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Date : 8th August, 2015
Time : 57’ 53”
Total distance run to date : 570 km
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/897739997
Slovenia feels like a perfectly formed country. It’s small (2 million inhabitants living in 20 000 square miles), very friendly and exceedingly beautiful with plenty of lakes and mountains and a bit of Adriatic coastline. It’s like a mini Switzerland or Norway – except that the beer is 90% cheaper.
OK, the parking can be a little difficult ; there are a few too many wasps : and I didn’t dare try the local minced lard speciality. But these are minor quibbles.
The sun shines in the summer, the snow comes down in the winter, and Slovenians love their outdoor pursuits. It’s no surprise they’re good at sports. In fact they’re so good at sports that Slovenia is a regular in the top ten of Greatest Sporting Nation’s Per Capita Cup (which measures global sporting achievement per head of population.) They even won it in 2013 and 2014.
But perhaps Slovenia’s greatest recent achievement was their navigation of the break-up of Yugoslavia. They declared independence in 1991 – the first republic to do so. This resulted in the Ten Day War against the Yugoslavian People’s Army which, as the name suggests, lasted ten days. A peace agreement was then reached recognising Slovenia’s independence. Thereby avoiding the hidiocy of the subsequent Balkan Wars.
Which meant that their cities and towns avoided the war damage that we were to see later in Sarajevo, Mostar and Dubrovnik. One of those towns – Bled on beautiful Lake Bled – was the venue for our run.
Lake Bled is postcard perfect. Mountains slope down to the shoreline, there’s a picturesque island in the middle of the lake, and a castle on a crag overlooking the town. And there’s a path that’s ideal for running, walking and cycling around most of the lake.
So that’s where Sienna and I ran.
I’ve been told that it’s not good for nine and ten year olds to do many long runs so I hadn’t done a 10k with Sienna since Cyprus back in October 2014. I was interested to see how her time would compare and, in particular, whether she could complete her first 10k in under an hour.
We started strongly and, after 5k, were well under the required pace. The path was mostly flat, it was cool due a little drizzle in the air (our only rain in Slovenia) and the scenery was stunning. And then Sienna started having problems with her feet. She was in quite a lot of pain and I wasn’t sure if she could continue.
We stopped and took her orthotics out of her trainers. Orthotics are a bit of a mystery to me. No-one had them a few years ago when I was a kid but they’re now commonplace. Why I’m not sure. In any event, Sienna’s were as flat as a pancake. And her trainers weren’t in great shape either.
At this stage we had a few choices. We could stop. I could inspire her with tales of how tough I’d had it at her age when I was sent to boarding school. Or we could talk about dogs (her pet obsession.)
Fortunately we went down the canine route and her running started to accelerate. Eventually she ran away from me and finished in 57’53”.
Her first time under an hour and a lovely end to a lovely run.