Challenge Lisboa – 2nd at the battle of the sexes

If you ask me which race I have enjoyed racing more during all these years I will probably say this one, the battle of the sexes of the first edition of Challenge Lisboa.

Finishing 2nd overall, only losing to Melanie Santos, U23 World and European bronze medalist was just a great bonus. The 3rd place went to an English woman. This meant that the men didn’t manage to catch us, girl power.

18278454_10155003120795813_3044825971434932642_o

The Overall podium

It was great taking part of a race with such a stature. Challenge is one of the biggest brands in the world organizing triathlon races.

The weather, organization and the atmosphere was just fantastic. I love that fact about triathlon. World class athletes mixing with age groupers and the once that are in it for fun. We are one big happy family.

18275053_10210904651665768_6431348952132247458_n

Melanie and I 

I had no idea how did race would go. It was my first Olympic distance of the season, not so much training in the luggage and a different approach.

The swim went well. Melanie took off fast and I was chasing behind. We isolated ourselves from the rest as soon as the gun went off.

I was out of from T1 about 2 minutes after her and I did all I could to catch her on the bike. My effort wasn’t enough and some lack of fitness made my mission impossible.

18301609_1679501069022890_2879528712981184177_n

another great shot by “That camera man” – lovely pictures

I also knew that Melanie is a much better runner than I am so I would need to gain quite some time on the 45km.

18274951_1679502672356063_2798012920207505815_n

pushing the bike

I came into T2 isolated in 2nd place and enjoyed the last 11km on the run, even stopped for some selfies.

We were received at the finish line with a huge media attention and we were all smiles.

I had so much fun and I simply love everything about this sport, it makes me happy!

Unfortunately my dear friend from Sweden, Mikaela didn’t finish her half Ironman due to a heat stroke. But she did a great swim/bike and was battling the best woman in the world…well done Mikaela

18342713_1679480069024990_6627673052830687913_n

Race morning

Big thanks for the challenge family for inviting me, loved the experience

18320429_10210904662626042_1187061821271320382_o

Melanie and myself at the finish line – all smiles

 

 

Advertisements

Challenge Lisboa

I have good memories from last years half ironman in Lisbon where i, against all odds won the race. It was probably one of my best moments so far in my triathlon “career”

This year im not training for longer distances so i was invited by the organisation to participate in the battle of the sexes tomorrow. The woman will start 16 minutes ahead of the men. The woman will try not to be caught by any man. The one who crosses the finish line first, man or woman wins. The race will be a bit longer than the olympic distance, 1.5km swim + 45km bike and finally 10.5km run. The bike is non drafting which will suit me well as i plan to go flat out on the bike.

The start field is good and it will be interesting to see how my fitness is tomorrow. I have felt very consistent during the last week and last weekend i did another great race in Leiria finishing 4th overall and 2nd senior in a competetive filed. Was actually leading that race into T2, but did some strategical mistakes on the run that caused me the overall podium.

Im sure it will be good fun racing tomorrow. I will also support my Swedish friend and pro athlete Mikaela who will race the half ironman. She has been in Lisbon for a bit more than 2 weeks training with Sportings Triathlon team. Its been great having her around. She is such a positive person and has been a great support to me.

Go Mikaela, go!

Mikaela and me

Myself and Mikaela before an open water swim session with Sporting´s Triathlon team

 

History repeats itself

So, last time I wrote I had a bad race, yet it seems that history repeats itself.

I usually start of the season with a quite poor performance and improve as the season develops. Since I last wrote I have raced competed twice in Triathlon and done my first cycling race of this season.

17757150_763047387198135_436477240921651969_n

Swim start in Quarteira

Ended up doing a nice race in Altura and in Quarteira I managed a great 2nd place overall just a few seconds away from the victory. It was a race where it all came together, the swim, bike and run. Despite not racing the European Cup its always nice to race in Quarteira. The crowed is simply amazing.

