Countdown to Susz with Lizzy pt. 2: A girl walks into a bar

Lizzy with Cristina before the Warsaw Half Marathon

In my last post, I explained how I became interested in running, but the idea of a triathlon had never crossed my mind before I started running with WITC.   How did I first come across the club?  I imagine a lot of members had a similar introduction….

By the time I arrived in Warsaw last summer, I could legitimately call myself a runner.  I ran several days a week, respectable distances, and I actually enjoyed it.  Many upsides accompanied this new hobby.  I looked better, felt better, and could justify spending money on cute athletic clothing (such luxuries must be earned!).  But I was already far more active than I’d been in years, so I had little incentive to expand my athletic horizons further still.  And then I met Ken Globerman, WITC’s founder, and Mark Mulrainey, one of the club’s first members… at a bar.

I had only been in Warsaw a few weeks and was still enthusiastically making the rounds of the various social events attended by other expats and the Polish folks who tolerate them.  My aim was clear – make new friends and build a life for myself in my new home.  Shortly after meeting Ken and Mark, the conversation somehow turned to running.  I’m not even certain they knew or cared that I was a runner already.  These guys were out to recruit for the club.  Or were they just hitting on me?  It was hard to tell at that point, to be honest.  But they seemed keen to have me join one of the Tuesday night runs with the Warsaw International Triathlon Club.  “The what?” I say?  I’m no triathlete.  But, then again, were these guys?  Turns out they were, but I was comforted by the fact that they were out socializing on a school night.  Perhaps they weren’t too serious.  Perhaps I could keep up.  And the idea of finding a social outlet that didn’t necessarily involve a bar had strong appeal.

I managed to come up with excuses not to join for a few weeks thereafter.  I’d never run with a group, and I wasn’t sure of the protocol.  Running with other people (strangers, no less) opened up potential for scrutiny.  How do I know I’ll keep up?  What if everyone else is really serious?  What if I look funny when I run?  Not to mention, we don’t exactly look our best after 10 kilometers.  Did I really want to meet new people this way?  Networking while sweating seemed to have downsides.

Then one Tuesday evening when I planned to run anyway, I decided I’d give the group run a try.  The need to expand my social circle outweighed the intimidation of running with strangers.  As it turns out, I do look funny when I run, but eight months on, these strangers make up some of my closest friends in Warsaw, and running was only the beginning.

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WITC’s swimming training extended & Tuesday night runs return!

Due to popular demand, WITC’s training sessions with triathlon coach Tomek Kowalski at Inflancka swimming pool will be extended right up until the end of June.

The swimming training on Thursday evenings, which started back in March, has been so successful that it will be extended for a further 7 weeks so that WITC’ers can benefit from the training right up to the triathlon in Susz at the start of July. The training will continue to be held by renowned triathlon coach Tomek Kowalski. All of us have made great progress with our swimming thanks to the coaching no matter what our level was at the start and already feel a lot more confident about the triathlon in Susz and in the water in general!

We have two lanes at Inflancka on Thursday evenings and the lessons are targeted at advanced beginner and intermediate level. There are still some spaces available, so if you want to join in please contact us at info@warsawtriclub.com or on facebook.

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Tuesday night runs are back!

On 17th April, WITC held it’s first Tuesday night run of the year. These runs were one of the mainstays of the club’s program in 2011 and are a great way of running in an informal atmosphere in the centre of Warsaw.

We had a great turnout of 16 runners (and one dog!) for the first 2012 Tuesday night run and most of us managed a good 10km run around Lazenki park and afterwards met up for a few drinks and a chat at Solec 44.

Tuesday night run kick-off

We usually run 5-10km in the Powisle area but please follow us on facebook for the latest details.

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WITC signs partnership agreement with ERGO

                                                                 

Warsaw International Triathlon Club signs first Partnership with Centrum Biegowe ERGO

Warsaw International Triathlon Club (“WITC”), Poland’s first internationally-focused triathlon club, and Centrum Biegowe ERGO (“ERGO”), a successful Warsaw-based speciality retail shop focusing on running shoes, equipment and apparel, are proud to announce the signing of an exciting, mutually-beneficial partnership agreement.

