Friday, December 25, 2009

Camps, camps, camps and getting better;)

Yesterday I came back from my first 6-day training camp in Szklarska Poręba. Tomorrow I am leaving for the second 8-day one in Przesieka. I'm just lovin' it!

During these last 6 days I did almost 122km and spent over 18 hours on different sports activities. I think it was a great period for me, now I am very well prepared to train even harder!

Not everyone's hard-working enough, not everyone reaches the top...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last training, cleaning and leaving...

On the right side you can see the map from our today's running trip (including BC2 ~7km and R 2x200m). It lasted 125mins and we did 22,25km.
Now we have to clean our room (which won't be easy!) and in some 3 hours we are leaving for Łódź. Hopefully, we'll get there about 5 a.m. tomorrow;)
Merry Christmas everyone! ;-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First running trip in the mountains!

It lasted 2 hours and 46 minutes, but we managed to do only 19,28km because there was far too much snow on the selected tracks. However, the weather was wonderful, there was no wind, we could hardly see any clouds in the sky and the sun was shining;)

The yellow line in the picture is the Polish-Czech border.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cross-country instead of orienteering...

Yesterday I took part in an 'orienteering' competition called PoZnO. I regret to have to put this word in quotation marks... However, it really was a cross-country race. I am getting bored with the same map, the same terrain, the same place and even the same, terribly easy controls!

I am looking forward to Thursday. That's the day when we are leaving for a one-week keep-fit camp in Szklarska Poręba. It just has to be funny:)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

16 minutes of extremely fast running!

I think that I can say that this Saturday I began preparing for the coming season 2010. There was a special competition called II Łódzki Dwubój Biegowy organized by our club. It consisted of two parts: a cross-country race of 2,64km and an orienteering sprint distance race (the course was said to be about 1,9km but my watch states that I did 1,63km!).

In this 1st part we were told to run at 110% by our coach Pasza. So I tried to fulfil his expectations and was his 'hare' throughout the whole course. At the very end he took great lengths to speed up and won with the advantage of 1 second over me. I reached the time of about 8:45 (3:19/km). I am very satisfied with my performance:)

The second race was a short sprint. I managed to win all the split times in my class (apart from losing 1'' at the finish:P). What's more, my max HR was 194, so I think I can easily take 195 as my maximum heart rate right now. This way I succeeded in winning the whole competition and getting a big cup and some delicious sweets;)

Tomorrow is the official date when we are going to start training. Yesterday I went to the last party with something more than just soft drinks because I am going to lead a healthy life in order to pursue my great goals! I have lots of dreams, expectations and incredible motivation to be one of the best in the world. Yes, in the world, not only in Poland! I know I've got a long way to go but 'Everything is possible when you believe!'.

I am not sure if all of you noticed that on the right side I put logo and link to the best O-Stuff in the world;-)

I think I'm gonna do some changes to my blog in the nearest future but we'll see...
Now I only pray to God to save me from illnesses and serious injuries. Jesus, I trust in You.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nice weekend in Puck:)

Last weekend a lot of young orienteers and coaches gathered in Puck in order to take part in a short grouping. There were a lot of interesting lectures arranged for us. Especially three of them were a real pleasure to listen to: Jerzy Antonowicz's, Robert Banach's and Wojciech Dwojak's. It was very nice to see that Polish elite runners are interested in the youngsters' progress! I must also admit that checking my stance - just standing on some kind of a horizontal platform - was amazing;)

We did 2 technical trainings as well. The first one's terrain was much similar to the one we are bound to compete at JWOC 2011. I was chosen to run with Owczar and I hope I managed to help him improve his orienteering technique. (tracks to the controls no. 2, 3 & 4 aren't shown precisely because I had some problems with losing the GPS signal)

