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Adventures in the Balkans - 100 km around Tryavna - Shipka, Buzludzha, Bulgarka hut ..

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Adventures in the Balkans - 100 km around Tryavna - Shipka, Buzludzha, Bulgarka hut ..


The walk of the year

I often tell you that I love being in nature. It sounds cliché and is very clear to me. And the next story may sound even more cliché than that.

The story of the heroic self-overcoming..bla..bla .. but you may be interested.

It all started back in 2019 (or the end of 2018). The year itself was emotional - I quit my job, I left the city where I had lived for 7 years to pursue my place and my dreams. (At that time I had no idea what I would do or where I would live .. more or less nothing, except that I need a change)

And at this moment of change, I received a notification that Tryavna Ultra is starting to record for 2019.

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A small deviation
Tryavna Ultra is a mountain running competition held in Tryavna and the surrounding area, with distances ranging from 23 to 141 km.
back to history /

I had participated in Tryavna Ultra before and read that the new distance of 100 km includes Shipka and Buzludzha, and this was my dream. I signed up without thinking!

How do you prepare for a 100km run? How much to train? What should I eat? And where will I live at that time? I have no idea!

In 2019 I returned to Burgas with my mother (it's best with my mother), supposedly temporarily, until I find my place. The winter passed and I started training and at the same time I started making the videos you see in the channel.
Little by little I got in shape and felt great. And then came the problems - bile crisis, hospitals, they want to operate on me. I gave up the operation for now, but the months of training were over and I went back a long way.
After this incident, it was very difficult for me - I didn't know if I would be able to run, to have heavy physical activities and I put a lot of emphasis on videos and walks, and ... you know, that virus hit us hard. They closed everything and I didn't have much choice.

It so happened that they canceled the race and moved everything to 2021. Okay, I have time. At the end of 2020, I still managed to hold a race and I met Willy. Did she get up at 5 o'clock to do yoga and run? This one is crazy! But look what happened now ... It turned out that I was obviously a little crazy and we met. And along with her I started to train a lot more. And as time went on, suddenly Tryavna Ultra 2021 knocked on the door. I don't know if I'm prepared, and Willie believes in me unconditionally.

The race for me in the 100 km distance started at 9 p.m. on Friday night from Tryavna. The day was good - like a normal Friday at work, I was told the game, I had stomach problems and I didn't eat, but what. We get in the car and travel to Tryavna. We arrived at 7 p.m. we took our starter packs, stopped for an hour at the house where we were going to spend the night. No more time to rest.

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20:20 I'm getting dressed, I've prepared the backpack, the start number, the bottles ... We're leaving for the start.

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20:55 We arrive at the start, I pour water from the tap, a few greetings with friends who came to see me, photos with relatives and start.

I had no time at all to feel tension, anxiety, fatigue. We're on our way!

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It is always euphoric at first. In Tryavna for the people this competition is like a holiday - everyone is in the center, on the terraces, on the street - shouting, playing horns, supporting the participants. We run about 80 little ants on the big road. I find familiar faces and we talk a little. The legs are still light and the running is going on.
22:20 We arrive in Bozhentsi - a beautiful village in the Balkans. But tc .. It's dark and nothing can be seen except the lights on the houses and the street lighting where it is.
23:30 We arrive at the checkpoint in Sechen Kamak - at the bend of one road. Midnight is approaching, we have all lit up the headlights and like fireflies we run through the forest. We gathered a large group of runners and it was quite fun at the checkpoint. However, I realized that I was moving quite fast and I wanted to slow down. Shortly after the checkpoint, I let my friend Mitko run forward and slowed down. I called Willie to hear her before bed and to say good night, and I had the task of fighting the night alone.
03:00 After some stomach problems and lifting I managed to get to the next point. I was worried I wouldn't have a problem, but then I heard that others were complaining about the same thing. If it's not just me, then I can handle it. To the next point there was about 16 km and 1200 meters ascent, which is quite by all criteria. After all, we are going to Shipka, and you know that the top is not easy to conquer. I loaded up with food and water as much as I could and headed up the steep slope. I overtook a few people and enjoyed the silence, moving alone at night. They say it was scary in the woods to hear noises here and there without seeing anything. But I thought I liked it. I managed to concentrate on my movement and slowly climbed the baira, approaching the next goal.
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shortly before sunrise: The sun was not there yet, but it was already shining over the hills with its bright red colors, and I was able to see Buzludzha on the opposite bair. I thought I was close to Shipka and I would be heading there soon. Until I saw ... Shipka. It turned out that I was on the opposite hill and I had to go down to the river to climb to the end point. Mentally, this sight knocked me down for a moment. I had assumed that I was very close to the checkpoint, but it turned out to be more than an hour away. I talked to Willie again and she encouraged me, and I wished her success at her start at 42 km. I took the road to Shipka .. step by step, I will get there, I have nowhere to go! And ours were waiting for me (maybe). They had said they would try to come, but I was convinced they would be there. It's another bair and I'm there, right? I went down to the river and splashed my face with the lukewarm water - terribly refreshing. And I went up .. On the last bair I did well with short breaks and just climbed almost to the top I managed to stumble on a stick and drive both knees into a stone. Well, good luck. A little later it turned out that there was a fountain and at least I cleaned the wounds a bit.

