Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Self-supported 50+K

The weather was once again fantastic today. The nice thing about living so far up north is that it rarely gets too warm for running here, not even on summer days like this when the sun is shining over 18 hours a day. The temperature felt just right for me: 14-17 degrees C (around 60F), with a nice cool breeze going on all day long.

I ran 52.3K (32.5 miles) in 6:12. The heel of my left foot is still a little sore, so I tried to land more on the forefoot than the heel. That seemed to help.

So this was my self-supported ultramarathon of week 22. As you may know it's my goal to run one ultramarathon (beyond 42.2K) each week, at least until the end of this year. So far so good.   

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Finland's Toivanen runs 2:59 at IM Lanzarote

Finnish triathlete Teemu Toivanen ran the fastest marathon of the day (2:59) at Ironman Lanzarote, but that wasn't enough to catch Belgian Bert Jammaer, who had a comfortable 15 minute lead after the grueling 180K bike. 

Jammaer ran a 3:06 marathon and crossed the finish line in 8:59, which is a respectable time for this tough course. 

Toivanen, who was 11th after bike, came second in 9:08, beating Estonian bike monster Ain-Alar Juhanson by 22 seconds.

Official race coverage can be found at

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Salomon XT Wings - seven weeks later

Seven weeks ago I posted a review of my new Salomon XT Wings trail running shoes. Let's take another look at them now, after I've run 928K (577 miles) with them.

The red rubber in the back heel part of the shoe is pretty much done. If this keeps up there will soon be nothing left. The front part of the shoe is still ok though.   

These special laces do not seem to be very durable, do they? They just snapped under pressure, I didn't hit them with a sharp rock or anything like that. That's not a nice thing to happen, especially when you are out there running. By the way they promised to get me a new set of laces for free next week.

After doing some shopping around, I bought a new pair of wings, because they are widely available for a reasonable price. I only changed colors from red to grey. I thought that reflects my transition of feelings about these shoes quite well.  

Friday, May 23, 2008

Self-supported ultramarathon of week 21

Today it was time for my self-supported ultramarathon of week 21. It was a really great day for running, sunny and cool. The temperature ranged from +6 to +14 degrees C.

I ran 46K in 5 hours 15 minutes. My left heel is a little sore, but otherwise everything went well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ride a bike, you'd be home by now

Riding on freeways is illegal, because you must maintain a minimum speed. However in most cities bikes are faster than cars during rush hours. And it's much more economical and ecological to ride.  

Actually I always run to work and back, but if it was more than 8 miles or I couldn't run I'd certainly ride - not on freeways though. 

Whatever you do, avoid driving. 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

World's simplest quinoa recipes

Quinoa is an ancient South-American seed that more and more athletes and other health-conscious people seem to be interested in eating nowadays. The reason for this is that quinoa contains a well-balanced set of amino acids and minerals. Quinoa is also gluten and cholesterol free. 

Cooking quinoa is easy peasy: take one part quinoa, rinse it and bring to boil with two parts of water (or vegetable stock). Simply let it simmer with lid on until all liquid is absorbed and it's ready.

I buy Biofair or some other brand of organic fair trade quinoa.  

Quinoa Breakfast

Quinoa Salad
  • quinoa
  • tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • chevre or mozzarella or parmesan
  • lettuce (Romaine etc.)
  • grapes or apple or other fruit
  • fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil, etc.)
  • lime or lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • walnuts or some other suitable nuts 
  • red onion and garlic (only if you really like them)
  • salt and pepper
You may add or replace ingredients as you wish - this is just an example. Bon appetit!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dean's mission

According to his blog, Dean Karnazes attempts to run the California Missions Trail from Sonoma to San Diego, where he will participate in the Rock'n'Roll Marathon on June 1. 

Dean will start tomorrow, which gives him 14 days to cover the distance of about 700 miles. That's only 50 miles a day, so it's not a big deal for Ultramarathon Man.

Actually this is just a warm up for the next big thing. After this 'mission possible' Dean will have a couple of days to recover and pack before flying to China. He will start the Gobi March on June 8, the second race in the 4deserts series in 2008. As you may know, he won the first race in Chile earlier this year.  

Way to go Karno! 

Friday, May 16, 2008

A trail run, captured in YouTube mode

My new Casio Exilim EX-Z200 digital camera features a much advertised YouTube Capture Mode so naturally I was curious to try it. 

To be honest I was really surprised to see how bad the quality is, it's certainly much worse than the normal video settings.

Anyway this following 40 second video is from my yesterday's ultramarathon training run by the river. It was shot very early in the morning.

By the way, if you would like to see a spectacular selection of recent French trail running videos, check out La Mouss TV. Hint: you can view the list of the races available by clicking the 'playlist'.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

20 down, 32 to go

Today I ran the 20th self-supported ultramarathon training run of the year. It was a cold but beautiful morning. The steaming river looked absolutely awesome. Everything seemed so fine, but things were about to change soon.

