Swedish Classic – The Beginnings

ESK_banner1I have decided together with a good friend of mine to complete one of the toughest series of endurance races available in Sweden, called A Swedish Classic (webpage in Swedish). It consists of four separate races that you have to complete within a 12 month span, in order for you to be able to say that you have completed a Swedish Classic. So far the Swedish Classic diploma has been awarded to 23’486 men and 4’959 women since it started in 1972.

Update: As we were too late to book ours slots for Vasaloppet 2014, we will start the Swedish Classic with the Vätternrundan race and complete Vasaloppet in 2015 instead. A positive thing about this is that we will get more time to prepare for the various different races, but it is too bad that we won’t be able to complete the whole thing during 2014.

Update 2: We were lucky enough to get tickets for an earlier race called Engelbrektsloppet, which also is a part of the Swedish Classic race, which means that we will be able to complete the Swedish Classic in 2014! This is so exciting! On another note, I have needed to buy new gear for almost all of these races, such as new skis and a racing bike for the 300 km long Vätternrundan!

The Swedish Classic races are:

Vasaloppet

logotype.vasaloppetThe race that we will be starting with is the ‘Vasaloppet’ cross country ski race, which is 90 km long. It is the oldest, the longest, and the biggest (in terms of participants, normally with over 15’000 people in the main race and an additional 60’000 in related races the same week) cross-country ski race in the world and has been a Swedish traditional race since 1922. The race is held in memory of the Swedish king Gustav Vasa, who fled towards Norway in 1521 on skis. Read more about Gustav Vasa here. The race annually has millions of people in Sweden as well as around the world hooked to the TV or radio and is one of the biggest sporting events of the year in Sweden. Read more about Vasaloppet on Wikipedia. Vasaloppet is held annually on the first Sunday of Mars.

Vätternrundan

VätternrundanVätternrundan is the world’s longest recreational bicycle race, 300 km or 186.4 miles long, circling the second largest lake in Sweden. The race isn’t officially a competition, but instead everybody receives an RF transponder so that they can find out their own race time. In 2011, 27’973 cyclists passed the finish line in the 30 hours that the race is going on for. During the race you can stop at any of the nine stop locations to receive water, food and a free massage and once you have completed the race you are awarded a medal, a diploma and a warm meal.  Read more about Vätternrundan on Wikipedia. Vätternrundan is held during the weekend before midsummer, ever since 1966.

Vansbrosimningen

VansbrosimningenThe Vansbrosimningen is a 3 km long race has been going on since 1950, with participants swimming with the current for around 2000 meters and then up against the current in an adjoining river. For the race in 2014, there are already 3643 people who have signed up as of the time that I’m writing this article. Read more about Vansbrosimningen on the official website (in Swedish).

Lidingöloppet

LidingoloppetIn 2014 Lidingöloppet celebrates it’s 50th anniversary, which makes it an even more special event. The race is a 30 km long cross country running event. During 2013 there were 43’500 participants in the race, making it the largest cross country running event in the world. Read more about Lidingöloppet on Wikipedia. Lidingöloppet is held annually on the last Saturday in September.

Preparation

As these races are all endurance races, we have both been training conditioning a lot, in addition to strength training during the summer. The summer’s training culminated in a short 5 km race on the 14th of September, where I due to stomach issues only was able to complete the race with a time of 29:56. Still, for my first ever race, it felt good to have finished in under 30 minutes.

I’m really excited to having committed to this project, so now I can’t wait for the snow to come so that I can start training skiing in anticipation of Vasaloppet. Of course I will keep you all update on the progress and the results of the races. Wish me luck!

The summer of 2013 – Updates

I realize that I haven’t been writing for a very long time. There are several reasons for this, but I promise that I will write a few posts about what has been happening lately. I also know that I haven’t been writing any personal blog posts in almost a year, so I think that it’s time that they come back too.

new-year-new-job

One of the biggest things that have happened lately is that I have gotten a new job that I’m really excited about. I was unemployed for a few months during the summer, but I think that I used my time quite well.

