Cycling around Cres

Hello there!

An #activefootie relaxing on top of Cres
An #activefootie relaxing on top of Cres

It’s been a while since my last post. Well trainings are proceeding and shortly I’ll be publishing some training impressions. Currently I’m on vacation – yes finally 😉 and yesterday I think I found my new passion. I went cycling around the island of Cres and boy I had a terrific time.

They say you have to break your routine here and there, especially when training for a certain goal, so this is what I did …

So story goes like this, you come with your bike, find a newly opened cycling store in town, buy cycling map of the island and you take off; simple right? Would be if I hadn’t picked the course with most elevation … I decided to go on one of the highest peaks of Cres, to the village of Lubenice. I took it as a challenge with myself, as honestly I never cycled more than 17 km and specially not so much off road.

Cres is full of such roads and the imagery you see is wow! Obviously this is an island you have to discover cycling or hiking around and if you have a boat the better, as I could see some really, really, really lovely beaches around.

The course I took yesterday is pretty nice, the track is kept well, extreme at some places and for approx 100 meters (right below Lubenice) you cannot really cycle as the road is too rocky but for the rest shouldn’t be a biggy for avid cyclers out there. The first third of the course were impressive, a lovely view to the see and town of Valun and some nice up and downhills. I even stumbled across a closed door. Well don’t worry this doesn’t mean end of the track, it’s just made for protection of sheep – as there is a lot of them here.

I will try checking also other tracks as this was a really great experience and hopefully I can make some more impressions around. If you’re coming here taking you bikes and going for a ride is definitely a must!

 

Road Runner

It’s like the show. It’s been almost a run-as-fast-as-you-can training this morning and If I was thinking Tuesday was tuff … heh. So basically we were running again today. Upgrading the training from muscle activation into checking how my feeling for tempo is and then distance sprinting.

First in line were hamstrings, I had to do butt kicks. I had my hands behind my butt and I had to touch them with my heels, naturally increasing the speed and leaning forward minding my posture. You should try this exercise, see how great it is and what it does with your hamstrings. Here’s also nice video presentation on how to do them.

Then it was skipping time, like the other day starting with low skips and changing into medium skips. And next in line were the nasty little Pose skips. I focused on going up as much as possible, but I still lack coordination, guess I’ll have to practice a bit more, right? Ah, we tried doing them also with one leg first, with the right one it went OK, but when I switched to left – ups … It’s a trial and error thing, and I’m confident I’ll make it in couple of tries!

Shortly afterwards it was time to look at my feeling for speed. We started running at one place, ran for 1 minute, turned back and ran back. In 1 minute I had to arrive at starting point – well this went actually pretty well. I was told to run at 70 % of my speed, but guess I ran somewhere at 80 %. We than shortened distance and I had to run as fast as I could for a couple of times. Even though I was literally destroyed after the training I felt great, especially after stretching and jumping under a very much needed shower …

One thing we are always mentioning with Miran is Road Runner, remember the cartoon of the hyper fast bird chased by a coyote? Actually when sprinting I taught I felt like him. Today we even met one dog that looked like a coyote – thank God he didn’t decide to chase me 😉 See in below video Road Runner’s posture and legs, yep this is what we’re trying to achieve – Miiiik miiiik 😉

So, what’s next on my training schedule? Tomorrow I’ll probably go on a short, low intensity run, whereas Saturday or Sunday I’ll be doing a long run of at least 14 km doing the last one at an increased speed. Remember, 13 km was when crisis started in Radenci hence trying speeding up the last one. Until the next post may the force be within your legs guys!

Activate

Hello girls ‘n boys!

Stretching outside Studio Oz
Stretching outside Studio Oz

My – oh – my what a work-out we had yesterday! Miran you warned me and yes I do have muscle fever today. So what we did yesterday was trying to activate my quadriceps and hamstrings. Studio Oz is located in a perfect place to go running. You are close to the city but also on the countryside and there’s a nice track to go running. So we immediately jumped out, jogged to warm-up and then started training.

At first couple of short sprints to see how I’m doing, then pose skips – important for coordination and muscle activation. Think they are easy? Well, try pushing yourself up same time as the other foot touches ground, you’ll see. See below video to get a feel what I’m talking about. Still think it’s easy?

Afterwards we switched to skipping, starting from low then moving on to medium and at end high skipping. I was minding my posture, usage of hands and weight balance all the time. Miran was reminding me about this and even filming my tries, so here’s the skipping insert.

I started to feel my legs here but it wasn’t yet over. We moved then onto sprint training, where I had to start running slowly and increasing speed towards the end. The track was short but it elevated towards the end, which is good for gaining running speed. Here’s how it went.


