Tuesday, February 26, 2008

9 down 43 to go

Today was a fine day for the last ultramarathon of February. It was kind of sunny, but not warm.

I ran 46.3 km (28.8 miles) in 5 hours 27 minutes. I could have run more, but my foot pod (which measures distance) died suddenly, so I called it a day.

9 ultramarathons down, 43 to go!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

SwissAlpine 2008 online registration now open

SwissAlpine Davos 2008 online registration is now open. As always, the events (there are various race distances and routes available) will be on the last Saturday of July, so this year it will be on July 26th.
You can register anytime you want before that date. There is no limit for the number of runners. However, it pays to register in advance, because they will mail free train tickets to you. The tickets are convenient as you can simply take the next train to Davos from the airport.
You will also get a free local train/bus/mountain pass for the race week, which is great for exploring the sights around Davos.  
It's not a secret that this is my favourite ultra race. I ran it the first time in 1995, when it was only 67 km. Last year I went to check the new 78.5 km (48.8 miles) route, which is superb. I feel the panoramatrail adds sufficient challenge and excitement.
Last summer we got a rain shower up there, and I fell down on a slippery downhill about 16 km before the finish. After medical checkup I was able to continue and finish the race in under 10 hours, about an hour slower that I had aimed for. The time limit is 12 hours for the ultramarathon.

To download my Google Earth Tour of the SwissAlpine 78,5 km route, go here. Then click "view in Google Earth" and the small KLM-file will download. Then double click that file and it will open in Google Earth. Select 'Play Tour' from the Tools menu for the Tour to start. It fives you a 'helicopter' view of the course, showing you all the aidstations, their distance from the start, and height from sea level.    

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Racingtheplanet Vietnam ending today

Racingtheplanet: Vietnam is ending today in the town square of Sapa. The last stage of this six-stage adventure footrace will be an easy one compared to the previous ones. Stage one, for example, was a 105 km long muddy challenge.

The race location, Sapa, is an area which is home to IndoChina's tallest mountain, Fansipan, at 3143 meters.

There are competitors from 22 countries participating in the race.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Beautiful ultramarathon day

It rained heavily in the morning, but luckily the sky cleared up before noon. It turned out to be a beautiful warm spring day. Just like March or April, already in February! 

So I decided to do my long run of the week today. The trails were a little wet and muddy, but almost all ice had smelted away. The temperature rose comfortably to +7 C (44 F).

I ran 46.2 km (28.7 miles) in 5 hours 19 minutes - a slow pace. Perhaps I stopped to take photos too often, but it was impossible to resist the temptation. 

The warm föhn wind kept on blowing gently from the west all day long. I probably got slightly dehydrated towards the end of the run, so I headed back home when the sun went down.    

Eight ultramarathons down, 44 to go!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dean's secrets of running the Napa Valley Marathon

According to a report by The Napa Valley Register, the Napa Valley Marathon weekend will be a busy one for Dean Karnazes.
First he will run from his home in San Francisco to Napa in time for participation in the Sports and Fitness Expo's panel discussion on 'Secrets of Running the Napa Valley Marathon Course' on Saturday, March 1.

After that Dean is going to continue on foot to Calistoga for the marathon race on Sunday, March 2. 

It goes without saying that he will then run back to San Francisco to cap his ultramarathon weekend. 

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Glen Turner begins solo run across America

Ultrarunner Glen R. Turner begins his unsupported solo journey run across America today in Oceanside, CA.

His goal is to finish averaging at least 74 km (46 miles) per day in pursuit of the fastest ever crossing of the United States. 

Glen's route will travel 2500 miles through eight states. He will be running inside a custom built running cart that doubles as a sleeping shelter - think Forrest Gump meets Fred Flintstone!

He also wishes to inspire kids into running and to teach them about fitness and health.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Deuter Speed Lite 10 backpack

Deuter Speed Lite 10 is the best ultralight backpack for running I've tried so far.

The design is very comfortable. I cut the unnecessary lower waist straps away to make it even lighter. It's big enough for water and snacks for a very long run. Recommended.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Susitna 100 tomorrow

Susitna 100 mile (and Little Su 50K) races on foot/bike/ski through remote forests, frozen rivers and lakes in Alaska will be on Saturday February 16.

I won't be taking part but Bill Bradley will. Here's a video showing how this ultra man has been training for this cool race. 

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Marathon Challenge TV documentary now on DVD

If you are like me you haven't had time to catch the NOVA documentary Marathon Challenge on TV because you have been out there running all the time.  The good news is that it's now available on DVD. It tells the story of a dozen ordinary people of TEAM NOVA, who are not in a good shape by any means,  attempting to train for a marathon - the Boston Marathon in this case. 

Before their ultimate goal of finishing the marathon the team has to make it through the various tests supervised by professional medical staff in a lab. They are even assigned a real coach to kick their fat asses during their weekly training sessions. 

