Day 2, US Classic Championships. I may be the only one, and maybe it's old school thinking, but I still much prefer the Classic Champs over the SML. The S and the M do nothing for me, and as everybody knows, a stool can not be balanced on one L.
Went out briefly into the forest at the model area on Friday--for my first time in an eastern forest this year--and came back out feeling very nervous. The woods felt thicker with less visibility than I remembered, and I was concerned about how straight I could hold my running and how hard controls might be to see in lower visibility areas.
This affected my Day 1 approach, where focus was entirely on being safe on each leg and trying to keep things as simple as possible. I ran by one control without seeing it (must have been very close) and took out some insurance on another leg by swinging out of a low visibility area to be double certain about where I was before heading into the control. Otherwise I was satisfied with how things had gone.
The results, however, revealed I was well off the pace of the best runners on the day.
On Day 2 I ran with a greater measure of confidence, and pushed on the pace needle a bit harder. Except for a minor swing on one control it was a very clean race, and run at a more competitive pace.
Even so, to be close to what I'm capable of, my estimate is I would have needed to have been in place long enough to get a dozen or so high quality training sessions in, in relevant terrain and vegetation. Quite possibly others are better at making comparable transitions in forest types and don't require as much time.
Really enjoyed the weekend, and getting to race on new maps was a special treat when it's become relatively rare to get never before used areas for an important event.