Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Great nature adventures on the South Island of New Zealand

After Sprint the Bay I continued my stay in New Zealand with spending the last nine days on the South Island. I had not planed exactly how I should get there, but the Austrian runners Erik Nilsson-Simkovics and Gernot Kerschbaumer, and their Swedish friend Christian Arnesson, had a free seat in their car, so I decided to join them. Friday we drove from Napier to Wellington, took the ferry to Picton, and continued to Nelson.

Saturday morning we headed one hour north to the Able Tasman National Park, where we where kayaking for some hours, before we had a long run on some great tracks with a scenic view. The Able Tasman was a great place, and I would have liked to spend more days there.

Sunday we continued to the west coast, where we visited Westport, before we ran the Inland Pack Track in Paparoa National Park. After the run we had a look at the Panakaki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes before we continued to Greymouth.

Monday we headed east to Arthur’s Pass, where we did a tramp up to Avalance Peak, with a panoramic view. It was steep, and we were climbing 1100 meters in one hour.

From Arthur’s Pass we continued to Flock Hill, where we ran an orienteering course in an amazing terrain with a lot of stone details on a hill with open grass areas.

After the orienteering we discovered a 500 m long cave stream. It was possible to walk through the cave upstream. We had to walk with cold water up to our breast, and it was also quite narrow some places, but a great experience. After a along and though day we arrived late to Christchurch, where we stayed at the place of my former team mates from Wing OK Chris Forne and Emily Wall, who lived in Trondheim 2009 – 2011.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent in Christchurch. It’s not the most touristic city, but we where visiting the Casino, a museum and a botanical garden. The damages from the earthquake in 2011 were bigger then I had expected, and big parts of the city centre were still totally closed.

We did of course also two trainings a day, even if we were tired after the first days with a lot of travelling and different activities. We ran orienteering in the coastal terrain Woodend Beach and sprint training on a small but challenging school area called Van Asch, in addition to some easy runs up to a hill with a great view over Christchurch.

Gernot and Christian travelled home from Christchurch, and Thursday Erik and I continued north to Kaikoura, where we ran parts of the Kaikoura Great Walk. Unfortunately the weather was not too nice, and the view was either not as amazing as we had been reading in advance.

Friday we continued north for participation in the New Zealand South Island Champs arranged in the weekend. On the way north we stopped and ran the Sawcut Gorge Route. Sawcut Gorge is chasm that is 150 m deep, but in places only 2 meter wide.

The Sprint Friday evening was held in Blenheim. The course was quite easy, and I won the race after a performance without mistakes.

The Middle and Long distance was held from St Arnaud in Nelson Lakes National Park. The terrain was very special, with a mix of native forest and open areas. The green was very thick and with low visibility, so you could pass a control with only a few meters without seeing the flag.

In the Middle distance I lost more than 5 min to the 4th control, but was quite satisfied with the rest of the course even if I lost up to 1 min several places. My result was a 3rd place, 5 min behind Chris Forne. I think this is the first time I have used more then 1 hour for a middle distance.

In the Long distance I avoided any huge mistakes, but lost 1 – 2 min several places, especially in the beginning if the course. My result was a 2nd place, this time 6 min behind Chris Forne. (From the 8th control to the finish I had the same time as Chris.)

After the race I went directly to Auckand, and Monday morning I continued my travel home. I had almost one day stopover in Hong Kong and will arrive to Trondheim tonight.

The South Island was a great place, even if I also liked the North Island very much, and I would like to stay there even longer next time I come to New Zealand. I would also like to thank my travel mates and all Kiwi orienteer’s that helped us during the trip.

I have uploaded a lot of pictures from the South Island, showing some great nature adventures. I will hopefully soon also have time to update my picture gallery from the North Island.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sprint the Bay in New Zealand

The last days I have participated in Sprint the Bay, that is a sprint series of 6 stages held in 3 days in Hawke's Bay in New Zealand.

Unfortunately I was not able to compete in the overall standing. The national team doctor advised to to take some easier days after I collapsed after the finish of the WC Chasing start, and I also got a sore throat. I was therefore skipping the first stage totally, running the two next in easy speed, before I increased the speed for each stage and was running the last in almost full speed.

I think Sprint the Bay have a really cool competition format, and found it challenging even if I was running most of the stages in easy speed. Especially the 2nd stage in a water park was a highlight, but all stages was great and held in very different types of terrain. Matthias Müller and Venla Niemi was the overall winners. Results

All the maps from Sprint the Bay can be found in my DOMA and I have also made a gallery in Picasa with a lot of pictures from the races. (Because i skipped the first stage I was starting first in the following stages, and had the possibility to watch the best in the overall starting last.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

WC Chasing start in Hawkes Bay

Yesterday the last WC race in New Zealand was held in Hawkes Bay. The format was a Middle distance, with a Prologue in the morning and a Chasing start in the afternoon. With open hilly terrain, and more than 30 degrees, it was a very though race.

I did a OK performance in the Prologue, and finished as 13th runner, 1.31 behind Peter Öberg. I lost 10 - 15 second a few places, but avoided major mistakes, and was able to keep a OK speed.

In the beginning of the Chasing start I was able to catch up some of the runners starting in front of me, but the runners starting close after me also got contact, and we became a bigger group. At the 8th control I punched first in the group, but started running directly to the 10 control, and ended up being last in the group. At the map change I had managed to again be among the first runners in the group.

