And then...

All is good. A short period of flu with no fever took 2 days off but other than that I've been rolling steadily. Pace is awful. Two weeks ago I ran our monthly test run and did actually stopped running at 5K mark. However, I saw the faces of persons who did appreciate my efforts back in the day and I just couldn't let them down. So I jumped back on the course and ran back, but it was awfully slow and painful. Then I decided to stop running for good.

Luckily, on the next Sunday morning I found myself running a long run and I was back on the track.

Next Tuesday after this sad event (retiring, not the long run) I was again running hard with the Turku Area's Sports Academy's young crew. This usually means that I'm following them from the distance. Far from the distance. But no matter what this is the way to push my current limits further and further. This time the workout was 2x3.1K + 1x3.5K with acclerating pace. Total fun.

The current week will be the first week since 1000 years when I will hit 62 miles. Happy happy joy joy.


Workout Tuesday

WOT (Workout Tuesday or Workout of Today): 2x(1500m, 1000m, 500m) + 1000m + 2x500m with 2min. rbr.

Today I had another opportunity to run with the Turku Sports Academy's guys. Even if they are way faster than me (a 41-year old old fart), running behind them is a learning process. To my body that is. This engine is covered with so many layers of rust. Yes, I know that my PRs are already done, but the holy request for finding a way to run faster one more time is putting me into these situations.

The main take home message from today's workout is that without running fast, you will not generate any progress. If the last time when you have ran anything faster, is from last March, do not expect anything magical to happen on track in December.

Even if I missed the first two repeats due to bad schedule at work, I felt my limits quite vividly during the entire workout. Can I have some more, please?


Back in snow

The time in the US went fast. After returning the hoods in MD, I had a change to meet the guys and run one (short) Bagel Run with the HCS crew and one another morning run with Jason. No races or fast workouts this time because of family constrains. But until the next time.

The half marathon in SLC hit me pretty hard. My right foot was pretty sore during our stay in MD, but back home it has been loosing a little. That is highly appreciated since icy and snowy roads are not the best company for initial injuries. This week was the first "new" training week comprising a tempo run on Tuesday and intervals on Saturday. On Tuesday I joined the Turku Sport's Academy's Workout Tuesday. They (World Champ in orienteering, National champs in orienteering and XC running as well as on roads and triathlons) are pretty talented pack of young hungry wolves, and of course their pace is different than mine. In all, I ran a great 12km steady state workout far behind their heels.

On Saturday our family unit has usually a pretty hectic morning. That usually means that by 11:30 AM both sweetie and I have swim and run workouts under our belts and Lil' D has enjoyed an hour of swimming, too. Yesterday, we were heading out already at 10:50 AM since we were in a hurry. I did 5x1600m on treadmill (5:45-5:25). An easy start...

Today's long run looked something like this...(photo by J. Kero)


Shredding out

Worn shoes and low levels of skills to pay the bills hurt my right foot during the HM on Saturday. And thereafter it has been slightly out of order, but runnable. Event itself was cool, really, but relatively harsh what comes to weather conditions.

Since Saturday I have changed my whereabouts to the East Coast, driven to Philly and back to MD. In Philly I had a chance to enjoy a family run and lots of oxygene both of which make life worth living. The aching foot will be better anytime soon. It already feels better a golf ball session with Jason.


Next up...

Just out of impulse I registered for inaugural Saltair Half-Marathon here at SLC. Flat course, 1300m above sea level, excepted snowy and windy conditions. Gonna be fun.

Altitude is killing it

I arrived to SLC (UT) on Monday. For a work related trip. Luckily my collegaue is not an ordinary professor in terms of using time inefficienty. Thus, we have had time to go running. On Tuesday I almost fell on my knee due to simple fact that even an altitude of 1.500m took my breath away. Both visually and physically. After trying to make a short cut and actually after making that short cut there was no coming back to normal ez paced HR or breathing. Nice.

Then of course in order to punish my sea-level ass on Wednesday we drove to Park City (2000+m) for a run. The place was awesome, dirt trails, snowy mountains and silence. I was accompanied with Russ, an endurance machine, and he guided me through a nice 6 mile loop. Today, we went to the same spot as on Tuesday but this time I did a Mona Fartlek on a loop of no hills and only 1450 meters of altitude. The workout was pleasant but slightly heavier than back home. I know that this not really a high high altitude, but I can feel it. Especially I have to run uphill. It is really punishing effort.

