Jim Spier’s Blog: Project Javelin Gold returns to Finland, Part 1 (July 31-Aug. 3)

by Jim Spier


Jim Spier's Blog: Project Javelin Gold in Finland, Part 2 (Aug. 4-8)

Sunday, August 3: Day 4 - Hoops, more exploring and backwards shot put

Joy Kamani Photos (top to bottom, left to right): 1) Weightlifting instructors Jyrki, Mari and Iita; 2-3) Young javelin throwers at the youth meet; 4) Kristi climbs up to peer inside the window of the locked church (at Jim's behest); 5-6) Jim and Kristi get the bike tires inflated, then the cycling begins; 7) the pile of snow outside the ice rink; 8) the computerized shooting range in the recreation center; 9) the beach at Kuortane Lake; 10-15) the Klemetti museum, including signage, his bust, family photo, his desk, one of the houses and the sauna.

I went to bed at 8pm last night and got up at 4am – 8 hours, but now must kill some time before breakfast at 7:00am.

The kids rolled into breakfast, this time well-rested.  They are finally adjusting to the time difference – and recovering from the workout yesterday didn’t hurt!  (or, maybe, it did).  

We noticed Shih-Feng Huang of Chinese Taipei in the facility.  He was here training with another athlete and two coaches.  Huang is currently ranked #25 in the world in the javelin with a best of 267-6.  We understand he will be competing in Vaasa on Tuesday.

The morning session was as follows:

09.45-12:00pm  Speed / explosive properties, the importance of weight lifting and what it will be useful in  the javelin / Jyrki and Mari

The warmup this morning was a basketball game – a pretty intense basketball game!  Our kids are great athletes, multi-sport competitors.  Basketball is one of the sports that some of them excel in.  And it showed.  We were praying for no sprained ankles or other injuries.  Fortunately, there were none, though I suspect there were some bruises.

While they did their morning session, Joy, Kristi and I took a walk. 

We first went to the outdoor track where an age group track meet was going on.  We, of course, concentrated on the javelin and were amazed at the technique of the 7- and 8-year-olds.  In between throws, for example, they were practicing their crossovers and blocks!  It is something you just do not see in the U.S. (though I suspect the Finns would be amazed at some of the American hurdlers and jumpers of a comparable age).


We continued on about another half mile and came across a beautiful Evangelical Lutheran church, as is the tradition in this part of the world.  It was surrounded by acres of graves, all beautifully tended to with permanent flower beds around them.  The church was built in 1777 (http://www.kuortaneenseurakunta.fi/00010383-kuortaneen-kirkot-kirkkotie-23-63100-kuortane).

Behind it was the original bell tower, another magnificent building, now used for storage.  It was a “late” addition, having been built in 1831.

We noticed a long, open building about 50 feet long and 20 feet wide.  It housed a very long row boat.  Apparently it was a “church boat,” used to transport parishioners from the other side of Kuortane Lake (about a mile across) to worship on Sunday.  And there were no outboard motors in the 18th and 19th century!  So there must have been a more than a few rowers transporting a few dozen people each way (the lake is about 1-¼ miles at its widest).

We returned for lunch and noticed the female Finnish national team speed skaters having lunch.  They are here training for a few days. 

There was no training for the athletes in the early afternoon, and we were to meet up again at 5:00pm.

This time, Joy, Kristi and I were joined by Steve Underwood and rented bikes for the afternoon. 


We stopped in the building next door to the reception center, which is an ice rink.  There were several hockey players of all age groups working out.  There was a big pile of wet snow and ice outside the building, likely dumped off by a zamboni and perfect for making snowballs.  So we threw a few and watched some children having fun with it.

Then we quickly went to the building next to that one, which is an indoor children’ recreation center, complete with giant slides, trampolines and games.


Then on with the ride.  We passed by the church we visited this morning en route to a city beach.  There were a few dozen families there.  It’s on the lake adjacent to the sports resort.


