The last two weekends have been full on, back into orienteering with rounds 1 and 2 of the Super Series, so it was up to Auckland 2 weeks ago and Wellington the last one.
It had been a while since I had been orienteering and its been only the last month or so I have been getting back into running again after some time off after the World Mountain Running champs. I didn’t really have any idea how I wanted to approach these races or basically anything about them until I turned up on the day so it was just a case of no expectations, navigate well and run well. I was able to do ok at this in the Middle distance race, but made a small mistake setting me back around 2mins off the pace coming into the end of the course. Unfortunately for me there was a control placed in the wrong re-entrant and the organisers decided to move it while I was on my way to it. It threw me a bit and after a couple of controls I sort of half got back on the horse. I figured that the course would just be invalidated but apparently it wasn’t that easy to decide and I’m not sure if the results are at all official two weeks later…
In the afternoon at the sprint I took off with a hiss and a roar, then made a 90deg error and lost about 10s. From there on I felt like I was playing catch up a little bit and lost a little on some route choice midway. Mainly however I managed to bleed time from just not running fast enough which is not something I am all that used to!
Going into the long distance race I knew that I needed to just have a solid run and I would be strong at the end. I made minimal mistakes and concentrated well but in the end it was again evident that my speed was just not there. That pretty much summed up the weekend, and I found myself just completely off the pace and not even through making huge mistakes which is normally the case.
After a tough weekend in Auckland and a hard 5km race on the previous Wednesday night I was fairly tired come race day on Saturday. I was one of the early starters in the Long and had a good start, taking solid and safe route choices to the first two controls. Then came the long leg. Being open farmland and 1:15,000 I figured it was a long way and I could switch off a little bit…big mistake near where I though the valley should be with the control in it was a road. This road was not on the map, infact it was almost 1km north of the control… At that point I realised that I had messed up big time and there was not much hope of getting back into the race from there. I made a second mistake two controls later and all motivation went out the window. I forced myself not to give up but i just was not getting into the orienteering, it was fairly evident I was flogging a dead horse and came to the realisation that I was not enjoying myself. The entire reason I was there was for fun so I pulled the pin and DNF’ed. Its not something I usually like to do but I felt this was the best option given the situation.
The next day brought wind, rain, and another race, this time the sprint in Eketahuna. The rain and the cold did not provide much inspiration but I got underway quite well and apart from a 20sec lost due to an admin error all was going well, I was in control. Somehow I started to let doubt creep in and the confidence waned. As it did the mistakes started to come. The map just didn’t seem to make sense in my mind and the stress and panic made things all the more worse. I over ran a control and lost 1min and it was a comedy of errors after that…the same feeling of helpless-can’t think-can’t be bothered overcame me and I hardly managed a sprint into the finish. I should have really tried a little bit harder as as bad as I did was just enough to see my fall out the back door and maintain my record of never qualifying for a finals. Very depressing.
Since I missed out on the knock-out races, I was left to run in the M21A grade. Since I figured in the mornings race I was just not in the optimum mood for orienteering I forced myself to warm up properly, and ‘zone’ in before the race. I executed a good run and only once let my running get ahead of the navigation. Disappointing not to be in the finals but a solid consolation prize…
Tim also missed out on the final and since we figured we were fast enough to keep up with the big boys in the final we acquired some cameras and took up the roll of cameramen. It was a really fun experience to follow around watching the race unfold from the front line. Hopefully we got some good footage, one of the guys was going to make it into a video, so watch this space.
The weather didn’t let up on Monday and wind and rain threatened my hopes of finding some motivation. I once again drew an early start for the middle distance, and was underway quickly. I ran a safe race minimising the risk but still managed to be off target on a number of controls through the middle of the race. Again I was lacking some speed and grunt up the hills, I just didn’t feel I had the power to fire on all cylinders so to speak, and ended up right at the bottom of the heap for the third time this weekend.
Once common theme that has come through these two weekends is the lack of speed, the lack of motivation and the lack of performing to my full potential. When this happens I guess you have to look to where the problem lies and I think I might have over done things a little bit lately. So I think the solution is to stop, have a rest, take it easy for the rest of the week and hopefully the motivation of not doing anything will have me set up and feeling strong for the next challenge.