NEOC BYOM at Noon Hill, GreenLivelox
It's all sticky and warm again (it was 80F with a dp of 66 or so). The good news is that I got to go orienteering today! Yay! The bad news is that I just wrote a too-long entry about it.
I set out a bit late, having underestimated how long it would take to drive there, and forgetting how early the sun sets, which ended up causing me issues. All completely preventable, of course, but I didn't prevent them.
Since I got there about an hour before sunset and knew it would probably take me a bit more than an hour to do the course I set out without any kind of warmup or even properly thinking about orienteering, just hoping to be able to squeeze it all in. Lots of trails, so I could always bail to a trail to get back if it really got dark, but I went all the way out there so I hoped to finish.
About half way to the first control I realized I had no idea where I hopped off the trail and tried to sort of figure it out. I figured wrong and ended up with a couple of minutes of wandering before finding the control.
Things were much better after that, with mostly pretty fine orienteering from 2 to 9. A few times I was off a little but I was able to correct quickly. There was plenty of bashy terrain but also some white woods and I tried to run when I could.
Then we hit sunset and it was getting darker in the woods and I started to panic a bit. I have done a lot of night-o but that's pretty different because, a) I have a headlamp for those and, more importantly, 2) I'm not actually alone alone. I have an intense fear of encountering a person (man) while alone in the middle of a dark forest. And once it starts getting dark my eyes start playing tricks on me and every weird tree stump or shiny bit in the woods looks like a person (man). I think today my brain was primed to think the worst because there had been a man in the parking lot when I arrived who was just sort of tinkering with something in his truck and it was a little weird.
This was my state of mind as I looked at the map for the final three legs. The leg to 10 (11 on Livelox) was longer and I didn't even see the road route to the left (panic mind), so I took some wiggly trails instead. The road would have been good because it would have been lighter and also I would have moved faster, especially given how hesitant I was getting down to the control, partially because of an unclear approach and partly because one of the aforementioned apparitions tripped me up. (It was a tree stump but I would have sworn that it was a man wearing a white coat, kneeling on the ground.)
Then I just had to get to 11 and down to the parking lot and it should have been easy, but I muffed that up, too. My mind transported me farther than I was and it took me a while to figure out why nothing seemed right about how the terrain was (not) climbing along the wall. Not a huge problem, still got to the trail I wanted, but then I had to go back into the woods for the control. I don't know why I was so freaked out, maybe because the woods there were especially junky, but I just didn't like being there. Eventually I found the control and finished, relieved to be done.
The sun had set several minutes earlier but it wasn't *that* dark. It had been a little harder to read the map and see things in the woods but that wasn't the cause of my issues. It's really just a fear of the alonedark. It seems to me that there are two possible solutions to this problem: I can either do some exposure therapy or I can make sure to give myself plenty of time to finish runs before dark. I think I'll stick with the latter for a while.