ACT Metrogaine 2017 – The Long Version

Disaster struck early.  I was pulling clothes out of my bag – looking, searching, but something was missing.  No sports bra. Shit, shit, shit.  I had everything else, I had two types of socks to choose from, short sleeve top, long sleeve top, headband or cap, half a dozen different types of food to take.  But no bra.  Event starts at 9:30, now to find a shop in Canberra that opens early enough to get there, try some on, buy one, get changed and then get to the start with enough time to sign in, toilet, snack, plan… Could we do it?

In short – mostly.  The miracle happened and we were in and out of the shops in 10 minutes, Nick picked up snacks and we made it to the hash house by 8:30.  Checked in, picked up our maps and headed back to the car to start looking over the details.  Read all the course setters notes, checked out the novice route suggestions and quickly picked a direction to start in.  Seemed like an ok route, plenty of points, a couple of long slogs between controls, but not too bad.  Then we checked some other areas and realised we probably hadn’t made the best choice, but only ten minutes until start and we still had to check in a planned route and make toilet stops, so we locked it in.

With minimal running this winter and still having a slightly dodgy ankle (it was firmly taped up!) the plan was to walk the first couple of kilometres, so to help out with that we had put the biggest hill on the map up first.  The weather was much warmer than we had even hoped for, so the fleece was left in the car and at 9:30, along with everyone else, we headed for the hills.

It was a great course and had people heading off in all directions straight away, always a good thing for reducing queues at the first controls.  The first two controls were still quite busy but the speedy people were well ahead and the walkers had all spread out.  A steady trail of competitors were heading in the same direction and we soon started the steep climb up Mt Arawang.  It certainly got the heart rate up and by the time we got to the trig point at the top we were more than ready to take off the long sleeved tops and comfortably spent the rest of the day in short sleeves.  The control was down in the saddle and then the field spread further apart, we saw half a dozen groups heading to the same next control as us and then we didn’t see anyone else for almost another two hours!  We made our way along some very pleasant farm trails, with amazing views to the mountains and wattle in full blossom everywhere.  We had to make one change to our route due to an unmarked gate that was marked “strictly no access” – luckily backtracking wasn’t too far.  Had a chat with a cyclist who actually asked if we were out for a rogaine!  Very unusual to bump into someone who knows what we’re doing.  Then it was into the streets of Kambah for the next several controls.  We were able to hold up a steady jog along much of this area, most of the area was pretty flat, navigation is a bit curly in Canberra thanks to the street layout but luckily it’s very pedestrian friendly, with connecting paths everywhere.  For the first couple of hours we were feeling good with no particular aches or pains.

We had been snacking on tiny teddies (remnants from the 5 year olds birthday party the previous weekend) and sipping on water from our hydration packs, but after a couple of hours I felt the need for something saltier.  Checking our location, we could make the nearest shops via a couple more controls and with any luck might be able to pick up something hot and salty to eat.  I was starting to struggle a little, desperately in need of something a bit more substantial to eat and my hip was starting to niggle a bit.  Beautiful location for a couple of controls around the north end of Lake Tuggeranong and stopped in at local shops.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much choice, but we ordered some hot chips from the local pizza joint, picked up powerade and chips from the IGA and waited for the hot chips.  And waited.  And waited.  What a disappointment… Not cooked enough, not crispy, oven fried so minimal fat content, not much salt.  Ate a few but let Nick polish off most of them.  Had to do some walking shortly after this too as they did not sit well at all in our tummies.

We had lost a bit more time than expected for our lunch, but had still managed to cover 16km in under three hours (including the break)!  Wow!  Well on our way to a best effort, distance wise anyway.  We had also dropped visiting one high point control due to time/distance, but saw where we could pick up some others instead.  A slight route change also gave us more potential for adjusting our route on the fly depending on how our bodies were holding up.

First control after lunch was labelled “Nissan Hut” – that sounded pretty easy to find.  How wrong we were…  Probably the hardest control to find for us in the entire event.  We went round in circles so many times until we finally found it tucked in the corner of a shed and the fence for a community garden, everything sitting on the ground so that you would only see it once you were almost on top of it.  Certainly nothing saying “Nissan” or anything car-like anywhere near.  We took a quick break for Nick to look after a blister that had started on his foot, I polished off the last of my chips and we headed off again to find a way to cross the dual carriageway and get to the next control.

