WITC at the Mragowo triathlon

WITC at the Volvo Mragowo triathlon, 31st August 2014

At the end of August, 10 WITC’ers headed up to the Masurian lakes to take on the 4th and final triathlon in the Volvo series, a group of races which also included the event in Nieporet back in July. This time the WITC’ers were spread over the 1/4 and 1/2 ironman distances. Olga, Alan & Katharina were all doing their first 1/2 IM races while Joanna, Iwo, Cristina, Jay, Iza, Pierre-Francois and Renata had signed up for the 1/4.

Mragowo is a picturesque town around 3-4 hours drive from Warsaw, and the group headed up on the Friday evening to enjoy the whole weekend up by the lakes.

Katharina & Joanna shared their thoughts of this great weekend with us

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W – I – T – C!!

Katharina: “After picking up my race pack on Saturday I still couldn’t believe that I was supposed to do a ½ IM. My first surprise on the day was: I wasn’t registered!! For a moment I considered this to be a sign and give up… but they offered my one of the last two spots and I got a race pack :) The rest of the day was spent buying goggles, going for a short run and swim (mainly to test the goggles), preparing the bike and checking I have everything necessary for the race. When dusk came I joined the best ever free pasta party at our hotel and then went for some nice cake with the rest of the WITC team at their rented house. All of us sitting together having some food, talking about race preparation and how we felt which really took the pressure off me even though it somehow still didn’t feel real.

Race day: had breakfast, prepared my own iso (water with honey and a hint of lemon), checked in my bike and then realized they gave me the wrong start number – I exchanged the start numbers and started all over again by attaching to the bike, helmet and race band. Then I had a coffee and finally got ready for the swim. I’m seriously nervous now… but luckily there is Maciek (my personal support during this whole weekend) as well as Alan and Olga (my co-competitors) who help me forget what is ahead …

Pre-1/2 photo - all smiles still

Pre-1/2 photo – all smiles still

One last picture and off we are into the water…trzy…dwa…jeden… go. The swim feels great after about 200m there is already no more “fighting” and I can just enjoy the swim. I try not to push too much and it feels much better than over a shorter distance. To my surprise my time is about the same even though it felt easier. Out of the water… and run to T1, where I consider putting on some warmer clothing for the ride but then I just take my bike and run out of T1 where I hear cheering and some status update on the race: great motivation! Four laps with around 200 of elevation. Each loop takes us through Mrągowo and then along some very scenic and slightly hilly landscape. Even though I can feel my legs more with every round I love the ride! On the first two I only see Alan and Olga then the rest of the team from the 1/4 joins and it is nice to say a hello here and there, I have a chat with Cristina and then Iwo who overtakes me… Actually I get a little sad on my last loop, it’s unbelievable the 90k is almost over.

10537145_10105666397580641_3750953149536082260_oInto T2, I’m feeling great but the hardest part of the race is about to start and I’m a bit afraid of the half marathon, but once I exit T2 and there are so many people cheering I forget about the fears and doubts. Again it’s four loops with a water station at the turn around points – always something to look forward to 😉 Half-way through my second round I have one more gel which makes it 5 gels in total and I feel I can do this. Also a lot of cheering on the run, some high fives (even with my direct competitor who I didn’t know before) and many motivating words make it somehow easy to keep on going. On the last round I can feel my legs getting really heavy there is a little pain but then there is first Alan with some motivation and then Olga so somehow I make it to the last turn around point where I refuel with a short walk and some grapefruit (best idea ever by the organizers) and even manage to sprint to the meta… red carpet and it’s over! All the WITCers are there to welcome me with a nice cold piwo J

So to sum up: a refreshing swim, breathtaking ride and “cheering” run! And not to forget a great after party!

Joanna:  On the swim, despite being a relatively weak zabka swimmer, I was able to actually catch some people from the previous couple of waves.  I must have kicked/punched at least 5-10 people in my half hour in the water.  I didn’t do it intentionally – you really can’t see them until its almost too late – but it was kind of funny to me each time it happened. It was because on previous tris I was last or almost last to come out the water and there was no-one around me at all.

So, 950 meters after the start, and after hearing Renata just behind me saying “Masakra” I was getting out of the water, and off to the most flowery transition to get ready for the bike.

Best transition picture ever!

Best transition picture ever!

T1 was actually simple: dry feet , fight with socks, get shoes on, helmet on, glasses on, number on, grab bike, go!

On the bike course I finally understood why people can actually not like cycling. The scenery was one of the best with beautiful views. There were no real problems to speak of aside from some wind or traffic, but some were inconsiderate in my view. I was expecting to have a nice new asphalt and an easy loop to beat my PB, but actually this was Crete-like surroundings. Hills! Once you reach the top thinking its all over, it only lasts until you look back up to see the next hill. I need to start loving them as they say the hills makes us strong but here the hills made me weak…

T2 was also simple: bike racked, shoes changed, belt turned, go!

mragowo2Hold on.. why am I running in my helmet and gloves? When running out of T2 I noticed some strange looks so I knew something was wrong. I forgot to take off my bike gear. Actually this is how to minimize your time in T2 to 1 min :) I had plenty of time to take it off while running. I throw away my helmet over transition fence on my first line and was running with the gloves and the shirt in my hand for the first 5km. These didn’t weigh much but I couldn’t loosen up and settle in at a good pace. I had a lot of time to think while running. I asked myself why I’m doing it.. and could not get the answer as I was still pissed off with the bike hills. Then I began to look around. The scenery was spectacular! Friends were giving hi-fives and waiving and I was moving towards the finish…

Congratulations to everyone!

Congratulations to everyone!

At the finish line, I’d never this tired before and decided that this would be the last TRI of the season. But this thought lasted only until the moment I was taking my bike out of the transition zone… The next day I signed up for the Barcelona Triathlon, Olympic distance with 1500m to swim. Now that will be a real challenge!:)

Sounds like a great way to finish off the triathlon season Joanna. Well done to everyone who completed this event and special thanks to the supporters Maciek and Marta!

You can view the full photo gallery here.

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