With a bit of luck I found a wonderful accommodation in Huittinen during the Finnish youth combined events championships two weeks ago. I got to run across fields and row in the river while the wedges of cranes flew by. Still the excellent accommodation turned out to be only the second best thing in Huittinen. Jessica performed better than before and scored a new PB 5324 points. Temperature dropped for the competition weekend but luckily there was not much rain nor wind. The highlights of the heptathlon were the two other PBs: high jump 166 and shot put 11.95. Also 2.16 in the final event was a relief after all the struggles with the running during the whole summer. A perfect way to end the season 2015.
The Finnish junior championships for individual events were held two weeks ago in Savonlinna (U20) and Lahti (U23). I was with Jessica and Nea in the extremely beautiful Savonlinna. Jessica started with two fifth places. 400m was a struggle and the especially the final 100m were difficult as she could not breath for some reason. We knew that on the 100m hurdles it would be a close one for the silver and bronze between four women. Jessica continued to run well but touched a bit too many hurdles in the final and finished fifth. She had the same breathing issues on the 400m hurdles but still got silver.
Nea was hesitating on which events she should compete in. First she thought she would just run the long hurdles but I said she had the best chances on high jump. So, she jumped the high jump and did well. She was fourth with 166. Then she thought she would skip the hurdles but I insisted she would run them as well. She was in the first heat with just two other runners. She won it with a stable run. It did not even cross my mind that she could win a medal in it but she still did. In the second heat one of the favourites fell on the eight hurdle, got up and run to the finish line. She run just faster than Nea but after a few minutes got disqualified as she had taken a straight curve after falling on the inner lane. In the end, just like in the indoor pentathlon, both Jessica and Nea were on the podium at the same time.
I did not get to see Jenny’s run in Lahti. She run an okay 200m but was really unlucky in her main event 400m hurdles. She got the lane one and somehow lost her balance on the second hurdle, which made her land on the metal border. She twisted her angle badly. Two of the ligaments had been fully broken off. Not the perfect way to end the season. On the bright side, there would have been only one competition left; namely, the heptathlon she promised to do after succeeding so well in the indoor pentathlon.
Nea, for her part, went to a doctor to show her back, which started hurting in the summer. It turned out to be broken as well and needs a long rest to cure. An extremely unfortunate news.
Finally, some more delightful news came in the Nordic junior championships. Jessica got selected on the 400m hurdles and got to run the 4x400m relay as well. Her running and times were back on the good level. Hopefully, whatever she might have had during the summer has now gone away. I honestly have not been able to find an explanation to her modest 400m – 800m times from the training diaries. That kind of bugs me
Missed the Beijing WC heptathlon forecast service as I noticed rather late that the ergorej domain had been closed. Reason was an unnoticed and thus unpaid bill. Did not get the domain back in time so for the decathlon I put the service up to this site. You may follow how Eaton is doing against the WR series at mattivesterinen.com/beijing2015/.
A week ago we had the area championships in Karjaa. I took part in four events on one day. There were plenty of competitors so I had good time to do long jump and shot put at the same time. Both went really well. Three years ago in the very same track I jumped an incredible 676 (+2.0) and this time 637 (+2.9) (in the video below) and also 625 (+0.7). Jumping felt good even though I have not jumped at all this summer. Shot put was 11.37, which also is better than expected. However, after fifth round in long jump I felt like all my energy had gone away. High jump was rather difficult and I cleared only two heights and got 165 as a result. Henkka had withdrawn from the 400m hurdles so I just run it to finish off the day. Rhythm was better than in Eläintarha (5 hurdles with 15, 2 with 16 and rest with 17) but time only 62.02. Let’s see if Henkka will still have the guts to challenge me this summer.
Although my body did not ache that much I did not sleep that well the following night. It took four days to recover from the four events. It looks like I will still get to compete this summer so I will try to keep myself at least semifit. For my athletes the area championships did not go that well. Nadia hurt her hamstring and misses the Finnish championships this weekend. The injury does not look too bad so I hope to see her compete still this Autumn. Jenny took part in a number of less usual events for her; such as, throws. Nea run just the 400m hurdles, which she will run again this weekend.
Finnish championships were held the past weekend. Jenny run the 400m hurdles and Jessica competed in the heptathlon. Jenny was a bit sick bit before the games and that showed on her running. The second curve was rather difficult and even though the home straight went fine she had already lost some time. Time 65.56 is still half a second better than last year. Jessica did another stable series and ended up with 5208 points. She was fifth only six points from fourth. Her running is not yet on the usual level. Now we will try to get enough of rest before the youth championships in two weeks time.
