Sunday, 28 June 2009

Local road race

Today I went to a small local road race. It was raining a lot and I simply wasn't in the mood to run. One of the most important exams of my course, Medicine I will be next Thursday and I can't stop thinking about it.

It was a 4800m race (2laps).

I didn't go with the guys from the front (I did the 1st km to 3'05, they did around 2'55) and that was my main mistake. Consequently, I ended alone in the middle of the race. I was only able to catch some of the guys from the front in the last km.

I am always afraid to suffer in the last kms but that hasn't happened lately. I am more used to 10k races but I definitely have to find my pace in these shorter races once I intend to do some 1500m and 5000m at track next season. To know my limits in these shorter races I have to give everything that I have since the beginning in order to keep motivated with the pack: that was today's lesson.

The race was won by Manuel Silva, the 00/04 3000m Olympic athlete from SLB. I was the 3rd senior and 5th overall. I did a time of 15'15 and ended concluding that I could have done much better. At least it was a good 4,8k test to track and a nice train.

In the photo, Armando Aldegalega, SCP former Olympic Marathoner, giving the prizes. Paulo Franco, my training mate was 5th with a time around the 16'05.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Regional Road Race Champion

Today was the regional road race championships, a race of 9K (3x 3K laps) under 34ºC.

The race wasn't flat with a 3x50m climb. There were some good athletes, with the Moroccan Hamid Hakin and my old teammate, the athlete from JOMA Nelson Silva (who recently has done less than 15' at 5K ).

The pace started strong with an expected team attack of the guys from Benavente (CUAB). I just ran with the pack the 1st lap. In the 2nd lap the 2 guys from Benavente pushed harder and I was left alone 15m behind. In the beginning of the last lap I knew that I would go to the podium, but the guys kept pushing hard in the front.

However they started slowing down in the 1st climb and in that moment I accelerated and caught them in the beginning of the descend. I was 2m behind them and had 2 options: 1- going with them and decide the title in the final sprint, which would be dangerous once they're track guys, faster than me; 2- passing them fullspeed and see what happens.

I did the 2nd option and they came with me. In the end of the descend I felt that the 2nd was under effort, 2m behind me and the decision of the race was in that climb. I gave everything that I had and in the final 300m I was with a confortable lead. The guys from my club did the party once they had never expected seing me coming 1st after being 15m behind in the beginning of the last lap. It had a special meaning being regional champ in my hometown in one of the oldest portuguese competitions (it was the XXXII edition).

The final results were as follows. My unofficial final time as 29'20. The measurement of the 9K was not official but it should be more less the 9K ( plus or less 100m).

1. Miguel RS - UDRZA
2. Joel Martins - CUAB
3. Hamid Hakim - CUAB
4. Luis Brito - CUAB
5. Nelson Silva - JOMA

My new non-WOC calendar is already made. I'll compete every weekend in athletics races until the beginning of August. Probably I'll do some races of the National Salomon Mountain racing circuit too. I'll slow down the 1st 15 days of August and will start the next season with a training camp in Sweden (15-23August).

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Disappointing selection races to WOC

This weekend were the Portuguese selection races to WOC in the north of the country (Gerês).

Saturday morning, Sprint, 2,5K (95m), 18c - I wasn't expecting a map of this kind. I tought that the white areas were much more open than they were in fact. I did lots and lots of mistakes and was never able to start anticipating. A total lack of focus that I am still not able to explain.

Saturday afternoon, Middle, 4K (190m), 17c - The 1st control was my final cross. I leave the path, pass about 2m from the control and attack another big cliff (it was bigger than the other) that was not represented in the map. I looked at the map and that was the only cliff in the area, near the water, down to the upper rock, so it had to be there! But it wasn't... It was a matter of luck. I had spoiled it all in this stupid mistake. Even with the huge mistake to the 15 (where even near the road I wasn't able to understand certain elements) I would have done a competitive race.

Sunday, Long, 8,7K (295m), 21c (with map change)- Really nice and tough terrain with nice options. There were variations. To the 3rd a lack of focus. The 9th was not well placed in the terrain. I attacked the right rock but the control wasn't there. It was upper in the terrain, as the gps shows. Even with some minor mistakes I liked the race but we still don't know how the results of this race will end.

