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





Salomon Speedcross 3w

Good running shoes makes you fall in love with running every time you put them on. I have randomly tried several brands and models in the past few years. All of them seemed to me to be the same – very springy on the first adventure, yet they would become very sloppy soon. I have to admit, my running style is very questionable. I am aslo not from the lightest weight category, so I ruin shoes very fast. To define what fast mean – I do not run on daily basis and I do not run marathons either. So my older running shoes used to last for about 2-3 seasons. So in the first season the shoes would feel great, yet in the second one they would be ratherflat and not fun to run in while they would still look great. However, I would not throw them away until they were run down on the outside as well. It is not a responsible way to treat your body but I am student and I am not a professional, so the possibility of getting hurt decreases with the small number of kilometers I run.

I was neve picky about my running shoes, I had always someone with me who acctually understood what I need – either my dad or brother. So, they would make some suggestions and I would pick something, deciding mostly based on colour. The same way I have got acquainted with my current once. I did not like the colour at the beginning but they felt really good on my feet, I just had to get them. The joy of running was peaking again – with each step I felt the urge to jump higher and go faster. To my suprise, a half year went by and I have noticed how wore down the grips on the sole were. What is more, after few more weeks the shoe shell started falling apart as well. I have been excited about all the damage on one side, as it shows I have been using them a lot and I have got some good runs in this year. On the contrary, I am not ready to say goodbye to them yet. Surprisingly, they match the most outfits of mine! Yes, at the beginning I was terrified by how colourful they are and now I love them so much. What I value most about them is the fact, that they still feel as springy as the first day I got them. I think this shoes were meant for certain milage and after that they fall apart to prevent you from running in flat sloppy shoes like I used to before.

Otherwise, the shoe is perfect for soft ground like woods or muddy surfaces, etc. The pattern on the sole is simple but very effective. The shoe literaly sticks to the rocks as well! I have got the non-GoreTex version, so they get easily soken wet. Howeve, they dry out vey fast as well. All in all, I have been very satisfied. As I have said before, I am sad to say goodbye to them but buying new shoes is always excited, so I will get over them soon!



Salomon XAPro 3D

I have a great collection of high-heel shoes, boots, and other imaginable footwear which match with various outfits in my wardrobe. I usually do not spend large amount of money buying them as I am glad to throw them away after few seasons and buy new one. I am female, afterall. However, there are only three pair of shoes which I chose very careully – sport sandals/confy sporty flip-flops, light running shoes, and my hiking shoes/the go-shoes. These kind of shoes have to be very comfortable and I always wear them when I want to treat my feet. on the other hand, if I feel like treating myself, I go with fashionable shoes. Despite the fact that I am 1,78m tall, I do not mind wearing 10cm extra. Nevertheless, if I have to get to places quickly and it includes walking longer distances, I would pick one from those four.

So, with approaching winter, I needed to buy a new warm and waterproof shoes. I have been wearing various city models from Salomon for past 8 years, I guess. I have been very satisfied with them, I have never got shoe bites from them! This time, I went for a more sporty model as I intend to wear them on my winter runs as well. Plus, it was important that their sole would be resistant against hard surfaces (e.g. pavement) and it would not wear down quickly.  Therefore, I have recently purchased Salomon XAPro 3D (the model with goretex).

I have been trying on ladies models in store but they would sit so strangely. I did not feel comfortable at all and I would never be willing to pay so much for schoes which do not fit. As I liked the quality of those shoes, I tried on a men´s model. My feet were very happy, so I ended up buying them. The salesman helping me out looked at me sceptically when I asked him to wrap them up but my feet are obiously not female (despite the red nail polish on my toes!). I originally wanted to buy a red version of shoes – it was a very nice deep red, however, only a black once were available at that store. What is more, black is very neutral and and quite practical for weraing them with my jeans when going to town.

The shoe feels very comfortable, no shoe bites so far and it has been almost a month I have been wearing them intensively as you can see how dirty they are! They are a bit stiff when I run, of course, they are no speedcross runing shoes! On other hand, they stick to the surface very well. The GoreTex membrane keeps you feet dry – even after jumping into a brook or puddle. I am very happy with my choice and would definitely buy them again.


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