Indoor Season 2018

Indoor season didn’t go quite as I expected. In the first race of the season on 7th of January I rolled my ankle and broke my foot. Like this wasn’t enough, I was robbed two weeks later, and now a month later I still haven’t managed to get almost anything back as insurance wasn’t helping and Spanish bureaucracy couldn’t be slower. Fortunately I have my family who have been the best supporters and help. Still, it was a very positive season and gave me a lot of motivation and expectations for the summer.

I ended up running 60m hurdles 8.29 (all-time #11 in Finland) and won in Catalan Liga, Catalan Championships and Miting Internacional de Catalunya. I can be happy with those!

8.29 I ran after two weeks of no training, many hours drive to the meet the same morning, in a lot of pain, and after gaining couple kilos as I ate liters of Nutella to feel better (since I was having panic attacks and anxiety etc. after the robbery). 8.31 I ran after five weeks of no training and maybe three extra kilos from Nutella. It was my best ever time from first round, and with a bad start, but unfortunately there was no final on that competition. So clearly those could have been better times with better preparation.

I’m very surprised I managed to run that well after not training and eating badly. Normally I eat super healthy, but the stress of the robbery was just too much, and then in addition came the broken foot which FC Barcelona doctors at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper said takes three months to get better. I was in a really good shape physically when the season started, and there was quite a big difference to the shape I was in these races (physically as well as mentally). Luckily the foot is not gonna take that long to get better, even though I still have to take it easy for a while, so preparation for the summer season can start quite soon.

I didn’t run what I wanted (the World Indoor Championships standard), but I’m running faster than ever, and because my last 40 meters of the race are always the best, I can’t wait to see what I can run outdoors! There are still five months until Finnish national championships and that much time to qualify for the European Championships.

Other positives of the season have been that I was able to see a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in years, and also I’ve gotten into some interesting projects I’m really excited about. Even I’ve been through a lot in recent years, January was extremely difficult time for me, but February has already brought some great things, so I will just assume every month this year will be better and better 😉

error

Catalan Clubs Indoor Championships

Last Sunday was my first race of 2018, Catalan Clubs Championships. In Catalan Clubs Championships (Campionat de Catalunya de Clubs) the top 8 clubs in Catalonia compete and one athlete represents each club in all events. I was a little tired all week from training in the past weeks and traveling home to Finland for Christmas, but on the competition day I felt good and was hoping to run a good time.

I ran the hurdles for FC Barcelona, and I knew if I just finished the race, I should win quite easily. Well, it turned out to be a bit toughter as I rolled my foot/ankle before the 4th hurdle (there are five hurdles in 60m hurdles race), something that’s never happened to me before while running hurdles even in training.

I took a good start and the race was going as normal, until I don’t know how, when stepping to attack the 4th hurdle, my foot/ankle rolled and I just crashed through the hurdle. I screamed out loud at the moment and thought it’s gonna be a miracle if I make it to the finish. But as I was running for points for FC Barcelona, I could not stop so somehow I managed to stumble three steps (before seeing the video I thought I took five steps before the last hurdle) and to take a huge jump over the last hurdle (it must’ve been about four meters, normal hurdle pass is about three meters). Somehow I made it past the last hurdle and just tried to finish at the point when my speed had drastically decreased.

At the line I looked to the side to see if someone had passed me. I saw another girl on my side and wasn’t sure I won, but somehow I ended up winning by 0.04 seconds. I didn’t believe it and everyone at the track said they don’t understand how did I manage to even finish and also win after that fall.

Normally in training a little hurdle hit is ok and you manage to keep going, but hitting a hurdle badly will stop the run. I have never hit a hurdle like this, nor rolled my ankle, and managed to keep running. Have to thank coach Sevi for making me do a lot of balance, ankle, core and hip stability training. This race definitely proved we have worked hard on those aspects as you can see from the video below. Have to see something positive in it 🙂

I wanted to run a good time, but the most important was to win to get the full points for FC Barcelona. I managed to do that and FC Barcelona ended up winning the whole Catalan Clubs Championships.

