Thursday, June 06, 2013

NORT update: Knocked Out Before the Knock Out

After my moment of madness in the first sprint race things didn't improve much in rounds two and three of the Nordic Tour. I had a very "average" run in the Norwegian middle distance on Sunday then on Tuesday I failed to progress to the knockout stages of the knockout sprint. 

The middle distance was held in the forest surrounding the sprint area at Ammerud. I trained  here a few years ago while staying with Østmarka so I had a good idea about what we were in for: mixed forest, some steep and rocky slopes and a reasonable path network. What I hadn't expected was the torrential downpour (with associated thunder and lightning) in the hour before I started which absolutely waterlogged the terrain, making the rock treacherously slippy, the vegetation very heavy going and the marshes into lakes. 

I thought I ran reasonably well: I had no problems finding controls and I was happy with my route choices. So I was a bit bemused to find I was over four minutes down when I arrived at the finish, and seven minutes behind the eventual winner Carl Godager Kaas. Where did the time go? A bit of splits geeking later confirms my feeling about my run: no major misses or time losses, just generally a bit slow. Thinking back, although I felt like I was running hard I think I was a bit within myself and a bit too much in control. I've heard it said that to race well you need to be on the edge all the way, slowing down just enough to avoid mistakes but generally pushing yourself to the limit all the way. I was nowhere near this style in the middle distance and at this level of competition that costs you badly. 

Map - no route
It was a similar story in round three. At our team meeting the night before I told everyone that I thought we had to treat the qualification like a final as the competition here is so strong. However I don't think I listened to my own advice as I ran my race at a decidedly cruisey pace. I was running fairly hard but not flat out. In the end I missed qualification by 13 seconds. I lost 17 seconds on a short leg in the forest near the end but I feel like I should have had more of a cushion. I know I have the speed and technique to contest for podium positions in races like this so I should have been at least 30 seconds faster - and then a small mistake would have been less critical. 

Map - no route
Map - with route

After punishing myself on a tempo run round the edge of the lake I enjoyed being a spectator and supporter at the finals. The compact arena, big screen and some exciting racing made me forget about the disappointment of the morning and and got me motivated for running fast again. 

After a couple of days off we are racing again tomorrow in hot and sunny Finland. I've remembered what racing should feel like and I'm looking forward to making this one count. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck tomorrow Murray and remember your advice and what you've written in this blog. RACE!!!! Sarah