• 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

  • BLOG
  • Winter is Coming & I wish I’d Be In Switzerland Now

    Tiina Kivelä

    Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of autumn in Switzerland – that awesome indian summer, which according to the messages is there again. This time though, I’m myself back to Lapland – I clearly didn’t think this through when signing for this work gig last summer. While bathing in Zürich, it was hard to remember that the long and dark winter was waiting. And right now, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to not forget the kaamos, as we call this dark period in Finland.

    In Lapland, my least favorite season is this late autumn, October and November. Up here, it’s the season which develops from 50 shades of autumn to 100 shades of grey, ultimately leading to pitch black polar night. Some years, early snow and crispy clear, sunny late autumn days soothe the pain a bit, not to forget the nordic skiing if and when snow arrives early. And there’s stars and moon and northern lights – signs of sun and light somewhere. Though not this year, because of the never ending overcast. It’s definitely one of the most challenging periods, and this year doesn’t seem to make exception.

    During the years, I have developed quite good survival skills for this season though (might have some resemblance to hygge). I exercise and spent as much time as possible outdoors, preferably during midday, to get as much natural light as possible. And I try to date people as much as possible – this is not a good time to be alone (thought reading, netflix, knitting and ski movies aren’t bad options either). I drink moderately, if any, alcohol, and try to get at least 8h sleep per night, take additional vitamin D and make the dreams come true as far as credit balance permits. It’s time for daydreaming, and while others hunt game, I hunt for last minute flights. Somewhere like Switzerland.

    Nowadays I try to avoid thinking “what if” too much. Rather, I think how to do it. Nevertheless, sometimes I can’t make it, no matter what. And then only option left is daydreaming, the what if. And so, below my tips on what to do in Switzerland this time of the year (fyi that’s what I’ve been dreaming). Maybe you have better options than I have, and can even make it. Maybe my dream could be your reality. So, my pleasure, you’re welcome. Free of charge. But if you want to give something in return and happen to have some kind of magic recipe for getting there conveniently and cheaply, let me know – I would really like to make it there too. As soon as possible.

    Tiina Kivelä

    If I’d be in Switzerland, I’d start from my normal landing city, Zürich. In there, I’d stop for wine on a boat during Expovina, and maybe do some window shopping too. Then, I’d pretend I could effort every day like this, and go to Markthalle, eat simple hangover breakfasts like the one below (I really didn’t have hangover then, but it does look like it, I admit), and eat excellent burritos in the city.

    After Zürich, I’d take the one hour train to Bern. In there, I’d first and foremost visit Berner Weinmesse (Oct. 13th-22nd).  Yes, I know, it’s after the Expovina, in a matter of fact right now, so hurry up – but like said, we are dreaming here so we don’t need to care about the facts too much).  After wine, or well I should really do it before, I’d do some people watching and remote work in Einstein Café and shop a bit mountain gear.

    There’s no Switzerland without bathing, I’ve come to realise, and so I’d consider going to Valais to do a crispy wine hike and combine it with a spa day or two in Leukerbad, or to another region for an excellent bad, like Rigi. Of course I’d also take a dip in the natural waters like Aare river, but this time of the year a heated pool and sauna is more than nice compulsory addition too. Maybe all this would include some yoga too. And moments like this.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Finally, after few days of wine and pampering, I’d end up in my Swiss home region, the Jungfrau Region. To say hi to my friends and continue up to the mountains, to get the balance right after all the wine*. Up there, I’d enjoy the hopefully clear technicolor days like last year, run down the hill in the style of sound of music (maybe), hike up and stay a night or two in the winter room of some of the huts. If I’d be lucky, I’d taste the first snow, and if not, there’s always the eternal snow waiting up in the mountains – maybe I should already visit the Jungfraujoch as well. And of course I’d take a concerned look on the melting glaciers, and learn more mountaineering tricks.

    All this, with the sun, would hopefully provide me with enough energy and inspiration to survive rest of the year until another ski season. And if you bring my tips into action, I’m sure they delight you too. If not, there’s something wrong with you then 😉 People, go to Switzerland, especially during the off-season. Or wait. You can also leave it all to me. I’ll go book my tickets now…

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    *I’ll gonna do a poor northern woman weinmesse version in Viini & Ruoka -expo in Helsinki Oct. 26th-29th. So if I manage to find the reasonably priced flights to Switzerland, it’s gonna be lots of wine then. Didn’t I just mention the moderate amount of alcohol?


