Monday, September 29, 2008

The list of 16 whizz-kids announced!

Now we officially know who is going to attend European Youth Orienteering Championships 2008 in Switzerland (9-12th October) to represent Polish Youth Team. Check!
It is amazing that as much as 3 competitors are from my club. Undoubtedly, it's going to be a very nice stay with them and the rest of our wonderful and harmonious team :-)

As far as the decision to take 5 runners from my class (M18) is concerned, I think it's very clever and well-considered because none of us (Slavko, Drągu and me) was vastly outstanding during this season and each of us represented quite an equal level. Rino and Hewi took the first two places in the ranking of course.

There is also one more thing that delights me - the second trainer. It's going to be Kajo. Exactly two years ago I spent about 2 weeks on a sports camp in Hungary with him and it was not a waste of time in any case.

It seems to be the most appropriate time to refer to my pre-season goals. These were:
  1. gold in an individual race (Polish Champs)
  2. gold in relay (PC)
  3. go for EYOC 2008.

Unfortunately, only the third one is really going to be fulfilled as the 2nd one was missed by only 5 seconds and instead of the 1st one I have one bronze and two silver PC medals in individual races.
Nevertheless, there appeared JWOC 2008 totally unexpectedly and now even if it's my very first time to take part in EYOC, I have already gained much more experience and you cannot name it debut!
Therefore, my expectations are quite high and I don't want to hide I dream about a medal from relay. However, there is no point in getting excited too much, I just have to do my job. I would like to start in long and sprint distance as well (of which I can't be sure as only 4 runners per class can perform in each distance).

On Friday I'm flying to Sweden to take part in Baltic Junior Cup. Then we're moving directly to Switzerland for some days of preparatory camp before the main aim of this journey - EYOC 2008.

I hope our whole team will make this EYOC a wonderful memory for life and great encouragement for the coming generations!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A short holiday summary

As I was ill and didn't attend school for the whole week, I had much time to complete my computer training diary at last. This year's summer holidays were entirely devoted to orienteering and the results of this hard work are really impressing;)

76 days
39 technical trainings
22 competition races
15 physical trainings
which makes a perfect daily average of 8,75km!
...and much time spent on other sports (football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, swimming, cycling, pool, 'The king', chess, cards and even Scrabble...).

Today I could have taken part at School Championships in Cross-Country Running for about 1,5km in my park. However, I think I had made a clever decision to attend a club training and slowly come back to my brilliant passion.

'Zaran, we're going for EYOC 2008!!!! hahahaha'

Thursday, September 25, 2008

a so-called MIND-MAP

While I was sitting in front of my PC and getting bored more and more, I got to know that Finnish Champs in Middle Distance were held last Saturday. Nothing special, you'd say... but the thing Pasi Ikonen (the winner) published on his homepage is really worth seeing! It is a mind-map - not a map that you get just after your start but the one made by yourself with the objects you needed to find your way to each control.

I also attach the Matthias Merz's map (5th place - less than 2' behind) with his routes, just to compare and see how successful Pasi was.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Predictable? No way!

Polish Championships in Night-O

We started our journey to the Warsaw's surroundings about 5 hours before the first starting time. Unfortunately, some of our competitors didn't manage to come in time and just lost the opportunity to take part in this exciting competition. You'd probably ask why??? The reason was our small car crash in Głuchów...
As far as my performance is concerned, it was my worst orienteering race in Poland this year. My legs were some 8 times too fast for my brain that day! I lost over 16 minutes because of my silly mistakes and missed the medal by only 5 minutes. In fact, I didn't deserve it at all...

Warsaw Orient Meeting 2008 - sprint

On Friday morning I started feeling ill and it was only getting worse and worse. I thought I would have no chances of achieving sth the following day and decided to run quickly enough not to come back home completely empty-handed.
The course was really easy, particularly the route choices between controls 7.-10., which were
ridiculous. There were only 3 runners who managed to run less than 8' (Hewi, me and Rino) and we took the podium places in M16/18.

Polish Championships in Long Distance Orienteering

I woke up... I felt I was unbelievably hot... On the other hand, I was shivering... I had a sore throat... I was coughing all the time... I had a running nose... Was it enough to stop dreaming about the medal this day? I thought so!
My only desire was to finish that tiring course of almost 12km and possibly got a diploma for the 5th or 6th place. The whole race went really quickly as it was very exciting and full of gripping action in the forest all the time.

