US Champs Long distance: same goal as the other two races: think about navigation, not speed. And try to read the map ahead, instead of reacting. In other words, improve from Saturday's mess.
My concentration was really good at the start, and I had a good plan to 1, which I executed just right. Then I looked at the leg to 2. I stood there for a minute, and I actually said out loud: I don't want to do this leg! I saw the road option, but thought it was too far out of the way. Had I known that the woods from 1 to 2 were covered with slash, I would have taken the road! I did not have fun executing this leg, but I did follow my plan (slowly) and spiked the control.
I felt confident with my map reading and did run as much as I could from 2 to 3 to 4. Then I stood at 4 for a minute or two, planning my route. I decided to attack from the trail bend to the west of the control. I would head SW from 4, climb the hill, and hit the trail.
I have problems with long legs like this. I decide on a route, and then say, just head in the general direction towards the big marsh, then the big hill, then the trail. I simplify and let go of the map, which can be a good technique, if you are skilled at it. I am not. I should never lose map contact.
In this case, I went more W than SW, and hit the small marsh. Stupidly, I thought I had gone all the way to the big marsh to the south (without climbing and descending a very big hill Mary? really??). At this point, I think I made a 90 degree error. I remember turning to the right to skirt the edge of the marsh (I thought I was heading W).
After that, I just started climbing. I did notice that I was fighting against the compass (it seemed to be about 90 degrees off) but I ignored that. Warning sign 1. I also noticed that I was now alone. Warning sign #2. I also noticed that the hill was steeper than I expected. Warning sign #3. Did I listen to any of this? Of course not. I had a plan, to just go with it, not matter what. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
It also appears that I somehow got really turned around in here, and ended up heading north in stead of south. Which I did not notice. I finally hit a tril and headed "south". Ran quite a ways until I hit a big trail junction, which should NOT be there. This I finally listened to. And then I looked down, and could not believe, that I was holding my map 180 degrees off. Really??? OMG, I knew I was screwed.
So I turned around and started running like a mad woman down the trail. Until it started taking funny bends that I didn't expect. Where the hell was I??? I had no idea. Ran a bit further until I saw a huge lake. OK, can't miss that. Fuck! I really screwed up. But now I knew where I was, finally, and I started the long, long trail run back down to 5. I was so glad to finally find that control!
On the way to 6, I took a hard fall and landed on my butt on a sharp rock. It hurt like hell, and I stood there for a few minutes until I recovered and stopped shaking. I looked at the course, and thought about heading back in, since I'd already messed up so badly, and I was hurt. But I decided to continue on.
I'm glad I did, if only because I regained some confidence and finished a tough course. So, I had a moral victory for the day (if you conveniently overlook the total ridiculous screw up that should never have happened).
I have to remember to stay in map contact, even on long legs. I started by practicing on a long course with few legs tonight on Catching Features.