After about another block we stumbled up a “museo” (museum).  It was the homestead of a famous Finnish composer named Heikki Klemetti.  (http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heikki_Klemetti).  We snooped around and, as we were leaving, a young lady, college-aged asked, “Can I help you?  I am a guide.”

“Of course,” we said.  There were several buildings, and she grabbed the keys to them from a special hiding place under a mat, and proceeded to show us some of the houses, most of which were built in the late 19th century.  It was the summer home of Klemetti.  (http://www.kuurtanes-seura.fi/Klemetti.htm).

It seems that the original house was built over an underground stream.  That was a problem for Klemetti, who could not concentrate because of the distraction (!).  So he got a divining rod and found a place on the property where there was no underground stream.   It happened to be an area next to the sauna.  So he built a room there which housed his piano, sleeping and living quarters.  And that’s where he composed.




She then asked if we would like to see the restored homestead across the street.  Of course, we said “yes.”   It was a rich man’s house built in 1774.  Surrounded by several “out” buildings, it also included small shacks were the workers lived.  See this on YouTube (the lady speaking on the video was not our guide): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YfNkHt86ck

We got back to the camp in time for the evening session. 

17.00-19.00 Training session on main track/ Kimmo & Barry

  • shot put throwing backwards and from below test
  • step in the character running with javelin spikes
  • easy speed running on grass
  • walking hurdles + cool-down + a couple of stretching + swimming

The backwards-throwing shot putting got pretty competitive.  On the men’s side, the winner was Kimmo’s son Jami, barely edging Barry Krammes.  For the girls, I couldn’t figure out who won:  Katelyn, Sophia, Gabby or, maybe, Tairyn.  They were all pretty close.

We returned to the facility for dinner.  It was really nice out, so we ate on the patio. 

Joy and Kristi, not especially enamored with the evening’s fare, were asked by Kimmo why they were not eating.  Joy diplomatically responded, “Um … we’re on a special diet.”  From then on, they were known as the “Special Diet” people.   They ultimately ordered pizza and that is now known as their special diet meal.

We spent a few hours talking with Kimmo after dinner.  Barry asked him what his favorite event is after javelin.  He said, “My favorite event is the Javelin Final.  After that, it’s Javelin Qualification, then Javelin warmup, then Javelin practice.”

Tomorrow we will take everyone to a very large shopping center about 20 miles from Kuortane, in the middle of nowhere.  Then we will likely take the kids to a maze nearby.  There will be no heavy workouts in preparation for Tuesday’s competition.


Saturday, August 2: Day 3, more special training and a zoo trip

Photos (top to bottom, left to right): 1) Gabby Kearney, Grayson Hill and Trevor Danielson during the weightlifting session; 2-6) Various shots from the Ahtari zoo trip.

I woke up at 4am.  That’s one hour later than yesterday.  The sun was up, of course.  I might get back to normal by the time we leave on Friday.

We had the usual breakfast between 7am and 9am.  The kids are exhausted.  The combination of jet lag and hard workouts have left most of them zombified.  They are a “game” bunch and will persevere, eagerly following Kimmo’s plan each day.

I went to the office again to pay the bill for the week.  There was a slight discrepancy, so I was told to come back on Monday or Tuesday when the regular staff was there.  I’ll try again on Monday.

The morning began with the floorball “warmup”.  This time it was joined by Kimmo’s wife Sari, a former national class quarter-miler for Finland (in the 52-53 second range).

We told Kimmo we had a great time yesterday in Seinajoki and was there any similar place nearby we could spend a few hours.  He mentioned a place call Ahtari, about 35 miles away.  It had a zoo, he said.

