25 November 2008

New website

I have a new website for the new season. Check it out at www.grahamgristwood.co.uk

03 November 2008

October Update

Well October wasn't a great month for me, I injured my calf on the 1st October, and since then I have managed 3 hours of running. I also picked up a really nasty cold, which I haven't been able to shake off for almost 2 weeks now, which is getting annoying.

Despite (or maybe because of) me not running, Lidingö managed to pick up some decent end of season results (after a disappointing season) with 5th at 25manna and 4th at Smålandskavlen.

But now I am looking forward to November. I will not start winter training properly until December, but I plan to train a little in November as well. I am going back to England for 2 weeks, to do some work, see some friends and family, and go to a conference.

I have also spent a lot of the time I haven't been training thinking about next season, and how I am going to make it better than this season. I have just booked my flights to South Africa for a month training at altitude in January :)

16 October 2008

02 October 2008

Premature season end

Week from hell-

Last friday SM middle qualifier. Bad race with two big mistakes, not enough to qualify for the final, but worse I slipped down a crag and jarred my shoulder quite badly so I couldn't sit comfortably or sleep very well that weekend.

Sunday SM relay. Team-mates ran badly, and mispunched before I ran.

Monday. Went out for a long run, got to half an hour before my lunch came back out and I had to jog home.

Wednesday. Natti natti night sprint relay. I ran last leg and we won, but felt something in my calf on the warm down, woke up this morning and couldn't walk. Hobbled to the physio and it turns out I have torn the top of my right calf a little. Not too serious, need to rest a few weeks, and running could risk making it a lot worse, so that is season over, no World Cup Final this weekend.


24 September 2008

SM Long Qualifier map plus some nice Stockholm training maps

SM long qualification race - small mistakes at 2, 4, 13, map at 14 was dodgy as can be seen by me stopping too early in 'not green'. Scrappy on 15 also.

Really nice training south of Stockholm with Tom Hodel who is staying with me this week. We regrouped every 3-4 controls. Very detailed map in places, especially at the end. I ran pretty well, except when I tried to miss one control out at the north end, and had to run back to the previous one. The last loop was fantastically technical.

I was pretty tired after the weekend so I hung some tapes for Tom and Erik on the map next to 25manna terrain. Pretty nice, standard Swedish city forest map. Fast but still requiring a lot of concentration.

Went to an organised mini - training event on Nacka this afternoon. I ran the middle length course as I am preparing for SM middle on friday. Ran really good except for a 1 minute mistake at the first control - didn't really understand the map so well. Wasn't pushing very hard, but a nice training after falling asleep by the lake after lunch. Bit cold for a swim after though...

First time I have used pin-punching in about a decade. Forgotten all about control cards and how to attach them to myself.

21 September 2008

Swedish Champs Long Distance

8th place today in the final. Really happy with my performance - I ran well almost every control. The course was quite 'easy' and fast, but that is good for me. I caught Martin Johansson half way and ran together for some, but then I chose a different route choice and got a little behind (the 18th - he ran to the road). Then I was really pushing to catch him and I made a bad route choice to 19 and missed 20 a little. I saw him again the last few controls though. I didn't make the best start, with small mistakes at 3 and 4 (came out of 3 through the stony ground and lost time), but then I had a really good section from the 7th (spectator) to the first radio, only losing 15 seconds to Peter Oberg in 30 minutes running. I felt strong at the end - I think this is the best classic distance form I have ever had, and almost definitely my best ever classic race performance, both technically and physically. I lost around 2 minutes technically, and around the same physically, so that is very positive.

Now I am looking forward to next weekend middle and relay. The only slight disappointment is that I was only 1.17 from a medal which would have been really sweet. Maybe next year....

20 September 2008

Swedish Championships Long Distance Qualification

No map yet because the final tomorrow overlaps today's race, but I ran well enough to qualify second in my heat, 1 1/2 minutes behind the winner Michal Horacek. Looking at splits, I was running very fast, but was also scrappy in the circle, with 6 small mistakes close to the control (totalling 3.40). I need to improve this for tomorrows race, but in general I am satisfied with today. The terrain was nice, fast and detailed, except for one area near the finish where I didn't like the mapping of the vegetation (surprise surprise). I felt strong and had good split times in general, so I can be confident especially with a nice start time around some really good runners.


