Mills College. US Team Trials A-meet. Masters/Juniors (Green, Brown, Orange) sprint: 2.1km, 35m climb. 1st of 14 on Brown, 8th of 32 overall. Start at 9:48. Clear, cool, great day for running. New map; good venue, good course.
Did very well except for one bad control (1:30 error), which really spoiled the race for me.
Route on RouteGadget
Realized later that I forgot to put an emphasis on running hard when the opportunity presented itself. I actually never stopped (except during the error on #12) and hardly slowed down; I was fully engaged the whole time, either planning the current leg or the next one. Nevertheless, there were times I knew exactly where I was going and I should have taken those opportunities to push the pace. This is something I’ve been wanting to work on, but sprints are few and far between these days, and so far I’ve forgotten about this until sometime after the race.
Rex had recommended rubber-cleated shoes so I wore my trail shoes. They worked out fine, but not sure I needed them (maybe they helped up to #16, across to #17, and down.)
Felt OK warming up, pretty loose but legs clearly tired. At the start, felt ready to go.
1. Had seen people starting earlier make a right turn at the end of the building, so headed for that while trying to get the map straight. Found my place quickly, saw it was an easy leg, nailed it.
2. Quickly headed up the road, but it wasn’t clear how to get around to the back of the building. Couldn’t see a passage way through the building (there is one, but it’s not better than going around), and there was a lot of clutter around the left side, but the right side was too far out of the way, so planned on going left. In the distance saw Sergey V coming back and going around the wall and then up towards the left side. Turned out the left side was quite passable, got to the control without any navigational problems, though I slowed a lot on the uphill.
3. Looked like there might be a passageway through the building (there was) but couldn’t tell for sure, so decided to play it safe, give up a few seconds and go around the outside. Rich Parker was coming out as I was going in.
4. Had already determined that I had to go over the bridge, so did that while I planned the rest of the leg. As I turned into the courtyard, Rich was just punching in.
5. Spotted the monument for #8, beeline to #5. Rich ran past it, turning back just as I was leaving.
6. Spotted the heart of the circle from a distance, a little hard to see whether there was olive green in the way (there wasn’t; it was just the impression from a green circle on a little patch of yellow) but didn’t slow down because saw I could just stay on the sidewalk. (From the splits it appears I did lose 2 or 3 secs, so I guess my contemplation of the potential olive greed did slow me down a bit.)
7. Had already planned this before getting to #6, so did it very quickly.
8. And again, planned in advance, did it without consulting the map. My only #1 of the race.
9. Straight, but I slowed a little because I was momentarily confused by all the punches/bags at the Finish. Lost 3 or 4 secs.
10. Before punching 9, knew I had to cross the bridge to get to 10. While crossing the bridge, worked out the exit route from 10.
11. Quickly across the next bridge, but missed the best route (through the woods): swung around 18 instead of going straighter. At the end, went around to the NE side of the circle instead of cutting in sooner. Lost :05.
12. My big mistake. Ran quickly in the direction of #12, expecting to round the corner of the building and be in woods. But I suddenly found myself in a wide covered walkway, and was confused but kept running (mistake!). Saw Gary K out ahead of me, so thought I must be all right, not realizing that he was headed for #13. Thought I noticed on the map that there was a covered walkway on the other side of the building (there wasn’t: it is light beige not light grey) so thought that I must be there - despite the fact that that one was way too narrow and had an open area on its right - by now, having run too far, I had an open area on my right. So ran to the end, turned left into the alley - no control. Figured somehow I must’ve missed the turn, so ran up the other side of the building looking for an alley, but there wasn’t any. Finally stopped, noticed I was out by a road, realized I was on the E side of the building and it hit me that the patch of woods (white) I was expecting was really the covered walkway (light grey) I’d been in - yeesh. Retraced my steps and found the control. Lost 1:30.
13. Don’t really remember getting to the courtyard NE of 13 (I’m sure I was stewing about the big error) but once there, Graham, Vlad and Gavin WM came flying by. As I was debating whether the hillside was olive green (the S portion of it is indeed), one of them started heading up that way and another yelled “That’s out of bounds!” So, up the stairs and punch in after the 3 of them. Lost about :07 just by not running fast enough.
14. This was the only leg I didn’t figure out an exit route for in advance. They all headed left, but with the uncrossable fences that way, I thought it was better to go right, which I did. But they all got there ahead of me anyway - apparently I took too long to figure it out and didn’t move fast enough. Lost :05.
15. Back through the courtyard, down the curving stairway, no flag. Stopped to look at the map - could there be a different set of stairs? Took one more step forward and there was the flag tucked in a corner. Lost :07.
16. Along the right side of the building, NW along the path, through the gate, compass bearing uphill. As I crossed the road, saw the lone tree slightly left of where I was heading. Physically struggled to get up the hill.
17. Knew I had to contour, so started running in that direction. Saw beds of ivy and shades of green on the map, tried to keep moving while I determined if anything was out of bounds. Deciding (correctly) that I could go where I wanted, proceeded directly to the control.
18. Knew in advance that I had to go straight downhill and then across the bridge, so wasted no time heading in that direction. Steep embankment down to the road gave me a little pause. Jon Torrance passed me as I was crossing the bridge. As with the previous two legs, seemed like I might have lost a couple of seconds, but all three where among my best split rankings for the race. Perhaps I was finally running fast enough at this point.
19. As I was crossing the bridge to 18, struggled to find the circle for 19, but did finally find before I got to 18, so this leg was quick and easy.
F. As usual, my split ranking in the Finish chute was one of my worst for the race.
Definitely a fun and challenging venue and a good course. Outside of the one big error, lost about :30 in hesitations and a couple of small course corrections, and maybe another :30 in not running faster sooner - in other words, a pretty good day, but marred significantly by that error at #12.
Looks like my Garmin GPS track needs to be moved about 40m NNW. Geoman's track is much closer to being correct.