Summer Series – Belrose

A bit warmer than recent weeks but the wind kept the heat off, although the headwind was a bit rough at times. There was no apparent design to the way the points had been scattered across the map, with high and low points placed all over. A lot of the points were “in and out” options, positioned in dead end streets or trails, making it trickier to piece together a smooth route.

With almost identical plans in place, Nick and I headed off at the same time for the first in and out 30 pointer. As usual, the first kilometre or so was a struggle and only a couple hundred metres in my breathing was rough – no idea what my pace was, but probably too fast as I struggled to keep Nick in sight.

The controls were fairly easy to spot, so there was little stopping to search anywhere, but I slowed to a walk on the short hills. A decent bit of bush track which we covered half of. I felt almost on my own out here, there was a young teenager out getting a bit lost on the map, but he had the advantage of speed on me – after tagging a few controls ahead of him we parted ways as we chased different controls. My brain was in gear at least and tracking my location was easy, not so good for one guy I passed looking a little confused on the trails who I ended up passing again later on as he flew straight past another control.

Unknowingly, Nick had me in sight from my third control (his fourth) and was able to conveniently follow me around the course for the next eight controls!! He gained on me almost every step of the way, but never quite caught up as we then headed in different directions. I had a long but easy run ahead of me still, I had planned for avoiding hills this week and luckily the map allowed for it. The final section of the map was a constant debate working out which controls to get in the time remaining to ensure I made it back under the 45 minutes.

I grabbed the high scoring controls, but made the (wrong) decision to leave a 10 pointer out as I was worried about time. In the end, despite some walking, I was back with nearly two minutes to spare and could have picked it up. I was reasonably happy with my effort – the course required a lot of distance for the points, with many in and outs and a couple of big hills (which I avoided) to get many of them.

I finished with 320 points in just over 43 minutes and covered spot on 6km. Nick picked up 360 points, having picked up the extra 30 pointer near the start and the 10 pointer I had left out. Other than those, the only difference in our routes was an extra 30 pointer we each picked up – mine left me with an optional 30 pointer near the end which could be added on if time permitted, while Nick finished with 4 minutes to spare but no extra controls to add on.

My legs were tired at the end, I had pushed them a bit this week, but my pace is definitely picking up – it’s nice to see some improvement. The most obvious sign to me is how long it took Nick to catch up.. I still managed to come last in my age group, however since there were only 3 of us in it this week and the other two are very strong, I expected nothing else.

For those following the map, my route was 27-4-24-14-3-23-13-12-5-16-17-30-19-29-18.

Advertisements

Summer Series – Up and Down in Woolwich

Another hilly week by the water for this weeks Summer Series out at Woolwich. More cool weather, which has been fantastic for running, but with brilliant blue skies made for a very picturesque evening looking out over the harbour – if only we had more time to look at it! No easy path to take on this weeks map, so we pieced together a route, slightly different ways of putting the pieces together but basically following a similar path with Nick adding a few extra points on the end than I expected to pick up. The map covered most of the point which is basically a ridge line with steep hills to the water on either side.

The girls went in search of a playground (with grandparents in tow), Nick headed off a few minutes early while I chatted and waited for my gps to pick up a signal. A short walk to the start, I eyed the location of the first control and headed off. An easy first pick before heading into the network of trails in Kelly’s Bush – a chance comment before starting out had warned me of the potential confusion that lay within this area – so I kept it simple for the start. Darting in and up some stone steps I landed quickly on control 16. Down some more well worn steps and across to the paved path down to the water and the control sitting on the end of the sculpture.

It was a gorgeous location down by the water, with yachts moored nearby and the Harbour Bridge in the background. I had foolishly forgotten to take my phone out of my pocket before starting, and was carrying it with me. A perfect photo opportunity, but there was a gaggle of school kids also doing the course that were right on my heels that I didn’t think would appreciate being part of my picture. So I left them to it and headed back up into the scrub to the next control.