I’m very excited to have ERGO as Warsaw International Triathlon Club’s first partner“, says Ken Globerman, WITC’s Founder and President. “ERGO is exactly the kind of business I admire – a family-run initiative driven primarily by passion. They are pioneering the development of a running community in Warsaw, and WITC is excited to be a part of it.” Thanks to this partnership, ERGO and WITC will develop a unique co-marketing strategy over the 2012 season, while WITC members will have access to a special club discount. “We at ERGO are happy to partner with WITC and be regarded as their specialist running store of choice”, says Maciej Kaseja, ERGO’s Owner and Proprietor. “We will do our utmost to satisfy WITC members through a wide and wise selection of specialty merchandise and dedicated service.”

About Warsaw International Triathlon Club:

WITC is an organization founded in 2011, dedicated to fostering the development of a multi-sport community in the greater Warsaw area. With more than 175 international professionals involved in our Club and residing in Warsaw, WITC provides an athletic and social outlet for its members and fans – mainly focused around the three disciplines of triathlon: swimming, cycling and running. We are proud to have athletes originating from more than 15 countries around the globe. For more information, please find us on the web at www.warsawtriclub.com.

About Centrum Biegowe ERGO:

ERGO first opened its doors in April 2010. Already in January 2011, it ranked 1st in the “Best Specialized Running Store in Poland”, organized by Bieganie Magazine. Right from its beginning, ERGO’s intention was to differentiate itself from the competition. It does that by organizing regular out-of-store runs, workshops and seminars with prominent athletes, coaches, medical experts and enthusiasts.

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Countdown to Susz with Lizzy pt. 1: I didn’t always love to run….

Hi all, my name is Lizzy, and I wanted to share some insights into my triathlon training as we count down to Susz in July.  To begin, I thought I’d share how I first really became interested in running…..

It was only a little over a year ago when I ran further than three miles (5 km) for the first time.  For most of my adult life, running was something I did for a few months each year, mostly to prove I could still do it.  If I could work up to running three miles, I was in decent enough shape, so I thought.  I would keep running two or three times a week until boredom set in, at which point I would return to my minimally active lifestyle.

This pattern was entrenched through the better part of a decade, and year after year I confirmed that I hated to run.  Real runners loved it, something to do with endorphins.  I was not a real a runner.  I did it because everyone needs some exercise sometimes.

Then one day I discovered something I disliked even more than running:  studying Polish.  I was assigned to a position in Warsaw and had intensive Polish language training for five months prior to the move.  I’ve never been adept at languages, and I felt I could study constantly and it would never be enough.  Running was the one break from studying that I would allow myself.  I needed to study, but I could justify taking time for exercise, right?  And when I was running, I wasn’t studying, and that was nice.  Soon, I was running almost every day, and the runs became longer and longer.  Run one more mile or return to drills on the imperfect and perfective verb forms?  I think I’ll keep running….

Initially, I didn’t enjoy the runs.  It was like every other time in my life when I ran – painful and boring.  But I soon found that the longer runs gave me a much needed mental break.  I would finish feeling refreshed.  I worked up to a regular five mile (8 km) run, and soon realized that I didn’t actually dislike running anymore.  I looked forward to the run itself rather than only to finishing it.

With encouragement from some good friends in Washington, DC, I ran my first race, Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k in Richmond, Virginia, in April last year.  What a great run, but I remember how exhausted I felt, and I was sore for days.  I would never have believed then that I would run three half marathons in the next 12 months and be signed up for a sprint triathlon in July.  The things we can do with a little help from our friends….

 

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WITC at the Warsaw Half Marathon + apres party

Warsaw Half Marathon, Sunday 25th March 2012

The 2012 season kicked off in style with the 7th Polmaraton Warszawski. 15 WITC’ers had signed up for the race and as the start time of 10 am approached they were ready and raring to tackle the route, which this year started and finished outside the new national stadium that will be used for this summer’s Euro 2012 championships.

Relaxed and smiling before the start - would it be the same after??

This year’s route took runners past many landmarks of the city, Rondo De Gaulle’a, Nowy Swiat, Krakowskie Przedmieście, Agricola, Belwederska and of course the new stadium. The race was both well attended (over 8,500 people signed up, a record for the event) and well supported with many people getting up early despite the clocks going forward the night before to cheer on the runners!

