She offered to Norway two silver medals in the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015 and got a winning in the World Cup's penultimate stage. To the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, Anne-Margrethe Hausken Nordberg highlights these and other moments, recalling a season full of emotions.
Congratulations on your victory in a World Cup stage, seven years after the last one. What special meaning does it have for you? Did you expect it?
Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg (A. M. H. N.) - Thanks a lot. It felt good to make a clean race at an individual competition, in contrast to WOC this year. My coach Frode Balchen advised me to do some mental preparations to convince myself that I could perform well in Arosa, despite no preparations for high altitude (I arrived at 10 pm the evening before the race) and no recent trainings in Swiss alpine terrain. One can never expect the victory, but I felt comfortable about my race plan and thought my shape was good enough to win. I went to the start with a nice balance of self-confidence and respect for the upcoming task.
You're not exactly a teenager, you have children to take care, ... Well, there must be a secret for such good results this season. Would you like to share with me what you did, what changes have you done?
A. M. H. N. - For several years I have not done big changes in my training, but after Sigrid was born (July 2014) I did because two children means less time for training and rest. Running is the most effective training. After the first 10 weeks of build-up after birth, all my endurance training was running or orienteering. From Oct 1st 2014 to Sep 30th 2015 I ran 535 hours. My previous highest amount of running during one year was 420 hrs in 2008. Back then – and every other year – I have done a lot of alternative training on top of the running, but not this year.
Another change was that I trained at home in Oslo all the time, because traveling with a baby is stressful. I agreed with Kenneth Buch (Norwegian head coach) to skip the national team training camps, except our WOC precamp. This flexible solution was important to me. Staying home also meant I did not care about chasing world ranking points from winter competitions. My ranking position in April was about 900 (forest) and 1300 (sprint), so I know something about early starting times this year.
I enjoyed local competitions and club trainings with Nydalens SK, where my husband Anders is head coach. I prepared for relays by competing with the boys in our club. Even if I skipped the camps, there was plenty of logistics for the competitions. Both pairs of grandparents live far away from us, but we are lucky to get help from them when we travel.
Talking about the WOC, did you feel well prepared for the Championships? What goals have you drawn?
A. M. H. N. - I felt well prepared, as I had been healthy and injury free. My WOC goal was to perform well and fight for medals.
Would you like to talk about your amazing performances and the silver medals in Relay and Sprint Mixed Relay? Did you expect it?
A. M. H. N. - For the sprint relay, I expected to start out behind the favorite teams. As that happened I tried to stick to my plan - be calm and save energy for the last 5 minutes. That relay I started thinking of last autumn, and I told Øystein Kvaal Østerbø that I was keen on us chasing a non-expected medal. For the forest relay, I predicted all kinds of scenarios, and hoped that my experience would help me getting the best out of it. I tried to be calm in the first part and switched to be more offensive with 10 controls left, keeping the initiative from then on.
Which of them is more significant to you?
A. M. H. N. - I think the sprint mixed relay medal was something extra. I have been so fed up about the attitude towards sprint in Norway. Certain voices tell us that we run too slowly and that we have no chance in sprint, which is by the way not real orienteering. Bringing home a relay medal does probably not change everything, however I believe it meant something. Sharing it with my old sprint mates Elise Egseth and Øystein Kvaal Østerbø was great, and “the kid” Håkon Jarvis Westergård did a solid WOC debut. Our mapmaker Gaute Hallan Steiwer did not make it to the team, but his work made us feel very well prepared. In addition, it was great to see our sprint coach Emil Wingstedt so happy.
And what about the WOC individual races?
A. M. H. N. - In the Middle Distance I lost my flow and self-confidence to the second control, even if I didn’t lose that much time there. I hesitated throughout the course, and after the race felt I was never close to anything. It was easy to forget that race and reload for the forest relay.
I feel good about the Long Distance, except the longest leg. Two parallel mistakes there cost me all the time I was behind the big fight. I grew up on the island Karmøy, on the western coast of Norway, and the first half of our long distance was just like my home terrain. I enjoyed it a lot.
What motivation your results during the season represent for the future?
A. M. H. N. - I think that you should not take decisions about the future when you are either too high or too low. Most days are ordinary training days, and as long as I am motivated for those, I can go on. However, of course it's nice to see that I can still be part of the game.
If I asked you a moment - the great achievement of the season -, what would be your choice?
A. M. H. N. - Running O-Ringen this year was a big challenge. It started three days after I found out my arm was broken in the elbow. It happened during our WOC sprint selection two weeks earlier, but I did not care taking a picture of it earlier because I was mostly on travel. We decided just to tape it stiff before the races and I promised the doctor not to fall. The races themselves make O-Ringen a tough week, but we travelled to Borås with our kids and stayed in a hired caravan. My arm was not capable of carrying kids, as well as a lot of other practical stuff. We left our caravan early every morning, caught the bus, Anders ran his H21K after dropping Tarjei by the children care on his way to start, by the time he finished his race I had put Sigrid to sleep and had to leave for my start, then he took both kids to miniknat while I ran, and we all took our time after the race and caught a late bus, going directly to the dinner tent at O-Ringentown, joining the prize giving there on our way back to the caravan. Of course, there was time for nice chats with both our club mates in Nydalen and other friends, but O-Ringen with small kids means no rest. When I ran toward the finish inside Borås Arena and heard that I had defended my lead, it was a special moment. I was happy for a clean race under high pressure, it was my first big individual victory for several years, and I looked forward to some rest…
It's time for a break, now, I believe. What have you planned for a well deserved rest?
A. M. H. N. - Normal family life and no traveling, except a visit to my parents on Karmøy. Some weeks of less training hours and without high intensity training.
Are you already thinking about next season, now that present season is over?
A. M. H. N. - Next summer I would like to run O-Ringen and WOC. I am not sure if I will travel to World Cup and EOC during spring. It is easier to peak for just one competition period. In addition, there is already plenty of fun with the club during spring.
[Photo: Anders Robertsson]