Afterwards we did a couple of tries on even terrain to see difference in feel and boy I was flying …

Time literally flew by, living us time enough to stretch and I was done for the day. Stretching is important to relax muscles, probably if I didn’t do it I wouldn’t be able to walk today … I tell you I was feeling my legs the whole day yesterday and still am today and I think we did an awesome job today as managed to activate the right muscles. Today I’m on rest mode and cannot wait for the exercise tomorrow morning.

And what about you, ready for a run today? Weather is perfect so chop, chop, chop … Go long, go strong guys!

Radenci conquered!

Helo there!

Me and Klemen before the start
Me and Klemen before the start

How are you doing boys ‘n girls? Well, I’m feeling really great after yesterday’s half-marathon! My time 2:00:47 – yes right I came only 47 seconds behind my first goal! Sad? Not at all as I really felt the progress of last 2 weeks training with Miran!

This year the race started at 9 AM – 1 hour earlier than usually, as I hear previous times there were a lot of complaints of high temperatures. I guess this time we were lucky as it was raining and temperatures were moving around 9 – 12o Celsius. I woke up at 5 AM, double-checked my gear was ready and at 6:10 we were on the road with Klemen. We arrived just in time to pick-up numbers, get dressed and run to the starting point. A quick warm-up before hearing the starting shot – Bang – here we go!

Starting point, look at us on the far left side of the image – Klemen checking his Garmin and me pretty determined. Image embedded with courtesy from www.siol.net.

For the first 13 km I was feeling great, I felt light as a feather and even my heart rate was lower than usual. I said to myself: “Well then, let’s run and see how much I can endure with such a tempo!”. I had 3 points to focus on:

  • utilizing my hands,
  • leaning forward and
  • landing on the front part of the feet.

My pace for the first part was amazing – an average of 5:20, this despite sensing some pain in my right leg. At km 5 I sipped some water, grabbed a quarter of orange and kept on running. I took one carbs gel at km 7. Then kept on running without problems. Somewhere in between km 10 and 12,5 mr. Borut Pahor, our president, passed me (he’s an avid runner and usually present at such events) and I managed to keep the pace behind him for some time, later I even managed to pass him by.

After the water stands around km 12,5 there were signs with motivational messages and some of them were really funny, like:

  • “4 months ago when you registered it didn’t sound like a bad idea” or,
  • “Smile and run and remember you even paid for this” etc.

a really nice gesture from organizers and audience.

And then at km 13 crisis started. Suddenly I felt heavy, like my legs weren’t strong enough to carry me onward, my heart rate increased and my hands started itching. I was expecting this so I knew I just had to keep going, I had some strength left to focus a couple of times for short time on my hands and posture and this made me run faster but tiredness was kicking back in. At km 14 I took another carbs gel – maybe it was a bit late and I should have taken it before, who knows …

It was quite a battle with my mind and body up until km 18. After this I felt lighter again and I just kept on telling me “Couple of kilometers more and you’ve made it!” and this kept me going through the last 2 elevations in track and last couple of roundabouts. We were back in Radenci and also people cheering around made you feel better and stronger. The time here just flew by and all of a sudden I crossed the finishing line.

Feelings at first were mixed I was happy I made it, excited because of the progress, but also a bit sad and angry as I missed my first personal goal for such a short time. However now I can say I’m really happy I made it and the timing is actually my personal best. This gives me motivation and energy to keep on going and training more and more.

Here, on Runtastic, you can find some statistics of my run, and here’s the track embedded from the Radenci marathon website:

And these are my current stats:

  • Weight: 88 kg
  • Height 187 cm
  • Best half-marathon time this year: 2:00:47

Follow your dreams & challenge yourself

Hello there!

In my previous post I was writing about our Why, about what is driving us and about our emotions. Well one of my drivers is definitely running.

Blast from the past
Blast from the past

Funny though, as I used to be a professional dancer for 11 years and running at that time was probably one of my least favorite things. Unfortunately I stopped doing sports for almost 8 years until 2009 when meeting with coupe of guys from koornk (at that time popular Twitter-like service in Slovenia) made me run. I admit I needed some motivation at beginning and Miha was one of the guys who inspired me a lot. The guy went from a total knee reconstruction into running a marathon so imagine – respect dude 🙂 My running affair lasted for 2 years and I had to pause it due to my career pursuit and becoming a proud father of my little boy Ian Rok, suddenly I ended up having no time to exercise at all.

The team - Tek trojk
The team – Tek trojk

This year however I said “Enough man! Time to exercise and run Forest run!” and like this I went out running on January 1st – luckily weather was warm this year. In a short period I managed to run 21 km (legs have an amazing memory) which gave me motivation to run at Mali Kraški Marathon in March, Formaraton in April and Tek trojk past week-end. Suddenly one of the biggest items on my bucket list seems achievable, so I’m taking on probably the biggest challenge of my life – Run Ljubljana Marathon!