At this point we were still able to raise a jog and alternated jogging and walking making decent time.  We found a path not marked on the map that gave us a nice shortcut through to the next set of shops which conveniently had some toilets for us to make a much needed stop at – those hot chips really hadn’t been a good idea!

On we went, both hips starting to give a little trouble, less jogging and more walking taking place.  The ankle was still going well though and my knees weren’t troubling me at all.  A few easy points and a few more people around in this area – we were actually passing within less than a kilometre of the hash house, but we had a very adjustable loop planned out which we would modify on the go based on how we felt.  The loop rapidly got smaller as we went.

Lake Tuggeranong

With an hour to go, everything had started hurting and our brains were starting to fade a little.  It required a lot more effort to push into a jog now, although we still pushed it on the flats and downhills.  One final uphill and we made the call that after the next control, even though there was only 40 minutes to go, we would stop at the nearby shops for a coke – caffeine and sugar hit was much needed.  Nick stopped in and grabbed the cokes and we drank while we walked.  I was also out of water at this point, lucky we were nearly done.  Within minutes, the fog lifted and with 20 minutes left, we were confident it would be an easy finish – one final control and then straight home.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy!  We crossed the road and started across the park when a stabbing pain inserted itself in my ankle.  I was gasping in pain and grabbed hold of Nick.  The pain continued on and off for the remaining time, we grabbed our final control and then limped towards home.  That 1.3km from the final control to home, with 15 minutes remaining, was starting to look a lot less of a sure thing.  I wasn’t game to run, as if the stabbing pain hit while running I would probably go down, but it was getting really, really tight.  The scout hall finish line was in sight and my watch was telling me we had less than two minutes – we were going to have to run…  So run we did.  Kind of.  But it was enough!  We made it with barely 20 seconds to spare – not too shabby.

We went inside to drop off our navlight recorders and find out our score.  A different approach to the rogaines we have been to before and gives an instant gratification that we were more used to with orienteering events.  A disappointing score of 990 (our original route had mapped out just over 1400).  But – we had hit over the magical 30km in a 6hr event!  I was pretty stoked with that, now to improve our route planning and we can achieve a lot more now that we can cover more distance.

Our legs were complaining loudly from the way we had pushed them and feet were aching.  Nick stopped off for a bite to eat while I made my way to the car and took a seat without even bothering to stretch.  My ankle was throbbing, my hips ached and it felt like the bottoms of my feet were bruised.  The shoes had to stay  on though, as I didn’t like my chances of making it from the car to our hotel room without the support of shoes and my compression socks still in place.

The shower back at the hotel was bliss.  Taking stock afterwards, apart from the puffy ankle, the worst I had was tired legs and slightly achy hips – we were actually in pretty good shape.  We had kept enough food up, sipping constantly from our hydration packs, a little more substantial food midway through had seen us through.  I had put some fixomull tape on some hotspots on my feet before we started nad I came out of it with no blisters – pretty impressive since the longest run I had done on these shoes prior to this had been 10km which had given me an annoying blister.  No chafing from the new bra or anything else.  Nick didn’t get out quite as well, some chafing and a decent blister was the worst of it though, so it definitely could have been worse.

A fantastic day out in the fresh air, together and rounded the day out with a steak and a pint at a nearby Irish pub.

ACT Metrogaine – The Short Version

A sketchy start to the day and poor route planning (in part due to limited route planning time) meant we had a pretty disappointing score for the day. However, given all the other positives about the day and the event, I’m calling it a success. Full report coming soon, but for now – the numbers:

Score: 990 (possible 3000 points)

Position:
Overall – 67/84
Mixed – 18/24
Mixed Veterans – 5/6

Distance: 30.6km
Time: 5:59:32

A stunning winters day

I’ve had a long standing goal to reach 30km in a 6hr event which we achieved and scraped in under six hours by the skin of our teeth. Our route planning needs work and we can only get better the more we do. Right now – I am recovering well with only slightly stiff hips and sore glutes to show for it. No blisters, chafing, sunburn or even any scratches to show for the effort – that has to be a win in anyone’s book.

