With this year post, I will imitate my best friend Terhi, who also wrote a nice report of her year 2016.
43h training. I was basically sick the first three weeks of the year. OMG how childish and desperate I started to feel only lying at home for weeks. I tried training two times during those weeks, but got sick again on both times. Mostly I just wanted to move back to Finland. I almost hated Norway. At the end of January, I went skiing for the first time in Norway, and loved it! Happiness arrived almost immediately.
I later learned that it is possible to be sick almost entire January and end up in terrible physical condition (when 9km morning run feels almost impossible), but still make a very good season.
60h training. Almost as fast I had lost my good shape in January, as fast I found training joy again in February and became faster and stronger every day. Best in February was for sure long weekend cross-country skiing trips in Nordmarka. Discovering each time new tracks and routes made skiing extremely fun and rewarding. Very hilly Nordmarka is not the best training location, if fitness is far from good, but luckily easy indoor trainer sessions between tough skiing trips made a good combination, and I managed not to push too hard in winter.
I visited Helsinki once in February, and noticed that coming back to Oslo felt good, it felt like coming back home for the first time. I started to feel more home in Norway.
89h training. March was a great month! On the first week of March my dad visited Oslo and stayed five days in my small flat with me. It is the longest time he or mom has ever visited me after I moved out years ago. Those five days ended up being very nice: he had cooked while I was swimming and joined my run with my too small MTB. :)
On the second week, I came up with an own skiing challenge, 100km skiing within one Saturday and Sunday, and with a lot of elevation. I had signed up for Fredagsbirken, 54km skiing race, with Terhi, and felt that I hadn’t been skiing enough. So, as a smart girl, I decided to ski 100km just a week before Birken. Those 100km (54km + 46km) felt rather easy, so I was quite sure I’ll manage Birken. I was so sure still during the race week that I decided to open outdoor tempo running season by running a 11km tempo run on Wednesday evening. The race was on Friday morning. Someone might call me a stupid risk-taker, but luckily this time I didn’t have to pay an expensive price for the risk taking. Fredagsbirken went well for both of us, ending in places 3 and 4! 3:41h felt as an okay time for a girl, who has never learned a good skiing technic and basically run those hills up with skis. :) It was also one of those nice events where you talk with strangers and meet similar people from all over the world.
After Birken I travelled to Gran Canaria to swim-bike-run with a few Finnish triathletes for two weeks. I spent there my life’s best training weeks by far! Body and legs worked like a dream every day, and all I could do was just to smile in the sun. Being able to train 35h a week and only eat and sleep doesn’t happen often for an age group athlete, working full-time.
84h training. The first week I spent still in Gran Canaria. I was positively surprised of my cycling and running shape, so I started speculating if I would be ready to do an Ironman in 2016. It sounded more and more tempting as I thought about it. In 2015 I had promised myself not to start the full distance “hobby” yet in 2016, but only then when I have more experience of triathlon and I feel that I have at least some changes of getting a Kona slot. I asked for advice from a few more experienced triathletes and thought about the registration only about a week until I was ready to make a decision. I decided to sign-up for Ironman Mallorca. Ironman Barcelona was – luckily – sold-out, which would have been my first choice.
I ran Sentrumsløpet (37:47) and promised myself to ran a sub-38 min 10km race as long as I take this triathlon (or running) hobby as seriously as nowadays. My mom and niece visited me in Oslo from Finland. <3
82h training. I just worked and trained. I spent all weekends at home in May, training a lot and resting enough, which felt right at this time of year. All went according to my rough plans (I never actually had a plan): I didn’t get sick or injured but I became faster in all three distances each week. I remember May as a month of being very happy and in good shape. I remember also bike rides with Asier, which didn’t really help me learning more Norwegian. However, somehow in May and June I also got the feeling that my language skills are also getting better. I didn’t hate Norwegian anymore.
I rode Nordmarka Rundt, and to my surprise won the race. It felt just stupid. :D
69h training. In June, triathlon season finally started. I did my first triathlon race in Norway, Hove Tri, which was also my first olympic distance race. The race weekend was one of the best in entire summer; sunny, relaxed, hilarious company, and I won. I was also glad that I tackled small problems with a sore angle by having a few days break from running before the race, and the problem never grew bigger.