The challenge is huge and I’m aware it will be a tuff one, especially due to a lot of risks involved – injuries included. Having this in mind I asked for some professional help. Guys at Studio Oz were more than happy to assist and I had already couple of sessions with my trainer Miran Irenej. I’m super hyped and optimistic I’ll make it, and Miran is a great motivator and teacher.

The outcome of first sessions is:

  • need to build up my running alphabet (improve running technique)
  • need to strengthen my core muscles
  • need to strengthen my lower body muscles
  • develop a bit more left part of my body (difference in muscle development between left and right side is noticeable – hey I’m right-handed you know 😉 )
  • lose couple of kilos

An these are my current stats:

  • Weight: 89,5 kg
  • Height 187 cm
  • Best half-marathon time this year: 2:07:57

So my first goal is pretty straight forward, run half marathon under 2 hours! First chance will come this week-en as I’ll be running in Radenci – though I’m not confident I’ll beat the goal this time, but let’s see …

Some of you might ask, why am I even sharing this things with you. Well first because of myself, I want to save the memories and see how I moved on. On the other hand I hope I motivate others by showing that doing sports is easy and you just need to start somewhere. So let’s see where the journey takes us 🙂

Ah, below there are some images of exercises I’ve been doing with Miran. He’s taking images so that I see correct execution of work-outs.

Think of your “Why”

Hello there!

The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle

As some of you know I work in marketing and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, concepts and inspiration … And boy I found something. Actually this is not even something new, it is just what has always been occurring naturally put together in words. And simply by following this things we understand how great leaders were able to inspire and why certain brand command loyalty, whereas others fail.

This concept has been put together by Simon Sinek, in his book Start With Why. This book, especially “The golden circle” have been real mind openers for me and it is something I gladly share with everyone looking to launch something new – be it an idea, campaign, product etc.. Below you can hear it from the man himself.

In these times it is relatively easy to say What we are doing and How we are doing it, but this is raw data. What matters and can distinguish us from other is resonating our ideas on the emotional level – this can be done by simply sharing our Why.

Explaining to our audience why we are doing something is a powerful thing and is often difficult to do as this is something that is coming out of our Limbic brain, this is where our feelings are coming from and where our “gut decisions” are made. Now historically this has been the part of the brain which made us socialize with others, simply because we believed in or shared same values and ideas. Of course during our evolution we developed also the Neocortex which is where our logic is processed. This brain is responsible for our rationale and was the brain that helped us survive. This is the brain that usually stops us from doing something, say did you ever get a great idea, but when you started elaborating it you got stopped from putting it into reality?

Ok, back to he Why, when we speak our Why we speak from the inside out, we start from our feelings and we address our audience’s Limbic brain – their emotions. By doing this we try to make us all resonate in what we all believe and this is where loyalty is generated.

I held a presentation to my colleagues past Friday and we had a really nice discussion at the end and some where saying it is difficult to put this concept in action when your customer wants to prolong the life cycle of its product. My advise in such case would be to start from the Why, Why we believe in this product and Why we are offering it to our customers. Ultimately we tend to focus on our What (product) and How (activities) but what we should do is start from our Why (feelings).

Here you can  find slides from the presentation.

And what about you? Don’t you think this is a great concept? If you have an interesting story to share please leave a comment.

Until the next time, cheers!

Merry Xmas and a happy New Year!

It’s that time of the year, when we will be sharing special, magical, kitschy moments with our dearest and closest ones. Shortly we will be looking at 2013 and I hope you’ll see it was as amazing as it should have been.

As I’ve never been great at greetings I’ll keep it short … I wish you an amazing holiday and all the best in 2014!

Cheers my friends!

Pumpkin and orange soup

Hello there! Here I am, finally back posting a new, tasty recipe. This one is perfect for these colder days, and with aromas of orange you’ll be transported to some nice tropical island … A dish I really needed as there is quite an intense, but awesome and positive week behind me. Besides some awesome work related things, I had also the pleasure of lecturing at Hekovnik’s start:Ecommerce workshop and Friday visiting the 16th Slovenian Wine Festival. After resting the weekend I’m really excited to start this new week.

This dish is really quick and simple to make, as it will take you approximately 3o minutes for it. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Ingredients for 4:

  • 700 g muscat pumpkin,
  • 800 ml vegetable or chicken stock,
  • 100 ml cream,
  • 1 orange,
  • 1 onion,
  • 2 garlic cloves,
  • 1 tbsp butter,
  • thyme,
  • salt and pepper,
  • 1 sheet ready made puff pastry (for decoration),
  • 1 egg.

Start with the puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut pastry to vertical stripes, approximately 1 cm thick. Beat the egg and use a brush to spread it over the puff pastry. Cover them with thyme springs and set to bake for 15 minutes.

