Robbery and broken foot

This past week has honestly been quite horrible. First I lost an important race, then I was robbed, then my motorcycle was broken, and finally I find out my foot is broken.

Let’s go through all of them…

The race

In Valencia last Saturday me and Caridad Jerez (Spanish champion and Olympian) were competing for a spot to represent Barça in Copa del Reina (The Spanish clubs championships). I’ve been in a really good shape but my foot that I thought I just twisted in the first race has been hurting and I haven’t been able to train too well nor wear shoes. It was hurting a lot on Saturday also. I still ran easy 8.41 in the semifinals without trying hard at all. Caridad ran 8.42. In the final she took a great start, and I took an absolutely horrible one, so I was just catching up the whole race and with just couple more meters I would’ve probably caught her. She won by 0.02 seconds and we ran 8.38 and 8.40. I went to get the finish line picture and our butts were equal, she just leaned better with her shoulder. In a sense this was the most important indoor race for me as truthfully there was a lot of money involved for this and the next weekend’s races. Well, I lost to a great athlete. On the other hand, 8.40 is not bad with a broken foot and a terrible start.

Robbery

On Sunday I was going to eat to a restaurant I was invited to, Taperia Princesa. I was outside the restaurant with my manager Rafal from work waiting for other friends when two men robbed my purse. Rafal started running after the robber before I even had time to realize what had just happened and I was so sure he was gonna catch them that I didn’t even start crying until he called that he lost them. We obviously called the police right away and we called my banks to close my cards and had to call insurance company for a locksmith. We sat down to eat a little (the food and drinks were great, I really recommend it!) and to gather myself to be ready to go to the police station to make a police report. My friend Mari headed to my house to wait for the locksmith and me and Rafal went to the police station. The police told us to go get a medical report first as it was a robbery with force and I went to wait for 4 hours at an emergency room to get a report that said I have a little red mark on my shoulder. The police luckily took me in for the report right away (last time I waited 4 hours) and I managed to handle the whole thing in Spanish. The robbers got a pretty nice catch as I had two Michael Kors purses, iPhone, four credit/debit cards, new Nike shoes, a shirt, Spanish drivers license, Spanish ID, Finnish ID, all my two internet banks information and codes, my house/gates/mailbox keys, motorcycle’s and motorcycle’s box keys, lots of make up and a few other things with me.

Broken motorcycle

I was a bit worried about my house at first but my insurance locksmiths came within an hour, but also I was worried about my motorcycle as the purse had my address in there. When I returned from the police station at 2am I went to check on my motorcycle and all was well. At 11am I went to see it again and I see the bike has been pushed over and the brake and gas handles are broken and the whole side is scratched. I get a new key to the motorcycle and I see the bike has been put on and gears have been switched, but apparently the robbers have been missing one extra brake lock’s key to actually steal the bike so they’ve just pushed it over then.

I was feeling fine after the robbery in the evening until I returned home. When I returned home I started to realize what has happened. I was already upset about the race and then everything valuable I own was robbed. I had a panic attack and seeing the bike the next morning made them worse so I have been on sick leave this week. I knew I had a Barça doctor’s appointment on Thursday but didn’t think this week could get any worse so I even said to someone “I can’t imagine this week could be any worse unless I find out my food is broken.”

Broken foot

I went to Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper hoping to find out I have no fracture even I knew the pain is as bad as fractures, but I thought maybe it’s something else. I was surprised I finished the race (the first real race of the season) after twisting my ankle, but I didn’t think I could’ve finished a hurdles race after breaking a foot in middle of it. The doctor sent me straight to an X-ray and said we’ll get MRI if there’s nothing in the X-ray. Well the X-ray showed a clear fracture in the foot. The doctor said I need to avoid all impact for three months. I said ”ok great thanks” smiling and walked out. As soon as I get out of the Barça buildings I completely break down. This was the last thing I wanted to hear after having had a horrible week already.

If you have read my whole story you know I’ve been through a lot and a broken foot is quite minor thing for me. But finally everything has been great in my life and then I get setbacks back to back like this. People rarely see me upset and even when I cry I’m often smiling, but most of the time I don’t show how I’m really feeling. I can be completely broken inside and look very happy outside. At the moment it’s honestly very difficult time for me and I am struggling with my panic attacks (which I will will probably write another post about as I’ve never talked about them), but I am trying to stay as positive as I can.

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Hurdle training

I started running hurdles when I was 14-years-old. I ran them couple times at age 13, but then I was a high jumper. At age 14, I ran the national indoor record for 14-year-olds and realized I might have some talent for this. Hurdles always came really naturally for me, and I love hurdle training, so after that age I only focused on hurdles. When I ran well in World Youth Championships at age 17, I started taking it more seriously. Still, when I was asked why do I run hurdles, I said: ”I’m too slow to be a sprinter.” 😀

I have been training in Finland with multiple coaches, in the US with multiple coaches and some of the world’s best hurdlers, in London with multiple coaches, and also seen hurdle training in many other countries. Now I’m training in Spain. It has been very interesting, everyone works different way, and you just have to find the way that works for you. I believe I have now found the best training for me.

What makes you a good hurdler?

I have always been good at hurdle drills and hurdle technique, but have been lacking power, explosivity and speed. The best hurdlers are really fast and powerful. This does not mean you have to lift 100kg power cleans, but you have to be able to use the power at the track and be explosive. This is a thing that we have been focusing on this year, and it has been working really well. At the moment I am faster than I’ve ever been. For hurdles the main focus has been rhythm.

Frequency

In hurdles your step length doesn’t matter the same way it does in sprinting. There are only 8.5 meters between the hurdles, and it’s all about who can take the three steps between the hurdles fastest. I have been quite good at this before, but the lack of explosivity and speed has made the space between the hurdles a little long for me especially at the end of the race, and I haven’t been able to utilize the quick steps I can take. Also my trail leg (the leg coming over the hurdle from the side) has been slow, so that’s been another main focus in training.

Good exercise for trail leg

Hurdles with one step is one of my favorite exercises for the trail leg. You really have to get the leg around quick as the next hurdles comes up so fast. I normally do 5×8 hurdles with 14 feet spacing (this is 12 my coach’s feet). Sometimes I do this with 84cm hurdles, but mostly with the lower 76cm hurdles.

My favorite hurdle workout

In the video there are pretty much all the exercises I do on my favorite hurdle workout. It’s all about rhythm and frequency. First is little hurdles with one step, with seven feet spacing. Then three steps with ten feet spacing. The short spacing makes you really have to be quick and move your feet fast.

Then it’s time for higher hurdles with normal 13 meters start, but 7-7.75 meters distance between the hurdles. This is a great way to work on the rhythm and also to bring the trail leg around quickly.

Normal training week

I train six days a week and on two to four of these days I do some hurdles. Normally once a week just the one step drill, once a week a workout focusing on the rhythm, and once a week hurdles with more regular distance and with more hurdles. I haven’t done any starts yet at this point in training, but this will soon be done at least one or two days a week.

My first hurdle race indoors is already 7th of January, and I hope to be ready to run fast. You never know what to expect in the first race of the season, but I hope it will be as happy surprise as my first race outdoors. It’s looking great right now! 🙂

Liga Catalana hurdle

Warming up for my first hurdle race in 5 years, May 2017.

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