Kongsberg & Imatra with back problems (& some other problems too…)

After some time with only Swedish competitions, I was really psyched for the international season to continue with World Cups in Norway and Finland. I do always enjoy tough terrain and good, long, courses, so I was especially looking forward to the middle and long in Kongsberg. I felt really confident about these races, and my plan was to really go for it, and try to take my first ever World Cup victory. Unfortunatly, things didn’t go at all as planned.

On the Friday, the day before the competitions, my lower back felt a bit stiff and irritated, which is not a totaly uncommon feeling for me, so I didn’t think so much of it. However, when I was out running the model event it felt quite bad, a lot worse than it had been for months, and I was thinking about cutting it short and go back to our cars, but I decided against it (bad choice!), and continued my run. 2 minutes later, I hit my foot on a root and fell over, and at the same time my back cramped up really bad and started to hurt like hell. No choice than to walk (crawl!?) back to the cars and lie down. After some treatment from our physio Martin Holth, it felt slightly better, and I was feeling positive about beeing able to run the races.

On the Saturday it felt a lot better, and while hanging out with the rest of the swedes in the quarantine, it felt like it was going to work. During my warm up, however, it felt shit. I decided to go for it anyway (bad choice!), and hope that it would feel better after the start signal.

It didn’t.

I could not take one step that didn’t hurt, and I was really passive and careful in the forest, which just isn’t the way I normally do things. At the 3rd control I stood 5 meters from the control and thought ”Fuck this! I’ll just go home”, but after a few seconds of carefully pondering my options, I decided to continue my race (bad choice!). The rest of the course I spent in some sort of delusion that my back worked fine, and despite some occasional doubts caused by the searing pain in every step, I continually decided to carry on (bad choices!). In the end, I finished 5th, which was nothing less than a small miracle.

Map
Results

After the race my back felt terrible. I could barely walk, and I had to lie down in the back of the minibus on the way back from the arena, because sitting was not an option. I decided not to run the long distance the day after. (Good choice!)

I was really disappointed with my weekend, which obviously didn’t go at all as I wanted, but I was already focusing on getting better so I could run the sprint in Imatra, Finland, on the wednesday. It did feel a lot better each day, and I was starting to get hopeful again. But, once again, the model event the day before turned out to be a really bad thing for me. I got the advice from our physio Fredrik to test my back by running hard for some parts of the course, and so I did. For 20 seconds. Then I slipped in the grass, and hit my thigh on a tree stub (yes, there was actually one tree stub on the model event map – and I managed to smash right into it). Fucking incredible. I just couldn’t believe it, as if my back problems wasn’t enough?

Anyway, I decided once again to wait until after my warm up to see if I actually could run, and once again I decided that I could, and once again I felt shit during the race. This time it was a combination on my back, my thigh, and the fact that I barely had moved for 3days. After the qualification I was really disappointed with my physique, and had almost decided not to run the final. But, this time my body really surprised me, and after a few hours both my back and my thigh felt better than before my race, which meant that I did run the final, and it went OK, but no more than that, and I ended up as 6th.

Map, final
Results, final

In the Unofficial Sprint Relay on the Thursday I ran the 3rd leg in SWE2. I did a good race, and lost only 2 seconds on Jonas in SWE1 who had the fastest split of all guys, and we ended up as 2nd after Denmark. And my body felt better (except for my right elbow, which took most of the impact after my spectacular crash at the 3rd control), which was nice for a change. Hopefully it will continue in this direction, so that I will 100% recovered to Jukola.

Map
Results

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