17626198_10155209397424413_4198144590794265189_n

Female podium Quarteira

17499102_763043990531808_6219583024198383106_n

On the run in Quarteira

As my main goal this season is to support the team I’m happy that we came away with a victory in Altura and Quarteira which means we are leading the Portuguese cup.

17522581_10155209383749413_3486877064755925588_n

The finish line

Last Sunday I did my first bike race of the season, 60km. I finished on a 9th position. I still have lots to learn when it comes to cycling. In Triathlon we go flat out on the bike while in cycling its all about tactics…

17630125_740522419455521_6789142614218114276_n

Next up on the agenda will be the Portuguese cup in Leira on Saturday and then ill race the battle of the sex in Lisbon on the 7th of May. Last year I won the long-distance race in Lisbon, but this year ill do the Olympic distance.

17796501_1486544721358161_5291153242677894144_n

Bad racing

We wanted to win, we ended up 3rd at the first stage of the National championship for teams. I believe that we had a good strategy in place, but we didnt quite manage to stick to the plans and the other teams were stronger than we were. It will be a close fight between 3 teams this year and we still have the chance to recover in the coming races….

As of my performance. There is not so much to say. I did a bad race. Maybe i shouldn’t expect more of myself right now, but im disappointed.

The problem started on the swim. I had a good start, but the lack of training showed after 100m and i just couldn’t keep up. I left the water in a bad position and i was never really able to come back into the race…

The positive thing ill take from this race was the fact that we were 65 girls lining up for the start…

17265170_1657566007587214_3018282012687368321_n

Next week ill be back on it again, hopefully ill be able to perform a bit better

17155190_10155143609119413_5985560342182360810_n

Algarve next

Tomorrow ill start my Triathlon season…

We are heading to Algarve to race the first stage of the National Championships for teams. We aim to win the Nationals this year, its the only collective title we miss. Last year this was my first race after the  knee surgery. A race that didn’t go well at all. The first two races of the season were always very important as they are the qualification races for the European Cup in Quarteira. Last year i managed to qualify to Quarteira after doing better on the second race. I represented Portugal’s National Team for the past 3 years in Quarteira…

…This year will be different. Im not racing for any qualification and my mind is set on the team. Its different and yes it feels a bit strange, but yet good.

My fitness is not the best, average. I would say its an output of what i invest in the training these days. I dont train that many hours anymore, around 12/week, some weeks a bit more/less.

Lets see what tomorrow will bring. It will be good to join the team and see the young guns perform well.

Lets go Sporting!

1014492_10151647386090813_324067287_o

Another race pic from the good old days

 

Back racing

On Saturday i did my first race of this season, the last stage of the  National championship in Duathlon for teams.

Despite not being in any great fitness and a few kilograms heavier i made a great race. It was a very competitive start field (39 girls on the start line) and  Im very satisfied with an 9th place overall, 5th best Portuguese and 3rd senior. Its good to see that my base from all the years of hard training is still there. I haven’t been training much running lately to save the hip and knees, but even so i pulled of a very nice run.

16864506_10155066436839413_5744476664487868250_n

Senior podium

But the best part was that we took home the victory for teams and we finished 2nd in the overall standing. It was great to see my team mates perform so well and exceed their expectations.

16807495_10155066438579413_75942009123322678_n

Team podium

Im slowly starting to find my “new” position in the team as the female captain and it feels great to support the youngsters and see them perform so well.

Now its time to get some more swim fitness to be able to support the team at the first triathlon this year…

16683810_739078919594982_7699370634301572843_n

Pushing the bike

The times are changing…

Just got a call from coach Andre, the season has started and Sporting Triathlon team did great with 3 overall podiums. I felt happy and proud over the results, but yet i cant help to feel a little sadness in my stomach… A sadness over that i wasn’t there a sadness of understanding that the time has come… its time to move on to a new phase of my life…

Sports and competition has been my biggest passion in life since i was a child. I participated in my first race at the age of 5 and since then i have had the most amazing journey within sports and managed to reach a level i never thought was possible. I have managed to get the best i could ever be with my physical and mental capacities.

