Saturday, March 18, 2017

Back on the fire track

Yesterday, the fire brigade season resumed with a competition at Benalla, around 200km from home in the northeast of the state.  The long trip necessitated an early start, with the team departing on a bus a little after 6:15AM and arriving just before 8:30 for a 9AM start.

This competition was a bit different to the run of the mill ones we normally attend, in that both juniors and seniors ran on the same day.  This was reminiscent of competitions 25-35 years ago, when I initially competed.  I like the idea, because it gives juniors an opportunity to see what senior runners do (the wet events are very different to junior ones).

The different format meant both a later start and a different order of events for us seniors.  First event up was the 4 man Y.  Had a good run myself, but there were some hiccups around the Y piece that slowed the us down.  This was the only event in the marshalls that I ran, so it was now a long delay until after lunch, while the juniors ran most of their wet events.

My next event was the ladder race.  After a false start and some confusion caused by the starting system, I ran a solid 7.69.  Unfortunately, I was up against one of the faster guys, who was probably half my age or younger and didn’t win my heat.  Luck of the draw.

Next was the hose and ladder 5s.  Had a good run and got up the ladder in plenty of time to finish with a 25.25 second time.  Enough to easily win the event.  Following this was the  sixes.  Had another good run in my usual position of pole and second branch, and we came second in that event.

In the champion 4s, we fielded two entries.  I was in the second entry.  Ran another solid pole, and we finished 4th.  Our first entry finished just ahead of us in third.

The final event was the Y8.  We made a minor change to our team from previous training.  I was moved from first coupling to hydrant.  This was to allow the two runners in pole to go through ahead of the hydrant.  Once the pole was clear of my path, I could use my speed to make up time to the plug, set the hydrant and then continue with the rest of my run, eventually ending up the ladder.

Got off to a good start, following closely behind the left pole until I took the hydrant off the stand.  By then, my path was clear and I sprinted the 30 yards to the plug.  Just as I was about to lift the cap, I was hit by something on the cart from behind, which temporarily threw me off balance and left me with rather sore right glutes.  I quickly recovered and completed a perfect set of the hydrant.  Next was a short run to collect the Y piece, which someone left for me further down the track and pass it to the third coupler.  This requires a short run, then a stop for a the transfer.  My injury made it a bit painful, but I made the transfer in good time.  My final step was to run to the ladder, wait for the third branch to place the branch and hode in my harness, so I could climb the ladder.  The third branch had some difficulty and I had to wait, which made the climb more challenging, as I would have to lift water near the top of the ladder.  Despite my injury, I made it up in good time, and we came second in the Y8.

That ended a fairly successful day.  After a stop at Maccas (MdDonalds for those of you outside Australia) for a quick snack, we made the 2 hour trip back home, and I nursed a rather sore behind, which made getting on and off the bus a bit interesting.

Recovery is going well.  Today, I trained at the track and managed near race time 200m sprints, before spending a bit of time working on my javelin technique.  I’m sure my massage therapist is going to notice the damage at the next appointment! :)

- Tony via Tumblr

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