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With the last effort I reached the parking lot in front of the Shipka stairs, where my mom was waiting for me with a big poster (which I'm not convinced I saw at that moment) and my dad with the camera to take these pictures you are looking at.

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Well ... you know the legend after all. Rosehip is not easy to conquer. It takes a lot of strength to do that - especially on this "path" we have taken.
Bells rang from the volunteers at the checkpoint, and my mother and father were waiting for me at the barrier. As it was hard for me, I suddenly calmed down and I was quite relieved. There was fun at the checkpoint again. There were also some friends from the longer distance who had given up and we talked nicely. I had left a bag of luggage with the organizers and they brought it to me. I changed quickly, put on my sun hat. However, it is the middle of July and during the day the sun will burn me hard. I sent our people to Buzludzha to wait for me and I set off.

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Around 9 am Ventsi and Ivo and I joined forces on the trail, part of Kom-Emine, from Shipka to Buzludzha and under the sounds of the radio we quickly tossed the kilometers and already enjoyed the beauty of the monument on Hadji Dimitar peak.
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Mother and father were waiting for us upstairs and had prepared a poster with the inscription "Come on, Mitko", which lifted my spirits a lot. The friends from Ravnogor organized this point together with Doppelhertz and we stopped talking. It's always nice to see familiar faces as you travel around the country - no matter a walk or a race. There was already some calm at this point, because they say the hardest part is over. But on the other hand, the day was just beginning and it was already about 25-30 degrees, which made us brutally tired.
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At the next point Mladost (somewhere around the wind turbines) we stopped to eat soup. I don't know what normal person would eat hot soup with this heat, but here the master chef puts us and Venci to sit while he brings us his homemade soup. Well, there is no such delicious soup, honestly!

We went up to the wind turbines and climbed the highest point of the route (about 1500 meters above sea level maybe) and went down to Bulgarka hut. There I looked for Krasi, who is a photographer and I know that he likes to shoot with a view of the fins - perhaps the most magnetic places. A little later we find him by a meadow, try to do something fun as for a photo and go down. Somewhere there they started to catch up with us and overtake some of the runners at a distance of 76 km.

The legs become heavy, the pimples begin to be felt. We move with Venci and we complain a little, then we run, and so on.

Sometime around noon we reached Bulgarka hut. There is always a huge table and we can't help but pay a little attention. The watermelon everywhere was fabulously sweet, the apples and cucumbers fresh, and the slices of lyutenitsa or chocolate seemed to be the most delicious I had ever eaten. Dimitar and Tony from Basecamp were there and I talked a bit. I filled my Coke with one bottle, water in the other and I'm ready to go down. During the day it was more pleasant to move, because you can see where you are stepping and you can look around, but the heat was terrible. The kilometers went by at a brisk pace.
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3 pm (Saturday - 6 pm from the beginning of the competition) I start descending to the Stanchov Khan checkpoint and from a distance I see Willy, mother and father waiting for me and I get excited. I run, and Willy screams and waves a poster (on which I couldn't see what it says ... either I passed very quickly or I was very tired already). I approach and throw myself at my neck. One would think: "Is this crazy? I've been on my feet since 6 pm, over 85 km and she thinks I'll have the strength to wear it?", But I'm glad to feel it on my neck and I'm not tired at all. at the expense of happiness.
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What is happiness? To run 100 km at night in the mountains alone, and your closest people to think of you, to write to you, to call and to travel kilometers to be with you and to support you. I don't need it anymore.

