Xiamen island

Originally written 17th May.

Don't play with water
I doubt anyone would

Ni hao! Another day, another adventure, another peace of Earth to discover. We’ve managed to finish our duties a bit earlier yesterday, so we had some free time in the afternoon. Lucky enough we’re near the coast we’ve decided to spend the afternoon at Xiamen island.

We’re staying in Xiamen city on the continent and getting on the island is fairly easy, an hour and a half of car ride, crossing a looooong, long bridge and there we were. First impression, a more “touristic” place, every part here was in order, cleaned, nice green parks and a lot of water. We walked around a park looking at people fishing, running and watching skyscrapers growing near the sea.

I admit, after seeing all the industrial parts of the town this felt like a real relief, you could smell fresh air from the trees and even standing near water made you feel better. Unfortunately, even here pollution is more then present. We’ve felt it right after crossing the first canal and catching the sign “Don’t play with water” (direct translations and yes, there’s a lot of them). You can see for yourself in the gallery below.

We’ve walked all the way to the coast which opened a nice view to the continent, the bridge we crossed arriving to the island and with lots of ships sailing in between the two coasts. Luckily we found a place where we could enjoy in the sunset eating dinner. Tiredness kicked in pretty much fast on the way back to the hotel and we all crashed napping 🙂

Times flies faster on the east

Originally written 16th of May

We go round and round
We go round and round

Hello there and hello from the eastern parts of the world. Currently we’re in Xiamen City and we’re about to move onward with our journey. Yes, we’re 6 hours ahead of you, so at the time I’m writing this post it should be 2 AM and you’re probably sleeping tight in your warm and cozy beds.

Ah, we’re at half of our journey and so far it’s been quite interesting but most of all busy and fruitful. It was only until yesterday we had some time off, for the rest it’s been visits to partners here and there, lots of traveling in between and lots of meetings to conduct.

Did you know we had quite an adventurous journey to China? The beginning from Ljubljana to Frankfurt airport was OK, but right before boarding the plane to Frankfurt we got notification that the flight from Frankfurt to Shanghai was delayed by 9 hours, yes 9 hours! Instead at 22:05 our flight would be taking off at 7:00. This means sleeping in some hotel, waking up really early to check-in and then a really, really long flight.

Well luckily Simon is with us and he knows how to move around – he’s been in China for quite some times, so he immediately started checking for alternatives. And there was a flight to Hong Kong leaving at around 8 PM. We went to the information desk and found out that there were some serious issues with the plane and it got delayed due to maintenance, khm (!!!) … So we went onward to the office and rescheduled our flight to Hong Kong. You can arrange for everything, luggage to be transported on the right plane etc.. So finally we were taking off for China and all was well. We encountered some traffic before landing at Hong Kong, so we had to fly for additional 45 minutes making 4 circles above the sea, funny feeling I must say, especially when watching lines at the travel monitor.

Ah, if you’re then moving inland into China through Hong Kong and you like to travel by ferry try checking in your luggage straight at the check-in. Hong Kong has internal ferry terminals, but only for transfers. As we didn’t know this we had to claim our luggage, take a taxi to Hong Kong city (approx. 1 hour drive), buy tickets for the ferry, check-in, go through customs and then board it, so quite some procedures …

Needless to say that we almost remained without our luggage as it didn’t came with the first batch from the plane. We were waiting for more than 1 hour to get it, but it was not coming and then the sign lit – “All bags arrived” – hah, what now?! To the baggage reclaim office, explaining what happened to stuff that speaks some form of English, filling in papers and in HK airport not getting any first aid kit! Yep, they don’t refund or help you, you have to buy for yourself toothbrush etc. and then claim refund at Lufthansa. Luckily, we were just about to leave when they notified us that they found some luggage that matches our description and yes, there our bags were!

From then on it went smooth, you can go inland by train of ferry, but by ferry it takes less time and it is pretty comfortable. We met some Slovenian guys there that were actually traveling same route as we were from Ljubljana, quite some laughs there … And finally we were in China, doing again all of the procedure through customs.
A driver came to pick us up and drove us straight to the hotel, to finally take some sleep.

