Monday, March 24, 2014

Déjà vu

Who remembers this gem?

Pics: WorldofO 
The first control of the WOC 2011 Women's Long distance final. A real hummer of a leg that really defined people's races; be it through a horrendous miss or a clean hit. For nostalgia's sake, here's the gps replay link :)

As is often the case, we're a few years behind down here in the Antipodes ;-) But the National League Race on Kangaroo Crossing yesterday threw up similar mayhem on the first control with what was a race defining leg. Unfortunately this time around there's no gps tracking, and being a WRE runner's weren't wearing their own devices. But hopefully we'll see some route gadget routes in the near future. Which way would you have gone?!

I suffered a lack of confidence hitting the circle (due to an unmapped seasonal open area close to the circle).
 This lead to misinterpreting the rocks and turning the wrong way, heading up the gully.
I eventually found the control 4mins later, as I headed off to relocate!

Hanny (1st) and Jo (2nd) hit the control cleanest, and take 1st and 2nd for the race.
We'll keep the rest of us anonymous ;-)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playing Catch Up

It seems to be a never-ending game; catching up with uni, catching up with life, catching up with training. And it's about time for a catch up blog post! So what's new?

Sprint Canberra

Way back in January Sprint Canberra was held over the Australia Day long weekend, combined with an OA High Performance Squad camp. Both the racing and the training was high quality and varied, with everything from a mass start race on the intricate (and slippery!) Radford College, to a head-to-head butterfly looped bush sprint. Training included memory sprint training, running form, a sports psych session, and (although I skipped it), time trials! And just for a bit of extra prestige, and a lot of extra laughs - there were some $5 K-mart race leader singlets up for grabs. In an unexpected, but pleasing, start to the season, I managed to take out all 6 races against some very tough competition from Hanny and Rachel in particular. Although it wasn't clean running the whole way, with an epic mistake in race 5, meaning I was very lucky to stay in the competition!

Messing up the spectator run-through big time.
Hanny, Jas and I model the stylish leaders' singlets

A highly beneficial and hugely enjoyable weekend for all athletes involved, so a massive thanks to those that made both the races and trainings happen (the contributors are too numerous to list!). I even got to do my first ever radio interview afterwards, which was a cool experience!
Maps on DOMA.
Results on winsplits

Summer Holiday

In early February I hopped back over the ditch for a couple of weeks holiday and some nice running in the kiwi mountains. I'd already made the tough decision to give Sprint the Bay the skip this year, in favour of a family holiday. So rather than lining up with the other girls for Sprint 1 on Friday the 7th, I instead found myself heading out onto Mt Taranaki for a mission around the Pouakai Circuit with Mum. It's an amazing run, and on a good day gives stunning views...unfortunately after about 20mins, in the clouds came for us though. Leaving us with no views to enjoy, so atleast the company was good! Double unfortunately knee seized up after a couple of hours. My ITB deciding to make itself known. I tried to put on my best face for mum, but I somehow doubt she'd have needed her mother's intuition to know what pain I was in!
The view that we didn't see.

A pretty accurate guess at the kind of view Mum did get to see. Sorry Mum!
 SO that was it for me running wise for my holiday! There was plenty of good times catching up with family and friends though. A beautiful wedding down in Nelson. (Thanks for the place to crash Immy, I'll definitely be back for a Nelson training week some time!) And a stunning, but very hard and long day on Mt Ruapehu collecting samples for my PhD (why do I keep creating more work for myself?!)

NOL Round 1: Brisbane

Returning to Australia, I flew straight into Brisbane for the first round of the Aussie National League. The weekend consisted of a 2x2 sprint relay on the Saturday morning, an individual sprint qual on the Saturday afternoon, and final on the Sunday. All of the races were based in central Brisbane - quite cool to be in a city for orienteering for once, not out in the middle of nowhere!
Although a little bit daunted by the race info, which warned of the 'numerous reptiles' you'd encounter on your race, the sprint relay around Roma St Parklands was great fun! Mace and I teamed up to successfully avoid all of the lizards on the paths (phew! not snakes!) and take 2nd place for the Cockatoos - beaten only on the last leg by Rachel and Anna from Queensland. The format was tough, but good fun, consisting of 4 completely different courses, in contrast to the very narrow splitting seen in the WC sprint relay.
Sprint Relay leg 2/4

From there it was on to two university campus maps for the individual qual and final. The areas were amazing, tight and technical. However, the multi levels of both maps caused issues for a majority of runners - getting stuck on ambiguously mapped levels at various points of the course, raising serious questions about the fairness of the race. That and a misplaced control played havoc with the results, as can be easily seen in the splits from the race! How the race was not invalidated, I just don't know. There seems to be a culture here where people are too afraid of what others will think to put in a protest, myself included.
Full credit to Hanny for the win however, she'd have beaten me multi-levels or no multi-levels! Hopefully I can give her a run for her money in the next round of NOLs this weekend!
Sprint Final. All maps from the weekend on DOMA