Sydney Turkey Trot 2017

A couple of weeks ago now – I’ve been wiped out with the lurgy of the year for nearly two weeks now.  Still have a lingering cough that leaves me gasping for breath every now and then, so no running as yet.  Hopefully that will be rectified sometime this week!

But… the Turkey Trot.  It was cold, just above freezing in fact, but it was clear and not a breath of wind, so the cool air wasn’t too bad.  We arrived with plenty of time to get ready, have a snack and check out what we needed to do before starting.  I took a couple of precautionary puffs on the ventolin, determined not being able to blame breathing issues on this run.  The start was a good 10-15 minute hike from the parking (and finish) area – through some steep single trail, down, up and down some more.  Spied a few controls around, not knowing if they would be in the final stages of our own event or if they were there for the short courses that would start later.

There was some sunshine at the start area, we were all checked in – about 25 of us there for the medium course – maps were spread out and we were told the direction we would start, but no viewing of the maps until the clock started.  The walk over had been enough to warm us up enough to take jumpers off and put them in for collection as they would be taken back to the start for us.  Not long to wait, then we were off.  All trying to look at maps while running along a path and not run into each other.  From Lapstone it was straight through the underpass, around the edge of the RAAF base and people started splitting out for different routes to the first control.  By the time we got to the first control, it was just under ten minutes in and most of the pack had already left us behind.

With multiple ways to move on to the second control, Nick and I had a brief “discussion” of the best approach – not a great start to a joint effort event!  On we went, starting to see a few other competitors around the trails – no idea if they were on our course or another for the most part and knowing we were well behind most, if not all, the others on our course.  As usual, the first couple of kilometres seemed to be the hardest and I was conserving energy, knowing we would be out for a while.  We made good time between controls three and four – some of the navigation was a bit tricky and we actually caught up to some people that had been well ahead of us.  We made some mistakes getting to five though with a misreading of some map markings and then the quick run to six for a map swap and a water stop.  Around 40 minutes in and only 4km gone.

Map two was same base as the first and while there was a little overlap in some of the trails, it also led us to areas we had never been before.  The next control was about one kilometre off, and after a short climb it was an easy jog along smooth fire trails.  We picked up pace, which I forced slower, again, to conserve energy that I probably didn’t need to do.  We were still a good few minutes behind anyone else in our event, but it was a glorious day to be out for a run in the mountains, we were navigating well and the company was good.

From control eight to nine we took longer than we should – Nick had been having issues clearing his nose, while I needed another puff on the ventolin – but it had little impact on our position.  This leg and the next actually had us moving up a few places due to some other competitors making some wrong moves and dropping back considerably.  Nine to ten had us heading down the gorge.  The contours were insane with possibly the scariest part knowing that what went down had to come back up again.  We dropped 110m elevation in 700m.  They were bush stairs, uneven for the most part and many of them had been washed out making the going precarious and very slow in places.  We passed several hikers heading up the other way and let one fellow competitor pass us.  We plunged from open, scrub on the top down into lush rain forest in the gully, passing under a high sandstone bridge back-dropped to a stunning blue sky.

The decision had to be made which path to take to head up, I chose the road over the trail and we set off.  While heading up the long, slow hill, my achilles gave a tug.  No – not now!!!  I walked a few paces, slowed and modified my gait, testing for any tightness before picking up again.  Phew – my physio exercises and hill runs seem to be paying off and my achilles didn’t bother me again during this run.  Up the hill a little more and back through the underpass from Glenbrook to Lapstone to the start and the final map change.

The final map was small, the routes overlapped and trails went in every direction.  Despite the short distances, this would probably be the toughest navigationally.  We made our way back across the trails we had used to walk to the start initially and then Nick and I kept up a constant discussion of which direction to go and which route was best.  There were some markings between control 13 and 14 we weren’t sure of, so we worked around them, only to find it was a small ditch and even had a bridge across it.  Then a dash along some narrow single track, never quite sure we were on the right one.  We were crossing paths with many others at this point as all events started overlapping.  Heading along one section some vicious barking started chasing us.  Nick was behind me and turned to face it down, while I just stopped and kept my back turned.  The owners were around somewhere and we were left alone quickly enough, but I think that was the first time I’ve been chased during an event.

