Monday, 24 October 2016

Senior Home Internationals

Double Rainbow on Studland beach after the Caddihoe Chase
The family (minus Alice) at the Compass Sport Cup
Since Euromeeting, I felt like summer was officially over & the winter was settling in with shorter days & the temperature dropped. I planned out my training out for the winter with a small increase each week to try to get to a good volume without an injury (fingers crossed!). I was also feeling happier with my navigation with a solid run at the Compass Sport Cup in Tankersley even with a dodgy ankle from the previous weekend attempting to run on Agglestone Heathland in Studland for the Caddihoe Chase (ridiculously unrunnable area!). Slight bum that I wasn’t selected for the Elite Development Squad for 16/17 but I was happy with my own plan for the year and it saved me a lot of money!! Next on the agenda was the Senior Home Internationals…

The journey up to Anglesey took six and a half hours as it took a while getting out of the south but Sarah & I chatted the majority of the way. Mostly about orienteering but it was really interesting and in a way a confidence boost that I could relate to how she described navigating! We spoke about the way it just sometimes works, using multiple techniques in conjunction and breaking it down/analyzing this takes the magic away from the experience. Also some interesting points on how best to learn & improve in orienteering relating it to exams which I use to do with RTFM!
The view driving onto Newborough Sand Dunes

SeaHorses at the SeaZoo
We arrived about half ten so straight to bed for the half seven breakfast, which redeemed itself being so early by the cooked breakfast and croissants. It was a lovely day - the start was on the beach and I was really looking forward to the forested sand dunes. My excitement didn’t last long as the terrain was actually pretty tough with brambles, some fern and lots of grassy bobbles underfoot which made it a really draining race. I felt pretty fit which was good but my navigation was pretty lazy – I knew I was reverting back to my old technique as I kept having to relocate near each control. Afterwards I worked out I needed to take the time to READ the map near the control instead of running to the area and hoping to find the control (which worked a couple of times!). It meant my race was very stop start until about half way round. From here I was tiring & going slower so could read the map a bit better & start to use my control descriptions more. Overall I finished in third which I was really happy with, it sounded like most people had a similar race – all very tired! The day was still gorgeous so we stayed at the area and I went for a walk with Áine on the beach. On the way home we stopped off at this SeaZoo which was great fun :)

After a quick shower & nap it was time for dinner in the dark as there had been a power cut! Luckily they came back half way through. Prize giving next – where I got a Terry’s Chocolate Orange but gave it to Rona. Even though the W21 got 1,2 & 3 something about the scoring meant we were in second to Scotland & needed to place 1 & 2 in the women relay and 1 & 3 in the men’s! I was really tired & had a headache so went up to bed early.

The Winning Team!!!
After a much needed good sleep it was the relay – we unfortunately only had to women’s teams as Julie had injured her Achilles the previous day :( I was with Sarah & Tessa so pretty confident in the team that we would smash it! It was A LOT colder than the previous day and with a long winning time (we were all hoping for a short course!) I kept my clothes on for as long as possible. Sarah came through spectator in in a group with Meg & Fay and held second place to the finish. I went out pretty happy & taking time to read what the map was showing so I stayed in touch with the features, ticking them off & pretty much spiked every control – it helped I was on my own as then I could slow down without feeling guilty as I had no-one around to tip me into racing fast mode which wasn’t best in this terrain. I took the lead and extended it giving Tessa a 5 minute lead who extended it further to about 10 minutes! The men also ended up winning after a Scottish disqualification but a third in their next team & a fourth in the woman's meant we couldn’t pull back the lead. We shot off pretty quick after the race to ensure we wouldn’t get home late late & made good time!

It was a fab weekend, learning more about my orienteering & reinforcing what I know I need to do but it easily gets pushed to the back of my mind when I want to race!


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