I generally love long races, and was looking forward to getting a good result on this race, clinching my spot and having a blast. Also racing against Mr. Pithers, since I don't always get a chance to compare myself to him.
This was a long race, and I don't want to dwell on the bad parts. Suffice it to say that I was doing okay except for those few times when I wasn't.
Having a mistake early on in the race just makes you tired for the rest of the course. And I was pushing really hard so I was tired and angry and making mistakes.
started out quite well, found the corridor of white on the way up to 1, fought thru some green on the way to the rocky reentrant on 2. Saw Sam and Corinne on 3 and blazed down the hill to 4. Then here is where I really blew it, I discarded the rightmost route choice on 5 because the green looked awful, and instead thought that over the top or left would work better. Left had more white woods and I didn't have to find the beginning of the windy trail so I cruised left, and hopped off the trail at the veg edge. I was starting to worry that I had chosen the wrong route choice (too far from the line) and I was eager to regain the top of the ridge and the trail and then come down the spur directly to the control. I thought I was at one bend in the trail and cut into the woods, was reassured to catch Jordan and Brendan but then could not find the cliff or the flag or anything.
I finally do manage to reset my brain and come down the trial and off the proper cliff to find the flag.
6 I was careful on my line, and 7 I read very carefully across the plateaus. on 8 I thought I was on a good line but missed to the right, saw the boulder in the clearing, just past the reentrant, then did a loop back to try to find the top of the reentrant. Down the hill to 9, drifting right. See Sergei hiding behind a tree, but don't lose too much time finding the boulder. Never looked far enough off the line on this route choice. Saw a corridor of white that I wanted to follow, didn't think the hill at the end would be too bad. Missed the corridor of white which did not improve my mood and came up over the hill. Running really hard as I come down the other side. Read the two massive boulders and as I near the circle the two parallel cliffs. Still get mixed up and drop too far to the boulder at the stream, this is where Patrick catches me. I push ahead to 11, reading things just fine, slow up the hill to 12, but not pulled off my plan when Patrick goes right of the green on the way to the bare rock. Feeling exhausted pushing against Patrick at this point, decide that he is too far left on 13, but really I am too far right. See Joe leaving the flag. I stop to tie my shoe and let Patrick leave so that I can run on my own, worried about what will happen if I thrown myself at each control like that last one... sloppy sloppy.
I drifted way high on 14 according to the Garmin. Which would explain my slow time. Not aware during the race how bad it was. (I'd already been out for 70 minutes and was showing signs of being tired) I had a good plan and good route to 15, though there was a wobble at the end in the circle. My butterfly puts me out in a dogleg north and then over to a hilltop, I catch and pass Nikolai here, I liked that big reentrant so I follow it to 17 too, go to a reentrant just past the flag because I had oversimplified so that I was only looking for the farthest reentrant and this little guy wasn't really mapped. 18 and back to the butterfly. then on 20 I drift too far left but realize it, and on the way to 21 I stop and retie the shoe again (my tape was ripped off several times over as I played in the green). 22 i'm feeling slow and back to the butterfly. I stand there quite a while, drinking and finishing off my Gu as I gather strength to climb back up the hill. spike 24, but then get very messed up on 25. I cross the main trail at a stream crossing which should have saved me but instead I thought I was too far to the left and so I cut right up the hill until I hit the trail past 14. Figure it out quickly (depressed enough to believe I'd made such a big mistake this time) and climb up the cliffs to the flag. Road to 26 is the only thing that makes sense, and then carefully up to 27, and down through the campground to 28 and the finish.
Many lessons to be learned. I should learn to avoid the hard route choices (to 5 and to 10 I took routes that only would reward strong legs and fast running with quite a lot of risk) and instead work on really killing an easy route. Plenty more not to be said about the debacle around 5 too. I am happy to believe that it was a fluke ( a horrendous fluke, but that's it) and move on to the next workout, the next training, the next race.