Thursday 20 June 2013

Last WOC-preparations

Since Jukola I have been living in Kajaani with my clubmate Toni Saari, and doing the last preparation before WOC. Tomorrow we will go southeast to Juuka and Joensuu where the Finns will have their test-races in really relevant terrain. The middledistance tomorrow and longdistance on sunday will be my last competitions before WOC, and therefore important races.


I ran the 5th leg on a strong Terä-team. We had a good start with Antti on first leg, changing to Håvard in 3rd place. He lost Kalevan Rasti on a forking in the middle of the race, and after that we stayed 2-3 minutes behind with stable performances from Anders and Juha.
I ran out in 7th spot, 2min50sec after KR. I knew that most of our course would be in area where everyone else had been running, and there would be a lot of tracks. I tried to push really hard in the beginning, and also found a good rhytm in my orienteering. Before the first TV-control I had contact with the team who went out 1 minute in front of me, and it confirmed that I was doing well. I got a gap to the others climbing up the hill, but I hesitated a lot on the most difficult control in the slope, missed 30 seconds and the others caught me again. The rest of the way I did well, the group split up on the last forking and in the end I was only together with SNO, and we also caught Linné before the finish. In the last 15 minutes I had pain in my stomach (it doesn't like to run 3-4 AM), and my speed wasn't that high in the end. But still good enough to finish in 2nd spot, only 1 minute behind KR, and with the best split on my leg, with almost 1 minute.
Jani did a good race, and was getting closer to Hertner, but missed 1½ minute in the end, and finished in 3rd place. Jonne was running good and fast in the beginning, but made a big mistake going into the hilly area, and was caught by other teams, but still fighting for 3rd place. But unfortunately he had a really bad day and couldn't follow the others, and also made more mistakes. In the end he ran well again, but he was very dissapointed about only running in to 7th place, the same as last year.
It was a pretty tight relay this year, and you can't afford to have a bad day, if you want to win. KR did a impressive relay, running alone in front most of the way, and they deserved the victory again.


After Jukola I drove with Toni to Kajaani, where he lives, and the rest of sunday and monday was easy days, with one middle-distance relevant training on Ansavaara and some corestability training.
On tueday I had two full-speeds trainings, a relay-training with the French national team, and a 10km long distance-training with the Norwegain national team. And yesterday I did a full-speed middle-distance training with the Norwegians and a long slow long-distance training. Quite tough program, but both technically and physically it is important for me know to do things in full-speed, because I have been in the terrains a lot of times. I can't say that I'm doing things perfectly, but many things are good, and hopefully the races tomorrow and sunday will give me the last feedback and some self-confidence in this terrain.

I have been selected to run with GPS, and you can follow the competition with tracking and live-results here
I start 16.18 tomorrow and 9.51 on sunday...

It has been cool to join some of the other national teams trainings, and that is one of the best things about orienteering, I think. Because in what other elite-sport would you let other runners take part in your trainings and last preparations before World Champs, when you know that it can help them to beat your own runners? I don't know yet if I will be able to beat the Norwegians and French in WOC, but I will give it a try :)

After the races this weekend, I will go back to Denmark, and rest well before WOC. Actually I also have to make an important decision, whether I want to run the Sprint or the Longdistance at WOC. I have been training all year to do well in the longdistance, but I also did some really good sprint-results in NORT, even though I haven't been focusing very much on sprint. And it is not that easy to say in which of the distances, I will have the best chance for a top-position. Any good suggestions?

And why do we have a WOC-program so tight, that it is suicide to do run all distances?

Friday 14 June 2013

On my way to Finland...

I'm sitting in Århus Airport and waiting for my flight to Finland, and the last of 4 WOC training-camps in 6 weeks. On the way is also Jämsä-Jukola starting tomorrow night, which is really a highlight both for me and for Vaajakosken Terä.

