Monday, 30 March 2009

Spring Cup

Saturday was my first big international race of the season. It was a very strong field in the elite class with a lot of top guys, 190 runners in total. Judging from the names in the start list I aimed for a top 25 placing so I was pretty satisfied with coming 25th!!! I made about 3-4 minutes mistakes throughout the course which means I could've been placed in the top 10. I was starting 1 minute behind Daniel Hubmann so I was praying he would make a big mistake in the beginning, but no such luck!  The first 2 controls were very vague and the vegetiation was quite hard for me to read. I lost about 90 seconds total in these 2 controls.  Looking at winsplits you can see that alot of runners had a much worse time in the beginning than I did. I was caught up at the 7th control by Jamie Stevenson and Scott Fraser (1min and 2min behind me). Mats Haldin was also running with them. He had started 4min infront of me but must have made some bad mistakes in the beginning. I thought atleast we can run fast in a pack for the rest of the course, but over the next 2 conrtols they completely monstered me! They were running much faster than I could handle! I had officially been dropped. I was quite annoyed and was quite slow through the next couple of controls whilst my body recovered from its unexpected beating. The rest of the cousre was ok, with only a few small mistakes here and there. I managed to catch Mats Haldin again at the 18th control and ran with him through the last few.
I was disappointed that I couldn't keep up with the speedy guys, but it was really fast terrain. I think at the moment I am more suited to steeper rougher terrain. I know I am running faster than last year, so my training is working. It should be just a matter of time and not getting injured untill I can keep up with the guns!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Nord Jysk 2 Dages

I have mixed feelings about my performance this weekend. Physically my runs were very good. However, my orienteering was shockingly bad. The first day was at Tornby. It was a bit green in some places and had some intricate sand dune areas. The map looked a bit like Woodhill in New Zealand, but in person it was a different monster. I found the map very hard to understand out on the beach. There was alot of detail, but nothing looked like I expected it to. My plan was to take it easy and make no mistakes (save myself for the next day). I lasted about 5 controls. I made a small mistake at the 5th, then I was off running like crazy again. I was with a couple of guys that I had caught up. We made small mistakes on some controls where I wasn't reading my map enough. Somehow on the way to the 14th control I had let myself drop a little bit behind. I glanced at the leg and thought this is easy enough, just run straight to the track in the green. So I bolted after the 2 guys infront of me not caring to read my map. We ended up going way to far left and we got stuck in some green and I suddenly realised none of us knew where we were.  After eventually relocating, we had lost about 3mins. Again, I start running like crazy. The next 2 controls were fine but then I navigated to the 10th control on the wayy to the 17th. I saw it was the wrong number so I checked the next depressions. Then I saw those guys passing me again, but I was sure the control was back further. Eventually I clicked, swore heavily, and again started running like crazy. I made some small mistakes on the rest of the course but it wasn't too bad. I lost 8mins all together, so I was very surprised to see that I was in 2nd place. I guess everyone had just managed to make more mistakes than me.
Sunday was at Uggerby. It was even worse than the day before. I was fine on the way to #1 until I hit the vegetation boundary just before the contol. It was very distinct so I thought I had somehow run all the way to the track (I should know better by now, It's happened countless times since I've been in DK). I mucked around for a little bit and then clicked. I didn't let it get to me and ran well through the next part of the course. I lost some time at the 12th where I missed the small track going into the conrtol. I guess I was just running too fast. I mucked up the 13th. It was much greener than I expected, but I thought I was right going into the control. I should've taken the main track to the left, it would have been much safer. My hugest mistake was on #17. I decided to run hard along the beach and come up at the track. I came up at what I thought was the track and then proceeded to search for the control in the comletely wrong area. I climed a hill to work out where I was then I still lost time in the control circle. About 4mins all up, Jeeez. There were only some small mistakes in the rest of the course. All up I lost about 10mins. I can't remember the last time I made that many mistakes!
So, I am happy with my new speed in the terrain, but I thing that is my problem. I have to consciously tell myself when I need to slow down going into the controls. Also to not be distracted by other runners. I will work very hard on these things at my race this weekend then hopefully I will be more confident for spring cup next week! :P
PS. Sorry about the maps. I kept forgetting to start my watch, and our scanner isn't working so they're just photos :S

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Hallandsstafatten + Hallandspremiæren