14 September 2008

District Long Champs

Only 4th today, I had a really bad race, and finished almost 6 minutes behind Emil (nice return to form for him just in time for SM!). Maybe it was the change of scale, or I was trying too hard, but I spectactularly failed to orienteer well for the first half an hour, missing 4 minutes on the first 6 controls (15 secs at 1, 1 min at 3, 45 secs at 4 and 2 mins at 6 where I was amazingly stupid). I ran better after that, but lost some time on my route to 11, and then a small miss at 12 was followed up by a 90 second mistake at 14. As can be seen from the track, I ran right past it twice without seeing it! I was caught at this point 6 minutes by Jacob Jansson from Jarla. That was the mental slap I needed, and I had a fantastic race after that to the finish, losing only 34 seconds to the best splits (and half of that was on number 21) in the last 30 minutes.
Much tougher terrain than yesterday. Bigger hills, and really broken ground with lots of fallen trees in places.
Now it is time to rest up for SM. I have had a fairly hard few weeks, not high hours, but the intensity has been very high with a lot of hard running and races, so I need to try and let my body recover as much as possible before the long distance champs next weekend, middle and relay the weekend after that, and then the World Cup final in Switzerland to round off a tough month.

13 September 2008

Stockholm District Middle Champion

Today I won the district champs in middle distance to go with my district sprint title in the spring. The race was down in Södertörn in some really nice terrain. It was quite varied with the first controls in lightening fast no so detailed terrain, then parts were on very detailed hill tops. It was important to stay in control all the time in these parts, and trust the compass in the less detailed parts. I had a pretty good race, pushed from the start, and only lost control once on the approach to number 12 when I was distracted by a runner punching a different control on a similar looking feature. I relocated quickly and lost around 40 seconds. Apart from that I was pretty satisfied with my race, but looking at the splits, I lost around 20 seconds on the 2nd control, and a few seconds at 10, 14 and 22 (maybe 5-10 seconds each), but I think it was that kind of terrain where you can go the wrong side of a hill and through a rocky patch and lose a few seconds.

The main competition, Holmberg, Lowengren and Lauri all ran pretty badly, and it was Näsman and Peter Hemmyr who took 2nd and 3rd, about 50 seconds behind me. Tomorrow is the DM long distance, so hopefully I can take that too!

06 September 2008

Debut half marathon

Today I ran the Stockholm Half Marathon. I've never run the distance before, and it was my first road race since May 2007 (I think...). My goal was 70 minutes based on the fact the weather would be good and the course would be flat and fast.

It was pissing it down....
And flat my arse, felt like only about 5km was flat, the rest was up and down over and under bridges and loads of small climbs.
Managed to just about keep warm before the start, and stuck to my tactic of starting slow and trying to keep a steady pace. Ran the whole race overtaking people - I don't think a single person passed me!
Ran 16.34, 16.46, 16.20, 16.39 5km splits, and 3.42 for the finish. Fluctations due to hilly bits / flat bits. My finish time was 70.03, but I am sure I crossed the finish line 5 seconds quicker than that :(.

Anyway, really pleased with the time and the way I felt. The first 10km in 33 mins felt easy, it was tough after that, but I felt really good around 12-18km, then the last 3km was a real struggle.

I feel on a nicer day and a flatter course I can run maybe a couple of minutes quicker.