What's more there's the additional inspiration provided by Uta Pippig, the three-time Boston Marathon winner. Her excellent marathon wisdom can be consolidated into the following three points:
  • running 26.2 miles is not limited by physical capabilities but rather the mind
  • the process can be made easier by dividing it into many small goals
  • the reward is that you will learn more about yourself and your mental capabilities.
As far as TV documentaries go this is pretty good and interesting. It's well-edited and covers all the major problems one has to solve to achieve the marathon goal. It also briefly features interesting experts like the anthropologist Daniel Lieberman, famous for his study How running made us human

I would recommend this DVD for all novice runners and would-be marathoners. I guess there's not much new for the experienced marathoners but it's still well worth seeing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New vitamin D study: sunshine beats supplements

ScienceDaily (Jan 27, 2008) - Low blood levels of vitamin D have long been associated with disease. Supplemental vitamin D has been used for decades - the assumption has been that it might help prevent disease.
However, this new research by Trevor Marshall (PhD, professor at Australia's Murdoch University) shows that those assumptions may have been wrong: the use of vitamin D supplements can actually be harmful, as they seem to suppress the immune system so that the body cannot fight disease and infection effectively.
The low levels of vitamin D may actually be a result of the disease, and increasing synthetic vitamin D intake may often make the disease worse. Ingested vitamin D can actually block the nuclear receptor activation - the opposite effect to that of sunshine, the best source of natural vitamin D.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Week 7 ultra run

Today there was light rain but the weather was actually very nice, so I decided this is going to be the ultra day of week 7. It was slightly over 3 degrees C (38F). 

I ran 45.9 km (28.5 miles) in 4 hours and 57 minutes. First I did a large tour in the Central Park and then added a few laps in the smaller park by the sea in the center of the city.

Seven ultramarathons down, 45 to go!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A new course record at Arrowhead 135

On Monday, a few brave individuals wanted to find out once again: 'Who is tougher than the Arrowhead?'
Surprisingly many were able to finish (27 out of over 50 starters). John Storkamp set a new course record 40h 30min in the foot category. 

Arrowhead Winter Ultra is a 135 mile (217 km) race on foot, bike or skis across the Arrowhead region of Northern Minnesota. There is only one check point serving water and hot soup at a cabin about the midway point. Otherwise racers are self-supported with a cutoff time of 60 hours. 

The temperatures sunk as low as -22 degrees F (-30 C) at night and hit a balmy +35 F (+2 C) during the day. Contrary to previous years there was no moon, only stars.  A few people heard wolves howling in the darkness and noticed paw prints on the trail.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

UltraMarathon Man

The World Premiere of the Dean Karnazes documentary UltraMarathon Man by JB Benna will be shown on February 21 in Los Angeles, CA. The film follows Dean in his attempt to run 50 official marathon routes in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. The challenge inspired thousands of runners of all ages and abilities to join him along the path. Now the rest of us will have a chance to get inspired while sitting comfortably in our chairs!

Of course the number 7 bestselling sports book in the world, Ultramarathon Man, is what made Dean and ultra running famous in the first place. It could be the most inspiring running book ever written, including well-composed stories about WS100, Badwater, and other great ultra events.   

And for the real fans, there's even Dean Karnazes signature 'Go Farther' insoles available - how cool is that? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

6 down, 46 to go

This is one of those weeks when there just doesn't seem to be enough time for a long run, but I made it. I ran my weekly ultra marathon today, 43.3 km (26.9 miles) to be exact. It took me 4:45. The weather was excellent for running purposes, +3C. Normally it would be much colder in February and there would be lots of snow.   

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gradually longer days

My running mileage seems to get higher as the days get gradually longer. I logged the highest weekly mileage of this year during week 5, 109.2 km (67.9 miles).

Today I did a fartlek type of 11 km training run in the morning, and a 9 km tempo run in the evening. We had a nice sunny, almost springish day. Except that it started snowing again tonight.

In the photo you can see what sort of icy dirt roads I do most of my training on. You have to be careful as the ice is often covered with a thin layer of new snow.

So far so good!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Running through a snowstorm

The weather report for today predicted a snowstorm. It had passed Sweden yesterday and they had some issues with electricity and stuff there. 

I headed out anyway as it didn't seem too bad in the morning and I really felt like going long today. The wind was pretty strong when I crossed the bridge leading to the islands in the west. My plan was to turn back to east later on. 

It started to snow heavily after about 90 minutes. I turned my back to the wind and sort of sailed through it all. It was kind of nice to run on soft new snow. The temperature stayed just above the freezing point and the snowflakes stuck on my clothes.

I totalled 45.3 km (28.1 miles) in 5 hours and 20 minutes with an average HR of 128. I had to run the last five km against the wind and the gusts nearly stopped my forward momentum at times. What's more, my feet were a bit wet, so I figured that's enough fun for one day.

5 ultramarathons down, 47 left!