This past weekend I travelled to Edinburgh for the Edinburgh University Orienteering Club’s Big Weekend – a weekend of orienteering and a Burn’s night celebration.
On Friday we travelled up by plane. Again I found departing from a small airport, Bournemouth this time, to be a much nicer experience than going from Heathrow or Gatwick. From the airport we used the bus service to get to the city centre where we dropped our bags and had some lunch – filling up on pasta. I then spent the afternoon, with mum, walking around the centre. The evening was spent in the hotel, being lazy – I’d got a few books to keep me occupied.
The morning was spent being lazy in the hotel – eating some food and reading a book. Then a bus and a walk got us to the event centre – the Commonwealth Swimming Pool. I took some time to prepare for the race and particularly took note of the finish, as some early competitors mentioned having problems in the last part of the course.
My run was fairly good and I generally picked good routes.
To the first control I was distracted by another competitor and lost a few seconds making sure I was going in the right direction. Then I ran out of the control in the wrong direction and went straight down a dead end – losing about 45 seconds having to backtrack. At number six I misread the map and ended up looking for the control on the wrong wall. I lost about 40 seconds trying to work out where I had gone wrong! For the next section of controls I ran strongly, but I guess I had started too quickly. From controls 14 to 23 my pace dropped a bit and I lost around two minutes on running speed.
Combined that only leaves me about fifteen minutes behind Scott Fraser who won with an impressive run. I would estimate that I ran close to 10km, with a reasonable amount of climb. My legs were not up to full speed yet, though they felt reasonable.
Having finished at the pool we had about three hours to use up before the evening entertainment started. We could have gone back to the hotel, but would have spent most of the time travelling. So, instead, we found a restaurant to eat dinner in and they were perfectly happy to let us take two hours for our meal.
From there it was on to the ceilidh. I did only a little dancing – though it seems that this actually left my legs feeling better than they had been at the start of the evening. There were also some Burn’s night related activities – involving haggis and bag pipes.
It was tough getting up on Sunday morning – a morning in bed would have been appreciated. However, it was off to Holyrood for some more orienteering. I had already decided to avoid the two longest course – the brown had two maps and 750m climb in the 8km course! It was a very good choice on my part, as a lot of people looked very tired on finishing.
Waiting to start it was very windy and the event officials were doing a good job. I started well and mainly had a good run, though I did not go at full pace. My route was reasonable. I lost a couple of minutes at control 10, due to losing concentration, going a fair way off course, only noticing when the lake that should have been in the distance on my left was, instead, on my right. It is evident from the splits that I need to practise running downhill – I lost about 45 seconds on control 16, which was mainly coming off the hill.
Judging by my run overall it is quite clear that I do not do enough training on hills! That will be worked on before I go to Switzerland this summer.
After the orienteering it was off to the nearby cafe for some food and I spent most of the rest of the afternoon there. Then it was time to leave.
It was really good to get away for the weekend. The orienteering was good and the chance to relax for a long weekend away was appreciated.