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Christmas hangover, December 30th 2007

Merry Christmas to everyone, who has not had enough of the holidays yet! I spent two wonderful weeks before and during Christmason the Big Island of Hawaii and Oahu. The low-altitude training camp was required at this point of the season to achieve an increased recovery level as I have been running a lot, on high altitude in Flagstaff, AZ.

Just to take the recovering to the extreme I went even beyond the sea level – beneath it – to finish my PADI scuba diving certification while diving among green sea turtles, dolphins, octopus and sharks. It is hard to describe the feelings one gets after a day with a good morning run in the rain forest above Honolulu, two dives with turtles and octopus encounters on the reefs and a smooth sunset on Waikiki beach. As a certified scuba diver I can now dive together with a buddy and have access to an undisclosed world underneath the surface.

All my workouts where I was recovered were successful. Only when I did back-to-back harder sessions did I not quite reach my targets. My training has been mostly around my anaerobic threshold level lately but being on sea level has helped me maintain a faster pace in all my workouts. My quads that have created problems in my past marathons are definitely now used to pavement that usually gives them a shock in the latter part of the race. The last two weeks before my marathon in Houston I will be in Flagstaff concentrating on keeping my muscles in shape and ready to get hammered. The work is done, now patience is the key to success.

Well on the way towards Marathon, December 14th 2007

The fall semester of 2007 at NAU is officially over and a period of stress due to that has ended. I only have to take a few more classes and will get my Bachelors Degree in the spring of 2008. I have been on a good tone lately as my workouts have been on an anticipated level, including a quick 36kilometer and some faster repeats in the midst of a 192K last week. The goal of a sub 2.17’ marathon on January 13th is not coming up a day too early.

I had the chance of doing a treadmill test with Jack Daniels earlier this week and was really satisfied with the outcome as a blew a 69,6 VO2max ml/kg/min on 2100m in Flagstaff. With the altitude conversion that results in a 78 on sea level. I have to thank Jack and Phil Wharton for making me concentrate on my breathing rhythm for achieving this level. I now know I can comfortable and economically keep up my pace for 42,2Ks.

A snowstorm rolled over Northern Arizona last weekend and Flagstaff got a total of 40cm of snow. This made the trails inaccessible and thus I went up in the mountains to teach my roommate Jonathan Little how the Finns managed to fight off the Soviet troops on skis 90 years ago. I had not skied for 3 years, but I still had the skills in the back of my head. The 90th Finnish Independence Day itself on December 6th was celebrated in a small circuit party at my house. As the trails are still snow covered I am now heading to Hawai’i and will enjoy the oxygen rich tropical air on Oahu and the Big Island until Christmas.

NAU fourth at NCAA Championships, November 20th 2007

The NAU Lumberjacks Cross Country ended the season on a good tone yesterday in Terre Haute, Indiana – Getting fourth as a team at NCAA Championships feels really good, after not having competed at this level before. Individually all of our top 4 guys were disappointed with our performances and had some stomach problems afterwards. The combination of having bad food the night before and coming down to sea level a critical 3 nights before the race probably caused this. A lesson learned.

I went out hard, as I am used to and lead the way at 1K, coming through 5K at 15’12”. At this point I was still coming through the outrageous crowd in close contact with the leaders in 44th, but started fading soon after. I reached 8K still in huge never ending pack in 24’30” at 53rd. The pain was obvious but I was still able to pick it up and improve to 47th over the last mile. My time 30’40” over 10K of cross country.

This cross country season has been blissful and it is sad to end it. I might get another year of intercollegiate eligibility, but my close teammates Justin Langdon, Lopez Lomong and Jonathan Cardenas will not be beside me another season. Thanks to all my teammates and coaches for making such a great season!

It's business time - NCAA Cross Country Championships, November 18th 2007

The Lumberjacks are ready for the last meet of the year, the NCAA Cross Country Championships, which is the highest level of collegiate competition in the US. The flat manmade grass course was dry and fast earlier today, but it remains to be seen what today's rain has caused the course. The race will have live coverage on the web and will as well be broadcasted across the nation on tv. The gun goes at 12:08 local time and at 19:08 Finnish time. Keep your thumbs up behind the screens, because it’s business time!

