Nov 28, 2011

One Step Forward!

It has been more than one month since I ran the semi-marathon at MIB 2011 in Bucharest. I considered that race to be the closure for the 2010-2011 season, even though I still ran some minor orienteering races and one asphalt cross. The major point of this month was the Inguinal Hernia Surgery. It has been a important decision for me, and I hope it will prove a good one because I am still recovering after it, and still didn`t start running. Many thanks to my friends that visited me in hospital and the ones who supported me from home with their good wishes! Hopefully I will be back on track starting with 5th of December, because that means I had only one week to prepare for the winter training camp at Cabana Steaua - Forban. I will be working this year with a athletics coach and I hope the results will be better than last year.

Talking about last year... I hesitated a lot of talking about the last season because I just didn`t know where to start. It was a good year for me I belive, with some good results in athletics races such as mountain races (marathon etc.) and also a PB on the semi-marathon distance, only one week after MPC 2011.
In orienteering, this year has been a loop between good and bad performances, and that is something I need/want/will change for next year. This is a promise I made to myself!
As a person, last year was great because I made a lot of new friends. The most important of them is Daniel Stroescu. I started mountain marathons with him from a joke and now we can`t stop!
There are a lot of people I think I should mention, that had impact on me last year but I can`t forget about Marius Anghel and Ionut Zinca. They are the ones who brought me back to sport and showed me the way, so I will be always thankful. I don`t want to miss anyone from the list, so that is why I won`t do the list public. But I bet everyone knows that they are on the list. A big thank you to everybody who read my blog last year; I promise some surprises for next year.. so keep reading!

CS UNIREA Alba Iulia - prize giving ceremony

Looking forward to 2011-2012 - Let`s just hope the Maya had it all wrong ! :D

P.S. I didn`t forget you guys from the list: Adi Pasol and Alex Nimara!

Oct 12, 2011

Bucharest International Marathon 2011

This is how I ended 2010-2011 season!It has been a great year and I was lucky to end the season with a international race in my home town! Thank you Daniel Stroescu for this chance...

I will post soon my thoughts on 2010-2011 season and my wishes for 2012!

Oct 6, 2011

Marathon Piatra Craiului 2011 - Second Encounter

Before I start this post about this year`s edition of Marathon Piatra Craiului, I belive it`s better to go back 1 year, and read about the ground stone for everything I have done this year. It changed me not only as a runner but also as a person!
So, after last years MPC I was very excited about running marathons again. What I did all year was for this ultimate goal. A lot of training and preparations in order to get better and better.
I was nervous and very excited about the race for the last 2 weeks. It was the only thing on my mind!A lot of questions, ideas, emotions kept me a lot of nights from sleeping.
The night before the race was better than I expected, because I could sleep until 4 in the morning. We went to the starting area early. I got my place in front of the starting line. So there I was, back again where it all began.

This time I knew it won`t be like last time. I have more experience and I am better prepared, both mind and body are ready for the challenge. I met with a lot of friends in the start area and after some small talk with my friend Balan, the organizers started counting: 10, 9, 8, 7....1, START!
I started fast and was in the first groups. I knew that I have to keep it up!The only problem was that I was feeling heavy, my feet were not responding very good to this speed but I pushed myself until the first CP at "La Table".

