Night trainings with ŠPT Pro Tek

Night training runs were “invented” by ŠPT Pro Tek and its leader Gorazd Jordan. So far both of us with Iztok have participated in five such events. This are three hour runs (desired distance app. 30 km) usually starting at 10 PM or at midnight. 🙂

We started in January 2014 with “Polnočna 31ka”. It was a lovely run starting at midnight in front of Mercator center Pobrežje. There were seven of us and we started a few minutes after midnight. It was a flat course in the city and on the outskirts, after 20 km our pace really started deteriorating since it was already 2 AM. One of the coldest runs in my lifetime was “Jacob”s Ladder” in February. ThoIMG_20151206_142109ugh we started at 10 PM it was freezing -15 degrees and a clear winter night with stars on the sky. After three hours of running in winter conditions, we were stone hard, tired… and happy that we finished, A few days ago we started training for the following season and the run was called “3 urni Betnava helikopter”. Why? We did three hours of 2,5 km circles in Betnava. As always, we were awarded with a chocolate medal and a pack of coffe this time.

The following day we went on a short mountain bike training ride on Pohorje and again we were awarded with this spectacular fog view on Maribor. 🙂 We already have a few Ironman distance triathlons in mind to race the following year and in combination with this view the training motivation is only rising. If you try it once, you want to do it again and again. 🙂

Focus – The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Recently, I have come across a book with the above written title. We are probably all familiar with the so called mind wandering. Mind wandering is that constant inner chatter with yourself: all the many things I have to do today; the wrong thing I said to a certain person; what should I say instead; when do I have to pay my bills. What happens when our mind wanders? Our sensory system shuts down and we are not aware of here and now. On the other hand, when we focus on the here and now, neural circuits for mind wandering go dim. Our focus is “situated” in our prefrontal cortex and it is an important executive function for wich we have to try for. Whenever we find ourself in a mind wandering position, it is cruical to bring our attention back to what we are doing. As we practice, we will get stronger and stronger and the first results will come within a week. Our inner chatter rising from our amygdala will get weaker and weaker and our prefrontal cortex will be able to say a clear “yes” or “no” to the inner impulses. Here is a few fact:

  • The most preponderant daily routine to practice in your focus and mindfullnes is meditation. It can only take a few minutes per day.There is a story about a lawyer whose mind was filled with tasks, he was relentless in pursuing his cases, often he would lie awake much of the night thinking about the next strategy for his clients. Then, on a vacation, he met a woman who taught meditation. She led him through the steps in eating one of the raisins slowly and with full focus, savoring the richness of every moment in that process: the sensation as he lifted it into his mouth and chewed, the burst of flavors as he bit into it, the sounds of eating. When we turn such full attention to our senses, the brain quiets its default chatter. Powerful focus brings a sense of peace, and with it, joy.
Source (https://www.uhs.umich.edu/mindfulness)

 

