Monday, May 31, 2010

Anton Krupicka interview @ Competitor Running

There's an interesting Anton Krupicka interview at Competitor Running: A Simple Kind Of Man.

Tony, who by the way has degrees both in Physics and Philosophy, manages to cover an amazing number of hot topics:

  • his early background and the mountains
  • his bad college running career
  • the book that inspired him to become an ultrarunner
  • his marathon PR
  • simplicity in running
  • hydration and fueling
  • Miwok 100K (his last race, which he won)
  • Western States 100 (his next race)
  • recovery
  • listening to body
  • his training method
  • Dean Karnazes
  • the New Balance Minimus shoes
  • dangers of barefoot running
  • Zen and visualization.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Comrades Marathon live video streaming now

You can watch Comrades Marathon 2010 live video streaming online from South Africa now at

They also provide an excellent Track Your Runner service.

This is the largest ultramarathon in the world:

  • almost 20,000 runners
  • almost 90 km
  • almost a chance to win for Josh Cox...

Please hurry, the race is on already!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Suneson keeps on running across USA through hailstorms

Björn Suneson was heavily hit by tornado-strength hailstorms on his coast-to-coast run across USA on Tuesday. He blogs daily and seems to live by his motto found at the end of his postings: Keep on running!

His only companion is a 3-wheel baby jogger, so he was in a bit of trouble. Luckily two guys who were chasing tornadoes allowed him to sit in their car until the worst was over. The photo above was taken by one of his saviors, Greg Guise, when they first spotted this crazybrave Swede on the road.

Mr. Suneson, a former economics journalist in his sixties, is now located in Valentine (Nebraska). He is an experienced runner and this will be his second crossing of America. He has already covered 2590 km, so he is about halfway through to Tybee Island (Georgia).

The video below shows his start from Westport (Washington) on April 8th.

Keep on running!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Simple & secure shoelace knot

Here is a simple and secure shoelace knot. It's perfect for all your racing and training. It will also open easily, but only when you want it to.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Angiogenesis: eat fruits and vegs to beat disease

William Li talks about angiogenesis, ie. the growth of new blood vessels, at TED.

"In fact we are probably forming these microscopic cancers all the time in out body... Yet without a blood supply, most of these cancers will never become dangerous."

The main message to take away from this presentation is that you can eat fruits and vegs to keep angiogenesis well balanced, optimal and under control.

Although Li mentions certain foods like red grapes and strawberries, I believe it's important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for their synergestic effects rather than hunt for specific substances like resveratrol.

Actually I try to avoid grapes and berries unless they are organic. Red wine is even worse, as one would have to drink about three bottles a day to get enough resveratrol for any positive health effect. What's more, any potential health benefits would be totally negated by alcohol.      

The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are obvious. Simply eat them and watch your health improve. We already know enough to take action into our own hands, so take action now and change your life!

More information from

Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, is a "common denominator" shared by diseases affecting more than one billion people worldwide. This includes all cancers, cardiovascular disease, blindness, arthritis, complications of AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and more than 70 other major health conditions affecting children and adults in developed and developing nations. Our vision is that angiogenesis-based therapies are a unifying approach to disease and will have the same impact in the 21st century that antibiotics had in the 20th century.

In many serious diseases states the body loses control over angiogenesis. Angiogenesis-dependent diseases result when new blood vessels either grow excessively or insufficiently.

Excessive angiogenesis: Occurs in diseases such as cancer, diabetic blindness, age-related macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and more than 70 other conditions.

Insufficient angiogenesis: Occurs in diseases such as coronary artery disease, stroke, and chronic wounds.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Three myths about sweet fruit and sugars in them

Yes there can be lots of sugars in fruit, that's why they taste so sweet and delicious. That 's why we love them. That's also why some of us hate or fear them. There are many strong myths and beliefs circulating around that have prevented even some intelligent health conscious individuals from eating sweet fruits. Not to speak of dumbasses like me - I stupidly used to avoid sweet fruits until fairly recently.

Myth 1: Sugar is bad for you - sweet fruits contain sugar - therefore sweet fruits are bad. The simple sugars from fruits spikes your blood sugar and will inevitably cause diabetes, candida, and other diseases.

