What fun! I ran first leg of Linné's second team and I had a blast. It's like a WOC relay, but with 3 times as many women. Which means 3x more elbows, branches in my face and mud, but also lots more fun :) I spent virtually none of the relay running on my own, as there were always people around me.
The race started through the field, which really meant through the mud and with everyone running through at the same time there was mud splashing everywhere. That's about when I decided that it was going to be an awesome race :) I ran, with everyone else, straight to almost all the first 8 controls. I followed along generally, but there were so many girls running in front of me, I let them guide the micro route choices. I spiked my first control, although it did come up a bit quicker than I expected.
On the way to the second control I unfortunately lost count of how many swamps we swam, I mean ran, through. Everything was wetter than it seemed, and I was worried I was one swamp off. Luckily, coming out of the last one we climbed up to the open hilltop, and then I was positive about where I was. The group had split a bit here, and I ran with a few others to the south side of the swamp and then swung north, to where I could see a line of girls exiting the control.
Three was a short leg and although none of the girls directly in front of me had that forking, it wasn't a hard control :) I punched it alone and then sprinted like heck to catch the girls I could see disappearing into the woods in front of me, not wanting to be caught between packs.
We ran down the trail by the marsh into the green for #4 and then the group split again - some going out to the trail (I think) and others going more straight. I tried to also go straight, but it was thick and I ended up getting pushed left and came to the open hilltop (these were key navigational features!) southwest of the control.
The group had gotten smaller at this point. There were about 5 girls in front of me and no one behind me, that I could tell. We ran north along the swamp and cut through the narrow section and then headed to the north side of the next swamp. Here there were girls coming from the south, so our groups merged and a lot of people punched 6 together.
On 7 I headed with the group up the big open hill and dropped down right after the cliffs. Then a strange thing happened - the entire pack keep going more west than I wanted to and my compass was showing something funky. I went a bit, but then turned north and there was a hill, just like I needed. I climbed up to the see many girls standing around looking at their maps. I wasn't sure what had happened, but I knew that we had gone more west than I wanted to. Inga, from Linné, turned back right and I silently agreed that was a promising strategy. A few of us went right and over to the correct hill, and at this point we were with the leaders. It was just one huge lead pack.
I lost track a bit of where we were on the way to 8, but we sank into two swamps in a row and then climbed the hill with the open areas and trail, so I was in contact going into the control.
On 9 I just ran after everyone out to the road and then cut into the woods off the corner. I was happy to aim a bit north when the group split a bit and I avoided more swimming. We went by the boulder in the swamp and then hit the indistinct trail and off the hill into the control.
Out to the spectator control, and I unfortunately hadn't planned 11 (I was running too hard!). I went south in the field, but then partway realized that running around the south side of the swamp was a bad idea. One other girl and I cut into the woods before the start triangle and I got ahead of her and was alone for the second brief moment of the relay. I cut through the woods to the logging track around the north side of the swamp, and although I had to run back a bit, I think it was much better than going south. As I left the track and went up the open hill, more girls started appearing. Some disappeared again for a different forking and I punched 11 with only one other person.
We then bashed out different ways to the swamp by 12 and ran along it, meeting up with 2 other girls as we punched 12.
I went out to the trail and as I was running down it, I could see the group in front of me climbing the hill and set off to catch up with them. Coming into 13 I was a bit confused, as I misread which hilltop was which. Another group of girls came along from the right side, and we were again a large group as we did the last 3 controls, which I'm pretty sure were unforked.
Punching the last control was a bit crazy, because although there were 3 punches, people were trying to come and go from the same direction. I was not aggressive enough and punched near the end of our group, as the next was approaching. I passed about 8 people on the way to the finish and punched the finish box in 9th, right behind Inga, our first team runner (she did run a half marathon the day before in 1:17!) and handed off to the second leg.
I had a lot of fun running fast through the woods. It was at a speed that I could not achieve on my own, as I only had to do rough orienteering along the way and worry about the fine stuff in the last 200-100 meters before my fork. Orienteering at speed is fun :)
Winsplits with only my forking
Winsplits for all first leg runners
(Splits to the radio controls)