Monday, July 15, 2013


The Vuokatti project had a lovely ending for me in WOC last week. After a couple of days of resting and coming back to every day routines with my lovely children I want to write some words about my feelings and thank some important persons during the trip towards WOC long distance SILVER and also a nice fifth place in relay.

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.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Good and very good WOC-tests, but not brilliant...yet

WOC tests have been run in Juuka and Petronkangas. On Friday the middle race was a good race for me. I was too careful in the beginning, but made a small mistake to 3rd control. I chose to run a little left the long leg to 4th, which wasn't the best route. After that I had a very good part from 4th to 9th. To the tenth I appreciated the tricky slope too much and ran too carefully. Until 13th control I was just avoiding mistakes, so I didn't push very hard. To the last control I ended my orienteering, which wasn't a good thing and my direction was bad. I lost stupidly 30 sec. and the victory for Muukkonen by 1 sec.

The second position in the middle test was better than I expected, because the middle has not been in my focus so much. Of course, I've trained for the terrain type for the WOC relay, which has been in my focus and is the big goal in Vuokatti. When comparing my run to Thierry and Valentin, there's a big cap. My trust to my skills and running abilities in this kind of terrain are not the best. I loose much more than I should, but I know I can be better in WOC relay. I need to have more attacking style from and to the controls. On Friday I wasn't sharp enough. In Vuokatinvaara I will be!


Today was time to show a nice performance in long distance. I had a harmonic feeling before the race and I knew that I will get today what I deserve. It usually is so that everyone gets what they deserve in the sports, but we are not often satisfied with that. It's normal to want more, but today I really felt that I will get what I deserve and I'm satisfied with it.

After the race I believe that my wrong route choice to 28th control and small mistake to 29th control made me humble towards my big goal in Vuokatti long race. I also felt a little bit tired in the end, which was due to the soft ground, too much running on tough marshes during the race, but mostly to my leg muscle situation at the moment. My legs were not ready, but I'm sure they will be in two weeks. 3rd position was good and I believe that in two weeks I'll be ready for WOC long and relay in Vuokatti. I really hope that we have a team, where all three runners believe to our medal possibilities. I also hope that most of the Finns can get their positive energy to the team.

My shape is very good and I can be stronger until the end of the long course too. It's important to have some more oxygen into the muscles, which means pure aerobic training before Vuokatti. Of course some orienteering with competition speed too to be used to the thing. Even if the time difference to Thierry was today 6:36, I can still believe that it's possibly to challenge even him in WOC long. For me it would not be possible in middle, because my skills and running in that terrain is not good enough.

I've done my best to be in my best in long distance in Tipasoja. There's only two weeks left, but in those weeks I can get myself sharper and especially my muscles deeply open. That means easier feeling to running and better endurance in long run. Daily difference can be quite big and today I wasn't in my very best, but still my performance was very good. Thierry can run almost every day in very high level and he sure is a very special guy in orienteering. I can say that there still is the race left that really counts...


I have now fought my way to WOC in Vuokatti, but my goal was not just to qualify. It's not time to celebrate, but time to get ready for the big fight. It's been great experience so far to put myself totally into this project. I will surely enjoy, what the project has still to offer. I know that the WOC will be great experience, my second home-WOC. The best will win and I will get what I deserve. The one thing is sure: I will do my very best and smile in the end. I will be satisfied with the results and I will congratulate  my winners. Vuokatti, here we come!


Monday, June 17, 2013

7th but not 1st in Jämsä-Jukola

I must say that I was disappointed after my leg in Jämsä-Jukola, but that disappointment lasted only half an hour. Maybe I'm old and not taking this so seriously anymore. But I have to say that I felt like 23-year-old, when I was running in the forest with Jonas Leandersson, born 14 years later than me.

I have tried to win Jukola too many times without succeeding. I understood now that I'm not getting any closer, if I try harder. In a positive way I give up now that trying. But next year in Kuopio-Jukola I will be enjoy even more than this year. Anyway, I enjoyed very much also in Jämsä-Jukola and the whole competition was nicer than I could imagine.