As can be seen, the race video has over 250,000 views at the moment. I have no idea what happened, how did it go viral like that! But I’ve received nice and encouraging messages from all over the world, and I really appreciate them all! Some of the best athletes in the world from different sports have sent me messages of support and it’s been great to see people notice and respect my little battles 🙂

Other video that went a bit viral over the Christmas was my frozen lake swim video. Winter swimming is completely normal in Finland, and I have went to swim to a frozen lake close to my parents house once a year now. Normally you go to the lake from sauna, but I have just went into the lake from the car and went straight back to the car and driven home. It was -5 degrees outside and the water was +1. It doesn’t even feel that bad, except it feels like you can’t breath when you go in! This video and a story of me ended up on Mundo Deportivo, which is one of the biggest sports newspapers in Spain. They also appreciated my 220kg hip thrusts, and called me more brutal than Rambo 😀

It was so nice to be at home for Christmas and I had a lovely time with my family, friends, training and eating good food. My dogs loved running free at my parents and grandmom’s houses and yards. Finnish grocery stores are a paradise for someone with some limits on diet. You can find so many gluten-free things and I was in awe of all the protein puddings and glutenfree cakes, pastries etc. My dad knows me well and had already got me my favorite Finnish energy drinks (my only bad habit), and at Christmas I baked a lot of gluten-free pastries and ate tons of amazing Finnish chocolate. I might have overeaten quite a bit over the Christmas, but I gave myself a permission to eat a kilo of chocolate every day as long as I stop as soon as my plane takes off from Finland. Luckily I had somehow lost a kilo of weight while in Finland, not sure how did that happen.

Now I’m back in Barcelona and back in the routine of working 8-16 and training 16-20 or 17-21. My foot/ankle still hurts quite a lot from rolling it, and yesterday I was limping all day, but managed to do a decent training session. I still plan on racing again on Friday, just to get more races in, as I need them since I continue running very differently in training and in competition after such a long break. A little rest and I’m sure it will be just fine 🙂

error

2017 – what a great year!

Year 2017 really was one of the best years of my life, despite some crazy things happening to me. I moved to Barcelona a year ago before New Year just because I wanted to move to another city with a beach after living in Lisbon for nearly a year. Never would I have guessed what a great decision it was.

I have a nice job in Barcelona, a nice apartment, and two crazy dogs that I love, but the best part has been that I have been healthy and I am back competing. When I moved to Barcelona I had no idea I would ever compete again. All changed in March after couple people without realizing it got me back to training.

At the end of February, Dutch decathlete Eelco Sintnicolaas was in Barcelona for a training camp and asked me to come run hurdles for fun. It turned out to be a lot of fun and even I was extremely slow, my hurdling technique wasn’t that bad, and I really enjoyed it. I went back by myself a week later. This time an athlete Udy Erete saw me and said I should join their training group. Coach Sevi took me into the group and just two months later I already ran my first race for FC Barcelona. Clearly a big coincidence, but Sevi’s way of training really works for me and focuses on the things I need to focus on. My times last summer and PBs in everything in training this fall really have proven this.

I competed most of the summer and much better than I was expecting, but ended the season early to pneumonia. Being back on the track was much more fun than I even remembered, maybe because I didn’t have such high expectations and stress as when I was younger. I was just enjoying being able to run and have fun. The good times gave me a lot of motivation for the training season and I’ve never trained as healthy as I have now for the whole fall. During the year the goals have changed from competing at nationals to competing at European and World champs.

I have been working full-time at the same place all year, and only have had to change apartments and buy a motorcycle to be able to train better. In the spring I used to bike 12km every day to work and training, but clearly that’s not good for a sprinter. Now with the motorcycle it takes me 10 minutes to go to work and 5 minutes to go to practice. I can get so much more out of myself in training as I am not tired already when arriving. I used to live in a really busy area by the beach and only had a small balcony, so I had to go take my dogs out right after work and right after training. Now I’ve moved to a quieter area still in the center of Barcelona, and I have a yard, so I can go straight to training or a physio from work instead of always going home to walk the dogs so the new apartment makes the work and training manageable. And I can actually sleep there. It’s probably one of the only blocks in the center of Barcelona where it’s quiet at night. I do pay a lot for it, but it does allow me to train and sleep much better, so it’s worth it.