There I took a gel and drank some water and everything went ok after that. I need to thank Flori for her help with refilling my water bottle.
On the climb to "Saua Funduri" I was alone for most of the time. I knew that I can climb very good and so I did. Before the race I told Daniel that I can reach "Saua Funduri" in less than 2h. I was very happy to see my time: 1:58:57.
I knew that my weak spot is the steep downhill from "Saua Funduri" to "Marele Grohotis". On this steep downhill I was passed by Zsolt Kovacs and George Robu and in my back was Gica! When I saw him, I started running as fast as I could but in my back I heard someone running very fast, and to my surprise, it was my friend Andrei Tale!In my mind I thought that if Andrei is in my back and George passed me then I`m not doing a good race. So from that moment I started running even faster. Cosmin and Bulgaru were waiting for me before "Spirlea". I changed the water bottle and drank some RedBull and I was on my way.Thank you guys for the great support and for the nice pictures!
I never looked back from that point because I knew I had to do my race. I was lucky that I saw Zsolt in front so it was a good motivation to catch him.
I reached "Plaiul Foii" in a very good speed, passing Zsolt and seeing some other runners in front, including George.
I knew that I am fast on the climb to "Diana" and that I am not afraid of it! The only problem was that I started having some muscle cramps on the inside of my right foot (because of the hernia), so I walked for some meters, took a gel and drank some isotonic. Zsolt caught me and I was with him for the first part of the climb.
We were seeing George and 2 other runners in front. My cramps were gone so I started pushing. After half of the climb I caught George and after some more meters another guy that was not feeling very good!It was such a relief to reach "Diana"!

I hate the downhill from Diana, and this time I lost again time like last year..George caught me, but we stayed together and after some more minutes Zsolt came with a big speed and passed us!I asked George if he wants to finish with me the same time and when he said yes, for me was a morale booster. After the last CP, I took the lead, with George very close to me. We had a big tempo from there and caught Zsolt. We asked him to join us but he said his batteries are dead. We entered Zarnesti and sprinted for the finish!Everybody was cheering and it felt damn great!The official time was 4h39min58sec, 8th place in 18-29 category and 14th in the Open Category!(I have the same time as George, but probably he passed the gate a bit in front of me).
My objective was somewhere around 4h30min so I am very pleased about my performance, not to mention that I beat my time with more than 1h!Until next year this will have to do!But I promise you "my friend" that I will come better prepared next year!You can bet on this...
The organizers out done their selves again, giving us everything in a perfect way!MPC really is the trend setter for other Mountain Marathons in Romania!Perfect job Lucian Clinciu....


P.S. Daniel, don`t be sad, you will be better prepared next have to!

Sep 20, 2011

Two Great Weekends - Next Stop: Marathon Piatra Craiului 2011

After the Orienteering National Championships I took some days off from running. The next weekend after Targu Jiu, we decided to travel to Piatra Craiului, for some training there. The weather was perfect for running and also the group was very nice. I prefer not to talk for the moment about how I felt running again in Piatra Craiului, but I can tell you that it felt like I was meeting a friend after a long time!

The next day we moved to Iezer - Papusa mountains. I have never been there, but I liked it very much and for sure I will go back there soon.
For the next weekend, me and Daniel registered for our first Duatlon. We decided to compete in the Profi category, as a relay, with the well known name "Orienteering Team". We knew from the start it will be difficult, because the competitors were better prepared than us but we went there to give out best and enjoy.

I was doing the running part(5km), and even though I knew the course is not easy because of the stairs I gave it all my best and finished very close to the first runners. Daniel had a good race for his experience and even though he had some falls in the downhill part, I think he managed very good.
In the end I had to run another 2.5 km, but I didn`t push very hard because I was a bit tired after waiting in the sun for Daniel.

We finished on the 11th spot, but I am satisfied with this result. We promise to go back there next year and improve our results!

Results Duatlon Cetatea Brasovului 2011 - Profi Relay

 After the Duatlon was over, we moved to Victoria, alongside Radu Urdea. The plan was to reach Moldoveanu Peak (2544m), thi highest peak in Romania.
Many thank to Delia, for leting us sleep at her house. I would kill to have her window view everyday. She can see the Fagaras Mountains from her window...very impressive I have to tell.
The trip to Moldoveanu was really nice, and very fast, even though I thought it will tale longer. The scenary was incredible. Also I was very impressed by the tourists that were on the trails in Fagaras because they knew about mountain running and didn`t look at me like a weird man who was running like crazy!

On the peak, we rested for some time, recharged our "Batteries" and then went back downhill and
from there, straight home to Bucharest. This was the last real training
before Marathon Piatra Craiului. I`m very motivated to get a good result there, but I will treat Piatra Craiului with respect, because this is the starting point for my mountain running dreams!

