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sightseeing and other adventures in running shoes

Ring of Steall SkyRace. 2016

For those who are folowing me on instagram (@runingarchitect) might have noticed my trip to Scottland at the end of September. It was a special one, as I took part in a skyrace [1].  I have acctually signed up at on the February 1st, which would have given me plenty of time to prepare if I only were thorough with training. Nevertheless, I have tried to make the best out of it and run a great race. If you are not familiar with skyrunning, you might check out the links attached below. [2]

If I talk about a competition, you have to know, it is not about competing for the first place in my case. However, it was one of the kind experience for me. Entering the race, I was fully aware of my poor shape and I have came up with a strategy to survive. My aim was not to get injured and finish the run before the time limit runs out. For an untrained person like me, 29km and 2500 vertical meters are quite a lot. Plus, this particular event is well known for its technical paths. I acctually used the second part to my advantage as I have grown up in the mountains and have been moving on rocks for some time now. The main struggle for me was lifting my bottocks up the hill. The down part was easy (fyi, there were no flat parts). Neglecting the long-term preparations evoked some panic few weeks before the event. Realising, I went tofar down the road, I decided to plan at least to plan the day. I have learnt the track, its technicalities, I maped out pace and splits I have to manage to make the cut (the time limit was 9 hours, running from 10am till 7pm). Additionally, I spent one week in altitude – better than nothing. I have been very excited to see Scottland, and see all those fast people I have only seen on screen.

We have arrived on Thursday and took a little roadtrip by car as Kinlochleven [3] is quite out of reach by plane. I was very enthusiastic watching those grassy hills behind the window and wanted to jump out of the car right away. It looked so idyllic untill I acctually got out the car and realised, everything was soaken wet. Bummer. At least, there was no way I will run out of water :-)). Thankfully, the weather was amazing. Thinking back, I barely remember rain – definitelly not on my race day! Some foggy clouds prowling over ridge made it look more dramatic and exciting.

I have to say, the organisation was excellent. I think the next race I will run will be a let down, no matter how hard they will try.. I absolutely loved the race tatoos! I was so proud afterwards to finish the race, I did not wash my forearm for a week so it won´t wash off :-)) Following the plan I have established before, I have finished the climb as the very last person. Somehow, I made my peace with that idea before the race. I think it was the most important lesson I have learnt that weekend. You have to assess your skills correctly. If you have unrealistic expectations, you will fail. You have know, how hard you have trained and do not count on any miracles happening on the race day. If your legs are lazy in general, there is no way you will suddenly hop around like a deer (it is a slovak expression).

Taking my chances, I have done a great job on that Saturday – mentally and physically as well. I think everyone with a mediocre fitness level would be able to finish it wihtin nine hours (it took me 8:45, yay. I made the cut!). The only trick was to survive those nine hours out there. Not to burn out in the first climb, not to twist ankle between the rocks, no to slip on the downhill and hurt yourself.. and last but not least, not to go mad and endure till the end. I think the mental part was the most important one and my biggest fear was the silence – you were not allowed to listen to the music. Sometimes, a good song can contribute so much to your run, especially it it is a long one like this.. Nevertheless, I made my peace with this rule and run in silence few trainings as well to get used to it.

All in all, it was one exceptional day fo me. I was so proud of myself to finish it. What is more, I was surprised by how competitive it got even at the tail! I have had a full race experience and yet somehow I managed to pass the finish line with a smile (and outrun some people as well!). The next day, I have got to spectace the main event – Glen Coe Skyline. Despite the hurting legs, I could enjoy so much. All my emotions were somehow hightened – probably due to pain. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was amazing. These guys, they are so fast. You have to see it with your own eyes to be able to imagine it. All in all, I loved the whole trip and on the airport, I have already started thinking which one I will run as the next.. I am still not sure, but till then I have put some pictures together from the whole adventure for you in the gallery below, check it out.

