Ok, I wasn't at the Spring Cup, but at the Spring weekend organised by Forth Valley Orienteers near Stirling. My first real orienteering competitions since September. Selection races for all sorts of British Teams. Tricky.
My solution to this problem was to come on a training camp for the 4 days before the races. After a manic end to my project in Norway, I jumped on a plane with my housemate Siri Ulvestad and landed up in rainy Scotland. The British Squad were also training and very kindly allowed us to use the maps and controls. And we took full use of it. I realised for me, it was more important to get into the maps than to save my legs. By Friday morning I was struggling to walk!
My plan for the weekend was to play it safe. I was very confident in my fitness and speed, but after a 20 minute mistake in training on Wednesday, I was reminded that I am still capable of completely loosing it technically. I made myself push out the dreams of running fast and beating everyone by miles (I'll save that for later!) and just focus on the map.
Saturdays race was very interesting. 4km, very fast area, 1:7500 map scale. The real trick was finding a fast speed which you could read the map at. Baptism of fire. I made a lot of wobbles during the race, both in the control circles and some pretty appauling bearings in between. There were times I felt a little out of control, and times I felt like I should be going faster. It was a learning experience. Despite this, I was very pleased with my run. I know there was a lot wrong with it, but it could have been a lot wronger! First race, done, without ruling myself out as a no-hoper this season.
Sunday was always a challenge. My legs were by now feeling awesome and I knew I just had to do the same again, preferably a bit better. It was a 1:15000 map, nearly impossible to read. I decided my plan was to play dot-to-dot. I just ran between features, stopped at each one, checked the bearing and continued. It was slow, but it was safe. I lost time twice in the circle, both when the detail was really small. Number 5 I looked in the reentrant but just didn't see it. Number 12 I didn't have a good enough picture of what I wanted ahead. But in both cases, I knew I was within the circle and I kept a calm head and got there. I probably also lost time coming out of 7 and on the way to 18.
I did 82 minutes. The best Brit was 79. Siri was 73-74ish. We were schooled. And she wasn't clean or feeling remotely in top form. From my point of view this was great. 3 minutes down, a few mistakes, absolutely no control flow at all. I have a lot more I can improve on. Not 8 minutes worth, but at least I'm on the way up. I was pleased with my discipline. I never stressed. I knew there was more physically, but I kept control and stuck to the plan. I would never win with a performance like that, but I could easily have lost a lot more.