Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Where does one start with a race report for something like this:

We landed in Zagreb on the Wednesday before the race, hired a car and drove 200km in the poring rain to Opatija, on the Croatian coast near the race.It was still raining on Friday as we registered.  I had entered on line and was unable to pay! But I had emailed the organisers and it was no problem to pay at registration! With my race number (38) I was ready to rock and roll,  bring on race day...

Ready to run
3, 2, 1 and away we went, the long (41km) and the short (25km) races started together... down the beach I slotted into the 2nd group of runners,  Garmin was telling me we were hitting 4:00/km. The fast pace didn't worry me as before long I know we would start the climb... 750 stairs would take us up and over the road and then on to the trails of the UCKA...

The lead group had disappeared up the single trail. I wasn't pushing hard and the 2 guys I was didn't want to die, so together we climbed through the forest...

Then at about 6km the trail flattened and the 2 youngsters running with me flew off the front.  I looked at my Garmin to see we had already climbed to 800m!!!

Now with hardly a trail to follow the vegetation opened up and ahead I could see the guys following the red ribbons over the rocky ground. On a last bit of downhill I was caught... I didn't let him get away as we ran into a "ghost town", a few overgrown ruins wasn't what was scary, it was the gradient! Garmin was telling me we were at 1000m with another 400m to climb and only about 2km to do them in!!

The guy we had been chasing turned right on and short course and without thinking I followed him... I wish, my race was far from over I still had a mountain to climb before my decent . I just followed the guy I had been with, he set a good pace and I was happy letting him do the work... (Ok in running you all work there is no getting away from it...) Though a forest and up into the clouds...

still climbing
I thought we were moving fast, but I must have been wrong as some guy caught us! Don't worry we didn't really let him get away. 250m of climb done... I didn't close a 10m gap on a flattish section before the last push to the top, instead I took out my cell and took a couple of pictures!
What!!! was someone else chasing us? I wasn't worried I wasn't racing, I was on holiday, out on a hike...

Not the only one there!
That was the top 1400m, time to head down... The couple of 100m were on the road,  but that was all...The road turned right and we went straight, back onto the trails through the forest!  Remember I told you it had rained the last 3 days, well asked any local and they will tell you it's rained for the last 3 months... The ground was wet and slippery. I would like to be telling you how my feet danced over the ground without even leaving a footprint,  but like the 7 guys ahead I was leaving skid marks with almost every step. Had I packed the wrong shoes? I know I have the perfect shoe for the type of ground back home in my cupboard... but New Balance had only given them to me a week before I left and I did have time to take them for a run. And there was no room in the case for another pair of shoes!

Ready for some trails...
I was running in the MT10's and they had been great for the climb and I love running in them... also remember the race has a few short road sections!
With the sun out (except on the high slops of the mountain) and all the rain they had had it was very humid so I stopped at the 2nd of 3 water tables to drink, the water I was carrying still had 23km to last. I left the water table refuelled and full of running... 20, 21, 22 the km were easy and I was happy with my progress... Oh dear another hill, aren't we meant to be going down. My legs were flat I had nothing, so I had to walk!!! (Maybe the sightseeing of the last couple of days was in my legs?)

2 guys past and then a 3rd,  but the hill was over and I had been eating my race food,  so it was race on again.

Look at the view...

One of the pictures
So I stopped and took another picture...

Holiday Dion remember you are already out of the top 5 so why race? Just see enjoy it...

28km and I finished my water!!!
2km to the last water table. While I fulled my pack I was joined by the next guy!  Then another guy pulled in as I was leaving. ..I shot off, the race was back in me, it wasn't about a good position or time, I had 12km to keep those guys at bay... Stop taking pictures, NO just one more too show Dawn.

Don't tell anyone, but I love racing and winning and this little race from 30km to the end was mine!!! We now followed a contour into a valley. I could see the town where we would finish down below, but it was still a long way off...
Came you blame me?
While we ran in the sun and the Adriatic showed off it's colours below I could see the storm clouds on the horizon... but I couldn't see the guys chasing,  so when I left the trail and headed down a tar road I stopped one last time for a picture of a medieval town we were heading too. ( Ok I didn't stop again as the view got even better. )

We ran into the town and left the road to slide down the river (yes the trail was that slippery) and under the road. This was the most amazing km of trail and while I was really only walking and sliding from tree to tree, I loved it!

5 hours had past and as has 41km (the advertised distance) but I was running again along the sea to the finish. 11th place in 5h06:57 Garmin called it: 42.5km with 2150m climb.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

1000 Days

I've always run in the week resting on a Friday then race on the Saturday and a long run on the Sunday.  I've followed a very typical style of program. Yes I've mixed things up and the mountains have called me most weekends and public holidays.

So after a couple of public holidays fell on a Friday I ended up with a 3 week running streak and then it was January...

2012 I decided to make a running year and see if I could run every day! The summer was easy as getting up at 5 to fit in a couple of runs when needed (like every Friday) was no challenge as the morning sun was out... roll on the Cape winter and those 5 am runs in the dark cold and hail ment rolling out of a warm wife filled bed to brave the elements. She thought I was mad... (ok I am! She's not often wrong)

2012, 2013, and now 2014 Sept and still going... last Thursday was day 1000! Now while I think this is amazing in the big picture it isn't. ..

Englishmen Ron Hill started his streak in Dec 1964 and will reach 50 years at the end of this year! Not that I could log a 1 mile 'run' he once did with the aid of a crutch taking 27 minutes!!!

Enough of that I need to pack as I'm flying to Croatia this afternoon!