Running 20:00  2.22 mi (9:01 / mi)
shoes: 2005 Falcons
Ok, so here is how the week-end went:
Thursday night, after much going back-and-forth and lots of indecisiveness, i finally decide i am not going to the Sprint Series and will instead enjoy a quiet weekend of training and working on problem sets here in Uppsala. I email Kat and Sergei and tell them as much.
Shortly after midnight on Friday, i decide to go to bed, but, what the hell, check plane tickets to NYC one more time. Hmmm, the price fell again. I took that as a sign from above and, already calling myself insane, bought the ticket....for a flight leaving in 6 hours.
So then i started my problem set for the agorithms class. At 3am or so i was more or less finished with it, packed frantically, ran out the door, jumped on the bike and pedaled like mad to make the airport bus that left from the Uppsala Central Station. Biking in the middle of the night is awesome, as there are no cars in the street, and the only problems might come from biking over drunk Swedes lying in the street. Luckily, i avoided those and made the bus and then, the plane, on time.
I got to New York without further problems, met up with GOATS and Kat at Greg's place, and we hit the road, picking up Special K in Springfield and getting to Kenny's house for the night.
After a chill morning of chatting with Kenny and Alex, and Greg dispensing pearls of wisdom on childbearing and childrearing, we hit the road again, for the final stretch to Pawtuckaway.
Everything was going fine on this sunny and beautiful New England morning until Sergei casually pointed out that the car's brakes no longer worked. We thought that was funny and kept going until about 5 seconds later we realized he wasn't kidding. We stopped, tried to fix it, thought about flagging down passing orienteers (as Mihai flew by us) and asking for rides, but eventually decided to just go, slowly and carefully and hope we make it. I called Kenny and informed him of this, admittedly becoming unhappy at the prospect of taveling 4000 miles or so to miss my start. But Sergei got the hang of driving cautiously and keeping distance from cars in front of us, and things were going ok. Until we got stuck behind a parade.
That's one of those things that only happen in bad movies, and i felt very much in the middle of one. Of course, navigating on local roads around the parade i managed to get us totally lost, but miraculously, after several bouts of loud cursing at poor motorists minding their own business and guilty only of turning too slowly or not accelerating fast enough, we made it to the starting line with a couple of minutes to spare!
And then the fun began!
Orienteering race 17:24  2.75 km (6:20 / km) +50m 5:48 / km
shoes: 2005 Falcons
Placed in the heat of death with Eddie, John F, Hans, and Balter, i knew it would be tough to qualify for the second round. Hans blasted out of the started, and we all kept pace, seeing no other choice. We stayed pretty much together through the first short loop, but spread out a bit at 6, where we arrived along with a group of women and had to wait to punch. We all messed up 7 (i freely admit that i, for one, was running faster than i could navigate at that point, but i saw no alternative. I could have kept a little further back of Hans and run with John, but knew that i would then be slaughtered by John's monster finish kick, so I had to stay up with Hans). Through 8 and 9 we were ok, Hans and I in the lead, John a few seconds back but definitely in contact, Eddie seemingly far back. Then came 10. We went too far to the right and ended up having to relocate and lose over a minute, coming into the control as John and Eddie were about 30 meters on their way to 11. The only thing left was to be clean to the finish and hope they made mistakes, but alas, that was not to be, and John and Eddie deservingly moved on.
Orienteering race 18:09  2.7 km (6:43 / km) +80m 5:51 / km
shoes: 2005 Falcons
I was bitterly disappointed by not qualifying for the semis, but was excited by the challenge of another difficult heat - at the starting line, i was joined by Hans, Mark Adams (who declined to wager a beer on this one), Greg, and Joe. Unlike last time, I was perfectly happy to let Hans get ahead, since i just needed a top 2 finish, so i started out fairly slow. Got to 1 with Mark, surprised to see Hans come in from the right at about the same time. The three of us then pretty much stayed together most of the way, the pace much slower than in the previous round. On the way to 10, we all hit the trail almost in front of the flag, didn't see it, and all turned down the trail the wrong way at the same time - quite funny. On the long leg to 11 we split up, Hans going around on the trail on the right, Mark contouring around on the left, and me going straight through the clearing. Sure enough, we hit the road at the same time. Hans was the first to punch 11, with me and Mark right behind, and same for 12. I didn't want to take any chances and sprinted past a jogging Hans to the finish(i feel kinda bad about that), just in case Joe, whom we hadn't seen at all, had somehow miraculously gotten ahead of us.
Orienteering race 16:26  2.9 km (5:40 / km) +75m 5:01 / km
shoes: 2005 Falcons
Round 3. The B final of heat 1. Hans, Mihai, Vadim, and myself.
This time everyone started at full throttle, Mihai seeming to push particularly hard. We jointly messed yp the first control, calmed down a bit and proceeded to run as a pack for the whole first loop. Then on 6,7,8 Hans clearly picked up the pace, hoping to lose us. I stayed close, Vadim right behind me, and Mihai seemed to disappear somewhere after 7. Hans bobbled the sketchy 9, and i caught up, Vadim close behind. Coming through the finish again, i was shocked to see Mihai come in ahead of us from the opposite direction (it turned out he didn't go to 9, but none of us knew that, of course). At the map exchange i was hurting, and Hans could probably have dropped me if he picked up the pace, but on the way to 12 and 13 he wasn't moving extremely fast either, so i caught my breath a bit and decided to just read ahead, memorizing 15,16, and the finish. We somehow hit 13 and 14, and then the fun began. I basically put away the map and raced across the parking lot, trying to beat Mihai and Hans to the punch at 15. The rock that 16 was one could be seen from 15, so the rest was easy. I sprinted into the finish just ahead of Mihai, and the whole group was separated by just a few steps. All in all, this was a blast, and i am glad eveyone got to run all three times. And, being able to know the course before watching the A finals made spectating so much more fun!!! Thanks Will and Peter and Sandy and everyone else for a fantastic day of sprints. Just Saturday alone made my trip worth it!
I don't think walking around playing word games at night in a group of 7 with a flashlight and an O-map counts as training, but i thought i'd at least mention the vampire-O we did in a big group before going down to the beach to sample Sergei's victory champagne and go for a swim in Lake Pawtuckaway under the moonlight. (The taste of victory was sweet when Kat and i triumphed over Ross and Sam in an intense chicken fight in the water. :)