Life remains a ….

Only a couple of days have passed since I packed my bags and left from Vuokatti, but feels like eternity and other side of the world…(you can cut next paragraph and go straight to business, cause it’s pure facts)…

My last month of preparation didn’t really go as smooth as planned. I collected the whole set – got injury and virus infection in my eye, stomach virus for Jukola last leg and a flue during last week before WOC and Kapa 3-days. So I didn’t really know what to expect from myself (or what not to expect?!). Came to Vuokatti and did few very easy and lazy runs in long distance terrain and convinced myself that I feel better.
First came long distance qualification race and I had to deal with biggest „challenge” (fear??) an orienteer can have – seeing other runners during race. It was something I had been working on for a while, but maybe I took it too seriously. Anyway I was doing solid race and my speed was good enough (didn’t feel like, but according to results it was). Until I saw a back of great Swiss runner starting 3’ in front of me and started to push slightly harder, even I knew we had different heats and therefore courses. As a result I started to read a wrong leg and lost more than 1’ time and lot of my confidence. Despite this I was able to win my qualification race and get a good starting spot for final.
I kind of knew I had it (the ability) when I first stepped on long distance warm up area, but there was still a long way to go. I am happy I had enough mental power and confidence to keep focus during such a long race (with few exceptions) so I feel that bronze medal was least I had deserved for my performance. As I wrote before – I had THE LEGS, of that I am sure….knowing that I was less than step away to capture IT. I also don’t regret my route choice to 21st control cause I knew it wasn’t safe when I looked at it, but still took a risk worth of 10”. Life would be quite boring happening being on safe side all the time!
A day off went in a blink of an eye (was there one at all??).
I was last starter for middle distance qualification race and had my second meeting with „the challenge”. This time I was too careful and changed my plan to first control just because runner starting together with me did same route choice. We all know that courses can differ a lot in qualification races and first control is never the same. So you don’t run together with any runners….even if it’s a flying French man. So I was quite messy with taking 1st control and lost my confidence for whole race. Missed 4th control by looking down only one side of 90 degrees bent cliff (still think organizers should pay attention to what they put on control descriptions) and finished in 4th spot less than minute from winner.
I am amazed that I managed to put my things (sh*t) together just few minutes before middle distance final and did very stable technical performance. I knew I didn’t have enough left in my tank to win, but I could have taken bronze with perfect run. My chances were ruined after map change when I missed 10th control (wasn’t the only one), but solid 4th spot was still possible…..but only till I started my way to 15th control (last one that required any navigation). I failed on my own plan to go one contour down where it was faster to run and relatively easy to hit control after that. Instead I decided that I could gain around 10” by catching up with Czech runner („the challenge”) whose back I saw punching in 14th. How wrong I was – I injured my eye so badly that I went totally blind for a moment and I either had to stop my race or relay on pure luck. It wasn’t my lucky day! I lost around 1’10”on 15&16th and finished 8th.
The relay! Well not much to add. We had a very good team. On paper. I have tried to find a reasons, but without results so far. I can only say few comments about my own race. I was overally tired, out of mental focus and starting position wasn’t so good (let’s face it). Anyway I did somewhere between good and average running 6th best time on leg and missing around 2’ in total – partly because I didn’t have enough power to execute my route choices and my vision was more like 2D cartoon than proper picture with depth of field.
Banquet was great!
Can never be too much! Thanks to all the people watching me out there. On site and on line. To my family coming all the way to Vuokatti. To my true friends (and coaches) Jari and Mikko. To my sponsors and supporters who believe I can succeed when I set my goals high!
I think I don’t have to tell you where all the results, GPS tracking and maps can be found??! HERE

…but I have this common feeling you all know. Like when you have packed for a trip, you close the door, but you know that something is missing. You don’t know what exactly, but you know that there is…I have it too…only difference is that I know exactly what is missing, but I am left with no doors to get back in to take it with me. Which (witch??) is all good, cause now I have to search for it somewhere else and I have one year for that!

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