Sunday, 9 February 2014

Moats and boats and waterfalls, alleyways and pay phone calls

09th Nov 2013
Warsaw - Zurich - New Delhi - Kathmandu

Here we go again, although this time we took Swiss instead of Aeroflot and picked EBC over ABC. Warsaw - Zurich - New Delhi - Kathmandu. Flight is quick and ok. Just that waiting in New Delhi. Feels like ages, especially that our flight got postponed by two hours. We were sleeping on the benches at the airport like beggars. Altogether almost nine hours or so but finally when we've managed to reach Kathmandu everything went smooth.

Once we've landed in the morning the first thing that we've done was to get our flight to Lukla confirmed and paid.We were not able to do it remotely. We've only made a booking, but finalizing the transaction and paying was not possible from Poland.

With Jacek, with whom I've already traveled to Nepal 2 years ago, we knew the ways and where to go, so this time it was a quick thing to organize TIMS (Trekkers Information and Management System) which we did. But of course there were again problems with pictures. Łukasz replaced Doris and it was him who had to run around and find a photo booth. He did and in fact we were ready to go to Lukla. But we had to wait till the next morning - flights are only in the morning due to better weather and wind conditions. And in case anything goes wrong or if there are delays there is still plenty of time. So we had dinner and beer, or six of them.

It's tiredness. And the best Nepali beer - Everest

This Special - Limited Edition of the Everest Beer is Special and Limited since 2011 at least

Friday, 4 October 2013

Don't let go. Never give up, it's such a wonderful life.

It took 5 years. Six marathon runs. Thousands of kilometers, hours and hours of trainings. And finally on 30th of September, in 40th BMW Berlin Marathon I've managed to reach my aim. I was trying to go under 4 hours since the first run in 2009, but there was always something. Not trained enough, sick, tired, aching foot.
This time, even though I've given up even before the start, I've managed to finish the marathon in 3:56:49. I thought that I did not train well and hard enough. I'm also having very hard time in my private life, so I had the feeling that I'm mentally not prepared.
I went to Berlin with one of my friends. I've asked her to join me after L. with whom I was supposed to go left me. I would not be able to go there on my own, spend there four days hanging around there and being lonely. I was awaiting this event and that trip for almost a year, but when I've realised that he really means it my world and my plans has just fallen apart. I was even considering to give up and don't go there at all. Somehow I've managed to get myself together (for a while at least) and do some arrangements to go there.
Like two years before we were arrived on Friday midday and were staying in Grand Hostel Berlin. Close enough to the city center and to the start and with affordable price. Friday and Saturday we've spent hanging around the city, picking up race numbers (what a line!) and visiting marathon expo.

I was little bit disappointed with the goods that they were selling at the expo. I was not able to find anything that I'd really like and I was aiming to do some shopping there. I've ended up buying CompresSport Calf Guards that I've wanted to check up after the race (but of course forgot to take them with me at the day of the run).

Tempelhof Flughafen = 40. BMW Berlin Marathon Expo

It's the second time I'm in Berlin, and it's the only WMM that I've done
Start of professional inline skaters on Sunday

Tomorrow I'll be passing this gate

At the day of the run we woke up at 6 a.m. Breakfast in the hostel was at 6.30 so it was enough time to dress up and prepare deposit bag. At the breakfast there were also other runners, but we were missing the two lads that we met the day before. We were even wondering if they've just overslept, but in the end they've just skipped it.

No, I'm not gonna run in my pajamas

On the way to the start there were more and more runners appearing from behind every corner. We were especially lucky to meet italian groups. What was scary though, was that once we entered the zone we were not able to find our cloakrooms. They were at the same end - we had low starting numbers - and I've already got stressed and in fact barely made it to the start. In fact at 8.46 I was still in the line to take the leak and the 1st corral was starting at 8.45...

