Why CrossFit? By Laurent

In the first of our new Members’ articles, WITC’s very own certified CrossFit Level 1 trainer, and co-owner of R99 Box in Mokotow, Laurent Uhres talks about how he got into CrossFit, what CrossFit actually is and what the benefits are for triathletes.

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I’ve been running for quite some time. Unfortunately, over the past few years my pace hasn’t improved significantly. I was able to increase the distance and finish a marathon (the 2011 Warsaw Marathon, which you can read about here), but my pace wasn’t going anywhere. I had incorporated weight training hoping that the additional strength would make the difference. But my pace remained stubborn … to all kinds of treatment.

 

The key to this stubbornness is understanding that to increase your speed it isn’t enought to improve endurance and strength. There are at least half a dozen other general physical abilities that have an impact on speed, including stamina, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Among the plentitude of training methods available, CrossFit focuses on improving all of these abilities.

 

 

What is CrossFit?

The fundamental principle behind CrossFit is constantly varied, high-intensity and functional movement. Lets look at the three elements of this principal:

First, a variety of exercises, sets, repetitions, and weights is the basis of preparing for any type of physical activity. It provides athletes with the general physical readiness, laying the groundwork for specialised activities such as swimming, running, and biking.

Second, hard and fast repetitions to achieve high intensity and strengthen the metabolic pathways needed for high levels of endurance and stamina. In a nutshell, the goal is to be able to move large weights over long distances in a short time.

Third, functional movements are universal motor patterns. These movements encourage multiple joints and muscles to mimic common human movements such as squats, deadlifts, pushes, pulls, and rotational movements. The movements are performed from the core to the extremity, e.g. from the most powerful muscles in the body to the most precise muscles. Consider throwing an object: the movement starts with a powerful hip movement, followed by the shoulder and finishes with the fingers that transfer the energy to the object and will provide the precision required to hit the target. Or closer to our interests, consider swimming: without middle line stability, in other words core strength, a swimmer will struggle to swim in a straight line.

A typical CrossFit workout starts and ends with proper stretching and includes a technical part focusing on the movements performed during the actual workout. Technique is a fundamental aspect of the workout. The workout in itself, called workout of the day (WOD) in CrossFit lingo, changes on a daily basis and incorporates elements of all or some of the three modalities: weightlifting, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning. Most of the workouts have two or three elements repeated in rounds. For task-priority workouts, these elements are repeated for a pre-defined number of repetitions; whereas for time-priority workouts, these elements are performed during a pre-defined time interval.

At first some athletes may be daunted by the complexity of the movements or weights. The unique approach of CrossFit is its ability to scale a workout, adapt it to the capabilities of an athlete by either reducing the weights, supporting the movements, or replacing the movements with simpler movements using similar muscles patterns.

Besides all of these technical aspects, CrossFit creates a unique experience as the athletes, both beginners, intermediate and more experienced, go through the same workout at the same time in the same place. There is nothing more exhilarating and stimulating than a gang of sweating athletes lying on the floor and gasping for air!

So what are the benefits of CrossFit for triathletes?

WITC does CrossFit

WITC at the R99 Box in Mokotow

CrossFit is a program with no bias, aimed at improving general physical preparedness (GPP). And, as mentioned before, GPP is the foundation for specific physical preparedness, which trains the athlete for running, swimming, biking, or any other specific sport. This foundation creates powerful hip extensions indispensable for strong cycling, increased core strength for faster, more powerful running and the necessary midline stability to maintain a streamlined position in the water as well as the efficiency and efficacy that bring about the stamina and endurance for triathlons.

And never forget – every repetition counts!

So there you have it, an in-depth look at CrossFit. If you have any questions, want to find out more about CrossFit or want to give it a try then please contact Laurent via our facebook page or by e-mail at info@warsawtriclub.com.

