Thursday, 26 March 2015

Paris, j'arrive!!!

...that was my thought last week, when preparing my baggage for visiting the City of Light for the first time in my life! And for all the things that one visitor of Paris could do (you certainly have in mind a few now), what could I possibly choose? Yes, Running!!!! A marathon would be more than enough, right? There should also be some time for sightseeing.. Not for me!! I have to do an UltraMarathon! The marathon is just not enough for me.. I remembered that a famous Romanian ultramarathoner once said in an interview something like the marathon is difficult for him in sense that it's a too short race and sometimes hard to handle, so he prefers longer distances. At that time I was just at my beginning in the marathon world and it felt weird and incomprehensible to me. Now I tend to agree with him.

Ok let's get to the event: EcoTrail de Paris 2015!!

Of course I chose to run the longest one of 80 km on Saturday 21st, even if my longest race was just 56 km last summer in Salzburg (I've mentioned it here). Got on the flight from Prague to Paris on Friday, made the online check-in late so I found only the line 13 of the Czech Airlines aircraft with all seats free. Hmm.. people are afraid of sitting on line 13? Haha I don't care, let's take seat 13A at the window! It was even funnier at the return flight with Air France, but I'll get to that later ;)

Arrived to Paris, took train RER and then tram to get to the Sport Expo.. first problem: my name was not on the 80 km list! People there were speaking a lot of French and very few English.. anyway they found my race kit after 10 minutes so I could leave relieved. Next problem: some pieces of the required equipment were missing! I couldn't find them in the days before the race but was hoping to buy at the Sport Expo. I found the reflective armband but all the stores were out of survival blankets! And I searched through all of them at the Expo! (What is a survival blanket? See on Amazon) One guy sent me the address of their store somewhere in Paris where there might be some survival blankets left. Luckily, my friends Lisa and Juan were coming later from Vienna and Lisa had a spare survival blanket for me! So I met them later and my equipment was finally complete. Thanks again Lisa!!
Saturday morning found me using public transport again - this time it was free (because of the high city pollution and not of the event)!. Took it with other ultrarunners to St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, somewhere in the Centre of France where the starting point was. I was wearing the T-Shirt with "Romania" from my former running club as I usually do at the big races. I was also curious to see the reaction of the people and also to show that there are also Romanians who come to run and compete in Paris (I was the only one at the 80km race). I hope it helped somehow for a better image of my country, since I saw in the trains and metros some compatriots of mine singing at the accordion and begging for money..

It's almost 12pm. Race time! 
After a speech in French which I barely understood and a minute of silence we took for I have no idea which reason (if someone knows please tell me!)
... I've exchanged the last messages with my coach Alex from Berlin: 
Mihh: yooooo 80km!!!! Goooo!!!
... we counted backwards from 10 to 1.. (yes, me too! I've remembered the numbers in French!!)...
... and Start!!! More than 1700 runners took off for this challenge with the hope to make it to the Eiffel Tower in Paris safe and sound and also in less than 13 hours - the total time limit!
A lot of thoughts were going through my mind.. I am good, my batteries are fully charged, there is no need to push hard now even if I feel fit and ready to conquer the world!! There are a lot of runners in front of me and behind me, just go with the flow and the 80km will just fly in no time! :) my family and friends are at their homes watching me on the live tracking website, I cannot let them down! My coach Alex is surely analyzing everything and thinking about the chances I have to finish this long race. Run run, a nice lake, wild vegetation, some people having a nice Saturday in the land area cheering for us, weather cloudy about 10 degrees C, no rain.. it's a good time for an ultra! I am well equipped, with self prepared honey-lemonade, water, food supplies, change T-shirt, headlamp, survival blanket (!), reflective armband, compression calf sleeves, kinesiologic band for my thighs, buffs and even a Swiss knife and a lighter (you never know how the forest turns into a jungle!). Heavy baggage to run 80km with but still necessary.