Dr. Douglas Graham wrote in The 80/10/10 Diet:

"The mistaken notion that eating fruit causes blood-sugar problems underlies most admonitions to steer clear of fruit, especially sweet fruit. Granted, high blood sugar does lead to Candida outbreaks, chronic fatigue, hyper- and hypoglycemia, diabetes, and a host of other conditions and diseases, even cancer. Too much sugar is indeed bad for you, though it is almost impossible to get too much sugar from the consumption of fresh fruit. Eating fruit is not the cause of blood sugar problems... not when you are eating a low-fat diet, that is. When the system is not gummed up with excess fat, the sugar from even 'high-glycemic' fruit moves easily in and then out of the blood."

"In fact, if we consume much less than 80% of our calories as carbohydrates, we are destined to consume too much protein, fat or both... More than ten percent of daily calories from protein results in low energy and acid toxemia, a precursor for osteoporosis, kidney disease, arthritis, immune dysfunction, and cancer. More than ten percent of daily calories from fat leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and many other maladies."

Whole fresh fruits contain the fuel upon which we are designed to thrive - simple sugars. Eating the fruit fresh and whole is key to success, as the soft fiber in fruits allow their sugars to absorb gradually. For example, if you juice a fruit, you take away the fiber and are left with refined simple carbohydrates, ie. empty calories and junk food.

Complex carbohydrate foods like grains and legumes taste bland, often require cooking and are nutritionally inferior to fruits and vegetables. They are generally not a great choice.

Myth 2: Hybrid man-made supersweet seedless fruit like banana etc should be avoided, because they are unnatural calorie dense sugar bombs. In the past man couldn't have survived and evolved on a fruit-based diet, when fruits contained much smaller amounts of sugar.

Dr. Douglas Graham answered on Raw Food & Sports Nutrition forum recently:

"If bananas are 30 times sweeter, as claimed, that would mean that to get a meal of bananas, instead of eating 15 of em, I would have to have eaten 450. Where the heck would I find 450 ripe bananas all at once, and how could a human eat that many at a meal?

All plants, and all animals are hybrids. Hybridization is nothing to fear. When fruit is sweeter, you are satisfied sooner, hence you eat less of it.

The banana has been the banana, for as far back in time as we can follow it. It hasn't changed, except that the banana hybridized, by itself, to a seedless form. Man had nothing to do with it. But the old seeded forms are just as sweet, if not sweeter, than today's banana. I believe the idea that fruit is sweeter today than it was is hogwash. I know for fact that many fruits today are not as sweet, or as tasty, as they were when I was a kid. Only a few fruits are sweeter today, the grapefruit being the first that comes to my mind.

Show me some facts about fruit being sweeter today, and I will openly consider it. Otherwise, we are dealing solely with unfounded and unsupported hearsay."

Still not convinced? Read this excellent article: In Defense of Hybrid Fruit.

Myth 3: Sweet (and often acid) fruit cause tooth decay.

Dr. Douglas Graham writes in The 80/10/10 Diet:

"It appears that dehydrated foods have the most profound negative effect on teeth." He refers to dried and acid-forming fruit, nuts, seeds, complex carbohydrates, and refined simple carbohydrates. However, "Whole, Fresh, ripe, raw fruits and vegetables are excellent foods for teeth and gums."

Cleaning your teeth carefully is important, whatever you eat. I use a soft toothbrush with water and floss gently between the teeth. "Improper flossing can irritate the gums and result in unnatural enlargement of the pockets between the teeth and gums."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Forks Over Knives movie trailer

There's yet another food-related documentary coming out this summer.

To be honest I'm not super excited about the movie, because to eat the way (cooked vegan food) they advocate would be a step backwards for a low fat frugivore like me.

But without a doubt for the majority of people it would be a huge step forwards. Fortunately tons of fatty folks are getting the message already and changing their habits for the better. That could eventually make a big worldwide difference in reduced health care and environmental costs.

Before seeing the film, I recommend you read The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell, one of the featured researchers in Forks Over Knives. In summary, Dr. Campbell's long term research project found out that people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease, and the people who ate the most plant-besed foods were the healthiest. Animal protein was linked to cancer.

