Monday, 8 November 2010

Mega Blog!

Well well well, it's been a while since I wrote anything on here. I guess I've been a bit distracted. I suppose I should give a bit of an update for my religious followers ;) A lot has changed for me since my last post over a year ago. I'll try and give some bullet points rather than a huge diatribe about my recent happenings so that you can stay awake throughout:
- In late 2009 I applied for a visa to continue living in Denmark which was unfortunately denied.

- We appealed the decision.

- Denied.

- Having no qualifications didn't help my cause so I decided to go back to NZ to sort my life out.

- Unfortunately Maja was only in her first year of study so she had to stay behind in Odense, so now we're another Skype couple (which isn't as fun as it sounds!).

- Since I was back in NZ for the lovely summer I became a bigger part of my little brothers brain-child 'Sprint the Bay'. Originally I was just going to be a long distance course setter (not for a long distance, from a long distance), but after being kicked out of Denmark I became sort of a co-president of the event. It involved 3 days with 6 sprint orienteering races. We decided to have a yellow jersey (well yellow singlet really) for the over-all leader and also a green jersey for dedicated sprint legs in each of the races. This made things extremely competitive in the elite races. I was able to compete in the races I wasn't mapping or setting, and with Martin Hubmann in NZ for the summer I had some really good competition. Check out the results and courses from last year on our new website. Also a there's a cool video from the first stage here:

- The rest of the summer was filled with some trainings that I organised for our local club (see maps etc. here) and working on a vineyard.

- Time to study. This time around I decided to go with Computer and Information Science at AUT university in Auckland. I had a look at various courses, and this seemed the most interesting to me, and there's also a huge variety of job types available when I come out the other end with my little scroll.

- I've never lived in Auckland before this year, but I enjoy it much more than I thought I would. There's a lot of guys up here who are really motivated to train for orienteering, mostly juniors, so I was able to get motivated to train on those days where you'd rather build a cardboard box fort in your living room and eat food containing preservatives that you can't even pronounce.

- After starting up regular interval sessions twice a week, I started to see a lot of potential in our juniors. This was one of the reasons I decided to put my self forward for the JWOC coach for 2010.

- At the Easter weekend I had an average National champs. I made a mess of the sprint race, however I was happy to win the middle distance after a really bad start (see the route gadget for sprint middle and long, and the results for sprint middle and long).

- By the time we were ready to embark for our trip to Europe, the junior guys were beating me half the time in orienteering, even though I had massively improved my 5km time to 15.30.

- JWOC 2010 was in Denmark (one of my other incentives for coaching the team) - check out the team blog here. The terrain was not too dissimilar from areas around Auckland but the vegetation was very limiting in a lot of places which I think was the main challenge for our juniors. As always, NZ draws the short straw with JWOC being on the other side of the world. We don't have the luxury of regular training camps throughout the year on relative terrain. Making a JWOC A final become very difficult with only 2 weeks of relative training, but with 2 of our guys and one girl making the A final I was very happy. The relays went really well with our teams getting NZ's second best ever placings in both the guys and the girls races (both 12th). A lot of the team were disappointed with their results, but the experience was a good one and now they know what is required of them to do really well on the international stage. Now they have the memories and the motivation to train extra hard for the coming years.

- After JWOC I had a week to gather my energy before the world university champs in Borlänge, Sweden. The plan was to due some high quality training (intervals/intense o-sessions) but with less volume than usual. But either I was a bit shagged from the JWOC week or I am allergic to pancakes, because my body had other ideas. On the Tuesday I woke up with an extremely sore stomach which only seemed to get worse and worse. After spending nearly a day in the hospital being mucked around they suddenly decided I had an appendicitis and I needed to have my appendix removed, but of course by the time they got around to doing it it had already burst.
This would make my recovery take weeks instead of days.
After a week in hospital I wasn't feeling too good. Not just from the pain in my stomach, but from the week I was supposed to spend with my girlfriend being taken away along with my best ever chances at WOC. I decided to travel to Borlänge anyway, because Maja was in the team. It was a bit depressing not to be running but it was really fun to support the kiwis and see Angela come an awesome 6th place in the sprint! And of course the party was a highlight.



- After having my guts ripped out 3 weeks before the world champs I was thinking of taking a holiday instead, but since Trondheim was promised to be some awesome terrain I decided that I would still be able to have some fun competing. I ran in the sprint qual, not expecting too much of myself. I felt horrible. I didn't really make mistakes, maybe some bad route choices. But I didn't really feel like myself. It was just so hard to think and to run compared to normal (see the map and results). To my great surprise I made the final! I was happy at first but then realised this meant I had to run again later in the day. After running a ridiculously long way to the start point, I was already tired for the start of my race. Things went badly from the word go. I messed up the first control by deciding on my route-choice from memory of the old maps then realising that they had put a up a temporary impassable fence for the race. When I got up to the castle I was physically exhausted and stopped reading my map, I was just running around trying to find a way out of the fort and nearly succeeded with running right off the edge. This seemed to be my biggest challenge for the entire WOC. All of my mistakes were after climbing a hill and my brain just seemed to dissolve. Later in the course I made a huge mistake where I didn't know what was happening. I thought I had run into an out of bounds area because I was suddenly on a gravel road when my map was telling me it was supposed to be paved. I then proceeded to flounder around few a few minutes while everyone passed me, i.e. I came dead last in the race! (See the GPS tracking and results) The next race was the middle qual. This was my most enjoyable race from WOC, it was quite physical, but I took it easy after having learnt my lesson in the sprint. It paid off because a lot of people made a lot of mistakes in a lot of places. I qualified in 9th place which I couldn't quite believe given my recent misfortune (see the map and results). Next up was the middle final. This course was boring and weird. It was too fast for me with the physical shape I was in at that time and naturally I pushed too hard and made huge mistakes, like on the way to the 4th control (see the GPS tracking and results). The relay went ok for me, I was happy to be able to run the whole way (except for the huge ass climb after the spectator run through), I made some bad route choices in the race but no really big mistakes (see GPS tracking and results).

- After the Europe tour I had a lot of study to catch up on after missing 7 weeks of class. I never really did catch up but I managed to pass my exams (I think). I won a world ranking event at labour weekend, the course was a bit unfair with dodgy controls but I pushed hard enough to puke so I must have run all right (see route gadget and results).

- Now that university has finished for the year I'll head back to Hawkes Bay for a nice summer of training!
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