It has been a while simply because I wasn´t really running any races. With the second World-Cup round in the Czech Republic my international season will finally start as well.

Pushing goals back, is what this season feels like so far. Already the word season feels wrong to describe this year, so far. After a very solid winter training I have only run the bare minimum of races and in most of them I was performing badly or at least not to a satisfying degree. It all started like a season, given that the training for it already starts in the previous autumn. After weeks of solid training and progress, I tripped and my season along with me. The stumbling all together took way too long and having missed too much orienteering training I was just not at a competitive level, technically nor mentally, at the test-races to make it in the team for WOC.

Although, my race at 10Mila went quite well given the circumstances as well as the hussle at the start due to the ridicoulus starting-procedure. I managed to concetrate when I needed to and managed to hit my controls on the second half of the race.
Jukola, however, was a different story. I was physically again on the confident side of things after three weeks of solid training since 10Mila. Technically I wasn´t that confident but the two trainings beforehand weren´t a disaster either and if I focused things generally worked out. My plan was still defensive though, as defensive as a plan for the first leg can be of course, so I thought just keep close to the front and read along and will be fine. However, did that fell apart already after about 1k at which no one wanted to really take the lead and push the pace enough. As a result I took the lead as I had my route fully planned out already.
Just for those who didn´t run the first leg, it was fully sprint till the triangle and then the overall pace suddenly slowed down by like 40% as, I guess, no one managed to decide confidently on a route for that long first leg. It was a very strange first leg experience.

Couldn´t live without it.

While I am resposible for that L-shaped route in the swamp at the end of the leg, it was going fine and continued though for the next controls to which finally a proper group formed. On longer leg a bit later I wanted to go a different route but no one followed and instead went the right route. As even a bit further down the road no one seemed to follow, I decided to get back to the bunch to not risk it by myself. More attention to course planning and some, now hard learned, experience could have maybe kept me on my own route. Instead it pushed a bit too hard to get back into the group, in turn concentrated too less and ended up way off at the wrong forking. The crushing part to my race came a few controls later when I was running straight towards my control but didn´t see the small knoll control-object and stopped shortly before it and although there were plenty of other runners around due to my previous time loss no one was finding or punching it that moment. As a result I lost even more time and crucially I wasn´t around so many good and fast orienteers anymore from whom I could benefit. As the race continued longer than expected, it only got harder and knocking my lamp of my head two times later didn´t help much either.
Some failures sit deep, some you forget over time and some get overwritten by great wins.
I certaintly learned a lot in that race for future relays but it also reminded me how much relay-experience plays a key role. Experience which I in big part simply lack due to not growing up in the nordic orienteering world.

I again created a small analysis of the teams at Jukola and Venla, similar to the one for 10Mila. 

10Mila with Ankkuri

While being at 10Mila and Jukola with my club were as always a great experiences, it still feels weird to have travelled and competed so less this year with the national team. Last year was in that regard quite crazy and maybe put the bar quite high but for me it also means that I miss out on big parts of what generally creates quality of life for me. What I mean is that my life is designed around the sport, and the downside, when the sport-part itself is not working out is that I can´t easily substitue for all the travelling, orienteering and socialising (I never expected to say the last part so outright). Lately, I kept myself busy with training and uni which, a bit ironically, was more helpful than expected to keep my mind of down-spiralling into demotivation.

The past weeks my shape is getting back to desired levels and I am eager to perform at World Cup to see where I will end up in the rankings. My focus, espeically looking forward to EOC, is on the Sprint race but I am also motivated for the Middle distance. Right now, I am just looking forward to hang out with the nationalteam again, doing orienteering and racing WC-races. Lets see if this season can still become a real season.

Title photo: Jukola 2023 parking 

Categories: Orienteering


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