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All the characters mentioned below are fake and whole story is a fiction…after all, every time we talk about past we tend to lie with every breath we take….

The whole idea rose like a sprout from an ancient seed when I was visiting my home town and my parents few months ago. Since there was a lot of my old stuff and „history” left lying on the shelves I decided to have a little bit of sentiment. I  read few old letters, laughed at very funny pictures and found two calendar books (black) that might have been a prototype for that  training diary (called “the black book”) I am having now. Not to mention that those are quite different from looks, also content is quite shocking even for me! How on Earth I was expecting to win medal in JWOC 2005 with that kind of ATTITUDE and THAT little training. I won’t go into details, but „party book” would be more appropriate name for that material and reading through I started to feel like  most boring person on planet!
After a good laugh and warm memories I decided to take a look on maps from JWOC itself and my FUN continued – this part I am willing to share also with you!

I don’t have a „glue” about schedule there, but as far as I remember long distance was first on the list and there were no qualification race for that.
If I look at it now – a bit tough because of climb, but nothing too special…slightly longer course with only few tricky controls. Our runner back in 2005 had totally different opinion. He started out well and was in the lead after punching 3rd control (or maybe even 5th) because of „interesting” route choice to control number 3, but that was it. „Total darkness” stroked along with consequences. Controls number 7 and 8 are the highlights. It seems that he has had problems with drawing his own route choices (mistakes??) and there is no doubt he didn’t have a clue of where he was….but he had enough luck instead to accidentally run into right places and finally find those. Also route choices are sometimes hard to explain and we will never get to know I guess! He finished in 60 spot almost 28 minutes (??) behind winner Olav Lundanes. Rumors say that they both met during race, but our hero here didn’t even „bother” to follow. Silly bastard!
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He tried his luck, or should I say lack of it, also in middle distance. It looks for me that he was out of any control already during qualification. First control – avoiding climb and playing it smart – good route choice, NOT! Even more interesting second control where he must have been disturbed by some angry animal or very weird human behavior…I can’t find any other reasonable explanation for direction change 100m before control when it’s possible to see „miles” away. At that point he had probably realized that game is lost and made it smoothly to the finish line.
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B final wasn’t his goal, but let’s not forget that there was option to run C final as well! He nailed 1st one, but something must have happened with his left leg since he started to „run in circles” on his way to 2nd control, but he got it sorted out soon and luckily made his way out of forest even punching all the right controls on the way.JWOC_2005_middle_FB
Relay was like a dessert for him. On one team with his best mates of the time. What could boost his motivation (and level of stress) for last leg more?! 1st control is 1st control, but the game was not lost yet. Can’t comment leaving number 10 and heading on to number 15 and 16. Those would stay mystery even if I had a chance to ask him personally. If there was one thing he did right (apart from winning banquet of course) then this was it – won final sprint to last control and finish line against Russian team.
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Picture says it all!
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6th spot felt almost like winning for a boy who had never even seen real mountains before.

Legend says that he returned to Switzerland 7 years later and had his “vengeance upon it”.

The Weight of Love

I know I have been lazy, but with writing only! Reality is quite the opposite. Just like history likes to repeat itself, I was trying to deal with ALL of the possible things at time towards the end of the year and again I paid for being „greedy”. There was simply too much – TRAINING, parenting, renovation of apartment and therefore moving to Cesis, Christmas and on and on… I was close to get away with it and felt fine even after NY madness, but I was on „the list” and got sick few days after becoming 29 (and 1st of January). Well at least I had more time for all the other things apart from training. I am almost well now and I have done few short runs out there. Actually there is only one left before I leave to Albufeira tomorrow and it will surely be nice one cause we finally have some snow here…but I already know that one time will be more than enough.

What refers to future in big picture? Same NOT so boring life will go on. I will spend a lot of time being abroad. Starting with Portugal during winter time, Scandinavia for spring, leaving to Italy for beginning of summer and WOC week getting closer. I will finally try to take part in all stages of World Cup. Fact that my coach Jari Ikaheimonen has announced his retirement from coaching world doesn’t make this task any easier, but I believe I am a big boy already and something is telling me that he might not be gone forever. So those will be things I will try to keep you updated about….and let me know if I am lazy again!

I am proud and happy to announce that all of my current sponsors and supporters will continue to help me on my big goals in sport and life. Inspecta, Eco Baltia, Massive Dynamic, Eko Osta, Eko Gāze, Adidas, Isostar – thank you all for your belief and support.

So! You are probably slightly confused thinking „what does the headline has to do with this article”. Well I can explain it to you! For ages people (even scientists?!) have tried to measure it in one way or another. Like – how big, true, great love can be. I have an answer!

3,33kg and 54cm here

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4kg flat and 58cm here

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and growing!!