Few words of advice if you’re traveling to China:

Forget Google services, yep there’s no Gmail, no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. they don’t work here. I somehow managed to check-in with Swarm but that’s all … Even our company emails don’t work so well here, which can be a problem sometimes.

Always have your travel document with you, first of all you’ll need it to book every transport ticket and if you somehow loose it – good luck traveling to Beijing to the nearest embassy.

For the rest the hospitality here is in short unbelievable … But come prepared, as not everyone here speaks English and we’re lucky to have with us Tony and these days also Yanan to help us move around.

OK, that’s it for now. I leave you with some images and until the next time – Ni hao!

Back we are

Hello there, or better – Ni hao!

Yes, we’re back from, back from the trip around China, a total of 12 days, countless miles, three rides on fast trains, one ferry ride and a total of 4 flights …

You might wonder why I haven’t posted anything, right? Well fact is I tried, but network connections were pretty bad, social media and Google services are blocked, well even our company e-mail had troubles working over there. None the less, I’ve managed to write posts and in following days I’ll be posting them here – think of it as delayed blogging, as strange as it may sound 🙂

Overall China was a blast, yes business-wise we’ve done a lot and have been pretty successful, an eye opener and one of those trips where you see how nice it is and lucky we are to live where we do … We’ve seen from clean nature to what heavy industry is doing to our environment and at moments it was pretty sad.

But, we’ve also seen some really nice cities and gardens, tasted some pretty “interesting” food and this will be the topic of next posts, so buckle up and enjoy the ride that’s coming with next posts.

Until the next time cheers!

Ni hao from Shanghai
Ni hao from Shanghai

Off we go!

And off we go

Baggage is ready and time has come to take off! Some 14 hours of trip ahead and we’ll arrive to Guangzhou. Yep, you probably guessed, China baby. Never been there, doesn’t know what to expect, but I’m sure there’s gonna be plenty to share. What I know for sure now is that 3 flights are ahead of us, starting from Brnik, touch down at Frankfurt, following the longest flight to Shanghai and then internal one to Guangzhou … Phew, almost lost the count, rest assure I will not count the hours 🙂

No I’m it’s not vacation, this will only happen in second half of June. Needles to say I’m really lucky and thankful to Studio Moderna to allowing me this opportunity. We’re getting on a 12 day business trip with Deja and Simon and we are on the visit to our manufacturers and partners checking all sorts of novelties, interesting things, new features, development and cooperation possibilities, basically I’m excited and cannot wait for the journey to start. Needles to say the anticipation is high.

With 12 days ahead of us we’ll see a lot of things, and travel naturally. In fact we’ll have an “off” day probably only next Sunday. However I expect a Ton of emails to be attended but we like it this way, don’t we? 🙂

Hopefully I’ll have some time for updates here, but really only if there will be some time … So for now I’d say God Speed and may this adventure start!

Just run …

With Karmen @hirkani before the start
With Karmen @hirkani (zibelka.si) before the start

… ah yes, R-U-N 🙂 I’ve been quite busy in between gym and outdoors these days and I must say I’m slowly getting to the pace where I left last year.

However, let’s jump a bit back in time. It was 25th of April, a sunny Sunday and a totally new race for me – 4th Lidl’s run at Komenda. It was a relatively small event, where we were 71 in total running 21km. I really enjoyed the experience, as such small events give you this feeling of connection, everyone is friendly, nice and of course there’s no crowd to pass along, leaving you with your own tempo and mind …

The race included more runs, from short runs for children to the simultaneous start to 5, 10 and 21 kilometers. We started with a circle around Komenda’s hippodrome to then run outside town into the fields and villages. The first half was a constant ascent and I was trying to keep it slow and not push too much. Around half the way it turned into a fast and constant descent, only to be followed by 2 steep ascents around km 14. Challenging to say the least, but a good training and a nice, demanding challenge. Did I manage it was my 2nd half-marathon run this year? The end result – 2:03:43 which makes it a “not that bad” on my marks. You can also check the statistics in bellow gallery.

