Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Final Days Until WOC

     It has been pretty busy for me since I arrived in Europe with non stop training and racing. I really enjoyed all the races at O-Ringen in Sweden where I managed to win the middle selection race for WOC. It has been decided that I will be racing the Sprint, Sprint Relay, Middle and Relay at WOC.
O-Ringen Stage 4 Middle Selection

     I arrived in Scotland earlier this week and it is hard to believe it is summer here. It seems like it never stops raining and the temperature is more like what you would expect in the fall in Canada. But I must admit that if it is not raining the temperature is ideal for racing.  
     I have done my last few training's before WOC starts and now I am resting up for the sprint qualification on Friday. I am really excited to have another try at making the sprint final and also getting to run another forest race since I have not run one in a few years now. The middle/relay terrain reminds me a bit of my home terrain in Manitoba which is helping with my confidence. It is also a nice feeling knowing I am in best shape I have ever been leading up to the world orienteering championships. I have done everything I can in my training to be ready for these races and I am more prepared than I have ever been, so the results should take care of themselves as long as I keep my orienteering under control. 
Elgin GB Sprint Selection Race
Middle Training
Train on,

Saturday, 18 July 2015

O-Ringen and Canadian WOC Team Selections

     I have not posted anything in a very long time, so I thought I should try and write something before the madness of O-Ringen starts. I have been in Europe for just over a week now after an excellent winter training period where I ran 2:35.81 for 1000m and 4:09.87 for 1500m on the 200m indoor track.

     After a week of lighter training I think I have overcome the jet lag and my training has been going well over here in Sweden.  I did a few great training's in Gothenburg and now I am in Boras where I was able to get on a few more maps before O-Ringen starts which are being used as the Canadian selection races for the World Championships. Day 1 will be the long selection, the Elite sprint on Tuesday evening in Boras will be the sprint relay selection and Day 4 will be the middle selection.

Here are a couple of my training's I have done:

Sprint training in Gothenburg.
Last short training before O-Ringen went well.
     The O-Ringen races are going to be very physically tough because the ground is very soft, a bit rocky and uneven and the blueberry bushes all combine to drain your legs a lot quicker than normal. The orienteering also has its unique challenges with all the rock features, so the compass will be very important for me. My training has gone to plan and now I am just resting up before the long selection race tomorrow (Sunday).

Train on,

Monday, 27 October 2014

North American Orienteering Championships

     It has been two weeks since the North American Orienteering Championships wrapped up in Arnprior, Ontario. The weekends races were top notch and I think they were the best Canada has ever put together. Impressive!

     The middle distance did not go quite the way I had hoped. Since arrive back from Europe I did not get the chance to orienteering in the forest as much as I would have liked. With that being said I was orienteering with some of my old bad habits. I was sloppy with my orienteering, rushing things and not fully trusting my compass, instead thinking I new better. After a frustrating middle distance I realized all I had to do was have a clean, steady race to do well.
                                                                             Going to the 18th control                                                   Photo: Adian Zissos
Middle route
     The long was much better technically but I still made some stupid mistakes. The course was pretty technical like the middle distance, so you had to be focused all the time and when I lost focus or second guessed myself it usually led to a mistake. After a race that wasn't that great I managed to take the bronze medal.
                                                                                    Leaving the 22nd control                                               Photo: Adian Zissos
                                                                                                           Finish                                                                  Photo: Ethan Childs
                                                                                           Canadian sweep!                                             Photo: Adian Zissos
Left to right: Wil Smith, Robbie Anderson, Damian Konotopetz   Photo: Adian Zissos
Long route
Long route
     My final chance to win a NAOC race was in the sprint which had been a goal of mine for a few years. I new the course was going to be very fast with a more tricky section in the first part, a middle section where you would have to run like a maniac and a chaotic last section with a lot of controls. I started out well and under control until I almost overlooked a route choice to number six. Luckily I saved it in time and minimized the mistake to around 5ish seconds but it could have been much worse. I think I also lost a few seconds on the run to number ten because I was trying to get a real good look at the final section because I can remember when I looked ahead to the end, I thought to myself "dam that's a mess of controls, I can't mess anything up there or any chance at winning will be gone". I managed to get through the last eight controls very well and I think that is the reason why I ended up winning the GOLD! Placing first overall added to the significance of being the NAOC sprint champ and the meaning of the gold medal. All the hard work finally payed off. What a feeling!

