For the past 5 days, I have been trying to draft the article on the occasion of the year’s end, but I apparently need a rush of endorphins and all other positive chemicals that usually come about after a race, first ever, long-planned. Sport is a drug. So, there you go. 🙂
I have known about the JGL (Jutarnja Gelender Liga = Morning Gelender League; first Wednesday of the month, 5:30h, Bliznec-Sljeme) for…years… Two years ago I crossed the trail with an acquaintance of mine, but I simply refused to show up at the start of the league. “Oh, it’s uphill; oh, I don’t wanna embarrass myself; oh, I will probably stop and roll downhill.” In the past 4 weeks, I crossed the trail 2 times, but from the top (Sljeme) to Bliznec, and, of course, I was panicking this morning that I will miss that one part, as the geek crossed the trail from the finish line to the start, so it doesn’t count, right? And who remembers that of two years before. What do you think, did I miss it? 🙂 Luckily, there are always people who will take you back to the right trail…
The six of us started from Bliznec at 5.00h. Before the start, I spent 3 minutes turning my GPS on, on the borrowed Garmin, but, apparently, it was too early for my brain synapses to function fully. I had no luck with the stopwatch. The cellphone was showing 5.00h, Garmin exactly 4:57:27 and I just thought to myself that I better reach the finish line at 5:57:27 so that I don’t have to add up. Umm, did not happen. 🙂
The trail to the top was truly a trail towards the stars, as the city under was fog-bathing. And even if the headlamp went off, we had the moon. I was feeling relaxed all the way, in such a zen mode, a walking meditation – it was apparently too early for the Looney Tunes in my head to start with their standard show. At times, I would turn around and see the sparkling spots of people who decided to start the day with the same challenge…knowing that upon their return to “the valley” the harder ones were awaiting…You could almost hear the silence.
I recalled the first Gips trail with ZTŠ in September and thought how the heaviness was reduced, not only in the legs but in the head, too. This is my preferred progress. I didn’t run much, but I usually go this way when I am the first time on a mountain race – even this one where I knew exactly what I was expecting – the only thing I didn’t know was what to expect from myself 5 in the morning. 🙂 Just before the finish line, I started running on the thing I hate most – the stairs! I don’t mind running, cycling, swimming, carrying the 100kg Blatersa backpack…but please spare me the stairs! I admit that I recalled the Rocky scene :), such a cliche! The tiger roared and I pushed…two thirds! Never mind, Margita, nobody has to know…No, wait! 🙂 Upon reaching the finish line I am feeling happiness and disbelief, the results are being written, I am adding up, subtracting, in the end, I added two minutes, I think. Never mind. 🙂 I am being asked to take over the writing down of the results. The Looney Tunes then woke up – “What’s up Doc?! The pen is not working? Your hands are frozen, you can barely write?” D-d-d-don’t know, Doc, the name of this guy, ask him again…” Such a pressure, I am scared that I will not write down all, not to mention that I was glittering to everyone’s face with my headlamp…under the street lights – apologies to you all! 🙂
I soon started to freeze over so we started running back downhill, practically flying and being grateful for a dry trail. What a start of the day! I am still impressed by it all.
I am arriving home and my Mom is shocked, she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Where were you at 5am? Did you change your clothes?! Ignorance is bliss when I am in Split; I don’t have to be updated with all the crazy stuff you’re doing.” 🙂 I fell asleep the night before at 1am, woke up at 3am, too excited for the day in front of me. So I soon took the fetus position on the couch to gather strength for the 2nd round tonight, with, of course, the challenges of the working day and writing of this blog post.
Why am I doing this?
A long time ago, during my running&triathlete days, I did it because of the feeling at the finish line. Heaviness and dark thoughts all the way, but endorphins, pride and enjoyment at the finish line. Now, I am doing it because I am enjoying it all the way…it is extremely difficult…physically exhausting, and the mind is always doubtful. But I truly started enjoying even when it’s rough. And in sports, I am always finding the analogy with life situations, generally with life: Life is muddy, but you gotta enjoy the ride. And we love the mud. 😉 I am also doing it to break the pattern. This is my way, find yours, as you will feel reborn.
The last days of December are always a chance to remember the year that is nearing its end, and I always notice the same phrases, with myself and with others: “the worst ever”, “I have no idea how I survived.”, “The next one will be better.”. Negativity comes in all forms; after all, everyone is carrying their own cross. Either a plastic one, or of concrete…someone’s cross is plastic, but the feeling is as if it was of concrete. Such was mine. The feeling of heaviness is the same. I spent two thirds of 2017 in such a negativity focusing on the problem, instead of on the solution. It was only when I realised that I have to transform the “problem” into a “challenge”, and that I have to focus on the solution, that I freed the time reserved for anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t solve problems, it just eats up your body, knocks you down and paralyzes you in all possible ways…fetus position on the couch. But not with a smile on your face like this morning, but with worries…creating that way, you’re guessing it, more problems.
As for any race that I’ve been in the past 4 months, I am choosing to recall for 2017 only the good stuff, and everything good happened from September onwards when I showed up at the first training session of Zagreb Trekking School and decided to go back to regular athletic practice in a more systematic way. I am grateful to myself for being regular, and to good people of ZTŠ for being…good people. As simple as that. And I received something more.
And then, as the end of the year was approaching, I faced my biggest fear – publishing the blog, 15.12.2017., 23:59h at the start of Blatersa race with my Sport Billy backpack and a crazy craaaaazy head. Breaking the pattern my way, remember? 🙂 I am still impressed by the positive feedback for the blog, people are waiting for new posts, I am recalling my old experiences, and collecting new ones, I am fighting my inner critic who is already shouting that I have reached my limit (Piiih, brrring it on!), I am generating creativity and productivity on the mountain…
And then something wonderful happened, something that you gave up from a long time ago. And it is proof that, no matter how counter it may seem, you are taking the right path…that red marked trail, but sometimes you take the other route, that black broken one, out of curiosity, ’cause you like challenges, you know it is hard, it’s who you are, perhaps you want to take the shorter route…and you get lost…so it takes to cross a hill four-legged style, and moan along the way…push hard uphill, never give up, and always believe. But you reach your goal. Life happens on the other side of fear. 🙂
No matter everything, label the year that ends as “the best ever”, “I’ve lived it.”, “The next one will be like this one – the best”.
My wishes to you:
Chase that experience, break that pattern, face that fear, take that challenge, feed that curiosity, seek that flow….
Hit that run, jump that bike, hike that mountain, swim that sea…quit that job, start that business, lead that team…tell that guy, kiss that girl…pursue that talent, live that dream…be whoever you want to be, as long as that whoever is who you truly seek to be.