As an arcitectural highlight, I have got to see the GLENFINNAN VIADUCT [4], a pionieer work in mass concrete (from the era before the reinforced concrete) constructed in 1897-98. Afterall, I am an architect. I was very impressed as it is still in use and it did not deteriorate over time at all. I guess most of you have seen it in one of Harry Potter´s movie – I am not sure which one but it certainly attracts lots of people to go to visit it.. And there is still a steam engine passing by every now and then, if you are interested..

[1] the official web site of ring of steall skyrace 2016 here

[2] some nice videos by salomon on skyrunning at their youtube channel here and one of my favourite videos here.

[3] Kinlochleven. 56.713736, -4.962816

[4] read more at wikipedia here

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museum design (2nd year)

TASK

design a museum using contrasts of light materials and mass

LOCATION

somewhere in swiss mountains (without any further specifation)

FOCUS

mass, concrete, wood, light

 

IDEA

Designing a robust concrete shell to withstand the rough outdoors and playing with wooden elements floating inside to present the artefacts. Arraying a set of shells along the edge and opening them up to the south in common area, yet facing nothrern light when exhibiting sculptures. The lower floor with painting exhibition stays completely hidden inside of the hill.

 

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summer house on the skerries (2nd year)

TASK

Filled with the impressions of ferry ride through skerries during the excursion in Scandinavia, design a simple summer house.

LOCATION

skerry coast somewhere in Scandinavia (without any further specifation)

FOCUS

landscape interaction, light, views and connection, family time

PROJECT PARTNER (Models)

Luisa Schulz

 

IDEA

Emphasising the flat and scattered character of the coastline, yet setting contrast to the smooth washed out counturs of the rocks.

The summer house structure was broken into four funtional space units, arrayed on the ridge overlooking the bay and encosing a courtyard to offer a place to directly interact with outside, yet sheltering the inhabitants from cold wind. The horizontality of the landscape  was underlined by the horizontaly streched windows to enable widened vistas.

 

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Sporty Saturday Vol.4 – autumn ride(s) .

I have some news, I have recently rediscovered the beauty of cycling. I know the page is called runningarchitect.com but I have spent the first seven months this year in running shoes and have been looking for a little twist lately. Living in Brandenburg you do not get very far by foot, so everybody rides a bike here..

After finishing the cycling adventure [1]  last September with my dad, I needed a little distance from my mountainbike – it is acctually just a hardtail, so some of you might not consider it to be a proper MTB 🙂 Anyway, spending the winter time in Slovakia and my behind needed some rest, I have focused on skiing and hiking, which has turned into occasional running and I did not miss it until the summer started and I have realised I have no means to get to the beach! I wanted to expand my playground and despite my trips to Saxon Switzerland [2], I felt like missing something.

Therefore, I have bought myself a new bike. After a heated discusion with my closest, we agreed a cyclo cross will be the right choice for me on these flats. It is basically a robust road bike with bigger tires, so you have no problem on gravel roads and can still be fast on proper roads as well. I would have never believed, how much extra speed can you gain by a good bike. Before, I would have rarely finished a ride with a faster average speed than 20 km/h, suddenly I could get up to 24 km/h without any further training.. Nevertheless, I have improved a bit and on good days, I can go 26 km/h – it is still working progress but it feels completely different. On that thought, I might do a separate post on the experience of riding a CX soon as I am quite enthuiastic about it these days. Till then, I have collect at least some pics from my latestest expeditions. The variety of landscape is so impressive here, I have only seen a fraction of the surrounding but there are such huge differences – you can check out the little gallery I have put together for you below. I think that is the main point I love about cycling – everything around you is constantly changing and it gives me a feeling of freedom.

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[1] Long ride: Cottbus-Brezno link for unfinished article here. And I promise, I will try to finish it in the near future 🙂 Anyway, pictures are already uploaded, so you can skim though..

