Before heading to the NAOCs I thought that it would be good if I did a full recap of my larger races this summer.
This year JWOC had lots of ups and downs. The training camp before hand went great and I was feeling confident for my first races. Over the time that I had been training in Switzerland, every sprint training that I did was 15 seconds faster per km(running speed). Which made me confident that my sprint could be a good one. And so after the opening ceremonies I was feeling ready to race!
Going into the sprint I had spent hours looking at aerial views of the maps practicing route choices and beginning to understand what the map might look like. The day before I went for a little mind break with the Canadian team to a tree climbing park. Originally I felt like that was going to make me lose focus, but looking back I think that it was actually one of the few factors which helped me.
Physically my warm up went really well. I was able to loosen my muscles and have them firing quickly without tiring myself too much. Mentally I was able to make myself feel confident and not too stressed about the race.
When I put my hand on the map I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m about to race the sprint…” And that pretty much exemplifies how my race went.
Even with several large mess-ups, I improved through individual splits and % behind leader 🙂 Sadly, after my race I neglected to do a proper cool-down and drink water, and as a result I got heat stroke. This lead to me temporarily losing my vision, then having a migraine and throwing up while being in bed for the rest of the day.
- I tried to focus too much and when it came to the race I felt too confident which caused me to not focus enough during the actual race.
- In the sprint I need to always be focused on navigating and planning, even if it’s “easy” or I’m feeling confident –> keep the urgency
This was probably my most disappointing race at JWOC because I wasn’t able to compete in it. My coaches and I decided that in order to possibly have better races in the future, I should just do a light jog/walk for the Long, so that I could recover from my heat stroke the day before. I’d like to say that I navigated it perfectly, but in truth I wasn’t focused at all because I was mad and distraught from not being able to compete in the race that I had been looking forward to and trained for the most.
In the end I came around 20 spots farther down the list than last year, and ended up in the pack of Canadians, which was kind of funny (all of the guys were within 4 minutes of each other).
Coming into the Middle I wanted to fight for the A-Final. I was feeling back to normal and after the warm-up, was ready to go! The first couple of splits were decent and I was getting into the map, then I slightly lost focus and had a few minor mistakes, but continued to pick back my places. Then came the 12th control… I knew that I was getting excited and tried to hold myself back, and took a safe route around the trail, but didn’t slow down when coming into the technical area. This caused me to run by the control when it was just 1m away, and caused a 7 minute mistake. Looking back, if I had slowed down and had a top 70 split I would have made it to the A-Final, but because of my mistake not only did I miss the A-Final, but I also missed out on the B-Final, and was placed in the C-Final for the second year in a row.
It took a fair amount of time for me to calm down after this race. I had given it my all and pushed the limits just a little bit too much, which made me mess up. After cooling down, at dinner I talked to the Danes (who had had their worse Middle Q results ever) and made a bet with the ones who were in the C-Final, which cheered everyone up 🙂
- In order to have a smooth control I need to make sure that I have visualized the attack point and area around the control circle
- Make sure to reel things back in once I start to get ahead of myself
- When I am fully engaged things go well, work towards always staying in intense contact with the map and terrain around me
I approached the middle final trying to get the most experience I could out of it, while still making sure to have fun. In the warmup I broke my magnifier which was a bummer because I really like using it to zoom into technical areas while maintaining a high speed.
Going out in the race I wasn’t focused enough in the beginning and didn’t make a good route choice or attack point to a few controls, which lead me to having several 1minute mistakes. Other than that, the majority of my splits were top 3. Coming out of the race I was happy to have kept from making any gigantic mistakes, but knew that I could still do a lot better.
Most importantly, I beat the Danes! It was tons of fun racing with them and seeing them at the party afterwards 🙂
- When I am running quickly I need to be competitively going through routes and checking things off
- Keep urgency, even in fun situations
The Relay was my last intense race and I wanted to finally have a good race during JWOC 2016. I came into it with a happy, competitive mindset, where I was ready to work for it. Once the horn went off I got into a bubble, where I was able to use everyone else but made sure that I kept on navigating to the right places. This saved me on several legs. In the end I only made one “large” mistake, which cost me about a minute and made me lose the leaders. I was able to then navigate on my own and made it back 13th officially which was a huge accomplishment for me! Leif and Robbie then finished of the race, both of them having superb races, which made us come 16th overall.
Coming out of the Relay I was sad that JWOC was already over, but ecstatic to have had a strong race. In coming year I want to continue improving with the Canadian team, and next year we’re going to aim for a top 10 finish in the Relay.
Overall, this JWOC had a lot of ups and downs, but I learnt quite a few things about how I need to prepare to focus well in high level competitions, and that I have improved a lot since 2015. I have set high goals for JWOC in Finland and plan on working hard towards them!
Note: Individual Race analysis will come out later, in separate posts