Orienteering 50:03  5.21 km (9:36 / km) +122m 8:36 / km
shoes: Inov-8 X-talon 190
NAOC Middle Distance! I was disgusted and discouraged by my performance on the long yesterday. I chose some cautious route choices and was careful to the point of hesitation. At the spectator control, I was about 10 minutes behind Will Enger, but a disastrous loop through the technical terrain from controls 17-21 left me 28 minutes behind him. I blew fourteen minutes on control 17 alone; I was resolved not to do that today.
The negative terrain at 1:15k had proved my undoing on the Long, so the plan for today was to be careful, precise, and in control. Running at 1:10 in addition to the de facto "model event" at the end of the long course would certainly help. Quarantine was beautiful, with verdant grass surrounding a small pond and a glorious mountainscape in the background. I was only in quarantine for about an hour before my start, so I drank my tea, jogged to warm up my legs, and read an old Yukon map from 2004 that Boris had brought.
I was hesitant on the first two controls, taking my time and ensuring I was reading the features correctly. I opened up on a careful ridge run to 3; I considered running right to a wide open spur, but the ridge seemed more secure. Controls 4 and 5 were also straightforward. The climb out of 5 was steep with some slow moss and deadfall, but I ran back along the ridge to 6. Greg Ahlswede, who started 4 minutes behind me, caught up to me on 6; I didn't try to stay with him, reasoning that I would just wreck my race. He was out of sight when I punched 6. I exited 6 very poorly, with a vague goal of running to the big hills to the west. I lost contact here, and spent about 2:30 trying to figure out what happened before I lined things up and made it to 7. This left me shaken, and I was very careful on 8 and 9. Eric Kemp passed me to 9; we took the same line off the hill, and he was just in sight when I punched 9. I again disregarded his presence and executed my own plan to 10, using a sequence of subtle hills and reentrants as checkpoints into the control. From 8 on, I finally felt like I was immersed in the map, and I executed 10-13 well; I had a 10s bobble on 11 picking out the right reentrant and again at 13 picking out the right clearing. I attacked one depression early at 14, and it took me 20-30s to piece things together. My route into 15 was again safe, with a trail run along a ridge; Eric Kemp surprisingly caught up to me just as I was attacking into 15. He went the wrong way, and I punched the control perhaps 15-20s ahead of him. I celebrated by deciding to go high along a hill into 16, which was low - letting Eric pull ahead of me. The rest of the course was easy open controls.
My race was thoroughly unspectacular - over 12 minutes behind Anton and ten minutes behind GSwede. I'm annoyed that I lost contact and blew 2 minutes, but many others had far worse days. My speed wasn't great, and there were places (e.g. 2-3, 5-6, 7-9) when I could have opened up my pace. At the very least, I wish I had run 5 seconds faster to be under 50. Still, I executed my plan and ran far better than I did during the long yesterday.