This was a really disappointing weekend. My navigation has been improving and I have been waiting for a real breakthrough in an A-meet setting. Last week was a good day, considering how tight and disastrous my legs were. That meet had good competition and I had competed aggressively with people on both the blue and the relay. I had a taste of A-meet competition and this week I was feeling much better physically. Just as I don't expect to compete navigationally with the top competition, I don't expect to all of the sudden have that level of speed either. The thing is, my legs weren't working against me as badly this week, and that is the best I can hope for right now.
It was more then a little crushing when my right knee hurt right form the first step of the warm-up. I still had high hopes my body would snap in when the competition mind-set took over. It didn't. It's interesting in a way. Last week I felt my body working against me in every way, but I was able to find a way to compete and it seemed the competition came to me (The way I compared last weekend to the Shamrock Shuffle is very accurate in this way). This week I felt like my body was on the way back, but the one thing that was so important, that I obviously can not identify by feel, was not there and it was last week.
There was no point in this meet that I was competitive. People ran past me and I did not respond. I made errors and choices navigationally almost seemingly on purpose.... the best way to describe the "thing" that is missing is that I am not truly, aggressively, running. I couldn't handle the rocks even from the beginning. I know that things aren't right when I trip in the woods (whether it is not lifting my legs or not responding to the ground to drive off of it) and I tripped constantly. About the only time I passed somebody was a woman who knew what she was doing on the way from 5 to 6. I climbed up the hill faster, but watched her get out of sight almost instantly as I had to not only walk, but walk gingerly, down to 7. I walked most of the day because of the rocks. On some days I would bounce through. That is when the "thing" is firing. How off was I? After walking and not raising my heart rate at any point, my hamstrings were still cramping in the second half of the course. I am not strong these days, but I am much stronger then that.
When "things" are off for me, everything is off. It seemed even my brain was off. The DVOA maps are really difficult for me because they are so much more technical then what I am used to. It is hard to tell what is a result of my frustration and depression/ fear about what it may mean that my knee does not appear to be healing, and what is mistakes due to the fact I am still not navigationally there yet.
as ugly as this day was, oddly enough Attackpoint ranked it higher then any other A-meet I have done, in fact only last week scored better. I have no idea what the algorithm that they use is, but at least it points to the fact that I am better then I was before. Even at my worst.