Thursday, 2 August 2012

O goodness - it's been a while

On Sunday morning I ran in my first orienteering event in a while. My club, Adventure Racing Club, were the event organisers and I was tasked with setting up registration and the finish area and then being a start official. When we (poor mom was roped into help with registration) arrived at Hennops at 07h00 my car read the temperature as -2C! By the time I got to run at 10h30 it was short-sleeve weather.

After the run when we were packing up Cobus says to me, "How did you find orienteering?". Looking puzzled he adds, "It's been a while". Indeed. I can't really remember which O event was my last one. Anyhoo...

I ran the Brown course  the longest and most technical course. The terrain out at Hennops is typical highveld with rocks and grass and rough areas with scattered trees. Some of the property has burned recently, which was really nice because I could run without tripping over rocks -  a problem when rocks are hidden by long, dry grasses. I was surprised to see that there were so few people on the Brown course, especially as this was our annual 'Long O' event. Only about six of us and me as the only girl. I was the last starter of the day.

This course had a good mix of the things I like: long and short legs mixed together, direction changes, controls not visible on approach (you've got to be on top of them to see them), a bonus control or two that were visible on approach and some runnable terrain.

Control #1 boo-boo
I set off from the start and messed up my first control! The control description said the control flag would be placed at the base of a cliff. I looked at my map, took a bearing and looked toward a big rock feature where the control was located. It looked too big for what was represented on the map. I thought that it couldn't possibly be correct. I deviated towards the cliffs marked on the map and thought that one of the nearby rocky features was more of an option for the control location. Keep in mind that I could see the big rocky feature the whole time but had, for some or other reason, totally dismissed it for being too big a feature. I got myself back to the rocky ground and then decided to give the big feature a try, walking straight on to the control. Doh! That was a silly seven-odd minutes. Should have taken me less than three. Anyhooo...

From #11 to #12
Zig zagging from #11 and into the valley was a 4x4 track that wasn't on the map. I took it for a bit (easier than running over grass and rocks) and then cut across the dry river and up the other side where the 4x4 track continued on to the spur.

As I'd followed the road for a bit I thought that I'd popped out on to the spur too much to the North but in fact I was actually just below the control. I followed the track and turned North off it before realising that there were powerlines ahead (not on the map) and that I was maybe too far down the spur. I turned around and saw the control.

That was really it for navigation bloopses. I was pretty chuffed having been out of it for a few months and even longer if I look back on when my last colour-coded run was... I took the course easy, running where I could, but paying attention to the map and the features - getting my eye back in to it.

ANOTHER ONE? From #3 to #5?
I wrote the first part of this blog and then drew my track in on the map and guess what I found? I seem to think that I went straight from #3 to #5, missing #4. I have absolutely no recollection of Control #4. I'm sure I just didn't see it on the map (the way I had my map folded?) and instead went directly to #5!

There should be an alert on the results when my EMIT card is checked in - I've just sent a note to the organisers to check because I really don't remember Control #4, and I'm usually good at post-O route recall. (I left my map on the table at the event so Garry emailed me the jpeg today so I could draw in my track - and I remember everything else except #4!). Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! This is a first. I've done loads of stupid things over the years but I've never completely skipped a control. (Tania, on reading this, will have a flash back to Control 9 or 10 at Harrismith a few years back!)

UPDATE: Stijn submitted a comment below to say that the map I received from Garry was the pre-final version and that #4 was removed from the final course. Phew! So, indeed, I run correctly.

I'm missing out on the rogaine this weekend (probably a good thing considering the above!) as I'm running the Njoge 45km trail run in the Eshowe area.

Next O is at Mohale's North (GREAT AREA!) on Sun, 19 August.

UPDATE: O event is at Pelindaba now, not Mohale's. Still a great area. Wear leg protection. Grasses and dry bushes are scratchy around this time of year. Event Sheet is >>> here.


Stijn said...

No worries Lisa - Garry sent you an old version of the course. Number 4 on that map was removed before the race :-)

Glad you enjoyed it!

Arno said...

It was our first orienteering race at Hennops. We enjoyed it very much! We actully tried it out for preparation for a Kinetic Full Moon. We underestimated the difficulty of orienteering but we are hooked on it now and will attend more orienteering events in the future!