It’s taken me a long time to write this. After the season I was so exhausted I was too tired to do almost anything. Finally I’m feeling normal again. I’m very happy with how the season ended, even the preparation all last year was not good at all. I finished the season with a PB of 13.14, which is all-time sixth best time in Finland, and over 30-year-old’s national record! 😀 The best accomplishments were silver at Finnish national championships, second place at Finnkampen (Finland vs Sweden) and European Championships selection. I fulfilled all my other goals, expect the time goal.
I wanted to run under 13 seconds, and I think I could’ve done it with a little more luck. After my 13.14 which I ran basically alone, I didn’t have great conditions in any races. I ran 13.15 in quite cold and with no wind, and multiple times around those times, so with another good tailwind and warmer weather, I should’ve been able to run much faster. But that’s the sport, conditions play a big part and you’re not always lucky. My ten best times were 13.14, 13.15, 13.16, 13.16, 13.17, 13.18, 13.21, 13.23, 13.29, so it was an incredibly even season. My worst time in a race that I didn’t almost fall in was 13.31.
The happiest moments of the season to me were running the European Championships standard for the first time, and my second place at Finnkampen. In Finnkampen we got the only sweep on the women’s side with the Finnish hurdlers; Neziri won, I was second and Hurske third. All three Swedes behind us. The atmosphere was unbelievable even the weather was terrible, and our victory lap really topped off the great season. The Finnish team performed well until the end and the fans were amazing! It really was my favorite competition I’ve ever been to!
What should have been my best accomplishments, silver at Finnish nationals and European Championships, were more than I could’ve hoped for, but there was so much stress about them, that for some reason it was hard to really be extremely happy about them. After the nationals I was just exhausted, and it was hard for me to be happy about what I just accomplished, and this lasted thorough the European Championships.
In March I quit my job and moved to Valencia. From this moment on, all I had in my mind was getting a medal at nationals and making the team to Europeans. Finland has the sixth highest level of women’s hurdles in the world, so we were one of the few countries who needed to have “trials” even to Europeans. And when I was injured almost all the time until the nationals, it just increased the stress. I had no back up plan if I didn’t run well. Luckily, I was able to run better than my mind was telling I’m capable of, and at the end it was all more than worth it.
To be honest, I was surprised how well I handled the most difficult races of the season. I think you have to believe you can do something to be able to do it. You have to believe in yourself, and there’s nothing wrong in doing so. I found myself being very Finnish and too humble many times this summer, before the blocks I always doubted myself and thought I will lose this, but somehow during the races I always got the confidence back. Every time I was supposed to beat someone for example, I did it. Even when I was clearly losing, I just decided I will not lose this (whatever the battle might have been), and never did. I learned that my mind is a lot stronger than I give it credit for! 😀
This promises a lot for next year. Now I know what I’m capable of even with so bad preparation, so I know I’m capable of a lot better times with good preparation. I also know if the race is about the mind and not the legs, I can win it. I have never been confident, so this is important for me to realize. I also learned to pull motivation from many different things, so even some bad things have given me lessons for even better next year.
New training season
Last year I trained after 9h workdays until March, and from March until June, I only had three healthy training weeks. Now I have started the training season healthy and in better shape than ever. I rested for three weeks after Finnkampen and slowly started training. Four weeks of training is behind now, and it’s gone better than I could’ve hoped for. It’s the first time in my life I’m healthy and able to train twice a day. Training without full-time work makes a huge difference to both the quality of training and to recovery.
I’m already hurdling quicker than ever. I have no injuries and I’m technically a better runner. It’s a little scary how well things are going for me for once. Now just have to stay healthy and me and my coach are expecting a huge PB already in indoor season. I have never been a good 60m hurdler, but my coach thinks that now I will be. Running good times requires staying healthy, and that’s the biggest goal now. I have good confidence it will happen too, as without extra stress, being healthy and no more work, I’m recovering much better than before and also progressing a lot faster. I also started from completely different level than ever before.
For the beginning of the season, my family and coach were my biggest supporters. They believed in me all the time. My coach believed I should’ve ran even a lot better than I did. My sister and her husband were ready to book flights to Europeans after my season opener when it was nowhere close to being clear I’ll make it.. 😀 My whole family has been amazingly supportive all summer, and it’s been wonderful to see them enjoy my good moments too!
I also got supporters from elsewhere. SportLife Nutrition started supporting me after my season opener and their support has been important. Their supplements have helped me train hard and recover, and they make sure I eat healthy since I’ll have a protein pudding instead of my normal chocolate bar! 🙂
Aalto Henkilöstöpalvelut started sponsoring me this summer, and I’m so thankful for them. They helped me compete stress free for the most important races this summer, and that’s one of the most important things for a good performance. They’re also great and fun people, so it was always a pleasure to visit their offices!
My Finnish physio, Niina Saarman-Bartholdi, is one of the biggest reasons for the second half of the season going so well. She fixed me every week, often multiple times a week, and made sure I was able to finish the season. I ran the last races of the season with a small rupture in my glute, but Niina made it possible for me to run with it. She’s amazing! <3
I also need to thank my competition manager, Tuomo Salonen. He of course helped me with competitions, but he has helped me with so many other things in the past months. I know I can count on him on any situation, and he answers even my most stupid questions. 😀
After all I’ve been through in the past years, it’s incredible to be running at this level, and I’m so incredibly grateful for every healthy day and even more for every little accomplishment!
Thank you so much to all my fans and everyone else who supported me this summer. The best thing about the successful season has been all you people who have sent me amazing messages and support. I’ve attempted to respond to most messages I have received, but sometimes it’s just impossible, so I’m sorry if I have not responded. I have for sure read them all and I’m thankful for every one of them, they all have made me smile and given me more motivation to run well! I’m hoping to give you all even better moments next year!
Now I’ll go continue preparation for even better 2019 season!
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🥈11 years ago I got bronze at nationals! Never thought that 11 years later is the next time I’m able to run at national championships and I get silver! 12 years ago was my first senior nationals and I was fourth. 4th, bronze, silver at ages 18, 19, 30. And this year was the highest level ever! 🇫🇮 Couldn’t be happier with that! 🥈 📸Jiri Halttunen …. #ridethewave @_aaltovoima_ @somepete @jake_aalto
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My dream since I was little was to represent Finland at major championships. Did it many times as a junior, but for years and even a year ago I thought it was only a dream that never came true at the senior level. Never stop believing and dreams will become reality! @berlin.2018