Running Away From Or Towards Something?

wp-1484591806749.pngOn my second run of 2017 today I was thinking of how differently we use running as a way to deal with things in our lives. Sometimes we run away from something, sometimes we run towards something or at times we just run. During my run I was thinking the different times of my running life and how different it’s been from one to another.

It’s funny to “go back” and think why and where it all started for me. Why this blog started, why I wanted to do something to change my life.

Back then I was so depressed that I didn’t have that many options to deal with it, and from all the things possible, I chose running. A thing that I deeply hated for almost 15 years before starting it again and finding it’s healing and therapeutic ways. The reason why I hated it so deeply was the fact that in my teenage years I ran track and it was all about getting faster and getting results that weren’t even close to where I could push my body, to the point that I got badly injured for quite a long time, even while I still went to my practices. It was the mindset that was planted by my coach at the time that “if there’s no blood, it can’t hurt” and other productive ways of coaching.

So with all that I started thinking how I wish to help others who run or have recently started running or struggle with their running journey. Because I’m never going to be the fast one, or the one with massive interest in all the schedules and number playing when it comes to running. I’ve gone way past my own limits with running so I know that it’s very much possible to “be more than you thought of possible” in your own body and mind. I’ve made few running dreams true and hope to have few more of those moments in my life still, but I’m not in a mindset that “I need to” because it just takes the fun out of it for me.

Something that I come across a lot and for some reason a lot in Finland, is that there’s this need to do more, push more, be more, not rest enough, do everything serious and super goal oriented. Yes that is a way of moving for some people and they get their kicks out of it, but for some reason the past years it’s been the thing that people drive themselves towards with consequences of injuries and nagging pain in their body that they rather ignore than listen. It seems and feels that if you’re goal oriented you’re doing it “right”, if not then you are just playing around.

Maybe this is only me, but seeing these images on IG of results and how much someone did and why they don’t need rest days, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve gone through my share of injuries with running, I’ve been the one posting only exercise and health food photos, maybe I needed to go through that phase of my life to find what really works for me.

Last year I basically forgot running, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t yearn it, I needed a break from it all. Last year I was also in a place where I wasn’t able to run for quite some time, which also sparked the want to start a crew here, to start from the bottom and hopefully helps others in that same position, with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over my few years in this all.

But the thing is, no matter how important something might be to us, sometimes we just need a break from it. We need to be honest to ourselves and listen to our gut and give our bodies and mind a break from something we’ve learned to lean to every possible time. It’s almost too easy to just run away from something through running, but does it serve a purpose then? Yes, it’s good to exercise and to get your blood moving and get rid of some of that stress that might cause the want to “run away” but it’s also insanely important to be able to stand still with yourself and go through the issue that causes those feelings. We can’t just be goal orientated in life and forget to make mistakes and learn from them and be honest and sometimes afraid or brave and take risks even with those. Being honest with yourself with what you are capable doing and what not, is not only really important but necessary for your well being. Sometimes it’s ugly and at times beautiful, but it’s necessary. None of us can plan our whole life and go with only those plans and never have to come in front of a situation that makes you think again, it would be insane way to live.

So if when I started my own journey with running, I was definitely running away from that feeling that was just like a empty hole in me, now I am running towards something I know already that I have in me, as I’ve done it more than once, but need a reminder. And if I get a feeling of being shitty or adequate next to more goal oriented runners, I try to remind myself that my strengths are in me being able to be honest with myself, being able to listen my body and mind and take those times of nothing when needed. And through my own journey and experience, I hope and feel that I’m easy to approach if needed from someone who is going through something I’ve gone through or just needs a little support or advice. I see that all as my power next to different kind of runners. I don’t need to look perfectly muscular to be “as good as them”, I need to be myself and with that I can help the most. Myself and others.

PMA ❤

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DOXA Run – New Running Apparel Brand & Interview With John Hansen

DOXA_Image_InstagramI first saw the logo of DOXA early last summer, while I lived in Copenhagen. Probably through Instagram and started following them, thinking that they had a nice look to their gear. I wanted to interview John Hansen, the creator and designer behind the brand, to get to know why and how it all started.