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WITC at the Warsaw Half Marathon 2013

WITC at the Warsaw Half Marathon, 24th March 2013

Spring had clearly forgotten about Poland this year …

The end of March in Poland is usually the time to finally forget about winter and warm up those heat deprived bodies after the long Polish winter. Just not this year … whereas last year the sun was shining and many of us were in shorts and t-shirts for the Half Marathon, this year the winter has been stubbornly clinging on and with temperatures forecast to drop to around minus 7 some people were wondering whether it’d be better to bring along XC skis!

Luckily the weather didn’t put too many people off. The race was still a record-breaking one for Poland, Warsaw and WITC. It was the first half marathon with over 10,000 participants in Poland, putting the Warsaw Half Marathon up there with the leading European races, and for WITC it was also a huge event with over 20 members finishing the race.

.. but some crazy folks didn’t seem to mind the weather

Club member Erdal Halil, from Romania (in the bottom left of the picture), epitomised the WITC spirit in his pre-race comments “I got the chills when checking the weather forecast for Sunday, but then I realized it is appropriate. After all that’s the weather most of you have trained in over the winter, so don’t let it make you miss the event.

As the WITC’ers gathered outside popular club haunt PKP Powisle before the race, it was clear that the weather had failed to dampen people’s spirits as the group made its way en masse to the start of the race.

The staggered start on both sides of the bridge worked well

The huge popularity of this year’s race meant that a lot more organisation was needed that previously, and this in particular concerned the start. The race had pacemakers at every interval from 1.20 to 2.20, and with people starting in waves on both sides of Most Poniatowskiego this helped the start go smoothly.

The route itself was similar to the previous year, taking runners around the centre of Warsaw, although the main talking point after the race was the killer Belwerderska hill at kilometre 15. It was also amazing to see so many supporters and bands out braving the cold conditions to give runners some much needed motivation, including some club members who weren’t running.

These guys were even faster than Andy…

This year’s Half Marathon was also the first time WITC had entered the team competition and the top three men (speed-merchant Andy Mossop, Dariusz Dros and Dan Miller) as well as the fastest women (Lizzy Shackelford) gave the team a very respectable 38th position in the team standings.

Despite the freezing temperatures it was also amazing to see so many people set pb’s such as Cristina (who’s excellent blog of the race you can read here), Antione, Tristan, Dominika, Julia, Olgierd and many more.

And after the race we all went for a well-earned curry :)

As you can see the race took it’s toll on some as they were hardly able to stand up …

Congratulations to everyone who took part and a big thanks to all our supporters!!

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WITC in the media spotlight

2013 is set to be a big year for WITC, and with the club’s profile growing it has also started to attract the attention of the local press…

First of all the Warsaw Insider,  Warsaw’s most popular English language monthly, featured an interview with club founder Ken Globerman in their December edition (see page 96, inside back cover).

This was followed by another piece for the Insider’s February edition (see page 71), in which WITC’er Dave Ingham wrote about running with the club through the winter.

And last but not least, at the end of March WITC’s season-opening Tuesday night run (on 2nd April) was featured in gazeta.pl, the online version of Gazeta Wyborcza, in an article about where to run in Warsaw over the Easter holidays.

WITC’s first Tuesday night run of the season – come along and join us every Tuesday at PKP Powisle at 7pm!!

Have you spotted WITC in the media? Or do you work in the media and want to write about WITC? If so please contact us on facebook.

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The coolest Half Marathon ever – by Cristina

Popular WITC’er Cristina Moldoveanu looks back at a memorable – and freezing cold – 2013 Warsaw Half Marathon

Did I mention it was -7 outside in the morning” The WITC crew brave the wintry conditions before the race

[I have] a story to tell… feel like today’s race deserves one and I want to remember most of it!

Last year I somehow managed to keep running through the winter and had the privilege of having Lizzy Shackelford as my race buddy – can’t thank her enough for encouraging me all the way [you can also read our write-up of last year’s race here].