The standard in women heptathlon has luckily started to go up again. Eight athletes scored over 5000 points, which is a rather good result. Moreover, many of the heptathletes have plenty of years ahead of them; thus, the future looks brighter than in years. On men’s decathlon the situation looks a lot worse. Only 12 decathletes started and ten finished out of which just eight scored over 6000 points. From the top decathletes, Sami Itani did his last decathlon. There are not that many young decathletes coming up to fill the empty spots the older ones leave behind. I used to be of the opinion that women should do decathlon as well instead of heptathlon. But, it looks like decathlon just might be a bit too difficult and challenging sport for the upcoming generations. Especially when there are difficulties to get enough of athletes even to the basic athletics events. Hope I am wrong and we will see again glory days for the king of sports, decathlon.
In Geneva, I lost to Henkka with a margin on the 400 m hurdles. We had a rerun this Wednesday in Eläintarha track. I was again on the outside track to Henkka but this time I was able to hear were he was coming. We run all the hurdles almost as if our running would have been synchronised. I took the first five hurdles with 15 steps, then two with 16 before moving on to 17 and finally 18 for the last hurdle. I took a sprint to the last hurdle and was pretty sure that I would win the race even though I would take it with the worse leading leg. I am usually stronger after the final hurdle; just like this time. Victory was as sweet as two years ago on the same track. A bonus was my time, which was again sub 60 seconds (59.79). I think we need to find a third race for this summer to solve this case…
For the first time I had my athlete on a European Championships. Jessica competed both in heptathlon and 400 m hurdles. Hurdles qualification round was two hours before the heptathlon continued on the second day, which made the combination rather uncommon. Now that she is still young and learning we wanted to take the most out of the games by doing both the events. Jessica started really well the heptathlon and did clear personal records on 100 m hurdles and high jump. Shot put and 200 m were also on a good level. However, her muscles were rather tired on the second day. She were still able to put together enough points to break her record on heptathlon. She likely had not fully recovered from the relays and the training week that followed. Now the season has truly started and other highlights are just around the corner. She looks to have what it takes to continue improving her results.
I got to run both 4x100m and 4x400m relays. With our club’s second 4x100m team we found ourselves in the 4x100m final after finishing third in our heat. Three of the heat’s seven teams were disqualified and one finished the race only after dropping the baton once. Our anchor Elmo is a race walker and had not done any speed training in three years. Consequently, the place in the final was a true surprise. Our aim in the final was to bring the baton safely to the finish line and see if any of the teams got disqualified. They did not, so we placed eight with time 45.35 (Eetu Kansanaho, Janne Törmänen, Matti Vesterinen, Elmo Koivunen). On Sunday, I run the third leg on the 4x400m relay. We placed seventh in that event with a modest time 3:30.52 (Tobias Öhman ~52, Eetu Kansanaho ~53, Matti Vesterinen 53.1, Tommi Eerola ~52).
Overall, our club Esbo IF had a very successful relay weekend. Three gold and two bronze medals plus several teams in the top eight. Nadia returned to Finland a week earlier after an exchange year abroad. She and Jessica got to run all the four distances (100m, 400m, 800m and 100m hurdles) and the short ones even twice. Nadia did extremely well; only the last 250m in the 800m were a bit too much on Saturday. In their class our club won both 400m and 800m relays and placed fourth in both 100m and 100m hurdles. The 400m anchor leg got really interesting as no one wanted to take the lead on the heavy head wind. Jessica was the strongest on the final 120m.
I have competed on the past four days but strangely just in three competitions since my run in Jukola lasted from Saturday till Sunday . Yesterday I run 100m in the area relay championships in Porvoo and today 400m (55.3s). Did not feel that bad although the muscles were sore and energy level low after the weekend’s long visit in the forest. Likely the difference to a normal state was around two seconds in 400m. Jenny was on the track in the same events plus 800m yesterday. Jessica joined the forces today and run the 100m hurdles and 400m.
This year my club was able to get a rather good amount of teams on the track. It always requires extra work to get reserves to replace the ones who cancel their participation on the last minute. The same work continues as the Finnish relay championships are already close by.
Jukola orienteering relay competition was held this year in Paimio. I missed the two previous Jukolas and have not done any orienteering since my last Jukola. Orienteering went better than before but my pace was simply far from what it has been. The worst thing is that my downfall is not over yet unless I start doing some exercise again. Three years ago it felt awful to have to walk up the last hills. This time around I did not have any possibilities to run any of the steeper hills. I run the first leg 13.8 km in 2:20.42 and was 1113. out of 1737 participants. Nevertheless, our team got its best result ever 978.
Elsewhere, Jessica won heptathlon in the U20 Nordic Championships with a new PB 5253 points. She did a stable good series. It looks like she has mostly recovered from the flu she had in May. She now has the qualification for the Junior EC also from this year (5100 points).