As I took to the start line I noticed control number 3 was also a drinks control indicating that leg 3 was probably quite long. In fact it was 3.8km long, the longest leg I have ever had to do. From the start I spent a short time simplifying the first leg and then spent as much time as possible planning how I was going to approach 3. My simplification was good and I got the first control smoothly and avoided some of the slowest areas. My approach for 2 was the same, simplify and focus on planning 3. I found 2 ok with minimal navigation but still only finalised my route 20 seconds up the hill after punching the control.
To the right is my route with key simplification features for 1 and 2.
I also caught Tim Robertson here and I hoped this would mean we would be able to push harder together but neither of us were on good enough form to run much faster. I was clean through all the next controls accept for being slightly low on 12 after the spectator and some hesitations coming into 17.
Physically I was running ok and still felt strong towards the end of the course but I was having trouble with my hip flexors cramping. I think this was due to all the jumping over fallen trees and branches and powering through the undergrowth in the early part of the course. This cramping definitely effected my aggression in the last 15 minutes as I was having to move over fallen branches sideways instead of jumping straight over. I was also lowering my leg lift to avoid cramping which caused me to trip over a number of times. This leads me to exactly the same conclusion as The Goat in December and I will be looking at improving my muscular conditioning by running in rougher terrain more often.
I finished with energy left in the tank which didn’t feel quite right and although my cardiovascular system would have allowed me to go harder for longer the cramping indicated to me that there were weaker links in my body what would not have allowed it. I finished 29th, a result I am happy with based on the caliber of the athletes around me.
I will start a new training block now building for NZ Orienteering Champs with the clear goal of achieving consistency in training through effective injury prevention.