On Sunday 16th July 2017, together with my sister Gosia, hubby Lukasz and friends Martyna, Ania, Magda and Tomasz, we took part in Team Marathon Szakala in my hometown Lodz/Poland. The idea of that race was brilliant – 7 team members running 1k x 6 times. Minimum of 2 females required in the team. So, although me and a hubby went to Poland just for the weekend, we couldn’t miss that. Grandparents were thrilled to look after our son anyway 🙂

So, we formed a team of 7 – 5 ladies (3 mums) and 2 gents (2 dads) with age range between 30 up to 45. We were all coming with different running experiences, some of us never took part in any races before, some completed few marathons already, some were running regularly while others just for fun here and there. It was completely different experience for all of us, no one has ever run in a team race plus no one has ever run just 1k in one go. It’s such a different type of effort compering to standard 5k or 10k races, much faster, more challenging and demanding. Anyway, we were all ready to smash it having fun at the same time.

I must say that we did amazing, I’m so proud of our team, everyone gave over 100%, everyone ran much faster than expected, the guys off course were our sprinters however ladies were not far behind them. We finished the race in 3:05:10 and I wish I have such a time during my marathon. We were running alongside professional sprinters who were simply amazing. The winning team completed marathon in 2:15:53 and the team in the last place in 3:35:51. WOW, so everyone really did great job.

Overall it was such a great day; good form check-up and we want to make it again. We all can highly recommend this event to everyone. That will you your PB marathon time for sure 🙂

After speaking to my fellow team members, they agreed to share their running experience with you, so read on, we hope you will get inspired by their stories and next time we may even run together 🙂 Ok, so let’s dive in.

How long have you been running for, when did you start and why?

Martyna (mum to 4yr old): I started around 1.5 year ago, when my husband called me a “doughnut” …and I didn’t want to be his doughnut… As a present, he gave me a starter pack for 10k run. I needed to train for it and that’s how my running adventure began.

Tomasz: I started in 2012 and the reason was simple – my weight was far too much, 105kg compared to 84kg right now.

Gosia: I started running in autumn 2014, my friend suggested to give it a try and go for 10k run race in November. I like sports challenges, I thought – so many people run nowadays, so maybe I can add some variety to my fitness schedule too.

Ania: I started running in 2016, so I’m quite a fresh starter. The reason? As for many others – I wanted to lose weight. My friend persuaded me to take part in running events.

Magda (mum to 8yr old): My running adventure started in high school, so like 20 year ago 🙂 For good few years I trained athletics, that was short distance running. When I finished high school, I stepped running. But few years ago, I met some crazy people, who love running and decided that it would be great to be a part of that team and remind myself about positive aspects of running again.

Alex (mum to 22months old): I started running in 2013 out of the blue, as before I always thought that running is boring.

Lukasz: I started in n April 2017 in preparation for a triathlon.

Did you take part in any races before? If so, which ones?

Martyna: Yes, I did. I started with that 10k in 2016 and since then I completed few 10k races, 15k and debuted in half-marathon distance in October 2016.

Tomasz: Yes, I’ve done quite a few so far. I started in Lodz marathon in 2014 with the time of 3:35, my PB is 3:17 in April 2017. Few half-marathons with PB 1:30, plenty of 10k with PB 40:12

Gosia: Yes, I did take part in various races 5k, 10k, half-marathon, muddy challenges and obstacle races Runmagedon, Tough Mudder. I’ve also taken part in various group fitness challenges at my fitness club.

Ania: Yes, I ran in few Parkruns and some 10k races.

Magda: Yes, I took part in various 5k and 10k events plus completed one 15k race and last year I debuted in half-marathon distance.

Alex: Yes, debuted in half-marathon in 2013, done few 5k, 10k and half-marathons, plus completed first marathon in April 2016, also Tough Mudder.

Lukasz:  Yes – Tough Mudder, Rat Race, which are crazy muddy races and obstacle team challenges.

Why do you take part in races?

Martyna: I’m taking part in races together with my running team. It’s 5-6 of us, 4 beauties and 2 beasts 🙂

Tomasz: I like atmosphere, competition, satisfaction after reaching my goal plus that’s a great opportunity to meet other like-minded runners.

