Henrik already had told me he was a strong swimmer so I told him he should be in front of me. Our plan was to go 50 strokes, make a stop and see how it felt.
50 strokes later and I thought the swim was going slow. I could easy do this while only taking a breath every 5th stroke. So we upped it to 100 strokes before regrouping. Everything went as plan and we came up for the second run.
It was a short run so we decided to run with the wetsuit fully on. On the 2nd swim Henrik told me that we should try to swim faster and I was game.
But this time, Henrik just flew like a dolphin in the water and I had to push myself. At one of the stops I told him to slow down, but as I already was tired trying to keep his pace, I was beat.
When we came up for the 3rd run, I was kinda bushed but we kept on running in a steady pace. With one difference, Henrik now was game. The struggling from running before, was gone and he now pushed me. I did not expect that!
Anyways, next swim I was in such bad shape in my arms we were going very slow so we even tried me holding his feet while he swam. It did not go very well.
I was tired and trying to hold his pace just made me even more tired.
Not a good thing.
On top of this we had decided not to open up our wetsuits as it just took too long time to do it. So we always ran with the wetsuit fully on.
We came up on a 900m swim and I think, about 200m in, I told Henrik that I couldn’t go on using crawl. I had to switch to breast.
But I don’t know how or why, but now I was doing a good pace and even Henrik became surprised 🙂 And we even started gaining/passing other couples in the race.
Henrik told me I should forget crawling and continue with the breast technique instead as it seemed to work better.
One big mistake
Since we decided not to open up our wetsuits I could not reach my energy gels.
In retrospect a really bad decision.
We came up on the 8th (of 11) swim and I was pushing nicely. The swim was 640m and after about 400m, my swim goggles was so foggy I could not see where I was swimming. I though I’d just stop 1s to wet them. When I stopped, my calves gave up. My right calf cramped so hard I could not believe it. Then my left calf started cramping as well, but I think my focus on my right calf made the left one give up earlier. Kind of hard to explain, but you kinda go mental when you are swimming in open water and both calves cramp. After a minute I managed to swim into shore. But holy f*ck did my right calf hurt. I had to sit for a moment but I have never given up on something and wasn’t about to now either.
I started wobbling down the path and soon I could keep a slow but steady pace feeling the cramp close by, but kept it at bay.
The next swims was the same, I could feel the cramp getting close so I had to relax my legs some, but we continued to push.
At the 10 run I was so tired in my body and with the pain in my calf I really needed to go somewhere mentally brighter than I was, so I told Henrik to whistle “always look on the..”. He tried but was so dried in his mouth he couldn’t whistle and instead starting singing a bit. I can tell you right there, that was gold. Pure gold.
We did the last swim and came up on the last run, 2k in to the city of Karlskrona.
It was 2k that felt like a marathon in the sun.
My pulse was racing and I had to stop several times to calm down a bit.
By now my brain was degraded into a reptile brain with just one goal and that was to get home. And sure enough, suddenly Henrik and I ran across the finishline 5h and 3min after we started this morning.
I can tell you, this race, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
All other races I have been able to set the pace myself and if needed slowed down to catch my breath.
But when you have a partner that depends on you, you go that extra mile.
This extra mile cost me more than I would ever expect, but I hope in some weeks time I can look back and enjoy it. As for, except the beginning, there was nothing I enjoyed. I was so focused that I can barely remember the different segments and where we ran.
In total we placed nicely in the middle of all participant teams.
Henrik, I hate you for asking me to come race with you.
Henrik, thank you for pushing me way outside of my comfort zone.