Summer Series – Wollstonecraft

Our next Summer Series was at Wollstonecraft, with the sign up area (and finish) at the Mens Shed right next to the train line. Our girls thought this was fabulous – with peak hours kicking in, the trains were passing every few minutes and they were running along beside as best they could. Of course, it all ended in tears when they both slipped on the gravel at full speed, one flying face down and the other somehow ending up in the other direction. Tears, blood and gravel rash to clean up – and this was before we had even started!

The start was down the hill – whichever way you looked at it, there was going to be a good amount of elevation on this course. Nick and I had different routes planned tonight – mine grabbed all but one of the 30 point controls and landed me on as much trail as I could find, while Nick took a wider sweep and avoided some of the rough dirt trails. We started in the same direction though, picking up 4 then up the hill to 29 before I lost sight of him and we went our separate ways.

Still on road, I made my way down to the trails and carefully down to the creek for control 16. Luckily I had read and taken note of the several “comments” about control access/location that was provided at the start or I might have made the same mistake others seemed to be which had them looking for the control on the bridge many metres above me. The track on this side was a twisty, rocky, root covered path and I was glad to be on the run early as trying to pass too many people in this section would have slowed things a lot. As it was, the footing was tricky and I was quick-stepping along and ducking branches, hoping control 18 would be nice and obvious – and it was.

Along a bit further and a bit of a hill to 17, the path along here wasn’t as well defined as some others and I was second guessing myself a couple of times, but I made my way up to the control just where I expected it. Back on the road again and along to control 30. An easy find and a spectacular view of the harbour and city – wish I had taken my phone along for some photos! I hit 30 just after a fit looking guy did and followed him down the steep bush stairs towards 27. It was satisfying to keep pace with him down here and as he stopped at the bottom to check his map, I kept moving and landed on control 27 before him.

I then headed out towards Berry Island along some more twisty, rocky track keeping an eye out for the tape that was suppsed to mark the start of the short path to my next control. It was easy to spot and I grabbed another 30 points at control 26 and kept moving around to control 7. Then onto the road for a bit before dropping down onto 15 – possibly should have stayed off road, but it was nice to move easily again. Then it was along the trail to 23 before the long, and steep, climb out of the bush and up to control 13. That was a tough one, but my legs are feeling a lot stronger this year than they have previously and after a brief recover I picked up the pace again.

Nick and I passed each other here, a quick wave as he ducked in to grab 13 and then we both headed for control 21 before going our separate ways again. I headed on the long, lovely, mostly downhill run to 25 at the foot of a birdbath. A time check showed I still had a bit of time up my sleeve, but again this week I chose to stick to my planned route and get back early rather than change plan mid-run and likely end up over time. So a quick run down to get control 24, then towards a playground for control 5 – had to go inside the playground for that one which I hadn’t expected, so initially overshot a bit. Then back along the paths and up the final bush steps to the finish.

I caught my breath quickly as our girls spotted me and came running up. I felt good and like I still had a lot left in my legs, which is a nice feeling at the end of a summer series, rather than feeling like I was dying. Time to start planning longer routes with a few more options in them and start pushing myself a bit more.

  • The numbers:
    – Distance: 4.3km
    – Elevation: 136m
    – Time: 41min
    – Score: 380

The map – my route in black

The event had been noted as high scoring, with all the 30 pointers clustered down the centre of the map for a change rather than near the edges. I managed to pick up all but one of them. Nick covered more than a kilometre further in distance than me, for only an additional 30 points and with similar elevation. Lots of fun on this outing, I loved the trails and it’s nice to be finishing within time rather than over time which I felt happened a lot last season.



Sydney Summer Series Kicks Off

Well, technically the orienteering Sydney Summer Series kicked off about two weeks ago, but the the first week was in a location tricky for us to coordinate with kids in tow, so the official “Week 2” was our start to the season.  We debated whether we would attend it or not, having just taken part in the 24hr rogaine on the weekend and the location a little further than we usually get to.  We had recovered reasonably well though and timing is getting a little easier to manage as our girls get a little bit older.

This week was at Henley (we had to google it), down on the water near Gladesville, an area neither of us had run before.  It was a gorgeous day – sunny, calm and not too hot.  Nick headed there straight from work, while I picked up the girls first.  We had decided that Nick would run first and he arrived just a few minutes before me, time to pick up a map but not route plan.  There was a great little playground for the girls to entertain themselves while we studied possible routes.

