Orienteering race (Foot) 2:09:06  *** 11.5 km (11:14 / km) +220m 10:15 / km
NEOC Billygoat: I accomplished my main goal which was to get through the event running but other goals of navigating well and finishing not too far back didn't happen. I should have been more confident of my navigation. Given my many past problems in New England terrain, I felt that I should stay with others and did that the first third of the race.
I went with the crowd toward #1 and was moving too fast to really keep a good track of where I was. I did pickup the trail turns and had a good idea where we were departing the last trail. I thought we were getting past #1 when I believed that I recognized the hill and soon saw Pia going over it. However, I kept following Joe Brautigam as he pulled further ahead. About 40m past the control, I paused and turned around going directly to the control.
Going toward #2, I was behind Tim Parsons and Ernst Linder. We all hit #11 on the way. At that point it would have been good to just go to #3 but I was thinking that it was still better to stay with the mob since one moves faster that way.
After #2, I was falling off the pace. However I was reading the map more carefully, feeling confident of where I was, and I could see Pia ahead.
Going to #4, I continued to slowly fall behind others. I felt pretty good about where I was and hit it.
For leg #5, I was only catching glimpses of people ahead. Some people behind me were catching-up. I heard David Onkst coming-up. I got to the control pretty well but I don't think I was alone.
I led the way to #6 once in a while seeing some people ahead of me. Upon climbing the ridge, I thought I was more to the SW. I hesitatingly turned left toward some rocks I could see. Meanwhile JJ Cote and David Onkst turned right and got to the control before me.
Going to #7 was straightforward. JJ got there first, the me, then David.
Going to #8, I was half inclined to use the trail, but when JJ crossed it I went with him. I figured he's the better navigator and since he lives nearby, he should know this park really well. As we ran I knew we were getting to the left of the control. I could later see Ken Walker Sr. and some others going a more direct route. After crossing the stream and second trail, JJ cut up the hill and I recognized the rocky reentrant leading to the control.
Going to #9, JJ took off and I was trying to keep up. Again, I felt we were going too far left. When we ended up at #2, I cut down. David Onkst was close by too. Ken W. Sr. got there much sooner.
I figured I'd better move so without thinking I headed toward #10, missing the last best skip. I caught up to Jimmy Burnham and got slowed as we snaked our way across the streams and through the thicker vegetation. Once through that I felt I knew where we were and so I moved around the green to the left, then cut back right to spike the control. Jimmy and David got there behind me.
I headed off to #11 but got a little to the left. I spotted the control to correct without losing much time, though once again, I was a little worried when I could again see Ken Walker Sr. taking a straighter route. David Onkst was with me still, and got there right behind me. Comparing to what JJ did in skipping #10, I lost 5 minutes to him. Later on my skip of #17, I gained the 5 minutes back.
Worried about others catching up, I headed out toward #12. Initially, things were going okay. I matched-up some rock features over the half way point and thin I was just east of the leg line. David Onkst started asking about what control would be best to skip and it struck me then that we should have skipped #10. We talked and picked #17 since we could use the trail for #18 and #19. During all of this I was looking at the map too much and drifted east. The walking also allowed my glasses to fog (I noticed fog forming on my glasses when walking in my last race at Patapsco too). As we started climbing a steep spur of a hill, I knew it as wrong and told David. However with my glasses fogged, I couldn't see where this hill was on the map. I could see a bit of marsh near the control, and once over the spur David and I could see a marsh further east. I let myself get convinced to check it out rather than go up higher to the fence (at the time I thought that black line was a power line because I couldn't read it any better than that). I knew the marsh we could see in the forest was too big, but I couldn't read it on the map--we were actually east of #4. After a loop of the marsh, I did head up to the fence, relocated instantly and went directly to the control. This was a loss of around 12 minutes.
David and I had ground to make up so we rushed of to #13, staying high and hitting it easily. We did the same for #14 and found John Baker there. I headed off down the trail to #15 and attacked a little after the sharp bend. David started going too far south and down the hill. I curved up and found a sort of beaten path that took me to the control. John Baker came in more directly, and David was right with us too.
I enjoyed #16, as it was the best for running on the whole course. I went fairly straight. At the second trail, I ran to the bend for a better attack and kept moving. I almost pulled-up a little early but on the earlier knoll, I could see the control ahead. David and John were close by though John dropped off the pace a little.
Moving directly toward #18, to skip #17, I ran to the trail. I wasn't reading it that well, and came off the correct bend a little early. This took me to the hill just north of the control. We corrected and found Kristin Hall and Peggy running together also approaching, but coming from #17.
I got out of #18 quickly but hugged the hill too much, almost missing the trail. David pointed us over to Kristin who got to the trail and was moving better. I'm sort of happy that she got ahead because she knew just where to jump back into the woods. She spiked #19 with me, David, and Peggy nearby.
I debated internally taking the direct route to #20. At the time, I thought it'd be faster but in retrospect I probably would have been slower. The deciding factor for me was that by going straight, I would not necessarily have a good attack point. I slowly passed Peggy and Kristin on the trail, with David right behind me. We took the shortest trails, and caught up with some others including Jimmy Burnham. My shoelace became untied so I stopped while David and Jimmy went on, with my encouragement. I got going soon enough for Kristin and Peggy to see me, and soon enough for me to see where David and Jimmy left the trail. I would have left the trail further north, past the obvious bend but with David and Jimmy going straight, I felt the odds were better to keep in pace with them that way. I recognized where I was by 2 mapped boulders close together about a third of the way into the attack but after that it got fuzzy. David and Jimmy were not in sight but I saw others including Tom Smot. I was about to pass the control when David Onkst came from the west and told me it was behind him. I was then about 30-40 seconds behind David.
I ran on to #21 and spiked it, but got passed by Jimmy.
Leaving for #22, I was only navigating on bearing so I hit the trail a little low. Kristin came in right behind me, having made up distance. Since she wasn't running that hard and was with Peggy, I took off. I wasn't clearly picking up the trail bends, but was glad that Tom pulled off the trail in sight ahead of me. I went in a little past him, never seeing him at the control, and spiked it.
On the trail run to #23, I could see that I was gaining on people. That's surprising given how out of shape I am but the flat terrain helped. What also helped as I learned later was that Tom was injured. He started stretching at the control and left before I got there.
I caught Tom at the trail intersection and he was limping badly--I felt sorry for him. I have bad memories of that kind of thing, and was glad that it wasn't me this time. I might have been gaining on Jimmy too but realized he would be able to out sprint me. After the control (#24) I ran in okay, seeing Jimmy finish just ahead.
It was a disappointing race for not trusting my own navigation early enough, and for getting distracted on the way to #12, making a big error. However, given my training, I felt I ran pretty well and enjoyed the event.