Mirka Markkula

Monday, August 10, 2015

I must say this opportunity has been a long time coming, I have been itching to publish this. This woman was nominated by somebody I wanted to be an indie runner back when I wanted to make that a thing. I watched her growth on instagram and read her blog, she definately had to be a part of this project. 


I am Mirka Markkula, 31 years old, originally from Finland, now living in Denmark, after some time in Germany. I’m a trail runner and freelance writer. I write for my own blog thislittlebirddecidedtofly.com, also for pavementbound.com. I’m an ambassador for Dirtbagrunners, Ruoto for Flyfishing store, Arctic Warriors supplements, The Natural Goods Company organic beauty products and Prasad Finland ayurvedic supplements.

I’m part of Still Waters Run Deep MCR running crew, the outernational support member. And I run, slow, strong and long. I love to dance, love, laugh, read all the books in the world, be silent in nature, be happy with the little things in the world, living with less is more, and be me. 


Running saved me, literally saved my life. Almost three years ago when I went for my first run in over 15 years, I was drowning in my depression and didn’t know how to get myself out of it. Before that I’ve always been ready to give up, the easier the better. But this time I felt that there has to be something more to life than feeling as low as I was, ready to fall asleep and not wake up again. 

So for me, running is more than exercise, it’s a way to love myself, to see myself in a new and appreciative way, to not give up, to see the world in a positive way, be proud of myself. It’s the thing in my life that keeps me on track without being all I am. Because it showed me how much more I am than just one thing. 


It was terrible, it was really hard and I felt how bad out of a shape I truly was. But something in it made me feel like I need to keep going, a feeling I haven’t had before that in such a long time, maybe never. And I kept going, day after another, and started feeling the change in my mood. I was finally getting that anxious, negative energy out of my system and that made me feel a lot better and my depression slowly give room to new outlook on life.


Street culture to me is the sounds and smells and different people around me when I get out the door. Nothing to do with fashion or stuff like that. It’s all the good we bring with our difference as humans to the place we live or visit. Being able to embrace and enjoy it all, and take it in. I’m so blessed to have friends all over the world, and learn new things from them and take what they have to offer and give what I can in return, feel like the richest person because of all that.


Running culture has brought so many insanely good people in my life, my friendships span over the world. Without running I wouldn’t be able to travel somewhere on the other side of the world and have some friends there. 

Through running I’ve found some of my best friends, who’ve gone through similar struggles and can be there for me just like I can for them. I’ve gotten opportunites through running that I wouldn’t gotten without. Running has brought me love.


The longer I’ve been running, and the more I’ve found the ”run” that makes me the happiest, the less I care about gadgets. I do use a watch to track my runs, mostly just to see my own proggress. But I don’t really check my watch during my runs. I’m into going long and slow and in trail running in general it doesn’t matter about how fast you go, so the watch isn’t there for me to see that at all.

I did use a Nike watch and fuelband before, and felt that the fuelband pushed me to do a bit more than I would without, but I also felt that it made me obsess a bit about it all too. So for me at the moment without all of those is better. Now I use a Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watch with heartrate belt, that shows me all and more than I need in my running.


I’m more than familiar with injuries, my whole past was filled with them, like my start with running. I used to run track when I was a teenager and ended up injuring myself really badly during that time, getting runners knee on both knees. It was all about overtraining and that also made me hate even the idea of running for over 10 years. 

When I started running this time, I went all in and was just so excited and high of it all that after a year I ended up injuring myself really badly, overtraining again. A stress fracture and really bad shin splints. Which gave me the option of being smart about it all and think how I can do better from that one. I was miserable for some time, of course but decided that I rather want to learn something, so I started studying about the body and how it works, reading books about running and anatomy and how different ways of running affect our bodies differently. 

After that I’ve been a lot smarter with my running, learning to take time off when needed, recovering enough after hard runs or races for long enough. Obviously I haven’t been smart all the time, but listening to your body and the will to learn are the keys. I’m all about taking it easy and not going all out all the time these days, we will all get to the finish line, different times but same race, all as great. This doesn’t mean that I don’t respect people who love to train hard and a lot, no, it means that I’ve found a way that works for me the best.