Honestly, after this point I was quite energized and I wanted it to end. With great enthusiasm I set off up one of the last hills and overtook a lot of people on the shorter distance, who congratulated me on my strong spirit and will. (Thanks for everyone's support - you were really cool)

At 4 pm I was already at the "Stop" - an interesting place. It really is a bus stop sitting on the side of the road. I had decided not to stop at all, because I was already smelling the finish and just drinking a car to quickly charge. There were still 7 km left, but I had already covered them and I was confident. I caught up with Toshko, a friend who ran 76 km and passed him because I was in a hurry. It turned out, however, that I had no memory of what awaited me. I thought that I would fly to Tryavna very soon, but it turned out that there are a few more climbs that I have to do. This ruined me a little - how mentally, physically I'm not sure. Maybe from the thought that you are close to the end, your body relaxes and everything becomes heavier. Not long after, Toshko passed me, as well as several other people. I didn't have much strength anymore. I just wanted it to end.

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around 5 pm (Saturday - day two) I could already see Tryavna below me. Last kilometers in the city - I run and wait for the final. I go out on the main street on the bridge to the municipality, where a volunteer greets me to ask me about the number. I run on the cobblestones to the final and hear the euphoria. Willie, mom and dad are there screaming - maybe more excited than me. My name and distance are announced on the column. Iiiiiii final! Tryavna Ultra is already behind me. 100km distance, 4000 meters climbing forest trails, one night in motion under the stars, a little more than 20 hours, 9 points, hundreds of volunteers, hundreds of companions on the road, including forest animals and strange noises in the forest, my loved ones, happiness - Tryavna ultra 2021! Thanks!
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P.P. It's been a few days since this challenge ended for me, and of course I'm happy. I missed only a few pimples and a slight pain in the folds of the knees, but without muscle fever and major problems. The next day we walked around Veliko Tarnovo and Tryavna, and then to my favorite Hotnishki waterfall. Yesterday we returned safely by car. Somehow, as time went on, I began to feel the scale of the whole endeavor and was a little impressed with myself.

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Have you done something like that?

Would you do it?

All you have to do is ask for it. You can!

Special thanks to everyone involved

  • Vili, who supported me months before the race and forbade me to give up. He calls me at night to check what is happening to me and after his successful final at 42 km he travels to see me at Stanchov Khan and waits for me to hug me at the final. Amazing!
  • mom and dad, who met me at the checkpoints and made sure I was in a good mood and had everything I needed.
  • Ani, Miro, Deni and Ivo, who were also on the track, but wished me success and kept their fingers crossed
  • Marto, Dancho, my sister and Plamen, who watched me at night as I moved and got excited with me.
  • All friends and acquaintances on the route with whom we shared some part of it - Mitaka, Lechev, Poli, Rado, Tisho, Dimi, Plamen
  • All volunteers at the checkpoints who took care of all of us tirelessly - friends from Varna at the start / finish, friends from Tarnovo Ultra on Shipka, friends from Ravnogor on Buzludzha, friends from BaseCamp at Bulgarka hut and all other known and unknown people.
  • To the organizers, the people marked the route and everyone who was part of the organization. Lechev and you! The markings to Shipka were great!
  • All acquaintances who had come to the start to greet me and wish me success.
  • All the friends who wrote to me on Facebook or called me to wish me success. Mitak, thanks for the bar! I did not lean on it because I kept it for critical situations (:
  • And of course to everyone we met on the track - Mitaka from the team in 5km in the first kilometers, and then Venci and Ivo after Shipka almost to the final.

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2 comments
  • Avatar
    Боряна Костова, July 29 reply

    Прекрасен, разказ Митко! Прекрасно преживяване! Усеща се енергията, любовта, вдъхновението...

    • Avatar
      Mitko on Trip, September 07 reply

      Благодаря ти, Бори! Понякога ми е трудно да разкажа преживяванията, но друг път думите просто се следват една друга. Благодаря ви също за подкрепата на старта на състезанието и след финала. Цялото ви семейство сте вдъхновение за нас


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