you can paddle or pack away and carry. At this stage, after hours of paddling, when we started to make our way up a steep hill through dense jungle, the heat started to really hit us. At late afternoon, at a leeward mountainside we found ourselves trying to hide away from the sun under some small bushes, desperately whisking a leaf for some breezing. (Yeah, no it didn't help) 

Prior to start it was all about the oppressive heat, how would we coop? We wouldn't! All teams had problems and suffered from time to time of heatstrokes.

The stages coming up wouldn't give us a break, not from the heat and not from the feeling that this race would go on forever and ever and ever and ever...

Two grand trekking sessions, first one in the mountains, with rough ground and no water at all and second one with crazy navigation and so much water the feet threw in the towel (not really a suitable expression here). Both of them more than dubble the predicted time. But we kept pushing, sticking to our plan and staying as fresh as possible. Knowing even more demanding stages were ahead of us. But this is were it all got messy.

Arriving at transition 6, happy to finally be there. Happy to get some new clothes and fill up with food, but also determined to head out and fight the next stage. The one stage that was gonna be the absolutely most challenging and most spectacular and we were confident. But the course was closed!

To be honest the first reaction was relief. But then an undefined feeling of emptiness, like someone tried to fool us. A lot of teams at the transition area. Some got disappointed, some got upset, some got really upset, the teams out there that automatically got into top 5 got really really happy I guess, and some other also got happy for sure. But whatever you would think of it, we all got transfered with small airplanes to another transition to mount or bikes and head to the finish line. So close now, but also so long to go.

At both the transition areas we were told by staff that we now had only 150k's to go. Oh sweet lord we're home! As the sun rised and we were biking and hiking trough the desert I took my head lamp of threw it deep down in the backpack and shouted to the team "Last day guys! We'll have dinner and a bed tonight!" I was going to eat these words later! But for now I was happily unknowing. Staffan on the other hand, looking at the maps, was fully aware but kind enough to keep quiet.

It's hard to believe but after 7 days and 1 hour we crossed the finish line, paddling a native canoe under the arch and closing the bigest adventure of adventure racing history. It feels so great to have been a part of this one of a kind race.

I'm so proud of my performance, I delivered to my own high expectations. I contributed to the team. I made some big efforts. I'd leveled up since last time and I'm clear about what I need to do to keep making progress. And I will, cause Adventure Racing is just so much fun. 

I went to Brasil with golden dreams but also humbled by the big adventure awaiting us and the great athlets going up agains us. Pantanal gave us an even bigger adventure than we could ever have imagined and since I know what it took to get trough it I only wanna applaud the nine teams ahead of us. But hey, don't get comfy we're coming for you!

The biggest hand to all of you who followed, or tried to. I'm so amazed and moved by your patience and dedication it took to even understand a little of what we were up to. I've understand that it was true madness, and despite a lot of frustration you kept staring at our dot, sometimes not even moving at all, and sometimes flying cross the map. Thank you so much, means the world to me.

Don't forget to send me your questions.

With love! 

Marika

Photos Ale Socci - Green Pixel

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Going for double

 Photo: Jonatan Fernström

Photo: Jonatan Fernström

Now the start of the world championship is in only one day. And we're ready, I'm ready. I've worked hard this last year to get here and now I'll get out on this remote course and work even harder with my team and for my team. What we're about to take on, is a true adventure. The terrain is harsh, the heat is brutal and the wildlife is rich.

We arrived in Brasil Wednesday after a long but smooth travel all the way. We've been spending some days here in Pantanal getting the gear logistics ready and adapting to the heat. Also got out to get a feeling of what Pantanal has to offer.

You can follow us (our little GPS dot) and cheer us day and night in this 5 days non stop race. We’ll be kayaking, trekking, trekking and biking our way true the 700k challenging course. As long as we're on the course and moving, the race is on. This is gonna be a tough one for all teams. Key is to stay together as a team and keep the fighting spirit high.

Look into the team website
www.teampeakperformance.se

And the official website with GPS-spotting
www.arwcpantanal.com

Lets go for our second World Championship gold!

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Becoming Swimrun World Champions

To win the Ö till Ö - Swimrun World Championship was a happy and proud moment. An achievement we worked so hard for, during the race but also for a long time ahead. The gold and the title we so dearly wanted, a course record we believed in, a crazy time of 8h55min and a fifth place over all only 16 minutes to the mens podium, this wasn't even in my dreams. 

We wanted only one thing and went for nothing but gold, we did all we had to do, all we could do and got down to all the details. 

It started with a strong will and motivation. And a healthy portion of pressure. We've both got previous high results but were longing for the highest position on the podium. And a lot of people believed in us with expectations sky high. 

We trained hard with focus on or individual weaknesses and together to be able to pull of a real team effort.

We went up and down the corse, over and over again. Knowing every tree, root and stone and all the in and outs we could put all focus on going forward smoothly and steady.