The first control was set on the path fork - easy? Forget! There were so many small paths there, I was sure I got lost... but I saw a man from the M35 class (he had the same course and started 2' ahead of me) looking for the first control and suddenly getting ready to punch it. I was saved!
The next controls went really fluently, although I was a little bit afraid of the tricky control no. 2.
On my way to the 5th control I saw Zielu, who shouted to me: 'Podzio, there is Rino [started 3 minutes ahead of me] over there! They haven't found it yet!'. I got a bit excited but had to keep my temper not to get totally lost. I saw the control, punched it, started running to the next one and... saw Rino some 100m from the control and told him where the point was.
As I made a fairly considerable mistake at control no. 6, Rino caught me at the 8th control. The rest of the course we went together and co-operated quite well, I think. We passed lots of runners from our class.
On our way to the 10th control Rino threw away his map foil because it got brighter and thought it was not going to rain again...
While we were passing the huge field, it was raining cats and dogs and just after the 16th control Rino said to me quietly: 'Podzio, you have to control the map by your own. Mine doesn't exist...'.
I tried to do my best but my brain wasn't that fresh then and I made a huge mistake at the next control. Unfortunately, Rino ended just some 29sec out of the podium and I felt quite sorry for that fact...

Now I am ill but enormously happy!

Friday, September 19, 2008

6th night race in 3-week time

This was on Wednesday evening. We all gathered in a well-known bar and got ready for the last course before Polish Champs. The course setter was Pasza - that's why it was pretty difficult. The parameters were fairly similar to the today's night race coming in some 8 hours. My running time of exactly 56 minutes wasn't satisfying at all as I made lots of mistakes of about 12'! Furthermore, I didn't manage to find control no. 17 because there was one more same clearing there...

Thanks to this training session I am rich in important conclusions which are hopefully going to help me after 22:45 (it's my starting time for today's PC in Night-O). I am the last one to enter the forest!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

...proud to be the member of the 3rd club in Poland!

Last weekend we took part in a very prestigious Polish Club Championships. I must admit some of the best Polish elite runners were absent as they trained hard in Sankt Moritz. Nevertheless, our performance was really amazing in my opinion. We took 9 podium places at the sprint distance and won this competition in overall!
You can see the official PCC standings here.

15 points for my club :-)

We hardly managed to get to the Cieplice Park on time. Our bus arrived just some 40 minutes before the first starter and one of the first starters was... me! Moreover, Hewi was to start one minute behind me and I really had to push hard from the very beginning. I wasn't caught by him on the course but he punched the finish control only 43 seconds after me...

Another 15 pts for my club ;-)

I had thought I am not a guy who is good at middle distance before my great qualification race at JWOC in Sweden. This time I wanted to prove (especially myself!) I am also able to have a really good run in Polish rocky mountains. My pace wasn't supposed to be extremely fast but my technique had to be at its highest possible level... and it quite was, except for my compass at the 8th control. This performance gave me definitely more complacency than the sprint distance.

Polish Tiomila?

In fact, not... Easier and shorter courses, not so many forkings, less competitors and teams but the adrenalin and excitement were almost the same. The desire to finish the first leg on the best place in club relay didn't differ from the one in Polish Youth Team relay 5 months ago. There was only one thing which made me feel more secure - my self-confidence in night orienteering gained in the last three weeks' time. I lost only 39sec (it was the biggest amount of time I lost to the leader during this round of PCC - that's why I am so satisfied with my performance at this well-organised competition) to the winner (Jacek Morawski - congratulations 'cwelu' ;-P) and finished in the first group of 8 runners with advantage of 14 minutes over the next ones!

PCC 2008 summary

Gdynia: 3rd in sprint, 2nd in long, 1st in relay.
Jelenia Góra: 3rd in sprint, 3rd in middle, 5th in so-called generations' realy.

I scored nearly 86 of 904 my club's points. Do you need me? Judge it fairly by your own*

*Yeah, yeah... I know it was not modest...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New era is coming...

The previous 6 days were really rich in orienteering, especially the last weekend, which was the real challenge for me as I organised the whole journey and stay in Warsaw including taking part in 2 competition races on my own.

A few hours before my journey by train to the Polish capital I rode my bike to the Łagiewnicki forest to set the courses for the technical club training. It was not that easy but I - somehow - managed to do it!