This result is not surprising in itself. What's surprising is that nutritional confusion about this simple fact of life still continues. Therefore we need more films like Forks Over Knives.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Finnish woman summits Everest

Carina Räihä, 43, became the first Finnish woman to climb to the summit of Mount Everest on Monday. She is as an Ambassador for World Wildlife Fund in Finland.

Only 18 months ago Ms Räihä was succesfully working as a Senior Vice President for Citibank. When she was asked to name one person from her team to be fired, she selected herself. After resigning from the company she started training fulltime for the Everest project, which had been a dream of hers.

Ms Räihä climbed with the international Peak Freaks team. Another Finish woman, Anne-Mari Hyryläinen, has been her competitor this spring on Everest, but so far her SkyClimbers team hasn't been succesful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 110 review

I've got a new toy with the latest technology and I like it, but not for those geeky features. I like it because it is small, simple to use and actually works very well. It's a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch with heart rate monitor.

It currently sells for 249€, but I paid 144€ (including FedEx) for this. So it pays to look around for a better price.

Most of the things that Will wrote in his thorough and excellent Garmin 405 review is also true with this new gadget, so please read his blog first. Except for one thing: "This is no simple stopwatch with a GPS".  Because FR 110 is just that, a simple stopwatch with a GPS. It is not only a toy for fit geeks. FR 110 is useful for all runners, joggers or walkers who want to know mainly two things: how far and how fast [edit: FR 110 uses Smart Tracking for distance, which means it takes a new measurement every 3-5 seconds (some GPS watches have a more accurate 1 sec option available). It also measures average pace/speed only, not the current one.]

Having said that, FR 110 can also be used for cycling and other sports, if you change the pace setting under the menu button to speed. It also counts your calories and lap times automatically, if you care for such features.

What's different inside is the new SiRFstarIV chipset, which is more sensitive and has a lower power consumption (only 8 mW vs SiRFstarIII's 20 mW). That has enabled Garmin to design a smaller antenna and battery in the watch.

What's different on the outside is the decreased length and thickness of the watch. It's also lighter in weight, only 52 grams. The heart rate strap adds about 72 grams, but wearing it around your chest is optional of course.

The design is simple with four buttons: start/stop, lap/reset, page/menu and light.

Starting to use FR110 for the first time was really easy: I charged the battery until full (took about 1h), then wrapped it around my wrist, answered a few simple questions for the profile (took about 1 minute) and went out to locate satellites (took about 30 seconds). Then I just pressed start and went for a run. No need to study the manuals.

When you are finished, just press stop, and then hold reset to store your workout data in history.

Connect the USB cable to your computer and upload the file to your Garmin Connect account. This worked fine on my Mac without any issues. If you are not a geek who can't wait to upload everything at once, dont' worry. You can store up to 180h worth of workout data in your watch history storage.

Garmin Connect gives you a nice summary with a map as well as timing, elevation, and heart rate charts. You can share everything all over the net if you wish, or keep it private in case there's nothing much to boast about.

The only negative thing I can think of is that the max 8h battery life (with the GPS and heart rate monitor on) means this is pretty much useless for the longer ultra races. But most of my training sessions are much shorter than that. And with a cool technical assistant like this I can only get faster, right?

Summary: I would take this compact and simple design any day rather than carry a heavier and more complex piece on my wrist. I highly recommend Garmin Forerunner 110, it's a winner.

Tip: If you own a ANT+ heart rate monitor strap, it will probably work with FR 110, which is available for a reduced price without the Garmin heart rate strap. Also Garmin has a Premium soft heart rate strap available, if you don't like the standard one. The standard strap works fine for me though.

By the way, the example above was just a test run with a heavy backbag, I wouldn't normally run this slow!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Frugivore Lifestyle

Artist Michelle Aslan has an excellent website about Frugivore Lifestyle. It's dedicated to providing information what it takes to succeed on a frugivore diet, which means eating mainly fruits and vegetables. Especially the articles there are interesting and useful to read.

Many of those articles can also be found in Michelleaslan's Blog.

She has also written a free online ebook for transitioning to frugivore lifestyle: Road Map.

