My favourite piece of equipment.

My way back to civilization.

For some reason most of my running clothes don’t have pockets. I have a jacket with a pocket that can hold one key and one credit card, but in the summer I don’t use a jacket. Still I always need a pocket, which means I have to spend time planning what to wear, as I need at least one piece of clothing with a decent pocket. I don’t know who these targeted consumers are who don’t need to bring their keys when running.

I complained about it in an earlier post. Now I finally went and did something about it. Voilà, a portable pocket! It seems the fanny pack is not dead, just expelled to the back of the store with the hiking equipment. I look forward to stuffing it with biscuits, chocolate, camera, phone, ID, money, maps, chewing gum and other things I might need.

On the road again

It's always nice to get out of the city.

Today I had a longish run along the forest roads of Småland, Sweden. I brought my little Nokia and photographed some of the horses I saw along the way. Wish I’d brought my compact camera. I seriously need lightweight running clothes with ziplock pockets.

13 km of blissful running followed by an ice cold swim in the ocean. It took me about 1h 10.

Company

We did not plan to wear the same colour.

I usually run alone. Today I had a couple of friends with me on a nice, easy 4km run. Funny thing about running together is, you have to keep up with a pace that is higher or lower than your ideal pace. Definitely useful. And fun too.

Running on tour

Another good thing about minimal running shoes: They are small and light and easy to pack. Currently touring in Sweden and glad I brought my running shoes. It makes me forget a long, stressful day, and it’s a nice way to get to know a town. 4,5km today, consistent forefoot form, and a loooong shower.

I’m starting to want a GPS watch or smartphone:

  1. To keep better track of my running.
  2. To find the way home.

The Frenzel Maneuver

Jaques Mayol in a good mood. Still from Le grand bleu.

The Frenzel Maneuver is not a novel my Robert Ludlum, but a better way to equalize the pressure in your ears when diving. The Valsalva Maneuver, also known as pich-your-nose-and-blow, is more widely known, and easier to grasp the first time you try. The Frenzel Maneuver however, saves some precious energy, and reduces the risk of damaging your ears or blood vessels. After you learn it properly, it is also easier. There is a longer explanation on freeidvingfinland.net. My explanation is short: I simply pinch my nose, close my mouth and try to say K, without involving the muscles in my bowel. There should then be a faint popping sound in your ears. This way the diaphragm does not have to work, but the pressure is simply created by my adam’s apple and toungue moving upwards. If I focus too much on what’s actually going on in my mouth I am unable to do it. For me the “K-method” was the key.

When I started diving in the pool last winter, I couldn’t even get to the bottom at 5m without pain in my ears, and I seriously thought I could not learn to dive deeper. For some time I was not able to do the Valsalva. My usual method when I encounter any problem is to google it and I found a lot of resources on this, also the link above. Wikipedia has articles on it as well.

Today, after swimming 1500m and doing some push-ups and sit-ups, I managed for the first time to do the maneuver without pinching my nose. I discovered by accident, that blowing slightly through my nose against the rubber in my goggles was enough. I have read about this, but I seriously thought it was a freediving myth, reserved for those who believe in the sacred power of the Dolphin. This is good news, as it means I can keep swimming while equalizing the pressure in my ears. I also swam 45m under water (horizontally), my old record was 38m. Part of the reason might be my new technique. When I reach 50m I’ll treat myself to a pair of fins. Nice motivation to do my breath-holding exercises.

As I wrote in an earlier post, being in bad shape has the enormous advantage, that every exercise is a new personal best!