This one is hard for me as I suck saying good things about myself. But I do have to give credit to myself this year for kicking some ass at my second official Ultra race, at Samsoe. My first official Ultra in April this year was a mess with my body, I felt super strong until up to about 30km and then my belly just had a field day of hell the rest of the way, and I ended up walking almost the last 20km, just because I couldn’t get any calories down. I finished it which I am super proud about but it didn’t go like I had planned. Also the reason why I love running long distances, you never know what will happen. 

But on my second official Ultra in June, I started the race feeling super insecure and not good in whole, just wanted to stop the whole thing. Until the first 5km, when I found myself standing on top of this super amazing grassy hill looking to the sea and felt this huge gratitude filling me and smile finding it’s way back to my face. From then on until the 42km pitstop I was just going and enjoying it all. From then, I found a completely new side of myself and pushed harder than ever before. The last 10km I was alone, trucking along and just thinking that I can do it, I can do it. I ended my race, winning the womens race in my distance and being the third overall. Pretty damn proud of that all! Winning was of course awesome, and super surprising, but the fact what I digged out of myself during that race is way more important to me. 

I went over that hump of fear I’ve never gone before, and showed myself that I have so much more in me that I have been thinking. After that race, about a month ago, I’ve been taking it super easy and just enjoying my summer, and I think that’s been the best ever decision with running. I have my next goal this fall, a 100km in UK, and I want to let my body recover and be ready for that when the time comes. Also, feeling that I am okay with whatever happens, because of what has happened in my previous races, I know that I am capable to push on when I feel the worst and finish, no matter the time, but I am also able to push myself to another level that I thought was possible.


To run healthy and run those trail runs and races that come my way. I had a goal of running 3 trail Ultras this year, I’ve done it already so the rest is just enjoying and seeing what running brings next to me. 

I wish to inspire others and hopefully be able to be there for them when/if they need some help or just a partner in running. I don’t really have a running goals at the moment, other than my big one this year, the 100km in November. Because running has showed me how much more I am than only running, so that I feel that I need to explore that side now too.

I started writing after I started running and it has already taken me so far, so with these two, the two things in my personal life that push me forward and show me how much more I am all the time, I will push myself on and enjoy every step of the way.


Social media has been very good to me, to say the least. I’ve found my best friends through it when it comes to running, it has giving me a way to show my journey from depressed and unhealthy to healthier and happier me, to hopefully inspire others in their journeys. I’ve always tried to be very honest in my channels and want to keep doing that. I think it’s important to use social media in a way that is actually helpful, not hide behind the filters. But remember that it doesn’t mean that you need to share everything about yourself. I find inspiration and motivation from it, ideas and support, share the love of/for my friends and keep in touch with my friends who live far from me.

My social media

Instagram: @thislittlebirddecidedtofly

Twitter: @thisbirddecided

Website: thislittlebirddecidedtofly.com


Not sure what this means but for me it’s a color I only use in my running gear haha. I do love the artist Pink, at least some of her songs. But definitely her strenght and awesomeness when it comes to looking a woman and strong at the same time.


Pain… Something I’ve used as a fuel to keep me going, to remind me of that I am alive when something around makes me feel really bad. Also a ”voice” from my body to make me calm down and see how I really feel. Pain is also a way to learn to grow and change the ways you’ve been doing things before. These days I try to be grateful for those moments too when it hurts, how ever it hurts, there’s always a reason for it and a way to learn from it. So pain is not always a bad thing at all.


For me, running has taught me so much about myself that obviously I wish that we all found a way to find something that makes us feel like that. Maybe it’s running, maybe something else. 

But I feel that running is a great way to find your true self, to go through your issues, to feel great about your body and self, to find friends, to learn how to love yourself, be proud of yourself and what you can do, empowering yourself, maybe finding what you should really be doing workwise, so many things. 

And of course it is great way to get in better shape, but for me the mental benefits are way bigger than looking good. Because you feel so much better about everything when you feel good about yourself in your mind.


Do not give up, you are so much more than you ever can think. Remind yourself why you started, on regular basis. Running doesn’t have to be all, it shouldn’t be all. Let it show you all that there can be. Be as awesome as you really are, don’t hide yourself anymore behind something you think you are. Be brave. Go on those adventures you always wanted. 

Believe in the good. Cry when you feel like it, and laugh as much you can. Sing, dance, hug, lovelovelove! Be grateful for what you have and say that you love, and call to your family. Things don’t make you happy, you make you happy. And don’t be so hard on yourself.


I want to be cremated and planted as a tree. I want my loved ones to have a party in my memory and not be sad that I am gone.


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