Highly recommended!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Scott Jurek in Versailles

It's possible that where ever Scott Jurek goes, he is always running or talking about running, while preparing for a major ultra race. At least these Versailles videos (taken May 6th 2010) seem to prove this true. Versailles is located 10 miles southwest of Paris, France.

As we now know, right after this Scott went on to run 266.7 km at 24h World Championships in Brive, placing 2nd and setting a new American Record.

By the way, that has got to be the longest distance anyone has run continuously with a pair of Brooks Green Silence racing flats.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Scott Jurek in Brive 24h World Championships today

Live coverage of 24h run World Championships in Brive (France) starts today.

Vegan ultramarathoner Scott Jurek says in NYT he can break the American Record 261 km (162 miles), but probably not the World Record of 303.5 km (188.6 miles) held by Yiannis Kouros.

After that Jurek would like to win the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (over 100 mile course around Mont Blanc in France, Italy and Switzerland in August), where his best finish so far is 18th.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where do you get your protein?

Where do you get your protein? That seems to be the most common question asked whenever people are  assessing whether a certain diet or lifestyle can work or not. 

Well, where do I, as a low fat raw vegan endurance athlete, get my protein?

The following is a TOP 20 list of my favorite low fat (10% or lower) raw whole natural foods, that are great protein sources (10% or more protein):
  • asparagus: 5% fat, 27% protein
  • swiss chard: 9% fat, 23% protein
  • green leaf lettuce: 8% fat, 22% protein
  • broccoli: 9% fat, 20% protein
  • cauliflower: 3% fat, 19% protein
  • summer squash (zucchini): 9% fat, 18% protein
  • chinese cabbage (pe-tsai): 10% fat, 18% protein
  • celery: 10% fat, 17% protein
  • iceberg lettuce: 8% fat, 16% protein
  • kohlrabi: 3% fat, 15% protein
  • radicchio: 9% fat, 15% protein
  • red sweet pepper: 9% fat, 13% protein
  • coconut water: 9% fat, 13% protein
  • cabbage: 3% fat, 12% protein
  • tomatoes: 9% fat, 12% protein
  • cucumber: 6% fat, 11% protein
  • beets: 3% fat, 10% protein
  • fennel (bulb): 5% fat, 10% protein
  • celeriac: 6% fat, 10% protein
  • green sweet pepper: 7% fat, 10% protein

Of course I also like to eat small amounts of many relatively high-protein green leafs or seeds that provide more than 10% fat, but usually only for dinner, after training or racing. For example:
  • red leaf lettuce: 12% fat, 33% protein
  • spinach: 14% fat, 30% protein
  • chinese cabbage (pak-choi): 13% fat, 28% protein
  • butterhead lettuce: 14% fat, 25% protein
  • romaine or cos lettuce: 15% fat, 18% protein
  • pumpkin/squash seed kernels: 71% fat, 16% protein
  • chia seeds: 53% fat, 11% protein
  • sesame seeds: 73% fat, 11% protein
I also occasionally take a handful of nuts, although nuts are not great sources of protein (except maybe hazelnuts and walnuts, which provide 8% protein). Nuts are mainly eaten just for fats.

Anyway, I fully agree with fruitarian ultramarathoner Michael Arnstein that 7% protein is plenty, even for athletes.

Doug '80/10/10' Graham gives a comprehensive answer to the protein question in the video below. Almost all fruit range 3-9% protein, and that's the range we should generally aim for with our diet.

Finally, Tim Van Orden talks about the protein myth and raw vs cooked food. This is an important point, because refined or cooked foods are not healthy, no matter how much protein they might contain. In other words, they are harmful. That's another reason why I don't eat any protein supplements, apart from the fact that they are costly and completely unnecessary.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dr Stefania Licari: low fat raw vegan ultra adventure runner

Stefania Licari, originally uploaded by organicathlete.
Stefania Licari is an Italian medical doctor specialized in anesthesia and working in London, England.

She had always been healthy and fit on the traditional mediterranean diet, but in 2006 she felt 'something wasn't right' and she turned vegetarian, then vegan, followed by raw vegan, and finally low fat raw vegan.

