Monday 29 October 2012

17th Ljubljana marathon in snow

Yesterday was the day of the 17th Ljubljana marathon. The last Sunday in October has been reserved for this event in the Slovenian capital for quite some time.

Yesterday's weather conditions however, were not something one would wish for. After a night of torrential downpour temperatures dropped to zero Celsius and rain turned to snow all over Slovenia. We woke up into the first white morning this season! Luckily I had anticipated this and changed to winter tires just a couple of days ago.

As I expected, all this did not turn M. away from participating - hardly anything is an obstacle for her when it comes to running.

After a usual morning routine we made our way to Ljubljana. On our way we drove through some areas with quite a lot of snow - at one point there was even a fallen tree partly blocking the road.

Once we reached Ljubljana things looked a little better but still far from perfect. After I dropped M. off for a warmup I met up with a couple of friends. Together we went to the start line and cheered to the crowd of eager runners. On our way there were running-late runners whooshing by us all the time. Obviously not everyone was expecting winter road conditions.

With live music and snow falling down on the excited crowd, the air was buzzing with energy. Group performing on the stage set over the start line was a great choice - the percussion extravaganza group The Stroj made even my heart jump!
There were also many other bands playing at multiple points around the track, helping runners' spirits to stay high throughout the whole experience.

We chose to retreat to a nice bar nearby for a quick drink. After our quick warming up session we proceeded to the finish line.

Some participants obviously did not take the event too seriously - many were dressed up in funny costumes. My personal favorite were a group of Paleolithic runners - with beards, wooden clubs and some even in flip-flops!
We watched the Ethiopian runner Shiferaw Berhanu win the 42 kilometer event (and a check for €15.000,00) in the time of 2:09,40. An excellent time in given conditions.

Because of a lack of practice in the last two months, M. was not so very sure what her expectations and target time should be. In the end everything worked out more then fine and she easily finished her second half-marathon with a personal best of 2 hours 4 minutes and 57 seconds. Congratulations!

Despite far from perfect conditions, 16.441 runners competed in various events in the two days of the event. Although this year's record number of registrations (25.686 runners from 41 countries) seemed enough to break last year's record in participation, they came roughly 2.000 participants short.
I think with the weather we have had, this was a formidable achievement as well. Big thumbs up to all the runners who took up this challenge!


Wednesday 24 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Fishermen at Sunset


Monday 15 October 2012

How to escape bad weather?

Many of my faithful readers know I live in Slovenia. When people hear about it for the first time many imagine a cold country somewhere in the the middle of former Soviet Union.

In fact it is a small country in the very middle of Europe. Slovenia is tucked among its larger neighbors: Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. As with some other things, it also seems like this little diverse county adopted some climate characteristics from every one of those neighboring countries.

No matter how sunny and hot it might get during the summer on that little stretch of Slovenia's Adriatic coast, the hills get freaking cold during the winter months. It is not unusual for temperatures to drop below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) for a week or two in January or February.

As much as I love skiing and the book&TV series where they keep repeating that "winter is coming", I am not too fond of cold, cold winter. That said it should be obvious I try to escape damp, cold weather every winter for at least a week or so.
This year I am already planing an escape trip to Portugal - more specifically Lisbon.
As we are expecting temperatures around zero Centigrade and below at the end of November in Slovenia, we are looking forward to 15 degrees and hopefully less rain in Lisbon. I hope everything works out.

This time we are going as a group of 7 friends. I wish it would turn out to be very much like two years ago when we visited Berlin. Well, actually I am hoping for a little less snow and a lot more sunshine.

Airplane tickets and hostel rooms are already booked. So far it seems like this is going to be a very affordable trip. Both - low budget airline tickets and 4 days of hostel expenses added up to under 130 EUR per person. A bargain if you ask me!

A friend living in UK also wanted to join us but something else came up - he will be going on a Maldives Holiday instead. He found a really good deal through an online flight search engine. It searches for flights from UK to all parts of the world and includes both budget and conventional airlines - a very useful tool indeed.

Nowadays it is not all that hard to get a good deal for a flight. Since we won't be flying from UK we could not use the handy search tool mentioned above, but in the end we found very affordable EasyJet tickets from Venice to Lisbon.
I am really looking forward to this trip. This year I can hardly wait for the cold to come... Just to get away from it for a while, of course.

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