My route then popped me back onto the roads again and up a short bit of hill to a control midway up some stairs before having an easy run along flat roads to the next control before heading back downhill again. It was a beautiful area to be running through, with gorgeous old stone houses aplenty and jacarandas in full flower against the clear blue sky. Many of the roads followed the contours which made for a surprising amount of fast, level running, while the hills on either side slowed things right down being difficult to run comfortably either up or down on some.

Down through some long grass (probably should have stayed on the road there!) and spotted Nick with us both landing on the control at the same time, coming at it from either side. This made it easy for me, as I knew we had the same route planned for the next several controls. I was a bit slower than him this week, but kept him in sight for the next five controls before we both headed in different directions to pick up a control the other had already grabbed.

Time was starting to get away and I knew I needed to head back, but it still looked like I should get back in time with my planned route. I hadn’t expected to be running as well I was – I’d had head cold for a few days that was affecting my breathing – but when I got the chance to check my watch on a flat running section, it was showing sub 6 min/km pace. Past the playground my girls were playing at and a quick wave before the next control. And this is where I made my mistake. I thought there should be a “quicker” way through the dense scrub to where I wanted to go, but a few minutes meandering around, a branch across my eye, several scratching my legs, I was out to where I would have been in just one minute if I’d followed the longer, but clear, route.

I still had time, but couldn’t find the trail entry into the bush again and ended up far too low. I headed up the trail, picked up control 8(!) and headed up some more to see if I could quickly get 20 as well. A check of my watch and I realised if I wanted to get back before time I had to pick up the pace and get straight back. So I turned around and pushed on out of the bush tracks towards the finish line. A headwind and less than 30 seconds on the clock were not doing me any favours. It felt like I was pushing through jelly, my Garmin showed 44min and 52sec… 53. 54. 55. 56. so close… 57. I fumbled to get my stick in the finish control. Did I make it under 45 minutes? I think so, but it was too close to call, I would only know once I made it over to get my results on the computer.

I headed over and – yes! I had made it with 2 seconds to spare. Admittedly, I might have scored higher had I picked up control 20 and only been one minute later, but I hadn’t been prepared to take the risk (plus I’m really trying to be back within time this year). A final score of 310, not amazing, but not too bad either. I covered 5.7km and according to Strava took in 160 metres of elevation.

Running over our different paths later that evening, there were a couple of things we might have done differently, but overall I was satisfied with my results. I’m running better (very surprising given my head cold) and we’re paying more attention to our route choices. Nick picked up an additional 80 points over me, but also had a 3 minute time penalty, so was 50 points up for an additional kilometre of distance. For those wondering where on the map I went, my route was – 7-16-17-29-15-9-14-25-19-27-28-4-26-11-8. Without the mix up around 11, I should have had time to pick up 20 and also 1 on my way back in. A decent run again this week, especially with the elevation involved. My quads and glutes were feeling the workout and needed a good stretch but pulled up well the next day – the interval and hill work I have been trying to make a regular habit this year would appear to be starting to pay off!

Summer Series South Turramurra

We were in for a surprise with this weeks map at South Turramurra. At the sign up desk the notifications let us know this would be a high scoring course and it certainly looked that way. All the 30 pointers were clustered in the centre of the map with very little change in elevation involved. It looked like an easy pick up even for those walking the course. The 20 pointers were distributed in the next “ring”, but still on roads and with a little more elevation involved but nothing like the past couple of weeks. The 10 pointers were then tossed in the outer ring of the map and mostly out on the bush tracks involving a good amount of elevation. So high scores should be on the cards, but it looked pretty challenging for the top scorers to be able to string together all the controls in the allowed time.

Nick and I planned similar routes, stringing together all the 30 pointers – I had thought about dropping one, but Nick convinced me to add it in – and most of the 20 pointers as well. I guessed my route at around 5.5km while Nick estimated his at 6.5km – a good bit more than we had managed at an event so far this year, but we were hoping the lack of elevation would let us get there. I still had a plan to be able to head back early if I started running low on time.

