Sunday, 26 June 2011

National Universitary Champs.

11.740m (240m), 40controls, 75'21 - A nice mass start with 3 loops. It was a fast map with a detailed eastern area and I felt tired from "Escalada do Mendro" and a rough friday session.
Huge mistake to 19th and 24th, those kind of forbidden ones(my map had the 2 second loops by the opposite order, but it doesn't matter). Stupid option to 34th, big loss of time to 35th once my control description was covered, and too much path to 30th. With some luck, I was able to become Portuguese universitary orienteering champion with a performance that didn't satisfy me.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Escalada do Mendro

Yesterday, we were at the track without any will to do the intervals.. so we organized a 5athlete team (Sergio Silva, Marco Povoa, Paulo Franco, Manuel Horta and me) in 5min to participate in today's race. It was an interesting one with a mix of road race (2k+2k) vs. moutain race (7k). The prize money was interesting so all the moutain race and road race guys appeared in a far village 2h away from Lisbon (Vidigueira).
In this interesting duel, the moutain guys dominated the races (1º, 4º, 5º, 8º) even with some 1h03-half-marathon guys from road races. I considered it impressive, knowing that they have opposite methods of training. You may find the first page of results:
About my performance, I was just too slow in the flat parts - probably related to my breathing difficulties in the last days due to my chronic asthma. However I behave well in the "moutain part" and caught many guys from athletics that passed me when the course turned flat again. To end in glory, the last 2k were really painful once, for the first time in my life, I've experienced this entity that affects, at least once, 40% of athletes: "the evil runner's trots".

Our last-minute team (Mendro Team) was 2nd overall and it ended being a well-spent morning.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Portuguese Middle and Sprint champs.

Middle, 30c, 5.4k (230m) - I was portuguese middle distance champion with a regular race. I gave priority to navigation rather than running with slow first controls, giving no chance to luck. 13th- hesitation, 15th- misunderstood the high as low, 16th- big deviation, 20th- ~1'30 stuck in the greens (V1) once I was too careless in the approach of the white tunnel, 22nd- ran too far and I was once careless in the approach to the 25th.
Sprint, 16c, 2.4k (35m) - Easy map where the best part (the fort) wasn't availed. In a sprint the "slow start" approach doesn't work that well. Bad option to the 2nd and the worst possible option to the 9th without correct anticipation. I had a lack of attitude in the final flat part and settled in an average pace. In the end I was 2nd, ex-aequo with Diogo Miguel and 6'' from the winner. It was a tight race with the first 7 athletes in a 23'' gap.
Beside the nice events, it was an enjoyable weekend in the portuguese surf capital with nice weather and friends.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

My Orienteering heart

So, in this part of the year some students start to somatize what they read in the books (I know a guy that ended in the ER with a pseudo-heart attack). I started to think that I had Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the main cause of sudden death in athletes... so I did a check-up with Echocardiogram and 24h Holter. (Causes of sudden death in athletes)

Echocardiogram, which was the most important, was perfectly normal...oh yeah! no hypertrophy (LV diameter<13mm, no Septum/ventricle assymetries) and also not too dilated. I found some articles to compare with athlete values here (even with healthy orienteerers - in a study about the 1990's orienteerer's deaths in Sweden; apart from this, any orienteerer should read this article that gives a new insight on "running with covered body" - here).

When I started to read the Holter I just taught... "I'm done.." During the day, it's all normal. However, during the night:
A- My HR reaches 29bpm,
B- I have 105pauses>2sec
C- I have a Mobitz I AV block and AV dissociation
Then I started to search the medical databases and got relieved, once these are all benign variations in athletes (being present in normal athletes B-37.1% C-22.9% and 20% - table here). My coach also laughed at my worries once he had pauses of 5sec in his glorious days.

After all, it's all normal in athletes and it even has a better prognosis (I never taught that there would be so dramatic athlete variants). You may find an excellent review here and the article that concludes the following here.
In conclusion, endurance older athletes seem to have:
  1. profound bradyarrhythmias, with episodes of heart rate below 40 beats/min,sinus pauses, and Wenckenback phenomena (Mobitz I);
  2. a higher number of atrial or junction escaping than healthy elderly controls;
  3. higher vagal activity during the night, lower adrenergic activity during the day, and higher tolerance to effort than healthy elderly controls;
  4. retardation of the age-related decrease in heart rate variability, which has a positive prognostic value and may decrease the risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.
Now I may feel safer of these bullets...
...even if my heart seems a folk song at night:

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Portuguese mountain running champs.

Ouch! 8.850m with 1.000 vertical meters and a total time of 52'58.
Now I understand why the track and field athletes don't even appear in these races. It's a completely different sport from athletics.. and I suffered a lot! (and paradoxically enjoyed it).

The race was in the deep Portugal, that I didn't know at all. Only some groups of houses and loong narrow roads where only passes 1 car at a time. It's a really beautiful area and a good place to have a physical training camp in the base of Serra da Estrela moutains.

About the race, I had high expectations. I wanted to qualify for the European champs (the 1st 4 would qualify) and I had the 4th guy in sight all the way.. until the last 2k where the slope bent to 25%, he went away, and I was picked and passed by the following group. In the end, I was 9th and 1'46 away from my goal... Results here.

... maybe next year if:
1. I'll be able to run downhill muuch faster
2. I'll discover a course around Lisbon with at least 600m elevation
3. I'll get stronger

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Portuguese Long and Relay champs

Long distance, 15.3k (245m), 1h35m27s - What can I say? It was an easy map but I was able to loose much time in the control areas (some of them passing by before punching, like 6th and 23rd) and a stupid choice in the long leg (15-16th) once the big road was hard ground instead of unstable sand. To end in glory, I vomited to the 28th because of a smelly nearby paper factory with some disgusted witnesses. I ended in 4th place.
Relay, 6.2k (120m), 36'47 - I was the last element and when I started the competition was already decided so I took it easy. Also some unnecessary mistakes.

My quickroute graphs seem like a "tour de france" stage with so many spikes. Still in the search for the flow.

I took the last 3 days easy because of some pain in the left peroneals; in this part of the season is easy to sink in tiredness so I took some easy days.

(in the meanwhile, the portuguese doping agency allowed the basic asthma medication to everyone in terapeutic doses. Before so much evidence of no effects in non-asthmatic athletes and so much bureaucracy every year, finally a wise decision.)

(my new summer look - not so pretty but really pratical to hot weather)