For example, I had a lot of time to go to the gym, which really has started to show results; I have finally started to be able to see my six-pack abs! At the moment they can’t be seen all the time, so I still have some ways to go to improve that, but at least they’re there!

I filled my summer quite well with other activities as well, some of which I am planning to share with you here on the blog in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned!

I am quite excited to having started writing again, so expect a few new blog posts soon!

I have stopped doing martial arts!

I have stopped, only to improve

Yes, I really have stopped doing martial arts! I actually started doing Tae Kwon Do in January and went for a few classes, but I quickly noticed that my strength, flexibility and stamina is not where I want them, not even close, and instead of focusing on learning techniques and slowly building up my strength while doing martial arts, I have decided that I will take a break from doing martial arts, for now. Instead I will be going to the gym three times a week, mostly doing body weight exercises, to build up a good core strength. I have actually noticed already that my leg strength has increased significantly.

I love martial arts. I think that it’s good exercise and it’s a lot of fun to practice as well. It doesn’t really matter what martial art it is, the basic principles are the same. There are only a few things that all martial arts are built up around, and they are; Striking, Kicking, Throwing (things, opponents), Grips, Avoiding / Moving and Groundwork / Wrestling. All techniques fall within one of these groups. And if you don’t have a good understanding of the basics of these groups, then even if you try to learn a technique within one of the groups, it will still not be proficient. And if you’re not flexible or strong enough to execute a technique correctly, it doesn’t matter how well you know the technique.

So I have decided to focus on building core strength by working out at the gym, stretching every day and building up a better stamina than I have ever had before. This will also help me achieve what I’ve been struggling with for a long time, and that is to gain weight. I haven’t quit martial arts for good. I am just taking a break from them so that when I get back, I can go in with more strength than ever before, being more flexible and having a much greater stamina. I’m looking forward to seeing the results, once I get started again after the summer.

Anyway, that’s all for now!

Learning to make short films

To prepare for my trip to India, I have started learning about making vacation films, as I want to be able to remember as much of it as possible, as well as share it with everybody back home. In my opinion, video is one of the best ways to remember things by. It not only includes images, but also sounds and other things that can trigger your memory. And in this day and age, it’s not really that hard to shoot video, anywhere at any time. But, the challenge is to do it well, so that it will be enjoyed. And I am a complete beginner when it comes to image composition, writing outlines and filming serious projects, except for what I learned back in my Multimedia classes. I have always been interested in videomaking though, so this is a great first project to embark on.

Especially one blog got me really hooked on the thought of making my own vacation videos, and that is the RTWblog No Baggage Challenge. I myself don’t intend to travel without any luggage at all, but I don’t plan to bring too much with me either. Perhaps I will bring a ton of stuff back home, but that’s another story. Anyway, this blog really got me thinking that perhaps I can make an awesome video-log of when I’m out traveling too.

I will try to learn as much as possible about how to make good videos before I leave, and share it with you guys, but please do share any and all tips you have for me as well. I am, after all, a beginner when it comes to videomaking. Best practices as well as things not to do are always useful to know. I expect to learn a lot both before I go and while I’m actually in India. But most of all, I want to share my experiences with you.

So, where do I start?I have read a few blogposts about how to make a good vacation video, but somehow I don’t really feel too confident about my abilities yet. I made a short video after work, eating pizza downtown with my parents and girlfriend, but I feel like I need to really up my level for the project to be interesting enough to follow as well as follow through with.

The equipment that I’m planning to use is actually only my cameraphone, the Samsung Galaxy S2. I know, it’s not the best choice in the world, but I don’t have a DSLR, SLR camera or a dedicated video camera. I am thinking about buying a tripod and/or a shoulder support for the camera, but I am not sure what to get, or if I even should, on this first trip. I am thinking that I might use this trip as a learning experience for future vacation videos as well, and that I by next vacation will have bought better gear. I really want to get a good HD videocamera, a dedicated external microphone for optimal audio and some kind of support, so that I will be able to shoot better and more stable video.

