Most people in Russia are now having long spring holidays. We celebrate 1 May, like many places in Europe, and the Victory Day on 9 May, but the official days off last until 12 May.
“Unfortunately this is not helpful for athletes: we just can’t afford to enjoy barbecues for about 10 consecutive days! However, I still try to enjoy some of these nice spring days as much as I can.
“On 2 May, I took part in a city relay in the streets of Yekaterinburg and I represented my local club, Sputnik, which is the club of my husband Alexey Farnosov and many other strong and well-known Russian runners. Unfortunately we again lost to our traditional rivals Luch and finished second.
“Luch also has lots of top athletes, such as the 2012 Olympic 800m bronze medallist Yekaterina Poistogova, 2010 European 400m silver medallist Kseniya Ustalova.
“I ran 650m on stone paving in the very centre of the city. It is the first time I am running this stage, may be because of the Olympic title I was honoured to run this most prestigious part of the relay. I liked my feeling during the race, and I was also in great mood because my mother, my brother, his wife and my two nephews drove all the way from Chelyabinsk to cheer me on.
“The only problem was the weather. Iit was only three degrees above zero outside! However, I am not in a position to complain because on the next day, 3 May, it started to snow! It’s been such an unusual spring in Russia.
“Speaking now about my training, everything is going great but I have put on my spikes only once up to now this spring.
"We had a test on the track and I did it very easily, but I don’t want to announce my time at the moment. Let’s just say, I don’t want to frighten my rivals! :-)
"The season is going to be long, so don’t be surprised that I am not training in spikes at the moment. It’s hard for the legs, and I do my best to stay injury free.
“After the relay in the streets, my husband and I spent three nice days in Moscow. On the first day, I finally managed to find some time for myself, and went to a beauty salon, so now I have a totally new look for the new season.
“Again, I’m not going to give away my secrets beforehand, but I’ll give a hint: my hair style is now more feminine. I hope my fans will like it when they see me in Eugene, at the Diamond League there on 1 June.
“On 5 May this year, we celebrated our Easter holiday in the Russian Orthodox church. We have many traditions connected with it in Russia, for example: to paint eggs or bake special Easter cake.
“To my shame, I can do neither, I just had no time to learn as I am always away at training camps; but, this year, we went to visit my husband’s mother, who is much more experienced in this aspect. I now dream that next Easter, if I am at home, I’ll bake the cake myself.
“Unfortunately, and most people know the feeling, the holidays always seem too short, and already on 5 May I had to leave home for training. This is my final pre-season camp, and I will not come back home before Eugene.
“My husband did not travel with me this time, and it feels hard. For about a month we won’t see each other. This is a long time for us, but hopefully the result in Eugene would be worth it. I have to go to training, so that’s it for now.
“Take care, Mariya.”