Those are the only changes I’ve had to do to be able to really focus on training while working full-time. My days are long with 8h of work and 3-4 (sometimes 5) hours of training, and I really don’t have time for anything else, but if I didn’t try to fulfill the potential at track that I know I have, I would always regret it.

Moving to Barcelona has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It changed my life after years of being sick to doing what I love and being happier than I’ve ever been. I am so thankful for the people who have anyhow contributed to this change and for me being back competing. Now let’s hope 2018 will be even a better year!

error

Indoor Season 2018 Opened

I ran my first indoor race in 6 years on Sunday. The plan was to open up the indoor season on January 7th, but couple weeks ago coach said he would like for me to run a practice race on the 17th of December in Sabadell. At first I thought it’s way too early, but said I will think about it and see how I feel after my training camp. It would be good training if nothing else.

I had a really good training camp in Egypt even I was a little sick, but felt really tired early in the week so I only made the decision to run the race after Thursday’s training. On Thursday everything finally clicked with my starting blocks and I did the best and fastest starts I have ever done. I felt really good and was ready to run on Sunday.

On Sunday’s competition day I felt really weak, super nervous, and didn’t manage to do much correct in the warm up. In the race, the start was as bad as my usual starts have been, so I did not manage to do anything similar to what I did in training. I stood up from the blocks, accelerated badly, came too close and straight up to the first hurdle, and jumped too high. Also I was stepping across before the hurdles (which prevents proper take off and pushing to the hurdle) and twisting after the hurdles, the things I have worked on not to do, and already manage to not to do them in training. So basically, I did everything completely opposite of what I have done lately in training.

My time was 8.43. At first I was really upset about the time, as I wanted to run, and know I can run, a lot faster. I was also upset that I did so much wrong in the race, even I have just managed to fix all these issues in training. But after thinking about this, I realize I did run the best season opener ever, in December, when it’s still a month to the real competition season. I ran the best season opener ever after a really hard training camp. I ran the best season opener ever after not running indoor season for 6 years. The best part really is, that I ran the best season opener ever with all the possible mistakes I could have done.

Now I have a few weeks to become more confident with the newly learned starts and fixed technique, so I can do it in competition also. This race was perfect for training purposes and to take off the nerves from the first real indoor season competition, so that I won’t do the same mistakes again. I’m not satisfied if I do something wrong, so that’s why I’m still not happy with the outcome of the race, but I know I will run a lot faster when the real competitions come. I know I can run the goal I have set for myself.

I’m very excited to keep working to run a good time already on indoor season, even the real goals for 2018 are in the outdoor season 🙂

error

Team Transfers

No team transfers for me this year!

As the last team transfers for 2018 are approacing in athletics, I decided to stay with FC Barcelona in Spain and HIFK in Finland for the upcoming season. Even I compete mostly in Spain, it’s mandatory to have a club also in Finland to participate in Finnish national championships etc.

How does it work?

In athletics if you’re good enough, the clubs pay you to represent them. You must compete for them so they will get points etc, and you might be asked to appear in some events and of course wear the club’s gear. The clubs often pay a signing fee, and also bonuses based on how well you do in certain competitions.

Transfer deadlines

In Spain all club transfers must be done before the end of October, and in Finland before the end of November. You cannot switch clubs in middle of the season. Last year I was able to join both of my clubs mid-season as I had not competed in a few years at all.

My options

Just before the transfer deadlines for each country, I got a great offer from a big club in Spain and also couple good offers from big clubs in Finland. These clubs offered me much more money than my clubs.

At the end I decided to stay with FC Barcelona since the medical facilities benefits and the gear are no match to any money offered. Also, who doesn’t love Barça 🙂
In Finland the decision was a bit harder to make, but at the end we negotiated terms that I was happy with and I stayed with the club I liked the most and whose staff has been very supportived, HIFK.

I’m very thankful for the trust and faith the clubs have in me, and will do my best to represent them as well as I can 🙂

FC Barcelona

HIFK

error