P.S. See you soon friend!

Sep 6, 2011

Romanian Cup 2011 - Cluj and the So Called National Championships - Targu Jiu

It has been some time since I last posted and a lot of things happened during this time. On the 25th of August I left Bucharest for Cluj Napoca, sleeping one night in Alba Iulia. I knew I had knee problems but I thought everything will be ok. The first stage of the Romanian Cup was held Friday on the 26th, with the start at around 2 o`clock in the afternoon. The sun was up and there were more than 32 degrees in the forest. This made it very difficult not only for orienteering but also for simple running. The map was not very difficult but for me it was very easy to lose concentration and I did a big mistake in the 3rd control and also some small mistakes to 5th and 8th. My speed was also not very good and my result was more negative than positive. The bad part is that I god myself a big wound on my foot and it was very difficult to step.

Map Middle Distance 

The second day of Romanian Cup 2011 was a long distance. The race for me started good with good control of the terrain and good running speed. I don`t know where on the race I lost the running speed. The idea is that I felt very low when it comes to running, all of the race I struggled to run fast but I just couldn`t do it. As for orienteering, the race was really nice, with no big mistakes (slow speed means no mistakes).

Map Long Distance part1
Map Long Distance part2

This 2 races concluded the Romanian Cup 2011, and the 3rd stage was decisive for the final ranking in Transylvania Open 2011. It was a chasing start. Although I had 2 bad days before I had a good starting position and I could have climbed a little in the rank if I would have had a good race. I started with some small mistakes, but again I just couldn`t run. I felt weak and without power so I decided to abandon because I was not able to run nor downhill nor uphill!

Map Chasing Start
Results Romanian Cup 2011
Results Transylvania Open 2011

I had less than one week until the National Championships in Targu Jiu, so I decided not to go back to Bucharest, and save some time and energy. I stayed in Alba Iulia for a few days, trying to recharge my bateries. Tuesday also arrived in Alba Iulia our new team mate Dragana Dokmanovic, so Wednesday was a day for some site seeing in Alba Iulia and a lot of sleep!
Thursday morning we left for Targu Jiu. There we had in the afternoon, the first stage, Sprint National Championship. It was very hot outside but I felt confident I could do a good race. I started very good, even though I felt that the map is not 100% at the scale 1:4000. I tried to push as hard as I could, but I had some small errors and a kind of big one at 10th control. I finished on the 9th spot but not very far from the podium.

Map Sprint

And now, the fun begins. The second day, the middle distance. I started with a mistake to the first control because the map was poor so i went a big uphill than the control, and even though on the map that part is green there is also a yellow spot just like the one with the control. To the second control I also did a small mistake because when i ran downhill I passed another path that was not on the map so I attacked to control a bit early. The next mistake was to the 5th control where I got caught up by Dopovecz. On the way to the 9th control I planned to go on the contour but doing this resulted on going up than the control. If it would have been only me doing this mistake I would have said that I am stupid, but when ALL the runners do this mistake it means that something is not right with the map! On the way to 9th control we also caught Istvan so now we were a pack of 3. Also I belive that the 12th control is way down than it should be, a lot of guys doing mistake there. I was lucky to see the control. Probably I could have pushed a bit harder with my running. I finished 6th, at around 2 min from the podium. Everybody complained about the map and the fun part was that all of the other races would be in the same area!

