Tuesday, 1 November 2016

blurting out all sorts of things

 Blimey, nearly TWO months has passed since I last scribbled down something here. Those two months have been life changing and busy. I started studying again. Once a week I travel to Cambridge (the School of Art not the University for the brainiest people), then rest of the time I try to squeeze in studying. Because of this life change I had to start working on Sundays too to keep on earning enough to survive. I'm also dating someone new which makes life very exciting but all this makes me very BUSY. In the middle of being extremely busy it would be easy to cut off training. I've had to reduce karate lessons already as they are on the same day I need to be in Cambridge but I refuse to reduce any more training. Being physically healthy keeps me going and keeps me sane. On Cambridge mornings I have to wake up stupid early to catch the train. This has made me wake up earlier on other days as well and I am finally getting back to running in the mornings again. Morning runs are the best! Autumn mornings are already cold enough that I've had to dig out my long sleeved running tops. The neon orange top matches the sunrise actually. 

That's me after running to the Castle, the climbing place. It's a sweaty selfie of me wearing not much. I don't do exercise primarily to look good. I do exercise to be better and to feel good. However, I'm happy to hang around half naked. I don't really have great body hang ups. This is probably because I exercise and live fairly healthily. I do get annoyed when people keep on talking about dieting and weight control. I try to promote sport as a feel good thing and not a body shaping thing BUT I have come to the conclusion that this is easy for me to say. I am happy in my body. I like the way it looks too. I'm lucky that I don't need to obsess over it because I am content enough. This is not the case with lots of people. I wasn't totally like this always either. I've been always slim (the body shape people falsely think as healthy and ideal) but I haven't always been healthy. There was a time I was skinny and sick. I had an eating disorder. My head and body were both ill. It was a vicious circle. One made the other ill and vice versa. I was ashamed of my illness then and long after. Only lately have I been able to confess that I had it and talk bit more openly about it. It's hard to pin point exact reasons that spiralled me into that bad place. It is obvious though that the obsession on HOW BODIES LOOK LIKE in our culture played a part. This is exactly why I have consciously learned not to obsess over the looks but concentrate on how I feel instead. This is also why I am rather allergic to diet talk. No matter how innocent people think negative body comments are, they are still NEGATIVE and never ever innocent. Now, it probably is that if I would put significant amount of weight on, the old monster would raise it's head again, so from that perspective I am not immune for the look side of things. I obviously like looking ok. But for me looking ok has also become very different to what it used to mean to me. Looking ok is to love my capable body, not to sculpt it so that I can then love it.

I'm not sure where all this came from tonight. Why my fingers just wrote all that down but guess it has been waiting to get out for some time. My head is still full of deep and less deep thoughts on why I take sport so seriously. Why I do this all. How did I get to this point. What made me, the superhero wannabe. Why do I so desperately want to be a super something?

Tuesday, 6 September 2016


After I had officially decided to pursue with the new marathon challenge, I got understandably excited. I wanted to start training properly straight away. One week passed and then the universe decided to spoil everything. My flatmate Amanda got the plague. She was coughing up everything including all her inner organs. We declared her patient zero of the zombie apocalypse that was starting from our flat. After a week the coughing just got worse and worse. Now we rediagnosed her situation and realised it must be one hell of a demon living inside her that is trying to get out. Somewhere along the way I obviously caught the bug as well. There was no escaping.

Day before her birthday I felt alive and happy. I cycled to Hampstead ladies pond for an evening swim after work. On my way home I stopped to pick blackberries. The next morning I woke up early to make Amanda a cake using my freshly picked berries. She was very poorly but I wanted to try to make her birthday special regardless. Then I went for a long run. I managed bit over 17 km but felt bit weird and tired. My speed was slower than usual. The zombie bug had entered the early stages of it's destruction in my body. The birthday was very special indeed. The whole birthday week was so special we spent most of it indoors feeling miserable.

