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Melting snowflakes

It has been snowing! It is officially winter time in my calendar. So, I have skipped the long run I had planed for today and went for a walk instead to celebrate this special moment. I felt like twelve-year-old again, catching snowflakes and imprinting my footsteps in various patterns into the fresh white layer. What is more, I will probably have stiff neck tomorrow because I have been constantly looking up. You know, when you look straight forward – the flakes seem to fall so fast but when you look upwards, they are slowly making their way down. It is magical. Everything seems to be in a time loop, slowed down. I especially enjoy when it is about the 0°C and the flakes are huge. And if you try to catch them, they melt on your hot skin immediately – like they were never there. Nevertheless, today I was satisfied even with the smaller versions. There were so many softies, peacefully floating in the air, and from time to time, I have even eaten some of them. They are so delicious – it is almost like eating icecream. Bon appetite!

Frozen blueberries

I have been horrified after reading news this morning, yet I do not want to dive here into a political piece. Nevertheless, I have decided to go for a hike today and breathe in the last sunny moments of this autumn. According to weather forecast, tomorrow should begin the rainy version of fall and the magnificent views will be hidden for some time. Since I have moved back home from the flatest part of Germany, I have been trying to avoid altitude and steep hills on my runs. It is not an easy job to carry those extra kilos uphill, I get out of breath very quickly and my HR are rollercoasting. Anyway, the central part of Slovakia is everyhing except flat and so I have been recently struggling a lot. So if the climb is steep, I do not even attempt to run. I hike instead. I pack a full camelbak of water, put camera and dry clothes into backpack and turtle my way up.

I rarely pack some food or snacks, I would have a proper breakfast/or lunch before and then I would leave. So, I usually do not refuse any wild berries I find on my way. There is strawberry time in June, rapsberry season in July/August, blue- and blackberries would ripen in August/September, and the last would be cranberries. It is not a secret that the wild berries have more intense flavour when compared to the store fruit. Should I pick my favourite, I would say I love wild strawberries, they taste much better than the normal once. I am less passionate about rapsberries. They are delicious, yet I am repelled by the high number of worms I have found in them – I rather pass this sort of wildlife. On the other hand, I would definitely not hesitate about blueberries and they are definitely higher on my preference list than cranberries are. Nevertheless, it is middle of November and occasionally snowing in the mountains, so I was very pleased when I found some blueberries on the bush today as well. Some of them were frozen, the others were dried. Still, this did not stop me from eating them. 🙂

It was a very sweaty hike, yet I did enjoy the time outdoors. And who knows, maybe the next time I will go there on my ski – and then the blueberries will have already become a lactose-free blueberry ice cream!

 

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Silent dancing and power of a great song

Yesterday, I have been on my almost-daily walk listening to my new favourite song. It is called Bright White by Kishi Bashi – you can listen to it at Youtube. Do not judge it by its name until you have listened to it – would recommend starting right now.

I have to go on record, I cannot sing, I am not able to read notes, I do not play any instrument, and I only took dancing lessons for recreational purpose. However, I like to sing aloud when I am alone. Otherwise, I stick to the lip-singing because I am aware of the horrible sound coming out of mouth when I attempt to sing. The same goes for my dancing skills, I enjoy it mostly by myself when tidying up or in overcrowded places. Nevertheless, Bright White is very impulsive. It makes me run faster and jump over bushes… Unfortunatelly, I have been recently fighting a flu or some kind of cold, so I had to stick to walking-only yesterday. Then the song came up and I had dificulties stay still so I looked around, the air was clear, and I started dancing and singing aloud. It has been a great 4:15 minutes. I would highly recommend a similar therapy if you are feeling down or exhausted. It is a great boost.

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Sunday ride

I have been avioding my bike for too long, so I have decided to take it for a ride this Sunday. It has been another sunny day, yet little windy. I have packed proper jacket, gloves, and some snack into by bag as I knew it will be one of the longer trips. I have been aiming to climb on a saddleback called Certovica.  …

 

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Hiking in High Tatras

The end of running season is appoaching and this weekend, we have attended the last race on the scedule. To clarify the situation, I have not gathered enough courage to acctually sign up for one yet, so I usually accompany my dad or/and my brother and I do the second most important job there is to do. I cheer the racer up – I am very passionate and loud 🙂 .