The second training was much more exciting since this time it was me to be taught. By Robert Banach. I did my best to perform well. In the 1st 'middle distance' part I was told to run pretty fast. It went very well but for the 5th control where I ran too chaotically... Then a slower 'corridor' part came and I had some problems with keeping the direction and estimating the distance. In the next 'contours' part there were no controls (because Hewi didn't succeed in placing them before us) but I found the appropriate places flawlessly. The last 'line' part was very easy. However, one fence was missing in the terrain. That's why I got a bit confused and went too much to the left. All in all, I am very happy I got this opportunity to run with Banan and heard lots of valuable pieces of advice:)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My first PoZnO this autumn;)

I am very satisfied with my today's performance! Although, my legs weren't working well and I felt as if they had been made of steel, I managed to avoid making mistakes and won the competition with the advantage of more than 4 minutes over my personal trainer Pasza:)

The course length given by the organizers was 7,0km but I measured it in Ocad (7,395km) and my watch shows 7,265km. So it must have been a bit longer;) my running time was 37:28 with the effective pace of 5:09/km and the real pace of 4:29/km (I did 8,342km). My HR was 183/191!

However, what is the most important thing for me is the fact that my watched worked really well today and the tracks it shows are very similar to the ones I would draw on my own. Below I present 2 maps: 1st - with no amendments to the tracks and 2nd - with some little amendments.

I think that my watch has a little tendency to understate the distance. But I'll check it some day...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great season's summary

I wanted to sum up this season much earlier but I didn't really have enough time or energy to do so. But now, having seen Jacek's post, I decided it's the highest time I did it:)

My season lasted 47 weeks. I did 3172,33km. I trained 374:16h counting only the time spent on training sessions including running. I had 64 days free during these 329 season days.

I think it will do as for the figures. I would like to say something about the things I managed to execute. First of all, I learnt how to win important competitions. It had been one of my main problems as I usually took podium places but I rarely succeeded in winning the gold. However, this year I became the Polish Champion three times! What's more, I managed to get a diploma place in an individual race during EYOC in Serbia. It sounds so impossible that one year ago it was just a sweet dream and now it's a true reality!

I am SOOOOO satisfied with this season and can't wait for the next one to begin! I hope it's gonna be even better;-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend in Arturówek with Garmin Forerunner 405!

Last Thursday I bought Garmin Forerunner 405 and I must admit it's a perfect watch! Running with it is much more pleasant and makes me even more motivated and determined to train hard. The thing I love about this watch is the fact that it shows my current pace and distance, which is really helpful. It has lots of different advantages but it's not the time and place to describe them all. I am just going to enjoy training and orienteering with my new friend;)

On Saturday there was my first race with my new device. This competition was called Championships of Łódź in Night Orienteering. I started in M18 class and took the 2nd place because of making one terrible mistake of over 3 minutes! And two smaller ones of about 90 seconds altogether. What's more, I lost some time in the area of the 13th control, where I met a whole pack of boars. Ok but let's forget about the results...

I would like to say something about the Polish maps... In a special programme to view tracks from my new watch called QuickRoute states: 'Click on a point on the route and drag it to the corresponding location on the map. At least two points along the route, preferably well interspaced, need to be adjusted.' I followed the instructions and adjusted two points... and what did I see? That I didn't visit all the other controls at all!
On the map below I decided to draw how my route choices would look like if I hadn't used my Garmin watch. Thanks to it, I am able to draw one important conclusion. Obviously, none of the GPS watches is able to show the tracks perfectly. However, I see that they have a really high degree of accuracy but what causes all the deviations is the fact that maps are not made precisely enough. That's a pity...
I can't wait to check how my watch works in Scandinavia. I recommend reading Alek's note (search for the post from 2009-10-16) comparing navigating in Poland and Sweden:)

Yesterday my father and I took part in the 6th World Day of Running. It was a cross-country race consisting of two loops of about 4,8km. My watch measured a distance of 9,63km, time of 35:38, average pace of 3:42/km, average HR - 183 and max HR - 188, which let me achieve a satisfying 5th place in the open category:) I started a bit too fast with the leading group (3:31, 3:28, 3:41, 3:28) and then a real crisis came (3:53, 3:58). Afterwards it got a bit better (3:47, 3:54, 3:42) but I had to struggle really hard till the very end of the race. I missed the podium only by about a minute. It is much but is not THAT much as well... So I am pretty determined to train hard and took the podium place in this kind of competition some day:)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

An expected resounding defeat

It was the voivodeship final of the school cross-country 10-man relay. I ran on an experimental 5th leg. Judging from my time (2:46) the course was a little less than 1km long. My school took the 12th place. Let's call it the 12th, not the last;P

The official end of the O-season 2009!

