Stage two – orienteering

As I had comlpeted stage one in my comeback project and had got a clear confirmation for my abilities to do decent running training I moved on to a stage two – forest running and orienteering in EOC terrains. It didn’t start too promising since I managed to get a flu symptoms (thank you Latvian spring) when we headed out from Riga on a long drive all the way down to Jesenik, Czech. For my own surprise I was able to do some decent race effort training once we got there, but apparently we took that terrible weather with us and it was snowing every single day of our week long camp. It all kind of peaked with a snow storm just before our last hard training in long distance terrain and after that I was out of game again. This time it hit me bit harder and I was’t able to recover till World Cup middle distance race a few days later. Sad stuff, but more about that later. Bright side – we got to check best terrains before rest of teams arrive and tracks appear in forest plus it was nice to run few trainings close to area of WOC2008 I have bright memories about - I made my first TOP10 performance there. My orienteering skills were a bit rusty, but nothing too disturbing and should be fine with some fine tuning.

Descending just 300m and arriving to Wroclaw, Poland made a huge difference in weather conditions and our mood. I was still feeling sh*t, but I knew that it’s about to change. Unfortunately I was day or two short and race day didn’t come with super feeling and fighting spirit. I started my race quite well, but pushed too hard and wasn’t careful enough on slope and missed 1’20″ on 9th control. I knew that the game was lost, but kept fighting and did rather well in green areas losing 10-20″ every now and then which wasn’t too bad considering that it was very tricky and other runners had bigger problems there. I made another big mistake towards end where I just couldn’t  spot a control (number 24) in open forest and lost another 1’30″ there. I finished in 38th place 5’15″ down to winner Olav Lundanes ( AND . Not a performance I expected, but something to learn from and clear confirmation that my speed is not the main issue at the moment. I  also think that some of those green areas were mapped poorly and sometimes it was pure luck that played big role. In some of those places it is extremely hard to make a good map (due to amount of details and rapid change of vegetation), but that can be solved by planning courses that avoid those areas, but that’s just my opinion!
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Next big thing is Latvian champs where I will try to make history and fight for my 4th consecutive victory in long distance this Sunday. At the moment I am even with Latvian orienteering legend Valerijs Kiselevs – we both have 3 victories. I will also try my legs and brain in sprint a day before. It is expected to be one of best sprint races ever in Latvia using an old fortress in city of Daugavpils.

AND ANOTHER REMAINDER FRO YOUNGSTERS OUT THERE – SEND ME YOUR MOTIVATION LETTERS FOR BE_FORCE CAMP NOW! Although I have decided to extend the deadline till Sunday 8th and start reading those once Latvian champs are behind!

*World Cup photo by Donatas Lazauska