John is a seasoned runner and designer who wanted to bring a clothing line for running that would work through the workout to everyday life. I really like how he’s looking at this idea and how he also wants to do good while he’s at it. DOXA has a Kickstarter campaign now for their first capsule collection and they will give 50 race singlets to Kenswed Academy in Nairobi, Kenya, if the campaign is funded. The school is a way to give the children a chance for better living conditions and future. Here’s the link to the school for you to check it out .

Who are you and what is your background?

My name is John and I’m 36 years and have worked with fashion for 15 years, the last 1 year as self-employed in AITY Consultancy, where I do design work for different danish brands.

Alongside all this I have DOXA – the place where I unite my passion for running and my hobby and interest in fashion. I live in Copenhagen where the social running crews has been exploding the last few years. This definitely awoke my interest even more of combining fashion and running – to become a part of the new athleisure trend.
What is Doxa? And what is it to you?

As mentioned above, DOXA is more or less the person I am, running, fashion and lifestyle combined into one.

DOXA is everything for me, but at the moment I’m not able to make a living by the brand, but hopefully it will turn into that one day.

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Where did the idea behind Doxa come from?

DOXA was born out of my idea to bring something new into the running scene. I know I can’t compete with the more established brands such as Nike and Adidas, but there is a lot of space for other brands, who makes cool running gear with an urban approach. Because these days people want to look cool before, during and after their social run with all their friends, colleges and maybe their love of life – who knows.

Where the name Doxa comes from?
I wanted to create a name that had a visuel effect and that I could work with in different prints and effects on my product. I like the different geometric shapes of the letters and the shortness of the name. It’s precise and direct and something people hopefully will remember. Another important aspect for me, was that I could incorporate one of the letters in my design and prints-the letter X.

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What is / will be the difference with Doxa compared to other similar brands?

I think that DOXA is different because of the fashion angle. A lot of running apparel maybe looks too sporty(boring) and functional compared to how most customers actually wants to look. When I go by the subway to a park far away to do my trail I would like to blend in with the people and not look like a nerdy runner, who caught the bus like a fail. So in my opinion DOXA is the brand that’s missing in the athlesiure arena-the brand that combines fashion with functionality and makes people look cool. In the end that’s what most people want to.. 🙂

My hope is that DOXA will be sold from fashion stores and giving the costumers the opportunity to combine it with their daily wear. This is also different from what most other similar brands do-a traditional distribution would be through classic sportswear stores. But I believe that DOXA fits in with a mix of fashion and sport and has an edge that will make costumers notice DOXA on the shelves.
Where does the ideas come, with patterns and fits, from?

I combine sport with fashion, so my ideas is born in fashion with the intention of incorporating it with the functionality in sportswear. The fit is the most important part of the product. As a runner myself I know the importance of a good fit, without that you can’t perform. But I also believe that fit is not everything, with the great interest in sportswear you need something that stands out and the customers feel that their running gear reflects their style. People want to feel fashionable while running, not only while out running but also on the way to the running field and when hooking up with their friends after.

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Where do you see Doxa in 5 years? What are your goals?

Hopefully I’m able to work with DOXA as my main business and make a living out of it. I would love to see my brand represented all over the world in selected fashion and sportswear stores. And at the same time I want to keep on working with Global Relations to keep on creating better opportunities for the young talents in Nairobi. Hopefully we can create something bigger and greater together. It’s important for me to be able to contribute to the ones that need the help and support to succeed. And if sometime in the future my work with DOXA could make some young kid in Nairobi life a little bit better, I could not be more thankful.

How did you come up with the idea of doing this all with Kickstarter?

After a lot of brainstorming with a good friend about how to get a new upcoming brand out to the costumer, we came up with the idea to try Kickstarter. I needed a platform to show my work and my dedication to running and the good work at Kenswed. Kickstarter is a great place for new brands to start up and a forum that reaches out to so many people. The interest has been great, but there’s still a long way to the gold. Whether I reach it or not, it has been an amazing journey and I’ve learned so much on the way. Hopefully I will reach my goal and then being able to contribute to Kenswed and send out all the cool runninggear to my cool backers. Kickstarter is hard work, but the risk is low and I would diffidently recommend it to anyone who wants to make awareness of their products and needs there funding to get started.

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Do you have some connection to Kenya or where did the idea for that come from?

