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Sunday, 12 December 2010

Back to Basics

Whilst organising training for the national junior camp this week (wish me luck...) I've come across a fair few interesting sites. Here are the ones I can remember for the moment. Have a look, play around, and hopefully you'll come up with some fresh ideas for your own training.

It's always good to take a step back and remind yourself of the basics every now and then.

Forgotten some of the more obscure control descriptions and map symbols? try these quizes.

Some inspiring stuff, and some food for thought on what we may be doing right/wrong in NZ with our training approaches and structure, you'll find full presentations on "how to become a woc medal winner" and other talks given at a recent meeting of swedish coaches. Some good training ideas too, I like idea of the relay exercise set zigzagging over the road. Will have to try it sometime :)

For the complete o-geek in us, there's this article on how often and how long you should read your map. And how to analyse this! This is something I've often wondered about, as I feel that compared to the top girls in Europe anyway, I read my map far too much, or rather for too long. If you ever watch a video of the top orienteers in the world, you very rarely catch them more than glancing at their maps. So perhaps the way to go is more looks at the map, but for shorter periods of time. So does it then come down to training your eye speed, and how fast you can take in the map? Have a read of the article anyhow.

And finally, before i stop procrastinating and get back to last minute preperations for the camp, for anyone out there setting exercises and short of ideas. will see you right

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Course of the Year: Jukola, a kiwi perspective

As some of you might have noticed, last week World of O named Jukola this year's course of the year

I was actually lucky enough to be in Finland for Jukola in June, having just run the first round of the Nordic Tour near Helsinki. And I have to admit, it was probably the best course I've run this year, it was definitely my best race in terms of placings anyway! So I've taken the liberty of sharing with all of you my course of the year; leg one of the Venla relay.

With the help of some handy contacts, Todd and I managed to set ourselves up with runs for the South Yorkshire club at Jukola. Which was neat, and meant that we got to wear snazzy tiger pattern tops. It also meant that I got the chance to run 1st leg for their 2nd women's team. Which i didn't mind in the least, I was stoked just to get a run! and in a mass start of 1100 women! eek!

So before I knew it, I was lining up in the biggest mass start I've ever seen (until I watched the Jukola start 7 hours later). Now I honestly don't know what the largest field I'd run in before was, but safe to say it was about 1/10th of the size of this field...and it wasn't a mass start. As South Yorkshire had never had a 2nd women's team before, we were unranked. Meaning that, lucky me, I got to start towards the back of the pack! 961st place to be exact. When the moment came to line up with our maps, all I could see was rows and rows of women in front of me, and a row and a row behind me!

Luckily for me, I was about 3rd from the end of the row. So when the gun went off, I grabbed my map from the line above my head, elbowed my way across to the side (you really do have to sharpen your elbows the night before these events!), and powered down the side of the mass a tiger... yes, i went there.

The actual start triangle was a good 500m from the mass start, which enabled me to pass, well, more people than I've ever passed in a race before. From the triangle we entered the forest proper, and everyone had to kind of form lines to get through the passable bits of bush. I found that to pass the hundreds girls still ahead I had to hop out of line and bush bash my way through, lucky I'm used to NZ bush bashing!

After all the craziness of the start, I messed up the first control, hitting it too high, thinking the girls below me were heading to a different split. Little did I know at that point that there were actually only 2 first controls, so over 500 girls were heading to the same control as me! Number 2 I hit alright, but again, 3 was a mess, and I dropped over a minute.

After that, things calmed down a bit, and I found myself jumping from group to group as I worked my way up the field. By the long leg to 6 I was in a group of about 8 girls about the same pace as me, although I still felt a bit faster. Having said that, I was a little worried when I found myself leading the group to 7, did they realise this was my 4th day ever running in Finland? Would they follow quite so confidently if they knew? And with those thoughts in my head I hesitated and didn't hit 7 as cleanly as I'd have liked.

Turned out that didn't matter so much, as by 8 I was away from the group, I realised later I had a different split but I remember at the time running along and suddenly spotting my control to the right, whilst the others all kept going in a long line. So on to 9, where a familiar back popped out in front of me from the trees. After about 10s I realised it was Maja Alm. Well that's about when I realised I wasn't having such a bad race. And we stayed together until the last couple of controls...when my lack of experience with emit let me down and I couldn't get the freaking thing in the control!

Maja completely dominated me in the finish, but that's alright, as is obvious from the picture, i don't think I could have gone much faster down the chute... It wasn't until after we finished that I realised she was in the top ranked team. Must have been a bit of a sight to see teams 1 and 961 coming down the finish together! In the end I came in 36th, which I was stoked with, somehow I managed to pass 925 girls in the forest?! Not quite sure my 2nd leg runner was so stoked, she wasn't expecting me for a good 20mins!

So all in all a wicked experience, plus I got to watch Jukola proper, the men's race later in the night. (when it started raining and everything turned to mud...) A huge thanks to the south yorkshire crew for letting me run for them. And if you want more Kiwi views on Jukola, Todd O, Chris and Em, and Keith Agmen were also there!.

