The Virus – Day 97 – How much longer?

This is now longer new and exciting. This is no longer the new normal. This is now abnormal and I would like it to end. I think that pretty much sums up the feelings of the past few weeks, but let’s dig deeper into why I feel this.

No running… no forest, so gardening!

I have been not been able to run for four weeks now and I have been indoors now for 8 weeks I think? I have lost count. It’s not easy when you are used to being outdoors and especially the forest has been my lifeline. Now I have not been able to even think about climbing a small hill let alone hike. I try to tell myself that if I just stay still, it will get better eventually and I can run again, but it’s hard. Harder than I thought.

So past two weeks has been absolute stand still exercise wise. I tried the other weekend a little bit of cross training, but no, it hurt, so decided to concentrate on gardening and music instead.

Work and home balance is complicated

Work seems to pile up as it is harder to concentrate with so many distractions at home, meetings, phone calls, skype calls, even video calls in the evenings for hobbies. Life is just pure online gala and I so miss my forest and total silence.

Also when work is so ”close” and no exercise scheduled it’s harder to keep the separation between home and the work time. You need to cook food in the middle of the day ,or go to the shop in between meetings and respond/read the ever-continuing flow of emails and messages from work, school and pre-school/Kindergarten.

Your whole entire life is just a big jumble of scheduling the day between these different medias, apps and online ”things”.

My lifeline = gardening and music

That is why I have had to figure out a bit different lifelines without running, gym or forest or even choir practise. One of them is gardening. We have been lucky with the weather so me and my youngest daughter have been digging the yard upside down since I have too much energy. It will look absolutely beautiful!

The other lifeline has been singing and playing the piano. I am grateful that I have been able to take part into so many wonderful and interesting productions, yes online! So singing into microphone or your phone with a backing track. See one of them ”Finlandia-hymn” which is one of the most important national songs for Finland published on Monday 27th of April for the Veteran’s day in Finland on the Youtube channel of the Finnish government. I have also done a lot of practising on piano. Bought new sheet music and all these things have allowed me to have a bit of break from the work and chore routines.

But still I really miss running by now and especially the forest!

Singing project for the Veteran’s day in Finland reminded me of my grandfather, a war veteran himself who passed away a long time ago <3

New interesting thoughts

I have though noticed myself thinking a bit differently about this situation than before. I used to think ”it’s fine, it won’t last, one day at a time” and so on. A bit of pep talk to myself, but now I notice I have started thinking a bit more ”negatively” I would say. The thoughts are more like ”If we ever get to go there again”, ”It would be so nice to still one time do this” and so on. You start remembering and reminiscing all these great places you have visited and nice relaxing routines and habits you had which you can no longer have.

The excitement of the ”new and interesting” situation has disappeared and you just want it to be over with. The truth though is that this will never be ”over with”. Covid-19 is here to stay and who knows how long it takes before we find a vaccine and by that time we have all probably had it anyway.

This all makes me think that I will probably need to get used to the idea that eventually no matter how I try to avoid it, I will get it and just need to hope for the best. The reason why I fear getting it a bit is that I have scarred lungs, so it might potentially be pretty bad for me, but then again I might fall ill from it without even knowing and I am generally well and have no other underlying risk factors.

Who knows how long any of us can really avoid it?

Self isolation continues

What ever the scenario, self isolation will continue for our family. We will keep following the government regulations and when we do get the lottery ticket of corona virus possibly later on we’ll deal with it then. Until that happens, I will keep avoiding it if I can, but I am more in terms with the fact that probably none of us can avoid it… In these thoughts… Take care, be safe, keep calm and avoid people ❤

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Training – W15/2020 Easter holiday and a bit of gardening

Since my leg started hurting AGAIN after quite an easy walk in my opinion It was clear I should not do any kind of training either. With Easter holiday coming up on the weekend I was a bit sad. Mostly because it would have been nice to go somewhere with the kids for example for a forest hike or something, but clearly I needed to let the leg rest a bit and avoid sideways movement.

Did a few walks and some gardening on the weekend as it was really lovely and sunny weather. We managed to do some great progress on the front yard cutting an old bush and spreading some fresh new bark cover. I suppose you could call that exercise too and at least I got outdoors.

The sad part is that this time we walked for 6,3 kilometers on Easter Sunday and that was too much also. I practically completely lost feeling to my left leg and could not put any weight on it after we got home. I felt absolutely nothing when walking, but this started when we got home.