Results here

They have now changed the results online, so my official time was 69.58 :)

01 September 2008

Eliteseries weekend in Vimmerby

This weekend I went down to Vimmerby for 2 Eliteseries races. The first was a sprint in Astrid Lindgren's World, which promised to be pretty exciting. It turned out to be a great venue, and a good race in all aspects except the map, which was shocking. It seems to me like the map was updated from its old incarnation (pre-ISSOM) without anybody checking it, ie. just changing some symbols without leaving the office. Not only is the drawing really bad (very untidy - eg. path junctions), but it is also plain wrong. Leaving the 5th control, there is a potential route to the west, but there is marked a building in the way - actually an arch-way. So can you run there? Not according to the rules...
Also basically any white 'runnable' forest on the map was green swamp jungle, and I can't see that it can ever have been white. I made the mistake of thinking white meant runnable, and I lost a lot of time - 20 seconds on number 6 alone! The forest outside the park (around the first controls) had really high vegetation, and I would have used green stripes there. People were also complaining about other things, and rightly the race was removed from the Eliteseries after a number of protests (here if you can read Swedish).
Apart from that it was a nice venue for a race, and I ran ok. I seem to be in really top shape at the moment and I had a number of fastest and good splits. Finished 7th though, about 30 seconds behind.


Sunday was a long distance race with a mass start and with butterflies as forking. It seems to me that butterflies really aren't effective - many times they have the opposite effect, bunching runners up, and so it proved this time as well in my opinion. Far better were the really long legs with big route choices (not that there were many in this race). I ran quite well, trying to stay near the front without doing too much work. I actually took the lead on the way to the 6th, and then lead on my forking from 10 to 15. I lost a little on 14 and 15, and dropped to around 8th. Then on the way to the 19th I decided to run on my own to the south and up the track. That was really good and at the top of the hill I was alone with a huge group behind me. Then I made a stupid error (around a minute) approaching the control and I was back behind chasing. I was chasing what I thought was the lead group (although actually Haldin and Karlsson got away with a better route to 19) all the way from 20 to 25 (despite their shocking route choice to 23), and I caught them again in the butterflies. Although by that point people behind taking a better route to 23 had caught us also. Then it was a bit manic around the second butterflies. My group ran the first one well, but messed the 2nd up, especially 31, so we came back to the central control maybe 30 seconds behind a big group from the other forking. The fastest of us chased them down and there was a sprint finish from number 35 to the finish. At control 33 I was 17th, and then I took 4 places to 36, and 6 places on the climb to 37! I finished 7th, 20 seconds behind a lightning William Lind.

Good tough race. Fun to do these occasionally, and nice to know I have the fitness to fight to the finish.


27 August 2008

New pb for 10,000m

Last night I smashed my 10km pb at Stockholms Stadion. I ran 30.59,08 to finish second in the Långlöparnas Kväll. I was pretty nervous before the start as I worked out it was my first race on the track for 6 years! The last one was when I was in 6th form. I ran at the back of the lead pack for most of the race, around 5m from the front, and gradually runners dropped out or dropped away. The last 4km was just me and one other guy, and we were lapping in 74-75 seconds pretty steadily. With 4 laps left he started to ramp it up, throwing in some 73s and 72s. I managed to hold on, but be ran 70 and 65 for the last two laps and I could only manage 70 and 71 to finish 30m behind. I did manage to get under 31minutes though which I am really happy about, and I took 1.16 off my old pb.
First 5km 15.36, second 15.23 (new pb also!)

Results here

26 August 2008

Kicking off SM training

After the French 6 day I was knackered and had some problems with my thigh and my knee, so I had a week with no training - something my body really needed after WOC, Oringen and France in 4 weeks. But then it was time to get back into training for the Autumn season - primarily for SM (Swedish Champs) long, middle and relay, and the World Cup Final. I will also do some running races and some of the autumn relays like 25manna. Below are some of my recent race/training maps. As you can see, some of them have colourful routes on from my new toy - I bought myself a GPS and have uploaded my routes using Quickroute.

This was a really fun technical training - Started off with a line course, then 2 loops in super technical forest - really tough orienteering!

This was an elite middle distance. I missed 2 minutes at the first control - d'oh! Didn't understand the map and Linus K caught me up. We ran together (not perfectly) until number 6, then I ran away from him. I ran really good after that (almost perfect) and finished 8th, 1.50 behind Fredrik L. Disappointed about the 1st control, but pretty pleased after that.

This was a long distance training, I ran 3 longer intervals with some jogging between (2km, 2km and 4km). Really nice terrain relevant for SM.

