Category Archives: Fitness And Running

Night Before the Race

Ed. This is a double posting from my new running blog at kristian.finnrc.net.

Oi, one night to go. Writing this on the road to Edinburgh, Scotland. Darina is driving.

Physical preparation may not have gone to the original plan as I mentioned earlier, but I still feel pretty good. Or, actually, this weeks prep has gone to plan; couple of fun runs and a tough one last Sunday. Nice. Dad came yesterday and went for one with him.

I haven’t really thought of how it’ll feel that much. Just that it’ll be about 15k more than the longest I’ve ever run. And that, once broken down should be quite ok, it’s really only 27 nice kilometers plus a 10k and a measly 5k to finish it off. Not bad, right?

We’ll see around 12:00 tomorrow when I hit the 32k mark.

Did I mention the shirt I’ll be running in? It’s an Adidas ClimaCool that was given to me by Conor, Daragh and Niamh, and the print was done by Jennifer. Thanks to all of you!

If it happens you’re in Edinburgh tomorrow watching the race you can spot me carrying the number 5552. Or more easily by the Finnish flag on my chest:

marathon-shirt

As is Brighton, I’ll be live tweeting the race. You can follow me at twitter.com/kristian from 09:00 onwards. Send me some tweets of encouragement!

While It's Been Quiet – Part 2

First:
img_3091

Then:
twitter-status-engaged

After:
img_3092

Today:
picture-2

It’s come so quickly somehow. It feels like it was only yesterday that I met Darina – it was our five-year anniversary when we got engaged – and it feels like there should be more days until the Marathon in Edinburgh. There’s now ten days left until that. Shit.

Training so far* hasn’t gone to plan from the point of view of following my training routine. Not at all. You know, life’s got in the way with all sorts of things it throws at you. Mostly work. All good, though. Mainly because of last weeks great long run**, I still feel pretty confident about it. So confident that we’ve booked flights Athens in November for The Marathon. Since last week I calibrated my Polar and I’m waiting for a moment to go for the last – what I call – an evil run***. Next week I’ll spend mostly doing short fun runs, eat lots of carbs, drink a lot of water and try not to drink too many ‘hob infused hydrants’, beer.

There will be another pre-marathon update sometime next week but if you happen to miss it, I’ll be live tweeting along the cobbled streets of Edinburgh on Sunday 31st at 9:00 BST.

* And there’s very little I can do at this point anymore.
** 19.5k at 6:10/km, then 5.5k fast at 5:10/km and slow 2k in the end.
*** Intervals.

London's Finnish Running Club – FinnRC

Just to tick those things of my list of things to do by the time I’m 29, I’ve started a running club for Finnish – and like minded – people living in London. It’s nothing formal, especially as it only has one member, myself, but would be nice to connect all those runners around the area. I guess this is another attempt to de-solitaries running.

The club has a website at http://finnrc.info, check it out and join if you feel this is something you’re interested. Or at least tell your Finnish friend about this, perhaps they’ll know someone who can’t stop talking about running.

Brighton Half Marathon – Live Tweeting

I started exactly half a year ago to train for running the Brighton Half Marathon*(**). 185 days of sore legs, buckets of sweat and a bit of blood is culminating this Sunday the 22nd of February as the race begins. Few of you will be there in Brighton watching me – as well as Mike and Colin and 6000 others – grow weary as the kilometers pass. Running is a solitary sport so it’ll be fantastic to see familiar faces along the streets cheering us on.

Another way to make it a little less solitary, to share my experience of the run as it happens, I’ve decided to live tweet along the way. Don’t ask me how it’s going to happen in practice but it will involve an iPhone and a Tweet Relay HQ at the University of Oulu. More details of this closer to or after the race day. Is this a stupid idea and is it going to enhance my performance? I don’t think it’s _that_ stupid but it’s also most likely it’s not going to make me run faster (you know, just talking while running is pretty hard, let alone tweeting). It’ll just be nice for my friends and family to be able to follow the race from further away.

So how to join the fun?

Easy, just go to twitter.com/kristian and click follow, if you’re on Twitter or just keep refreshing the page if you’re not. All my tweets will be tagged with #BrightonRun so they’ll also appear when searched for that tag. Depending on the level of my exhaustion, I’ll keep an eye on @kristian ‘s in case you want to cyber-cheer me to keep going.

The race starts at 09:45 GMT on 22nd February. That’s 11:45 (EET) in Helsinki and 22:45 (NZDT) in Wellington. I’m hoping to finish the race in under 2 hours which should be well doable.

Thanks!

–kristian

* Technically speaking I had another goal at the time but this is a good mid point before Edinburgh Marathon in May.

** The official name is The Sussex Beacon Half Marathon 2009 Brighton but as it sucks we’ll just keep calling it the Brighton Half, OK?

[Update I: fixed grammar]

[Update II: hashtag is now #BrightonRun]

300 – Challenge Done

Just last week, 32 days early, I completed the 300 km running challenge I set myself 3 months ago. There were two things I wanted to accomplish with this:

1) Get into shape for our up-coming trip to New Zealand this christmas

and

2) Feel better

It was something that had been nagging me for quite a while; the thought of being 27-years-old and in the worst physical shape I’ve ever been. Weight kept creeping up at the pace of about a kilo per year and my 11-year-old brother can now challenge me in doing chin ups. I used to run before moving to the UK but was never really able to keep up the routine here. And routine is, I think, one of the most important things when it comes to exercise.

By setting that goal, it was easy to motivate myself to go outside and run. Another even greater source of motivation has been that my friends Ville, Johanna and Heikki joined me on the challenge. Ville ‘virtually’, as he lives in Finland. It’s been so good to have company along the way.

