Saturday, 21 February 2009

Training Camp in Spain

What an awesome week! It was so good to escape the dreary danish weather for a little while and learn how to read a map again. The program was pretty full on, so naturally the week went really quickly.
First up we had a long distance race inland from the coast. There were a few good runners there, I didn't run too hard, maybe 85% and I had little trouble with the map. For instance, I didn't know that you were allowed to run through the orchards which affected my first big route choice leg, and later on, number 10 I took a route choice on some tracks which just seemed to disappear, leaving me a little lost. But other than that it was ok. I think I was 10mins down on Mats Troeng, and I got to run the last part of the course with Johan Runesson.
In the afternoon, we ran the mens middle distance A final course from JWOC in 2002. I didn't realise untill afterwards though, I kept thinking... this seems really familiar (as over 2mins, I ranI ran in the B-final on the same map in 2002). I made a big mistake on the 2nd control... into the control circle and couldn't see the tapes with the SI unit tied to it (this happened a fair few times throughout the week :D) I lost a little time on the 6th control and 80sec on the 8th. I ran about 80%, but it felt really good to run in sand dunes again... the closest thing to NZ since I left :) My time was just over 27min. Johan Runesson beat the winning time from JWOC in 2002 by 7sec, I think he did 22mins for 4.6km, quite impressive considering the map had changed a little and he had ran a long distance in the morning.
Eat. Sleep.
Early the next morning we had a tennis-o training. This was a new one for me, but a really cool excercise. We ran in groups of 4, there were several short courses and we took different turns at starting first with 15sec start intervals between us. The first to the finish gets 4 points, 2nd - 3, 3rd - 2 and 4th- 1. I finished first on all of the small courses, except 2nd on one of them. Its a really good excercise to get your orienteering speed up, and for running with others.
The afternoons training was again new to me, I think a really unique type of training. We ran in the technical sand dunes on a round, contour only map with no north lines and we were't allowed a compass (though it wouldn't do you much good on that map). Even the small depressions had been rotated so you couldn't work out where north was. I had a complete shocked on the first control.... I made a huge parallel error and floundered around for about 10mins. It was a really fun excercise though (once I decided to start concentrating :P)
That evening (dusk) I ran the night training without a light. It was really hard, because the SI units just had grey reflector pipe with them, which is really hard to see without a light shining on them.. It was ok though.
Eat. Sleep.

Next morning we drove up to Alicante for a city sprint. We started in a pit type thing in an old fortress, so we couldn't see where everyone ran. It was designed to be really technical... and it was!!!!! It was almost painful trying to pick a routechoice... I just wanted to jump all the walls, it was fun though. I ran ok, until the 9th (and probably the easiest control). Once again, I didn't see the tapes (or the small clearing) and mucked around for a minute and a half. On the way to the 11th control I headed straight down the hill and then jumped off a wall before realising it was meant to be impassable, so I had to disqualify myself. I was pretty happy with my run though, I would have won over some really good runners if it wasn't for my mistake on the 9th.
In the afternoon, we headed to a mountainous inland map called Penarubia, this looked familiar again... I think our NZ team went training here in 2002, or maybe just for a run... I think I remember a taking a photo of Dave Stewart's ass above a dangerous overhang at the top of the map. This training sucked for me (just my opinion)... the ground was so rocky (real ankle busters), and it was so steep. I think my mind was really tired on this one... I navigated to the 4th instead of the 3rd, I spent a lot of time hunting for the controls in the circle, especially the 10th because it was up too high. Then on the way to the 15th, I forgot where I was going and went up way to high. When I realised, and looked down into all the green crap I had to run in for the next 3 controls I decided I would rather keep running over the mountain and back to the finish.
Eat. Sleep.

Wednesday morning. This was probably my best training of all. We had a mixed relay with others from the camp. We had a mass start with all the fast guys, (you can see me in the video above starting on the far left running in black boxer shorts because I accidently forgot my o-pants) there were some good ones too - Mats Troeng, Johan Runesson, Gernot Kerschbaumer, William Lind, Klaus Schgaguler and more... I was winning untill the 6th control where came out to the beach and ran to the wrong hill.. I think I only lost half a minute but was passed by about 15 guys.. I managed to claw my way back throughout the rest of the course and pass all the guns.. I was leading in the finish but was out-sprinted by William Lind. Like I said, I was really happy with my run.. If I can run like that this year at WOC I should be able to get our relay team off to a kick-ass start :)
I ran a night training that night with my tiny LED light. It went well for me I think, considering I could see about 2 metres infront of me the whole time. I didn't make any really big mistakes, I could see it would be really easy to get lost when the map was contour only with no north-lines.
Eat. Sleep.
Now we had a forest sprint which I had been looking forward to, but I totally made a mess of. I got distracted by another runner on the way to the 2nd control and lost time, and then on the 4th control I wanted to run along the fence, but this was gone!! Oh well... then later I lost time on the 6th, just standing in the circle I failed to see the control buried under pine needles :)
That afternoon we had camp champs, a one-man relay with butterflies. I was leading at the first conrtol... but perhaps I was going a bit too fast because I muffed up the 2nd control, one of those annoying mistakes where you are going right but you start doubting yourself... I lost a minute or so, and finished about a minute behind the winners... So a pretty good run as I was by myself on my loops.
Eat. Sleep.
In the morning, I ran a simplification excercise with various features taken off the map using ocad. It was mostly ok, except for not seeing the tapes on the 1st control and thinking I was going to the 13th when I was actually going to the 12th. haha! Straight after (on the same map) I ran the 'cutillas' mini sprint race. It went well except for a bad bearing on the 9th where I lost close to 90sec... damn... I would've been close to the record time too.
Eat. Sleep.
Saturday and Sunday we had the WRE middle, then long distance. I will make another post with more about them when I get the maps sorted. The middle was a real shocker, I made about 7mins of mistakes (I think I had spent too much time running fast in the sand dunes all week :P). I think I finished in 30th place in a pretty strong field. (only 3mins behind Hubmann though) The long was much better.. I lost about 2 mins in the beginning of the course, but I ran well in the big routechoice legs and only lost maybe another 2mins max in the rest of the course. I finished 6th, 3mins behind the winner. Good enough for me at the moment :)
The camp officially finished on the friday, but we flew out monday evening so Maja and I took the optional 100controls training, with contour only and no north lines. I made a few mistakes, pretty good out of 100 controls. There were only white tapes wrapped around the trees at the control sites and some were missing... so most of the control circle mistakes that you can see on my gps route are because of that. I tried to beat 100mins for the 100 controls, but ended up just on 100mins... a nice ending to the week :)


PS. This post took me forever!
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