This winter has been a bit too brutal for my taste and I barely put any km in these legs.
Top it off with a sunny getaway (can you blame me?) 2 weeks before the race – where running is a hilarious story in 40 degrees and 150% humidity …and this completes the picture of how prepared I was to just come and do a half marathon.
One long run the week before was all I had the chance to do …so I knew this was a race I’d have to do on my own…
Oh, did I mention the -7C outside in the morning?
So I’ve not really set a goal for today but I know doing worse than my last run would be demotivating so I shall try not to end up there.
Here we go…a short chat with Natalia Burcovschi before the start – whom I somehow convinced she has nothing else better to do in such a lovely weather but to join us for the race, and realizing we won’t be able to chat anymore (did I mention the cold?)… we start running.
It takes a while before we actually start running – as more than 10,000 people showed up today(!) – but…the race is on!
Off we go…trying to get into a rhythm and trying not to go too fast, that’s always a risk, but with that many people around you it’s actually not that hard today.

Only after 5-6 km do people start to spread out and I realize I’m going a bit fast but I’m comfortable by now and the flags marking the distances just keep on coming.
I don’t know when we got onto Wybrzeze, but we’re running along the Vistula already and it is KM 8. To break the monotony a band plays beautifully and I can’t help appreciate the gesture and wonder how they put up with the cold (did I mention the cold?)…when someone taps me on the shoulder. Well, if it isn’t Tristan Sakura from underneath all those layers! Saying to me: “wish I’d worn my T-shirt”. He has a few T-shirts on, so I wonder if he meant the club’s T-shirt or if he’d rather run in just one T-shirt?…I’m about to answer: “well, you wouldn’t win the prize for the best outfit today if you were”(did I mention the layers he had on?) but I just mumble “yeah” and watch him going.
I’m still running too fast – but I know the time when I’ll slow down will come so better build some buffer now. And then there’s the hill… OMG, the Belvederska hill…

Km 13 – little not so fresh anymore, but hey, half of the half is left behind and here comes Lizzy to cheer me up with “only 7 to go!”. Back to my race…”I wonder how Nata is doing?” and “Where is the pace makers team running for 2:00, they can’t be that far behind?”.
Another brilliant band rocking the way (the guys playing the electric guitar was awesome!) but not a lot of time to enjoy that cause here it is: the mighty Belvederska hill!

To my knowledge there’s just this one hill in Warsaw and the organizers thought to spice up things a little bit and throw it in at km 15?!
Here we go, just don’t stop running! Dragging my heels up the hill, pretty much “in the zone” when Mark Poczman calls my name! hardly a proper “hi five” – Mark, I know I did not look excited to see you, trust me I was – just not able to show it that much. :)

Thank God, the hill is gone…hmmm, what is this friendly cool breeze doing here …and why is it following me? Great, some cold wind was all we needed, can’t feel my hands by now.
At this time we start seeing spectators again, but it’s not like I actually see or hear anyone anymore…I’m in the struggle zone. I need to get more air, there’s only this cold one available (did I mention the cold?) and my lungs are not enjoying it, I can tell you.

Passed the palm tree and I’m on the bridge! Normally this is like “you’re on your way home” but I know the last 3 km are not going to be bliss, to say the least. My legs are tight and I feel I’m starting to run out of gas…

“Do you mind some company? ” Ewa Smiechowksa all of a sudden asks. I’m thinking “Is she serious?” In my dreams I can catch up with her … but not in real life so her gesture to slow down to my pace when I know how she can easily put a 3km finishing sprint on just moves me. I’m trying not to slow her down too much and she offers me some energy gel – which we both know won’t help much at this point – but never underestimate the Placebo effect :)
I know I’m slow so there’s no point in checking my watch, I really don’t want to know now….almost there…The official time right before the finishing line showing 2:08 is confusing me for a few good seconds …before my dizzy mind realizes that’s brutto time and it took long before I actually started running…phew, we’re good.

There should be a sign for km 21 for people like me unable to sprint before the last 100m. Time to give it all now…aaand happily cross the finishing line!!!

