Sunday, March 23, 2014

My big investiment

   Finally I found time to relate my latest races! My quest to get ready for Eoc still goes on, day after day I try to invest what I can to get better because I know any small improvement will count.
   One say that this should not be any aim for me, I'm too young to fight for a result and I should see an eventually selection as a way to gather experience. I should look only for Jwoc, which one will be my last an where I could fight for a good result. One of the things I learnt is that I cannot make long term plans, things always end up to give big turn arounds, and last year I was so focused on one thing that I ended up to lose everything.
   It would be silly to say I can be better than professional athletes, I'm not that arrogant. But all those years in orienteering always taught me to fight against the best, I never turned down my back even when there was no way I could do it. Since I went to Scotland in 2008 and I've won that silver medal my view about things changed a lot, but after many years the same principle is there, I do it because I like it. Being the winner is the reward you get when that day luck was on your side, but the true feel is that you know you fight so hard that you cross over your own definition of limit.

  Well, speaking about races. Joining this and last weekends, I was able to beat myself 2 times! First in a cross country, the national championships, short race type. I was 41th place in the 4km where I did 11:55 (2:58 per Km). This was a very good result, I was 6th U23 runner, the competition is very fierce on senior level and I'm happy with my performance, because I fought hard on a difficult terrain. That sunday I was doing some mass starts with the select team, preparing the Eoc, and I felt very good, at least physically!

  Today I ran 5000m race and I beat my personal best for 6 seconds. I did 15'20 in a very hard fight with other athlete (it was a championship race). I ended up to lose in the final 200m, because I'm not training enough and that doesn't make me proud.
  I've been averaging between 50 and 60 km per week those last months, and that is not enough. Hopefully spring is there and I can start to train more as daylight is more extended!

  2 weeks more I guess, I'll make it worth.

Luis Silva

Sunday, March 9, 2014


  Eoc is coming there, really, really soon and my hopes are coming up! This weekend I had another couple of races, this time in the south on a very, very fast terrains well known by me. Well, fast in orienteering is relative because averaging under 5' min/k in red line is considered fast for most of orienteers. When I was younger this speed average was very important to me and I remember when going under 6min/k was very good for me, then I stayed long time on the five's and last year finally I was able to come under that barrier which is kind of indicator that you are going up on your level.
    As I said this weekend was suppose to be fast and again, I splited my races between the junior and elite class. In the Long Distance I had 9,5km, time was just 46:50 and I did around 2 minutes mistakes in the end..I really pused hard because I'm specifically aiming for the middle distance so I want to test myself on 35-45 minutes maximum efforts. In the end I payed the crazy rythm because I was lackying of focus but still I did quite fine race and it wasn't that easy with a lot of rocky zones where I had to slow down.

   Of course I was saving myself for the middle distance WRE race today. I didn't had any will on doing the 16km of elite long distance, but I didn't also because I wanted to be ready to burn up on the middle. It was a 7,5km race on a fast but still, thricky terrain. I started really fast, it was a long leg and I just lost 8 second to the leader (Gustav Bergman) but I my race was just OK. I had 2 big mistakes that cost me 2 minutes..
I ended up with 35 minutes, 4'30 behind the winner.

Some quick thoughts:
1# I'm clearly getting back on myself again. That feeling of going all out was missed and I'm happy to rediscover it again.

2#I risked a lot, my race was really good beside those 2 controls. My aim was to lost about 2 minutes to the winner, and I was close to that...but taking the risk cost me a lot, maybe I shall slow down little my rythm.

3#Even I'm going fast, I'm not thinking it. During the race I'm always full of negative thoughts like: "I'm going to slow", "The best guys are for sure going lot faster".
Well that is a good way to make me not give it up, but I guess I should be more focused on doing less mistakes.

4#My mistakes was mostly on the rocks, Eoc will not have any rock. So this must be good news I guess. I'll make sure this month I do some speed train.

Luis Silva

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


  The racing strike goes on, this time I was in the Portugal O'meeting 2014. It has been incredible the quality that this event keeps, this is a race where we can always expect great terrains and very good competition as the top athletes choose Portugal to do some weeks of their winter training. This I didn't got any disappointed, I have to admit that after last weekend race (MOC) it would be difficult to find much better, but all the 3 races in POM pushed me in different ways and I always find myself fighting against the terrain and struggling to avoid mistakes.

   I competed only in 3 of the 4 stages, because I had classes and I could not miss more than one day. First day was a semi-long distance, I opted to compete in the junior class not only because of the distance but also because I wanted to push my limits. 
   I started headless, I wasn't reading the map in the begin so I just opted to use the compass and use direction to bring to a safe place where I could relocate. It was quite risky, but I was able to do it and the first control came very easy. This was for sure a good sign so I really started to push and for the first time this year I felt again agressive, a quality I was missing..
   Speaking about the map, it was like a mix of a lot of different maps. Sometimes it could be rocky and I had to have precision, other time I was fighting against greens and I should look to move foward and other time I was in middle of a white (forest) with lot of rocks and I had to do it simple. In the end I got 2nd place, but my performance was really good, maybe I miss the technical training a bit but at least I was physically capable.

  The next two days I move up to the elite class. Two middle distances, two different terrains. First middle was in a very very rocky map already known by me. The old map was much more black than this (I remember that we had to compete in 1:7500), but still, I got scared of just imagining a middle on there. It was very difficult race, I started very good but I did some sirious mistakes during the race which killed the chance of doing a better result (I was 12º). I did 46 min in the 5,4km course and I was like 6 minutes behind the winner, so not much more to say about it.

 Just pointing this, I liked the map. Even I heard some critics about how full of rocks it was I have to say that this map isn't any joke and again the mapmakers did an amazing job. But the course setting wasn't the best, I'm not that experienced to speak about it, but I think that the controls must be technical in a middle distance, I just don't agree that finding it must be like a "shot in the dark". Anyway the big thing here was SIMPLIFY and avoid the rocky areas.

   The second middle was in the same map but in a really different zone. It was a very green map, with lot of rocks in the middle. My course started as a control pickying in a very agressive area, I almost could not run and it lead me to one big mistake on the 2nd control. This race was all about being agressive, but when I say it I mean in the tough way. The forest was really dense and sometime I felt like lost in the middle of nowhere.
Physically, again, I give an A+ for myself. Technically, well..that is another story. I did 45 minutes in the 5,8km which was good enough for 10th place but only 2 minutes behind the winner.
  My racing strike is almost in the end. Next I will have 1 or 2 more weekend of orienteering, then the European and after that I'll turn my atention to athletics to be able to dedicate more for my studies.
I feel a little sad when I have to say this, because I know how much more I could improve. Every race I finished lately it seemed I was never satisfied but the case was that I knew how much better I could be if I had the right oportunity. As I said, it isn't enought to be gifted and like, you need to have the oportunity.
That's enough talking for now, I'll keep in touch.
Luis Silva