Ready For My Next Ultra Race Or Am I?!

IMG_8088“Appreciation is born through struggle.” – Unknown

A week to go, then I’ll run my third trail Ultra. I haven’t trained like I planned, life got in the way of it all. But does that even matter?

Lately I’ve been talking and heard people talking more about running than probably ever before. I am surrounded by passionate people who have goals and races they want to conquer and push themselves to. They are about pace and times, they love the things that make me cringe.

I’ve also felt at times like I am on the defense side of talking about how I run. Or why I even run. Why don’t I want to be faster? Or why don’t I want to run more road races. In another way it’s been really interesting to hear other peoples views about this whole thing. We all have our reasons, we all have gone through different paths to be where we are now. And to me, the person who is the last in the race is even more amazing than the one winning or able to run crazy fast time. Do you know what it takes to be the last? I do.

After Fyr til Fyr, I wanted to do better, I wanted to be better, I wanted to be stronger and figure out the things that went wrong there. I had a plan, for the first time ever. I started it, while knowing that I need to move my life to Copenhagen for myself. I was excited and terrified at the same time, still am. But then life started happening, more and more, and my free spirited self didn’t want to have a plan to follow and take the enjoyment out of the one thing that keeps me sane in the time of confusion. So in a way I threw that plan out the window and just enjoyed the ride.

This past week I’ve been asked about my race next week a lot, and I’ve kind of been just like yeah all good, I’m ready. Until last Monday I checked my calendar and realized that oops, it’s next week. Oh well, that’s me. That also shows how I’ve been happily just living my life, with all the ups and downs, and running on feeling. But then it came, that feeling of what I am doing in a week? I hadn’t checked the race or anything to do with it in a really long time. I just knew that I had a little run to do on that one Saturday on that small island.

I started questioning myself and what I’m doing, am I really ready, or have I done any of the things I wanted after Fyr til Fyr? Have I? Hmmm, I have no idea.

Well, that’s not completely true. I know I’m ready, mentally I’m really open and strong, even stronger than I was at the last race, that ripped me open and cleared my head. I think that’s something I’m really waiting, the ripping even more open and showing me what’s inside of me and what I really want from myself and my life. Physically I’m way stronger than I was last time, really, not because I’ve been doing what I was supposed to, but because I’ve given my body the time it needs to get better and stronger. I’ve ran with crazy tired legs and embraced the discomfort. And I know that it’s only temporary, if I do it all smart. Not over. I’ve also face planted twice in the last week, with good amount of cuts and bruises covering my body. So whatever is coming, I’m pretty much ready. Lovely, tanned girly summer legs are gone already… The ones that show that I’ve lived and hopefully learned are here :).IMG_8019

I’ve been reading a lot about different runners lately, how so many amazing Ultra runners have burned themselves completely out with having the pressure of their peers pushing the level higher and higher. I’ll attach this amazing article about over training in the end of this piece.

But the thing is, what I’ve learned the hard way, that if we really don’t listen to our bodies, they will stop us, one way or another. I injured myself with over training badly about two years ago, and I was out from running for a good three months. A time that made me face myself in a whole new way. I could either collapse under it all or I could learn what’s going on in my body and be smarter in the future. That was also the time when I promised to myself that running is what I do, not who I am. Something that I think is pretty crucial, even though without running I wouldn’t be here anymore. But it can’t be this lifeline for us.

“If you’re disappointed by running, then it’s not running that you’re actually disappointed, it’s yourself. You have to love who you are, because it’s what you got, it’s all you got. And you have to be grateful for that as well, I’m learning.” – Anna Frost  

The runners that I look up to, or feel kindred spirit to, are the ones who’ve struggled with something in their lives and came from that with a new view on this all. Anna Frost is definitely one of them. There’s a video from Salomon about her and her search for home, something I know quite well. The way she speaks about the search and how her over training got her in such a bad place that she didn’t know how to get out and didn’t want to run at all, makes me cry every time I see that clip. Sometimes someone can explain exactly how you feel, and it hits you so hard and deep that the tears just fall.

In the same way as I felt when I watched Sally Mcraes Western States journey, one of my favorite running films. The way she’s gone through things in her life, makes me feel like I’m not alone. And that’s really important. Both of those inspirational ladies talk about way more than just running. And that is the thing that is important to me.

