Sandra here: I went to my swedish club Ok Tyr for a training camp as well as the club champs in Ultralong and middle distance. I was lucky to be joined by some of the US team members, specifically those who are living in Sweden at this time. It was a great camp, with lots of good training, and some really exciting races as well. Here is our report:
9 – 14 November, 2006
Attendance: Suzanne Armstrong (OK Linné) right, Viktoria Brautigam (Södertälje-Nykvarn Orientering) center, Boris Granovskiy (OK Linné) left, Sandra Zürcher (OK Tyr)
Organizer: Tom Hollowell, OK Tyr
Upon arrival on the evening of Thursday, November 8, we were greeted with all the trappings of hospitality by the Hollowell family and fed a fine home-cooked meal of chicken curry that was to set the standard for the whole week's dinners.
After a good night's sleep, we set off on our first challenge: an interview with Nya Wermlands-Tidningen, Karlstad's local paper. After answering some questions and posing for photographs, we began a long distance/route choice training on Mosaren, the map that has hosted the Swedish long champs and the Euromeeting in the past. The terrain was both physical and very technical, with a lot of contour and rock detail on hillsides and hill-tops. The course was designed with many route-choice options, as well as the requirement for fine navigation in the control circle. Part of the challenge was running and maintaining concentration through deep moss and blueberry bushes, where we had to raise our legs pretty high on almost every step. Link to the Mosaren map
With yummy lasagna in our stomachs and after waiting for darkness to fall, we drove out to run a night sprint on a 1:4000 map. The sprint course was run in loops of varying lengths which were run in different order by different racers – a standard way to provide simple forking in Swedish trainings and races. Despite various navigation and equipment problems, we all managed to survive the course and returned to the Hollowell estate for some time in the much-appreciated sauna.
Friday started with the whole gang sitting around the breakfast table and admiring their own faces staring at them from the centerfold of Nya Wermlands-Tidningen’s sports section, along with an extensive and reasonably accurate article. Training-wise, this was scheduled to be an easy day with an eye on the ultralong race to be run on Saturday. This morning’s training, run by Viktoria, Sandra, and Boris while Suzanne gave her injured heel a break, involved a combination of two exercises done at an easy pace on a relatively simple area. The first part involved one person running ahead without a map, while one of the others instructed her where to go and what features to look out for. The goal for the person with the map is to think about what she expects to see and to plan each route choice well while simplifying as needed. The goal for the person without the map is to not let the other person run her off a cliff or into an impassable swamp. The second half of the training was golf-O, where your “score” is computed by the number of glances at a map needed to find the control. The rest of the day was spent exploring Karlstad, followed by some carbo-loading at the Hollowell mansion.
Saturday morning greeted us with the camp’s first rain, but the sky almost cleared up by the time we were all done running the Varmland District Ultralong Championships. The courses (20.6km for the guys, 14km for the girls) were set on a map called Sanna and were run in loops of varying lengths, taken in different order by different runners (sound familiar?). They were set around a central control, which we ended up punching a total of five or six times. The courses had a lot of long legs, with the emphasis on route choice and the need to select solid attack points. A key to success was slowing down in the control circles and staying focused despite the tired legs and the long, fast stretches of trail running that often were followed by diving into a very detailed area of the control circle.
Our results were solid, with Sandra becoming OK Tyr champion and coming 2nd overall in D21, Viktoria taking 9th, Boris 6th in H21, and Suzanne finishing 4th on an open course with some unusually tough competition – she had to race against Hakan Eriksson, Sweden’s ageless national team orienteer. This was a very encouraging day for all of us, as we managed to complete the tough courses on a day when many competitors dropped out or stumbled into the finish chute. The evening called for a short, slow jog around the neighborhood and a gourmet treat of pork filet back at casa Hollowell.
Link to the Ultralong champs D21
It was hard to imagine that after completing Saturday’s brutal courses that we’d be back for more punishment on Sunday, and yet, here we were, at the start line of OK Tyr’s middle distance championship on the 1:10000 version of the same map we had run the ultralong on. This was a markedly less successful day for us, as tired legs and sore brains took their toll. We all made mistakes along the way, but still enjoyed the technical courses that felt totally different from the ultralong despite being set on the same map. The courses had lots of controls (21 over 4.6km in H21, as opposed to just 30 in 20.6km the day before), lots of changes in direction, and a lot of nice, open, but very detailed areas. It was nice to experience such different course-setting styles on the same area and to think about the different strategies necessary for success in each type of race. In the middle distance, we were often punished for leaving a control without a solid plan for the next one or for failing to compensate for straying off a bearing due to micro-route choice decisions.
Perhaps contrary to better judgement, we headed out on another evening run around the neighborhood before putting on our best Sunday clothes and heading to town to sample some of the best pizza in Varmland. The night finished off with a giant tub of ice cream and a movie at the Hollowell hacienda.
Monday started off with the camp’s last technical training, as the tired gang headed to OK Tyr’s clubhouse to run orienteering intervals. These were meant to be done in pairs in the following fashion: you get a partner and two streamers. Then you start from some central point and each pick a control to hang. You jog to that control spot, hang your streamer, and then run/orienteer fast to the other person's control, collect it, and then orienteer as fast as you can back to the starting point. Then go to the next starting point and repeat. It was a good exercise for technical training, but our overall tiredness prevented us from pushing ourselves physically on the intervals as much as we would have done if we were fresh. The tough, rocky footing combined with deep blueberry made for some tough running, so a major challenge of this exercise was to maintain flow and concentration while working hard just to get through the terrain.
Link to Ok Tyr club house map
After lunch and a nap, we were ready for our last torture… err…. training of the camp, as Tom’s wife Tone assumed the role of slave-driver and led us through a bit of aerobics (Swedish gympa) followed by circuit training focusing on core strength, balance, and stability. Following an hour of these exercises (we did 30 seconds x 3 times of each of 15 exercises, with 30 seconds off in between), exhausted but happy, we returned to the Hollowell compound for delicious omelets, tea, and good conversation.
All in all, the camp went very well, and we all return home in various degrees of exhaustion (which, according to Coach Tom, is the goal of a training camp), but also with a good amount of confidence and motivation coming into this winter training season. It was very nice to get this much time in terrain and also to practice several different types of orienteering, from night sprints to ultralong, all on maps having their own distinct characters. We would like to thank Coach Tom for making this happen, the US Team for providing financial and moral support and, of course, Tone, Christian, and William Hollowell, of Hollowell Manor for a week of fantastic hospitality!
- Team USA-Europe
15 November, 2006
Some funny pictures:
(Touring around Karlstad)
(Don't worry Tom, there is a reasonable explanation for this! :-))