We made a plan, and stayed on it even though we had a little gap to close after the first swim, even though we were chased hard and teams got a glimt of or backs. Our pace, our race.

 Photo: Per Hertz

Photo: Per Hertz

Our gear set up was perfect for us and well tested, by us. All simple but smart. Salomon shoes we trusted, but NO we did not have suctions cups, as another competitor actually asked when we passed their team over some slippery rocks. Camaro black tech suits, thin and smooth, with no flotation panels or thicker layers. Fastest paddles there is, carbon of course (who doesn't want carbon), Swim Wins. And the custom homemade juice missiles, hugest thanks and appreciations to Jespers wretched family who hade to drink a lot (A LOT) of apple juice. 

Our best piece to the puzzle was our fantastic friends and family who got out in boats and on bikes just to cheer us. You lifted us to an extra performance through out the whole course. All the way form the early, cold and excited start at Sandhamn, over gnarly islands and in wavy waters to the the finish line on beautiful Utö. 

We made OUR flawless race, we made it OUR way, and we got all we wanted and more. 

 Photo: Magnus Jensen

Photo: Magnus Jensen



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All about summer

Summer has been long but passing very quick in a weird way.

The team went to Swaziland for a world series race, but I stayed home this time since we're two girls at the team. 

But competing and trying new things is some kind of addiction to me and there was plenty to do at home. 

Started of with a local road race for fun, my road bike haven't seen the road that many times this year. Great hard race where I tried to break way too many times. Finished with a sprint anyway. 

 

With just 36h notice I decided to attend Race for Heroes, a solo race in the Swedish Adventure Racing series. My first solo race. Got everything together with a lot of help by my nicest adventure racing friends. I went there to try solo racing and learn for up coming Åre Extreme Challange. And sure it got educational. Wasn't really my race day, but I got what I came for. 

The kayak section seemed pretty easy, calm sea and a big staring field (someone will probably go about my speed). But it got ugly! 

Started off with accidently puting my foot brace lose and had to paddle without any help from my legs. Despite the big starting field I ended up alone, worked my as off to catch a group in front. Almost there I hit a rock, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA? WTF! Had a little swim, got back up to find out the rudder was broken. This didn't exactly make me any faster. Then time for the portage. As I was so well prepered I had of course trained alot, oh no wait. I didn't even try it before (if we don't consider carrying the kayak to the starting line). And to go easy on my self, I'll say I was not a natural. But hey I didn't break anything additional. 

Okay with the critical part done, the luck was to turn? Noooo! I then broke my bike seat and had to stand or sit very wrong the whole section, stopped to fix it but it just slipped back to the wrong position. Then some running, what could possible go wrong? I managed to get really lost at the clearly marked course and ended up at a market-place. Somehow I eventually found my way back and across the finish. Super exciting day. Learned a lot. 

 

A couple of weeks later it was time for super prestigious solo race Åre Extreme Challenge. I trained. A lot! Bought a brand new kakay of my own. I let Specialized Concept Store fix my bike. I learned to carry my kayak running like a pro. And also to get in and out quick. And I tried the whole course. Twice. This time I would call myself well prepared. And surprisingly I also had good luck the day of the race.

I raced hard, but tried to also be smart. Kayak as hard as possible, started running hard, fokus on not freaking out, then a efficiently steady climb over Åre Skutan. Full speed down, as fast and hard as I could. Finally all out at the bike. A great day with a 6th place after some super girls made me really proud and happy. I'll be back and I'll be better. 

 

By now I unfortunately had to say goodbye to my pro life (for a while) and get back to work. The summer was on, even though no one with their mind straight would have agreed.

Summer has been all about working at the fire service, swimrunning and training real hard. It's been crazy weeks but now I find myself sitting in the grass, enjoying the warmth, the sun and a great view. Both me and my team mate Staffan is stronger than ever and eager to set off in Ö till Ö, the swimrun world championship. We're here, we're ready to have some great fun. What ever the 7th of september brings, I'll be at one of my favourite places, with one of my favorite persons doing my favourite thing and I'll bring my A-game. 

 

If you would like to follow us visit http://www.otilloswimrun.se/live/

And I'm sincerely grateful for all of you reading, following and cheering

 

Thanks and love

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Training camp, Swedish summer and road race sprinting

Believe it or not, I'm back in Stockholm and will be for a while. At least that's the plan for now, but if anyone got a better idé or an adventure for me to join...I'm in.

Just got back from two lovely weeks of training on Rhodes and Kos. I'm starting to realize what you've been through at home. Swedish summer really deliver at it's best. Just above freezing temperature and this never ending rain. The Greek whether was just perfect for training. We even did an open water session, no wetsuit. Not quite the case at home recently.

Best of Rhodes was this adventurous and playful trail running down a river just beside the hotel. If you go to Rhodes around Faliraki just follow the blue marking we made to find it. At all our destinations we scout trails and mark them for Apollos guests at Amondo concept hotels. 