After 10 km or so, first problems: biological needs on the way! Hey there is just forest here, let's pick a tree! "Pick me, pick me!" seem a lot of them to say. Ok you look the same to me.. first need done, let's go! No, a bigger need comes up.. runners keep passing on the track, time goes by, but the bare necessities of life can't wait, right? Yes, the organizers said that we should only do our businesses at the checkpoints in the proper toilets. Really?! How can you believe that I can run more than 10 kilometers in this state to wait then 10 minutes at the toilet queue?! I saw that mostly all the runners were agreeing with me.. and what I left into the nature is ecological, trust me! I was drinking only water in the last days, no alcohol. My diet was composed of pasta, salads and other healthy meals. (My coach will also be reading this at some point so that's all I can confess :)) ) So I left the tree, came back on the track much lighter and happier, so what should I think about now? Let's sing something! How was that song again? ... "look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities of life!"
There are a lot of songs one can think of during this kind of run, I could do an UltraRunPlaylist with them! :)
Running and singing and running and singing.. and I am at the first checkpoint at 23km!! Yo cool, a quarter of the race is done! Let's eat and drink well at the refreshment point! Got SMS from coach Alex again, I was on track, 1 hour before the time limit for this checkpoint (CP). Next time limit was at 9pm and CP Chaville 55km. The race went on in pretty much the same way (but no more bare necessities!). My strategy: I've decided to walk on the climbs and also for a while after the surface was flat again, to avoid unnecessary muscular cramps and fatigue. I ran with a constant pace on the downhills and on the rest of the flat surfaces.

40 km done, almost a marathon, new problem!! The 1L of water is almost out and the next CP with water supplies is at km 45. I was not thirsty until km 44, when I felt dehydrated and was seeing each corner we had to take as the place where a lot of water was expecting me.. like a mirage in the desert. We had to climb some steps because CP 45 was up on the hill at the Meudon Observatory! After drinking almost 1L of water and eating some cranberries from my food supplies, I could continue the race. Still at that point I was asking myself: why am I doing this!?! This is crazyyy!!! Lisa just texted me that she finished her 50k in 5h13', amazing time wow!! I still have 35 km to go. Anyway, when restarting the race and seeing the beautiful panorama and Paris I stopped for some pictures. What was the hurry anyway?

 Good mood restored :)

Coach Alex also sent me an encouraging message, next checkpoints were closer and with good drinks and food supplies, so let's just keep running. No particular aches, no cramps, just some fatigue but at this constant pace I can handle it. Still from that point on I wasn't thinking anymore about songs, meanings of life, reasons for me running 80km and other philosophical questions whatsoever. I was focused only on the race, time limits, food and water supplies and to keep the same strategy, not to try anything stupid!

I found also people on the road who where reading the competitors' names on their race numbers to cheer for them: Allez Jean-Pierre! Allez Louise!! Then I passed by.. Allez.. ehm.. Allez la Roumanie!!  Even better, one man said it in my language: Allez.. hmm.. Traiasca Romania!!
Thank you, my French supporters! Allez les Bleus! ;)

I was at CP Chaville km 55 at 7pm, 2 hours before the time limit. Everything ok, but the evening came so I had to turn on my headlamp because the night was coming. The real Ultramarathon was finally starting! No worries, I did a lot of trainings running in the dark forest with my headlamp so I could be used to such situation. It was actually cool!

CP 67km about 9pm, everything fine! Tomato soup, 2 portions for me please!! SMS sent to coach and friends who were expecting me in Paris, another picture to remember this moment and GO to the finish point! Look at it there illuminated and beautiful, seems so close now!! Go Go Go!!!

I was hoping to make it under 10 hours, so I increased the pace when I was running the last kilometers along the Seine in Paris. Race referees were asking me to turn on my headlamp even if the streets were well illuminated. The finish was so close.. but wait! How close? On the website I remembered that the actual track was measuring 78km, but my Garmin watch already showed me 1 km more at each checkpoint. I didn't know Paris so I couldn't estimate how many kilometers were left. 3, 4.. 6? Should I accelerate? What if there is a loop at the end and I run more even if I am at the Eiffel Tower? So I kept my constant pace, walked a bit to recover and then started accelerating. We were super close and turned back to go on a bridge and then on an isle of the Seine!! Hey that's mean, but whatever! I can do it, I am really close.. now a few steps, a lot of people.. yess I am at the Tour Eiffel!