  • There is a famous “marshmallow test” in a legendary study by psychologist Walter Mischel to test the child”s self-awareness and focus. He invited four-year-olds one by one into a “game room” at the Bing Nursery School on the Stanford campus. In a room the child was shown a tray with marshmallows or other treats and told to pick one, Then came the hard part, The experimenter told the child, “You can have your treat now, if you want. But if you do not eat it until I come back from running an errand, you can have two then.” The room was sanitized of distractions: no toys, no books, not even a picture. Self-control was a major feat for a four-year-old under such dire conditions. About a third grabbed the marshmallow on the spot, while another third waited the endless fifteen minutes until they were rewarded with two (the other third fell somewhere in the middle). After two decades, the kids who were better in their self-control in childhood, had less health problems, had not been convicetd of a crime and were financially stable. Bottom line: do not underestimate the value of regular practicing the quitar for your child or keeping the promise to clean and feed the guinea pig and its cage.
  • Good executive functions and emotional intelligence (as cognitive control is sometimes called) predict good math and reading scores throughout school much better than a child”s IQ.
  • The correlation between attention and relative social power shows a simple metric: how long does it take for a person A to respond on an email from a person B? The longer someone ignores an email before finally responding, the more relatie social power that person has. Map these response times across an entire organization and you get a remarkably acccurate chart of the actual social standing. The boss leaves emails unanswered for hours or days; those lower down respond within minutes. There is an algorithm for this, a data mining method called “automated social hierarchy detection” developed at Columbia University. Intelligence agencies have been applying the same metric to suspected terrorist gangs, piecing together the chain of influence to spot the central figures.
  • In countries like USA and Singapore children in second and third grade undergo a specific training included in their school programme. It is called “social and emotional learning” or SEL. This programme boosts their self-awarenees and cognitive control by practicing on child”s focus and mindfulness. Here is a practical example of SEL in schools. When a teacher strikes a melodious chime, the kids silently gather on a large rug, sitting in rows, cross-leged. One girl goes over to the classroom door, puts a DO NOT DISTURB sign on th eoutside knob, and closes it. Boys and girls then find a spot on the floor to lie down, put their stuffed animal buddy (a pink pig, a yellow puppy, a purple donkey, etc.)on their belly and wait, hands to their sides. Then they follow the directions of a friendly voice leading them through some deep belly breathing, as they count to themselves “one, two, three” while they take a long exhalation and inhalation. After a few minutes it end with a voice saying “now sit up and feel relaxed”, and as they do, they all seem to be just that. This exercise in the SEL programme has a name “Breathing Buddies”. There are also many other techniques, like the stoplight. When second and third graders in a Seattle school are getting upset, they are told to think of a traffic signal. Red light means stop-calm down. Take a long, deep breath and as you calm down a bit, tell yourself what the problem is and how you feel. The yellow light reminds them to slow down and think of several possibilities that might solve the problem, then choose which is best. The green light signals them to try out the plan and see how it works. The stoplight rehearses the shift from bottom up, amygdala-driven impulse, to top down, prefrontal executive-driven attention. You can find more about SEL and books about this topic here:http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/ Well, it is worth mentioning that Singapore has become the first country in the world to require every one of its students go through an SEL programme. The tiny city-state represents one of the great economic success stories  of the last fifty years. Singapore has no natural resources, no great army, no special political sway. It secrets lie in its people – an outstanding workforce with an eye towards the future. Also the safest country in the world with lowest criminal rates. I have been there in 2014 and I can tell what discipline and self-control means. It would most surely be worth to bring SEL techniques into Slovenian kindergartens and primary schools.

 

So the universal instructions are these: when your mind wanders – and you notice that it has wandered – bring it back to your point of focus and sustain your attention there. And when your mind wanders off again, do the same. And again. And again. And again. During mind wandering the brain activates the usual medial circuitry. At the moment you notice your mind has wandered, another attention network perks up. And as you shift focus back ( to your breathe for example, if you are doing a meditation concentrated on your breathing a few minutes a day), prefrontal cognitive control takes over. As in any workout, the more repetitions the stronger the muscle becomes. That is the mental gym. You can find more about emotional intelligence on the author”s blog (Daniel Goleman).

 

Falling Walls Berlin, November 2015

On November 8th I was presenting Breaking the Wall of Data Storage in Berlin at the Falling Walls Lab.

Falling Walls is a unique international platform for leaders from the worlds of science, business, politics, the arts and society. It was initiated on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Inspired by this world-changing event on 9 November 1989, the question of every Falling Walls gathering is: Which walls will fall next? Falling Walls fosters discussion on research and innovation and promotes the latest scientific findings among a broad audience from all parts of society.

It was a unique experience, we really made some new strong international acquaintances. After the speech I was asked to give an interview for the New Scientist journal and it was my great pleasure to give it.

At the after Lab meeting Iztok and I had an opportunity to meet some great people around the world, it was really a mind blowing experience to share ideas and thoughts with them.

Berlin

 

Towards the Mandiri Jakarta Marathon, 25.10. 2015

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.

 

 

Ironman 70.3 Pula, 20.9.2015

A Half-Iron distance that took place in Croatia for the first time. Both, Iztok and I, had great expectations but were a bit dissapointed at the end. It started at the registration point on Saturday where they ran out of backpacks with guidelines for athletes. Well, we did not mind but we were a bit more dissapointed in the evening at bike check in where we found out that our run gear should be given away on a different location… Ok, but how to get there. So we gave away our bikes and waited for a shuttle bus to take us there. According to timetable, the shuttle should be there every 15 minutes but after half an hour we gave up waiting and took a regular bus line instead.

We took a pasta dinner near the Arena and ice-cream for dessert since we did not have a meal during the day. We searched for a taxi back to the hotel and took some sleep till 6´o clock. Race morning was a bit cloudy, I was thinking about the water temperature-wet suit swim or no. Hillarious thing happened when we were just about to leave our room to take a breakfast. The water tap in the bathroom did not want to shut down anymore so the water was flowing and flowing… and we were helpless. I ran to the reception, they ordered a plumber and two hours before the race start we had to wait for a man to come and fix it… well eventually the plumber showed up and we were free to take a breakfast. There were some croissants, we took more that 10 of them, and some milk. Few minutes later we were in a cab to the race start. It was a relief to see that it will be a wet-suit swim, since the see was a bit cold already.

