sexta-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2016

Balanço de 2016





Parafraseando os Gato Fedorento:

"Este foi um ano excelente! Vá lá, foi um bom ano... Pensando bem, foi razoavelzinho... Fraquinho, sim, foi bem fraquinho."


Enfim, estou vivo e isso já não é mau...

Tirando problemas familiares e de trabalho, já para não falar no estado do Mundo, o aspeto desportivo também podia ter corrido melhor.

Ainda assim, completei 4 Ultras: o Estrela Grande Trail, o UTAT, os Campeonatos do Mundo na versão 55 km, e o EMUM - Eco Madeira.

Mas estas coisas devem ser vistas sob uma perspetiva de longo prazo, ou não fossemos desportistas de Ultra Endurance. Este ano foi mau? Para o ano será melhor!



Primeiro ponto da análise: o peso. O seguinte gráfico faz lembrar o dos juros da dívida pública portuguesa: uma primeira fase de grande descida após a adesão ao sistema monetário europeu, seguida de uma subida acentuada após constatação da sua insustentabilidade. Desde então oscila ao sabor dos caprichos do Banco Central Europeu.






Segundo ponto, evolução do volume mensal de treino ao longo dos anos: nota-se que 2010, 2011 e 2012 foram anos mais certinhos, e 2013, 2014, 2015 e 2016 foram mais inconstantes, se bem que com fortes cargas em algumas épocas do ano. 





Ano a ano (distância, desnível e TOTAL = uma média ponderada da corrida + 4 x natação + bicicleta / 3):













As minhas participações em provas registadas pela ITRA - International Trail Running Association:



O que em termos de Índice de Performance me atribui a seguinte notação:



Ou seja, de acordo com a escala das agências de notação de risco, entrei em incumprimento, com pequena probabilidade de recuperação:


Escala da ITRA:




Escalas das 3 principais agências de notação de risco:




O que levou os senhores da ITRA a escolherem uma classificação decalcada das agências de rating, ultrapassa-me, mas fico feliz em saber que sou considerado non-investment grade, ou nos termos vulgarmente usados, lixo.
.


Bem, o que importa é olhar para o percurso feito ao longo de todos estes anos (apenas os 5 mais recentes para não tornar a tabela ainda mais ilegível do que já é):






E já agora, um excelente início de 2017 para todos vós e não se esqueçam de ser felizes!



terça-feira, 20 de dezembro de 2016

Provas Insanas - Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon











“The tears stream down my cheeks from my unblinking eyes. What makes me weep so? There is nothing saddening here. Perhaps it is liquefied brain.”
 ― Samuel Beckett 



The Ironman distance in Triathlon is widely regarded as one of the most challenging physical and mental achievements that an athelete can endure.

Now, if you transpose this challenge to a much harsher environment,where you have to complete the same distance in each of the 3 disciplines of triathlon, but in 5ºC water, and with much steeper ride and run than usual, then you are in for a treat!


"After swimming almost 4km to the remote Eidfjord, participants must cycle 180 km over five mountain passes with a total of 4.1 km vertical ascent and then run 42 km to the top of the 1.9 km-high Mount Gaustatoppen."



From the Wikipedia:

«The Norsemanxtreme triathlon is a non-Ironman branded triathlon, point to point, race held in Norway annually. The distances are equivalent to those of an Ironman race with the swim starting from the loading bay of a car ferry, through the water of the Hardangerfjord fjord to the local town, Eidfjord.[1] At Eidfjord the competitors transition onto their bikes and then cycle 180 km through the mountains, the first 40 km of which is uphill (reaching 1200 m above sea level).[1] After transition two (at Austbygda, 190 m above sea level), the competitors then run 42.2 km of which the first 25 km (to Rjukan) are flat and following this they end up climbing the local mountain, Gaustatoppen, 1,880 m above sea level.[1]
The race is "unsupported" so competitors need to have personal back up crews that follow them with cars to provide them with food and drink.[2] The support crews also have to accompany their competitor up the final mountain climb due to the inherent dangers of being highly fatigued on a mountain. During this final mountain climb competitors are required to carry a backpack containing emergency food and clothing[2] should the weather turn, whilst they are on the mountain.
Weather conditions and strict health checks and deadlines determine whether the race can be followed into the mountains and those that finish are given a black finishers top and take on the name "Norsemen". Those that do not make the cut-off time but complete the distance on a lower alternative route are given a white finishers top. The number of participants is usually limited to a certain number of competitors. Approximately 40% of the participants are from outside Norway; and about 15% are female.
Norseman triathlon first took place in 2003 with 21 individuals at the starting line. The race record for (full swimming distance) for men is 10:22:37 by Lars Petter Stormo (Norway) in 2016 and for women 12:17:04 by Annett Finger (Germany) in 2012 for women.»