I was luckier than Amanda and never really got the killer demon cough. Both of us finally returned to work yesterday. Today I returned to exercise. I was worried but dying to get back moving. I decided to start with bouldering as I could only do couple of walls if I felt too shitty. I felt brilliant. Doing stuff and moving my body felt AMAZING. Once more this experience have taught me how terrible it is if I can't move. How fucking much I hate being ill.

Oh and the photo above demonstrates the different stages of the zombie killer plague.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Marathon again!

I will run a marathon again. It's official. I have to do it. It's only taken me few years to recover and forget how tough it might have been. Somewhere along the way it has become clear to me that running really is something I have to keep on doing. It's my meditation and my shrink. A week ago Helsinki City Marathon took place. Next year, around this time, I will run that marathon. I will run in my home town, on the streets I know better than anywhere else in this world. The route follows the coast and goes around islands including the one I spent my childhood in. This all makes me very emotional and determined to try my best.

The other marathon that happened last weekend was the Olympic women's one in Rio. The winner Jemima Sumgong from Kenya ran in 2 hours 23 minutes and 4 seconds! That's crazy fast. My goal is to go faster than last time and stay under 4 hours even if it's by only few seconds. I have no idea if I will succeed on this but what's the point in not trying. So from now on I will consider myself an athlete again. A crazy whiskey loving, beer loving, cake loving ATHLETE. I know it sounds grand but I call myself a fucking superhero ninja warrior already so... Also we were told to consider ourselves as athletes by someone wise in the marathon training day last time around.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Superhero ninja warrior mission 2 completed

We survived. We survived already week and a half ago. Last week I was broken. This week I'm starting to feel human again and FORGET how seriously horrible it all was. We just got the official photos from the Tough Mudder and some of them show us looking like we had FUN. Like the photo of me and Annette above. Like we are fucking loving it.

The truth is I didn't love it. The truth is that it was much more horrible than I feared and I did fear a lot. My tactic was all along not to know too much beforehand so that I wouldn't panic too much. It worked. I'm happy I did not know how freaking horrible it was going to be. And how MUDDY! It's weird how you get used to jumping in mud pools and ditches. You stop caring about anything pretty damn soon. There were 25 obstacles plus shit loads of extra swimming in the mud. And I mean swimming. I swallowed mud, the mud went into my most private parts, the mud is part of my DNA now. 

That's me crawling under BARBWIRE in MUD.

The one and only obstacle I was truly terrified of beforehand was the electro shocks. Those were nothing in comparison to some truly horrendous other shit that we went through. In fact I nearly liked being electrocuted. Well, I liked it because it was the final thing just before the finish line.

The obstacle I hated most, the one I would have definitely missed if I would have known about it, was Arctic Enema. Luckily(?) I was clueless about it until way too late. When I was on the starting line for this obstacle I started panicking seriously but it was too late to back off. I had to slide to a pool of ICE COLD water. It was more like a tank, less like a pool really. The only way out was to dive under big tyres. By the time I hit the water my heart nearly stopped and I really struggled to gasp enough air for the diving mission but also was very aware of the fact that there was no other way out. It was HORRIBLE. No, it was something zillion times worse than horrible. I might have shouted abuse at Jim after I emerged from this torture devise.

Bizarrely enough I did all the obstacles. I was the only one from our group to complete Everest, a super high wall. This has nothing to do with my amazing climbing skills though (mind you, generally speaking I found the climbing obstacles much easier than the other ones). Everest was impossible to get over alone. You had to rely on other people to pull you up after you've ran towards them as fast as you possibly could and tried to reach their hands. I was lucky enough to be pulled up by THREE fit guys. They left after they've dragged me up(there is no nicer way to put this) and I was left pretty much alone on the top of the obstacle whilst rest of my team was still down there. I didn't see how I was meant to help them up.

That's me and Abby being electrocuted.

Our race was not over after the finish line. We had to say no to free beers on offer, run past the queue to nice real showers and rush to our car. There in the middle of the parking lot we stripped to our underwear and poured water from big bottles over each other. Then we put some cleaner clothes on, stepped into the shiny and brand new rental car and started the real race towards Heathrow. After few hours Jim had made it to his flight and rest of us were sitting on Piccadilly Line finally on our way towards a shower.