The next control was the busiest we had been to since the first one, and we recognised several people from our event.  We must have caught up to a few others along the way!  Only two more controls to go.  I was starting to get tired, we had been out for around two hours now, with only water to keep us going and it was a long time since breakfast.  After passing a competitor from another event, I stumbled at the top of a drop towards a dry creek crossing. Luckily I caught myself, only to stumble again on a stick on the uphill as we approached control seventeen.  I reached out to steady myself on the control as my knees hit the ground, grabbing… part of a rusted out car wreck!  Really not a good move.  I took stock, as others in the area checked I was ok.  My knees  took most of hte impact, but seemed ok and somehow, miraculously, I haven’t cut my hand on the rusty car.  Up again and moving on.  Only one more control to go.  The competitor ahead of us took a different route and I forced my legs to pick up the pace, we headed straight for the final control then it was across a car park, along the edge of the oval to the finish.  I spied another medium course person ahead of me and pushed my legs as hard as I could.  I passed him with less than 100m to go (I don’t think he was very impressed) and pushed on to finish in a little under 2hrs 15mins.

I checked in to record my results to be told I had just missed placing – what?!  Given I thought there were 7 women competing in this event and I usually come last (or as good as), this came as a massive surprise.  And I was actually concerned as to where the remaining competitors were if they were coming in behind me.  Having taken longer than we expected, we couldn’t hang around and headed off to get back to our girls.

It was only later, when we checked the full results, that I could see that while the first two female finishers were well ahead of me, I had finished less than two minutes off the third place finisher.  And the competitor who just beat us to the second last control, had gone off track again and ended up finishing two full minutes behind me.  The final competitor had mispunched somewhere along the way, so her results weren’t counted.

Overall, a great morning out in the mountains.  Our navigation was great and we worked well as a team.  We were slow, as usual, but finished strong and recovered easily.  I probably could have pushed more in the easy parts.  In the end we covered 11.3km in 2hr 14min with over 300m of elevation.  I had some impressive bruising on my knees from my stumble, a little stiffness in one for a couple of days, but no lasting impact luckily.  A very enjoyable event, one day we will finish it a little more quickly!

Great Nosh Footrace 2017

The day started out overcast, but slightly warmer than the previous couple of weeks
had been in the morning. Big relief as it had been getting damn chilly in the mornings! I even had hopes that I wouldn’t need to wear a hat if the clouds could hang around. But the clouds cleared to a gorgeous sunny, cool morning – perfect weather for some time on the trails. Nick dropped our girls off to spend the morning with the grandparents then we headed off to the start. Easy pickup for our race bibs, a quick snack and join the queues for a last minute toilet stop.

Made our way down to the start about 15 mins before time, not many down yet and most people didn’t head down until right before start. It seemed a lot busier than last
year. Realised near the start that I had forgotten to take my asthma preventer this morning and didn’t have my ventolin with me as planned. Shouldn’t be an issue though since it was a warmer morning than usual with a gorgeous sunny day ahead, so I wasn’t expecting any problems. Our pace was steady and constant in this first section. A pause only to eat my first bit of cookie and take a look at Nicks pack to see if we could work out what was jingling around. Had a few people sitting on our tail in sections that were happy to pace from us – annoyed the crap out of me though as they were sitting too close on my tail which is uncomfortable on technical track. Managed a PR on a couple of strava segments in this section. Get to the first checkpoint and same time as the last two years! I really thought I would gain a couple of minutes on this one. Admittedly we were still surrounded by people this year, whereas previously we had already been dropped by nearly the entire pack.
CP1: 48min (6km) – no change

This section always seems to be hillier than we expect and I could feel the start of a
blister on the edge of the ball of my foot – a surprise since this shoe/sock combo has
never given me any issues before and is my go to trail wear. There was a photographer
sitting about half way up the first bastard of a hill which we were walking up (much
more strongly than last year). Had a chat, started jogging and thumbs up – gotta look
good for the photo. Chatted with a bloke wearing a parkrun shirt who was a much
stronger walker than us on the hills but not as quick when we got running again. He
was up in Sydney visiting his daughter and had jumped at the chance for a trail run
while here. We spent a lot of time playing leap frog with him all the way to checkpoint 2, I always enjoy the chatting on these events. Made sure we had a few words, or at the very least a good morning and thank you to all the volounteers along the way. Happy to pick up a few minutes here.
Mid point: 1:13 (8.7km) – 3mins saved!