I must say I was really impressed with the scenery, it was so picturesque and felt so free running in between the fields, mountains on one side with skydivers flowing above you and villages with people cheering for you. I’ll be getting back there for sure and it’s definitely a race I’d advise to all.

And what about you, any runs lately or races you’d suggest for me? 🙂 Thanks and until the next time: “Lahke noge (Light legs)!”.

7. Formaraton, we ran for their dreams

No. 75
No. 75

Well, hello there!

Here we go again, running season is in full spring, events are blossoming all over Slovenia and you know I can’t miss them 😉 First official run of the season and this time it was for a cause, a good one indeed.

You’ve all probably heard about Jure Košir, an ex professional skier and Olympic medalist. He’s the force and organizer of Formaraton runs and this year it was already the 7th edition. Formaraton is a beneficiary run, where everyone can join, what counts are kilometers and this is also its motto – “Every kilometer counts”. Everyone can join and the event lasts from 9:00 until 17:00. You don’t have a fixed distance, but you can run, or hike, as many laps as you want. One lap’s length is 2 kilometers.

Formaraton is a beneficiary event, where part of the funds collected via entry fees are dedicated for a good cause. This and last two years it was for helping children battling cancer. Some of you know, but some don’t I used to have a younger brother, who died of cancer at the age of 10 – I was 11 at the time. So for me this event has also a personal note, as I run also in his memory, remembering all the struggles, the strength and pain he’s been put through, actually the whole family …

This year the weather was not really at our side, it was raining cats & dogs and it was around 4oC. But this did not stop nor Jure & the organizing team, nor the runners. The track is happening in Tivoli park and it is quite of a challenge. It’s a constant up & down with one really challenging elevation, trust me, when you’re doing it for the 5th time you start feeling it 🙂

I admit I did not exercise much this year, yes I’m only starting with runs. However I managed to do 13 laps, I started to get cramps in my calves at lap 9 but they passed and at lap 11 and 12 my quadriceps started to protest, but I squeezed for 1 lap more and that was it.

We joined this event as a team, a total of 26 co-workers from Studio Moderna came to run and we were running for children’s dreams (note, on the back of our shirts it says: “We’re running for their dreams”) as Studio Moderna was also sponsoring the event. In total we did 176 laps and approximately 352 kilometers. Alenka ran most laps of us all – 20 followed by Bojan 16 and me with 13, so quite a nice statistic.

For sure we will be seeing us at Formaraton in 2016 and you, will you join us?

So, what’s next? Well yesterday I ran Komenda’s half marathon (expect a post in following days), next week we’ll be running at Wings for Life and then we will see. Hope to see you next Sunday and until then Godspeed!

Here’s also a little gallery from the event:

Bye-bye 2014, hello 2015!

I ran the Marathon
I ran the Marathon!

Hello there!

Finally I found some time to jump behind the computer and as the occasion calls it’s time to look back at 2014. To summarize I’d say it was a roller coaster ride and as end of the year was approaching the wilder it was getting, but hey it was well worth, every single day, moment, sweat and tears it all made 2014 one of the greatest so far.

As you know one of my goals for 2014 was to run a Marathon and YES I DID IT! I still remember every single step, kilometer, every turn, up & down the hill and the heat. It took me a total of 4:30:36, it’s not really a time to brag about, but hey I did run a full marathon! I’m happy I made it without major problems as the track is a constant up & down, it was windy and hot and towards the end I was pretty much fed up as it was a constant turn, uphill, downhill, turn, uphill, downhill, turn … Don’t get me wrong the scenery was fantastic, but at the end it was simply too much of turns 🙂 You can check a video presentation of the track below.

The best part however was at the end, I spared some strength to finish strong and at the finish line my son Ian, my wife Teja and her sister Manca were cheering for me. Ian was so happy seeing me he came running towards me, I lifted him and finished running carrying him in my arms, I can tell you that it was the best feeling ever. As a parent you cannot wish for something more.