Clean, peal and cut the pumpkin to cubes. Chop the onion and garlic. Melt butter on medium heat, add onion and leave to soften up, add the and leave to infuse. Add pumpkin and allow to soften. Then add stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

Grate half of orange zest and squash its juice. After 10 minutes blend the soup to a velvety texture with the help of an immersion blender. Add pinch of thyme springs, orange zest and juice and cream while blending. Taste and if needed adjust with salt and pepper.

Pour it in plates and top with thyme infused puff pastry.

Enjoy!

Beetroot tagliatelle with pancetta, pear, arugula and toasted pine nuts

Beetroot tagliatelle with pancetta, pear, arrugula and toasted pine nuts

Making a visit to the store yesterday I got this nice pack of pears and it instantly reminded me of this recipe. Try it this week-end, I assure you won’t regret it.

For a lunch for 2 you’ll need following ingredients.

For the pasta:

  • approximately 75 g of cooked beetroot
  • 200 g 00 or semolina flour
  • pinch of salt
  • some flour for dusting

For the sauce:

  • 6 thin slices of dried pancetta (look for one that was not smoked)
  • 2 matured pears
  • 100 g fresh arugula
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pepper
  • salt
  • thyme
  • knob of butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil

Cook the beetroot, peel, dice and blend it with an immersion blender. Mix together egg, pinch of salt and beetroot paste, add to flour and knead together until obtaining a consistent dough. You might need to add a bit more of flour because it tends to get more sticky than other pasta doughs. Knead for approximately 15 minutes. Wrap in clinging film and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a tiny sheet and cut into stripes. You can check this post on information on how to cut pasta and her various shapes.

Now for the sauce. Use a large, non sticky pan. Warm it on medium fire, place pancetta slices into and cook them until crisp. Remove them from the pan leaving the fat behind.

Cut the pears into quarters, remove seeds and cut them into slices, leaving the skin on. Put them in the pan, onto the fat of pancetta. Add butter, salt, pepper, thyme and cook until golden. Take them out of the pan and set aside.

Add pine nuts onto all of the juices in the pan, sprinkle over sugar and cook until sugar has started to caramelize and pine nuts start to toast. Add pears to the pan and coat them into caramel.

Bring water to the boil and add in pasta. This pasta cooks really quickly so check if it’s “al dente” fast (10 – 15 seconds might do it). Add pasta to the pan with sauce. Add to it arugula, almost all of the crispy pancetta and shake it well to coat all ingredients.

Serve the pasta on large plates. Put it on the center of the plate and top it with few slices of remaining pancetta, slices of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on some good extra virgin olive oil.

Now all that is left for you is to enjoy the meal.

Quince tart

Quince tart
Quince tart

Well, couple of last days were quite hectic, visiting family and friends, celebrating 3 birthday parties … I really needed something to calm. And what better way to relax than by making a nice tart?

We brought a ton of fruit from our last visit to Bosnia, so it was time to do something as it would be a shame wasting it. I never did anything with quince, so this was quite an experiment. I love their aroma and I still remember from my childhood memories the smell of its compote.

So here goes the recipe.

You’ll need a tart tin of 28 cm Ø, baking paper and baking beans.

For the dough:

  • 100 g butter
  • 100 ml medium sweet wine
  • 200 g sugar
  • 450 g 00 flour
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 800 g Quince (peeled and diced)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 allspice whole
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the topping:

  • 600 g Quince (peeled)
  • 200 g sugar
  • water
  • zest of 1 lemon

Start by making the dough. Beat softened butter, sugar and salt until obtaining a fine cream, then add gradually flour and wine into the mixture until obtaining a compact dough. Wrap in cling film and set in fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Roll thin the dough on a surface dusted with flour and place in tart tin. Pinch bottom of dough with fork, cover it with baking paper and lay beans on top, to prevent the dough raising from the bottom of the tin. Place in the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. After that remove from top baking paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

Meanwhile prepare filling. Put all the ingredients except sugar to the pot and allow it to soften up. Add sugar and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes so that it thickens up and you get a filling that resembles marmalade. Remove allspice and cinnamon and set aside to cool down.

Lay the filling onto the dough and bake at 180 °C for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the topping. Peal Quinces, cut into quarters and remove seeds. Place them into a pot, add sugar, lemon zest and cover with water. Cook for maximum half an hour or until soft.

Take quince quarters out of the water and cut into tiny slices. Top them on the baked tart, cover with a bit of icing sugar and return to the oven. Position it on the top layer so that it makes a crust on top of the tart (be careful and don’t repeat my rookie mistake here, I added to less sugar on top and while I was waiting for the crust edges overcooked a bit – better luck next time I presume …).

Allow to cool down and serve with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.