And in addition, I traveled through at muscle therapy by Steve Zike here at SLC. Muscle knots suck.

I'm so happy for having these kinds of opportunities.


Gonna miss 2000 mile club

Yes, for the first since 2006 I'm going to miss the minimum of running at least 2000 miles per year. Thanks to my 3.5 months hiatus.

The monthly mileage for this summer was just awesome:

May: 108
June: 57
July: 9
August: 62
September: 142
October: 208


The usual

Last two weeks have been busy. Pretty busy. The next week will continue that streak. Then it is time to fly over the US.

After the race two weeks ago, I had an easy week in running. WOW was 10x1min hills with JK. Funny anecdote from that morning is that I didn't check the temperature and thought that the weather was the same as a day before (21F, windy). But no, it was 50s and I was prepared to face much colder morning. On Saturday we have a busy day. By 11 o'clock both sweetie and I had a run and swim workout done. Then we were invited to a brunch and a celebration of Ile who had just conquered Ironman Kona. Thereafter I found myself in Helsinki at a meeting with a professor from the US. Regardless of high hopes Saturday's pace booster sucked pretty badly.

Next workout was again on early Wednesday morning. I met with JK and did a pyramid 1/2/3/4/3/2/1'2min. This generated aching muscles and this state of affairs was amplified by yesterday's hills + drills + flexibility + core training session (2.5hrs). Today's running effort was supposed to be easy but I chose to run 20 minutes pace booster. After a hard swim practice the outcome was not nice, but I did it.


A race... at last

My last running race was from May. It was when I performed miserably at the XC nationals. The joy of this disappointing reality check was amplified by an injury that killed my stride for the whole summer.

But now this non-racing streak is abolished.

Today I hesitated quite many times that should I even start the race, but since sweetie was heading to the starting line, I had to do it, as well. And now I'm pretty happy with the decision. Even if my time was 1.16 slower than last year, I'm still happy with the outcome. Friday's butt killer hurts still, but despite the muscle pain and stiffness I was able to perform at satisfying level.

And then Matti ran 2.28 in Amsterdam today. AWESOME!

Today was a good day.


50 miles

It's been awhile since I have ran even this much per week. The total mileage for July was 8 and so on. Steady, but progressive.

Today I crashed with my bicycle (3rd time for this year) and currently my left knee is slightly swollen and back is pretty tight. Maybe this good streak of progress is now at stake for couple of days. We'll see.


Two nice workouts

I've been slowly building my way back to training mode. This week I tried to fit a run in my lunch break which was a success. Even if the result was that I had eat alone, the run and the boost of energy it generated did compensate the loss by 6 to 0.

On Wednesday I did my first WOW fow awhile. In order to gain some speed and more efficient stride, I was ready for a fartlek-type-of workout. Out of many option I chose Mona Fartlek, the one named after Aussie Steve Moneghetti (he had this workout regularly in his routine). Fartlek covered 2x90 seconds hard (tempo to 10K pace) with 90 seconds of float (steady pace, not jogging) followed by 4x60 (faster)'60sec + 4x30'30sec + 4x15(full steam)'15sec. The workout is pretty intense and at the same time really efficient 20 minutes.

Today I ran a block of thirds for 60 minutes (20 minutes easy, 20 minutes close to steady state, 20 minutes faster than steady state). This felt great too. So, I will strongly consider utilizing these workouts during the rest of my years on the road.


Berlin marathon

My flight to the 40th Berlin marathon departs tomorrow.

I'm not on it.


First workout since... May?

Mark will probably die for laughing over this but I'm really happy for this morning's endeavours.

During an ez run I ran 5x1min'1min at faster pace (say 5.20s). And I can't hardly express how great it felt! The things that I have forgot during the time off -- all the possible aches, feeling extremely slow and old -- came back instantly. But as like Moguli has now proven, steady progress can produce fast times. So hopefully this is new me speaking... steady progress. That being said the next post will probably be about a new injury...