We started gathering in the start area…it should be a flowing start, meaning that you have to wait in a start box according to your estimated swim time. We experienced this for the first time and we really liked it since you had enough space to start swimming when it was your turn. One last good luck kiss and the 1,9 km swim started.

 

Swim startRolling swim start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was trying to keep track of swimers ahead but somewhere in the middle one half of swimmers started swimming directly to the shore and the others went right to pass by another signpost. I was confused. I was swimming for 25 minutes and I figured I probably have another 15-20 minutes of swimming. So I guessed that swimming to another signpost is the right way… well I was correct. Later we found out that because of the wind the signposts were translocated off the swim course so the group (us included) which tried to reach them probably did additional 500 metres. Anyway, swim times were not relevant so the organisers later deleted them all and started measuring time when the chip passed the check point at the swim finish.

Entering 90 km on the bike, I was enthusiastic about the landscape that I was about to see…but again I was a bit dissapointed since I spent 3 hours on the bike going uphill and downhill seeing only the bushes and narrow roads in the middle of nowhere. Well, last few minutes on the bike were spent by the sea. Anyway, it was ok. Strong Istrian wind caused some troubles but it was bearable.

I was encouraged when the 21 km run started. I was thrilled because the finish line was placed in the middle of the Pula area. Really nice. The two hour run went by and after few bananas and chocolate bars I got one of the nicest finisher medals. Iztok waas there waiting, he said that probably we will not get much to eat since they ran out of food. Yes they really did. No pizzas and pasta. Anyway, the bear was free and in a bulk.

We took our bikes and bages back and drove back to the hotel, packed our things and headed back to Slovenia. All in all, it was nice but the organisers could do it so much better. Maybe next year.

 

 

Grenka resnica o sladkorju

Nekaj novih spoznanj in znanstveno podprtih spoznanj iz knjige Mastna laž, ki mi je med sprehodom po knjigarni padla v oči. Avtor Dr. Lusting je specialist za otroško debelost in endokrinolog. Že v začetku poudarja, da v večini primerov debelost ne moremo označiti kot posledico vedenjskih navad (večurno poležavanje na kavču, premalo ali nič gibanja), kakor vsi tako radi počnemo, ko se mršimo nad polno čakalnico preveč prehranjenih ljudi, ki iščejo pomoč zaradi povišanega pritiska, povišanih vrednosti maščob v krvi, sladkorne bolezni in njenih zapletov… Radi si mislimo, da so si sami krivi, ne pomislimo pa, koliko dejavnikov pravzaprav stoji za to sliko debelosti in kje je tisto prijemališče, kjer bi lahko začeli ukrepati.

Naj za začetek orišem, kako možgani skupaj s hormoni upravljajo z našim energijskim ravnovesjem. Hipotalamus je delček v možganskem dnu in je pravzaprav kontrolni pano vseh hormonskih sistemov v telesu. Po krvi razpošilja hormonske signale do drugega predela možganov, hipofize. Ta prav tako nato naprej pošilja svoje signale po krvi do perifernih žlez in spreminja naše hormonsko okolje. Vendar se tukaj osredotočimo na hipotalamus, predvsem na njegov ventromedialni del. Vedno, ko zaužijemo hrano, ta predel hipotalamusa pridobi podatke iz želodca oziroma črevesja in lahko že na podlagi tega naredi konec občutku lačnosti. To pa še ni vse. Ta predel hipotalamusa prejema tudi dosti bolj dolgoročne informacije o zalogah maščobe v telesu, ki so kazalnik naše prehranjenosti. To informacijo posreduje hormon leptin, ki ga sproščajo naše maščobne celice. Kadar vse lepo deluje in je leptinski prag ustrezno nastavljen, ta hormon našemu hipotalamusu sporoča, da imamo dovolj energijskih zalog, da lahko kuriš presežke in se dobro počutiš. Prav nasprotno pa je, ko hipotalamus postane odporen na leptin oz. ne zazna, da je energije v telesu dovolj. V tem primeru gre za t.i. leptinsko rezistenco in v tej je treba videti razlog za debelostno pandemijo. Skratka, ker so predebeli ljudje rezistentni na leptin, ki ga sproščajo njihove maščobne celice, njihov hipotalamus misli, da je energije oz. maščobnih zalog v telesu premalo, zato začne s “sit down and rest” postopkom…debele ljudi sili v lenobo, da bi čim bolj zmanjšali svojo energijsko porabo, in jih s spodbujanjem prenajedanja vleče v povečevanje energijskih zalog. Kakor da bi leptin iz maščobnih celic zastonj trkal na hipotalamična vrata, kjer mu nihče ne odpre, da bi lahko predal svojo novico o tem, da je v telesu zalog energije zadosti, celo preveč.

