Started out with an unfortunate incident - did some damage to my left big toe right at the start (Peter posted map here
) - caught it on a rock somehow and it was pretty sore. As I soon discovered, it was fine on level ground, but very painful when it had to flex on rocks. On the way to 1, I was only able to check off the real big features (like the lake and the creek), but for the second half, I could see JJ at the head of a train, so I was confident the pack was doing OK. I couldn't make sense of the contours near the control, but there was a major trail not too far past it, so I knew missing wouldn't be too bad. Hit the trail to head towards 2. I wanted to stay on it for a long time, but JJ left it and Samantha and Hillary decided to, also, so I had to hit the terrain. As we started to get in the neighborhood, JJ was headed left and the Saegers were going right. There were 2 of them, and only 1 JJ, and I thought the open fields meant we were too far left, so I went right. We found John F and Jeff S floundering up above, but relocated and headed back S to the flag. C3 was straight, C4 had a nice hilltop to guide the way, for both I was again behind Sam and Hill. For 5, I slowed down 1 spur too early, but they kept going, and I was at the right height. On the way to 6, I got ahead of them on the way to the road, at which point I decided to take the trail around to the right - not sure if they went the same way. They got by me on the way to 7, and I followed them on the trail towards 8. They decided to leave the trail before the last downhill, so I did as well, although I had planned on running it all the way to the parking lot. They got ahead of me on the rocky climb to the road - my toe was quite sore during every rocky stretch, but especially uphills. I was able to essentially catch up during the road run.
The trail run started with a rocky uphill section, so they opened up a sizable lead (20+ seconds), but I was able to catch back up when the rocks became less numerous. We then went by JJ, Joe B and someone else. At this point, we hit a very nice section of trail, and I was feeling good, so I moved ahead by a chunk. Then we hit some more rocks, and it was the beginning of the end. I cramped pretty severely on the inside of my thigh when I tried to avoid a rock with my left foot. I had to walk for a bit and the girls went zipping by me. Eventually it recovered, but they had gotten out of sight, at least 30 seconds ahead, so I pushed it and was able to catch back up, just before the end.
I took a little longer at the aid station, trying to choke down 1/3 of a Powerbar, but the next O section (Peter's map
) started on a trail and I was able to catch up again, but we left the trail at a rocky reentrant and it was all over. After I lost contact, I tried to hit the little sections of mapped trail that were available, and I did hit parts of them, but spent way too much time in the mountain laurel. The only good thing was that the second little section of trail seemed to go on longer than mapped and I was able to easily follow the swamp around to the bag. On the way to 12, I saw the girls again as they were headed from 15-16. Very depressing. Somehow, I didn't really notice the swampy area to the left and was trying to key off the contours. I came to a stop trying to relocate, when I heard someone to the left - it was JJ moving at a nice clip, so I thought he had a bead on the control. It wasn't until we hit the trail that I realized he had already punched, so back I went. Bernie and some others (cadets?) were arriving from the other direction, so I was near them for the next 3 control, my slowness from toe pain and cramping were offset by cleaner navigating. Until 16. They went right, while I chose to go left. I got hung up in too much green, then over corrected back to the right, until I was able to relocate from the clearing a bit before the control. 17 went smoothly. For 18, I chose to stay left any time I saw green ahead of me, then cut back and went off the tip of the last swamp, catching back up to a couple guys. They went left around the hill, I went right, so I didn't see them again. I assume I did too much zig-zagging. I was able to run up the road.
I took my time at the final aid station. Jon T was already done. John F did some pouring for me - not sure how many cups I ended up drinking, but it was too little, too late. I walked almost all of the last map, but still managed to get hopelessly lost on the way to 2 (21?). Had to go N to the clearing to try again. Came back just as a small pack, including Phil B, was closing in. I jogged most of the trails thru the camp area and across the field for the uphill attack. I don't remember 4. Took the trail most of the way to 5, left where a couple of others did. If I had been alone, I would have gone all the way to the road, to be safe. Tried to go mostly straight to 6, which meant hitting a nasty section of undergrowth about halfway there (but at least I was sure where I was). Went off the bend in the road to get to 7. Took almost identical route as Peter
to 8, still with Phil. Did some jogging on the trails on the way to 9. Left the road on the little trail left of the buildings. And a rare downhill finish was much appreciated.
My toe is a bit discolored between the knuckle and the foot, but I guess I won't pay to have it looked at, since they probably wouldn't really do anything for it anyway. I think running on non-rocky services should be OK.