Meanwhile the kids had begun the morning’s program (as outlined by Kimmo):

10.00  Training session in Kuortane-hall/ Kimmo & Barry

  • warm up easily running     
  • med ball special power for Javelin    
  • hurdle jumping equal jumps     
  • one equal jump test    
  • hurdle walking + cool down  +swimming   

12.30 Lunch

Two of the kids were concerned that they would have to take a test (“one equal jump test,” above – they weren’t quite sure what meant).  Kimmo explained that it was just a measurement of a standing long jump in order to somewhat predict one’s overall strength in that area.  They were relieved that it was something they couldn’t fail!


We (Paul, Joy, Kristi and I) took off for Ahtari soon after the morning session began.  We got there in less than an hour and, indeed, there was a zoo!  A zoo only with animals native to Finland – elk, wolves, bears, wolverines, badgers, mink, snow leopards, etc.  It was well laid-out, with plenty of wide open spaces for the animals to live and play.  It is truly a wonderful place (search Ahtari Zoo in Wikipedia for more details – I couldn’t leave the exact link here because both “A’s” in Ahtari have dots over them, like a German umlaut).


I received a call from Kimmo while were there:  Kristi’s luggage had been found and would be delivered by 5pm.  Great news!

We got back to Kuortane in the middle of the afternoon session:

15.00-17 Special weightlifting session/ Jyrki Kononen & Mari Paananen

  • first group I learned how to lift safely!
  • Jami, Barry, Katelyn, Todd, Kristin and Emma

16.30   continue with Kimmo, special speed with baseball and match!
16.30-18.30 Special weightlifting session/ Jyrki Kononen & Mari Paananen

  • second group I learned how to lift safely!
  • Sophia, Grayson, Trevor, Tairyn and Gabrielle

18.00   continue with Kimmo, special speed with baseball and match!
18.30-19.15 Dinner

One group was going through the weightlifting program, the other was with Kimmo throwing baseballs and matchsticks.  Yes, matchsticks!  Apparently throwing matchsticks helps one concentrate on proper release.  You have to concentrate on throwing the matchstick in an exact manner so there is little wiggle while in the air.  It was amazing how far they could be thrown.  While we were there, Emma Fitzgerald threw one about 25 meters (80+ feet).

Working out in the gym was Mostafa Al-Gamel of Egypt, perhaps the largest Egyptian on the planet (or at least in Finland).  He is currently ranked third in the world in the hammer throw (266-7).  Each day there is a new team or world class athlete working out.  This is a special place.

A new group had just come into the camp this morning.  It seemed like there were about 1,000 little female Finnish gymnastics munchkins.  And they all decided to get on the dinner line just before me.  So I waited my turn and got my food (though the food this night was not especially worth the wait).

The plan for the evening was as follows:

  • 16.30-21.00 Finland championships in track & field, TV-2, women javelin final  
  • 20.30-21.00 weight-lifting training, refresher training session the day / Jyrki & Mari
  • 21.30  Supper
  • 23.00  sleeping time for everyone

We watched day 2 of the Finnish champs, and it included the women’s javelin throw.

Tomorrow brings more training.  Let’s hope the kids are starting to recover.


More Day 3: Some photos from Kimmo:

Tairyn, Sophia, Emma, Kristen and Katelyn enjoy some ice cream during the evening snack.

At left, Weightlifting Group 1: Katelyn, Kristen, Todd and Emma with Jyrki, Iita and Mari.
At right, Weightlifting Group 2: Grayson, Trevor, Tairyn, Gabby and Sophia with Jyrki, Iita and Mari.

At left: Tairyn, Kristen, Emma and Sophia in the classroom.
At right: Barry, Paul and Jim in the training center.



Friday, August 1: Day 2, trip to towns of Kourtane, Seinajoki

Photos (top to bottom, left to right): 1) Paul, Jim and Kristi check out the javelins in the Seinajoki Intersport store; 2) downtown Kuortane; 3) XC skiers training in Kuortane; 4) a fruit stand in Kuortane; 5) a market in Kuortane; 6 and 7) a farmers' market in Seinajoki; 8) view from Rossi's in Seinajoki. 