Started well along here. We had dropped a few people and with no one for a fair way in front of us we were able to move at our own pace. This is generally a bit faster than average on the downhills and slower than average for the rest… So if we’re around people it tends to get a bit frustrating (for everyone!) on this very technical single track. Was starting to struggle a bit with my breathing along here, having to stop several times to get it back under control, really wish I had my ventolin with me at this point. Caught up to a couple of others at a tricky creek crossing /boulder crossing. One was an older guy with headphones in. He really struggled with any climbing but flew along in the running sections. Very frustrating as he never heard us coming and it was hard to get in his line of sight so we could get past him. Mostly walked quite a bit of this due to the technical nature and my fear of doing something nasty to an ankle. I had one twinge from my achilles which had me swearing and slowed me for a little while, but it didn’t cramp and I was able to move comfortably again pretty quickly – phew! By the time we had climbed out of the single track and had a bit more space to move my blisters started to really bother me on the rocky surface. See the gate at the end of the trail, checkpoint should be just around the corner, but wait – it’s not there!!! Kept going an extra couple hundred metres to finally get to the checkpoint. Spent a bit too long here (again), topped up my water bladder which I had emptied (and then didn’t drink from it again…). Nick mixed up some Nuun and shared a bit with me to keep us going for the final few kilometres. Lots of strava PRs in this section, picked up only a couple of minutes though which was disappointing, however there wasn’t much I could do about my breathing.
CP2: 2:09 (13.4km) – 4 mins saved!

The final big climb and my glutes were really starting to bug me. Gees – I’ve finally got my running sorted so I use my glutes more and not just my quads/calves and they go and wear out first. Continued having trouble with breathing which was getting more frequent and not helped by my muscles desire to stop. For the first time we’ve done this race, the trail was completely dry – a very different race from last year.  Almost at the end and I started coughing and coughing. Stop. This wasn’t a “cough”, I was struggling to get enough air. Make myself stop, relax, stand up straight, breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Stay calm. Tell Nick to stop and come back to me. I was ok, time to get moving again. Out onto the oval and the final 50m dash for the finish line. Nick  comes around and beside me, we lengthen our stride and start sprinting. Around the  finish chute, people are clapping, cheering and calling out to us, encouraging me to “stick your elbows out” to make sure Nick doesn’t get past me. I think he pipped me at the post though, but we finished with big grins and a bit of a laugh. Apparently we finished too quickly though and the photographer missed it!
Finish: 2:39 – 5 mins faster

While the photographer is suggesting we “re-run” the finish so he can get a photo (not going to happen!) I’m busy trying to get the words out to ask for a ventolin. After a couple of attempts, Nick manages to ask for me and I’m whisked off to the medical tent. Spend way longer than needed, but appreciate that once they treat me, they have to take all the details and make sure I’m 100% ok. Can guarantee I won’t be doing a long run again without my ventolin on me. Another one to notch up to experience.

While I was (very) disappointed with our time. We finished in much better condition than previous years. Given the slow pace, caused mostly by my breathing issues, other than my blister and slightly tight achilles, we’re both feeling pretty good today. Muscles know that they did a decent run yesterday, but there were no issues going up the stairs at the train station this morning and I reckon I’ll be back out again mid week. As it does every year, there is plenty to learn and take away and work on to make sure I do better next year! But that’s for another post.

Results were online straight away due to the use of timing chips this year. We were in the final 10 runners again, although they separated out the walkers for the first time and another 20 or so finished after us there. We both came 33rd in our age group – last for Nick, but 3 more in my age group came in after me. Photographs were up Monday, but sadly none of us. It looks like in most cases the photographers had left before we got to their locations and then they missed us coming in at the finish as well. Bit sad about that one. But I have the shirt!

Race Day!

It’s finally here!  I’m not sick or injured and my tummy seems to be behaving.  Today is my chance to do better than I have the last two years on this course.  The big question is, what can I do?  I’ve looked at my past two years and each time it’s been the hills in the middle section that have done me in.  Hopefully I’m a bit stronger and have a bit more cardio fitness to go the distance this time.

