Monday, 25 August 2014

World University Orienteering Championships


So I had a little apprehension for this competition after JWOC but after conversations with my coach and squad coach I was going to try to have fun and enjoy orienteering in a competition where the expectation was as high as I wanted it to be a.k.a. non existent. After a COMPLETE TREK of a travel day - staying with fellow team mate Tamsin and her family, getting a lift early morning to Heathrow, the flight to Prague, bus to Prague Central train station, train to Olomouc and then finally a tram to Olomouc university halls; I was absolutely exhausted. BUT we did all have matching bags which was very cute and I decided the kit (from Kukri) was the nicest ever - even nicer than the Swiss who always have sick kit.

Our team manager, Ed, got us upgraded to accommodation where we didn't have to sleep in basically a double bed with someone else....#completehero and we settled in quickly; the team taking their time to realise how much I use snapchat and trying to get used to having rice and chicken with a bowl of grated carrot for lunch AND dinner. I was also asked by Ed and Dave if they could, 'have a quick word'...I don't know why, straight away I was like shite. What have I done, please please don't tell me off. I'm 20 now anyway, I can't be told off ;) I am an adult right? We just had a nice chat about the week and I told them I might seem unprepared and un-focused but that's what I wanted to try out. I wasn't going to overthink it. Keep things simple and easy. And as Bex dropped out of the sprint relay team due to injury I was asked to take her place. YAAAAYYYYY. Which was super exciting - running with boyssss yaya hahahaha.
On the coach journey there, Kirstin and I managed to speak about food practically the whole way and then once inside quarantine we killed a good hour distracting ourselves with the fundamentals of love…which the boys said was a balance between finding a girl that wasn't crazy but still fun and also hot. Apparently for girls, we just care about money and cuteness, but if they are rich and ugly well still go for them. We are charming, promise.

Compulsory Post-race Ice Cream
SO THE RACE...we came 7th :D top work hey hey! Everyone had solid runs and I loved it. The majority was in a park land so I did better than I thought although as soon as the course came back into the town I lost loads of time to the rapid people.
Afterwards we got ice cream and returned to the accommodation. I got priority with the physio (Sarah - a complete legend) woop as I was the only one of the team running the relay and then the long the following day.

I had a relative early start for the long which meant I didn't get any tracks to follow in the grassier parts but I didn't mind. It might have been the early wake up but I was incredibly grumpy in the morning. We were sharing a tent in quarantine with the Irish and French so they got to listen to my ranting too...apparently before a race I should be: ‘buzzing’. I HATE THIS WORD. I don't buzz. I was not buzzing. I was tired and wanted to sleep, not run a race with a ridiculous amount of climb in :( and everyone kept telling me I would enjoy it?? ENJOY RUNNING UP A HILL TOO STEEP TO ACTUALLY RUN UP? Oh sure. Easy. But I was quite happy being a grumpy little monster and I was so relaxed at the start, all I could think about was how my nail varnish looked awful.

The race was decent, I picked most routes to go round the hills but I wasn't physically fast enough to make these much better than the straight line. I again really enjoyed it and ended up 31st, which I didn't really know if it was any good. After the spectator control I lost a lot of time because of some stupid route choice but executed all the routes I chose pretty perfectly :) there was a pretty long wait for the buses back so for the rest of the afternoon we watched the rest of the athletes finish - many with ankle injuries :(

The following day was a rest day for me!!! So Charlotte and I had a lie in and ate pastries for breakfast :P oh and we also went into Olomouc to see the town.

Next day: middle race. In quarantine Alan got asked to be interviewed for Eurosport! Peter threw a pinecone at his arse AND EVERYONE THOUGHT IT WAS ME? :O I was just sat there looking innocent. After running on the warm up map I was like OH MY GOD THIS AREA IS SO NICE. Everyone was stressing about how they couldn't find the ditches on the map...but it was fine, it was like the south. Fast and flat with loads of spot features so you just have to run really really fast and have all your fingers and toes crossed that you find the control :P my kind of terrain!! ALSO it started thundering. Hahahaha I think I am now a thunder baby; I ALWAYS do well in thunder.