Also the fact that they both look like me, in that sense that they are muscular and curvy and real woman without looking too dry, and for me to see women like they are is super important.

So the same gut feeling that I had when I knew that I need to move back to Copenhagen, it’s exactly the same about running Ultra distances just when I started running. I knew back then that I have that kind of tenacity in me, a side that’s willing to dig deep and go to those places where it’s not too nice, but so very real. I might never be as good as some people doing those, but I do not care. I’m doing it for myself, to peel those layers off and be open to who is under all of them.IMG_8077

The me that I have been after that last race, has been a lot to take. I’ve really been so honest and open and loving as I was straight after the race. It’s a state of being that is not the easiest all the time. In the little time that I’ve been in Copenhagen, I’ve gone through things and emotions, that make this time feel so much longer than it’s really been. I still wouldn’t change any of them away, I rather be willing to get hurt than not live. I am willing to feel the discomfort of uncertainty than be in control. I am willing to still love until I know that it’s not right. I am willing to miss the ones that I love the most, to show myself that I am filled with good and love. I am willing to get mad and let it all out, but I am also so very proud of myself for being me to the fullest. I am definitely living like I wanted, with all that I have. That’s how I’ve been running too, with all those emotions rushing through me. From frustration to anger to blissfully happy to exhaustion that makes you realize you’ve gone way over your own limits, and ending up being so proud of it all.

Next weekends race, I have no idea how it’s going to go. I don’t have a time goal, I learned from the last that anything can happen. I do want to finish the race, under the 9 hour cut off time. I do want to have fun and see what’s around me. I do want to enjoy what it has in store for me. So I am ready for it, when I really think about it, I am ready.

“If you wish to be a warrior, prepare to get broken. If you wish to be and explorer, prepare to get lost. If you wish to be a lover, prepare to be both.”

PMA ❤

Running on Empty – Over Training article on Outside Online

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Almost There – Just Before My Fyr til Fyr Ultra

I’m just about to fall asleep. Tomorrow I’ll fly to Copenhagen and carry on from there to the island of Bornholm.

Just one night and my next amazing adventure begins, one that I’ve been waiting since last August.

I haven’t been crazy nervous, it comes and goes. I know that I can run that 59km, so that part is okay. The part that makes me nervous is that I am there with almost 500 of others. And I always run alone 🙂 so a different kind of challenge. I’ll take it!IMG_7317

I’ve never been this meticulous with my packing, but I’ve never packed for a Ultra either, so I don’t really have any routine with this. I just hope that I have everything I need.

I’m ready, I feel positive and good. I’m going to run my own race, enjoy everything and have all the PMA while doing it.

While I was packing, I watched my favorite Ultra videos and that really calmed me down and made me stoked even more, if you can put those two together in some way.

Okay, I’m off to bed. Feeling super blessed to have all the love and support I have, so thank you! 🙂IMG_7357

Here’s one of my favorite videos that I just found yesterday, to get in the mood of awesomeness!!

PMA ❤

To Sum Up 2014

IMG_6288For a good couple of weeks I’ve felt that I need to sum up 2014, mostly for myself. Though I think it’s nice to get it out there.

But the main thing is that I don’t seem to understand how much good has happened to me this past year. Others seem to see it, but I’m in this weird bubble of not realizing.

Today I went through my blog for the past year, checking the posts that I’ve written. Noticing how much has happened in really short time. Mostly really good things, a lot of doubt, some deep depression, and a lot of running. I’ve lost a lot in 2014, but I think I’ve gained even more.

The Spring was a lot of down moments, injuries and learning from them. And falling into depression from that all, but getting up and running my first Half Marathon in Berlin. Getting adopted to a running crew, Still Waters Run Deep MCR, to have a running family to call mine. Having my first interview, on Reason To Play, crazy important to me. Thank you Karen! I turned 30, and was stoked about that. Had the best birthday party with tacos and so much love! Trying to find who I am and what I want in my life. Finding so many new friends, the closest these days. Finally broke that 1000km that I was chasing. Started to train for my first Marathon that I never ran. Visiting family in Finland with a new mindset and had the best time.

