Looks like you had a good run. What did you think about a mass start race like this? Learn anything from running with someone?
First I'd like to say that I'm pretty new to orienteering so not all of my opinions are refined. I've never done a mass start before, and I wasn't prepared for the subsequent scramble. I was worried that the race would be like a cross-country race with everybody together, but the competitors quickly spread out. I liked the mass start because I always knew my position to others. If someone was in front of me, I immediately knew they were beating me. This gave me the push I needed many times throughout the course.
The most important thing I learned was not to follow others. I just followed the group to the first control, but whoever was in front went the wrong way. Finally I looked at my map and realized where I was, and separated to find the control myself. Later, I followed a more experienced cadet for some time before realizing my compass had a bearing opposite of the correct direction. From then on I only trusted myself, and I had no trouble with any other points.
;-) I know - I walked with you to start on your way to your first advanced course, which you proceeded to crush.
Actually, your observations about following are interesting. It often takes people a bit to learn that running with someone during a race like this is ok, it also often takes a couple of races to develop good judgment about when to go with the herd, and when to split off and do your own thing. What I love about races like this is that they can push you to run harder than you would on your own, but you have to stay in touch with the map and own your navigation. It's a fine balance. Again, nice job.
Keep an eye out for more opportunities like this. The Hudson Highlander, usually hosted by HVO, is an epic event and with a bit of luck will return next fall. The Billygoat is usually NE event in the spring. Any goat event is generally worth attending. Plus, there are Stumbles, Bumbles, and, should you ever land out around Ft. Lewis/JBLM, the Bog Slog. None of them are ranking events, but they are among my absolute favorites and I've learned a lot from them.