This week hasn't really been as planned. I was totally exhausted after the last chasing start of NORT, and I wasn't surprised that I got a bit sick in the beginning of this week. But as always, my body know when enough is enough, and I think that the cold was actually good for me this time, because I'm now well recovered. I have also been busy preparing for an exam this morning, so even though it's not fun to be sick, I have had other things to do besides training. The sickness hasn't been serious, and yesterday I was already feeling much better, so I'm not nervous about running tomorrow night. The legs have been feeling good the last days when I have been jogging, and I'm really looking forward to race in Jukola, which is the main goal for Terä this year (as always...). The club have been close to the victory several times before, and they keep talking about that the team is stronger than ever this year. Our goal is top3, but we have the capacity to fight for the victory. I'm running the short 5th leg, and I'm hoping to send out the Lakanen-brothers in a good position. They are really hungry for Jukola (and WOC this year), and it gives me a lot of motivation to well, because I know what capacity they have in this kind of terrain and what shape they're in.
I was on a Jukola/WOC camp with Terä in the end of May, and the terrain near Jyväskylä and Jämsä is endeed tough and difficult (especially during the night). But luckily we have two strong norwegains in the night, and the terrain is also perfect for them. On first leg we "first-leg-specialist" Antti Anttonen, who lives 3-4km from the arena and in 4th we have Juha Sorvisto, who is in better shape than ever, and have always done solid relay-performances for Terä.

Let the fun begin :)

After Jukola, I will go to Vuokatti and stay there with a club-mate, and training with the Norwegian and French-national team. I will also go to Joensuu and run the Finnish test-races for WOC, which will be my last competitions and tests before WOC.

Saturday 8 June 2013

NORT #3-5. Up and down...

In todays final chasing start I climbed from 17 to 11 after a good race. But the startposition could have been better...

Stage #3

The 3rd stage of NORT was ok for me. I did a solid qualification and finished in 12th spot, with one big mistake of 10 seconds, and otherwise a clean race. In the semi-final, I ended up in a pretty tough heat with some of the very sprinters in the world. I tried to dominate the heat from the start, but I made a mistake in the butterfly and was suddenly in the end of the group out of the butterfly. I had a chance to advance to 10th control, where the group split of, but I misread the map, and lost even more time. I pushed all I had in the last part, and didn't lose any more time, but I was only no.6 in my heat. But our heat was clearly the fastest, and I had the 11th best time in the overall, which gave me some bonusseconds and world cup points. The three best in the final were all from my heat...

On wedensday we travelled to Turku in Finland, and I did another long orienteering session in the afternoon. Thursday was a quite easy day with some sightseeing in the sprint-embargo (!), modelevent and core-stability training.

Stage #4 - DSQ

Yesterday it was time for stage #4 with sprint qualification in the morning and sprintfinal in the afternoon. The qualification didn't go as planned. I had a good start, but on the long leg over the bridge, my mind collapsed, and I lost 15 seconds running up the stairs and then down again the same way... I was stressed after that, and didn't find a good flow the rest of the way, but it was still good enough to qualify in 12th spot. The legs felt good and I was optimistic before the final.

In the final I did a very good race. I can see afterwards that I took some slow routechoices a few places and lost some seconds, but it was quite tricky and everyone lost time somewhere. The feeling was really good during the race, I made fast route-decisions and executed the routechoices well. I started 1 minute behind Matthias Kyburz, and I saw him several places, and new that my race was good. In the end I got tired, and I was 1 second slower than him in the finish. It would have been a shared 2nd place, my best result so far, and only 1 second from the victory!
BUT... The organizers told me that I was disqualified because I had crossed a forbidden road. They told me that I had cut a corner on the roadpassage on the right routechoice to the 8th control, but I just laughed because I took the better left routechoice on that leg. Then they changed it to be the left roadpassage, and I had to go out and check it with the organizers. I didn't see the passage when I was running, but when I was standing there afterwards it was quite obvious, that I had cut a corner of about 5 meters. So it was difficult for me to argue that I shouldn't be disqualified.