Towards US Collegiate National Cross Country Champs, November 12th 2007

Weber State introduced a flat golf course on a sunny day for the 2007 NCAA Mountain Regional Cross Country Championships. Our team went into the race with big hopes to qualify for the NCAA National Championships and we accomplished our goal, even if our team wasn’t at its best, having to race without slightly injured David McNeill. As the National Championships are only 9 days later I wanted to run a good race, but still be feeling fresh a week later. The early pace felt easy even if I ran a 4’40” first mile in the lead pack and came through 5k at 15’13”. I ran the second half in 15’27” with a little harder breathing than the first and finished 10th in 30’40”in the Mountain Region right behind teammate Jonathan Cardenas. Lopez was again remarkable and took home the individual trophy in 29'52" without problems. As a team we finished 3rd, behind Colorado University and University Of Texas El Paso. The following week consists of mostly recovery runs before the Big Day in Indiana on November 19th.

The US Olympic Trials in the marathon was held a week ago in New York’s Central Park. The race was hyped well in advance and it was even broadcasted live on TV across the country. Ryan Hall ran to an astonishing victory, but that performance got a huge shadow on it as the news of Ryan Shay passing away 5 miles into the race reached the world. Ryan was living in Flagstaff and his loss is a big tragedy for the running community here – it is weird how someone in such a good shape could die without even pressing himself hard physically(as the pace was easy early on). Ryan had an enlarged heart and the mishap could have occurred anywhere, without physical stress being present. The sorrow about losing Ryan is hard to get over, but he would have liked us all to reach for our goals despite his passing away.

Big Sky Conference Champions, October 27th 2007

The Lumberjacks did a successful visit to University of Montana in Missoula. We went 1-2-4-6-9 for the first five scoring runners today on a chilly golf course surrounded by mountains and thus captured the team title at the Big Sky Cross Country Championships. I didn’t feel fully recovered from this week’s workouts, but run a solid race, working together with my teammates Lopez Lomong, David McNeill and Jonathan Cardenas until 4k. From there on Lopez took the race and the rest of us trailed. Our team victory was secured so coach Heins told me to chill and finish easy in fourth place. I was glad with that and ready to move on towards the bigger championships that are coming up – the competition at Mountain Regional’s in two weeks will be tougher…

Gearing up into Cross Country Championship season, October 26th 2007

The cross country season is well on the way into post-season as the NAU Lumberjacks are now heading into the Big Sky Championships in Missoula, Montana, ranked number 2 in the nation. The varsity team has a clean record after winning both at Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis in September and at Pre-Nationals in Indiana two weeks ago. Our first punch Lopez Lomong has been unbeatable so far in the season and our new wonder from Down Under – David McNeill – has helped us along the way a lot too. I have been pretty satisfied with my races as I have been healthy and running pretty high miles and still been able to better my times on the same courses compared to those of last years. I don’t think our team will be in the sharpest shape this weekend, as we have already set our sights at Nationals in mid-November. This is the first time during my three years at NAU we will make it to the NCAA Championships and this time we even have a decent shoot at taking the trophy home. Work is done, pay off times are coming up…

Met a black bear in the wilderness, September 17th 2007

I encountered a black bear today halfway through a long run up on Waterline trail in the nearby San Francisco Peaks – stopped for a few seconds and just stared at the creature, after which we both continued our own ways. I went on to run for 2.18’ between 2400 and 2900m above sea level and totaled 32km. Those few seconds that were filled with fear and unawareness are ones that I won’t forget easily. On the way back through the same part of the trail I surprisingly heard a lot of noises in the woods. Those were probably just created by my imaginary. Most people who try to find a bear in the nature doesn’t find them and most people wouldn’t like to see one at all.

The day before the long run I did a good Anaerobic Threshold/speed workout on sea level in San Diego with teammate Lopez Lomong (1500m 3’37”), followed by some boogie boarding on Mission Beach. Running on sea level felt amazing but other than that Flagstaff, Arizona feels like the place to be for me. I’m living on the altitude of 2150m with some teammates, training under new NAU distance coach Eric Heins, the sun is shining and my mileage is back up.

World Champs Sprint 9th, August 26th 2007

I ran a good race today in my fourth World Champs final in Kiev. My finishing place was 9th, which is my best result ever at this level. I am satisfied with my run, but I am afraid I lost some seconds here and there due to my early start position. My orienteering season is over and I'll fly back to Flagstaff, Arizona in a few days. Orienteering is fun, but I'll rather now just run...