Last weekend all the runners from our voivodeship (+ Dyzia) took part in 3 well-organized competitions.

Golden Needle
When I saw the startlists, I immediately noticed that I was to start 3mins ahead of Olej... so we had a short talk before this race and I decided to wait for him at the 1st control and have lots of extremely fast fun in the forest. I had no compass on my thumb since I gave it Tomek P. However, I was able to lead at the most of the controls because I had so much power in my legs that day and, what's more, I know this forest pretty well. Thanks to a brilliant pace of about 5:00/km we managed to secure the 2nd spot for me just less than 1 minute before Cilu:)

Mixed relays
Obviously, my partner was Nati;) She finished the 1st leg on the 3rd place. Her race was not perfect since she lost over 4 minutes to the leader - Gwoździu. Nevertheless, mine was even worse! After a magnificent first loop I lost touch with my group at the 12th control (losing more than 1' there!). Moreover, I mispunched the 16th control. In fact, the map is not detailed enough in this area but we lost chances for the podium place anyway...

In the evening we travelled to Grotniki and had a really nice time there;-)

End of the season - middle
That day I was very determined to win. I had an almost clear race with a great pace of 5mins per km. However, Olej had an even better race and beat me by 16seconds! Good job:)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A round 100! :-)

I was really curious when my 100th post on this blog would be published and I am proud to say that you are reading it right now!

Last Friday my school took part in a cross-country 10-man relay competition. Each leg was about 1020m. I was the last one from my team to fight. I started 2nd much time behind the leader and with a considerable advantage over the bronze medalist. I just couldn't lose this position and decided to struggle for the best running time. I achieved 3:01, which makes a nice pace of 2:57/km on this muddy course. I was really satisfied with our result!

Thanks to this title of vice-champions of Łódź we are able to enter the tomorrow's Voivodeship Championships. See you there! ...but at first some football in the open air at 7:10 with my classmates;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The tastiest beer I've ever had!

No! These are NOT the split times from some Popular Orienteering Championships with a tremendous number of 3 other competitors in the men's elite class to beat. Neither the Daniel Hubmann's ones from the WOC 2009 Long Final. Nor the ones that I dreamt about last night... but actually the ones I have been dreaming about all life long! These are my split times from the last Sunday's Polish Champs in ultralong distance;-)

I have decided this post should be as precise as possible because you do not have the race of your life every day!

I had a really good training period after the previous Polish Champs races (night and relay). During these two weeks I was continually motivated by our resounding and long-awaited success in the relay. I didn't miss any training sessions and what's even more important - I managed to avoid catching a cold (praise be to God!). I made the last speed training on Thursday - 5x3mins (with the break of 3mins) and achieved a really nice pace on each of the intervals - about 3:07-3:15/km. I felt that my legs worked very well and was already looking forward to Sunday! On the right I present the fragment of my talk with Pasza 4 days before the competition. I must admit that a really good trainer is a psychologist as well! And that is really true of Piotr! Thank you:)

2 nights before the competition I slept really well for 10 hours or so. I got up at about 11, packed my things and we all set off between 15 and 16 (except for Ewa and Cilu who were going to enjoy some wedding reception in the evening). We decided to abandon the training prepared by the organizers in order to charge our batteries for the following day. At first I was categorically against this idea but it turned out to be quite appropriate judging from our results. Once we reached our destination, we had a short funny meeting. I spent the rest of this evening with Nati, drank some kind of the energy drink and went to sleep some minutes past 1. I would also like to add that I ate as much as 3(!) bananas that day and... the Tortilla McMenu;)

I had to get up at 7:30 in order to eat some breakfast. However, I was already woken up at about 7 by Nati who came to us to have her meal but actually I didn't mind it at all. I ate only 3 pieces of toast, got my things ready and we left to fight for the medals.

