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Piotr and Pepe

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

Most of all, I'm fond of the fact that I can be on 1-to-1 with myself, so that I can clear my mind, analyze all that happened recently at home and at work, plan something for the nearest future. 

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

I have two favourite kinds of weather: 1) light frost and lots of sun and 2) 8-10C (and here the sun isn't necessary). No wind in both options.

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

My biggest dream (and actually it's more of a goal now) is to do with triathlon, which I started training for after I completed The Crown of Marathons (this is a set of marathon races in Poland, done throughout the running season. To get an extra 'Crown' medal, the participant has to complete at least in six of the races from the list. There is a half-marathon Crown option available as well). My goal is to eventually do the full IronMan distance. And as for the dream, I'd say it's IronMan in Kailua-Kona (??) in Hawaii.

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

The training session that brings back the least pleasant memories is to do with my stupidity (and I can't put it any other way). I was preparing for a spring marathon. One of the trainings on my regular list was doing a 30-35 km run. It was winter, and I was a bit disoriented by the lower temperatures, hence I didn't take any water with me. As a result, on the 25th kilometer (which was 5 km away from my home), I felt that my inner battery died and my body said 'stop'. I slowed down, but that made me lose heat quite fast, which made matters even worse. I couldn't run any further. Looking back, these weren't the wisest decisions I made on that day. Eventually I got home, feeling very cold (??). The most valuable lesson I got from that session was that if the plan changes, go with the flow and don't try to push things in the wrong direction. Actually, that's what I like about running: you train to be more flexible and patient.

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?

I think the most important part is your head. You think up the strategy and, when you hit the wall, it's the mind that might hold you from pushing further. But I'm most thankful to my 'heart', because when I listen to it, I gain the stamina I need to go further, when my legs say they can't move any more.

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?

When I was a kid, I didn't do any sports besides the obligatory school PT and casually riding a bicycle. I didn't like playing football and didn't know how to do it. I wasn't a fan of running. In my early teens I started attending the karate classes, and as time went by, I grew to enjoy them more and more. I started running quite late, and it was pure coincidence. I was 35, I gained quite some weight (I didn't even realize at that time, how much!), and my lids convinced me to get a dog. Needless to say, it all ended with me going for morning walks with that new member of our family. I realized I needed to give the dog a good move before the whole day sitting at home, so I started jogging. I was so surprised to learn that I couldn't even manage to run 1 km! But, bit by bit, we made our runs longer. I found a website, treningbiegacza.pl, and used the training plans published there. That's how I prepared for the first 10k run. It was then when(??) I figured I wanted to complete a marathon and do it within 4 hours. But first I did my first half. After the first marathon I decided I wanted to complete the Crown of Marathons, and after that I learned about the IronMan races and thought that it was high time I started my swimming classes (back then I blissfully considered myself a seasoned cyclist). This year it's my second IronMan season and soon I'll be standing at the start line of the Half IronMan.

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?

Right before the start I feel a bit of adrenaline, and at the finish line I'm always very happy and euphoric. And this is the feeling I train for, spending months working on strength and stamina, regardless of weather conditions. After the race we always go for a good, hearty meal and celebrate the new medal :)

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

I still consider running a boring activity, but now I can't imagine my life without it (and without Pepe)!

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?

Running got me convinced that nothing is impossible. I set a goal: to complete a marathon race within 3 hrs 30 mins, I still have to get there, and do this I will.

10. What goal do you have now?

The main goal is to do a full IronMan (I figured I'd need about 5 years to train well for it, I started some serious swimming training 1.5 years ago, so it's about 3.5 to go). I love triathlon for its diversity: swimming that I have yet so much to learn about, cycling that I've always been fond of and running, that everything started with.

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@2020 Anna Shilonosova