Her diet consists mainly of raw fruits and vegetables and some nuts occasionally. She drinks warm water or herb/fruit tea daily.

She doesn't eat any salt, supplements or 'superfoods'. She also stays away from high fat raw gourmet foods, refined sugars and oils, vinegar and spices (except a little amount of red hot chili or black pepper).

During her ultra adventure runs she increases the amount of dried fruits and nuts in her diet.

She also started to run ultra adventures like the Jungle Marathon 200K stage-race in 2007. She was able to finish with two kilos of dates per day.

In 2009 she completed a self-organized and -supported 500K two week adventure run in Morocco.

In March 2010 she finished Transahariana 190K nonstop ultramarathon in Algeria.

Her current lifestyle could be defined as 'low fat raw vegan ultra adventure runner'.

Ultra-Fit Magazine: Jungle Marathon (her 200K stage-race in the Amazon rainforests in 2007)

Dr. Stefania Licari: Ultra Marathon Runner and Raw Foodist (Feb 2009 interview by

Raw Vegan To The Extreme: Stefania Licari (Oct 2009 interview by Organic Athlete) (Dr. Licari's website) (Dr. Licari's blog)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lidingö Ultra 50K race report

When May arrived I felt like running a 50K. Luckily I spotted Ultra50K, an interesting trail running race in Stockholm archipelago, around Lidingö island, on Saturday May 8th.

Taking a quick glance at the course map, I decided my goal would be to run strong through those little hills and break four hours. The highest peak measured 48 meters above sea level - we would have to run that hill twice, once in the beginning and once just before the finish.

Actually just to finish would be a landmark personal victory for me. Any result would be a PR, as I've never competed this classic sprint distance of ultramarathons before.

Without further ado, on Friday evening I took 55-minute flight from Helsinki to Stockholm Arlanda airport. Another 20 minutes later Arlanda Express train arrived at Central Station in Stockholm. Moments later a taxi dropped me in front of a nice hotel in Östermalm district of the City. A quiet room on the 7th floor with a balcony facing away from the busy streets provided welcomed undisturbed sleep.

When I woke up on race morning I went out to check out the weather: it was cold (+6C) and windy. It wasn't raining yet, but the weather report predicted showers. There was a sailing race at the same time we ran around the island - the video below shows the force of the seawind.

Spring or not, a an ultra-skinny dude like me could easily freeze on a day like this. It was time to wear my hard core running gear:
  • La Sportiva Crosslite trail running shoes,
  • X-Action long running socks,
  • RaidLight R-Dry 3/4 tights,
  • a technical long sleeve shirt,
  • Inov8 Mistlite 210 shell,
  • RaidLight WinterTrail hat,
  • technical gloves, and
  • RaidLite elastic bib holder.
I had a glass of Stockholm tap water and a few Medjool dates for breakfast. Nothing else. I don't take any stimulants like coffee anymore.

There would be aid stations with water, orange segments, apple slices, halved bananas, gherkins, and tables filled with all the usual race fuel, every 5K or so. For extra energy, I stuck a 250g plastic bottle of squeezable honey in the side pocket of my tights.

8AM a taxi left me at the Lidingövallen sports center. I collected and installed my race number and timing chip. Then I took a little warm up run and bathroom break by the seaside. The wind made me shiver and I escaped inside into the warm dressing rooms.

9AM about 400 runners started the third Lidingö Ultra50K. According to the race website, there were 433 entries. Actually some chose to run a 26K distance instead, which was an option for the first time.

I ran the first 5K conservatively in 23 mins. The first hills surprised me already - they were much harder than I had imagined. I didn't want to slow down too much, as there were a railroad crossing around 9 km  point, and they said a train could block the race course for a few minutes for the slower runners. I passed the point before the train, and my 10K split was 47 mins.

There were some short segments on flat asphalt roads, but generally speaking I found the course very interesting and varied. All the fabulous scenery was completely new to me and there was never a dull moment. Some parts were quite technical.

I stopped at every aid station for a minute or so to enjoy fresh fruits and water. I felt very good and passed the official half way 25K time check in 16th place with 2:06:53. That meant I was behind my goal schedule and probably wouldn't be able to finish under 4h, but c'est la vie.