Ironman and other thoughts

I spent last weekend in Kalmar, Sweden where sweetie did her second Ironman race (yes, an offical Ironman). She did great, as supposed. But on Saturday morning I couldn't even dare to think about jumping myself into restless ocean (because of relatively heavy winds) and then, after had swimmed 3.8km, continue my day by biking in that same wind. No way. I was really happy to cheer sweetie and her team mates during their long long day.

Maybe that's why the IT pain has almost totally left me alone. On Tuesday I ran the first painless run in 3 months and yesterday the pain was only a numb feeling in the aching muscles. The muscles started to ache right after I did my first ever weight session at the physio. It seems that building up the hip core is the only way out here. But hey, I'm coming back stronger than ever.

And this last notion might be the main contributor to my mindset of today. Now I'm eagerly waiting for the moment when Ironman Copenhagen's registration will open. I want this, and I will be in trouble.


Positive signs

Last 2 weeks of the "ITB sucks" routine have generated positive effects: I have done two pain-free 6 milers! The IT band is still tight but there's no more pain involved with the everyday life or running. In addition to the 40 min routine, I have downgraded the time spent on a bike. Who likes to ride, if you can run?

I'm pretty hopeful that in few weeks I will be back at it. 


Skipping Berlin marathon

The current, prolonged problems will not enable any running workouts, and accordingly, I decided that I will not run Berlin marathon this year. Instead of adjusting the engine for marathon preparations, I will now focus on exercises that hopefully put my left leg in order.

Take care wherever you run.


Still dating my bike

Time is crawling.

The summer weather is peaking and every single morning I'd be more than happy to jump up and go for a run. But then this worthless piece of a toe says no. This injury is really sad one. It's like nothing but then again it is a big deal.

Another issue that sort of bugs me is that I'm afraid that I'm getting more and more used to this 'not running' status. Yes, my heart begs for even a really pedestrian 3 miles jog, but my mind is not anymore fulfilled with pure anger because of not being able to run. Furthermore, for instance nowadays I don't mind if some individuals choose not to take care of themselves even if they could. Back in the day I left their wasteful physical presence in a second. Getting older is good - life's just easier this way.

This time the remedy's name is Trek. Instead of running, I had to find a mental and physical outlet of the current state of frustration by riding my bike. It's fun, yes, but with a strong headwind, it just sucks. But that's the code of life - you win some, you lose some.

T minus Berlin Marathon: 11 weeks.
T minus getting back at running: 2-4 weeks.

Btw. I hate swimming. H A T E it.


Back on my bike

My new buddy, a broken toe, is getting more and more bearable. Thus, I've been able to hop on a bike and ride like an animal, a really tiny one. Instead of riding, I went swimming this morning. It was fun until I forgot that I am not supposed to make any turns by using my right foot...

I restarted my Summer vacation today, and now I'll enjoy the combination of riding and watching TdF everytime when I have a chance. But more than that I will enjoy the time off from work!

Berlin marathon: T minus 12 weeks.
Getting back at running: T minus 3 weeks.


You gotta be kidding me...

I was about to be able to bounce back on the road. IT pain is gone.

But what do you know... Today I broke the fourth toe on my right foot. And that's about it. No triathlons or running for the next 4 weeks.

Oh and yes... today was the first day of my vacation.


Training block nr 1 is not progressing well

The training program/plan is solid, of course. Execution is not so much. Basically, the rest days have been the only part which I've been able to follow this far...

IT pain was not gone, but it relaunched another attack. A week ago I got a cortisone injection which after all did not help. Rest has not helped, ice has not helped, massage has not helped, stretching has not helped, and so on.

Yesterday I started at a triathlon race without knowing if I can even start running after the bike. I did, but it was pretty pedestrian paced effort. Race itself was a really nice experience.

But now I really don't know what's next. Vacation, yes, but in terms of running the near future is plain black. Again.


Let the marathon training begin

Right. I returned from Lyon on Sunday. That evening I did a-must-ride of 64 miles just to get some exercise. On Monday IT left okay and I had to try if I'm able to start training on Tuesday. Everything was relatively okay.