The idea was born from the simple idea; that I really wanted to do something good for others not as privileged as me. I met a guy when I was out running with Runners United, we talked a lot about his work in Kenya with the young running talents. He told me how tough their living circumstances were and how running often is a way out of poverty. His good friend Per-Olof Hansson is founder of the NGO Global Relations that works with the young people in Nairobi. So I contacted him and we started talking and sharing ideas. I really admire his work and feel honored to be a part of it.

And last but not least…

What does running mean to you?

It means the world to me! It’s my space away from everything, where I come up with new ideas, where I clear my head and where I gain new energy. Running is my life! I’ve been doing it for over 25 years and I will keep on running as long as my legs let me..

Go and check the Kickstarter campaign HERE! and their website HERE!

And keep yourself updated with the brand at Instagram @DOXARUN

I wish all the best to DOXA and John and hope to see this all grow to what you have dreamed! 🙂

PMA ❤

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Depressed – Yes, I am

Hello, my name is Mirka and I’ve been depressed on and off for most of my life.  And by on and off I mean, that depression is a thing that never really goes away and you’re “healed”. Different things can cause it to come back, haunt your days that without it would be pretty nice. There are good periods and then there are really difficult and sad periods. If you find something that helps you live with it and see more positive in you and your life, those difficult periods don’t come too often, but to be able to maintain those good periods needs some serious work and that is HARD.

I am quite embarrassed to admit that I am depressed. I feel at times that it makes me worse than others, that it’s super hard for me to be happy and most of all, let myself be happy. Somehow I have this feeling that it is easier to think that I was depressed and now it’s gone, but also I think that it would be a lot easier to try to be okay with the fact that it’s part of me.

I know that it’s part of me but it’s not a nice thing to admit, especially if you know how bad it can make you. When I was younger, around 17-20, I was extremely depressed and the only thing I did was sleep. Sleeping gave me this freedom of that haunting and daunting feeling of sadness inside of me. Once I grew up and started having different things in my life, I couldn’t sleep that feeling away and that just made it worse, I felt that there was no way to get some easiness.

The reason for me to start writing my blog was to find a way to be more okay with my depression, not the main reason but part of it. Few years ago my therapist said that I should start writing my feelings down, I never did it because I had made my mind about me being unable to write and that I just don’t like it, so I never did. At the moment I wish that I had, but I don’t think I was ready.

I’ve always been a person who likes to be alone a lot, doing my thing, I don’t like that people bother me but I can also feel extremely lonely and yearn to be around people. But I’m also scared of being around people, because I’m not 100% sure of myself and I have times when it’s super hard for me to like myself. And I don’t have any kind of pokerface, so you would see if there is something.

I would love to have more friends, or more like let more people be my friends, but it’s super hard for me. Not sure why, but it just is. But it’s also really hard for me to say that I need a friend.

Last weekend I finally admit again that I am depressed. This past month has been really hard, on keeping myself positive and try to go forward. After I had to stop running because of my injury, I felt that I wasn’t good at all and I was beating myself up for getting injured. For me running has been my savior, it made me believe in myself and want to keep trying and not just give up. I started really liking myself and even be able to say to myself “I love you”! If you are or have been depressed, those are HUGE things.

For me, when I’m depressed, it feels that I’m doing something all the time, but the reality is that I’m not able to do sometimes even the everyday things. Sometimes going out more than just for the walks with the dog, is a terrifying idea, I can’t do it. It feels that you want to break free from this cloud that is just following you, but you just can’t. I see and hear the good things around me but I feel that I don’t have skills or tools to do anything about making things better.

It’s really frustrating to people around you and scary too, I believe. They try to help you with what they can but nothing seems to work. Sometimes the fact that they are trying can make the situation even worse.

I have always been jealous of people who keep trying and have this fire to do things and have projects after another. Or to have a skill like drawing, to be able to produce things and maybe sell them. I feel that I don’t have this skill set to do something like that.

My really close friend said to me something that really meant a lot. She said that I have to remember that I have conquered the monster which is depression already and that’s what I have to remember. That there will be those bad times but I have done it before and got myself up from that darkness and I can do it again. I do remember that but for some reason that is super hard to remember.

The thing with depression is that it comes little out of nowhere and then it’s on again. Sometimes it creeps on you really slowly and sometimes it needs just a tiny push and boom.