In terms of totals my Runtastic account says this (mind, I didn’t always measure my activities):

  • 76 runs
  • 827,13 km total distance
  • 244:11:30 total workout duration
  • 78969 kcal burned

But 2014 was not only a year dedicated to running, it was probably one of the most challenging years so far and I’m glad I had the chance of meeting, working and listening to a lot of great people, colleagues, family and friends. You’ve all helped me grow and be better, more determined and focused – thank you!

Looking into 2015 I hope it will be as fruitful as last year and that all our personal and professional goals will be accomplished. I wish 2015 will be spiced up by challenges, love and kindness as this is what makes us all a better person!

Stay true to yourself and keep on doing it! All the best in 2015 my dear friends!

1:52:05 – did it!

Hello there!

My diplomaI finally did it! If you remember I was mentioning in one of my previous posts what my first goal for this year was – run Half marathon under 2 hours. Well I can cross this off my bucket list now. It happened 2 weeks ago at 5th Eco marathon Maribor.

Eco marathon packs a set of races happening during week end. Saturday is dedicated to cycling with 70 and 114 km races, while Sunday Maribor turns into a running metropolis with racers running 10 and 21 km. This year cycling events got canceled though, as some roads were flooded due to heavy rains. Anyhow, Sunday weather was kind and approximately 2.000 runners gathered on one of the bridges above Drava river. We both, runners to 10 and 21 km, started together but shortly afterwards split on our own ways. The course leads all the time around Maribor city, passing Drava river 4 times, leading even above one dig and a pretty amazing view of the rivers delta. It pack couple of elevation gains but they are manageable. For me the race went pretty well, I started perhaps a bit too strong so I had to hold myself back saving energies and after the last fueling station (around 20 km) I had a bit of a crisis, however it passed quickly and I was able to finish the race really strong. And boy, what a rush of emotions came after finding out I managed to run it under 2 hours. Feelings of completion, happiness, satisfaction … I’ve been training almost the whole year for this, after all. For sure we will see again next year, thank you Maribor!

See the course below

Oglejte si Eko Maraton Maribor – 21km na večjem zemljevidu.

And what have I been up to afterwards? Well for starters I focused on training with elevations in the past 2 weeks. As you know this Sunday I’m running my first marathon and it will include couple of them … If you’re wandering – Yes I’m scared a bit but I’m confident I’ll arrive at the finishing line 😉

Here’s an example from one of the trainings with Miran. Basically we did following focus on keeping speed same throughout the elevation and building up speed afterwards. Or the other way going as fast as possible up.

I should mention also past Sunday’s running festival at Arboretum Volčji potok. BMW organized a proper running festival with races to 6 and 12 km and a family run of 600 m. It was a proper and really well organized event, bravo BMW! I went on running 12 km and managed to finish it right under 1 hour. I was surprised as I almost stopped at its halfway point. I didn’t manage to eat anything that day and I learned my lesion – EAT breakfast, especially on race day!

I’ll be taking this week easy, yesterday I made my last long run of 19 km. This week I’ll do some easy intervals and one elevation training with a lot of resting and carbs loading. And finally Sunday I will run!

Btw. yesterday a new world record was set on Berlin’s marathon – 2:02:57 – Are you kiddin’ me? This is crazy! Well, Klemen was in Berlin too, he ran his first marathon and finished it in 4:15:56 – B.R.A.V.O. and congratulations man!

Until the next post ciaos!

Agility, Alphabet all about A’s

Hello there!

Long time no hear, but don’t worry this just means I’ve been keeping me really busy! We are proceeding with trainings and ‘en route’ to my first Marathon run.

I’m really happy and grateful to Studio Moderna as I’ll be traveling to the States end of October to attend DMA conference, but this means my plans had to change a bit. I’ll have to skip Ljubljana Marathon and run Maratona delle città del vino this October 5th. Initially I was choosing in between this one and Verona’s Marathon as they are happening at the same day, but as no one could join me there I had to pick the alternative. Hopefully this was not a stupid decision, as this run is happening around Collio region with lots of elevation gains.