 

Andy still going strong as he heads for the home straight

Due to the large numbers, the race started in waves based on your predicted finish time, which meant that the last wave actually crossed the start line long after the first runners had started. The overall winner this year was a Pole, Arkadiusz Gardzielewski, who crossed the line in 1:03:30, which was only 23 minutes faster than WITC’s very own speed merchant, Andy Mossop, who finished in an amazing time of 1:26!!

 

Connie's award for 2nd place in her category

For a full list of WITC runners see below but special congratulations go out to Connie Phlipot, who finished second in her category, Dominika Piasecka who successfully completed her first ever half marathon and everyone who did personal bests, including Mark Mulrainey and Cristina Moldoveanu!

 

 

 

 

 

Showing off those hard-earned medals!

Later that evening the club held a season kick-off party at Znajomi Znajomych which was attended by over 40 people. During the festivities prizes were awarded to the top 5 finishers while a superb collage of the day’s race by Olgierd was on in the background. Thanks to everyone who came along and here’s to an exciting and successful 2012!

Andy collects the applause (and voucher)

Warsaw Half Marathon WITC roll-call (in no particular order):

Andrew Mossop

Mark Mulrainey

Grzegorz Bobrownicki-Libchen

Ken Globerman

Alan Parsons

Tom Józefacki

Martin Pape

Lizzy Shackleford

Cristina Moldoveanu

Dominika Piasecka

Maciej Brzeziński

Ewa Śmiechowska

Glen Gregory

Doug Wake

Connie Phlipot

Please also check out our facebook page for the latest club news.

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WITC goes blogging

When they are not running, swimming or cycling, some crazy WITC members also manage to find time to write stuff …

WITC is delighted to annouce that club member Lizzy Shackleford has kindly agreed to blog about training for her maiden triathlon in Susz later this year! Keep an eye on this website for special updates from Lizzy as we countdown to Susz.

An age-old conundrum

Andy Mossop and Alan Parsons have also started blogs about their triathlon training. You can view their blogs and follow their triathlon training, tribulations and events here:

Alan: http://runninginwesola.wordpress.com

Andy: http://andrewmossop.wordpress.com

If you also have a sports-related blog that you would like us to mention, please get in touch with us at alanparsons@warsawtriclub.com or via our facebook page!

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WITC’s first swim training

Thursday 1st March 2012 will go down as a historic day for WITC. At around 8.30pm, 13 WITC members congregated at Inflancka swimming pool for the club’s first ever swim training session with renowned triathlon coach Tomek Kowalski.

The group comprised swimmers of varying standards from well-trained swimming machines to virtual beginners. Some had never tried front crawl before, others wanted to improve their technique so that they could compete in triathlons later this year, while the more advanced athletes were looking to further hone their style. But whatever the standard, we were all excited about the start of this 10 lesson training course. The first few drills soon separated the fish from the, err, non-fish and the group then split into two, which helped make the training more effective for everyone.

I personally was in the less advanced group and was more tired in 10 minutes than I normally am after half an hour in the pool. But despite the aching muscles the drills were very useful and a lot of fun!  One particular drill had us swimming in pairs, one person using their arms and the other holding on to the person in front and just kicking (and trying not to drown in the process)!!

All in all it was a very hard, but fruitful lesson and we’re all looking forward to the rest of the program!

Want to improve your swimming? Then come and join us!

A total of 16 WITC members have signed up for the course, and due to its success the training is likely to be extended beyond the 10 lessons originally planned.

If anyone else is interested in joining the training, please e-mail us (info@warsawtriclub.com) or find us on facebook.

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WITC at the Św. Mikołajów Half Marathon, Toruń

Półmaraton Św. Mikołajów (Santas’ Half Marathon), Torun, 4th December 2011

Little donkey

December in Poland might not seem like the ideal time and place for long-distance running, but it didn’t stop 4 WITC club members – Mark, me, Andy, & Cristina – from signing up to run the superbly named Bieg Mikolajki (Santas’ run) half-marathon in Torun. As the roads in Poland are even more treacherous than usual in winter, the four of us and Julia decided to enjoy the 3 hour journey in the comfort of a train. Heading there on the Saturday also gave us the chance to see the sights of Torun, the home of pierniki (gingerbread) and another famous Nick, Nicolaus Copernicus. And arriving the day before also allowed us to sample a bit of Torun’s nightlife, and make some new four-legged friends …

The next morning we headed to the main square in Torun for the start of the race. While we were standing by our new friend the Torun donkey, a TV crew came and accosted us! I tried (fairly unsuccessfully) to say a few coherent words about the race and why we were doing it, but they soon left us in peace.

