Off to Jukola for the first time. This will be the biggest race I've been
in. There will be at least 7000 runners there, and I think they will have
a Jumbotron and real-time results, and all that jazz. I'm presently
scheduled to run the last leg, which is about 15,7K. I haven't done that
sort of distance on a course in a while. I don't expect the terrain to
be very physical, but I expect the orienteering to be mentally demanding.
There is more pressure because, having 6 teammates, a boom is 7 times as
severe. There is also alot that could go wrong -- distractions that I am
not used to, but need to me mentally prepared for are elephant tracks,
tons of people, spectator controls, announcers, the Emit punching
system, forking, following, controls close together. Additionally, the
last time I was at this latitude (Whitehorse), my compass acted funny.
It seemed to take longer to settle and be less reliable. This will, of
course, be at a different longitude, at perhaps a less awkward angle to
magnetic north, but I'm not sure. It will be important to look at this
in the training.
In addition, sleeping and eating arrangements could be awkward. It will
probably be cold, especially at night (anything below 24C or so is cold
in my book). I'm picky about eating and sleeping right before races. And
I'll pretty much have just stepped off the plane.
With all that could go wrong, and the pressure, how does one mentally
prepare? The first thing to remember is that I've encountered all of
the above problems at least once, so I don't think there will be shock
or panic. Sometimes there can be so many things that can overwhelm you
at once, that that paradoxically makes it easier to block it all out.
I think that was at play in Kazakhstan, where there was also a ton of
Eric Weyman gave me some advice. He reminded me that the expected
excellent visibility will be my friend. He said words that will force
me to remember to simplify, slow down, change speeds, expect change
of pace, and take the first controls easy.
On the positive side, I am really looking forward to this. I think it
will be fun. I seem to do well in pressure races, and do well in
relays. I just have to remain in contact, and that is something I
should be able to do. Let the running take care of itself. This is
sort of opposite my philosophy, which is to run hard, and let the
contact take care of itself, but when I have had to do the former, it
has often worked out. I also have been migrating to the latter more and
more over the years. The one fear is the lightning fast terrain
(WT expected < 5/k) and the temptation to let it fly when I get out
there. I absolutely cannot do that until I get comfortable with what
is going on.
Even if I have a perfect, fast race, I expect to lose places for our
team. I have to accept that, and not worry about it. I can't control
the start field. I have no ultimate goals other than to have fun,
only proximate goals of eat and hydrate well, stay in contact, run
as hard as possible under the constraints, and be mentally prepared for
all of the above.
I've been sick lately. Local results in the last 2 races seem down
by about 10%. I'm not over it, but almost am, and expect to be by
tomorrow. I hope it is not a factor. I don't think it will be.
Maybe I should not over analyze things so much ... but I can't help
it. It is my nature. Anyway, there is so much going on this summer
that this will probably be my last update at least until the end of