We arrived quite early at the competition area. I must say it was really cold there. I had nothing else to do than just wait patiently for my start time to come. I put my O-clothes on, visited Toi-Toi, slurped the 2nd half of my X-treme Energy Gel (the 1st one I already had the day before in the evening) and started a short warm-up. I decided to make use of the small warm-up map and took controls 3rd-6th. I had no problems finding them and it boosted my morale a bit. Then, I spent some 8 minutes on stretching exercises, took my 'R' off and was ready to run!

I grasped the right map confidently and began my race with the incredible amount of energy and motivation to win!
1. - I ran extremely fast from the very beginning. I just took the right direction and found this easy control quickly.
2. - Once I entered this beautiful forest, I was just overjoyed that the whole course was still ahead of me!
3. - Crossing the asphalt road, catching a small but long path and keeping the direction till the very end of this leg.
4. - The shortest leg of the whole course, seems impossible to make a mistake there... I saw Zielu (started 6mins before me) for the first time who had just finished his first much smaller butterfly.
5. - Running north: up, down, up, down, up, down and that's it!
6. - I just ran using the proper contour line and suddenly saw the control smiling towards me;)
7. - I must admit I intended to reach this control from the left side. Although I didn't succeed in realising my plans, I did win this split time, so actually nothing wrong happened:)
8. - Running along the distinct culture boundary, crossing the huge track and reaching my control. Sounds so easy, doesn't it?
9. - I checked the 14th on my way to this control. Then, slowed down a bit in order not to make a mistake cause I knew it was not the easiest control!
10. - I realised my plan perfectly!
11. - After leaving the last path I slowed down because I was not sure if the control was to be situated on a top or in some kind of a hole...
12. - Just the way I wanted it!
13. (mistake of ~0'05) - I hadn't read the contours precisely and ran too much to the right...
14. - A very well-known control for me;-) (thanks to the right route choice to the 9th one)
15. (~0'05) - I almost had to stop in the forest because I started looking for the control too early.
16. - The longest leg of the whole course. I managed to run very close to the red line and won this split time:) Once I reached the huge field, I saw Cilu very close to the control and I already knew it was going pretty well!
17. - At this control we were together. I really regret drinking a bit of hot Mineral Active at the refreshment point because it led to little stomach problems later...
18. - I was not certain if I was allowed to cross the tapes and ran using the special passage prepared for all the classes with a map change... I wouldn't call it a mistake, just some kind of prudence:)
19. (~0'10) - All the time I was not sure about my route choice. That's why I ran very cautiously and uncertainly. If I had remembered that Polish marshes are usually located in the open areas, I would have been much more self-confident.
20. - Luckily, I ran directly to the right small path and had no problems finding the control.
21. - I knew it could be the decisive control and slowed down. I used the first small path because I didn't want to pass the second one and I think it was the right decision!
22. (~0'10) - I hadn't planned this route choice in advance, that's why I ran a bit chaotically and didn't keep the direction properly. What is funniest is the fact that I crossed the large track, looked at my compass and came back to it immediately:-) Moreover, I saw Witek on the horizon who started shouting towards me: 'Come on, Podzio! COME ON!'. I must admit it was a really nice feeling:)
23. - Just following the red line!
24. - I had already seen this control once;)
25. - Running almost the same way as at the end of the 18th leg.
26. - I thought the control was to stand on the mountain but it was situated on the northern slope. However, no time losses actually.
27. (~0'05) - The 2nd of the so-called decisive controls. I decided to use the fences and it was just brilliant! Nevertheless, I should have run between the last two ones...
28. - The last tricky control of the course. Fortunately, I spotted the small, narrow path and reached the control flawlessly;-)
29. - When I saw it was going to be the second last control, I got a bit sad and gloomy. I wished this race had lasted forever!
30. - I took the perfect right route choice to this control and won this leg confidently:)
F - At first I punched the station (at 101) which gave no signal of punching it. I got furious and hurried to the second one because I knew each second might have been incredibly important...

