I am Anže Česen, a thriving ultra-runner from Ivančna Gorica, Slovenia. My story started when I enlisted in military in 2006. I was quickly addicted to running. At first I ran shorter distances but soon I moved on to running marathon distances. Soon I arrived at a point when marathons did not challenge me enough focusing on even longer distances. I also read a lot of books about running from various authors, all being ultra-runners such as Rich Roll, Dean Karnazes, Dušan Mravlje and Scot Jurek. For me it was like I discovered a whole new world in running. As a result, I quickly changed my running plans and ran a few ultra ordeals.
As ultra-marathon distances take their toll on body and mind, I had to train them extensively. You just have to run a lot of kilometers and stay on the road as long as you can without stopping. This is the charm of ultra runs. In 2014 I accomplished my first independent 24 hour ultra-run (188km). In the table below you can see results regarding some of my marathons and ultra-marathons I attended in the past. I am particularly happy and proud of my 8 hour run (94km) and 48 hour run (264km).
The most intriguing thing about ultra runs is this craving to push the boundaries of impossible. Everything is about self-affirmation of what and how much we are capable of. Every run hides a lot of traps within, no matter if it is a marathon or ultra-marathon. What to drink and eat during the run, how to equip yourself and how to react on crisis which can happen during the run. I am observing that I can endure without food for a very long time. I cannot bear eating during the run. At fast runs and high heart rate food doesn’t suit me. In contrast, at a low heart rate (145bpm), I can eat a banana or an energy bar. You have to be well prepared for all the traps of a run. We can achieve a lot with good physical and mental condition but you still can be surprised by an unexpected event.
I remember my independent project “7 marathons in 7 days” very well. Due to an injury (periosteum) that happened prior to this project, I ate two painkillers for my second marathon. On the third day I took four painkillers and it almost cost me the project. However, I gathered my strength and kept my focus. Hard! Hellish, but no turning back! On the same day I had problems with urinating (bloody urine – pills toxication). When I gathered my thoughts and realized my mistake, I successfully detoxicated and continued without problems until the end of the seventh marathon. I deeply believe that such kinds of tests make you stronger and wiser.
During hard and time-consuming trainings my father helps me from time to time and offers me support such providing drinks, food and company. I run from 80 to 120km a week. If there is a possibility of longer work absence, I run up to 200km instead of the usual 80 to 120km. The main thing at ultra runs is the physical ability to run from 8 hours up to several days and beat the distance in solitude without any help. You have to run a lot of kilometers during the night, hard weather conditions and few hours of sleep so the body can get used to exertion. You, road and kilometers.
As all sportsmen and women I am also afraid of injuries which I try to rehabilitate as soon as possible. I had few problems with periosteum, hip and ankle. My back and knees are serving me very well for now and I hope it will stay like this in the future. Without my family, friends and other people supporting me I would never have been able to make running my everyday sport. It is also very nice to join with friends who share the same opinion regarding running in order to run together. Those are the best and prettiest kilometers I can imagine. As there are never enough challenges I am planning a run from Goričko to Piran (Slovenia) for this year. Air distance between these two points is around 350km.
If you want to learn more about Anže, just follow the links below:
Personal website: http://anzecesen.com
Personal blog: http://blog.anzecesen.com