Orienteering race (Foot) 2:42:19  **** 14.6 km (11:07 / km) +475m 9:34 / km
ahr:142 max:163 spiked:10/13c rhr:57 slept:8.0
ROC A-Meet, Mendon Ponds Park, NY. US Ultra Long Championships. I was looking forward to running this but like the Middle Distance race the day before, I got off to a bad start. I had trouble adjusting to the 1:15,000 scale and completely didn't see the trail route to #1. I crossed through some green areas and eventually popped out onto the trail above the control. Dropping down, I passed it and saw one of the two rootstocks in the area before relocating much further down. I was 19 minutes in before getting to it and that was probably about 14 minutes too long. I just wasn't seeing things well enough on the map.
Dismayed, I slogged my way toward #2. I hung in there knowing it was going to be a long race and that others could have troubles later. I hit #2 and #3 pretty well (and I saw Sergiev Krum(?) around both of these) but I was still feeling a bit shaky with reading the map and navigating it. On the way to #4, I ended up being with Bernie Parker. We were descending most of the way to a tricky control and just being around each other seemed to help me gain confidence. As we attacked from one reentrant to another higher up, I climbed higher than a straight attack would have taken me and I did so to go around some green. Somehow I lost Bernie in the process as I spiked the control. I kept expecting to see him pop over a hill after I'd punched but never did.
In doing this, I lost focus and ended up doing a 180 back the direction that I'd come from. To recover, I did an abrupt u-turn and didn't focus on the best route. Instead of taking a road like many probably did, I ran straight at it. This did have the fortune of keeping me out of a marsh that was on the way to the road but also kept me off-route for the food stops that were on the road. The route felt fast. Spiking the control increased my confidence and I was also glad that I was running fairly strong still.
On the way to #6, I'd gone a fairly direct route and gotten to one of two green areas before a road at the top of a big hill. I used the edge of the green as an attack point and as I was descending toward what I thought was where the control would be, I saw Clint Morse and another guy coming up from the right. I realized then that I was too far left. I'd mistaken one green boundary for another and it was lucky that I crossed Clint's path when I did. Clint had started all 3 races this weekend ahead of me and the last two he started 2 minutes ahead. When I caught him, I felt somewhat relieved to know that I'd made-up a lot of my error at #1. I was almost 2 minutes behind again at #6 and as I was attacking #7, Clint said that I was gaining on him. I saw him again at #8, and just before #9; I'd spiked each of these.
On the way to #10, the best way for me was up a long road. I never looked back but felt I was pulling ahead. I passed Jeff Shapiro along the way. I was running mostly on the grassy part, next to some gravel and think I hear one of the namesake residents as I ran along--a rattlesnake. The road run was a slog. My left knee was hurting a bit but the road made for the easiest running with fairly a good attack point too. Just before #10 I started to cramp and tripped just after this started. It didn't last long and perhaps eating my second Gu at this time helped keep it away. I hit the marsh that the control was on about 30m uphill from the control.
Going to #11, I started straight then realized it would be best to go around a bit again, on a road to a field and an intermittant trail. I ran this leg pretty well, stopping only for a water stop. On the intermittant trail, I hesitated at just the right spot and the stopping let me see the control to my right.
The way to #12 was downhill at first to some marshland. I was running pretty well still. I didn't have a great plan except to get to a road on the other side. I'd skipped this marsh area earlier on my way to #5 via a more direct route. When I hit it this time it was easy to cross initially. However, I soon got stuck at a waterline surrounded by thick green. I knew where I was. I backed out and reasoned it best to go around on the right side to some white woods. I started to do this but cut in again too soon crossing the water on a beaver dam and again getting stuck in some thick green underbrush. After finally getting to the road and turning left for less than a minute, Clint Morse popped out too. We ran together to a water stop where he stopped to get some water. I felt good with only a little way left to go so I didn't stop. Since we were together, Clint knew that he was 2 minutes behind me and that it'd be difficult to make it up on me before the end. I spiked the last two controls and ran the downhill finish at a good pace.
I was mostly happy about the run despite the bad start. I'd gotten to some tough controls in a type of terrain that I'm less familiar with. A lot of the white woods were greener than expected. They were often bland too. It felt like a rogain for the first couple of controls. I also was happily surprised that I was able to run at a good pace for the whole race. Even when I was making errors, I was moving most of the time. I hope this will help me in the other longer races this Fall. My actual distance traveled was just over 12 miles according to my GPS track.