Orienteering 2:36:24  1935.0 km (5 / km) +545m 5 / km
ROC - US Champs Ultra Long. An ok race for me. Really only had 3 serious errors (#4 where I had to blame myself, and #6 and #14 where map wasn't very good). I didn't even plan on finishing this one, and just wanted to go out and focus on clean execution, picking good route choices, and just have fun. Took 2 Gu, warmed up a bit, and went out. First bag felt weird, as I was still adjusting to the 1:15,000 scale. Then sort of felt a *competitive spark* on the way to #2 and shifted into my "working mode". Was running good, then strayed off my line on the way to #4 (really sloppy with the compass). I hit the stream, and couldn't tell whether I was above or below the bag, so I ran up, nothing, then ran down and found the bag. Started to move again, hit #5 right on, then on the way to #6 I took a lower route, and started contouring/climbing in the wide reentrant right before the bag. Counted one, two, nothing. Run down and up still nothing, Decided to run further to see if there was another reentrant and sure enough it was, and the bag was sitting right there. Not sure if those who attacked from above saw an unmapped reentrant, but from below there were three and not two. I got really pissed there, as it interrupted my flow, and was running angry since that point. Caught and passed Eric Kemp right before #7, pushed uphill on the way to #8, took the around route to #9 to save some climb. Ate my first GU while running on that ~1k trail run and felt generally good. Then caught and passed Emily Kemp on the way to #11, but got sloppy on the way to #12. It didn't feel like I lost a lot of time there, but spits show that I lost ~2min. Still not sure how. Then came the infamous #14. I bailed out to the road to the left as I didn't want to risk missing it if I went straight. Run up to the fist clearing, aimed off and followed my line. Hit a marsh with a rootstock, started looking for the second marsh where the bag was, nothing. Came back again, took my bearing for what should be a ~50m ran, still nothing, WTF! Then took off to the south and hit another marsh, looked to the left, and sure enough there was another marsh with the bag right next to it. Got somewhat discouraged after that, and looked at the course ahead. Not much was left of it, so I started running towards #15 along a crappy reentrant. Walked up the big hill again, scratched my way through the patch of green, I think this alone cost me like 1.5min, as opposed to if I managed to hit a clearer spot further up the hill. Ate my second Gu roughly at the same spot where I ate my first one as I was running up that trail once again. At this point 2h and 20 min into the race I began to fade. Had a bit of an issue right before the bag, as there clearly were 3 little (though dry) ponds and not two as on the map. Looked at #16, bah crap, as I wasn't looking towards the upcoming climb out of it. Ran somewhat slow downhill, tried not to mess up, and got the bag with a little hesitation right around it. Then walked up hill, to the trail, and was happy to see the finish shoot.
First 30min right after the race felt painful, though began to feel relaxed on the way back home and felt surprisingly good once we got home. Still am wondering how I managed to finish this race given the effort that I was putting out there. I think that this will give me a big boost in my winter training as we more or less finish things around the house and when I can focus on doing some actual training.