This was my third year in a row racing Åstol Runt. It was a beautiful day on the island with clear water and shinning sun! Today my form was good enough for a second place (full results here). I am very happy that my form is starting to come back and I am really enjoying keeping the racing season to mostly short local races.
This year the swim was about 2100 m of mostly calm water with a few sections of more aggressive waves. There were some jellyfish, but they stayed a bit below the surface so I avoided stings all together 🙂 Before the start Johan and I decided that we would try to work together during the swim and take turns pulling each other. However, the start was rough and we quickly lost each other. I was able to find some good feet and felt like I had a good swim. To my surprise Johan’s things were still in the transition area when I got there. He had had trouble with sea sickness and dizziness during the swim and came out of the water about 1:40 after me. My little sister Julia is here visiting from the US and helped me to keep track of the rest of the competition on the women’s side. As I came out of the transition she told me that I was 3 minutes behind the leading woman. I knew that it was Ulrika Eriksson and that she is just as strong, if not stronger, of a runner as I am, but I still gave it a push to see if my legs would respond. 3 minutes in 8 km of running is just over 20 seconds per km, so it didn’t feel impossible.
This year the run was slightly longer than the original course and went over some technical cliff sections. I saw Ulrika during the turn-arounds so I could see how far ahead she was. I pushed hard on the first lap to see if I could get closer to her, but unfortunately, I only gained 20 seconds and realized then that the likelyhood of catching her was slim. I had also realized that I had plenty of time back so there was little reason for me to push like crazy. I also saw Johan during the turn around and knew that he was a bit behind me, but also that he has no problems catching 30 seconds per km on me. And indeed, during the final lap Johan caught me and ended up finishing more than a minute ahead of me.
I am very happy with my race and right now I feel that there is plenty of potential for me to develop both my swimming and running a bit more in the next few weeks. Johan was disappointed over his swim, but felt quite a relief that he was able to catch me and to finish in 7th place of the men which is a big improvement over the last time when he did this race in 2014. Thank you Johan and the rest of Team Åstol for another great event!