Taking out my chip is just a pretext to crash for a while…I’m dizzy as I make my way to collect my medal but to be honest the plastic sheet we receive to cover ourselves with – that is the best thing now. (did I mention it was cold? I did? …several times?)
Marching though the snow and the puddles – ah, so much for my dry feet – along with the hundred people coughing – is it the cold? – passing the trucks(!) the Powerade is being distributed from, with just the though of handing over my chip and going to get warm!
And slowly getting immersed in great mixed feelings of achievement, exhilaration and relief.

oh, yeah, the time you may wonder : 2:02:30 – new PB!!!

Showing off those hard-earned medals after the post-race curry – and feeling a bit warmer by now too!

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WITC at the Holmes Place Indoor Triathlon

Holmes Place Hilton, Warsaw, 2nd February 2013

With the triathlon season in Poland still several months away, WITC members had the opportunity to test the skills they’d been honing in the deepest days of winter at an indoor triathlon, held especially for the club at the Holmes Place gym in the Hilton Hotel, Warsaw on 2nd February.

Holmes Place is a partner of WITC which runs several fitness centres in Warsaw and is supporting triathlon by holding regular indoor triathlons at the Hilton as well as providing certified trainers. For more information see our Partners page or visit their website.

Come train and party with …

Luca and Andy – too fast for the camera!

15 WITC’ers took part in the event with the competitors split into groups of 3-4. The first group had the heavyweight contenders: Luca Colombo, Karolis Merkys, Laurent Uhres and Andy Mossop. Luca dominated the field as he recorded the fastest swim and bike ride to set the only sub 1h time of the day! Luca was as gracious as ever after the race, complementing his competitors, “I am excited to have spent some healthy time with my friends, as well as inciting them through the race. There is no winner without great competitors!

Would they still be smiling at the end?

In the next group came Mark Poczman, Ewa Smiechowksa and Dominika Piasecka. The Aussie never looked back from a strong swim to finish first in his group, and was followed by Ewa and Dominika who put up their usual close fight.

 

 

Igors, Ken and Alan (sort of), pre swim

Next up came the most hotly-contested group featuring Igors Berkovics, Tristan Sakura, Alan Parsons and Club President Ken Globerman. Igors, Tristan and Ken were virtually neck-and-neck all the way through and with Alan catching up after a slow swim things were getting closer and closer as the competitors reached the virtual finishing line. In the end only 2 minutes separated all four competitors and it was Tristan who stepped up with an impressive run to claim the win.

The final group saw Simona Klijewicz, Agata Borkowska, Iwo Klijewicz and Jonathan Abrahan face each other, with Iwo just about managing to win ahead of a fast-finishing Jonathan.

Group D together on the bikes

Special mentions go out to Ewa, who won the women’s category and got the fastest bike and run times, Simona who biltzed the swim to complete the 500m in an impressive 14.23 minutes, making her the fastest female in the pool and last but not least Agata, who successfully completed her first ever triathlon!

WITC would also like to say a big DZIEKUJE to Jakub Drożdż, Master Trainer at HP Hilton, who helped organise this fantastic event.

You can see our picture gallery here.

The final results – congratulations to everyone who took part!

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WITC Holidays Party 2012

WITC Holidays Party, 12th December 2012 at Znajomi Znajomych

2012 was a breakthrough year for WITC, with the club going from strength to strength both on and off the field. In the words of club founder Ken Globerman: “2012 was an AWESOME year for WITC! In just our second season, we doubled the WITC community to over 300 and increased our activity in triathlon from 1 athlete in 2011 to 25 in 2012. Our running community also increased – most evident in our club’s participation in the Biegnij Warszawo 10K in Warsaw, where we went from 20 runners in 2011 to more than 40 in 2012.  The WITC buzz, awareness and community is only going to get bigger in 2013. I’m excited!

