Tuesday, October 30, 2012


For those who don’t know me, my name is Emily Kemp, I run for Canada, and orienteering fuels my passion for life. Two years ago I moved my life across the ocean so that I could train full time with the French in le Pôle France and I’ve never looked back since. There have been some absolutely fantastic experiences and some moments where life wasn’t the fireworks that I expected it to be.

I’ve wanted to start this blog for a while now and I have my brother, Eric Kemp, programmer extraordinaire, to thank for creating this absolutely fantastic page.
Since moving to Europe, I have had so many new and exciting experiences where I have learned... many lessons most frequently the hard way. I’m hoping that with this blog I’ll be able to share my adventures of my travels, competitions, and epic training camps so that everyone back home, and around the world, might be able to learn a few lessons the easier way.

JWOC this year took me from a super high of winning a bronze medal, to a super low of breaking my arm and not even being able to wash my own hair by myself. I took almost 3 weeks off training in the summer which I thought would be exceedingly difficult but actually turned out to be quite healing since my body was in dire need of a break (no pun intended). As soon as I got back into training though I was practically starving to regain my form and start preparing for next season. I had all this motivation but it was only the beginning of September when most other athletes were thinking about ending their season and taking a bit of a break. To say the least, I was absolutely over the moon when I got the email saying that le Pôle France would be travelling to Italy for a week-long training camp in the WOC 2014 terrain.

The perfect height for our accommodation!

We spent 5 days training on some of the most gorgeous terrain that I have ever orienteered in! As you can tell, you could see forever in the wide open woods but the rocky ground meant that you had to keep an eye on your feet. There were contour lines a plenty which either had your legs burning running up, or your eyes tearing up as you flew down.

We ran through some exceedingly tricky terrain but also some terrain with only larger movements where knowing which level of the hill you were on was essential. In the map sample on the right, would you have taken the upper route along the trail, straight across, or down to the field and up the trail? It's still a debate in le Pôle as to which would be the fastest during a race :)

I was able to do some pretty clean orienteering...

... but I also had my fair share of disasters.


I think two of the best trainings that we did during that week were the two night-os on a map 'just' above our accommodation. Philippe Adamski, Celestin Crespin, and I started on our 30min run to the start with almost 300m of climb and got to the top just as the sun was setting. We were able to look back over the valley with the mountains and all the twinkling lights of the village below and just be happy to be alive! Unfortunately, that joy was short lived since I ended up getting utterly lost quite a few times during the training... see last map image above... However, I'm not one to let a course get the better of me, so the last night of the camp we headed back up to re-run the same course but at "race pace" which was more "knowing where the heck I'm going pace" for me. The new flow was amazing!

According to Philippe, the goal is to now manage that the first time around ;)

The training camps that I've done in Europe have always held the best memories and it’s where I think I’ve advanced the most in my orienteering technique. There's something about living and breathing orienteering for 4 or 5 days at a time that give you a real boost! I was actually a bit sad to say goodbye to the mountains of Italy, to the delicious food, and the friendly people but at least I know I'll be back in 2014!