Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pääkaupunkijuoksu half-marathon

Today I participated in the biggest local fall half-marathon (21.1 km) called Pääkaupunkijuoksu. The weather was fine, around 15 C (58 F). It felt warmer than that, especially when the sun was shining. Too hot for me, as usual.

The slightly hilly course along narrow dirt roads in the park is enjoyable, but not particularly fast. Between 8-11 km there were lots of new soft sand, which literally sucked.

My time 1:28:55 (4:12/km pace) was quite acceptable, although I was aiming for a sub 1:25 (4:00/km pace). Still, this is my best half-marathon result in the past 17 years and my fifth best time ever.

This was my first attempt at this 36-year-old event as a half-marathon. It used to be a shorter 20K race when I ran my PR 1:18:40 back in 1988 - 21.1 year ago.

I might try again next year.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

No marathon weather in Berlin

As the weather forecast predicted, it turned out to be way too warm for record performances in Berlin Marathon 2009 for most of the 40,923 runners from 122 countries.

Three hours before start Haile Gebrselassie was still optimistic, as always. He ate a breakfast consisting of white bread with jam, butter, tea and juice.

Haile clocked probably the fastest ever 30K with his spectacular 1:27:44 split (unofficial). After losing his last pacemaker (of seven) soon after this Geb slowed down for a 2:06:08 finish.

That's still fast, but nowhere near 2:02 that some folks were dreaming of.

Despite failing to break the WR, this was the fourth consecutive victory in Berlin for Haile. Not bad for a 36-year-old.

Geb said he had felt very tired in the end and conformed that the weather had been too hot, "No marathon weather".

Francis Kiprop of Kenya came second in 2:07:03 and Negari Terfa of Ethiopia was third in 2:07:41.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Anti-Estrogenic Diet

Having enjoyed the original out-of-the-box ideas in Ori Hofmekler's The Warrior Diet, I got interested when I read the first three sentences from his latest book The Anti-Estrogenic Diet:
  • There is too much estrogen in the world today.
  • Never before has the human body been exposed to such an overwhelming amount of estrogenic substances.
  • Most of our conventional food is estrogenic.
The rest of the book deals with how we can prevent estrogen making us fat and sick.

For example, the following are recommended for anti-estrogenic effects:
  • cruciferous vegetables,
  • green leafy vegetables,
  • other vegatables (onions, garlic, celery, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, etc)
  • nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc),
  • seeds (pumpkin, flax, hemp, sesame, etc),
  • avocados,
  • olives and olive oil,
  • berries,
  • citrus fruits,
  • beans (string beans, hummus etc, except soy products)
  • red apples,
  • red grapes,
  • omega-3 oils (from wild-catch fatty fish or flax/hemp seeds),
  • organic dairy (whole milk products from grass-fed cows),
  • whole oats/barley, or quinoa
  • wheat/rice germ oils,
  • raw honey (and other bee products),
  • spices (turmeric/curcumin/curry, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, etc),
  • herbs (green tea, milk thistle, dandelion root, ginger etc),
  • eggs,
  • and last but not least, exercise.

Stuff to avoid include:
  • estrogenic chemicals in various lotions, plasticizers, preservatives, pesticides, weed killers, paints, dyes, lubricants, adhesives etc,
  • grains,
  • sugar,
  • meat from farm animals,
  • refined/processed food,
  • synthetic vitamins,
  • soy,
  • excessive alcohol (beer is the worst, due to hops)
  • estrogenic herbs (licorice etc).
If you are interested, there is more information in the book. Not that much more though, as the main part of the book contains only 114 pages, followed by nice but not so essential chapters (Recipes, Q&A, Appendix, Glossary, References, Index etc).

This book should be especially useful for obese individuals who are disappointed with other diets. But even healthy and skinny runners would probably benefit from learning a bit more about how to protect themselves against our increasingly estrogenic environment.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Climbing skyscrapers with iPod nano 5G

While putting one foot in front of the other as usual, I've been able to climb skyscrapers at Nike+ Active website.

Virtual challenges like that are fairly easy to set up with the pedometer (and possibly other additional Nike+ fitness features) in the new iPod nano.

So I replaced my 21-month-old 3G iPod nano with 5G. The old one is still working perfectly well, so why would anyone want to spend their hard-earned cash on this kind of knick-knackery?

Actually it's a pretty good deal if you consider what you get with the upgrade:
  • videocam (with 15 silly effects like the Kaleido in my test video below - cool!)
  • pedometer (and other features with Nike+ Active if you like)
  • stopwatch (I often find this one convenient to use for sprints etc)
  • FM radio (with Tagged Songs, Live Pause, etc)
  • 16 Gb flash drive (my 3G iPod has 8 Gb only)
  • improved interface (with Genius, VoiceOver, etc)
  • much lighter weight (36.4 g)
  • slightly larger 2.2-inch display
  • recyclable with greener materials (PVC/BFR/Mercury free with arsenic-free glass).

Some people may wonder why not get a iPhone instead, which has all of this and more? For one thing, iPhone is much larger and 3.7 times heavier (135 grams). iPod's battery also tends to last much longer than iPhone's.

Then there are costs to consider. iPhones are very expensive. However, iPod prices are really competitive. For example, I paid 179 euros for this 16Gb model (8 Gb model is 149 only), with free shipping, engraving and support for (PRODUCT) RED (only available from Apple Store).

While waiting for the Nike heart rate monitor for nano, I'd rate the new iPod 5G 9/10. The only thing I miss is a still camera, but you can't have everything in a supercompact size.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spectacular evening sky

Just a quick handheld HDR (auto bracket set to -1, 0, +1) with my trusty LX3 during a recent evening run. Always a sucker for orange clouds on blue sky. Certainly worth stopping for a minute.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Adidas Adizero Adios is back in black

I've got a brand new pair of Adidas Adizero Adios running shoes. I call them the Geb shoes, because Haile Gebrselassie can run very fast with them. For example, he set the marathon World Record 2:03:59 last year in Berlin.

In the video below Geb runs four minute miles on a treadmill. That's much faster than his marathon (or half-marathon) race pace. His running style seems very smooth, there's no sound from the shoes. AAA is an excellent racing flat in every way.

Except the distracting yellow/black/silver/white color scheme, of course. Luckily these new models are black/yellow/silver/white, which makes all the difference to me. They look pretty cool IMHO, considering I've already trained a fortnight without cleaning them.

As far as I know they are pretty much the same in every other aspect. I upgraded sizes from US 10.5 to US 11.0, but they are still ultralight: 219 grams per shoe.

Due to my personal preference and also the location of my home I run mostly on dirt roads. I don't want my shoes to collect too much dirt. Therefore outsole design is a matter of the utmost importance.

These shoes are one of the best I've seen regarding the outsole design. Well done Adidas!

I plan to run a half marathon on dirt in September and a full marathon on asphalt in October with Adidas Adizero Adios. I'll put these shoes - as well myself - to a tough test on both occasions.