Warsaw Championships in Night and Middle Distance Orienteering

The night race was a great opportunity to verify my orienteering skills at night in a quite similar terrain to the one where Polish Champs are going to be held in one week's time. The whole course went almost perfect, I even had time to help some nice girl who was lost in the forest. I felt I was certainly going to win this race! In fact, my night orienteering skills aren't that bad, are they...?

However, the real night was still to come... I don't think that sleeping only 2-3 hours could have been enough for the coming middle distance race in elite class. But the main goal was already pursued, so I didn't really care about it. I hope you don't think I drank any alcohol! The reason for sleeping that little was completely different. Ha, ha! ;-)

Nevertheless, middle also went quite satisfying as I took the bronze medal. My legs weren't working as I would have wished to but my mind was fairly fresh and co-operative - that's interesting!

The whole trip to Warsaw was very successful, not only because of sports accomplishments but also because of the fact that I have become more self-confident at night, as well as in normal private life and everyday situations.

Preparing for the Polish Club Championships...

This weekend my club is taking part in PCC in Jelenia Góra. The today's training was organised in order to get our brains ready for the tomorrow's sprint distance race. As far as the map is concerned, it is full of mistakes and wrongly used symbols but at least we had the possibility to get accustomed to the scale.

The strong group of 40 even stronger runners is approaching Jelenia Góra! I think you should be scared to death ;-)

Friday, September 5, 2008

The darkest, darker, dark, bright, brighter...

Our Provincial Team consisted of only 5 runners + a coach (not Kołcz but Piotruś) this time. In this chamber atmosphere we spent 4 days in Otwock-Śródborów preparing for the coming Polish Champs in night and long distance orienteering. In fact, the main goal of this short camp was to become more courageous and self-confident while running with a map at night. I think we did our best and achieved what we really wanted!


We slept there 3 nights, that's why we also had 3 night trainings! I think I should mention our 'enormous' headlamps at first. Thanks to the light they gave we could see the terrain not farther than 5-15m from us - probably it was supposed to be a training method as well...
The first time was the worst! Just before my start I was shuddering with fear. The fact that only me and Zielu (10 minutes behind me) were going to be in the completely dark forest between 8 and 10.30 p.m. was really frightening. But we both managed to finish that course in spite of the fact that we could hear some dogs barking really loud which made our hearts beat faster.
The next two trainings at night were considerably better, especially the last one organised by UNTS Warsaw. I even joked I was the king of the night but I don't really think I deserve this honour now. Maybe in two weeks' time... :-)

...and DAY

In the mornings back to normal and relatively easy orienteering.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I am a man born to run JWOCs...

I ran only 6 JWOC races (all distances in Sweden and middle in Poland) this year, so the time came to take part in the 7th one! Now it was turn to finish the long distance race from the Polish Junior World Orienteering Championships 2004 in Gdynia. Of course I took it as a training, not a competition and my pace wasn't the fastest possible.
It was a really demanding course, not only physically but also technically. Moreover, I felt quite tired after almost 2 weeks of training in Ustka and while running this course I even thought of giving up... But I am not that type of guy!

As you probably expect, below you can see the deep analysis of each control. What's more, I even managed to find Michal Krajcik's [SVK] route choices. He was also 17 years old while competing in Gdynia and took the 29th place! His running time was about 78-79 minutes. The whole race was won by Matthias Merz from Switzerland (72:19) - the runner with black curly hair standing next to me on the main photo above.

1. - 0'10
I think Krajcik chose the best possible way to reach the control. Mine wasn't that bad but it could be better!

2. - :)
The same route choice, Michal only ran too much to the left just before the control.

3. - 0'45
His decision was definitely better. I just lost important power from my legs while climbing up 20 meters more and was simply slower! I started looking for the control in the earlier ditch as well.

4. - :)
Really interesting leg! He chose more running (but faster and no contours to cross) and I preferred to run slower and up-hill (but less). His split time was 7' or 8' + something while mine was 7 and a half. I think both ways were fairly similar but in my opinion he could have saved much energy thanks to his clever (?! - what do you think?) decision.

5. - :)
Nothing special, except for the fact that he had something to drink there ;-)

6. - :)
Exactly the same...

