Thursday, June 26, 2014

We have European champ!

 It's true. Portugal has now an European champ and it is in Orienteering! Good to see that someone else than the football team does something.. It is quite impressive to win an European championship by 30 seconds, even more in the sprint! Very beautifull thing to be done, and now is time to congratulate hime, but let me present you that kid, called Ricardo Ferreira.

  I knew him barelly 3 years ago. He was a football player that knew orienteering by the hand of my old coach, a teacher that does an amazing work on spread the sport in Pinhal Novo, a small town on the south of Portugal and where I'm from. When I saw him first he was kind of annoying but when I saw him running I saw something special, his speed was something I recognized before and his will also. The question was if he could do it with a map, for sure the first times were not the best, but sometimes a super race came out and I started to believe that I was facing something special. I started to support that kid, mostly trying to teach him and help him realize that he could o more.
  He grew up, I saw more and more coming. It is funny that here almost no one can see when a kid has the "thing", and he was unknow by the most and no one would give him credit. I gave, me and the club, we saw him develop and he was growing better and better. After placing 15th in last eyoc in sprint I knew this year he could do something good. And with a good support it became truth, now there is the result.

  But it is necessary to put it perspective. He is an European champ in orienteering who doesn't do orienteering at all and doesn't have that much support. I know he trains most of his days by himself and often has bad races which doesn't reveal hist true value. I saw the gps trackings from some of his races and I understood there what kind of animal was there. I hope this is a thing that will open eyes..or maybe not, but I'll make sure, and with me more people (I know), that he will get there soon!

Congratulations! We are not as small as that ;). Let me see if I can repeat it in Jwoc!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What I've seen.

  Now, sit down and waiting for the plane the memories of this incredible days start to come and is time to share them with all of you! Since I've entered in orienteering I've heard about Jukola, that competition where more than thousand teams would enter and fight for victory in a team effort. That mass start was kind of myth for me and when I saw the videos I couldn't imagine how it would be to be there and how was possible that so many people could run together.
   Well this year was for sure a special year, I was given the oportunity, by Ms Parma team, to try both biggest relays, and for sure I took and I enjoyed it.Tiomila was already special feeling, but I have to say that it is not even close to Jukola. But let me tell all trip.

   I came here on 12th June, 2 days before, and friday was all about travelling to Kuopio where I did a fine training, of course I was rusty because I was more than 3 weeks without orienteering, but I took it slow and nice and it worked out. I ended up to develop some kind of alergic reaction (I guess because of mosquitos) but it wasn't anything serious. Anyway, next day morning I went to Jukola event center and when I got there I was terrified. I've never had seen anything so big, it was like a small town and everyone was getting prepared for the big event. I was all day going all around, trying to see everything there, I saw first the venla relay and the coverage was just incredible, you had 2 or 3 big screens where you could watch everything live and follow the competition. It was kind of old outside cinema type, sit on the grass and watch the GPS on TV.

