The long distance qualification and final were the best races for me this season. The final was even the best race for me ever, both technically and physically. How did I do it?
You can read quite a lot of the reasons from my blog history here, but I could bright the most important things as I see them at the moment:
- The mental preparation is everything. It's above and inside physical, technical and psychological training. Without mental preparation I would spend a lot of my energy before THE RACE. The ultimate goal is what I'm preparing myself for and I want to save all of my energy and power to that goal.
- Harmony: the wholeness need to be in deep balance, if I want to succeed, when I want. I opened my harmony star, when I started to write this blog. This has been very important for me all the way. Shortly said this means that my will, thoughts and emotions are in balance, and my training, rest and nutrition are in balance same way. If one of these six things takes control of others or I'm not considering of one them, I will approach the state of disharmony, where I'm eating my energy too much too early. It might even end up to an injury or sickness.
- In everyday life the mental preparation in harmony has meant to me four DEEP things: be humble for the life, love the life itself, trust your own path open-minded, find the enthusiasm every day.
- Physical preparation: There are only small steps you can take forward, i.m. develope during a year. Physical readiness for a WOC medal needs about 10 years of hard work, i.m. a lot of quality training. Last year I focused on two things in my physical training: do as much as possible quality orienteering in the right terrain type for the goal and keep your body fit and recovered well almost every week.
- Technical preparation: There are more that you can do about your technical skills during a year than for your physical readiness. The most important thing for me is the quality orienteering in the right terrain type, i.m. competition speed and really focused on the map and terrain. For me it was important to analyze my doing by gps-tracking and find the things I need to focus even more to get better performance.
- Psychological preparation: concentrate on the essential things to get a better performance. For me this meant that I really wanted to do it better in trainings but especially in competitions. Actually I did all the bigger mistakes in trainings and I learned from my mistakes to competitions. In this project I had minor goals, where I wanted to perform well without spending my mental energy too much too early. I know that I can't perform very well physically all the time, but technically I did it very well in all the important races for me.
Anyway, I wasn't as good as I hoped in Naarva, the Finnish test race for WOC long distance, where I lost to Gueorgiou 6:36! Physically I had a good day, but not brilliant. Technically I had a very good race, but not brilliant. I knew that I can do it brilliantly both technically and physically. After the test race I also knew that I have to avoid marshes as much as possible to get the best result. That meant I needed to be more open-minded and creative, and to trust my intuition at the moment of route choices. The straight route is not necessarily the best.
I had no idea how high in the result list my top performance will put me, at least not until the WOC long qualification race, where I managed to win Gueorgiou, Hubmann, Dæhlie and all the others in my heat too. That was a great race and after that I really could trust my own doing in the final. I chose quite straight routes, but from the analysis I saw that running even quite far from the line is not bad at all. Going round on the road could be possible, if the route planners offer something like that.
The long distance day was something really special in my orienteering carrier. The audience, the project, THE ENERGY I had that day. Already in the morning I felt like I had taken coffeine. I don't drink coffee at all, but before WOC I tested in many races and trainings, how to use coffeine gel to benefit the use of it in competitions. I had had feelings of early high speed and some minor cramps in the end of course, or a least after the race. I also had a cramp after the long qualification. So I decided not to use coffeine in the final. I just drank the organisers' offered sport drink and water in every refreshment point. That felt really a good decision already before the race, but especially now afterwards.
It was just a wonderful day and I really could give my best and all the energy I had prepared for the race. I think I did my best race ever, and possibly the best race ever in Finnish orienteering history. I did no mistakes whatsoever, and I had less to do better than Gueorgiou. Of course, there were some places I lost 10-15 seconds because of a little bit worse runnable places and so on, but THE WHOLENESS WAS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.
I got everything out of my body, which I felt still in the relay on Saturday. I didn't get back the freshness into my muscles. Otherwise I had a good performance and I had one minute longer forking in the last part of the course. Same as Estonia, Norway and Switzerland. Ukraine, Sweden and Russia got rid of the others in that forking, which they had done in the first leg. Actually that forking solved the medals already in the second leg. Of course, the anchors of Russia, Sweden and Ukraine did well their job.
This project is finished. I had a great trip with my lovely team. I learned so much during this trip. I did the trip for the Finnish orienteering mostly. I just wanted to learn more. The best thing on the long distance final and silver was THE FEELINGS I COULD GIVE THE SPECTATORS. The feelings were much bigger than I expected. My performance touched so many people deeply that I couldn't imagine before. I can only say: if I had tried to do the performance on my own power/energy, I just couldn't have succeeded so well. My own level would have been the places between 6-10. Anyway, I did the job and felt the energy with me. THAT ENERGY WAS POWERFUL: THE MENTAL VICTORY OVER THE MATERIALISM.
THANK YOU MY TEAM: my dear wife Reetta, my whole family including my children, mother, brother and his family and especially my father Ensio Lakanen with his Great thoughts (HUT theory). My body fitness man with his deep massage, energy treatments and mental thoughts, Pekka Pulkkinen and Arja. The Finnish National Team, especially the head coach Juha Taini. Vaajakosken Terä, special thanks to my personal project manager Veijo Mononen and Kyösti Kakkonen. Icebug with Lauri Pyykönen, the great o-shoes. Noname with Kari Arponen, the great o-clothes. I also want to thank Killerin liikuntakeskus and Mixathlon.
You all believed in my Vuokatti-project and what a result we received, WOC SILVER, after seven years waiting from my gold medal in Denmark 2006 and after 12 years from my first WOC long silver in the first home WOC in Tampere. In curiosity I'm now the most successful Finnish male orienteer in WOC history with 2 gold (long and relay), 5 silver (2 long and 3 relay), 1 bronze (sprint). Does anybody in the world have WOC medals from three decades? I have the first relay silver from Scotland 1999 and the latest long silver from Vuokatti, Finland 2013. My 14-years-orienteering-carrier in WOC medal level is now happily ended.
Thank you the whole Finnish orienteering audience, both my doubters and friends. I love you all :-)
WHAT A GREAT FEELING AND MEMORIES! See you in competitions!
Normal family routines are going on and for next week (on Friday) we travel to Boden, Swedish Lapland, to enjoy wonderful terrains and the athmosphere of O-ringen.