Wednesday, 17 May 2017

INSTAssel: Hijack

Ein Beitrag geteilt von runssel (@runssel) am

I hijacked Dan's @runwithmestockholm account for the week. Swing over and check out the daily damage!

Tune of the day: DJ Supreme - Tha Wildstyle

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Slowtwitch: In icy waters with the blueseventy Thermal Helix

I took the latest Thermal Range by blueseventy through the freezing waters and wrote about it for slowtwitch.

There is something magical about the open waters. Although indoor swimming pools allow reliable training throughout the seasons, the open waters transfer an irreplaceable and wholesome sensation to swimmers of all abilities. Since the 10 kilometer open water competition was included in the Olympic Games back in 2008 the sport is growing quickly. But the lonesome autonomy also has its environmental complications. Particularly throughout the northern hemisphere access to lakes and rivers is limited. Unkind water temperatures dictate the season and limit the pleasures of a no-flip-turn session severely.

blueseventy addressed this problem with the Thermal Helix. After feedback from many of their sponsored athletes who struggled with icy temperatures during the notorious Norseman or Escape from Alcatraz swim sections, they rearranged their current flagship to protect aquanauts from unkind temperatures that might end up in hypothermia.

The Thermal Helix wetsuit is the heart of a full thermal product assortment that contains socks, gloves, a particular goggle plus a neoprene cap. Each product is particularly designed to lengthen and improve swimming in cold open waters.

The Thermal Helix has a distinct orange fleece-fabric that can be found throughout the inside of the suit. The fast drying linen is a light mid-weight zirconium jersey that is exceptionally stretchy. Although the material feels remarkably snug and dense for a wetsuit that is intended for swimming, it does not compromise the swimmers movement and makes sure that the heat stays within the suit.

The Thermal Helix version is astoundingly stretchy. Distinctive chest and torso panels made of flexible 5mm Yamamoto Aerodome neoprene help to maintain an efficient body position in the water. Straight from the first try the suit felt super comfortable and equivalent to the thinner standard Helix.

Little details on the inside of the back zipper. The full internal orange zirconium material is clearly visible. It is a pretty comfortable material that essentially feels like wool on the skin. It helps to decrease water absorption and shields against heat loss. Moreover a diminutive hook assists to securely store your keys while training.

The 1mm slim neoprene used on the arms feels particularly good and, despite the added insolation they create an unspoiled feeling for the water and a great sense whilst gliding. The pictured aqua-sell cuffs made out of extra flexible silicon stops H2O from entering the suit without being too close fitting.

One-piece 1.5 neoprene sections throughout the shoulder parts permits full movement.

Another look at the cozy inside of the Thermal Helix.

Attention to detail can be witnessed throughout the suit. The blueseventy designers made sure that the stitching and location of the neoprene stickers are spotless.

A vital slice of the Thermal offering are the neoprene socks. Previously I had certain cruel incidents with neoprene socks, but the blueseventy Thermal ones sheltered the feet in a perfect manner. The Zirconium liner isolation and the actual length of the socks benefit the user.

A good feeling for the water is vital. Where as many swim gloves merely helped the isolation of the hand, the Thermal Swim Glove surprised with a great fit and a sensation for the water. The extra long cuff works perfect with the arms and makes sure that water does not enter the suit.

In addition to the insulation gear blueseventy bids the award winning Hydra-Vision goggle. The soft frame produces a pleasant and safe fit even while swimming in choppy waters. The highlight though are the polarized lenses that offer a remarkable eyesight that can be highly beneficial while swimming outdoors throughout all the seasons.

When asked about the development of the thermal collection, blueseventy brand and product manager Mike Orton said: “We analyzed what the dive and surf industries do for cold-water adventures and we pushed our manufacturing team to establish new ways to glue, stitch and tape."