I woke up at 3am after about 6 hours sleep.  I tossed and turned until 5am, then got out of bed and wrote yesterday’s blog.  It took about 2-½ hours.

I had mentioned meeting Katy Polansky’s father yesterday at the Lufthansa lounge at Dulles Airport.  As it turned out, Jeff Gorski, head of our program, had been commissioned to coach Katy in the late nineties and had flown to Eugene to train her three times!  The javelin world is a small world, indeed.

I went to the cafeteria for breakfast.  The only one from our group there was Barry Krammes.  Nearby was the senior Estonian women’s volleyball team – about two dozen 6-foot tall blondes.

Over the next hour, the rest of our staff and the kids wandered in.  They included Gabby Kearney, ranked #3 in the U.S. currently, from Roseburg, OR, and her mother Patty.  Patty was a national class javelin thrower in the early 1980s who ultimately threw for the University of Oregon.  It is very enjoyable to have Patty and Gabby with us.

The morning session, according to Kimmo’s plan, was as follows:

Training session in Kuortane-hall and gross-country track/ Kimmo & Barry
• warm up with that nice and stupid stick-play floorball smile
• med ball and iron ball throwing, “javelin technically thinking”, body “opening”
• special footwork with legs +calf/crossovers/ crossjumping/special thinks on throwing position
• special javelin power, morujev, felke, throwing motion and disc rotation
• easily running opening on wood track, ins-outs
• gool down + swimming

Kristi’s Rieger’s bags were still missing (she just barely made the flight in Chicago, but her bags didn’t make it).  She got the help of someone at the front desk who virtually spent the entire morning calling United and other places for her.

While at the reception area, I asked to pay the bill for stay for everyone.  I was told when we checked in on Thursday to come back the next day because they hadn’t prepared the bill yet.  I asked to pay this morning and was told it still wasn’t ready and to come back in the next day or two!

Inside the gym (next to the reception are), the warmup was, as is typical, floor hockey which took about an hour.  It got the juices flowing for the kids.  The Estonian women’s volleyball team was practicing in the facility, as was the Finnish men’s volleyball team.

Joy and I walked into town.  It is about a 1-¼ mile walk.  I went to an ATM and withdrew some Euros.  The exchange rate was pretty good: 1.3375, or about 100 Euros for $133 dollars, just about the current rate (1.34).  At the airport, I exchanged $50.00 for Euros.  I got 28 Euros. That’s an exchange rate of 1.79! 


On the way, some cross country skiers passed us, using roller skis.  When we arrived yesterday, a female cross country skier passed us, working out; she was a member of the Finish Olympic team who competed in Sochi.

We had to make a decision of going into the ”S” market or the ”K” market, two supermarkets next to each other.  We chose the ”S”, where I purchased some coffee and milk.


The kids worked out indoors until noon, and were given the the bulk afternoon off and were to report back for more training – a heavy throwing session – at 5:00pm.

We walked back, and some of us decided to drive to Seinajoki for lunch, about 25 miles west of Kuortane, a town of about 35,000 (http://www.seinajoki.fi/en/index.html).  It was easy drive, and we got there in about a half hour.


We found a great parking space on the street and wandered around.  There was a small farmers’ market in the central square which sold mainly root vegetables and berries.  We went into an Intersport store, basically a running shoe and sports apparel store.  Of course they had javelins, shots and discusses for sale!

We found a restaurant (Rosso’s) where three of us had pizza and Joy had salmon soup.  The pizza was not New York pizza, but pretty close.  We were impressed.

So now back to Kuortane.  We approached the van and noticed a parking ticket!  Apparently the are machines on the street to pay for parking.  We didn’t notice them.  The ticket was for 45 Euros ($60.00).  There is a way to appeal it via e-mail, which I intend to do.

We showed it to Kimmo when we returned, and he said ”Congratulations.”  I suppose even Kimmo, as famous as he is in Finland, can’t fight the parking bureaucracy.

