So I am taking a kind of gap year to travel the world. Two weekends ago I was in Turkey for the Cappadocia Cup. This is my first across the seas race and I was a lot nervous in the start area for my first race. I did my mental relaxation to calm down so I could focus. This is my first time orienteering since last season so it was an adjustment to remember distance and what the features on the map look like in real life.
The Terrain is so different from anything that I have ran on before. There is very little vegetation. There is a lot of rock and caves and the famous rock pillars everywhere. The special features I used were the caves and rock pillars. On the map they are big black shapes with white on the inside. The caves were the same but if it was a cave you could go in there was a V attached to the rock pillar symbol. There where a lot of huge canyons. They some times had tiny little paths going down and up them that you could use.
My first race as a Sprint which was 1.7 km. The first few controls I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I made a huge error on control 4 which cost me a lot of time. After that I finely got into of okay orienteering race I need: plan ahead, route choice and attackpoint. The race was a lot better after that. My sprint had no urban in it at all. It was on the side of a highway.
The next race I had was what they called a middle. It was 5.2km long. Man was it a hard run. This time I remembered my key point right off the bat but I got confused because they didn't tell me that I had to run 200m to the start triangle. I figured it out after a few seconds. The start control was just a little flag on the side of a stone gate. A lot of people didn't see it. Going to my first control I was going down a slope and found out it was pure mud. I didn't even find my first control and I was covered in mud. I found the first control with no problem. It was getting down to the next control that was the problem. I figured it out. The next few controls were urban. Man are their tiny streets confusing. After the urban we go into for longer legs where you need good route choice. I was a lot happier with this race I did make a bad route choice that cost me some time but I was still happy with the run.
The third and final day was in Goreme, the city I was staying in. It seems that each day the map just kept getting more difficult. This was another middle of 4.3km. This race was not as great but it was a lot of fun to run. I could definitely feel my legs were tired from yesterday. This map was all about good route choices. If you didn't have one and you didn't find the control you just ended up running around looking at the controls hoping it was yours. Luckily that didn't happen to me. going from control 4 to 5 there is a huge canyon that there is only one way around and one way down and up. I ended up going off the map trying to find this little trail which is the only way down. I found it because some people where running down it.
All in all I was very glad that I decided to do this race. It was a great experience and a lot of fun. It definitely is a map that should be ran on before you die. I am currently on route to Pitlochry, Scotland. There I will be running the Big race there called JK. There is suppose to be a lot of people there. Looks liking more mental training is going to be needed to calm down.