Map Middle Distance

I was expecting the Long Distance in a good mood after the good first to races. This time it seemed to be even hotter than the first days. I started nervous to the first control, losing contact with the map a couple of times but I got the control without any problems. Probably the best option to the first control would have been to take the big road. On the way to fourth control I was caught by Mutiu Ovidiu. We did a mistake to the 5th control and on the way to 6th he put some distance between us. On the way to 7th control I did a huge mistake loosing around 6-7 min. I just couldn`t see the right path and I was stupid and didn`t concentrate and started interpreting very bad where I was. I went to the open area and there I saw Radu Urdea who was heading for the 12th control so I knew where I was. I belive that mistake made my legs weak because starting with the 8th control I lost speed. From there on I didn`t do any mistakes but I ran very slow for my taste. And when I finished the race I was kind of satisfied because a lot of runners were DSQ! But the big surprise for me was that I also forgot to take a control. I went close to the 22nd control but didn`t even think of going to it, as I headed straight for the center of the butterfly!So no WRE points for me this time.The bad part was that the next day we had the relay so finishing the race made me very tired and also very disappointed of running without any real finality!Because the map was 1:15000 this time it was difficult to spot to mistakes..

Map Long Distance 

I waited very bad for the relay, because I wanted to prove myself that I can perform well with under pressure. The race started with 1minute delay for the M21 category. This was our elegant way of protesting regarding the stupid way our beautiful sport is lead by some "all knowing" people!
I started confident and was in the leading pack even though I did a small mistake to the first control. To the 3rd control, there was a extra valley that was not on the map so I did a mistake there too. Until the 6th control I was in the lead with Iuli, Stelica and Vasi. To the 7th control I lost the contact with the map and went a bit down so I had to go uphill on the path. To the 8th control I took the routechoice on the path. I ran very fast on this route but I just couldn`t find the control. I started to panic. I then saw Mugur who took his control, and after some more looking for the control I found it. I passed the arena in a relative good position but the next control destroyed me!I looked for the 13th control for more than 7min. I thought it will be in the intersection of the 2 big valleys but it wasn`t. It was a so called gully that was impossible to see on the map!Iuli caught me there and we looked for it over and over until I got lucky and saw it in the bushes. I once again passed the arena and tried to push as hard as I could to make up for the lost time. But I did a horror mistake to the 18th control. I felt like I had 12 years and just started orienteering. I was so disappointed with myself..
Tamas had a very solid race and put us once again on the track for a medal. During his run the first 2 teams passed (Craiova and Roman) but they didn`t took the mandatory route from the first video control. So we made a protest to the officials. This started off a really big fight of ideas taking into light some problems that were never spoken about in Romanian Orienteering.A lot of teams took wrong controls, mostly taking 46 instead of 48. We were kind of happy when Florin finished in 3rd position, but to our surprise he also took a wrong control!In the end I was not at all mad at Florin, as I was with myself for the shitty race I puled off.I have to apologise to Tamas, Florin and Marius for letting them down!

Map Relay

Maybe it is time to wake up and see that we are not the ones who know the ultimate truth!It is time to let our sport breath and also leave us, the ones who love it, to try to make things better!This message is intended to all of those who just don`t care about Romanian Orienteering and are more interested in their own little petty interests!

Aug 21, 2011

First run in ages...

After I came back home from Fagaras, I had a big pain in the exterior of my left knee. I went to the doctor and he explained the problem to me. So it seems that for the time being I just have to be careful and protect the knee as much as I can. Friday, I got a message on Facebook, from Silviu Buciuc, asking me if I want to join a trail run the next day. My answer was clearly YES, as I was feeling good with my knee and was in a big mood for running. I contacted also Daniel Stroescu and we left Bucharest with a clear destination.

The run was nice, in a very easy pace. Baiului Mountains are new to me, but it seems they are very nice for not so technical trail running. All around it was a very nice day. with more than 20km ran and 1300 climb.

My knee started hurting a bit in the last part but that didn`t change my good mood!Today I rest and starting from tomorrow I am getting ready for the Romanian Cup in orienteering, next weekend in Cluj!