Barely Final material, August 18th 2007

World Orienteering Champs 2007 started today in Kiev, with the Sprint qualification. My way to the Final was not as simple as I expected, as I was 14th in my heat, with only 15 going through to the Final. The forest was more open than I was prepared for and due to that I was not able to use features in the distance but concentrated on nearby features in my navigation. Another problem for me was the trails, which are very indistinctive in these terrains. I often wanted to rely on trails to take me towards the control, but was unable to find them. 90% of the race was run in the forest, which I was not totally prepared for either.

I found the first control without problems, but shot out in the wrong direction from there. After finding controls 2 and 3 okay I had to slow down coming towards the 4th control as I couldn’t see the trails in the terrain. Controls 5-8 were good, but then I lost the trails, again, going towards the 9th. I found myself at a garbage dump and went up into the wrong gully – there would have been a trail leading to the control, but I made it slightly challenging here. After this mistake I knew I’m in a hurry, but my time was good enough for the Final. I was 1'19", behind Thierry Guergiou, the winner of my heat.

Now I’ll spend a couple days on the beach by the river Dnepr, then some faster O-intervals on Tuesday and a workout on the trails on Friday. Cheering for my teammates is on the program later in the week and then I’ll be ready to challenge 44 other Sprint finalists on Sunday morning under the huge Victory statue.

Warm Touch to Kiev, August 17th 2007

Team Finland has now been in Kiev 2 days and even if it is the first time for me here, I feel comfortable with daily business here. I’ve been sweating in the subways like locals and enjoyed Ukrainian food. Today’s model event was a nice showpiece of what challenges are awaiting us in tomorrow’s Sprint qualification race: slippery slopes & bushy trails. Let’s get this started.

Bye Bye Finland - Welcome Kiev, August 15th 2007

My last races in Finland are now behind me. I won the Finnish Sprint WOC selection race in Hyvinkaa with 28seconds, after a pretty solid race. I made one terrible route-choice in the beginning, but held the focus on the race even after that. The day after the sprint I took part in a sweaty Finnish Champs 10000m race in Lappeenranta. My goal was a medal, but I got fourth after a pain- and blisterfull race on a new Mondo-surface. My spike-choice was obviously not ideal, and I had lots of energy left in the end in addition to some blisters under my feet. The last race was the Final of the Huippuliiga –series on August 11th. I got 4th place in the middle distance Final, which secured me a 3rd position in the total Huippuliiga series of 2007, behind Pasi Ikonen and Petteri Muukkonen. Totally satisfying me.

I have kept on training with a high intensity until yesterday and I am not yet physically recovered for the World Orienteering Champs in Ukraine. The Sprint qualification race will take place on Saturday 18th, followed by a whole week of free time in a sunny Kiev before the Sprint Final on August 26th. Coming home as a World Champion, would make life a whole lot easier, but I’m satisfied even with less than that…

Halfway to 50 but towards World Champs, August 3rd 2007

Today, I turned 25 years. That’s halfway to 50, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve seen a lot but still have big dreams ahead of me – not getting old at all…

I’m going to run the Finnish World Champs selection race in sprint distance tomorrow, Saturday and then start in the 10000m contest at Finish Champs on Sunday. In these races I will pursuit to start in a relaxed mood and to enjoy myself. That could be a key to get a good result out of World Champs too. I was already selected to the Finnish team, so from now on until August 26th, my focus is towards Ukraine, but I won’t forget to relax either.

SprintO performance level established, July 26th 2007

I have tried to accumulate lots of kilometers during this month, but due to some minor health problems I have had to take it easier from times to times. A broken rib bone has healed, but the inner ear infection that I suffered from in early July came back last week. Maybe that 42,2km run I did on the 19th was too tough on my body…

I have, however, accomplished to boost my sprint performance level, which resulted in an 8th place in yesterdays World Cup race. I was rather satisfied with that, even though there’s seldom an sprint orienteering race where you can be 100% satisfied with your actions on the course, due to the high stress level. I have probably lost some time on my route choice over the longest leg 6-7. My decision to go left was based on making things uncomplicated, but I was already on the leg before I made the final decision, which caused an S my route. I was so thrilled when punching on the second last control in the spectator crowd that I ran past the last control – thanks to the passionately cheering crowd I turned back and got my punch in. I must say, I enjoy being back in the O action and I look forward to World Champs!

