Last hard day until the hardest of all days

What a weekend!

Coming home from work on Friday I had it all planned out. A little jog that evening, the following day was going to be a big one with Untamed Adventure/Spiffing Ales Orienteering event being organised by Grant Killian near Uetikon am See, then I had a kayaking session planned for Sunday, a good excuse to let the legs recover. I had a great week, you can see what it was like here and on Thursday night I met my new coach, Markus Köhl for the first time, we get along well and I feel he will be really great for preparing me for the Ironman. I went to a swim training session with the Free Radicals triathlon club and met some nice people there too. I have a long way to go yet but Im confident I will eventually get there.  Ive also been completely inspired by Chrissie Wellington, the story of her climb to success is awesome!

First things first and thats Abu Dhabi on the horizon!

Friday evening`s run went really well, a little too well perhaps as I charged around Uetliberg, eventually convincing myself that I may as well “go for it” as there was no harm in having one good strong last weekend before a two week taper in the lead up to Abu Dhabi. I have been having a great time listening to podcasts from IM Talk these guys are so funny I have been getting strange looks from people while Im out running and nearly have to stop Im in tears laughing at what Im listening to.

Uetikon am See – Untamed Adventure – Spiffing Ales

ORIENTEERING

The following morning I got up relatively early, got my bike ready and headed out the door to the erm Post office en route to Uetikon am See and the Spiffing Ales Brewery, what a great idea to hold an event from a British ex-Pat brewery! I figured it would take me about 90 mins to get there on the mountain bike. What I didnt calculate was actually biking past Uetikon am See and up the hill behind it. It wasnt until I reached the top that I realised that the village below was Uetikon and I had gone too far, riding my legs in an unecessary uphill slog with a backpack full of gear. The trip also took me closer to 2 hours! But as on Friday night I reassured myself that it was a good thing I was going the extra mile (or 6, as it were)

Finally arrived at the brewery, passing a couple of guys running with maps along the way. There were plenty of people about and a group of runners marking maps with multi coloured pens indoors. I joined them, pretending to know what I was doing and releived at least, that we werent given just a set of coordinates to map like in Adventure Races. This was easy peasy – draw the red line along the apparently best way to get from ct (control) to ct. There were a few interesting elements thrown in to confuse us too. We had a general area map and 3 extra 1:15,000 scale maps to help us with more detail and micro navigation. There was also a nice hidden map which consisted of blank rectangle on the main map, copied in a larger scale to a blank A4 paper with only 4 small peep hole squares of exactly where the cts were located, so you had to guess the orientation of the micro map and what was actually underneath the white.

SO. I began to look around for someone to follow or run with. Thankfully all the super competitive guys had already left so I hadnt made the mistake of teaming up with one of them and having my legs run off all day for fear of being left behind or getting lost.

I saw another friendly face, Ben Prior and asked him if he would mind running together with me. He was very open to the idea as it was his first event ever of this kind and as it turns out we had an awesome run together. We went at a similiar pace, not beasting outselves and basically just enjoying the day and being out there having fun. Our navigation turned out to be spot on also. We only missed a couple of cts (one of the more difficult ones worth 40pts from the experimental photocopied/blank micro map) and the rest of them, we hit bang on. I was so happy with that and it gave me so much confidence with regards to my navigational skills.

We came in after nearly 4 hours and 26 km out on the course. Happy to be finished and also happy with our decision not to stretch ourselves to the outer controls which would have added on another 15 km to our route. We collected 38pts, far off the impressive 770 of the winner, Swedish adventure racer Staffan but nevertheless a good result for two rookies. The ale was also fabulous, I really enjoyed a glass of it after the run and the pizza was tastier than ever.

SUNDAY – SABBATH – REST?

Sunday was a write off however, I had great intentions of getting up early, meeting friends from brunch and setting of to Rushlikon to head for a kayak session. I barely made it to the brunch as I was late leavign the house and got stopped by police on the train as I had forgotten my half fare card. So it took them 20 minutes of intimidating form filling before they left me go free, brunch was nice, but by then I was really tired and just wanted to take a nap. I even bought the train ticket to Rushlikon but opted out at the last minute. I returned home and went for an easy 2 hour hike instead in the woods. I was happy with that decision as it is getting dark pretty early now and it also started pouring rain and Im not sure how happy I would have been in my tired post orienteering state, out on the lake!

So this week it gets easier. I went for a swim this morning before work in Oerlikon, that was really nice. I think I am getting the hang of this swimming lark. Tonight perhaps a quick 30 min run around and some conditioning and tomorrow the same again. I have a gear list to cross check, although it appears as though I have nearly everything already.

Im nervous! But excited at the same time!

I came across this interesting solution from checkpointzero for not getting sand in their shoes in the desert.

But dont you think that after 5 hours your feet might be over heating?

Team Checkpoint Zeros Sand Gaitor Solution

I think Ill stick with my Raidlight sand gaitors!



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