For the first time in ages (albeit a little slow from the rogaine the day before) I managed to get a good run in at the Spencerville OY, and actually enjoyed myself at the same time. I think I have managed to get the orienteering drive back again!
Anyway I was really looking forward to the Canterbury Champs until about a week and a half ago when I managed to collect a tree with my head on a Wednesday Night run! There was a low hanging branch across the track and being dark and slightly obscured by my headlamp I ploughed straight into it. The branch hit me in the top of the head and knocked me back and I ended up flat on the ground. It was quite a whack, I am not sure if I was knocked out or not but I was pretty dazed afterwards and even had to get someone else to drive my car home after I really struggled to concentrate. The following day I was still pretty dazed and showed some clear signs of concussion so under doctors orders I was put on enforced rest…. both at work and at home.
This put my plans to smash the out the Canterbury Champs on hold a bit… but by the time the weekend rolled around I felt I was recovered enough to give it a go with no expectations. It is probably fair to say I was not all that enthusiastic waiting around to start in the cold grey weather at the edge of Lake Tekapo…. As i had hoped the race factor kicked in and I warmed up into a really good space. I made a couple of mistakes early on where I was drifting about all over the place but I managed to minimise the damage and correct myself quite well. I even got to a point on the course where I felt that I was limited by my fitness! I really enjoyed the last section, running fast through the trees with a bit of flow on. Sadly my finish sprint wasn’t quite fast enough and Carsten just managed to sneak ahead of me by 2 seconds to take 2nd place, a good 3-4mins behind Nick.
After running round quite quickly in the cold weather it was quite nice to have a bit of a soak in the hot pools ahead of the long distance on Sunday. The day started with some fairly cold and grey weather once again, this time with a bit of overnight snow too! Over Burke’s pass towards Geraldine the weather was slightly more settled but just as cold. Having a jog of about 2km’s to the start was pretty helpful in getting warmed up, but not quite warm enough for me to lose the polypro for the race. I had Tim Just in front and then Chris right behind with 3mins spacing between us. I quickly gained some ground on Tim with a nice little hill climb to begin with. I thought I was almost about to overtake him on the second control however a different route choice meant that he popped out slightly further in front of me than before! As I entered the control circle I saw Tim heading away, wadding through a chest deep stream… which left me slightly concerned as I was shortly to follow him! We were together for a couple of controls until my “bash” line through the jungle worked out a little bit more efficient. From high on the hill I had spotted Chris who looked slightly less than 3mins behind so i knew I had to navigate well and run just as fast.
On my charge through the middle of the course I picked up Alistair and out did him on a route choice, passed another couple of people and Chris still had not come through me. Sure enough he had caught a glimpse while I was climbing up a hill and he was spurred on by the sight of me. He caught me as I made a little bit of a mess of the control, in the control circle.
From this point on it was a bit of a battle between us, both of us running quite quickly taking slight micro-route choices, neither of us wanting to get too far behind. I took a bit of a lead back just before the hill for a bit but I sensed Chris was saving something in reserve. Then all of a sudden we were both upon Matt and this up’ed the intensity another level altogether. We flew round the last controls in not the most efficient of manners but it was highly exciting, and as I had suspected Chris powered away, taking a slight advantage away on the technical downhill from both Matt and myself, finishing not too far behind.
I was pretty happy with my orienteering this weekend, and remarkably it felt like I was able to concentrate really well on the orienteering and not let stupid unrelated stuff get in the way of some good focus! Looking forward to the next orienteering race now!