Wilderness training, July 16th 2007

I have been on the road for soon three weeks, but rather than a burden has the traveling been a relief. Running in new environments and experiencing beautiful nature has been excellent for my summer training. My runs have taken place mostly on trails and in forests where the pace is moderate, so I will now return to gravel roads again. The last two weeks’ 167km and 184km should be surpassed this week, but the chance to spot a brownbear during a run has decreased. I'm back in southern Finland.

My navigation flow this summer has surprised many, including myself. Even without any orienteering training for nine months since last august I am now among the elite in Finland, again, and a candidate for World Champs later this summer. Running has definitely been my number one sport this past winter, but perhaps the lack of O-stress has released my navigation brain to perform. The next few weeks will dictate the schedule for the end of the summer.

Win at Sprint in Kainuu, July 2nd 2007

My northern campaign has moved further north, to a hillier part of Finland called Kainuu. After a few days of orienteering in the depressions of Joensuu these faster forests feels great under my feet. Halfway through my crave of kilometers and hours of training in the aerobic state I took part in the Huippuliiga race in Kajaani, Finland. Huippuliiga is a series of races where all the best finish orienteers take part and from which the Finnish Orienteering Federation selects runners to World Cups and World Champs.

Sprint races in Finland are rare so I try to enjoy every one of them. I started out in a pace typical for me – slowly. Even without mistakes I was lagging almost half a minute at halfway, compared to Petteri Muukkonen. At this point we had just climbed a huge ski jumping hill, and due to the lactic in my body I made an approximately 10 second mistake on the top. From there on I guess my routechoices have been pretty ideal, as have my pace. I finished 1st, tied with Muukkonen. This was fun, and the enjoyment at Kainuun Rastiviikko continues over fast terrains over the next few days.

O around the Nordics, June 26th 2007

A clear sign of mid-summer for all European orienteers – Jukola – was run in Lapua a week ago. Lynx had a young team, as I, at the age of 24, was the second oldest runner on the team. The oldest was my brother, Mikael (36). This was a historical moment for both of us, as it was the first time ever two Boström brothers have run in the same team in any relay, even if we have both orienteered since childhood. Our team had some major difficulties during the night, and the first three legs of this 7 leg classic relay. At dawn we were placed 101st. Our last four legs – Mikael, Niklas Saramäki, Roman Ryapolov and myself – ran on our own level and slowly bettered our placing to 40th in this year’s challenging version of Jukola.

I continued the 2007 World Cup with a middle distance race in the fells of southern Norway. Middle not being among my favorite orienteering distances I was satisfied with my 18th place in this enjoyable race over open, sloping marshes. After a 1 minute mistake on the second control I was able to stay concentrated over the next 15 controls before a slight problem at the end of the course, right after the spectator control. I’m now ranked 6th in this year’s World Cup and will probably continue representing Finland in the World Cup’s at O-ringen in Sweden at the end of July. I am enjoying orienteering, and all the feelings it gives me.

I have now increased my mileage and will keep on running a lot throughout most of the rest of the summer. The end of this week will be spent on a training camp in Joensuu, with the Finnish Orienteering Team, followed by a week in Vuokatti, where Kainuun Rastiviikko -orienteering week is run. The last week of my northern campaign will take place in Ruka, with lots of running on trails in the wilderness, among reindeers and bears.

5th in World Cup Sprint, June 16th 2007

I had fantastic legs in the 2007 opening World Cup Sprint qualification race in the morning of June 14th. My navigation around the lawns by the hospital in Lapua was also good and I easily got a 2nd place in the race, securing a good starting position for the final.

The final race was mostly ran in the woods and felt very challenging for me. I was kinda running with the handbreak on as my legs felt powerless right from the start. That might have prevented me from making mistakes though as I only lost 20 seconds in mistakes on the way. It would have been a lot in a typical sprint race, but today was different - difficult. My pace was rather good then compared to the rest of the field, and I know now that I have one less stress factor than my competitors - I don't have to worry about running hard enough. I could not have won the race today, with the legs I was given to use, but when I have a good day... watch out!