The Summer time, wow! Things really started to move forward, there were a lot of things happening in Hannover, not nice things, that pushed me forward. Ran the nicest Half in Hackney, taking a crewmember and close friend to the finish line, Jamie, I’ll always keep that memory super close to my heart! That time in London got me so much more me, that I had been yearning. And got me so amazing new friends that boom! Those new friends helped me with the next chapter in my life. I finally admitted to myself that I need to move away from Germany, to be able to be truly happy. And all of sudden I was moving to Copenhagen to an amazing adopting family, Christina and the kids, you in my heart! 🙂

CHEER DEM CREW !!!!

CHEER DEM CREW !!!!

The Fall… I moved to Copenhagen, realized that I am in a long distance relationship for real. Had the most amazing first two weeks in my new home city and then the bomb dropped with full force. My Grandma passed away. It felt like all stopped. I was alone in a new place, couldn’t say my goodbyes, even though I knew that we had said all that we wanted. But still, her passing threw my whole life upside down. All of sudden I was so lost and didn’t know what to do. And one day I knew what I need to do, I need to move back home to Finland to be with my family. So I made the decision and this huge burden lifted from my shoulders. But before that I ran the Copenhagen Half in my Grandmas memory, to take the medal to her grave. I got the change to be my last weekend with all my international running family and my crew members, could not ask for anything better in that time of my deepest sadness. So much love and support that it just took over all the pain and carried me on. Thank you to all of you! ❤IMG_4888-0

And then I was back in Finland. My own family had been ripped in three, one in Germany, me in Finland and even my longest familymember, my dog had to be away from me. He has the best “step”home now, with his amazing Uncle :). No love lost there! But being without him and my bf isn’t the easiest, day by day situation but we do the best we can.IMG_6323

I had to deal or try to deal with the loss of my Grandma. Still no idea how at times, but day by day that gets easier. Trying to remember all the good, and there are a lot of those moments.

Living at my parents place, confused but happy to be with my family. All of sudden starting my new job, after not working for good three years. Just jumping in the deep end. Enjoying and terrified at the same time. Seeing Helsinki in new eyes, seeing way more good than ever before. But noticing that I am here only for little while, my journey is still not ready for settling in one place. At this time I wrote my first piece for Pavement Bound, new amazing website about all things running, where I’m one of the contributors at the moment.image (2)

And then things just started going forward so fast that I am still trying to figure out what is going on… I started running only in a forest, really giving myself the change to learn how to be in silence with myself and the nature. Really knowing that that is my happyplace and I just have no interest in running on the road if I don’t have to anymore. I had already signed for my first Ultra, Fyr til Fyr, this April in Bornholm, but I wanted more. So I signed up for White Rose Ultra, which is going to be in UK, also it’s going to be a 100KM. Dreams are meant to be making true!

I found this amazing new brand from Finland, called Arctic Warriors and I contacted them. And after some mails, I had them as my first sponsor for my Goals2015! They make the most amazing supplements, all locally grown and using old knowledge with the plants in them. Then when I was just searching for a Patagonia jacket and ended up finding one at Ruoto For Flyfishing store, talking more and more with the owner, Joonas. Ending the conversation to the deal of me being a trail running ambassador for their store, using Patagonia! Just maybe a week before this, I told to my friend that my goal is to be a runner for Patagonia! 😀 Not there yet, but the door is open and I’m ready for the adventure!IMG_5249

I started yearning simpler life and wrote a piece here about wanting a dirtbaggery life. And just before Christmas I was chosen to be an ambassador for Dirtbag Runners, which was insane dream come true!image (3)

So how can I sum up this year?! It’s been the hardest and the best year ever in my life! Every day brings something new, most of the time I have no idea what is coming and I’m slowly starting to be okay with it. My family is all over the place, my friends are even more all over the place and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! Never had this much support and love in my life. I never knew that I can be in this great place with myself after all what’s happened. But here I am, sometimes sobbing my eyes out but most of the time smiling, because everything is pretty great and I am pushing forward, doubt and all. I definitely forgot a lot from here, but the main point is that I am in a good place and my dreams are getting closer to being reality every day. I have to believe in myself and them and they will come true! The struggle might be real but I have amazing belief in going through it no matter what haha :).

Thank you to all that I have in my life, I could not go through this year without you. Your love and support are the biggest blessings in my life and I am so grateful to have family and friends all over the world. Thank you! ❤ IMG_6294