When I came back I talked to the organizers and IOF controller, and I tried to make them understand, that their way of making a road passage was not good at all. There were to thin traffic cones on each side of the road and nothing else to mark where the passage was. The controller told me that the passages were for safety, so noone would get hit by a car, and there were guards there to keep the cars back. I told him that there were no guards on the road when I came, and he couldn't understand that. I also told him that I almost was hit by a car in another passage, where the guards had been standing in the side of the road and doing nothing. But he still kept saying that I was the one who had made a mistake. Fair enough...

What pisses me off, is what I heard after the race and in the evening. Two other runners (Tranchand and Kaas) had done the same as me and was also disqualified. But then I heard that other runners in the mens class (fx the runner starting behind me) was about to do the same as us, but then the guards had shown them where the passage was, so they didn't get disqualified. And then before the womens race they made the passage wider, and was also helping those runners who couldn't see where those traffic cones were. Emma Klingenberg (2nd in womens race) told me that see took one step out on the forbidden road, but was stopped by the guard, and showed back to the passage...
I would have cared less if my race hadn't been the best sprint-race of my life, but now it just difficult for me to accept! Why should they even make those forbidden roads in some places, when in other places the roads were free? As orienteers we are used to, that forbidden areas (walls, fences, gardens etc) can be see clearly, or otherwise marked with tape. Why didn't they just mark the passages with tape on the ground? And if you instruct guards to keep back cars and show runners passages, please instruct them to do the same to all runners, otherwise it's not fair!
I guess some of us just have to be disqualified sometimes, so organizers and IOF can get better. Hopefully they will learn something out of yesterdays race, and make it better next time, so we can have a fair competition...

NORT final - chasing start

The only positive thing from the sprint (besides my excellent performace) was that I could still run the chasing start today, but I didn't get any bonus seconds or world cup points.
Todays 12,3 chasing start was tough! It was hot and dry, and the terrain was cool, but quite hilly and soft ground. I started as 17th with runners starting almost every 10th second around me. I made a mistake to the first control (45 seconds) and was caught by other runners, but we ran well, and after the butterfly we were a group of 10 runners. The speed was high, and I was staying behind until 1st mapchange. On the second loop I was more dominating, and we caught runners in front of us. I had a chance to get away from the group before 2nd map-change, when they all ran far to the right, but I missed the control and they caught me again. On the last loop, I was really tired and were struggling to follow, and in the sprint finish, I was overmatched, but finished the race in 11th spot, 15 seconds behind the podium. Our group had been running fastest, and I had the 5th best time today.

Results and gps-tracking can be found here

Overall I'm satisfied with my performances here at NORT. Without my 3 minutes mistake at the middledistance in Norway, and with 90 bonusseconds from yesterdays race, I would have been starting as 3rd today. But you can't afford to make any mistakes in the mens class, if you want to be on top. But now I know, that I got what it takes to be amongst the best, when I'm doing thing carefully, and that is a good feeling.

Now I am really tired and will have some days rest before the last preparation for Jukola and WOC.

Monday 3 June 2013

Almost out of the game...

NORT stage 2 was run yesterday as a middle distance, and I was really looking forward to the race, after my 3rd place in the sprint on saturday.

My body was feeling good again at the warm-up even though it was raining like hell. I did some bad direction out of start point and the 1st control and lost 10-15 seconds, but otherwise it was a good start. To the 5th, I was confused going into the control, and I hesitated a lot and lost even more (20-25 seconds). In the middle part of the course it was more tricky, but I did pretty well here (only minor mistakes and some bad routechoices) and at 14th control I was in 12th position, only 40 seconds behind the winner Carl Godager Kaas.

But I was not very concentrated down to 15th control and when I came down to the waterhole, I saw a flag on a hill, and I was sure it was mine. Normally I'm only checking the code if I'm unsure, but I wasn't really here, and I was already focused on taking the right routechoice on the next long leg. So i punched  it, ran down the hill, passed the marsh and got onto the big track just like planned (like I did it 2-3 minutes later). I pushed hard on the track but I couldn't understand why it was so long to the point where I wanted to go left. And suddenly I started to feel that something was wrong, when I saw the small track going left and I stopped and tried to figure out what I have done and where I had been running. It took a while before I accepted that maybe I had punched a wrong control. But there was nothing else to do, than to run back and climb the hill again, to check it. I was angry on myself, and it was the longest climb ever, but I'm glad I ran back, because I corrected my mispunch. I lost more than 2½ minute here. 