At about 20K point I ran a special trail made for runners only. No bikes or dogs are allowed on this trail, so I was a bit surprised to see a lady with a dog there. I wasn't going to say anything because I wanted to get going, but when I tried to pass them I noticed the dog was unleashed, which is against the law in Helsinki. 

Suddenly the dog jumped at me fiercely, and I felt sharp pain in my right thigh. The lady made the dog calm down, but she refused to believe my theory that the pain in my leg was caused by the dog's claws. "My dog loves people and would never hurt them", she said and went away. 

I thought she's crazy and ran home to clean my wounds so it wouldn't get infected. I couldn't make it stop bleeding completely, so I just took care of it the best I could and continued my run.   

After 30K it started to rain a little, and I thought nothing of it until it really started pouring. Man, did I feel cold out there today!

I managed to run 45.6K (28.3 miles) altogether in 5:54. 20 ultramarathons down, 32 to go!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A trip down memory lane

Found these organizing old photos.

The picture above is from my first official marathon, Helsinki City Marathon 1985. 3:24.

This is my finish in Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship in 1988. 11:19 was my PR (so far) so I was happy. It was an awesome experience to be able to train for three weeks and then compete on the Big Island.

Those were the times when everyone was trying to train like Dave Scott, Scott Tinley and Scott Molina. I trained every day, because it seemed that's what everyone else were doing. A week before the race I climbed Mauna Kea and suffered from bad dehydration. Still I kept on training every day. On the night before the race I saw Dave Scott running down the street, so I went out for an easy jog. I had no idea that The Man wouldn't be starting in the morning because of an leg injury.

Challenge Roth is one of the biggest 140.6-mile triathlons in Europe. It's certainly a fast course. I've finished iot three times. In 1990 I finished with a 3:19 marathon (see photo above), which is my fastest ever in a triathlon. Also the 56-minute swim in the same race is still my best long distance performance.

In 1995 I spent the summer in Switzerland, training in the Alps every day and often racing in berglaufs during weekends.

The photo above is from the Swiss Alpine marathon 1995. It was officially a 67K course. They say it was really closer to 72 km. My finish time was 7:29. I was happy to finish it at all, as I had injured my leg in a fall during one of the training runs.

Nowadays the Swiss Alpine K78 course is 78.5 km.

My longest running competition so far is Comrades Marathon, the famous ultra road race in South Africa. With well over ten thousand competitors and live TV coverage, it's a huge event.
In 1996 the distance on the uphill route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg was 86.7K (53.9 miles), which I covered in 9:30.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Helsinki City Run

6598 runners completed the annual Helsinki City Run half-marathon yesterday in wonderful summer weather. I did not participate in the race myself, but it was fun to watch.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Zen and the art of podcasting

If you're a middle of the pack Ironman triathlete looking for podcasts by crazy people who succesfully juggle family, work, friends, training and racing with a grin on their face, then Zen and the Art of Triathlon is definitely the show for you. I think everyone - also non-triathletes - should check it out. 

Another great podcast is the new show called Trails and Tribulations. It focuses specifically on ultra trail running. Thank you Kim and Andrew for your awesome contributions so far!

If you still crave for more, then you might want take the Jetpack Show into consideration. He seems to be the Lance Armstrong of agegroup triathlon: a testicular cancer survivor who started training after his miraculous recovery and finished an Ironman. It's a funny show, although it often sucks big time. Kim expresses it very well in the beginning of Jetpacks latest episode, Anti-Show of Suck:  "Hey there everybody, this is Kimber from the Trails and Tribulations podcast, and you are listening to the Jetpack Show - and I'm really sorry."  

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

19 down, 33 to go

Today was a sunny but cool (from +3 to +9 C, ie. way under 50 F) day, perfect for running my weekly ultramarathon training run.  

I ran 44.6K (27.7 miles) in 5:07. 

19 ultramarathons down, 33 to go!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mackey blows out Miwok 100K field

Marin Independent Journal: Dave Mackey won Miwok 100K Trail Race on Saturday in 7:53, destroying not only the respectable field including top ultra runners like Jon Olsen (2.), Scott Jurek (4.) and Erik Skaden (6.), but Lon Freeman's course record 8:09 as well.

There's another race report in Topher & Kim's Adventures. Topher Gaylord finished 7th.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

18 down, 34 to go

I ran 43 km (26.7 miles) today. The weather was fine, temperatures ranging from 10 to 15 degrees C  (50-60 F). 

According to my training log, I've run exactly 2000 km (1242 miles) since January 1, 2008.    

18 ultramarathons down, 34 to go.