Let me know what you think, or if you have suggestions to what I should buy. I am not going to give the videomaking part too big a budget for this trip, but please shoot any suggestions you have my way, even if I won’t buy some things until the next trip. I will also continue learning, so let’s hope for the best.

Progress and Project Update

I guess that it’s about time that I make another progress report, but that’s not all I want to write about on this blog, so I will mention a few more things this time.

When it comes to my training I’m doing really well. I have been sick a few days and missed out on workouts, but I have still been able to increase the weights and reps on almost everything. And I have finally come up with a sort of goal for my workout, other than getting a six-pack. The gym that I’m going to is going to add a lot of new stuff this spring, among other things gymnastics equipment for bodyweight training, and my goal is to be able to handle my body well in that setting also. As in getting a body that isn’t only good at pumping iron or pushing or pulling weights on levers, but getting strong and being able to use my body in ways that I’ve never been able to before. And if everything goes well, I will try out Parkour this summer in a more serious way than I’ve done before.

If you are wondering what the picture has to do with me working out, I am using kettlebells such as these as a warmup exercise. It really gets the pump going, while strengthening both my back muscles and hip flexors as well as almost everything else. It’s an awesome tool! Also I couldn’t find any good pictures of myself working out, so I guess I’ll have to remedy that some time soon. I’m not too sure how popular it would be to bring the camera with me to the gym would be however. For my workout, I’m currently using an 18kg kettlebell.

I have been logging every workout so far in an excel document, and I don’t have any access to any workout program for tracking my workouts, and I don’t really know any good programs or apps for that kind of thing, but so far it has worked out really well for me and I’m happy with what I’ve been able to create. But if anyone knows anything that might be even better, I would surely give it a shot. I probably won’t stop printing my workout schedule for when I go to the gym though. Writing things down on a paper really is pretty easy, and it only takes me 2 minutes to enter everything into excel when I’m done.

I guess it’s also worth mentioning that I now can fully see 4 squares on my abs, with the last two ones coming along nicely, even if they can’t be seen yet.

When it comes to everything else in my life, I guess most things are going along as usual, except that I have more energy and feel restless a lot nowadays. I guess I could “blame” the working out for that. Not that I’m complaining, because I’ve never felt this good in my life.

On a completely different note, me and Mehek have started watching a tv-series called Stargate, after watching the original movie from 1994. We are starting out with SG-1, so we have quite a lot of episodes to look forward to. I was really surprised by the fact that she liked the movie and the series, but I’m really happy about it too. Maybe I can later on (when we’ve seen a few seasons) even get her to watch Star Trek or other geeky series.

Progress with this blog is going slow, and I haven’t really been working with the design at all lately and I have still to make a banner or think up any cool ideas for how I want to change the layout, so I guess that the site will continue looking as it does for now. But if you have any ideas or suggestions for either banners or design, feel free to send links, comments and other fun stuff and I will definitely take a look. Any kind of help is always appreciated.

My other projects that I’m working on have started to take up some time of my thoughts lately also. I’ve gotten a few more ideas that I could do something with on top of that, so I guess life is good.

Regarding the Actionable Series, I will probably be posting something soon, as I have finished reading the 4 Hour Body book (I read it from cover to cover, not just selected chapters as was suggested) and I think I understood the most essential parts of it. Tim Ferris is a good author, but sometimes he digresses into stories that hold very little value to me and more than anything just makes the book more difficult to read and understand.

The parts of the book that I will be focusing on is working out and diet. Tim writes a great deal about loosing weight, but I myself am more focused on gaining, but I will try to cover both those aspects. And because Tim himself is not claiming complete validity in his findings, I can’t guarantee that everything will work the way it’s claimed, if at all. But it’s a good start. Tim has many interesting theories and they seem to have worked out well for him, so I guess there is no harm in trying it out on my own as well, while getting the Actionable Series started.

I think I’ve rambled on long enough for this time, but if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know.

