Wednesday, 25 January 2012

EUOC Big Weekend - back on the O

For my first Orienteering of the year (and what felt like ages) I ventured into auld enemy territory - Edinburgh.
Sheffield and Edinburgh University O clubs have a good-natured but strong rivalry, as befits two of the country's (well, as we're still one country at the moment) foremost exponents of the dark art of map, compass and running hell for leather. I've wanted to head up for EUOC's Big Weekend for the last 3 years, but exams and looming deadlines always got in the way. However, not having these frivolities to worry about any more, (or the perceived stigma of being a current ShUOC member!) I was looking forward to hopefully kick-starting my O year and seeing just how rusty I'd be after what felt like an age away from the map.
I didn't get many pictures whilst up there. This is about the pick...
Saturday's entertainment was a City Race taking in Edinburgh Southside, the Castle Mound, Royal Mile, Dumbiedykes estate and Pollock Halls of residence. Having looked at previous courses I was worried that I'd forget how to marry running and navigating.
Around the Royal Mile (North West) and Dumbiedykes (East)
An iffy night's sleep (thank you hostel dorm) slowed me down just enough that I could keep on top of the navigation. However, this didn't stop me making some silly mistakes, especially towards the end of the course where I was finding it difficult to pick up all the map detail and make quick decisions. I was also finding that my legs didn't have all that much in them - although maybe this was due to the fact that I was trying to make them run uphill in some instances - most unusual given the bulk of my current training. The 6.9km course yielded just over 10km of running - so as you can tell from my average pace of 4:50min/kms I wasn't shifting too much.
However, despite the fears of forgetting how to orienteer, and not feeling too great about my run, it was enough for a top-10 finish in a pretty good field. OK, so not all the top guys were pushing it (Spongey took a 12-minute 'comfort break' en-route), but of those who beat me only one was not a local.

The evening's entertainment involved a ceilidh, haggis and Edinburgh Student's Union. Needless to say this didn't set me up fantastically for Sunday's Mass Start event on Arthur's Seat.

I do enjoy the start-line banter, fun and head-to-head competition of mass-start O events, even if they don't really let me practise my technique as much as I need, tending as I do to just thumb the map whilst following using those more gifted than myself.
Quickroute of my race. Green = fast, red=slow
Despite the previous night's excesses I actually felt quite perky - for the first part of the race. I got in a quite good group around the butterfly loops and was really enjoying running on such a nice day. However, once we got to the long leg I decided to take the high option, and was dropped. I was still within sight of some good orienteers, but didn't have the energy to get back to them. As we got into the MicroO section on Sailsbury crags my race went to pot; I couldn't think straight, my legs died and I really struggled on anything that didn't have a bit of downhill on it. I just about managed to hold of the best of the vets, finishing in 14th place.

The microO section of the race. I just couldn't really hack the change of scales on this occasion!
There's a more all-encompassing review of the weekend's happenings on nopesport. I really enjoyed my first proper trip to Edinburgh, and was pleased to come away with the positives that I'm not as rusty with my Otech as I feared. However, there's still a lot to be worked on both technically (hoping to hit up a lot of events in the next couple of months) and physically (HILLS! and lots of them).

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