Monday, August 13, 2018

WOC Long

Results for the men's and women's races can be found here.


This was my first individual forest race, and although I was initially really nervous when I found out I’d be running a WOC long, I knew that I had put in a lot of physical training over the past year and that I was as prepared as I was going to be. I started the race excited to run in the forest again and to hopefully be cleaner than in the relay. My goal coming in to this race was to take my time: the long is a long race, it’s worth spending a few extra seconds to pick the best route, and feeling rushed in the relay had led to mistakes. My first 8 controls went really well: I was navigating mostly cleaning and picking good routes. Unfortunately, I over-simplified at control 9 and lost track of any estimate of distance while going through green. I lost a lot of time going out of the way to a similar feature, but I figured out what I had done and got going again. It’s always hard to get that same motivation back after a big mistake, and I had a few more small bobbles, but no other big problems for the rest of the race. I didn’t take one round-a-bout route that I should have taken (9-10), but I did take a similar round-a-bout route at the end of the race (15-16) and gained a couple of minutes compared with other people of similar speeds. I ended in 61st place, and although I’m frustrated by my mistake, I’m happy with the rest of the race.

This wasn't a good long for me, but it wasn't a bad one either. I was perhaps a bit too conservative at the beginning, aiming to avoid hills, forest running, and green as much as possible. The forest was much more runnable than the training maps and I should have adjusted to be more aggressive. However, I was still concerned about hitting the wall after the spectator passage. So I shot for a medium-hard pace and routes where I could run fast but not get as tired.

In hindsight, I likely could have taken straighter routes and come out fine. A significant problem is still my Achilles tendon and heel. It began to hurt midway through and I was a bit apprehensive about running up and down the hills the whole way. I've got to take time to let it rest. I've been pushing that off for too long.

For now, I've just got to make it through NAOC with solid performances and then I can give my body a break.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Relay Prep

Tomorrow is the WOC relay and Team USA is getting ready.

The women start first at 14:20 (7:20 am on the East Coast). The women's team is Ali, Tori, and Amanda in that order.

The men will take to the woods at 16:20 (9:20 am on the East Coast). The men's team is Anton, Greg, and Eric in that order.

It'll be an exciting day of racing, but temperatures are forecast to be very warm at 32C (90F). So we've asked the men's alternate, Giacomo to be ready to race and to spray the runners with water in the coaching zone. Of course, we had to practice our technique...

WOC 2018: Middle

Team USA had a good day in the middle with Ali coming in 40th and Anton coming in 55th.

Here are Ali's comments about the race:

I started very early (4th starter) and knew I’d have a chance to finish first if everything went well. Happily, my race did go very well! I raced very consistently, with no real mistakes – just one route choice error and a few hesitations close to the circle which were solved with a quick map glance or just looking around. I am totally happy with the result – my goal was top-45 (the equivalent of making the final back in the day) and came through with a 40th place!

The terrain felt not too foreign – the vegetation is about what you might expect in New England over the summer (so green and thick, but possible to get through if you work at it). Although the contour features are more like Ohio, without much rock detail at all. But the orienteering at least felt familiar, which was a really nice! I used my compass well and pace counting on around 5 controls. The pacecounting really boosted my confidence when I used it and kept me moving fast when I otherwise might have slowed down to look for the control to early.

It was fun to be the first competitor to almost all the controls and through the arena and then finish. The event officials wanted to get my feedback as soon as I finished. They knew all the controls were there for sure because of the prerunners (and there are people watching each of them), but I think they just wanted to hear how a WOC athlete found the course. Think I gave a pretty favorable report, perhaps biased by having had a good race. =)

I went to cool down and then returned to the team tent where I watched my name at the top of the results board until the Finn, Henna Riikka Haikonen took the lead. After that I kept pretty consistently getting bumped down from there. I still find it astounding that someone could do the course almost 10 minutes faster than I did, but I can at least think about how the next few minutes might be gained here and there!

A link to the men's course with GPS routes is here: Here's what Anton had to say about his race:

I had a smooth good start, first 3 controls without difficulties, just with a slower pace so I could keep my orienteering together. Going to #4, I was a bit unsure of what to expect and that's why I ended up stopping twice and going too low before the control, +1min.

Then on #6 I was going way too high instead of going a bit down and so I ended up searching it 100m to the right, +1.10min. After that my orienteering was flowing well, tho should have left #6 straight up to the road instead of going on the level to the trail.

Then at #7 the Australian Matt Doyle caught up to me and followed me until #8. After that he started running really hard so we caught up to the Portuguese Ricardo Ferreira. Matt kept that fast pace over the bridge until the drink stop. Once I was done with the drink, I lead the train to 11 and almost until 12. Then Matt took the lead again and I just couldn't keep up with them. Tried to recatch them on the way to the spectator loop in the uphill from #14 but the flat part after was just too fast for me.