On Tuesday I had a strides workout which went decently. IT/knee was silent until we (AP and fast American runner, Becky Wade) started to cool down. Then I knew that if I happen to run on Wednesday, it is going to be painful. As it was... Thus, I gotta back off once again. Today is off, tomorrow morning I might do Friday's workout, pace booster, and then I will get a cortisone injection. Hopefully it will finish the pain. So I hope that only couple more days and then I'm back at it... for real.

When you are stuck with IT pain, it looks like this (photo by Hellracer).



I'm now in Lyon, France. Ran yesterday. 30 minutes through pain. IT band is not easy on me.

The first training block for Berlin Marathon should start on Monday. Instead, I'm heading to doctor's office.


Duathlon Nationals

Yesterday I raced my second duathlon race ever. First one was in 1991 or 1992, and I vividly recall it being an awfull experience. I think that it was partially a XC race.

Well, yesterday was done on flat road which is a decent surface for "serious" biking. My preparations for this race included a disasterous Bike-Run x 4 workout couple of weeks ago. For instance, after that workout my running has mostly been a pain in the ass. And nothing else.

Then on last Wednesday morning I sneaked out for a early morning tempo ride (20km in 33:40 = 35.6km/h) during which I used aerobars (which I got to borrow from Ile) for the first time in my life. Based on this base training I dared to face 44km bike ride with 10k "warm-up" and 5k "cool down".

As fun as it was, the race itself was a pretty long (2:11:44) performance which included 3.5 minutes of sad examples of bad transitions both from run to bike and bike to run. But I took them as a hands-on learning experience. On the other hand, they might have prevent me for achieving higher podium spots than the AG bronze which I earned.

Next up... recovery.


Running with spikes hurts

I think that last time I wore spikes was in 2008 when I participated XC race in the US (Derwood, MD) or then it was in 2009 at Run Through the Grapevine (Mt. Airy, MD).

Anyway, on Sunday wearing spikes sounded a reasonable choice since we were going to run mostly on grass. But now I have to restate that choice: it was an horrible idea. Now both of my heels are peeled and torn. I can't even fit my running shoes on. Damn it.

Otherwise that XC race was a nice experience. I recall vividly that a moment before (30 sec) the start, at the starting line, I began to reason my presence in that race. Since I'm sort of a shade of what I used to be, my expectations for the race were minimal - not to finish last. What kind of goal is that? Another point of reality was that right after the gun will go off, I will just watch all the runners vanish into the horizon. Well, both of these ideas came true... But even if I was slow a crap (there was a moment when I was ashamed to on that XC track), I finished.

Next up... Duathlon Nationals. I just hope that I can fit my racing flats on next Sunday.


No patience

Stupid me with no patience whatsoever. Even if last Sunday's XC race was going to be a tough nut with decent preparation, I just had to kill my tiny changes by not being patient enough.

On Wednesday I ran with JK an excellent hill workout followed by a steady run. Nice. This workout felt great and I started to feel opportunistic about Sunday. But then on Thursday I had a change to join sweetie and the group of the triathlon warriors in their bike-run -workout. And that was a clearly a bad bad mistake. Of course I didn't see that before the workout...

Workout comprised 6k fast bike followed by 1k fast run (and this was repeated four times). Beforehand I promised to run at easy pace (6.20s), but no, it just didn't happen. Bike legs were around 23 mph, and running pace varied from 5.35 to 5.15. And this combination just broke my legs. Totally. On the following Friday I could barely walk and on Saturday my easy run was just an awful experience.

Accordingly, Sunday's XC race was miserable imitation of running. Already during the WU I noticed that my legs and my guts are far from providing any changes for pushing my limits. So, in race I broke down already before the 1st kilometer and the rest of the way I wasn't even sure if I will finish that race. I did, but with low success. The days after the race have been miserable, too. Legs are in pain and the left thigh is partially out-of-order. So, I hope that I will make to the starting line on Sunday.

So next up XC nationals and then week after that Duathlon Nationals (10k-40k-5k; I'm in AG 40-44).


So not ready for the XC season (which lasts one week)

The night run was really nice experience. The course followed the river and the wind conditions were gentle. Before the race I promised to organize a elite car for a group of runners: they got they numbers from the car without standing in line and I offered them sports drink, energy gels and recovery drinks. 