We got back at about 3:00pm.  I did some work and decided to lay down for 15 minutes, then go watch the evening workouts.  

Kimmo’s schedule:

• 17.00 Throwing session on main track/ Kimmo start time, Kristin, Sophia, Trevor, Todd and Barry
• warm up independently
• cool-down independently

• 17.45 Throwing session/ Kimmo start time, Tairyn, Emma, Gabrielle, Katelyn, Grayson and Jami
• warm up independently     
• cool-down independently

• 18.30-19.30 Dinner          
• 18-21 Finland championships in track & field, TV-2     
• 20.30 video preview, the days throws/ Kimmo & Barry   
• 21.30 supper*                            
• 23.00 sleeping time for everyone

* supper (above) means late night snack (bread, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, cole slaw, oranges and apples

I woke up at 7:30pm (!), missing the afternoon session and arriving at the cafeteria at the tail end of the dinner schedule.  The Finnish national track and field championships was on television so we watched it all together.

I went to sleep at about 9:30pm and looked forward to the next day.  As can be imagined, the kids were exhausted.  I’m sure they will sleep well. 

The next few days will be geared to the competition in Vaasa on Tuesday.  (The rule of thumb for competing is to stay in a place 1 day for each time zone you had crossed before competing.  The east coast kids – that would be Grayson and Emma – are 7 time zones away.  Others are 8 and 9 time zones, and Tairyn and Trevor at 10 time zones.  So, ideally, for the athletes to be at their best, the competition should be at least 7 days from arriving, or next Thursday.  It will, in fact, be 5 days from arriving, so there might be some challenges.  I expect them all to throw well.  They are, after all, energetic teenagers and high school athletes of the highest level).

Note:  our staff works harder than any group I know.  Steve Underwood, for example, spends the day taking photos and videos, then spends hours editing and posting on our website and on facebook.  Eventually it catches up with you as evidenced by this photo last night taken by Kimmo Kinnunen.








Thursday, July 31: Getting There

Photos: 1) Joy Kamani greets Tairyn Montgomery and others as they arrive in Hensinki from Chicago; 2) Kristen Clark explains her luggage adventures; 3) Coach Krammes and the kids during the first training session Thursday.

Four of the staff – chaperones Jim Spier, Paul Limmer and Joy Kamani, and PR/reporter Steve Underwood (SteveU) – transitioned to the trip by taking the “red eye” from Eugene, Oregon on Sunday night after spending a week at the 15th  IAAF World Junior Championships.  Joy and I left on Tuesday for Finland, and Paul and SteveU on Wednesday.

We all got home from Eugene early morning on Monday (July 28) and had 1 or 2 days to unpack and repack, and take care of whatever personal chores we had.

Joy and I, using our frequent traveler miles to obtain business class tickets on Lufthansa, met up at Washington, DC’s Dulles airport on Tuesday afternoon.  I had a six hour layover and Joy had three.

While sitting in the Lufthansa lounge and discussing the prior meet’s World Junior championship, a very distinguished gentlemen having overhead our conversation, commented that he was from Eugene and that he had regretted not being at the meet since he had to be overseas.  He did mention that he had been to the 2000 World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile.  (“Really?,” I thought.  Almost no one had gone there.  It was out of season -held in October – and it was a long way from the U.S..  In fact, the U.S. sent only 15 or 20 athletes.)

“My daughter competed there in the javelin,” he continued.  He pointed to the seat behind him where she was sitting.  “Her name is Katy Polansky.” 

“Katy Polansky, the javelin thrower?” I asked.  Yes, he said.  Katy had set the U.S. high school record in 1999 with the “new” javelin.  The record was 174-2 and she’s still #6 all-time.  She went on to win the U.S. Junior championships in 1999 and 2000, and competed for the University of Oregon. 

What are the chances of randomly meeting a former javelin star on the way to a javelin camp in Finland?  It seemed to be a sign that the javelin gods were smiling on us.

