Last summer, soon after falling ill with a fever at our World Orienteering Champs selection races, I set a goal: “Be healthy at WOC in Riga 2018”. That feeling of being unbeatable and fully prepared for a big race makes an athlete go a long distance. I knew my troublesome heel needed a surgery to fulfill that goal and that the November-surgery would require thousands of rehab exercises. The goal was clear enough to give motivation for hour after hour of aerobic cross-training.
Whatever I get my head into I go 110% for it. Since the beginning of the year we have moved into a new house, I got my new business rolling, and as an international athlete I feel the expectations of success. Our bodies are not foolproof even if daily tasks at the house or at work seem minute compared to running up a mountain or finishing a 10 km in sub 30 minutes. Was I overloading myself?
In the spring and early summer my physical performance has been a rollercoaster. One day I’ve been running an interval session faster than ever, the next weekend I’ve had a hard time running up a flight of stairs. My left gluteus-hamstring-calf has been off balance one at a time. It’s turned out that even when I’ve felt I could run using my left & right legs evenly, I’ve still been compensating for the left heel I had surgery on in late 2017. Food poisoning kept me sidelined during Jukola, and I ran the WOC sprint selection race last weekend with diarrhea. The body was’t quite in line despite it being the first pain-free race of the season. I was lacking the correct routines early on in the race but was flying on the last kilometer. I succeeded at having my best race both technically and physically so far this season at the cut-off date for WOC, but wasn’t fast enough yet.
Missing a big goal sucks, but at least I know I’ve done everything I can to make it there. The running muscles will be needed for something in the future. I just don’t know for exactly what yet. Now we’ll spend the week my wife booked on a remote tropical island without running goals (except for capturing all the Strava running segments). Whatever you do try to have fun with it.