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;)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flawless night training

I wish I had such a race at Polish Champs on 2nd October!
I made only some minor mistakes, so considering it was night orienteering, I can easily call my performance flawless:)
2. - ditch bend first, then the hole (5'')
3. - some time lost in green (10'')
11. - big problems with keeping the right direction (15'')
13. - didn't really know where the control was going to be situated (8'')
15. - forgot about the scale after leaving the path and didn't change the direction a bit (15'').
All in all, I made only 53 seconds of mistakes on a 4,98km long course and achieved a great time of 27:42, which makes an average of 5:34 per km!
I'm terribly satisfied with my performance and do NOT hesitate to dare for more;-)

Monday, September 14, 2009


The 2nd round of Polish Club Championships took place in Gdynia last weekend. Our club fought to keep the great 2nd place after the spring round and... we finally did manage! However, it was a really tough battle against really strong this time Śląsk Wrocław.

The first race was a sprint distance event on Friday. The terrain was quite unusual, but I don't really like so-called forest sprints... I made a regular race making just one bigger mistake of about 24 seconds. However, Olej was prepared much better physically that weekend and won with the advantage of 38 seconds over me. I took the first 2nd place:)

On Saturday there were two races waiting for me! In the morning we were to compete in the middle distance. I made a really good effort technically and caught Wojtek Pachnik as soon as the 6th control. I must admit I really like running with him cause he's prepared very well physically and it helps me keep the appropriate pace throughout the course. I made one considerable mistake to the 8th control that cost me the victory. Nevertheless, I am pretty satisfied with both of these individual races since I became sure that in our class there is: Olej, me, ... and the rest. As for the results, I took the second 2nd place:)

Late in the evening there was the most exciting race of the weekend ahead of me! First legs at night! 38 relays at the startline! And only one goal - finish among the best! Or maybe one more (even much more important!) - have fun, enjoy and love every meter of the course! And all the goals were realised;-) I felt really good physically and was easily able to keep with the leading group! The pace was impressive and I felt very tired the following day. I reached the finish line as the 7th runner losing 2:23 to Maciek Grabowski from Flota Gdynia. It was a really good starting position for our team...
On Sunday Ewa, Nati and Cilu made great races and Agata went to the forest as the leader. Unfortunately, she got too much stressed and made an awful mistake to the very first control and lost time and place... Then, Łukasz had a really good race again and Pasza was let out to the forest at the 4th place only some 2 minutes behind Slavko and Piotr Cych. He was flying on the course and finished SECOND with a considerable advantage over Śląsk and UNTS. So... we took a historical 2nd place:)

Above you can see the relay map with my own route choices (drawn before seeing the GPS routes) and below I present the GPS tracking from Forerunner 305.

3x2 makes 2... and we are the 2nd club in Poland again!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My new Silva Alpha 6 means a great fun in the forest!

No time - just a short note.
Night training in Modrzew. Before Polish Club Championships. 4,56km. 28:40. 6:17/km. Quite a good speed. Some minor mistakes. New compass is not my friend yet...
All in all, pretty sure about my shape. Physically, as well as technically:)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Flying first legs in Spała!

START - Pasza, Łukasz, Zielu, Klusek, Marko, Kubiak, Jasina, Kamil, Jacek and me in the 'A' category...

1. (870m - 3:39) - an amazingly fast start and a long leg with a really easy route choice, me punching first just ahead of Pasza
2. (440m - 2:29) - first forking, mine was the longest one and not seen from the distance, what's more, wrong direction just at the beginning of this leg and losing some of my precious time, punching together with Pasza, however, his control was on a mountain, a bit closer to the next one, seeing Łukasz and Cilu just some meters behind us
3. (360m - 1:59) - quite difficult control, but found relatively quickly, punching first just ahead of Pasza
4. (820m - 4:29) - another long leg with very easy route choice, just the very end could be tricky, so I decided to slow down a bit and having led at the whole leg, I punched this control first 5. (160m - 1:24) - a middle distance leg, Pasza spotted a nice, small path close to the stream and took the lead, I lost some seconds fighting with the pricking blackberries
6. (400m - 2:27) - a very easy control, I decided to run a bit more to the left and punched the control first, just ahead of Pasza, again...
7. (210m - 1:05) - the second forking and the biggest one on the course, I was lucky cause I had the closest control to punch and left these control area first with a considerable time advantage over the followers
8. (730m - 4:25) - I felt a bit confused because I thought that they had punched my 7th control and were running in a completely different direction, that's why I felt very unsure of what I was doing at that time and lost some time running through some green area (not shown on the map:/), then, I saw Łukasz running from the right side and fell down, suddenly, I felt that my map was getting wet and I realised that my compass had been broken, from that moment I could not rely on it, what made the last part of the course incredibly difficult for me, especially technically, I punched the control first, ahead of Łukasz and Pasza following us
9. (100m - 0:43) - easy control to find when you just notice the mountain on the right of this hole, no problems, nothing changed in the lead
10. (330m - 1:49) - the biggest mistake of the whole course, I felt so unsure without my compass that I just could not concentrate to look for the big path in the terrain, I tried to look at the contours, but they were not shown on the map precisely enough for me and I punched the control just a second ahead of Łukasz and Pasza
11. (170m - ~0:55) - I really wish I had had a compass in that moment, due to the lack of it I ran too much to the right and Pasza took the lead, I punched second before Łukasz
12. (150m - ~1'06) - the 3rd and the last forking of the course, I saw Pasza running through the long clearing but I knew I had to turn right earlier and fortunately did it, however, some meters too far and lost some precious seconds
13. (390m - 2:19) - extremely fast leg, firstly, struggling with the bushes, then, seeing Pasza on my way to that control and just following him, punching second some seconds behind him
14. (240m - 1:06) - even faster! the distance between me and Pasza didn't change considerably, not yet;)
15. (220m - 1:06) - I knew I had no compass to look at, so I just followed Pasza and hoped there would be no forking and I was lucky, punching second some seconds behind him.......

FINISH (130m - 0:30) - I knew that my last chance to win the race was to run straight to the finish, however, it was quite difficult without a compass, but I managed to get to the huge track some 8 meters ahead of Pasza and ran terribly fast in order not to give this brilliant lead away!

My course was 5,62km and my running time was 31:32 (5:37/km). I made just some small mistakes and had quite a clear run. My speed was really good that day and I am very satisfied with my performance, because I got what I wanted... and it tastes great!