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Pawel

1. What do you like best in running and what is your pet peeve?

I can't name one thing I like about running: each time it's something different. When you run long distance, you have a lot of time to think about stuff, and afterwards the endorphins you get make sure you'll have the desire to do it all again. Besides that, running is a kind of sport where age is not a limitation: the elderly compete with the young. In the course of running all muscles in your body get to have a workout, and it's a way to lose some fat as well (most muscles really do work during running, however weight loss also depends on the diet, sleep pattern, general lifestyle and other factors, -- narrator's note). I really enjoy giving it all I have and feeling positively exhausted after a training run. I feel very satisfied when I manage to train this hard. The only thing I don't like is this moment when I have to get back home, because I know I will have to wait till the next day to go out and train again

2. What would ideal running/racing conditions look like to you?

For me, the ideal conditions are those that are the most challenging. I don't need nice weather, even surface or beautiful views around me. I love it when the weather makes running a tough task to tackle. Frost, snow or harsh wind make the perfect setting for pushing to a 100%. Also, the low temperatures numb the knee pain that I frequently feel while running. However, when it comes to races, like most runners, I prefer the weather to be more comfy. When I run marathons, I like to beat the goals I set, so it's great when the temperature is not higher than 15-16 degrees Celcius. I'm not a fan of brick roads, asphalt is way better. New places and nice scenery are a bonus as well.

3. What running dream do you have? If you had everything you needed, what would be the wildest, most impossible dream?

I have a few running dreams, and the biggest is to train without injuries for years to come.I hope that I will be able to participate in the Ice Baikal Marathon, which takes place in Siberia, on the icy srface of the Baikal lake. This is one of ten toughest marathons in the world. Apart from that, I'd like to run as many marathons in different European capitals as possible. The unrealistic dream I have is to participate in the Spartathlon.

4. Tell about the toughest training you had. What was the outcome? And what was the most valuable takeaway?

The hardest training is when I have to run in snow. A few years ago I had an opportunity to do a halfmarathon when it was snowing very heavily. To make matters worse, the wind was very strong, and, along with the snow, made it next to impossible to see what lay ahead. The icy surface was slippery, and my shoes eventually became soaking wet. But, a tough run makes a good test, so each time it's a reality check whether I still have the motivation to train further.

5. What body part would you name that would be the most important when it comes to running? What body part you're most thankful to?

Obviously, legs are the most important body part. For me, it's thighs in particular, so I spend a lot of time working on them, and then having a proper recovery. During the race I feel that this is where the extra energy and stamina are stored, and it's this body part that helps me get through when tiredness kicks in.When I don't have running sessions, I go to the gym or play football or volleyball.

6. Did you do sports when you were a child? Was running among the activities you were fond of? If not, why did you eventually decide to start running and when did that happen?

I started training karate when I was 7, and of course I played football like most of the kids my age. In my preteens I got into volleyball, in high school and university I attended the taekwon-do classes. I sustained several knee and hip injuries, which led to me dropping out of the martial arts and having a few operations to fix the issues. Hence, I started running, as I missed being active. Three months into regular training I ran my first marathon. It was 2013 and I was 27 years old at the time. In two weeks I'll be running my eighth marathon, this time it'll be in Madrid.

7. What do you feel when you're at the start line and when you've just crossed the finish line? What is essential for you to have when you're about to run a race and what do you usually do after you've run it?

Oh, the starting point atmosphere is unforgettable! I can't find words to express what it's like, and the only way to know is to feel it yourself. I highly recommend to try it out, especially if you manage to participate in a large-scale race. Just picture this: crowds of runners, separated into time groups, are waiting to hear the start signal(??). There's this recognizable heating balms scent in the air, and there crowds of people who came to show their support and cheer on are watching the runners who can barely contain themselves. The tension rises. But, later on, it all evens out and calms down. When I start running, the adrenaline level drops, to rise again a few meters before the finish line. As I near that line, I feel extremely worn out, but the fact that I have left over 40 km behind keeps me going. I know full well that in a few moments my poor hurting legs will get the rest they deserve so much. The very second crossing the finish line is one of the happiest moments I've ever experienced, and nothing compares to this fantastic feeling of ginormous satisfaction. If I manage to achieve the goal I've set, it's the best feeling. After the race I set out to look for friends who I've agreed to meet with after the event. After that it's time for some proper rest and regeneration. The first couple of hours are for eating and drinking enough fluids. I find a place to sit and just relax, while discussing all the stuff that happened during the race.

8. Was there something that changed in your views on running since you started?

From the very beginning I knew full well that running was harder than it looked. That I needed to remember about warm-up and cool-down. Another valuable point is that when you do long distance, you need to be well equipped: have good shoes and comfy clothes. As time went by and I aimed for better results, I stopped drinking alcohol. Taking part in the races calls for a well-balanced weight and healthy living. Now I know that running isn't just about putting your shoes on and going out for a jog. If you aim to achieve goals, you have to take loads of things into account.

9. What goal that you set to achieve in the beginning of your running journey now seems to be something that's too ambitious or maybe even impossible to do?

There was no such goal. In the very beginning, my first milestone was to run a marathon.I was aware that it was a tough task to tackle, but a doable one. Afterwards, there was another marathon, and then another one... I can never have enough and always want more. Now a marathon doesn't seem like smething out of the ordinary. Obviously, I know that the 'royal distance' still requires a lot of effort: 42 km is a couple of hours spent on the verge of one's abilities. And anything can happen in the race course. If my health allows for it, I'll be happy to run many more marathons.

10. What goal do you have now?

Actually, each time I run a race, I just wanna get to the finish line. An it doesn't matter, whether it's a short 5k run or a full marathon. Each time it's a different goal. My next start is a 42k in Madrid, and I'd like to do that race quicker than 3 hours 57 minutes (that's my PR for now). But, of course, the minimal goal is to finish the race in general. When it comes to running events in major European cities, I really like the fact that I can do some sightseeing while I run, and have a lot of support from the crowds supporting the runners. This is the atmosphere that fascinates me! Oftentimes, the race is organised during a public holiday, which makes it even more spectacular. Returning to the question, mu next goal is to participate in the Baikal marathon, but this is a bit more distant future, as it'll happen in the next year.

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@2020 Anna Shilonosova