The start: I am in the blue and white of Lillomarka in the middle of the picture.
Since my last post a lot has happened. I have won a silver medal in the British middle distance orienteering championships and two bronze medals (sprint and relay) in the JK. I have also been selected to represent Great Britain at the World University Orienteering Championships in Alicante in July, but none of these things have inspired me to sit down and write about them.

However last weekend has changed that. 

Last weekend I travelled to Kvarn to run Tiomila for my Oslo based club Lillomarka OL. My job was to run first leg in the first team and keep us in touch with the leaders. Not normally practising night orienteering, I had prepared well in Oslo the week before and was feeling pretty confident. Even last years faff with lights was forgotten; I managed to break two lights on first leg last year and only completed the course because Alex Rothman kindly gave me his spare lamp. 

So onto the race. I had chatted a little with Mark Nixon on the warm up (running for Sodertalje 2) and his advice, "if you ever find yourself in the lead, ask yourself what you are doing" was ringing in my ears as we started. Heeding this advice I stuck next to Mark on the run out, knowing he would stick to a sensible pace and stop me from running off too fast at the start. 

Looking at my map I saw that the first few controls were quite easy and I spent the time stuck in the group, within sight of the lead but making sure that I hit my control. This worked fine but as I exited the 6th control to begin the first long leg I found myself on my own. What was it Mark was saying? I calmly went about running my own route choice, thinking the pack would be just up ahead. For what seemed an age I was on my own, and it took 500m before I joined the pack again. My route had been quick and I was back in business at the front of the pack but I was telling myself not to risk trying that again. 

After this scare I hit control 7 and 8 spot on in a big group of people. At this point things started to go wrong. Coming out of control 8 someone stood on the back of my shoe, causing it to half come off my foot. I stopped for a few seconds but I had tied my shoe so tight (to stop it coming off ironically) that I couldn't pull it back on. I knew that we were setting off onto a second long leg, followed by what was going to be the most technical part of the course. This was my mistake, I was so full of adrenaline that I thought the minute that I would spend untying and retying my shoe would leave me off the back and on my own for the most difficult part of the course. Exactly where I didn't want to be, so I stuffed my foot into my shoe and carried on running with the plan of stopping once past the hard part and sorting it out.

I ran for the next one and a half kilometers like this before I went knee deep into a marsh. That was the last I saw of my shoe, I had a quick look but there was no chance of finding it so I set off, cursing myself, with one shoe. I ran hard and for a while I kept up with the pack but after a while running with one shoe started to take its toll and I slowed. 

The next 5-6km of the course passed very slowly and with what felt like a constant stream of people passing me but I made it in to the finish and to my surprise finished only 3.20 behind the leader. Luckily it seems like my foot, whilst in pretty bad shape at the time, hasn't sustained any lasting damage. 

As for the team? We had some more problems in the night but managed to fight our way up through the ranks to finish 35th, three places higher than last year but with a feeling that it could have been better. Many congratulations to the Lillomarka girls who finished in 15th place, 23 places higher than last year.

So I will finish with some advice; If you are going to run Tiomila, try to keep both shoes on your feet.
Today's session was a long run incorporating 10km of orienteering on Broughton Burrows, one of my favourite areas.    
Not only is it a very technical sand dune area but it is a very scenic and inspiring place to train. 
Last weekend I competed in the Senior Home Internationals (SHI's) for Wales. They took place in Merthyr Tydfil in the heart of the welsh valleys so I was hoping that the home advantage would help for some good races. 

On the Saturday was the classic race which I had been selected to run up to the senior class. This meant a full 15.3km classic. The area was a very special moorland area with lots of depressions and rock detail. Unfortunately despite feeling strong I made far too many big misses near the controls to be anywhere near the leaders. James Tullie of Scotland won the race in a time of 86.14 heading up a Scotland whitewash in the senior mens class. I finished in 6th in a time of 97.54, not very pleased with my days work.

The sunday brought the relays and the welsh plan was to try and stay with the leaders for as long as possible. I had a good race on first leg, sending Rhys Findlay Robinson out in first, just seconds ahead of the chasing Scotish team. Rhys then ran another good leg to come in 2nd place and send us out with a fighting chance. Unfortunately for us the Scottish and English strength in depth meant that we had to settle for 5th place in the end but considering the strength of these two teams we were pleased with this result.

Results can be found here 
So last weekend was my senior debut for great Britain in the Czech round of the World Cup. On the menu was a middle distance and a chasing start long. Through the summer I have been struggling with a slight injury in my hip which has made it difficult to do much training and as such I was not very confident with my shape going into this weekend but I went to take the races as a marker of where I am and a learning opportunity.

The middle race was an ok race and I didn't make too many mistakes, mainly hesitations, but I lost a lot of time from not attacking the course and as expected my shape was not what was required and I ended up in 78th place, well down. However, it was a great experience and good to see where I am and where I need to be.

After the middle race, I felt some soreness in my hip and I retired from the long race after just 15 minutes which was a disappointing decision but there is no sense to damage it any more. 

So from my senior début I have a 78th place and a DSQ. Onwards and upwards from here.