British Middle Champs
I went into the race reminding myself that the map was really tricky and to focus on the map. I knew the shape was good and I didn't think I'd have to worry about the running too much. I'd done various o trainings with mixed success, so I wouldn't say I was 100% confident in my technique, but I was pretty confident that I could turn it on when it mattered mostly by concentrating more.
Started reasonably well, cruising through the first, planning ahead nicely, and doing similar on 2. I had my route planned for 3, it was clearly tricky, and I tried to remind myself to take my time in. I kept good contact to about halfway, and knew roughly where I was for the 2nd half, but not exactly. Ended up in a parallel re-entrant, over-shooting, and coming back in from the path (90sec). I took my time on #4 to get back into it and made a safe plan for #5. I ran up the hill out of 4, and turned right when it felt like enough climb, but didn't confirm my exact location again. I climbed into the circle, but didn't know whether it should be higher or lower, and guessed from some map-reading that it might be lower. Faffed around here, before eventually climbing further up to find it (2'30).
That was a bad mistake, and I knew I'd lost the guts of 4mins by now. What a wretched start. Still, I knew the area was very tricky, so I put it behind me and told myself others would have similar issues.
I chose a nice line toward the track and navigated nicely into #6. Took my time, but pretty fluid through #7 & #8, and then a little scrappy entering 9, but not a major issue, so no complaints. #10 was easy, and then followed the wall to #11. Nice, this was a good stint done and my confidence was back.
I'd planned similar routes to #12 in geeking, so went up and along the path touching the rough open. From the top I climbed a little further to hit the lake as my attackpoint, and then descended across the re-entrant towards the control. I saw a control on a crag which I knew wasn't mine, and debated my position, I couldn't really remember crossing the wall, or how recently, so I thought the control might be lower. I dropped a good 50m height into another charcoal burning pit, and then realised my error. I had to climb the whole way back up. I had been right there, but just hadn't taken enough time from the lake to be sure. Killer (3'30).
Despite recovering well earlier, this one hurt a little more, I kept going because I knew every minute may matter, but struggled to muster the same drive or focus. I ambled through #13 - #16 mostly quite cleanly, and not too slow, but just losing little scrappy seconds compared to earlier's fluidity. On #17 I lost concentration and while I was actually on the right compass line, I hadn't been checking and panicked a little, heading up higher to check my location. Found myself, but dropped 1min. I rushed off to #18 and dropped to low to the crag below and had to climb back up around (30sec). I pulled myself together and was pretty clean home, but it didn't matter too much. It was a shocker overall. On just my more major mistakes it totalled up to 9mins or so, and there were plenty of smaller issues to be ironed out too.
The 3 bigger mistakes are the more frustrating as the last few were a bit the result of earlier issues and me letting my head drop. Each of those mistakes stemmed from a position of me doubting my exact location and choosing to carry on with my rough plan instead of taking a little time to confirm things. There are actually plenty of positives, I was really fluid through some tricky stuff and that showed in the splits #6 - #9. Even while feeling a little cautious, the running was mostly taking care of itself quite well. But ultimately it boils down to 3 poor decisions where I decided to risk it and didn't get away with it. It is all well and good focusing on the navigation, but it only counts if it is constant. Anyway, a lot taken away from this one, and I would be very keen for a similar middle distance race soon if there was the opportunity, but I don't think there is.
Comparing to Irish middle selection race results, it's hard to know what to make of it. I feel maybe a little unfortunate that I didn't get to race in the same race as the others, because I think I would have performed quite well in Ballyward, and even this performance may here may have been enough given the technical nature of it - however how it compares on paper, I do not know!Routegadget