Orienteering race (Foot) 1:01:32  **** 5.7 km (10:48 / km) +190m 9:15 / km
HVO US Championships Day 1 at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, NY. This was a pretty good run for me in terrain that while not the most technical, is more technical than I usually get to race or train in locally. I hoped to run a fairly clean race since I feel that I'm lacking running speed and climbing ability. That largely happened relatively speaking; I usually lose much more time for errors. A couple of things came together for me on this. Getting further recovered from back problems in 2015 was a big one. I've been running better in cooler weather too, and had been putting in more training volume more over a hot DC summer. I lost enough weight for it to make a difference too--that took some focus. I loved the park. It was so open as to be conducive to going straight a lot--that's something I fall into when I don't quickly see a better route like better navigators do, and my accuracy improves in open terrain relative to others. One last thing that helped me a lot was the high quality of the map. I tend to make more errors than others when the map isn't up to date. I got 2nd in M55+ which is a big improvement from earlier.
S-1 - I was getting into reading the map heading out, and not doing it that well. Call it early jitters and not slowing down enough to run and read--I read the contours but mistook the first wall. I pulled-uphill early and too high, then corrected well.
1-2 - I read the contours and went straight there.
2-3 - This seemed easy enough and I knew the first control to the left wasn't mine. However, with it so open and not seeing the control ahead, I paused and got close enough to the other control on the left before going on straight to it.
3-4 - I went around to the left, and was happy to be reading the little things pretty well. Literally just before the control, I popped-up and stood on the cliff above it w/o seeing it. E. Matveeva gave it away but I was headed there anyway.
4-5 - I almost did what a few others did by starting to head downhill. A quick check of the compass set me straight. However, I wasn't very focused. I ran without a good plan and stuck to the trail even though I was having trouble reading while on the run. I figured I was making good time in the terrain and headed the right direction with the marsh to funnel me in. I ran parts of the marsh that were dry and attacked just before the 2 boulders 3-4 contours below the control. I walked up, even going through the green, but I was confident and right on.
5-6 - A cadet or other younger runner was leaving #6 just behind me. I ran straight as I could and didn't look back. I slowed after 3 contours and contoured along a stone wall to a reentrant between the hills. Going straight through the green from there, I spiked it.
6-7 - Once again I ran straight as I could, without getting stopped by vegetation in the marsh. Taking the trail for a short distance, I stayed with it until it climbed. Ahead I wasn't seeing what I expected. I hadn't realized that the hill on the straight line had 3 formlines. I was planning to go around that to the left, and did but I was very unconfident and hesitant until I got to the depression north of the control.
7-8 - I realize from past experiences that when I string together a decent start that I often make a mistake around this point in a race. I decided to go left a little but not all the way to the marsh, but just left of the initial spurs. I didn't read all of the detail but approaching the control, I could read the contours across the dry marsh and went up. I spiked it and was happy!
8-9 - I underestimated this one though I was still trying to be careful. I crossed the marsh and got on the trail eventually. I thought I was reading the trail bends well but at one bend, it seemed to disappear. Rather than stop, I went on, albeit to the right a bit. The hill ahead looked right, and I figured I was SE of the control. I saw ahead (NW) another runner figuring that person to be on my course. Though it didn't turn out to be whom I thought it was, the control became visible as I got close and the person moved off.
9-10 - Most of the time while running this, I figured that someone like Ernst would have found a really nice route that I was missing. I ran pretty straight, a little confused by some of the ups and downs in the first 1/3 of the way, but I clearly recognized the steep hillside near the big trail/road and marsh. I ran confidently to it, and crossed the road between the water stop and the dry pond. I was cautious for a little bit until confirming the double stone wall. Running over near the spurs, I felt good, but crossing the last stone wall with a cliff, I felt inclined to go more to the left to a boulder that I could see. A check of my compass, got me to look in the right direction and I saw another (Brown course?) runner going there too. I ran fast the last bit as the boulder became more visible through the greener bits, and got there ahead of him.
10-11 - I ran up the trail initially, leaving again at a bend and almost at the same time as I caught Michael Lyons (injured). I followed a stone wall on my right and read the knoll contours to keep track of where I was. At just about the last moment, I decided to run above the control for better/faster footing. I figured the control would be visible below me as I got to the end of the spur. However, I didn't see the control as I ran faster. The end of the spur turned out to be further on the edge of the unbroken circle, and mapped as rocky ground. I think I lost 30 seconds or so coming back.
11-12 - I stayed high for the best running footing, looking for the wall intersection. I saw it much below where I was so I dropped down and crossed the wall well above the intersection. I stayed out of the mapped slash (barberry) until a break in the wall and the slash. I hadn't read the control feature and ran to what I thought was the center of the circle on the stone wall. Once there and not finding it, I turned back, losing only 5-10 seconds.
12 - 13 - I figure that I was kind of oxygen deprived. I certainly wasn't thinking or reading that well. I ran straight across the stream and only then distinguished the mapped trail from the mapped wall well enough to go on. I contoured across the white woods while climbing, to avoid the barberry--reading the course notes helped there since from the edge, it almost looked passable. Others who when into it said they lost time. I hit the wall and found the streamers for the white course along with a kid with his father. I ran up, not running with much purpose until I could see the road and a way around the green. The mowed trail at the end was nice; I saw what Francis Hogel and some others looked like with hitchickers on their pants because they missed the unmapped trail.
13-F - Half thinking a few seconds might not matter too much, I didn't push a lot initially. Once I did, I had to slow down way before the finish just to be safe on the steep downhill.
It was a lot of fun running this park. Despite my sometimes poor decisions and ill-advised risk taking (mostly not slowing down enough to stay in better contact), I was happy not making a big mistake for a change. I enjoyed the course setting too.