Running made me stronger
From running she learned how to constantly push herself outside her comfort zone and her confidence grew. The new attitude made her stronger and one thing led to another…
Milena is a 32-year-old, stubborn and ambitious young lady from Serbia that a few years ago got herself into running.
From the beginning Milena hated running, but after a hard period in life her coach suggested that she should try it. She did try it and that was a choice that she will never regret. She started with 10k, then 15k and then she tried her first Sky race and got hooked.
Once you start, you always want more…
In April 2019 Milena won the prize Rising Star of the month in the SkyRunner Challenge for her personal progress in trailrunning. She mastered her longest race ever, 100 Miles of Istria, Croatia 67km.
This is Milena’s story…
Congrats Milena to the 100 Miles of Istria, Croatia 67km. Can you tell us a little about the race and your experiences from that?
Thank you 100 miles of Istria was a very pleasant experience. The nature is beautiful, and the old cities you see along the way are truly picturesque. People are friendly and supportive, and the organisation was on very high level.
For me, the track wasn’t very hard, because both the ascent and the downhill were mostly mild, but the 67km was a big challenge for me. All I wanted was to finish, enjoy and be free of any pain, but I’ve gained much more than that.
Who is Milena and your story behind?
I am an interior and furniture designer from Belgrade, Serbia. My job and sports have always been the two things present in my life, and my big love and passion. There are also some great people, and my dog, that brings pleasure and love.
What is most important for you in life?
To love and enjoy – my family, my man, my work and all of my passions.
Your passion for Sky & Trailrunning? Where is that coming from?
I was always into sports, but i hated running. But after a hard period in life, my coach suggested i should try it. He coached a group for the upcoming Belgrade marathon, and I decided to try it. One of the best things I did in life At first, 10km, then the Ljubljana half marathon, and a couple more… Once you start, you always want more. Then I went on 15 km race in Kopaonik mountain, Serbia, and I was hooked on Trail and skyrunning.
The race started in 5 o’clock in the morning, dark all around you, the only thing you hear is people breathing and the only thing you see is head lamp light – but when you see the sunrise over a snow covered mountain, it is all worth it.
Can you describe your significant personal strengths that took you all the way to this level of running?
My coach says that it is my head (my mind)… I agree
Is Trail- and Skyrunning a hobby or is it something you do for a living?
Skyrunning and trailrunning is a hobby, a passion and something I would love to have in my life as long as possible. The option of working in this field wasn’t possible for now, as my work as interior designer takes all of my energy. But if the opportunity comes, I think I would gladly take it.
Which is the most challenging and demanding situations that you been through to get you where you are today as a person?
Life is constantly giving us challenges, some of them for me were because of the country I live in, some of them were emotional, but every one of them created the person I am today.
Do you usually push yourself outside your comfort zone? How does it feel at the time? Can you see that the rewards coming out of this is worth this little extra effort?
I consider myself to be a bit introvert, so it was always hard to push myself to do new things. But running made me much stronger, so much more confident. So, pushing outside of comfort zone became a thing to do not only in races, but in everyday life – now I think that nearly anything you really have passion in, and really put effort in, you can achieve.
How does your race plans and goals look like for 2019?
2019 for now has two of my favourite races in plan – Stara planina skyrace, 36km (Old mountain, Serbia), and Maze rage race, 25km with obstacles (Jelasnica gorge, near Nis, Serbia). These are races I’ve been in before, but the goal is to be faster each year. Also, Amsterdam marathon is in plan.
How does a normal week with training and all that look like for you right now? (What do you train? How much do you train? Where do you train? Other things you do?
Right now, the training probably isn’t enough… I train 3 times a week in the gym, and 1 or 2 times running, mostly in the neighbourhood, in the woods, but as the running season starts, most of the long-distance training is made in half marathons in Serbia, or neighbourhood countries.
Which are your best training tips to other Skyrunners all over the world?
Run as much as you can, enjoy it, and don’t pressure and stress yourself, for it never brings a good result.
Which are your favourite races that you would recommend to other Skyrunners all over the world?
I have mentioned two of my favourites, and I would add a race on mountain Jahorina, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but every race I participated in my country, or in neighbourhood countries was beautiful… So, to all Skyrunners – come, and try any of them :).
Do you have any dreams and goals for the future that you like to share?
I hope to participate in some of the long Ultra races, about 100km. Also, something that looks exciting now are races like Etna trail, Sicily, Italy.
How does your game plan look like for that?
As always, there are not special plans for now… My head will guide my legs,
What is your inner drive?
Simply – I am stubborn. If I create a challenge for myself, I have to make it through.
What is your advice to other people that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains as good as you?
Just do it and don’t overthink. Find a person or a team to guide you if it is hard to start by yourself, inform yourself and try it. It will pay off.
Name: Milena Simic
Family: close family, boyfriend and a dog
Country/town: Serbia, Belgrade
Your team or sponsor now: Zivi zdravo team
Occupation: Interior and furniture designer
Education: Faculty of applied arts, Belgrade, interior an furniture design
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/milena.simic.1253
Overall facts and race achievements: 3.place in Maze play race in Jelasnica gourge, Nis, Serbia
Thank you, Milena, for taking your time sharing your fantastic story! Wishing you all the best luck in the future both with your job and your Skyrunning.