However, I got terribly surprised at the finish when I heard that Olej's time was about 91 minutes. I could not believe that my advantage over the silver medalist (a dark horse - Gucio) came to 7:55! I just waited six minutes for Papuś to come and was able to celebrate my 3rd Polish Champion title. Making only 35 seconds of mistake, I achieved an amazing time of 83:09. It gives a brilliant pace of 4:54/km!

During our journey back home we stopped to have some lunch. Our great, easy-going and friendly driver told us to take our cups from the bags and ordered beer for us. He poured it into these cups and we savoured it! Yummy:)

And to finish it off...:


Saturday, October 10, 2009

New PB on 1500m

It's funny to call this time a new PB because it was my debut on this distance;) However, two days ago I managed to run 1500m on the track in 4:35,24. It's quite a good time taking the shortness of this race into account but I feel I still stand a chance of improving it considerably:)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! GOLD!!!

We had been trying to win the relay gold in Polish Championships for 4 years...
*2006 (M16 - Charubcia, Cilu and me) - I entered the forest first with a considerable advantage but was too weak mentally to keep the lead till the end, I finished 4th but the team from Chociw was disqualified and the bronze medal was a poor consolation...
*2007 (M16 - Tomek M., me and Cilu) - this time it was Tomek
who was too stressed to end his race in the first group and lost almost 7 minutes to the leaders on the first leg, I and Cilu did everything to stand on a podium and we did manage, bronze again...
*2008 (M18 - Charubcia, Cilu and me) - I was sent to the forest as the first runner in our class, however, I started only about a minute ahead of Rino and he caught me already at the 5th control, we ran together to the spectator control but just after it a worse forking came and I finished just some meters behind him, losing the gold only by 5 seconds!
*2009 (M18 - Witek, Cilu and me) - just take a look at the photos all around:)

There were lots of discussions about the 3rd person in our relay. Klusek or Witek? I must admit I was strongly in favour of the latter. And he did not disappoint me at all!
Already during his warm up I could se that he was fully concentrated. He started calmly and kept the leading group till the 2nd forking, where he had to take a much different route choice and go alone... and he was not afraid of doing it! That's the thing I expected from him most. Unfortunately, he lost touch with the first pack of runners and came to the finish 6th with a loss of almost 5mins. However, judging from my own experience it is much better when the 1st leg has the worst forkings;)
The 2nd leg consisted of 9 apprentices and 1 master. And luckily this master was from my team! Cilu had a brilliant race and came to the finish about 3:30 before Tukan Iwiny and almost 8mins ahead of the most dangerous team from Azymut Pabianice. That means that he won over 11 minutes with Groszek giving me a safe pole position for the last leg.
Just before my start in the changeover area I had an unpleasant situation with Olej showing too much self-confidence and claiming 'I will catch you boys'. What's more, he suggested we were too tense and we should have loosened up a bit. I wasn't able to keep my temper any more and growled 'Shut up!'. From the perspective of time I don't regret it at all.
I started really quickly, not knowing the exact time I could lose in the forest. What's more, I turned back much too often! However, in every moment of the race I was sure of our victory (with one exception only - explained later). Already at the first control I made a minor mistake due to some compass problems (0'15). That's why I hadn't checked the route choice to the next control before (0'03). I ran too much down the slope to the 3rd control (0'20). To the 4th control there was a better way to go using the track in the middle of the fields + wrong direction at the beginning of field running (0'15). To the 5th control I was really tired and lost much time just physically. The 6th control went as expected. To the 7th control I went too much to the left and made some extra meters (0'05). On the long leg I took a safe but extremely fast route choice and it was a magnificent decision! The 9th control went perfectly. The 10th control was the one I was afraid of most! Nevertheless, all the time I saw Marian some distance ahead of me and he punched this control just some seconds before helping me find it much quicker than I could have expected;-) I took the wrong direction leaving this control + some hesitance before the 11th catching sight of a long ditch crossing the huge ravine (0'15). Then, a time came for the spectator control (0'02) and I took the opportunity to ask my overjoyed teammates if I was able to cross this yellow field with black dots. I heard 'You can!' and ran up the hill as soon as possible. Now I am going to describe the aforementioned exception: I showed my great stupidity to the 13th control choosing a straighter and 'faster' route choice and lost more than 2 minutes! (2'10). It was the time when I started thinking of Wojtek and Olej. I was sure I would have killed myself if they had caught me because of this awful mistake. Fortunately, I could have spent 5 minutes more in the forest and we would still have won these relays easily. I had to find some hidden power to run at full speed to the 14th control as I was still thinking of the previous disaster. I looked for the control in the left re-entrant first (0'01). I went too much to the left to the last control (0'10), but even better because I was able to spend 10 seconds more in this wonderful forest tasting our superb victory:) I ran to the field and immediately saw a whole group of my club friends and shouted to them 'Eee! First?'. I heard the most beautiful answer in the world 'YEEEEEES!'. I punched the last control precisely and started jogging at the finish. My sweetest dream was being fulfilled! Witek and Cilu joined me in the middle of the run-in and we could end this relay together hearing people clapping their hands loudly.

