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.