Saturday, March 8, 2014

POM Day 4: Long Distance

This was the last day of POM. Was sad to end the competition as was finally feeling like I was cracking how to race here, But then again think my legs were close to having enough haha. Again we were on the same map, Arcozelo Da Serra, with the same spectator control as the last few days. Today however was a chasing start, ie first one across the line wins the full event. So in the Elite categories our total times for the last 3 days were totaled and if we were within an hour of the leader we started in the chasing start. I was 47:28 behind Simon Niggle who was winning so I started exactly that behind her. Kirsten Maxwell was only about 30seconds in front of me so some motivation to be clean!

This was a bit tricky to start with as the map scale was 1:15,000 not the 1:10,000 we had been running on. Was a bit worried to start with I wasn't going to be able to read all the rock. Might think about training with a magnifier just for long races like this!
Had a clean but slow first control, but was needed as a confidence boost. Control 2 I ended up half way to 3 and was like this doesn't feel right! I had managed to miss the end of the trail and had just kept running went through two rocks and turned around knowing I had gone too far (opposite of what I thought I was going to do today, which was not go far enough!) Saw Kirsten leaving control 2 so knew it couldn't have been that big a mistake :/ Caught her and another girl caught me going to control 3 and there were 3 of us to control 4. Was glad to have a few people around on the first long leg just as a confidence boost and to push my pace a little bit. Went to the wrong side of the rock into 4 and had to go right around but nothing major. the next few controls were nice as fairly big features could been seen from a distance that the control was near. Almost ran past control 7 though! Was keeping up with Kirsten and another girl for ages as well which I was quite proud of didn't think I had that much speed for this distance. I could tell though that Kirsten was trying hard to get ride of me! At control 11 we had a nice surprise though! It was a water control on our descriptions but wasn't expecting to also get a chest deep river crossing along with it!

Photo by Miguel Barradas
Legs weren't too happy just after that with it being fairly chilly. Was close to cramping as we went into the short Urban bit of the course, so glad the navigation was a bit easier. bobbled going to control 14 which was the first one after the urban back in the rock. Just didn't hit the small trail before it like I was wanting to but almost nailed the control about 5m to the right of the control. Then it was the sprint up the hill to stay with Kirsten into the spectator control. (I was really starting to hate that hill!) After the spectator control we had a trail run to where the "butterfly" loop was. Because kirsten was the girl starting ahead of me I knew we were going to have a different way around the loop. I went counter clock wise and then straight through and I found out at the end that the others went straight through at first and then around. I was fairly clean through the loop but both me and another girl had difficulties on the through bit. I think I just didn't go far enough and then had a hard time relocating. Kirsten got a much bigger gap there. Then control 22 which was the first out of the loop I went into it too late and bumbed around the control circle a bit too long before finding it. Felt like the control wasn't actually on bare rock :/ I was getting a bit tired by this point. Picked a poor route to 24 as well. I should have gone back up the hill and along the fields to drop back down to it. But I legged it down the hill and along the trial just to slog my way back up through the forest. Silly Alison! Then it was basically home :)

I ended up running close to 14km for the 10.5km course. I feel like that wasn't too bad though. Also I was only 128% of Simon Niggle's time who won the course and POM overall and is the Queen of Orienteering. That was a big motivator to the fact that I'm improving. So just need to work on a few smaller things and get my longer distance fitness up I think.

Overall POM was great! The experience in this rocky terrain was amazing. I have never run in anything like this before. Also getting another multi-day event under my belt. And getting to race against the best in the world was amazing, so much to learn! So time to reflect at home and train train train!

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