Sunday, June 30, 2013

Europe and the Final Countdown

This year's goal - prove that I'm not a one hit wonder. ;)

Today sees the final countdown to World Champs begin, with one week until the first race, the long distance qualification, next Sunday. Last week I made the jump (...or 30 hours of travel) from Australia to Finland, from winter to summer. I have to say, it makes a nice, but drastic change - swimming in lakes post-training, rather than rushing home for a hot shower!


After months of what felt like a scratched together training regime, my last training block prior to departure felt like it went really well. The block began with the Aussie WOC trials, also counting as a round of the National League, held in and around Canberra at the beginning of May. Three quality races in quality terrain were a good test to see where my fitness and technique was at. And three wins left me buoyed, but with plenty of room to improve, heading into my final month of training.
AUS WOC trial long dist.

As the temperature continued to decrease in the 'burra, I continued to increase my number of orienteering specific sessions. Relatively easy when you live in a city surrounded by bush! Lachy Dow (running for Aus at WOC), Jacqui Doyle (Aus at JWOC) and I put together some quality sessions. These included trips to the granite terrain of Namadgi, and Badja, used for Oceania champs in 2011, and both bush and urban sprint sessions around the city. I find it's the company that makes all the difference when you're struggling for motivation to get out in the cold and miserable weather to train, so a huge thanks to Lachy and Jacqui for getting me out the door! Maps can be found on my DOMA .Orienteering sessions were well supplemented by trainings and games with my amazing team at ANUWFC - although I'm not sure all the post game wedges were so beneficial!

Post sprint training in the rain, sleet
 and thunder at ANU
Wrapped up for training at Badja


Finally, having survived the onset of winter, the inevitable knocks taken at football, and the distraction(?) of uni work, I've found my way to Vuokatti, orienteering central for the next two weeks!
Arriving early last Wednesday, I spent the first 3 days here attempting to blend in to the Australian team... I almost got away with it too, until they noticed my refusal to call my jandal a thong. That, and something about the way I pronounce my vowels, gave me away. (but seriously, thanks for adopting and putting up with me for a few days Team Aus!). The last 4 days have been spent in equal share orienteering, swimming in lakes, and eating. Such a life! Having read in the previous months what the European teams have had to say about the terrain, it's amazing to finally be here and running in it. Parts of the long distance type terrain is some of the nicest looking forest I've been lucky enough to run in - but it's deceptively energy sapping! Other areas are much more junky and tough to get through, and have given me plenty of opportunities to optimize my faceplanting technique!

The rest of the kiwi team started to arrive two nights ago, and we've moved into our accommodation for the WOC period -  a cute farm house 15km or so out of Vuokatti. The plan for our final week of prep is a bit of terrain familiarisation, mixed with plenty of rest, swimming, eating and sleeping, and sharpening up! Be sure to check in as I update the blog throughout the next couple of weeks with photos and stories from the team :)
Here at last!

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