After dropping off a tired Barney and Inara with Alli, who was manning the download, I ate a gu, changed my shirt, and set off on a Blue course, this time unencumbered by beagle or baby, but merely by my own hobbled body.
I saw Turner start about 3 minutes ahead of me and Michael Wood about 1:30, so I was on the lookout for them as I headed off into the woods.
The first few controls were uneventful, as I ran through the fields, not feeling particularly speedy. I probably lost around 20 seconds on 1, as I didn't quite understand the contours in the circle. I was clean on 2, and then ran around using fields and trails to 3, which seems to have worked well: I was 2nd on that leg, only losing 8 seconds to Jon T.
I hesitated on the longish leg to 4, but hit it straight on after stopping short a couple of times in the "white" woods. #5 was on a rootstock on a weird peninsula jutting out into the water. I ran to an unmapped rootstock first and, when I turned to the correct one, both Turner and Michael were there.
I led the way out to 6, with Turner behind me. I tried to stick to the white woods, avoiding the worst of the green, but got pulled too far off the line and got to 6 behind Michael, who had run straight.
I was then cleaner picking my way through the green to 7 and spiked 8, losing both Michael and Turner. I really enjoyed the middle-distance style section of the course 7-13, and ran pretty well through there.
The last part of the course was very different and went through a section of steep slopes and deep ravines. I was definitely low on energy there and made a couple of bad decisions, costing me time on 15 (about a minute) and 18 (about 30 seconds). Before this section I was actually leading the race, but Jon T was too strong and Kevin too clean on this part, and both got ahead of me.
Some positives to take away from here: my speed and navigation on the somewhat technical sections of the course were good; my hip flexor did not seize up; and it seems like my fitness lasted around 40 minutes, instead of the 25 or so that has been common recently. Still, a long way to go...
A fun course on a fun area on a beautiful day. Thanks QOC!