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The Story About Evelin, Her Dad And a Marathon – Part 1

form edit

I haven’t been running for a very long time, still I really do feel like I am a runner, which is a pretty amazing feeling! Especially knowing who I was just a few years ago. It’s probably easy to tell that running means a lot to me? It really does. It is my medicine, my joy, my way of finding my own strengths and it is my number one hobby. A hobby which takes up a lot of time and energy – if I’m not running, I’m definitely talking or thinking about running. Googling running related things or just looking at/dreaming about some running gear/apparel..

After a brief interaction with one of my followers I realized that I could actually run a marathon. I mean, I’ve known that I could if I aimed for it and went for it, but he made me realize that all I really need to do is.. Register. It all starts there, right?!

So with this new perspective I’ve started to set up goals for the future. Since I became a runner there is one thing, one dream, I keep coming back to.. And it is that I want to run a marathon with my dad.

My dear dad. The man who inspired and motivated be to play and coach basketball. The man who YEARS later got me into running and with that gave me the greatest gift I’ve ever had – I now run, and through my running I have learned so much about myself, about the physical and mental strength I possess, and I’ve found ways to channel stress, anxiety etc.

This marathon with my dad will happen, I just need to plan it with him. Are we doing it in Sweden? In the US? During winter or summer? The future will tell. But it will happen.

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Homesickness and My Cure For It

As you probably know by now, I’m Swedish. I left my home country in June 2012 and I haven’t been able to go home since then. I have had terrible homesickness off and on since the summer. I most of all miss my brothers and my parents. They are such important people in my life and sometimes it hurts physically being apart from them. I know, I took the decision to move here myself but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss the reality I had back home. I was 1 hour flight away from my family and I had friends all around me in town (Stockholm). That has drastically changed and as I’m loving it here in Hawaii I sure wish I could just move Sweden (and my other home country Norway) just a little bit closer to be able to see my loved ones more often.

So how do I cope with my homesickness?

1. I use the apps Viber and Skype to text and talk to my family.

2. I have photos of my loved ones nearby and it always make me happy (and sometimes more homesick, I admit) to see them.

3. I read Swedish online magazines.

4. I listen to a lot of Swedish/Norwegian music. Not necessarily always songs with Swedish lyrics but that sure makes me feel good. I sing along (not sure my husband enjoys this, but I do it anyways) loud with the Swedish lyrics!

5. I talk to myself and the cat in Swedish.

6. I eat whatever Swedish/Norwegian stuff I can get a hold of.

7. I read books in Swedish. Mom sent some books with my husband for me to have here in Hawaii and read whenever I felt the urge to get some Swedish reading in.

treats from home

Speaking of #6 – there are some specific Swedish/Norwegian eatable things I try to get a hold of as often as possible or miss like crazy, here goes:

Lingonberries in any shape or form – straight up berries, jam, cookies, cakes. Bring it on. Lingonberries have been one of my favorite berries since I was a teeny little kid. I’m dreaming of going to visit my grandparents in their mountain cabin in Norway and go out in the forest to pick those delicious red berries and make jam out of them.

Brunost (“brown cheese” in Norwegian), or Ski Queen as it’s called when sold at Safeway here in the US. This is something I’ve never had in other places than at my grandparents. But at the other hand, when spending time at their place I eat… Let’s say A LOT of it. It is one of those things which my husband have been working on acquiring a taste for.. Very different, but OH so tasty in my opinion.

Köttbullar, Swedish meatballs. It might not be one of my favorite foods when in Sweden, but my husband makes some awesome meatballs, and they remind me of home in a good way. They (and the gravy) should of course include some lingonberries.

Swedish bulk candy. Oh dear, does Sweden know how to make candy. There’s sooo many amazing sorts of candy back home and I especially miss the sour candy and the licorice (Djungelvrål…). Check out the store Sockerbit in NYC or online and have a look at some awesome (and maybe not super healthy) treats.

Pannkaka, the thin Swedish style pancake. Every time I make these I feel like I’m at home with my family having dad amazing pancakes.. Eat them with some whipped cream and jam or fresh berries and you’re in heaven.

Kladdkaka, as I mentioned in an earlier post kladdkaka is one of my favorite cakes and it is SO easy to whip together! I normally eat it with whipped cream or just as it is. Greatness in the shape of a chocolate cake!

The list could be looong, but these are some of my top cravings or treatments to my homesickness. The though was that I’d get to go back home in March but as it is now it’s not going to work out because of our job and money situation. Bummer! But I’ll get there later this year, I HAVE to.


