Well... My dreams of winning outright didn't come true. I tried to replicate the preparation that I had for the JK sprint. I even wore the same socks. The start of my race went well. I was nearly tripped up on the way to the first. There was a control quite close on the same type of feature which was a little distracting. I managed to keep my head to the 4th control (I was leading here). Here there were other controls on nearby trees so after I punched I checked the code on my descriptions and saw it didn't match... It took me a little while to realise I had checked the 3rd code instead of the 4th. I think I let this little hesitation get under my skin. I only lost 4 seconds but I was running damn fast on the next leg and accidently missed the best route choice. I was still in a rush on the 7th. I went to the left because I saw the gap on the map. When I got there I could see no such gap. I wasn't calm enough to see that the green and the wall there were actually passable. I assumed it was olive green so I ran right around. To the 8th I can see from my GPS watch that I had totally lost my head. I ran full tit and then was about to jump some bushes but then stopped because it was olive green. Then I proceeded to run at 2min 30sec per km pace to the control. On the 9th I ran straight thinking there was a gap in the building, but nope. Then I ran back around the long way to the control. Now I could see Emil Folino Nielsen had caught me up 1min. Then and there I kind of lost motivation to push myself. I dawdled around the rest of the course having a few problems with closely placed controls. Emil never caught me right up, but Claus Bloch who had started 2min behind caught me at the 19th control. We both messed up the 2nd to last control (along with the entire elite field). I assume everyone had the same problem as me. I saw a control there when I was at my 12th control and figured it was my 20th. I'm glad I checked the code because our control was in the same place on the other side of the castle wall. I don't agree with this type of course planning. It seems in a lot of places the course planners were trying to trick the competitors into mis-punching. I pretty sure there are rules about how closely controls can be placed, especially when they are on the same feature. Of course you should check your control codes, but you shouldn't have to when you are punching a control in the middle of your control circle. If I had been running hard in the end I would probably be crying along with the rest* of the Danish elite team who had nearly all mis-punched.
*Christian Christensen, Rasmus Djurhuus, Rasmus Søes, Christian Nielsen, Mikkel Lund.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
That was possibly the most nervous I have ever been before an orienteering race. My first ever Tiomila. Running first leg for Pan Århus. The minutes being counted down before the start felt like an eternity. Finally we had the call '15 seconds' then only 4 or 5 seconds later the gun went off. With one big 'BANG' I had 400 guys prematurely coming up my ass (in a totally hetrosexual way). The first kilometre was a blur to me, partially due to post traumatic stress but also from the intense speed. All I could hear were airhorns and people screaming. I just had to concentrate on not falling down and not getting stuck in the bottle neck of the start chute. (It's hard to put the 10mila start experience into words. This video from last years 10mila captures it pretty well - you have to skip through to about 10min though).
The first leg was a nice long one. I chose to take the track all the way around to the right. I came into the first control at the front of my group. We had been fanging it the whole way. I was a couple of seconds behind a few guys who had gone a bit straighter. I finally started to relax as I thought I had got into a good position for the rest of the race. As we crossed the main road again I realised I was wrong. I was a little demoralised to see 30 or 40 odd runners infront of us. They had had a much shorter forking on the first. The next control was a mess for me. I think I just got caught up in they mayhem of so many people pushing throught the marsh that I forgot to read my map. I came to the wrong split. I stood there for half a minute trying to work out where I was. It was pretty hard with lights heading in every direction. I headed back to the stone wall that I didn't remember crossing and I clicked. I had lost 2 minutes atleast.
The rest of the course I was just running so fast trying to pass people when there was room. At the first radio control I had caught up to 109th place, just over 2mins behind the leaders. At the 4th radio after 10km I had crawled up to 39th place only 49sec behind the leaders. At night in the Swedish forest I had no idea how far I was behind. My only indicator was that it was becoming harder and harder to pass people. On the way to my 21st control I ran past the other split control (#50) just as the lead group had come out of it. Unfortunately my next 2 forkings were long ones. I lost close to a minute on the 22nd control from route choice and then missing the control. I should've stayed left to avoid the marsh like I had planned, but I got dragged down there by some lights who had another split. The second to last control was a 1min nightmare aswell. I should've avoided the green stripes. It was extremely rough. I just got stuck behind some guys and we were all hardly moving. I passed a couple of guys in the finish to come in in 54th, 4min16sec down from first place.
I was a little disappointed with my run at first. But looking at it afterwards I realised it wasn't too bad. I had all of the longer forkings except for the second control, but I had decided to go to the longer one anyway!! I also made up alot of time on the leaders. I was 3rd fastest on my forkings. Minus my mistake at the second I would have been fastest. I think with my lack of experience in night orienteering, and in Swedish terrain, I can safely say it was a very good run.