These are some of my most epic bruises. Now most of them have faded and so is the certainty I had about never doing this again. All last week I have been telling people how horrid the experience was and how I would never ever under any circumstances do it again. Now watching the photos my mind is already much more open for a sequel. I must be a masochist.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Shit is getting real!

TOMORROW it happens!!!! Tomorrow we might die...or survive...or be kick ass winners! Final steps in my training have been all about SWIMMING OUTDOORS!!! On the left a selfie after my first swim of the year in the reopened ladies' bathing pond in Hampstead. On the right a photo after a swim in a river in Essex!

The water temperature in the pond was already 17 degrees which is totally enjoyable. We did quite a few laps. River was chillier but lots of fun never the less. Below is a photo of the picturesque river.

Last Saturday we finally ran a practise run with the whole team. Jim had planned a beautiful route that mostly followed canals. We managed 15 and a half kilometres. Afterwards we congratulated ourselves with quite a few pints...healthy business. 

On my personal runs I have explored the newly opened Woodberry Wetlands. Most of the reservoir has been closed for the general public until now. I'm loving the wonderful addition to my runs. That's me totally loving the wetlands.

Yesterday I ran 9km with my climbing gear on my backpack and then did a good bouldering session. I felt suitably tough after all that. So tough indeed that I decided to take tough muscle photos in the empty dressing room. Today I rest and try not to panic. Tonight we shoot off to Midlands. Should be fun...and TOUGH.

I'm going to finish with this photo from 2 summers ago. I was wearing a fake tattoo that said: I'M VERY TOUGH. Unfortunately I don't have that tattoo anymore but I'M VERY TOUGH regardless.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Pippi the Viking Warrior

No, the training did not get back on track. In fact it has gone totally tits up. Tough Mudder is in less than 2 weeks time and I am so not ready. My parents visited and I had holiday times with them. Then I moved home to single life and then got ill and then also partied and WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED to all of my training??? Last weekend I was meant to stay good and healthy. There was just this Viking wedding to attend. I had a ridiculous amount of fake plaits on my head and scary face paint. I was a real warrior. A friend said I should do the same look for the Tough Mudder.  I didn't exactly act like a warrior though. I stayed out dancing until the morning. It was not healthy. I am still tired. 

Most of my fake plaits came out after the wedding but I kept the original 2 that were plaited into my own hair. I look like Pippi Longstocking now. Maybe not as scary look as the Viking Warrior but no less good. Pippi is the ultimate heroine. She is the original tough girl. Totally independent, lives by herself in a big house with her horse and a monkey AND she just happens to be the world's strongest person! Not a bad idol for a woman who tries to be all very tough and strong.

So now this Pippi/Viking Warrior wannabe will have the ultimate sprint to Tough Mudder. She will overcome all her laziness and just simply be amazing. Today she did 40 minutes of bouldering which is good when it comes to bouldering. I am still not a super mega climber but definitely better than I used to be. It does give me an ego boost when I can climb a wall that someone else fails (how nice I am indeed). Today I did few of those. And then failed few others. But that's how it goes. You also learn by watching other climbers fail and succeed.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

team exercise

Last Sunday we finally trained together as the Tough Mudder team. Well nearly the whole team. To be honest we are not quite sure about who is in and who is not...yet. Me, Abbie and Jim ran to the pub. That was the training. Jim planned the route which meant not the shortest way. In fact it was the route with a great selection of delightful uphills. If your destination is in High Gate then there will be at least one uphill but luckily you can also add few more, such as Alexandra Palace. The view from there is nearly worth the suffering. After viewing the view we carried on the park land walk and then stopped by the swing. Then we did some very serious swing training. I'm sure it will become useful at the Tough Mudder. The swinger in picture is Jim. Then finally we ended up in the pub and got drunk.
I've also done regular runs by myself and gone climbing pretty often so I think my training is back on track.