    Where: Berner Weinmesse 13.-22.10.2017, Bern

    Expovina 2.-16.11.2017, Zürich

    Huttour, SAC & my tips for a tour, Switzerland

    Inspiration for mountains: Alpinsight

  • BLOG
  • Jungfrau Marathon 2017 – I Did It And Here Is How

    Tiina Kivelä

    It’s now two weeks since my biggest achievement so far – Jungfrau Marathon 2017, in time 5:15:06. And I thought it would be good time for my first ever marathon rep, so read on if you are interested why and how I did it.

    Die Schönste Marathonstrecke Der Welt (The Most Beautiful Marathon Course In The World) didn’t give the best views this time, but it was an amazing experience still. Other runners might have different views but I didn’t really mind that the 42.195 km and 1’829 meters altitude difference went in rain and clouds (no sight of Jungfrau mountain itself) since I knew by then the hoods like my own pockets. With the help of fog I also got lost in the runners high and could focus more on the running itself. And so I did it and finished my first ever marathon (funnily enough the Virgin Marathon) in time: 5:15:06. Though the time didn’t really matter – all I wanted to do was to finish that bastard and do something I’ve never done before. And enjoy it.

     

    week before I went surfing in Morocco

     

    True to my adventurer self, I never really did any specific marathon training for this. A week before the marathon I went surfing in Morocco and even drank a beer the night before (better not to do any dramatical changes, I thought). Last year, I walked the uphill from Lauterbrunnen and Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, and I’ve done a 11h hike this year. Basically, I knew what was ahead of me. And I’ve been running and training, one way or another, almost all my life. I don’t know if I’m average or not, most likely not, but I do know I have good physics, active lifestyle, and I’ve ran few half’s and Lidingöloppet 30k. Theoretically, running that far (and walking the uphill) shouldn’t be a problem for someone like me. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t suggest the same method to anyone else. Expect the mental part; that even when you’re afraid and feel the challenge is a bit too big (I was damn scared and doubting myself a lot pre-race), you should do it, or at least try.

    I had and still have nasty wound (from Morocco) in my foot and it did hurt before the start. And I did doubt almost everything. However, I decided to show up and try. And look how far it got me! After the 30k mark I just kept thinking how I’ve never ran that far at once, and every step and meter after that was a little achievement. Finally, I went and finished that bastard and got that cool finisher shirt and free beer. And an important life lesson.

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    I’ve heard one should have a marathon soundtrack, but I chose to run without music, and just get lost in my thoughts and experience the runners high fully. And it was a good decision – I had nice 5h+ to reflect, on the experience itself and everything around me. In the beginning, I ran past my old home. And then past the houses and streets where I’ve been both incredibly happy and dramatically sad. I run past the beautiful villages of Lauterbrunnen and Wengen with cheering crowds, and up to Kleine Scheideggen, where I experienced the most fun and magical ski season last winter. Some parts of the track I’ve even skied down, or went sliding on our way to the office Christmas dinner (first and last for me).  Simply, there were many memories, good and bad, along the way to keep me occupied besides the running itself, and all the time I had the feeling I was home. And enjoying it.

    It was also fun to be back racing; pick up my number from the race centre and feel the familiar atmosphere of a big sporting event. A dose of excitement, a bit of fear and a lot of joy and admiration for the ones who do it faster or who do it despite whatever difficulties they have. I might never get back to regular racing, but I do enjoy going back to the old familiar things from time to time. It feels good to know what you are doing and be a bit nostalgic for the previous events and past experiences. Some do rock’n roll, I do sports. Or well, I do both…

     

    sauna would have been nice

     

    In the end of the race, the last 10k in the clouds and cold rain, my hands were freezing and it was difficult to hold the beer I was handed in the finish. On the other hand, the weather must have been good for me especially – I’m used to perform well enough in cold, though I have to admit I missed sauna a bit a lot at the finish.