Aug 10, 2011

Padina Fest - Bolboci Race - Semimarathon Fagaras

It has been some time since I last posted and a lot of things happened. First of all the first edition of VeloCompass was held. For me it was a real success, and the fact that everyone liked the concept and would want to do it again, it means that MTB-O can have a future in Bucharest and Romania.
After VeloCompass, me and my friends (Dan, Adi and Alex) started planning a trip to the mountains. The idea was to leave Bucharest on Friday, stay in a tent at Padina and compete in The Bolboci Race on Saturday, and then leave for Fagaras to run the semimarathon. This was the idea but in the end we left Bucharest Tuesday around 12:00. We did some really good trainings at Padina, also long and with a lot of climbing. The weather was not that nice but the overall atmosphere created by the good runs and by the festival (Padina Fest) kept our mood really high.

I trained good even though I was having a awful cold since I left Bucharest. Also after 2 days there, I started having some pains in my left foot, just between the knee and the fibula bone, but I could run with the pain.

On Saturday we went to run the Bolboci Race. A 9km race with 350climb. It was a nice day, probably the first warm day of our stay. I have lead the race from start to finish and felt very confident about my run. I was in first place and Daniel was second, around 20 seconds behind.

We moved to Sambata de Sus (the finish of the semimaraton). There we also stayed in a tent, but this time the weather was nice so we could really enjoy the night.
In the morning we started the race early, because the organizers wanted to avoid the heat, but that was not possible. The sun was up and burning. I started fast and was leading after 50m. Even though I missed the path for 200m, loosing the lead, I pushed a bit and was once again in the lead. I had a big advantage after 15km and I was confident that I will win the race without a problem because I was feeling really good.

But at 16km, I stopped for some water (big mistake) and when I wanted to start running again, the pain appeared in my left foot again, this time it was so big I just couldn`t step on the left foot anymore. I sat down for some minutes until the others passed me. I got up and started walking because I didn`t want to abandon.

After 21km and some rest in the next control point I started running a bit again, real slow, and probably I was looking like Forest Gump with his casts on! I was very dissapointed because if this injury that I could not talk for some hours after the race. Now I have to take a break until it heals. I will visit the doctor tomorrow to see exactly what is the problem and what does he recommend for my problem.

P.S. more photos are available in my Picasa Album and also the GPS tracks from the training are in My Garmin Connect Account!

Jul 19, 2011

V Olla de Nuria via Barcelona

My trip to Barcelona started Tuesday. I left with Ionut to Barcelona, there Pepe was waiting for us. They went to Mataro, but first they dropped me off in Barcelona. I stayed in my friends`s Oriol`s house. Everything was nice and I need to thank him and Berta once again for being such wonderful hosts. I did some easy runs in Barcelona. My plan was to rest as much as I could before Olla de Nuria. On friday I was in Mataro by train, and did a training with Ionut.

Saturday morning we met in Barcelona, and along came also Adi, Cornelia and Silvia. We took the train to Ribes de Freser and then took another train to Vall de Nuria. Nuria looked incredible, big mountains and a nice lake. We had to wait for 2h to get our rooms but time flies when you sleep!
In the afternoon we went to run a bit, to get accommodated with the type of terrain. I didn`t use my Active Ankles and my right ankle was not feeling good. This made me a bit stressed about the race, even more than I normally am!

In the morning of the race we got up, packed our bags, had a good meal and went to pick up the start kits. It was good that the start was delayed for 15min because I had more time to warm up.The start was very fast and after a short loop around the hotel of Nuria the BIG climb started. Around 6km with 1000 climb, reaching the Puigmal Peak at 2911. I didn`t start very good on this climb and I had to let a lot of runners pass me.In the top, Pepe was waiting for me with a Red Bull. I drank a bit and started feeling a bit better. Most of the race I didn`t pay attention to other runners, I just tried to concentrate on not falling because of the very stony ground, and the awful wind that was blowing from every direction. My mind was always saying that the next peak is that last, and I was always surprised to find out that there is another one and another one...