Oh my God! So many people and a lot of volunteers trying to not let them pass on the track so we can go to the entrance of the stairs. Cheers and applause on each side, that's nice! I cannot see my friends though. Anyway I run fast, get a ticket for the tower, then get stopped for a fast package control! Luckily, the knife and lighter went unnoticed so I didn't lose time :) Ok let's run on the steps until the first floor, I can do it. 2 steps at a time, fast fast! I am surpassing a lot of tired runners who go slow on the steps! But I can! Ok let's slow down, 1 step at a time, still going fast. It's soo sooo close!! There is the finish line and a woman in front of me, she is much slower than me. Should I surpass her or not? Noo, let's be a gentleman and let her come in front of me.. who cares after 10 hours anyway?

Medal, finisher T-Shirt, photos, happiness, messages to coach and friends!!! Woohooooo I did it!!!! 80km can't believe it!! I am tired but I could keep on running! No cramps, no injuries, good strategy!

Some random pictures taken by professional photographers:


I am really happy and proud of myself right now. There are of course a lot of things to be improved, but more on that later.
Thanks to my coach Alex for all the advice and support before and during the race, thanks to my family who watched me on live tracking from home. Thanks to Alicia and Joe who hosted me and helped me go around Paris and come back home and to my friends Lisa and Juan who were also supporting me and waiting for me at the finish. Congrats to all the runners, congrats to the winner who finished more than 4 hours before me! Congrats to all the 150+ women who were so brave and well trained to run this race! Thanks to the organizers and volunteers, it was awesome!! Chapeau!

Of course, I won't let you now with the complete story untold. At the return to Prague with Air France, I found a seat on line 14 in the aircraft. No more seat on line 13 for me, because there was no line 13 at all! After line 12 there came directly line 14. We had a friendly flight attendant so I asked her why line 13 was missing. She told me that this is a superstition and line 13 is actually missing from every Air France aircraft! Funny French people :))

Last but not least, thanks to my Garmin Forerunner 305 watch which kept with me for more than 10 hours! Unfortunately, the first 50km are not drawn on the map because of the limited internal storage:



Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Being a cool guy... or not?

Living in a big city in the middle of Europe with a lot of cultures and nationalities mixing up day by day on its streets it's an interesting experience. It surely helps open our minds and see that our mentality which seems normal to us is maybe not the best in every situation.

People who live in Vienna have different needs. It is not one of the most expensive cities, but not a cheap one for sure. There are people who beg on the streets or don't afford a decent life here, but that is also normal for a big city.

Other ones raise money for charity or for helping different NGOs. I am not discussing now the morality of helping people or organizations, because this is rather a controversial subject. I'd better tell what happens to me sometimes when I walk on the streets.

One day, I was just coming out from a store in the city center wearing my office suit. Two or three girls stopped me and then one of them started telling me about the environmental organization she is being part of and how are they going to improve the quality of life for all of us. I won't give more details about this NGO as is it not the purpose of my blog, I can just tell you that I have verified their website and it's real and they're doing what the girl told me about. The girl was of course trying to convince me to donate for their organization. Our dialogue went something like this:

Me: Well you saw me in a suit and you thought I have money, that's why you stopped me! :)
NGO girl: No actually people in suits usually don't stop. You look like a cool guy, that's why I stopped you. And you stopped and talked to me because you're a cool guy ;)
Me: Actually, there were 3 of you coming to me at the same time to me so I stopped because I was surprised :))

Of course, she was just teasing me with compliments to convince me to donate. I am not saying it is good or bad what she was doing. It is a good cause after all. These kind of things just make me think about social interaction and how we act based on our purposes.

The main question that pops into my mind is: if you really think that I am such a cool guy (no matter if I'm wearing a suit or not), why don't you stop me just to have a talk and invite me to have a drink.. instead of asking me to donate money? (I'll pay for the drinks, haha don't worry about that!) Is it so difficult? I'm a cool guy, so going for a drink won't be a waste of time, right? ;)

Cool guy
Same cool guy
There are also people who try to sell you free newspapers to help them because they are poor. If I refuse to stop, they still shout at me asking for some money.