I traveled with my club (Pan Århus) to Halland in the south of Sweden on the weekend. The idea was to get some good training in before Tiomila. On the Friday night we had a night race. My run wasn't very good. I made about 5mins of mistakes, mainly from not using my compass enough. I have to get used to night orienteering in forest. So far I've only really tried it in open farmland in NZ. It's much more difficult when the visibility is so low.
Saturday was Hallandspremiæren long distance race. I was using this race as training, trying to concentrate on my navigation. The terrain was really rough. There was a lot of fallen branches and thinnings everywhere. It was also really muddy, so it was very difficult to run. It seemed best to take the tracks, but there had been a lot of forest work going on, so some of the tracks had been turned into squishy mud pools by some big machines. I went well in the beginning of the course. My first real mistake came at the 5th control where I didn't read the control circle properly. I lost a little time on the way to 9 where I got a bit disorientated and fell in an icy pool of mud. Number 18 was my biggest mistake. I lost 2½mins coming into the control... I was using the green vegetation to my left which was a really bad idea :S All up I lost about 5mins, I was in 5th place. The winner Marcus Millegård must have run like a demon. He was 11min in front of 2nd place and 14mins in front of me.
Sunday was Hallandsstafetten (splits are from 1st and last leg runners - 8.5km - with the same forking). It was snowing. I ran first leg as practice for Tiomila. I was with the leaders until the 10th control where I got confused by all the forest work tracks that weren't on the map. I wondered at the time why I was the only one heading in a different direction (usually a sign that something is wrong). I lost about 90sec but I ran hard and caught up to a group about 1min behind the 2 leaders. I totally lost my mind on the long route choice leg to #15. I wanted to run just around the left of the quarry, but for some reason I decided to run way up a massive hill through some green. The rest of the course was ok. I pulled out a big 330m finish sprint and came in in 9th place, about 2mins behind the leaders, then threw up everywhere. I had to quickly get to the showers before I got hypothermia!
It was a good weekend. I definitelty think I can run fast enough to keep up in Tiomila. The terrain there should be a bit more open than at Halland so it should suit me.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Orienteering Season Begins

Today was the first event in the 2009 Danish orienteering season. It was a B class event... whatever that means.. I think Danish championships are A class. The first thing I have to say is the map was very green - a lot of blackberry and other crap everywhere, even in the white areas. My run was not so great, I made some really retarded mistakes. On the way to the 2nd control I was going dead straight then I saw another runner that had started in-front of me and I thought he had already got the control. He sure fooled me :P I lost about a minute there. I wasn't able to catch him again until the 6th control. I ran pretty smoothly for the next half of the course. Physically I felt quite bad, probably from the tough week of training this week, but looking at my gps route I was running around 3min kms in the terrain at some points (where it was a bit open) and along the tracks. I lost time at numbers 15 and 16. I had some trouble making sense of the contours. At first I thought #15 was in a re-entrant. I'd say I lost 30seconds, but there was a lot of hesitating there, so maybe close to 1 minute. Number 17 was terrible, I didn't see the track on my right at first and thought I had to go straight. There was so much crap all the way from the control that I was going in every direction, then I realised my mistake and bailed to the track. I think my exit from #24 wasn't the greatest. It could have been faster to run straight down to the track, but even the light green on the map is pretty harsh so I'm not too sure. The last loop was fun. The forest was a bit more open than the rest of the course. I made a real hash of the last one. Again I misread the map. I thought that the control was on an earth-bank in a re-entrant, but it was up on the spur. I over-shot it by quite a bit and lost 80 seconds. In total I lost around 5mins. Hopefully I will be more focused on the more important upcoming races, 5mins is too much in an international event :)

Carnage Hill... worth the fun???

Carnage Hill (NZ's main tourist attraction) was the finish chute for a competition held in Woodhill forest in New Zealand in around 2004 (If I remember correctly). It is so named for all of the carnage seen that day... novice sandy face-plants... elite pile-ups... veteran barrel rolls... and a lot of geriatric gumbiness.
The organizers of the event so enjoyed the days' knee slappers that they organized a post race finish sprint competition (with Sport Ident) among the runners with the fastest finish splits from the day (I'm the one in the blue and yellow shirt)... I think it was won by our very own NZ team member Chris Forne... but I could be wrong, my memory is not the best... However, I don't have to remember the antics of that day, the bloopers are permanently burnt into my retinae.
Digging up this video got me to wondering... was making a crazy video for others really worth the relentless slaughtering of my body?? Could I put my knee problems of the last few years down to carnage hill??? Or perhaps from the other unnecessary sand dune jumping done for cheap thrills over the years??

Hmmmm... I think the pain is more likely from running over 100kms week after week. I'd prefer it was from that, rather than having to admit to myself that just for a few minutes of 'hang time' in my youth, my whimsical actions will have me shuffling round the M50 courses with a zimmer-frame while I watch my more conservative rivals lope on by.

... I reckon that when they get around to having WOC in NZ with the carnage hill finish I'll do it all again :)