Good month and a half since the last update, with plenty of races to catch up on.
6th of April - Clachnaben - Great, claggy, damp conditions. Prime for descending off the main top. Had the record in mind but just missed out, though happy to get through a few seconds faster than two years ago with a few wrong turns and a stiff pair of legs after long running the day before. Will be back for that record...
13th of April - Screel - First Scottish champs counter and didn't enjoy any of it until the final minute down a nice gradient on the track. A very horrible burn up but pleased to get a win and my first record. Dodgy stomach, arguably after a fermented banana I found in my car, means that I think it can go even faster but conditions were fairly perfect today. What a lovely part of the country Dumfries is!
14th of April - Kong day MM - 4 hour score. Queasy for the whole thing so just a way to get a 4hr run in. Struggling towards the end but a good long day out banked, and found some discarded lightweight waterproof trousers, remain unclaimed and a fine addition to my emergency race kit :-)
20th of April - Teenager with Altitude (Lakes) - Had all the makings of a good Jura WU but some stonking heat and exposure meant I absolutely died halfway through and had to essentially walk the whole second half. A bit put off by this but blaming poor water uptake and starting at my VK pace up the first 500m of climb... Made up with a nice 46km along BG Leg 2 and Cumbria Way with Jacob the next day, in similar astounding weather. One for the memory books.
28th of April - Balmoral 15mile trail - Back home with Lucy to babysit my dog for a week but squeezed this in. Pulled away from Kyle G after 5km and thankfully as the familiar queasiness was back. Took it as a nice threshold run and on my last limbs by the end. Lovely terrain so always a pleasure to be in the area.
4th/5th/6th of May - British Champs weekend - A nice taste of sprint orienteering again and enjoyed being winning team with Fay, Ali and Zoe. Long didn't feel too good with yet more queasiness but generally died quite hard about half way through. Perhaps need to look at my pre-race food but also think I spent too much energy too early. Spongey running well! Got my own back the following day, overtaking GG and Spongey (both on tired legs), but unfortunately Ali T mispunched second leg (damn freshers ;-) ). Lovely bluebell forest and nice to be on Kilnsey again without the hail this year!
8th of May - Dumyat - A horribly quick start with Ali and Eddie meant the final bit of the climb was a struggle. But descended well and watched the record tick by on the final straight. Happy to feel fast again though after last weekend.
11th of May - Ben Lomond - Nice, long climb in dry weather felt like good training. Hyper-extended my knee a bit on the way down though which got me worried a bit, and had to slow down for a few minutes halting an attempt at a faster time. Happy with it nonetheless, always a pleasure to do the climb and good to see lots of EUOCers running this and Dumyat.
15th of May - Gypsy Glen - Hard start was less sustainable this week but was a good kick up the arse to have Ali and Tom quite close on the climb. Hit the downhill hard so was happy to finish eventually. A chunk off the record, though the course is quite new, is another nice sign of good fitness before next week, though I've felt destroyed ever since.
Nice plans to look forward to include next week's Jura, a few days in Snowdonia, Skiddaw Uphill, then transitioning to World Cup in Helsinki and Jukola in Tampere, followed by a gap before likely returning to the hills largely for the summer, aside from WOC selections and Oringen.
Though I can't possibly write off orienteering completely at the moment, with WOC selections in last year's Halden home ground and a very generous WC selection spot, I'm definitely enjoying the hills more this year. After many, many years of continuous orienteering international cycles and sacrificing races I've always wanted to do for a focused agenda, I think I need a break from funnelling all my energy into it.
Looking back I think it's laughable how stressed I allowed myself to become in the build up to the O season. A good example of this is how often I would become ill, especially around the times of important races. At the worst of it it would be one week a month. Now I can't remember the last day I had to take a full day off for illness.
I think this is the main reason I'm enjoying the hills scene much more these days, because of how relaxed the sport is. But maybe if I learn to enjoy myself orienteering again then heading back into the forest more permanently will be more appealing. :-)