What a roller coaster year! I think it has been a crazy one for everyone, but I feel like I can barely remember how life was before March.
The year started with winter training, I had Helle, the sister of Anti for a few weeks to prepare for the upcoming European Championships. The experiences together with her and Anti are still some of my nicest memories. I never felt more freeer than when I went up with Helle all by myself to Sjusjøen to skijör a bit. We had perfect conditions, it was just magical. Everytime I watch the videos from that training I just feel happy.
I also did some races with the duo, and I got reminded, that for a bad skier like me sledding is the real deal. I just love it so much.
After a few practice races in skinöring, in February it was then time to start at my first on-snow IFSS European Championships, where I participated as Hungary’s first skijörer, and even though Anti and I ended up last, I was so proud that I managed such a hard trail without big struggles!
Then the days after it was time for me to race in 2-dog sled… My brother-sister duo, Anti and Helle did simply amazing. Still can’t wrap my head around how well they worked! After a great first day, they did even better the second day so we ended up as 10th!!! They were older than many others with their 7,5 years, but they still got it, I was so proud.
Once the ECh was over it was time to get back to running training again. I ran very little during the winter, mostly only did intervals in the gym, and skied the rest, but I was luckily in a great shape. I just needed to get back to the habit, and to help the process I set two goals: Vulcanicross in Germany and a hungarian race right after it. I was quite excited, I really wanted to test how far I came and race on “home ground” again, not to mention the visit to my family. But then, as everybody knows, came Covid-19. All races got cancelled, and I was a bit bummed, I had so many plans for April too, but suddenly the world did a 180, and everything changed.
To keep my spirits up we started to do virtual races with our friends. I ran with Kute, Anti, Petter, Koda and Lychee too, and I was beating my personal bests weekend after weekend. I was really happy, the only bummer was that I could not race in real life… But these “training weekends” were still loads of fun.
At the same time I began to try to fulfill a long term plan of mine… We were supposed to have puppies from Anti, but it did not happen, but I said that no matter what, this year I will finally have my puppy, so I found all the litters that could be interesting for me. After some back and forth and literally asking everybody and stressing about making a decision, I landed on a litter, where the puppies we already confirmed, and there were 5 males in the litter. They were born in May and the first time I went to see them was when they were 4 weeks old. They were sleeping almost during the whole visit, but I had my eye on the two males already (three, but I knew he will most probably be taken). But then to actually choose between them when they were 6 weeks old was a bit of a challenge… The two puppies were so similiar. Yet one of them seemed to prefer me… So two weeks later, right after an amazing roadtrip that replaced our big hiking plans (more about this in another post), Merkur, now known as Kvikk joined our pack.
The summer was mostly about socialising Kvikk, my mother also visited us before he becomes a little horse, and some beach days and loooooads of sleeping outdoors. In the meantime the hard training continued, to be in top form for the autumn races. Next to my running training with Ben, I have decided to take myself upon my word from last year, and focus on strength, so I started physical and mobility training with Willian from Brasil.
Despite the hard training, of course one by one all races got cancelled, making the Norwegian Championship the main and only goal of the season. Despite deciding to race for Hungary, therefore not being able to win the champion title, I really wanted to come in as first.
I had a few races before it. First a fun race in Elverum, where I raced Yuma. He is a young boy, who was too young to compete in bikejoring or scooter, and since his owner decided he does not want to get into canicross with his 37 kilo little horse, I got to race with him.
We came in first with the overall best canicross time, but the track killed my feet… So I was a bit devastated, since Kvikk was growing into a rather huge dog too. But I knew this only means I have to keep on training.
Afterwards I raced with him in Nittedal, where the second day I had the chance to run with Spinnvill again, just like last year.
We managed to come in as first woman both days. It was also Kute’s first official race with Mikal on Saturday, where they had a nice run and finished at second place.
The next race was the big goal, the Norwegian Championships in Trondheim. But the route there was a bumpy one… I had a few weeks that were literal hell, before I got a diagnosis from my doctor, that I would not want to share here, but put a stamp on the rest of the year.
