I wake up and I stand up next to the bed. I ask myself: ”How are my legs feeling?”. I know it’s a stupid question, it’s already the 11th of July and I can’t do anything about it. Today is the middle distance final at JWOC, the first medal race, and I have been preparing for months. So for now, it’s all about focusing on what to do in the forest!
JWOC in Tampere in Finland will be my fourth and last JWOC. JWOC has been my main focus during the last years and this year has been no different. During those tough interval sessions in the winter, I have been thinking about how the JWOC-races will be: how I will focus before the race, how I will attack the difficult controls, how I will plan the long route choice legs and how I will suffer in the last uphill. But also about how happy I will be if I succeed and how sad I will be if I don’t. I have had the chance to experience both feelings and I know which one I would choose to have in Tampere in the second week of July.
The nice thing about your own performances is that you have the chance to decide the outcome by yourself. That is not the case for results, they depend on a lot of different other factors which you can’t influence, mainly what the other runners do! So to have the chance to decide my own performance I try to be as well prepared as I can be. I have been to two camps in the Tampere region and I have been searching for relevant terrains close to my home in Huddinge, Stockholm. I will also try to prepare as good as possible physically, to have a good feeling in my legs the day of the race. But for me, it’s more important to prepare mentally, to get in the race mode and to focus on what I will do in the forest.
All three JWOCs I have been on have been situated in winter resorts: Borovets in Bulgaria 2014, Rauland in Norway in 2015 and Engadin in Switzerland 2016. This year will be different, there are no high mountains in Tampere and there are no ski slopes in the terrain. Uphill running will be in less focus than last year in Switzerland, this year there will be more focus on running in soft and uneven ground, not seldom with a few branches here and there. Precise navigation in terrain where the features are not always so distinct will be important! I look forward to meeting the terrains in Tampere because they are quite similar to the ones I have at home, and they look really challenging. And of course, the factory for VJ shoes is just outside Tampere, so they are tested here and suits well in this terrain!
However, there will be a great portion of anxiety! Have I been training well during the winter? Am I really prepared for what is waiting? What if I fail? I believe this is part of working towards a goal, the bigger the goal, the greater these feelings! I look forward to both positive and maybe some negative feelings during the JWOC week, so bring it on!
One minute left, I have recieved my control description from an organizer and in 55 seconds I will be holding my map upside down on a table and an organizer will hold my shoulder to make sure I don’t start too early. I breathe in heavily and I relax, I repeat to myself what I will focus on in the forest. I start and I flip my map, this is what I have been looking forward to!