Sedaj pa nadaljujmo z raziskovanjem tega, kaj sploh povzroča leptinsko rezistenco. Vsekakor je poznan vpliv inzulina, če ga je preveč. In katera molekula povzroča najvišje dvige inzulina v krvi. Gre za sladkor fruktozo. Obstaja na ducate študij, ki obtožujejo fruktozo kot glavno krivko za presnovni sindrom in pandemijo debelosti. Fruktoza se namreč skoraj izključno presnavlja v jetrih (v primerjavi z glukozo, ki se lahko presnavlja v skoraj vseh organih). Fruktoza ne prehaja v glikogen in gre torej direktno v jetrne mitohondrije. Ti seveda ne zmorejo presnoviti vse fruktoze, zato se je presežek uskladišči direktno v tolščo. Fruktoza tako močno pospešuje jetrno rezistenco na inzulin in to seveda vodi v povečano izločanje inzulina s strani trebušne slinavke. Visoke vrednosti inzulina v krvi pa polnijo naše maščobne celice in povzročajo leptinsko rezistenco. In krog je sklenjen.

Knjiga ponuja še dosti podatkov in povezanih virov. Vsekakor pa način prehrane,  ki temelji na nizkem vnosu OH in višjem vnosu maščob in beljakovin, ni napačen. Tako da raznorazne paleodiete, Atkinsonova dieta… le niso “mimo”. Kar je nekako v Sloveniji nedeljski standard, torej kombinacija debele porcije OH (pražen krompir) in maščob z beljakovinami (pečenka), bi bilo mogoče pretvoriti v čisto “ugleden” obrok. Recimo korenjev pire s pečenko. Vendar so o že teme za generacije naših otrok, ki bodo zaradi višanja okoljskih “obesogenov” morali toliko bolj paziti na to, kar vnesejo v telo… oziroma natančneje rečeno v kakšnih kombinacijah to vnašajo v telo.

 

 

 

Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl 23.8.2015

On 23. 8. 2015 we were competing in Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl. Iztok volunteered to drive us all the way to Walchsee by car. We started from Maribor at 9 a.m. since the registration office was due to close at 3 p.m. Anyway, we underestimated the road and overestimated our Garmin guide since we needed 8 hours to get there. Yes, we made a turn in Germany to get back to Austria since we did not know the local roads.

We arrived at around 4 p.m. We searched for a nearby camping zone, put up our tent and went to the pasta party. Pasta party was really good, they were offering pasta with tuna, meat and cheese. And desserts for after. Bofore we gave away our bikes in the transition area…. the night was expected to be cold so we had to cover them. Anyway the views and the nature around the lake was amazing, we were expecting the racing morning since the bike course was said to be one of the most beautiful ones in Europe.

Transition area      Bike kit

The night in the tent was cold, really cold. And In the morning the water in the lake seemed really cold. The 1,9 km long swimming distance in the 25 m deep Lake Walchsee was fast and not so cold as expected. After 40 min I managed to get out of it already warmed up for the 90 km bike. The cycling road lead from Walchsee to the diversion to Bichlach. There were ups and downs totaling in 1140 m altitude distance. I must say the wind made it all harder for me, but anyway it was not pushing you to the red numbers. The slightly hilly 21,1 km running course lead around the lake promenade in four loops, past farm houses, in between fields around the lake. The running part got a bit boring since all four laps were the same. I even had to stop for 15 s in a penalty box in my third lap. And I still do not know why. Anyway it was worth getting to the finish line. After the race we ate an enormous amount of various food and enjoyed the rest of the day. We gathered our things, packed our tent and took a long road home – this time using local roads which saved us 2 hours. 🙂

Morning by the lake

ING Night Marathon Luxembourg

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….

Medals
Finisher medals

Extrememan Nagytad, 25.7. 2015

All trainings, midnight runs, evening swims and long hours on the bike eventually lead to a desicion that you are ready for your first Ironman distance triathlon. We completed the application form in April and what followed were the months of intense preparations.  Anyway, it was not so hard… the hardest thing was to combine trainings with working schedules. The most important thing are block trainings when you combine a long bike ride with short runs, just to prepare your leg muscles for this alteration on the race day.  We did 2 to 3 hours of training per day, leading to 10-15 hours of training per week.  Enough to finish your Ironman with some extra mental toughness.