   That afternoon I went for a slow training on the model map (they had like 3 model maps just around the arena) and I could understand right there that It was not going to be an easy task..the terrain was soft and tough to run and I was not used to it. The time of the men's relay was coming and I went for a while for my team's house and we discussed the final plans for the relay Of course my role there was secondary, I was running on the second team but I had to be there and see how they do it, that I can learn from those men (some of them ran already more than 15 Jukolas). I started finally to feel the pressure...when they asked if I was ready, I was divided between to thoughts: I wasn't any ready for running the first, but I was ready to give it all and that was what I was looking for.
  9pm, me and the first guy of the first team, we went to the arena. Was time to get ready, the time passed really fast and when I looked to the watch was already 10pm (1hour to start), so I put my equipment, I ajusted the headlamp and I guess I was ready to go. I entered in the zone of start and I started to do an easy jog, trying to relax, if I just knew what was about to coming :D.. 10 minutes to start, they open the tapes and you can go to your starting number, mine was 78, so that was pretty much in the front and then everyone was there, waiting for it. I saw thousands of people outside watching, and my scare was growing up. 2 minutes to start, I look behind and I see 1000 people behind me and I just say "of fuck", that was some serious shit, and the adrenaline just started to be realeased on my blood. 1 minute and they give the maps, the starting signal would be a canon sound and a plane would fly throught us, and that made really feel the pressure! It was almost a matter of life to run.
   5, 4, 3, 2, 1,...BAM! And everyone goes! I just sprinted and run the hardest I could, it was 1 km throught the triangle and until there, there would not be any chance of watching the map, I just ran and ran, trying to stay close and find the best place, the floor was so difficult to run that many runners fell on my side, I was really positioned in the action zone! I was able to made it throught the front line, when I hit the triangle I was 10 meters back the leading guy and we entered the forest..the first leg was something monstrous, I don't know how much it was, but going there was hell, I climbed I jump, I had to be running at tht speed in that terrain! Green, swamps, trees, rocks, everything! it was incredible, I can't describe it because I had to give it all to make it there..animals is the word I can use. The first control was something that I could call f*ckying difficult..but I was smart and I found it very well, I made it to the 3rd really in control but then the mistake came and I was behind. Anyway I followed and I found the 5th, but after that was a big, big shit.
   The rest of the race was incredibly difficult, I was totally tired, and the terrain would not help. It was madness, everyone was just going as hard as they could, I saw a suited guy going trought me and I thought "what the fuck? I'm seeing things!". I fell on icy swamps, I fell on rocks, I went throught a tree! Every shit happened to me on that night. I wondered what I was doing there, I wanted to stop and give, but I just couldn't, you know..there was no way. I almost vomited because of the effort, when you go to that point something has to be wrong :D. I could not read the map anymore and more mistakes was so difficult map and being so tired made it even more difficult. I got throught the end asking what the hell just happened there..I felt raped. I wanted to cry and call for my mom, but instead I laugh because it was incredible that there is no limits! I have no idea how many mistakes I did, but I delivered it 15 minutes behind, which was pretty shit :D.
   Anyway, I spend the rest of the night watching the relay, incredible tired and cold but there were some special blue sky and the night never I guess that was part of Jukola spirit. It took me until today to totally recover, I did just 2 more trainings on finish forests, they were difficult but I wanted to enjoy more! There will be next time for sure.

   Conclusions? Orienteering's still an amazing sport beside everything. Having this experiences make me feel really lucky and contribute a lot for my development as an athlete. Now I'm backing home, but with the feeling I want to train hard that I will do it fine in Jwoc. This is amazing, this sport is a way of life! I wouldn't ask anything more.

See you..

Luis Silva

Friday, June 6, 2014

Is this the year?

  June, next month will be July and for me it means Jwoc. Last year I didn't went there as I overtrained and I was to tired to do something right, still I can't know if I did the right thing, but I stil think it was the best for me!
  Well, this year I tried to not mess with it. The last year of any competition is an important one, I don't see it as a crutial thing to succeed there, but it would be fine to do something special, at least to close my youth years with something I can remember! Anyway, as I said, my life as an athlete doesn't end here, and that I have quite present on my mind, but lets put the things in perspective.
   My year has been really good until now, I can't complain about lack of motivation. I was able not only to comeback but also to beat the old me, that is a very strong statement, because when I say beat, I mean everything. There was no need to put everything on here and kill myself with training, there was no need to mess and let everything else behind, I think there is a chance to have a life with many faces and now, I just realized it. Train was just my way to relax from my daily studies, and life is so much better when you actually care about enjoying every experiences you can get. But continue, I ran 15:20 for 5000m in March, I had a really strong middle distance in Eoc and even after that I experienced some setback, I was able to understand and relax a little. Right in time I think, because my fitness is improving a ton every damn week, for example my last interval training were:

@3x1000m+2x500m, 3' between 1000 and 2' between 500, times: 3'08-3'00-2'42-1'22-1'20

@3x(300m-1'-200m), 3' rest between sets and time were: 42-28-41-27-41-30

@3x500m  3' rest between, times: 1'16-1'17-1'11

@10x300m 1' rest, times: 51-49-49-48-47-47-46-46-45-40 (Good help from training partner in the last ahah)

 Those are not super times, but for me, this is a big step foward and I'm doing it more those times easier, more like competition. The tough time is still to come, I will push much more in the rest of this month trying to put myself in shape.
  I think I have unfinished business with the track and I will atack my pb's soon and try to make it worth my workouts, but the big goal will be the junior world championships. How far is that goal? I honestly don't know, I think I cannot speak in medals, that is a bigger step than my leg and I would be foolish to aiming such thing again. Perfect would be a top 15, and that is much more likely for me and my level. Time will tell everything, for now Jukola is coming and also exams!

See you in July,
Luis Silva