7. - 0'10
I was too careful, I should have just followed the red line as he did. Why? He had the point situated in the forest, I didn't :-P

8. - 1'30
Don't you think I was that foolish! I wanted to run exactly the same as Krajcik did but suddenly a fence appeared in front of me (the map is already 4 years old) and I had to go around...

9. - 0'30
I tried to go closer to the red line but using the path on the left must have been better! There was even a ribbon above that hollow :-)

10. - 0'05
Simple route choice and easy control. 5sec... why? There was a fence just before the point; luckily the point was outside!

11. - :)
I am sure his choice was worse.

12. - :)
One more drink for him, probably...

13. - 1'00
Yeah... the next fence in the terrain :-/ and a wrong decision made 300m before the control.

14. - 0'30
Michal made it a little bit better and I had some problems finding the right place standing just next to it.

15. - 1'00
If I could run this leg for the second time, I would choose Michal Krajcik's route choice.

16. - 0'10
I was in the right re-entrant but thought that mine is the next one and ran unnecessarily some meters more...

17. - 1'00
I was scared of the coming fence and crossed the green area, then I made several contours up which was completely silly! (look at Krajcik's map)

18. - 1'00
I did NOT actually find this hollow, it's doubtful if it still exists?

19. - 0'15
Look at the 16th control's description.

20. - 2'00
My pre-start goal was to run about 90 minutes. I saw it would even be possible to go under this magic boundary and 'found' this control one track earlier...

21. - :)
Point for M10 =)

F - :)
I looked forward to running through the lovely, grassy meadow but some agricultural work had been done there...

Total mistakes: 10'05.

I must say I am really proud of myself that I finished this tough race. I am sure it will bring enormous benefits in the future, especially at JWOC 2011 in Wejherowo.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Grand Prix Pomorza 2008 and foxoring

The first meters of the first stage...

GPP 2008 took place in Warcino. It is a nice and picturesque region which offered 3 fairly different O-maps. I must admit I really liked them all! Unfortunately, there were not so many competitors in each class, especially mine. I would even say it was a disaster to have only 4 other runners to struggle with... I don't intend to hide that my goal at this competition was to win each of the 3 stages and the overall classification as well. However, there was one small problem I had to cope with - my stomachaches which forced me to get a DSQ at two previous GPPs. Luckily, this year they just didn't occur! Third time lucky :-)

1st stage - middle (3,570km)

I had known it was going to be a very similar course to the first day at Baltic Cup 2008. I only wanted to avoid the mistake I made about 3 months ago. My mind was too hot and I missed over 2 minutes at the first control. This time my aim was to reach the first point perfectly and then just control the whole race... and I did it! It was one of the best courses (if not the best one) I ran this year. I left only about 30sec in the forest.
There was one more thing I really enjoyed while running that day - the very end of the course was situated in a nice park, which let me speed up and made me feel as if I was running a sprint distance race.

2nd stage - long (7,790km)

Probably I didn't really believe I could have had 2 brilliant races in a row because this performance was full of small and unnecessary (I know it sounds amusing but I was so brainless that day!) mistakes. There were only 2 controls (of 15!) + finish which were satisfying enough for my excessive ambitions. It is far too little...

3rd stage - shortened long (6,540km)

It was a comical race, just look at the map below. Is everything alright with the course? I don't really think so... Two controls (no. 4 & 10) are mixed up. While punching the third control I noticed that fact immediately. What would you do in this situation? Follow the red line or the numbers?! Of course I followed the line and it was the only right way to go. I think everyone should remember it but... in fact, if it had been Polish Championship, the whole race would probably have been cancelled.

Warcino Cup in radioorienteering - foxoring

That was something absolutely new for me. I heard about this type of orienteering many times but never had the opportunity to take part in it. In the afternoon after the second day of GPP my dream (not really...:-p) came true.
Foxoring is the easiest form of radio-O. It's a kind of scorelauf with a normal orienteering map. There is only one difference - the controls are not precisely marked on the map. There are only some big circles in which you have to look for your control with the help of a special radio equipment.
After my first experience in radio-O I am sure it's not the kind of discipline I would be fond of competing in. Why? There are 2 easy reasons:
  • you're not the master of the whole course, you are not independent, you have to rely on your equipment and have much luck;
  • orienteering - I love this game! simple? ;-)

Nevertheless, as the form of entertainment and relaxing from 'normal' orienteering radio-O is worth recommending!

What I achieved...
...and a red boxing punching bag.