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Living in Hawaii vs. Sweden

I did a big move in 2012. I left a beautiful spring/early summer Sweden in May and moved to The Big Island of Hawaii. It’s been a challenging journey but I’m happy I did it. There’s so many changes (good and bad) in my way of living since I got here. Might be small changes, but still changes that I need to adapt to and get used to.

1. Water

Not being on city water is totally new to me. I’ve been used to having unlimited water included in my rent where ever I’ve been living in Sweden, but as we moved into a tiny little house in Ocean View, HI, that changed. Catchment water with tank, pump and water heater? What is that even? In a pretty dry area this can cause periods of little to no water and having to plan usage of water. PLUS the electricity bill definitely gets affected by this. As we later on moved to a different part of the island, one with a lot more rain it’s changed. We now have a pretty much full water tank no matter how much water we use. But however, the on-demand heater doesn’t really want to work properly so the showers I take are HOT/cold on and off which creates kind of an interesting shower procedure..

liz

This is one of my favorite “pets” around here. Except for Oscar the cat, of course.

2. Bugs and stuff

Where I lived in Stockholm (a building from 1928) I had beautiful old hard wood floors in fishbone pattern. The only bad thing that came with this was that I occasionally had some silverfish crawling around. I wasn’t stoked about it then but as I live here I can honestly say that a few silverfish every once in a while isn’t even worth getting upset about..

Here we have roaches, fruit flies, spiders, geckos/lizards, mosquitos and.. ANTS just to mention a few of the creatures we’re surrounded by. Where ever I go inside and around the house I seem to see at least one of the above mentioned creatures around me. We don’t have a lot of roaches around (thankful for that) but the ants really seem to be everywhere. As I sit in our bedroom writing this I have seen at least one of them on my computer. When I earlier this morning walked out to get the mail (I had some energy gels sent to me to try out and review) and guess who had totally found their wat into the mail box AND into the envelope?! Yes, the ants. They were all over the energy gels and I can’t say I was stoked about it. Luckily the gel packs weren’t leaking or anything, they are still fine to try out, but somehow those freaking ants seem to smell sweets through thousands of layers.. We have geckos, lizards, frogs, toads and rats around the house to. Geckos and lizards doesn’t bother me at all, they are colorful and knowing that they eat bugs I’m more than happy to have them around. The frogs aren’t bothering me that much either, except for when it’s raining during night time. At that time they are LOUD and will actually keep me awake some nights. (Coqui is a frog who originally came from Puerto Rico and now are to be found in millions on this island. I’m choosing to think that they sing when they’re happy and it makes me being able to deal with the sound..).

We also have rats. I’ve always been terrified by rats (not as much after traveling to India in 2009, but I still can’t seem to be OK with them..). They were definitely around in Stockholm (not close to where I lived though) and I’ve seen some nasty rats in Bangkok and so on. But… In our garden we have lilikoi (passionfruit) trees and they are overflowing with fruits. We can’t eat them all and some days we have a bunch of fallen fruit on the lawn. There fruits gets eaten by rats. Obviously, we try to pick the fruits up so that we’re not feeding the rats but they’re still around. The other night our sweet little 17lbs cat (he’s not tiny no) decided to come inside with the rat he was so proud of catching. I (of course) freaked out while husband had to deal with getting the cat and his still living rat “toy” out of the house. I CAN NOT handle rats. I hated our cat for an hour or so, but quickly got convinced by C that it’s a good thing that the cat is chasing the rats. Well, yes. OK, as long as I don’t have to see them (especially not in MY BEDROOM)!

3. Mold

As we just moved to a rainy, more tropical part of the island we have noticed a few new things to get used to. The humidity in the air is really high and this means there’s a risk of getting mildew and mold in and around the house. This is something I’ve never ever had a problem with earlier and we’re trying to figure out how to fight it. There’s the dehumidifiers which works wonders (and damn, do they fill up fast here?!) and we’re always on the lookout for a good find when it comes to them. One dehumidifier is simply not enough for a three bedroom house in East Hawai’i.

