Thursday, 10 June 2010

Beating world champions and other things

Ok, beating a former world champion on 1 leg of a course. But it was a long one!

Last Sunday there was a long distance race in Trondheim. With everyone preparing for WOC, it was quite a fun "low key" event. Anne Margerethe Hausken turned up, I got to wear a GPS unit for the first time and the terrain was some of the more beautiful marshes and white forest that Trondheim has to offer.

The previous weekend I had run two races, one was satisfactory but not good enough, and the other was as bad as I have performed in a long while. It was a reminder back down to earth that I am still capable of some pretty ugly orienteering. So my plan was to run at a very comfortable speed and give a very nice GPS trace for afterwards! Just aswell, given the marsh to the first control was a little indistinct. Coming out of 3 I didn't do a bad route, but it was not intended at all! It got a bit green and messy and I didn't follow the compass. Luckily, I hit the road and all was ok, but it seems I lost time being hesitant and not knowing where I was before then. I made a big mistake at number 7. This was a tricky control and it seems alot of people did. I had identified it as being difficult. A bit of route choice and a bit difficult to attack. I came high to the left around the paths and managed that ok, but lost it in the last 100m, not knowing what height I was at and how far to keep going. In hindsight, I should have taken a lower route choice with a safer way i nto the control. Or I should have had more things to get my into the control, like running to the stream/marsh/veg boundary in the reentrant. I probably lost 2 minutes there.

Click map for GPS replay

I was a bit panicked coming out of 7, and wasn't optimal to 8. Helen Palmer caught me there, but I tried to be calm. I clambered along the line of crags to 9, planning my route to 10. Helen punched 9 just behind me, but I set straight off onto the long leg without getting a drink. I should honestly say my plan was to go straight and join up the marshes to the control, but I got half way and was about 50m from where I wanted to be on a marsh. I thought about correcting, but then decided to run out towards the road. It was easy from there, and the control was almost visible from the road aswell. I completed the course satisfactorily from there, nothing major, though a bit difficult to get down the crags into 13. I finished in a time of 1:10. 10 mins behind Hausken. I was happy enough. I didn't ever feel like I was racing and there was a lot left in the tank, but that was the plan and is no bad thing for my ability level at the moment. I'm not reliable enough at the faster speeds yet.

Looking closer at the long leg, I took 14.44. The next fastest was Hausken with 15.13. So it was a considerably faster route, even though it didn't look it on the map. Although I ran fast up the road, I didn't gut it, so I think that it would have been even faster for the better runners. It's an interesting one in the lead up to WOC 2010 as it shows that really big gaps could appear on these long legs. You have to get the decisions right, though it was just luck that I took this route this time.

In other news, I have just got a new job to start on the 1st July as a research assistant at University College London. I am very happy as it gives me 9 months of part time work living at home. I can use the spare time to train and to settle back into British life and work out the next steps I want to take.

Before then, its just the Nordic Tour including Jukola/Venla to do, and a Master's thesis to defend. I'm looking forward to the whirlwind that will be the next 3 weeks.

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