March 17, 2017

Hello from Pajulahti

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Hello from Pajulahti, the Olympic training center 100km north of Helsinki, by Kristiina Mäkelä, Finnish Olympic Triple Jumper

The indoor season is over, and I´ve come to Pajulahti for the Team Finland training camp. I had a short off-season holiday after the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade taht took place the first week of March.

Now I´m back in business fully motivated and with clear objectives for myself.

The European Indoor Championships in Belgrade showed the cruel truth about sport. I had promising indoor season before the main competition. My jumping average was high, and even the jumps where I made big mistakes were long. I was not able to achieve my peak jump of over 14 meters, but I knew I had it in me and I was very confident about Belgrade.

I did’t care about list placement, my goal was to qualify, and perform the best jumps in the final, so I could improve on my previous placement of 8th position in 2015.

I qualified easily. The qualification standard was 14.05m, and I made it with my second jump which measured 14.18 meters. Even my first jump 14.01 meters would have been enough, but I played it safe. It was smart approach because my legs felt good and with that second jump of 14.18 meters was past next summer’s world championship qualifying standard of 14.10 meters.

So far so good…

I was super happy about the fact that I had manager to find my jumping shape at the right time. We had worked hard with my new coach and my training had included a lot of changes that require time to take effect.

Obviously, I had enough time and managed to display an excellent result. I promise there is more to come.

Unfortunately, there was more going on behind the scenes. The qualification was easy, but I knew that there is big battle to win the next day in the finals. I didn’t compete only against the other athletes, but I could feel that I had caught flu on the flight to Belgrade. I had had a very early flight, and lost 4 hours sleep that day. It´s way too much when you’re trying to maintain peak condition, so it was no surprise that I lost the battle against flu. I was angry and more frustrated because athletes should not have flights leaving at 6.15h in the morning. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

I woke up in the morning on the day of the finals, went out to do my morning routine, came back for breakfast, and then I just totally died back in bed. I hadn’t recovered at all during the night, and the flu had made sure of that!

There was only one thing I could do and that was to make myself believe everything is fine and I´m going to surprise myself in the evening and jump very far. Sometimes sickness makes the body work better because of some peculiar reason.

Well, this time I didn’t get that miracle. My legs felt heavy and out of control jumps were at the same normal level as they had been during the indoor season. I wasn’t happy about my result nor my placement which was 8th and I didn’t reach my goal of jumping well in finals.

It was the first time that I felt like I could have done it, I could have reached the higher placement, maybe even the podium if I hadn’t come down with flu. Before then, I was just happy making it to the finals and I was very confident that I knew what I was doing. I believed in myself and didn’t have those weak moments on the track. I felt I was home, where I belong and that gave me huge amount of motivation.

It’s spring and summer is very close. There is time for serious training. I have a good plan for the London World Championships and my team is working well. The coach is very happy and I am healthy. This is a very solid base to build up my shape for the summer. I will fly to Italy, Formia, for training camp in May and then it’s time to start competing again.

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