 Our new adventure trail down a river in Faliraki, Rhodes

Our new adventure trail down a river in Faliraki, Rhodes

For the second week we took a ferry over to Kos. A beautiful island that we found out as a mountain bike paradise. All over the mountains there were awesome gravel roads both up and down and some cool and fun traversing. Just look out for turtles, they're everywhere. Also real far from the ocean at the summits. 

 Mr Mountain Turtle

Mr Mountain Turtle

 At the top of mount Dimitrios, Kos

At the top of mount Dimitrios, Kos

 At the Ferry between Rhodes and Kos

At the Ferry between Rhodes and Kos

 Magical trail running

Magical trail running

Best of Kos is a tighter race and I can't pick from all the kick ass bike sessions we made. But we also found this amazing trail to run up to the summit of mount Dimitrios. We missed out on the view, I can imagine it was fantastic. But I kind of love to run in a light rain and the fog made the scenery quite cool.

 Traversing 

Traversing 

We also got some time just to rest, hang out and reload for upcoming competition. Team is in place in Swaziland prepearing  for the next adventure race in the world series. I got to stay home this time since we are two girls at the team. The team will do great and I'll follow closely from home. But I won't be still. Two weeks with loads of hard training lays in front of me. I'm psyched and hope I'll stay on top all the way trough. Then awaits something I almost forgot about, work. But long time til then and some happy and though training sessions to be done. 

I started out this training block with a road bike race. The feeling before was like it's been so long I can't remember how to do this. But I did. And I raced with a real good spirit, just having fun and making a (too) big effort to get a break away. They kept chasing me down. I wasn't too let down about that when we got closer to the finish and a sprint. Got in a good position, managed to play it cool when the sprint went off quite early and then pushed true just at the last bit. Fun race, and also an extra pleasure to cross the finish line first.  

Thanks for following me and my crazy adventures. There's more to come. 

Love

Marika

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Full speed living and riding

I'm living in full speed with fun things at the moment and everything is just perfect. I know you all want my story from Chile, and you will get it. Just not jet. I'll instead tell you what I've been up to lately.

Straight from Chile me and the team went to Crete for training camp and some work with finding, mapping and marking running and biking trail for Apollos guests. Both parts went way over expectations. 

Crete turned out to be so beautiful and with great cycling both road and mountain bike. I missed my road bike a bit, not to much though cause we got a lot of fun and challenging cycling at the Epic's. But I'll definitely go back to race the roads and get some hard and lovely switchbacks.

We also got some time to hang out with the team and recover both legs and mind. We're soon ready to do even greater things.

This weekend have been all about racing. Started with Lidingö MTB at Saturday. I was super excited and psyched to race fast and hard. But at the same time I had no clue at all what to expect. Not from the corse, not from the other contenders and not from my own body.

The atmosphere at Lidingövallen and especially in the Specialized tent was great and got me even more good to go.

The start was a bit crowded and I got hit by some guy at my rigth and almost fell, I cleared it out but go dropped big style from the bunch. I spent some time and a lot of effort to catch up, and when I did the bunch was more of a long stretch and it started to break up, I tried to close gaps but it was just to long way to the front and I couldn't see the girls.

I ended up quit far back and spent a lot of time on my own in the wind. But as I had a real good suport team along the course I got aware of that I picked up at the girls in the front. And that got my motivation running. As we entered the hills of Bosön, I was only a few seconds away from the podium. At the technical trail I cached the 4th, and passed her at a super sketchy downhill cliff. I thought to my self: This is your one and only chance, just go, it will be wort it. (Even if you crash, worth the try) I stayed at my wheels, and just a few meters later I cached the 3d girl and now with only a couple of k's to the finish we had to play it tactical. It was mentally hard but also fun and it all came down to a sprint. Just the way I like it. Unfortunately the judge thought I was to rough when we came shoulder to shoulder so even though I crossed the finish line first, I ended up as 4th. To be standing at a podium is always a pleasure but to finish 4th in my first ever mountain bike competition isn't all bad. I'm super happy with the race and the kick ass day with the team and supporters from Specialized and also my mum! 

From one race to another, we jumped in the car and raced...oh, drived safely to Kalmar. To participate in Wings for life world run. 

  Swedish Red Bull athletes line up before the race.

Swedish Red Bull athletes line up before the race.

It's a charity run for spinal cord research and the team wanted to pitch in. As a running event it was innovative and fun. The finish line was actually behind you and moving towards you, and the goal was to get as far as possible before the car cached you. We ran together as a team and with our fury team mate Arthur as well. People was cheering all the way and the weather was summerish so we had an amazing day together.

Back in Stockholm now, to, believe it or not, work for a couple of days. Then the adventure continues. 

Thanks for reading!

Love / Marika


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