Friday, January 15, 2010

2. Redleap Reserve - Mill Park

After a week recovering from calf soreness from my debut run, I headed out to Mill Park. Another warmish evening made for comfortable running conditions. After last week’s mid-season’s novelty event, this was the first of the second series of events for the summer.

I’ve decided to run the C-course for the remainder of the season. In these normal events, that means we don’t have a time limit, but need to find a certain number of controls The winners being the first ones home. There are still 20 controls on the course so we have the choice of which ones to go for. So deciding the best route is paramount. In this instance, we had to find 12 of the controls.

Those running course B & A need to find progressively more controls. A total of about 75 competitors took to the course in the end.

Based on the blank map at the start line, I’d already decided I would end the course around the south-east corner of the map and so I could determine the best route as I exited the car park running west from the start line. A difference in this map as opposed to most future events was the absence of control descriptions and also control numbers (apart from a handful). The lack of description was not an issue, but having no numbers made it harder to keep track of the next few controls by remembering the numbers whilst also not knowing what number control I was approaching. It also posed one other problem I will explain later.

It’s also made it difficult to explain my route, so I’ve labelled the unknown controls with letters to help the explanation. As last week, I’ve marked the controls I visited in red.

As I did my initial count I worked out the best controls to get were all those east of the linear reserve where we see controls A – B – 18. As I could see these were the first three obvious controls I waited to decide the rest of the route, preferring to take it in manageable chunks. As it is, I still continued up the path a few metres after A, after immediately forgetting I wasn’t heading anywhere west of this point. By this point, I’d already discovered I hadn’t fully recovered from last week’s run and my calves were in constant pain. My lungs weren’t burning as they were last week, but I didn’t know how much I’d be able to run. As it turns out, I managed to run most of the way with a number of breaks to walk, usually as I approached a control.

After getting #18, I worked out a loop for the next section. The number of dead-end courts made it difficult to cross from one control to the other. And control D was well out of the way. It took a while, but I completed the loop ending with F before working out the plan of attack for the remainder of controls. I was still under the belief I had to reach all controls in the south-west corner to reach the quota.

As I headed out past G and down the path adjacent to Plenty Road, I counted again and found I already had 9 controls. So I’d miscounted and only needed 3 of the remaining 4 planned controls. Which would’ve been nice to know before heading to this out-of-the way control or even before the long trek earlier out to D. That loop meant an extra 700 metres running. At my pace, that’s about 5 minutes.

However, control K ended up being #6. As I went to punch the card, I noticed I’d already done it. I must have punched #9 in the wrong spot. But there was no way of knowing which one that was. I punched this one just below the correct square., but didn’t know whether the scorers would mark the additional one so I decided to get the last 3 anyway.

I picked up the pace after I found the last control on my route. As it turns out, I probably didn’t need all those last ones as the incorrect punch was circled and pointed to the #9 box anyway. So I did an extra control with a couple of bad mistakes along the way.

Again, it would good to compare notes with other runners after the event, and verbalise the good and bad points of my own route. I ran 6.65km in 48 minutes. A speed of 8km/h.

Results are up quite quickly this week. I finished 7th out of 11 running the C-course. The first 2 were about 10 minutes ahead of me. With some better concentration, I could’ve halved that lead while coming in 1 place better, but I’ll need a lot of improvement if I’m going to win one race this season.

Next week, it’s off to Doncaster East for a course that doesn’t seem to include a reserve of any note at all.

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