     Being the top Canadian and winning the NAOC sprint has qualified me to run in the 2015 WOC Sprint in Scotland as per the Canadian Selection Criteria. Time to start preparing! I will get another chance to qualify to run the middle or long next summer in the Canadian Team Trials since both of the Regional WOC spots were won by Canadians at NAOC.
                                                            At the start                           Photo: Robert Svoboda
                                                                                             In the final loop                                                           Photo: Adian Zissos
                                                                                    Pushing hard in the finish                                                    Photo: Adian Zissos
                                                                                                         GOLD!                                                                Photo: Robert Svoboda

                                    Couldn't keep the Canadian sweep alive    Photo: Robert Svoboda
Sprint route
     After about one hour of rest the sprint relay started, so there was not much time to recover from the sprint. I ran second and had a great race again. The course was three quarters in the forest which added an extra challenge. The forest was quite open which didn't slow the running speed down too much. I ended up having the fasted time out of everyone.
                                                    Tori tagging off to me                    Photo: Robert Svoboda
                                                             Cruising in                               Photo: Robert Svoboda
                                                           Finish                                      Photo: Ken Walker
                                                    Tagging off to Will                       Photo: Robert Svoboda
Sprint Relay route
After a few cross country races with my University of Calgary Team, I am ready for some much needed rest!

Train on,

Friday, 10 October 2014

US Nationals 2014/ NAOC Preview

     This past weekend was the US Champs in New York where I had three great races. I ended up winning the sprint and was second overall in the long. I mp in the middle because I skipped a control but would have easily been second overall again. It was very frustrating as the race was great for me otherwise and know I can perform well at NAOC. Having three great races was a big boost to my confidence which will help in the NAOC races coming up.
US Nationals Sprint
My maps+routes from last weekends races:
US Nationals Sprint route.
US Champs Long route.
US Champs Middle route.

     Racing the US Champs was great preparation for NAOC which will start tomorrow in Arnprior, Ontario. The middle distance is tomorrow which should be very technical and I am looking forward to it. The NAOC races are being used for selections for next year’s World Champs which I am hoping to race in. My knee has been bothering me quite a bit lately which is very annoying but I am managing to deal with it. I am very exited and looking forward to this weekends races because I am considering NAOC 2014 to be the biggest races in North America in the 21st century. The start list is packed with many great runners from NA and abroad which will create a "Europe" like racing atmosphere which should be great. I am prepared and ready to have some of my best orienteering races ever.

All the info and results can be found here:

Train on,

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WUOC 2014- Final Thoughts

     WUOC 2014 was one of my main goals for this season and was a competition that I thought I would be able to perform well at. I was in good shape physically and my orienteering was not even comparable to my orienteering when I arrived in Europe over two months ago. I was very well prepared for the races and new if I could orienteering at my own level and do my own race I would see some good results.

     The sprint started out very well for me as I was running fast but under control. Going to the 7th control I planned on going to the left as soon as I saw the leg but as I was running down the path the right option looked shorter so I changed my mind and went to the right. I did double check the map to see if I could get through and thought I could. It ended up that it was a trap. Looking at the map now I think I just saw the contour line under the black wall and the little tiny dot of white which made it look like I could get through when running at a high speed. That cost me way too much time and I was so rattled that I chose the worst route choice to the 8th control with 45m climb and didn't even see the other option. It wasn't my day and my result (44th) did not show what I was really capable of. 
Looking at #7- can't believe I didn't see I couldn't get through
Photo:Robert Svoboda
Sprint Finish
Photo: Robert Svoboda
WUOC Sprint Route (right click and open in new tab for better quality)
     I started out quite conservative in the middle running at around 70%, basically letting the orienteering dictate the speed and making sure I didn't lose time on the first few controls. I had a few smaller mistakes up until the 19th control where I lost control.  As I left the 18th control I thought I was drifting off my compass going through the green and when I hit the trail I was confused and thought I could be at the trail junction to the NE. I continued to run down the trail until I was sure where I was and then attacked the control from there. I had another big miss at the 21st  control after losing some confidence from the mistake at #19. I ended up with a result that I was happy with (53rd) but I know I have the potential to do much better that I did. My orienteering is slowly starting to become more equal with my running speed but I didn't feel like I pushed hard enough at any point during the race.
Middle Finish
Photo: Robert Svoboda
WUOC Middle Route (right click and open in new tab for better quality)
     The relay was really exiting and the most enjoyable race I have ever run. I had a really great race in general but again it could have been a whole lot better. It was pretty chaotic at the start of the mass start and I was happy that I was able to do my own race so that I went to all the right forkings and not just run like an idiot and follow whoever. I was running very well up until right before the spectator control where I got a bit ahead of myself in planning the final loop after the spectator control and skipped the 16th control. Something just didn't seem right as I was running to the spectator control and then I realized I had skipped #16 and had to start running back to it, most likely swearing the whole time as I crashed through the green as fast as I could. It is a terrible feeling running by so many teams that you were ahead of just because you unintentionally missed a control. I was running in 12th up until that point but dropped to 20th and maintained that position to the changeover and tagged off to Eric who was running second. Eric had a good run and tagged off to Graeme who also had a decent run. We ended up finishing in 18th which is the best result Canada has ever had if I am not wrong.
WUOC Relay Route (right click and open in new tab for better quality)
    Thanks to coach Toni who gave us encouragement, advice and confidence when we needed it for each race and to team leader Jared who let us know everything that went on in the team leader meetings and who kept things organized. Also thanks to my teammates who made WUOC 2014 a memorable experience.

