Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Swissman - an extreme triathlon.....

I am a Swissman-finisher, but not quite without suffering..... But lets begin with the start. At 04.30 the boat left Ascona. And some minutes later we arrived the Brissago Island, the start of Swissman. It was still dark, but soon the sun was going to rise.

The swimming is over
At 05.08 the race started with a big cow bell ringing. After some minutes I was swimming quite alone, and so it was the whole swim course, except for a "stand up paddle surfer" following me the last part. I thought this could mean two things; I was far in the back or I was swimming too far left, making a longer way. But it turned out (The GPS data from my Garmin showed afterwards) I had a quite straight line, and my swim time was better than expected; a little bit below 1 hour, 15 minutes. Some minutes before 06.30 I was on my way on the bike course.

Up he cobblestone, on Tremola
After about 30 km two other girls came from behind; Trix and Julia, and we three were close to each other the rest of the bike course. Short after Biasca, the rain started, but there was still warm down here, so the only thing that happened is that I turned wet.... Lars, and my parents supported me well with cheering, giving me clothes and food and sport drink. The old road up Gotthardpass, Tremola, had opened this morning (Or friday evening), and so we could drive the "original" Swissman course.

Dressing on the top of Gotthardpass,
quite wet...
At the  top of Gotthardpass, more friends and family met me:-) Really nice! I got some clothes on before going down to Hospental. It was raining heavily and I got really cold... At the bottom in Hospental, there was a red light, so me and Julia had to wait quite some minutes, having the opportunities to shake the arms and legs, getting some warmth back, having something to eat, and talk a little bit, before we could cycle further towards Furkapass. Until now, everything was very good, although hard, and I was a little bit faster then estimated. The whole course from here friends a and family supported me and cheered at my the whole time; the best fan-club and supporter-club one can have!! :-) Going up Furkapass, by the way much harder then in the training tour last week, it was still raining,but it was getting better. And on the top, it was good weather, with great view towards Grimselpass.
Furka- and Grimselpass
And up the last pass, the weather was so good that my brother could drive the Cabriolet as a cabriolet :-) After Grimselpass, it is almost only down and flat. On the way down, more friends came to cheer at me, great! I arrived Brienz about 40 minutes before the estimated time. 180 k, 3660 meters ascent. Now the run could start.

Ready for the run :-)
Down in Brienz, the weather was nice and warm, and the running course was really nice, going through forests, on bike tracks, through small nice towns, and along the see. The run went very well, and I was running faster and easier than expected. Lars followed me, also running, the whole way.

Still going strong....
After about 2 hours however, I was starting getting a bit sick.... I t didn´t really slow me much down I think, but I couldn´t drink very much or "eating" gels, afraid of throwing up.... If it had only been 1-2 hours left that wouldn´t have been a problem, however, it was more left in Swissman.... And it didn´t get better, so I was drinking and eating less the whole way (And I knew it, and that it wasn´t really very clever, but still I didn´t want to stop, to wait for getting better). The run course from Wilderswil towards Grindelwald was still very very nice, but I couldn´t really enjoy it that much due to this sickness, but still I didn´t feel lack of energy in the body.

Kleine Scheidegg, and the finish...
I arrived Grindelwald acouple of minutes after 18 o´clock. Much earlier as estimated, seeing the third woman in front of me, being almost  sure, I would manage the third place, and finish at 19.30, in a total time less than 14 hours 30 minutes.... My family had taken the last train up to Kleine Scheidegg, waiting for me at the top. However, apparently, now there was not much energy left in the body. The way from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg became hard, I became more sick, and didn´t have much energy, and it didn´t go very fast upwards, the part normally being one of my strength (The last upwards in long triathlons). And it was also more kilometers from Grindelwald and up than what I thought. Some 3 km before the finish line, I could see the hotel at the top, at Kleine Scheidegg, but the last part of the way was soooo long....

My brother following me the last metros
At least I managed a smile,
crossing the line
But finally, short after 15 hours racing, I arrived Kleine Scheidegg (Or maybe collapsed over the finish line is a better description), after some 45 kilometres of running (according to my clock), and more than 2000 metes climbing. Totally exhausted (logically). 5th of the women, about 25th of all men and women.

I´m in there....
The doctor took care of me, giving me intravenous water and sugar, after measuring a blood sugar value of 2.2, normally meaning unconscious.... I decided to stay at Kleine Scheidegg over the night, but I had no energy couldn't eat and couldn´t drink the whole saturday and sunday, and had to visit the hospital in Thun on sunday. Very nice and kind nurses and doctors took care of me there, giving me more water, sugar, salt and paracetomal, and taking hundreds of blood test. (It appeared that I had an infection in the stomach, but it is unknown if I become that before Swissman, being the reason for my sickness at the end, or after the competition, because of my exhaustion and everything...) And, now, a couple of days later, things are starting to getting better, still some lack of energy and appetite, but it will come! :-)

A beautiful sunday morning
on Kleine Scheidegg
And, nevertheless, I finished, it was extreme, but Swissman was a great and very nice race (Although I couldn´t really enjoy the last part of it, unfortunately) Alittle bit annoying though, that it didn´t went exactly as "it should", knowing that I was pretty fit, and that the course and the race suited me very well.... But with such race, you never know, and it´s not only being fit tat counts. Greats respects to all finishers!

And last, but not least; A big thanks to friends and family supporting me!!!
(Photos: My mother, Tone Nørstebø)


  1. Hi Vibeke,
    I am really happy to read that you are getting better. I was worried when I didnt see you at the finisher ceremony.
    Take care and happy training!
    Kind regards

  2. Vielen danke julia! Schon viel besser. Lust auf essen, hunger, kann gut schlafen. Hoffe es geht dir auch gut! Und herzlichen glückwunsch mit dritte platz! Super gemacht. Gute erholung. Lg, vibeke

  3. Hi Vibeke
    Freue mich zu lesen, dass bei dir wieder alles in Gleichgewicht ist.
    Gratuliere zu deiner tollen Leistung und wünsche weiterhin gute Regeneration.