My knee was a bit of a wreck on return from the NOL races, so the last 4 weeks have been spent trying to get my ITB right. In what seems like a warped kind of joke - I was banned from my usual cripple trainings of deep-water running and biking, and only allowed to do short sharp sessions with changes of direction. Good for soccer pre-season, speed work and terrain work are ok(ish)! That, and innumerable strength and conditioning sessions have been suffered, as have painful physio sessions. All character building and which will hopefully stand me in good stead throughout the season. A massively massive thanks to Cathy for helping me rebuild after foolishly (and predictably) breaking myself again! It's going to be a continuous road to full recovery and maintenance, but I have the right support crew to keep me on it!
Today saw what will hopefully be a major step back towards full training- with the horribly anticipated cortisone injection into the worst inflamed area. Nowhere near as bad as the injections into my bum injury last year though! (insert reader's choice of inappropriate joke, I've heard them all).

And with 3 days until the second round of National League Races, it's just in time. I can't wait to get on that start line and see if I can do some catching up out on the course :)

Had to include this: It's taken close to 20yrs of playing, but someone
 finally got a shot of me where I'm neither in the process, or aftermath,
of being knocked to the ground! Time to retire while I'm on my feet I think!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

World Cup Round One.......2015

...And suddenly it's March! It's been another hectic couple of months full of work and travel, with niggley injuries coming and going, and thankfully some training and racing to keep me sane! The blog has taken a bit of a hit in terms of posts, but hopefully I can find a bit of time to keep it up to date as the racing season starts up again.

This weekend I'm once again sitting on my laptop, watching my opposition take to the course in World Cup races on the opposite side of the world. It's equal parts frustrating and motivating, having to watch rather than race. But I know soon enough I'll be on the 'right' side of the world, and in the thick of it :) In fact, as I watch the results trickle in, I'm attempting to nail down plans for my extended Europe and WOC campaign for June/July...but more on that another time!

Given I'm not there and racing in Turkey, I thought I'd make myself feel better by instead having a look ahead to WC R1 2015, Tasmania...
Oh hello Tasmania!
(Photo from the Oceania 2015 fb page )
At the very beginning of this year the Aussies were kind enough to invite us kiwis on their High Performance squad camp, based in St Helens, where the World Cup long will be come January next year. A quartet of us kiwis; myself, Matt Ogden, Laura Robertson and Nick Hann, attended the camp and gained invaluable experience in the tough Tassie terrain prior to next year's races.
The coaching team, led by Nick Dent and the Aussie WOC coaches Wendy Reid and Tom Quayle, along with Roch, Hillary and Lance, set us a full week of intense training, particularly focusing on learning and critiquing what each individual's 'orienteering process' was. For me, it was great to be on a fully focused and coached training camp; 2 quality orienteering sessions a day, and evening theory sessions. This was something that I haven't experienced since my JWOC days, and something that is currently lacking in the NZ environment at the moment. (although there are steps in place to rectify this). So a huge thanks to Nick for the initial invite, and all of the coaches for making the camp what it was! Hopefully we can see more NZ-AUS shared camps happening, on both sides of the ditch!

But what I guess most international readers want to know, is what is the terrain like? What can they expect come January 2015?
Well the main point taken from this camp: It is tough terrain. But heck is it beautiful! Some steep hills, plenty of ferns, logs and undergrowth, masses of granite detail. And marshes. Oooh those marshes! The map Lively's Bog was given it's name for a reason! It's worth getting to Tassie early simply to learn how to pick your crossing points across the many linear bogs. The fastest orienteers on the day will be the strong ones that push through the terrain with aggression, not just the ones with the speediest legs. It says something about the terrain that the organiser's aren't even using the mining terrain that is close on hand - the areas are good enough without needing it!

It may be tough, but it is wicked terrain. And the beaches are close by for optimal post race recovery. The water should be plenty cold enough for that, even in January!
Rather than raving about the terrain any longer, I'll just leave you with some map porn. More maps from the training camp can be found on my DOMA. Enjoy :)
Tin mining terrain, where Aus champs 2012 was held.

Intervals on Lively's Bog. Plenty of marsh and granite.
But much faster terrain in the last couple of ints.

Mt Pearson. Hills, granite, overgrown linear marshes.

Camp champs on Lively's Bog...or Littlechild's Creek?

Old map of Coles Bay, area for the WC middle.
 From the WC Oceania webpage