WOC 2017 – colorful!

16 07 2017

It’s a little bit more than one week since WOC ended. WOC 2017 in Estonia which gave me a great success, but also lots of frustration.

I was selected to run sprint and middle and with aim for both relays.

The week started up with the sprint. Qualification on friday in heavy rain and on a quite hilly, but technical easy course. My run was okay. Two mistakes, but the body felt light so the result became good as I finished 2nd in my heat, 30 seconds behind Maja Alm. Job done.

Saturday and time for the final. Always nervous, but it is as it should be. Quarantine time and warm-up went through as normal. Some stress during the final 5 minutes due to that I had to change Emit-tags as mine didn’t work. Though I felt relaxed standing on the start line. Knowing what to do. Or did I? I ran away and followed my plan. Executed the first long leg good and it continued okay to control 5. Towards next I was searching for the best route for a long time, but became stressed I couldn’t find a route to the right and just took something left, which became the one which was a bit longer. Lost time, but had a strong part after arena passing gaining positions again. With 4-5 minutes left I was at position 5 in the very tight field. Though, I did a big mistake to the next control, going right one street too early and I loose a lot of time. I got tired and continued doing bad the last legs towards finish, dropping down in the results and end up as 12th, +1:20 behind amazing Maja Alm.

A sprint is interesting. It is so much preparations and build-up before the race. During the race the intensity is extremely high both physically and mentally. After passing that line which says the race is over, there is suddenly place to let go of the focusing and instead just leave your body out for feelings. This time there was a huge emptiness that caught me. So much work and this was it. 12th and, what it felt like, miles away from the podium, which was the goal, and the realistic position for me. 12th, just as in Finland 4 years ago… Emptiness brought frustration, disappointment and sadness. Yes, I know that I can do so much better, but what does it mean when it never shows during WOC? Yes, it is easy to put a stamp on the race as it is – somewhat – your whole life. Thoughts like I am DONE, I never have and never will succeed in ANYTHING – just due to 15 minutes of what should have been your dream come true, but instead was another failure.

This is what is going through the head the minutes after finishing a race that was a disappointment. Of course I have tools to handle it. I know that it isn’t EVERYTHING in the longer perspective, but in that moment it is and it must be. It is a part of the game, the game that I love. I must open the tap and let it fluid to have a chance to process it in time for the next challenge.

The next challenge. The odds to run a relay for the Swedish team after a bad race is not good odds. Though, I had the ”luck” on my side, and got selected for the sprint relay the following day. I have done many good performaces on first legs on sprint relays the last year, which gave me the spot together with Jerker, Jonas & Helena.

Sunday, relay day. I have got some experience and I am grateful that I’ve done the job. Though, I had some respect for the steep hills that we should meet on the course. I didn’t want to push too hard from the beginning, with the risk to loose it in the end. My job on the first leg is not to win the relay for the team.

Running  world championships is something awesome and I decided to enjoy it. It is so freakin’ cool to stand on the start line for a relay.

We started and went of in a, as always, high speed. I got a good position up the first hill, but Great Britains Cat Taylor already got a gap in front. No stress, just focusing on where to find my control and the next one. Suddenly I was first to the 2nd as some did mistakes. Got the opportunity to choose route to the next one and also set the speed in the hills. Searched a cutted track in the high grass towards the 3rd control, and lost some positions. No worries, perfect to be the chaser on the long leg into town. Girls pushing really hard during this section of the course and I didn’t manage to close the gap, also due to some seconds longer forking. Did some intense map reading  towards the 7th control and lost some seconds compared to just following. I didn’t want to miss any route choice, but I was a bit too defensive. I am now 10 seconds behind. I am then not taking the best route to the forked control before arena passing and looses more time. Now it is 22 seconds which starts to be a lot. I am not aware that it is that much and still feels strong physically. I am ready for a really tricky and tough last loop. I turn the map and realize that the seconds loop is more or less the same as the first 3 controls at the first loop. I realize that people wont do any mistakes and I need to start pushing really hard to close the gap. I succeed quite well as I am only 7 seconds behind at finish as number 4.

And the rest is history… 🙂 The whole team stuck to our plan and do our own orienteering through-out the relay and suddenly we got the gap. The gap came on the 3rd leg where a lot of teams did mistakes and due to that Jerker had the way longer forking on the 2nd leg. But it was a big surprise that the gap became that big. 40 seconds down to Czech Republic and an additional minute down to Switzerland, Denmark, Russia and Great Britain. Helena runs solo the whole last leg and the victory is never in danger. We get the possibility to cross the finish line together, the whole team as WORLD CHAMPIONS. Swedens first ever gold in sprint relay.