And finally, for those of you scared of bulls (as a number of us are in NZ, for a good reason), how about this for a last control?!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

World Cup 2011 schedule

As this blog seems to have missed the vast majority of 2010, perhaps its time to look forward towards the 2011 season. The World Cup schedule has been announced in the last few days, including a number of first across the line races, one of which being a knock out sprint. exciting stuff!

full details can be found on the IOF website here

And for the record, I'll try and post a few more things on the blog now that I'm well on the road to recovering from injury, and starting to think about proper training and competitions again!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Fornicator flashing up the rankings

Check out Chris and Em's blog for the latest on the heroic story of the Fornicator vs the world of orienteering.

I couldn't help noticing though that Chris is looking more and more like Dazza 'the flash' Ashmore every time I see a picture...

What lies under these trees?

What exactly does Nationals Sprint 2010 have install for us on the banks of the Clutha?

Monday, 15 February 2010

Training training training!

Very comprehensive resource!

Friday, 5 February 2010

B4 Nu Years

Things have been pretty quiet on here for a while, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been any orienteering going on! For me the last month and a half alone has included coaching on the national junior camp, the B4 Nu years events, the epic inaugral sprint the bays, national/d-squad camp and the jwoc trials. Sprint the Bays is definitely worth a write up, but i've been meaning to write about B4 Nu Years for a while, so here goes and if you're lucky (or unlucky) i'll get round to STB in a month or so!

SO between Christmas and New Years, Orienteering Taranaki hosted 7 events in and around New Plymouth in the B4NY tour. 6 of these were short park-o style events held over three days, culminating in the 7th race, the Turkey Traverse on New Years eve. The traverse connected all of the 6 previous maps in a 21km race from the mountain (almost) to the sea. And I have to say, aside from the curious use of text speak in the name, i thoroughly enjoyed these events!

The first day kicked off with an open course on Brother's Farm. Angela Simpson showed her intentions for the year with an outstanding outright win. 2nd place was Magnus Bengtsson, closely followed by Mark Lawson, who may have been just a bit tired from his mission around Lake Waikaremoana the day before! That afternoon we all moved on to Audrey Gale, where the courses consisted of open park running, seamlessly combined with jungle bush bashing.

The second day of races saw us once again relocate, this time to the magnificent Pukekura Park, home of the festival of the lights. For both races the start and finish were located in perhaps the best setiing for an event centre I have ever seen, with a massive semicircular bank providing seating for a couple of thousand people. Unfortunately for us, the rain was pretty settled in, and there were only 60 odd people at the event, so racers had to instead settle for an audience of a couple of hundred confused ducks. Both races at Pukekura park provided plenty of practice at public dodging, mud sliding and bush bashing. All in all, great fun!

spotted: one confused duck

Unfortunately for me, by the morning of the third day of races, i succombed to the stomach virus that had been eating away at me all week, and finally conceded that racing probably wasnt the best idea for me. (up until then my race technique was to roll out of the car 5mins before my start, and promptly collapse back in bed after finishing). So for the final two days my role was reduced to team photographer, which i thought i did a decent job of!

sarah gray succombs to some surprise photography Mark Lawson on Hoaketanga west

Anyway sob story aside, i can't say much about the 5th race, as i spent the entire time curled up in bed. However i did crawl out in the afternoon to watch and support the crew at Hoeketanga West. Of the 6 short courses, this was definitely the most sprint like, with Karl Dravitzki setting some good courses through the parks and complex building systems. Aside from the courses, the cloud finally cleared for the first time in the week, revealing that there is indeed a mountain in Taranaki!

New Years Eve dawned bright and sunny for the climax of the week, the Turkey Traverse. Having dropped the survivors of our group off at the start, Lisa and I went out to various points on the 20km course to support and photograph. It was great fun, and certainly a new perspective for me to see the race from a spectators view. It was great being able to see the gaps widen and close and positions switch over throughout the race, and then having to hear the full stories later from tired but excited competitors! In short, local boy Karl ran away with the win, with Mark Lawson finishing 8 minutes back. Greg Flyn, Angela Simpson and Magnus Bengtsson were running together for a large part of the course, before some costly mistakes and tiredness after the final map change split the trio up. Greg finishing 3rd followed by Magnus and Angela. An amazing race especially considering she is still a junior! full results can be found here

Magnus traversing like a turkey Tessa Ramsden traversing it up

With the main race over, all that remained to be done was to see in the New Year, or in my case collapse back in to bed and sleep of a stomach virus!

All in all, despite the sickness i thoroughly enjoyed the week. It was great fun to have a series of reasonably low key, social events which were very well organised and run by Orienteering Taranaki. A huge thanks to them, and also to Sarah Tessa Lisa and Magnus, for putting up with me all week. cheers guys!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

2009 (unoffical) Rankings

The 2009 'unoffical' Rankings have been completed, link here At the top there are 3 sheets, the type sheets have been split into Long,Middle and Sprint, with differences from each