Torun invaded by Santas

Now anyone visiting Torun that day must have been a bit surprised by the sight they saw that Sunday morning – thousands of people in the main square dressed up in Santa hats and red scarves! After taking photos with the little donkey and big Nick, we headed down to join the rest of the Santas at the start, to run in Torun. Although the race started in the town centre, it mainly took us through the woods surrounding the city before ending at a sports centre. The organisers decided to play a trick on the runners by placing a Meta (finish) gate 400m from the actual end. This confused me and countless others when we realised we still had to do a lap of the running track after the fake meta!!

A special mention should go to Andy Mossop, who completed his first ever half marathon in a (to be confirmed) WITC record time of 1.35.10, as well as Cristina Moldoveanu who shaved over a minute of her Lodz half-marathon time to set a new pb of 2.08.18. Well done to everyone who took part and thanks to Julia too for her support!

Lets the bells rings out for ... running?

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WITC at Bieg Niepodległości

Bieg Niepodległości – Independence Day run – 11.11.2011

The Pilsudski statue by Belvedere Palace

While in most of Western Europe and North America, 11th November is known as Armistice day (or Remembrance/Veteran’s day), the date which marked the end of World War One and on which we remember those who died for their country, in Poland the date has a slightly different significance. On the same day in 1918 Józef Piłsudski was entrusted with creating a national government of Poland, thereby re-establishing an independent Polish state after 123 years of partition by Russia, Prussia/Germany and Austria. So as you can see it’s an important date for Poles and is suitably celebrated every year as Independence Day.

 

But enough about history. At 11:11 on 11.11.2011, 6 WITC club members started in the annual Independence Day run. Despite the start time of 11:11 being fairly easy to remember, Andy Mossop seemed convinced that the race began at 12 and nearly missed the start. After a few frantic phone calls he made it just in time! The course took runners in a straight line down Jana Pawła onto the appropriately-named Aleja Niepodległośći and then all the way back again – the only negative of this was that you could see the first runners coming back in the opposite direction after a couple of kilometres. But after all the training we’d done over the year we were in fairly good shape, and thanks to running with Andy I managed to set my best 10km time for 7 years. Congratulations also go to Olgierd Swida, who completed his first race with WITC and his first running competition since he was at school!!

Well done everyone!

Afterwards we met up for the now traditional post-race photos and then grabbed some well-earned food and drinks. Well done to everyone who took part!

 

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WITC at the Łódź Half-Marathon

Polmarathon Szakala, 16th October 2011

Half Marathon Lodz

If you go down to the woods today

On a sunny Sunday in October, 5 WITC club members decided to head to Lodz, the oft-forgotten third largest city in Poland, just to go and run a half-marathon. While Ken Globerman travelled down early, Grzegorz Bobrownicki-Libchen, Cristina Moldoveanu, Lizzy Shackleford and me had to cope with an early start as we (and by we I mean Grzegorz) drove down on the day itself, departing Warsaw at around 8.30 in the morning. The race was the second edition of the Polmarathon Szakala (Jackal half-marathon) held in the Łagiewnicki woods on the outskirts of Lodz. Due to the fact that it is a new and relatively unknown race, the only way we even heard about the event was thanks to a flyer Ken got at the Warsaw Marathon!

Lodz Half Marathon - Bumps and bruises

Bumps and bruises

After getting our race numbers and complimentary orange mugs, we took some photos and got ready for the race itself. The forest course was pleasant and while it made a nice change from running on roads, the Lodz woods were precarious in places – causing some impressive tumbles and falls. But despite a few cuts and bruises we all finished in one piece!!

The race was also an important landmark for two of the club’s members, Cristina and Lizzy, who completed their first official half-marathons. Congratulations girls!

Lodz Half 2011

All smiles before the race

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