4. Trash

As I’ve been living in a town/city my whole life I’ve never had to deal with taking my trash to the dump. Here we have to take our shit in the car and drive to the Transfer Stations. Totally new for me and to be honest, the first couple of months I was totally disgusted by it. But I’m getting used to it and as the transfer station is on the way into town it’s easy to stop by and dump the garbage when needed.

sweden

5. No real seasons

If you would’ve asked me a few years ago I would have said that I’d never miss the Swedish winters. I need sun and warmth, yes, but there is something special about a place with REAL seasons. You get to enjoy skiing, ice skating  and snow shoeing in the winter. You get a beautiful spring filled with hope and with people starting to “come alive” again after the long part of the year with darkness and cold. You get a nice (short) summer, when the streets are full of happy people, outdoor restaurants, parks full of picnic’s and cool nice water to jump into on those beautiful summer days. You get a colorful fall with crisp air perfect for long walks and tons of tea. And so on. What I miss  the most right now is being in my family’s cabin in Norway, enjoying  skiing, playing in the snow and get kind of cold only to go inside and warm up with board games and warm food together with my loved ones. Here in hawaii I don’t have my family around and I most definitely don’t get to ski.

swedish fish

6. Language

I’m half Swedish, half Norwegian. I learned English in school and until I met my husband I never really felt comfortable using the language. Even though I did if I had to (while traveling or so) and I was pretty good at it, it just never came very natural. Since I met C I’ve been forced to use English. A lot. And I’m starting to like it and feel way more comfortable with it. There are people who tell me that I don’t have an accent at all (well thank you, but I know you’re only saying it to be nice), but I do. And to be honest, I hope I always will. I love my two home countries and the languages of them are one of the things I never want to loose. My languages, my history – a part of who I am.

Some days when I wake up I wish that I could just speak Swedish. Some days I hate having to feel stupid when I can’t find the words I’m looking for to describe something. Sometimes I feel stupid when I talk to my family on Skype because I’ve lost a Swedish word. It’s a constant struggle (not a big one I guess), but it’s OK. I won’t forget the Swedish/Norwegian. I’ll only get better with English.

(And also, it makes me so happy to see Swedish or Norwegian related things brought up on blogs/twitter/news.. Fartlek, H&M, IKEA, Ski Queen Cheese at Safeway etc – bring it all on!)

7. Medical system

I’m used to a totally different social system in my old home country. I’ve been going to doctors for minor things without having to pay more than $25, getting prescriptions for free and didn’t have to pay a whole lot for a really good insurance. Since I moved here I haven’t been sick (knock on wood) but my foot injury bothers me. If I was at home (in Stockholm that is) I would’ve gone to the doctor a week after it happened and I wouldn’t have had to worry about the money. At all. Here… I can’t afford to go and check my foot. It’s reality. I just can’t.  And it’s frustrating and makes me upset, but what to do?

 

As you can see, there’s been some serious adjusting going on and still is (I’m pretty sure I could’ve made this list a lot longer if I gave it some time), but at the end of the day (even the days when I’m jumping up in bed screaming because of that rat) I’m happy to be here. There’s sun, a nice warm temperature and most important of all – the home I have together with my love. It’s worth.. If not all, so at least A LOT.


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Half Marathon Training is ON!

Since I ran my first race back in August I’ve been thinking of doing a Half Marathon. The longer I’ve been thinking of it the more I’m craving it. I want to finish a Half. I am going to finish a Half!

Because of a trip to Sweden already being planned for March 18th I’m having a hard time deciding and registering for my Half. You see, I have my mind set on doing my Half in March/April and because of that trip over to Sweden I feel like the way to go is to “get it done” before the trip. Can’t even imagine how hard it would be to finish up training for the Half by not only traveling half way around the world, but also from a tropical climate to a very cold Sweden. No, I don’t even have the right running gear to be running (and preparing for a Half) in temperatures down to -20F and tons of snow in Sweden.

Anyways, knowing that I’m going to leave for Sweden approximately March 18-19 I have two options for running a Half here in Hawaii:

The Hapalua in Honolulu, March 10th

Hilo Half

Hilo International Marathon (But the Half of course), March 17th

I’d really LOVE to be able to do The Hapalua, but because of my husband and I having to deal with a move and finding jobs (and not to mention the giant task ahead of me: getting a Drivers Licence!) we’re not sure we can afford to go to Honolulu for the race. Even though this would be a great layover on our way to Seattle and connecting flights to Europe (plus an opportunity to spend some time with friends in Seattle before we take off to my family) I can’t really seem to convince C that it’s a great plan (you see, this is why I’m wishing my husband was as into running as I am). I’m stressing about it because if we booked everything here soon we’d get tickets/hotel stay a little bit cheaper.

The other way for me to get my Half in is to drive across the Island and do the Hilo Half. This is fine with me, but it will be VERY stressful (if even possible) to catch connecting Sweden flights in Seattle March 18th or 19th. I’m afraid that if this will be my first Half, I’ll spend most of my trip back home slowly recovering from my 13.1 miles instead of being able to actually enjoy the fact that I’ve finished (well, hopefully) my Half.

