Saturday, August 28, 2010

UTMB stopped due to bad weather

UTMB (as well as CCC and TDS) was stopped for security reasons due to bad weather on the mountains only three hours after the start on Friday.

At the time of hearing the sad news the competitors were doing fine and found it difficult to understand why they were not allowed to continue the race. Just see their faces in the video below!

The last dispatch – the runners react to the race cancellation. | The North Face Blog

At a press conference on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 1 am, Catherine Poletti, the race director explained the motives that have led to the decision to stop UTMB (roughly translated from French).

"We discontinued the UTMB for security reasons. The weather forecast predicting heavy rain continued into Saturday morning and there was a significant risk of fog. There was also a lot of wind and snow at around 2500 m altitude.

We have stopped the race in order not to risk that some of the competitors would be lost.

We mobilized a helicopter, but the weather remained unfavorable and didn't allow us to continue.

We are now trying to find a solution for the competitors who have traveled thousands of miles to run here. [Edit: UTMB and TDS starters have received a text message about a chance to run the last 99 km of the UTMB course on Saturday. It is the CCC-route (Courmayeur - Champex -Chamonix).]

Sectors of the course have been swept away by bad weather.

We have found solutions to fetching the 2,300 runners, mobilizing buses and trains to carry the participants to Chamonix. We have also opened facilities and provided blankets to accommodate people without accommodation."

(Edit: There was also another reason to cancel the race: the signs marking the course had been stolen between Col du Bonhomme and Chapieux (40-50 km).]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

UTMB 2010 recon videos

UTMB (Ultra Trail Mont Blanc), the biggest mountain running race of the world will start on Friday, August 27th, at 6:30 PM, in Chamonix.

>>>TNF Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc>>pre-race_dispatch from camp4 collective on Vimeo.

I won't be there with those 2,300 lucky lottery-winning runners tomorrow, but perhaps I'll be able to participate in this mega-event in the future.

This year's race will be exciting to follow, as there are so many competitors who might win: Kilian Jornet (Bib No. 1; has won two previous UTMBs), Geoff Roes (Bib No. 2028; beat Kilian at Western States, has never lost an 100-miler), Scott Jurek (Bib No.19; the best vegan ultra/trail runner), and so on.

There are strict doping tests at UTMB. For example, Geoff Roes has already been tested to be ok.

These are the four new magnificent trail recon videos covering the entire 166 km (± 9,500 m) race course.

UTMB : Reconnaissance du parcours Chamonix - Chapieux from OVERSTIM.s on Vimeo.

UTMB : Reconnaissance du parcours Chapieux - Courmayeur from OVERSTIM.s on Vimeo.

Part 3 is of special importance to me, because I ran the same trail between La Fouly and Champex in July - only in reverse direction. Nice!

UTMB : Reconnaissance du parcours Courmayeur - Champex from OVERSTIM.s on Vimeo.

UTMB : Reconnaissance du parcours Champex - Chamonix from OVERSTIM.s on Vimeo.

The competitors will have to carry a lot of stuff in their backbags.

The list of obligatory material is longer than before:
• mobile phone
• personal cup or tumbler 15cl minimum (water bottle not acceptable)
• stock of water minimum 1 litre,
• two torches in good working condition with replacement batteries,
• survival blanket,
• whistle,
• adhesive elastic band enable making a bandage or a strapping (mini 80cm x 3 cm),
• food reserve,
• protective raincoat for bad mountain weather,
• running trousers or leggings (covering the knees),
• cap or bandana
• identity papers.

In addition to this, many will carry sticks. According to the rules, if poles are used, they have to be carried all the way from the start to the finish.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paleo means old, but old does not mean bad in my book

I think Paleo Runner (the name of this blog) should be understood simply as an old(-ish) runner. After all, the original Greek word παλαιός [palaiós] means just that: old.

There are paleo diets and so on, but I'm not referring to or practising them anymore.

Old does not necessarily mean negative consequences; on the contrary, I believe old runners can enhance the positive aspects of life like health, happiness and humor.

I'd like to finish by quoting from my favorite running book, Born To Run by Christopher McDougall (p. 14):
"In Tarahumara Land, there was no crime, war or theft. There was no corruption, obesity, drug addiction, greed, wife-beating, child abuse, heart disease, high blood pressure, or carbon emissions. They didn't get diabetes, or depression, or even old: fifty-year-olds could outrun teenagers, and eighty-year-old grandads could hike marathon distances up mountainsides." 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

U2 found what they were looking for in the best country of the world

Bono revealed last night at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium that U2 found something they were looking for in the best country of the world: Jussi!

According to Malibu Healing Center, Mr. Jussi Lomakka "is a well-renowned Certified Massage Therapist, whose reputation and expertise is legendary, in the Unites States and internationally. He has worked on patients with minor, self -limited issues to high severity injuries including but not limited to gymnasts, athletes, and swimmers, using myofascial release techniques and manipulations."