I have worked on accepting thoughts and feelings like those I got out in the forrest, running down the hill again, and not let those thoughts influence my performance. But I must say that it was extremely difficult in that situation, and I didn't really manage to get the right focus back, and on the rest of the course I did a lot of small mistakes, and almost gave up in the end. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that the race was a part of a tour, and every second counts in the overall. So I finished the race, but ended up as no. 42, more than 4 minutes behind. But not out of the game, and that is the most important, even though I'm now pretty far behind in the overall as no.23.
Anyway running in the rocky and steep terrain felt better than for a long time, and even though the first 25 minutes of my race (before my big mistake) wasn't without small mistakes, I still wasn't far behind and within reach of the podium again. So still some positive things to take with me towards WOC-middle.

Now we are in Sweden, living in Arlandastad. Today Marius, Ida and me drove to Uppsala and collected some maps of the famous terrain "Lunsen" from Albin Ridefelt. I had never been there, but the map looked really nice with a lot of small hills and marshes between, and it surely was. We ran 2 hours longdistance training on a map only with contours, and it was maybe on the most difficult courses I have ever tried. You could get lost running 50-100 meters without map contact, and it could take you forever to relocate again. Already to the first control Marius fucked up and was crying for help :) I was running very slowly, but good, and was just enjoying the terrain.

Tomorrow it is time for the famous knock-out sprint in Sigtuna. Last year I knock-outet myself already in the start of the semifinal. This year I will try to knock-out the others instead :)

Saturday 1 June 2013

Good start at NORT

As I was asked to write something on my World of O runners profile, I tried to look back at my previous results. I summerized that I, during the last 7 years as a senior-runner (2006-2013), have been placed as no. 15,14,13,12,10,9,8,7,6,5,4 in international competitions (World Champs, European Champs and World Cup races). 

I don't know if it was a coincedence, but I guees it was just time for me to take the next step today. Even though NORT is not a big goal for me this year, because it is placed only 5-6 weeks before WOC, in an important training period, I always try to do my best when I'm racing. The training has been going well after 10mila, and I have also started to feel some speed and power in my legs the last week after coming back from a Jukola-camp in Finland. I have trained a little less this week, and apparently it has been enough to recover well before NORT. I have enjoyed coming back to Oslo to orienteer after moving to Denmark last summer, and I got the good feeling again last night when we went for a modelevent in the beautiful and challenging terrain of northern Oslo.
The first stage of NORT was a sprint today. My body felt good during the warm-up and I was focused and ready at the start. The race went pretty well. Daniel Hubmann started 1 minute ahead of me and I saw him several times during the race, and could see that I was doing well. I tried to save a little energy in the tough leg to 3rd control, and pushed the speed in the easy parts (downhill). In the end I hesitated a bit some places and took a bad routechoice to 15th control, but otherwise it went well. I was tired in the end, and lost 9 seconds to the winner Matthias Kyburz on the last 3 legs just running slower. But it was enough to get my best result ever as I was 3rd, and not more than 20 seconds behind Kyburz.

Results here
GPS-tracking here

I was a bit surprised about the good result, but it is very nice to see that my shape is good even though I have been trained hard all of may. My goal for the overall NORT is TOP10, and before coming here, I thought it to be a little optimistic, due to the setup, with a lot of sprint-orienteering. But after todays race I feel it very realistic. Tomorrows middle-distance is the most important competition for me during NORT, as a good preparation before WOC-middle, and I'm looking forward to the race.

During the next week of competitions I also need to keep on training for WOC, so I will be doing some long o-sessions in terrain on monday and wedensday. But when it's competition-day, I will give it all I can!