Orienteering -race race 1:53:04*** 9.4 km (12:02 / km) +250m10:37 / km 13c slept:8.0 (injured)shoes: Inov8 rocklite 315 -3
UltraLong US Champs Green (M50), Cincinnati East Fork. Pouring rain at the start, complete pandemonium for the first control or two, including a backseat view of PG going horizontal when he hit a low lying fence while running with the pack to 2 (no harm done). I made a maverick route choice to 3 that would have been great if i had executed it confidently, but when I emerged at the trail it took me far too long to realize that I was not where i thought I should be, but was close to the control. While going the long way to 3, saw several top Green runners coming out, and hopped on the back of the loose train. That didn't last long, and muddled through to 5 (with Todd Pownell), a food and water stop, and here made several fateful moves. I tried to shadow DaveK on the road, but he had too much speed for me to maintain even on that short road leg. But following him drew me to a different launch point (further east) than planned for the last 500m of compass work through green. Then the moist conditions (rain mostly just drizzle by now, but all veg wet) made it very hard to read the map, and for some reason, to distinguish north from east. I kept making 90degree errors for 200m, and lost the train and any real idea of where i was headed. Then, and most fatefully, ran into both davek (tying shoe), and ted good (who was coming from the south, on a different attack route), and followed them in to #6. Without the serendipity of bumping into them i would never have found that nondescript location with no nearby solid attackpoints. Dave punched as was gone and never seen again, but I took the trail route that several others who joined us took, so Good, and Siegenthaler and later Pullman were with me (or more correctly, i with them) until perhaps control 11. We all took the same basic routes, but each tried different details, and they mostly balanced out. but running with them really kept me from making worse mistakes, and kept my motivation high. Siegenthaler made a full immersion faceplant in one of the many muddy trail puddles, but recovered well. I was trailing but slowly catching Good while approaching 8, and while he went down and through the reentrant, I went around. I was pleased to not only see that i was going to beat him to 8, but that i knew right where i was. So, I pushed a little, and then the big event of the day happened - with absolutely no warning my left foot caught in a scrap of fence and slammed me hard to the (fortunately smooth and un-spiky forest floor). It was so abrupt i could not break the fall with my arms, and fell hard on my chest and almost my face. Completely knocked the wind out of me, and for a while i wasn't sure i could continue. Good ran by shortly after that, confirmed i was ok, and moved on, followed by Pullman and Siegenthaler. Perhaps a minute later I staggered to the control, and within a minute or two could manage a dog trot and followed the loose train on a fairly easy leg to 9. I was a bit slow the rest of the run, but navigated pretty cleanly, and even had a couple of very satisfying spikes (the final approach to 10, and 11 and 12 in particular). For the same controls I was much more careful about bearings, using the moscow number technique instead of only lining up the map, and they were really accurate. Finished, it turns out, about 5th overall, and 2nd m50. That made it all worthwhile. But i was fried at the end, mostly but not only due to the chest pain, which is probably from bruised or cracked ribs. Rest will be the order of the next month or so, i think.
Wonderful socializing after the meet - best ever, despite the cold and wet weather. I think mass starts like this are so much better for socializing and the future of the sport that we should do them far more often.