Orienteering race (London City Race) 38:38  *** 7.3 km (5:18 / km)
21c shoes: Asics Noosa Tri
London City Race - DNF :-(. had been looking forward to this race all year. It is a race that I have always really enjoyed and have generally done reasonably well in. Preparations for this year's race have been a bit disrupted with the injury from the O'Ringen event hampering training, coupled with a busy travel schedule for work that had me in Rio and Beijing in the space of 5 days. I managed to run in both cities, but never really felt on top of things, physically. Also had an early start with a 5.15am alarm clock to make it to the Gare du Nord in time for the 7.13 Eurostar to London.
But, still, looking forward to the race as it was in the Barbican and I feel I have a good handle on how to read the different levels by now. Had the second start of the day in the Super Veterans class (H55-H60) and started well enough. Was 10th after the first control and was moving okay. Nothing too challenging at the next few controls, spotting the potential trap at #2 and threading through the alleys to #3. Was in 14th place at #4 and moving okay, well within touch of the top 10. Had a slight problem on the way to #5 with an unmarked road closure and had to backtrack about 50m and take a longer route, but everyone else suffered the same so no real drama. Then took a silly route through the grounds of St Paul's Cathedral when I should have gone around either left or right.
Although I was only 15 minutes into the race, I really started to tire now and had trouble maintaining a decent pace. This showed in the splits where I started to bleed time on each control, dropping down to 19th/20th place. I had a few hesitations around #10-11 as I was headed back into the Barbican and the multi-level maze that awaited. Had to wait for quite a bit of traffic crossing the road to get into the stairwell and up to #12. Around and down to # 13 - all good - still not moving particularly quickly but no problem with the navigation.
Then it happened. For some unknown reason, undoubtedly due to tiredness and lack of concentration, I went straight from #13 to #17, completely missing the loop of #14-16 that took us elsewhere in the Barbican. Then on to #18 and thence to the finish, pushing hard as I thought I had done a reasonable time (in fact I did okay in the last part of the race, coming in 15th, 12th, 8th over the last few legs!). Was informed of the DNF at the download and immediately knew what I had done. Really quite cranky at myself because I recall having had a look at the last part of the course earlier in the race during a long road run and thinking that it looked pretty easy. But had a lapse in concentration and paid the price.
So that was a waste of time, effort and money >:(. This was compounded by the email that was waiting for me at the finish saying that the meeting in Beijing on Monday, for which I was about to head to Heathrow to board a flight, had been cancelled so I didn't need to go. Was able to get in touch with the travel team and get the flights and hotel cancelled but still had to get a ticket on the train back to Paris. Thanks to the power of the internet was able to do the booking in just a few minutes. Then spent a pleasant afternoon working out my orienteering frustrations by indulging in some retail therapy and hitting the shops in London before catching the train at 5.30pm. Only downside was dragging around the luggage that had been packed for Beijing - this was quite heavy as it included a large number of publications for distribution at the meeting. But nice to have avoided the long flight and glad I found out before I got to the airport or, worse, was on the plane ...