Back in O-business, June 3rd 2007

I had planned to end my trackseason with a 4th place at the Nordic 10000m Champs last weekend. After not reaching my goal of a medal there, and resulting from a jagged pace a slow time I continued it. I ran a PR in the 800m – 2’02”89 on the historic Eläintarha track in Helsinki on Thursday, with absolutely no preparations.

My orienteering season started 16 days ago after a 9 month break. Today I ran the Finnish Sprint Orienteering Champs in Seinäjoki – and lost 7 seconds to the winner, Mats Haldin. A pretty good come back, I would say. I am pretty satisfied with the race, even if I have made a couple bad route choices. The O confidence is restored as I have lost time on longer control distances, not on tricky navigating challenges.

I will now relax for a few days by the sea and then do some orienteering to get ready for the World Cup Sprint race in Lapua, Finland 11 days from now. Right after that follows Jukola – the highlight of the summer for the whole orienteering world.

Silver at Finnish Cross Country Champs 12km, May 20th 2007

I had a fine day today in Imatra, at the Finnish Cross Country Champs. I feel like I have adjusted to the time difference and recovered from the altitude shock pretty well as I secured my career top place in a national championships running race by achieving a silver medal. Additionally Sjundea IF is now the Finnish Champion in the team competition with Obed Kipkurui(4th), Jani Lakanen(8th) and me(2nd) on the team. The 12km race was an exciting race with six guys still in the race at halfway, after a rather easy early pace. The next 2km lap dropped a couple guys, but it was the sudden move Jussi Utriainen made at 8km that separated me from him and the pack following me. Jussi opened a 10 second gap to me in no time and that difference would only get a few seconds bigger over the next 3km. I was able to keep my chasers on a distance over this phase and could move up on Utriainen in the end, leaving only 6 seconds between me and a Finnish Championships in the end. I wasn’t exhausted in the finish and was unsure had I given all my energy to the race? After watching the TV broadcast and seeing my suffering face in the race I was sure I had – and the Finnish Champs silver feels good. Nordic Champs 10000m next weekend!

Summer light holidays, May 18th 2007

I completed my school year at Northern Arizona University last week, not only in competing but also in the classroom. My grades are as good as I hoped for, but wasn’t quite satisfied with my year on the track behind the Atlantic. I was really close to my Personal Records from distances 3000m to 10000m, but was hoping to be able to improve my own career marks, as I did in the half marathon earlier in the year. There is clearly still work to be done.

Now I’m back in Finland and looking forward to some races here; the Finnish Cross Country Champs on May 20th and the Nordic 10000m Champs a week later, on May 27th. I completed a 10000m & 5000m double at Big Sky Track & Field Champs last weekend in a hot Pocatello, Idaho, to score for NAU and be a part of the winning Lumberjack Team there. Conference races are always fun, as the goal isn’t necessarily a fast time, but sporting tactics to score as many points for the team as possible. This time wasn’t any different, and with high altitude and warm weather times were insignificant in my races. After a short celebration after the championships I sat on the plane for 22 hours and can still feel that traveling and some jet lag in my body.

It’s great to be back in Finland, and even if I grew up here, having sunlight at 10 o’clock at night still fascinates me! It’s fun seeing people I have been away from, but apart from the light, also strangers keep on fascinating me – we Finns are a rude kind.

I tried and I died, April 30th 2007

I have now raced 100 laps at Stanford University’s track in Palo Alto, after running my second 10000m for the season there last night. My aim was to run 70 second laps and get a time around 29’10” to secure my spot at NCAA Champs in the early June. I failed in my objective and being on pace for 8km doesn’t make me feeling any better. There isn’t anything neither in the preparation nor in the race itself that I would have changed, looking at it afterwards. Fitness wise I’m just not where I wanted to be – 29’24”55. We came to the conclusion with Coach Hayes that I have to improve my speed over 5000m so that running 70 second laps over 10000m:s would become neuromuscularry more efficient. That is then the goal for next winter. Now I’m sad and trying to find motivation for the summer – where will I be and what will I do? I'll still race at Big Sky Conference Champs in Pocatello, Idaho in two weeks and will fight for my teampoints. Then maybe a marathon, or orienteering? I miss Finland.

