Still in the routine, waking up at 7:55 getting ready for breakfast and for a long day of training. Ready to be ready at 9:30 for training. Once again PARTY RIDE! We play our iPods in the Bluetooth of the car and listen to different sorts of music.
Today we were divided into two groups for training, the middle and the sprint. I was put with the sprint group. As soon as we got into the car we started playing music!
We were informed about our training for that day. I was put into a group that had the day off. So instead of training for the middle a couple of people and I went on a hike around the park. We pretty much just went sight seeing the whole time. When we got back from the training we went upstairs to our hotel rooms and played cards all night.
My JWOC experience up to this point has been pretty much all I could ask for. The actual training was frustrating at first because I simply could not have a clean run, but that seems to have been changing these past few days. First, allow me to summarize the non-training parts: food is precious when it consists of something that does not include chicken or potatoes. The only meal we're served which is not almost entirely chicken and potatoes is breakfast, but come to think of it that's actually buffet style anyway. Fortunately, there's a store just a couple minute's walk away where we can purchase food, but people are still eager to eat anywhere except the hotel if given the opportunity.
The hotel itself has been a largely positive experience, though. My greatest joy so far is probably the refrigerator we have which has allowed us to keep cold drinks and even small amounts of ice cream! The rooms are also actually a reasonable size and not the tiny two person rooms that three people need to somehow cream into. It puts my college double to great shame. Unfortunately, there was a bit of an accident today when wind blew so strongly through Nate's and my window that an inside door slammed and caused glass to shatter everywhere. It's all cleaned up, now, but we still need to keep an eye out for glass shards in our room.
Socially this trip has been a very new experience as well. In the past we've usually only needed one van for JWOC, but this year we have two vans and two cars. There are simply so many juniors getting pumped about being in Europe that it hardly feels like I left home. The best part is that we all seem to get along very well, too, so there's no stress related to social life! There is always something going on with some group, and everyone is welcome to take part. Boredom is something few of us have been exposed to on this trip.
Some days we simply didn't have the time to be bored anyway because we were training and traveling so frequently. So far there has been an excellent distribution of training exercises and terrains which we've practiced on, and each day has generally brought something completely new. Here's the basic overview of what I've learned so far: the long (said to have a crazy large amount of climb) will also have many route choices which involve less climb but greater distance, and the terrain itself is VERY general. I think vegetation might have almost as large a part to play as contours on the long course.
The middle is only a slightly different story. We've only been on one middle map a couple of times, but it has a very good distribution of technical challenges. The rocky areas can be extremely cluttered, the contours are general at times and useful at others, and the vegetation is more or less just annoying. It's also fairly step when there is climb, but that might just be the one map. Usually contours in the Czech Republic are never far from more contours.
However, the relay is a great contrast to that. The woods are very fast (same as the other two), and navigation will probably be seventy percent by vegetation. There are many green patches of varying densities which are very distinct, and so a strong compass and a swiveling head is most of what you need. The terrain is also almost perfectly flat, so I expect the relay to be a pretty crazy race.
As for the sprint... It's not my favorite race, but I don't think it will be any more interesting than it has been in the past. Once in a while there will be secret little passages and complex route choices, but ninety percent of it is simply asking yourself if you go for the right route or the left one, and then you simply run fast. There is no doubt it will be a runner's race, but I hope they find some tiny alleyways and small gates to make things a little spicier.
Up to this point, that's pretty much all I have. My energy levels are fairly high, so I'm very eager for the competitions to begin, but for now I'll keep focusing on the trainings as best I can. It's exciting, though, and only a handful of short days until the big races begin. Wish us luck!
Although I've only been here in the Czech Republic for two days, lots has happened. My sister and I arrived late on Tuesday night but we were happy to see Barb waiting for us in the hotel lobby. The next day we woke up at 7:30 and although we were tired, we knew it would be best to get up and go training, so that's what we did. That day the training was slow for me because I was very tired, but with that I had minimal mistakes. We got back to the hotel and walked around the town and then played card games. It was fun. Today we split up into two groups, one group did middle training while the other did sprint. I went to the middle training and it was good to get a feeling for the terrain. We did two fairly short courses. my first one went very well, I felt like I had "flow" which is what Erin always talks about. My second course, not so much. I made a lot of small mistakes, which after a while start piling up. I have to try to avoid that. There were lots of big boulders and cliffs which were good if you kept map contact. My legs are sore so I would say it was a great day of training.
Today I did some urban sprint training which was lots of fun. I personally love sprints and today's objective of working on flow was a great idea. If we had to stop when we got to our control you had to go back and re-run it so that you knew where you were going to go next. I had great flow through the controls but for a few controls my route choice could have been better. Overall today's training was great and my confidence in sprinting definitely went up, also the weather was not too shabby which made me a happy girl.
Today our group split up; some of us went to do sprint training while others went to do some middle training. The group of us that did sprint training went back to Jaroměř, which is where we did our second sprint training a few days ago. When we got there we did our warm up and then did two different courses that Erin drew for us. The maps we recycled, so now that they had three different courses drawn on them it made it kind of difficult to read it at times, but I just saw that as an extra challenge.
I was able to run the courses pretty smoothly with good flow. Between the two courses I only made one mistake on a section of the map that had all three courses criss crossing over it. After our cool down we drove home and then heard about the awesome map that the rest of the group ran on. They described to us how there were tons of awesome boulders that reached up forty feet high, and they were everywhere. It sounded like a climbers paradise. Then to add to that they saw the South African team. I have been waiting to run into them since I arrived here (I spent the past semester studying in South Africa). Luckily we will be going back to that map tomorrow to do some more middle training, but I guess I will have to wait until Saturday to see the South Africans.
In the afternoon we did a pacing exercise. We went to the track and tested out different paces walking/jogging a hundred meters of each. We started going at ten minutes per kilometer and then went down to three minutes per kilometer. I was very surprised how slow some of these paces were. Even though running at six minutes per kilometer in the forest might be fast, on the track it was pretty slow.