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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: pfc

In the 7 days ending Dec 7, 2008:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Orienteering2 2:48:55 9.69(17:26) 15.6(10:50) 77533 /39c84%
  Running (trail)1 1:05:00 7.22(9:00) 11.62(5:36)
  Total3 3:53:55 16.92(13:50) 27.22(8:36) 77533 /39c84%

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Sunday Dec 7, 2008 #

Orienteering 2:28:05 [4] *** 12.0 km (12:20 / km) +760m 9:22 / km
spiked:19/23c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2006, black

This year's Possum Trot was on the south side of the Bluffwoods CA (PT IX was on the north half of the map.) It was about 20 degrees and a little windy, but sunny, at the start as we stood at the bottom of a creek valley.

For reference, the course map is here.

As soon as Dick gave the start signal, we all flipped our maps and looked for the first couple of controls. Eric, Swampfox, and I led the charge up the steep spur to the SE, followed closely by JJ, Justin and Tom along with some others.Much of the way up was a fast walk, and I stayed on the S edge for better visibility of the reentrants. I could look to the left and see Eric and Swampfox running along the spine of the ridge. The undergrowth was kind of trashy and none of us were as fast as we could be. I counted reentrants and dropped into #1 at the same time as the others, as well as Justin who had joined us.

Swampfox then led us E, cutting the corner of the big reentrant and then diagonally down the slope to the creek junction. We ran along the creek for less than 100 meters, and then he started to climb up the other side. Igor, the Moldovan runner, had joined us here but veered too far to the south. I went a little farther, but decided to climb out of the creek bed for a better look. As soon as I did so, I saw Swampfox going into #2 on the ruin about 30 meters away, followed closely by Eric. I sprinted over to it, punched, and followed them up the spur.

We stayed on top on the ridge, and it was definitely green as marked on the map, with lots of small closely spaced trees that forced us to duck and weave with lowered heads. Justin and I were running together about 20-30 meters behind the other two, and I think Tom was in the mix as well. We finally popped out onto the main trail. I'm sure we were all pretty slow through the first half of this leg. Once we made the trail, we let the legs stretch out and I made my first major map consultation to figure out my skips. Even before this, I'd resolved to skip #22, since I like a good late-course skip option. In the time I had to look, though, I couldn't see another clear candidate and decided to defer the decision until later. So I folded up the map and put on a little speed to pull nearly even. As we approached #3 from the SW, the other three went up the spur to the NE. I foolishly decided to continue a little bit and cut north along the E edge of the pond. It was a little flatter, but not as fast as I thought and I lost about 20 seconds to the others, who came back out the way I went in. I punched, doglegged, and caught up again in time to see everyone blunder into a patch of thick vegetation just S of the trail.

I ventured into the edge of thicker stuff, decided I didn't want to mess with it and skirted the edge to find a way up the eastern spur to the ridgetop. Eric and Justin were climbing up a steep section off to my right, and I looked back to see Swampfox still down near the trail. I started to wonder whether he was trying to be tricky and let us get just ahead, then skip to #5. I didn't find out until the end of the race that he was hurting. The four of finally us got onto the ridge, thrashing through a fair amount of undergrowth. I crossed over to the S side to make sure I didn't miss the gully, which looked like it would be steep-sided and not easily visible in the local conditions. I was right, and ran past it about 50 meters to the south. As soon as I saw the jumble of erosion gullies and the major fork, I knew I was too far south and I think I let fly with my first expletive of the day. I backtracked and nailed the control, but by that time Eric, Justin, and Tom had slipped ahead and started back NE.

I followed as best I could, although they were out of sight by now. As I descended the spur NE to the trail bend, I saw the second pack on its way up the spur and said hi to Ian. The going was a bit slow as I fell into the stream cut, with a lot of downed trees. I finally jumped across the creek, headed up onto the trail, and opened up to the road. Several people had decided to skip #4 and I ran with and past them on the trail. Once I hit the road junction, I ran up the veg boundary and found a deer trail just past the marsh. It led right in to #5, and I saw Justin about 40 meters ahead, but no Eric. I punched together with Jim (who had skipped #4) and punched it down the hill, luckily missing the barbed wire fence that ensnared Justin and ripped his leg (although I didn't see it happen).

