Tough times before leaving towards South America
I could not spot any good omen in the weeks before heading towards Rio: At the very end of October I had quite big problems with my left achilles-tendon, because I was maybe starting to train to much right after my two-weeks season-break after JEC in Scotland and the relay at Graz Marathon (where we ended up in 2nd place!). I had an inflammation and it took me about two weeks to get back to running. The day before boarding the plane to Brasil, I did my first running-session. Thank god, I could not feel any strong pain, so I looked forward to one more week of tapering, to get into the right mood for the competitions.
As we arrived on 12.11. in Rio, we still had one week till the competition-weekend with middle-distance taking place on Saturday, 19.11., and long-distance the day after.
We could enjoy some nice trainings and explore new kind of running- (and chill-out-) areas around our accomondation along the ocean in the beautiful fishermen-village of Buzios, which is located about 3hours drive from Rio.
On thursday we moved on to the military barracks in an airbase next to Sao Pedro da Aldeia / Cabo Frio. We had a run in the modelevent-area the next day and I was looking forward to my first orienteering-competition outside europe.
In between jungle and plantation forest.
Both middle- and longdistance were characterised by sudden transitions between super-fast plantation forest with excellent runnability/visibility on the one hand and badly green areas, where it was unpossible to run without unwanted direction-changes and very tough to keep the speed up, on the other hand.
Especially when I was already feeling tired in the end of the races I lost quite much time in the jungle-parts, as I could not motivate myself enough to give everything to escape all the lianas. ;-) My tendon was - thanks to Stefan and Otto - feeling better than expected and I could also run for 1h41' in the long-distance without big pain. However, I felt not really fit and physically strong, as I was probably missing some good weeks of training, though.
My performaces at the competitions were technically not really outstanding, both in middle and long I struggled with route-choices and had some problems next to the controls in the green areas.
Probably that was also because of the big difference to all other regions I have ever been in my orienteering-career and thats why I also try to think positive about my first results from South-America.
In the end I turned out to be 42. in middle distance (150 starters) and 56. in long distance (146 starters).
Here you can check the organizers webpage for results and further informations.
Although I had some problems (as mentioned above), our team had some really nice achievements: Ursi had fantastic races and got second in the long-distance (!), whereas the mens team got fourth in both,
team and relay competition. Congrats for that awesome performaces!
In the end I want to thank our coaches Max and Komi, for giving me the chance to compete in Brasil and our team-leader Mani for the perfect organisation!
PS: We also had the chance to visit the world-famous Cristo Redentor!
Text by Mathias Peter.