Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Living With A SEAL - book review

Living with A SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler is a funny and inspiring book about the art of getting uncomfortable for self-improvement. Routines can be useful, but sometimes you need to push beyond to get better.

The story goes something like this: Mr. Itzler is participating in an ultra relay race. He observes a big African-American runner attempting the challenge by himself. Against all odds the big guy finishes 100 miles in under 19 hours.

Itzler learns he is a badass SEAL who says 'I don't stop when I'm tired. I stop when I'm done.' SEAL believes that when you think you are done, you are only at 40% of what your body is capable.

Inspired, Itzler gets SEAL to live in his home with his family in NYC as a personal trainer for a full month. The book tells the lessons learned during those 31 days.

The unidentified SEAL in the book is David Goggins. Most ultra endurance athletes have heard about this Ironman & Ultraman Hawaii, UTMB and Badwater finisher - to name just a few of his accomplishments.

I found it highly interesting to learn about his unorthodox training methods and uncompromising principles like 'If it doesn't suck, we don't do it.'

For me this hilarious book is a most welcome antidote to all those boring pseudo-scientific training bibles. I laughed out loud frequently while flapping through the pages. SEAL says: 'It doesn't have to be fun. It has to be effective.'

Living with a SEAL is both fun and effective. It's a quick easy read, but at the same time it offers a great opportunity for self-improvement. You don't have to invite SEAl to your home. Just keep in mind that 'Every day do something that makes you uncomfortable.'

For example, I tend to suffer a bit from vertigo, so I climbed a 140m vertical rock tower recently. Or it can be something as simple as taking an ice-cold shower. Just keep in mind: 'Every day is a challenge, otherwise it's not a regular day.'

Drop your self-imposed limits and get out of your comfort zone. Because after this book, 'The only easy day was yesterday.'

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Snow Running in November

"Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood."
 -Andy Goldsworthy

In early November we got 22 cm snow in Helsinki because there was a strong wind blowing warm moist air from the sea to the freezing cold front on the south coast of Finland.

It sure was fun running on new snow already. Snow makes it easier to see as the days are dark this time of the year.

Now it looks like the weather has changed back to normal and most of the snow will possibly melt away in rain during the week ahead.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Downtown Helsinki Sea Pool Swim

The empty lawn and beach waiting for summer.
Allas Sea Pool is a new opportunity to experience an outdoor swim in downtown Helsinki. To kick off November I headed for this new cool city beach. It's easy to find by the seaside marketplace near the ferris wheel.

The seawater pool with Suomenlinna ferry in the background. 
I paid the 9€ entrance fee and changed into my swim gear in the dressing room. After taking the obligatory shower I dashed out to the nice wooden swim area with three pools: a cold 25m sea water pool, a warm 25m pool and a smaller pool for kids. The water in the pools is clean and safe to swim.

The water in the sea pool is as cold as in the harbour, only cleaner of course.
The air temperature was just above the freezing point and the sea wind with drizzling rain bit into my wet skin like a vampire on Halloween. No wonder the sandy beach and green lawn were empty. I literally got cold feet already. Without further ado I jumped in the warm pool.

You can see the glass cafe on the left and the wooden dressing rooms and saunas on the right.
The water was pleasant 27°C. I enjoyed a relaxed 1500m watching the cruise ships and Suomenlinna ferry in the harbour. I shared the fast lane with another swimmer. There were only two lanes. I bet it will get crowded in sunny weather next summer.

The warm pool has two lanes for swimmers. Silja Line cruise ship in the background. 
I finished with a dip in the refreshing 5°C sea water pool. After that I defrosted myself in the sauna. They have separate saunas for men, women and private groups. I felt pretty good afterwards in the cafe. I'll probably visit Allas again in the future.