But at this moment I started to be really tired, and when I passes the 26th control, on my way to the 21st control, I started to orienteer to the 25th control. When I finished the race I collapsed, and was laying on the ground for a long time. I could not remember much from the last loop, but the spectators said I was falling several times when I passed close to the arena on the way to the 21st control. I had surprisingly managed to punch all controls correct, but lost some minutes on the last loop and ended as 24th runner. It was not before I looked at map and talked to some of the other runners I started to remember parts of the last loop. Jerker Lysell won the race some seconds in front of Olav Lundanes.

Today I have taken it very easy, and not doing any training at all. I am still not feeling totally recovered, but will hopefully feel fine tomorrow. Together with some of the other Norwegian runners I I will stay in Hawkes Bay some more days, and we are going to compete in Sprint the Bay the 3 coming days, with in total 6 sprint races. I think it is a really cool competition format, and enjoyed participating in Sprint the Bay during my stay in New Zealand two years ago. All maps from Sprint the Bay 2011 are in my DOMA.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

WC Sprint in Wellington

The infection I got in my thigh one week ago has improved very much the previous days. Three days ago, when the WC-1 Middle distance was held, I was still not able to walk normally, and I was just watching the race.

The next day it felt better, and I decided to try to run the WC-2 Sprint Qualification in Wellington. The thigh was still stiff, but it went OK to run, even if it was though to push the body again and I got really tired I all my muscles. Not so strange, since it was the first time I was running at all for 6 days. Technical I lost 5 - 10 seconds several places because of bad route choices, but I did no big mistakes, and qualified for the Final the following day.

The Final was a very challenging course. I was not able to be in advance with the route choice planning to some controls, and lost 30 seconds to both the 3rd and 7th control. I also lost 5 - 10 seconds several places on smaller (route choice) mistakes in the middle part of the course. Physical I felt very tired in the last half of the race. My thigh was working OK, even if it still felt stiff. My result was a 25th place.

Now we have a few easier days with training, before the last World Cup race will held close to Napier on Sunday. Then I will hopefully be back in good shape.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pre World Cup races in New Zealand and infection in my thigh

The last four days of 2012 I spent running the Auckland Pre-Oceania as preparation to the World Cup races held the coming week.

The first race was a sprint held in on Roskill Campus in Auckland. I did an OK performance, except a 15 seconds time loss to the 8th control, because I didn't see the control flag behind a wall. My result was a 4th place, 29 seconds behind William Lind.

The three last races were held in Woodhill Forest, North West of Auckland. In the first two of them I was running in easy speed as training, but in the last one I was pushing harder. I did an OK race, but had some smaller mistakes. My result was an 8th place, almost 4 minutes behind Olav Lundanes.

I have uploaded maps from all the pre races in my DOMA and pictures from my first week in New Zealand.

New Years Eve was celebrated with runners from New Zealand, Denmark and a few other countries playing cricket and barbecuing in Greg and Claire Flynn’s place North of Auckland.

The last days have unfortunately been far from how I had planed. At the first pre race in forest I got a thorn in my right thigh. That’s quite normal for an orienteering runner, and after the race I thought I was able to squeeze it out with my nails, and it felt fine the following day.

On the 1st January I felt some pain when I was running, and during the day I became more and more swallowed and red in the area around where I had got the thorn. With a needle I was able to take out another thorn, and in the evening I also started with penicillin after talking to the doctor of the Norwegian team.

The next morning it was even more swallowed, and I had problems to walk, so I went to a local doctor. She said I had got a serious infection, and opened the area where I had got the thorn, and was able to take out some more small thorn pieces. The last 3 days I have got drips with penicillin (intravenous) in addition to stronger tablets, and it will hopefully kill the infection.

The infection is now less aggressive in the area where I got the thorn, but have spread to a bigger part of my thigh. Today I took ultrasound, and it looks like it’s not any more pieces of thorn left, so that’s good to know. I am still not able to walk, and will probably have to skip the first World Cup race on Sunday. So at the moment I am mainly lying in my bed waiting to get rid of the infection, so I can start running again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hong Kong Championships

On my way to New Zealand (where I will run World Cup I January) I stopped 3 days in Hong Kong. The main goal for the stay was to split up the long travel, but it was also nice to see the city and participate in the Hong Kong Annual Orienteering Championships, that included World Ranking Events in both Sprint and Middle Distance on the 25th and 26th December.

The Sprint was held in the Police College on the south part of Hong Kong Island. I did a quite stable performance, and finished with the best time. But I soon realized that I had skipped the 14th control, since I hadn’t seen it on the map during the race, and I was disqualified.

The Middle distance was held in a hilly forest area in Tai Tong, North West of Hong Kong City. Most of the forest was very bushy, as you can see on the map, but it was nice to run in the “white forest”. I did a quite good race, and was able to win in front of Will Critchley and Dag Steinar Ragvin. Helen Palmer won the women’s class both days.

It was nice to visit the areas around the city in connection with the orienteering races, but also to stay in the inner city some days. Hong Kong is a cool place to be, with a combination of Chinese and Western culture, and I would like to come back later if I have the possibility.

Picures from Hong Kong.