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It’s been now +6 months since we climbed Kilimanjaro. I thought it would be a good time to finish the series and walk a bit on the memory lane and look back on what happened and what thoughts have come to my mind since.
The reality is that our journey as awesome and great as it was ended up being a bit in the shadows of the covid-19 news. We have regularly met with Ubuntu team on virtual Friday coffee and all felt like we did not want to talk about it too much as there was so many more serious things going on in the world. We all felt like we missed the ”wow we did it” kind of celebration with everyone and even ourselves as the corona virus shadow was cast above Europe. It is understandable because everyone’s thoughts were focused on something else. Our journey mostly lived in our minds and at least I did not have a chance to share my story with any or my friends because we were almost instantly after getting back advised to work from home already and then went finally to partial lock down.
But let’s get back to the last day in Tanzania and our last day. Like mentioned in my earlier post of the Kilimanjaro series I have not been that exhausted many times in my life. Maybe once when we were in a floor ball tournament when I was about 20 years and we lost all other women from the team to injuries and since there had to be at least one woman all the time on the field I ended up playing three games in a row without any breaks. Then, I was probably even more tired. Anyway slept like a log after a good meal and a few glasses of wine in this super comfy soft bed which did not slowly slide downhill all the time and woke up on time for breakfast and surprise, surprise, I was starving again and we took our time to eat.
Time to head home
Our planes would not leave until late in the evening so the plan was to soak up on the sun and at some point head to the city for lunch and souvenirs. It was also so relieving to be able to talk and send messages to children and hubby. We also found out from the news that situation in Italy had just escalated and they were getting more and more cases. It was getting out of hands everywhere and by the looks of it there was no stopping it anymore. It was just a matter of time when it would hit our far North end of the world so better get accustomed to it.
We had lunch in a restaurant in town and went to this little souvenir shop and suddenly the day was over and it was time to head to the airport. The journey back went well and thinking back on the airport the staff was wearing masks already. It was hard for everyone to depart at Schipol airport, but equally we were all keen to get home. There was a lot of emotions given the situation in the world, what we had just achieved together and knowing that the journey had now come to an end. We agreed that we should get together in Spain and do a hike or two together later in the spring. That obviously never happened and may not happen for a while We keep meeting in skype every Friday for a virtual catch-up, but with so many virtual meetings I haven’t been able to make it on a weekly basis. When I do have time to make it it is so good to see everyone’s faces and debrief a bit how everyone is, what the situation is everywhere in the world and share memories of the journey.
I had no idea what to expect when I landed to Finland. The world is so different out there in Africa and not just the weather, but people, lifestyle, mentality. I remember the weather being gray and wet (still no snow!) and everything looking dull without any colours and trees bare of leaves. I felt weird, like it was a dream and not real what had happened. Did I really go there? Had I really been 4700 meters above sea level on top of Africa? Chores and work was waiting and I didn’t really have time to think about that much of the experience. I had bad conscience of being away from the kids for that long. I had never been away for that long and it was so good to see them.
When you are out there in 4700 meters with no civilization in sight and no connection to the outside world it’s both relieving and stressing. You can forget about what is happening because you know you won’t have a chance to find out anyway. Then again you worry is everything ok? What if it’s not and they cannot tell me? You know with kids anything can happen… It is a strange feeling and a balance between knowing and not knowing. I have to admit I like both.
So what was the world like?
What had happened in 10 days? Covid-19 virus has gotten out of hands in Europe and we knew we need to prepare for it. How? Nobody really knew, it was unknown territory to most countries. I only managed to go to work for a week or so after we were advised to work from home if possible and I have ever since. It’s been now +6 months. Our journey was not the big news, everyone was concentrating on the virus and its spreading. I noticed that I kept silent, but honestly I felt like I wanted to shout to the world that ”You know what? I just climbed Kilimanjaro, I did it! Me, I did it! Can you believe it?”. I was so proud of myself, but realised nobody else knew what I had done except me. It really mattered only to me.