Nevertheless, it was a sort of local race in High Tatras, in Bobrovec. The organisation was maybe lacking the professional level, yet it was a great race for amateurs. All in all, about 200 runners and the best part was the large number of kids among them! You may think, it is not a big race. However, taking under consideration there are only about 5 million people in Slovakia, and it has been taking place at the countryside – I was impressed by this number. I for sure did not expect so many people to show up. The race was very fast – the track was only about 4k long with 500m altitude gain. Participating only as moral support, I have had time to enjoy the incredible views and nice weather as you can see in the gallery below. The change of scenery was very nice, especially the foggy Liptov in the morning. Afterwards, we prolonged the event by going on a quick hike even higher.

 

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Going to places I used to go before

Today I woke up into a cold, yet very sunny morning. I have been quite lazy the day before so I have decided to start the day in a big way. I went for a run. If  you have read my previous posts, you would notice I usually go the same round – I have been trying to mix up pictures from different spots so you would not notice and I am not sure I did well 🙂 . Nevertheless, I was in a need of something new, so I have went ‘exploing’. Growing up in an apartment located in housing estate, we did not have a garden to play in. However, our playground was quite extensive – surrounding fields, meadows, and woods. One of our favourites was a meadow – we used to call it ‘yellow meadow’, I guess it was because we have discovered it in autumn and the long grass was already dry and yellow. I have not visited it for a long time, so I wanted to check up on that place and see for myself how it changed over the time.

Despite the latest sunny weather some roads are still muddy but this morning the most of them were still frozen. It was a nice change to run just on the surface. Everything was cold and sugarcoated with the ice. I have stopped to take few pictures, you can see for yourself in the  gallery attached below. Eventually, this frosty beauty started to melt and disappeared. When I got to the yellow meadow, I have become little nostalgic and lied down for a moment. The half of it was already turned into a forest but the other half was still yellow. The long dry grass was soft and warm despite the sharp cold air. It was a strange experience. Returning to familiar places from different times. I have been struggling with this lately a lot. It is like characters in your dreams  – they have faces of your friends, yet they suddenly speak different language, and show up on places where they do not belong. It is a mixed feeling, very confusing. I haven not decided yet whether it is a good or a bad one.

 

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Shorter days

With the end of dalight saving time on Sunday night, the days seem to be so much shorter (the sun sets down at 4pm already and in few weeks, it will be much darker around that time!). I would not be upset about it normally but it makes a huge difference to all runners out there. If you want to return home before sunset, or at least before it gets really dark, you have to leave around 3 o’clock. I cannot imagine how the working people manage it. I still have one more winter as a student and I am incredibly thankful that I can organise my scedule as it pleases me. What a luxury when you can head out during a free period. You can always work when it is dark outside but how can you go for a safe run when the sun sets down so early? I honestly cannot imagine running with head lamp and limiting myself on city runs does not seem as a great solution. Anyway, I will have to figure it out before next winter. Till then, I can still enjoy the independance offered by college. From next week on, I will just make myself nice long lunch pauses and return to my desk later.

 

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Architecture, Allnighters and my Health.

I am 25 year old, so up until recently, I have not been worrying about a thing. Majoring in architecture was a real full time job – there is school work, all those extra curriculum activities, occasional teaching, and of course having fun and doing some sport now and there.  I had plenty to do, so I enjoyed myself and did not care much. I took my health for granted and I would only get a cold after my finals were over – never during semester! At the beginning, I thought what a perfect timing. However, the truth is, the amount of stress somehow blocked any possibility of getting sick in my brain. I could pull an allnighter and be fresh for the presentation the next day without driking coffee or taking any other (il)legal drugs. I would build up that amount of stress necessary to stay awake and top it all of, I would double my blood sugar. And I have survived – doing much better than just fine. I am not saying, this would work for everyone as it is a very unique approach. And do not ask me for advioce, how to put yourself into that agony. I did not have any certain ritual for it, it would happen for me naturally.