My race was decent if you forget what happened between 6-9k. I had pretty bad stomach cramp during which I didn't have any means to keep up the pace (5.30s). Because of that a long waited sub 35 did not happen. Thereafter, on Sunday evening I found myself drafting a way faster triathlete on our headwindish way back to home on a 3 hour long ride. Without him I would have taken a taxi instead of riding those last windy 20 miles.

Next up is XC race on Sunday (10.25k) and a week after that I will set my eyes on the starting line of the XC Nationals. It's been a while, but this time it is going to be a dark, dirty place for me... More importantly, if you sum up these two occasions, you'll realize that in Finland the XC season lasts almost one week.


Road relay is fun

We managed to our team from the start to the finish. What a success. No really, we were second among the sport club's category and fourth among all teams. Our finishing time, 2:44.49, was 8-10 minutes slower than our usual result. This year our team was lacking two Kenyans and four other runners (one of which run 10km NR for 40-44 AG). But no matter what yesterday was about fun in rain.

I had the priviledge to tackle with the legendary 6.3km leg which is known about comprising the only hills in the course (yes, half of the leg is uphill, but other legs have hills, too). The average pace (5.33) was slightly better than I expected.

Photo by kuvit telija

And then another, even greater news is that our women's team took their third consecutive win! This year they won by 6 minutes...

Next up will be an inaugural 10km which starts 10PM from the harbor of Turku.


Road relay

I have been able to run twice this week after Sunday's incident. Today was so depressing day that I decided to skip any running.

Tomorrow is time for a legendary road relay called Karhu-viesti, a 56 km long trip, 7 legs. It's gonna be rainy, windy and fun.

Yes, I'm little bit scared.


Memo to me

Garbage bin in the middle of your way vs. you running at ez pace.

You lose.


Easter holiday

Luckily I had a sudden day of fever and I had to have two days off last weekend. This partially eased the previous pain caused by stupidity. Last week, however, I managed to run only one workout (8x500m'200m, ~1.31) in addition to some ez runs embedded with some serious suffering.

This week I had a chance to kiss the treadmill goodbye since some of the road have lost their icy covering. On early Tuesday morning I ran 3x10min with accelerating pace. It was pretty cool to run faster outside for the first time since November. Only thing is that my legs haven't adjusted so much to running conditions with grip. No wonder that today's workout 5x1000m was exhausting. I actually quit after the first repeat and already started to change clothing. Only then I realized that there is no way that I could handle the obvious mental aftermath.... so I changed back and ran the rest of the workout with moderate effort.


On the verge

I'm almost injured. I ran Sunday's LR (18 miles) only with my left leg since right one's usability was seriously hampered by some kind of nerve pain. As I don't give a rat's ass for being rational or indicating that 27 years on the road would bring some wisdom, I just enjoyed the sunny albeit icy conditions and thought that let's see what happens.

Pain happens.

I'm back at it tomorrow.


After consecutive 54 days without sunshine...

Since the last update I have had couple of awesome albeit busy weeks.

In short: on Monday's I've been punished by a treadmill during the acclerating 6 miler. On Thursday's the schedule has included either 8x500m or 5x1000m repeats. In both sets I have tried to run faster than I did a month ago. Just to make it sure that there's some kind of progression involved.

This weeks has, however, been pretty tiring. 4 deadlines arrived and then I started to lecture a brand new course. Thus, the psycho-physical -balance was unbalanced. Accordingly, I have felt sick several days in a row without really being sick. Good news is that this is gone. Even if today was -8F, it has been sunny. And by this time of year it only means that snow and ice will meet their maker anytime soon.



Thursday: Short hills
Friday: 5x1000m (5:17-4:59/mile pace)
Saturday: morning swim practice and afternoon 2.5 hrs Bike-Run-Bike-Run-Bike-Run workout
Sunday: evening swim practice and "long" run.

Tomorrow: a day off.


First you enjoy, then you get sick

Yes. I'm back. After being away for 1.5 weeks because of flu, it feels great to be back on the snowy and icy roads.

Before my lungs enabled any running I sneaked out for a swim on Sunday. After swimming 2000m in various forms of workouts lungs were trying to get out. It meant one more day off from running. Thus, on Monday I spent a moment on trainer with HIMYM the latter of which made this exercise pretty pleasant.