That's the place where I would love to congratulate our SILVER GIRLS: Ruda, Gosia and Nati. I love you sooo much! Oh, maybe not love, like 2 of you very much (I suppose and hope Nati will read this post:D) and love one and the only one:-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

A gap day...

...the shortest note in this blog's history...

Now I understand Mats Haldin... perfectly understand!

Take a look at WOC 2009 long distance (17,5km) results in the men's class:
1. Daniel Hubmann
2. Thierry Gueorgiou (+1:55)
3. Mikhail Mamleev (+4:09)
4. Mats Haldin (+5:26).
Mats Haldin from Finland started first, in the 0:00 minute, and after a brilliant performance kept the lead for the very long time (until Daniel Hubmann came to the finish with the Italian runner Mikhail Mamleev who started 4mins before him). Both of them managed to beat the great Finn's time. No-one would ever doubt if Hubmann would have been able to win this race running alone. However, lots of people can't believe that the Italian could have won the bronze medal if he hadn't been running with the great Swiss. Aggrieved Mats Haldin and the Finnish Orienteering Federation even wrote a protest against Mamleev accusing him of following. Nonetheless, it was rejected by IOF and the first ever individual medal at WOC was gained by Italy... There was a special poll organized by the most popular O-website asking the readers if the Italian runner should have been disqualified. I ticked 'No'... (and I haven't changed my mind now!)

Now take a look at the results of Polish Champs in night orienteering in M18 class:
1. Michał Olejnik
2. Piotr Parfianowicz (+3:48)
3. Mikołaj Dutkowski (+4:01)
4. Rafał Podziński (+4:43).

I started in the 100:00 minute. Olej entered the forest 4 minutes behind Mikołaj Dutkowski. Exactly the same situation as the one presented above!
The only thing I want to add is the fact that I perfectly understand Mikołaj following Olej. What else could he have done?! Stand and wait till he runs away?! Take a worse route choice?! Run slower?! I just regret having missed a brilliant chance of achieving my first medal in night orienteering at Polish Champs. What's more, I can't stand the fact that the medal went to someone who did not deserve it fully... However, I congratulate you Mikołaj and hope you'll achieve your own medal at Polish Champs some day:)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An active day!

