28 January 2010

Winter Xdream 6

As promised, I took part of this years Winter XDream, which turned out to be a lot of fun! The terrain and nature was beautiful, especially in -29°C, when everything was white and frozen. What made the day even more pleasurable, was the great company: I teamed up with experienced orienteers Andreas Kraas and Olle Kärner. Although we had agreed previously that it would be wise not to start in extremely cold weather, we didn't even think about the cold in the morning. The nature of the event is simple: (preferably) get all the controls using your own muscles. That means you can either run, ski, bike, use a sleigh, etc. We, as traditional orienteers, chose running of course. We had also agreed, that we would consider this competition as a good training, not a way to kill ourselves.
Our team in the start
The event centre was set in Jõulumäe ski resort, where Andrus Veerpalu used to train in his youth. In the start we decided to take the 5 controls from the north and hope that the first ones going south, had already made tracks in the snow for us. After one hour into the race, we had basically only been running on narrow skiing tracks and thought that the winners will definitely be skiers this time. But in the southern part, the odds of skiers winning, grew less and less. The southernmost controls were almost untouched when we got there and the tracks were basically non-existing. Things were starting to look up for us. With good decisions and a brisk pace, I was getting more confident in winning the race. Since I enjoy hard trainings, especially in soft ground, getting the controls in the moor was rather enjoyable.

In the moor

When approaching the event centre before our last control, there was a special task, which went really well for us. The task was to make one successful slide in a game of curling. Andreas was quick about it and made it on his second try. Then it was just one last control and back to the finish. Approaching the finish-arch, the speaker was introducing us as the first finishers. That was just music to my ears - we had won the race! Our time was 2 hours and 58 minutes and our distance was roughly 29 km. The 2nd place (ski-orienteers) lost about 6 minutes and the 3rd place about 10 minutes.
When looking back at the race, I'm amazed how well I lasted through the effort and how I didn't feel cold even once during the whole 3 hours we spent on the course. It was a perfect ending for a great week of training!
Photos by Anniki Inno

11 January 2010

And news it is

Since September I've no longer permanently resided where I used to. The reason is simple, I now study at Tartu University. Here's a map over the city's old town and Toomemäe park, where the EOC 2006 sprint was held. My school is also on this map and I don't live far from it.
For the past months I've been dealing with health issues, which I'd rather not discuss here. What I can say, i
s that the matter has been interfering with my trainings, so I can't really promise anything concerning the upcoming season. But I'm still actively moving, don't think that I've stopped preparing!
Since I live at a different location, my trainings have somewhat changed comparing to the previous years. I must say that I liked the training possibilities in or near Võru better, but the alternation will definitely do some good.
Comparing Tartu with Võru:
* training partners

* swimming pool

* alternative strength traini
ng program possibility
* poor running possibilities in or near the city

* closest great running locations ~20 km away
* closest considerable orienteering terrain ~25 km away
* closest considerable skiing tracks ~20 km away

Maybe I forgot to mention something, but these are the main aspects.

During the winter holidays, with lots of snow everywhere, I've ran and skied in various locations in Sweden, Latvia and of course Estonia. Running in snow up to the hips is not unusual. Last week I was at the national team camp, right where the Winter Xdream took place two years ago (
short article of it). The trainings went great and I really enjoyed the snow! Here's a fun night two-man-relay competition from the camp. The distance altogether was 1,9 km and my time was 19:14, can you imagine the amount of snow?

Photo: view from the tower of Valgehobusemägi (the one in the start on the camp relay competition map)

The week ended with two fun ski-o (training) competitions near Põlva. The sprint (
routes) nicely filled my active resting day and on the long distance (routes) I tried to push more. Anyway, a cool twist to the trainings. In the near future, I'm planning to take part of the above mentioned Winter Xdream. Also, with great opportunities to ski, the Tartu- and the Haanja skiing Marathon are also in my calendar; what kind of effort I will put in them, is yet to be determined.

I hope this gives some overview of my doings and whatnot.