Our team did quite well throughout the rest of the relay. Flemming Jørgensen ran well on second leg bringing our team up to 37th place. Rasmus Kragh bumped our team up to 31st place after running well on the 18km night leg with no forkings. It was a little bit downhill from there. We finished in 50th place in the end. First Danish team!! 2 places ahead of Spring Cup OK. Not as good as our 30th place last year. But top 50 is still really good :)
Thursday, 16 April 2009
BlockheadLast weekend Maja and I headed to the UK for the Jan Kjellström International Orienteering Festival. It was the first time I had been to the UK. It wasn't as bad as I expected. I think everytime I've seen Britain on TV it has been overcast, but the weather was great! Perhaps I've been watching too much Coronation street! It was a nice trip. We flew over Wednesday evening to Birmingham and drove to Sheffield. We stayed there with our good buddies Bryn and Piret. Thursday we went for a run in the Peak district, it seemed like a great training area. Friday morning we left Sheffield super early to travel up to Newcastle. It wasn't such a long trip, but we heard that the traffic could be really nasty at easter. We arrived about 6 hours before the sprint race... oops. On the up side we got to do some sightseeing. We saw a cool castle and I got to eat my first meat pie since I left NZ (steak and kidney). It wasn't the same :( The hours finally wore down and it was time for the sprint. I wasn't feeling super fresh before the start. I had been training pretty hard during the week. Once I started running I was fine though. I was really focused on the orienteering side of things. I wanted a good run as it was only 2 weeks untill DM sprint. I only lost a little time on the 13th and the 17th due to bad route choice. I made 1 mistake on the 25th where I was too busy figuring out the route choice for the next leg and ran right past the control. That was only 10 seconds though. I heard the commentators as I was running into the finish saying that I had won. I was stoked, and a little surprised. There were some fast guys in M21E that I would've thought I needed a perfect run to beat. Alright! My first gold of the season!
That evening I got to see my Dad and my little brother for the first time in a year. They were in London on their way to the world schools championships in Spain and decided to drive several hours for 1 days competition and to see me!
Saturday was a world ranking middle distance race at Kyloe Hills. I felt ok warming up but as soon as I got into the terrain I felt really tired. I tried to push myself but had to walk a little uphill by only the 5th control! The terrain was really rough though, so I guess I had a little
The old manbit of an excuse. It was really green and there were alot of fallen branches and thinnings everywhere. I made a small mistake on the 4th control. My biggest mistake was on the 7th. I thought the control was in a re-entrant. I went right by the control and ran down into a valley and saw the gigantic cliff and was totally confused. I lost over 2mins. I had seen Matt Crane pass me at that point so I pushed to catch him up and got really tired on the way to the 15th and sort of gave up on the chase. It turns out I passed him again when he mucked up the 9th control. At the 15th I saw Oli Johnson coming up behind me so I pushed through the last controls and got a little bit away from him. I got a 7th place. I was ok with that. I was aiming for top 10, but I think on another day I could have won.
Sunday (WRE long distance) wasn't the best. I think I was just too tired from pushing hard the last 2 days. I made alot of mistakes. I started to get cramps jumping downhill through the heather on the way to the 15th control. I got to the 19th control and was tempted to DNF. But I managed to cruise around the rest trying not to totally cramp up by having a couple of dirty waters at the drinks station. I was miles slower than the winners. I lost much more time from being slow than from mistakes so it was hard to compare. I got some pretty good splits after I had slowed down though, so I guess my navigation was still ok.
Well this post is a bit late, but oh well. The other weekend was Danish Night champs. It was my first proper night orienteering race. By proper I mean In a forest where you can see 5m as opposed to in NZ farmland where you can see forever. The course wasn't as tricky as I had expected. There was a hell of alot of track running. Technically my race was pretty good. I lost between 90sec-2mins on the first control from bad routechoice and then a little mistake near the control. I was just too happy to see another control on a vegetation boundry. I also had a bad route choice on the way to the 7th and the 17th. So I lost about 3mins in total from mistakes. I had had a very busy day organising a B grade event and started to feel it on about the 9th control so I had to slow down a bit for the second half of the course. I got some really bad cramps near the end of the course and had to walk a bit. Infact, I struggled to even walk in the open from 33-34. I totally locked up going down the green hill to the last control and had a nasty fall. I got a pretty cool gash up the side of my leg, but it was quite annoying. I think I could've had a very good time. I was still pretty pleased with 5th place though :) I was pretty happy that I could navigate alright at night. It will help my confidence for Tiomila this weekend.