Wednesday, December 31, 2008

52 down, zero to go - I'm done!

Finally! This was my last self-supported weekly ultramarathon (meaning a training run longer than 42.2 km or 26.2 miles). 

The weather was nice and everything went well.

I ran 47.4 km (29.5 miles) in 5:54.

I'm not sure if it this such a great idea if racing performance means anything, but at least it kept me running. My total mileage in 2008 is 5377.7 km (3341.5 miles) - averaging 14.7 km (9.1 miles) a day for 366 days. I don't think I've ever run more in one year.

I've certainly had my share of injuries during the year, but magically they have all disappeared by now. I'm healthy and in pretty good condition.

52 ultramarathons down, zero to go - I'm done!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tim VanOrden running in deep snow has a great new video about the benefits of deep snow running. 

Ok, I'm convinced... now all I need is deep snow!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kangaroo imitates the 10th fastest Kona Ironman finisher

See 1994 Ironman triathlon World Champion Greg "Kangaroo" Welch perform possibly the best Pauli Kiuru imitation ever - LOL!   

For those of you who just asked 'Pauli who?', he is the most succesful Finnish triathlete. I know him personally as the badass who beat me by 2 hours 20 minutes in Kona 20 years ago :-) 

One of his most famous stunts happened in Ironman New Zealand 1990, when he got lost just before the finish line, then found his way back to the run course and sprinted to beat Ken Glah just in time to win the race by the narrowst margin in Ironman history.

Unfortunately the video below is pretty bad quality, but please at least check out the amazing battle to the finish line around 2 minute mark.

Some of you may also remember Kiuru for almost beating Mark Allen in Hawaii Ironman 1993. Although Mark eventually passed Pauli on the run (Dave Scott observed that Kiuru seemed to give up way too easily, although Pauli claimed cramps forced him to slow down), we should keep in mind that Mark's finish time 8:07:45 is the 3rd fastest in Hawaii ever. And, interestingly, Pauli's 1993 finish time 8:14:27 still ranks 10th fastest in Hawaii.

Here's a list of top ten fastest finish times in Kona ever:
  1. 8:04:08 - Luc Van Lierde (Belgium). 1st place in 1996 (swim 51:05, bike 4:28:06, run 2:55:16).
  2. 8:06:07 - Thomas Hellriegel (Germany). 2nd in 1996 (54:22, 4:24:50, 2:46:55).
  3. 8:07:45 - Mark Allen (USA). 1st in 1993 (50:40, 4:29:00, 2:48:05).
  4. 8:09:08 - Mark Allen (USA). 1st in 1992 (51:27, 4:35:23, 2:42:18).
  5. 8:09:15 - Mark Allen (USA). 1st in 1989 (51:17, 4:37:52, 2:40:04).
  6. 8:10:13 - Dave Scott (USA). 2nd in 1989 (51:16, 4:37:53, 2:41:03).
  7. 8:11:56 - Normann Stadler (Germany). 1st in 2006 (54:05, 4:24:50, 2:46:55).
  8. 8:13:07 - Chris McCormack (Australia). 2nd in 2006 (53:51, 4:29:24, 2:46:02).
  9. 8:14:17 - Faris Al-Sultan (Germany). 1st in 2005 (49:54, 4:25:24, 2:54:51).
  10. 8:14:27 - Pauli Kiuru (Finland). 2nd in 1993 (51:05, 4:28:06, 2:55:16).
So only these eight superfast guys have finished under 8:15 in Kona. As you may have noted, Greg Welch is not on the list, as his best time is 8:18:57 (1996, 3rd place). Of course time is not everything. After all, Greg took the title in 1994, but Pauli wasn't able to realize his dream of conquering Kona. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Finnish dudes celebrate Christmas upside down at the Pole

From their diary at
"After a gruelling and long final dash, we’ve reached the South Pole. We skied almost 90 kilometres during 36 hours. The first Finnish South Pole expedition has reached its goal! Poppis is now one of 12 people in the world who have skied to both poles without external support."
Happy holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

5 Tibetan exercises

These are the famous five Tibetan rites for healing, rejuvenation and longevity.