Ken doing what he does best

The holidays party in December gave everyone involved with the club the chance to celebrate a fantastic year. Ken had prepared a fun-filled evening with a slide-show, raffle, awards ceremony, special WITC song and much, much more …

As the guests started to gather at popular club haunt Znajomi Znajomych, in the background there was a slide-show of pictures and quotes from members. This served as a great reminder of all we’ve done as a club this year. Then came the first stage of the night’s entertainment, a raffle with awards from WITC’s generous partners, ERGO, Holmes Place and Trinergy ranging from entries for an indoor triathlon, one-on-one triathlon training to sports apparel.

After a short break for refreshments came the much awaited awards ceremony. WITC members had been voting for their “Athlete of the Year” and “Most improved Athlete of the Year” for weeks and there was excitement in the air as Ken read out the winners in reverse order.

Ken congratulating Olgierd (at least that’s what I think’s happening) on his award

The Most improved athlete of the year award was deservedly won by Olgierd Swida, who overcame injury in 2012 to successfully complete his first ever half-marathon in Munich. After the initial shock had passed, Olgierd had the following to say about the award:

I am very touched with the WITC Most Improved Athlete Award. Thank you very much! Special Thanks to Dominika who convinced me to join the group a year ago; to Grzegorz and Mark who chaperoned me on the first run in Waryszew; to Ken for his persuasive “oh yeah, you could do it”; to Lizzy for the inspiration on persistence; to Teresa for her patience and to all of WITC for the continuous support! Couldn’t have done my Half Marathon without you. THANKS!

Then came the prestigious WITC Athlete of the Year award. The voting here was incredibly close, but in the end there has to be a winner and that was Ewa Smiechowska, who had a superb year as you can see in her acceptance speech below:

This is just a piece of metal, but it symbolizes all those magical moments that happened to me over the last 12 months.

My first running race, first half marathon, first 50 meters of freestyle, first triathlon, first marathon. First time running for charity and first achievements (5th woman in Bieg Powstania Warszawskiego, fastest woman in ERGO vs. WITC challenge).

But also my first jenga party, first Thanksgiving, first couchsurfing. Organising a surprise birthday party, cooking together, barbecuing. Making instant decisions about inviting 20 people for lunch to somebody else’s summer house. Reaching the highest peaks of Romania and Poland. Taking care of cats and rabbits. Looking for chanterelles in Oslo and finding a mushroom tree in Kazimierz. Watching sports I don’t understand just for the fun of cheering together. Racing hundreds of people dressed as Santas for 21 k…

Laughing, chatting, texting, drinking, dancing, cooking, cheering, joking, eating, playing, inspiring. Sometimes crying.

If it takes swimming, biking and running to hang out with you guys, I’m up for it. My life has never been so interesting. This club is awesome.

Thank you!”

No, thank YOU Ewa!

Then, after a small break, came the night’s big surprise …

Last rehearsal back-stage for the group

6 club members had been secretly working on a WITC dance which was unveiled for the first time at the party. It was a reworked version of Village People’s classic YMCA, and you can view the amazing performance below:

Star performer Luco Colombo (the cowboy in the video) took a break from autograph signing to tell us his thoughts of the night:

The slide-show, awards ceremony, WITC show and music later were really well organized, the atmosphere among friends was awesome… the night emphasised that it is a really a great community, both in and out of the races“.

WITC girls in a lovely, festive red

All in all it was an amazing night, spent in a great atmosphere. What a way to finish off a great year and here’s to an even better 2013!!

You can view the full photo gallery here.

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WITC vs ERGO Inaugural Club Challenge

WITC vs ERGO Inaugural Club Challenge, 9th December 2012, Kepa Potocka

Who would get there hands on the cup?

After shock snowfall in October put paid to the original date of the Club Challenge, the race was re-arranged for December. And temperatures of around -8°C did little to put off ERGO and WITC as both were able to rally their respective teams and show up in numbers in Kepa Potocka on Sunday 9th December.

The race was split into a men’s and women’s event, with both groups doing two 5km loops around the lake in Kepa Potocka with the finish line just outside the “U Araba” restaurant in the park.