We boarded the plane and spent the next seven hours reading and sleeping, landing in Frankfurt at about 7:30am local time.  Then there was the challenge to get to our connecting gate about two miles away (or so it seemed).  And that trip included negotiating three security check points. 

We took off from Frankfurt at 9:30am and arrived in Helsinki at about 1:00pm (one time zone further east).

I had made a reservation at the Hilton at the Helsinki airport for convenience sake.  We checked in and went to our rooms.  I began to monitor the flights of the other 12 who would be leaving from the U.S. on this day (Wednesday).

Coming to Chicago to travel directly to Helsinki would be Steve (Lansing, MI), Kristi Rieger – chaperone/jill-of-all-trades (Sioux Falls, SD), and Project Javelin Gold members Tairyn Montgomery (Redondo Beach, CA), Kristen Clark (Ruston, LA), Katelyn Gochenour (Logan, IA), Sophia Rivera (Brentwood, MO), Trevor Danielson (Portland, OR), Todd Ogden (Kalispell, MT) and Grayson Hill (North East, PA).

I was a bit concerned with the connection of Tairyn, Sophia and Steve.  The flight would leave Chicago at 3:45pm and those three would land 45 minutes prior, coming from Los Angeles, St. Louis and Detroit, respectively.  The travel agent assured me that, since all the arriving flights were in the same terminal as the departing flight, there would be no problem.

And there was not – with those three, anyway. 

Kristi Rieger, however, had to put up with continual delays that day.  She was originally to have landed at about noon.  But after switching airlines and additional delays, she still wasn’t going to land until 4:00pm, which would have missed the flight.  The travel agent rebooked her through London, just in case. 

But Kristi took a chance.  She landed at 3:33pm.  SteveU, aware of her plight, arranged through begging, cajoling (and a bit of deception) to delay the Helsinki flight in order for her to get on board.  Showing her substantial fitness, she sprinted through the airport (SteveU estimated 6 minute pace for nearly a mile), she arrived just as the door was closing.  Someone had already taken her seat, so she took one of the empty ones.  And off they went, everyone on board.

“If you weren’t a marathoner, you wouldn’t have made it,” SteveU told her.

The New York group, only three, had other challenges.  It included chaperone Paul Limmer (East Northport, NY), national class thrower/chaperone/coach Barry Krammes (Stroudsburg, PA), project member Emma Fitzgerald (Braintree, MA).

Connections were no problem there as both Paul and Barry drove to JFK airport and Emma arrived from Boston 5 hours before the New York-Helsinki flight was scheduled to leave.  The problem was that the flight was delayed four hours!  That meant that our next day travel plans would be impacted.  Rather than the New York group arriving within 15 minutes of the Chicago group, there would now be a four hour wait for the New York group to arrive.

Meanwhile, back with the Chicago group, there was a further complication.  Kristen Clark had been, um, a little late in arriving at her local Monroe, LA airport, such that she was not able to check her luggage.  What to do?  Kristen was on her way with no luggage.

Kristen’s mother, Gina, e-mailed me, asking for the address of the Kuortane training center.  She would ship the luggage to Kuortane.  The only problem would be that it would arrive two days before we all would leave to come home, and at prohibitive cost.

Being resourceful, she was aware that Barry would be driving from Pennsylvania to JFK airport.  She asked if he would spend about an hour as Kristen’s “personal shopper.”  He complied, happily (discovering skills he didn’t know he had).

Between e-mails and texting from Gina, Barry managed to shop for many hundreds of dollars worth of clothes for Kristen (admitting that it was a bit challenging purchasing things such as sports bras, but Gina walked him through it).  And so he arrived at Kennedy with his luggage, a half-dozen javelins and a bag full of women’s clothing.  (Such is the nature of our awesome staff).

So everyone was now on their way.  Joy and I had some magnificent salmon soup in the Hilton’s restaurant that night.  And then we were off to bed to rest for the next day’s 4-hour ride to Kuortane.