The manufacturer states that the suit is fit to use till a lowest temperature of 48ºF or 8.5ºC. We tested the products throughout lake and longer swims in the Baltic Sea with temperatures as low as 44.24ºF or 6.8 ºC. At all times the suit helped to stay warm, even though we just wore swim shorts and no other additional clothing under the suit.

A suitable head shield is fundamental during chilly excursions. The Thermal Skull Cap is similar to a standard cap but with additional wool liner inside. Soft and flexible neoprene makes this cap easy to use. Even though there was no lube used in testing, chafing was not a problem.

Straight from the first use it did not feel different to swim with a suit that has additional insulation. Even though there is extra material included this does not affect the flexibility, fit and the buoyancy. Unquestionably it benefits to extend the desires of open water swimming and supports swimmers that have their struggles with frostier temperatures.

Undoubtedly it will take a bit longer until you want to stop your outdoor swimming session with the blueseventy Thermal range.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

INSTAssel: Fartlek

Ein Beitrag geteilt von runssel (@runssel) am

Apparently “Fartlek” means "speed play" in Swedish. Running Coach Gösta Holmér established this training-form back in 1937 when the Swedish national team had a hard time beating Paavo Nurmi and his fellow Finns. This morning my body tried to decipher another meaning out of “Fartlek”. Notwithstanding the body sounds a great session with the lads around Norra Djurgården. (Pic: Dan Paech)

Monday, 8 May 2017

Racereport 2017-02: Strömmingsloppet Vaxholm

‘bout time to step on a start line. Although our move to Stockholm did not bother the training regime too much, the racing undertakings have been fairly rare lately. It has been a while since I ran a running competition. The Strömmingsloppet 10k round the stunning Vaxholm islet was a worthy justification to jump on a picturesque ferry ride across the skärgarden and visit the isle with the family. My friend and training buddy Dan was in full praise of the versatile course. And he was right.

Back on the track for a weekly workout with the dudes, I was keen to see what the limbs are up too. I knew that on the hilly and bendy course a fast time was out of reach. Nonetheless I was keen on a fast run to find out where I’m at. The first half of the race went OK but I misjudged the amount of little nasty ascents and the technical segments a fair bit. A lack of concentration caused a pleasant downhill crash and afterwards I was not up to jeopardies my bones even more on the stony trails. I hang on to finish in a solid 10th place.

Legs are OK but there is still a bit of work left until the first significant race in 3 weeks – Utö SwimRun.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Checked: Berghaus - Extrem 7000 Hoodie

Hailing from the weathered North East of England, Berghaus was founded back in 1966 by climbers and mountaineers Gordon Davison and Peter Lockey. At first the outdoor enthusiastic twosome imported all sorts of equipment to the local UK market. In 1972 the two set up their own brand to cater their specific needs. The german word for “mountain house” became the brand-name of choice. Since then Berghaus creates regular attention with an high-quality and progressive clothing range. I had the chance to trial their latest release, the Extrem 7000 Hoodie.
Polartec Power grid fleece is the fabric of choice. The grid design structure got created to reduce weight while increasing warmth and compressibility. It is a structure that increases wicking effectiveness and breathability by creating channels of targeted touch points that engross and diffuse moisture for faster disappearance. While fleece might seems to be a bit out of date to some, the Extrem 7000 shows why it still has it benefits. The lightweight material is well placed with two varying layers depending on where the body needs more isolation.  
A feature that sticks out is the incorporated balaclava that can be used as a scarf-like wind protection. During chilly and windy runs this was a great feature and something I have not seen with other jackets before. I ended up using the jacket for kayak, hiking and mountain bike adventures as well. 
The hood has an enjoyable tight fit. For me it worked well with or without a hat and the covering against wind and rain is great. As mentioned before, the integrated balaclava is pretty helpful but not in the way in case you do not need it. Once you zip the jacket up it sits neat and comfortable while it protects yourself against the weather.  
A spotless little feature that I treasure – a well positioned and seamed thumb sling. Berghaus completed another detail nicely that sometimes can create unpleasant chafing. Not with this one. 
Just a lovely detail shot of the front hand-warmer pocket!
An accurately sheltered skull - a suitable illustration how it looks when you fully zip up. While the head is covered you still have enough movement due to the light fabrics. While out on a bike ride I found additional shelter against the rough weather as the helmet fitted perfectly on top of the hoodie. 
Flipside – the elastic micro fleece material provides an accurate “Next to skin” - fit. 
Shimmer – two diverse thicknesses of fleece are used. The picture demonstrates the back of the jacket and the thin chunks that offer blameless breathability. 
The Extrem 7000 hoodie is part of the Berghaus’ “Extrem Range”. It certainly covers the demands of an proficient and practical midlayer.
Details – well-finished ergonomic sewing that supports the requirements of full athletic movements. The full-elastic seam guarantees that the jacket stays in place no matter how hard you move. 
Quickly I became an admirer of Berghaus’ latest Extrem 7000 Hoodie. The multipurpose insulation jacket is pretty much the best shaped midlayer I have ever used. Appropriate body fit and a smart and thought out use of materials make it fun to use and a trusty partner for the outdoors. 