In the end I was not late, I've even started with corral G instead of H, which was good in the end. It exactly was my pace. I've started slower 5:55 and was not pushing myself at all, but was running about 5:40 all the time, some kilometers were even faster, so my average pace was getting lower. Legs were just leading me, no additional effort that I need to do. Is it that my morale went up as I was running the 1st kilometer with L? Or maybe the chance to see him on the finish line? The kilos that I've lost since? Don't know that one. Just know that I was really powerful and felt good till about 35-37 km. This was also the border line that i've set for myself. If when I reach there I still have a chance to beat 4 hrs I'm gonna push as hard as I can. And there was a chance. Huge chance even as my average pace at that time was 3:36, over 3 minutes ahead.

Even though each next kilometer was more difficult I've decided that I need to keep that pace. When I was crossing k 41 the Hurts song Wonderful Life played in my headphones, that gave me some motivation (and I was already counting my steps to 10, and again) and then Varsovie by Brodka. I've crossed Brandenburger Gate with that song and finish line with the time of 3:56:49. Happiness. Euforia. Joy. L. at the finish line waiting.

Km 8. I've caused a lot of swearing when I've stopped to take a picture. At that time I did not care (yet) how my pace is.

Shower, stretching, alko free beer, picnic on the grass, sun, the company that I was dreading to have. The most happy time for a month now. For how long will those 3 hours charge my battery?

Picnic time

Monday was the day of the return. Whole train was full of runners, their families and friends. It was easy to recognise runners, still wearing their medals, blue or yellow bands, running shoes. Or carrying Berliner Morgenpost and discussing their achievements. That was really smooth and painless return to the reality.

View from Berliner Dom. Try to spot me, I'm there.

Monday, 17 June 2013

We both know where I'm about to go

Corpus Christi - excellent time for hiking. Warm already, but not hot yet. Weather in mountains though, can be shity (like 2 years ago). Gladly this year we were really lucky. It was raining every day in other parts of the country, but Bieszczady remained dry (during the day at least).

We've left Warsaw on Wednesday night and arrived in Czarne Górne at 4 am. On the way, just before the destination we were caught by the border guard (luckily not the police as we were definitely driving too fast).

On the 1st day as we were tired we've made only a short trip. Żukow, smugglers trail. Indeed it was more or less flat, but about 17km, so not that little. But very nice and calm track. We've barely met anyone.

On the 2nd day we were extending the trip after each break and finally we've made about 22-24 km, ups and downs. Ustrzyki Górne - Wielka Rawka - Kremenaros - Rabia Skałka - Wetlina

And on the 3rd day as we've wanted to take some rest and have a calmer day we've went to see the grave of the count and the countess and the source of the San River. Another 22km, but this time mostly flat. Stunning views of fully wild nature. There are no cities, villages or even single houses. It was destroyed in the "Wisla" action (II WW).
To fill up the day up to it's border we had an hour of horse riding classes. The same on Sunday - an hour of terrain horse riding. For the more advanced even with gallop.

View from Wielka Rawka

On the Polish-Ukraine border. Somewhere on the way form Wielka Rawka to Kremenaros (Krzemieniec)

Sources of the San River

Source of the San River. Let's have a sip.

Can you spot Marta on the bridge?
On the way back from the Source of the San River

Grave of the count and the countess

On the way to Rabia Skała

Kremenros (Krzemieniec). Border triangle Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia

Ukraine-Slovakia border

Trying to get picture of myself reflecting in the monument

Fasolka - horse riding in Babski Szwadron
Myself - getting ready to ride a horse. First time after a decade,
Who's on the other end....?

Babski Szwadron

The most handsome and friendly foal I've ever met. Just adorable.

And here's bull calf. Also cute one.



Four horsewomen

Thursday, 23 May 2013

"Why do you think you here?"

It was a deal with myself. Neither flying is advised at the moment, nor skiing holidays. But I want to go somewhere. After all I've booked this week off, and I've been awaiting so long. I've traded one week in Val Thorens for one week in Paphos. Snow for sun. France for Cyprus.

