Shotover Orienteering

A return to Shotover today for a go at TVOC’s orienteering event. Last week’s attempt at the light green course at Kings Wood near High Wycombe was pretty rubbish with me managing to take 1:44:47, a good 20 minutes longer than anyone else on the course, and still get disqualified for missing a point. The 10km Watlington XC Hill Race the day after had also been a bit pathetic with me managing to take 6 minutes longer than last year, good fun as ever though. Not to be put off I entered the slightly harder green for today – being as I know Shotover pretty well I expected to have a bit of an advantage.

Kings Wood Dec 2014

My somewhat convoluted attempt at Kings Wood the previous week

Both shoulder and neck have decided to ache the last few days after a long period of hardly any pain so I ate a couple of ibuprofen and cycled to the BMW plant car park for the start minus Jane who had got up late and, doing the orange course, wasn’t tied to a start time. She did turn up and had a good go at the orange.

I got my emit and jogged to the start in Brasenose Meadow with another chap – we lost sight of the white & red tape on the way and for a moment I thought I might have overshot and got us lost before we’d even begun but fortunately not.

Confident I was setting off the right direction for a change I ran the tarmac track then stumbled through the undergrowth to find the first control good and quick and the 2nd was pretty easy too. I couldn’t picture the little pond number 3 was marked next to but found it soon enough, 4 was a bit trickier as the map has just 5 tree stumps marked on it whereas reality revealed more like 25!

Joined The Ridings then up a very muddy path and a hunt round in the wooded valley on my left to find 5 then up to the field at the top for 6, I walked most of the climb which is odd really as if I’d have been just out for a run I’d have run up. 7 was a bit of a distance away so I took a track I knew easy to follow then diverted down and followed a muddy stream to find it. Wet feet! 8 wasn’t hard and again I took a slightly longer but easier to follow track right across to the BMX bumps by Blenhiem Drive then descended to find 9 almost at the edge of Horspath village.

10 shouldn’t have been hard – I followed my nose to the bridleway downhill then a short way down a right turn almost double back and then it should be in the open land on the left. It wasn’t obvious though and I couldn’t quite get the map to match the reality. A bit uphill in the bracken a few more orienteers could be seen so I headed up to the bracken patch they were trampling and found a control in a dip – even as I bipped it I knew it wasn’t mine, I was after 113 and this was 137.

I decided to follow back 50m or so and relocate at the path junction. A young lady came and asked which I was looking for and, politeness pushing intent aside, I said 113 and she pointed me to the edge of a brambly clump I was heading for anyway – I’d have found it there without her well meant intervention but wish I’d had the speed of wits to say ‘don’t tell me where it is!’.

So karma got me back on number 11 when I mistook my path for a parallel one and then didn’t trust my map skills enough to follow the path to get me back on course as it went briefly up when I wanted down. A stop and reassess sent me back up and down it and a chap clambering out of what I though to be the stream gave me a clue as to where they’d hidden it.

Shotover Green Dec 2014

My Shotover gps track looks a bit more purposeful than Kings Wood (the bit of scribbling at mile 3 was my hunt for point 9)

Local knowledge really helped me out for the last 2 controls – I was able to picture just where they should be and enjoy a generally downhill then muddy run to the finish. So number 9 had taken me over 12 minutes, number 11 over nine minutes then less than 7 minutes to get 12, 13 and 500 metres to the finish :)

1:11:27 finishing 37th of 51 was good enough for me and a bit of a boost after last weekends flop!

 

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Eynsham 10km 2014

I did a bit of training for the Eynsham 10k determined to start getting a bit faster again. A couple of interval sessions and reasonably consistently running sub 9 minute miles on my routine runs I thought I could sneak in under 50 minutes.

Last day of November I cycled out as usual, getting there a bit too early but not wanting to hang about in a hall full of runners, I was one of the first to the start on the dead-end Old Witney Road. Bit of a warm-up and a chat with familiar faces then we were off.

Maybe a bit over eager for the first lap I was getting all my miles under 8 minutes but struggling a bit on the 2nd lap I was a bit slower but confident of hitting my target unless something went badly wrong.

Nik Eynsham 10k 2014

Thanks Barry Cornelius for the photo!

The result was 49:35 341st of 568 so happy with that.

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Headington 5, Oxford Half etc

Oh dear I don’t seem to have posted anything here for ages! I have managed a couple of races over the last few weeks and we’ve done a bit more orienteering.

The Headington 5 on 31st August was a full five miles this year and good fun, met up with Maria, Barbara from VRUK and her husband Marco from VC&AC. I managed 42:26 which counts as a fair effort at the moment. Last Sunday I ran the Oxford Half finishing in 1:55:56 2078th of 4461 which I was happy with. The new route, bands along the way and a send off from Sir Rodger Banister all made for a good day.

