Orienteering race 52:12  *** 6.9 km (7:34 / km) +330m 6:06 / km
shoes: VJ Spikes
So, this was a very good run, among the top five of the year. Other nominees include the sprint at Fair Hill, Iron Hill red, and I suppose two other races TBD. It was a race that I haven’t really had since 2000, or maybe earlier, distinguished by extreme confidence while running.
The most notable thing was how easy the Orienteering seemed to me. Every leg, with the exception of 9 became trivial, or at most orange level. Even more importantly, I was reading contours like a book—every contour feature stood out in stark relief. I couldn’t necessarily “see” where stony ground was, but I knew where it was supposed to be, and either 1) ignored it uphill, or 2) tried to avoid it downhill.
I thank the snow for this. This was the first time I ran in snow with my contacts and I noticed how much easier it was to see the topology when you have contrast between white snow and the bases of the tree trunks (as opposed to tree trunks on similarly-colored brown leaves as is normally the case.) So, it seemed like running in a field, but better.
And the running was good—again because of the snow. I always liked running in snow, and Sunday was close to ideal, although another inch would have been nice. I can run more confidently through rocks when I know there is some padding/dampening built in. (This was a completely different style than the weekend before when I was running lightly but very visually from rock to rock. This day I ran lightly but loosely and on “feel.”)
However, I think I was running “too fast for conditions” on the first 3.5 controls of the course. I was flying off of things, bounced off some rocks, and realized that such a pace was dangerous and would potentially lead to (physical) trouble. I wanted to finish after all.
Finally, the trails were a non-factor. In most cases I completely disregarded trails in the snow, somewhat out of an arrogance in that I told myself that no one else was going to orienteer like I was that day, so trails in the woods had no bearing. Moreover, on downhill trails I wanted to run in the deepest snow possible, so I avoided footprints. On the flat trails, or the traverse along the hill to 9 they were a wash—I’m not sure that they helped or hurt (although I expect that others who are not snow-philes might differ.)
In terms of mistakes—probably 1 minute or so. Hesitation on 5, 8, 9 and a bit left and high going into 10.
Orienteering warm up/down 39:00  *** 4.6 km (8:29 / km) +150m 7:17 / km
shoes: VJ Spikes
Control pickup/"cooldown." Already quite cold to start, but it was fun running around in snow a little more.