9 July 2008

JWOC 2008: sprint and middle distance

Between 30th of June and 6th of July were held the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Gothenburg, which was one of the main goals for me this year. I had been preparing for this week for quite a long time. The first time I made acquaintance to the terrains of Gothenburg was in 2004, when O-Ringen was held. So when earlier this year our national team had two training camps there, I must say I was already a bit familiar to the nature. And furthermore, I stayed in Gothenburg the last 11 days before JWOC. These days gave a great finishing touch to my trainings. Here I would also like to thank Henrik Eliasson & Tiina Laas and Mats Haldin for accommodating me for those days!

This was a distance I was considering to skip. I wasn't sure if this would have a good influence on my durability and speed. My main goal was the long distance, so I really wanted to prepare for that. But my coaches and fellow orienteers provoked me to run, so I did.
I did as I expected, I guess. I'm not especially proud of my 29. place, but neither am I complaining. Losing 1.07 to the best time is not so bad, considering my relatively slow speed in sprint and the loss of 35 seconds to the best split on the seventh control. I must say it was hard for me physically, but the technical side was quite good, except for that seventh... So, losing a bit over half a minute simply by running is a good sign for me. I have yet to evolve my speed and durability. And remember that I have two years of JWOC left!

Middle Distance
Oh the disastrous middle distance!
It all began with the qualification. Had a good start up to the 5th control, from where on all hell broke loose. First, I proved that an uncrossable marsh was crossable, then I read myself wrong on a road and ran 90 degrees in the wrong direction! I thought that was it, just one mishap can't do no harm, can it? Right after that came a short one on a slope of a hill, where I seeked for the control 1.50 minutes longer than the best on that leg. How much worse can it get? But I still hoped that I stood a chance for the finals. But right after that mistake, running got really heavy and I felt the lack of oxygen. Fighting really hard, I then managed to make another big one with the 13th, where I lost 1.33 to the best. And right there I thought I was done. No final here. But I didn't give up fighting of course! And while I was already making another mistake with the last control (!) I overheard the speaker saying that I just might make it to the A-finals! A fast finish, and I was 17th (20 got tho the finals).

The A-final.
I hoped that I wouldn't get that tired as I did on the qual, but after a mediocre beginning, I began "dying" already after the 3rd control. After the 5th I started walking but tried to run when on level ground or when going downhill. I don't know if it was the heat (it probably was), but concentrating and focusing on the race became really hard. I started making mistakes out of tiredness and dizzyness while struggeling with the walking/running. But I kept repeating to myself: "Don't stop fighting!" and that helped a lot dispite the fact that I felt like fainting. Right before the 8th control, I got hit by some twig and was half blind from my right eye. Now that didn't help to focuse more! With the 11th I made the biggest mistake. I ran to a re-entrant-like thing, where I found no control and thought that I had gone too high, but in fact I was too low. Lost about 45 seconds there. And right after that I misread the map and started running to the 12th. After crossing the first hill, I realised what I was doing and changed direction. Saw some cliffs (not on the map) and approached those. No control again!? Continued on the same heading and eventually saw the flag. I don't understand why those cliffs weren't on the map? The rest of the course went even slower and included mistakes out of tiredness with the 12th, 14th and 16th.
I came 17th, which was worse than I expected, but it's a good place to get when walking the course! Legs that I'm pleased with: 5, 7, 13, 15. Not many of them, isn't it?

End of part 1.