28 February 2007

Inter-Counties XC, First National event

Saturday I ran for Warwickshire for the first time in the Inter-Counties Cross Country. Having come second in the trial, and with the guy who came first absent, I was the 'team leader' and first out of the start pen (ie. I got to stand furthest forward on the start grid). The course was about 3km around Wollaton Park in Nottingham, and we had to complete 4 laps. As the senior men traditionally go off last, the course was already completely cut up by the other 9 races of the day, and by the last loop it was pretty much churned up mud the whole way.

From the gun I felt pretty heavy legged, and it felt like for the first 2 km that people who started behind me kept on overtaking me. I think that a combination of a hard weeks training and the gig the night before really took away any real speed that I had felt the week before when I ran pretty well.

I had a real battle with two other Warwickshire guys for the first 2 and a half laps, and then in the last lap, one just got away, and the other dropped off a bit. I ended up in 77th, about 4 minutes behind the winner, Frank Tickner. He ran 39.25 for the 12km, I ran 43.28. I was pretty disappointed, and to hammer that home, Murray Strain was the top orienteer in 49th place, 45 seconds in front of me. Results here .

I am going to run the national champs in 2 weeks, and I am going to have an easy week that week and hopefully run a bit better there (and no gigs the night before either). Assuming a similar strength field, I hope to finish around 40-50th.

First 'Big' Orienteering Competitions

photo: Brooner

While I was running round a muddy field, Liis and the guys from my club were running in the JOK Chasing Sprint. In the end both she and our new training buddy Linus Kaisajuntti won the elite classes comfortably. Results here. So now we have a nice Flying Pig Trophy on our mantelpiece. Some more nice pics here.

Sunday was the first national event of the year, held close to my parents house in Surrey. It was in White Downs, a forest I used to run in a lot as a junior for training runs, but I haven't run there in about 5 years. The forest was pretty nice - fast running with a few steep climbs, and really a interesting course. I ran just under 66 mins for 12km, beating Duncan Archer by about 90 seconds. I made no real mistakes, just a few small wobbles. Results here. Splits here. Routegadget here.

21 February 2007

South Africa and February

South Africa

Had an awesome 10 days in South Africa, staying near Belfast with the GB team for most of it, and then a few days in and around Jo'burg sightseeing with BJ.
The team were staying in Lakenvlei Lodge, and we could run, row and cycle from the front door.

When the rest of the team left, BJ and I stayed on, and spent a day in Sun City (mostly in the Lost City pool complex), and a day in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve trying to see as much wildlife as possible. We also went to a place called Predator World which had loads of snakes, wild cats and other predators. It also had a litter of 4 month old lion cubs which we were allowed to play with and have our picture taken with.

Our last day was spent with our host in Johannesburg, Pieter Mulder, who gave us a brief tour of Soweto and Mandela Square.

Cross Country

Last Saturday I ran my first (and actually my last) league race of the year for my club. It was a really good warm up for the big one, the Inter-Counties Cross Country which is later today. The course was a long 10km, running through boggy fields, ankle deep mud and pretty hilly in places. We also had 4 stream crossings which some people had real problems with. I was still a bit tired after South Africa, but I ran pretty well in the group from 3rd-7th places from fairly early on, and finished 6th in the sprint finish. My club had a good day finishing 4th on the day which pulled us up to 6th overall in our league.
Results here

As I mentioned, later today I am getting my Warwickshire vest for the first time, and taking part in the biggest cross country race I have ever done (the next biggest was the South of England Schools Champs about 6 years ago). The race is around Wollaton Park in Nottingham, and to be honest I don't even know how far it is (12km?).

Everything else

Quickly mention a few other things. Saw Ash last night at Warwick Student Union. They were pretty good, I put them on a par with The Automatic, but not as good as The Subways, and nowhere near as good as Muse.
Tomorrow I am running in the first National event of the year, in White Downs. Somewhere I used to train a lot about 5/6 years ago so I am looking forwards to that.
Apart from that have just been working a lot. Have had a few deadlines for mapping contracts so have been desperately drawing maps on OCAD and not doing much else. My mapping company is going from strength to strength and I have more offers for work than time to do it.

04 February 2007

Off to South Africa

This evening I fly to South Africa for 10 days. I will spend the first 7 days training with the British team near Dullstroom at Lakenvlei lodges, then me and BJ are heading off to Kruger National Park to see some lions and things.

Last night I did a night race on Esher Common. Organised by South London Orienteers, it was a fun event based in a sports club with showers and a bar. There seemed to be loads of people there and it was well organised. I really enjoyed the course, splits, results and RouteGadget here.