    Later thinking, I do regret I didn’t have extra hands nor any support taking a good after the race pic of me (and hold my beer); but that doesn’t really matter as long as I managed to do the marathon itself. All by myself. The greatest and very important achievement of my life so far. And you know, when you do something like this, you pretty much feel you can do almost anything and the new ideas skip few levels when getting crazier than the marathon. I’m not sure if the next big idea will be another marathon, ultra mountain marathon, or maybe climbing up the Jungfrau mountain. But whatever it will be, it will be amazing. And challenging.

    In the end I also want to say that in addition to the experience itself, Jungfrau Marathon really was worth the money (second hand entry from my friend 100CHF); it was well organized and service and add ons were good quality. Swiss quality. Especially with the SBB partnership the entry really pays off, if the marathon itself doesn’t. It’s one of the toughest and most beautiful marathon courses in the world (with good weather it really provides with amazing views) and the organization is marvelous, though there were little hick-ups with the services after race (fyi, critique has been communicated directly to the organization and hopefully next year this part works well too). I can really recommend the race for anyone fit enough; it’s a nice event for spectators too, but I’d recommend you to consider first the running and only then the spectator / support act part. And two weeks after, I have to say that the best part of this kind of thing must be the superhuman feeling you get after finishing it without bigger problems. You sure you don’t want to experience that?

    Even though I may sound vain, it doesn’t really harm that others are so amazed of my wonder woman skills and endurance after something like this. It was really fun to walk almost normally to the local bar in Interlaken after the race and meet my friends who didn’t run the race. Yes, I had done the craziest thing that day, though I have to give them the credit to be overall awesome people and excelling in other things. They you might not run marathons, but you do better in managing and organizing and climbing mountains and raising kids and just being overall badass people. Long distance running might be my thing, but there are many other cool things you can do too. And everyone has their own struggle(s). Remember that and just do what makes you happy. And enjoy your achievements; I sure do enjoy mine now.


    Ps. If you have some amazing marathon/mountain running/nordic skiing marathon/whatever similar event to suggest, feel free to comment and help me maybe invent a new goal for next winter/year.

    PPS. My running data can be found in Strava in here.


    Tiina Kivelä


    FI:

    Epävirallinen Kisaraportti – Jungfrau Maraton 2017

    Maratoonari tässä hei, pitkästä aikaa suomeksikin. Kaksi viikkoa sitten juoksin (ja kävelinkin hieman) Jungfrau Maratonin Sveitsissä, entisillä kotikulmilla. Ja koska mahdollisuus kerran oli, valitsin tietysti ensimmäiseksi täyspitkäksi maratonikseni Neitsyt Maratonin. 42.195 km ja 1’829 metriä ylämäkeä sopi hyvin tavoilleni ja oli loppujen lopuksi aivan hemmetin mukava kokemus.

    En suosittele samaa kaikille, mutta näemmä on myös mahdollista juosta maraton, vieläpä yhdellä raskaimmista reiteistä, erikseen treenaamatta. Viikko ennen maratonia surffasin vielä Marokossa, josta hankin myös jalkaani ilkeät haavat, jotka saivat pohtimaan ideani järkevyyttä toden teolla vielä lähtöviivallakin. Mutta niin vain varhain aamulla, syyskuun yhdeksäntenä, nousin ylös vanhassa kotitalossani ja käppäilin vanhaa työmatkareittiäni lähtöviivalle. Lähtölaukauksen jälkeen jatkoinkin sitten sen reilut 42km enemmän ja vähemmän ylämäkeen, ohi entisen kodin ja muistojen, yllättävän kevyin askelin.

