Wednesday, 3 April 2013

On you Marks, Get Set, GO!

As March arrived so did the start of the Fell Running season. With the amount of National-level Orienteering events picking up as well I'm into the period of the year where I spend most of Friday and Sunday evening driving over the country, ready to Weekend Warrior it. The racing is one of the reasons I spend so much time (and petrol money!) travelling, but the chance to get away from Teesside and meet up with Friends old and new are the main reasons.

March started with an extended training weekend in the Lakes and Howgills. The Black Combe race (11th overall, and new downhill record - feeling fresh but not very racy uphill) was followed by the Northern NightO champs (pretty shambolic) on Great Tower and a night out, with the Tim Watkins LongO (tiring, scrappy and DNF-y) on the Sunday. I somehow squeezed a Three Peaks recce out of my aching legs with club mate Steve on the Monday before enjoying the only warm spring day of the year so far in the Howgills at Sedbergh 3 Peaks (5th) - not quite the recovery my legs were after, but I couldn't say no to the race and 10h + solid effort in 4 days.
A steady recce of the Sedbergh 3 Hills (on Winder. AlfDog stolen borrowed from Adam and Edie)
A week before Edale Skyline I took in Wolf's Pit in the peaks as a sharpener. Again I wasn't feeling overly racy but fairly pleased with 6th place, and chuffed with 1st team for Pennine - deep in Dark Peak territory - alongside Adam and Noel. It was good to compare my time with that from 2010 - 10 minutes quicker - to see how far I've come.
Wolf's Pit (Photo by Stu from Accelerate)
Due to snows and problems getting 550 runners into the valley, Edale Skyline was cancelled. After a good taper and a week psyching myself up for a good race (and picturing a finish-time starting with a 2) I was disappointed it was cancelled, but fully understood and accepted the decision made. Next time!
As it was I had to race that weekend, so did a 10-mile road race (*spit*) in Thirsk. A bit blustery in the last 4 miles or so, with the last 2.5 being a real challenge, but pleased to break the hour in 58:55.
The Pennine vest makes an appearance with a map at the JK Sprint, Reading Whiteknights 
 And so, over Easter weekend, to the JK Orienteering Festival, the biggest annual UK O event with Sprint, Middle, Long and Relay races in the Chiltern Hills near Reading, Newbury and Henley. The Sprint and Long were World Ranking Events, so no GPS allowed for geekery in case I used it for nefarious purposes whilst on the course! However, I didn't need GPS to tell me that I had a pretty poor weekend nav wise. That said, I enjoyed being amongst the wider O community and I've come back hungry for more O, if only to not assuage the feeling of frustration at not performing at the level I know I can. 
JK Relay for CLOK, needless to say approaching the control from the wrong direction... 
And so to April and my big target for the spring, the Three Peaks. I'll also be taking in the British Middle and Sprint O champs and a couple more races and O events by way of preparation, along with plenty of Motorway and A-road miles and several drinking holes I dare say!
JK Middle Distance, Hambledon

JK Relay, Hambledon (again)

and a map to host from a pretty poor O run at Burnbanks, Haweswater: