NM relay, 1st leg.
Went out with the aim of a steady run, knowing i have enough speed and technical strength to be in the right position with a clean run. We knew Marianne would most likely be out the front, but there was no need to try and keep up with her.
From the start gun I let the other girls sprint each other to the start triangle, while i sorted out my first leg. No making mistakes on the first control like KM relay! Up to the road junction and I was 3rd in pack, but 1st into the terrain on the routechoice to my split, with FSK right by my side. Got #1 cleanly (as planned) and in the lead (not as planned). Now, it sounds silly, but I freaked at being in the lead, as that's not where I intended to be at this stage of the course! As a result, I wasn't focused enough on the map or route to #2...until I took a bad micro route choice and gave myself a cold wake up bath in a stream. After that I got my head back into things, but was well back in the pack by #2. The next couple of controls were a matter of clawing up the pack. A couple of times I got caught running at the same speed as the runner in front, even though they were slower than my natural pace. And to #4 I made the classic mistake of taking my own route, then deciding the group's route was actually better - so losing all the spots i'd just made up.
To #5 the group in front headed into the detail in the wrong spot. I assumed the leg was fork, so corrected to what was right for my control, losing about 30s total. Turns out it actually wasn't a forked control, so I gained a fair few spots here, but lost more time on Marianne in the lead.
Here I caught up Mari, and actually started to truly got my head into the race. With the two of us setting a good pace for each other (and luckily having the same splits), we pushed cleanly through to the arena passage. Here I was met with not-quite-full-enthusiasm cheering from the HSK crowd - fair enough as I was 3mins back in 13th spot.
Up the long hill out of the arena, and we had a longer leg over the hill and back into the detail. Mari and I took in a handful of runners heading up the hill, and I led us cleanly into our small re-entrant. As we headed up and across the hill top to the next control, I noted a few other girls appearing from different bearings, and was happy to think we'd passed a few.
I was encouraged at the next control when I spotted the two Fredrikstad teams infront, and gave chase to them down the hill out of #10. Across the road, and the two FSK girls split. I followed to the left, over the hill and was first into our control in the re-entrant. From there, I was back leading our little pack, although I was only really aware of Mari behind me. Took it very careful to get the penultimate control cleanly.
Out into the paddock to the last control, and was very surprised to see nobody in sight in front of me. Was I really so far behind those in front?
Pushed hard to the finish, to very enthusiastic cheering from the HSK crowd this time around. Wasn't until well after I finished that I realised I'd pulled all the way up to 2nd on the second loop, with only Marianne ahead (by almost 4mins!).
Jo had a smooth run on leg two to put us into a clear lead, and Kine held off FSK until after the arena passage. She had the shape for the win, but unfortunately had a nightmare on the long leg after the arena. Disappointing, but eh, that's sport. We know we're good enough for gold...it will come :)