After that I had to run pretty much alone the rest of the way. There was little chance of getting lost as the trail was well marked with red-white plastic ribbons. There were also volunteers directing at every road crossing.

Lidingö seems to be a great place for sport enthusiasts to live in, and many of those folks seem to own a dog or two. Dogs are often allowed to run free on the island, and I encountered signs saying 'BEWARE LOOSE DOGS' in Swedish. And sure enough, there were plenty of dogs running right along the race course! One particularly friendly one lead me for a while on the trail, and then went to his home yard to lie beside a 'BEWARE ANGRY DOG' sign.

Everything was going great and steady, until there was a mysterious fork in the trail at about 39 km. The red-white marked trail seemed to continue into both directions. That was clearly illogical and impossible. I was totally dumbfounded and confused by this enigma and stopped to think hard for a while.

Finally I decided the path leading to the right was the one to take. After a 100m dash I heard two Swedish runners shouting and waving their arms to the other direction. I thought they knew the correct way and tried to warn me, but when I returned to discuss the matter with them I soon found out they were as clueless as I was. After some more shouting and waving they suddenly decided the path I had chosen was the right one after all and we ran together for a while.

I must confess it was only after re-examining the map after the race that I realised the other trail coming from the left side was the same one we took earlier in the morning! Although I knew that some parts at the end of the course were the same as in the beginning, I failed to recognise the path I had run only a couple of hours ago. Doh!

Maybe I was unconsciously feeling tired already, because soon after that I noticed my pace slowing down a bit. I never consciously gave up, but I think my legs had simply had enough of those deceivingly 'easy' roller coaster trails.

My 42.2K split was 3:33 exactly. Last year my best marathon time was 3:25:20 - and that was on flat fast roads, with flat fast shoes, and in ideal weather conditions!

After that several runners passed me one by one, but I let them go. I felt ok, but I didn't feel like pushing hard anymore. I'm usually quite competitive, but I'd already figured out I had no chance of finishing in the top 6, who were awarded prizes.

For some reason I don't understand, they ask and check your exact birthday, but don't have any age groups in this race. I think it would be fabulous if they could add masters categories next year - that would certainly help me push the last miles harder.

It started to rain, but it didn't bother me at all, since I was wearing a waterproof jacket. I sipped the last drops of my honey nectar while climbing the seemingly enormous Vattentornet (Watertower) hill. Then I cruised down to finish at the same stadium we started from. I was 25th overall with my time 4:17:31 - my 50K PR! A girl hanged a medal made of recycled glass around my neck.                  

Daniel Nilsson, who won the first Ultra50K and was 2nd last year, was in a class of his own today: 3:25:04. That's pretty fast on this course, especially on a hard day like this. Kajsa Friström was the first woman in 4:25:52. So I wasn't chicked. Altogether 281 runners were able to finish the 50K. Kjell Damstedt was the last to arrive in 7:59:59, beating the 8h time limit by one second.

Luckily I was able to wave a taxi right after I finished, because there was another race for me: I had to get to the brunch tables of my hotel before 2PM. I barely made it, and stuffed myself with fresh orange juice (a healthy tip for Stockholm visitors: Scandic Anglais provides a free self-served electric juicer and a huge pile of fresh oranges for breakfast/weekend brunch, included in room rates), followed by honeydew, pineapple and pears as well as cucumber, bell pepper and tomato slices. After such a rejuvenating brunch I couldn't help feeling my recovery process going pretty strong.

I hope the sun will shine the same time next year in Lidingö.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kilian's Quest 2010: Le Programme

European trail star Kilian Jornet plans to kick off his 2010 trail running season by crossing the Pyrenees mountain range and then do the Kilimanjaro. These are training projects just for fun. They are intended to prepare Kilian for the hard core races like UTMB later on.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

13 opinions why Mizuno Wave Rider 13 seems bad luck

After trying Mizuno Precision Fit, I was a good customer, did exactly as recommended, and ordered a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 13 running shoes.

Why? Because I'm a sucker for that magic marathon shoe that will help me finish in under three hours without any worries whatsoever. I'm always looking for a new pair of shoes, although I may own too many already.