Running dry in the honor of Grandpa, April 26th 2007

Flagstaff is a majestic town for running with 2100m:s of altitude, continuous trails in an outstanding scenery and usually mild and dry weather. This spring has been exceptionally dry, as we are 69% behind average rainfall for the year so far. Thus I was actually delighted to run in a rain/hail -mix the other day – it was a joyful and rare encounter! Now the sun is back and we’re running shirtless again.

I’m currently ranked 26th on 10000m of the collegiate athletes in the U.S with my time 29’24”. This Sunday I will try to improve that rank, to secure my spot at Nationals in the beginning of June. Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford should be a good race for me, with a few guys from other colleges trying to achieve the same task as I. I have now finished all the speed work after yesterdays 10 x 400m at race pace. After a threshold workout on Friday I will get a rubdown by Phil Wharton and then head off to San Francisco. My grandpa passed away last Saturday, at the age of 93, and I will dedicate Sunday’s race to him. He had enormous durability, still doing whole-day hikes and fishing trips when past 80 years of age. I believe I have inherited some of my grandpa’s qualities and want to unveil my limits in running in the honor of him.

Weekend in L.A. - 14'24" 5000m:s, April 16th 2007

I took a relaxing trip down to Los Angeles, California this past weekend, to get a hard effort on the track, and to chill. I did a solid 5000m on Friday; finishing 5th at the UCLA Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational with a time of 14'24"31. I was aiming on a NCAA Regional qualifier time of 14’12”, but couldn’t finish up the race by myself after rabbiting team- & roommate Jonathan Cardenas stepped off the track at 3000m, almost on schedule. Leading the race over the next few laps, I didn’t have the needed kick on the last lap to win. Although short off my goal, I am still confident – I ran this race in a 160km-week.

In addition to the race I did a couple other magnificent runs while in L.A. One on some outlying hills behind Diamond Bar and another one on the most popular running spot in L.A., the San Vicente boulevard between UCLA and Santa Monica. I have planned to do a different run every day of this month, without repeating the same loop twice. Now I will be back on the trails in Flagstaff for two weeks again and I will continue executing the goal of the month – here, running on different trails every day shouldn’t be a great challenge, as the selection is nearly endless…

I have had some busy times in school lately, but having the company of some friends from the Old Continent has been fun and refreshing. A Finnish orienteering buddy, Pentti Iso-Markku and German runners Jan Fitschen and Alexander Lubina have been in Flagstaff training along with several other world-class runners. I have taken Pilates-classes twice a week throughout this spring and have discovered it to be a splendid way to work on the for-runners-critical hip area muscles. Pilates has been about the only non-running exercises I have done, so something about it must be working, as I am running pretty fast.

29'24"41 over 10000m:s, March 31st 2007

Another slight disappointment followed today in Palo Alto, California when I ran the 10000m:s at Stanford Invitational. I have been feeling great on my runs lately, and was still sure I was going to break 29 minutes 20 minutes into the race. After reaching the halfway in 14’31” everything seemed to be in order and I felt more than good. I had lost contact with the leaders at this point and was working on my own to get back up there again and this might have consumed too much energy to keep the pace up on the last kilometers. I had nice support on the track both from my teammates and from my former coach, Jari Ikaheimonen, who showed up for the race. The cheering was really needed, as I faded big time on the last few laps. I definitely gave it all I had, but wasn’t ready to break 29minutes tonight.

I don’t know where I’m going to race next, but I don’t think I need a whole lot of speed workouts to improve my capability of running the 10000m. The toughest part in tapering for me has been to stay as lean as when running 100 miles a week. The appetite is the same, but without losing all those calories on the trails I gain weight. Now, I feel like getting back out on the trails and enjoy getting aerobically fitter.

Searching for lightness, March 25th 2007

My outdoor track season started with a mediocre 8’24”19 in the 3000m at ASU in Tempe late last night. After enjoying the relaxing time during our spring break from school I was hoping to get back that extraordinary feeling of lightness in my legs that I had a couple weeks ago. No, I’m still not feeling it. The race went out with a 69” 400m, so slightly behind where I wanted to be, but as coach before the race said time is not a concern, I stayed relaxed and focused on the task at hand. The speed got faster and I averaged 67” per 400m, so slightly faster than I need to go next weekend at Stanford. When it was time to start sprinting towards the finish line on the last two laps my fuel tank had only low octane fuel left. I negative splitted, but reaching the finish line 2 seconds behind my PB was a disappointment. I have a week to get back that feeling of lightness – sleep & proper nutrition should get me there.