All these happenings come with some consequences from my side. 
The other day, a man with a notebook in his hand was approaching me and I immediately thought he was one of the guys that make you sign on their list to donate money for some charity purpose. My reaction was "No! No!" even before he started talking to me, so he thought I was rude to him and screamed something. But then he left and stopped another man. I don't know what he actually wanted. Maybe I was rude and he was just asking for some information. But that happens after I get constantly stopped by people wanting money from me!

Moreover.. if one day a girl actually stops me on the street and says to me that I seem to be a cool guy and she asks me to go for a drink, the first question that will pop into my head would be: Yeah, sure!.. How much money do you want?! 

But maybe I won't say this and prove that I actually am a cool guy ;)



Sunday, 3 August 2014

Back on the bike!

Breaking News!!!

After more than 5 years, last Friday I rented a bike and went on a night city tour through Vienna!!
Many thanks to the organizers of Friday Nightskating and to CityBike, they made it possible for me. Thanks to me for going out, being able to rent some bikes with CityBike (this was a challenge, too!) and for taking some photos:

The ride would have been perfect if I hadn't left some skin on the Ringstrasse boulevard, after a strong brake on the front wheel which practically catapulted me in a spectacular way over the bike! I'm ok (if you are worrying), I am feeling just some knee and elbow pains. And no, I had no protection, no helmet, as the decision to go out and ride the bike with the group was spontaneous.

Anyway, lesson learned (once again!): Better safe than sorry!

At the end of the night, a good beer with a friend and Vienna's very good night public transport system completed the day! Oh, and the RICE treatment for my knee!

Today I felt better and I could perform a slow run with some intervals for about an hour. Unplanned, unexpected, but nice run! :)


Run, kick, swim & fun!

Hi there, my dear readers!

Long time no blog, I know.. I can see that my previous post here is from the Vienna City Marathon, I am sorry for those who were waiting for updates from my side and thought I got myself lost somewhere outside of the Blogosphere :)

It's not that I have ceased running, swimming or going to competitions, I was busy with work and different activities and didn't find time and inspiration to talk about them. My desire to write again came back after reading one particular Expat Eye blog, but more on this later :)

So here's an update of my sports activities over the past months:
  • May: 10 km of dirty fun at XCross Run at Vienna Donauinsel.. what does it mean? Take a look:
  • Muddy Mihh
  • June: 2 soccer competitions with Team Accenture Austria:
  • Team Austria
    • Ute Bock Cup - local charity competition in Vienna, which our team won! :)
    • EuroSoccer Amsterdam: each year, our company organizes an European soccer competition. This year we were 18 teams of 16 players (11 + 5) and played on the training fields of Ajax Amsterdam. At the end of the tournament our team ranked #5, which is the best ever for Team Austria! Congrats to us!
  • I also ran 14 km in June with my Brother-in-law Alex through the wildness of Berlin in a hot Sunday (35 C)
  • Brothers-In-Run :)
  • And now the Big News: I ran my first Ultramarathon!! 56 km on the trails of Salzburgland with 1300 m elevation gain. Wonderful race, wonderful weather, wonderful landscape: it's Mozart100!! Many thanks to my relay team mate Oana who ran the first 45 km so that I could start my 55-56! :)
  • Details:
    Running or flying? It's an Ultra, you never know ;)
  • Of course I went swimming at a local pool now and then and enjoyed watching the beautiful Vienna from above (the swimming pool is on one of the hills with a nice view) and discovered new trail routes!



Saturday, 26 April 2014

Vienna City Marathon 2014

Running a marathon is always a challenge. No matter if it's your first or if you are already experienced with it. It is a challenge for a lot of ultramarathoners, too. I haven't run an ultra yet, to tell you my real point of view, but the difficulty comes always from the way you treat and prepare each type of race.
Let me start with this simple example: people who know that I already run marathons think that participating in a 10 km race it's piece of cake for me. Well, it's not! The 10 km are a real pain in the ass (and not only!), because I always try to push the limits and to challenge my personal best. Do you think running 100m at top speed is easy? Try it and tell me how fast it was! World class athletes can do that under 10 seconds and they are surely not as fresh as ice when they reach the finish line ;) 

The Marathon is for me the big challenge as an amateur runner. I am aware that without a proper training plan things may go wrong. Being able to run 5km at a pace around 4 min/km is fine, but continuing this way for 10, 20, 40 km is not possible, if the body and mind are not in shape to do it. 