My shoe size is US10.5 and my current weight is 62.5 kilos (137 pounds). The good news is that initially WR13 felt comfortable in my feet. They seemed to fit perfectly. Despite thick cushioning they weren't too heavy: only 310 grams per shoe. That's not the lightest shoe I currently use, but not the heaviest either.

However, I've been training with WR13 for a couple of weeks now, and I'm bitterly disappointed to be honest.

13 personal opinions why Mizuno Wave Rider 13 running shoes seem like bad luck to me:

  1. Right out of the box, the shoes smell absolutely terrible. Toxic fumes straight from industrial China! I have to store WR13 either out in the balcony or in a storage room. Can't let them in the house or breath deep near them.
  2. The color scheme on my pair is tired, if not horribly traditional: carmine, silver and white. WR13 comes in other colors, but the shop I bought them from carried only this option. 
  3. Compared to my collection of racing flats, these are a bit too heavy for racing. These are more like casual jogging shoes for comfy training runs on a sunny Sunday afternoon. 
  4. Due to the forefoot cushioning system, they make an annoying thump-thump sound with every step I take. A loud footfall usually means increased stress for your body. 
  5. WR13 is really designed for the heel strikers, not mid or fore foot strikers like me. The bulky heel structure just adds weight without any substantial benefits for me.
  6. The nasty secret hidden inside: where the tongue is stitched to the upper, there is a narrow pressure point that soon starts to feel painful. Interestingly this issue occurs only on my right foot - a manufacturing error perhaps? Anyway, can't take the risk of blistering the top of my feet during a marathon.
  7. The outsoles gather tiny pebbles into their grooves. This may seem like a small thing, but it's a pet peeve of mine.
  8. WR13 is not advertised as a trail shoe, but I was foolishly hoping to use it anyway on hills, fire roads or even easier trail races. Not going to happen. These clumsy shoes are built for flat city roads and that's it.
  9. There is way too much cushioning. Mizuno may not have heard of the barefoot running craze, and that's ok, but this crazy amount of cushioning is simply more than I can take. 
  10. Last night when running back home in the dark I actually felt a bit sea sick in these wobbly shoes! That's the first time ever for me. True story. And I don't drink or do any drugs either :-)
  11. The technology in these shoes is outdated. When Mizuno Wave technology was invented and the first Wave Rider shoes hit the stores in the late 1990ies, it was all new and exciting. Not any more. Mizuno is history.
  12. There's not enough ecological thinking in Mizuno. Their environmental program called 'Crew 21' was established in 1991, but where are the results? Mizuno's approach seems lame compared to the ambitious ecological programs of their competitors. I want more than a shoe box made of recycled paper. Or actually less -  get rid of those boxes now!
  13. Last, but not least, WR13 seems to suck up all the energy from my legs. The experience is like running in a swamp or something. Put these shoes on and your cadence and therefore pace is guaranteed to drop. These shoes kill my running technique and economics. They make me run slow and leave me fatigued.
Verdict: Mizuno WR13 is not recommended for relatively fast and light marathon runners with good technique and economics. They might be better for an average jogger aiming to finish a half marathon in two hours or a marathon in 4 hours.

I'm not triskaidekaphobic (afraid of number 13), but in my mind Wave Rider 13 joins Apollo 13, Friday the 13th, and the Last Supper among the unfortunate incidents related to the number 13. This is my first pair Mizunos, and likely my last one as well.

Unless I win the Mizuno Running Series Exclusive Dream Running Experience in Brazil, of course!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Miwok was won

The video shows how Anton Krupicka patiently took the lead from Michael Wardian in 2010 Miwok 100K.

Krupicka finished first in 8:02. Wardian faded into 15th place with 9:27.

Tony's race report explains in detail how to win. Study and learn!

By the way, Ian Sharman has also blogged a report about how he ended up finishing in Top 10 (9th with 9:08) without really trying. Both Sharman and Wardian are aiming to do really well in Comrades Marathon 89K on May 30th.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Q & A about PR Diet

A question from RunningBunny:
I stumbled upon your blog and your nutrition approach made me curious. I myself are a strong believer in paleo diet which is also whole, natural foods, no grains but allows for meat and fish.

