Eva Nyström knows how to win races. Although she holds Sweden’s fastest Ironman time she raced successfully on international and domestic level, claiming seven national Triathlon and Duathlon championships as well as setting amazing marks in Wintertriathlon. After runner-up in 2007, 2008 und 2011, Eva won the infamous Powerman Zofingen twice in 2012 and 2013 and was crowned Long Distance Duathlon World Champion when she burnt one of the toughest competitions the Multisport world has to offer.
On her first shot on the mighty Ötillö, herself and Sweden-based Aussi Adriel “Bacon” Young went on to rule the Mixed competition and win the competition in 08:49:58 – a new course record.
You think this is remarkable? Well, add a newborn baby girl to all of that and you get a truly amazing story.
|Picture Credits: Nadja Odenhage|
Runssel: Marika’s and Staffan’s performance at last year’s ÖtillÖ was something else. They burned the preceding course record and outstretched a lot of eyebrows with their overall Top10 finish in 2015. Bacon Young and yourself had no plans on setting a new record this year. Lastly you arrived at Utö Vardhus with a new course best and are the SwimRun World Champions in the mixed category. Now, one week after your race, could you tell the secret of your performance?
Eva Nyström: There is no secret really, just good teamwork, a great day and 20 years of solid training and racing. Many people have talked about it before – If you have trained properly for a long time you somehow have somewhat special left even if you have not trained too much recently. I never believed this until now. I haven’t been working out a lot from the time I found out that I was pregnant one year ago. But still I was training. Compared to my first child I did do less before and after I gave birth this time. I think all the years I have been training and racing paid off. I also know my body very well, and know what I’m capable off. In fact I raced myself back into shape. Before ÖtillÖ I have been competing in 7 races this summer. Just to get back into form. And it worked!
|Picture Credits: Nadja Odenhage|
Runssel: On the 12th of May this year you gave birth to your daughter Julia. Not even four months later you take on one of the roughest endurance competitions in the world. Evidently you have been very fit before you got pregnant but how did you train throughout the pregnancy and after you gave birth to Julia? When did you know you would be able to race ÖtillÖ?
Eva Nyström: I did not train much in the 2 months before I got Julia, but I still did some light training. I basically listened to my body. Before the birth I walked a lot with poles. Straight after Julia’s birth I started to walk again. Slowly I started to run. With swimming I had to wait 8 weeks after the birth. Then I started to race. It was very hard in the beginning but my body felt better and better. I haven´t told Adriel but I emailed Mats and Michel (the ÖtillÖ race directors) and asked if we could push our start till 2017 but we couldn’t. I also wrote a long email to Adriel just a couple of weeks before the competition and explained to him that I couldn’t race because my shape was too bad. Luckily my partner Martin stopped me and I did not send it. Instead he pulled my around a couple of more SwimRuns throughout the end of the summer. Suddenly some days before Ötillö I felt that I was back in shape.
Furthermore I told Adriel once we entered the race that I only would race when I was in shape. He has never asked me about my form. We have been training together a couple of times around the lake where we live. The first time I thought I was going to die. He was running so fast. Afterwards he looked at the watch and told me that we were faster than the group of guys he had trained with the week before. Small things like this encouraged me even more.
|Picture Credits: Jakob Edholm|
Runssel: Could you share any tips for sporty-women on how to get back to full fitness after giving birth? What lessons did you learn?
Eva Nyström: Listen to your body! Only yourself will know what is right for you. Just because someone can train shortly after giving birth doesn´t mean that someone else can. It depends on a lot of things. I have listened to my body and done whatever felt right. Now, two week after the race, I did not really move at all. My body and mind is tired and needs to rest. I think it is very dangerous to tell someone else what to do after giving birth. I think it is very, very specific and individual. Just bring your kids for training. It’s great to run with a baby stroller, just try! Don´t be afraid to bring your kids. If they don´t like it, go home and try tomorrow. Trying is much better than complaining.
Runssel: Bacon and yourself competed together for the first time. It seems to work pretty well. How did you guys meet up and did you train a lot together prior to the race?
Eva Nyström: Adriel lives just a couple of kilometers from our house. Initially he asked my partner Martin Flinta to do Ötillö with him. Martin couldn´t join in because he had already planned to go to China for the Stage Adventure Racing World Championship (…he also won this race!) Martin told Adriel to ask me. This was when I was in the middle of my pregnancy. Nonetheless I was keen to race. Still I cannot understand how Adriel wanted to race with me.
|Picture Credits: Private|
Runssel: You raced a lot of big races throughout the years. It was your first attempt on the ÖtillÖ course. How did you prepare for the course and how do you rate it now that you have done it?
Eva Nyström: To be honest, I did not prepare for the course at all. The plan was simply to have fun and do the race and then maybe come back next year for the victory. But both Adriel and me have been racing Ironmans before so we are in some way adjusted to the length of such a competition. I have also done some multisport, adventure racing and I won Powerman Zofingen, the long-distance Duathlon World Championship two times in 2012 and 2013. Going into the Ötillö we only had a plan of how we should eat and drink.
Runssel: How do you train in general? Do you incorporate your kids in your training regime?
Eva Nyström: Julia is our second child. She has an older brother who is now 5 years old. I have been running a lot with both of my kids. You can say that I build up my running legs for ÖtillÖ with Julia in a Thule Glide. As a replacement for walking with the baby stroller I am running! And I believe in that you should bring your kids whenever it is possibly. Undoubtedly I have been running hundreds of miles with my baby stroller. Furthermore we take our kids with us for strength training. Also on races when it’s possible. We also love to have them with us when we kayak or on the SUP.
|Picture Credits: Thule|
Runssel: Living in Sweden you are no stranger to SwimRun. On your home-turf the sport is booming tremendously. Races are popping up everywhere and the teams are getting faster and faster. What is so special about the sport and how do you see the development of it?
Eva Nyström: I love being out in the nature and I do love open water swimming. Training outside is the best way to see the world! And a SwimRun can be so diverse. You can run on footpaths, in the forest, on rocks, swim in the ocean, lakes, waves etc. There are no borders. You never know with SwimRun racing. If it rains and it is windy it is a different race. Then, on the other hand, if the sun is shining the same course can be totally different, too. I just love the variations.
I think this sport just really started. SwimRun will be big! Just look at the equipment that is out there. A lot of homemade gear and special kits. I have a cheap wetsuit that I have cut and put an extra zipper on the front. And it is working very well. For example Marika and Staffan had make their own pullbouys. There will be a lot of development when it comes to this kind of things. This is just the start!
|Picture Credits: Jakob Edholm|
Runssel: You stated that you would not race ÖtillÖ again. Is that a fact?
Eva Nyström: With our victory we do have a spot for next season. However I am not sure if I will race. But during this past week something has grown inside me. If we could win this year and also take the course record we could go be much stronger next year with some more training and the fact that we now have done the race and know the course. But let me talk to Adriel first!
Runssel: What is the plan for the rest of the season?
Eva Nyström: Now after Ötillö I was resting for a full week. The race was very hard on my body. This week I will slowly get back into training again. The plan is to race Koster Swimrun on the 1st of October with my partner Martin. After that I think I will do some trail races and orienteering because I need to practice my running on technical environment.