Usually I start my races with good energy and the desired pace, which I try to keep as long as possible. At some point I lose my pace and energy for 500 m  or more, but after that I regain it and recuperate the lost time. Later on, I can feel the fatigue coming up. Depending on how motivated I am to go on, I force myself to keep the pace or I slow down in order to conserve my energy for the remaining distance until I cross the finish line. Of course, for the last 500 m or more I always try to increase the pace and finish with a sprint. Well, this time it was different.

I ran the Vienna City Marathon on the 13th of April with high hopes. My last plain marathon was 2 years ago at Barcelona, when I finished under 3h30'. I knew that there was a lot of space for improvement. I won't bother you with all the details. Let me just say that during the race I had stomach problems after 11 km, which made me take a stop at a toilette. After that, the leg aches started and later on groin pains and calf muscle cramps joint the pain. I stopped several times and decreased my pace considerably, at some point being able to run with just one foot. Of course, the cause was improper training and maybe some bad nutrition choices the days before. The interesting thing in this common marathon story is that I didn't feel tired in breathing and keeping a certain pace. It was just that my body and especially my legs didn't keep up with me. In other words, The Wall hit me in some way every 10 km!

I finished the race in 3h50'. At some point after the 30 km I felt that I was going for a Personal Worst (instead of a Personal Best)!! It did not happen. My PW still stands still at 3h58'. Now I am starting to wonder how it feels to run a marathon in more than 5 hours. I think it's harder, because you may feel that the marathon never comes to an end. You know it ends at 42.2 km, but when will you cross that finish line? Can your body resist or you may at any time stop and abandon the race? If one leg does not want to run anymore, can you still finish the race?

Now some words about the Vienna City Marathon: the Austrian National Anthem and The Donau Walzer at the start of the race, 41000+ participants at marathon, half marathon and relay, a little rainy, temperature about 13 C (perfect for a marathon), cool medal in star shape, enough refreshment points, beautiful castles and buildings, a lot of people and supporters on the route... music too! Not to forget: Erdinger alcohol-free beer at the end of the race! It is really a wonderful race, very well organised in an unique city (the #1 in world according to some studies)!! 

I definitely recommend you to come and run here in 2015! I may be participating again in one of the races, so let me know! ;)

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Amintiri de la Maratonul Piatra Craiului 2013

Sunt multe lucruri pe care ni le dorim în viaţă - pe unele le obţinem imediat, pentru altele aşteptăm o vreme mai îndelungată, iar pentru restul rămânem cu speranţa că va veni şi ziua lor. Pentru mine, Maratonul Piatra Craiului a trecut din a treia categorie în cea din mijloc.

Din 2010 de când am devenit maratonist cu acte în regulă am avut în plan să alerg la MPC, dar am amânat de fiecare dată momentul, deoarece era stabilit mereu în aceeaşi perioadă cu Maratonul Bucureşti. Cum eu m-am considerat mereu un alergător de asfalt şi fiind mereu dornic să îmi îmbunătăţesc timpii la semimaraton şi maraton, MPC a fost ignorat. În toamna aceasta nu am mai simţit că îmi doresc o îmbunătăţire pe asfalt şi pentru că tot a fost anul alergărilor montane pentru mine, am hotărât să mă înscriu.

Totuşi, după cum am povestit la momentul respectiv, tot am participat la MIB 2013. Ba chiar când am primit în seara de joi dinaintea plecării spre Zărneşti vestea că MPC s-a amânat din cauza zăpezii, credeam că voi mai avea de aşteptat să-mi îndeplinesc această dorinţă. Nu m-aş fi aşteptat ca după o lună vremea să se îmbunătăţească şi maratonul să aibă loc fără probleme. Zis şi făcut. Veselie mare, vineri pe 1 noiembrie am plecat din Bucureşti spre Zărneşti cu George şi Bianca şi am ajuns cu bine la cazare la Nea Nelu.

