Mid-Atlantic Championships at Col. Denning State Park (hosted by SVO)
Andy, Dave, Alex and I headed out to represent WPOC. Col. Denning is only 3 hours away. Running a blue course and then getting a chance to run my first (and WPOC's first) relay made it well worth the trip. It was a really nice park, very runable and well mapped. Great courses. The blue course was really nice and the really was an absolute blast. We were actually the first team to cross the line in the relay! After the points were worked out we were actually 7th, but what matters to me is head to head racing and it was a blast to be competitive.
Blue course: Sure, I got crushed- but this was probably the most competitive I have ever been in a competitive situation like this type of meet. I was slow on the first 4 controls for no other reason then the fact that my calf and hamstring were so tight (especially after the drive). . I could barely run during the warm-up. I was stepping very gingerly on the terrain. Alex beat me on most of those legs and he said he barely ran due to shortness of breath. So I was not going fast. As I moved into the 5th control two people started to catch me from behind. I could sense them catching me. It ended up being Zac Barker on Red (we shared the next several controls and Michael Stasiowski on Blue. As I started competing with them, my calf began loosening up and I found a bit more ability to run a little bit. I was faster then they were uphill on ay terrain and faster on a decent surface. They were faster on rougher terrain. They bot passed me around #5, and as it has at times i responded to the competition and everything improved for me- even the navigation.
We battled with slightly different route choices to 6 and 7. Heading to #8 they cut in on through the marshier areas and used the road- which didn't work for me because I hit all sorts of private property signs (no marked as out of bounds but I got out of there anyway). I found myself still beating them to the control as they struggled on the hills and looking for the control too early. We We got ahead of Staslowski on #9. I battled with Zac #10 and took a good lead on him into #11. I pulled all of these controls on route choice also. This course did not have a lot of trail usage. My map reading and use of contours has so improved since I started doing armchair map reading. This course produced some of my fastest open woods navigation. Zac was well high on #11 and I stayed on course. I blasted out to #12 using trail, where I could actually be faster then him. Until I see the quickroute, I do not know exactly what happened on #12. I used the bend in the trail as an attack point. I hit a field of rocks and fond no rootstock... I looked and looked. Looking at my GPS I was clearly too high and then extended out even further up seeing if I had missed it. I could see the reenetrant below me and should have realized the reentrant was becoming too shallow. I trusted the rocks feature completely instead of using teh contours. that is a mistake I make too often. Instead of wasting more time in what was clearly a mistake, I went back to my attack point and went down the trail to the reentrant and used that as an attack point (as I should have done first) and zipped right too it. I never saw either of them pass me, but I lost probably 8 minutes and I was off enough to never even see them go by.
I regained my composure and was happy with 13, 14, 15. I felt myself physically struggling more with the terrain though. This got worse and worse. I caught Staslowski heading up to #16. The uphill was still an advantage for me and this was a nice long one. Going into #7 Andy caught me from behind and was so much faster over the terrain that it gave me a good reference for how I was struggling. Staslowski out-navigated me, taking better route choices for #17 and #18, but we were close. I did pull away form him heading to #19. Andy was out of sight by the time I hit the road. I was navigationally scared of #19 so I took it slow . I did not get caught from behind, so that was good. I contoured and used trail to go to #20. The navigation was good, but I wasn't handling the rocky terrain well at all. Staslowski went down to the road and popped up to #20right when I did! I got beat there... #21 he choose a really high attackpoint off of the trail and I shot in way ahead of him. I totally screwed up #22 (Attackpoint was right on with that control and #12 as my lost time controls) as I got very sloppy and got on the upper trail thinking it was the lower trail. Didn't check the compass... I figured out where I was relative to the campground and redirected. He did not catch me from behind though and I got in a bit ahead of him.
The last 5 controls or so there was a definite physical and navigational loss. Given my state of physical being- I can not complain with that performance. It would be nice to have my physical tools though.I would also equate this day to the Shamrock Shuffle from last year (http://www.attackpoint.org/viewlog.jsp?userid=1164
...) but the half marathon instead. I was broken going in and got through but had to baby and focus on form and really didn't think I would. In that manner teh relay fits the 5k in that I had to come back and do a double on a day I had no business doing a single race. In between the races you feel like it isn't going to be anything but a disaster.. but you do get through and somehow the competition finds a way to let you in and have a chance... at least the relay did here.
Winsplits has the ability to generate a new results taking out everyone's mistakes. The results had me move up to 10th with a 1:29.29. Even though y mistakes were much less then previous, I was the only one who moved up around me. Everyone else had so much smaller mistakes that didn't effect them nearly as much as my 10:00 (almost all on #12, but some on number 22 as well).
Now that I am looking at the Quickroute, I really botched 12 and I am not sure how I came to do what I did. I hit the rocks that I thought I hit, but instead of contouring to the control- I appear to have blatantly climbed pretty sharply. I did not remember it that way at all... I was obviously very sloppy in staying in touch with the map.
Another thing I noticed in that I am very sloppy coming into and out of re-entrants. Whether it is not thinking of where the control in a re-entrant will be (which side in relation to steep slopes) or changing direction coming out of them when a route choice crosses one, I do not seem to be handling them with grace. I have really improved my map reading as it pertains to contours, but I still have a long way to go. I need to keep reading maps as often as can (armchair O it is called I guess) and I need to spend the time focusing on the contour detail in competition.