Following the pattern, symptoms and when the leg gets aggravated finally gave me a clue on what to look for, so yes I googled my symptoms and figured out I have most probably IT band inflammation which is a common problem for serious athlete runners (so I am an athlete now?? 🙂 ). Good news is, it does heal, but tends to be a continuous problem after it. All my symptoms tick all the boxes for this exact condition. It is caused by running on uneven surfaces (the forest, tick), bad shoes (I know I need both new running and trail running shoes, tick) and going uphill and downhill (the forest and the stairs, tick).

Virtual choir project

So what now? I need to take it EVEN EASIER if that is possible. Not sure how. Then slowly back to running. First short distances and build it from there. Not sure when I can go back to the forest which makes me extremely sad, but there is nothing else I can do but wait now. Last thing I need is a broken knee with which I could never run again with. Better just to listen to your body and let it heal.

So concentrating even more on singing, piano and gardening. Luckily the weather is really beautiful and spring is a bit ahead of time. Days are longer, birds are singing and leaf buds are visible on the bushes and trees. I think I can make it.


  • Three walks; one 2,7 kilometers, one 4,9 kilometers and one 6,3 kilometers

Training plan

No physical training what so ever. I will train my vocal chords, but those are the only muscles I am allowed to train for a week now!

See our Virtual choir project which was one of my ”training” project. See if you can spot me among the 1120 singers. Ok, ok I made it easier for you and linked to the spot where you will most likely spot me 😉

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Training – W14/2020 More pain but still no gain

My leg was not still OK, so still no running. I do not want it to get worse and then I cannot run for months, so decided to not run the whole week but do a few easy online circuit training and maybe walk a bit. And hey might as well try to shed that extra 1,5 kilos I’ve been wanting to do to get to my goal weight for a while. So decided to go back to measuring what I eat since it’s much more easier to control the amounts and balance it out when you are not exercising that much. I noticed that when I lost 15 kilos! See My Weight loss journey series for more info on how I did it.

Ended up doing a few walks and a few circuit training during the week, but especially the last walk 8,9 kilometers was too much and my left leg got aggravated again and I was in pain. I had no choice but to decide on absolutely NO STRENUOUS TRAINING for a while. It is hard because I am so used to doing training. Then again in these kind of situations I tend to think this is my chance to do something else I have not had time to do… like playing the piano!

At least on my ”last walk” I got to climb on high hill and see a beautiful sunset between the trees! (See feature image above). That climbing may actually have been the cause of the pain… who knows.

Anyway, pretty measly week training wise and a bit scared also that if this is more serious. It keeps going away always after a few hours so assuming it’s nothing too bad that time won’t heal so I am not heading to a doctor until it REALLY hurts. They would only say rest and do not exercise and I can diagnose that myself. Besides they are busy as it is with covid-19 raving in the world.

So let’s see what total rest will do and how it is after a week of complete rest.


  • Three walks; one 1,8 kilometers, one 4,8 kilometers and one 8,93 kilometers
  • Two circuit training 50 min and 1h 18 min

Training plan

Learn to accompany myself on piano better since I cannot do any strenuous physical exercise 😀

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Training – W13/2020 Running too much?

Week started with a nice 12,2 kilometers run/walk/stair climbing combo on a sunny afternoon. After running 36 kilometers the previous week and now this on top my legs called it quits. I normally run max 25 kilometers a week so I had run almost twice that much in one week so no wonder my legs were killing me.

I began getting this weird pain on the outer part of my left knee which it did not hurt during the run, but after it. I almost felt like I am going to lose feeling of the leg and could hardly put any weight on it. It passed fairly quickly though, so thought it was just too much strain on it and it would be ok in a few days.

Took it easy for a few days and only did some light circuit training at home. Our gym has some really nice online training programs, so decided to give one of them a try. During that I felt a bit of pain on the leg again, especially when I was doing some movements sideways, so came to the conclusion it must be the long trail run previous week where I have strained or twisted my knee a bit hopping over rocks and branches.

So decided no more training for the remainder of the week to let my leg rest and only did a few walks which felt fine. There was no pain on my leg after those.

I am hoping that next week I could train more and this ,”whatever pain it is”, will go away quickly because I really need my running during this covid-19 time being otherwise indoors the whole day.


