Flying Pig Ultra-Long - KABOOM!! If there was any risk that I'd go home from this weekend harbouring the delusion that it's possible to stay sharp without serious, regular orienteering competition... well, that balloon burst today! In a nutshell, I blew the 1st control, then I totally disintegrated on the 2nd control, punching it almost an hour into the race. The top woman in our age category took less than 10 minutes for the 2nd leg, and I was close to 35 minutes. I can't think of the last time I got myself so spectacularly misplaced. After that, it was just an exercise in staying motivated and focused enough to finish the event and take advantage of this excellent training opportunity. It seems that the curse on my Long races remains firmly in place.
I've stared at the map a lot, and I still haven't distilled the lessons I want to take away from this race. I started off slowly and calmly - but still managed to screw up by not aiming off enough when I hit the north-south trail. I somehow missed seeing the very obvious best route for the 2nd leg, but that isn't a huge worry - it can happen sometimes. I think maybe my map was folded too much, hiding the route I should have taken. I'm much more disturbed by the very poor execution of my chosen routes on the first two race legs. I think maybe I'm not giving long race legs enough respect - that is, I'm not applying the same care and precision I would use in a shorter race. Also, I know that I really used a shoehorn to make the map fit my surroundings at one crucial point - and I know better than to do that. If I'd believed the terrain, I could have relocated much, much earlier.
Other than the minor detail of a disastrous performance, I had a great time today and felt good physically. I love the East Fork State Park terrain and map, and Cedarcreek had designed a fun race course for us. (All 4 Pig events were high quality as usual.) We had brilliant sunshine and warm, spring termperatures - it was a great day to be out in the forest, and I had a smile on my face most of the time. In fact, my race started off *so* badly, that I was laughing at myself after awhile rather than getting stressed. That helped me to salvage the remainder of the race, which didn't go too badly. I was 3rd of 5 people in my category - a whopping 35 minutes out of 1st.
It was a beautiful day. Here's Tiny running to the finish.
All that deep water pool running paid off - Jon Torrance won by almost 4 minutes!
It was a treat to chat with my QuantiGHO Queen Bee teammate Valerie, who very kindly brought me some Reese's peanut butter chocolate Easter bunnies. Yum!
OCIN put a lot of work into providing a fantastic orienteering weekend for us - thanks so much! :-) Thanks also to my travel companions for a fun weekend - and to Eugene for the great restaurant recommendations.
But of course, the Flying Pig is not the main thing that attracted us to Ohio this weekend - it's the fine dining...
The Waffle House waitress looked with concern at Tiny's arms and asked if he had inflicted all those cuts on himself. Then she noticed that Bender's arms looked exactly the same way, and her eyebrows shot way up. Tiny explained our sport, and she was polite, but indicated that she wouldn't be signing up anytime soon. We enjoyed our much anticipated Pig-out on unhealthy food - yum!