But then it was time to harness running shoes and head out... Tuesday ez, Wednesday ez + short steep hills in the parking garage of a mall close-by. Then yesterday I dared myself to join youngsters while they were punishing 1k reps. It felt great even if I had the brakes on (pace varied between 5.10-5.20).

But now this body is done. Next up a long run and then on Sunday I will continue the streak of triathlon specific training (bike-run-bike-run-bike-run workout). It's gonna be legendary.


Gotta have more cowbell

Haven't been updating anything for awhile. Writing manuscripts has taken all the potential spare time.

Yesterday and today I have spent only by thinking about running due to a flu. Other than that the training has been quite steady lately even if I ran only 200 miles during January.

Weekly repertoire has been something like this: On Mondays I have had dates with treadmill and I've enjoyed acclerating tempos. Then on Thursdays I have joined a group of youngsters while they demolish 500m or 1000m reps. Then on Wednesday mornings I have done short steep hills (10x12 sec) in a parking garage of a mall near by. The roads are a mess as you can imagine, but it hasn't hindered the pleasures of long runs. On Sunday evening I have participated a swim practice in order to enhance the chances to keep myself alive while tackling with half-Ironman next Summer.


Back at it

Road conditions are now insane. Every single road is covered with slippery, shiny ice. And now it started to snow again. This same snow storm stopped air traffic in Amsterdam and Stockholm earlier today.

I bounced back after an easy weekend. First workout after the sudden gluteus/hamstring syndrome took place yesterday. I ran a 5 miler on treadmill. I planned to do a 6 miler but got so bored and tired during 7.5 km so I called it quits. Sad but true.


Roads are icy

2013 has started pretty nicely. No injuries yet. Today is, however, prone for them since I'm join youngster in their short (170m) intervals workout. Risky!

>BREAKING NEWS!!! My gluteus/hamstring held on only 3.5 runs out of 16.

Running on these roads is risky, too. I dunno what happened, but all of sudden roads are covered by ice. Oh yeah right, Finnish weather happened.


Regional (DC) Runner Rankings Fall - Men

Source: RacePacket

35-39 Men

Army 10 Mile 49:21, 10K = 29:42
"...Pekka Stenholm ran the Clarendon Day 5K in 16:41 to take sixth place...."
1Angell, David*36Blue Ridge, VA31:33
2Wertz, David****36Arlington, VA32:46
3O'Hara, David**36Alexandria, VA32:59
4Thomas, Matthew*38Alexandria, VA34:42
5Hayes, Brian*38Bolling AFB, VA34:44
6Stenholm, Pekka39Columbia, MD34:48
7Brown, Karsten***38Front Royal, VA35:15
8Buontempo, Giovanni*39Hyattsville, MD35:22
9Farley, Chris36Arlington, VA35:30
10Prinzivalli, Steve**36Catonsville, MD35:45
11Stemberger, Gregory*35South Riding, VA35:43
12Duffield, Rory**35Fairfax, VA35:43
13Hottle, Nathan*36Lynchburg, VA35:49
14Freeburn, Keith****38Centreville, VA36:00



Number of miles conquered by running: 2311
Number of miles conquered by cycling: 685
Number of miles conquered by swimming: 4.5
Number of marathons completed: 0
Number of marathons started: 0
Number of Master's Indoor World Championships attended: 1
Number of Events completed at Master's Indoor World Championships: 0
Number of the best ever training plans started during 2012: 2
Number of running related disappointments: 2

Number of running races completed: 8
Number of bike races completed: 1
Number of adventure races completed: 2
Number of almost serious achilles tendon problems: 1
Number of 40th birthdays celebrated: 1
Number of kgs lost/gained: still don't care

After the Birthday 40k I took one week pretty easy. Then I found myself running workouts on indoor track, running tempo runs in windy 5 F weather followed by trying to not fall down on really icy roads (caused by continuous rain). Last 1.5 weeks has been fulfilled by vacation time and tomorrow the weekdays are back.

Year 2013 will bring some new challenges (Half Ironman in July) and old ones (Berlin Marathon in September). I'm really looking forward for them.

Have a great 2013!