Yesterday the Championships of the 26th High School in cross-country running took place. I did a proper, really long and solid warm up and was ready for the start. I stood in the first line as one of the biggest favourites. I let one other guy (who got silver eventually) lead the race till 1:55 on my watch. Then, I got bored with the pace and pushed much harder just before a little mountain. Thanks to it, I gained a considerable advantage and was able to become the school champion easily:) I measured the course length and it was a bit over 1200m (but let's take these 1200m). My 'official' time was 3:44 but I'd rather trust the time on my own watch - 3:48. This makes quite a good pace of 3:10/km. The second runner came to the finish 10 seconds behind me.

In the evening I visited Arturówek to take part in the last night training before the Polish Champs. It would have been really hard for me to run slower than I did. I just focused on avoiding mistakes and analysing the appropriate pace in each moment of the race. The results presented below;)

My race at the Polish Champs in night orienteering is going to begin only in some 30 hours! I am highly motivated to win the gold and I think that the best recipe for pursuing this goal is here:
This is the how very true sentence said by Jasina Junior.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Estonia boosted my morale!

Our looooooong journey to Estonia (Baltic Junior Cup 2009) began some minutes past 17 on Fabryczna railway station. After a bit more than one and a half hour we reached Warsaw, ate kebabs and made our way to Torwar where the Polish Junior Team was to gather. We set off a quarter past 20 and reached our final destination at about 11 (15 hours in a bus!). We just had to switch our watches one hour forwards and could take a long-awaited rest;)

On the same day in the afternoon we took part in the model event. The terrain was very tough physically, full of branches lying on the ground, full of green areas, full of marshes and with quite a poor visibility. Despite of the facts mentioned above, I had a great fun on this short course and already felt that this type of terrain suits me pretty well! Some of my route choices on the map below may look a bit bizarre but they were caused by trying to avoid Olej's ones who I caught at the very beginning due to his funny mistake to the first control:)

On Saturday we competed in the long distance event. I didn't feel strong physically that day at all! That's why my tactics for this race was to avoid making big mistakes and find the controls confidently and I did manage. Nevertheless, I must admit I regret I had changed my mind to the 10th control, which cost me a podium place...

In the evening there was a special party organised for all the countries. Each team was to prepare at least one funny competition for the others. I had a great opportunity to check my English level while hosting our team's games;-)

Sunday began incredibly early. 6:30 (5:30 in Łódź!) - my alarm clock is ringing. The first leg runners (W/M18) are getting up slowly. We are going down the stairs in order to have our breakfast. However, the tables are not laid and switching the light on is impossible. Olej is opening the front door - it's very gloomy, windy, foggy and cold outside. We are waiting some minutes on the ground floor and then decide to go up again and wake our coaches and ask them what to do...
It turned out that there had been a power failure at night (now I realised that trenerka and Pasza talking at 2 a.m. was not only my night dream:P). We had only less than 2 hours to the start and had to eat right now! Fortunately, Daria gave us 2 yoghurts and Pasza helped me with some brown bread. We packed our things and left the bulding. The rest of our team had the opportunity to eat breakfast with some other teams in a different place...
I visited WC, put my spikes on and began my warm up some 30mins before the mass start. We all felt extremely hungry and our stomachs were empty. We thought we might have lots of physical problems during the race but still had big hopes for a good start:)
[Because of my good performance the day before I was in the theoretically best Polish relay with Pałka, Parfi, Angie, Darek and Jacek. - just a reminder]

