Orienteering race 1:40:36  *** 8.2 mi (12:16 / mi) +200m 11:24 / mi
Last year, the Goat was the same weekend as Boston. This year, I was not about to let Boston keep me from running. The plan was to go out moderately hard to have people to follow. The goal was to make the top 20ish, to have my name on a control next year. The fallback was to do a lot of hiking, orienteer well, and finish in under 3.5 hours. 12 km, that should be possible.
(Other goal: Alex said don't die, since she didn't want to have to carry my body out of the woods.)
Realized that the race would probably start north on the trail we'd marched out, so when I flipped my map I started running up the trail and was right. I didn't turn off with the top guys (Isak and Will) who ran cross-country, electing to run up to a trail instead. This was probably good in that I didn't red line too quickly, as I was cranking on the trail. HRM pretty quickly up in to the 160s; I didn't want to spike it. Maybe I just go faster/harder during races than intervals? Or maybe it's still up since I'm sick.
Hit 1 in a trail group, about a minute after the leaders. Fine. I had read ahead and seen that the best skip were 2, 4 or 10 (I didn't see 17, also a decent option). I wanted to skip early so that people would be passing me if I dogged and so I wouldn't have to keep worrying about what to skip. I heard murmurs about skipping and figured we were skipping 2. We took a high route towards 3, but wound up missing it, and ran to 2. Not the route I would have taken (low, trail, attack point) but we got there, and I decided, well, I'm skipping 4 then.
A big group of us running to 3, and then I dropped down the stream to 4. Attacked pretty well but used this to rest a bit since I didn't want to overdo things. Spiked the control pretty well (orienteering! it's a thing!) and ran off to 6 with a group which hadn't skipped. Big group coalesced around 7, and all peeled off the trail around the same point to attack 8. After a shin-deep stream crossing we sort of scurried up the hill towards the control; I may have been happier going down across the stream and attacking off the trail junction. Sort of a spike? But running through the stream was fun.
Big group to 9 and then everyone ran off to 11 to skip 10 except me and Adrian. Well, I guess it will be AO and AO2 again as it was in 2014! 10 was probably a better skip than 4 by a minute or two, but then again it was a big group running to 11 all skipping, so that may have helped them go faster. Adrian and I ran to 10 and then to 11, talking more than in 2014 (we know each other better) strategizing as we went. For the most part, I was orienteering well, but it helps to have someone to run with. I won the 10-11 split, of course only about half the runners ran that split. Still.
Handrailed off the barbed wire to 13, then whee down to 14, and a trail run to 15. My legs were feeling it by this point but I hung on on the trail and we traipsed in to the green at 15 to find AJ ("a short rock for a short person" said the course setter, AJ). I'd remembered wandering frustratedly through this type of mountain laurel a couple years ago, and went a bit further before going in than Adrian, trying to pick the reentrant out of the green, and the green from the white. After a while I went up towards him et voila, a control! Not wanting to lose my partner, I motioned to him and we went on. Heh, Billygoat.
Off to 16, slowly down the trail then whee through the running forest, then a bit more deliberately the last bit. Good features to follow to 17, to 18 via the water, and then 19 via the trail and then the stream of Pygmy-goaters coming out of the woods. Then 20. We talked and decided to take the trail, because there was a lot of green to navigate otherwise. We went south since the northern route had climb and a "rough trail" we didn't know the condition of. Nearly everyone shows as having lost time through this, and I think our route was actually pretty decent. It's mostly that my legs were pretty dead at this point, Adrian stopped for water, I cut a little too late at the southern turn, and so forth. With fresh legs, I think it would have been a good route choice.
Better still, however, may have been the northern route. Depending on the rough trail, it looks like a pretty straight shot. With a good attack point off the trail, which I took anyway. Adrian ran off in to some green earlier, but it looked messy, and I saw the "attack off the curve in the trail through white" as being a much cleaner attack. Bottom of the marsh, stream where it goes in to green, easy run around to the boulders. Got there the same time as Adrian.
We then bashed down to 21 and 22, me following at this point and not keeping up well. Definitely feeling the sinus infection and the time off. The last few controls were easy and on or near the trail, and with AO in front of me no one will remember who was AO1 and who was AO2 anyway.
Also, I didn't die. It felt really, really, good to hang out at the end of a race and eat food (pizza!) and drink gatorade. Oh and it turns out Adrian had no idea what had happened to me and why I kept saying "oh, no, I'm happy to go slow here" and such.