So basically I did well. It was so fun. I wish I could do it again. ALTHOUGH I caught this woman up, don't know who she is or where she's from but basically she was so so so so annoying and I wanted to scream at her because she followed me the whole way.... I knew I was getting distracted and I kept being like ‘Lucy, it's your race, control it. Don't let her fuck it up for you…’ etc etc but two times when I didn't re-adjust my running line meant I looped in to two controls and ran straight past one costing me more than two minutes. Absolutely raging. I lost her in the green at the end because she didn't have a good beetling running style - when you basically run bent over so the branches don't slap you. I finished in 12th and got pushed down to 17th, which was okay BUT I WAS SO HUNGRY FOR A MEDAL!! At the end, even though I had had a decent run I still needed to shout at someone - I don't really understand why. I think I just like ranting after my race.

That evening I was craving chocolate and crisps so went with the girls to 'Globus'. I bought a share bag of Pom bears but ate them all myself on the walk back. Oooopppss. The following day was the last race of the week: the relay. The coaches had already asked what legs we wanted to run...I'll be honest I didn't really know: first leg would maybe have suited me best as you don't have to rely on your team. I would find it easier to run and do awful so I could only blame myself, rather than get annoyed with team mates. But I had it in my head I wasn't fast enough and would get eaten by the others (I think I have this from the big races like Tiomila and Jukola where I was just destroyed when I ran first leg). Second leg was 'alright', didn't have any beef with it but with both second and third leg you could be in the position when the runners before you fuck up so you're left to watch the time tick by and the other teams come in before you - which I seem to have had plenty of experience at. But then third leg ('glory leg') is super exciting if your teammates don't fuck up - so it all comes down to trusting your team mates. WWWWAAAHH I DONT KNOW.
In the end I went second leg, Charlotte and Bex, my team mates said they'd be happier with first and third so it therefore made sense I went second :). Although Charlotte made a mistake early on in the course, I went out 7minutes down and absolutely loved it! It was the terrain, I suited it so well. It was the kind where I have no idea how I find the controls, if asked I would only be able to reply: 'Eeeer...I just kind of ran and found it?'
Also *rant alert* I was feeling pretty smug I was southern. In orienteering  (WARNING: massive stereotype coming up) all the northerners have this arrogance that their terrain is the best. Congratulations, you guys have contours. You say orienteering in the south is easy. But you still need to be able to do it...especially if a world championship is on our 'easy' terrain ;)

OKAY. I'm done I promise. Post relay there were some events, involving a little bit of orienteering and copious amount of *hydration* drinking. The Brits obviously won. Our universities are the best in the world not only for preparing us academically ;) I was in the winning team with Will and the physio - Sarah. As I'd only drunk once before at the JWOC after party in the last seven months I found eating dinner a little tough and realised I still had to pack as we were meeting at 6.20am the following morning to get our tram. The rest of the evening was great fun, there was an organised party in this disused cinema thing, except some retard had broken the floor so everyone was falling over and I came home with cuts all over my feet :'( after a sufficient amount of selfies with Rhona we moved on to the nightclub before coming home.

The following morning was horrendous, half of us were still intoxicated but somehow we all managed to awake and make it up for the 6.20 morning. There was then five hours of travel to the airport and I didn't make it home until five that evening – although I know I had it relatively easy compared to most other athletes who had to get up north :( I got picked up by both my mum and dad at the airport which was cute <3 and I was thankful to be home even though I'd absolutely loved the week and already can't wait for the next one!!

I know it might be a gay way to finish but I really want to say thanks to the best university ever: Durham University for their support: especially Quentin (the head of sport) and Jon (my S+C coach). Also to our sponsors: Kukri for our sick kit!! To the team managers and coaches for putting up with me and keeping me happy, my club and region (SARUM and SWOA) for helping with funding. And my parents - as always <3. 


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