In case you are interested in knowing how the intercollegiate sports system in the US works, you should check this last episode of Sportmagasinet. The Finnish National Broadcasting company - Yleisradio - made a documentary about sports in Arizona colleges in swedish, featuring myself and ASU diver Joona Puhakka.

Rolling through the limits, March 12th 2007

My training has been going well altogether lately. I am still doing high mileage (last two weeks 191 and 180km) in order to get appropriate economy for my upcoming track season. Starting from this week it is time to start speeding up in the workouts for the last two weeks before my first 10000m of the season in Palo Alto on the last day of March. My mileage has been a lot higher this winter compared to last year while my workouts have been on the conservative side. Before my current PR in the 10000m from 2005 my workouts consisted of just Threshold runs and one (!) single workout on the track two days before the race. Compared to that my current training is intense, but I believe it will lead to a success – who wants to do the same things over and over again anyway? My long sight goal with running is anyhow to find my limits, if there is any…

I had a TV crew from the National broadcasting company of Finland (Yleisradio) here last week which made a documentary about student-athletes in the US. The athletes in this episode of Sportmagasinet include my former high-school class mate Joona Puhakka, who is diving and finishing up his degree at Arizona State University, and myself. The documentary will be broadcasted in Finland on March 20th at 9PM on FST5 and I can assure you that the scenery will astonish you – at least that’s what happened to the TV crew!

NAU Lumberjack & teammate Lopez Lomong won the NCAA national indoor 3k championships yesterday in Arkansas with a time of 7’49. The current distance coach at NAU, John Hayes, has been very successful with milers, and from Lopez’s race and from the workouts I have done lately I believe NAU will see some astonishing results also in the longer distances soon. I have done a couple of really good VO2max workouts, one of which a graph is shown beneath. I did 5x2km (6'31, 6'27, 6'21, 6'17 and 6'15) on a dirt road at Ft Tuthill this Friday and felt like I was really able to push through the wall of pain. Just a few more quality workouts and we will see what the last winter have made of me. The weather in Flagstaff is summerlike, and I am rolling.

With light breathing from indoor to outdoor, February 28th 2007

My indoor season 2007 ended last weekend in Bozeman, Montana where I ran 5000m and 3000m at the Big Sky Indoor Championships. I finished 2nd and ran an all-time indoor best of 14’49”, that converts to 14’27, on sea level on Friday, but definitely felt that run in the race on Saturday. After a not-so-enjoyable 15 laps on the 200m track at Montana State University I found myself in 6th place and was thus not able to score as many points as in the previous year’s Big Sky Champs. Indoor season has not been a priority and I am glad to start building up towards my 10000m at Stanford Invitational on March 31st.

Jack Daniels tested me on a treadmill this morning. He measured a VO2max of 67, which converts to a 73-74 at sea level. Those numbers are similar to ones I have gotten before, but something interested Jack noticed during the test was in my breathing. During the tougher workloads towards the end of the test I was breathing about 48 times a minute and as I am taking 180 steps a minute that puts me at a breathing rhythm of 2/2 (in/out). I am breathing 3 liters of air with every breath, which means I am breathing extraordinary deep. Keeping up this rhythm into my max running capacity I am using 146 liters of air a minute. I have already tried to change my rhythm to 2/1 – it will be interesting to feel if times in workouts will be affected by this change.

On pace from 1mile to 13,1miles, January 30th 2007

I won P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon in Phoenix on January 14th. This was my first big victory in any road race, and with Haile Gebreselassie and Ryan Shay being previous winners of the race it feels good to join them. My finishing time over 21,1km was 1.06'33" and there was 24000 runners finishing behind me.