Andy gets off to a good start in the men’s race

The men’s race started first and was extremely competitive. Although WITC’s speed merchant Andy Mossop took an early lead he had to settle for second place as Marcin Krysik from ERGO finished strongly to win the race.

The women’s race was very close, with 6 of the 7 competitors bunched together for most of the race, before WITC’ers Ewa Smiechowska and Lizzy Shackelford broke away at the end to finish first and second respectively.

While the competitors were relaxing after the race in the bar, the organisers were totting up the points to work out which team had won. In the end there was hardly anything between the teams, but there could be only one winner and with an impressive 593 points the cup went to ….. ERGO!

Ken hands fastest man Marcin Krysik from ERGO the Club Challenge Cup!

Ewa with her award

There were also fastest man and fastest woman awards for Marcin Krysik (ERGO) and Ewa Smiechowksa (WITC) respectively.

Well done to everyone who braved the elements to run and support and here’s to a re-match next year!!

Jan Kaseja from Team ERGO had the following to say about the event:

“The Club Challenge was an intimate yet really cool running event!! As a club we felt really united – we had a common goal and we needed every runner to fight for points in the final standings. It was a new feeling for me, and one I liked a lot. I wasn’t just running for myself, but also for the club!

While WITC men’s captain Andy Mossop added:

Great sportsmanship from Andy and Jan after the race

After the disappointment of weather causing the delay in the race day I was really impressed to see this time round that both clubs were determined to make sure this event went ahead. ERGO brought a great team of athletes with positive attitudes and I’m really proud that our team pushed them so hard and had such a close finish. I liked the whole concept of challenging another local club and can’t wait for the next one. Hopefully next time we can even get the club’s first trophy!

You can view the picture gallery here.

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WITC at Biegnij Warszawo 2012 – with the Spartans!

WITC at Biegnij Warszawo, 7th October 2012

The biggest running event in Warsaw was once again a highlight on WITC’s calendar this year with a record 40+ club runners taking part. It also marked the first race where club members also ran to raise money and awareness for Spartanie Dzieciom. The “Spartans” are a group of runners who take part in a few events a year dressed as Spartans to raise awareness for charities helping disabled children.  This year they are raising awareness for a pre-school in Poznan and are trying to raise 42,195PLN (1,000zl for every km in a marathon).

WITC runners at Biegnij Warszawo with our Spartans – all smiles in the cold before the race

And so on a cold morning in October, 4 WITC’ers – Andy Mossop, Karolys Merkys, Tristan Sakura and Ewa Smiechowksa braved the elements to dress up in capes, wear helmets and carry spears, and of course to dance the Haka in front of thousands of spectators. Here are their thoughts about that memorable day:

Andy:
“Before Biegnij Warszawo I was the only one out of the four of us who managed to get to the Haka practice.  Doing the Haka in the dark under a tree with 5 other fully grown men was a good fun experience and I was surprised how quickly we learned it. When we actually went out on the run things varied between military precision and chaotic rambling, but it was always fun and people always gave us a warm reception clapping us along.  It felt like there was a lot of support for the idea even if not everyone fully understood what we were doing (I think some people just liked this new synchronized running fad and thought the costumes were funny).
We did the Haka 4 times in total, once at the start, once after the finish and twice in the middle.  I think by the end of it we’d pretty much perfected our individual mean faces (I used a cat doing a tequila slammer as inspiration for mine) and it was fun having people ask to take photos with us (I’ve got to remember not to smile in these photos!).

After the race it was pretty satisfying to see the donations coming into the domore website, though we’ve still got some way to go to get to the target, so any donation (even 5 / 10 zl) is going to help us.  The more the better!

The Spartans at the starting line about to do the Haka – with Ewa taking centre stage

Ewa:

I started running a year ago and during that year, thanks to WITC, I accomplished everything I ever wanted to achieve in running. I completed one 5k race (my favourite distance) among 5 fastest women (thank you once again Laurent!) and I ran a marathon (thank you Magda, Lizzy, Seb and everyone!). I had a feeling of gratitude and at the same time I knew I couldn’t achieve much more. Running with Spartans was a great way to give something back and to give my running new meaning.