As usual, the first legs started quite fast but the pace wasn't exceptional. And of course a forking to the first control - I caught the right group and had no problems punching MY control.
While running to the second control, I heard Olej shouting from behind which code number I have now. '33!'. 'The same!'. So we took our seats in the train and reached it flawlessly.
A bit longer leg to the 3rd one but still very easy - Raivo from Latvia led us to this control.
On our way to the 4th control we could notice the considerable change on the map (the green area was a field in fact). However, everything was shown before the start, so the organizers get a big +!
To the 5th control a funny situation took place as some of the runners got lost a bit and were running around (we thought there was a forking somewhere there but there was not).
The 6th control was very easy, just a physical one I would say.
The next one was just a 'middle' control before the longest leg to the 8th control.
The whole group started running straight to the asphalt road after Kenny Kivikas from Estonia. However, I was sure it was not worth going so far from the red line and made a small step to the left when Olej said 'Left!'. Then I was sure I was not the only one to choose this route choice. So the 2 Poles decided to run alone and we reached the big path at the same time as Kenny did! Thanks to this perfect route choice and brave decision we managed to save lots of our energy and totally reduce our 10 metres' disadvantage to the leader.
To the control no. 9 we should all have been disqualified because of crossing the out-of-bounds area. Kenny was clearly unsure about it but Raivo ran forwards and there was no other option than following him.
Then a big leading group reached the spectators' control and got ready for the last, and trickiest!, part of the course.
Already to the 11th control the leader from Estonia started running too much to the left and I noticed it immediately and took my own way. I was right for the second time and punched the control first!
To the 12th control I (yes, I, because I was the leader right now) took the right route choice through the field but left it too much to the right and Raivo took the lead again.
However, at the 13th control another big mistake of the leaders took place and I was sure I must have been right again and turned right immediately. Olej said from behind 'Our control is behind this marsh'. I shouted 'Yes!' and ran with enormous pleasure towards it!
I punched the 14th control first and began running to the 15th. Being a leader is not that easy and your speed is much slower then. That's why Raivo managed to catch us and kept the lead till the end of this wonderful race.
To the 16th control I just followed Olej as I knew we had no forking there.
We only had some problems punching the last control because it gave no signal confirming our punch - a funny thing after such a good race;)
We punched the finish, took the correct maps and gave them to Angie and Agata... and started enthusing about our brilliant performance!
I think it has probably been my best 1st leg performance ever. I was so self-confident and knew exactly when to follow the others and when to make my own decision! It is how a 1st leg of each relay should look like!!!
As for the results, after 2 legs (4 runners) Daria started 2nd just some 50m behind the leader and caught her already to the start flag. Unfortunately, she punched the wrong control and we were disqualified. She came 7th after her leg and Jacek (knowing nothing about her mispunch) managed to gain the 4th place just less than a minute to the bronze medal!

We had to come back home feeling a bit gloomy. Nonetheless, I was extremely satisfied with my performance that day and forgave Darek immediately:-)

There's one more little thing I would like to mention in this note - our drivers. Especially one, the plump one. I HAVE NEVER MET SUCH AN ARROGANT AND LOUTISH PERSON BEFORE! Hope never to travel with you again.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Incredibly frustrated!

If I had written this note yesterday, the title would have been much more scatching and cruder!
Last weekend we visited Warsaw in order to take part in UNTS Cup. The competition was perfectly organized and the atmosphere was just brilliant! Unfortunately, my performances were much, much, much, much and one more time much worse...
On Saturday a night sprint event took place. I was the first one in my class to enter the forest but I didn't really care about it. Although I didn't feel so well physically, I started fast and managed to keep this pace till the end of the course. However, I didn't succeed in avoiding stupid mistakes and lost almost 7mins due to my foolishness! I took the 5th place in men's 'elite', which was not satisfying at all! The one and only advantage of this race are the conclusions drawn and a hope for a much better race on October 2nd.

On Sunday there was a middle distance race prepared for us with cash prizes for the podium places in M21. I started quite good since at the 4th control I caught Slavko (4 minutes!) and was leading the race with the advantage of 44 seconds over the final winner - Chrupek. Then, a huge mistake came and a lot of other time losses afterwards. That's why I just want to forget about this competition as soon as possible and concetrate on running my own race! The map is presented below.

And now the time came for the funniest thing of the whole stay in the Polish capital - Jolanitas Cup. Firstly, I would like to thank Jolka for inviting me and for having a great fun while taking part in this unusual O-race. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOLANITA! As for the results, I made 3 mistakes (2nd, 4th and probably 6th or 14th control?). Hope to compete in Jolanitas Cup during your wedding, Jolka;)