We returned to Wendover Woods for Saturday Series orienteering 13th September and I managed 8th of 16 56:56 so a lot better than my last event there. Felt I did ok but obviously out of my league at my first go at street orienteering in Didcot on 25th August, 50th of 55 starters and 51 finishers – good fun though :)

Meanwhile I’ve pulled out all the stops to get this blooming frozen shoulder behind me. I’ve been having private treatment from a NAT specialist for a while now and have seen the first signs of improved range of movement. I’ve also been seeing an NHS physio (after a 7 week wait) who has been setting me some challenging stretch routines which are also helping. I’ve seen an occupational health doctor from work so they know I’m not exaggerating the condition. I have tried to made it clear to the boss that I don’t intend to crawl about on the floor, over-reach or twist myself into contortions as a regular part of my job any more. I’m beginning to hope I’ll be back to normal by early next year though every little twinge in my good shoulder has me worrying that one might be next!

Nik Windle Oxford Half

Oxford Half – photo by Barry Cornelius

Nik at Headington 5

Headington 5 – photo by Barry Cornelius

 

 

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Wycome Abbey and Cortisone Flop

Jane and I were glad to see the return of the TVOC Saturday Series events at Wycombe Abbey last weekend. We had been spending a few days in Pembrookshire again at Susie’s vegan B&B which had been very relaxing and worth the trip despite our hoped for trip to see dolphins with the Sea Trust being cancelled due to poor conditions. I’d not been running while away so orienteering would be an excuse for a leg stretch and a chance to find out if I remembered any of the vague technique I’d been trying to develop.

Jane went for orange and me for light green as usual. This event being in the confines of what was now the grounds of a girl’s school I was proved right in expecting a lot of controls but little chance of getting properly lost. It wasn’t ‘easy’ though like the University Parks one I’d been initiated with – a lot of effort seemed to have been put into hiding the controls just out of sight!

I made sure to orient the map to compass before running off and had the first 4 controls under my belt in under 5 minutes. We had been told the loos were by the tennis courts and I took a diversion from the next leg during which I failed to find them, finding a locked wrong building instead, and eventually opted for a bush. I then headed for control 5 only to find myself on an unexpected (it was mapped differently to the other tarmac paths and roads) road with a locked gate and fence in front of me and had to retrace a bit and relocate. So #5 took me nearly 15 minutes but I didn’t let this throw me.

Jane and I had walked one of the Shotover permanent courses a bit back and used it to try and get some practice with counting paces – I estimated that roughly 100 paces was 100 metres running for me. This proved useful for knowing if I’d overshot. The rest of the course went reasonably smoothly and I was happy to complete all 19 controls in 58:17 which turned out to be 13th of 21 starters/17 finishers (4 runners having missed a control).

Wycombe Abbey dibbing TVOC 2014So what about the cortisone? Well this morning I went to the Nuffield Orthopaedic centre so they could do ultrasound on my blooming shoulder with a view to injecting cortisone. The doctor who scanned it said I had a ‘thickened’ (swollen) bursa but no sign of tendon damage. He was reluctant to inject cortisone – he thought my GP should do it but I pointed out that my GP had asked that it was done with the ultrasound so it could be aimed at the right place. So the doctor said fine he’d do it and started getting the injection ready. I felt a bit queasy and mentioned I wasn’t too good with injections so he suggested I move to the bed where he could do it lying down.

Next thing I knew I woke up and realised that I wasn’t in bed and was in fact lying on the hospital floor with a sore shoulder and 4 medical faces peering down at me one of whom was propping my legs up on the bed – I’d fainted! So no jab and a very embarrassed me left under the supervision of a nurse for 15 minutes till they decided I was ok to cycle home. They were all very kind and reassuring with the doctor telling me it happens 2 or 3 times most days but usually after the injection not before!

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Jericho & Thame 10ks

It’s been a bit of a job keeping the Vegan Runners UK blog up to date what with lots of activity and photos from facebook – it’s all very positive and inspiring but I’m less inclined to keep this blog up to date.Nik and Maria Abingdon parkrun

Anyway two recent races and my slowest ever parkrun for the record. Good fun at the Run Jericho 10k on 22nd June which was too hot to push even if I’d been able. I started right at the back – because I’d got the wrong start time in my head and was still pottering about when I should have been ready to go – worked my way up the field enjoying a cup of water over my head at the halfway point. Finished in 58:13 169/333.Nik Windle Run Jericho 10k 2014

Thame 10k 2014

Maria, Celine and me after the Thame 10k

The Thame 10k on 29th June was warm but not as hot as some years. Made a bit of an effort and managed 51:28 386/782, fastest 10k this year but still rubbish.

My shoulder is still as stuck and achy as it was at the start of the year and is not easy to live with, I think the recent heat and humidity aggravates it. So work is difficult and I’ve asked them to start making some allowances; repetitive stuff like hoeing upsets it so Jane is stuck with the allotment for the 2nd year; I’m not comfortable on the bike so max 10 miles and my running just gets slower as I can’t push myself much without upsetting it. I’ve been back to the doctor and will be having Xray, ultrasound and maybe a cortisone injection.

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