The conditions during the race were not ideal, as the race day was the coldest day in Phoenix in 12 years! Perhaps I, as a Finn, was able to handle the freezing conditions better than my contestants. I definitely believe that I have achieved a significant amount of Sisu being raced in the hostile climate of Finland. Anyway, Lopez Lomong was supposed to pace me through 10 miles, but after helping me out on the 2nd and 3rd miles he had to slow down due to an ankle injury. From there on it was thus just me and Kyle Goklish who ran side by side most of the race. Our splits for each mile were 5'02-5'12-4'59-4'56-5'04-5'03-5'05-5'05-5'05-5'15-5'25-5'01-5'21. We kept the pace pretty well until the 10th mile, where the course included some slower sections. I surged a few times during the last 2 miles, but did not get my final lead before the last few hundred meters. Not knowing the course exactly I though we were closer to the finish than we were. I reached the finish line banner 2 seconds before Goklish surrounded by I fantastic crowd in Tempe on the campus of Arizona State University.

My average heart rate during the race was 185 with a maximum at 191 during the sprint to the finish line. It felt great being back on the streets and road racing is definitely what I want to do after graduating from college. The numerous Rock bands along the course were fun too, even if I was so focused I could’t remember a whole lot of that after the race.

Currently I am back home in Flagstaff at 2100m altitude and it is snowing. Right now this might not be the best place on Earth to train then. I still did over 170km last week which included a new Personal Best on the mile: 4’30’84, run at high altitude. Training is fun and life is relaxing!

Back from a staggering break, January 12th 2007

Hello again dear readers of my websites. I am sorry for not keeping you updated for such a long time now. The break in updates is due to some major technical problems I have experienced. My laptop suffered some moisture damage after a season ending weekend trip to Las Vegas just before Christmas. I haven’t had an own laptop for two months now and it have forced me to consider about how much we rely on computers nowadays. At least I do. In addition to the majority of my photos from last fall I lost a bunch of files and the capability to communicate with the world. Being able to read e-mails and talk over Skype with my friends and family was something I took for granted. I don’t use my cellphone a whole lot anymore, but being without my laptop has been hard.

I had a good semester academically and thus I needed a stunning break to make up for that. It all started out in Las Vegas, where I went with some buddies of mine from Flagstaff. Soon after recovering from that me & Matleena headed for California – experienced the Magic of Disneyland and the hypes of Hollywood. After the city-life we were ready for the wonders of Yosemite National Park. A different Christmas in the wilderness included climbing atop Yosemite falls – the third highest waterfall on the planet (740m); running around among the enormous Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove and just marveling the nature all over Yosemite Valley. Soon after Christmas we headed over back to the coast, and had some good eventful days in San Francisco. If one is ever forced to live in a major city I would suggest moving here – there are numerous parks with great trails in them and the vegetation include some small wonders to wonder during runs here.

Now it was time to continue our journey south – to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The city itself with its 25 000 000 people was not anything too special, but the largest new years race in the world, the São Silvestre which was run for the 82nd time was definitely worth the sweat. The conditions at this time of the year are pretty darn humid by the Tropic of Capricorn, so when the champ from 1977, Domingo Tibaduiza, (a training partner of Lasse Viren) that I know through a teammate, heard that the race is in the afternoon he said it will be like running in hell. The heat as it turned out, was not too bad at all, as it rained through the whole 15km race. It rained and rained and I have never run in a rain like that, but splashing through the streets of Sao Paulo and finishing 34th in this race as the best European and satisfies me.

The next few days we experienced some other parts of Brazil, namely the beach life & the rainforests. We amazed the South Atlantic archipelago staying in Paraty for a few days before heading to "The Marvelous City" – Rio de Janeiro. This is not a huge city but a spectacular one in several aspects: fabulous beaches, the hills surrounding the city, the host of the Samba Carnival and some famous astonishing sights. For runners visiting the city, runs along the measured and marked sidewalks of Copacabana (4km) and Ipanema (4km) beaches will not easily be forgotten! By this time our minds were fulfilled with mind-blowing stuff about the carioca way of life. Even if we could see the Amazon rainforest being scattered down in the north part of the country, citizens refuel their cars with ecological alcohol and there is almost no litter to be seen anywhere. We were warned about thieves, but did not experience anything criminally suspicious during our visit – perhaps we were just lucky. I you watch the movie "City Of God" you might get a different picture of the favelas (slums) of Rio. After one more quick stop in Mexico City I was ready to get back to digest everything that I had seen and settle in to a normal daily rhythm in Flagstaff.

I have posted a few photos from the tropics on the Photos page.

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