Friday, 17 March 2017

Early season tests

Over the last few weeks I've put myself to the test to see where I'm at technically and physically so that I can make some changes before the main season starts. As my last season was 2014, I thought​ it was worth getting to a few races at this time of year to remind myself what it's all about before it gets serious.

The terrain I faced has been at the tough end of the scale which has been fun but not always the best for inspiring confidence. First I went to Portugal O Meet and tackled the really detailed rocky terrain there. Then I went on to the MOC camp in Italy where we raced around the tiny tricky alleyways of the mountain top towns.

I have spent a lot of time working on and thinking about my orienteering technique over the winter and so I was excited and a bit nervous to see what would happen when I raced. When out in the 'forest' terrains, I felt there were large sections of orienteering where I was running better than I ever had before. I fell down in a few places but I've got a few ideas of how to try to fix that to pull the elusive clean run together. I came 4th overall, and although many did not complete all the days, I was still very proud of this achievement as I'm not sure I'd have achieved that level of consistency in the past.
Map from World Ranking Event middle distance
It was a bit different with my sprinting; I struggled to find any natural flow, possibly overthinking the technique and stressing about my running speed. There were moments when I did feel like things came together, and encouragingly that held to some decent results against a strong field. Most notably, I did well in the knock-out sprint test-event (although helped by my semi-final draw and my gaffling in the final) and I came 3rd. Below is a video of the 1st minute of the race, taken by Emil Wingstedt who was heroic in following us all week with a head-cam doing some ridiculous mileage.

video

(Conveniently, I can only upload a minute or so of the video which happens to be the only bit I was leading - I spent the following 8 minutes chasing Helena (and Lina), mostly, but not always, knowing where I was.
If the resolution is bad, see the link on my FB page https://www.facebook.com/Tessa-Strain-374918295862172/)


Looking unusually short/small lined up against the vikings ;)
Photo: Linda Verbraken

I've now got a month until the first GB selection races. Although I have some specific technique points to work on, the main aim is to get my head in the right place. I know my best results come from when I focus on the orienteering, and so I have to forget at worries I have about my running speed or anything else. Somewhat easier said than done. But I'm glad to have had this mini-racing block to identify that and so I now have a bit of time in which to sort it. Bring on the season!

PS. Thanks very much to my club IL Tyrving for helping me get to Portugal O'Meet.

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