What to say about this race, one week on? Delighted to have done it and finished it. Definitely the hardest I've pushed myself ever. Orienteering was pretty easy but the terrain was tough in places. Kudos to my running partner The Flan for pulling me through the last couple of hours! We spent 12 mins at the start planning, and Garmin says we spent 04:32 running, which means we spent about 50 mintues not moving! For posterity:
Hour 1: (12pm-1pm) During planning, after marking all the controls on the map it seemed that they were spread out radially with the start/finish roughly in the centre. Made a rough plan to start in the SW quadrant and work our way around anti-clockwise. Took it handy, pacing ourselves up to the first control. Punched after 55 mins -- alot longer than expected!
Hour 2: (1pm-2pm) Climbed up and over to get to control 2. Figured it would be worth 500 points since it was quite far away, but it turned out to be only 350 when we checked afterwards. Rookie mistake not marking the control values on the map! Route to control 3 was back via control 1, which is when we passed the 2 hour mark. Had gone a bit astray in the mist. We weren't exactly flying around!
Hour 3: (2pm-3pm) Up again to control 3 and then down into a valley. We decided to stop for food at the bottom of the hill but it took ages to descend, as it was very rough. This wasn't anticipated! Hit the 3 hour mark as we were eating and we seriously went over our routes again. I was feeling tired by now, despite having been descending for about 40 mins.
Hour 4: (3pm-4pm) Decided against getting the control at the other side of Scarr (it looked very steep as we were standing at the bottom looking up!). Instead we went for a control on a neighbouring peak, Kanturk. Spent most of Hour 4 getting this. I couldn't run uphill, poor Brian had loads of energy but I had nothing in the legs. My lack of training really showing. Getting down from Kanturk was messy. Met a guy climbing up against us towards the control, would have been a rough route.
Hour 5: (4pm-5pm) Arrived at the base of Kanturk and ran over the short distance to a lake (Lough Dan?) where we picked up an easy control and stopped to re-fuel. Should have taken water from the lake here as we were both running low. I had only brought 2 litres. Took my first energy gel here (it was about 4.30pm) and hoped for the best. Revised the plan... maybe we would pick up 3 or 4 more controls. Headed along the river, jogging slowly, crossed it and then up another hill.
Hour 6: Searching for dratted control at the top of a forest ride. Rough underfoot and I felt like a geriatric. By the time we got the control (which was a surprise as we were about to bail out) I was seriously worried about getting back to the finish on time. I was probably only doing 10-12min/km at that stage. Hauled myself over another hill and onto the road. Began jogging the 2-3 km to the finish. Brian picked up a control that was near the road while I got my breath on the road (staying within earshot!). Running in to the finish, it felt like my lungs were going to collapse. My chest was sore from the effort of breathing - I thought I was having an asthma attack! Very glad to get to the finish and sit down.
Setanta put on a good spread for us so I ate and drank well. Great event. In retrospect we picked a rubbish overall route and wouldn't have bothered with those low-yield controls if we'd known their value. Will I do it next year? We'll see... a LOT of training required. The legs need a lot of miles in them to be able to keep going over 6 hours.