Some water was streaming down the Pinka since the end of the World Championships in Switzerland and I found some time to analyze my performances.
After some promising qualification races, the Middle and Long final were waiting before the Relay concluded the competitions.
The facts: 20th place in the middle distance
15th place in the long distance
12th place in the relay, with Robert Merl and Helmut Gremmel
In the qualification races, I got a first feedback about the level of my shape after an ankle-injury some weeks prior the WOC. It offered an optimistic view for the finals, but in both races, I couldn’t take the same speed as the days before, at least the feeling about the running speed was not that good anymore. Anyway, in a competition you nearly can’t influence your maximum running speed, but your orienteering performance the more. In all remaining three competitions, I was able to act according to the plan (maybe the end of the middle final looks a little bit off the plan).
At the beginning of the season, I was aiming for more, better results, but taking into account my potential on the specific days, I am satisfied.
Middle final: After winning one of the qualification heats, I was a little bit more nervous before the race than usually, but with taking the map on the start line, everything went fine. I found a good rhythm from the beginning, stayed more or less on the direct route except on the way to the 9th and 10th control. A short parallel mistake occurred to the 11th and coming into the last forest part (control 15 onwards) I tried to speed up a little bit, but consequently did some small mistake already to the 15th and a longer one to the 17th – at that time falling more than running through the forest.
Although there were not many green parts on the map, one had to fight through the terrain all the time as undergrowth and stones were your continuous accompanies. Technically, I think, the qualification was more difficult. As all three medals were won by runners who had their third consecutive race, I can’t take this as an excuse for me, but maybe I was not well enough prepared to stand it. Nice to have a new face on top!!! – Congrats!!!
Long final: First uphill – first mental frustration, anyway focus on the technique. Interestingly, the running feeling improved with the running time, which I got confirmed by the split times afterwards. On the longer routes I lost some time, especially in those with uphill parts, due to a too low pace. One stupid decision cost a possible Top10-place (in the end I was only 50 seconds behind the 10th- knowing that most of the runners in front of me made more mistakes on that day) – as I took the right “alternative” to the 12th control. For me, the forest was much better (the runability), than expected, without long passages through green areas with stinging nettles and berries. Maybe, I was too much focused on taking “path”-routes on the routes,…
Relay: Robi did a good job on the start, Heli, although he had an “administrative mistake”, didn’t lose much time and sent me out on the 18th spot, but not that far behind of a Top10 place. Well, the beginning was excellent, taking already the 10th place after the long leg at the 7th control. After the forking at control 10, Poland and Italy were again in front of me with a small gap, which I couldn’t close any more, as they didn’t make any serious mistake. The 12th place was better than the previous years, but we’re still not there where we want to be. Dreams and reality sometimes differ… So, let’s keep dreaming and make our dreams come true one time!!!
After some relaxing days in Vienna and a wonderful wedding of Michael & Linda S., I’m currently on the Turracher Höhe in the “Run2gether” Camp, where we – a group of orienteers and other runners – are living and training together with Kenyan runners – it’s nice to see the guys again after my visit to Kenya in March. “Close the gap”, “keep the pace” – I missed it!!! ;)