Karolys:

Our 4 Spartans all dressed up before the race

Running as Spartan is a totally different experience, motivation and reward. Getting into the suit just makes it special. It is strange to run carrying all that on yourself but fun and people reactions are very engaging. This also makes you feel the strong relationship with the group. On top of the attention that we get and all that fun about the fact itself, it is very rewarding to know you also contribute to helping children. Overall, it’s a triple win: a win for children, a win for runners and a win for the public.

And last but not least our star blogger Tristan had a few profound comments:

10 km race?  In October?  Running half-naked?  Sure, why not?

The biggest shock about the whole process was receiving our “uniforms”.  When the guy passed me the “pants,” I actually thought it was one of the arm-bands, because it was so small and only had material on one-side.  Nope, it was the pants.  And in this case, I mean it the way the British use it (i.e. “underwear”).  There was no back side to these so-called pants!!!  Basically it was a fancy leather thong.  When we asked what we should wear under it, the guy motioned around his downstairs area with his hands, then shrugged his shoulders and said “nothing, really”.

We did a nice, easy pace, finishing 10 km in 1 hour 5 minutes (with 2 stops for more Haka dancing along the route).  The group did some marching chants that I never managed to figure out the words to, but it must have been inspiring, because after each time, the runners around us would start clapping and cheering…again, while racing!  It was awesome. 

After the race, we performed the Haka a couple more times, took a “victory lap” around the track, and posed for pictures with fans.  I think they were surprised to see an Asian-looking face under the helmet.  Maybe they’ve never heard about the Spartan-Hun student exchange program.

All the WITC’ers together after a great race – well done everyone!!

 

You can view the club’s picture gallery here.

 

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WITC at the Warsaw Marathon 2012

WITC at the Warsaw Marathon,  30th September 2012

WITC had about 12 runners (and a handful of unofficial bandits :) ) and even more spectators cheering them on at the 2012 Warsaw Marathon, including several first-timers! The race was the biggest in the event’s history with just under 7,000 finishers and is one of the most important dates on the running calendar in Warsaw.

Two of WITC’s runners shared their thoughts on the day with us.

Andy Mossop

Andy sprinting down the final straight

This was my first ever marathon so I was nervous about running further than I’ve ever run before and at the same time boosted by my results in the half-marathon combined with the long runs I’d done with the club.  The first 30km went well as I felt much better than I expected.  The last 12.2 was a combination of being passed by pace makers and passing cheering supporters from the club.  The support was definitely better for my morale than the pace-makers and it’s them that helped me get to the finish line at all!  In the end I was very happy to finish and very satisfied with my time.

 

 

Dan Miller

Dan applauding the great support in the national stadium at the finish

After spending the first half of 2012 making the transformation from weekend jogger to spirited runner by participating in the Warsaw Half Marathon, I spent an evening under the influence of a couple of beers pondering my chances of actually completing the full marathon in September. I came to the beer-goggled conclusion that I would be up to the challenge to complete the 42.195K in one go by the end of September!

On the big day I had my pre-run, morning breakfast ritual consisting of a big bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios (no product placement intended) with sliced bananas, a strong coffee, and about two liters of water. Upon arriving [at the national stadium], I dropped off my extra clothes, and dutifully waited to use the bathroom. Judging by the size of the line, the other participants all seemed to be well hydrated before the race as well. Publically I mentioned to most people beforehand that my goal was to just finish the race, but privately my goal was to finish under four hours. With the exception of one bathroom break around the 15th kilometer, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I kept a steady pace, and luckily didn’t run into that proverbial wall most runners speak of so ominously.

I think there were three or four things that carried me through the race; staying hydrated, good tunes, and the amount of people who came out in support of the runners-especially, the people from WITC who were all such a welcome sight with the cheers and high-fives. Thanks guys!

