My first night-O! My calf that had cramped the day before was killing me all day, so I knew I would struggle physically. I was also extremely hesitant about handling the terrain in my current physical state, especially in the dark. I decided I would not run much and just work on navigation skills, which are rough enough in the daylight. I was more then hesitant about my ability to avoid mistakes in the dark.
I started off with ligt jogging on the trails and roads and walking off trail. My navigation concerns meant not only walking but constantly checking the map and the compass almost every few strides. This kept my big mistakes mostly to overrunning attack points on the roads as I started to push more later in the night.
I did run pretty hard in the last hour or so where I spent more time on the roads and I did not feel natural at all. My left knee throbbed in the car on the way home and my right knee and calf bothered me pretty good getting out of bed the next day (today).
Don't have access to a PC these days, so not sure when I will get a quickroute out there.
I followed a similar route with some changes. I ran on roads (more toward the end) and some on trails. I was really cautious and extremely cautious off trail with my footing and navigation.
I went straight up to 23 first then down to the wood-road and used the trail and vegetation boundary to hit 18, then the lower trail to hit 13. Then cut across the clearing and a little green stuff to get over the trail and down to #16. About now it was getting dark enough to turn on my headlamp. I had been fairly confident with the light still giving me vision over distance. Now I was very hesitant about going off trail.
I went back up to the road and headed south to 37. I made an error here and went into the woods to early thinking I as seeing the clearings in the dark (this is where I now see the beauty of night-o as training. While inside the control circle the reflectors give you the control- you now have to use only the features within your light range to guide you confidently to the circle. I need that kind of confidence and skill. This is where night-O can help me). I wasn't and just found nasty fight. I came back out and headed down to the actual clearings and that is where I first ran into Alex.
I then went back up to the road and up to the trail and around to #24. Then trail to 17. Here I made a mistake as I took trail south of the ride out of the clearing instead of the ride. I figured out my mistake when I saw clearings south of the trail that matched up with the trail and not the ride, so I went back a little and headed north to the control. I then took the trail around to a shorter attack point for number 33 (from the west). This was my first control off trail in the dark and I was very hesitant. A slow walk with constant checking. I ended up heading right too it (which I was extremely proud of) and hit it just before alex shoed up from the longer attack point to the east.
I made a big mistake here as I decided to chase 22 at this time instead of realizing I would need to come back right through it again. I didn't take a good route through the green and it took a while. I after #22 I cut to the road west (from the southern trail corner - a quicker route) and attacked 36 from the trail. I was definitely starting to gain confidence on my off-trail navigation in the dark. I was hitting controls perfectly, but I was very slow. Not racing always improves my navigation. This was no exception. But it was nice to se I could do it.
I then used the streams as a handrail to attack #26.I headed due west through the clearing to the trail and attacked 30.Then I took the trail out to the road to the west (somehow never noticing that 10 was so close on the map...). After grabbing 20 I made the plan here to use my running more ( I was feeling OK to start pushing a bit harder and I was realizing how slow I was in the woods) to grab 34 and a few controls in the 20s on the way back and then hit the more accessible controls in the 30s back near the start (#35, #31, and #32 were all right off trails and roads and not far from the start. If I could ru well- they were easy controls to snag). I headed out to 34 and then decided it was dumb not to hit 38, so I did and then contoured around to the stream to hit 21. This took time out of my final plan on the east side of the map. It also showed how slow I was moving compared to Alex, who I can move much faster then on the road (when moving confidently and uninjured). At the trail head to head off the road to #34 we met again (he had moved a bit ahead of me by snagging 39 and 40 which I had deemed I did not have time for and would be better off running to the higher point controls further out). As I headed out for #4 he went in for 21 and then out to #34. So I had that time on him. He basically caught me by the time I hit #38. I could see his light behind me. That is the cost of hesitation, but it is what I need right now to hit the control. As he headed out to #19 I headed up to #21 to get back to the road and my plan (which was now shot)
I grabbed 28 and 25 on the way back (overshot both a little bit in the dark as you just can't see the streams). Then cut back up to 22 (which I should have waited to this point to get) and then around and back to get 35 before heading in. There was no time left to hit #31 and #32. I had seven minutes left at #5, so I could pick up a few 10 pointers, but I was sloppy heading out of #35 and hit horrible fight that meant I just made it back with 11 seconds to spare. You hit the fight and you say, well- I'll just push through... that did not go well.
Another note: in looking at Nate ohrwaschel's log: http://www.attackpoint.org/viewlog.jsp/user_5563/p...
, I noticed that we covered the same amount of distance although he outscored me by 200 points or so. I usually look at that as planning issues on my part, but our plans weren't that different (I did have planning issues concerning 22 and 21 etc and I should have hit more of the easy big points on the east side of the map - but I wanted the challenge of the west... The best move might have actually been to (not do 22 the first time) go back after 20 and hit 28 and 25 and work on quick big points east. I would have a lot more points if I could run fast enough- all easy pickins'). The reality is that he was covering distance in the woods so much quicker then I was and I made up for it on road and trail. A great example is when he did 39 and 40 and I opted out (because I knew how slow I would be in the woods) to run to 34 and 38. His distance in gathering 39 and 40 was no greater then me running around on the road, but the time made all the difference. He could be quick enough to leave the time that I needed. So could Alex.
All in all, I enjoyed night-O a lot more then I thought I would and see great training value in it. I will need to do more of these. I was happy with my navigation. When I made mistakes I was able to realize them and adjust and that is a success right now. I stuck with my hunches when I made mistakes and they always led me where I thought I was.
Hand-drawn route until I get to a PC and use Quickroute:https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/F9ioA7Tp7M7F...