Sunday, May 31

Stupid, argh!!

I am not running Adidas Sundown Marathon again even if somebody pays me, or even if the bloody thing is FREE. Fuck it.

First of all, the bloody thing starts a midnight. Which means that yeah, you have to run at midnight. Which is generally a time at which yours truly is deep in ZZZ - this is because i usually go to bed early (around 10-11) and as a consequence I am up early too.

Next, what better way to run than with super tight hamstrings from yoga. But I guess you forget about the super tight hamstrings when your previously sprained-but-never-healed ankle starts acting up around km 3. It acts up so much, that because of your funny running, your right knee gives in around km 10. And thus, the last 39 km were an exercise in whining and coaxing, with stops and stumbles at every water stop and then in between when i felt that my knee or my ankle just couldn't take it and i will have to walk the rest of the way. Luckily, they just needed a wee bit of rest and I could be on my plodding way again. The last 6 km, mostly uphill, found me repeatedly telling myself, "yeah, I can do 6/5/4/3/2 km ... COME ON!!, I can do this, only 6/5/4/3/2 left ..." Something that never happened before - i breezed through the last 10 km in my previous two marathons.

To whomever set the route for Adidas Sundown: you my friend should be cursed to run it at night as well. We had to cross zillions and zillions of expressways, which meant that we had to go on steep uphills followed by steep downhills on all crossovers. Furthermore, the crossover at km 26 HAD STAIRS. It's seriously dangerous to put stairs for runners especially so late in the bloody race, me thinks.

To the organizers of the last 2 km stretch of the marathon, you should be doomed to run it as well. Not only did this come after a uphill portion but after km 40 there were no markings at all. None. Zip. Zilch. Nothing and nobody to tell you which way to go, no bright light to see, nothing ... Top this with the fact that we had to run through a parking lot to get to the bridge that was about 100m before the end line and you have yourself a bunch of very confused runners. I cried real tears of frustration because i couldn't tell which way to go and I met up with a car and thus had to wobble out of its way.

To say nothing of the fact that for the first 5 km the singaporean air (about which i had forgotten while running in the dry air of Romania) hit me with all its might. To say nothing that this was a race for which I should've trained better.

All in all, I am NEVER running a midnight race again. Not even if it's free. And I am NEVER running a marathon without me being in tip top shape and feeling that I am ready for it. What I did was stupid. I should have just given up and probably I would have, had I had any opportunities. But it was 1am, then 2am, then 3am and I didn't see any emergency stations, nor any cabs on the streets. And had this race been something that I knew I could do (had it been standard chartered for example), I guess it would have been easier to quit. For all marathons from now on my cut-off time will be 4:30. I will not run a second above this cut-off time (unless I am 2kms or so from the finish). This one was 5:00 in which i felt every second.

Lo and behold! My ankle! It's looking forward to long physio sessions!!!

Saturday, May 30

The climbs

Well, the climbs were done in THE place that is closest to my heart so far and which leaves me in tears whenever I leave for long periods of time. Below are a few pictures, but they do not do this place justice. It's called Lacu Rosu (Red Lake) (for climbers, over 300+ routes on exceptional limestone!!!)

My father, his gf and their kid. The background massif has one of the multipitch routes i LED!

Bicaz Lake, the biggest artificial lake in the country (I think).

Cow doing yoga in the middle of the road.

There be mountains in the background.

The canine population of Lacu Rosu has to thank three wonderful dogs, two of which I've chosen when they were wittle puppies . Pictured is me with one of them (Bush) (I know Sandra will cringe when she will see this). They have grown immensely but I still see them as my little babies to the dismay of people passing the house. Below is Marian with Dark, and me at one of the climbing crags with Dark stealing the show.

And now, the climbing... Not that many days (still have to spend a lot of time with my family - haven't seen them in two years) but the climbs were amazing. I LED multipitch routes!!!! It was a super frightening feeling to be scared shit and still acutely aware that you are responsible for somebody else's life and thus you must get over the stupid fear or else you are never going to get out of there. I guess that sums it up. First up, a 40m 6a+ route with Edelweiss growing on a lot of its ledges! We were a bit early and most of them were still dried up, but still they were very beautiful.
Yours truly was frozen shit because the sun hadn't arrived to our neck of the woods.

