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From fail to trail – a.k.a. “How to outrun yourself within a year”

Croatian version

I remember quite well that first September training session with Zagreb Treking School, beginning of the 2017/2018 season, and those lonely steps towards Maksimir Park, with the inner accompanying comments: “Omg, new people, how am I gonna do this, I haven’t run in hundred years, oh dear, the couch is not this stressful, oh dear this, oh dear that.” A year later, at the first training session, I arrived with only one “oh dear”: “Oh dear, will Β I make it to the advanced group?” πŸ™‚

Looking backwards, it is amazing how we can sometimes become our own enemies, how we can demotivate ourselves, sometimes even punish, leaving it to our inner critic to constantly remind us of our failures whilst shouting “Fail, fail, fail!”.

Objectivelly, the failure doesn’t have to be so grave, but regardless, the subjective burden of such failure is quite often unbearable.


We’ve all found ourselves in a situation where we were our greatest enemies, right? This can last for hours, days, months, years…And slowly, but surely, we fall deeper and deeper, in all possible ways. Anxiety is our best friend, but we don’t want to drink coffee with her every day. We know change is needed. We ask ourselves many questions, searching for answers. Hoping that my experience will help someone find at least some answers to their questions, I will sum up what has helped me to gain certain physical and mental fitness – its maintenance is a permanent process after all.

Ok, we all have our bad days, that’s normal, I don’t believe it is possible to be happy at any given moment; it is good to cry your heart out (even with no PMS-ing!), to listen to the rain all day long in your bed (let’s hope it’s Sunday) and to eat a jar of Nutella in two days (ok, within a day, fine!) :), etc., etc. But when the negativity is present all day long, for a longer period, the things become all the more difficult, the red alarm lights up.

My warning was the day I woke up, got up, washed my face, brushed my teeth, went back to bed; “slept” for a half an hour, had a shower…went back to bed…snoozed for another half an hour, got up, put my shirt on…and went back to bed… You get the gist.

I remembered my highschool, 2nd grade, 20 years ago (wait, what?!) πŸ™‚ when I would go running every day with two friends of mine before school on my hometown’s hill of Marjan. When you’re 16, the last thing crossing your mind is going for a run at 6 in the morning, but this was such a beautiful habit to us; I remember it to this day as one of the most beautiful periods of my life. I would first go to the bakery to get a donut :), then pick up one friend and we would pick up another, and there we were at the start of the track with a mission to run those 1500 m one day in one go. πŸ™‚ (And yes, these were the days when you could feast on a lot and then go running.) πŸ™‚

I remembered those most beautiful times, those athletic beginnings; I remembered that I love running.

You will be awakened by love towards something, but we sometimes sleep so deeply that we need an outside force to wake us up and keep us awake. My most efficient alarm are almost always people. Because when we are with people sharing the same interests, we offer to our mind the necessary break from our own inner critic.

Soon, we realize we all fight the same battles.

Just being and communicating with dear people will do the trick. However, before all of this, we must do our part, take the responsibility for that first step. And when we get there where we set out to, we will be surprised by the bunch of people we will join in running, dancing, singing, painting… πŸ™‚

Euphoria driven by something new will soon start to subside; from deep down we jump to high up, and then we drop to the level in between, which our inner critic will perceive as a new fall. Fail, fail, fail! In these moments I repeat steps 1 to 3. πŸ™‚ I believe the others don’t come to their training sessions with the same enthusiasm – but they still show up. Showing up, repeatedly, is indispensable.

And if we don’t feel like training for such a long time and we are a complete mess wondering “whatta fff…??!” – it is good to test your blood for iron levels. True story. πŸ™‚

When we talk about gratitude we usually relate it to something good, positive, dear and healthy in our lives. And this goes without questioning. Each and every time I would bring myself down because of something, a person in a wheelchair would cross my path that day, or a child just out of chemo, or I would hear a mother on the phone in front of the children’s hospital crying about her son who has been vomiting all day long. “Thank you for the good health – my own and my closes ones’.”, right? But the other day I realized that I started to love all the bad things – in retrospect. All the things that used to drive me mad, I accepted now. Because, as a clichΓ© as it is, if there hadn’t been for the bad then, there wouldn’t be the good now. Β Both the good and the bad has brought us exactly where we are now – if we are now happy and calm, let’s enjoy it to the maximum; if we are unhappy and anxious – it is important to believe that this shall pass.

Nothing is forever. Neither the happiness, nor the misery.

And so, after this one year, what have those first steps given me?

