Yes, diving again! I almost forgot how much I love it. The peace and serenity of diving. It has been a real long break, due to training and all the running schedules. Now I can step back a bit, relax, and come back to some of the other hobbies of mine. There is not enough time for everything (sigh).
Kelli and other 3 people from university diving club made today’s trip a real treat. The trip was great. Elaine prepared awesome breakfast and although getting up at 4:30am was not the most pleasant everything else was just perfect. Enjoyed meeting all the water life forms again, and a big sea lion. It has been interesting to see how friendly and un-disturbed some people are in the close proximity of those huge water animals, and how scared and insignificant others felt. Jack and Elaine seemed real concerned, whereas Christopher took much more laid back and easy approach. It was a great day out, with a beautiful sunrise and perfect weather throughout. Water temp. +11C was on the lower side of the spectrum, but 37min dive passed without major shivering episodes. Thanks guys! Waiting for the photos from Kelli.
The Sunday’s Moro Marathon attracted record number of participants. The run was great, the weather perfect, overcast, with a tiny amount of tail wind in the first 30km and head wind for the last part. For the first time I had some power left for the last 7km or so, even though I think I still tried a bit too fast pace initially. I have not really hit any hard walls this time, and mentally it was the easiest run to date. I really enjoyed it, although I was not able to set my PR this time (set the track best time though, with 3:42).
Melanie did excellent job, finishing just after 4hrs mark. Eveline overtook me at around 32km mark, and I couldn’t catch up with her – she had a good day, and finished almost 5min ahead of me. Christopher charged at the end and managed to close it before the 4hrs mark – he has had lots of power left. Everyone enjoyed it I guess. Lots of chatting and socialising during the run. Met few new people. The best part was being recognised for my Nasby run two weeks ago – few people cheered “Nasby” driving pass me – it felt nice, inspiring and motivating.
Nasby run took its toll though, and even though I have thought I have recovered, the two weeks were not enough for my body to fully regain the strength. I’m planning 10 days without any runs or training now, and then to take it easy till the end of the year. No events plans as yet.
Stiff knees and sore muscles, but recovering relatively fast. Feet do not present major drama, although the left one feels a bit sore as before the run itself.
I’ve learn new skills and discovered more about myself. I appreciate the planning and discipline aspects of the marathon now, more than before. There were plenty of people that overshoot their skills and hit the wall hard between 30-36km. I was one of them on the two previous Moro runs. This time it felt different. I gave all I had, and I still got overtaken by few faster runners towards the end, but, I have not hit the wall as strong as in the previous years. Patience and better judgment.
On Saturday, 27th of August, I have taken part for the first time in a Nasby WaterRace ultramarathon. One of the longest running races organised in New Zealand. The longest run I’ve done so far was a marathon. I was pretty excited to take this adventure-project on. If you read that it is a long distance, you will not understand. I know now that I didn’t. I read about it, I have prepared for it, I have run quite a bit, but to be honest, I had no idea what running 100km is. I have underestimated it. By far. I still do not quite have the idea.
I have started at 6am. Almost 2 litres of hydration drinks plus 300calories in energy gels later, just before 18:00, I finished. 12 hours of running. It was truly the hardest day of my life, but also, one of the happiest. The sense of achievement – unbelievable. Mind over matter. I have beaten many of my weaknesses. I have beaten my pain and my fear. I’ve done it. Real tough event. Lots of hills, mud and snow on the trail. Up to 50km I was doing fine. I think I have started way too fast. At 50km mark I was done. I had nothing left in me and the prospect of running further 50km felt
irrational. Impossible. I still do not know how I have done it.
Everytime the new pain came, legs gave up and the weakness took over the entire body, I felt that’s the worst pain and weakness and hopelessness I have ever felt in my life – how wrong I was, when later it got worse. And worse. And worse. The old pains faded into background the moment the new arrived. They ceased to matter, as the new pains were always much stronger and fresh. Up to 90km I was not sure I can do it. Only the last 10km I knew that I can. The last 10km were very emotional.
I had no cramps (besides getting small ones in my biceps, surprise surprise). The last 20km I’ve injured my feet – the part that joins the feet with a leg, up front so I’ve done the last 20km with that injury. Both of my feet were a bit bruised and swollen. Recovering took about 10 days for the feet (although left one seems still a bit not quite right). Muscles and knees felt pretty good – I guess given the soft trail. I have recovered relatively fast (faster than after my last marathon).
Thanks for believing in me, and supporting the effort It was thanks to all the people around that this was possible. Everything is possible, if one puts her/his mind into it. The race was won by Marty Lukes with the time just over 8:21 – that’s the new course record. He is an amazing runner. When passing me on my 70th km (that was probably his last lap) he shouted: “Great Mariusz! You’re doing great – keep it up!” – well, I didn’t know his name at the time & puffed a sorry “Thanks” in return. Felt humbled. There were 11 participants this year, and according to unofficial stats, everyone has finished. The official results are here.
Two weeks later…
The above notes were taken few days after the event. It’s been two weeks, but the memories still feel so fresh. I can watch the photos and videos without crying now. I was not able to do that for the first week or so – too emotional. The battle with my own weaknesses was a hard one. Mentally and physically. Not sure which one was harder – the one in my head probably. I’ve done it. I am still not sure how. It was a great adventure. I know now that I do not know how to run yet – still long way to learn. I also know that I can do things next year that I am not capable doing this year. This is a great motivator. Great liability, too.
Tomorrow I’m taking part in the Moro marathon. It will be my 3rd race on this course. I hope to have some fun during the race. 240 people – and almost 1200 half marathon participants. It will be great atmosphere. Few friends are running along, doing their First marathon, or First half marathon. I envy them a bit – the first is the best – always most memorable experience. It was the hardest, but also the most memorably for me.
Booking flights, checking connections, co-ordinating with Michal.
Michal is setting up Polish blog about the expedition.
Getting initial idea of the route.