I'm doing each of the five exercises 21 times every morning (the legend tells that's the magic number you should do). 

I'm not sure yet if I've discovered the fountain of youth, but they seem to wake me up and also help with my injured back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Awesome UltraMan 2008 photos

Hawaii Ironman was certainly enough for me (for example, I don't really remember how I got from T2 to the finish, although the statistics prove that I did run a 4-hour marathon). 

But of course there are people who crave for something more. For those special folks they created the Hawaii UltraMan

Go see these awesome pics by Timothy Carlson now! Only the very best are selected, so there aren't too many of them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Christmas card 250 km from the South Pole

The Finnish South Pole Expedition sent us this Christmas card. Their current location is about 250 km (155 miles) from the pole. Hyvää Joulua means Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

6 most common pushup mistakes

Thanks to the video above by, we get to see the four most common pushup mistakes. 

I'm sorry Kevin, but I couldn't resist to make it a full half-dozen and adding my solutions

Without further ado, here are the 6 most common pushup mistakes.
  1. Not doing any pushups at all. Come on, this is one of the greatest workouts ever invented, and it's freely available anywhere you are.
  2. Letting your elbows go wide. Keep your elbows in - you don't have to squeeze them crazy tight, just make sure they don't travel too wide either.
  3. Sloping your hips down. Always keep your back straight.
  4. Sticking your butt up in the air. Always keep your back straight.
  5. Not going down far enough. Quit thinking you can win in this game by cheating - you should go down all the way and then up all the way. 10 honest pushups are way better than 20 half-pushups.
  6. Hanging your head low like a cow. Imagine a straight line from your feet to the top of your head and then really focus on keeping it that way all the time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My penultimate ultramarathon: 51 down, 1 to go

My penultimate self-supported weekly ultramarathon in 2008 took place in relatively cold and dry conditions. It was a nice day, but no luck with the sun as is almost always the case in the darkest period of the year. After all, Helsinki is as far North as Anchorage.

Anyway, I ran 46.5 km in 7:14 fartlek-style. No problems.

Now when it's 51 down and only the last one to go I'm starting to feel I can pull this off. I wasn't so sure when I began on January 1st. The first two months were definitely the hardest due to extremely cold and stormy weather. Now it's not a big deal anymore. I guess you can get used to almost anything, no matter how crazy it sounds initially.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

50,000 runners @ Singapore Marathon

Singapore Marathon was on December 7th. About 50,000 runners took part, exceeding last year's record of 40,000 runners. So next year it will likely be around 60,000. Wow that's a lot of runners!

Actually I was going to run S'pore marathon a long long time ago. I still can't believe this happened, but the truth is I couldn't find my shoes on race morning - so I couldn't start, although I was otherwise well prepared. Later on I found out that the kids from next door had hidden my shoes when they were drying outside. 

Maybe I've got to come back and do this race some day.   

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marathon inspiration by Rush

This is the song Marathon by the extremely successful Canadian trio called Rush - one of the most enduring rock bands ever. This video is from their Show of Hands tour 20 years ago.

I have listened to it for inspiration before almost every marathon, except my first one in August 1985. The only reason for that is that the album Power Windows was released a couple of months later in October 1985.

Ok, without further ado let's sing all together now:
(music by Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson, lyrics by Neal Peart)
It's not how fast you can go
The force goes into the flow
If you pick up the beat
You can forget about the heat
More than just survival
More than just a flash
More than just a dotted line
More than just a dash

It's a test of ultimate will
The heartbreak climb uphill
Got to pick up the pace
If you want to stay in the race
More than blind ambition
More than simple greed
More than a finish line
Must feed this burning need
In the long run...

From first to last
The peak is never passed
Something always fires the light that gets in your eyes
One moment's high, and glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades in the summer sky

Your meters may overload
You can rest at the side of the road
You can miss a stride
But nobody gets a free ride

More than high performance
More than just a spark
More than just the bottom line
Or a lucky shot in the dark
In the long run...