This was a relay training with some guys from Gothenburg. I ran quite good except the 3rd control when I lost contact about 75% along the leg and climbed up onto the wrong hilltop. Lost a couple of mins but ran well after that.

This one was the club middle distance champs. I missed 30 seconds on the first 2 controls each, but after that ran almost perfectly to win by 2 minutes.

12 August 2008

France - Auvergne 3 day and Aveyron 6 day

After Oringen, I went to France for a 'holiday', by which I mean I went to do 10 orienteering races in 11 days and some other running and kayaking. I flew to Paris to meet up with Pippa and Duncan who are living there at the moment, and then I had a day sightseeing before we drove down to the Auvergne. First up was a 3 day competition in Aydat, very close to where the World Cup Final was. There wasn't a high standard of competition, but the races were good, with a sprint, a long classic and a 'middle' which I won in 80 minutes. The last race especially was amazing, and one of the most enjoyable races of the year.

Classic race results, splits

'Middle' race results, splits

After the 3 day, we drove down to Aveyron for the French 6 day. We started off getting very lost on the training map, and going kayaking near Millau. The 6 day itself had quite a lot of elite runners, including Mr Gueorgiou himself. The terrain was incredible, with fantastically detailed maps showing every bush, stone and cave. This was the kind of terrain where relocation is almost impossible, and big mistakes are very possible. The best way to orienteer is to stay in full contact, and try to pick lines in the terrain which make that possible and easy where you can. I managed to have 3 really good days, 2 quite good days, with only one disaster on the second day. My results were 4th (9 minutes down on TG), 15th (11 mins down), 2nd (3.15 down), 6th (12 seconds down in the mass start), 5th (9 minutes down) and 3rd (4 minutes down). All the races were won in 59-66 minutes. I finished 2nd overall, but a massive 40 minutes down on TG. The last day was a chasing start, and although Oli caught me, we both caught Lucasen and I beat them in the finish.
Results / splits
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Some maps from the 6 day

World Championships and Oringen - maps and photos

World Champs

So I'm a World Champion :)
That feels nice. I didn't run to my full potential in the middle or sprint, my results were ok but not what I wanted, but I ran pretty close to perfectly in the relay, and Jon and Jamie did the rest. Now it is time to work out how I can change that into top individual results.

Proud parents


My head and heart wasn't really in the sprint at Oringen. The long distance went well until I had some stomach cramps and was forced to walk/jog the last 3km. The middle race was really good, my best ever World Cup middle distance (13th), and I ran ok in the chase without much motivation.

22 July 2008

Fantastic 56th place at Oringen World Cup!

Ok so not my best day.... bit hard to motivate myself after Sunday and long travelling day yesterday, but it is beautiful up in Sälen running in the fjälls. Tough course, but I am looking forward to tomorrows long distance.

19 July 2008

Memorable middle distance at WOC

What an amazing day of orienteering! My third attempt at the middle distance at WOC, I finally qualified for the final which was a nice start. I had a good race, my only time loss was a safe route choice to the 3rd control. I was 1 minute behind the best on that control. I finished 2 minutes behind the winner of my heat in 8th place.

The final we suspected was going to have something special, and that was proved right as soon as I picked up the map at the start. I reverted to point to point navigation, and I was doing really well for the first 8 controls. I caught Tsvetkov up 6 minutes at number 4 which was a nice boost, although I lost him at number 7 already. Number 9 I just lost contact slightly, and had to go almost out to the ride to relocate. 1 minute lost, but almost acceptable in that detail. Then we left the rock labyrinth and entered the more familiar stuff. I identified immediately that 13 was going to be possibly the hardest control on the course, and then read everything along the slope until I got to the green - then at the last minute as I plunged in, I misread the clearing before the green, thinking I was just below the wrong one, and hence 50m too high up the slope. Nice little parallel error in the green/white veg changes, then out to the ride to relocate. 2 minutes lost. After that stormed round, maybe lost 10 seconds at 22, but otherwise really pleased. A quick split analysis shows that I dropped from 11th to 27th at number 9, and then down to 36th at number 13. I managed to climb back up to number 26, including 5 places from the spectator control to the finish, and 2 of those on the run-in! On a really tricky course, I nailed 23 of the controls, lost 10 seconds on 2, and then had 2 bigger mistakes which really punished me. Physically I was really happy, and my best splits were mostly in the last loop, so there are a lot of positives even if the result is not quite as good as I would have liked.

