Possum Trot XX
This was fun! And I won! Lukas got a kick out of my squeaky toy stuffed possum, so that's a double win.
I was a bit worried about being able to keep reading a map for two hours so I told myself the goal was just to finish properly and to let everyone else go out like banshees at the start. I did that and just followed the streams of people to the first two controls. People started to string out on the third leg and I found myself back and forth with Spike for the next couple. On the way to 6, crossing the big creek, I ended up stepping into thigh-deep water and falling forward, breaking some ice and getting coated with ice water pretty much up to my chest. That sort of alleviated any overheating concerns and served as a warning to Spike, who was able to hop around the hole.
I don't remember much of the middle of the course. There was a section of controls back and forth crossing a big camping area where my legs were telling me that I was already tired, so that was awesome. Somewhere in here Spike stopped to take off his active ankle and he never caught back up again, which was too bad because it was nice having him near by. I was really fading around the one hour mark, and then we had a nice long trail run for 14 and that was legit awesome because I could rest my brain *and* my terrain legs and that helped.
I got to 18 just behind Robert Minto, who I hadn't remembered seeing before, and with a couple of guys behind me who had been around for a couple of controls. I had no idea if any of them had skipped yet and wondered whether I would be alone to 20, since 19 seemed like a good skip (the best skip
?). I was alone to 20, and had some moments of, "oh no, what if 21 is a better skip and they're all doing that and I miss out?!" but I stuck with it and pushed through the final 4 controls, still alone, and into the finish without seeing any sign of any of them. Wasn't sure if they were ahead or behind so I was happy to learn that they were all behind me - the skip worked!
Meanwhile, it turns out that while I was busy skipping 19 there were also actually a half dozen men running around in circles trying to find it. My skip not only put me safely in front of the guys around me but also in front of 6 of the guys who had been well ahead of me the whole race. Looks like I went from around 15th to 8th in just that last section. Fun!
Really happy that I managed to orienteer for two hours without brain farting. Not only was this a lot more orienteering than I've been doing recently, it was also the single longest run (in time) that I have done all year. Yikes.