However the Norwegian Championship went amazing despite this. I only raced on Sunday, but then twice. Mikal was also racing twice, so we decided that he will try to defend his title for the 7th time with Anti, while I will run with Yuma first, and then with Kute in the relay. I knew that Kute is ready for a mass-start, so this seemed like the right set up.
I was so nervous, I could barely eat or do anything. I was just concentrating on the stuff I knew… Pick up bib number, do my warm up routine by Willian, do my warm up routine for running, get Yuma and jog with him too, and then… start.
I was a bit nervous, since the trail passed by Yuma’s stake-out place, and the beginning was also a big and long U turn basically. Here Yuma wanted to go back to the start, where he saw the other dogs barking and he wanted race with them, but we managed to continue, and then he only looked forward, even when we passed his stake-out place only a few meters away. It was a bit technical trail with some up and downs, but luckily I managed both well. We were going super well, when suddenly Yuma jumped into a puddle. I had a mini heart-attack, but once I told him to continue he just went straight forward. He did not look warm, so I was not too worried, just wanted to hurry up, because I had no idea how we were timewise. We ran in, I felt like I might had a littlebit left in me, but overall think it was a very good effort. And finally the first time ever I ran over 20 km/h average, and it was on an almost 3k long trail with 60m elevation gain. Getting to know that I managed to come in first, with over 20 seconds advantage was just the cherry on the top.
Not long after I finished Mikal and Anti also ran in, and they also won for the 7th time in a row! It was a close race, but I am super happy that they were the faster ones this time.
A few hours later we also started in the relay, where unfortunately Anti pulled a muscle or so, so Mikal and him had to stop. Despite mentally loosing a bit track, we continued, Kute was on fire. My body was not happy about the second round, but we came in at 4th place. Then Sofie did a crazy good round on the scooter with Suunto, and passed 2 people, and then Tessa biked with Petter, closed a bit the gap on the first duo, and secured our second place! Suddenly I understood why people are crazy about relays, this was insane much fun.
Since we were foreigners we got no medals, but getting a first and a second place at the Norwegian championships is not too bad.
The rest of the season I had plans for several races, but it was cut short and we only managed two before Covid-19 hit again. I ran with Kenai on one of them, as the distance was too long for Kute and Anti was still on rest after the Norwegian championships. He was the perfect partner for the longer distance, as I just wanted a steady run.
We managed to grab the first place again, with a big advantage.
The season’s last race was a 1-day race where I ended up running with Petter. It was not the best race of my life, a 40-kilo dog dragging you downhill for 3 km, and getting lost right before the finishline was not the most pleasant experience, but Petter did not seem to mind the whole thing luckily.
We ended our season with another first place.
But once all the other races got cancelled, I got super unmotivated, the track and field got covered in snow, soon the forest was also icy and snowy… And once the on-snow World Championship was also cancelled I could not make myself really train hard. December was for me about skimountaineering and cross-country skiing. I think I have actually moved more than when I am training, but without any plans. It felt good to just lean back a bit and not think about training.
Just before the end of the year I also had the chance to race with Kute on his first ever skijöring race. Of course he was amazing as always. It’s something new to race his 32 kilos after Anti, but he is so focused, it’s a joy to race with him.
And now, after closing the year with some of our best friends I think I am ready to get back to the hard work in 2021.
The last year was definitely not an easy one, and while I am great at posting nice pictures and videos, it’s important to remember that what you see on the internet is usually only the surface of things. Behind every great result there is hard work, behind every happy moment there are many tears and failures, and behind every great turn in life there are some hard decisions. While 2020 was nothing I have planned, and containing some of my darkest days, it has altogether been a succesful year. Eager to see what 2021 holds!
Thank you for our sponsor Mamut Dog Nutrition for the support, and my friends for being by my side. You know who you are!
Also to all the people who trusted me with their dogs… It means the world to me.