We arrived in Nagytad, Hungary a day before the race. It was already hot and we had to apply and give away our running gear. We had our little pasta party in a nearby restaurant. Dušan, Iztok and I ordered three pasta dishes and hot-dogs. We ate like crazy. Before getting to sleep I took one additional banana because I felt hungry or I was just so tense that every feelling felt like hunger.

We slept in a small hotel an hour away from the swim start. Well, it had no air conditioning, the windows were broken, our bikes were sleeping with us because we were afraid of leaving them outside in our cars. I slept one hour but though this is a lot…some first timers usually get no sleep at all. I felt ready like never before. Amzing feeling, not even for a second there was no doubt that in the evening I will pass that finish line.

We mixed our Iso drinks for the bikes and we were ready to go. For breakfast we had croissants with nutella. Always works. Well the swim start was an hour away. During the ride I kept thinking of the swim. My longest training distance on the swim was 3 km and I though that extra km could bring me trouble. Well we arrived in Gyekenys. The sun was rising, it was a magnificent morning. We gave away our bikes, searched for Dixies… it is all a part of this sport.

We gathered on the shore for the swim start. The priest came in the water to give us a blessing. He raised his arms, the Vangelis playing in the back…I felt so calm, so blessed to be there. It is the moment you can not describe.

Then the gun shot came and the swim started. Iztok gave me one last good luck kiss and rushed to the water. The water was really warm, there were divers looking for us from the depth. I started swimming and not thinking about the distanance. I felt ok, the first lap and the second. No collisions with other swimmers, arms relaxed. Swimming googles started causing some pain after an hour an a half when I was appraching to the end. Otherwise it was a really nice swim with no particular trouble.

Getting out of the water was encouraging, the crowds were loud and you really feel encouraged. I changed my gear, rushed to my bike, ate a banana and ran to the bike out area. The longest part of the day started. There were 180 km ahead in rising temperatures and hot summer sun. I tried to drink and eat every 30 minutes. Iso drink was available every 30 km and of course I took it. There were first 75 km leading to the city and there three additional 35 km circles. The countryside was amazing, sometimes you felt like a lonely rider somewhere in the desert…. and a deep meditative feelling, long, continuous conversation between your mind and your soul and between your legs and your mind. My soul was so joyful, greatful fot experiencing that day in its fullness…and from other bikers faces I could read the same.

Approaching the bike end  I started feelling some pain in my legs, they started loosing power. I had enough of warrm Iso drinks and my stomach started fighting against bananas. I said to myself I guess I will have to run a marathon on gels which I really do not like. But if there is no other chance… My buttock muscles started burning after sitting on a narrow seat for six hours. The wind in my chest seemed stronger. Anyway I was rushing to the finishing arena for the marathon start. I gave away my bike and thanked God and my bike for the great ride we had that day. I rushed to the changing room, found my running gear, got dressed and prepared. I washed my face….I have never seen myself loosing so much salt. The heat must have been high. I felt sunburn all over. Anyway I had a marathon to finish and there was no way to start feelling weak.

The first km on the run felt like hitting stones. The legs were stone hard. We had to do 8 laps, 5 or so km each. I thought to myself, I will sit down in the next lap and take a rest for 10 min. The first hour went by and I did not. Again I thought to myself I will sit down after next 10 km and take a rest for 10 min. 3 hours of running went by and the last hour was approaching. I thought to myself…this is it, the last hour, no way to sit down and relax now….now keep running.

Run

The last lap…I can not tell what keeps you going in this moment…  is it the adrenaline or something more, some inner power you have not recognized before…. The last lap was my fastest running lap in the race. I had some tears in my eyes passing the last check point 1 km before the finish line…. I skipped all the chocolates and bananas by the way and rushed to the finish line. I wanted to remember this moment so I slowed down a bit before passing the line and took few slower steps towards the end. I took my 5 seconds of glory and passed the line. I can not tell what my thoughts were…I was so happy I did it. After receiving my medal I realised I had no thoughts at all… my mind shut down somewhere during the race. I had a feelling I ccould continue like this for miles….

Finish

I was waiting for my Iztok in the finish area, he had some serious trouble with his feet. Anyway he managed to get to the finish line properly. Afterwards we had a »romantic« pasta and beer dinner talking about the race and the day we had…. we decided to sign up for the next Ironman events in the near future, have 2 or 3 next year…. anyway we were so sleepy, sunburned and tired that our main goal for that evening was to get some good and long sleep.

My finishing time was 12h 32 mins and 53 second (1,5h for the swim, 6 hours and a few minutes for the bike,  4 hours and a half for the run). I look forward to beat it in the future.