Friday, May 30, 2014

Goodbye Winter, Hello Summer!

Finally! I’m sitting here in Rovereto, training for the day done, feet up relaxing, and with all the time I wish to write this blog post…well until I decide it’s time for more gelato…probably a max of 15mins or so going on previous consumption. It’s a complete and welcome change of pace, and it’s giving me the chance to reflect on the last couple of months, and look ahead to the next couple of months.

Without getting too deep and philosophical, last week in particular was mentally and emotionally draining. Tying up ends at work, cramming in training when I could, and in saying goodbye to friends who are finishing their PhDs and won't be in Canberra when I return. This last one was particularly tough, but as a wise friend once said; This is not the end but rather just the beginning! ;) Now I just have more places around the globe to visit!

So yeah, a tough week. But with work finally winding down, I managed to get out for a decent blast of training too, following it all I was able to stay awake long enough for my plane to leave Australia!

Wednesday: Sprint intervals with the crew around CSIRO, a good final group hit out. (map)

Thursday: ANUWFC match. Never mind the score…

Friday: Test ran the Jim Sawkins memorial event: super tough physically and a great hit out before Italy. I only ran 2/3rd of the course due to time constraints, but the full course would have taken me over 90mins, a proper classic! Canberra’s rocks gave me a decent goodbye present when I stacked it onto my shoulder, knee, and right index fingernail(?!). However, you should see the rock… my left fist attests to the decent left hook I dealt it on my way down. Seriously though, if you’re in Canberra this weekend, head to this event! I thoroughly recommend it; a wicked area, Hugh has done a great job of the mapping, and it’s within the city. Details here.

Saturday: ACT Sprint Champs. Second to a speedy Hanny, with Shannon not far behind. Pretty happy after 3 tough days training, always plenty to work on! J Maps coming. Results.

Sunday: AM: ACT middle champs. Legs feeling even more tired, and well beaten by Hanny again, but not too concerned. As a bonus my time was given 2 extra mins given by the start box not registering my SI too…interesting. Received another goodbye present, from Namadgi this time –faceplanting in a marsh and surfacing to find blood spurting from my shredded RH. After this I found out that orienteering one handed is quite hard! results. map.
PM: Another ANUWFC premier league match! Never mind the score…
Later PM: On to the airport, and sleep walked my way onto my flight and off to Europe!
I swear this picture does not do the quantity of blood justice.

And with all of that done and packed away, it's on to the grand adventures of Team Grizzle! Stay tuned for tales of gelato, tourism, adventure, and the odd training session, coming soon!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eurovision 2014

No. Not that Eurovision. Although...

Slovenia, you'll be hearing from my lawyers.

It's now less than a week until I leave Australia for warmer Northern climes (yeah, bet that sentence is very rarely uttered). I've finally broken through the horrific weeks at work, and am thoroughly in wind down mode. At last I can switch my full focus on Europe. Woo! Eurovision!

After returning home after a disappointing WOC last year, I decided that I'd take the time, effort and money to give myself the best possible chance of performing come WOC 2014. And so began the planning for a 7 week training trip to Europe! As it turned out, my very vague plans matched up well with those of Greta Knarston, who's taking a step further than me this year, and moving to Europe post-WOC. So over the last 9 months we've put our heads together and hatched the following pretty darn exciting plan. Watch out Europe!

I won't bore with the details of the plan now, but stay tuned for live results and commentary as we work our way around the following course :-)

2.1km. Just a quick sprint really.

A huge thanks to everyone who's got in touch, both before and after my shameless call for friends! Most appreciated, and sorry that we can't fit visiting you all in! It's awesome just how friendly and welcoming the global orienteering community is. If any of you wish to visit down under, just get in touch!

So there it is, what should be 7 weeks of amazing fun! I can't wait to get stuck in to the Eat-Sleep-Train-Repeat routine. 4 days until take off, and they'll go quickly...a couple of good training sessions and football matches plus the ACT champs before flying out. I'll be on the plane and fast asleep before I know it! where did I put my Northern Hemisphere compasses?!

See you soon Europe!
I'll miss you though Canberra.
Got to love Autumn in the ACT,
cracker of a day for training at Boboyan last weekend.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

NZ Champs 2014

Every Easter for the last 4 years I've had to face a tough decision: Stay in Aus for the Easter 3 (4) day competition? Or head back to NZ for our national champs? Both events are (arguably) the most prestigious of the year in their respective countries, and both offer great competition, usually on quality maps.

