Looking back over the last 3 years of training it usually has been going well at the same time it was more regularly than not interrupted by some stupid small accident which always dragged on longer than expected. This stop and go can be quite exhausting, especially if you don´t have achieved any of your goals yet or haven´t really came closer to them by a satisfying margin. If you then hit another bump in the road, like making lots and big mistakes at races you felt prepared for, disappointment and uncertainty can hit hard.

After WOC it was about shortly recharging and then finding a good training flow again, although the uni-semester was still going on – I was writing a short online exam the evening before the sprint day at WOC – and the weather was still pretty hot. Towards the end of July my girlfriend and me were doing some two weeks holidays, most of those days we spend back “home” in Germany for a change, doing some hike/run holidays in the beautiful national park Harz. Having been in the region regularly over the last few years it was tough to see the amount of dead or cut down forest.

Good that there is a path leading beyond the sign "Don´t go further"

As I still had to write some exams, I stayed further in Germany till it was time to fly to Sweden for the WC including some training days prior. Retrospective running WC was I think the wrong plan, I was in a decent physical shape, my orienteering was maybe in an okay condition but far from a level you need to perform well on the international orienteering stage which I proved to myself already during the trainings days. 

My goal for the WC was to run the middle and relay, and if I would get the opportunity I wouldn´t say no to the long either.

In the end the long distance failed due to ‘bad management’. I didn´t use any gel or any of the energy drink at the drinking controls as my stomach wasn´t feeling the greatest but only drank water which for obvious reason led to me being completely empty after the arena passage. On the uphill to the next control, I finally took a gel to be able to run again. After finally arriving up there and finding the control, I fell while running towards the second following control. It wasn´t a crazy fall actually, I just couldn’t manage to catch myself really and landed with my whole weight on my left thigh, directly realizing that this was it for the day. In the end that was also it for the middle and basically for the next two weeks till I could run properly again. Although on the Sunday I felt kinda okay and more or less decided to start running the third leg in the second team as far as possible, it was runnable but still very noticeable, so after searching one control for 10’ I decided to head back to the arena. I guess this also made the recovery process longer but too late for that.

Take-aways: trust your own experience more when deciding if to run with a injury and work on your d**n energy intake strategy. 

I obviously missed Jukola, another time I could not run for the club and the team, it´s always tough having to say no to your team and the opportunity to do orienteering in Finland. 

Somehow after being able to enjoy some cycling at least, I was able to properly run again after about two weeks after the fall, actually it improved very suddenly leaving me without any problems the next day. Enabling me to race a knockout-sprint day, and the next day Latvian club relay giving a poor performance at the latter event though.

With a bit more focus and preparation for the following weekend I felt quite confident about the Latvian middle champ’s race but I actually almost gave up orienteering or at least came very close. After a terrible performance, where in the end I just wanted to get over the finish line, I was just disappointed in myself if not to say embarrassed about my performance. After the race I thought a lot about a topic which I often think about when things haven´t been working out When do you give up in sports?

On the one hand sports is about fighting, about putting in the extra dedication and standing up after falling down.

On the other hand, if you keep on failing, try to improve and still only make minor steps towards your goals and then fail again. Not giving up after all that – is it still considered resilience or is it just nativity, not accepting that you won´t make it?

I could win the Tdf but still would consider a win at the world champs in orienteering the bigger achievement, it´s self-centered but orienteering is too great of a sport.. Eventually it boils down to the question: 

Was it all worth it? – I hope it will be.

Luckily, the next day´s race was a relay, so although I thought about it I didn´t want to let my teammates down, especially when there was no real reserve runner on spot. With a good performance on the first leg some motivation and self-confidence came back, nonetheless the question still lingers around time to time.


A weekend later I flew to Finland as I was able to rebook my flights from Jukola, so the weekend with SM sprint and relay seemed like a good fit. Although only shortly, it was great to be in Finland again – a place which I think is the greatest in autumn. The sprint final went okay but wasn´t anything great either. My first analysis was that I mostly lost time due to slower running but at second look it turns out that I lost most of my time with bad routes which doesn´t make anything better but at least shows me that I got a good enough speed to compete with. 

SM-sprintii finaali © Jake Kukowski

Next day at the relay I ran the first leg in the second team (only one foreigner allowed per team), and I think I did a solid job coming in with a group about 1:20’ behind the leader. To be fair once I was in the group from the second half of the race I didn´t do crazy much orienteering directly myself but overall, I found my way around when I had to, and after all following in a relay is I think a fair move. The terrain was rough and maybe not so much appreciated by the Finns as by me but as I kept telling them I am coming from a different standard of orienteering terrains.

As I decided against running at WC in Italy there is nothing really left on my agenda competing wise, so it´s kind of like a pre winter training phase before winter training will start for real – maybe further in Latvia or back in Germany depending how the next university semester will look like (Germany has weird semester times..).

Categories: Orienteering


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