I see that your diet allows for plenty of fruit. That is the part that makes me wonder since the fruit we have today are far sweeter than whatever our pre-ancestors had access to. As a paleo-eater I am weary of too much sugars. 

I hope maybe in the future you could address that in one of your posts.

My answer:

What a great comment Ewa, thanks!

I've been a paleo eater (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy) for 15 years or so, but in the last couple of years I've been experimenting with first vegetarian and then vegan paleo. This year I discovered lfrv (low fat raw vegan) paleo.

Fruits, vegs and nuts/seeds are and have always been essential paleo foods, for example look at Loren Cordain's foodlist in his book Paleo Diet:

You're right, the ubiquitous hybrid (often advertised as sweet and seedless) varieties of fruit are sweeter and possibly lower in other nutritients.

However I'm eating them daily without worries, as long as I'm burning all those extra sugars by exercising and eating less than 10% fat.

Probably most of our foods are quite different from what our ancestors ate. Nowadays meat is acid forming and fish is toxic. The food industry is destroying our health and environment.

Thanks again for taking time to comment, I'll surely blog more about this soon!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

PR Diet in a nutshell

'PR Diet' is what I call my new nutritional lifestyle. It's mostly based on Douglas Graham's 80/10/10 diet.
It has been proven to work well for athletes. For example, Michael 'The Fruitarian' Arnstein set his marathon PR 2:28 in Boston 2010 after following this type of diet for a couple of years.   

The main principles to keep in mind are:
  • Go all the way down on the food chain to unprocessed fruit, vegetables and nuts.
  • Eliminate the intake of processed food, including superfoods, supplements and stimulants.

My immediate personal experiences and results with the diet after only a few weeks:
  • I lost 7 kg (over 15 lb) without really trying in a few weeks as my weight dropped from about 69 kg (152 lb) to around 62 kg (136 lb) - this is still subject to change of course,
  • my BMI dropped from 21.3 to 19.1 (also subject to change in the future), 
  • my energy levels increased radically,
  • my health, fitness and overall well-being felt better than ever,
  • I recently ran my best half marathon in 18 years.
The four pillars of my current version of the PR Diet are:
  1. Sweet fruits and honey.
  2. Vegetables and less-sweet fruits.
  3. Nuts and seeds.
  4. Water and herb/fruit teas (caffeine-free).
In the beginning I felt like I was not eating too much fat, but revealed the truth: I was still getting a third of my calories from fat! It's very easy to fool yourself, so taking time to log all your food for a while is well worth the effort. 

Top 10 foods to avoid:
  1. the usual non-vegan foods (meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs etc)
  2. non-raw foods (cooked, fried, heated, denaturized, pasteurized etc)
  3. grains (wheat, oat, barley, rye etc),
  4. legumes (beans, peas, peanuts etc),
  5. starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc),
  6. stimulants (no caffeine, nicotine, cacao, yerba mate etc),
  7. all processed foods and beverages from supermarkets or restaurants (with sugar, salt, sweeteners, spices, additives, chemicals, toxins, colorants, alcohol, etc)
  8. oils (meaning isolated fats like avocado oil, oils that come with whole foods like an avocado are naturally ok),
  9. so called 'superfoods' (dehydrated and often powdered foods from exotic foods),
  10. health or sports supplements and drugs (pills, capsules, powders, sports drinks/gels etc.
With all these restrictions, where do my 3-4 Kcal come from? The answer is that you need to eat as much sweet ripe fruits as you can for your main source of energy, with a healthy amount of vegetables, and only a small handful of nuts. 

The Nutridiary chart below shows exactly what I recently ate during a normal day.

This day totalled 2944 calories distributed as:
  • 85% carbs
  • 9% fat
  • 6% protein.
I felt very good all day without any issues at all.

I didn't eat anything else except the foods listed. I made sure to get as much sunshine as possible for natural vitamin D. (When it's not possible to enjoy sunshine for a long time I might have to take a vitamin D supplement, because I live far up north.)

I drank only a few glasses of water because the weather was cool. During hot weather I'd probably drink more water.

That pretty much wraps it up. I'm going to stick with this as long as my results improve. See you in races!