Friday, 5 April 2013

JK 2013 - the season starts


The 2013 British orienteering season has started! After a few months of pushing tired legs around tough Scottish forests, it was finally time to rest up and go flat out in the faster southern English terrain. I was confident before the weekend - I've done the hours in the forest with a map in hand and I'm also running PBs in my regular intervals sessions.

The sprint race podium
Photo credit: @sussexsprints
The JK weekend started with a world ranking event sprint around the University of Reading campus. There were few tricks navigationally and so any small errors were punished. I kept these to an absolute minimum - I was at most 6 seconds from the fastest split on any leg - and that was good enough to give me the win. The new British Orienteering social media team were doing a great job after the race and here is a post-race interview and their race report.

The middle and long races were not so successful although for different reasons. I ran a hard middle race but possibly a little too hard as I made some costly mistakes and was further down the results list than I had hoped to be. Because of that, I decided to take the long race at a slower pace and make sure I got the navigation right. I did the slower pace bit ok but the navigation seemed to get worse with scrappy errors the whole way round the 11km course. This cemented my place way off the podium - a little disappointing, if only because I felt I've been going better in training.

The weekend finished with the relay which is often an afterthought for me. I usually run first leg for Harlequins and although it is a good race, the real battle occurs between other teams on the second and third legs. I'm not entirely sure why but a lot of the top women seemed to be toeing the first leg start line and it ended up being one of the most fun races I've ever run. Despite some tired legs, we all really went for it crashing though the hilly ~5km ish course in under half an hour (pretty speedy for orienteering). I came out on top, but only just, and helped by the steep incline in the last few hundred metres.
First time in the 2013 Arc'teryx racing kit (Cita tank and solita shorts)
Photo credit: British Orienteering

So with two good days out of four I can't be too disappointed. I'm yet to start proper sprint training for this year and I think my forest orienteering is closer to 'clicking' than the results suggest. I just haven't yet got the right balance of speed and discipline with the map.

Some selections for various international competitions should be announced soon and I hope I'll be on a few lists. If all goes to plan, I've got an amazing few months ahead. Despite previously posting here that I was fully focussed on orienteering, the hills have tempted me back. I'll post again when things are all confirmed but I'm seriously excited to be running for Arc'teryx again in an equally bonkers set of races as last year.

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