Oraşul era pustiu şi aşa a fost până duminică. Noroc că au venit peste 700 de maratonişti cu însoţitorii lor ca să animeze atmosfera şi să aducă energie pozitivă oamenilor, înainte de iarnă. Iarna venise cu o lună înainte, deşi nu prea a lăsat urme, deoarece am prins în timpul zilei soare şi 15 grade celsius.

O vreme perfectă pentru un maraton montan. Mulţumesc organizatorilor, în special lui Lucian Clinciu, sufletul acestui concurs - primul de acest gen în România (din 2006)! Era ora 8 dimineaţa şi mă aflam în centrul oraşului Zărneşti, un pic supărat pentru că îmi uitasem jambierele de compresie. Partea bună e că singura aşteptare de la acest maraton era să-l termin cu bine. Un pic răcoare, dar eram bine echipat! Am pornit cu un ritm moderat, neştiind prea bine la ce să mă aştept. Primii kilometri au fost prin oraşul Zărneşti, apoi traseul a continuat pe un drum forestier şi apoi prin satul Măgura. Din ce am înţeles, traseul s-a îngreunat puţin faţă de anii trecuţi în zona Refugiului Grind - La Table, unde am întâlnit primul punct de alimentare. Acolo era veselie mare, multă lume mânca, bea şi vorbea ca la o petrecere. :) Mi-a plăcut dar nu am zăbovit prea mult, deoarece mai aveam cale lungă de bătut. La km 15 am ajuns în cel mai înalt punct al traseului - Şaua Funduri, unde am trecut pe partea cealaltă a muntelui. A urmat o coborâre tehnică unde ne-am ajutat de cordelină şi de stânci şi ne-am mişcat încet, în şir indian. Aici a fost un punct în care erau avantajaţi cei care au ajuns mai devreme, pentru că au putut continua în ritmul lor. Eu am avut parte şi de pauze de aşteptare, pentru că nu era loc sau mai veneau pietre de sus. Nu-i nimic, oricum eram în grafic cu timpul, nu aveam motive să mă grăbesc. Eram totuşi frapat de câţiva concurenţi care probabil aveau peste 60 ani şi urcau şi coborau pe stâncile acelea cu un efort similar cu al meu! Respect, domnilor!

Am traversat şi Marele Grohotiş, din fericire am alergat pe potecă, nu ne-am confruntat cu miile de pietre deloc prietenoase. Apoi am intrat din nou în pădure şi am început să coborâm mult şi bine până la următorul punct de alimentare - Plaiul Foii (km 25). Mă simţeam deshidratat după acea coborâre lungă şi sănătoasă. Probabil am mai spus de multe ori: mie îmi plac coborârile! Dau drumul la picioare în voie şi sunt atent doar la unde şi cum calc. Ajuns la punctul de alimentare, dau de altă petrecere şi veselie! Aici am fost întâmpinat de o surpriză foarte plăcută: supă cu tăiţei la pahar! Fantastic! A mers perfect! Am luat vreo 3-4 pahare de supă, plus energizant, apă, suc de mere şi alte bunătăţi de pe masă. Mi-am umplut şi rezervorul de la hidrorucsac, am eliminat pietricelele din alergofi, toate bune! Cu totul cred că am stat vreo 15 minute acolo, ceea ce e totuşi prea mult. Mai rău, setea şi lăcomia au fost aşa rele cu mine căci nu am putut să alerg pe următorul kilometru. Aveam stomacul plin şi mai mult m-am chinuit. Aici e de tras învăţătură de minte pentru altădată! Dar tot nu mă grăbeam pentru că eram în timp util, eram cu peste o oră mai devreme decât timpul limită intermediar de la Plaiul Foii - 6h30'. A urmat urcarea până la Refugiul Diana, de care se temeau mulţi pe traseu. Eu aparent m-am alimentat bine, căci nu am resimţit crampe musculare sau alte dureri care să mă ţină în loc. La un moment dar mă temeam doar că traseul s-a modificat şi nu o mai văd pe Diana. Nu a fost aşa, dar nici încântat de înfăţişarea ei nu m-am simţit, aşa că am continuat alergarea prin pădure. De acolo a urmat o coborâre lungă de 13 kilometri, la care m-am descurcat bine până la ultimul punct de alimentare - Colţul Chiliilor, la km 33. Acolo am făcut greşeala să mă opresc iar să mă alimentez şi să-mi umplu rezervorul, deşi eram suficient de hidratat încât să pot alerga aşa până la sosire. Din păcate iar m-am umplut la stomac şi am mers în loc să alerg, m-am oprit şi la boxe, am mai golit rezervorul umplut inutil şi de abia apoi am reluat alergarea. Cu alte cuvinte, alte minute bune pierdute aiurea. Şi tot eram în timp util, ba chiar aveam şansa să termin în mai puţin de 7 ore.

