Thursday, April 19, 2012

If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get things done.

Last Sunday there was the 2nd edition of Łódź Maraton Dbam o Zdrowie. I am planning to run my first marathon this year in autumn (probably not in Poland) and my favourite street race distance is actually 10k, that's why I decided to take part in Adidas 10k RUN.

As I had already written in the last post, I caught a cold at the end of the Swedish Easter camp and had to take 3 days off (Tuesday-Thursday), spending them mostly in my bed. On Friday and Saturday I made some tough trainings (jogging for about 25-30mins). As you can see, my physical preparation wasn't good (just 15km of training during the last 6 days before the competition, no fast workouts at all). What's more, my mental state sucked (do no ask me why) and I had huge difficulties sleeping at night. Although I didn't feel well and healthy on Sunday morning, I decided to compete.

Since the start line was just about 2km from the place where I live, Witek visited me in the morning and we started our warm-up together at about 8:20. Close to the start we met our coach and had a short talk with him. The goal for this race was clear - open the race with 3:30/km and then see what happens. The start was supposed to be at 9, but there was a little delay of about 10mins. Thanks to it, we had a bit longer warm-up. [Do you remember the race in 1975, when the race was delayed for more than 1 hour and blah blah blah...]

Just before the race my coach asked Pasza about his aim for this race. He answered '32mins'. Then, I realised I had no chances fighting against him. At 9:10 the mayor of Łódź city Hanna Zdanowska gave the signal to start the competition. The interesting thing is that there was the same start place and start time for the marathon runners. I had a great chance to start just behind the extremely thin and (as well extremely) black African runners.

The first metres of the race I ran just behind Pasza, but after some time I saw on my watch that the pace should have been a bit faster and speeded up. From that moment I didn't see him until the end of the race. It's incredibly important not to overspeed at the beginning of this kind of race and I managed to fulfil my assumption and ran the 1st km in 3:27. During the 2nd km (split time - 3:27) a funny thing happened, when I joined some group of runners. Young, blond girl asked me which pace I would have liked to achieve. As soon as I answered 'About 3:20 + something', she slowed down significantly without saying anything.

During the 3rd km we formed a nice group of 4 runners (including me, Leszek Marcinkiewicz and 2 other guys). We ran about 2km together (3:23, 3:27) and then one of them decided to attack (you'll read about him later on in the post as well). None of us had enough power to join him and we stayed in the group of 3.

Since that moment I had to be the leader, 5th km in 3:30. The 6th km was the most difficult one because I had to struggle with awful weather conditions (little rain and strong, freezing wind). This was the worst split of the whole race - 3:32. At the next km Leszek decided to go in the front and I had time to take some rest. However, on one of the curves he ran quite strange (not going as short as possible) and I was in the lead again. 7th km in 3:30.

During the 8th km (3:28) I suddenly heard a really loud voice of my coach. I took a look at both sides of the streets, but surprisingly I couldn't see him. I felt a bit confused, but after some hundreds of metres the riddle was solved! It turned out that he was standing there with a big megaphone shouting at me - amazing! Surely, it gave me some extra power for the very last kms of the race.

I ran the 9th km in 3:27 just ahead of Leszek and the other runner. Due to the fact that there was a very long and straight street, I could see the runner who left us somewhere close to the '4km' sign. Just after the 9th km there was a place where the courses for marathon and 10k runners split. I was shocked, when I saw that he chose the left 'marathon' gateway...

Going past the '9km' sign, I decided to attack (not willing to have a sprint finish at the end). I used this tactics in Uniejów some months ago (fighting against Pasza) and it worked really well. However, this time Leszek managed to keep my pace (the other one had problems, so the struggle was just between me and Leszek right now). Some 700m before the finish line the roles changed and it was him who tried to run really fast. At first I was not able to keep his pace and thought that the fight is over... Fortunately, I succeeded in avoiding these destroying thoughts and didn't give up. Nevertheless, I was still some metres behind... Suddenly, an unbelievable thing happened and Leszek seemed to have no power left. That's why I managed to outrun him just in front of the entrance to Atlas Arena, where an amazing finish was organized (red carpet, lots of people and so on). Some metres before the finish line I looked behind and was sure I was going to win against him. As soon as I had crossed the finish line, I fell down (I felt extremely exhausted as during the last 2kms I felt like vomitting...). My fall must have looked quite dangerous, since I suddenly got help from the medical assistance. They caught my arms and made me stand up, gave me some isotonic drink... and asked a really funny question: 'Is this your first run?'. ;)

It turned out that I ran the last km in 3:10 and reached the time of 34:21 (only 1sec slower than in Uniejów). I placed 3rd in the overall classification (out of 936 competitors) and took the... 2nd spot in Men's class, because the race was won by Karolina Jarzyńska (woman preparing for the London Olympic Games). Unfortunately, I was not able to wait for the prize giving ceremony, since I was leaving to Szklarska Poręba at 11:31. I heard that the prizes I got are quite precious - cup, T-shirt and Timex watch. Great!

P.S. Tadziu 32167, is this post long and good enough? :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jeg suger kuk.

That's one of the most important Norwegian expressions and it means 'I have been to the shower'. ;)

There were some highlights of the preseason after coming home from Portugal. Let me write something about them.

'The fat wixxxa, Agata and Witek's sweet 18th' - got a bit cold afterwards and had problems with my Achilles tendon. 2 in 1 is always better than 1 in 1 :)

Short camp with Raumar in Dresden (Germany) - 4 trainings and 2 competitions in just 3 days. 63km altogether, quite exhausting, must admit... I managed to take the 2nd place in unofficial German Night Champs (not really championships, but the most important night competition in Germany throughout a year). However, the O-performance was quite poor during the race.

Mixed long course in Barkowice - a very nice and fast technical training. Well... technical might be a too big word. Physical, let's say :)

Mecsek Kupa in Hungary - a two-day competition with WRE long distance as the second stage. 14,8km and 710m of climb. Not yet prepared for that kind of challenge!

Polish University Cross-Country Championships - didn't feel well before the race (some stomach problems), but tried to do my best and had a very steady and solid race. 32nd place (4 places up comparing to the last year's result). The course was the same, but the weather was much worse, awful!

TIOcamp in Sweden with Raumar - great chance to develop technically (it was my main focus). I am really satisfied with the technical shape in Sweden. I am not sure if the terrain was easier than the ones I had tried orienteering in Sweden earlier or I've just become a better orienteer in this type of Scandinavian terrain? Hope it's the second version.

How to do it?



How to mess it up?

Unfortunately, I got a bit ill due to freezing weather and icy marshes there in Sweden. I took 3 days off and on Friday I had my first easy jog. On Sunday I competed in the 10k street race. Nice topic for another post;-) Afterwards I headed for Szklarska Poręba for a short physical camp with Dominik and in just some days the first nice 3-day competition in Poland is about to begin. Really looking forward to it!