Eidfjord, swimming done here

















Måbødalen, cycling done here












Gaustatoppen, running up the mountain





























domingo, 18 de dezembro de 2016

Provas Insanas - Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon 1983





  • -     What’s your secret?
  • -       I am just gonna keep running…
Cliff Young



I will write this post in English. Actually, I will mostly just re-print information from several sources, but I will show all references, in order not to incur in plagiarism.


This is the story of an ordinary man who performs extraordinary feats. His name was Cliff Young, and he was the least likely hero that any Nation could come up with.





"Albert Ernest Clifford "Cliff" Young, OAM (8 February 1922[1] – 2 November 2003[2]) was an Australian potato farmer[2] and athlete from Beech Forest, Victoria. Born the eldest son and the third of seven children of Mary and Albert Ernest Young on 8 February 1922, Albert Ernest Clifford Young grew up on a farm in Beech Forest in southwestern Victoria.[1] "


"Cliff Young’s story is unique. While most athletes achieve success in the prime of their lives – their late teens, 20s and even 30s – Young didn’t gain notoriety until his early 60s! In 1983, at 61 years old, Cliff Young entered the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra-marathon, a 544-mile race from Sydney to Melbourne."




"The Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon was an annual ultramarathon foot race held between 1983 and 1991. It was sponsored by the Westfield Group, with the start being at Westfield Parramatta shopping centre and the finish at Westfield Doncaster shopping centre (formerly known as "Doncaster Shoppingtown").
The 875-kilometre (544 mi), five-day event was regarded as one of the toughest in the world. It was particularly notable for having been won in 1983 by Cliff Young, an almost unknown 61-year-old potato farmer from Beech Forest, Victoria. The record is held by Yiannis Kouros: 5d 02h 27m.[1]




«What’s even more impressive than a 61 year old potato and sheep farmer even being able to complete such a race in the allotted time is that, he not only won, but shattered the world record for that distance, beating it by over two days.
Young showed up at the event on April 27, 1983 wearing overalls and gumboots, though he later used ten pairs of shoes during the event.  His running style, like his attire, was also very unconventional, being more of a shuffle than a run.  In the beginning, the other runners easily took the lead with Young and his slow shuffling style lagging behind.  However, unlike the other runners, Young didn’t plan on sleeping much throughout the event.  Most runners planned a schedule of about 18 hours running / 6 hours sleeping.   Young, however, didn’t feel sleep was necessary because, in his youth, he’d herded about 2000 sheep on a 2000 acre farm (about 3.12 square miles).  Occasionally that would mean rounding them up by literally chasing them around for two or three days straight with no sleep and constant running.  In his own words:
“See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or four wheel drives, and the whole time I was growing up– until about four years ago when we finally made some money and got a four wheeler– whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 head, and we have 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d catch them. I believe I can run this race; it’s only two more days. Five days. I’ve run sheep for three.”




Indeed, after the race, Young told the press he kept himself motivated and focused by imagining there was a storm coming and he was just rounding up sheep before it came.  He did, however, sleep some during the race.  On the first day, he fell and injured his shoulder and decided to take some rest.  However, due to one of his crew members not wearing his contacts when he set the alarm to wake Young up, Young ended up only sleeping two hours the first night and was up and running after that.





In the end, he completed the 543.7 mile long ultra-marathon in just five days, fifteen hours, and four minutes, while only sleeping for a little over 12 hours during that span.  When he won, Young earned a grand prize for the event of $10,000.  Young lived on a modest income of around $2000 per year and didn’t feel he needed any more money than that, so rather than keeping the winnings for himself, he split the money with certain others in the race and his support crew.  After the presentation of the prize, his legs gave out and he had to be carried off the stage.  A bed was then setup for him at the shopping center which was the destination of the race and he slept there for just five hours, followed by eating three plates of eggs and toast and spending the following day giving interviews.
Young again competed in the race in 1984, but due to injuring his left knee a couple weeks before the race and displacing his hip during the race, he couldn’t keep up with the front of the pack, led by 28 year old now legendary ultra-marathoner Yiannis Kouros.  Despite both of these injuries, Young still managed to finish seventh out of the nine who ultimately were able to complete the event.  He entered the competition for the third time the following year, but was forced to dropout due to pleurisy (inflammation of the lung tissue) and pneumonia.  He spent a week in the hospital following this before being allowed to go home.  As a courtesy, Westfield hired a car to drive him all the way back to Colac after he was released from the hospital.

