Monday, May 6, 2013

Jag är hungrig!

What's the most efficient way to become nocturnal? Race and spectate the infamous 10mila weekend and then attempt to travel back to France in time for your chemistry class on Monday of course! So far I'm succeeding at it pretty well, however, it may be a hard blow when I arrive in class where napping is quite strictly frowned upon! **Update: the gentleman who cleans the floors in the airport just told me I look tired so I guess I'm doing a better job at that than actually becoming a night hawk. And for the record if that was supposed to be a compliment I'm not flattered!

The last time I tried to take public transport in Uppsala the intended 12 minute bus ride turned into a 2 hour tour through the Uppsala countryside. I wanted to avoid a similar debacle and so I gave myself 6 hours to arrive at Arlanda on time. Obviously the public transport decided to work in my favour this time because not only was the bus driver a super sweetie - not making me pay for a ticket and able to speak french - but I have arrived with only 4.5 hours to soak up the super exciting Monday morning ambience here in the airport! Good thing I have enough rice pudding and peanut butter and banana sandwiches to last me until next Tuesday!! In one week's time (aaaaaah!) I will be entering my final exam period which means that as soon as I'm no longer a sleep deprived zombie it's crunch time! Therefore, why not take advantage of this valuable time in the Arlanda airport at 2 a.m. to recount some of the stupendous times I've had this past month in Sweden?

Unfortunately, after my first race I started feeling a little bit funky and sure enough I came down with the flu... perfect timing to let down your defences body! Geez! To give you an idea of how fast I was moving when I was able to train, Thierry's favourite nickname for me was "super turtle". I already have to take 3 steps for one of his so, when you add in my lack of energy to keep my feet moving forward, it's understandable that I had so much trouble keeping up! I tried to be reasonable though and didn't start training hard again until my legs felt like they were able to turn over all by themselves. I exceedingly enjoyed running a long distance on some classic Swedish terrain! Heading into the race I wasn't counting on feeling in tip top shape so I decided to concentrate on my technique of trusting my compass and having a good image of which features were in the circle. There's nothing like the fantabulous feeling of cruising through this type of terrain and nailing the controls! It was also the first day in two weeks that I was feeling close to my normal, 100% functioning self so I was absolutely over the moon! 

By the time Silva League weekend rolled around I had a few speedy trainings under my belt and a lot of excitement bubbling up with the prospect of racing on some spectacular terrain in Tibro. I knew that running two long distances back to back was going to be an enormous challenge considering the amount of time I had spent down and out these past two weeks. These races were also a major factor for the Linné team 10mila selections and so... no pressure! I figured the best I could do was to "giv'er all I got" and just keep in mind my objectives on running with my compass and being careful in the technical contours area.

The butterfly loop from Saturday's course.
My compass and I were best of friends at the beginning of Sunday's course (however, we experienced some misunderstandings near the end).

There were ups and downs in both races but I was pleasantly surprised by my results ( 33rd and 27th respectively for the two days) and they earned me the third leg on Linné's first team! I was fortunate enough to be running on a team of super talented ladies: Lina Bäckström, Rasa Ptasekaite, Annika Billstam and Catherine Taylor. 

Fast forward a week and I find myself donning a GPS and heading into the warm-up area to scamper around with the rest of the women waiting for our second leg runner to come storming into the arena. Rasa handed off to me in 41st and with almost a kilometer of marked route to the start triangle I turned on the turbo jets. The third leg had no forking which meant that we were all supposed to be going to the same controls. Right off the bat, though, I didn't like the attack that the others were taking for the first control. It's one of the tricky things about relays; you want to use the pack as much as possible to aid your orienteering and speed, but you have to have the confidence to know when the train is running off the tracks and abandon ship! From the moment that I spiked the first control I was in the zone and taking no prisoners! I was navigating while leading an entire train of girls, calm as a cucumber and loving it! It wasn't until the 6th control, when I caught another pack of girls, that I realized how hard I had been running, how great this race was going, and how exhausted I was!

The live GPS tracking!
Unfortunately, that's where my concentration cracked and I had a few small troubles at the end of the race but I was still able to hand off to Annika in 15th place! Annika and Cat went on to run superb races and we finished in 10th/disqualified place... there was a bit of a sticky situation about an out-of-bounds area but nobody is really sure how it's going to finish. Whether we were first, tenth, fortieth, or disqualified, though, it doesn't really matter. What's really important is the passion and commitment that each one of us put into all of the training before 10mila right through to the race itself! All of us poured our heart into representing OK Linné as best we could and I think it really showed. I feel so privileged to have run with such amazing women and I hope to do it much more in the near future! I've had the most spectacular month living and training in Uppsala with the most incredible group of people! As I'm sitting here watching yet another sunrise I'm already dreaming about the next time I'll be in this airport but with clean clothes packed in my suitcase and striding out of the doors excited to get to another sensational Linné training!

Note: the title is one of the more important Swedish phrases that I learned during my month-long stay. At this rate, I'll most likely be fluent by the year 2052 (but at least I’ll never go hungry)!