Another challenge Ville and I set ourselves about 7 years ago was to run a marathon by the time we’re 27. I don’t think we’ll quite make it (after all we are both 27 already) but to try and live up to that promise, I’m signing up for the Edinburgh Marathon that takes place in May next year. I haven’t set a target time yet, we’ll first have to see how training goes.

A Little Bit About Equipment

Good shoes are the most essential thing you can invest on if thinking of taking up running. After all, on a 10 km run your feet will hit the asphalt some 11’000 times, they need something nice in between. Mine are Asics Gel’s that my dad kindly passed on. He’s been using the same make, model and size for years now but the ones he bought earlier this autumn didn’t fit properly. Apparently Asics had changed the recipe. They fit me perfectly so that’s good.

First running gear item I bought after starting was shorts. Problem I had was that my thighs were rubbing against each other and causing a rash. Instead of trying out the Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr method of walking/running without knees touching, I decided to get NikeFit shorts. They have a little pocket in the back that’s good for keys and perfect size for the iPhone. Surprisingly, can’t even feel it’s there.

RunKeeper Review


Talking about the iPhone, I tried out RunKeeper for some ten of the last runs. It’s a general exercise app that I was really excited with what it promises; distance, pace, speed, path on a map etc. Just what you’d expect from a well equipped running watch. It took me five or six tries before I got a solid good result from it. One thing or another always seemed to go wrong. Some of the problems are inherit to how the iPhone work i.e. you can’t have apps running in the background – which means you can’t properly lock the screen while running – and GPS drains the battery really fast. Biggest problem, however was the unreliability of the app, things like the screen showing that one minute I’m running at a steady 9 km/h and next I’m sprinting at 20 km/h (once it even said I’m running at almost 200 km/h). Also system wide warnings like low battery and incoming text messages paused the training, which meant that either you stopped to pay attention to your run and fixed your tracking or – more likely – just kept going and had a big gap in your route. Although it has a build in screen lock, I found on few occasions that it had released and paused or stopped the trip. Very annoying.

All this said, I think if they can fix the problems they have, it’ll be very useful. Cool thing that it does is it sends data of your run to their website and you can view it there along with a map of the run. It does it very quickly; if I press ‘Save Trip’ downstairs after the run, it’s ready to view by the time I’m in the flat. It’s also free, so barrier of entry is very low, all you have to do is to bear with it’s short comings.

Over all, good thing about running is that it’s not about equipment or skill or even time, all you need is the will to get started.

–Kristian

PS. Some Numbers Gathered Along the Way

83 days to reach the goal

Goal was reached 86.67 km a head schedule

Daily average was 3.63 km

Shortest single run: 2.94 km

And the longest: 17.33 km

20349 calories burned while running

weight: -4 kg

Running on the Streets of London

What a lovely piece of film making. It gives an image of London that seems so distant as soon as I step out and take the 55, 48 or 26 outside my flat. It’s been years since I travelled on a Routemaster* and I really understand why it’s missed by so many people. I think it’s the feeling of community. Not just because they were smaller but an actual person checking you ticket and welcoming you on board.

I happened to find this video when doing a bit of research on a running competition idea I had few weeks ago. We’ve all heard of Man Versus Horse Marathon (haven’t we?) that takes place in Wales every year. It’d be called ‘Man versus the London Machine’. Or something like that. Perhaps taking on a bus on route 1 – for the simple reason that it’s THE number one route – which leaves from Canada Water and goes to Tottenham Court Road. I think it would have to be quite early in the morning as during rush hour the bus journey takes about two days. I’ll have to go and measure the distance and figure out if it’s doable. Will keep you posted.

kristian

Running Update – Day 35

First month or so has gone really quickly and surprisingly painlessly. Only after about a week of running it started to feel easy and I found myself waiting for – rather that fretting – the next run. I started of with really shorts runs, only about 3 kilometers, and have steadily increased them so that today I ran 13.8 kilometers – longest distance so far. That’s more than I did during the whole of first week of running. It felt really good. Total distance: 112 km.

On top of the goal of reaching 300 km total by 15th Dec, I’ve decided to signup for the Brighton half marathon which is in the end of February. Thanks to Mike and Colin for persuading me to join them. Both goals are well doable, what makes the difference is the time I want to do them in. I’ll set the goal for Brighton closer to it so I wont set it too low as I did with the 300 km run. Then again, it doesn’t really matter, main thing is to have fun and feel fitter and healthier.

Ok, that’s it for the first update (I know, it was a bit more than 10 days…), next one coming at 200 km mark.

kristian

300 km Challenge

So we’re going on a big trip to New Zealand around christmas this winter. We’ll be there for about 4 weeks; camping, hanging around on long sandy beaches, drinking wine and eating. I need to get into shape to survive all that. That’s why I’m starting the ‘300 km challenge’. Aim is to run a total of 300 km before 15th December. That’s not that much, only an average of about 2.6 km a day. But if I miss a day, the next day I’ll have to run 5.2 km to keep up. Simple.

Two incentives for me to complete this challenge:

  • 1. For every kilometer that I’m short of 300 km, I’ll donate £1 to a charity chosen by readers. Vote below in the comments.
  • 2. I’d like to invite you to run with me. It’s easier to commit to things when you have someone to do it with. No pressure, thought, it’s not a competition. We’ll just try and reach 300 km

I’ll be posting here every ten days on my progress, so stay tuned!

Thanks,

–kristian

[Update] I’ve started yesterday by running 3.1 km. Days to go: 115.