I keep coming back to that thought. It mattered to me, but I kept putting it aside. It’s not a big thing, but IT IS! It’s a huge thing and all the work and effort I put to fundraising and getting myself in shape is massive. I worked so hard that I almost got blindsided by everything else going on around. I was so focused on my goal that when it was over I left a bit empty. I remember pondering is there ”Life after Kilimanjaro?” in one of my previous posts. Well now I know there is, but there is also emptiness. It did change my life, but only I know that and it’s hard to explain how yet.
I also keep coming back to the consequences it had on my health. I keep looking at the stats and realise it was such a strain on my body. No matter what way you look at it, all went up the roof, heart rate, rest heart rate, steps, ascent, descent and quality of sleep. Not to mention I have not been able to run for 6 months properly so ended up getting IT band inflammation on my left knee after Kilimanjaro most probably (thinking back) was caused by that 23+ kilometers downhill on one day. Now almost 7 months since we left to Kili and and I am still on the mend. I am able to do some short runs but anything above 5 kilometers is a risk zone.
So was it worth it? I am not sure. I am still not sure if I would I do it again if I knew what it might cause. Maybe, but would change coming down to take more weight on the right leg… (I kept stepping left foot down hill first all the time and remember it hurt a bit at some point so tried changing to right but it was probably too late by that time already). Then again it is a strain injury so it might have had nothing to do with Kili or I might have gotten it anyway regardless of Kili.
So this is what I am struggling with in my mind and sudden covid-19 ”lock down-homework-cooking-gym-daycare-school-teacher-office worker” mother extravaganza did not make it any better I can tell you. Life goes on, even without running so I have had to learn to live without it and find other hobbies and ways to get my mind to unwind.
And really… No I would not change it. Not really <3
As you probably have noticed I quite often go to the closest National Park Sipoonkorpi for trail runs, especially the long ones. It’s easier when there is more space to choose from.
In Finland I always use this app called ”Maastokartat” topograhic map. There are several different available in Play and App Store but this I have found simple, loads everywhere and has majority of trails.
Usually I go to the parking lot (start point) look at the map, decide how long route I will choose and go for it. I have learned the average distance in the forest already because I have been running here for so long.
Start of the path is very good gravel path that goes through Flatberget natural reserve ”luonnonsuojelualue” to Storträsk marsh and a small pond where you can find this newly renovated fire place, toilets and all (see feature image). The place is really great for a short hike with kids. The pond is also very popular fishing place, but you do need a permit to fish.
Take a turn towards Gumböle träsk there are signs if you follow the yellow route. The path changes to normal trail (no gravel and roots…). Here the yellow signs though end and there are just some blue marks on the woods, but just look for the most worn trail.
There is this small section where many paths cross where you need to go left and you feel like going backwards after which the path goes through a tree felling ares (due to which I got totally disoriented in the winter) but the path is back now, not too worn but you will see it.
This will lead you through to Nybyggetintie, take right and after that left to Mäntykorvenkuja. Run to the end of it and you will see the path on the left after the road end. Here the trail is really more of a forest road than a trail.
Which is the reason why I began to be a bit bored. You always you have to go off path a bit (getting a bit lost is part of the excitement), I saw this little path I and thought I could use some extra k’s so thought it’s more interesting, but that turned out to be just extra k’s and a dead end to a marsh.
This would be the little off path peak on the right hand corner of the trail which though gave me that extra k’s I wanted over 10 k
The road trail leads you to the gravel path going to Kalkkiruukki laavu of which I have written earlier. From there on the path is gravel. The path has the best ascent and incline around the area and I was able to sprint down at the speed of 2:02/km. Long legs help!
Managed to accumulate 534 meters of ascent and 519 meters of descent. Sports watch claims it was my fastest time on similar route and I have to admit that it felt easy and I could have done a few k’s more easily.
It was raining at times and quite windy. There is a sense of Autumn in the air and you can see it from vegetation. Lingonberries are almost ripe. Bilberry, raspberry and wild strawberry leaves are getting color. The good part about trail running in the forest in Finland at this time of the year you will never get hungry even on longer runs!
This trail is very close to 10 k’s and not completely in the middle of the forest, but clear paths (a part from that little adventure I had). I tend to do this when I don’t want to run the Kalkinpolttajan polku trail (which is marked all the way) and there is more people usually also.