Gosia: There are many reasons for that. First, I feel that the atmosphere during races is phenomenal – amazing people, both runners and supporters, great energy that helps overcoming your fears. Secondly, I love setting myself up new fitness challenges. Thirdly, getting a medal feels amazing.

Ania: My friend Gosia invited me to take part in running events. I still remember her saying: “Kaminsko, you can run 5k, so you can as well run 10k, come one, you need to sign up! I will run with you and I will support you!” – so, I signed up and… she was away, so she didn’t run with me…:)

Magda: It’s my challenge to check whether I can do it plus I want to share joy of running with my friends.

Alex: I love the atmosphere, setting myself up for a challenge and reaching my goal. Also inspiring others what’s possible.

Lukasz: I want to push myself, to check how far I can go plus have fun at the same time.

Why did you take part in Team Marathon Szakala?

Martyna: …I was „forced” as they needed extra team member…hahaha but seriously – I thought it would be great to spend Sunday morning in the forest with other crazy runners 🙂

Tomasz: I wanted to take part in team racing as I haven’t done it before. I wanted to experience something different, passing the baton in the relay – really cool.

Gosia: I wanted to try something different, add the variety to my running events. I have friends who I always run with, that event was for running teams, so just perfect for us.

Ania: My crazy friends invited me to take part in this adventure.

Magda: So far, I was running on my own, so this time I could feel what responsibility for a team result feels like.

Alex: To take part in team relay for the very first time plus do this with my sister, hubby and Polish friends in my home town. My sis and hubby are not interested in marathons but I kept saying that we would do a marathon together one day, and so we’ve done this one 🙂

Lukasz: My wife invited me to do so 🙂

How long have you been training for Marathon Szakala and what was your training like?

Martyna: What training…? 🙂 this race for me was about having fun.

Tomasz: I didn’t have any specific plan for this race. I run 4-5 times a week, so some sessions I used for speed training.

Gosia: I train all year round – indoor cycling, cross fit, plenty of fitness classes, running. I believe that keeps me fit all the time. Normally I run longer distances, so in preparation for that event, I added some trade mill workout to check myself in much faster 1k runs, rest and repeating that process few times. I needed to learn the pace that will allow me to cover the whole 1k plus being able to speed up on that last 150m.

Ania: Hmmm. There is not much to say in here…I didn’t really train. I’ve done couple of runs as I had quite a long brake. I had no training plan whatsoever.

Magda: So far, I was running around 10k. 2 weeks before the event I was doing 5k runs plus adding faster interval sessions.

Alex: I’m training for a marathon in September, so have a running plan in place however, I needed to check myself with 1k fast run to see what my pace needed to be like.

Lukasz: I was training for a triathlon, started 9 weeks before Marathon Szakala.

So, how was that team marathon for you like, what thoughts were going through your mind before, during and after the race?

Martyna: My team wanted to be amongst first 6 teams to get a trophy…until it turned out that professional sprinters are taking part in that race too J I wanted to give 100%…and I did, before the race I didn’t believe that I could run that fast 🙂

Tomasz: Great experience, unforgettable moments with friends and other runners.

Gosia: At the beginning – excitement because of the unknown, during and after the 1st 1k, I felt that I didn’t want another one 🙂 It’s just 1k but because of the pace, I could really feel it. Long rest paradoxically wasn’t helping that much as it was quite hard to go for another 1k again. After couple of rounds I had my own plan, knowing when to speed up, etc. After the race I felt fantastic, the best part for me was that it was a team work, we motivated and supported each other and we had fun together at the same time.

Ania: Before the race my mind was going crazy: „OMG what am I doing here?”, “What do I need this for?”, “I will probably have a heart attack in here”, “They all run so fast, and me…I will slow them down”. Generally – I was stressed out and in a panic mode… During the race I gave 100%, mainly for people who I was running with. On one hand, it was supposed to be fun, on the other hand, I didn’t want to let them down. I was trying to pass anyone I could. And once all these sprinters were passing me by, I was thinking: “what do they eat?” 🙂 After the race I was happy, that these fast 6k are over and I was proud that I managed to complete them all.

