• BLOG
  • Sauna

    Tiina Kivelä

    Finnish sauna. Almost everyone in this country has one and even though the nuances are varied, the basic concept could almost be found in our constitution.  Tiina Kivelä

    It’s a funny concept — you warm it hot (80°C is about right), get naked, go in, sit (or lay) and sweat there for some time (15mins is about right), silent. And throw some water to the stones constantly. Then you scrub your skin with something, or beat yourself with a birch whisk (don’t ask), and sit silent for some more minutes. Further on, you go out, jump into an ice cold water or if the season is right, snow, and curl there for some seconds, get back in, sweat some more, and shower.

    Then you take your bathrobe and an ice cold beer, go out to cool down for few minutes and take another set of silent moments. Finally, you come to the conclusion that life isn’t so bad after all. With perfect skin.

    That’s Finnish sauna, my favorite, almost daily, wellness ritual. And a very good excuse to close off rest of the world for a moment.

    Tiina Kivelä

    For Finnish sauna, you don’t have to stay in or come to Finland though. When traveling, it’s always interesting, and rewarding, to find sauna, especially if it’s labeled “Finnish”, and test enjoy it. To see what the prefix Finnish means with each case; if it’s hot, humid and minimalistic as the best ones, or if it’s just good enough. And then I just sit there quiet for a while, letting the body and mind relax.

    I’ll add few good sauna finds below, around Europe. And if you know a nice one, which you think I should definitely try, please tell me or invite me over. If it’s close snowy mountains, or in the middle of busy city, the better.

    Recently, I’ve even started to browse and dream of spa holidays or at least travels including as much spa’s and sauna’s as possible.  Steam sauna’s and hammams, Korean saunas and so on. Traveling with a tight budget, as I normally do, creates stress for which spas and saunas offer nice remedy. Almost as good as a long sleep in comfy king size hotel bed.

    In Finland, finding sauna for the everyday stress relief is pretty easy, and one of the best perks of Finland is definitely the saunas even in the smallest urban flats. In few weeks, when finally moving to a new flat after months of homelessness, I’ll even get a tiny home sauna myself. And for that personal “spa”, and since my skin is screaming “woman why did you bring me back to this hell called dry Finnish winter air!”, and hair is screaming “come on woman, you can’t run with me from the -20°C directly to the +80°C sauna without consequences“, I’m also updating my wellness self-help kit, starting with Aésop in pictures (they came wrapped in that cute paper, ordered from their own webshop). It’s high-end, a bit expensive, and not as eco as I’d really like, but oh boy it will look nice in my shelves, next to sauna.

    And hopefully they make my skin scream less.


    Where

    Spa’s with sauna’s:

    Bödelibad, Interlaken, Switzerland

    Seebad Enge, Zürich, Switzerland

    Finnish Rooftop Sauna, London, Great Britain

    Hotel sauna’s:

    Züri by Fassbind, Zürich, Switzerland

    Arctic Light Hotel, Rovaniemi, Finland

     

     

     

     

  • BLOG
  • Running Girl

    Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

    Last week I promised you more training and prep. stories, and apparently that also means more intentional training for me. In the aftermath of the post on Saturday, I decided to create a new habit for this winter prep. season – long run & audiobook, at least once a week.

    The idea really came up just like that, after realizing I missed the better outdoor options for the weekend, like nordic skiing. Also, I don’t have enough time to read all the books I’d like, and since I also can’t read or use my time any other wise way in the long buss commute I have few days per week, I’ve though that running, while “reading” = listening audiobooks, would be an excellent solution.

    Tiina Kivelä

    I had previously signed in Strava for the November half-marathon challenge, as well as the 10k (maybe one day I should also write how much I like combining technology and sports). Then on Saturday, true to my habits, I started my run with the intention of running at least the 10k. I knew that most likely I’d run more, but setting up that minimum goal helped me to win myself with every step after the 10k.

    First I did the 10k, and yes I almost finished there already, but then I realized that if I just kept going the 12k more, I wouldn’t need to stress about the challenge for rest of the month. And now the November half-marathon is done. Well done me.

    Legs really didn’t like the last 10k in semi-slippery asphalt, but the mind could have kept going hours more. The book I picked for company, Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant, is so good (for a person who’s had her share of adversity the past years) that because of it I even had to choose active rest day for Sunday, to listen one more chapter while walking in more snowy and pretty setting (the snow comes and goes these weeks).

    The best outcome of the run and the book so far is btw the same: it could always be worse. This autumn and early winter has been an option B for me in many ways, and it helps to think in how many ways think could be worse, to get through this.

    When it comes to my running philosophy or training schedule, the recipe only says this: Don’t take things too seriously. I don’t have a schedule, nor training plan, and I don’t measure my heart rate with a Suunto watch  (though I’d really need one of those sport watches for many other purposes).  I just run because I know sitting all day is lethal and the exercise is good for me. It’s also not too of an expensive sport and it can be done quite freely whenever and whatever time I feel like it.

    I’ve also realized that running is one of those personal projects I do just for myself, to feel accomplished and capable. Therefore, I have to end this with a quote from climber Sasha Digiulian. Because even though I do things like running purely for personal reasons, which sounds selfish, they make me a better person and help me grow. And that, in the end, is good for others too.

    But what I have learned is that the challenges that fire me up don’t need to have significance to anyone but myself.

    Oh and if you want to have more badass inspiration, see this. Afghan girls and women running in mixed-gender Bamiyan Marathon. It could definitely be worse.