For reference, times from the last two years:

2015 (15.7km):

  • CP1: 48min (6km)
  • Mid-point: 1hr 11min (8.3km)
  • CP2: 2hr 6min (12.5km)
  • Finish: 2hr 38min

2016 (16.5km):

  • CP1: 49min (6km)
  • Mid-point: 1hr 16min (8.8km)
  • CP2: 2hr 13min (13.3km)
  • Finish: 2hr 44min

Cronulla Rogaine 2017

I’ll start by saying this was by far the least enjoyable rogaine I’ve done to date.  This had absolutely nothing to do with the rogaine itself and everything to do with me.  The weather was perfect – clear, sunny blue skies and very warm.  The course was interesting and varied with plenty of options for route choice.

So what went wrong?  I had a low grade cold for a few weeks leading up to the event culminating in two days of high fevers 5 days before.  I only ran twice in these three weeks, so I was feeling pretty run down.  This also kicked off my seasonal asthma, so everything was a bit of a struggle physically.  But I woke up Sunday morning feeling good and ready to get going again.  Then the babysitter didn’t show up.  Luckily, we plan to arrive in plenty of time, so by the time we got hold of her and she made it over we still had enough time to drive to Cronulla (traffic worked in our favour!) and some planning time.  This placed a bit of stress on us though and we ended up forgetting our pre race munchies of hot cross buns and bananas – BIG mistake.

The individual competitors started off at 10am with the teams trailing after from 10:15.  This worked really well to split up the pack and meant the early controls weren’t overcrowded and we experienced zero queueing at controls the entire event – amazing!  We jogged along as we made our way around Cronulla point – beautiful part of the world with some amazing water views and small, sandy beaches.  The fast teams were all ahead of us, the walkers behind, we were collecting points as planned and keeping an easy pace.  Then I hit the wall.  Completely and utterly.  Only 45 minutes in.  This was not good.

I was exhausted, depleted and had no energy to walk anything more than a very gentle pace.  Grabbed a Powerade at the first shops we passed as planned, carried it to the next control and then walked another 5 minutes before finding a spot in the shade to sit and drink it.  My coordination was failing me and I hadn’t been able to walk and drink, my legs were too tired to even stand.  We decided to continue on, even if it meant walking the whole rest of the way.

I continued to struggle through the next couple of controls.  We grabbed some chips at the next shops we went through.  The following half hour was awful.  My mind sunk as my body refused to play.  We shuffled along, there were many pauses.  I doubted my ability to run, I was convinced I should just give up my ambitions to run any sort of distances.  That I was stupid to think I could possibly run a half marathon at the end of the year, that maybe I should just give up running altogether, I obviously wasn’t cut out for it.

I very, very slowly started feeling a bit better, still only up for walking though.  We had dropped off a couple of sections we had planned to get when we thought we would be able to run most of the way.  45 minutes to go, we stopped to reassess.  I was still tired, my legs were aching so we sat down – and were promptly scolded by another pair of rogainers passing by, you don’t get points sitting down!

Plan made, we walked on, pushing a little more now.  My legs were hurting, I had blisters forming on the inside of both heels and was till pretty unhappy but had pulled my self out of the doom and gloom of earlier.  With just under twenty minutes to go, we realised we would probably have to pick up the pace a little to get done what we wanted, so I tested the legs out.  It actually felt ok!  So from there we did an easy jog on flats and downhills while walking on the uphills.  With about one kilometre to go, we realised we were going to have to really push things to make it back in time.  Uh oh…

Up the final hill and about 600 metres to go and less than 3 minutes to go.  All downhill and we ran and ran.  6min/km pace, then 5min/km pace then faster still and we were in!  40 seconds over time so we would lose 10 points, but we were certainly not the last ones in.

An interesting postscript to the event – we failed to register at one of the checkpoints.  It seems that only one of us was recorded as being there.  I queried it, was told basically it was bad luck and move on.  No big deal, we’re not competitive.  Shortly after that, a follow up email said there had been more than one query on this particular control and we should challenge it.  End result – it seems the control was tampered with and while it worked perfectly for most people, there were several that didn’t, so we got the points.  Bumping us up a decent number of positions.

End results:

  • Score: 1010 points
  • Distance: 16km
  • Overall team position: 25/95
  • Mixed teams: 12/59
  • Mixed veterans: 5/19

In the end it was a surprisingly good result for what felt like a completely rotten event.