  • 1 run/walk/stair climbing 12,2, kilometers
  • 2 walks, one 4,6 kilometers and one 3.07 kilometers
  • 1 circuit training at home

Training plan

Still no plan… working on it. I think I need more flexibility, maybe my leg is hurting because my muscles need a bit of TLC or maybe my tendons need stretching or maybe some nerve is entrapped again. Go figure… no plans anyway until I know what I can and what I cannot do.

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The Virus – Day 83 – Life is still life

Yep, all good. Life seems to continue normal and you don’t even think about this ”new normal” that much anymore. Teenagers think that this is better because they can wake up 15 minutes before the school starts and preschooler thinks it good because she can be with mommy all day.

Morning circle and crafts through tablet and video chat app

BUT she does get bored, ”has nothing to do” and wants to see her friends. We keep saying we can’t meet friends now and explain why and she has begun to talk about ”can we do it when the virus is not here anymore”. Her birthday is in the beginning of May and I have said that we cannot keep her birthday ”in person” this year, but we need to organize something maybe later, but we have discussed we might keep a virtual get together with friends. Let’s see.

They manage to keep all school classes through internet. For sports they go outside and do something, for piano and singing lesson they do it through tablet pointing at the keyboard or singing to teacher, but other subjects they keep in Teams/Google Classroom/OneNote. Some are with all students, some work is on their own and sometimes also the teacher seems to be in the video chats.

Even the kindergarten keeps video morning circle and crafts twice a week so we got 5 people online in different video chats at the same time in different spaces in the house. Lucky we are in Finland where the internet speed is not the obstacle for this! It’s mostly funny listening everyone babble their own thing, but then again it’s sad that this really is the situation now, how things have changed in just a few months and that you feel safer inside your house than outside in ”fresh” air with other people.

What I miss the most

Easter service streamed

I miss just going out, getting dressed up in something else than just sweatpants. I miss being around people, I miss the city buzz and I most of all I miss singing together especially with our energetic choir Gospel Helsinki. We were supposed to have a Gospel service today and few other performances during Easter, but now there was only a streamed service with three singers and the band. Rest of us were at home listening and singing along, but it’s not the same. Day by day that’s probably the thing I miss the most, singing together.

So I am singing alone and have started to play piano again. Haven’t touched it for a few months, but now have tried to play it almost daily. Mostly accompanying myself singing. I’m no pianist, but it’s fun to practise. I record them also and then to ”criticise” myself both on singing and playing so it’s a learning session too. Car is a good place to practise also as there is nobody to bother you and you can sing-a-long Spotify as loud as you wish. It is especially good for Gospel song practise as it tends to be a bit vocal especially for penetrating soprano voice.

I did do a ”virtual choir” project last weekend where hundreds of singers around Finland joined to sing a song together. We all recorded our part on our own with a back up track and send it to the choir conductor who with his team will then compile a video. It was a lot of fun, good practise on self criticism. We are all looking forward to it being published later next week hopefully. These are all new and exciting things, but they do not replace ”the real thing”.

WFHWK and no training

Virtual choir singing with headset

WFHWK aka Working From Home With Kids is tough and I have it easy! Mine are already older so they do not need that much entertainment. Still I notice that this week has been hard. Both mentally and physically. I am not able to exercise as my leg got worse. I have finally self diagnosed myself with IT band inflammation caused by too much running (doh, who would have thought 46 km in one week is too much being twice as much as normally!). It’s completely my own fault, I was not following how much I was running I just kept going and realized too late it was too much.

I can feel that not being able to get the pressure out by running, or other exercise, I am getting a bit tired and more tense. Hence piano, and singing have been good distraction and relaxation to get my mind of work, cooking and house cleaning for a while.

I have already come to terms that this is what it’s going to be for a long time now. Older kids most likely won’t go to school until August, my youngest won’t be going to kindy until June, we won’t be going to Flanders choir games in July with the choir, our spring concert is not happening and we are lucky if we can go to our summer cottage for Midsummer like we do every year with my parents.

How much longer

It’s hard to say how long this will still last here in Finland. They predict we might be close to the peak, but I don’t want to keep my hopes up. I think it’s better to just not expect anything but just live day by day and be happily surprised if it ends earlier than you thought. We know for sure this stricter confinement is going to last until mid May and large gatherings until end of May, but all that may change. We should be wiser again after Easter and see how things have evolved.

