Last weekend we took part in another half marathon distance after a long, cold winter. It felt so good to wear shorts again and do the running by the sea.
We have decided to arrive two days before the run on Friday night. It was almost midnight and at the time of our arrival a nice hotelier apologized since there was no dinner left. Of course. Never mind, we were full of the world`s best cake from Iztok`s grandma. The next day we were woken up by a small, grey-yellow colored bird knocking on our window. By being so nice to wake us up, a birdy deserved a breakfast, some bread leftovers from the previous night, and soon there was a flock of few small birds and two big gulls on the front yard.
We decided to visit a small town of Grožnjan on Saturday. In a small local Kaufland we found a small piece of my “best-ever” cheese, a goat cheese from the Pag island. Two bites and it was gone. By the way, this cheese has received numerous awards (MIH Dairy Kolan) and it is my all time favorite. Grožnjan is actually a small settlement and it is known as the city of artists. Many houses have been reorganized into painting studios. When returning to Poreč, we registered for the run, got our numbers and went back to pick up some dinner. There was pizza, pasta, potatoes and lots of salad. I also tried some white shark meat and squids and it was more than enough.
On the race morning we were again woken by the same bird knocking on the window. No alarm clock needed. It was time to get up, dress up and eat some breakfast. The start area was already crowded with runners, more than 800 from different parts of the world, the most distant ones came from Kenya. We did some warming up and then it was time to get started with 21 km distance in front of us. The first few kilometers of fast running felt so good, there were three 7 km laps routed by the shore. I could feel the salty sea breeze on my skin and I have decided to speed up in the second lap. I must say I was surprised with how good I felt since there was not as much time invested into training this winter as it was in previous year. The finish line was getting closer and closer, the distance just flew by. I have almost forgotten how good this feels like. Amazing day once again.
We have decided to do it once again next year. It is a well organised event in a lovely setting. The next in line is 42 km of ING Night Marathon Luxembourg. Can`t wait.
On March 6th, Sunday, we took part in Treviso Marathon; 42,2 km run. Well, for the beginning I made three classical pre-marathon mistakes: new shoes worn only for a 5km run a few days before, too much clothes, no chocolate bars in the pocket (the first crackers were available on 21st km). Therefore, I enjoyed running the first 32km, but the last 10 km were a bit painful (or very painful) and I had to slow down the pace.
There is an interesting phenomenon, which I always observe in long distance running. It is the group effect. Though I have I feeling that I am running at a training pace, when I look at my Garmin, I am surprisingly 1 minute faster as it seems to my “internal pace detector”. I tried to explain it with relativity. I could say that I seem faster because some other runners I pass are a bit slower. But this theory falls since Garmin gives an exact pace per kilometer. Well, the other theory is, of course, the group. It is very simple. When you decide to follow a fast group, you somehow become faster too. Up to 40 % faster.
But as I mentioned in the introduction, this was not the case here. 🙂 At least not for the last 12 km…
As mentioned in a previous posts, our unique training runs for future challenges often happend during the night. Not only because the roads are empty, but also because night running seems to give you more strenght and endurance. Though it is cold in this time of the year, it is still full of fun.
This time we did (now already traditional) the so called Jacob”s ladder. It is a 30 km run starting at 22.00 and lasting up to 3,5 hours. Six of us gathered at the starting point, prepared our gear and started running into the bright, clear winter night. The first part was very steep, going up the hill to its highest point. The road then started descending towards the Jakobski dol. We did a U-turn there, ate a chocolate or two and started runnign back the same track. This time the descent was steeper than the ascent. Here is the GPS tracking of our run with 1 km marks.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable run… the best part was getting back to the finish area after getting cold under the winter sky (not to mention the wonderful stars above).
On the last day of 2015 we took part in an annual Silvesterlauf in Graz, Austria. It is an annual event that attracts several hundred runners. The runs starts every year in the afternoon and you can choose the 5km or the 10km course. Iztok took the first and I took the latter. I finished third and that is a great introduction into a new season.
