Orienteering 4:24:22  28.0 km (9:27 / km) +1539m 7:24 / km
ahr:150 max:178 shoes: inov8 x-talon 212
Mournes Day 1
No Mark this year due to injuries but fortunately got jonnyq in to step up. We got a few good long runs in with packs over the last few weeks so was feeling pretty confident going in that we could give it a good challenge.
We got the kit out and gear came in at around 5.3kg which seemed solid, jonny's a tad lighter. I actually lost one of my freeze-dried dinners and a cup-a-soup on the way to the race (not sure how), so maybe a little lighter, but I also took this as a good thing since I usually have too much food, so it didn't worry me.
Knew Phil & Paul would likely be the strongest team, but they were an hour earlier so a little irrelevant, but with Conall & Oisin 16mins before us, and Conor & James 8mins behind us, we planned to go out pretty hard. This worked fairly well. Marked in a couple, and moved alright to 2, I marked in the first cluster while Jonny navigated in, and nailed it. And suddenly we could see Conall & Oisin 2mins or so ahead, ideal.
We didn't rush to catch them, planned ahead a bit and kept it controlled through 3 & 4, but I caught up with them while punching and we moved ahead starting the cluster, picking Corragh first. We swapped a bit and stayed together for a while. We chose to go back out to the Brandy Pad from Lamagan round the annalong valley, and got a bit ahead for a while, but refilling water and having gels the guys caught up again. We'd generally been moving fairly well, though a little stop-start here and there. I was conscious not too push too hard because Jonny had said the pace was fast but he was still going strong, I just wanted to make sure we didn't overcook it.
I liked the line into this control after the cluster from the Brandy Pad, but the other route got quicker times from the boys. We were pretty clean through the control pick section and got away from the others, though spent a bit of time checking the location of the hut because jonny had marked a different one.
Was happy with the next cluster route to the Col first, we didn't fly up, but we moved better to the one after. I reckoned the right option around North Tor was better, but this was a mistake really, much rougher terrain coming in and some ankle issues in there for Jonny started to impact the speed. Shame, because Jonny had suggested the other line. We originally planned on contouring around to the next one, but with his ankle struggling on the slopes, we climbed over the col between Tors and headed onwards. Mostly pretty clean from here, but we did run past the last control and lose 90secs which was pretty stupid.
Overall was pretty happy with day 1, we could have been a bit quicker, but knew we'd done a solid job. I was fairly surprised when I heard Paul & Phil had run in the 3:30s, bloody ridiculous running. There was definitely more time to be had out there for us, but we wouldn't have been looking at near that. As more results filtered it turned out we were 5th, which was also surprised with. I've had much worse days in the Mournes and come back 2nd. Especially impressive was the mixed team of Shane & Karalee ahead of us.
Set our sights on a podium as 3rd were still only 5mins ahead, but with the real racing a little over as we'd never be catching the other 2, I gratefully accepted a couple of Guinness from Mark who had rocked up in his van.
A lovely evening and a nice campsite. Better sleep than last year, but it was cold and the tent still being rather small does have a tendency to soak up a bit of condensation.