|I've been thinking about this whole "have at least two posts scheduled every single day" thing I've had going for a while on here. At this point in time it's really about actually posting anything and everything and forcing myself to go through photos and post at least one photo each time. Quantity over quality. I'm basically doing the whole "keep the chain going for as long as you can" approach that I tried doing with my thesis and other work and that I had never managed to do… mainly because here I can schedule tons of entries in advance (although for the last weeks I've mainly been writing them up the night before they're posted). It kind of works… but I certainly can see why it did not work for my writing. |
(quarter-life pseudo-crisis status: 3.5 months in and we're still in full on "I have no idea what I want to do with my life and therefore I shall just read as much random stuff as I can" mode, come back in a couple of months for the next check-in.)
|Funnily enough, lakes are not the only things that can be found in marshes - there are islands too. Islands that used to house ritual stones, apparently. Then again, when the atmosphere on the island is so different from the one in the surrounding marsh, it's easy to understand why one might think that supernatural things can happen there. |
|On Monday afternoon, Kadri (bad_habit on here and @giishu pretty much everywhere else) picked me up and showed me one of the coolest places I've been to in a while - huge marshes with a huge marsh lake in the middle and tiny little baby marsh lakes that one day will make the huge marsh lake even larger. And there were cranberries there too. And grass that made this awesome whispering sound when the wind hit it correctly. And fun squishy marsh land beyond the planks that was kind of soft and springy to walk on (carefully, because those marshes can be treacherous I bet). |
But first, the setting.
( +2 - well marked trails and planks )
Ah, that marathon that wasn't. But the half-marathon that was. And the personal growth that happened. I think that nicely sums up everything.
The morning of the race I felt rather good, optimistic even, everything felt very decent, perhaps even really good. I had a really good pace on the first 10K, didn't really force anything and I managed somewhere around 5:45min/km. Then it all went to shit, my head wasn't into it and my stomach wasn't into it either, stuff like that happens. I think at around km 15 I really wanted to just stop because it stopped being fun, I talked myself into finishing at least half the distance and if things didn't get better I would stop. And that's what I did. I finished the half in about 2 hours 9 minutes, kilometres 10 through 21 with horribly varying paces all depending on how that old body was functioning. I could have continued, I could have gone on alternating walking and running but there is only so much dry heaving without being able to force down anything and not being mentally into it that I can take. I may not have another finisher's medal but I respected my "I'll stop when it stops being fun" idea and I didn't have to be scooped up with a spoon!
I felt like a seasoned traveler when I didn't even attempt to take a photo of that lighthouse (lightpost? because technically it's far away at sea and no one lives there) that's in the middle of the sea nor did I get overly excited when I first saw the shore.
In other news but still related to lighthouses, right before leaving for Tallinn, I read through the last pages of The Prince of Mist and it's actually a story that's way less complicated than I thought it would be but still kind of really creepy. It had been a while since I last read a good, simple retelling of a classic story, there was nothing unnecessary written, clean and simple and still poetic. So there, now I have a new author whose books I'll have to read through... I might actually already have compiled a list of which to borrow first from the library, oops.
In other other news but still somewhat related to safety and warnings, if you don't usually listen to the TechStuff podcast, go listen to their episode on fire alarms because it's more about the history of fire alarm systems than anything else and it's an amazingly fascinating story (head to their rss feed and just search for "Fire in Bean Town", there is a link the mp3 there… or you know, subscribe to the feed and listen to all their stuff!)
|From this angle that really looks like someone's heart and not like duck... |
... but no worries, that was duck with lotus root.
In terms of pre-race meals, that was definitely a great one. Now I know that I should give Avatar: The Last Airbender a chance and possibly even watch the film because it's supposed to be extremely cringe-worthy.
Some peeps go out for pasta the night before, this was more like chicken/potatoes and limoncello.
|Sure there are awesome things to being a girl but then there are the not so awesome things like your body deciding to bloat to the size of whale and your mind going on an emotional roller-coaster from time to time. That's basically me all of yesterday and today. Well, the bloating part started yesterday and it might also explain why the heck I stayed up until almost midnight to read a book because it was all emotional and I just couldn't put it down (for those who don't know, I am a 10pm bed-time person because I wake up at 5:25am for no other reason than because it makes me feel like I can have a productive day that way). Today I've wanted to bitch at so many things, and have bitched on twitter, and then half an hour later I just started feeling terrible for being so negative. |
But hey, you can't get the good without the bad! Some moments just have to be at the bottom of that happiness curve.
