Saturday, 16 September 2017

INSTAssel: Oldskool

Ein Beitrag geteilt von runssel (@runssel) am

94 years young and still rollin - While our 11-months old son was the youngest finisher (in a stroller...) at today's Flatenloppet, Arne was the oldest and by far the most inspiring one. Narrowly beaten by @karlundi, though!

Tune of the day: Stakka and Skynet feat Konflict - Bios-Fear

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

shoeporn: On - Cloudrush

Going low - On enters the speedy and minimalistic racing flats sphere with their latest model called Cloudrush.  
Swiss Engineering - The distinctive On design is hard to oversee. As usual, style is down to discussion. Personally i like the unique and clean appearance of the shoe. On sticks out and already has its own niche. 
Exoskeleton design - The comb-like design of the outer material raises eyebrows. On calls the structure and the idea behind this "Taping". An all-new upper creation ensures that the runners foot stays in place during sessions and faster runs. What certainly sticks out is the fit even when the shoe is not tight laced. A benefit when it comes to the use of bendy lock laces commonly used in Triathlon.
Front row - to read more about On and their company history check my recent Cloudflow review!
On's latest model replaces the popular Cloudracer with an even simpler and lighter approach. This will benefit runners that like to train and run fast. A nice little detail are little reflective details on the upper.   
Despite not holding back with the amount of logos throughout the shoe, it still looks classy and stylish. 
220 grams is not much. Still the 18 low-abrasion rubber elements called "clouds" provide enough cushion and a very pleasant rebound. For a racing shoe this is something that certainly sticks out. 
While the shoe laces are unrationally long (i had to cut quite a fair bit...) the tongue is one of my favorite parts of the shoe. As stupid as it sounds, but with its lightness and great breathability it is something else.
If something makes an On shoe special then it is, without a doubt, the sole. While the traction is perfect on roads and gravel trails it is not really a shoe that likes to go off-road.
Bounce - Sometimes it is crazy what elevates out of a garden hose. The little "clouds" provide the cushion and deliver a good kick-back feeling. Out of all On models the Cloudrush does have the lowest chambers. Logically that makes the shoe less prone to stones or wood that can be stuck in and between chambers sometimes. 
More details of the distinctive "clouds" along the base of this neutral shoe. 
Full gas - a very, light and comfy midsole provides a great set-up for faster runs. The Cloudrush certainly feels very stable and dynamic as the foot is locked in nicely to provide a dynamic and natural stride. A Stack Height of 21mm at the heel and 16mm on the forefoot make up for a 5mm Heel-toe offset. A set-up for fast runs! 
I felt comfortable from the first run. It is great to have a lightweight shoe with such a direct attitude and cushion that gives you certain flexibility. While the shoe is made for racing or speed workouts i also preferred it for everyday runs. It is nice and light and still comfortable. Heads up to another well shaped On model. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

On point with Jaakko Mäkelä

Together with his older brother Ville they were the 13th team that crossed the finish line in front of the Utö Vardshus this past Monday. It took the finish brothers 9:16:43 hours to complete the fabled Ötillö course in thrilling conditions. We met the fast duo from Espoo on the ferryboat that took all Ötillö participants back to Stockholm the day after the race. Jaakko found the time to answer some questions about the race and what he is up to next.

RUNssel: Your initial Swimrun experience was at the Ötillö Merit race in Solvalla, Finland. You won it straight away and qualified for this year’s World Championships across the Stockholm Archipelago. How did you guys end up racing a Swimrun competition and in what way did you prepare for your initial outing?
Jaakko Mäkelä: OK, let's make it clear. We won the men-class in Solvalla back in 2016, but Jasmina and Thomas Schreven were way faster than us and won the race overall. Nevertheless, we got a ticket to ÖtillÖ and there was no doubt we would not use it. We ended up trying Swimrun after racing many years in multisport, adventure racing, mountain biking, orienteering, running, cross-country skiing etc. We wanted to try something new and Swimrun looked like fun. Before the race we were pretty confident with our running skills, but with swimming we weren't that familiar. My brother Ville had never swum longer than 300m but we didn't let that bother us and decided that we just keep running as fast as we can through the race.

RUNssel: The landscape on the finish west coast, where you guys life, seems to be pretty comparable to what you face throughout Ötillö. Where and how did you guys train for the competition? Did you set up a special training plan and how did your key sessions leading up to the big race look like?
Jaakko Mäkelä: I think Finland might be the best country to practice Swimrun. With more than 180.000 lakes it's easy to find a location to train. We do most of our "specific" Swimrun training in Nuuksio national park where the Solvalla Swimrun is also held. There are plenty of smaller crystal clear lakes and never ending beautiful forest trails. It's also located just a few kilometers away from our homes. Few times we did training sessions in the southern archipelago which offers a bit rougher weather and more "ÖtillÖ-like" landscape. As we both have full time jobs, our training is relatively easy during the week, but at the weekends we like to race a lot. If there is no race to compete then it's time for some longer training sessions. Before ÖtillÖ we raced together at the Porkkala Swimrun, Lake to Lake Swimrun and Kopparnäs Swimrun. We also participated in some triathlon races and trail races individually. The final training involved of some longer runs (40k) just to get our legs properly smashed a few times. Our Training philosophy - "get fit by racing" works pretty well for us!

