Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aargauer 3-Tage-OL 2008

Just before I left home for Switzerland I had checked the course parameters for this competition. The first stage was about 4-5km and the last two ones about 7,5km, so I was prepared for a middle distance and two shortened long distance races. However, you must take into account that I checked the class I am used to running in, that is M18... but during our O-camp it turned out that all older boys are bound to run in HAL (men's elite). Don't think I was anxious or sad about it! I was delighted I would have the opportunity to spend more time in Swiss forests and just learn more:-)

1. Etappe [German version] - middle (5,8km and 180m climb)

At the beginning of the course I had some technical and physical problems. My legs weren't working as I would wish they did. Luckily, in the middle part of the race I saw Zielu in the forest and it gave me so much power and determination I thought I could fly then and the rest of the course went almost perfect. As I stood in front of the results table and saw I had beaten Hevi by over a minute, I knew I had a really good performance. Only the last Polish starter - Rino - conquered me... by a second. Undoubtedly, it was my best race during this 3 days' competition.

2. Etappe - long (10,2km and 155m climb)

I knew it would be flat as a table and was prepared for very fast running and speed thinking. There was only one thing (or frankly speaking - millions of them) which made this prestart assumption much more difficult to put into operation. Ditches, ditches and one more time ditches... Furthermore, the map scale was 1:10 000 and our course was over 10km long. For that reason I really often had problems finding the next control on the map I should have looked for.
In addition, I would like to say I think I've never had so many controls (29) before and I found them all! That's my personal record;-)

There was one more trouble we had to cope with during this 2nd stage - control descriptions. I have quite a good eyesight but while running they were just impossible to read for me. I had to stop for a while and remember about 3 controls in advance not to waste time later.

3. Etappe - long, chasing start (10,1km and 290m climb)

After 2 previous days I had such an enormous time advantage over Hewi that we were forced (?) to run together. I started the whole 3 seconds ahead of him... I didn't really feel like running a chasing start race that day as I felt a quite intense pain in the very upper part of my calf because of yesterday's race. As far as the terrain and course are concerned, they were really interesting in my opinion and the forest was fairly... friendly.

All in all...
I ended on the 11th place in men's elite of over 30 runners and the 3rd of 7 Poles. I think I could easily make it to the top 7 (only 2 minutes behind after 3 days).
Furthermore, this was a so-called observed competition in reference to the EYOC 2008, so I think I did quite a good job in my way to success:)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Swiss massacre...

Polish Youth Team spent exactly 2 weeks in Switzerland preparing for the coming EYOC in October. We stayed in Solothurn - the most beautiful baroque city of Switzerland. That's also the place were EYOC 2008 sprint distance is going to be held.
Switzerland became the 10th foreign country I have ever done orienteering in. As always we had a lot of fun, the weather was really hot, only at nights some heavy thunderstorms occured. But, in fact, our goal was to train as much as possible. Below you can see the results of our long and hard technical, as well as physical work...

Memory training

We began our technical trainings with a real challenge for our brains. We had to remember the whole course of about 0,8-1,5km consisting of 2-4 controls and then just run the course without a map. We ran 5 such loops and found out that Swiss forests are full of lower or higher blackberry bushes covering the ground. Running with no long socks was really painful! Unfortunately, I have no map of this training session because there were only a few copies.


We never got bored during our technical trainings because they were really sophisticated. These tunnel-races may seem quite hard at first but if you think they were the most difficult trainings of our whole stay, you are deeply wrong! Just see the paragraph below...

Swiss games

It would have been a sin if we had run no Swiss game in Switzerland. Actually, the best way to finish that training is to keep the right direction all the time. However, you must take into consideration that sometimes it was just impossible to follow the red line because of vast areas of thick and prickly bushes. I think everyone who had made it to the end could be proud of oneself!

In pairs...

This training was designed especially for the younger runners to learn something from their older friends. I was to run with Papuś (P. Parfianowicz) and must admit his technique is quite good and I didn't really have to make amends to his running many times.

This training takes place at each Polish Youth Team camp. I must say I really like it because we can choose our partners by ourselves and, what's even more important, we can set our own course. Unfortunately, some points looked brilliant only on the map, not in the terrain!

One more time with Zielu but this time it was a kind of rivalry, at least it was supposed to. Actually, we were a bit too tired that day to run at our highest speed level and our running times are not magnificent at all.


Yeah... it was called a sprint distance. In fact, its length and city part prompted so but what was going on in the final FOREST part? One control was almost impossible to reach with flat salomon shoes. It was only 65m away from the previous control and it took me 2:50 to find it. Isn't it too much?

2 middles + 1 sprint = long

This long distance training consisted of 2 middle loops (4,6km; 3,7km) and 1 short one (2,3km). Altogether it made one and a half hour of nice running. It was also quite funny to have 2 TV controls (thanks to Jacek) on the course.

First legs

That's the training I am always looking forward to because it's full of exciting competition and fast running. There were 5 double forkings on the whole course (controls no. 1, 5, 9, 12, 15).

* 1-4 - nothing special, in the whole group of 6 runners
* 5 - I have a closer forking but a bit more difficult to find, I manage to leave that area as the third one, behind Jacek and Hewi
* 6-9 - fast running with Slavko and chasing the leading couple
* 10 - I am very close to them but don't see them punch the control and have to go back, Slavko and Rino now just ahead of me
* 11-13 - going as fast as possible with Rino, Slavko a little bit behind us
* 14 - deciding control! Hewi has no power left in his legs and we are getting ahead of him, Rino is stronger and joins Jacek, now they are in the lead
* 15-16 - running alone, I can't see Jacek and Rino
* 17-18 - they make a small mistake at the 17th control and now they are within reach of my eyes but are still some 120m ahead
* 19 - they disappear in the forest and win, I am the third one to cross the finish line.

What I actually did there?!

Probably you are interested why the title sounds 'The Swiss massacre' - click on it and you'll have the answer!

I have one question to you as well: did anyone notice that both tunnel-races and both Swiss games were carried out on the same map? ;-)

Tomorrow I am going to publish how successful or not I was during the Aargauer 3-Tage-OL 2008 - the crowning of our entire work in Switzerland.