    En ehkä treenannut juuri tälle maratonille, mutta kiitän kyllä nyt jälkikäteen kaikkia niitä treenitunteja ja aktiivista elämäntapaa vuosien saatossa, jolla tällainen treenaamatta maaliin -suoritus toteutettiin pahemmitta ongelmitta. Olen aina kyllä halunnut kokeilla maratonin juoksemista ja tähänkin suoritukseen motivoin itseäni hyväksi todetulla anteeksiantavaisella teemalla; eli tärkeintä oli seisoa viivalla oikeaan aikaan ja yrittää päästä niin pitkälle kuin hyvältä tuntuu. Olen aiemmin juoksut muutaman puolimaratonin ja Lidingöloppet 30k’n, mutta koskaan en ole yhtäjaksoisesti juossut tai edes kävellyt numero rinnassa yli kolmea tuntia, joten kaikki varsinkin sen kolmen tunnin päälle olisi ja olikin aikamoinen saavutus. Kolmenkymmenen kilometrin jälkeen ajattelinkin paljon sitä miten en koskaan ole juossut niin pitkälle ja jokainen askel siitä eteenpäin tuntui pieneltä saavutukselta. Puhumattakaan tunteesta maalissa, kohmeisin sormin olutmukia puristaessani. Minä tein sen, suurimman saavutukseni tähän asti, ja nyt vain suurempia unelmia kohti.

    Jungfraun maratonia mainostetaan maailman kauneimmaksi maratonreitiksi ja onhan se, toinen kotini, aivan älyttömän, epätodellisen kaunis paikka, Interlakenista itse Jungfrau vuoren huipulle asti. Tällä kertaa maratonilla ei kuitenkaan saatu nauttia maisemista, sillä pilvet roikkuivat alhaalla ja peittivät näkyvyyden sekä itse Jungfrau vuorelle, että Wengenin kylän jälkeen oikeastaan pidemmälle kuin muutama kymmenen metriä eteenpäin. Lisäksi taivaalta tai siis niistä pilvistä tuli enemmän tai vähemmän vettä koko matkan ajan; mutta ei sentään lunta, jota oli jo satanutkin maalialueelle muutama päivä aiemmin (lumi oli kuitenkin onneksi sulanut kisaan mennessä ja asteet pysyisivät plussan puolella). Lappilaista ei myöskään viileä sää haitannut (tai siis, ei saa haitata – lappilainen nainen kestää, kaiken, ehkä, suurempia valittamatta); paitsi maalissa kun kohmeisin käsin yritin pidellä yllä mainittua olutmukia ja muita härpäkkeitä. Saunaa oli ikävä, mutta onneksi suihku tarjoili tulikuumaa vettä ja kohmeiset sormetkin palautuivat nopeasti normitilaan muiden kehonosien kanssa. Kokonaisuudessaan itse maraton ja palautuminen siitä meni yllättävän kevyesti ja jo maratonpäivän iltana sain jo helposti käveltyä paikalliseen ja nosteltua muutaman oluen lisää, samalla kun paistattelin kavereiden kehujen keskellä. Että vaikka suomalaisena ei kai saisi paljon itseä kehua, niin pakko sanoa että aika ylpeä olen itsestäni ja tästä kehosta ja mielestä..

    Olen aiemmin pelännyt ja edelleen välttelen puhtaita kaupunki (=100% asfaltti ja tasamaa) maratoneja, koska pelkään miten hajalla jalkani olisivat sellaisen jälkeen. Tiedän, varsinkin nyt, että minulla olisi tarvittava fysiikka ja fysiikka jopa nopeampivauhtiselle kaupunkimaratonille, mutta silti luulen että minulle sopivat tämänkaltaiset polku-ja vuorijuoksut paremmin. Tällaiset, jossa on vähän tai siis paljon jotakin extraa kalliin entryn vastineeksi, ja jossa rasitus jakautuu tasaisemmin koko keholle. Tarvitsen vaihtelua ja kunnon haasteita, en monotonista ennätysaikojen tavoittelua. Vaikka kyllä tuo Stravakin jo houkutteli että enkö jo haluaisi kokeilla parantaa tätä ennätystäni? No, jos nyt odotetaan sinne ensi vuoteen ainakin. Vaikka en suljekaan pois mahdollisuutta hiihtää jokin maratonmatka jo tänä talvena. Tai kiivetä se Jungfrau vuori ennen ensi syksyä.

    Kommenttiboksissa tai emaililla saa mieluusti jakaa muitakin maratonkokemuksia tai suositella seuraavaa isoa haastetta minulle. Koska myönnettävä on, tähän touhuunhan jää helposti koukkuun.