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We all have our preferences when it comes to nutrition choices during training and racing – some prefer only liquid (as in sports beverage of some kind), others like primarily solid foods and many prefer a combination of both. Learning what works for you and what optimizes your performance doesn’t have to be a tricky task, but it certainly can be. We’re still figuring out how we like it, but the one thing we’re sure of is this: sports nutrition products are expensive, and we can think of many other things we’d rather spend money on. So. For the past 6 months, we’ve been experimenting with energy balls suitable for eating during running, and this recipe is the outcome of that. Using ourselves as guinea pigs, we’ve tried different flavors and ratios and found what both our taste buds and stomachs like the best. Practicing eating and testing out specific things is key to nailing your nutrition game come race day, and after a few stomach blow ups in the past, we’re trying to do it right this season! (We use nutrition when we go for runs 30k and up, by the way.)
After plenty of pondering, head-scratching and thoughts back and forth, we’ve finally decided what races we’ll run this summer. The reasons why the decisions took some time for us to get to are: 1. Peak racing season in Sweden is very concentrated, with many of our bucket list ones happening around the same time. Luxury problem: you can’t do them all but have to pick and choose. 2. We put our names into the OCC draw back in December, which would – if we got in – dictate a good part of the season. Hence, we had to wait until mid-January to find out if we did. Luxury problem: there is none, because we didn’t get in. Not to worry though, because fortunately there are many more years to come! 3. The distance dilemma – right after Ultravasan 90 last August, we were like “let’s never in a million years do this again!”, but an hour later it sounded more like this: “This was the best day of our lives!”. Luxury problem: you need to choose the distance you want to go yourself.
It’s been a wondrous year, 2018. Looking back at our training and racing efforts these past 12 months, we can’t be anything but pleased (even though it’s easy to focus on what didn’t go as planned). This year was really the first year we started taking things seriously, and while we’re still lightyears behind many people out there, it’s very satisfying to see that things have moved in the right direction. That, among other things, will propel us into the next year full of motivation and belief in further improvement. The purpose of this post is really just that of sharing details, insights, highs and lows regarding our 2018 training year, so – here we go. Let’s start from the beginning:
Image by Emil Nordh
October 13th, 2018
50 km, 700 m gain
September 15th, 2018
25 km, 310 m gain
Image by Frida Berglund Photography
September 28-30th, 2018
7 km Night Run, 425 m gain
24 km Mountain Run, 1235 m gain
400 m Sprint
Åre Trail Tour is a 3-day event during which a 7k night run, a 24k mountain run and a sprint take place. You can pick and choose yourself as to which race/races you’d like to participate in, but in order to be a part of the overall tour standings, you have to run all three. For us, this was the first time racing more than one day in a row, and it came to be such a great learning experience. The Friday run is short enough for you to be recovered for the longer adventure on Saturday, which makes this race tour a perfect one to start with in the world of stage races, multiple day events etc.
June 16th 2018
45 km, 1030m gain
This race report has been a long time coming, seeing that we’re almost three months post race day. Given that the race will take place again next year though, and probably – hopefully – for many years to come, it still seemed a good idea to share our experience out there on the trails! Because boy, was that an experience. EcoTrail Stockholm 45k is a beautiful trail race in and around Stockholm, starting in Stora Skuggan and ending right by the Vasa museum in Djurgården. The vertical gain over the 45k measures roughly 1000 meters, and the 2018 edition of the race saw 187 finishers (70 women, 117 men). The aid stations are spread out as follows: 22k (Hagaparken), 28k (Stora Skuggan), 37k (Kaknästornet) and 41k (Manillaskolan).
August 18th, 2018
90 km, 868m gain
Sälen to Mora, Sweden
For those unfamiliar with the stats of UV90, here’s a little summary (those of you who know this already, you can hop to the next paragraph). The course measures 90k (approx. 57 miles), and has a humble 868 m of vertical gain. The course takes you through deep woods, along lakes, across swamps (but these sections are made runnable by boards) and past quaint villages. You’ll run on fun, technical trails where you get to watch your step, on fast and smooth dirt roads, on wide gravel roads, and on pavement (but just a little). The breakdown looks something like this: 60k dirt road, 18k trail, 6k gravel, and 6k pavement. The race organization provides water stations (with both water and sports beverage) roughly every 5k, and bigger aid stations with a plethora of food every 10-15k. The race is growing in popularity every year, and 2018 saw around 1100 participants, with approx. 75 % males and 25 % females. A note on the race organization: it’s truly terrific. We’ve never run a race as professionally organized and carried out as this one. Email correspondence and bib pick up before the race, aid stations during, reception at the finish line – smooth, friendly and structured. A massive A+ goes out to everyone working for the Vasaloppet Team.