Impressions of Estonia

I’ve now been 1 week in Estonia, staying with 2 new friends in Tartu and finding my old friend consistency. Kaupo and Heinar, a multisporter and a marathon runner, have been great value and very kind to let me into their apartment. Although we have been mostly doing our own training,  it always feels like a training camp when we regroup for stretching and rolling each evening. Estonia appears to be a nice country and everybody I have met has been friendly, although the scars of soviet occupation are everywhere.

View from my window – the evening sun over the university grounds

View from my window – the evening sun over the university grounds

This week I’ve been out to 3 maps for 2 long sessions and one shorter one, with another hard interval session on the road and some easy runs around town. My body seems to coming into some better form again after 3 sluggish weeks, possibly with too much racing and not enough resting. Knocking off 7 races in the last 4 weeks has of course been fun, but with 5 of them long distance races, I’ve always felt like my fitness-fatigue balance has been lopsided despite my best efforts to calculate and correct for these races within the greater training progression. This week has corrected for that, keeping the intensity low for all session except for some flat and fast intervals – a recipe I know my body responds well too. It was also important to get some descent time orienteering on maps relevant to WOC and clocking in over 5 hours across 3 runs sees that box ticked also.

Kaupo and I after our first long run

Kaupo and I after our first long run

The 3 sessions are up on my DOMA so be sure to check them out and see what kind of terrain awaits us for WOC, with my first race now 8 days away. I would describe the terrain here as messy, with small patches of different trees and different undergrowth always breaking the flow that the smooth contours suggest is possible. In places, a lot of branches on the ground demand high levels of aggression and micro-route choice becomes important for maintaining high speed but an additional challenge for maintaining directionMap 1

Map 2

Map 3

Although there are clearly mistakes in my orienteering so far, I would describe the technical difficulty I’ve faced so far as on the easy side and I’m only really concerned about the one mistake I made today where I can’t put the pieces back together. The others have been due to out of date mapping and distractions such as talking to training partners or thinking I’ve seen a bear. I really don’t want to see a bear!

Hooning through one of the nicer patches of forest

Hooning through one of the nicer patches of forest

I’m looking forward to 2 more orienteering sessions, one at higher speed, and a few sessions cruising around on the road or trails, one also with intervals, and then I think I’ll be as ready as ever to face race day.

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