Time to head off and we set off together, not a good start as we dropped down off the corner of the oval to pick up control 27 and didn’t see it. We ended up making our way to pick up 28 first, then 29. Our pace was fast! Checking my garmin it showed 6min/km pace or quicker, if I kept this up I would crash pretty quickly. So I let Nick pull away and tried to settle into a more sustainable pace. Control 21 was down a short trail between houses, and with plenty of people heading for it, there was no problem finding the flag.

Back up and out onto the road again for a 500m loop out to control 22, again, flat and fast. Control 23 was an easy grab, then slight backtrack to start heading down a hill (faster) and onto the fire trails that surround the suburb. I got a little mixed up here and misjudged distances. I stopped at the trail intersection I though control 3 should be at, but couldn’t see it. No point wasting time here though on a 10 pointer, so on I went. Not much further and I spotted control 14 a little way up a minor trail, then it was back to the roads and up the gentle hill towards control 12.

Hindsight being what it is, I should have done the out and back for control 15 here, but I decided to stick to my plan and keep moving, picking up controls 24 and 17. This is where I saw Nick again, the only difference in our routes to this point was that he picked up control 15 while I didn’t, so my pace was still surprisingly fast – Nick would usually be far ahead by now! I kept moving, trying to see how long I could stay ahead of him, but was overtaken just before we reached control 25 – that hill had been a bit steep.

I could just slip in behind him now and follow to control 30. He turned and headed off for 26, while I did a quick check to see if I could grab 27 first, but the dog park was solidly fenced off, so I turned back and headed for 26 as well. Some more gentle hills, moving comfortably still and keeping Nick in sight, I picked up 18 then 19 while he headed farther afield for more points. I stuck to the plan and headed for control 20 while my stomach started cramping again. I slowed to a walk for a little, it settled and I picked up the pace again.

I knew I was making it back with plenty of time to spare so it was getting difficult to convince my legs to put in some effort. I came upon another person looking for control 20 – they were expecting it in plain sight, but it was on the far side of the transformer box from where they had approached. Then a quick trot up the trail to control 27, scaring some bunnies along the way, up onto the oval and getting control 7 on the far side and on to the finish. Wow – 4 mintues to spare, 5.9km covered and a respectable 430 points picked up. Nick came in 3 minutes later having picked up an additional 50 points and covering 6.9km.

It was a very satisfying run this week and I felt great afterwards. I had settled quickly into a good pace on the roads and my legs felt really strong and I didn’t feel like I had overdone it. I averaged a sub-7min/km pace, which is a very quick (for me) orienteering pace. This was definitely a feel-good week after a rough one last week – just what I needed!

Suffering Summer Series in Chatswood

This weeks summer series was a doozy! Looking at the map, the striping of 5m contours patterned the sheet and we knew we were in for a leg burning event. A quick scan showed us two main options – stay “high” on the roads, where distance between points was definitely further but faster, and still so many hills. Or take the “low” route down into the creek valley with loads of contours but closer controls (and likely slower going). As I do, my preference pulled me to the trails and I mapped out a route, then reversed it and plotted multiple endings depending on time. Nick planned similar, but added on a substantial out-and-back to a 30 pointer at the start which meant we would likely cross paths a little way in.

After stalling at the start for a few minutes, I headed out and up the first hill – harsh start. Luckily it was then an easy downhill run to nab the first control – 18 – tucked in next to an electricity box. Off again for more easy downhill to control 14 and down further to get 8 as well. Then it was a slight uphill, turn off into a park to grab control 4 before heading heading back up and out (wave to Nick heading into the park), along a little more road before hitting the first bit of trail. It had been easy going to here – the controls were easy to spot and the road running was easy with plenty of downhill.

Onto the trail and down 6 or 7 contour lines towards control 27. I can usually move pretty quickly on the trails, especially with a bit of downhill, but this was steep, rocky, slightly slippery stairs and I had to slow right down. Then it got even worse – spider webs!!! Seriously? This meant that no one else had been along this section yet – not a good sign and made me wish that Nick would hurry and catch up to me so he could get rid of them for me. Down, down, down, then off down a rocky, leaf covered “trail”, that barely deserved the name, to get control 27 at the sewer vent. Scramble back out and then onto a slightly more level trail along the creek towards 26 (and more spiderwebs!).