As it was a lot of emptiness and frustration after the finish line the day before, it was energy, relief, joy and happiness this time. About my own performance I am happy that I once again can deliver a stable first leg, and change-over not in the lead this time, but very close to it. I have realized that the team ”must” be in the leading group after the first leg for having a big chance to be in the chance of winning, so I am happy that I can deliver that.

After the sprint relay I had 3 days of rest from competing as I wasn’t running the long distance. First I could enjoy the gold medal and color the ends of my hair in pink. Helena went all the way, while the boys banged. I also took a jog from our house in the forest, full of self confidence about my sence of directions. You know, I had jogged on those tracks the day before… At the moment when I start the jog, the great idea of going the opposite directions came up. Splendid – go for it! I went out, with the aim of going 20 minutes. I am high on life. But suddenly I have no idea where I am. Shit. Doesn’t my watch have a ”find your way back-function”? Yes, but without a map, just with a compass. Okay, in what directions is Tartu? And where do we even stay? There is just a forest somewhere south of Tartu. At the same moment I am clumsy and happen to delete the current jog in my watch and the chance to see the direction back to the start is lost. Well, I am still quite high on life actually. At saturday, after the sprint final, everything was a problem. Now, with a gold medal in mind, nothing is. I’ll find the way. Yes, I did, but it took some time and some extra kilometers… It goes fast from floating up the clouds to be brought back to earth. A gold medal yes, but life continues.

Middle distance time. Middle distance is a tricky one for me. I nailed it at the World Cup in Finland, for the first race in a long time. That gave me the WOC middle ticket, but I’m afraid I didn’t use it on the right train. It’s like my first Jukola trip 11 years ago. Instead of taking the fast x2000 train from Gothenburg to Stockholm where the ferry goes, we took the bus which went via Trollhättan and other small towns in Västergötland and the trip took 8 hours instead of 3. At least my middle race felt like taking the wrong and long way instead of just going for it. Why make things complicated? How hard can it be? Okay, the terrain was tricky. I have done too few comparable trainings, to be honest. I must do a proper technical job in the future to be able to handle this kind of course. Hat off for Tove who showed how to do it. I ended up as 13th. Not that far from top 6 actually and ”only” 2 minutes from medal. But, you shouldn’t be there with a bad race, so I can’t expect more. The good thing is that instead of all the empty feelings as after the sprint, I was filled with motivation of doing the work to next year. It aint over til it’s over.

Due to my bad performance I wasn’t selected for the forest relay team. Of course tough to handle, but Emma had shown a higher level than me, so there was nothing wrong with that and I could feel happy about their gold. They had earned it, but once again the motivation grew even bigger to do the work to become a part of that hopefully already next year.

The WOC week ended as always with the banquet. Before heading in to Tartu to the official party we had some time with the team at our house, which was great. Time to eat Libanesian barbeque and preparing outfits. Karro & Lilian (and a little bit of me) did an awesome job with the outfits this year. We went for hair up and colors, inspired by the ”penntrolls” and color run. It is an incredible feeling, looking like a freak, but just the same as 18 other freaks, and enter a dance floor, and then just keep going for several hours. Taking a break is not existing when putting a bunch of world class trained endurance athletes on the dance floor. I guess the DJ realized it after a while…

To sum up my performances I am not happy with my individual races. Too many mistakes and not reaching my potential which was my goal. I have stuff to figure out. My race at the sprint relay was good, and as it should be on a relay. The race itself doesn’t feel like a world champion race, but in relay there are other rules, so of course I am happy about it and more than happy about the final result.

Thank you all for a memorial week. As always it goes to history. This time I became world champion in sprint relay. That, and spending time with the team and hanging on WOC races is for sure addictive, so let’s go for doing it again next year! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Special thanks to
– Holth, Håkan, Kalle, Henrik & Björn for serving me with all I needed to perform.
– Emma for being my roomie (2nd year in a row) and always being so calm
– Lilian for giving so many hugs and big smiles from the tough position as a reserve
– Helena for being an awesome team mate, you should never stop
– Tove for being so down to earth and showing the way what is possible, and of course giving our team the 4th spot once again
– Karro for being the most humble person I know and for being one of my best friends, even if we always have to be competitors, fighting for the one spot we both want. We will win a relay together in the future!
– Jonas & Jerker which I always will share a gold medal with
– the rest of the boys in the team, Gustav, Emil, Albin, William, Martin, Johan for being everything from nice friends to professionals
– my sponsors Icebug, 2XU and Maurten for letting me use the best products on my way to this and future success









One response

17 07 2017
Helena J



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