Sunday, 12 August 2012

Flabäck duathlon

What a wonderful, sunny day we got yesterday. It was the perfect day for me to test my boundaries. No, not those boundaries, the ones I keep testing by running further and further. No; these were mental boundaries.

A couple of friends live in this little community outside Gothenburg called Flabäck. Every year, a few people from this area gather there to participate in FIT, or Flabäck International Triathlon as they call it, probably with a good dose of winking while they say that name. There is a junior class and a duathlon class, too. There is no official timekeeping, no starting gun, no judges if you cut corners while you're swimming. Just a bunch of neighbours ”competing” against each other.

My friends invited me to this event, and since I neither could transport my bike there nor cycle the 22 km that the triathlon would entail without my knee cutting itself off from the rest of my leg and fleeing to Australia, I went for the duathlon. 250 meters swimming, 2,5 km running. The first part would be a test of my mental boundaries, the second a test for my knee.

The jetty we'd have to swim to in the distance
We floated in the water. My friend J said we could swim together, and I was thankful. I'm not a great fan of swimming in lakes. Correction: I'm not a big fan of swimming across lakes. Their water is usually murky once you leave the beach and you can't see what's underneath, if there are rocks you could cut yourself on for instance. Also, you don't see the piranhas coming. There were some teenagers in front of us, and another lady to the side, so the duathlon participant total was a staggering 7-8 people. The teenagers kicked our butt big time. The lady, too. By the time we had swum to the jetty across the lake and back, the teenagers were nowhere to be seen.

Oh well. I had survived the swimming part. I wondered why swimming always seemed to leave me breathless while running didn't. Both J and I had swum in our VFF, so we could just get out of the water and move seamlessly to the running part of the duathlon. Our support team, ie J's fiancée S, handed me my Garmin and we were off. We soon hit a patch of stone-littered single track which forced us to keep a lower pace. The conversation flowed freely and I was having a great time. I wasn't even thinking about my knee. It wasn't saying much, anyway.

The finish line for the junior triathlon. I think.
After a total of almost 24 minutes, 14.30 of which were running, we were at the lake beach slash finish line, where we got some applauds from S and the kids (and from a lady who was just there to sunbathe). I went into the lake again to cool down, and it felt wonderful. The weather, the company, this little neighbourhood event, it beat any Göteborgsvarvet for me. And the knee didn't seem to mind that it had run so far without walking breaks. And the day was not over yet.

J's focaccia. The best focaccia I've ever tasted.
While I was warming up in the sun on my friends' patio 10 minutes later, they were busy preparing dinner. We grilled, we ate, we chatted the hours away, until it was time to join some of the other neighbours for the Flängbäck festival. On a wet football field that hadn't been mowed in weeks, 50-odd people had brought foldable chairs and beer and their good mood, and sang along to Swedish summer classics that a band consisting of one guitarist, one singer and an Ipod enthusiastically and lovingly half-improvised on. Well, some of the public did not so much sing as shouted at the top of their lungs, but the intention was good, I'm sure. It was far from perfect; yet in a way it was just that.

Yep, there was dancing too
As the evening drew to its close, my friends made some hot coffee to go with the sinfully good rhubarb pie that S had baked. The sun had gone down and it was chilly. We said our goodbyes with promises to meet when J and I are in Gothenburg again. Perhaps for next year's Flabäck duathlon.

Have I mentioned that goodbyes suck?


  1. Vilket jättebra initiativ. Kul när folk fixar med fysiska aktiviteter som är kul, ofta är det på blodigt allvar så fort det blir tävling, vilket många håller sig borta från.

    1. Ja, verkligen! Och med tanke på hur litet område det är så är det rätt många som ställer upp och deltar i loppet. Är det opretentiöst kommer nog flera att vara med.