I had my first knee surgery back in 2013 and last year i had my second one. My back and hip has been hurting for quite some time, but i have always managed to cope with the pain…

I shall never forget what my surgeon told me after my knee surgery last year “Larsson, i dont understand how you have managed to get this far with the body you have” with the body he meant a bad back, hip and two damaged knees. Im 32, but my knees, back and hip is 60. I feel good now, but if i want to keep some kind of quality of life i need to reduce the load and races.

I knew this time would come, but after every season i always extended my goals and wanted more and more. But after 2016 it was different. In 2016 i executed a perfect season, beyond anything i could have dreamed off. Two European gold medals, victory in two  long distance races, beating professional athletes… I know i will never be able to repeat 2016 and i dont want to. It would not be fare to ask more of myself.

I feel a feeling that i never thought i would feel, i feel satisfied. I never felt it before. Its been 6 years of full dedication. It was never easy to cope with a full time job and pushing myself through two workouts a day. But it was needed and worth it to reach the level i reached. I have experienced moments and so much joy that will remain as beautiful memories for all my life.

Its not easy to leave the stage of racing on a higher level even if i feel satisfied… it feels a bit empty and some weird strange feeling of sadness.

I will not leave the triathlon world or the team. I want to help the team to become national champions this year which means that ill do some shorter racing. I will also do some cycling races for fun. I also wish to be able to help the younger generation, the future champions to reach their goals and to support them during workouts.

Sporting triathlon team will always be my second family!

Ill continue to update my blog with news about this new stage of my life…

blog-february

Gone to soon…

It just felt like yesterday that I wrote about the loss of my dear friend David. David that lost his battle to cancer. I don’t know if I have been lucky before, because I have not been surrounded by death and loss of close people till August last year…In a very short period of time I have lost close friends and colleagues..too many

We all deal with death and loss in different ways. I take the loss quite hard and I need my time to grief.

I feel anger, fear and sadness. Right now i have a tremendous anger against cancer. People say that many types of cancers have cure and that people get well, but so far i have seen the contrary… I feel that cancer is not a fair disease. Why should it attack all the good people out there, why? why? why? why? why? I guess i could go on and write why because i don´t get it.

Yesterday my dear friend, my best friend Sara´s boyfriend Andreas took his last breathes and gave up his battle. He died in peace and his suffering is over. But damn it feels hard. It feels hard to have let him go. Andreas was a special person. We got to know each other well as Sara and Andreas spent some summers with us in Portugal. They took part of my crazy lifestyle and were my Nr 1 supporters at my main races. Andreas was a calm and steady person. We were very different, but yet we had a good time together and got along well. He was always very direct and firm, which I liked because I’m not that way. He made me laugh many times. Andreas was an inspiration in many ways. He took life in a very simple way and enjoyed the simplicity of life itself.  Despite battling a cruel disease her never complained. He was not only an inspiration for me, but for many other people.

2016-4

My Nr 1 supporters

Andreas will be deeply missed by me, his Portuguese friends and many others. Thank you for the good times Andres, you shall always remain in our memories.

RIP Andreas, may the angels take good care of you now…

img_8918

Andreas and Sara together with Sporting Tri-Team at Cascais Triathlon 

2016…

..is coming to its end. A year that has been good in so many ways, but yet so strange. Its been a brilliant sports year and i have achieved outstanding results, but i have put all the results in perspective when i think back over the year.

2016-3

Gone too soon, Its been a year of loss. Loss of good friends. In August my dear friend David lost his battle to Cancer. A month later my dear colleague Jorge lost his battle. As Im writing this my best friend Sara´s boyfriend, Andreas is battling a sever liver cancer…

2016-1

Sara and Andreas have been visiting me the past summers. They have been by my side, supporting me achieving my best sports results. They were in Lisbon this summer when i won my double European Gold medals. It was very special sharing that moment with them. But yet those achievments feels so small when i compare them to the battle of life…

2016-4

Sara and Andreas at the Europeans…

2016 has been good in many ways, but yet so strange…

I dont know what 2017 will bring,  we shall see…