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Sunday, 6 September 2009

World Games Middle

Ages ago one or more people asked me to run through (no pun intended) my experiences and races at world games. So, now that all the excitement's over, and many of you have forgotten that world games ever happened, i've finally got around to writing about my middle race. Thought i'd choose the middle race to put up here as it was, mentally atleast, a better race for me than the sprint, and marginally less of a straight running race than the middle. Actually, the decision was pretty arbitrary...

Being one of the lower ranked competitors in the field, i managed to draw the 4th start in both the middle and sprint. This meant that i was always on the first bus out to the event, not such a great thing in the intense heat...and also not such a great thing as the bus drivers didnt quite know where they were taking us! So my middle experience started with an hour and a half lying under the trees in the prestart as the buses were timed ridiculously early. Having got myself in racing mindframe, proceeded to the start arena. I spent the last minutes before the start scraping mud and clay off the bottom of my shoes as they were clogged up before even starting!

So pick up the map and off down the start chute. immediately see route choice to 1. left choice looks slower so i take middle road to 2nd junction then cut through green stripes and white and through to control. clean, nice. two downers: firstly as firstish start cutting through is bit slower, although already theres a bit of atrack, secondly, didnt see track to right which prob was way faster. still im happy to get no.1 cleanly which has been a problem in the past.

2 is a short leg, up and over. then 3 routechoice, we'd kinda figured they'd give us a routechoice over the zigzag path. looks pretty even to me so i make decision to take the zigzag and just go for it. About this point i realise that despite my careful preperation, i have a song stuck inmy head. and not any old song, but the world games theme tune that was playing over and over at the start...and its in taiwanese so i dont even know what im singing!! anyway... 4. make my way through the little paths, control is sneakily hidden away in the tiers of garden, but i spot it pretty quick :P

out of 4 and i do a double take as i notice a patch of olive green on map right where i am, so i turn around and go round it like a good girl...betting 90% of the field went straight though it... anway pick and weave my way through paths then get shoes soaked from the water logged grass round 5. up the hill to 6, legs starting to feel it from sprint the day before... back the way i came to 7, giving me a little time to read ahead. same with 8.

mistime my jump coming out of 8 and run straight into fence, right infront of a roaming patrol of policemen, they laugh, i hurt. straight through to 9, then i make a complete mess of my exit. If there's one thing i learn here its not to bother trying to cut corners,just stay on the track...actually i dont learn this cos i make the same mistake later! according to the gps replay i then decide to cool off and swim across to 10...really i hurdle the hedge and up the spur. back down my track from no1 and in, nice. have trouble with a wall thats a little high to jump on way to 11. eventually overcome my height issues by going around it. must admit i walk a bit up tired. and down the hill to spectator control, flip map over whilst running across carpark, almost die when i see 2nd half... also spectator control is real hard to spot! luckily clem is there with water, he isnt hard to spot :)

second half of course has a lot more straight running in it. not good as 1st half was like a sprint course and i prob expended more energy than i should have on it! so yeah 12-13 is a long (or feels long) path run, so so tempted to walk but no i did not come this far to walk, so somehow find a way to keep going! more road running to 14, cut the corner through funny shin high grass stuff. Decide to just go for it over the stony ground to 15 instead of tiptoeing along the paths, same across to 16.

up to road from 16, bump into another roaming patrol of 10 or so policemen. dont think they were the same as at 8. if so im running real slow...(or theyve got cars). Into the jungle for 17 and 18, vines everywhere (if i remember correctly) just like the wellington bush :) decide it isnt worth going down to path 17-18 so contour it, hit it fine. then hurdle the stream and ditch and guts it up the hill to 19, and back down to 20, do my best to smile at the camera, but probably comes out as a grimace.

halfway through the road run 20-21 it occurs to me that im actually going to finish this course, so i somehow manage to up the pace (i was in self preservation mode up til now). Another guts up the hill to the control. mind is gone with the heat so for some reason bash through tennis court rather than taking path. however do remember to take it carefully into 22, which alot of people forgot to and lost time on. so happy there. still, didnt hit it 100% cleanly. THen bush bash it out to 23 and into the finish chute, i try to put a sprint on, but die instead. Still, having started 4th I'm the leader at the finish which is awesome...until hanny comes in a couple of minutes later and smashes my (and everyone elses) time!!

And the rest of the day is consumed with trying to cool down (icepack down bra is a proven effective method) and then watching everyone else race ! :) Overall world games was the most amazing trip i've been on. the terrain was certainly different, if not entirely suited to my strengths. But i've come away determined to improve my running speed and encouraged that i can foot it with the best in the world!

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