Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hej hej!

That's right! This little Canadian is in Sweden! My Swedish, however, is not exactly improving in leaps and bounds. Having Thierry and Annika take me in while I'm here (and a big "Tack!!" to them) means that we speak a mixture of French and English which can get quite confusing at times! Another pickle we've run into here is that there is snow everywhere: in the fields, in the forests and in my shoes when I try to go running! The day before I left we were running in t-shirts in France so this has been quite the thermal shock! But hey, you always have to find the positives in every situation! I just keep telling myself that this is fantastic strength training and when the snow finally melts we'll be absolutely flying through the woods!

Before coming to Sweden, though, I had some crazy adventures during the last few weeks leading up! For one I got the most extraordinary experience of getting my head stapled at one of the races in France! If I have one piece of advice to give... well, it's to never start a fight with a barbed wire fence... especially with your head! At least I can say that out of the whole experience the least painful part was getting the staples put in and taken out aaaaand... the very nice fire-fighters didn't have to shave off my hair to do it!

More importantly though, I had two amazing visitors from the other side of the ocean - Serghei Logvin and Andrew Childs! I was able to give them a little taste of orienteering in France when we spent 3 days training in Clermont Ferrand. Of course, this included a trip up the Volcano of the Cow (yes that is a direct translation) and lots of sessions in the infamous tricky terrain!

Take that Clermont!    
This terrain has gotten the better of me many times. My most recent kerfuffle was in November when I managed to completely get turned around, 180 degrees, while running and didn't realize for a good 200m. Has anybody tested these volcanic rocks to see if they influence compasses?! Hihi no just kidding! After a whole entire winter of working on following my compass I had much more confidence and showed this terrain who's boss!

Running up to the top!
A beautiful (and windy!) view from the top of the volcano featuring our smiles!
One of our last trainings was a risky window orienteering course drawn by Amélie and she had forewarned me that it was a tricky one! I may have only featured the successful windows... but they definitely out-numbered the ones where I ended up completely off my bearing. A spectacular way to finish up the camp!

And now I find myself in beautiful Sweden where I ran my first competition this weekend, Skärgårdsmedeln, staged on an island! It was a good race to get my jitters over with but I'm hoping that the navigation will be easier once I don't have to worry about tripping over my own feet in the snow.

An exert from my race.

Taking the ferry back to the mainland we were able to get a picture in front of the Vaxholm castle!

Photo from Annika Billstam

I will be staying in Sweden right up to Tiomila and I hope that it will be a spectacular month of training, competing and getting to know my new club, OK Linné. I'll do my very best to keep updating but for now I have one small favour to ask of everyone... if you could all do the sun dance and send some warm sunshine up here it would be much appreciated by all! ;)