So, what’s been going on meanwhile? Miran and I have been working a lot on my running alphabet and technique as this is a long term investment that will allow me to gain results. Summer was great and we did really a lot there. We introduced agility trainings on the agility ladder and I tell you, it was love at first sight, I mean try 🙂 It immediately made an impact on my technique and in future I’ll be definitely using it more. You can check this source for workout possibilities.

Here’s an example of what we’re up to. Basically it is a set of exercises above it, focus on positioning in best starting position as possible and then sprinting onward, even with 2 – 3 starts like this.

Besides this what I need to focus is lifting my heels behind as much as possible and doing short transfers of leg to the front. This helps you save energy as legs make shorter circle and your body is positioned more to the front automatically pushing you forward and saving energies.

The progress in my technique is really visible, you can notice it as videos progress and I’m glad I set up on this path with Miran – thank you man!

As for my competitions and where I’ve been up lately:

  • beautiful Nočna 10ka – July 12th, running 10 km around one of the nicest lakes in Slovenia – lake Bled by night, a total of 1,5 circles around the lake. My time 00:50:13 – not bad and see you next year!
  • Half-Marathon Bled – August 30th, a total of 3,5 circles around lake Bled. My time 2:01:38 – not that great, but take into account 582 m of elevation gain …

And last week we went running with the guys around Ljubljana. There’s a trail named PST which goes around where fence was positioned under Italian occupation. We did a total of 32 km and it took me 3:39:24. So yes, I’m a bit worried if I’ll be able to make it, but I don’t worry that much. The important thing is exercising and not giving up, there’s always a second chance right? 🙂

And we will see tomorrow what the progress is as I’m running the Half-Marathon at Maribor. Anyone joining?

Bonus treat: before leaving you be here’s an extra agility training. Touch the point in front and back for 2 times, Miran is giving me signal when to start – a pretty intense drill I suggest you try 😉

Untill the next time cheers!

Exercising inside

Hello there!

Balance & core training exercise u just have to try
Balance & core training exercise u just have to try

Still live and kicking aren’t we? 🙂 No, don’t worry I’m still pursuing my marathon quest and I’m still sweating like crazy and you know that I like it that way …

Miran has been putting me up thorough some really nice challenges, we are working a lot on my running technique and it is improving really nicely – expect some videos shortly. When weather allows we meet at Mostec, there’s a nice running plot with a small incline at end – ideal to squeeze some more out of me when sprinting, but when rain calls we meet at Oz.

This was one of the occasions and there we were working on my core muscles with some really nice balance tricks. Challenge one consists of holding a fitness ball, hands almost extended in lunge position and Miran hitting the ball from left or right side. Balance? Yes if you held position and your core strong, try it you’ll see.

Challenge no. 2 is probably one of the toughest of the day. So if at home you have a Bosu ball, a deck and an aerobic bar (or if you see these tools at the gym) I suggest you try this one and tell me if you made it more than 30 seconds. Hop on the deck and ball in lunge position, shake the bar and stay in the position as much as you can. Looks easy but it’s not as because by standing on the ball with one leg your balance is wonky and you have to shake the bar simultaneously putting you even more out of balance. A great exercise indeed.

Have you ever tried exercising on suspension training bands? I’m becoming fond of this practical gadget as you can do a total body exercise without any additional gear. This time I had to do Squat Jumps, focusing on bringing my lower body front, bringing my body at an approx 75° angle, going with heels down when squatting and jumping up as intense as possible, awesome.

And then for some agility sets, this one you can do easily from home, just put 4 markers on the floor with same distance in between. What you need to do then is some agility running around them. Repeat the course for 3 times in one direction and then repeat drill starting on opposite position of where you started (if at round 1 you were standing on the left side of marker 1, now you start standing on the right side of marker 1). This is not just for agility but it will train your core muscles too.

After this exercise keep only 2 markers, distance in between should be longer and do this. Perform side side skips as fast as you can, when you have reached a marker do a squat jump and repeat drill in other direction. Try it, you’ll love it.

And to finis the training big stile some step ups and you’ll barely wait to step under the shower 🙂

So girls hope you’ll find some ideas for spicing up your training, until the next time cheers!