My performance was 8 in school degree. It's so normal for me in Jukola that this time of day I'm not half that clever I am normally in forest doing my orienteering. I just lack my sharpness. I did two stupid mistakes in easy part of the terrain. First to 19th control I ran the track made by 1-5 legs and thought that maybe my control just comes to my way - it did not. And then I watched map too quickly to 23rd control and started to run the big path towards 24th control. So I just read the wrong control leg and understood that halfways. Totally those two mistakes cost me 1'20".

Jukola is over and next time I really can train for Jukola in Kuopio-Jukola 2014. The terrain type will surely be familiar before that. Now it's time to put all my thoughts and energy towards WOC-tests next weekend. On Friday middle in Juuanvaara and on Sunday long in Petronkangas. The long distance is my goal. You can find all you need to know here:

The picture by Kaisu Ojansivu


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jämsä-Jukola - "home-Jukola"

Jämsä-Jukola is two days from today. I'd like to say I'm ready, and deeply inside me I am. In my mind I wanted to feel much more comfortable before this "home-Jukola", which I've waited for a long time.

I have had some difficult times after the very good WOC camp ended 2,5 weeks ago. Again my mind wanted to feel much better already now. I understand that I would have trained too hard, if I had felt better. I've just taken it easy for a week now, although yesterday I did a model training for Jukola. It was maybe one of the worst o-sessions this year. Anyway, I had the right feeling deep inside and it's not that far.

There has been some nervous problem in my back, which covers also the left hip and thigh. My hip was like in a wrong position before the very important treatment with Pekka Pulkkinen on last week Thu-Fri. Some days passed by and it started to feel better and better. Time heals the wounds, but for an athlete preparing to WOC, there is not very much time left. Without this treatment I feel that Vuokatti train would have left me.

The biggest problem is my mind and the power of it. I have always wanted to control everything in my life. Now I have learned more and more that in some things and situation the best way is to give up. If you can't give up positively, you'll try to push harder than it's optimal for you. As an athlete concentrating to WOC, I understand now that for me the best way is the rest way. I need more rest than I've counted and the schedules would give. Also in theory to rest is the best way to shape up.

I know that I'm in very good condition and the unsecureness gives me the humbleness I sure need in Jukola. I hope that I can do my very best in Jukola, in Terä's very good team. Maybe the best team ever for Terä and we are really waiting eagerly for "home-Jukola". It's also great to be with my brother in the last two legs in this kind of team. I feel priviledged and I will do my very best to make the life of my brother a little bit easier in the last leg. I know we all do that. Like me, Jonne would like to do the work on his own.

Terä's great team in Jämsä-Jukola is:
Antti Anttonen, Håvard Lucasen, Anders Nordberg, Juha Sorvisto, Tue Lassen, Jani Lakanen, Jonne Lakanen
Terä's other great team is:
Pavel Kubat, Jouni Kahelin, Petri Saari, Lasse Kautto, Tuukka Jurvakainen, Petteri Huikko, Toni Saari


Saturday, May 25, 2013

WOC-long in focus and I'm feeling very good at the moment

The second part of the Finnish National Team WOC training was in Vuokatti. We had a few good training possibilities in Tipasoja and Joutenlampi, but only two really important competition trainings for long distance. Those who concentrate only on the shorter distances did one competition training in Vuokatinvaara.

I focused only on those two important trainings and otherwise I did some easy training and even walking in the forest. My shape is getting better all the time and I could do very good sessions even if my legs were not perfect after those five middle trainings in Juuka, soft and tough terrain.

On Thursday even Thierry was on the line, which made it very nice to compare my run to his run. I tried to push hard from the beginning, but I lost some seconds in the speed and some due to my orienteering in the beginning. After 8:30 minutes of running in fifth control I was 24 sec. behind Thierry, but already the second fastest. The best Finns and French, who concentrate for the WOC-long, were on the line. On the long leg to 6th I decided to do the left choice on the road, which was approximately 10 sec. slower than straight choice. To seventh I was first time one sec. quicker than Thierry. Totally I was 45 sec. behind after 20 minutes of running. To the eight control I had a bad choice, because there were some cuttings in the marshes. I lost there 21 sec.