I had a fantastic time, and fantastic results at the Australian Easter competition last year, and was super keen to have a second crack at it. Especially with Lithgow being relatively close to Canberra, and with the Blue Mtns on the doorstep to boot. However, this year NZ champs had a couple of persuasive arguments on its side: My home club Wellington were hosting, making it a tempting and convenient trip home to see the family. And, more importantly, given my broad plans to move to Europe next year, I'm not 100% sure when I'll be home to race the NZ champs next. Also, as Jamie likes to remind me, an NZ elite middle distance title is one thing missing off my CV. (Infact, even a podium placing is missing, having messed up all 4 attempts to date!)

And so, 3 weeks ago I found myself making the now familiar 8 hour Canberra-Wellington commute. With my ever enduring father picking me up from the midnight arrival, and Wellington greeting me with nostalgic winds and pouring rain. Ah. Home!

The trip and weekend were great. The results: Can't really complain. The performances: Not exactly satisfying.
The weekend kicked off with the Sprint, raced around Ohakea Air Base - home of NZ's mighty airforce. A pretty special area to get access to, and although the building detail wasn't hugely complex, the courses were well set and made the most of the map. Although feeling a bit flat, I had a steady race with no mistakes, just a bit of time loss on route choice exiting the forest section of the course. I took out the win, with Greta 2nd about 30s back. We also won the honour of being drug tested by anti-doping NZ. The bonus being that we had plenty of time whilst waiting for the fluids to filter their way through our systems to compare splits and plan our Europe trip!

We weren't allowed near the hangars unfortunately.
Security was tight around RNZAF's top secret new planes ;)

Saturday brought with it the big one: Middle distance, and a return to Waikawa, home of the first World Cup race last year. I knew that a highly precise race was needed - so messing up the first two controls was never a good sign to start with! My race did improve from there, if still being scrappy. But that, and the confusion with compulsary routes in the last loop, was enough to drop me down the field. 3rd behind Greta and Piret. Not the result I was looking for, but my first NZOC middle podium. Small consolation though.
DOMA. Results.
Tania Larson (nee Robinson) has her name on the NZ W21E
middle distance trophy more times than I can count on my fingers.
When I first entered the elite grade, I had dreams of topping her number of middle distance titles...
At the moment I'd settle for getting my name on there just once!

Fired up and eager for redemption in the long the next day, I hit Fusilier with determination. And it worked. I felt strong through the forest, despite the amount of debris on the ground. Controls were turning up exactly where I expected them to be. And I was reeling in the girls that had started in front of me. And then it blew up. A short leg, 15-16, with 4 of us running near enough together. Such a short leg, and so many runners, I was lazy, assuming one of us would see the control and lead the others in. Nope. I then compounded my mistake with relocating wrong, not once, but twice. Before finally making 100% and nailing the control with a bearing and pacing. 10 minutes blown, which in any international field would drop me off the face of the results board.
It was then a huge surprise, to finish, utterly pissed off with myself, to then be told that I'd held on for the win! Not a title I can really congratulate myself for though I'm afraid. But it is good to see that my fitness and strength is there - I just need my brains to catch up!

Logic defies how I could lose so much time in such a small area.

The final day of NZ champs is always a highlight - the club relay. We don't get many (maybe 2 a year?) of these in NZ, so, whilst not quite Tiomila or Jukola, it's always fiercely fought. This time I was in WOC's 2nd team, behind the youth of Nick Hann, Ellie Molloy and Shamus Morrison in team 1. Don't ask me for the specifics, but the NZ relay is done as a mixed grades, mixed gender relay - so it's all about getting the combination of runner's right. As it happened however, Jamie and George had solid runs on our first two legs, sending me off in 4th place, behind not 1, not 2, but 3 North West teams. (Hats off, that club is doing something right!). Unfortunately, I couldn't consolidate our effort. I managed to pass 2 of the 3 teams ahead of us, but as is the twist with the mixed grade relay, who is best on which leg depends on the terrain. This year's area was open and lightning fast - giving me no chance against the M18s who were chasing me down! Although I spotted a flash of Nick Smith on his way through, taking PAPO on to the title, it turns out a couple of others used their ninja skills to slip past me too. Or were just too fast. Final result for us, 5th.
DOMA. Results.

Held in conjunction with the national champs were the NZOF (now Orienteering NZ) annual awards. I was proud and honoured to be awarded the Silva trophy for International Performance of the Year for my World Cup results. A tough call seen as we had a JWOC medalist in Tim Robertson! Once again, a huge thanks for all of the support I've received that has enabled me to get where I have. Be it the support coming from home in NZ, home in Canberra, or the many temporary homes I've had on my travels. Much appreciated, and hopefully I can do you all proud this 2014 season too!

Not a bad nationals haul for the Ingham clan: The 'nicest piece of firewood' award (aka. M55),
'Best at running tight clockwise circles on a broken ankle' (aka W55), The '12 year old aerobics imitation trophy'
(aka W221E long), and the 'best at running naked through the forest' award (aka. Performance of the Year).
Seriously, where do we get these trophies made?!