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Lapland

    Resources & data: Strava


    ps. featured pic doesn’t have nothing to do with the story – stock photo from unplash 

  • BLOG
  • Going Happy Places – Upgrade My Winter 2017-2018

    Tiina Kivelä

    While daydreaming in the middle of this November darkness, I thought it would be a good idea to write down a bit more about the dreams I’m planning to make reality this winter season. The dreams for which I’ve joined the #skierssquatchallenge (thanks for the inspiration Sandra), and for which I find the motivation to explore running the icy remote small town roads in pouring rain like Rocky.

    For this winter, I’m already past the first first half of the preparation project. Because these dreams really need  preparation and work to turn to reality. I’ve done the squats, gone running and nordic skiing, and lowered the spending and alcohol intake (after the wine fair that is). Unfortunately, I can’t have the long high altitude weekend hikes from last year. Those were the secret for surviving last winter and spring and even the marathon, and they were just so fun. But I do hope the other activities and even a bit more structured plan (I even have kind of a bullet journal now) will do good as well.

    This winter and the year coming, I want to really improve my mountain skills, both when it comes to skiing, running, skitouring and mountaineering. I wanna do some more “things I wanna do before I turn 30” things like the marathon already finished, and concentrate on my wellbeing, for common good (hello future employers and cooperators, I’m thinking of you too in here).

    Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places.

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    WINTER SEASON 17-18 PLANS – GOING HAPPY PLACES

    Talking of the dreams I have for this winter, one of the biggest is to spent more time in my happy places. First, in December I’m going to Switzerland to get my stuff, meet lovely people, and hopefully enjoy some December Swiss pow.  Then I’ll continue to Austria to catch up with some awesome mountain babes, and enjoy as much glühwein and raclette as possible, as it’s the Weihnachtsmarkt -season.

    After the reunion with my dear Alps, I’ll hopefully hop on plane back north for Christmas or at least New Years. Hopefully, because no tickets bought yet. As the sad story goes, Germania doesn’t offer the direct flights from Zürich to Rovaniemi this winter. Therefore, I have to consider more carefully when I have time and money to fly, with the expensive Finnair transfer flights. Especially during the extremely busy Christmas season, when charters are filling every airport in Lapland and Christmas tourists the regular flights.

    I haven’t been up here for the holiday season in two years, and I’ll have a brand new apartment then, so I kind of would like to be here for the holidays. But again, it might become too expensive and also, working for Santa for 4 months now I’ve had enough of this Christmas by now. The sun and cheap wine of south wouldn’t be a bad option either…

    After the holidays and turning to 2018, wherever that will be, I’ll get down to the Alps again in January, to go skiing in La Grave. Booked the camp through Boundless Betty again (not paid ad, just a honest recommendation) and I really hope this will improve my skiing and mountain skills a lot. Of course I’m going there also for the raclette, and to hang out with amazing women again, because why not. Alps are always a good idea.

    Then, depending on the work situation, I get back north north or stay south the rest of the winter, doing as many weekend adventures as possible before the spring ski mountaineering season comes into play. This will include a longer hochtour/hauteroute tour, and some cross-country skiing I hope. Plans and funding aren’t clear about these last ones yet, but fingers crossed (and work to do) there’s gonna be good trips like these later in the winter and spring too.

    Finally, and since my birthday is waiting in May, I also hope to squeeze in (and find the money for) a longer trip this winter (fyi: spring in south means winter in Lapland). Number one destination would be Colombia, for catching up with friends there, learning Spanish and experiencing the Colombian multisport scene. And more than anything else, to enjoy the sun, lack of which I’ve suffered hard this autumn. My friend also said, when inviting me there, that I should show with my experience how Colombia is a destination for a adventurous woman solo traveler. Ready for the challenge, but again let’s see if there’s enough funds and holidays for that.

    Finally there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if your legs could hold it, your ankles locked, you running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else, and you built the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs, carrying the heavy rucksacks. You could not buy it nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked all winter for, and all the winter built to make it possible.

     

    2017 Tiina Kivelä

    PREPARATIONS & ADVENTURE LOG 17-18

    This winter my plan is to write more, about my training and plans and projects, in here. I’m not sure how many is interested really, but still. To tell you, whoever is interested, what it takes to get to the final stage, to do those long climbs ahead, and stay alive those great glacier runs.

    First of all, even if you don’t do freeskiing or the other kind of adventures like I do, I think you could get good tips from my basic endurance and strength training, just to make your everyday challenges like work more bearable, and your body to handle all that more conveniently. Second, for the fellow mountain people, I hope the avalanche stuff and insights on how I view and manage all the risks help you to get forward in the mountains as well. Finally, I hope my insights on how I generally balance my life with my full-time job, all this travel, exercise and relationships, could be of help for someone else. Even if just letting you know that you’re not alone.

    Like already said, last winter didn’t go so well in the end, so I hope this time I know how to do this better. This winter I’m really going to upgrade. Be it doing like the Swiss Tourism tells me to do in the video below – to upgrade my winter in the Swiss mountains (check! – booked and the skis are waiting me there already) or just doing everything better this winter, wherever I am.

    Tiina Kivelä

    I do have few extra challenges this winter though, like the non-existent direct flights and still unknown future since my current work project ends soon. But I hope that knowing I need to keep better eye on these things, I manage to beat those challenges and travel to the highest mountains and unknown territories more than once.

    .

    the fun of skiing was to get up into the highest mountain country where there was no one else and where the snow was untracked and then travel from one high Alpine Club hut to another over the top passes and glaciers of the Alps. You must not have a binding that could break your leg if you fell. The ski should come off before it broke your leg. What he really loved was unroped glacier skiing, but for that we had to wait until spring when the crevasses were sufficiently covered.

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Let’s hope those springy glacier runs will be good and if interested, follow my journey here, in Instagram or Facebook.

    Let’s do our best to upgrade everything this winter.


    Where: Berner Oberland, Switzerland

    Quotes: Ernest Hemingway