Summer Series – Curl Curl

It was hot, it was humid, as usual we were rushed despite being on holidays. At least I had remembered everything – until the minute before starting I realised I had forgotten the Garmin!  Dammit – this completely threw me off, it helps me plan, lets me keep an eye on pace and make sure I don’t head out too hard, plus I love doing the post run review of distance, elevation, timings.  I had my step counter, so at least I knew the time and could try and make sure I was back on time.

Our plan was made, alternate finishes plotted out depending on time left and off we went.  Nice and steady for the first several controls, a guy just in front of me set a steady pace that worked for me until we split off after 4 controls.  Then, for me, it was up, up, up the hill.  I saw Nick at an odd location, but thought no more of it – he should have been well ahead of me still.  I continued up the hill and then the long slog to the next control out near the coastline. Overshot the next control – misread the description – and probably lost about 2 minutes here as I headed down, then back up, about 15m.  Some downhill next to push and try to make up the time I lost, replotting my course as I went, knowing at this point I was probably going to be late back.  Nick swung past me as we hit the flat again having taken a different, longer and higher scoring route.  Close to the end and I tried to push, but I was all out of puff.  Made it back 3:30 over time for a 40 point penalty on my already low score.  Not my best effort, but a good run for a hot day.

sss-curl-curl

Plotting my course later on Google Earth gave me 6.3km!  My longest Summer Series this season, including an extra 100m+ of elevation.  Nick covered 129m up and down, and my route looked a bit more than that.  No wonder I was tired.

sss-curl-curl-elevation

Post run review pointed out that I had forgotten to pick up a 30 point control before heading up the hill… This is why I caught up to Nick in the middle, it would have cost me maybe a minute to grab the control and even adding that minute to my late penalty it would have put me further ahead.  Ah well, better luck next time!

Of course, manually entering the run into Garmin/Strava has meant it doesn’t show accurately on anything, so it hasn’t been counted towards any of the sites that I link to.  Ah well, can only improve on things for 2017!

Wahroonga Rogaine – The Numbers

We moved house last week and had so many things go wrong or cause delays that it almost seemed we would never get there.  But we’re in and life is somewhat back to normal.

The timing wasn’t great for a rogaine, but being only a 15 minute drive from our new home, I knew we had to do it.  A 6 hour “Socialgaine”, we decided to limit ourselves to a 3-4 hour stint and just enjoy the day without trying to push things too hard after a long week.  Since this post is just going to stick to the numbers (next one will give a full run down of the day), I’ll get on with it.

Summary stats:

  • Distance: 19.6km
  • Time: 4:05:38
  • Elevation: 518m

We were the third team back in, with the vast majority of teams returning within 15 minutes of the 6 hour time limit.  As you can see by the elevation, there were some BIG climbs in there as we made our way from North Wahroonga down to Bobbin Head, up to North Turramurra and then back across to the starting point.

View from the second checkpoint

View from the second checkpoint

So given we used about two thirds of the time everyone else did, how did we go? Overall we came 72 out of a total 123 teams.  In the Mixed Open category we came 35 out of 70 – not too shabby!  If we take a look at those who came home early – we came 1st out of only 10 teams returning in under 5 hours; and we came 4th out of 24 teams returning in under 5hr 45min.

Pretty happy with those results, now to learn from what we did right and wrong on the day to put in some good efforts for next year when we enter the Veteran category!

Orienteering again

We’ve had a pretty good start to the summer orienteering season – in terms of attendance anyway.  Out of seven Summer Series events to date we have made it along to five of them.  This week it was at Sheldon Forest, a steep, narrow, forested area following a creek with the remainder on road.  In the middle of a very stressful week it was a good bet we weren’t going to beat any records, but a run out in the trees should have been good for our heads if nothing else.

After a screaming farewell from our girls (they did NOT want mummy to run today!) we were quickly out of sight – and apparently instant stop to all screaming as well as they headed off to a playground.  The trails were steep!  A normal Summer Series map is 1:10,000 or 1:7,500 with 4m or 5m contours.  This was a 1:7500 with 10m contours! We knew we were in for a lot of climbing.  The trails were rocky, steep, with lots and lots and lots of steps.  We started off mainly downhill knowing there was a long slow uphill slog on the way out of the trees and then slightly more level back on the roads.  It was still damn tough though!  The controls were mostly easy to find and as marked – although a few seemed to be a little out of place.