Results of Training: Progress Report 22:nd March 2011

So far my workout has produced mostly strength gains. I have increased the weight on most machines at the gym with about 60%, which is pretty good for having been gymming for about one and a half month now. I first started gymming on the 8th of February, and have since been recording all weights of all machines that I work out with. I am really happy with my progress, but I also want to bulk up a bit. For the sake of measuring this, I have been using a tape measure and checking how much my muscles grow, once in a while. I haven’t been able to do this as consistently as I have wanted, but I’m sure that I’ll get into a pattern of doing it regurarly soon. So far the progress is slow, but I have seen some increase in size of both thighs, arms and shoulders.

When it comes to my six-pack, that I’m also striving for, I haven’t seen much progress since the first two squares. They are pretty clear now, and the next two have started to surface too, but because of having not worked out for about a year prior to beginning now again (and at that time no cardio or strenght training), I have a small belt of fat around the lower part of my stommach. I guess noone is immune to fat gain while eating crisps for over a year without any workout at all. So, it’s time to get rid of this and uncovering the last squares for good!

So, workout is going good, but I was thinking earlier today that I really haven’t had a workout since the initial two or three sessions that I have gotten any kind of burn in my muscles the day after workout. Kind of weird. Is it because I haven’t been working out hard enough, been using too low weights (I have increased the weights almost every single workout since I started), or have I been stretching so well that I have been able to avoid pain in my muscles?

When it comes to future progress, there are a lot of things that I need to work on. I need to get more flexible and to be able to see more muscular growth as well as increase the size of those muscles I need to eat more and at more regular intervals.

If you have any thoughts you want to share about what I have been writing, please feel free to comment!

Happy Days

Yesterday at the gym was awesome! I had an instructor who showed me exactly what to do and what machines to use. I’m really happy about that. And what’s more is that the schedule that I had made for myself was according to that instructor very well made. So we used my schedule instead of anything that they had pre-made at the gym. So I will continue using the schedule that I made, but we added some leg exercises too, which will be great. I’m really looking forward to the first proper workout session with this schedule on Saturday. I only have to add the machine names, what muscles are used and then enter weight and how many reps I do per machine. Simple and awesome.

Work is going good too. I have gotten new tasks and I’m really enjoying myself. I have moved my desk from the bottom floor to the top floor now also, so I’m sitting a lot closer to my boss. I am probably going to be in charge of a few more things than I am at the moment, and I’ve started printing customer lists also. There are things I have to learn, but that just makes it more interesting. I love my job!

Yesterday I was supposed to go and sing karaoke with a few friends, but my girlfriend Mehek had gotten sick, so I had to go home to take care of her. And today we went to the pharmacy together to get her some cough medicine, so hopefully she’ll be feeling a lot better very soon. Now I’m just looking forward to helping her get better and cheer her up. Being sick sucks! *sends Mehek loads of love*

Another reason I’m looking forward to going to the gym on Saturday is because dad has promised he’ll come along! That’s going to be a lot of fun, I’m sure. I really have started caring more about my health, which was about time. I really want to get a good physique so that I can do whatever I want whenever I want to. Anyways, that will come. I’m just very happy that I’ve gotten started now.

I have been thinking a bit about getting a few tests done. Sort of like DNA tests or something like that, so that I know more about myself. To see if I’m resistant to any diseases and other things, as well as check body fat percentage and bone density and things like that. I have always liked collecting data, but I haven’t really collected that much data about myself. I don’t know why, but now I am really wanting to do such things.

So, if you have any thoughts on anything that I’ve written about today, click your way into the blog post and write me a comment. If you are logged in with Facebook you don’t even have to write any information about yourself, just write your comment and press send. I’m looking forward to reading any comments or thoughts you have.

Update

This time it hasn’t been so long since I wrote, but I still have thought about writing a new blog post a couple of times since last time. I guess I’m getting more and more used to writing often, but it might be too early to say that actually. Anyway, I feel good whenever I do sit down to write.

