Yesterday in many ways was very special for me. First, along with many Poles we were excited about the elections in Poland. Secondly, as this time every year, there was the Ironman world championship in Hawaii (it was actually on Saturday, but it was Sunday already in New Zealand). After my last Ironman in Nice, France, in 2010 I promised my family to take a year off from doing this exhaustive competition myself. Then, in June 2010, I did not expect we would go away for one year on a sabbatical in 2011.
Though my training regime is very modest (I do not my bike with me) now, the temptation is still there to do some competition. Before coming to New Zealand I found out there would be at least one marathon event in New Zealand taking place during our stay here, i.e. a marathon in the city of Masterton called Wairapa Marathon (named after the region). Being far below my top shape and with a few extra kilograms of weight I would typicaly have before Ironman competition I decided to follow my heart and run that marathon.
After reaching Masterton on Saturday evening and registerting in the marathon it turned out few things would be provided during the run for the athletes. The drinking stations, except for the one at the finish line, would offer only water and not typical things I expected like isotonic drinks, energy gels and bars, bananas, etc. It was raining heavily and cold in Masterton. Seeing this Ania insisted on not camping in a tent that night. Fortunately we found a warm place stay (a cabin). The marathon organizers planned a very early marathon start at 7:00 am! If it was not for Ania, I would have overslept the event. I am glad we did not camp that night because it was minus 3 Celsius in the morning and we had to scrub the windows in the car. That cold morning brough back the memories of my marathon in New York where I had to wait for 5 hours in cold weather near the Verazzano Bridge before the gun went off. Then my hypothermia and dehydration cost me took a lot of energy from me.
This time, thank God, a sunny and chilly morning turned out to be fortunate for me. Being in a so-so shape I finished the marathon in the 6th place with a very good result and my personal best of 3:03 (3g:03min:13sec, to be precise). Be it not for a painful surprise which happened to me at 38th km, I had a chance to even go below 3 hours. Not counting on receiving any isotonic drinks nor energy bars along the course I decided to wear during the marathon a special running belt with all the essentials. It is not a very convenient way to run and it is additional weight to carry. Seeing a chance to beat 3 hours I decided to ditch the belt 4 km before the finish line. Right after removing it from my waist and throwing it far into deep grass I felt a piercing pain in my lower abdomen. The pain was so great I almost stopped running. In this painful way I learned something new about running.
As usual, during the competition I could count on my family support. Not only myself. Our kids got very engaged in portioning and distributing water and juice at the finish line. In appreciation of their work they even got pieces of delicious caramel cake from te organizers, which was later eaten up by their parents .
All things considered and with the hilly course of the run I am very pleased with the result. I can also say I completed 1/3 of Ironman . In truth that day I finished a duathlon by driving, right after the marathon, 620 km (7 hours of driving time).
“Wszystko jest możliwe”