We flew to Indonesia on October 3rd since our plan was to ascend to the highest peak of Lombok, volcano Mt. Rinjani (3726 m), in the first week, afterwards taking a holiday break on Gili Air island and Bali and for the end finishing a marathon in West Java, the capital Jakarta marathon on October 25th
The first week was pretty hard. We have spent first two days in Jakarta and took a flight to Lombok Praya to meet our guide and porters for volcano. Originally we wanted to stay on the mountain for four days, afterwards we were pushed to shorten this period to 2 days, 1 day for getting to the top and going down the next day. The reason for this decision was a stomach ache we could not get through. Most certainly the food was responsible for this condition, since it was a sudden change from our traditional cousine. The porters really put a lot of love in preparing it, so Iztok and I both tried to eat it all. On the first day we made an asccent to app. 2800 metres to put up our tent base. It was cloudy all day long. We were a bit dissapointed since there was nothing much to see, the way up is also very littered. We spent a night in the tent with rats running all around. Pretty scary feeling. 2. 30 a.m. came suddenly and it was time to reach the summit. It was app. 3h uphill and the volcanic sand made it all harder. You took one step forward and slided one step back. We managed to reach the top before the sunrise and it was quite a view. I took some pictures of a crater but my fingers quickly got frozen when not in movement so a quick descent was a no brainer. Coming back to a tent base we took a quick chill out and afterwards it was time to go back down to Senaru village. It took us another 5 hours to the valley. In fact, not many people do the one day up-one day down tour and our legs surely knew why. It was a pretty steep descent, dangerous in places. Luckily, we came down well and without injuries. We decided to spend another night in Senaru village with the monkeys greeting us in the morning. After a short breakfast we decided to start our way to Gili Islands, which we reached in the afternoon.
Gli Air islands and Bali were the best times of Indonesia. Even though we did not want to name it like that, those were our two honeymoon weeks with days spent on the beach, drinking cocconut and milkshakes all day long, cycling around and exploring the island and doing many other things, but most certainly not running. We thought to ourselves that it was a long season this year and we needed a short break from it.
On Bali we visited some famous temples and the zoo. We also had the privilege to meet a lovely French couple celebrating their 20th anniversary of meeting by spending their holidays in Asia. They showed us a wonderful local place for a seafood dinner and we really enjoyed talking to them. It was really great and we hope we will all be able to run Marathon de Touolouse next year.
Our Jakarta marathon was approaching fast. We arrived in the capital two days before. That gave us enough time to find a registration place and prepare for an early morning start-it was a 5 AM start. The race morning started at 3 AM for us when room service brough us some delicious sandwiches and fried potato. I did not want to touch the chilli sauce…as a precaution. Afterwards we took a taxi to the start, which was already crowded with runners, app 10.000 of them on all distances ( 5k, 10k, 21k, 42k). The vibe was really good, no signs of tiredness. But of course, all did not go smoothly. Iztok put mentol cream to wrong parts of his body and got a freezing feeling all over before the start. I had a running nose and a feeling of fever since we have spent the past few days under the air conditionig in our room. Anyway, the start was approaching, the sun was not rising yet and we wanted to complete as much kilometres as possible before the tropical heat and humidity would start. It was a spectacular start and we decided to run this 42 km together since it was our “honeymoon marathon”. It all went great till 21st kilometer when the absence of training after Pula Ironman started to take its toll. I was felling a constant pain in my right knee, probably my “vastus lateralis” resposible. There was no other way than to slow down and continue with caution since I did not want to risk injuries. All in all, it was a lovely 42 km run, with aid stations placed every 2,5 km. They had some really good isotonic drinks for runners and of course ice and water for keeping you cool. The heat started rising and the humidity was felt in every breath. The organisation was highly professional, with volunteers taking their job seriously. For us it was a scenic tour of the city since they closed all the main streets for the marathon route…it was a first row view of all the important parts of Jakarta. We were really expecting that 42th kilometer and the finish line, which we have crossed together. Finisher time is not the type of time to brag with, since it was our “honeymoon marathon” :)… but that is never our goal anyway, the important thing is to finish what you have started.
Now, a few hours after the finish and the McDonalds visit in between we are lying in a bed with pain in our legs and hot chocolate nearby. And not to forget the wonderful medals that we got today. It was really a marathon with a spirit and I heard the word “spirit” 2 or 3 times today…with one runner passing and saying “Your spirit is stronger than this” and the other runner saying “This will not break my spirit”. Sure right, endurance sports are all about the spirit,
We are heading back to homeland Slovenia tommorow in the evening and the most precious thing we are taking with us are all those wonderful memmories we both took part in creating it.
To run a marathon by night is somehow special. We signed up for the one in Luxembourg. Iztok found us a room in a hotel near the airport and foud us an air connection to the place. We arrived a night before. We were really happy with the hotel and took a long sleep the following morning. Afterwards we went to the start area and took some croissants and chocolates to fuel up for the run. The atmospere was really reaxed and joyful. The run started at 7 p.m. and the city of Luxembourg really lived for that marathon that night. The runners were encouraged in every running step. I ran myself a new PB…. 3h and 45 minutes. Hope to beat it in the future marathons….