Tune of the day: 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Friday, 14 April 2017

Sunday, 2 April 2017

On point with Nadja Odenhage

Stunning sport produces spectacular pictures. One name that is heavily connected with remarkable Swimrun images is Nadja Odenhage. Based in the Dalarna region in the middle of the picturesque Swedish forests Nadja produces photographs of Athletes that do stick out and transfer inimitable feelings. Endurance and adventure sports of all kinds are where she sets her marks. I catched up with her to find out more about her work and drive.

Runssel: Since when do you take images professionally? When and why did you start?
Nadja: I started back in 2012 after an injury that kept me away from doing sports myself. Some months after I got hurt I got granted a studentship called "Scandinavian photo scholarship". At the same time, Mats Skott rang me and asked if I would join their ÖTILLÖ media crew. I loved the idea and subsequently teamed up as one of two photographers at the ÖTILLÖ media crew. I've been working professionally since.

Runssel: You have been involved in adventure sports for quite some time. What is the magnificence in capturing these sports?
Nadja: The outdoors! The nature! The shifting weather that produces thrilling conditions and of course the hard working athletes. The combination is magical and keeps me motivated and fascinated.


As the morning sun starts to bright up the Stockholm Archipelago Nadja captures the first long swim segment of the course. 

Runssel: Besides Jakob Edholm you have been on the forefront of SwimRun snapping. You seem to capture the spirit of the sport in a very special way and certainly motivate people to go out and try this sport. Where do you see the speciality of the sport and what does it take to capture it?
Nadja: Thank you! I believe I'm intrigued by understanding the athletes, and by that also understanding the sport. Trying to be one step ahead and knowing where to find emotions and expressions. There is also an intellectual viewpoint. In SwimRun, the team of two adds something unique to the whole performance. There seems to be an extra dimension.

Runssel: Which camera set-up do you use while covering a competition? In what way do you pre-check the course? What complications do you face generally?
Nadja: I only use Canon. There's no time to mess around with gear so I usually bring 3-4 fixed sets of cameras. For example one 7D with a wide-angle like EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM. One 5D with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens or an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens depending on the type of competition and situations on the course. Unfortunately I also carry a pretty heavy underwater housing. Ikelite with a Canon fisheye EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM is my type of choice. It is great to work with but pretty heavy while climbing around of course. A flash is useful for the longer races that start before sunrise and end long after sunset.

I use Salomon or Icebug shoes like the Swimrunners i capture. Further than that fast drying clothes (Tierra is my favourite) and quality wool outfits (I like Icebreaker and Woolpower) keep me warm and comfortable at work. I end up muddy and wet in every race. Similar to the athletes I pretty much swim with my clothes on. I want and I need to dry up as fast as possible. I know my colleague even change to a wet suit for under water shots. So far that is where I draw the line.