[2] Two older posts and these are actually finished, enjoy reading.. link 1, link 2

Weekend in the hay – Secrets Festival, Berlin

It has been quite a summer. I have so many drafts open, I might need the whole winter to finsh them all for you guys. Nevertheless, I have decided to share at least some of the activities of mine..

You might get the clue from my previous posts, I am a musically challenged person. I like music but I cannot read note sheets, neither do I play any instruments. What is more, when it comes to my playlist on iPod – it is a very unique thing, yet so mainstream. There are some no-gos for me, e.g. hard stuff and german rap. Otherwise, I am very open to any nice song and then I usually comit to it, my roomates could tell you stories about one-song-loops going on in my bedroom for a whole week. This, a rather strange habit of mine, is also a reason why I do not have any favourite interprets and I have not been to many concents so far either.

Despite these facts, I have wanted to attend a festival for some time now. I have been hearing about how great those weekends are and how much fun people have there etc. But never got invited. Who knows why 🙂 So, I when a dear friend ofmine asked me whether I would accompany her, Iwas very excited. We have survived a research project in Italy for one month in one hotel room, this would be another small adventure. Plus, we have not had a girls time since she has become a mom! I had little idea what are we going to attend, I fully trusted her taste (yes, she has one!). It was very spontaneous decision, I cleared my scedule and hopped on the train to Berlin. To he honest, I have struggled when packing and threw onto the pile even my large water wheel and frisbee as well – who knows. The rest was pretty basic – I was surprised how many packing lists could I find online and some of them were helpfull as well.

To my relief, it was not crowded at all. Secrets Festival 2016 [1] was just the right fit for me. We had a great weekend, listening to live music. Even the electro dance party on Saturday evening was acctually live 🙂 However, we spent the rest of weekend on the beach – it took place directly at Kiekebiusch See [3], covered in hay and sand, drinking beer and enjoying the songwriters songs. They were so many street musicans playing there, I really loved it. You can check out the names for yourself in the program [2].

..it would be a shame not to end this post with my new favourite song, so here we go:  Katie O’Connor – Wishing well [link on Youtube]. Let the one-song-loop-party begin! :))

 

[1] official site here

[2] link to the progam and artists here

[3] Kiekebusch See, Berlin N 52.353917,  E 13.537958  here

 

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Sporty Saturday Vol. 03 – Rocking the rocks, again.

If you are following me on instagram (for those who want to join me @runningarchitect) you would know, that I have returned to the Saxon Swizerland few more times. What is more, I have the feeling, I will be coming there more often as that place rocks – so let me show you what I am so crazy about.

Looking at the map, the area does not seem to be so huge. Do not let that fool you, because it is a very large and diverse place. You can go there for an easy family trip with your kids or you can power out and even work in some vertical meters as well. As I have learnt before, the map I have got [1] is not as accurate as it can get – some of the drawn paths are missing in the reality. What is worst, the german marking system sucks. If you have every been walking or hiking in Czech Republic of Slovakia, you would know what I am taking about. You must deliberately want to get lost to wander off a path there. So, to avoid confused looks into my map at each crossroad I would have pass, I have started planing the routes in advance [2] and it turned out to be a great time saver. It would send me to a strange places from time to time :-), but I was able to pick up pace a little bit and run wild. Yeah, I have got some strange and confused looks from people I was passing by as the trail running is a new thing here. However, I have met few guys on the train, who were (judging from their outfits and gear) definitely going for a run there – so I have got high hopes. And now to my favourite part of posts, I have put together few shots for you in the gallery below, please enjoy.

 

[1] Scale 1:25 000, by Kompass.

[2] Using the Suunto watch Ambit3Sport link here and movescount.com.