RUNssel: What equipment did you use during Ötillö?
Jaakko Mäkelä: In ÖtillÖ we used the new Sailfish Swimrun Pro wetsuits. It fits really well for me, but still gives you enough "legroom" for running. It also has nice pockets and well planned zippers. On our feet we had the Salomon Slab Amphib which drains well and is light. Between the legs were the biggest pullbuoy available from Huub (Big Buoy) and hand paddles were from Sailfish.

RUNssel: As experienced multisport racers you are no strangers to a proper team effort. What are the specialties of Swimrun racing in your point of view?
Jaakko Mäkelä: Swimrun is really a team sport. We have done more than 100 races together as a team so giving a helping hand when needed comes quite naturally. You are not as slow as the slower team mate or as fast as the faster one. Using towlines both in swimming and running makes a better team effort for sure.

RUNssel: You finished last Mondays race in 10th place. An impressive performance for first-timers. How did your day unfold and what did you learn from your first Ötillö?
Jaakko Mäkelä: We asked for some advice from people who had been racing ÖtillÖ before. Fellow Finn Petri Forsman was the first winner of ÖtillÖ and is an adventure racing legend. He gave some helpful tips as did Mika Luoto and Juha Lindfors who were racing this year as well. With all the information we gathered we set our goal to go under 9h. We finished 9.16 h but maybe the weather wasn't on our side this time. Still we were really satisfied with our effort. Due to the challenging ocean swims we swam some extra meters here and there, but we had never been swimming in that kind of waves and currents so it was a brand new experience. Running on trails was our strongest part and we could open some gaps there with our closest rivals. Overall it was a pretty solid race for us. For the future we definitely need to do more swimming in harsh weather.

RUNssel: At this year’s Xterra Finland you qualified for the Xterra Worlds on Maui. How do you get ready for this race?
Jaakko Mäkelä: For Maui I need to get back on my mountainbike. I haven't been cycling much this summer, so it's going to be my weak spot. Luckily I have some extra motivation after ÖtillÖ so I just need to put on some Gore Tex gear and my head lamp every night (It's getting dark!) I’m sure it's going to be great fun also in Maui.

RUNssel: Do you have already plans for the forthcoming season? Will you be racing more Swimrun races?
Jaakko Mäkelä: In 2018 we are definitely going to be racing Swimrun more that this year. There is plenty of good races in Finland and maybe we join some international races as well. Beside Swimrun there will be some triathlons, trailruns, MTB and multisport. ÖtillÖ 2018 is part of our race calendar for sure!

Follow Jaakko on Facebook and Instagram

Saturday, 2 September 2017

INSTAssel: Appreciations

Ein Beitrag geteilt von runssel (@runssel) am

Getting ready for the BIG ONE. Only two days until the 12th version of the notorious ÖtillÖ. For the fourth time we are lucky to be part of this special and unique day. All of this would not be possible without the generous help and support of our beloved families and friends at Huub, Salomon, CEP Sports, Swimrunshop, Racepaddle and Malmsten. Thanks so much for your help and all the love!

This race creates so much anticipation, fear, hunger and motivation. Even after four years it scares and fascinates. Do not forget to appreciate and respect this beautiful environment and everyone on and along this unique course. Keep the spirit and enjoy this day!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

shoeporn: Salming - Race 5

They call him "The King" - Anders Börje Salming is a Swedish retired ice hockey player. To hockey fans around the world Salming is widely known as the first European player to make an significant impact in the NHL. He retired from the game in 1993 and was then introduced to the Hall of Fame. Furthermore he was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in the leagues history. Salming does not own the company nowadays but still holds shares in the company.
Salming first started with an underwear brand in 2001. He then went on to produce floor ball and handball products. Since a couple of years the brand is widely recognized for its running products. I had the chance to examine their latest 185g running flat - Race 5
The Salming Race 5 is clearly made for race day. With its basic, simple and light approach he not only looks fast. 
Proud Swedes - the yellow and blue of the Swedish national flag can be found on the tongue of the shoe. A display of national pride and heritage. Nowaday the company is based in Askim, Sweden. 
Characteristics of a true race shoe: 16 mm high at the center of heel and 11 mm at ball of foot. A sweet 5 mm drop. The midsole is called "RunLite" and provides a nice touch of responsiveness paired with a great flexibility 
It is pretty clear what the Race 5 is made for. Proper uptempo runs in training and road racing from 5K to the marathon.
The distinctive color goes by the name of Ceramic Green. Paired with the flashy geometry it certainly sticks out. The darker graphic patches are made of reflective material and the shoe pretty visible in the dark. A pretty taky feature. 
A sole design that is made for fast running on the roads. I enjoyed the simple design and the grip while running on tarmac was excellent. 
DROP 5MM - Salmings' standard heel to toe drop of 5 mm is ment to support a natural running posture. I wouldn't mind if they would go even lower on such a racing specific shoe. 
A snug upper that i felt very comfortable in. I liked the shape of the shoe and the low to the ground feeling it provides. In case you are not able to use Google, Salming incorporated their web-adress on a pretty prominent spot of the shoe. 
While dark during daylight, the dark patches reflect during nicht runs. 
Fast and pretty furious. I like the Race 5 not only for racing. Even though the shoe does not provide much cushion  i enjoy the direct feeling of this race flat during easier runs. 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Thursday, 24 August 2017