Last time I wrote that I was going to take measurements every Monday, but I missed to take them, but I have been working out as scheduled. I am really proud of myself when it comes to that. On Tuesdays I have something called Box 1, which basically is an aerobics workout session with some boxing/martial arts mixed in, but it’s nice. It is following the same programme every time, as far as I’ve understood it, but so far I have only gone there twise, so I guess I’ll be more sure of this next week.

Last week at Box 1 it was pretty though, or so I thought. By the end of it I was completely exhausted and I didn’t want to do anything at all, which is awesome. This week however it wasn’t as tough, and I noted that during the workout itself, and my muscles were not sore at all after the workout, which they were last week. So I guess I’m getting stronger pretty fast. My apetite is growing fast too. Before I used to eat very little very slowly, now I eat a whole lot more a whole lot faster. I guess it would be good if I could get those measurements every week, even though it’s pretty often. But then again, what can you do when you love data.

It has been an awesome week so far. I’ve got plenty of work to do at work, finding solutions to fun problems and then seeing them through. There is always a lot of data to go through, but I like that.Today I’m going to have instruction at the gym, so that I get a personal schedule of what things I should work out on and what machines to use etc. That’s going to be so much fun! I am extremely excited for that. I want to work out my whole body though, not only my abs and upper body. I don’t care all too much about having big swelling muscles, but I want to look a bit more muscular than I do right now. So, let’s hope that everything goes well at the gym today.

Now I have to go back to work, but I’ll be sure to write about how it went at the gym!

Have an awesome day!

Back at it!

After having been lazy for quite some time and not having written anything, but thought about it almost every day, I’m finally back to writing again. Feels pretty good, and if I had not told myself that I could do something else all the time, I probably would have done it sooner.

I have been working out every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the last two weeks, and I’m feeling awesome. I have a competition with my friend Daniel about who’s going to get 6-pack abs first. I have seen signs of the two first squares on my stommach, but he is much more well trained than me, so I’m not sure who is in the lead really, but that doesn’t matter. I am getting stronger by every passing day and I’m feeling awesome. I have a few goals for my workout, which is to get more flexible, straighten out my back (I hunch from having sat at the computer too much), get washboard abs, gain about 10kg and just get generally fit.

It’s a lot more fun to have someone to work out with. Every other time that I’ve started going to the gym, I’ve done it myself, and that is seriously boring. I am less motivated and I don’t push myself as hard if I’m alone. And I’m also much more prone to just skip it “once” which becomes more and more often and then after a while I quit. So I am really happy that I have someone to work out with.

To keep track of how I’m progressing I have taken a bunch of photographs and measurements, and plan to continue doing so every Monday. This way, I’ll be able to track muscle growth very closely, as well as my weight. I don’t think that I’m going to share everything in detail at least right now, but I’m going to when I reach my goal weight show a form of progress chart. If I’m not too lazy to, that is.

Right now I’m looking forward to another awesome week. A lot has happened in the past two weeks that I’ve been away from the blog, but I’m sure that much more is about to happen. And this time I’ll be trying even harder to be online to write about it.

Post workout thoughts

I am finally home again after my first workout in ages. Especially my arms feel like they’re filled with cement or something, I can’t raise them properly over my head even. It’s really a great feeling. Last time I couldn’t raise my hands over my head my back was hurting so much that I couldn’t do it because of the pain. This is just the sweet feeling of victory. I’m finally getting started with working out! I guess I started out a bit soft though, but that all doesn’t matter. At least I have gotten started at all!
I guess I’ll go to bed early today. I didn’t take any measurements yet, and it’s not like it’s too late for that. I guess that’s something that I’ll have to do tomorrow instead. I’m feeling exhausted, but happy.
The only things left to do today are to pack lunch for tomorrow, take a quick shower and then nosedive into my bed.
Ah, and an update about the blog. I rather like this theme after all, I will of course modify it after my own liking and all, so it might crash or stop working, but it will improve in appearance at least. Anyway, that’s it for today!