Physically, mentally and sport related?
1. Regular weekly training sessions (x3) and monthly mountain trips > Persistence, good habit.
2. Zagreb Night 10k Race, 11/2017 (finally running 10k below an hour – 64 seconds, wohooo πŸ™‚ ) > Goal achievement.
3.Β Blatersa, 12/2017Β (50k night race on Sljeme Β – we crossed the first part, forgetting most of it was an art πŸ™‚ ) > Acceptance.
4. Morning Gelender League Β (the shortest trail to the top of the mountain, making me love the uphill one day…I think. And waking up early morning. πŸ™‚
5. Dark Combo League, Jan/Feb 2018 (the craziest night treking league – ever! And I am afraid of the dark! πŸ™‚ ) > Facing one’s fears.
6.Β 1M, 3/2018Β (48k of Medvednica Mountain, with incomplete check points.) > Always giving your maximum.
7. Istra trail, 4/2018 (67k of the beautiful trail, and blisters from 35th km)> Sucking it up and getting to the finish line.
8.Β Traversa, 5/2018Β (50k of the daily version of the notorious Blatersa; I was the happiest child at the finish line. Β πŸ™‚ ) Β > Semiachievement of the goal set. πŸ™‚
9. Velebit trail, 9/2018 (26k race after a two-month break due to iron deficiency and the “I can’t stand this freakin’ heat” πŸ™‚ > Back to the game.
10. Znebač trek, 9/2018 (4-hour trekking race that will test your orienteering skills to the maximum) > Not panicking when getting lost.

To be continued… πŸ˜‰

I can’t find the words to describe you this great team of crazy, persistent sports enthusiasts who just happen to run every now and then. πŸ™‚ Quite often during night, in mud, snow, leaves, lost without food or water (or lost with a truck of food and water for the whole class.) πŸ™‚ The endorphins are doing their thing after each training session and race – so what else can we do but charge our batteries for the next day of our lives, to face the best we can everything our life has served us with.

In business?
Focus, focus and focus – bringing new contracts, collaboration, better productivity and enabling faster resolution of daily challenges. And after 7 years I got to give myself my very first, 5-day long, real “I am currently out of office, on vacation and unavailable.” vacation for a good restart. I am reborn! πŸ™‚

Love-wise? πŸ™‚
Blatersa race was a huge milestone, both from the outside and the inside, and it doesn’t have much to do with the running, nor the miles. I had already written about my first blog being posted at exaclty 23:59 at the start of this race. This first blog post meant the beginning of something new; I was not aware of it; all the better, as it wouldn’t have come true. I would have put such a huge pressure on myself. Blatersa was over, I wrote the race report, there were some Facebook posts and reposts, reaching certain people at our trekking club. Khm khm. πŸ™‚

Now, just so you don’t think that I am promoting matchmaking in running clubs :), the gentleman in question and myself were training at the same club for 3.5 months and we didn’t officially meet. Ummm, yes. πŸ™‚ The Speedy would join several times the lower group at our training sessions, we would run shoulder to shoulder, didn’t speak a word. We would meet at a tram to our mountain training session, I would stick the headphones in my ears, turn my head and think “Oh God, this is that guy from the club, we still haven’t even met, I don’t feel like talking to him at all, what about..??” (This was still my “oh dear this, oh dear that phase” and the feeling of imploding in each moment.)

Long story short, yours trully Soldo went to the race, crossed 1/3 of it, froze her ass off, wrote an article about it – how to give up and save that very same ass – and toes and fingers. πŸ™‚ The young gentleman was thrilled (I have proof on a Facebook page!) :), and he finished that race so he knew what I was writing about. That blog post led him to my first blog post, and then to friend request, finally officially meeting each other at a race in Samobor – not long after followed a love request. πŸ™‚ It was love at first blog post – from both sides.

My first blog post was a result of my self-work in the previous three months and finally carrying out my year long wish; and by seeing himself in it, he also saw me.

“I’m gonna puke; omg, booooring, ha, ha, ha.” I laugh, too, each morning, but in a different way. πŸ™‚

Blatersa – connecting people. πŸ™‚

And the challenges for this season; well, my inner critic has turned into my inner supporter, my new mantra for the races is not “Please God, let me reach the finish line within the course time limit.”, but “Come on, be a second/a minute faster than the last year.”, and, on top all of this, I remembered that I love singing. Stay tuned. πŸ˜‰


A new season has begun. What do you love? πŸ™‚




P.S. The love part is published with approval by the young gentleman. πŸ™‚

The start of the Istria trail, 67k
Leaves-bathing at the Ghost of Sljeme trek race, 31/10/2017; child at heart, child at trail. πŸ™‚
Nature. That’s all I have to say.
Improvisation – ’cause we need our toes, and the check point is on the left…no, wait, the right… πŸ™‚



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