You can do a lot in a lifetime
If you don't burn out too fast
You can make the most of the distance
First you need endurance
First you've got to last...

Although Rush didn't play this song on their latest tour, the new Snakes And Arrows Live 3DVD is awesome.

And check out Primal Wear's Rush 2112 cycling jersey!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fifty down, two to go

I hurt my lower back in a little accident yesterday. The doctor said it's nothing serious and it should be fine in a few days. So I went out for a little jog and took it really easy.

We've got some snow again, but the ground is very wet all over and it's impossible to run any distance without getting shoes, socks and pretty much everything else wet.

I managed to jog 48.8 km (30.3 miles) in 6:18. Fifty self-supported weekly ultramarathons down, only two to go before the end of this year.

This run and the photo above (which was taken a couple of years ago) are dedicated to my father, who sadly passed away on Saturday in a hospital, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He taught me to love the sea regardless whether it was stormy or calm weather. He will be greatly missed.

If you are interested in fighting Parkinson's, you can for example get involved with Davis Phinney Foundation  in many ways or simply make a donation.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winning Brooks shoe ad... and Racer ST3 vs control shoes

The commercial below, created for Brooks running shoes won a competition in Holland a while ago.

That reminds me that my feet have fallen in love with my Brooks Racer ST 3. I've run 1,672 km (1,039 miles) with my first pair already. Both the shoes and my feet are still going strong, they are almost as good as new!

By the way, when I a few days ago tried to jog a mile in my old stability/motion control/trail shoes, I felt the old injury spot start hurting immediately. Actually I had to walk back home and change into my Brooks to avoid reinjury. Note to self: Stay away from all those darn heavy expensive stability control shoes!  

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Introductory period to kick off my Adaptive Running

To kick off the introductory period of my Adaptive Running training, I've gradually sneaked in the following features:
  • short (8-10 sec) and steep (6-8%) hill sprints,
  • moderate progressions (running later segments of an easy workout at a slightly faster pace), and
  • fartlek intervals (incorporating 30-40 second moderate uphill intervals within an easy workout).
December will be my introductory period into Adaptive Running. The purpose of this relatively short period is to establish an appropriate fitness foundation that will prepare me for for the more challenging and focused training later on.

My fundamental period will start in January - that's when my specific marathon training will take place.

My training cycle will peak with a sharpening period just before my goal marathon race in 2009.

For more information about Adaptive Running, please refer to Run Faster by Brad Hudson.

PS. Keep your eyes peeled on my new Adaptive Runner website to follow my Adaptive Running marathon experiment in 2009.  

Friday, December 5, 2008

3 Ways To Give This Holiday Season

Here's a couple of inspiring Lance Armstrong videos for all you cycling fans out there. And by the way, check out LAF's Three Ways To Give This Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dean Karnazes wins 4Deserts series

sunset in antarctica
Originally uploaded by *christopher*

Although cold and remote, Antarctica sure seems to be a popular continent these days among endurance athletes.

After finishing the Last Desert, Dean Karnazes was declared the overall winner of the 4Deserts series. He also became the first athlete to complete all four events in a calendar year.

A violent storm hit them yesterday, causing the cancellation of Stage 5 of the race. Nine to fourteen meter waves hit their ship, sending stuff flying all over. Sounds like a fun race to do some day! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Finnish duo has eyes for the South Pole

THE POLE - Finnish South Pole Expedition 2008 consisting of two unsupported skiers has already reached 691 km (429 miles) from their destination.

Nothing is stopping this dynamic duo from reaching the pole. They have everything this sort of adventure requires: 
  • physical fitness, 
  • mental strength and
  • experience with arctic expeditions.
Photographer Kari 'Poppis' Suomela will be the 12th person in the world to ski to both poles unsupported.

Ski guide Pasi Ikonen has skied across Greenland with an international expedition.

Good luck guys!

Monday, December 1, 2008

49 down, three to go

Last week we had the biggest snowstorm in 50 years, and now all the snow is gone already.

Running in cold rain is not much fun, but I managed 44.2 km in 5:52.

49 ultramarathons down, three to go!