I had no actual control mistakes at all, but Thierry just had better routes and technic in the beginning. From 8th to 12th we had quite similar speed and Thierry did a 15 sec. direction mistake to 12th control. That's why I totally caught five seconds Thierry in these legs. In the 12th control after 34:30 of running I was 1:01 behind Thierry. Then I had two bad long legs 12-13 and 14-15. In the both I lost 30 sec. and in 15th control after 47 minutes I was 2:04 behind.

The last 2,5km I had pretty much the same speed as Thierry and finally I was 2:19 behind him in the finish. This was a very good training for to compare my doing with the best orienteer in the world at the moment. Thanks Thierry!

Results 12,8km: Gueorgiou 58:14, Lakanen 60:33, Adamski 61:46, Fincke 62:19, Pajunen 62:27 etc.

Today we had a tougher long distance in Joutenlampi. For us it was a shame that Thierry was too tired to participate today. At first he was coming, but The French have been training very hard and Thierry felt too tired this morning. For me this was a very important training and I wanted to do even better than on Thursday.

I had very good legs in the morning already and I wanted to enjoy nice orienteering in the beautiful area of Joutenlampi. I did that. I had one of the best runs ever in the long distance orienteering technically and my running was not either bad. Totally I think that I could have done maybe one minute better, but in this kind of terrain with lots of long legs and some green tricky areas, it means I had almost perfect race. I really liked it.

There were only a few guys completing the course and those, who had a finish time are here:
Results 15,9km: Jani 85:15, Fincke 88:22, Jonne (brother) 91:28, Anjala 94:07, Adamski 96:09.

At the moment I'm feeling very good after a successful training camp in Juuka and Vuokatti. Tomorrow I'm going home and have a few days rest now, maybe some physical activities with the children ;-)


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WOC-middle and relay terrain type in focus

The first part of the Finnish National Team WOC-training is over and my focus was turned today from the middle terrain type to the long terrain type. We trained from Saturday to Tuesday in Juuka and we had two test races in middle terrain type, on Sunday in Oinasvaara and on Tuesday in Tahkovaara. 

I had the best time in Oinasvaara-middle with the course 4,6km and time 27:49. I had a couple of bad choices and small mistakes 10-15s. Time 26:30 would have been a really good time, but I managed with a decent job.

On Tuesday in Tahkovaara the terrain and the course were absolutely the best an orienteer can imagine in Finland. The first part of the course was on top of Tahkovaara in a nice hilly spruce terrain. The second part was departed with a long leg to the fifth control, which was located in a very nice and rare area of steep rock hills and marshes between. Technically the controls 5-12 were demanding. The last part was very physical with steep uphill, climbing 50m during 400m distance and quite steep downhill to the last control and finish.

I really loved the course, which was just next to the area of the WOC-middle selection race in 21st June. Even if this kind of terrain and course have not been the best for my skills and physics, the work I've been doing for project Vuokatti really awarded me yesterday. I had a good flow with just small mistakes to fifth (15s.) and sixth (20s.) controls. Otherwise I did well. The course 4,6km I had the time 29:51 and I was second fastest just 2 sec. after Airila. We had a very tight battle through the entire course. Hannu was very good ;-)

It seems that WOC-middle and relay terrain type is now in my control. But I know that every time I'm orienteering in this terrain type, I need to humble for the job and to succeed I need my best physics too. If the physics is not good, you get mentally tired soon and you lose your flow and the lust for orienteering.

Anyway it's going well at the moment and today we had the first training, just easy on, in Joutenlampi. Tomorrow we start hitting the faster speed in Tipasoja 12,8km course and on Saturday we have almost 16km in Joutenlampi. That will be tough, but we have to be to reach our goals in WOC-Vuokatti in early July. There will be very good comparison with Thierry Gueorgiou etc. in these long distance courses.

More to come on Saturday stay tuned ;-)


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nice run in Top league final

The Finnish Top League final was held yesterday as a chasing start in Tampere, where WOC 2001 middle (I was 4th) and relay (I ran the 1st leg in the winning team - still only time the Finnish men have won the relay in WOC). The map is Vattula and terrain wonderfully technical o-terrain.