This event was again held out at Woodhill Forest. Woodhill is a pine forest grown on sanddunes out on the West Coast North of Auckland city. It covers roughly 12,400 hectares. The morning race started out fairly averagely really. I would get to roughly the control circle but be about 100 metres out from the control and kind of fluff around a bit before finding it each time. Tessa caught me at #5 where we both got ourselves confused. I thought I'd come down the depression on the right. Turns out I'd come down the one on the left and Tessa had followed me. Then the control felt further over than it looks on the map.
We ran together from then, catching up to Frances around #7. We all mucked around too much at #9, finding another control first with Frances mispunching (she thought it was the correct one and kept going). It was pretty physical as we were all pushing quite hard especially when we were running as a group. I was quite happy with my pace but not so happy about my orienteering.
Most of the W21E times were quite close together (although not as close as the men's elites) and we were all pretty revved up for the afternoon although standing around for a couple of hours in the cold took its toll. I was pretty nervous. There was quite a gap behind me so I was pretty sure I wouldn't be caught up but I was feeling quite determined to beat Mace, the Aussie Bushranger starting 24 seconds in front of me!
We had to write our start times on the back of our hands then line up in order (all grades mixed up together). They would count us down then when it got to your time (for example, mine was 1:29:54pm) you punched the start control, ran to the box with your course maps in it (double-checking you got the correct course) and followed the tape up over the bank to the start control and then you were off.
I caught Mace fairly quickly but I was so determined to get ahead of her that I made heaps of stupid mistakes. I slowed down and switched my brain onto orienteering mode after running straight past #5 but by then Mace had got ahead. Oh well. I just concentrated on having a clean run from there which went pretty well. Obviously heaps of the girls stuffed up somewhere too as I saw Kate and another Aussie near me and Angela raced past (despite having started a few minutes before me). Other than #9 (where I saw a few elite men standing on the tops of the ridges looking a bit confused!) the rest of the race was good. Just frustrating about the first half! I can run faster in this terrain than Mace so I should have beaten her if I'd be concentrating properly. Oh well, hindsight is a wonderful thing!