Path/Terrain warm up/down 24:33  4.38 km (5:36 / km) +2m5:35 / km shoes: VJ Bold (2018)
Orienteering race 52:05 9.96 km (5:14 / km) +150m4:52 / km shoes: VJ Bold (2018)
Lahti Jukola 2018 - Leg 5 - Out 5th, Back 4th, 19th on leg, +6mins
Didn't sleep a wink but this year I accepted it quite happily, knowing a short leg could be fine even off no sleep or food or anything really. Ate a lot in the day before and then spent a few hours reading, watching Venla, lying in bed staring at a very interesting wall and then getting excited. Got up around midnight and had a bight to eat with coffee while watching the legends Kris and Ralph coming in. Motivated by this I began to get really excited, which only grew as we entered the top 10 and stayed there.
Warm up was good and had the right amount of coffee/food in preparation. Really nailed it this year actually. Checked my heart rate and it was incredibly random with fast and slow beats but put this down to the excitement, sleep deprivation and of course coffee. Quite funny really. Entered the box nice and early wearing a nice shirt over my race top. Gotten into a bit of a theme of doing something stupid in quarantine, think it keeps things light while hopefully psyching others out a bit as well. Dust cloud was one of the new experiences in orienteering today. Really made things a bit darker and it was horrible to have it fill your lungs and cover your face. Will be spitting out dirt for years. Anyway, Mats came in eventually, shirt came off and I was hungry to start racing.
Set off a little bit behind Nydalens and Tyrving, both young guys, and a wee bit ahead Orion. Funny that this Orion runner was directly behind me almost the entire time for the first few km but I never noticed until checking GPS, quite bizarre but hopefully shows that I was actually quite focussed. Caught up Karl (Tyrving) and nipped ahead to lead him into 1. Struggled to read the map a bit as it was still quite dark but this was only really noticeable on the first two legs. Long path leg no problem, but then got confused to 2 when I couldn't spot the veg boundary under the line. Karl at this point shouted his number to me. It matched mine, and I felt bad to ignore him so we shared codes for the first few controls. Nipped into 2 with a small banana ahead of Nydalens but wasted a lot of time through hesitation on the leg. Trying not to be fussed about things like this because my situation was different to most other runners on leg 5 and so steady, controlled orienteering had to take charge at the expense of some speed; even more so for a relatively weak navigator.
Carried on to 3 with a bit of a train (apparently, only know again from GPS) and then through to 4. At this point Karl congratulated me for doing the leg well and asked for the next code. I told him but I realised it was time to get away so put in a bit more pace as the open land arrived and the brakes came off. So made a gap on Tyrving Orion and HS and got some good pace to 6. Started going the wrong way round the depression at the end though so lost a bit of time.
Then the tricky section came with some green forest, very reminiscent of Culbin. I saw the mistake before it happened but tried to control it. I like to think I couldn't have done anything else though and my confidence was the issue. I arrived to the circle and stood on the wrong side of a big fir tree which obscured the kite. So fannied about for over a minute before finding it. Took the next control well though which would usually be an even bigger mistake. Bit of a banana round a depression to 9 but didn't lose much. After this only lost half a minute to the leaders despite a few hesitations so quite happy to not go AWOL. Think I expected a mistake or two which was an effective mental prep for the race.
Short hesitation to 10 checking what path I was on and then into the control. SNO took even longer though so luckily he didn't stay on me. Caught HS back up here (I was now 5th) but he messed up to 11 so got away. Next open area so next chance to run and I managed to make some time on the chasers. Was hoping to catch Nydalens back up but Eirik was running the same speed as me so wasn't going to happen. Lost my head a little bit to 11, the final tricky control, getting distracted by fourth legs. Mistake isn't noticeable on the splits though. Then began to give it everything I had on the final two km of essentially running. Won the split to spectator and then began to die a little as the early morning began to take it's toll.
Epic to finish at the arena with the camera on me and the commentator reading me out, especially to be remembered as a JWOC runner last year. Handed over to Riccardo telling him to slow down in the green, had spent a lot of time thinking about what to say in the last few controls and think this was the best shout. Perhaps for the wrong reasons though since as it turned out, he struggled to see the map in the darker forest...
Chatted with the other runners, eventually warmed down, watched the relay ending, had an awesome time in the sauna and showers with lots of other naked orienteers, and then went up on podium for a very exciting fourth place result. Only me and Mats left at the arena though so got some laughs to receive 7 sleeping bags that I am now lugging back to Halden in a sack.
Very pleased to have had the experience of running near the front of Jukola for a strong team like Halden. Very different to any traditional orienteering I've done and the relay feeling of running for others was really emphasised with such a high position and the additional bonus of Jukola team strengths and numbers. Satisfied with the way I handled it, the amount of walking and map checking I made, the safe routes and 'ingen snärveier" (no cutting corners) approach I adopted, and the relatively clean race I had. Slightly frustrated at the big time margin to Albin but again I was in a different situation. My job was to tick the box, run an average race, not have any howlers, and get away from anyone I could. That's what I did, so job done. Biggest note for next Jukola is that I definitely don't have to sleep to run a good race. Quite good at running while sleep deprived these days, think it encourages me to focus. Exciting times begin next year though when Olav returns; hopefully this won't be my best Jukola team position, although it's already a great one.