This year my primary focus was to prepare for JWOC. Over the past several months I have spent dozens of hours looking map reading, making courses, and just trying to prepare myself for the terrain.
Coming into JWOC I wanted to race consistently and prove to myself that I am able to compete with some of the best juniors in the world. And looking back now, I can proudly say that I accomplished these goals 🙂
Goal Setting (Read if you’d like to understand the blog a bit better)
Since you are reading my reflection over JWOC I would like to first tell you about how I have mentally prepared for them.
I enjoy trying to figure out every way to improve and in doing so I end up focusing specific aspects of orienteering for every one of my races or trainings. This has helped me find new things to work on and take away positives from every race. But when it comes to mentally preparing for races this has often times made me focus too much on one singular aspect like “take strong compass bearings” which has held me back from flowing in races and orienteering how I am capable.
In order to prevent myself from over focusing I forced myself to make more general race plans and practiced these the month prior to JWOC.
I also changed how I set placement goals. Previously I have always answered the question “What is your goal” with my optimal expectation, and throughout this JWOC that have been top 30-50 in any given race. In order to make sure that I didn’t come back from a majority of my races disappointed from not achieving my optimal goal, and/or messing up under the increased pressure I set three levels of goals; optimal, normal, and minimum.
After creating my goals I decided that I would be content after JWOC if I achieved optimal goal, two normal goals, and two bare minimum goals.
Middle Distance Qualifier
GPS Rerun: Link
The Middle Distance Qualifier was the first race of JWOC. I was excited for a forest race because I knew that it would give me more time to settle in while also giving slightly more room for error than when compared to the Sprint.
Coming into this race my optimal goal was to make the A-Final (top 20 qualify for that), my normal goal was to make the B-Final and my bare-minimum goal was to not miss punch.
The race started off really well, I checked off features and kept within my boundaries while safely pushing the pace. I tried to take safe routes and keep my focus up the whole time. If I hadn’t had made my large, silly mistake I would have come 13th, and without any of the larger mistakes I would have been placed top three.
Sadly though, after the two smaller mistakes; leaving in the wrong direction from control 5, and taking a hugely wide turn to avoid the out of bounds while heading the last control, I was left with one minute of leeway to make the A-Final. And after a bad mistake on control 7, where I didn’t take the safe route and didn’t catch a single one of my warning signs, I was unable to make the A-Final. Thus finishing my first race with a normal result.
Middle Distance B-Final
GPS Rerun: Link
Replay the Middle Final: Link
For this race I didn’t do a good job goal setting and so I only had one thing in mind before the race –> to run a hard a strong race.
The race went pretty much according plan; I ended up making a few silly errors because of running too hard, but each time I corrected and was able to maintain fairly high split results. After losing my focus on the first control I reigned it back in for the rest of the race and was able to keep away from a large mistake.
In the end I placed 5th in the B-Final and was able to win both of the long splits, achieving a normal/optimal result 🙂
GPS Rerun: Link
Re Watch the Sprint: Link
Though I had already run two races in JWOC I still had tons of nerves coming into the Sprint. The morning of my stomach was turning and I struggled to eat my usual two or three course meal 😉 I reassured myself while going to the quarantine through reminding myself that I was as well physically and mentally prepared as I could be.
The race started off almost the same as last year, the only difference was that this time I knew how to handled the nerves; after the “oh shit I’m racing the sprint” thought I said to myself, “dang right, let’s race it,” and started to run!
Click the pictures for a better view 🙂
Throughout the race I yearned to run a bit harder but couldn’t seem to get my legs moving any quicker and often times picked silly exits or route choices that I wouldn’t make under normal circumstances. These pictures show my four largest unusual mistakes that I made.
So although it was a far from perfect race, I can confidently say that I am proud of it. Not necessarily for the end result, but for what it has shown me that I can do, and how close I am to getting to where I want to be. I ended up in 51st position accomplishing an optimal/normal race and also setting a new record for the Canadian Men for placement in the Sprint in JWOC!
GPS Rerun: Link
Coming into this race I had the drive to rebound off of missing the A-Final by seconds and the motivation from the Sprint which showed me that I could compete. This might have taken up a bit too much space in my head which lead to fairly poor navigation and focus.
The beginning of my race was filled with safe routes which sped me up through the easy terrain but stole my focus when coming back into the technical portions. This lead to several mistakes throughout the first ten or so controls…
This left me with some inconsistent splits, going from medium size mistakes to top 10 splits. That back and forth took away the possibility for a solid race.
Though this race was far from what I wanted it to be, I still accomplished a normal result and was able to create a few goals for next year:
- Find out what kind of focus I need in order to maintain consistent splits in long races
- Find out the speed in which I can keep up for a 10-12km race
- Push my limits and feel well prepared and comfortable for next years long distance
GPS Leg 1 (Christian and I): Link
GPS Leg 2 (Leif): Link
GPS Leg 3 (Michael): Link
This year I was again lucky enough to lead off Canada’s Relay Team. It was a really hot day and for the first kilometer or two it was pure exhausting running. That lead to me pushing too hard to be able to really navigate well and plan ahead.
My lack of focus formed a gap between the lead group and myself because of several 15 to 30 second mistakes. After that I had to slow to navigate at a safe pace and though I continued to run hard the gap gradually lengthened. I ended up in 24th (unofficially), 3 minutes and 45 seconds behind the leaders. And after a few more mistakes from our Leg 2 and 3 runners we ended up finishing in 23rd officially (around 30-35 unofficially).
And so while my placement was worse than last year, my actual time behind improved a little bit, so overall I am content with my race. Looking ahead to next year I want to crush it and come back with the top pack. I will train hard for this and make sure to focus during the first few controls!
Level of Goals Achieved:
Middle Qualifier: Normal (23rd)
Middle Final: Normal (5th)
Sprint: Optimal (51st)
Long: Normal (79th)
Relay: Normal (24th)
Thank you for reading, I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post 🙂 To continue following my orienteering career subscribe to this blog.
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