Black is (still) THE color

Guess what? I bought a new scanner and since it’s Christmas time I will try to give you some fun! This time I have few training from latest camp in Karhuranta including Turun Metsankavijat 50 year’s anniversary competition featuring former stars like Mikko Black Rider Knuuti, Petri Rintala, Sami Kaariainen and more. It kicked off with night training on Friday. It was bloody cold…something like -3C and I was freezing during my warm up. Nevertheless this turned out to be best training for r me during whole camp –  no mistakes (not big ones) and could run meaning my legs were still ok after Thursdays weight training (who could know that it will kick in only after 2 days?!).
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Saturday was even colder. Probably -5C! TuMe’s 50 years competition was on Schedule and I was looking forward to win (sure). Terrain – as good as it gets in Finland – amazing. I had Mikko chasing me with 2 minutes and the bet was made – 1000 EUR….IF for some mysterious reason he would catch me till first control! It really got me flying I must say, but that was the first and last control I didn’t miss (well almost). As a result I was 4’38” down to Jussi Juppu Suna and made it to 5th spot. At least I had a winning speed (conclusion based on split time analysis) Results
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Saturday’s night out was a real highlight. Total darkness in other words. It was best terrain I had seen in a while, but my skills where few lightyears behind. OK I got a first control, but that was about it. Spent some time on 2nd one trying to figure out if it is missing and considering to quit! Apart from all the other controls I missed, 11th was something special. Because I didn’t find it at all! My lamp started to turn off just when I realized that had no clue where I was and I only had backlight of my Suunto Ambit guiding me West. And beyond any logic I found central control on my way and decided to give my lamp another chance. It worked! Did last loop and was about, 20’ slower than Douglas Dougyllito Tullie.
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We returned there next day for long training and it seemed to be a nice place after all!

Excellent camp! Nothing can beat 10 guys living in same room, sharing same sauna and going out there no matter what! I am already looking forward to beginning of next year when we meet again. Thanks to Mr. Juha Sundman Suntila together with „jacket” crew including Kari Lehto and Jouni Weedqvist for taking care and guiding us towards light. „Our little group has always been and always will…”

P.S. history lessons and statistics coming soon….I hope so!

You only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low

Original headline for this was intended to be „WG to WC”, but one above just felt to be so true. I have to indeed be grateful for what I have achieved this year also after WOC (high) and only now – after being sick before last World Cup and doing average results in those races (low) – I finally appreciate it.

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I guess I haven’t said this either, but I am really satisfied with ALL of my performances during Wor(l)d Games -an event that took me to my second trip to SouthAmerica – Columbia this time. Maybe my greatest advantage (and mistake same time??) during competition was that I had no high goals set for those races. Having those would just put too much pressure on me since we all know how unimportant time schedule tends to become when we go to places like Columbia. Should I tell in details? Apart from reading wrong leg I run pretty decent sprint race even I was still struggling with time difference (I always do) and heat was ON even for me. Even better in middle – 6th place with only 12” gap to silver medal. Could have gained those in lot of places during race, but could have lost more as well. Relay was our lucky day – we just had to punch all the right controls to get 6th spot. Turns out that it’s not always about speed and technical skill – lot of top teams got DSQ for punching wrong controls!

Since my main focus for fall was driven towards World Cup last stage in Switzerland, it was quite obvious that I would go to CISM games for a good training, although it might had something to do with fun I had after coming back from WG. I finally started to work improving my sprint skills and run few of those during weekend before Finnish middle distance champs. Nor digging into details – I succeeded quite well.

Finnish champs was a perfect test race to see if here is still something left in tank for my main goal. And there was! Maybe it had something to do with fact that I could only do better than before since I had never made it to final before. My qualification run wasn’t brilliant, but good enough to take 6th spot in my group. My performance in final was strong enough for 5th spot, though it could have been smoother and therefore 1’ faster (mistakes). I run first leg on following day’s relay and did well there. Was aiming to have around 1’ lead coming to changeover, but forking on second last wasn’t so advantageous for me!

Got home, unpacked, packed, got into car, on boat, Germany, drive, 2 days later we are in Italy! Training (I am, not we) for WOC2014 and doing two races, also getting inspired by terrains and surroundings in general. Main goal there was to have right kind of eyes to understand what will all be about and what little „things” will count when THE day comes. Apart from that I had to fight my Summertime Sadness (can’t  escape that) and – very unluckily – sickness that joined me 3 days before World Cup and has been a very reliable friend almost till now. So there wasn’t much to expect from myself during races in Switzerland. I managed to do well in middle distance considering my overall feeling during traveling there and days before race itself. 16th spot might not sound as top result, but, believe me, it was since I struggled to even walk on my morning run few hours before! Not even miracle could have helped me for following sprint race so my only goal was to punch all the right controls and get those 2 WC points for taking 40th spot in final.

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Few thousands km and I was home for 12h, didn’t even bother to do packing part and left to Finland – TuMe’s Jukola camp came early this time. Still felt my reliable friend (sickness), but got better with every step I took around HILLSIDEs (and those are steep out there).

That’s about it! I won’t do any summary about this season in numbers and will start with my preparations for next year soon instead. There was one thing I was interested in – turns out that I have been home for 101 (LOL) days this year so far. Impressive! Maybe! Will it be similar next year too?? Can’t tell, but one thing is clear – there is no such thing as the end….just new beginning!

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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!
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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.
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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!