Around the world situations seem to vary and some countries are worse hit than others. Right now I believe also that the best solution is to flatten the curve but I don’t believe we can completely eradicate the virus and we must loosen the restrictions and get back to ”normal” slowly everywhere at some point.

And YES we need to help all countries to mitigate the impact because there is no going back. We are a ”one world” whether we want it or not. Ever since the fist air planes started flying or actually ever since humans started walking from Africa up North we have been travelling from one place to another and mixing up. It’s our nature to explore and be curious.

I don’t think though that travelling will be quite the same anymore and new remote technologies will definitely change the way we work, but we will still move and I’m sure that when we can I will too. I will go and have a coffee at the local market square in the sunshine during my lunch break and just watch people pass by and enjoy the buzz. And then I will walk back to our office in the city centre and continue my work day. Just as before. Or will I?

Take care, be safe, keep calm and avoid people <3

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Kilimanjaro – Day 7/10 – Base camp day

I woke up around 3 am to send the rest of the Team Ubuntu on their way to reach for the top. I was feeling better myself but still knew that this day was out of reach for me. Wanted to though wake up to see the rest of the team off so we had breakfast and everyone got into their summit gear as it was the coldest night so far a few degrees below zero probably. I felt excited for them but also a bit worried how everything will go as I knew it was going to be a very tough day for them.

After the team head out towards the summit in pitch dark I went back to my tent and fell asleep again. I slept until around 6:30 am when the porters started to wake up and the sun began to shine so bright I could not sleep anymore. Since there is no shade it is really hot by the time it is shining directly to your tent!

The cook made me second breakfast so another bowl of oatmeal, my favourite, and a bit of coffee. After we ate the porters asked if I want to come with them a bit higher towards the summit to look at the views. I thought why not, I would not climb hundreds of meters just a bit higher, take a few photos and come back. Turned my sports watch on to monitor myself and altitude and off we went. Pole, pole, slowly, slowly!

My summit

Around 46 meters ascent and 700 meters I started feeling weird. My ear drums began to feel like they are about to burst, after that I started to feel dizzy and I felt like my orientation was getting a bit strange. I was afraid I might faint and fall over so said to the guide that I think this is my top, I will just sit here, take a few photos, wait for this to pass and walk back down.

It was such a scary feeling that I had no desire to pursue any further. I had found my summit (4785 meters) and got affirmation that I had made the right decision the day before deciding not to try and to reach the summit. Maybe, just maybe this was the thing my gut feeling was pounding in my head the other day. I would not have made it very far anyway!

View down to camp from ”my summit” 4785 meters! YAY!!! What a view above the clouds <3 Kibo huts in the middle where the path leads.

Relax and enjoy the views

So I went back to my tent and lied down a bit. I felt better fairly quickly and began to read a book. Having read the book a while I thought I would take a short walk up a cliff next to camp and took a photo down to our camp and towards the Kibo camp huts. Just climbing up there was an endeavours and felt exhausting, but the views were nice. I enjoyed just being there and looking at the view wondering how did I get here? And then wow, I’m here, I really made it all the way here.

After that relief that the ”worst” was over for me. No more headaches and tomorrow we would be heading down back to normal every day life with comfortable bed, toilet and hot shower, nice! (little did we know then… Covid-19 was lurking just around the corner and our lives would never be the same).

Sudden storm

It was completely still. Not a breath of wind and so hot that you could not be inside your tent, but we had to stay in the big mess tent. So I read for a while on my tablet and this tiny mouse kept me company coming and going from the tent getting food from the floor. I also talked to quite many of the porters as they came and went asking me how I am doing about their lives and how many children they had and so on.

It was nice to learn about their lives and family. Especially this talk with one young porter about 24 years paused me for a while. We spoke about domestic animals, then pets and I mentioned that we do not have any other animals, just a pet cat, to which he responded with a question ”But where do you get your milk then?”, realizing he meant that if we do not have cow, where does the milk come from.

I explained to him that we live in a city and we are not allowed to have any other animals so we buy milk from the shop. Such different worlds we live in, I actually envy his uncomplicated world. No office work, no huge traffic jams and concrete jungle around you going to work every day, only nature. Then nature showed it’s might and the weather turned nasty. We could feel the wind picking up and see the clouds moving in on our camp so I had to go to my tent and close all the zippers before it would pour in.