GPX-file 01 [26k]

GPX-file 02 [12k]

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Sporty Sunday Vol.02 – Saxon Switzerland

Moving to the southern Brandenburg (DE) has at least one great perk – I live closer to Saxon Swizerland [1]. So, I have finally packed a small backpack and went for a hike accompanied by a friend of mine (hence, there are also pictures of me in the gallery 🙂 ). I have already been in the southern part of the mountains before but I think the northern part (everything above the river Elbe) is even more impressive. Mountains never get old for me and to be honest, I haven not seen even half of those charming spots there yet. I am sure, I wil be returning there soon. If you are a fan of climbing on sandstone or you just love rocks, I would definitely recommend putting it on your list. I am sure, you will be able to find some recommendations on the Internet – there are plenty of routes, some are more challenging than others. You can check out our route in the file attached below. The best part is, the most of the paths are completely runnable if you can chatch a breath.. Enjoy.

GPX-file

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[1] You can read more about Saxon Swizerland at Wikipedia.

Enjoying the springtime.

I have a little confession to make, I been very lazy lately – if you are in a similiar mood, you might want to check out my favourite song for these days: Couch potato by Shortstraw [link here]. So, I have decided to at least grab a camera today and go for a short walk in the fields. Afterall, I do not want to miss out the most colourful time of year, plus I have bought myself a real camera. I have got lucky and the sun was out so I hope you will get at least an essence of my little adventure today.

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Lovely lookout points in Brandenburg

Growing up in the mountains, Nizke Tatry (Slovakia), it has been a hard transition for me to get used to living on plain. If you have ever visited Brandenburg or you happen to live here, you would know, how flat this area is. I was used to climb up a hill and be able to see things from above – to gain a certain distance from the rush in the town. It was always easy to find a piece of quiet up there, even though I have gained that perspective only recently. As they say, you become aware of good things only after you lose them. Nevertheless, I am not the first nor the last person longing for opportunity to stuck my head into the clouds. So it should not come as a surprise, there are plenty of lokout points in Brandenburg. Today, I would like to present my two favourites to you – they oth have been built as a part of IBA 2000-2010. Both objects are very interesting, yet not in the same way. If you fancy interesting architecture, you would love Rostiger Nagel. You can take plenty of nice shots there. However, if you are planing on seing magnificent nature and find some peace, you should visit the one at Felixsee.

 

1) Tower at Felixsee, Bohrsdorf.  N 51.616487, E 14.547338

If there is a one sport I have fallen in love with living in Germany, it would be swimming in the pond. I have to admit, I used to be quite scared  to swim in open water, I was horryfied I will get tangled in waterplants and drawn. Yet, going to the beach with my friends and swiming in Groups helped me overcome this fear. So, I cannot imagine spending a sunny Saturday anywhere else than somewhere close to water. It is safe to say, there are so many ponds and lakes in Brandenburg (..and also in Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, etc.). Some of them are muddies than others and soem of them larger beach attached etc. If I were to pick one lake I like the best, it would be the Felixsee (1). The water is so clear, and the lake is quite deep so there are barely any plants there. It is a perfect place for a daytrip in summertime – I would bike there but you can definitely get there by a car as well.

The tower itself is a ca. 30m high wooden structure and you can enjoy a nice view from the top – the lake, vast forests, some chimneys from the powerplants close by, and of course you can find some wind-wheels on horizont as well. To get some impressions, check out the gallery attached below.

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2) Rostiger Nagel, Senftenberg. N 51.527224, E 14.099115

I have acctually heard about Rostiger Nagel in class. So, we have decided to check it out afterwards, yet it was too far to walk from Senftenberg. Considering the fact, we had no clue in which direction the thing was – it was kind of spare-the-moment-trip-and-jump-on-the-train, we have ended up eating icecream in Senftenberg and returned home. Ever since, it was on my list of things to visit one day. So, last weekend I have finally manage to get there. 🙂

The tower is literally a 30m-tall rusty nail (Rostiger Nagel) placed in the middle of a former strip mine landscape which is currently being flooded. It was built out of corteen steel and has some impressive details as you can see in the gallery below. Waiting four years to see the thing, I was a little bit disappointed by this project. it might be a very impressive object but the landscape around is still transforming and I missed the opportunity to lay down on the beach and swim in the lake.

 

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