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The Road to Istria 110k – the hills, hometown running and our Moms

Croatian version

 

Considering my trail&trek experience in the academic year 2017/2018, culminating miles-wise in April 2018 with 67k (41 miles) on the very same Istria trail, I applied in August to the upcoming 110k (68 miles).

68 miles.

 

 

 

Mom, that amounts to 2 marathons plus another 16 miles. I have never ever run the classic, road marathon, but put me across the mountain and I will reach that finish line. This year, even within the cut-off time. 🙂 And then, I will continue with my hill experiences within several days. I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the sound of those birds, all is well with my heart.

And my mind.

 

And so for the past three months I have been training for Istria trail purposefully: ever since I figured out Strava on smartphone I have been noting down those metres of altitude, miles of longitude and minutes on trails; the poles have become my indispensable aid when it comes to increasing my snail pace on flat and uphill, and they ease my elephant-like galloping downhill; I still have love and extra love relationship with food, but I am happy to say that I have come to a discovery, a confession, and people say that everything starts with being aware of the problem:

Hello, my name is Margita and I’m a sugar addict.

There, I said it. And now when I know the reason of my manic-like purchase of chocolate bars every time I go grocery shopping, and eating that very same chocolate bar not by the time I reach home, but right there at the first traffic lights…I can now move forward. 🙂 PMS-ing cannot be my excuse every time, after all, PMS means Permanent Menstrual Syndrome to me. However, I really have reduced my intake of bad sugars as I feel that I am being better towards myself, I don’t have oscillating moods (my partner will confirm :)), my productivity has increased and I have made progress when training. I only wish the scale would move downwards, but that’s ok, I’ve been told my face has become smaller :), and I guess you cannot have muscles there. But, this Pounds Stick On Me Easily girl still has a lot to do in this matter, and I will remember that on mile 25 with “Never ever will I ever eat a pizza at 9 in the evening! Ever! ” 🙂

For the past three months, Strava has enlisted a total of around 300 miles of longitude, 13 500 metres of altitude, and 72 hours on my trail feet. This is not enough, I know, it should have been the double, or at least half of it; but I do not cry over spilled beans (unless they are made of candy :)). I’ve totalled what I’ve totalled, in both my legs and my mind, and I will use it the best way I can.

2.2.2019. – 30 km of Sava river run-along

I had planned to run that day 20k, but when you feel good you just want to keep the feeling. I’ve completed Jarun lake circle at 13th km thinking that I will just go a bit more further westbound, just 2 or 3 km more where I will reach that bridge. And, just as it happens with my orienteering (in)capabilities and my (no-)sense of miles, there I was on that bridge…7 km later. Now, running that part all alone, with rare passerby, comes with being a bit scared, especially when you’re at km 20 and it feels as if that one person you see is gonna hit you with the stick and throw you in the river (or maybe that’s just me at km 20)… To make matters worse, I had no water, no food, no bus ticket, no money for the bus ticket…And I had wandered on purpose to that spot where you can obviously only hitchike (but then again, the stick-hitting and into-the-river-throwing, remember), and you have to collect the miles, right? And then, all of a sudden, there was noone in my sight range, and it just hit me:

When there’s noone to cheer for you, you gotta do it yourself.

We sometimes don’t want others to see us suffering, right? So when we do suffer, let’s make ourselves our biggest fans to make the pain go away. Always.

24.2.2019. – Hometown half-marathon (Split) – running down the memory lane

In addition to a two-week recovery of muscles I have never felt before, this half-marathon was really emotionally wrecking. Everything was just fine till Poljud, I even outran the 2:10h pacer with the blue baloon, and lived in an illusion for the next 5km thinking that my pace is under 6min/km. Yeah, in my own mathematical world, I guess. 🙂 As I was approaching the area I grew up, I started hyperventilating, my every other inner sentence was something like “Ooooh, I went pool swimming here; we had a boat in this little port; aaaah my first running steps on Marjan.” My emotions were up to my throat, I couldn’t breathe, I had to stop and walk several times. And that circle we ran within Poljud stadium…the first, and up until this half-marathon, the only steps I made on this stadium (apart from the amnesia-inducing Ultra Festival :)) was back in 1999 when I ran the honorary circle for 20th anniversary of Mediterranean Games. There I was in high school again, 20 years later, wearing a white T-shirt with that 3-circle Medit. Games logo. 🙂 And people think there is no such thing as time travel.

Think again.

In 2 hours and 9 minutes I reached the finish line, with my three families waiting for me – I started crying like a little baby, in the middle of Split seafront. My Mom’s first reaction was: “Don’t you worry, child, next time will be better.” What followed was a combination of laughing my pants off and another short time travel back to high school. Mom, I love you. 🙂

17.3.2018. – 1M – the test of all Istria tests

1M was a good 53k,+2600 exam, from Podsused to Vugrovec, up and down on 1M trail. It takes gut to reach the foot of the mountain after 25k and then start climbing the notorious uphill all the way to Sljeme summit. And all you want to do is take the bus, go home, have lunch, a dessert, and hit the land of dreams. But to do that climb 3 times before when training solo…and take all the checkpoints during the race, not leaving behind any like the year before…Progress.

On our way to Vugrovec a fellowship of three formed, the same three fellows who are running 110 km this Friday in Istria. 🙂 For a brief period, a fourth member would join us, but only after she caught us after we outran her while she was drinking beer on Runolist mountain lodge. 🙂 🙂

And it was hard, I was too slow uphill and I couldn’t wait for that one part followed by mostly downhill, when everything should be easier. Unless you have cramps. Gaddamit!

Here we go again. Another how-to-cope-with lesson.

I somehow managed to control the cramp  by strecthing my quadriceps every 10 to 15 minutes as the cramp hit. At least I know what to do in Istria should this happen. We reached the finish line within 10h and 25min, and Strava showed that moving time was 8:25h. Wait a minute – two hours of eating, drinking, stopping, sky gazing, cramp stretching?!?

Kids, don’t do this on Istria trail. Just keep moving.

When I think about it, the past three months have been truly intense in all sorts of ways – I ran the heartbreaking races, I ran to and from my club’s winter training sessions, enjoyed mud running and getting lost on Sljeme, climbed some peaks of Velika Paklenica and feared my own life, I ran for charity causes, translated with deadlines from today till yesterday…and I finally introduced yoga to my morning ritual in the past month and successfully injured my both shoulders. 🙂 But all is ok now.

Or is it?!

 

I’ve caught a cold that I’m now treating with miracle bee excrements, drops, aspirine +C, immense support from my little trail nation, and my caring partner and with my own belief that this coming Friday I will show up at the 22h start line in my non-puffy edition. Let’s be our own biggest fan, always, remember? 🙂

And just a short message to everyone running Istria trail this weekend, applicable to everyday living:

We are alive, healthy, let’s enjoy, we’re gonna nail it!

The finish line is just an added value to what we have successfully experienced miles before this finish line – in Istria, during our training sessions, and in our daily challenges.

And if by any chance you are not pleased for a moment with your results, just remember your Mom:

„Don’t you worry, child, next time will be better.” 🙂 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Vidakov kuk (smiling on the outside, fearing for my life on the inside)
the notorious Mrcina uphill
the longest 9 miles ever
5k run for Mila (with my carrier of bee products for my unexpected upcoming cold)

 

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