See the video below to hear the testimony from the horse's mouth.

U2 will perform again tonight in Helsinki. A record audience of 104,000 is expected for the two concerts. I hope they are paying Jussi well for helping the band be at their best physical condition during their 360 Tour.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My LFRV days are over

It's official: my 4-month Low Fat Raw Vegan experiment ended on August 1st. The main reason for this was my alarmingly low weight. On July 31st I weighed 59 kg (130 lb) only.

I totally freaked out when I realized that:
  • this was my lowest adult weight ever (as far as I know),
  • it resulted in Body Mass Index of 18.2 (anything less than 18.5 means you are way too underweight).
It was measured at 5 AM, fully loaded/rested/tapered/recovered, 3 hours before the start of Swiss Alpine K78 trail run. By the way that particular race was my main fitness test for this year, and I didn't achieve my goals. My time was 55 minutes slower than last year and I felt weak right from the start. Also my earlier extreme trail race experiment failed with a DNF largely due to lack of energy.

I'm crazy enough to try new lifestyles, but I'm not stupid enough to continue with them if the expected results are not there.

Also about the same time, I happened to read Denise Minger's life-changing critique of The China Study.

What's more, her ashtonishing example of the Tuoli people of China shows that dairy, meat and wheat are not necessarily unhealthy, as long as they are not spoiled by the Western food industry. The Tuolians also seem to lack the Western concept of food variety. For example, Tuolians don't eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, plant oils, seafood, and so on. It's really just dairy, meat and wheat, which results in the following macronutrient breakdown: 46% fat, 35% carbohydrates, and 19 % protein. Yet their total mortality and disease rates are lower or similar compared to the other counties in China.

I used to be on a high fat low carb diet before this stint with low fat high carb - I guess I'll be a medium fat medium carb paleo runner in the future. After three weeks of reduced intake of fruits (compared to a frugivore diet), I'm happy to report that my weight has normalized around 64.8 kg (143 lb), which means a 20.0 BMI. That's probably quite perfect for a marathon/ultra trail runner.

However, unlike quicker and younger dudes like Tynan, I won't start eating meat just yet. I fully accept that The China Study may not scientifically prove that animal protein is the cause of disease like cancer. Still, even bad scientists can sometimes draw the right conclusions. I believe that people changing their diets away from animal-based processed foods towards plant-based raw foods will continue to enjoy great health benefits.

According to UN and mostly anyone paying attention to our environment, a major shift like that in our lifestyles is a must, if we plan to live on this planet for much longer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trail magazine 4/2010 online

European Trail magazine 4/2010 is online (free, but in German only).

Including Trail Heroes 2010, part 1/3:

  • Lizzy Hawker (UK), 
  • Tony Krupicka (USA), 
  • Anna Frost (NZ), 
  • Matthias Dippacher (GER), 
  • Ryan Sandes (SA), 
  • Mohamed Ahansal (MAR). 

Part Two will be in Trail 5/2010, and finally a chance to vote in 6/2010.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trans-Kalahari Adventure Run 1000K

During August and September 2010 a team of three friends will tackle a challenging and historic adventure run across the Kalahari, following a route that extends 1,000 km through some of Botswana’s most remote wilderness.

Follow Jukka, Kirsi and Greg as they test the boundaries of their own endurance while raising awareness for one of Africa’s most endangered animals, the cheetah.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

RunLikeCrazy runs Helsinki Marathon on Saturday

Tristan Miller of Australia aka RunLikeCrazy is going to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, and Helsinki City Marathon on Saturday will be the next race on his busy international schedule. Welcome to crazy Helsinki!

If you're a participant or spectator, look out for Tristan's race number 6457.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

I don't buy bottled water or other beverages. I also stay away from marathons that serve plastic bottles to competitors at aid stations.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Emil Zatopek highlights

Rare archive video consisting of the best races of 'the human locomotive' Emil Zatopek.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Swiss Alpine 2010 videos

Here's a couple of good videos from Swiss Alpine mountain ultramarathon on Saturday in Davos.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Swiss Alpine K78 race report

The weather was the best ever for the 2010 Swiss Alpine K78 mountain ultramarathon in Davos. It was sunny all day, but not too hot: 8 C in the morning, rising to a little over 20 C during the day. There were hardly any clouds at all, and not even a typical thunderstorm on the mountains in the afternoon.

The weather had been truly horrible with cold and rain the days before the race, and I'm sure all the competitors (there were a record number of 5910 entries altogether, with 1661 entries for th K78 alone) taking part in one of the eight Swiss Alpine events (K78, K42, C42, K31, K21, K11, Walk, Mini) were both relieved and delighted when they woke up on Saturday morning. RD Andrea Tuffli commented "This Swiss Alpine is the best in all its history... superb conditions with beautiful weather and ideal temperatures."

