Winter lasted a long time in Sweden, in fact, there was still half a meter of snow in places when I headed back to the UK at Easter for the JK - our first selection races for WOC. I had flu the week before, and only decided the day before to try and run. I skipped the long distance, but ran the middle and relay, finishing 4th and 2nd respectively. Middle map here, results here. Relay map here, results here. Nice weekend and good competitions. It was especially nice to get a silver in the relay with my new club FVO.
I then had an unscheduled trip back to the UK following an unfortunate death in the family. I spent some time with my family, but managed to do some excellent orienteering in the Lake District during my trip. Middle distance map and results, and long distance map and results. Training map. Some of the best terrain in the UK!
Unfortunately, I had some problems then getting back into training, and I had a really bad feeling in my body. This lasted quite a long time, and I have only recently (in the last week or so), started to feel recovered.
The next thing on the plan was preparing for Tiomila. We had some issues with injuries this year, and the team plans were heavily disrupted with the snow and losing 4 key runners. One of the key build up races for me was Tiomilarepet (especially as almost every other race was cancelled because of the snow!). A 2 person relay, first leg dusk, second leg night. I ran 2nd with Erik Liljequist, and he sent me out 3rd, about 30 seconds down on the lead. I did a good race, without ever hitting top gear, and we took the victory by about 15 seconds. Map and results.
Then it was time for the first Silva League weekend, with 2 long distance races in Tibro. Long distance at WOC this year has been my goal, and these races were supposed to be relevant. I wanted to do well in one of these races, and use the other for some good training. I didn't have a good feeling in my body though, and I struggled to read the 15,000 scale map in such detailed terrain. So I made some mistakes, and was well off the required pace. Map part 1 and part 2 and results. I didn't run the 2nd race, which is a shame, as it looked more interesting than day 1.
Then is was time for one last night training before Tiomila. I ran the 6th leg, in a weakened team. We had realistic expectations without Scott, Jonas, Matthias and Ivar in the team, and the chat before the weekend was all about how a top 10 finish would be a reasonable result. Well. It went a bit better than that, and we went out and came back on long night with the leaders - which was a great start! I went out in 6th, and pulled up to 4th, which we then held until the end of the race. My race was stable and solid without being spectacular. I had a sore throat Wednesday-Friday, and I didn't feel 100% during the race. I tried to do a 100% perfect technical race, and I think I only lost around 15 seconds, although I was around 3 minutes behind the fastest on the leg (many slower teams ran this leg during the day, whereas I started in 'half dark' and had daylight only for the last part). My map and results.
The weekend after Tiomila was the 2nd Silva League weekend with middle and long distance races in Orebro. I was hopeful of racing a little better than the previous ones! I ran a really nice training on Thursday before the races. The middle distance went well technically, with perhaps 3*15s wobbles / hesitations, and I was pleased with the performance. I was 3:30 behind, but I still had problems to push 100% and felt like I was lacking top gear. Map and results. I took the long distance the following day as a decent long distance training - really cool tough physical and technical terrain. Very wild and rugged (haven't uploaded the map yet).
Feeling much better about myself and my shape, I am less stressed and more relaxed about the coming weeks. I feel better every time I run/race, and that was backed up last night at Centrum Team Sprint (2 person sprint relay). I ran with Pål Skogtjärn, him running 1st and 3rd, me 2nd and 4th. For the first time since March I felt good running at full speed, and could even give Jonas Leandersson a good race! On the 2nd leg (in Skansen zoo/old days museum), I started in 6th, right behind him, and pulled up to 3rd with a decent technical performance. On the last leg I went out in 4th, with Jonas 1s behind me. We stayed together for about 75%, but then his superior speed allowed him to pull away from me in the end. Really happy with how it went though, ending up 5th behind some strong teams! Cool race, even if there was a bit too much path running in the 'forest' loop. Map and results. Best news was that my calf was tight, but I could compete in a fast sprint race.
Today I headed out into Paradise for some long distance training, and it was exactly that, despite some areas with a lot of fallen trees.
Now onto Jukola and the World Champs!
I made a video from all the footage I took at Monsanto in February, which you can see here.