Plans made, Nick started off while I pushed swings and provided food for hungry mouths.  I kept an eye on which way people were heading out and returning, cast an eye over the map every now and then to refine my route choice and waited for Nicks return.  He came charging in a little over time having made an expensive wrong turn at one point.

I asked for any tips/pointers and he gave me one but my route was different enough to his that it wouldn’t really help.  I set off, my first actual run in about a month and a perfect day for it.  The first control was visible from the start, so that was an easy pick.  It took a little while to get my head into the map again though and I kept overshooting where I thought I should be.  There was a little backtracking for both of the next two controls, but I picked them up comfortably and noticed several others passing the turn off points to them as well.  That was controls 4 – 8 – 19 picked up.

Then it was along the shoreline a bit further and another out and back along a trail to pick up control 13, then out beneath the bridge to get 25.  On my way there, I was undecided whether to pick up control 6 as well, but as I reach the area I could see it would be an easy pick and another runner was headed that way, so I followed on as they went down to 6 then back to 25.  I expected 25 to be further than it was, so I ran straight past it a few metres before realising it was behind me.  Not sure of the best way to go from here I watched where others were going and followed on behind a Garingal person that seemed to know where they were going.  It was a good choice, and we came out ahead of those that had gone the other way.

There were lots of hills in this event and a good number of controls had us going up and down to the shoreline – a good test for the legs!  And so it was over the point and down again to grab control 3, then back up again and along to pick up 18 half way up an overpass ramp.  Back down again to pick up 27 at a pretty little spot by the water, then heading up a little for control 12 tucked away in some trees.

Then it was the longest slog of the evening.  My legs were tiring and I had to quickly decide if I could fit in control 26 or not.  I went with “not” and headed up to the lights to cross Victoria Rd.  And waited.  And waited.  Eventually the lights changed and I headed across and over towards control 14, tucked behind an old building.  It’s definitely a different experience running these events a bit later in the evening than usual.  Usually starting at 4:30, we don’t see too many others out on the course.  Heading out around an hour later, there were people everywhere coming and going from controls making it very easy to pick where they were without studying the map as much.

I possibly had some time to spare, so considered doing out and back to control 22, but decided against it.  No point overdoing things this early in the season and i still had three more controls I wanted to pick up.  I overshot 10 (twice!), then quickly grabbed 20 which was very close and headed for 30.  Had a little trouble finding the steep stairs down, which suddenly became very crowded with half a dozen of us all heading there at the same time.  Then it was time to head back up, up, up and back to the finish.  I finished with nearly 3 minutes to spare and 30 points ahead of Nick (my goal for the day).


  • Distance: 4.9km
  • Elevation: 109m
  • Time: 42:11
  • Score: 260

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.


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.


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!

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!

Sydney Summer Series Finale

Yesterday saw the last Summer Series event for this season.  This was my final chance to get my attended events up to the required 12 (out of 26!) to be considered in the rankings.  I’ll still come last of those who ran at least 12 events, but just making it to 12 is my achievement!

The finale was held from Lane Cove Golf Club, my husband couldn’t make it due to work commitments, so for possibly only the third time I had to do my complete course plotting on my own.  This makes me incredibly anxious and my mind runs in so many circles that I stop thinking straight and can’t focus on the task at hand.  I came up with a rough idea – it was a long way round and wouldn’t give me as many points as other options, but with time constraints I knew I just had to get going.

With the wonderful in-laws keeping an eye on my girls while I ran, I headed off.  My mind almost instantly calmed as I got on with things.  Overshot the first pot, second was in a tunnel which had been lit up with fairy lights!  On to a massive stair climb (2 seconds faster than last year – really?? that’s all?!) and then into the chain of going from one control to the next, sticking to the plan, even when it wasted a bit of time.

It was hard work.  I hadn’t hydrated enough during the day, it was hot and my shins were giving me grief.  Coming down the last line through the bush was loads of fun – all downhill, lots of pauses as the last thing I wanted to do was fly past a control and have to backtrack.  So I was back on the greens with 1:30 to go – not long enough to make it to the finish in time.

Came in with a score of 290, 2 minutes over (adjusted score 270) and bang on 5km with 80m elevation.  Not a great score, but good enough since I’ve been taking it easier over the last month post calf injury.   And I have my 12 events in for the season.

Checking results as they stood last week, I will stay in seventh position in Masters Women.  If they get strict on the 12 events, then I’m up at least one spot, maybe 2.  Now to wait for the updates!