When adidas approached me and asked me to be their influencer for Terrex line I was a bit confused. I mean, I ain’t no runner and adidas is all about running, football and mainstream sports. I am thru hiker and that means I thru hike – I tend to walk so much other people think I am a bit crazy. As a matter of fact, when I thru hiked across USA on famous Pacific Crest Trail I walked the distance of 100 marathons connected in one giant trail. In the period of 163 days I’ve ascented about 148000 meters and descented a bit less. That’s like going on Mt. Everest from sea to summit 16,5 times up and down. Sometimes I am kind of stupid so I tend to forget what I have accomplished. So, from a perspective of numbers, I really am a badass hiker and my confusion about pro brand approaching me kind of went down.
When agent told me adidas would like me to go on Soča Outdoor Festival in Slovenia I was glad. I like happenings and outdoor activities but soon enough I realized there is a race going on there. – Wait, I ain’t no runner. – Am I obligated to run? – I asked the agent. – Nope, just go there and have some fun! – she told me. Great, no pressure! But, what’s the point of having fun if everybody else is running? Will thru hiker going to stare at the sky or something? I immediately knew that I need to get my s**** together and sign up for 10 km race.
One month before the race I started to prepare for race. Even better, I was doing some mileage, but two weeks prior the race I didn’t found any more time to run so practically I went to Soča Outdoor Festival unprepared. That was a scenario I didn’t want to happen but post trail life of a thru hiker is somewhat busy 🙂
Just before the start of a race I saw a T-shirt with great inscription. It said – Fuck the comfort zone! Well, I thought, this is what thru hike is all about – fucking a comfort zone, and vice versa. I mean, comfort zone starts to fuck you every time you enter new town. But, that struggle is eternal. So, I was standing there waiting for a race to begin. Lots of competitors were there. A lot of them in great shape and with lot of experience…..in running. I kind of doubt that anybody there had so much experience as me in shiting in woods, being hungry and thirsty all the time, having pain in literally every part of your body on daily basis or encountering bears, mountain lions and rattllesnakes with such an ease you don’t even care anymore. Guess what – none of that mattered. So, basically yes, I was super novice in this sport, but pretty determined not to finish last!
I was running in my gray adidas Terrex Agravic series and I was satisfied with that running shoes. On a flat ground it was much better than when I went hiking with them on mountain Risnjak in Croatia. My running T-shirt was adidas Parley which means it was sewed/made out of plastic waste collected in seas without any dye in it. I really love that eco friendly concepts. We really need to get our s*** together when it comes to our planet Earth! It is our only place to live in, and we treat it really badly. When you walk in the woods for almost 6 months you change your perspective toward ecology and what we should and shouldn’t do with our planet, and so did mine. So, tumbs up for Parley!
Back to the race. The trail was really beautiful. At first we were running along river Soča. Colour of that river is astonishing. The first two kilometers were somewhat easy and I’ve managed to get a good pace. From very beginning I didn’t want to follow other competitors paces, but seeing other competitors behind me just forced me to run the same pace all the time. Then we entered forest with tough ascend. Well, everybody started to hike instead of running. I did as well. Since fast hiking on a steep hill is my field that was a moment I started to outpace other competitors. My legs were so happy. They instantly got back in thru hiking mode. I was like – Sorry, can I go in front of you, my dear lady? – knowing this is my chance to outpace non thru hiking runners 🙂 When I reached the fifth kilometer – which was my usual training distance – problems occurred. My body wasn’t prepared for this, but my body knows that brain is the boss, and the boss said – You better finish this bloody race, you wimp! So, me, myself and I had an agreement – to get back into the thru hiking mode – level Washington – and that was basically turning off pain receptors, staring in front of myself and keep on going in fastest possible pace until I reach the finish line.
After I reached Tolminska Korita there was another steep climb and everybody slowed down. So, there was one more part of the trail where some of the competitors were looking at my back. Oh, great feeling that was. After I reached the top it was downhill until the end. I’ve lost some time going down, but when I almost reached finish there was a lot of fuss amongst competitors. Lots of competitors had mobile phones and the end of race is marked with river crossing. Nobody wants to get wet with 500 euro electric equipment in their hands. Nobody except me – I had my Gopro. I mean, that little beast survived 4300 km of Pacific Crest Trail with me – including river fordings, bears, rain, snow, cold, sun, heat and my forgetful mind. So, one little Soča river was fun for both of us. I ran into the water and swam across. If they were timing this river crossing I think I would be one with the best time 🙂
I ain’t no runner so my result doesn’t mean much to me. It was 1:13:22 (+22:32). So, in my category I was 26th out of 43 competitors, and overall I was 52nd out of 104 finishers. My big mission was not to be the last….and I did it. I wasn’t the last.
Later on I’ve met adidas Terrex chief executive. A great guy. He was horseback riding Oregon section of PCT back in the days. Oh, yes. We had something to talk about.
So, will I become a runner? I doubt it, but this was really fun and who knows, never underestimate the will power of a thru hiker, maybe I’ll kick some runners asses in the near future…. 🙂
And here you can see a moment I’ve entered river Soča at finish line 🙂