It seems I start every post with the same thing, an excuse for not posting anything earlier. I have been writing some things: my SM sprint thoughts will be on the Project 2015 website, and my JK thoughts will be in SLOWprint (and I will copy them onto here once they have been published).
On with the business...
Finally, after hours of slogging though snow covered forests in the dark Tiomila was here. I ran the 9th leg for SNO and ran quite okay. My speed was good enough and I just made one two-minute mistake which, as people were quick to point out, was shown on the big screen. Fantastic! I am cross with myself for the mistake as I knew exactly where I was about 10 seconds before I started to get confused, one loss of concentration and what could potentially have been a really great run turns into a fairly decent run. Still it was both a great experience and a lot of fun but the quest for improvement goes ever onwards and this is why I like orienteering.
We had some problems with injuries and sickness to runners in the build up but our goal remained the same, less than one minute of time loss per leg, a tough goal but an achievable goal. We knew that if we could achieve this we could look up at the results and be proud of what we saw. In the end we did not all hit our target but nobody was ever far away and we finished in 4th place. We were all really pleased. Pleased with what we had achieved and also pleased that we had proved people wrong who thought that without some runners we could not be competitive. It just goes to show that it is not the 10 guys who get the result but the whole team; the coaches who have stood in the forest, the guys who have not made the final 10 but have been at the training pushing everybody else along, and the supporters on the night itself: taking clothes, providing food, offering advice and encouragement.
This year I have joined a Swedish Orienteering Club, Sodertaljte-Nykvarn Orienteering. They very nicely offered me a chance to spend the summer in Sweden, it did not take me very long to accept.
I went out to just before Jukola to do a little bit of training. I felt I prepared well and did a decent performance on leg 6 for the 2nd team. I was running well for most of the course but as usual this season I made 1 large mistake that cost me a really good time.
As well as running Jukola I ran for GB in the Nordic Orienteering Tour. This was a massive reality check on just how good the top guys in the world are, I'm not too far off when a leg goes really well but then that doesn't happen much at the moment. Still I left the competition feeling motivated for the future.
The next competition I ran was O-Ringen. I knew it would be tough for me to get a good results in the forest stages so I hoped instead for good performances. I felt I ran ok but was let down slightly by both my physical fitness and my speed across the rocky terrain. The sprint race however was a different story and I finished 5th – winning my first bit of prize money.
My final competition was the SM championships in middle and relay. I was really excited about it and knew that if I could hold myself together that I had a chance of qualifying. Unfortunately my mind got the best of me and I began to think about other things and not the next control. Still it was a good experience to get into this pressure situation. Now I recognise this as a weakness I can work on it over the winter.
The only negative on the orienteering in Sweden was that I didn't do enough. And yes, I put 4 stitches in my knee (but that was at the end and I needed a break from training anyway)
Whilst I was in Sweden I worked for Scania helping to organise the Griffin Trophy. This is a multi-sport and multi-day team building event for the employees of Scania. I helped to plan and organise the stages of the competition and then to assist in the organising of the marshals when the competition was in progress.
I really enjoyed working for Scania and it was a wonderful experience of the world of work. My current plan is to go back out to Sweden on a permanent basis once I graduate so it was good to get a taste of what life would be like and check I enjoyed it. I most definitely did.