That was relaxing and unwinding week. Even the fact that I had 5 euro in my purse and ATMs were not working due to some political and economical problems, did not change my attitude. I was calm as never. Going to sleep at 10 p.m. and waking up around 9 in the morning. I was not tempted at all by the all-inclusive cocktails and other alcoholic beverages or by night clubs and discos. Especially that they were full of oldies. Pensioners from  England, going there in the pre-season to get better prices.
Frankly speaking I did not care at all about all those people. I was having my time there running, walking, resting and reading. Once I've even impressed an old English couple by the fact that I was talking Polish on the phone and reading English. It did not seem right for them. That person is able to read in foreign language.
Port in Paphos. About 5km from our hotel. It was one of our everyday destination. Either walking or running.

It's some kind of fortress, build originally to protect the harbour.

It was kinda windy there

Lighthouse. It's my favourite sight on the island.

There was a dilapidated house in the city center (i.e. in Old Paphos) and it was under a surveillance.

Green Monday, is the first day of the Eastern Orthodox Christian. They celebrate is by having picnics along the seaside and flying kites.

On the way from the harbour to our hotel. It was hilaroius to see this photograph wallpaper.


Cyprus Witch.
We've found this broom under a palm and my guess is that it's dates palm. And usually there are dates at the end of this "stick"

Saturday, 8 December 2012

I got to run, run, run

It seems like ages ago already, but on 21st of October 2012 I've done second marathon this year. What's more the previous one was only three weeks ago. It was 34th Warsaw Marathon, where I've beaten my record by 28 seconds, and reached the excessive time of 4:19:26.
The second marathon was in Amsterdam. 37th Amsterdam Marathon. And even though the break between the two was so short I've again achieved my personal best, which is now 4:15:29.
I've been welcomed at the airport by a friend and his girl-friend. It was so sweet, they've been there with this sign, that is now on my fridge door.

The whole weekend was very relaxing, and except the run we did not do much. Picked our bibs, wandered around, had some food, watched a movie and that's it.

Bib collection

Marijn during bib collection

Amsterdam Olympic Stadium (Summer Olympic Games in 1928). Here the whole marathon infrastructure was located as well as the start and finish line.

At the Stadium. On Sunday morning it looked completely different. Full of runners and barriers to show the way.

My lovely hosts: Maya and Marijn

We've met them picking bibs. They run dressed up in national dutch clothes. They've even had clogs imitation over they running shoes.

Ready? Jump!

I amsterdam. This is the one in front of Olympic Stadium. There is also one in front of  Rijksmuseum and the third one that "travels".

Rijksmuseum. I'm so small.

In the day of the run we woke up rather early. Had our breakfast (of course everyone according to they running routines and habits) and headed to the Stadium. As we were in Amsterdam, Netherlands we had to go there by bike. That was fun. Marijn had his own bike and I was at the back of Maya's bike. That was a little bit tyrying to hold your legs in the air all the time.
Heading off
We got to the Stadium rather early and had plenty of time. But in the end it seemed too short. Lines to the toilets were enormous and I've barely made it to the start. Well there is never enough of those portable cabins.
Anyways, we made it and the whole fun's started. For the first 16 km I've been kept busy cause I've been on the phone and that worked really well. I've almost not realised that I've reached that far. And that was already half way along the Amstel river. We were running among fields, wind mills and tiny houses. 
People made small stands in front of their possessions and were distributing water. That was really touching. What was also touching was, when I've received a sponge from a man who must have been the age of my granddad.
It's completely opposite to runs in Poland where the volunteers are school kids, and here elder people. Even my massage was made by a woman in her 60ties. So different.
I don't remember the second half of the run. Even if I have a look at the race route I'm not really able to recall the way and where we were running. I just remember that the last part lead through Vondelpark and I was exhausted there. But still I was wondering if I'll be able to find my long-sleeve which I've dropped there at the beginning. Hilarious.
When I've reached the finish line with my personal best I was almost crying from the happiness. Or maybe from the tiredness? Dunno.
This is almost the end of the marathon run. On the left you can also see the half marathon timer. There was also 8km run and multiple runs for kids.

Marijn reaching the finish line
At the finish line

The end