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.