Storm clouds moving in from the side of the mountain

Managed to get to my tent before it started pouring and this time it was not rain, but hail. Closed all the zippers which I had just opened a bit earlier to get the air flowing as it was badly heated sauna. The storm did not last too long, but I can imagine the rest of the team being hit by this at the summit hoping they were not hit too bad as the hail would hurt!

Team Ubuntu arriving one, by one

It was about lunch time when we got info that Rob would be coming down soon. He was feeling bad having diarrhoea and temperature already before left and had decided to go as far as Gilmann’s point and then turn back. Our guide Mike came back already earlier to keep me company and be the ”base camp” guy with the satellite phone. So me and Mike climbed up to greet him and he was not feeling too good. His calves were killing him of all the up and down and probably due to loosing fluids earlier. I gave him some Magnesium and he managed to take a bit to drink, but head pretty much straight to bed which was definitely a good choice after that endeavour.

The rest of the team came back before dark and I kept looking at the hill side them coming down like little ants. It’s strange how distances here are completely scewed. It looks like they are just around that rock but they are still kilometer away…

Rest of Team Ubuntu approaching like ants in a queue still so far away although it looks close.

Everyone arrived back safe reaching the own summit Uhuru Peak. Some in better, some in worse condition, but walking on their own feet. They were so tired both physically and mentally that I felt a bit guilty that I had been enjoying the sunshine and reading a book all day talking to our porters.

I tried to help them the best I could as I had energy and they didn’t. Food, drink, CO2 monitoring. All good, three with a little low measurements. Me and Mike kept track on how they were doing and I was so proud of them. I truly think the team is amazing and we all did such a great job in helping each other to reach our dreams and goals.

It was clear it was going to be an early night for them all so after dinner everyone pretty much crashed to their tents (some had already slept a while before dinner!) . We were going to be begin our descent the next day around 10 am with destination Horombo camp. Rumour says they have ”normal” toilets and running (cold) water = shower! No wonder the power women of Team Ubuntu were VERY eager to get there as we were running out of wet wipes and Kibo camp is a dry camp so there is no rivers around but all water is carried there (hence conserve it the best you can = no washing).

Read my book again for a while as I was not that tired having taken two naps during the day already. Eventually I fell asleep. Luckily it was not as cold as it was the night before, but still had to have a hat on when sleeping!

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The Virus – Day 75 – New (different) reality

This new reality is becoming more and more ”normal”. I have gotten used to this waking up and not going anywhere. It’s actually nice not having to hurry anywhere. My 6 yo has been really good with her preschool home work and has begun to understand that mommy works now and mommy has meetings. She often comes and says hi to my meetings and has even met the children of my colleagues. It’s in a way brought both my colleagues and me closer together, but helped my children to understand what I do for work and see that I do actually talk to people and not just ”play with the computer”.’

Live stream training tested

We have also found the wonderful world of online training. Have tried Body combat, Cross training and Core so far. Was supposed to do Yoga again today but then I twisted my leg _again_ and it was so sore I could not do it after all.

I am still not sure what is wrong with it, but it helps when I avoid side movement especially from left to right and seems to get better in time. It was OK already in the evening and was able to do a walk. Anyway great that we have these options. So thankful to every company supporting everyone in their own way to endure this time.

Supporting local businesses

As the situation is getting worse around the world and also here in Finland, it is clear that the economic situation of many companies is bad, really bad. Now is the time to support the local businesses. So we did exactly that today by getting take away home since we can’t go out to dinner at a restaurant like we sometimes do on the weekend.

It feels funny though how eating out has become eating in…

I still watch the news everyday, but notice that there are more news about ”other” things too and I’m not that keen anymore to know what’s going on. I do want to follow, but it’s not that important anymore. I am getting more interested in what new exciting things I might do tomorrow that I never had time to before like studying something maybe.

Big girl (always knew she was)

Our own little reality in our own little bubble has become quite important. Me and my youngest have had so much fun, she’s grown and taken responsibility so much and helped out voluntarily. I know she can, but it’s been a game of asking every time, but now she empties the dishwasher on her own, does her preschool work on her own and just ”let’s me know to check them”.

So this isolation is not all that bad and makes me think what did we need all that hassle for? Why did we need to move everyday from one place to another in such a hurry? What did we need all those little gadgets, widgets and trinkets for?

All we really need is nutrition… oh and toilet paper!! 😉

Take care, be safe, keep calm and avoid people ❤

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