From Handball to Ironman – My Sports Journey
Since a very young age, I was into sports. As I boy I would spend hours upon hours running with the ball, run after the ball and chasing the ball. I would play team sports: football, basketball, baseball, and also sprint around the blocks, climb trees or race bikes with my friends.
When I was 10, my parents signed me up into the sports school, with the specialisation of handball. This becomes my sport for more than 15 years. I have tried very hard, I have never ”made it’. I wasn’t good enough to play in the pro league, although I was very close. This was hard to swallow. Years of dedication, pain, injuries and I ended up playing for a second division team.
Add some point I had to pull the plug. I was 25, I have just finished Uni (PE Education – of course!), and I was ready to move. Around this time I meet my future wife, we have moved together, and eventually, we emigrated to Scotland.
Still back in Poland, I have developed a taste for squash. This fast-paced game dragged me in, and I was in training again. For more than 8 years I would play tournaments, leagues, I would attend the camps. I’ve become quite good, reaching the last 16th at the Polish Championships.
I loved the game; in my dreams, I was going to become a Polish Champ, but my body had a different plan. My back, under all those twists and sudden change of directions, has eventually given in. A couple of times I would be off work for weeks, no being able to move. I didn’t like it. With great regret, it was time to hang up my rackets.
After stopping squash, I had a quick romance with kettlebell sport. I have even become Scottish Champion, which to be honest wasn’t that hard. Kettlebell Sport is a still very young sport, and there is only a couple of dozen competitor in the UK. With too many different weight categories to choose from, everyone one, with a little bit of training, can become a champ.
I don’t compete anymore, but I still use kettlebells, almost on the everyday basics. Kettlebells are an excellent tool for a whole body workout, especially if you are time restricted. I use them with all my clients, and recently I started adding them as cross training to my new main sport… triathlons.
It turns out I am wired to compete. Once I quit one sport, the other sneaks in.
As triathlon has always been on my radar, and the Ironman was my big goal, I was, again, all in.
Now, having completed 3 full Ironman distances and becoming Ironman Coach, I run a couple of strength and conditioning classes for triathletes, I am in training for Celtman, and secretly dream about getting qualified to Kona.
When I look back at my sports history, there is one common ground for all my sports endeavours; strength. Regardless of the sport, I always worked on my conditioning. A good, solid-based allowed me to train more and avoid most injuries, and I was able to switch sports quick and get to a reasonable level fast.
Now my passion is to share my knowledge and love for strength and conditioning to my fellow triathletes. It is tough, as it seems there is a stigma around the endurance training and the weights. But I will not give up, the benefits are too significant to be ignored.