I've just came from Bulgaria and I really have to write about the last days which were fantastic.
This was my first international competition as a senior. I've traveled to Primorsko with the portuguese team 1week before the competition in order to get used to the kind of terrain. It was a really productive week with twice a day training sessions. This was the first time that anything like this was done in the portuguese team and I think it helped a lot.
My personal goal for this competition was to get to the Final A in as many races as I could.
In the Sprint Qualification I did some mistakes (approximately the amount of time that would put me in a Final A - 36sec). However I wasn't also fast enough and I ended the same day running the Final B in a training pace in order to recover to the next day's qualification.
In the Long Qualification I ran completely headless. I changed all my navigation routines and I only thought about running fast. It was a really bad race where I wasn't able to cope with the stress.
In the Middle qualification I wasn't fast enough. I did 2 big mistakes, to the 7th and 11th. I wasn't satisfied at all with my race.
Then it came the Relay. Due to my not so good results I started in the first position of the portuguese 2nd team. It was an awesome experience. I ran in the 1st group until the 4th where I made a mistake. Then I ran the rest of my race alone until the spectator control where I caught Russia1. I made some mistakes in the end and ended the race with Austria1 and Germany1. I really enjoyed the race and it was a good experience in order to learn from the paces at the front.
Then it was the Middle Final (B). I was much more relaxed, I had already messed it up! And ended in 12th with a regular race. I liked my pace in the controls after the spectator control.
Finnaly, it was the Long Final (B) (the following maps is from the Final A, a course with some differences). I wasn't calm enough and I did too many deviations that costed me a lot of time in a map where the best route choice was most of the times under the red line.
It's tough to get ready to this kind of terrains when we have completely different terrains in Portugal. We aren't used to this amount of climb and to this closed forest and I think that I'll have to change some of my physical training methods.
I learned a lot from this experience. Now I know the performance needed to a Final A and I must say that it isn't anything special. I must say that we, portuguese, need to compete more often in the international environment in order to develop and I'll catch all the opportunities that I have.
Today it costed me a lot to get back to the routine at the Hospital. The next month will be tough and I'll cut in my training loads in order to prepare myself for the last exam season of my life (yes!).