Tour de South

/everything you find below was actually written few days ago…../

Today I realized that total abscence of witnter has become a part of my life. I don’t mind, don’t  get me wrong, but same time I can’t deny nostalgia that sometimes reaches me even being thousands of kilometers away.  Maybe it has something to do with a fact that we have to leave Portugal tomorrow and head back home. Well it shouldn’t be that bad this year….I have heard?!

I started my South camp ruoghly 2 months ago spending 5 days in beautiful terrains near Pavia, Portugal. Ironically I am now  only 14k away from there  in a place called Mora…..tell me about „running in circles”. The main reason for this „coincidence” is a fact that we made very good friends over here during our 5 days stay in January.  A legends of Portugal orienteering history, excellent map makers and wonderfully kind couple – is the way to describe Tiago Martin Aires and Raquel Costa. Last 10 days here has been an amazing experience despite me being sick and not able to train full blast.
I know you want to know more about that part called TRAINING and COMPETITION. Basic facts. Same plan as every year – go South (Lisbon, Portugal), do some orienteering then go more South (Albufeira, Portugal) and run for 3-4 weeks. Orienteering part went excellent since we had „man of the maps” (Tiago Aires) by our side taking care we get best of the best for our training. I even mannaged to win Portugal Cup middle distance in Coruche. Going more South and running went almost perfect. ALMOST because I got slightly injured just before I had to do tapering week prior to my own „one man” 10k XC test race dow in Albufeira. So I had to skip it. Simple as that! Of course at that moment there it felt like end of the season without even starting it, but we all know that nice thing about time is that it allows one to look at things in retrospective and suddenly it doesn’t look that dark anymore! I did roughly same amount of training hours and kilometers than any other year dating back to 2012…ok bit more maybe! Being on easy mode had some advantages, like spending more time with family and celebrating second 30th BD this year! Yep we both are thirty!
Having only 3 days break back home was a smart move as well – stayed „kind of healthy” and didn’t do any stupid moves on ice. Next on a list was Portugal O meeting races. Some decisions were made considering my „kind of healthy” state and I skipped first long distance. Main task for middle was to keep my navigation in control and have a smooth race. Not exactly what happened – I run too fast, realized it some 6 controls before finish, dropped pace and imediatelly started to do those 10” mistakes on nearly every control. Finished 6th with 2nd spot on the reach. But that was just a warm up – real deal was day 3 with WRE long distance. I headed out being confident about my speed and tried to make it smooth and calm navigation vice. I did well….first 55’ or so. After that I started to struggle and it was only matter of time (20’ in this case) when „total darkness” finally got me. Passing spectators control I still had a chance to make it to top 10 IF only I could follow runners I had caught or those who eventuallu caught me, but that was out of the question. I stumbled to finish line, cold and exhausted. Something to analyze and fix for futre races. Last event of POM was cahsing start semi-long distance. As I was one of lazy ones who didn’t  run day 1 so I had that honor to take part in mass start. My plan was to behave, but how could I if there were eager runners all around me. I enjoyed!
Heading even more South together with TuMe boys was especially thrilling this time. It always is, but this time it was special since we have a very strong addition to team. Our lost son Scott Fraser is back and quite a few promising boys have boarded black pearl for a journey. Welcome Yannick Michiels, Antti Parjanne, Janis Kums!
Hours, a lot of hours was my plan for those 10 days near Huelva, Spain. I did pretty ok and even managed to run decent pace in Andalucia O meeting races on a last weekend. However I lacked fresh legs for middle where I finished 3rd 2’down to winner Daniel Hubman. Mass start long distance the day after was fun too. Especially from second last control where, despite all the fancy forking throughout the race, we were 4 runners together. Scott and I managed to grab 1st and 2nd spots accordingly with Alasdair McLeod and Murray Strain being just few steps behind.
I know I shouldn’t be whining, but having sick people around me when I was pushing my hardest training week so far wasn’t the best condition. So, yes, I got sick after last AOM race and have stayed so since. But life is life and then…..

P.S. “where are the f*cking pictures” one might wonder?! I decided to test how much attention one can still draw just by writing from a heart….especially during the era when all people care about are processed and fake pictures from events that never took place! So thank you for reading this far!!!!!