Magda: Before the race: I was afraid whether my endurance let me run each 1k with a pace I had planned to and I was quite curious how it feels to run in relay. During the race: to run as fast as I could, after each 1k I thought that I would not be able to move again but apparently, I could. After the race: Very happy that I’ve done that and big satisfaction that I run much faster than I expected.

Alex: Before the race: I wanted to get a trophy 🙂 During the race: I enjoyed the atmosphere, the run was challenging however I was very pleased with my results, and I was shocked how fast some teams were running and our trophy was fading away… After the race: Very proud of our team, especially 3 females who did not believe in themselves and ran much faster than expected.

Lukasz: That I’m super-fast 🙂 and it was great fun.

What’s next for you, any other races planned?

Martyna: Unfortunately, I need to limit running for now but I’m sure there are still plenty of races ahead of me.

Tomasz: August 2017 – 10k Bieg Fabrykanta in Lodz, October 2017 – half-marathon.

Gosia: For sure. I like the energy, atmosphere and fun with my friends. Next run – 10k Bieg Fabrykanta in Lodz in August.

Ania: Yes, 10k run in August Bieg Fabrykanta in Lodz, and then? I have my little plans and I hope that I will make them.

Magda: Yes, 10k Bieg Fabrykanta in Lodz in August.

Alex: Yes, Berlin Marathon in September.

Lukasz: Yes, more triathlon sprints and Olympic triathlon next year.

What would you say to the ones thinking about taking on running? Any tips to get started?

Martyna: To start with – don’t set your expectations too high, that you are going to run 5-10-15k on your first run, give yourself time! If you want to smash your records, you need to run regularly but if that’s not the case, just run to be able to feel better and for fun J Running is great, you need to believe that…so put on those snickers and go wherever you want to 🙂

Tomasz: Running gave me: -30kg !!!, feeling great in my body, appreciation for myself and confidence that I can accomplish ANYTHING I want to. Tips: Start slowly, start smart, most importantly run regularly and records will come. In long distance running – head is the most important, everything starts and finishes in your head and somewhere in between there is body, legs, arms. Attitude and belief that you can do it – that’s the key to success.

Gosia: I believe that you need to find physical activity that you like. There is no need to force yourself doing something if you don’t feel like it, as it will be only a short-term adventure. And if you find something you like, you’ll do great thing for your body as well. It’s a good idea to give running a try, go for a few runs, don’t give up as it’s hard at the beginning. I would say – finding a running buddy is great, if my sister lives closer, I would definitely run much more!!!

Ania: Run with people who give you great energy and positive attitude but also who will tell you straight when you don’t believe in yourself and that you are capable of much more. Go outside your comfort zone, even though it’s difficult. Run and smile. I love smiling to people in the park with my running red face 🙂

Magda: At the beginning, it’s not so cool. There is a fight for every single running meter, but afterwards there is satisfaction with longer and longer distances and you feel less tired as well. Everyone should give running a try, if you like it, that’s great, if you don’t, there is always a way to find another reason and keep running 🙂

Alex: Give it a chance, you will be surprised how amazing you will feel. Running is my little escape, time only for myself when I could recharge my batteries and be back as a better mummy, better wife and better person, I’m sure you will feel the same way. Tips: get good shoes, proper sports bra, start slowly, set realistic expectations, get a running plan and believe in yourself. You can do this!!!

Lukasz: Buy good shoes, push yourself to overcome your physical limits and have fun.

As you could see – every single runner on our team had different running experience before the race. Every single one of them started running for different reasons and they all didn’t find it easy to begin with. However, ALL of them said that running is great and everyone should give it a try. Once you do, you will enter completely new world – world of positive, smiley people, world of races with amazing atmosphere, world of pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and saying to yourself that you will never do it again, until you…sign up for another race 🙂 you will step into the world that will make you more confident, you will feel that you can accomplish anything you want to, the world that is quite addictive and you will want to stay in it for sure. I hope to see you in the RUNNING WORLD 🙂 Good luck.

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