March madness is hopefully over, at least I feel fully healthy again, even though I am still talking sport, I do not mean the sports event in the US but more the crazy month I had due to a recurring sickness which taken together more than halved my training load in March. Missing training is always disappointing but gets especially mentally challenging over time.
Either way I am now looking forward to everything coming up this month and the trainings on my schedule. Since the 6th I am now in Scandinavia and will also stay there till the 28th but move around between Norway, Sweden, Finland (and Denmark but there only because of the return flight home). Currently I am on camp with the national training in the terrains of and around this year´s WOC. After that I will finally visit the terrains of my club and later move onwards with my club´s team to Sweden for 10mila and my first big and important competition this year!
Nice terrains and lots of sunshine make great conditions for good trainings in a camp and I am kinda enjoying that but “kinda” is the word as the trainings so far showed me that I am technically not where I want to be. I have a lot of difficulties with understanding the terrain or in other words translating map & terrain and vice versa which also makes it difficult to read and plan ahead. In addition to that I stumble around a lot in the forest while running, so basically I am feeling like being unable to do orienteering. Struggling with those things made me lose a lot of confidence in myself the last days, questioning myself and what I am doing here. With this added mental challenge or self-pressure making progress gets even tougher and therefore the last days instead felt more like regress.
Of course I know that I am not that bad and can do better but convincing myself of that is and got harder, as so far I wasn´t able to show myself that I can do well in those terrains. At the same time that is, I guess, the main point: expectations vs. reality.
Fact is the last time I did orienteering in Scandinavia was at JWOC 2017, my physical ability and whole body just aren´t trained/used to running in those kind of terrains plus coming from a low training month, make it actually not a big surprise that I perform how I perform. Expecting a better performance than realistic, leads then of course straight to disappointment.
The decisive part is what you do next because as an athlete it is always about how you handle the challenges you encounter, be it on the micro or on the macro scale. I also believe you can´t avoid mistakes but you can definitely minimize the risks of them happening and more importantly the impact of the ones which do happen. Knowing what (might) be the best solution for a problem is build on experience which again is gained over time, time as it takes time to accept that the current way is not working and change is needed. Not always will things be changed the right way on the first try, maybe not on the second try. Resilience is a key quality of an athlete. For me therefore it´s about analyzing, understanding and adapting with the new gained knowledge. Putting those changes into action and seeing positive effects is one of the most rewarding feelings because you know you are making progress!
A while ago I found a quote that (obviously) stayed with me, don´t want and know what to add more so will just leave that here
“All obstacles and difficulties are steps on which we climb upwards” (F. Nietzsche)
Also: I started writing that blog post on the travel for this camp but didn´t finish it neither was I satisfied with the content, but over time I started rewriting the post which in the end (next to good talks with my coaches) helped me understand and “cope” with the challenges I currently face in this camp which all made me realize once more how helpful and effective such simple things can be…