As Dan and Andy have said, the support at the event was incredible with several WITC’ers even joining in for sections of the race to support the runners.

Runners and support team post-race – congrats everybody!!

See the club’s photo gallery here

 

 

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My first IRONMAN – Stan Stadniczenko

My first IRONMAN – Borowno 2012

Stan Stadniczenko blogs about his first ever Ironman – this is a translated and edited version of the original, which you can read in Polish here.

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After 11 months of training the long-awaited weekend arrives. The day before the race we picked up our race numbers and packs and in the evening laid out our equipment in separate bags so we wouldn’t waste time in the morning (as this year the transition areas for bikes and clothes were in 2 different places).

The night before the race wasn’t one of the best, the stress and large quantity of pasta led to several trips to the toilet. After waking-up at 5.30, followed by a breakfast of muesli, yoghurt and 2 bananas, we then jump in the car.

We arrive at the transition zone, leave our equipment there, put on our wetsuits and are lakeside 7 minutes before the start – just in time for a quick warm-up. The weather is great, the sun is coming up over the horizon across the lake, the fog is lifting and the water temperature is excellent – you couldn’t have imagined better weather and atmosphere for a race! It’s great!

Swim

…you couldn’t have imagined better weather and atmosphere for a race!

The swim goes well, the water temperature is pleasant, the sun is shining – it’s beautiful. After each lap you have to get out of the water and go around a marker which costs a few seconds but provides a few moments of rest. Because only 100 people started the race the lake isn’t crowded and there isn’t the pushing and shoving you get a half Ironman races like Susz. The 4 laps go quickly and I come out of the water in 50th place with a time of 1:19. As planned I am not tired and nothing hurts, so the warm-up did its job. I take my wetsuit off on the beach and give it to one of the club supporters, put on my shoes and run to the transition zone which is 200-300 metres from the shore. The route between the lake and the transition zones does not have mats laid out which is why I think the removal of my wetsuit on the shore and running in shoes was a good solution. Unless someone likes a foot massage with tarmac and stones :). The first transition goes well.

Bike

Good advice from Stan: “I treat the first lap as a warm-up – I don’t push too hard and get to know the route

I treat the first lap as a warm-up – I don’t push too hard and get to know the route. The route was the same as any other, Polish roads with quite a few holes and uneven tarmac but at times it was also possible to ride on a flat surface. After 90km I feel strong so ride the next 60km at a very good speed. After 160km I feel that my body has too much sugar and I am about to throw up. Luckily there was a water station here, so I grab a bottle of water and after diluting my stomach I ride the last lap slower than the 2 previous ones. In the end I finished the bike ride in 16th place with a time of 5:30 which I think was a huge success.

Run

The last 20 km is a real ordeal but luckily a friend helps me out, setting the tempo and pushing me on

After getting off the bike I feel a pain in the middle of my right foot. My right foot is the one which pushes more on the bike and the rigid carbon soles of the shoes aggravated it. I start running the first 5 km in great pain but run the next 15 km much better at a speed of 11 km/h and above. The last 20 km are a real ordeal but luckily a friend helps me out, setting the tempo and pushing me on. The whole time I still believed I could beat 11h but around 10km from the finish I had to accept the fact that I won’t manage it. At the half-way point of the run I take a gel with caffeine and start drinking Red Bull, I stop at the food stations, eat bananas and rest for 20 steps. My stomach muscles are as tight as can be and I have to massage them with my fingers every few kilometres. I finally finish the marathon in 27th place with a time of 4:05.

I finished the whole event in 22nd place with a time of 11:07. As it was the first time in my life I had swam more than 3km, cycled more than 150km and run a marathon I think it was a great success and the training plan worked excellently.

Once you’ve got into this sport you find you can’t live without it!

As I sip a beer, happy yet tired with huge pain in my legs, I swear I won’t ever do this again!

Of course 3 days later I signed up for Sieraków 2013 :)

Once you’ve got into this sport you find you can’t live without it!

May the force be with you! :)

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