     Next up is the US individual Championships in New York followed by the North American Orienteering Championships in Ontario in early October on back to back weekends. I will now take a bit of time off from orienteering and let the body and mind recover after a long two months of orienteering away from home. It will be nice to get back on a more consistent training plan after racing in Europe which requires a lot of resting to be added into the training plan before the major competitions.

Train on,

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

WUOC Sprint Mixed Relay

     Yesterday was the sprint mixed relay in the town of Kromeriz. The course was mostly in park with a little loop in the town at the end. I thought the forkings were way better than the WOC sprint mixed relay in that there was decisive forkings all throughout the course. Emily ran the first leg and came into the finish in 5th place and tagged off to me.
Emily tagging off to me in a solid 5th place
     After seeing Emily near the finish in 5th place I new I would have a good race because there were so many strong teams just behind me that would force me to push hard and stay focused so I could stay ahead of them. I somehow moved into 4th by the first radio control which was surprising. I was running right on the edge from the start which caused me to make a few little mistakes where I left a few controls in slightly the wrong direction and had to correct it which eats up valuable time in a sprint. I also think I picked the wrong routechoice to #7 and should have gone to the right. I would have avoided running through the grass/stinging nettles which I think was at least 10 seconds slower than going to the right which was almost all on the trail and 20m shorter. The biggest lake on the map by #6 did not actual have any water in it which was a little confusing when I was running by the edge of it to #7 and only saw grass and a bit of water.
Sprint relay route (open in new tab for better quality)
     I was running alone until the Czechs, French, Finns and Norwegians caught and passed me just before the final loop in the town. I came into the finish about 20 seconds back of that group and in 8th place. I was happy with my race even though I could have done a bit better. The Canadian team ended up finishing in 17th place which is not bad but also could have been much better.
Leg 2 splits
The Team
Spectator control
Finish punch
     Today was the long distance which I chose to skip to rest up for the sprint tomorrow. I did another easy run on the sprint model map and just took it easy to be in top shape for the sprint tomorrow afternoon.

Train on,

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Silesia Grand Prix/WUOC

     Last weekend I raced in the Silesia Grand Prix which was a 5 stage competition over 4 days in the North of Czech Republic. The terrain was very enjoyable and generally fast with some slower green areas. It was very good preparation for WUOC which should be held on somewhat similar terrain. The last race of the competition was very tough because I was pretty tired after racing 4 times back to back which was really taxing on the body. I managed to have five good races where I was able to fine tune some of my orienteering techniques in preparation for WUOC. The terrain was very enjoyable which was slightly more tricky than I expected especially in the green areas and on the steep side hills.

     This is my route from stage 2 which turned out to be my best race technically and my best result (6th) of the event even though I lost some time where I shouldn't have.
Stage 2 of Silesia
     Today was the WUOC middle/relay model event. The forest was very open with great visibility and generally very flat and fast. There were also some green areas where the visibility was reduced which made it tricky and also slowed the running speed down a bit. Being colour blind the open areas in the green parts were very hard for me to see while running which added an extra challenge to reading the map and seeing what was green and what was open. The middle and relay will be harder for me as a result because the same printing will be used for the actual competitions which is a bit frustrating.
WUOC Middle/Relay Model (route)
     WUOC will start next Tuesday with the mixed sprint relay. I will run the mixed sprint relay, sprint, middle and relay. I have chosen to skip the long distance and focus on the sprint and middle instead where my chances at a better result are more promising.

Train on,