Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Challenge Copenhagen ironman and our Move to Denmark

A life in flux.
An American Dane and a Danish American.
Young mom ironman woman.
Tired and manic.
Desperate but happy.
Two homes rather than none.

We have been back in Denmark almost two weeks now. And everyone is actually doing well. Strange how we all seemed to dread coming back to Denmark, but love it now that we are here. I keep telling myself- it is ok to have two homes and two nationalities, despite it not being legal. No governing body can tell me where my heart is. It is good to have a husband who knows exactly how I feel. Christian, Natti and Mattias will always have a home both places, though.
I competed in Challenge Copenhagen ironman distance triathlon on Sunday and God, I adore this country. The swim, bike and run were all gorgeous. I wish everyone who loved triathlon could experience this event. And in perfect weather. Skønt as the Danes say. But more on that in a moment.

Today, in my new training mindset: no running if it is not killer, I ran intervals. Better to rest than stay the same. Better to go swimming in the murk of the Suså river with friends (instead of showering) than to waste my running legs on a blah slow run.

Today, 4 days post ironman, was intervals because I felt like it. 6 x 1 mile on the dirt track. (I'm still hesitant about getting a running coach because there is not enough room for the "I felt like it",)

Mile 1: 6:29 (uh oh - run to the woods with stomach...- body not happy with me - wake up! I say to body!)
Mile 2: 6:26 (run to woods - again!)
Mile 3: 6:31 (run to woods #3)
Mile 4: 6:34 50 second rest
- uh oh high school kids from Herlufshom boarding school are coming to the track for gym class. Rather than leaving, I decide to compete with the boys)
Mile 5: 6:18 -ok now we're talking. (Thanks for the inspiration 14 year old boys!) At this point one boy asks me to take off my clothes and put on his uniform. "Ellers tak" was my best Danish response "Otherwise thanks" :). 1:30 break
Mile 6: (started behind one boy who looked to be in decent shape) raced the boy for the whole 4 laps -- time 5:52!!! Woohoo. Fastest mile interval ever. Thank you young boy! Nothing like a spontaneous race. I then walked very carefully to the woods with stomach problems, without getting to thank him.

Challenge Copenhagen

In some ways my frustrations, fears and concerns about raising kids into such a chaotic life could be sublimated, if you will, by turning into an ironman athlete. Especially since I feel like I will never succeed as an iron mom. And that's exactly the type of mom they need at this moment.

 The boring race details...
Swim 3.8km - as planned 1:37
Bike 180 km - far from as planned. The biggest problem was the bike clip falling off of my shoe after 20 miles!! I got it repaired 25 miles later but by that time my left leg was really hurting from biking so strangely. Time was something over 6 hours. 6:13 I think.
 Run 42.2 km - just enjoyed it and hoped to get under 4 hours, which I did: 3:52

I finished in 12:13, which was almost an hour slower than I had predicted in January! But I was so grateful to be able to complete it after the shoe affair.


Christian and I spent the day at Amager Strand the day before the triathlon. Tapering days are fun when you have kids.

This is where the Challenge Copenhagen swim would be held the next day. Christian was contemplating sand castles.
Race Day:

Since I am so fortunate to have a great photographer husband, Rasmus, and friend, Martin Paldan, who took pictures of the entire triathlon, I will simply narrate their photos.

When the morning of the race arrives, 99% of the work is done both for the participants and the families. Photo: Martin Paldan.

At 7:05 AM I'm pretty sure my dive into the water looked something like this. Photo by Martin Paldan.

My transitions were not fast. Okay, in all honesty, this was before the swim.. Photo: Martin Paldan

My bike mount was brontosaurusoid. I was about to ride 70km further than I'd ever ridden on a bike I had finally gotten to fit me 3 days earlier (tri stems are magic!).

The beginning of the bike ride was awesome. 31 km/hour average. This is the speed I had planned on for the entire distance... Photo: Martin Paldan
My shoe clip had already fallen off here, but I was still having fun. Photo: Martin Paldan
Twice during the bike we rode over wicked cobblestone streets. I'm sure they were really nice in the days of  Søren Kirkegaard- but during a tri??? Photo: Martin Paldan
Here is my spinning instructor, Anders Ploug. Grab or toss? Photo: Martin Paldan

Finally, a discomfort I am comfortable with. Photo: Martin Paldan
The best moments of the race were giving Christian hugs and high fives during the run. He was so excited that we went out to buy new (real) running shoes for him the next morning. Photo: Rasmus

I wish I could write a blog post that would do this experience justice. But more importantly I wish I could convey to my family how much I appreciate their help, tolerance and love which allowed me to train and compete in Challenge Copenhagen. I just hope I can support them in whatever kind of "ironman" they choose to be passionate about.
Christian eating a vegan, organic, gluten free atomic slime slushee with cousins, Kristine and Kristoffer. 


PiccolaPineCone said...

welcome back to your other home!
congratulations on an epic effort in the IM. those are AMAZINGLY fast mile splits for a few days post IM.
THANKS AGAIN FOR the clothing. It has already been spit up upon multiple times by Squeaker, there is no compliment greater than that!

Karen said...

Congrats! And those are some seriously awesome photos! :) Glad you're settling into Denmark quickly.

Olga said...

You operate really great as a family.

Alicia Hudelson said...

Finally:) Those photos are fantastic! Congratulations on such a good race--even at an hour slower than you planned, it's still fast. And I'm impressed at how happy you still looked during the run.

I know how you feel with the two homes thing and it's not always easy, is it...It is great that you have Rasmus to talk about it with, though.

cherelli said...

Simply wonderful performance - that is a very fast bike and run in my bikes!! And even better to have such a supportive, involved family...oh, and I love that you can have your feet on two shores, keeps life always interesting and full of options :)

Gemma said...

Wow, congrats on the ironman - what an amazing achievement! I'm sure it wasn't easy, but your enjoyment of it just radiates through both your words and the pictures - I love that! Congrats again.

Kirsten said...

First of all - you're simply awsome. No other word!
Second, I have jsut read the book "I'm here to win" which has been an amazing experience and I have learned SO much. Also to learn from others. And you just wrote something that I took with me out there, and it really really helped me yesterday when the going got tough: "A discomfort that I'm comfortable with". It made me relax and get over the fear of the pain.