Când mi-am revenit din nou, am luat-o la fugă în ritm mai alert dar confortabil şi am mai prins din urmă câţiva concurenţi până la intrarea în oraş. Dupa încă 800 m pe străzi am fost întâmpinat cu aplauze şi am dat palma cu diferiţi copii simpatici care stăteau pe margine. Timp final: 06:45:13. Super! Probabil dacă nu făceam greşelile acelea pe traseu reuşeam chiar sub 6 ore. La final m-am întins pe iarbă pentru că era o zi caldă şi însorită, chiar dacă vorbim de 2 noiembrie. Apoi încet încet m-am întors la cazare, am făcut duş şi am dormit. George şi Bianca erau la ora sosirii mele undeva în vârf, aşa că ne-am revăzut mai pe seară, la premiere.

Premierea a fost lungă dar memorabilă, cu invitaţi speciali care au povestit despre aventurile lor montane. Apoi au fost chemaţi pe rând toţi participanţii care au pornit la maraton şi au fost premiaţi cu diplome şi medalii comemorative.

Urcarea spre Şaua Funduri (Mihai Zlăvog)

Fericire la sosire (Flavy Teo)

Mai jos, traseul înjumătăţit pe Strava. Staţi liniştiţi, am făcut şi jumătatea care nu se vede, dar probabil ceasul meu cu GPS mi-a făcut o farsă.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Azuga Trail Race

Acesta a fost un concurs destul de bine organizat la care am participat pe 19 octombrie. Aşa cum se poate deduce din titlu, a avut loc la Azuga! :) Ceea ce poate nu ştiţi dacă nu aruncaţi un ochi pe este că proba la care am participat a fost de 27 km pe munte, constând din 2 bucle cu punctul de întâlnire la baza pârtiei Sorica.
Deoarece Maratonul Piatra Craiului - obiectivul meu montan din această toamnă - a fost amânat pentru 2 noiembrie, aveam nevoie de o cursă pregătitoare pe o distanţă rezonabilă şi cu o diferenţă de nivel satisfăcătoare. În cazul acesta, ATR ne-a oferit 1600m diferenţă pozitivă pentru cei 27 km ai traseului. Cireaşa de pe tort a fost urcarea abruptă de la km 20 pe pârtia Sorica, de la altitudinea 970 m la 1560 m, cu premiu special pentru cel mai rapid pe această porţiune.
Evident, nu am fost eu, ba chiar cred că am fost printre cei mai lenţi, pentru că în primii 20 km am folosit destulă energie pentru urcările şi coborârile de până atunci. Chiar pe coborâri nu am mai avut viteza obişnuită, deoarece era destul noroi pe traseu şi fiecare pas implica o mică alunecare şi dezechilibrare. Chiar dacă am reuşit să mă murdăresc doar până la genunchi, articulaţiile tot s-au resimţit, aşa că am alergat cu grjă şi dureri. Câteva puncte de reper de pe traseu: Cabana Susai, Clăbucet - Plecare, Sorica.
Am terminat cu bine în 4 ore şi 3 minute, dar slab faţă de primii care încheiaseră înainte ca eu să pornesc pe urcarea de la Sorica! :)
Clasamentul general:

Urcarea pe pârtia Sorica (Flavy Teo) 

(Flavy Teo)