I slowed down to a trot as I crossed the open area to the road and checked out routes to #6. Because of the placement of #7, it wasn't a skip option (and a little too soon anyway), and it looked like I had to cross a ridge to get there, no matter which route I took (going way north and following the creek was not a good option). I was running alone by now, and still had some steam and decided just to punch up the steep area W of the road. It actually wasn't very hard, and there were a couple of spectacular cliffs I was able to appreciate at my lowered pace. I got up to the broad hilltip and skirted around the edge of the reentrant N of the ridge, but dropped a little too far down and had to waste some climb to get up to the ridgetop with the trail, abour 60 meters down from the small clearing. I should had curved around on the spine of the ridge and hit the trail farther S. But now I was in good position to find the three-way stream junction I had chosen to attack from. I ran down and found it, and saw Justin running by NE along the creek - but maybe that distracted me and I made my first big mistake here. I ran up the W fork instead of the SW fork (doh). I was on the south side, looking down into the reentrant and thought "This is awfully steep. The one I looking for widens out." Since things weren't quite matching up, I also slowed down. Instead of listening to my misgivings, though, I kept running up until the fork. At that point I had to stop, scratch my head, check the map, check the compass, and scratch my head some more. Then finally I thought back to the three-way junction and it all clicked, so I let fly with the second expletive and headed over to the other side of the spur, dropping right into #6. Now it was clear why Justin was running where he was, and I had a good idea how far behind I was. I figure this was about a 2-2.5 minute error.

The running along the edge of the creek was prety good, and I said hi to Jason as I passed him near where Justin passed me. I continued up counting reentrants until I reached the right one, then double checked with the compass to be sure (no more mistakes) and ran up the north side, noting the rocky ground marked on the map. This was an easy one, and I exited toward the ridgetop trail.

I ran the trail together with another competitor I didn't know, and headed down the slope to the road, following the small reentrant. I ran across the stream flats, which weren't actually hatched green, crossed on the rock, and went diagonally up the slope towards #8. My mistake on #6 had allowed Tom to get ahead of me, and I saw him going into #8 about 50 meters ahead. By the time I punched, he was already down at the creek heading towards 9. I turned out the downhill jets and caught mostly up, as he had a little trouble at his crossing point and I found a less steep area. We ran together up to the indistinct trail, chatted for a minute, and then we parted ways. I wasn't feeling too hot about screwing around with the side-slope, so I decided to run up the spur and catch the trail along the ridgetop, then approach #9 from the east. Tom continued along the trail. Getting up the spur was easy, but when I got to the top I found there wasn't any white left. The flat top was all overgrown with (I think) young aspens. I had to slink through the trees but managed to find the "trail", which was nothing more than an overgrown deer trail. It certainly wasn't as fast as I thought, but I managed to make my way out to the main trail and run down to the control, reaching it at the same time as Tom.

While running along the ridge I had planned to continue the easy routes and take the trail to #10. That route also kept me out of the way of my umm... buddy (story here!). I immediately reversed course and ran over to #10. Tom took a few seconds to decide on the same approach, and didn't catch up until we left the trail going west into #10. It was a little slow due to downed trees, but we punched almost at the same time and I started N back to the main trail. Something happened at this point, because I was expected to run with Tom for quite some time - but this was the last I saw of him.

I ran the trail over to the clearing near #11, curved in around the veg boundary, and saw Spike, who kindly showed me the correct reentrant as he came up over the edge. I pushed the pace in and out, cutting across the field to get back to the trail and expecting to see Tom to my left. #12 was similarly quick, with a fast downhill trail run counting the reentrants along the way, then a cut over the spur and up the reentrant. I took a diagonal path out to the SW so as not to give away the reentrant (still thinking Tom would be after me), but never saw him. I continued down the trail, cut across to the open area and S to the road, where I caught up with Spike. We both jogged into the water stop and chatted for a couple minutes as we rehydrated. In my case, it was a flat Pepsi (mmmm...)

The two of ran down the road, and I took the opportunity to check the map for my remaining skip options. 14 looked possible, but didn't seem too beneficial. 16 was a definitely possibility and allowed a nice ridgetop trail run for 15-17. 18 looked good at first, but after seeing that a ridgetop run to 19 added a lot of unnecessary climb and wasn't viable, that was out. 20 looked good - although the distance savings wasn't great, the leg from 19 to 20 looked like a nasty side-slope with rocks underfoot. Since 15-16 had a good trail option, I decided on 20, which, together with my second skip on 22, would give me an easy finish.