As expected, Jonas Buud of Sweden took his fourth consecutive victory of K78 in 5:49:11. He missed his 78.5 km course PR set last year by 28 seconds, but he has a real good excuse for that, as he reportedly tripped and wounded his knee a bit on the asphalt streets of Davos only about 3K from the start.

Like Buud, also I missed the course PR that I set last year, and by whopping 55 minutes too. Right from the 8AM start I sensed that my legs couldn't provide sufficient power and speed on this day. It became clear to me that I still had not recovered from my extreme TVSB experience a month ago.

On the other hand, it was a great fun day as I was able to just relax and enjoy the awesome scenery. I stayed easily well within the 12-hour cutoff the whole time. My only worry was getting burned in the sun, especially because I was wearing the same Dave Scott triathlon singlet as in my first Swiss Alpine 15 years ago, and no sun screen as usual.

Everything went smoothly until about 20K, when we ran through a series of tunnels carved through mountains. There was a traffic sign depicting rocks falling from the mountains, but I was running here for the fifth time and I had never seen any rocks falling, so I totally ignored the warning with confidence. Until a rock fell and smashed a couple of meters behind me. I slowed down to turn and see what kind of rock it was, and then another rock fell and smashed into pieces right in front of me. I wasn't really frightened as the chance of getting hit by a rock was relatively small, but nevertheless made a conscious effort to increase my pace to get out of the dangerous area asap.

Then I encountered something that forced all runners to stop and give way: the local passenger train taking spectators to Bergun. That took only a couple of minutes, and it was a lot of fun to see all the people hanging out from the wide open train windows, and shouting encouragements and waving to us runners.  

I reached the lowest altitude of the course in Filisur (30K from the start and about 1000 meters above sea level) in 2:38 (5:12 min/km). The town was full of cheerful action. It was starting to get warm, and I made sure to drink enough water.

The next big town was Bergun (39K, 1365 m) where I arrived in 3:45 (7:42 min/km) - at the same time when over a thousand K42 marathon runners started their event. Suddenly the peaceful streets and mountain paths were filled with energetic runners. I got access to my race bag, from where I took a small plastic bag with dates in it. I was hungry and ate a few dates right on the spot for some quick energy. In spite of that, most of the marathon runners were passing me left and right like I was standing still.

Everyone was aware that the hardest climb of the course was ahead of us, and the undeniable fact was that everyone was going to struggle - more or less. On a steep hill like this kilometers feel awfully long, but finally my eyes found what they were looking for: Kesch hut (53K) on top of the mountain. It was the highest point of the course (2632 m). My time there was 6:18 (11:14 min/km). That wasn't a bad effort, but I knew that Mr. Buud would have very likely already finished the race and probably the inevitable interviews too by that time! Anyway the race doctor briefly checked everyone by the huge mountain hut, before allowing us to continue.

The race organisers have to be true masters of logistics in order to transport ten tons of stuff onto the mountains on race day by helicopters. There are three aid stations there that are not accessible by car.  My main staple was Swiss vegetarian bouillon (with MSG) and Swiss 'mountain bread' (buns with raisins) - not my first choice by any means in normal conditions, but this was an Alpine ultramarathon,  and I had little choice in the matter as I chose not to carry a backpack like some competitors did.

The Panorama trail looked better than ever in full sunlight. For the first time I could see all the wonderful mountains around clearly without clouds, and I somewhat regretted not carrying a camera this time.

The next 7K to Scaletta pass (60K) was the best part of the race for me emotionally. I felt great but ran slowly because there were a long queue of runners. Trying to pass all of them wouldn't have been worth it, as I was comfortably heading for a sub-10-hour finish, and had no chance to beat my PR anymore.

On Scaletta pass (60K, 2606 m) I caught RD Tuffli alone for a moment, and congratulated him for the great race. He congratulated me as well, before taking off in his helicopter to yet another location. Although 67 years old, he is still actively controlling that his excellent race organisation consisting of hard-working volunteers runs perfectly.

After the steep 4K downhill to Durrboden (64K, 2007 m), I took my time covering the remaining 14K to the finish, sipping a little bit of coke at every aid station along the way. I knew this green valley leading back to Davos Sports Centre (78.5 km, 1538 m) well, and I was sure that I could finish well under ten hours - not an ambitious goal at all, just something to get it over with before the cows come home.

Well actually I literally did see some cows go from the fields to their home before I finished in 9:51. That's my worst performance so far in Davos, except my DNF in 2008 of course. But at the end of the day I wasn't really disappointed, because I knew exactly why my time was slow. I also believe that the time does not matter that much anyway, compared to all the great experiences during a magnificent mountain race like Swiss Alpine K78.

48 miles done for my 48th birthday.