Running warm up/down 20:00 
shoes: NB wt00
I was not particularly enthusiastic to race this morning. I blamed it on the snow but I actually think it was due to hesitation to test out my newfound fitness and relative speed. I was anticipating a possible clash between navigation and running or at least a lack of integration. My goal for this race was indeed to find a cohesive racing state. However, one race won't do it, and especially since it's the beginning of the season, more practice is needed.
Warmed up sluggishly by myself. Then Balter came along and gave me a little pep talk, which helped. I do find these beneficial in helping to put me in a proper racing state of mind.
Orienteering race 1:12:03  9.22 km (7:49 / km) +262m 6:51 / km
shoes: NB wt00
Fox Chaser II - Day 1 - Ridley Creek State Park - Red course:
My start was one of the late ones, which definitely helped by providing an abundance of footprints to follow and better (not great) packed trails.
The first few controls I was not in the game yet, kind of spaced out. #1 was a bit sketchy; I followed the indistinct trail but then had to stop on the side of the slope prior to veering right to get the control. Was a bit high on #2. Got totally stuck in the thorny bushes on the way to #3 while trying to find a trail, which was not that great once I did find it. Ok on #4, slow going to #5, lost some time here to other competitors due to lack of aggressiveness, I guess.. John caught up to me here and that kind of woke me up. Next few controls I stayed on his tail but he was pulling away. No, I was not blindly following and kept map contact at all times, but having someone faster running in front definitely provided incentive to move faster myself. I felt decent too. Hit #8 smoother than John and got ahead. Dropped to the trail on the way to get to 9, and really pushed it. Then came a route choice mistake getting to 10, where my reluctancy of fighting through the thorns cost me 30 sec. I dropped back to small trail instead of going straight where the woods were actually not that green at all. John then got to the front but went straight to #11 and I went around, which turned out to be a better route. #12 was silly. Next few controls Ok, trying to keep up speed to get to John. Another route choice mistake on #15, went high to the trail, going straight would have been better. Got stuck in the green on the way to #16. Thank goodness I had leg protection but hearing John curse the bushes due to lack of any lower leg protection was in it of itself painful. #18 was super fun and felt like flying because of such great snow footing. I picked another bad route to #19, or actually, it was more like I didn't have a proper plan. This cost me some time, and John pulled away from me. Last ones were good, fighting 'til the end.
Lost about 2 min to Alex.
Navigationally I did not do that well today with most mistakes being of the route choice and execution nature. But this was the first race of the season, and so I just need more orienteering practice before team trails. Oh wait, they're next weekend..