Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A reflection back on WOC

 Although it was a couple weeks ago now that WOC ended I am only now getting around to filling out the notes I jotted down on some races and re-formatting them in to a (somewhat :P) legible format. For the sake of argument it could also be said that my delay in writing has given me new and thoughtful insights (or maybe that just sounds better than me being disorganized J
 This was the first WOC that I attended and was exciting and overwhelming all at once. It is pretty neat and motivating to be able to compete against such strong competition. Me competing this year was part of a much longer term goal and therefore was a way to get some great racing experience. I knew I was nowhere near the speed of most of the runners there and so just wanted to be able to run some races I would consider good for my self. Which is easier to say when you are booking your trip 6 months in advance then when you are in the WOC arena!
I was pretty nervous before this race, it was the first one of the week and my first one ever…Thankfully the qualifiers were in the morning and so we didn’t have to wait around all day. After breakfast we drove to our ‘quarantine boat’ which drove us to Burrano Island where the qualifier took place. It was pretty crazy being in the gym waiting for your start and because there were heats you started at the same time as two other people! For me, my goals were to try and run as clean as possible without miss punching or going to the controls in the wrong order (which sounds like a pretty dumb goal except when you see some sprint maps with lines going everywhere- it can get confusing when you are sprinting and your brain is low on oxygen!) and then of course run as fast as I can and have fun!
My qualifier map 

During the race I made a couple mistakes, missed a turnoff and run down an alley to far and also almost started running down the wrong side of a canal before I caught myself BUT overall I was happy with my run.  I was able to realize my mistakes when I was doing them and correct without losing huge amounts of time (I was a bit late on the alley one but… such is orienteering) So when I finished having run as hard as I could and saw my  printout had no miss punches on it I was almost giddy with relieve! I had finished my first WOC race and no blow ups! Then I got to enjoy the rest of the day in Venice watching the final.
The finish of the sprint final in Venice 
Sprint relay
This year’s WOC sprint relay was the first sprint relay that team Canada had participated in and I though it merited a quick word!
The relay was in Trento, a small Italian town. As someone who is still getting used to a large amount of spectators at orienteering events it was a pretty cool experience. All off the athletes were in quarantine before the race started and then the organizers would let us know when it was time for our leg to move to the arena. BUT before that happened, we had to get suited up! I have never run with so many gadgets before.  First you put on your timing anklet, then your GPS unit and then because we were using the new ‘touch free’ SI air system and they wanted to make sure it worked correctly, they had us carry one on our fingers and one on our wrists. So in total we had two SI’s, a GPS, timing ankle and then the usual watch and compass….
So as the last leg runner I was in quarantine the longest and got to listen to the cheers of the crowd and not really know what was going on. When we got called forward it was the closest I have ever felt to being famous as when the last leg runners ran into the stadium there was so much cheering and people reaching out to touch their favorite runners!! It had started raining at the beginning of the race and by the time I was running it was sort of a torrential downpour… which made the cobblestone streets and granite walkways pretty slick! My body felt tired during the race and I just didn’t feel like I had enough gas to run fast, so wasn’t super pleased with my run but didn’t miss punch either! And it was fun to be in such a energized environment J

 The last WOC 2014 race was held in the same area as the middle. The arena was in a naturally created bowl which lead to great views. Although, this meant any time you ran out of there was uphill… some parts you could even see when still in quarantine. I was lucky enough to be on the women’s team. Emily was our first runner and she ran a great race, tagging off to Louise in 7th position. Louise ran an equally strong race and handed off to me in 11th position. It had been discussed and I knew that as the weakest runner on the team the best result would come from me running a clean, steady race. Still knowing and doing seem to be different things… Still not entirely sure what happened but I think the pressure just got to me and I make mistakes on almost all of the first half of the controls. I felt like I was moving too slowly in the terrain, when in fact most people walked up the super steep hills. Then end of the course I caught up to the last New Zealand runner and I knew she was making mistakes on the controls but felt the pressure to try and catch up (not helpful in orienteering…) this resulted in me making mistakes on the last controls from trying to run faster than my navigation… ah lesson learned… It was still a great experience to be on the relay team but wish I could go back and insert some calm into my race :P

The woman's relay team 
Overall a great learning experience and one I hopefully can carry with me in the long winter mounts when training motivation seems to run the lowest :P

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to all the Italian volunteers that put in countless hours to make WOC 2014 happen. It was a great week and your efforts are truly appreciated!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post Tori! Interesting to read about all the gadgets in the sprint relay. Hope WUOC is great for you.