This month the biggest thing for me to start falling back down, was the fact that I “lost” running. I’m not yet strong enough to realize that it’s only for sometime and soon I can run again, or that I can do other sports while I get better. My mind was so much around running that when it was “taken” from me, it crushed me. Now I have 6 weeks till my first race, Berlin Half Marathon, is here and I have lost all interest in trying to get back there. I’m afraid of running or trying to run again because I’m afraid that maybe my injury is still there. I have lost the motivation to keep my body in shape so that when I can run again, I don’t start from the bottom. Yesterday I had this moment when I finally admitted that yes, I am depressed again and that it’s not only because of running, there are other personal things behind it, just bunch of things that made me feel like nothing. But I also realized that I do have a reason to keep trying and that’s why today I will go out and do some shopping that needs to be done, go out with the dog, and do some exercising that I think will make me feel better.

I promise to myself that I try. And I hope that end of today I can say that I did, which will make me feel better :). I have hope, even though the lows are at times really low, there are also those highs in my life I know that.

Shoes – good or bad?

Shoes… For some they are addiction, for others useless.

I started studying shoes and their history, by pure accident. I’ve been reading running related books the past 6 months, and usually there is something about shoes. But once I got injured I really wanted  to know more, and with good luck I happened to buy a book that is more than amazing and really goes from only preventing injuries and knowing how to this or that, to more about where shoes came from and why you use this or that shoe, the history, a lot of very good info. Also while being sick the past weeks, I have been watching many documentaries about shoes and their history (gotta love Netflix).

All this new information has made me think, really, what I put on my feet and why. For me this all started from an injury but now it’s a lot more. I feel that I just want to get rid of all those shoes that are pure evil to my feet and by wearing them, I’m also hurting my body without realizing it.

I was thinking about what kind of shoes I have been wearing in my past, childhood, teenage years and so on. The main thing that I, to my sadness, realized that I used usually too small shoes, like really small. It was more about how they looked than the fact that they just didn’t fit. And maybe it’s part of being a girl, but I liked to look down and see small feet… I know that some other girls do that too. I also remember this thing that I had when I was younger and mostly used skate shoes, that they always got bigger with use, so I bought a little too small pair and then after some, painful, time they would get “perfect”.  There was also times when through my work I got sample shoes, and I took them, but they were sooo small. But they were free! So I did use them, pain and all.

I remember hating if shoes felt loose, for me it had to be snug, snugger the better… But that is just plain stupid! And now I’m paying the prize for those awesome decisions. My other heel looks like some dinosaurthing and I’ve only lost one toenail during my last years running in too small shoes. Those are the “small” problems, the bigger ones are inside my body.

I first injured my knees back when I was running track, around 13 years old. That and the lack of interest in recovery training made my whole back go all wonky, and that in the end made my hips hurt and had to get some orthopedics. But my use of too small shoes did not end there, why would it?

At the moment, after few other injuries, my left side is way weaker than my right. When I last time injured my knee few years ago in my bike messenger days, my orthopedist said that because I’ve been walking all wrong for so many years, the problem with my knee is going to go up to my hips and lower back at some point, and did it! Hell yeah, all out and pulling all the stunts while at it!

Running has been the first thing that actually has really helped with my lower back problems and with that hips too. But I’m still really lopsided.

But the questions that I have been asking myself is that why would you do something like that to yourself? I would say that 100% vanity. There is no other reason that comes to my mind when I think about it. And that is sad!

After learning more and more about what is good and what is bad for your feet and through them to your whole body, I’ve really wanted to change that. I love how my toes are free to move, sideways, in my shoes that are the right size. I love that the shoes don’t feel uncomfortable but actually nice.  With time I would love to start using less and less supported shoes, and I don’t mean only running shoes, but all. By supported here I mean overly thick soles, not so much running shoes related support. I also kind of want to ditch any high heels, the idea of doing that to my feet make me grin.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really want to start wearing some weird looking “health” shoes either, but I will start actually think what I put on my feet. I might even sometimes put high heels on, but also think about their size first.

Most of all I want to get my body at least little bit more in balance, not be this lopsided anymore. It’s not even that hard, I just have to do the training…

I also know now that what I should think and not think when choosing shoes. I am extremely grateful to my Mom, who always said that you should walk as much as you can without shoes and socks. With that in the back of my head, I have always hated using shoes inside and as soon as I can, I will take them and my socks off :).

Below is the book that has opened my eyes, and is also really good read, not only for runners. I recommend!

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