I tried to read the last loop ahead on the spectator shoot but just totally failed it. At #16 I was not focused, I didn't read my map well at all so I just couldn't make sense of the control circle, +1.30min.

After that it was just a fight against the brutal hills at the end of the course. And it was really brutal, I don't remember a time when I would have walked to the last control...

The relay is up next with Ali, Tori, and Amanda (in that order) for the women and Anton, Greg, Eric for the men (also in that order).

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

WOC 2018: Sprint Relay

The sprint relay was two days ago, and the team had a solid run, holding on to their seed from the previous year finishing in 24th place.

Julia started the team off, beating Australia in the run-in to the finish, only 2:31 behind the lead (Tove Alexandersson).

Julia handed off to Eric.

Eric enjoyed the course since he "likes faster sprints, and this was definitely a fast course." He didn't perform as well as he had hoped, but he corrected well and his "teammates came through and we had a solid result!"

 Giacomo was up next, and was happy with his race. He had a good first loop (there was a map flip during the spectator leg), and the second part was physically tough. In the finish he was pleased to feel like he had given everything he had that day.

Tyra anchored the team, running a controlled race to keep the team in 24th place, same result as in 2017.

Off to the woods now! Ali and Anton are running the middle this afternoon.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

WOC 2018 is upon us!

Hello, everyone!

The 2018 US WOC team is in Riga and has just finished the first day of sprinting.

Sprint relay is tomorrow and the order is
Julia-Eric-Giacomo-Tyra. Live results will be posted on the WOC website. (

Ali has decided after her spectacular comeback to join Tori and Greg for some forest training on the middle model. Be ready for pictures!

See you in the woods, friends!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Handy Links:

WOC Live Center:

Extended Men's Start List
Extended Women's Start List
Compressed Start Lists

Live Results

There is also Swedish television coverage - however this coverage will be entirely in Swedish, and is likely only available to those in Sweden or those who can circumvent the regional restriction.SVT Long distance.

As I write this, the athletes running the long distance are heading into quarantine and there is a moment of calm before the actual race begins. The weather is pretty miserable for spectators but should make for nice cool conditions for our intrepid orienteers.

For team USA, Alex Jospe will be the first out on the course. She has blogged about her WOC experience so far on her personal blog which you can find here . To quote from her write-up:

"My plan is again to focus on the navigation - Take the good micro-routes and choose the right macro-routes, dance across those open rocks and tumble across the cliffs like I have wings on my Inov-8s. Today, there is nothing I would rather be doing, and no place I'd rather be doing it! No matter how I finish in the results, I want to finish knowing that I ran a good race, proud of my effort and my navigation."

The next American in the forest will be Samantha Saeger. Sam lives in Uppsala, Sweden and has been looking to this race for a long time. She raced the middle distance on Tuesday, and bashed her knee into a rock during the race. The swelling was causing a bit of pain and discomfort during her training yesterday, but this morning she reports that the knee feels much better and at least this observer could not see any overt limping :) Go get 'em Sam!

For the men, Eric Bone will be running. At 11:50, he has just departed for the quarantine zone, with mere minutes to spare before the 12:00 deadline. As longtime followers will appreciate, this is a sign that Eric is right on schedule. This is not his first rodeo, and he thrives on getting to the start with minimal standing around time.

As a preview of what the map and terrain might hold, I will leave you with a map from our training session yesterday. The GPS track belongs to yours truly, team member Ross Smith.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Going the distance!

Tomorrow is the long distance final, and with 11.2km/540m/18c for the woman and 15.5km/650m/30c for the men, it will certainly be a challenging day. Be sure to check out the auto-generated map of the area for a few hours of entertainment imagining possible courses!

Running for Team USA tomorrow:

Alex 12:38
Sam 12:54
Eric 14:39

Times are in Sweden (-6 for time in Boston). Follow along at the WOC LiveCenter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Middle wrap

Quick results from the middle distance:

Samantha Saeger 46th, Kseniya Popova 55th, and Ross Smith 62nd.

It was a beautiful day to be in the forest and the Americans put in some good running. See the course maps.

Here's what Ross had to say after his run (his first WOC final):

Team USA congratulates Canada's Emily Kemp for her awesome 4th place finish in today's race! We are very proud of our North American sister!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Middle distance tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the Middle Distance race in Tanum, a bit south of Strömstad. Running for Team USA tomorrow are Ross, Kseniya, and Sam.

Start times:
Ross 12:16
Kseniya 15:10
Sam 15:26

All times are local, six hours ahead of Boston. You can follow the action online at the WOC Live Center.

Like much of the terrain along this stretch of Scandinavia it is physically and technically tough, with a good dose of rocks and cliffs. Check out this auto-generated version of the map for a taste of what the athletes are up against tomorrow:

Click to embiggen.

Great photos from Ken

Do yourself a favor and check out these great photos from the sprint  and sprint relay by Ken Walker, Jr.