Bring on the relay!

Results and splits from qualifier
Results from final

Final map

Qualification map

14 July 2008

Very disappointing WOC sprint

WOC sprint final, 22nd place. Very disappointing performance and result. I didn't feel great warming up - legs felt a bit heavy from the morning and felt a bit tired and lethargic. Warmed up well and tried to get myself worked up. Guess I was slightly worried about the will there be a thunderstorm / won't there. I decided there wouldn't be and put on my racing flats. The thunderstorm hit me at number 2 and continued nicely for the majority of my race, including all 8 'technical' controls in the gardens. Picked the correct route to the first control. but I was obviously off the pace immediately, losing 14 seconds to the best. Started well in the gardens though, and when the heavens opened I was doing ok. Got a bit stressed coming out of number 4 and made a rushed panicy decision to go up and over which was a big mistake. Started to get a bit flustered but managed to calm myself down. Ran ok through to number 10, but I picked the wrong (longest but simplest) route choice to 11. 12 - 14 was simple, but I lost a few seconds on 14 on running speed. 15 I had planned, but then coming out af 14 I started to rush a bit, and bananad big style. Corrected myself, but that combined with the less good route choice anyway cost me at least 10 seconds and probable around 7-8 places. Dammit.

I let the storm over - affect me. The lack of grip was a problem, but it seems like my running speed in the technical part was ok - lost a little time running on the longer legs.

Need to think about recovery and refueling between two races in a day a bit more, especially before Thursday.

Summary- I was definitely one of the worst hit by the weather, but I should have dealt with it better. Very frustrating performance and result, but on the plus side, it is really positive that I consider 22nd a disastrous days work at the World Championships. The qualification was basically perfect, and I had the potential to take a place on the podium or even the bronze on the day with a good performance.

Splits here

13 July 2008

WOC Sprint Qualifier

WOC got off to a good start for me this morning with the sprint qualifier. I had an early start, and finished 5th in my heat - 14 seconds behind the winner Lubina. Looking at the splits, I lost 10 seconds on the 13th, and 5 seconds on the 14th controls. This is probably because I chose to cross the fence at the crossing points rather than climb it - it was pretty high for a short - arse like me! Apart from those 2 controls my speed was good enough to win the heat, so that is a good confidence boost for this afternoon.
Results here

11 July 2008

WOC here we come

Last night the GB team arrived in Olomouc, Czech, for the 2008 World Championships. The excitement starts on Sunday with the sprint, the middle is on Thursday, the long and the relay next weekend. I am running sprint, middle and relay.

The boys room
View from the balcony - WOC accommodation

View in the other direction
The team hit Sumperk for some sprint training

03 July 2008

O-Festivalen and last Czech WOC Camp

After some really bad middle distance results in World Cup recently, I finally had a decent race. No big mistakes, just a couple of small errors in the circle gave me 16th place, which was my best middle distance result since the World Cup Final in France when I was 15th.


The long distance was a bit manic, chasing start based on the middle distance results. I had a long line of people to chase to start with, and I managed to catch a few places by the butterfly. Unfortunately I made a 2min mistake at number 8, and then another big mistake at number 17, and after that I ran the rest of the race in the pack of runners from position 13-20th. On the way to 31 I started getting cramps in my hamstring, so I had to slow down, and I couldn't fight with the rest of the pack. I managed to just stay in front of the next runners so I finished 20th.

After O-Fest it was off to Czech for the final WOC preparations. We took part in the Swedish long distance test race (but I didn't run), and also the Finnish and Czech sprint and middle test races (maps below). I had a really good race in the sprint (beating all the Finns), behind only Dlabaja and Smola, but the middle race was a bit of a disaster. Really cool technical area, I managed to make 2 big mistakes - one 5 minutes! Can't remember the last time I made such a big mistake. Now I am back in Stockholm for 2 weeks before WOC.