It's a challenge in itself to keep the equipment minimalistic as we do carry all our own kit around of the course. My absolute hero is my F-stop backpack.

It's a very good idea to invest time in any kind of course pre-check. Detailed or not, but you need to know the sunlight and the estimated times of the athletes on race day. If I've been on the location before I'm wiling to try out new approaches and so on. It makes the race day a lot easier and the pictures way better. We have been lost some times and that is not what you want…

Being on the course beforehand is a good way to match logistics, knowing where to drive, where to swap vehicles, where to climb, where the boat can find me on a particular island and agreeing on an overall plan with the rest of the media team. Especially on a long and logistically difficult race like ÖTILLÖ all of the points mentioned above are very important. On other races, when I'm going solo, there are different kinds of issues. Sometimes it feels like i need to split myself in halfs. Races like Koster Swimrun or Ångaloppet are very hard to cover as i need to be quick around the course. The hardest part seams to be the faster and faster Swimrunners. All the records they break also break our schedules!

Former Ironman World Champ Faris Al-Sultan and his Swedish companion Peter Oom blend into the raw beauty of the Ötillö course. All well framed by Nadja. 

Runssel: What has been the most extraordinary area you had the chance to take pictures off?
Nadja: Lofoten! And the first time around the ÖTILLÖ course in the Stockholm archipelago was amazing. The sunrise paired with the autumn – Pure Bliss. But the first time in any race is so much fun. You never know what is waiting for you. The peaks along the Engadin valley paired with the clear mountain lakes, the rough ocean and the fascinating Scilly Islands. The dark forest at the ÖTILLÖ 1000 Lakes, the marine reserve at the Koster islands and the midnight sun of Laponia - all wonderful and very special places.

Runssel: What outlines a blameless image for you?
Nadja: Umm, blameless tend to be boring. The more perfect the less interesting I guess. Extreme sport and rough nature helps. I like emotions, expressions, situations and movements.

Unperfected is fun! Like the one below. It was taken during last years Sprint race at the ÖTILLÖ Engadin race.


But yes, beautiful features can involve perfect natural lighting paired with natural framing. Like the Reed picture from ÖTILLÖ 2015.


And being there when it happens. Some things can not be planned. For example a spontaneous kiss on the race course.


Or that backflip from Koster Swimrun in 2015


Runssel: Do you have other photographers that inspire you?
Nadja: Yes, many for different reasons. For example Annie Leibovitz, Delly Carr, Jody Macdonald, Emma Svensson, Jimmy Chin and my Danish friends at Rebel Media House and Martin Paldan.

Runssel: Which races will you be covering in the 2017 season?
Nadja: I will not be at the ÖTILLÖ SwimRun series this year which gives me the opportunity to follow through a couple of projects as well as new partners. I'm really looking forward to this year even though I already know that I will be missing out on some great adventures with ÖTILLÖ. It's a great crew, and I know they will have a very special year with lots of spectacular news. My list of races tends to get clearer as we move closer to race day.

Runssel: What would be a race you would love to cover and why?
Nadja: I've got a bucket list of course! But yeah, the last remote race in Patagonia would be a true challenge - Patagonia Expedition Race and perhaps competitions like Dragons Back Race in Wales or why not a year long documentary of a SwimRun team.

Make sure to follow Nadja via Facebook and Instagram and get lost on her website

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Swimrunpodden

I had a chat with Annelie and Jonas from swimrunpodden. In the 58th version of their podcast we talk about sports and SwimRun in particular.

Click HERE for the full interview.


Tune of the day: Raekwon – The Wild

Monday, 20 March 2017

INSTAssel: Let's get on home

Ein Beitrag geteilt von runssel (@runssel) am

"Fuel consumption way too fast. Let's get on home before we run out of gas!" Remembering the late Chuck Berry with a fine trail run around Über-Hobbits backyard.