21 February 2015

Winter Hike in Piatra Mare

Yesterday I took a break from my usual outdoor activities, running and skiing. With Udo, an experienced nature guide, I did a slow pace hike on Piatra Mare, mountain. We hoped for a beautiful sunny day, but the day was cloudier than we have expected. We even experienced a short and intense  beautiful show shower up on the mountain. It was a great hike and we enjoyed the tranquility of the winter landscape.
We took the classical route from Tamina valley to the top, then down on the other side to Piatra Mare mountain hut, and back  to Brasov city on the popular Familiar trail. After more than two weeks from the latest snow fall, the snow on the trail was already well packed by other hikers so walking was easy.


Here are the best photos I took along the route.

Beautiful view towards north-west from above Tamina Hut

Descending from Piatra Mare top

Mysterious winter landscape

Not a such a big mountain...

Snow fall!


Trail markings

Approaching Piatra Mare mountain hut

One of the beautiful Shepherd dogs at Piatra Mare Hut


For us the end of the trail, for others just the start

09 January 2015

My 2014 Running Year in Retrospect

Here are my 2014 running statistics:


196 running sessions totaling:

  • 3600 km of running. It does not include other activities such as hiking or ski tours. This is almost 700 km more than in 2013
  • Estimated  around 150.000 m of elevation gain. This gives about 750 meters per run, and an average gradient of 8%.
  • Average speed 8.31 km/h. About the same as in 2013.
  • Average pace 7.13 min/km. Looks rather slow, but take into account that half of my routes are uphill, often on steep slopes.
  • Average run length 18.3 km. 1.5 km longer than in 2013.
  • Just 2 Races, down from 7 during 2013

Some comments


Less races

In 2013 decided to race less, stress my body less and enjoy every bit of my runs in the nature. Yet the two races I ran were quite serious. Brasov Marathon and Hit the Top (sky running in Bucegi Mountains).

Strava

I thought that it may be the time to finally try a smartphone and found a cheap one with a very good GPS, good battery and bright screen. I installed Strava and connected with a small community of runners in Brasov. So although I did not race much in official races, during summer I was racing along the Strava segments and accumulating kilometers... During the autumn I realized that I should take it easier...

180-age Heart Rate

Around the time whan I realised that my body may try to tell me that my running is too intense I discovered the 180-age formula for optimal heart rate training. So I revived my heart rate monitor watch and use it now and then. Just look on the web for more info about this formula. 

I really find running at this heart rate very enjoyable and relaxing. It is hard to keep to this heart rate on uphills so my HR is about 5 bpm higher on most uphills, and about 10 bpm higher on the really steep ones. On downhills I have the reverse "problem"... I cannot raise my HR to 180-age. This is not bad at all, as my runs are often longer than two hours so I do not stress my heart too much...

2015 new Year Resolution?

Not really a resolution... It came spontaneously after two rich Christmas meals that made me feel energy-less. and after I did some research about nutrition... hopefully from the right sources...

I decided to give up all milk and dairy products and see what happens. This is a hard one in our culture where everybody appreciates good cheese and yogurt and milk are common snacks. Moreover, soft cheese and milk are common ingredients in lots of savory dishes and tasty deserts...

I was already eating very little meat, so I did next "logical" step and for a week now, I have a 100% vegan diet. Will it work? Will it last? Time will tell... Check my blog in one year for the 2015 year review. So far I have noticed that my skin is less greasy, my dandruff is virtually gone my nose less runny... and my running performance is not affected.