INSTAssel: Shorter

Ein Beitrag geteilt von runssel (@runssel) am

“It seems that this loop gets shorter and shorter every time we do it” Karl laughs as we stop our watches after another plunge around Långholmen isle this morning. Despite the fact that the 3,5k distance round this stunning island feels shorter, it unquestionably does not shorten its remarkable sensation. Particularly in the early morning hours when the sea is calm and the city slowly wakes up. [📸: @karlundi]

Tune of the day: O.C. - Born 2 Live

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

20107-09: Ångaloppet

The idea came up as the water in Brunnsviken lake were still ice-covered. The two of us met some years ago and did what we always do – running, chatting and laughing. A few years ago Dan and I bumped into each other at a cosy hostel outside of El Bolson in the middle of Patagonia. Instantly we got on great and since that time our paths seem to cross regularly. He moved to Stockholm a some years ago and eventually I ended up there as well. One icy winter morning we were out on a loop around Haga Parken and chatted about SwimRun. At that time Dan and his friends were in the preparation phase for their first race in Western Australia – Rottnest SwimRun. Having caught the SwimRun bug some years ago while competing durng the Utö SwimRun, he and his friends were keen to bring the sport to Australia. What they created with there is not far from being stunning. The first edition was a success and I’m sure the one next year will top everything again. As well organising a race Dan was keen to have another go himself. So we agreed to sign up for a classic in the Swedish SwimRun diary – Ångaloppet.

Several preparation gatherings later it was “Go-Time” this past Sunday. Ångaloppet is down to 22 kilometres of jagged and technical trail running split up by a total of 2k of swimming through Nyköping’s archipelago which contains the Ången Lake and the Baltic Sea. The swimming portion is broken down to 24 pieces which makes this competition pretty unique. Changeovers must be fast and are often tricky as the swim entrance and exits contain slippery or steep rocks. A varied course that takes its tool and displays why team tactics and swift changes are so important.

Furthermore the organisers laid out humble equipment rules to keep everything simple and straight forward. It is forbidden to use fins, hand-paddles and teams are not allowed to be connected with a rope. Most of the line-ups choose to wear normal swim trunks or neoprene shorts. This year the rulebook got amended so at least one part of the equipment must contain neoprene or another floating material. Dan and I opted for trail shoes, neoprene shorts, big pullbouys and calf guards with floating material. With the race-experience still in mind and stroke by all the changeovers, I would leave the swim googles and the pullbuoy at home next time I do this race. I totally value this modest concept and I can see this layout of SwimRun racing to have success abroad as the sport gets bigger and bigger. In warmer climate and in areas where a course with lots of short swims is possible this is unquestionably a format that will attract people. Competitors do not need much gear to compete and the short run and swim slices are doable for all fitness levels.

After the usual start hassle that contained some fiddly trails early on, Dan and I ran along with a pleasant pace. The first run piece is the longest and line-ups spread out fast. Out of all SwimRun competitions I did so far the Ångaloppet must have been by far the best marked course. The route was fundamentally a hand-rail along off-trail through thick forest, rocks, mud ponds, techy trails and smooth gravel roads. Signs a couple of 100 meters before every swim section made sure the equipment is in place as you approach the waters. On top of that signs at the swim entry displayed the imminent distance and made sure that you know which of the 24 swim sections you are about to tackle.

Looking back it feels like the race just flew by. With the relentless challenges the course offered, especially the tricky running sectors, the mind got taken off so easily. Paired with faultless weather this was a great day out with a good friend. It is so cool to struggle and enjoy an experience like this with a good friend! See you next year Ånga Gard!

Tune of the day: Fashawn - Stars

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Stockholms Stadion

The venue of the 1912 Olympic Games is also the regular spot for our weekly track gatherings. Open to the public and still in an exceptionally good and incredible spotless condition, the 14,417 capacity ground is something really special and a huge motivation booster when it comes to simple and hard track work. With a total of 83 records the “Stadion” (as the Stockholmers call it) has seen more athletics world records broken than any other arena in the world. Certainly we do not help to increase this figure even more.

Tune of the day: Not a huge fan of the new Sean Price album but still in love with Boom" Bye" Yeah