Home ground?

Well, my season didn’t kick off exactly the way I was expecting to, but it seldom does. Worries? No worries!
I had considerably good start for my January running camp in Algarve (considerably because NY couldn’t take place without me being around Riga downtown). Left on the same day as first signs of winter came along Riga. I did my share of the plan and fell within my time limits for most of the hard sessions. After a short brake back home I was very eager to spend some more time in Portugal with TuMe gang. Viseu! Didn’t welcome us as warmly as I had imagined, but still better than absolute zero back home. However I was too eager with my training and got too tired before MOC races came. I could put up some reasonable performance during middle distance where I finished 8th, 3’41” down to Thierry and 2’10” short for 3rd spot. My run was far from being clean and I lost my first 30” to starting control (quite obviously it was MORE than 80m to start triangle!!!!). Well, at least my speed was alright….alright for 2nd or 3rd spot. My buddies – Marti and Dougilitto – did a good job out there finishing 5th and 7th respectively.  I realized right away that I must skip second stage which was evening sprint race…not really my piece of cake…and definitely not when I am dead tired from training. Sunday’s long distance was one big mistake – I shouldn’t have started it! I felt cold and dizzy hanging around competition center – a clear indication of coming sickness waiting for me to make a wrong move. Despite this wisdom, I finished my race which was awful sh*t. If you are really interested, THIS leads to results for middle and THIS one for long. GPS tracking from long distance HERE.
Photo by Joaquim Margarido

I was right – it got me! Even a good pizza and few drops of Port didn’t help me to escape flu. I was sick! I felt awful on my way home the day after and was quite pissed off about everything (cold weather in Viseu in first place) since first WC stage was 3 days away. I started to consider skipping it, but something was pulling me towards country where „Sun is always shining”. So I boarded my flight to Turkey the day after coming back home. Not that it was smooth either – I had two minutes left to check in when I run into Riga airport after „experience of my life” like driving through Riga city AND I was told that I have to switch airports in Istanbul. Not to mention that I had no clue of this fact before and nor I had a clue of how to do it! Anyway I made it to Antalya in one piece and all my stuff with me. I was given a warm welcome and taken care by Timo and Sari who drove me to our hotel in Kemer. Thank you for that my friends! I didn’t expect much from myself during races, but on the other hand I was getting healthier with every moment and even went out for Antalya O day’s first stage to get some opinion on what might be waiting for us out there.

I felt great during qualification race. Not that my result would be among very top, but I was happy to know I had the legs to fight with fastest runners that day. I lost 1’52” to Matthias and it was good enough to make it to final as 14th best from 30 qualifiers. Sure it was pity that I lost almost one minute on 11th control by literally „jumping” over it, but life is life. Picture from qualification finish line below – didn’t break a sweat!
Photo by Muhittin Sirki

Everything fell behind my expectations during final. My speed, physical feeling, technical performance, terrain and course itself. I was hoping to have same legs as for qualification, but apparently those were swapped overnight for a pair of none trained ones. Feeling?! No feeling!  As for a terrain and course – those had little to do with middle distance orienteering.  Forest sprint label would suit much better and I wasn’t ready for sprint race. My bad!

I am (well, we are) spending my days doing some solid training here in Figueira de Foz. Enjoying warm weather, Sun and time in general. I am happy I am allowed to take part in some of Finnish team’s HARD CORE sessions with next one coming tomorrow. I noticed that Portugal might share my „2nd home” title with Cesis back there in Latvia (we have moved temporary during our flat renovation in Riga). I have 12 days (out of 26) to go on with my training here before I head back to Riga for few days….to leave again to Spain & Portugal for WC & EOC respectively. Let’s see if „home ground”  has any advantages when it kicks off for real!