Saturday, 23 November 2013

La Trobe University Sprint

This weekend's sprint race is our nearest, just half an hour north at Melbourne's LaTrobe University, named after Victoria's first Governor, Charles La Trobe. The university motto, “Whoever Seeks Shall Find”, does seem particularly appropriate for the occasion. The plan for me is to survive my seemingly chronic hamstring complaint, and maybe to make a bit of an effort on the hill-climb leg, with one eye on a possible (but unlikely) polka dot jersey.

Before we can harbour any competitive thoughts though, we need to pay our debt to society by helping out on download (me) and registration (Pat). The shelter is a good place to be, with some protection from the intermittent warm showers and annoying flies.

Eventually, I am released from my task and trot to the start for my run. Jim is on the same minute as me, so I follow him. This is a very bad idea since my first control is in completely the opposite direction! I lose a minute sorting that fiasco out and settle eventually. All goes well until I then head north out of 10 when I should be going south. Another minute ensues. It is a tricky area and planner Ted has a trap in store for us between 11 and 12. The obvious bridge is not viable and I lose more time doubling back. It is little consolation to learn later that I'm not the only one. Next is the hill climb. I make an effort here, which is later rewarded by a good placing on this leg. Would polka dots suit me, I wonder? My bandana is a success – I use it to keep the stinging sweat out of my eyes. Also my compression tights, although warm, keep bits of my lower body from breaking or falling off.

Pat is reasonably happy with her time, me less so with mine. I calculate my errors at about 4 minutes - too much! We do a map walk round the area when courses are closed, which is A Good Idea. I am annoyed with myself for a poor performance, but I shouldn't be. The hamstring gave no trouble and the hill-climb leg went well. So I achieved my initial targets, although running faster made me slower. Maybe bigger targets next time?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Sprint into Spring 5

Needing our regular orienteering fix, Pat and I headed for the Melbourne Showground, in the heart of the city. The satnav exploded the night before, so we navigated (successfully, I may add) to our venue in the time-honoured fashion. This was the fifth event in the new, and very successful, Sprint into Spring series. Three courses to choose from - I did Course 2, 2.4km with 18 controls, Pat did the notionally easier Course 3, with 20 controls in 2,2km. At the start I was confused initially, with a blank wall straight ahead of us. Margi was starting one minute ahead and I preferred to hang back but the start official was insistent, even though there was no-one waiting behind me.Margi disappeared through the wall, and only then did I realise that a chicane took us through and beyond, into an open courtyard.

I trotted purposefully to my first two controls, and then two longer legs encouraged me to stretch out a bit. Bad idea. My right hamstring began to trouble me once more, so I hobbled along gamely the best I could. I saw Margi ahead, so gave chase, as Pat joined us from the left on her course. We did a few common controls together, but I couldn't catch either of the two ladies. We came to leg 7-8 (the sprint leg for the green jersey!) and I passed Pat and Margi, up the grandstand steps to control 11. A lot of people had trouble with this one, not sure why. Troubles of my own arrived on the next control as the usual error occurred. I turned too early and overshot my control, having to double back, losing maybe 40 seconds in the process. Ilze lay in wait with her camera at 17 (see below), and Margi and I reached the finish together, with Pat arriving not long after.

The new Sprint Series in Melbourne goes from strength to strength, with 120-150 people at each event. This is pretty good by Victorian standards. I seem to be doing well enough in the overall standings due to my dogged perserverance, but the prizes will certainly go to younger and faster legs.

All the details are at