Solid Run at World Cup Long Distance in Tassie

After a disappointing performance in the middle distance at the World Cup in Tasmania it was hard to maintain confidence leading into the long distance. I was pretty blown away with how many mistakes I made at the middle distance and I’m still not entirely sure how they all happened. I gained a lot of confidence from the long distance model event the day before the race and stayed more relaxed than usual for such a big race. The model also showed me that the mapping was much easier to interpret than middle distance mapping and the features I expected to be distinct on the map were distinct in the terrain.

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.

Route for 1 and 2 in red with key points in green.

Route for 1 and 2 in red with key points in green. Click for enlargement

I was mostly happy with my route for 3 but I could have travelled a bit straighter in 4 places shown by the blue lines.

My route for the longest leg of my life. Click for enlargement.

My route for the longest leg of my life. Click for enlargement.

I was clean and smooth through the next few controls until 7 where I made my most significant mistake of the race. Initially I was expecting the contour passing through 7 to be obvious from a distance but lower visibility in this area and the broken ground meant this was not the case. My initial direction after the stream was not good and I ended up too far to the right. I attempted to relocate off a water course but I think the water course I found was too small to be on the map. Finally I bailed out to the north and relocated off the pond. I lost about 2 minutes here which was disappointing.

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.

Route through 10 to 14.

Route through 10 to 14.

Chasing Tim through the spectator control. We should be heading a bit more to the left.

Chasing Tim through the spectator control. We should be heading a bit more to the left.

There were route choices right to the end in this course and I was still planning ahead well and I think I made the best decisions for me on 20, 21 and 22.

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.

Route through the last part of the race. Click for enlargement.

Route through the last part of the race. Click for enlargement.

This concludes my trip to Tasmania and overall I was really impressed by the quality of the races in terms of the technical and physical challenges of the orienteering and the enjoyment of the races and event set up. This trip has reminded me of the importance of travelling to areas with different types of terrain and has encouraged me to travel within New Zealand and Oceania more often.

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.

This entry was posted in General.

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