Edelweiss, for sure my favorite flower. Here is how they look like when they are in bloom.

Another one (dried up)

The view (that lake is the red lake)

Frozen but happy Marian.

Me with ill fitting helmet.

Now, if this isn't the picture of happiness I don't know what is.

6b+? that I couldn't finish and had to downclimb

Proof of shame:

6a to wipe the shame:

Another multi-pitch route ... Involving two chimneys and a small roof

And this spectacular edge (have to go on top of it with super rope drag - I kept thinking: omg omg omg please don't have marian tight now :)) )

A happy Marian:

And finally on top:

The rest of the pics can be found here.

Monday, May 25

The best run of my life. So far.

30 km on a scenic route with snow covered mountains behind and in front of me. The first 5 km incredibly hard because of the sick slope and the dry, cold air (thank god my father, his gf/fiancee?/wife? and I scouted the route the day before so i knew blessed downhill awaited me after the 5 km). Sweet companion for the last 15 km in the form of a dog. She ran with me for the whole 15 km! Encouragement from seeing my father and adriana in the car, every time just around the bend. 2hrs:50 mins.

[WARNING! Pics of me in tights follow!]

Tuesday, May 12


Well, first of all, sorry for not updating anything. I know that not having easy access to the interwebs is no excuse so I will not attempt to say anything. Hmmm... writer's dilemma ... should I dish everything out here or should I give it out one thing at a time?! Well... I guess I will go about it as soon as I have pictures to show what I've done. So I'll start with the later part of things, with Marian and I visiting Iasi, a very old and picturesque city, bursting with history and culture (and unfortunately, lacking jobs) Hell, who am I kidding?! It's gorgeous!! We did a blitz krieg visit that encompassed most of the important places in Iasi, from old churches dating from the sixteen hundreds to places to eat (as many as mihai and mariuca could find, being new in town) and amazing for me, to some pastry shops where they sell amazing saraigli (a cousin of the baklava), which is now officially the only sweet thing that I can really eat. To my shame I couldn't take that many churches (hell, I gave up after 3 of them) but I hope I will still get eternal salvation when the shit hits the fan. Lo and behold, the pictures!! Sorry about the horrible quality, but Marian forgot to bring Bobby so these are taken with my phone! Can you imagine, he FORGOT!!!!

1. Books!! If there's anything that I would stay forever in Iasi, then that is the number of book selling places like this one:

2. Contrasts!! The university in the background is called Alexandru Ioan Cuza, but the guy in the statue in front of it is Alexandru Lapusneanu. Minor mishap, I am sure ... Notice the tulips!

3. Statues! Everywhere! It would take me ages to explain everyone!! Writers, rulers, thinkers, teachers, lawyers, you name it, they have it! (Sorry about the phallic obelix)

4. Spring! There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing that brings out the beauty of a city than spring (not even everlasting summer like in Singapore). Observe ...

6. Memorial houses! Writers, painters, etc. everybody that ever lived in that city and brought something to this country will have his or hers memorial house. Covered in flowers, of course, because it's spring!! The first one that you see there is covered in lilac.

7. Style! Below is a mural in the University. Yup. There's this hall in the university that has its walls covered in murals by a very very famous painter.

8. Little glitches. Like the statue below. The pedestal says that it belongs to Stefan cel Mare, a famous (and brave) romanian ruler, but the statue itself is that of a polish general. Or the gipsy clan taking one of their own to be baptized. In a church! (may you live a long life little Colea). Or the cleaning mops hanging behind a famous tombstone.

9. Churches. EVERYWHERE! And they are absolutely beautiful and full of history and stories (the way i see it, anybody who was anybody in the old days built a church, a very safe way to redemption i suppose).

10. Last but not least, what good would a beautiful city do if you didn't have good old friends to share it and the c-cold with?