WOC 2017 is history, and for the first time I am really not satisfied with my own performance. Going home with a 19th place in the sprint was not what I aimed for. Anyway, I did enjoy running WOC in Estonia, and it was nice to see many other good performances from my team mates - 2nd best nation at WOC! Being a reserve is always tough, watching races you want to run from the sideline, but I am motivated to keep on working towards new goals and hopefully be stronger next time to be able to catch some more of the few spots.
I travelled together with the sprinters to Tartu on Wednesday 28th of June, and started WOC with the model event of the sprint on Thursday. After many hours of theoretical preparations together with the rest of the team, I was ready to get started in the qualification race on Friday. After coming 1 minute late to my call-up time because the -5 was not at the first gate as said in the bulletin, I got some minutes to focus and get ready. I started out a little bit bad, by almost running past the street I wanted to run in (the map was cut very close to this street), I found the first control, but had already lost 8sec to best split. To the 2nd control I had a hard time to see the gap in the fence in the beginning, and additionally I did not see the path going flat along the depression (and had forgotten that it existed), and went down and then up again - loosing again some time. After this it went much better, but I took with me a stressed, negative feeling which I did not manage to get rid of. Towards control 6 I fell due to a hole in the ground I did not see, and towards control 12 I almost went into a dead-end street, but realized it just in time, and was lucky that my routechoice was still the best. Running towards the finnish the speaker said I was just a small 10s behind the leading time, and I was relieved. In the end I was shared 6th in heat B, 35s behind the winner of the heat, Galina Vinogradova (RUS).
At the 8th control of the qualification. Picture: Worldofo.com
At the 12th control of the qualification. Picture: organizers.
The sprint final followed on Saturday afternoon, and I started in the middle of the starting field. I started out controlled (maybe too controlled?), and even though I ran the best routechoice I lost 14s (probably half of it I could have avoided with a faster start) already to the 1st control. Out of control 1 I was too fast, and changed my original plan after already starting, and I loose another 8s to the best split (maybe 5s to myself). Control 3 and 4 goes well, but running out of the park towards control 5 I am sure I have to take the next road going into the city, but I actually don't and end up running down the wrong street. I realize after some meters because the buildings are different as expected, and really irritated on myself I turn around. Approx. 15s lost on this mistake (lose 21s to best split). 6th control I run well, but somehow I managed to do an almost identically mistake to control 7. I consider going right, but think the cut through the forest should be good, and while running up the street I try to recognize the right entry. I double check the map and I am sure I have to go in after the fence, but I don't. I have somehow moved the control further up, and run in the wrong place. Again I realize after several meters into the wrong dead-end street, and I have to turn and go back (lose another 15s and 21s in total to best split). Even more frustrated I know my mistakes are now just too much, but I keep on fighting. Run well to control 8 and 9, but to control 10 I don't see the best routechoice, and lose probably about 10s on this (lose 20s to best split). My finish is ok, eventhough I am not sure if my route to control 11 is the best. I also think I should have cut some green in the beginning after the fence. After the hill up to control 10 I am tired, and lose some time here continuously. Run in 45s behind the leader Ida Marie Bjørgul, and in the end she is 9th and I am 19th. So my speed was probably good enough for top 10 with a perfect race, but with 30s lost only by running in wrong streets, I was fare away from that this time. I must say, the course was also not made for me. With only long legs, we were never under time-stress to make our decisions, and even though the routechoice challenges were difficult - it was more about running fast than sprint-technique. Anyway, that is no excuse, and I did not even manage to run mistake free - maybe because I was too less stressed and got lazy in the map reading?
Running out from the arena - Picture: Owen Jarvis Westergård.
Pushing hard towards the finnish. Picture: Worldofo.com
In the finnish. Picture: Worldofo.com
19th place in WOC was definitely not what I aimed for, after I have been able to perform some of my best sprints at WOC the previous years with my 8th place in 2015 and 2016. I actually only have one result which was further down the result list at a WOC with my 20th place in the sprint 2011. Mistakes can happen, and I am eager to train well and come back stronger next time. The rest of the WOC week I had to stay prepared as a reserve to the sprint relay, the long and the middle distance. The probability of running as a reserve is always low, and so it was this year. Everyone stayed healthy, and could run what they were selected for. I was impressed by the team performance on the long distance with all women in the top 9 and 3 men in the top 5 and four men in the top 13, and of course the gold medal of Olav Lundanes. It was also extremely nice and impressive to see Marianne Andersen take the silver medal at the middle distance after 7 years! The forest disiplins all looked demanding and I would have given a lot to run them, so it is just to go home and keep fighting. The WOC was finnished of with the relay, where the norwegian men took an impressive 2nd gold in the row! The girls fought well, and ended as 6th. I came back to Switzerland on Saturday evening, and took an easy weekend. This week I will start up with the summer training, and hopefully build a solid basis for the rest of the season.
The norwegian team! Picture: Øystein Kvaal Østerbø.