When I realized that the big downhill is starting I tried to push as hard as I could and I passed around 10 other runners. My time was 3h 13min 1sec and I finished in 96th position. I am happy with this time because my objective has been around 3h. Could have been better if I would have motivated myself enough to push harder on some of the peaks. Most of the race was higher that 2700m, something new for me but I think I managed good the race. The race was won by my friend Ionut Zinca, with a fabulous time of 2h 15min. He had a very solid race and won with a clear margin. As I said in Facebook, he is The One, and he once again proved that he is one of the best mountain runners in the world!Adi Bostan had also a good race, finishing with 2h 37min, on the 17th position. Also the SiS girls had a good race, even though they had some muscle problems because of Marathon 7500!Thanks to this good performances Romania is 3rd in the Mountain Running International Cup!

Race Profile

Yesterday was time for relaxing in Barcelona!I am now in Bucharest and I sure need a bit of rest!

More information and results can be found on the Olla de Nuria official web site!
Also more photos can be found in my Picasa album!

Jun 29, 2011

Apuseni Maraton 2011 !

Another Marathon passed. This weekend I ran the first edition of Apuseni Marathon. I didn`t know what to expect but it all turned out to be perfect. The organization of the even was spotless and everything except the weather was ideal for a good run.
My race day didn`t start very good, as I was feeling a bit nervous. The race started very fast, with the guys from the half-marathon setting a fast pace. Me, Daniel, Adi, Alex and our new found friend Aida, one night before the race, we ran a bit of the first part so I knew what to expect ( 7km of fast climbing). I stayed in touch with the second group (Balan Silviu and Zsolt Kovacs). But after 4km I started to feel bad, my foot were weak and it seemed that I won`t finish in this manner. I lost some time in the last part of the uphill and got passed by some runners, including Daniel who was running fast for the half-marathon.
After the first refreshment point and the end of the climb, we had around 13 km of downhill. The first part was difficult because we had to run on a small path, but then we entered a forest road. The wake up call for my body came after 10-11 km, close to where the marathon and half-marathon tracks were splitting. I saw Balan in front of me (300m) and I started pushing.

I kept on pushing and the road kept on going downhill. We entered a village and I saw Balan who turned back because he was not certain if he is on the right track. We ran together for around 7 km until the big climb started. During this time, in the village I had a Deja-Vu feeling, because I recognized the places where me and Cosmin Georgescu got lost some years ago! The climb started also on the road, and it was not very steep, but I lost some time because I stayed a bit to much in the refreshment point. There was a small part where you had to climb and I didn`t look at the markings and went up and up, until I realized that I am not on the path anymore. I climbed extra around 20-25 m but it was more difficult to go back down on the wet rock. I was loosing hope to ever catching the guys that passed me. The climb entered the forest and a big rain came, along with small ice. It had the effect of refreshing me. I then saw Lucian Clinciu, who is a good runner, and I started going after him. I passed him and until the next control point I passed another 2 runners.

I had only Balan in my mind and I started seeing him when we reached 8 km until the finish. He was running with Bogdan Sulica at that moment. I reduced the gap to less then 100 m, but they saw me and ran very very fast on the last downhill. I ran for around 2km on the last climb with the idea that I have to preserve my rank. The last refreshment point was 3 km before the finish. There I met my friend Ioana Mica who shouted very loud at me, also telling me that if I push hard enough I will catch the guys in front of me. The adrenaline rush came into my body as I threw my water bottle and my windstopper and started running real fast.Thank you Ioana and the guys from the last refreshment point! I saw Bogdan Sulica, and stop for some meters to catch my breath and then started fast again. I passed him and he couldn`t keep my pace, but Balan was to far away for me to catch !Next time!
My time was 04:01:16 and I was 4th in 16-29 category and 9th overall.

Overall it was a great experience, nice tracks, great organization, nice people in every control/refreshment point. I knew the Apuseni Mountains are beautiful, but now I am certain.

P.S. My friends also  had good results: Daniel was 2th in the 30-39 category of the half-marathon, Aida was 3rd in her category also, and Adi improved his time in a marathon by far! Congrats!
And I can`t forget my friend Bogya Tamas who won the marathon!Good one friend but I won`t be so forgiving next time !

Results Apuseni Maraton 2011 
P.S.2: You still owe me the "extra part" of the starting kit !