Whatever happens I’m already on top of my shit. I started on a 12 (with one added week making it a 13 week) training program for the Half. I was feeling kind of rushed while picking one and so far I feel like I might have been better off using a little “tougher” training plan then the one I chose. After asking on Twitter a lot of people recommended following one of Hal Hidgon’s training programs and as I looked into them I started on the “Novice 1” not knowing that there was a “Novice 2” to chose from too for beginner Half programs.. I know the Novice 1 is going to pick up here soon but these first two weeks I’ve felt lazy and kind of bored because of the short runs I’ve had scheduled.

I might mix the program up a little in a few weeks, maybe changing to the Novice 2. I have to see how I feel when I actually get somewhere with this.. Another thing I spend a lot of time thinking of and worrying about a little is how I’ll get the training program timed for one or another of the Half Marathons, thinking of the fact that they’re one week apart.

If any of you out there has any recommendations or advices for me going towards my first Half – bring it on! I’m more than happy to take help from fellow runners. Always.


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Tell me about your 2012

As we’re going towards the end of the year I’ve been spending a lot of times thinking of what a great year this has been. A lot of good things have happened but one of the best things was that I actually started running. Since I started in May I’ve been gaining confidence, strength and better health. Running have made me a better person.

Through Meg over at Run.Fit.Kin I found this blogpost where Miss Zippy is asking six questions about running in 2012. So here you go, my answers:

 race

  • Best race experience? I’ve done three races so far. Two 10k’s and one 5k. They’ve all been great experiences and as a new runner I’ve learned so much from each and every one of them. But to be honest, even though I did very good in my last race the first one I ran is the one that’s really sticking out. The Volcano Rain Forest Runs 10k, August 18th, was a great start of my journey when it comes to races. I finished (even though I thought my nerves would stop me on the way there), I got a better finishing time that I could’ve dreamt of being the first race and I had so much fun! As I walked back to the car I called my dad back in Sweden and cried. My emotions were everywhere – I was happy, exhausted, proud, homesick and amazed by myself. Dad has been my motivation and inspiration since day one of my running journey and it felt sooo good being able to call him and tell him all about my first race!

great run

  • Best run? I had a glorious run one sunny fall day in Seattle. To change my running routes up a little bit I took the bus to the famous walking/running spot Green Lake. The air was crisp, the sun felt great and I was flying during that run. Definitely a “run happy” moment! After the run I felt so great I actually decided to run the 5k back to my friends house instead of getting on the bus as planned.

Day Before End of the World 2

  • Best new piece of gear? Since all my running gear is new this is a tough one. I’d say what I’ve been getting the most usage on is my Under Armour shorts which are my go-to bottoms for the warm climate here in Hawaii. I’ve also used the shit out of my grey top that I got on sale at Target. And of course, I can’t NOT mention the Garmin Forerunner 405cx and the Asics Gel-Neo33 that I’ve been running in since late July. Even though it might not really be considered “gear” I want to mention ENERGYbits too. I lost a lot of weight when I started running and it left me having problems fueling good enough for my workouts/runs. Since I started using these algae bits I’ve been doing great! I no longer have to worry about fueling enough, they really carry me through my runs (so far at least, I have yet to start running longer distances where fueling mid-run will be necessary. The bits will definitely come with me though, so I’m sure I’ll be fine!).

 

  • Best piece of running advice you received? Through Twitter I’ve been getting so many great tips from fellow runners. It’s amazing to have so many people out there sharing their experiences and helping me out whenever I have a question. So thank you all!  What I’ve really been thinking of, both while doing training runs and races, is to try to keep my pace down. I have a tendency to speed a little bit too much leaving me fatigued faster than necessary. During my last race I managed to really save my energy for the last stretch which saved me and helped me PR due to the hilly course (that I wasn’t prepared for).

 

  • Most inspirational runner? As mentioned earlier my dad is my main inspiration when it comes to running. Without watching him finishing x amount of marathons, cheering for him mid course on his marathons and following his preparations for his races I probably would never have started running. He’s so supportive and gives me great advice whenever I’m in need of help with my running. I just wish we will be able to do a race together soon (even though he’d be faaar ahead of me)!

 

running 2012

  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? FUN. Challenging. Inspired.

 

 

 

Q: Do you want to tell us about your 2012? Yes, do it! Grab the questions and blog away!

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