Nick and I headed our own way after the first few minutes, I couldn’t keep up the pace once we started going uphill more and he was quickly out of sight.  I made a big mistake at one point, thinking I was out of bounds and doubling back for a 3 minute (and 400m!) detour, when I had actually been probably only metres from the connecting trail.  I struggled and started doing far too much walking.  And road shoes really, really suck on technical single trail.  Then I needed to pee.  With no toilets in sight. Sigh.

Back on the roads things improved again.  I didn’t have a lot of time left, but I was running again and collecting controls nicely.  My road shoes were a definite advantage here.  I ended up with my course pretty much as planned, although none of the “extra” sections I had hoped for.  My score was pretty low, but the run helped my head, which really is the main thing, and there was a pretty decent amount of elevation involved.  No photos today.

The numbers:

  • Distance: 4.96km (so close!)
  • Elevation: 143m
  • Time: 44:18 (woohoo! still getting in under the 45min limit)
  • Effort: 6.4

A Tale of Two Runs

Run One

I woke up Sunday morning to find myself with no voice.  The cold that had been hanging around the past few days had gone in for the kill and I was miserable.  A couple of codral and a cup of tea had me feeling a bit better, but still unsure if I would run or not.  We got everything sorted and headed out for our orienteering event out at Lake Parramatta.  Nick would run first and there was bound to be a playground for me to entertain the girls while he ran and then I would see how I went.  The only option was a circuit of the lake, so it would be open for me to run and see what I could do or walk and aim to just get around in the allotted time.

My turn came and I set off, the usual warm up niggles, and then I hit my stride.  It was my ideal setting – single track trail full of twists and turns that make you pay attention to where you put your feet.  I was mindful not to push too hard, didn’t want to risk going over on the ankle again and I wasn’t sure how much “puff” I had in me.  I had put in some steep climbs in my planned route, and I reeled them in, feeling strong and hoping that the fire trails on the return side of the lake would be a bit less demanding.  I ran most of the time, walked up the hills and quick stepped down.  Not all the controls were quite where expected, but I found them all easily and made good time. I judged my timings and my route perfectly.  I made the full loop I planned (plus an extra 20 pointer) and was still running at the end as I clocked back in with less than 20 seconds to spare and a score of 450!  Finishing in second place (for my category) by 10 points with a series score of 98. One of my most enjoyable runs in a long time!

Run Two

Oh boy!  Wednesday Summer Series in Lane Cove, I was keen to check this one out.  Getting my gear ready in the morning to put in the car, I nearly forgot my shoes.  I finally made it after work a little later than hoped and walked up to the oval with shoes and socks in hand to put on when I got there.  Put sunscreen on, forgetting to take my makeup off first (lucky I don’t wear much!).  I forgot my Garmin.  Nick and I were both feeling pretty under the weather and grumpy, so it took no convincing for Nick to run with me for the first time this season (I wanted to get the route of his Garmin at the end!).  We made a plan, with lots of options towards the end depending on how we were going for time.

Started off ok, tough getting going and we knew there were plenty of hills, but made what felt like a good pace and I was able to keep moving on most of the hills.  That first half took a loooong time though, a lot more than we had hoped.  There was much negotiation over the final part of our run and I think we made every wrong decision we could.  Cut straight to 19 and along the creek back to the start – nah, lets go long.  Skip 3 and go straight to 28 – an 8 minute gap between controls! Go for 30, the extra time will be worth the points – it really, really wasn’t.  By the time we finished, we were both grumpy and tired, to find we were 6 minutes over time for a paltry score of 270.

Reviewing the course, we made the call that no one would manage the 600 points within the 45 minute time limit – at least we were right on that!  I made a throw away comment, that I would probably do ok within my category, not great, but 60+ points IF rogaining superstar Gill Fowler didn’t make a showing.  Which of course she did for the first time this season.  Beating the rest of the pack by 100 points and pushing my weeks contribution down from a 64 to a 51.  It was a miserable run and I didn’t feel at all energised afterwards.  At least there was one compensation – I had an amazing nights sleep afterwards!