My “thing to try” this year was to take a look at a Metro League or State League orienteering event and see what it was all about. Enter on the Day was available, so we decided to just turn up and hope someone would take the time to explain to us what the options were and how everything worked.
New things stress me out a bit, so we turned up nice and early, had a bite to eat, made our way to the sign in tables and filled out the forms. We asked someone how it all worked and what we should do. She gave us a quick couple of pointers, recommended a course and let us know where to sign up. We paid our fee, got our control descriptions and they let us know that as Enter on the Day we could start straight away!
This was all happening too quickly, I had no time to absorb things before we found ourselves at the start. The starter insisted on making us do things “properly”, despite saying we would run together, so I went first. Grabbed my map, waited for the beep and wandered off trying to work out where the hell everything was.
I froze. I couldn’t make sense of the map. I vaguely worked out the direction to start in, but couldn’t find my path on the map to be able to follow it, so I paused. Then had the starter shooing me away, telling me to get going. To say I was getting flustered was putting it mildly. I made it about 200m before letting Nick catch up to me (having been made to wait a minute after I left before he did…), getting a further 100m before realising I hadn’t started my Garmin.
At this point I was getting flustered AND cranky. That first kilometre was hard. And I would have gone straight past the first control. Nearly went past the second too. Then I managed to get my head in the map, get in a bit of a groove. I started enjoying the fact that we were out in the bush, on a gorgeous May day, just the two of us, moving easily, nothing hurting, tracking down the next target.
The course we ran was Divison 4, the options being Div1 – Div 5, Easy or Super Easy. The course length was 3.2km, we’re guessing that’s as the crow flies since while we probably didn’t run the quickest route, the approx 5km we did certainly wasn’t far off. We finished in a reasonable 42 mins with 100m elevation, results of the actual competition aren’t up yet, so we’re not sure how that fits in with the regulars.
Will we do it again? Maybe, if it fits in with what else we have on. It wasn’t one of the most “fun” runs I’ve had, but a lot of that was my headspace, not the event itself. I wasn’t impressed with being “shooed” on at the start, but I did like being able to start earlier and get a reasonable run in. To give any of the higher divisions a try, we need to learn the orienteering symbols to follow the clues for the controls as they don’t come with an english translation – unlike the easier courses. I think Division 4 was about my level though. I need a fair bit more practice reading orienteering maps, this was a bit of a step up from our usual Summer Series!
- Distance: about 5km (3.7km by my Garmin, but I missed the first 300m or so)
- Time: 42:54 (the late start of my Garmin being balanced by forgetting to stop it at the end…)
- Elevation: 103m