Joy and I met at 7am on Wednesday morning to partake of the breakfast buffet.  Not until I got the check did I realize this was not a cheap breakfast.  It was a really great buffet, but not quite worth the 27 Euros each (about $40.00!).  We will be staying at this hotel next Thursday night  - and we will find a more inexpensive option for all of us for next Friday’s breakfast!

Now it was off to pick up the 9-passenger rental vans.  Last year I had rented two in my name.  When we went to pick them up, they thought it was a mistake that I had rented two – they thought I only meant to rent one, so they only had one van. They managed to dig up another so we were ultimately OK.

So this year I rented one in my name and one in Joy’s name.  How could there be any confusion with that?  We went to the rental counter and the woman said, “Here is the car in your name, and the one for Joy is at the agency in downtown Helsinki.” 

“No”, I said, I had rented both for airport pickup.  “Not according to this”, she said.  “I can give you a rental here for Joy Kamani, but it will be a different model.” 

“That’s fine”, I said, “as long as it is a 9-passenger van.”  It was, she said.

We went to the arrival area to wait for the Chicago group.  They arrived at about 8:30am looking exhausted.  We broke the news that we would have to wait four hours for the New York group and they took it in stride – they are really a great group of kids.

We hadn’t checked out of our hotel, so we arranged to have the boys go to my room to take a shower and the girls to go to Joy’s room to do the same.  We got some extra towels for them and they all “freshened up” a bit. 

They were hungry so we next went to the “Jumbo” Mall, a very large mall near the airport, much like you would find in the U.S.   We ate at a place called “Chico’s”, a Bennigans/Applebees-like restaurant specializing in “American” food.  In fact, the hamburgers (and there were many ordered by this group!) each came with a little American flag.

Steve and I then went back to the airport to pick up the New York group.  Joy, Kristi and everyone else went to a supermarket in the mall to buy some extra food for our stay in Kuortane, as well as lunch for Paul, Barry and Emma who were coming from New York.

Steve and I parked the car in the short term lot and waited at the arrivals area.  They walked out at about 1:00pm and did not look especially well-rested.  We went back to the parking lot, loaded the van, and I went to the machine to pay the parking fee (1 Euro for every 10 minutes).   It was 3 Euros.  I put in the ticket and my credit card was rejected.  It rejected all four of my credit cards.  Paul tried his and they were rejected. 

I had to go to the service center and pay what was now 4 Euros.  A simple 15-minute exercise turned into one of 45 minutes.  So much for our plans; we were supposed to leave the airport at 9am.  Instead were would leave at 1:45pm, getting us to Kuortane at about 6pm.

I drove one van and Kristi and Joy shared in driving the other.  We made one pit stop and made it in about four hours. 

I had notified Kimmo Kinnunen (1991 world champ and head of the Finnish junior program – and our camp leader) that we would be late.   He estimated that we would be arriving exactly at 5:48pm!

As we drove up to the reception center in Kuortane, Kimmo was waiting. It was 5:55pm.  “You are 7 minutes late”, he said.

We checked everyone in.  Everyone got their room keys and their meal tickets.  The five girls were in one large suite and the three boys were in another.  (They are really more like apartments than hotel rooms, all equipped with a full kitchen, washing machine, sauna and other amenities).

The kids thought that they would be able to finally relax.

“Eat dinner now, meet at outdoor track at 7:15pm,” Kimmo said.  And so they did.

They did a light workout for about 2 hours.  Here is the exact program as outlined by Kimmo:

Training Session on main track/ Kimmo & Barry
* warm up with easily running
* running drills and stretching
* easy Javelin tecnic with walking/standing/good throwing position, only easy throws
* technical drills for Javelin, running, crossover drills
* mid- body strength + hurdle walking + stretching

As it turned out, it was a good way to get the “blood circulating” for everyone.  Then off to bed and a well-deserved rest.


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