The weekend after Hove Tri, Terhi, a true Norway fan, travelled again to Norway to race and have fun with me. We participated together in a cycling race, Styrkeprøven Lillehammer-Oslo, Ladies Edition. I remember I felt a little nervous about my shape on Thursday and Friday before the race, but cycling and running with a good friend in Oslo surroundings and pasta party at home does always miracles, and the shape was good on Saturday.
I became 3rd and was secretly very happy beating some (hundred) Norwegian cyclists! ;) Terhi did basically the same.
81h training. 5th at Ironman 70.3 Haugesund and DNF at Joroinen. Stomach flu at summer holidays in Finland. First fjelltur in Norway. A lot good and a little bad.
Ironman 70.3 Haugesund didn’t go as well as it could have gone. I ended up drinking too little during the bike split and having thus self-inflected stomach problems during the run split. This caused me thinking “why the hell I am doing this and even paying a lot about it”. Well, after the race I again knew why I do this. Nothing compares to a winner feeling after a very tough race!
My dad was again in Norway, in Haugesund, with me. I realized I should never underestimate how much I need and appreciate my parents’ support as an over 30 year-old adult daughter.
I did several solo long rides in Oslo surroundings and loved every one of them. Hurumlandet rundt became my favourite route. 6,5 hours alone, outdoors riding my bike didn’t feel like a big thing anymore. It is strange how crazy one can become.
77h training. Back to work after summer holidays, having Ironman Mallorca in my mind all the time.
I raced in Oslo Triathlon (2. place) and in Challenge Tønsberg (4. place, best AG). Both race days were nice and sunny summer days and almost pain free, quite different from the painful day in Haugesund. I could blame myself afterwards being a comfort-zone girl, racing too slow, but at the same time I knew all Ironman training was deeply stuck in my body.
Besides triathlon things, I struggled again to find out what is my place in this world. What should I do? What do I want to do? I didn’t find an answer in August.
78h training. Month of my Ironman debut, Ironman Mallorca. It was the best race trip by far! I loved my dad travelling with me, I loved the race and I loved my mood during the entire race day. I don’t remember on which other day I’ve been so positive and happy. I faced problems, and my legs didn’t work perfectly, but I proved myself I am fighter and won’t stop until I am done. I got the Kona slot and sub-10h Ironman, which I had secretly hoped for, but not dared to set as a clear target.
I also finally started to use Norwegian at my job.
58h training. Post-ironman flu, tiredness, bad fitness, and depression. I didn’t believe one can actually become depressed after an Ironman, but apparently everything is possible. Some other negative life events may of course affect to it. Accepting a bad shape was again very difficult.
58 training hours for an offseason month is however quite much. It possibly was a bit too much.
We met again with Terhi, who has been my most met Finnish person this year after my dad. We travelled to Amsterdam for a weekend trip, doing just what we want. It was the first city weekend trip in years I truly enjoyed and not thought all the time I’d rather be running or riding my bike. (since we did both of them in Amsterdam :D)
60h training. I officially started training for next season. New coach, new adjustments to my old training habits, and but my old head. Although I was eager to start structured training again, my head probably hadn’t recovered from last season yet properly. The entire month felt just dark and strange. I was just tired. I got a flu, which felt also strange and stupid. I hadn’t been sick the entire summer and now I was again sick.
60h training (last day not included). Adjustments to training habits, trying to find confidence after a difficult November. I remember December as a yet another difficult month, although at times I was able to complete tough trainings (for example, 12x1km running at threshold feeling very easy, 6x8min cycling at threshold feeling not dying), which some people can only dream of – so I should not complain. I realized I tend to underestimate myself too much.
However, I signed up to interesting races with triathlon friends from both Finland and Norway, which serve indeed as a good motivation.
I became again sick at Christmas eve – which somehow wasn’t a surprise to me as a current pessimist – and travelled to Fuerteventura with my bike while being sick. It has been mentally surprisingly difficult to only rest, while nice roads and warm weather are there, just on the other side of the door. Good shape is again only a dream, high HR a reality. Thus, I ended the year similarly as I started it: in bad shape, but also hopeful to see what the next one brings. I am rather sure that with a slightly more positive attitude big things are possible.
Total: 845h training, which is 90h more than 2015, which was 100h more than 2014, which was 100h more than 2013. I am glad if I am health enough to make a 800h year in 2017. 945h is not a plan. :)
Finnish triathlete living in Norway