Posted by: runwithgarrison | May 2, 2013

Michael’s Krakow marathon report

Aloha everyone,

I am Jim Mullen from Ireland……… More on this in a bit

This past weekend, Pauline and I ran the Krakow marathon. Wow! What an experience! This was my first marathon outside of the USA and the race organizers did not disappoint. The weather had been warm for our first few days in Europe (Naples & Krakow) and we woke up on race day with about a 10-15 degree drop and a rainy morning. We would not have to worry about the heat—this much was certain. We, along with our friend Matt– an American living in Naples–took the train from our hotel to the race start at the local soccer stadium. I wish more American race organizers would have this kind of support. All marathon racers had access to indoor locker rooms, restrooms, drop bag areas and nice dry areas to relax prior to running 26.2 miles around the beautiful city of Krakow. The race even had showers and free beer for all finishers at the finish line..onto the race…

If you have been reading the site over the last few weeks, you know that my training has not been all that great. I continued that trend by not running a step between my great race at Mt Diablo and the Krakow marathon. I have had a difficult time running on this trip and I decided to use this as a rest period. I will get back on the train again once we get back to Oahu. After all, it’s only about 5 weeks until the San Diego 100 and I will most definitely have a few pounds to lose after all the amazing food and drinks here in Poland!

Prior to the race I decided to try and run how I felt and I wondered if I would be able to run a decent race given all the time off and travel (flying halfway around the world has really messed up my sleep pattern). After all the pre-race stuff was accomplished, we headed toward the start line. The rain had stopped but it was still quite chilly. I gave Pauline a quick good luck kiss and we headed toward our starting areas. She was looking for the 5 hr pace group and I was looking for a group running between 3-3:15. I will let Pauline fill you all in on her race in her next post.

The gun went off and I fell into a nice rhythm. I definitely felt like I had not been running enough but that was to be expected. As the course wound its way through historical Krakow, the streets were lined with people cheering. “Bravo” was the most common cheer that I heard and the spectators seemed genuine with their enthusiastic cheers. I locked myself in with a group running around 6:35-6:40 pace and I just went along for the ride. The weather stayed cold and the wind started to pick up as we excited the city center and headed out on the highway to the neighborhoods on the outskirts of town. I was starting to feel a bit cold and the wind was ripping thru me as I started to struggle with the pace around the 13 mile mark around 1:28:20.

From miles 13-16 I tried to slow down a little and catch on with some of the groups of runners as they passed. I was sporadically successful with this for a bit and then I saw something that would completely change my race. I promise to not get too graphic for this next part and if you are the squeamish sort, maybe skip ahead a paragraph. I knew that with the wind and cold that I would be battling some chafing issues so I took the usual precautions of liberally applying the body glide and used my trusty nip-guards (yep, that is what they are called). From this point, let’s just say that I had multiple issues, lost some nip guards, and the body glide was no longer gliding. I knew I was chaffing a bit and I was feeling the damage, but when I looked down to see what was happening, I kind of freaked out and shut things down. I lost all interest in running fast and I just wanted to be finished.

With that being said, I spent the next 10 miles jogging and walking my way to the finish. The nice part was that I was able to see Matt and Pauline along the course. I saw Pauline just as she hit 13.1 and I called out to her but she did not hear or see me. She looked great and was probably jamming out to some Lady Gaga song. I was a little concerned for her heading into the race, so it was super nice to see her out there cruising along. The course stayed lined with supporters along most of the route with the numbers increasing as we ran along the river and back to the finish at the stadium. It was rough little 10 miles. I crossed the finish line around 3:46:27 and I immediately headed to grab my drop bag with a towel and dry clothes. The race provided portable showers, think large port-a-potties with 3 cold water showers, and these were awesome. I assessed the damage, cleaned up, and headed back to the finish line with a Krakauer in hand to cheer on Pauline. As 5 hours came and went, I started to get concerned. I just wanted for her to have a great experience and I was worried that she was out there suffering along the route. I now completely understand how she feels while she is waiting for me to appear out of the woods at my ultra races. I am not very good at the whole waiting game and I started to feel uneasy. Pauline made a great decision to wear a forest green top and was very easy to spot as she approached the finish line. Once she turned the corner to run the last 200 meters into the finish, I started to tear up as she approached. She crossed the line with 5:16 on the clock and I met her with a big hug. I am so very proud of her and I am seriously impressed with her performance. She has had a rough month with her running and she persevered.

Well done Pauline!!!!!

As far as the Jim Mullen comment…. I am not in the official results so far. For some reason my race number, 5530, is applied to Jim Mullen from Ireland. We have contacted the race organizers and hope that they can get both Jim and I the right times on the overall results.

That is about all for now. Time to enjoy our last day in the countryside outside Krakow with new friends and family. It will be a long flight home with stops in Germany and California. I am looking forward to our return to Oahu and to complete my prep for the SD100 by jumping in a local trail race on May 11 and the Hibiscus half marathon at the end of the month. If you are planning on being in the San Diego area the weekend of June 8 and you would like to help crew or pace me, please let me know.

Thanks for reading and Happy Running





  1. Way to go Jim! Mike probably had an issue free PR run. đŸ˜‰

  2. Wow!!!! good job

  3. “5:16 on the clock and I met her with a big hug”. If only I was at Krakow, this is the quote that stands out to me the most because you started something and finished.

    Excellent job Pauline

    • Thanks Shukri! Couldn’t have done it without you! Thanks for always picking up the phone!!

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