Speaking of things that aren't all that awesome, I'd like to point to exhibit a:
I mean, how cool do these chocolate bars look? Very cool, right? I expected them to be amazing when I got them last week. The truth is, you can't even taste the coffee! It's all sugar in that filling. It's like I expected to have all the ~*~feelings~*~ about the filling (see what I did there) and in the end those weren't ~*~feelings~*~ but more like :/ feelings.
|Long story short, last Sunday I ran what now seems to be an annual tradition - the Tallinn marathon. I beat my previous time by over 7 minutes and finished with 4:36:49 overall but I have idea what my actual net time was because this year they didn't take it. So overall, it's not bad for a marathon I signed up for two weeks before I ran it. |
Was it better or worse than last year? I don't really know. Many things were different. For one, at the same last year I weighed six kilos less and was all about running and very little cycling. This year, I didn't run at all while I had my cast and afterwards I mainly cycled long distances instead of running. That meant that I knew that I could take a 3+ hour effort but I had no idea if my legs could take the pounding. In the end, that's actually what made me suffer the most. I ran the first 10K in under an hour, I was at the half point in 2:06, I slowed down a bit by 30km and was there at about 3:06... and the last kilometers were just hell in terms of my thighs killing me whenever my feet hit the pavement. It's incredible just how different long cycling and running efforts are! On a bike, I usually don't even consider muscle fatigue up until three hours in and it's sitting in the saddle that start hurting. On foot, your muscles have to take in a lot of shock and after two hours it starts getting hard.
In the end, I think that I also had a pretty darn good strategy to alleviate boredom. The main strategy was about not worrying about pace: run at whatever pace I want for the first 30km, then check the time to make sure I can get in before the cut-off. The second strategy was: run the first 22km. Then walk 200-300m after every food station (there was one every 3km). Then after about 26-27km, it was more running 1km and then walking 200-300m. I could have tried running the last few kilometers but I was mentally tired and I didn't feel like it. Once again, it shows that racing is really not for me, I don't feel motivated by a finish line or a medal or bragging rights. Actually, with about 500m to the finish line, I slowly shuffled along, got out my phone and put on that song from the Rocky film and had my own little finish line thing going on.
The best part about that time is that I wasn't all that tired the next day and made a full recovery to my usual cycling speed two days later. Not bad, in the end.
Oh! And, in case anyone is wondering, the list of things as to why the Tallinn marathon rocks include: no one cares if you wear the race shirt during the race (about 1/3 of the runners will wear it too), there are food stations every 3km or so, there are only about 1500 people running the marathon so it's not crowded, it only costs 35e to sign up two weeks before, one can sign up till the morning of the race... and the list could go on and on. Oh, and they gave us this bubble wrap to pop before the race so that we would not get stressed. Fun times!
I have this thing about fat and protein the night before a long effort. Sure, it's important to get stuff in yourself the morning of, but for me it's really all about the night before.
(slideshow of everything can be found here)
|I don't know if it's because I've lived here for too long or if it's really true but I find the center of Tallinn to be much more beautiful than the center of Helsinki. Once you start moving away from the very center and old Tallinn, I would say that both cities have pretty much the same level of beauty, although possibly Helsinki wins a tiny bit because I find the borderline-suburbian streets a bit better. |
With Kadri, we saw rainbows! And sometimes it doesn't get much better than that.
Also grass on roofs.
(photos as a slide-show and a bit bigger - here)
|See now, for some reason, I think that the Estonian coat like to hoard all the pretty clouds and pretty light. I have never been able to see anything like it when entering the port in Stockholm or when I go back to Helsinki. But hey, who am I to complain if it's pretty?|
Before the Estonian coast, there were the usual Finnish suspects.
The scary bit is that I haven't been back on Suomenlinna for literally years.
And just because I have a 150mm lens, I can use it to get the flag at the top of one of the buildings on the island.
(and all the photos can be seen as a slideshow , slightly bigger too)
|The big updates on the marathon will come later. Today is just one of those days when something doesn't feel right. Nothing feels terribly out of place or wrong but somehow I have this feeling that things could be better and that's rather annoying. So far it's been one of those mornings where I can't even force myself to read over and edit this one article that I have to get done by the end of the week and I have people breathing down my neck to get it done. One of those mornings where possibly only playing with a cute puppy in a sunny field would make things awesome... except that it's raining and there are no puppies, there are some fields a couple of kilometers away, I guess one out of three is good enough?|
Right. So do I sound :( :( :( already? Let's look at the bright side of things! It's a rainy day but I managed to get to work while it wasn't raining! My Holga Kitchen Sink lens kit is waiting for me at the post office. I have bananas and dried fruit!
I need to get one of those stress balls to play with. Also I should clear out my desk, or maybe just take all the bottles out to recycling, they're taking over every single available space.
Oh! There are tiny little puffed rice bits covered in chocolate in this dried fruit thing I'm eating. It's called "Paradise" and I might have just gotten it because of the name... I usually get the "California" one but this one looked promising... "Paradise"!
Just for shits and giggles, some stuff from the week-end:
Now... where can I steal some puppies and maybe play god and make it sunny so I can go play with said puppies in a sunny field.