Orienteering race (Foot) 2:18:19  ***** 14.0 km (9:53 / km) +520m 8:20 / km
ahr:154 max:172 36c slept:8.0
WCOC: Billygoat in Huntington State Park, CT. It was an odd day for me. Over the last 2 weeks I'd been feeling like I've been making progress in getting into better shape. I needed it today and the race had provided motivation. I was concerned about this being in CT since I never seem to do well in CT. I think I have better insight into the reason for that. The terrain is certainly more technical than anything we have to train in in QOCland. But more than the abundance of unmapped rock, vegetation just thick enough to not let one go straight much, and a compounding effect from a bad history of running here, I think the maps in CT are just printed differently. Sure other people can read them but my eyes are worse now. I also did hear some others say they have similar troubles when reading the CT maps. I just have a hard time picking up CT map details, especially while on the run in green areas. What I observe in hind sight is that the CT maps have very small symbol printing sizes. Even the contours which I rely on much more than other features, are super thin when compared to other maps. The color may be light too. They fade from sight for me, even in good light when sitting still. I think the boulders, pits, cliffs and trails are all smaller than they are on other maps too. Are they IOF or USOF standard?
The rain stopped before the race started today but it was still a bit dark and foggy at times in the woods. Temperatures were in the 60s F. At the start, I located the start on the map quickly and seeing that it was a trail run to #1, on the side of the crowd that I was standing near, I took off, with David Onkst running parallel. We read ahead and I picked out #31 as a possible skip. I felt fine and like I was running smooth until we got off trail. Then I felt that I was straining more than others around me and my pace was faster than I could comfortably run for even a regular course right now. By the 4th leg, I was content to back off and catch my breath. I soon stepped in pace with Ernst Linder. David Onkst was there too. I couldn't read as fast as Ernst but had concerns as we rounded to the left going to #6. We soon missed and had trouble relocating. Once we got that control I was better reading the way to #7 and #8. However, I didn't trust my inclination to cut left as we approached #8. The 3 of us hit the trail past the control and had to attack off of it. A big crowd caught-up with us by then. I guess there were about 15 people being pulled along by JJ Cote and Peter Gagarin. I got out of #8 well but was lacking confidence to come around the right side of the hill at #9. After that, there was no gettting away from the crowd as we shifted positions a lot. JJ led mostly. Somewhere along the way Dave mentioned skipping #35 as a possibility.
Finally as we hit a longer leg to #18, and some tough climbs, the crowd thinned. We got to the aid station and the butterfly loop with about 7-8 people. Ksenia P. started pulling ahead of JJ as we headed downhill. When we turned back to finish the first loop, I had open ground to run on and followed the easy ridge back up to the aid station. I was surprised to be dropping people on this since they seemed so strong earlier--perhaps, and wisely so, they didn't think it safe to follow me. I got out of the aid station quickly but didn't have such a good read on the leg to #24. I was off to the left and unfortunately pulled Ernst along with me to the wrong hill. A couple of minutes later he got us to the right hill. I spent a while catching-up and slowly passing a line of people again. Running with David Onkst again, he told me that some of the F21+ women nearby were verbally planning to drop him. Going downhill. I opened-up my stride and was soon up with with them and a bunch of other people again. I had trouble reading the green legs #28, #29, #30, and #31. None of the group decided to skip #31 so I didn't either. I was surprised to see Greg Balter as we were going to #32--I later found that he had been injured recently in a bike wreck.
On the trail, I decided I'd skip #33 since the attack to #34 was straightforward and it let me stay on the trail a long way. I got there ahead of Ernst and Tim Parsons whom had been in the groups of people that I'd been shifting positions with. I felt strong enough and knew I only had to hit #35 to have a good chance of staying in front to the finish. Racing others once again turned out not to be the thing to do to place high but going after the control ahead of the others was the right thing to try to do, rather than hold back and follow. At least that way my result would be more relying upon my own merits; small as they may be in this terrain and on this map. Going to #35, I knew enough to aim off and use the wall but I didn't aim off enough--I also drifted left following a marsh. When I hit the wall, I was too low and I followed it well past the control. I missed seeing the bends in the wall as I got across it, and I ended up in the green. Ernst had turned back by then. When I stopped, Tim was still there but he told me he thought we'd passed it. I was confused seeing a wall intersection since I knew the control to be just beyond an intersection at the same angles. I didn't really notice the second intersection that I was really at and just couldn't understand how I'd gotten that far past the first intersection. I suppose I was too tired to think correctly and to recognize the green fight (I'd reasoned that the map could have been out of date since the green was deadfall that might not have been that old. I lumbered back, partly through the green fight. When I got to the control, I saw David Onkst again and the two women who had wanted to drop Dave/me earlier. I confirmed a question Dave had about which control I skipped, then took off wanting to stay ahead of the two women. Fortunately, I was able to get to the trail fast and move. The true speed was slow but it was successful staying ahead on the run-in--a minor positive for the race for me. AP shows that I lost just under 5 minutes at #35 which really seems much more than I would have guessed (perhaps it's thrown off by others skipping #34 or #35). JJ and Ernst finished about 2 minutes and 8 places ahead.