So, I have survived first years and did not even think about how. Looking back, I would probably do the same. However, with time I have realised my lifestyle was quite poor – considering my health. I have become aware, this cannot go on like this forever. The side effects have started to bother me – I hated shaking hands and not be able to sleep properly, e.g. I have found out, that I could go for several days in the following rhythm: I would work all day, then sleep between 1am and  3am – then wake up (sometimes I would wake up 2.59am before the alarm went on) and keep working, etc. But this way, only my eyes got a chance to relax for a bit, my mind was still on. On the other hand, it was pretty fascinating to me, from the biological point of view, how my body would work like that. More worried I have become when a dull chest pain arrived – this was in last two years. I have been so scared of getting a heart attack that I would put a HR belt on – during work, and sometimes during sleep as well. As my puls was only slightly risen, showing no arbnormalities, my concearn vanished. I have also been getting annual ECG for past four years, as a part of my annual check up at my GP. All in all, I was definitely not having heart attacks and I was able to calm down a bit. At this point, I am very happy I took at least that one duty seriously. [1] However, the pain was bothering me.

My body has survived five year of this torture and to put a proper end to my studies, I have decided to bike home. That final act of moving out of Cottbus this fall taught me few things, you can follow the story in section ‘Run and Rides/2015’. [2] On the second day, two fingers on my right hand started to stiffen and on fifth day an enormous pain striked my back. I thought, that must be those days sitting on bike. However, my condition did not improve ever since. So, I have decided to seek out a professional help and get a physio. I used to laugh at my mom, visiting her masseur every month and I did not understand how it can help. Nevertheless, desperate times call for desperate measures, right? From time to time, a friend of mine would give me a massage but it was more for relax. So, I got to this professional with small hopes / how can she help me. Things cleared out very fast! She started gently, and then worked her way in. After a half hour, I had tears in my eyes. In comic books, the characters see stars when they get hurt – I saw the freaking milkyway in the very last detail! Oh, even thinking about it now, I still get goose bumps. Despite the pain, it worked pretty well. My back is getting better, and I have discovered that those chest pains had been caused by tightened muscles as well. Unfortunatelly, these are located very deep and therefore it is very hard to release the pressure by external force. So, I have started to stretch more and I hope they will go away. The other thigg I have been surprised by was the assymethry of my body. If someone were to tell me, how clicking on mouse endlessly can get once’s back destroyed, I would not believe them. Now, it seems so obvious to me.

The last lesson I have learnt studying architecture, neglecting a body even at early age, will show sooner or later – and it is mostly ‘sooner’. I am only in my twenties, yet I have to start looking out for myself and make up for all those lost years. I was quite naive and up until recently I believed I am still growing up. However, I am already aging!

 

[1] Annual medical check-ups are compulsory in Slovakia if you are a blood donnor like me. Otherwise, you have to pay visit your GP once in two years.

[2] see the link

Signs of coming winter

I have been living close to mountains (2000 meters above sea level) for quite some time. In those years you notice patterns in weather which are anually repeated. In August it rains at 3pm every day and by the end of the month, the fist powder in mountains falls, September catches the second summer, October has a lot of foggy mornings, yet sunny afternoons, etc. So I have learnt how to dress up properly for each season – as there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. And the magical moments happen all around the clock.

So this year was no exception, and by the end of August/beginning of September, we have been freezing and the first powder has fallen. However, this thin layer has melted away within few hours. Nevertheless, a great reminder to wax your ski and maybe get a new pair of gloves! So, going for a run this weekend, I have been soaking in those last sunny moments before depressing November arrives. I cannot say I am sad saying goodbye to summer as I am very passionate about skiing as well. I just hope this winter will offer plenty of snow and seeing the first snow patches on the top of the mountains gives me a good feeling about it. To get into a winter mood, I think about going for a hike up there next weekend and build a snowman! I will keep you posted.

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