Thursday, July 31, 2014

Post European Depression

It's 2 weeks already since I stumbled off the plane and back into the embrace of Canberran winter. It's been a busy two weeks too; with not much time left in each day once I've finished with all of my moaning and whining about how cold it is and how Canberra isn't Europe. Every year there's the same shock and let down, returning from a life of travel, training, racing and summer, to the every day reality of work, responsibilities and winter.

The official medical term is Post European Depression, and I was always in line to suffer a bad bout this year, after prolonged exposure! Unfortunately, sitting and watching SOW and Oringen hasn't exactly helped things, (I wish I'd started a drinking game for every time I saw a photo of the Matterhorn). However, JWOC watching did help alleviate the symptoms for a week or so. An awesome week from a kiwi's (and Wellingtonian's!) point of view: Tim becoming NZ's 2nd junior world champion in 3 years, Nick smashing out 5th in the middle, and the boys (Tim, Shamus, Nick) putting us on the podium in the relay! A massive effort from the whole team, and very exciting to see their hard work paying off! It's inspiring to see the juniors' motivation and drive, and how it's turning into results on the global stage. Now us seniors just need to lift our game to match it! ;)

Our most successful national team ever!

Once I'd finished with watching races, however, I had to find other ways to procrastinate around the tonne of work that I should be doing. So I've done a bit of reflecting on my trip as a whole. In short, it was everything I could have hoped for.

In the month or so leading up to leaving, I was seriously having second thoughts about whether trying to race WOC in my final year of PhD was a smart thing to do, let alone taking 7 weeks off to do it. I was stressed, run down, sick and had constant niggles, meaning I wasn't where I wanted to be either physically or mentally. However, I've come back mentally refreshed, healthy (first time in years post long-haul flight!) and motivated. My knee may still a bit bung post WOC middle and relay, but I've come home without a single regret about the trip or the time taken off uni to fit it in. Not only was it great to get a good block of time in Europe pre WOC, and to get some practice races in against top competition, which undoubtedly helped come WOC week; but I've also come home with a much more solid idea of what path I want to take post-PhD. Atleast, I'm told there's a life post thesis?

The race is on!

For all of those who asked me post WOC races if I was happy with my results, only to receive a kind of confused, dazed look and some uninterpretable answer, sorry! At the end of a race, my brain usually resembles a bowl of spaghetti, with computing power of a scrambled egg. Even more so than usual. Having had a bit of time to think it over, I guess my answer is multi levelled:
As a Kiwi, I'm proud of my results, and proud to be a part of a NZ team and wider culture that is driving each other and building our results and profile on the global stage. So yep, I'm happy on that level.
On a personal level, I left everything I had out on the courses (including part of my pants). Performance wise, I did as well as I could in the sprints, I just wasn't physically good enough. In the forest, I did parts great, but fell into familiar mistakes in other areas. The potential is there, but it didn't overcome the flaws on the day. So I left WOC feeling a bit bittersweet, the results were good, but they could have been better.
However, some wise people have reminded me to put things in perspective. I have to remember how I felt prior to leaving for Europe. So. Given where I was 8 weeks prior to WOC, my performances and results were more than I could have hoped for.

So, with the wisdom of hindsight, yes, satisfied with my results, thanks for asking!

 And now, for some full time stats from the trip! Yay. Numbers!

50 Days
5 Countries
63 Training Sessions
14 Races
30 Hours Orienteering
14 Accommodations
11 Room Mates

Some things were a little harder to quantify:
~80-90 Coffees
~40-50 gelatos/icecreams
Countless training partners/hosts/supporters/local guides and friends. Without you the trip wouldn't have been possible. I'm too scared to list you all, as I'm likely to forget someone, but you know who you are, and hopefully I've made it known in person just how grateful I am for all of your help! If not, feel free to slap me next time you see me, I'll deserve it.

And finally:
1 absolute legend. Greta, I don't know what insanity lead you to agree to 7 weeks of my company, and it will forever be a mystery to me how you lasted those 7 weeks without once punching me in the face. Thanks so much for putting up with me and my twisted sense of humour, my inability to interpret foreign bus time tables and my best attempts at Italian driving. For organising me, socialising for me when I was too tired to be capable of speech, dealing with me when I couldn't sort my shit out, and for ignoring me when I was just being a dick! Just the best team mate and travel buddy, hope you're recovering well and enjoying some fresh company now!

Super excited to be Lizzie free!
Once again, thanks to everyone who made the last couple of months what it was! Rest assured, I've discovered the ultimate cure for PED - planning my next escape to Europe! Watch this space :)


  1. Great post Lizzy. I still have PED from last century. I think you need some more practice drinking coffee. Only 80-90 in 50 days? What's wrong with you?

  2. Oh now I feel bad for my mean #smugness ! There's definitely a life post thesis. Good luck.

  3. Haha thanks Dazza! Yeah definitely room for improvement, I'm planning some quality coffee drinking training over the next 6 months though, so should be peaking by WC Tassie! Nah don't feel bad or less smug Helen, that was the best birthday message! Besides, I need someone to tell me to harden up and stop complaining every so often. Still holding out on my #pettyrevenge though...