I was really disappointed in the end. It's a big frustration to see the hard work of a whole season ending like this. I know that I was a crazy head in the sprint, but that cliff in the middle and the long distance will take me some time to digest.

Now it's time to stop being a crying Sissy and look up again. The programme to the Summer will probably change with competitive Orienteering taking part of my life again only in September. Until then, a tough Exam season and will test what I am physically worthing now at the next track races. We'll see...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Time to analyse

As promised, I just post some maps and pictures of last week in a few minutes.

Here is the NOC public race, long distance (11,630m). I was going well to the 1st but then huge mistake due to a lack of focus. Then tought that the water canal in which I was, was the one in the left with the greens (and there were some similarities in the terrain: tragedy!). Then locked into training mode to the rest of the race and didn't check the control numbers and stupidily punched a wrong control in the 16th. In the afternoon we did another 5k training in the model event area. Unfortunately, I wasn't really tired during these days (couldn't keep high paces in these terrains) and ended making many km a day.

I have analyzed my mistakes during this 1st training camp in nordic terrains and concluded that I have developed my navigation since the first training. However I still have too much to learn and I'll try to train and compete in these terrains everytime I'll be able to. I have to be able to compete in these kind of maps, at least, as I compete in Western European countries.

The O'season in Portugal has already ended (next year the calendar will be changed to fit the International calendar, ending in December). The next weekend selection races to WOC will define if I'll just train to the track season until August and relax in the summer or if I'll continue training Orienteering until September. I'm unusually relaxed. Both hypothesis seem appealing for different reasons. We'll see...

Just leave you with this movie. When we were coming back to Portugal, we needed to fill the tanks of the rental cars. We were late and our plane was leaving in 1h30. In this petrol station you could only pre-pay your gasoline. Repeated this process in a hurry 2 or 3 times =)

Monday, 8 June 2009

Greatest training camp ever

I've just a few minutes to write something before coming back to Portugal, to the boring Exam season at Faculty. The last days have been fantastic.

Yesterday the long distance didn't go as expected. A huge mistake in the long leg to the 1st control and then locked into the training mode. If this was not enough, I punched a wrong control when there were only 3 controls to the finish line. In the afternoon we did a short training in the model event maps and found there our friend Ionut Zinca.

If you have some time, it's really worth a look the GPS tracking of the last days (here). (If you don't have time, just don't click on the link, once you won't be able to stop watching it).

I'll post the maps and photos of last week as soon as possible.
It's impossible to become a better Orienteerer if we don't train on these maps. It was my first training camp abroad and I learned a lot. Hopefully I'll come back soon.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

1st NOC public race

Today was the 1st NOC public race.

Middle, 5.710m, 45'46 - Comparing to the trainings in beginning of the week, I was satisfied with my development. However I still have too much things to work at. The mistake to the 1st could have been avoided with precise navigation. The mistake to the 11th was just too bad. I really need to run more on rocky and irregular terrains as these. I lost too much time on the long legs. I believe that with some more days training in Nordic terrains I'll be able to start making better results.

The results can be found here.

In the afternoon we did another training in a 1:15000 scale, as the Long distance tomorrow.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Learning a whole new sport...

This week I've been in a training camp with my club, CPOC, in the Helsinki region.

We've been training twice a day, in the morning with permanent controls organized by my great friend Juuso Metsala and his brother Tuomas and in the afternoon, in the trainings of the Finnish teams with controls and Emit (it´s fantastic to have this kind of trainings during the week with more than 100 athletes).

This has been the best training camp ever! In the beginning I had disappointing results. It was really difficult to get used to this kind of terrain, so much different from the Portuguese fast kind. It has been great to me, once my biggest difficulty is to maintain contact with the map. Here, loosing contact is missing a control. I've found that re-localization is an essential skill in which I have still too much to learn.

This was today's training, the test race for NOC. I didn't go fullspeed but was happy with the developments that I have made since the beginning of the week. (The permanent controls are short strings attached to the trees that are difficult to find, so the navigation needs to be really precise)

This was my first training (yesterday) where I was able to navigate decently. It was a mass start in a really closed terrain where the progression was difficult. (controls with strings).

Now I'm in the Salo area and will participate tomorrow in the NOC public races. We did a test race today and the maps seem easier and more open than the ones from Helsinkii. We'll see...