Bonus Facts:

§  Thanks to Young pushing the pack, all five other runners who managed to finish the Westfield run in 1983 managed to cross the finish line ahead of the previous world record for that distance.

§  Even though he was 61 at the time, Young still lived at home with his mother and was reportedly still a virgin to boot.  This changed pretty quickly, though.  While he didn’t use his new celebrity status for much monetary gain, he did receive the benefit of  finding a wife, Mary Howell, a woman under half his age. She later became his crew manager, though this backfired on him in the 1984 race when her inexperience caused the crew to lose him at one point, resulting in a long stretch where he had no water or food.  This compounded on the knee and hip injury to contribute to his inability to keep up with the leaders that year.





§  Young’s first race wasn’t actually the Westfield run, but an attempt a year earlier to break Siggy Bauer’s world record of 1,000 miles in 11 days and 23 hours.  He failed in his bid though, quitting after 500 miles and stating that he and his support staff had been grossly inexperienced for attempting something like that, which resulted in them being unprepared for what was needed.

§  While he didn’t manage the 1000 mile record at the age of 60, at the age of 76, he did attempt to break Ron Grant’s record in running around Australia, which is about a 10,000 mile run.  He attempted this to try to raise money for homeless children.  Somewhat humorously, his failed attempt in this case was  not because of him, but because the one and only member of his support staff became severely ill.  Before this happened, though, Young had managed to cover a little over 4,000 miles of the run.

§  About a year after this failed attempt to run around Australia, Young began having health problems that lasted about five years and ultimately resulted in his death at the age of 81 from cancer on November 2, 2003.  Remarkably, all six of Young’s brothers and sisters were still alive when he died, even though they all themselves were quite old:  Anne, 85; Helen, 83; Margaret, 79; Barry 77; Eunice, 75; and Sid, 73.  As one of his sisters stated upon his death: “He is the first of us to go, but then he was always on the go.”

§  While running in gumboots and overalls hasn’t caught on among other ultra-marathoners, using the “Young Shuffle” running style has.  For instance, to date, three other winners of the Westfield race have since used the Young shuffle.  It is thought that this style of running is the most efficient running style, in terms of energy usage.  In addition to this, many runners of the Westfield ultra-marathon no longer sleep much during the race, presumably figuring if a 61 year old potato farmer could do it, they as professional athletes should be able to.

§  During the Westfield race of 1983, Young was asked what he was going to do when he finished the race.  His response was slightly less glamorous than the standard “I’m going to Disneyland”.  Instead, he said “I’m going to the toilet first.”  And, indeed, as soon as he crossed the finish line, he went to the bathroom while the reporters waited outside.

§  In honor of Cliff Young, after his death, an ultra-marathon was named after him, the “Cliff Young Australian 6 Day Race”.  The record for that event is held by the famed Greek ultra-marathoner Yiannis Kouros, who managed to cover just over 635 miles in those six days on his first attempt.  Amazingly, he broke the record again at the age of 48 in 2005, this time covering about 644 miles.

§  Yiannis Kouros first ran the Westfield race in 1985.  He won it in his first attempt, breaking Young’s record by about 10 hours and went on to win the Westfield run five times between 1985 and 1991, which was the last year it was held.


§  Ultra-marathons take place nearly everywhere on Earth, including Antarctica.  The biggest one held in Antarctica is actually part of a larger “Four Deserts” race.  The event begins in Atacama Crossing in Chile, which is among the driest places on Earth, comprising mostly of salt lakes, volcanoes, and sand dunes.  Not only is the desert brutal, but it is at an altitude of 8000 feet.   The next stage of the race is in Gobi, China.  This is among the hottest places in China and the race covers sand dunes, dangerous water crossings, and steep hills.  The third stage of the race is in the Sahara desert, in Egypt.  The daytime temperature during this stage can reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit.  The fourth and final stage of this race is in Antarctica.  The temperatures here are often below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the course and time of events varies greatly from day to day based on environmental conditions.»