The trail was barely runnable – narrow with roots and rocks ready to trip you up at every step and branches sticking out over the path. It was slow going. I saw an “almost trail” and headed up it, hopefully towards 26. A few mintues bashing around and I was pretty sure I was in the wrong spot when Nick caught up to me, told me it was too soon and headed off. Turns out the trail up to 26 was very obvious and and the control was a quick find, although more slow, twisty trail and contours were involved. At lest there was someone in front of me now, no more spiderwebs.  Continued along the creek trail just behind Nick now towards 12. He disappeared in front of me, only to backtrack asking if we had overshot. Nope – still a bit further, we had just passed a small offshoot trail marked on the map, so not there yet. Then we did overshoot. Luckily another runner passed us and told us we were in the wrong spot.

Nick decided to skip the control and keep moving, while I headed back to get it. Checking my watch I was startled to see how long we had been out, these trails were taking a lot longer than expected and it was almost my “should be heading back” time, but there was no quick return path. So I had to keep moving and accept that I would be getting time penalties this week. It was somewhere around here I was jabbed in the leg by a stick, I noticed it at the time and it hurt, there was blood, but nothing too serious. A little later, I checked my leg and noticed something on where it had been jabbed – a fly? a mozzie? I flicked it off to discover it was a piece of the stick that had broken of into my leg! Ouch – there were splinters to dig out later that night too (and the next night).

Across the creek and onwards to control 19. I passed a mother-daughter team coming along the trail in the other direction who assured me the control was there but a little hidden. I was passing a burnt out area in which control 23 would be hiding and was glad that I had already decided not to get it.  Nick had headed into this area and later confirmed it was a bad choice, slow going and lots of sticks out to scratch and trip.  I picked up 19 easily – I paused right next to it, looked to my right and there it was.

Then it was up, up the hill and up a little more heading to control 10. And then the stomach cramps hit – just as a hit I runnable section of road. Can not catch a break today! Walking now, pick up control 10, tried jogging again and hoped for clear trails on the final section. My stomach settled itself out shortly before control 11 so I jogged down the road and was glad to see someone coming up out of the bush so I could identify where to head. This section was awful – there was pink tape down a rocky drainage ditch, very slow and precarious going and eventually made my way to control 30. Phew!

Only a little further to go, but I was already at 45 minutes so I was losing points quickly now (it’s 10 point down for every minute, or part thereof, you are over the 45 minute time limit). More pink tape along an ill-defined trail to control 6. I tried to pick up the pace, but there was too much vegetation doing its best to trip me up, so it was still slow. Another runner at control 6 had dropped his SI stick somewhere after the last control he was at, so figuring I was running late anyway, I helped him search, but with no luck. Nick passed me again along here, both of us on our way back and running late. Picked up control 15 before getting back on the roads and, surprise, up another hill to our final control 9.

Just before grabbing 9, I noticed someone looking a bit lost – they were near us at the start and had mentioned they were a beginner – so I stopped and asked how they were going. They admitted to being a bit “navigationally challenged”, so I stopped and helped them out a bit – more time lost, but hey, what’s another minute now? I got them on their way, grabbed control 9 and made a dash to finish. 10 minutes late! A low scoring week, little distance covered and over time.

Both Nick and I agreed that, in hindsight, while we made some wrong route choices, it was a frustrating event with the track being a lot slower and more difficult than expected. Last week the trail was easier, but it had warning of its difficulty while there was no indication this week that care was needed which would have let us know it would be slower going.  Live and learn though and we can do better next week.  With the results out, we both scored poorly, but even the best runners didn’t score high with only one person getting over 500 and over 80% of people returning late.

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).

Numbers:

  • 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.

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!

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!