Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tidbits - Faceplants, Legend Bernd Heinrich, and more

A couple of tidbits for your Sunday reading:

1. Have you ever bonked in the last mile of an endurance race? It ain't pretty. Kayako Fukushi, Japanese 5k/Half Marathon superstar, demonstrates at the finish of the Osaka International Women's Marathon after going out too hard with the lead pack.

Note, however, that her time was still in the low 2:40's! Thanks to Mark Remy for pointing me to the video.

2. If you haven't seen Dave's (of Altanta Trails fame) interview with ultralegend Bernd Heinrich (recently inducted into the Ultrarunning Hall of Fame), be sure to check it out. 12:27 for the 100-mile distance...that guy is amazing! He also has a great interview with 100-mile/100k champion Janice Anderson.

3. John Fors pointed me to this site for a new theory on cooling your core by keeping your hands cool. Although the fancy technology may be too much for the trails, perhaps there are some lessons in there for us. John had suggested ice water in the handheld bottles, for example.


  1. The correlation between heat build up and decreased athletic performance had been known for awhile. While the hands and feet might be the most efficient heat loss areas on the human body, there are other good ways to lower core temperature. For instance, just a minute or two of total body immersion in a swiftly flowing mountain stream should be pretty effective.

    Anecdotally, I have felt that two minute dips in each of the three stream crossings found in the Canyons section of the Western States 100 have been more than worth the time each of me three runnings WS. The canyons are always warm and sometimes brutally hot. Put that together with increased exertion and reduced air flow when you are moving more slowly on the climbs and you've got a pretty darn good scenario for heat build up and the correlated performance degradation. I know that the stream dips have always left me feeling fresh as a daisy up those long climbs... and the effect of the cooling always seems to last much longer on the climb that I would have expected.

  2. Like "trail goat" I strongly recommend getting watered and cooling off at every creek you cross at Western States. I just experienced overheating in Costa Rica, last week, it affects so much your running ability and performance. That said, the previous week I ran to the top of Mt Rose in freezing temperatures, with water freezing in my water bottles, and my hands became the problem. I wish my bottle can freeze again in the canyons of Western States in June... ;-)

    Thanks for sharing the other links. It's great to have Dave as our correspondent on the East Coast.


  3. Jean,

    I hear what your saying about Costa Rica in regards to overheating! Ive been there a few times but I love the climate, Its a great place, everyone should try to get there at some point. I recommend Costa Rica HQ if you want to know more


  4. Thanks for the referral, Scott. Bernd actually was informed about his induction within a week of the interview. I like to think that I was good karma ;)

    As for Janice, we had a chance to chat a bit at Red Top Rumble yesterday. She finally got surgery about a week and a half ago. Hopefully, she'll be back soon!

  5. FWIW, here’s a link to a study of the cooling device. It is interesting to note that the subjects were, as a group, not highly trained, and the experimental protocol had them walking at about 17 min/mile place. The authors state that the slope of the treadmill was set at 60-65% of the slope at which the subject reached 90% of maximum heart rate in a baseline trial. It would be nice to know at what percent of peak VO2 the subjects were working and if their ANOVA included the subject’s BMI and peak VO2 measurements to investigate any correlation with heat tolerance. Also interesting is that sub-atmospheric pressure coupled with hand cooling lead to improved heat tolerance while hand cooling alone did not produce significant differences.

    I question if this application would really benefit an endurance athlete working at a much higher intensity. Specific to running, the subjects were not allowed to drink anything during the experimental trials. As we all know, maintaining hydration is an ultramarathon mantra. Fluid intake will also help ameliorate cardiac drift during prolonged exercise.

  6. Great post. I watched the video and could feel the agony. What a great athlete to keep running to the end.

    I was wondering, since you post products you'd like to see, if you had a opinion on this new shoe idea i have come across. Basically, it's a trail running shoe that performs as well, or better than, many of the current top models out there, but the smart design of the shoe has resulted in a more sustainable manufacturing process. Less materials (especially those that are really harmful to the environment), mean a shoe that harms the environment less.

    If you were presented with two shoes of equal performance and durability, would the idea of sustainability weigh in on your purchase decision. Or, would things like, look and brand name have a bigger impact? What do you think your peers would say (especially the mid-twenties set)?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.


  7. Rob, do you mean the website Funny you should mention it, since I just discovered it last week. It does make me want to visit.

  8. She is a trouper. I could just FEEL the cramps in her legs. Still an very fast race.

  9. I think handheld bottles in cold weather can DEFINITELY cool you down more. I really like them in hot weather, though.
    Happy trails,
    Bad Ben

  10. Great video, sort of painful to watch, but we're all into pain... I think my parents have really lost some of their Japanese konjoh (loosely translated as "fighting spirit" or "persevering guts") since I think they still think I'm crazy, and I think they would react negatively to that clip. That woman was intense.

    As a passing thought, Brian Morrison might have been able to finish the 2006 States on his own, huh?


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