Spike managed to get a little ahead as we left the road to go to #13, because I wasn't paying attention and crossed the stream directly across from a steep bank. I had to struggle over a bunch of deadfall to find something I could use to climb up to the other side. But I caught up as we ran up the spur. I spotted the lower gully to my left and angled up to nail #13 in the upper gully, then immediately continued W up the spur to the trail on the ridgetop. The trail was easy to find and the curve to the west was distinctive. I continued down the ridge, counting reentrants (as always) and dropped into #14, then quickly back out and past Spike on his way in. As I hit the trail, I slowed down for a few seconds to figure out a route to #15. I wasn't too enthused about running up the creek valley to the W - it would be slow and easy to get pulled into the wrong fork. Streams are a lot easier to follow downstream!

So I started south on the ridgetop trail, intending to attack from the trail bend to the E of #15. I took the opportunity to moderate my pace and power breathe. In retrospect, I should have gelled up here, but didn't. From the trail bend, I headed W into the valley, intending to catch the two small gullies to lead me in. Here was my second bug mistake of the day. Instead of going straight W, I started to veer N. I shrugged off the fact I didn't catch the two gullies (bad idea) and dropped into the creek bed and up the reentrant thinking it was the right one. Nope. I was in the larger one about 150 meters north. Just like in #6, I couldn't quite fit it. I slowed down, wandered around a bit, then dashed up to the trail to the W to relocate. I ran south, intending to hit the trail junction, and hit what I thought was the trail junction but turned out to be the wide spot with a distinctive tree. So I ran back north and dropped into the same stupid reentrant. (You know, I'm cringing as I write this.) After about five minutes and a third episode of expletives, it "clicked" that I had seen the distinct tree marked on the map. Immediately my mental frame of reference snapped into the correct position, and I ran straight over the spur to the control.

Well, nothing to do now but stay on plan, so I went SW up to the trail, found the real trail junction, and ran around to #16. My legs were pretty good since I had had a breather while trying to make sense of the map on the last leg. The trail had banks on both sides, and I jumped up over the right side and dropped into the reentrant, punching quickly and passing a couple people as I cut NE over the shoulder of the spur and crossed the creek. I used the major NE-pointing reentrant to bring me up to the trail, and was able to avoid most of the green by staying close to the bottom on the N side, which was actually pretty flat. Towards the top, the soil got very sandy, and the vegetation turned into almost a goat prairie cover, with sparse cedars, grasses, and a lot of open sandy ground. I hit the trail near where the connector line crosses it, and used it to curve around the big reentrant system and approach #17 from the northwest. As I was running down the main spur, Spike was climbing up and as we passed I sheepishly admitted to my boom, by way of explanation. On the bright side, though, running that close to someone - and someone who doesn't make many mistakes - keeps the fire lit to maintain the effort. I nailed #17 and ran back up with a goal in mind.

I backtracked a little ways on the trail and ran down the spur to #18. Halfway down I saw Spike rounding the corner into the control, and by the time I scrambled over some deadfall and punched, he was already well on his way SW down the terrace. The ridge to our left was very impressive, but the base was fairly flat and so I pushed it on the 600 meter leg to #19. My legs were starting to feel flat and I could tell that my blood sugar gauge was hovering near empty, but I didn't want to take the time to stop and get a gel unless I really had to. Plus, I knew that my skips were coming up and the race was almost over. We pulled even as we climbed diagonally up to the ridge just before #19, then ran along the top where I punched, ran down into the valley and up the other side to punch #21 - probably the shortest and quickest Possum Trot leg I've ever had. After that, it was just a hike (no more running uphill at this point) to the saddle point of the ridge, and a jog down the reentrant into the clearing where the finish was. I came out right near the finish, had enough juice to run over to the GO control, and into the finish in a reasonably respectable manner.

My finish time was 2:28:05, which put me in 4th place overall. I was preceded by Igor (who didn't skip any controls), Justin, and Eric. Spike came in 12 minutes later, then Tom, then Ian. My best ever PT finish, although I do recognize it was a thin field this year.

Saturday Dec 6, 2008 #


Possum Trot weekend - Kansas City

Orienteering race 20:50 [4] *** 3.6 km (5:47 / km) +15m 5:40 / km

Fast sprint on Johnson CC campus. Good run with only a couple bobbles.

Tuesday Dec 2, 2008 #

Running (trail) 1:05:00 [3] 7.22 mi (9:00 / mi)
shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2006, black

Jiffy Lube run to Wirth. A couple of hill sprints, slow pace though. With Biz and Tom.

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