Moving is fun.
Running and jumping is super fun!
Every kid loves it. I was no exception.
As soon as I could walk, I would run.
And when I would run, I would sprint…
To the delight—and horror—of my Mom and Dad.
I loved being physically active.
Loved the excitement and freedom of moving around.
But not the organized sports, and particularly not indoors. Nope, I did NOT like that.
The thought of being in a group of strangers, even kids my age, always felt cringy and uncomfortable.
I preferred hanging out with people I knew. A close circle of family and friends.
Very close circle.
Here I am with my Dad during one of his master athletic competitions.
I just couldn’t stay up there in the seats. Had to get down and join him for the warm-up.
Couldn’t sit still, I needed to get moving.
I went to an American school in Ljubljana when I was three. Then switched to a British school at the age of six.
They had almost no physical education. They didn’t even have a gym.
But they had small classes, some years really tiny classes. That suited me just fine.
It wasn’t hard for me to be the fastest girl in class. Oftentimes the fastest kid in class.
You see, academic success and artistic expression were cherished above athleticism at those schools.
Which, as it turned out, wasn’t a bad thing. Not at all.
I just had to get my heart rate going someplace else.
Like the Ljubljana Marathon, for instance. Short school runs only, of course.
The days of no-organized-sports-for-me-thank-you-very-much were slowly coming to an end.
I didn’t know it at the time but my parents did. “Honey, we need to talk.”
Surprisingly, I didn’t put up much resistance this time around.
Quite the contrary, a strong desire to do this was growing inside me.
There was no dilemma about the sport. And no dilemma about the club.
In September that year, I became a member of AD Mass.
With Albert Šoba (a.k.a. Berč) as my first coach. (Former coach of Slovenia’s 100 m and 200 m record holder.)
I was twelve and curious to see if athletics could work for me.
I fell in love with it right there and then.
As you can see, the feelings are still strong. And mutual!
If you enjoy running, jumping, or throwing things, give athletics a shot.
It’s a character-shaping experience in the best sense of the word.
Find the closest athletic club near you. If you live or study in Ljubljana, you really can’t go wrong with Mass.
My very first 4x100m relay
My progress was slow.
Nothing really happened in the first three years.
No major races won or records smashed. No times or achievements worth mentioning.
(Except for a few relays when I got a chance to run with senior Mass athletes.)
I trained a lot and competed a lot. Never missed a race and often ran four sprint races in a weekend.
I was always good but never great. Always somewhere behind the best and fastest.
But I enjoyed it all very much.
I loved the company of smart, funny and talented people. On the track and by the track.
I loved the outdoors… the big skies, the fresh air, the sun, and occasional rain.
I loved traveling for competitions and training, my favorite being—no big surprises here—winter sport camps in warm places.
I got hooked by the concept that performance in athletics is precisely measured. And that you are, first and foremost, competing against yourself.
That you may have lost the race, but have won anyway. Because you have run faster than ever before. Because you’ve improved your personal best, and have the right to celebrate a personal victory.
Most of all, I loved to watch my body develop, growing stronger and faster, my mind becoming more determined, more focused, more courageous.
So even though my progress was slow, it was steady. Year after year.
It was cool. I was fine with that.
Then in fall 2019 things took a sharp turn.
My strength and speed training changed.
At the legendary Bislett, Oslo
At Playa de las Américas, Tenerife
My new program was a move in the right direction.
I started to train harder. More importantly, I started to train smarter.
Long story short…
I broke both 400 m and 300 m personal records by a nice margin early in spring.
Followed by 200 m and 400 m hurdles personal bests in June and July.
But race times were not the real breakthrough. They still weren’t anything out of the ordinary.
The real breakthrough happened inside my head.
I realized that Thomas Edison was right. (Of course, he was right! He was as smart as Einstein!)
I realized that this “99% perspiration” thing actually works.
That if I have a plan which is tailored to my needs. And if I give my 100% to work that plan…
…on the track, in the gym, up the hill, day after day, rain or shine…
And if I do a dozen other things athletes need to do well, you know, food, recovery, sleep, nutrition, etc., etc…
If I do all this and do it with consistency and focus…
Then ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Then, one day, I WILL achieve something meaningful.
And this is it.
There’s nothing more powerful in the world than the power of our mind.
A strong, unshakeable belief in our abilities.
Memorial Mass 2020, 200 m
I have been looking forward to 2021 for quite some time.
It’s nothing to do with 2020. I just couldn’t wait to finish high school and start university.
Couldn’t wait to leave the country and go abroad. I felt it was time to move on.
Quite a change, I’m sure you’ll agree.
I went from a girl who was afraid of the world, to a girl who’s fascinated by it.
I was accepted to the school of my choice, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
A top-three school worldwide for my academic program. With a great athletic club and sports facilities in the vicinity.
These were the two most important reasons for my decision.
Plus, I’ve always loved the “Dutch way”. Organized, ambitious, fair, and very kind people.
My athletic performance in 2021?
Best year ever.
I improved all times from 60 m to 400 m, indoor and outdoor. Pushed my WA score over 900 points in five events, including 400 m hurdles.
I will train at the athletic club in Rotterdam but will continue competing for AD Mass.
See my calendar for competitions and dates.
And watch this space as the story continues…
With Wouter Visser, Elite Athletics & Competition
Manager at Rotterdam Atletiek