It's so interesting to think about how pace changes the way you view map and terrain. This park is such perfect sprint-y terrain, a great place to practice fast decision-making. I appreciate that you're challenging yourself and making a fun mental game out of the speed that works for you right now, and perhaps seeing map and terrain differently because you're moving differently.
I chuckled at your adventures through the dark green. Every time I've been orienteering outside of the PNW, I find I really have to re-calibrate my "good ideas" about going through the dark green when I come back...it's usually so much less of a good idea than I think it will be! ;-)
I’ll tell you right now that walking a course just makes you do stupid things because you’re so restless to not walk the simple route that you’d usually choose to run in an actual race.
I think that my dark green experience in Washington has both helped and hindered my decision making elsewhere; it has made me fond of and accustomed to thrashing through stuff when you need to, but now when I go to other places I overcorrect for my WA bias by assuming I a) go through too much vegetation or b) need to go through even more vegetation since it’s not blackberries.
I get that. I've really grown to appreciate the value of a good model map. That was something Jon worked on for World Games - often, we pick the crappiest section of map and don't pay attention to mapping it well because it's terrain we're not using for racing. But a good model should help you work through that dilemma of "how is this like / not like what I'm used to."
It sounds like you're getting practice at the very extreme cases (nearly or completely impassable vegetation) of weighing the straight line at a walk / fight / wheeze uphill vs. out and around at a run, only with the run option eliminated as a possibility. Perhaps a mental game to play with yourself?
Im proud of you for not narcing on Bruce. It is very tough for orienteers to not tattle-tale at the first opportunity, it is in their DNA. This took real self-discipline and must have gone against all of your training.