Monday, 21 May 2012

Sexy Lakes Orienteering

So whilst people were flogging around the OCT, I was also in the Lakes - albeit based a bit further south around High Dam tarn near Finsthwaite on the south-western end of Windermere, for MDOC'S fantastic Twin Peaks weekend based on the excellent High Dam area (I did get a late call-up to Derbyshire's Intercounties team, but am not quite feeling up to a balls-out race after illness - now a target for next year!).

Apparently this is High Dam - I only caught a glimpse of it though (the view towards Coniston Old Man area was cracking - not that I got much of a view of that either whilst slogging around!)
I've only just started feeling confident on Lake District O areas as they're so much more technical than anything else you get in England, pushing the Scottish areas for toughness. I've found it's taken a while to pick up the mapping style used here (not all rocks are mapped as there's too many of them) and the wealth of contour detail here seems much vaguer than elsewhere!

I think the look of grim determination is mainly due to the fact I binned 90secs on the penultimate control of Sunday's Middle. Courtesy Wendy Carlyle.
Anyway, we were treated to a Classic Distance (The Northern Champs no less!) race on the Saturday and a middle-distance race on the Sunday. The quality of the area meant that both races provided excellent courses, challenging both physically and mentally whilst being immensely enjoyable and rewarding. As we were running on a top-quality area there were also lots of people from around the country to catch up with (even if I did catch up with them at BOC 2 weeks previously!)

Saturday's Northern Champs (11.3km/485m). Unfortunatly mu GPS played up, so I only have a trace from 19 onwards. Generally clean through to 10 before losing a lot of time on #11, I was then very hesitant from there to the finish.
As for my performances - at times I'm feeling like a proper Orienteer, running well through terrain, minimal hesitations and the kite popping out just where I expect it. Every now and then I don't have a plan and muck up a bit, although I am getting better at not doing this it still creeps in every so often, and towards the end of the course I get a bit tired and make some silly mistakes. 

Sunday's middle (6.1km/160m)

...and with my route
The UK O-season is coming to a bit of a close now, the Scottish Champs (and World Champs selection races) in a fortnight being the last major races. This coming weekend I'm running my first proper road race at the Sheffield Half Marathon - please donate to Leukaemia & Lymphoma research in memory of my friend Ed here, it would be much appreciated. After that it's back onto the fells - I'm now starting to feel more Like I was at the back end of last year and have some real impetus to get some good training in before the summer's objectives - Champs races, SLMM, Wasdale and looking forward to the OMM, IHMR, UKA Relays and hopefully Three Shires and Langdale to fit in a Lakeland Classics set, as well as as many other races as I can squeeze in!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Back in the Saddle after BOC

So last week I managed to get pretty properly ill. It doesn't happen often, so to have it happen whilst in a tent in the Lakes isn't the best of timings.
On the Saturday I'd raced the British Long Distance Orienteering Championships on the open Dalegarth Moor above Eskdale. Open moorland is the closest I have to a forte in orienteering, especially when it's gloriously sunny as it was last Saturday. I have been known to make big mistakes due to running too quickly and losing map-contact. This time, however, I slowed right down when I needed to, resulting in me losing minimal time (90secs over 112mins running) and finishing 16th in the Country. Granted this is only in the M21-35 age group, and a lot of quality runners were away playing in the Sedish night at the TioMila 10-man relay.
Still, I'll take that!

Anyway, that night wasn't overly comfortable, but I lined up on the start-line of the men's relay (Helsington Barrows, just west of Kendal) on the Sunday Morning looking forward to my first ever first-leg run. 
I wanted to stick with the quick boys for as long as possible, but by number 8 I'd been well dropped, and it was a real struggle to get the legs moving on a very quick area. I staggered up the hill to finish way down the pecking order despite having a pretty clean race. Next time shall be better.

Anyway, after a week or so taking it easy I'm getting back into shape. Just my guts need to catch up now - not great when you're a runner -but they're nearly there!