10 lessons learned from my trail races in 2019

My trail running races in 2019 have brought lots of a-ha moments, gratitude, and wonderful memories. Looking back, I realise I’ve learned a lot.

Some were things that I already knew that just got extra proof. Others were experiences that I had to go through to find out what motivates me as a trail runner, what makes me run faster, enjoy the trails more, and reminded myself why I love this sport.

Here are just 10 things I’ve learned from racing in trail competitions in 2019.

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Foto: Andrei Tale

Maine e zi de cursa

Stai pe marginea patului intr-o camera de pensiune dintr-un sat de munte in care n-ai mai fost niciodata. E inca un loc in care, acum cativa ani, inainte sa alergi pe munti, nu te-ai fi gandit ca ai sa cauti cazare.

Ai plecat cu o ora mai devreme de la birou, dar cu bagaje, drum, luat kit-ul si toate cele, tot te-a prins miezul noptii. Deja e mult prea tarziu si incepi sa devii anxios – ar trebui sa te culci cat mai curand, ca maine e zi de cursa. Ceasul e pus sa sune la 6, dar pana te culci, pana te foiesti in pat, iarasi prinzi cel mult cateva ore de somn. Asta daca reusesti sa adormi.

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Grossglockner Ultra Trail – Conquering the Austrian Alps in our first trail relay

Grossglockner Ultra Trail is a race that goes around Austria’s highest peak, Grossglockner (3798m), through the National Park Hohe Tauern. And it’s one of the few trail events that have a long distance team relay race. Of course that’s what Andrei and I went for. 

It’s a relatively “young” race, the 2019 edition being the 5th one so far.

We signed up for the 110k race, the longest one, but split in two: Andrei would do the first leg, 60k with 4500m elevation, while I’d do the second, 50k with about 2000m elevation. The 50k segment was exactly the route of the official Kalser Tauern Trail race of the event. 

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5 mistakes I made in Lavaredo Cortina Trail race


Running the Lavaredo Cortina Trail’s 48km race in 2018 was a beautiful experience. I’ll call it that because it wasn’t just about the race. It was the entire roadtrip with friends, seeing new trails of the Dolomites, and going through the highs and lows of the competition.

Also, about rediscovering a place I’d fallen in love with a year before, on the road cycling trip.

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Thassos active holidays – run, cycle and swim in a Greek paradise island

When your friends set up a holiday plan for Thassos, a pictoresque island with blue waters in Greece, you know it’s going to be a beautiful and relaxing vacation.

But if your friends are runners, cyclists and climbers, then you should know they’re tricking your ass into a training camp, and not a vacation.

As you might have guessed, my case was the latter.

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Transylvania 50k – Chasing demons on the trails in Bucegi

After a few years of dreaming about it, I finally ran the Transylvania 50k race.

It’s not like I couldn’t run there any other day, but there’s something special that happens in a runner’s circuits when you put a bib number on his shirt and you wake him up at 5am to face neverending climbs surrounded by others sharing the same suffering. Yeah, it’s hard to explain why we love it so much.

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Brasov Marathon – The epic adventure of the first race in a new city

As a kid, I used to play the violin. It meant hours of practice almost every afternoon, when everything I played made my family and our neighbours cringe.

I could tell by their fake smile when we met in front of the building. They’d ask me “so how is the violin practice going?” as if they didn’t already know it was going terrible.

But every once in a while, the noises I usually made would sound like real music. Call it flow or practice making perfect, but some days the chords just “aligned” to play as they should.

I had the same feeling about running Brasov Marathon last Saturday. A race that I hadn’t been to before on a route that was kind of familiar to me because I had trained on parts of it, but never entirely and definitely never feeling in such a good flow as I did on the race day.

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Transylvania 50k: preparing my first ultra

With only one month left before the start of Transylvania 100k event I thought about sharing some things about how I’m preparing the 50k race, which I consider to be my first ultramarathon.

Technically, everything longer than a marathon falls into the ultra definition. However, the mad people in the trail running world who run long distances say that nothing under 60k counts as an ultra. I won’t go for the extremes, so let’s say 50k is somewhere in between.

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Small tweaks that helped me improve my running performance

I’ve learned a lot since I started running. How to train for a marathon, how be faster on uphills, how to survive when you’re injured and can’t run, what to eat before a race, or during a race, how to convince my mom that it’s safe to run in the mountains, what’s the best recovery, and how to shop for fluorescent shoes are just some examples. But these are the big lessons, the foundations.

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