Returning to AP
It's been a while since I logged any training here. I think that once training starts to go poorly it almost feels psychologically better to put nothing here at all. I said to myself that I would do JWOC and then return to AP, because it now makes sense to keep a track of progress towards JWOC 2018.
Just some comments about JWOC just gone to keep a record of some of the key things that I have taken from it. Firstly, I thought it was useful to be able to run the full programme to get an understanding of what that demands. I would say that the challenge of this was mental as opposed to physical, being prepared to wipe the slate clean immediately and put positive focus and energy into the next race.
Middle Qualification: Learning from last year, staying calm and focusing on being clean. Took safe routes and knew where the danger areas were as soon as I looked at the course on the way to the start. Stayed focused in those areas and pushed harder where it could be afforded. Boosted by a good result, 1s behind Heimdal and 5s off another 2 places, 8th Qualifying in Q2.
Middle Final: Beforehand, everyone was aware that the Final would be a lot more technical than the Quali. I kept telling myself that a clean run is a good run. However, after 3 legs I caught sight of my 2 minute man, 50m in front of me. I lost my head and Orienteering process in pursuit of him. Huge mistake to #4, and in reality that's where my race ended. Learnt nothing from the rest of the course because I wasn't Orienteering. To me, pushing for 40th or 50th was no more rewarding than stumbling home for last place. All these positions mean nothing to me because I know that I'm capable of doing better. Finishing the course was a formality and I spent most of that dead running thinking about how to refocus for the next race.
Sprint: Difficult mental turnaround. Spent most of the rest of the previous day in a foul mood, torn between being angry and embarrassed. Being with your friends at the competition is useful because they are supportive and know when to give you space. However, it is a lot different to going home after a race; your family talk about other things and take your mind off performance, whereas 11 orienteers inevitably talk about Orienteering 75% of the time. Evening discussion revolves around splits from the last race and geeking for the next race. It's difficult to mentally shut it out and get on with feeling at least optimistic for the next competition in this environment; I laughed off my errors and making an internal note to analyse races seriously at a later date.
Tired on the start line, but ready to give it my best, I thought that most of the race went reasonably well. I didn't really know what to expect of myself given that in the prior 3 months I had run 4 quality sessions in total. Mistake to #19 let me down, although I would say it was pretty unlucky; creased my map and made what looked like a cut through. There was in fact a gate at the point of the crease too, which I knew beforehand anyway from Google Maps. Dived in and out and waved my hands at an official who was too busy writing my details to notice I was now uncrossing the uncrossable feature. 80th.
Long: Errors letting me down again. Losses to #1, #3 and #6, before a clean phi loop. Thought I had a good route to #14 but it ended up being less than optimal, running down a strip of white forest full of nettles and fallen trees. Compounded the leg by losing contact and drifting near the control, too focused on the rides rather than the contours. Surprised to finish in 68th.
Relay: Handed over by Felly in a strong position around some good teams. Bit of a battle with a strong Latvian runner who eventually won out by taking a better route to #9. Was caught up by who I thought was Hadorn but turned out to be Suter. Initially felt conned but turns out Suter ran a faster leg time anyway. A couple of small misses but did enough to retain the position I was in at the start.
I think the main lesson that I've learnt from this is that my physical shape, despite an awful year of training, is not what lets me down. I think it's evident why Thierry is a monster at Orienteering; he goes Orienteering a lot. Sounds kind of obvious but is something that I often forget, instead worrying about my lack of physical shape and forgetting what is ultimately holding me back from a good performance.
Looking forward to getting back in shape over the Summer. Scottish 6 days next, followed by pre-JWOC camp, and then a month and a half to put in some sessions before JEC!