Warm-up run before orienteering. My ankle/achilles felt fine.
Orienteering race (classic) 1:27:24*** 11.3 km (7:44 / km) +425m6:31 / km ahr:161 max:173 20c shoes: VJ Twister (US size 10.5) - 4
I ran the U.S. Classic Champs on the Cat's Meow map at Kettle Moraine State Forest, WI.
Given my injury and my fitness level, I had very modest expectations going in. I thought a top-6 placing would be possible if I had a good run, and that was my goal. Aside from being slow, I had felt okay but a bit rusty moving through the forest during yesterday's course, although that had been in running shoes, so I thought there was a good chance that I would feel more sure-footed in O shoes. I did, and for the most part, I ran fairly steadily and smoothly. The exception was that I went slowly down the hills, so as not to aggravate my ankle.
Physical summary: I started off at a moderate pace and kept it up throughout the run, feeling tired toward the end (especially the last third of the course) but still able to keep good form through the terrain and not stumble. My uphill running ability was very poor, and I had to walk up all the steep hills, even short ones. While I ran, I tried to be somewhat careful of my recovering left ankle/achilles, and they felt fine throughout.
I ate about 1000 calories for breakfast, consisting of a spoon of peanut butter, 4 cinnamon rolls and a banana, and I finished eating 3.4 hours before I started. I felt a bit hungry again before starting but didn't eat more, and I had no stomach discomfort on the course. I took 2x200mg tablets Naproxen with breakfast.
I wore VJ Twisters (with several dob spikes missing), my US Team 2009 Trimtex mesh top and mesh 3/4 length pants, Trimtex knee-high socks, and Helly Hansen runderwear, and I had no clothing-related discomfort on the course. I safety pinned my HR monitor strap to my top, but it turned out to be too low, and I found it a little distracting during the race when it slipped down and I pulled it up. I eventually (2/3 of the way through the race?) resolved to ignore it.
Technical summary: I concentrated well and slowed or stopped when I needed to re-establish map contact. I was somewhat disconcerted early in the course, when I couldn't maintain contact on the run, even at my slower-than-normal pace, but I think it helped that I didn't expect to do well, so I didn't have a hard time letting go of running faster. I subconsciously decided that I needed to know where I was at least every 100m or so, depending on the terrain, and this worked well to keep lost time down for most of the run.
There were times during the run that I felt like my head was too much in the map and that I was not looking ahead enough, however this did result in good map contact, and I think most of those times coincided with being in green or bland areas where there was nothing to see, anyway. I think I mostly did well at looking ahead into the terrain to see the next hill or ridge that I was aiming toward, once it was within range, but it's hard to know whether a more aggressive, eyes-up approach might have been worth a bit less map-reading. Given the ease of marking parallel errors, I suspect not, but perhaps the parallel error issue is irrelevant if one is being smart about what features to look for.
I think my route choices were generally good.
Probably due in part to being de-trained, I felt a bit hypoglycemic toward the end of the race, and it became more difficult to concentrate. This combined with an ill-conceived effort to surge through the last few controls led to a loss of discipline/concentration and map contact going to control 17, where I charged toward the open hilltop on a compass bearing assuming I would be able to bounce off that feature to the control. I found a depression and wrongly identified it as a different depression on the map, so that I missed to the left when I attacked my control and was then confused by the hilltops in the green forest, which I hadn't noticed on the map before. I eventually relocated on the escarpment half way to #18, but I had lost about 3:45 and dropped from 3rd to 5th place. My second biggest navigation error was on #7, where I began to drop from the hilltop into the depression to the West of the control; I lost only about 15 seconds there.
I did not have the fitness to challenge the leaders, and so my first priority has to be to rehabilitate my injury and get back in shape. However, had I been fitter, I would not have had the map reading capacity to take full advantage of my speed, so I need to work on my map reading efficiency, also. I am not worried about the lapse on #17, because I think this will go away with more training and racing; the vast majority of the race was quite good from the standpoint of concentration and thinking about the right things at the right times.
It surely helped that I was in a positive, engaging mindset going into the race. I have had a few races this year where that was not the case, and I need to put some attention on mental grooming in future races in order to address this problem. I think having a few less hectic work weeks leading up to the competition helped my ability to focus during the race, and if this is the case, then my success at having a saner work schedule in 2010 may be important to my racing success.
I jogged from the map handout to the start/finish point for orienteering then back to the car afterward.
Orienteering33:54*** 4.4 km (7:42 / km) +165m6:29 / km ahr:152 max:165 13c shoes: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8 - 3
I ran at an easy pace through the 4.4km course at the middle distance practice event before the U.S. Classic Champs. I wore running shoes, in order to put less load on my achilles, and it felt fine, although the footing was a bit slippery. I did slightly turn my left ankle once, but it didn't hurt much and wasn't sore afterward.
The terrain was really fun, and the map was good. I mostly kept good map contact, which was easy at my slow pace, although I think I had one small error. I apparently lost my map, so I can't go back and look at how I ran in detail, but it was a good practice for the weekend races.
My heart rate was very high for my exertion level, which I guess isn't surprising, since I'm the least fit I've been all year, after all the time away from training, due to my injury.
I had my second physical therapy appointment today, and I got to do it in the gym, which was much more interesting than the little exam room we met in last week.
I told Stacey that I had been really sore from the negative calf raises on stairs I did on Friday, so she suggested I not go quite as far below step level when lowering on one foot. I also told her that I had run over 18 miles on the weekend and wasn't much the worse for wear. Of course, she encouraged me to rest as much as possible. My achilles area continues not to hurt when pinched or prodded. She thinks I have tendinitis.
She also suggested I use a Bosu balance trainer (the platform side) to do 4-direction tilts and wide-stance 3/4 squats, if I have access to one. Maybe there's one at Meadowbrook; I'll have to check.
She said I need to make the balancing on one foot exercises more challenging, because I'm already pretty strong. She suggested playing catch with a medicine ball while standing on my left foot on a pillow. We tried this (after 10x each leg calf raises on two feet, lowering on one, and the Bosu exercises), and while I mostly kept my balance okay, there were a few times where I lost my balance and had to work pretty hard to regain it.
I was surprised that she didn't tell me last week to stretch, but this week she did. I'm supposed to stretch both my gastroc and soleus muscles once per day for about 30 seconds. While I'm a bit skeptical about stretching, which I fear can tear rather than help injured tissues, I am more optimistic about it after the highly successful stretching treatment for my left, lower hamstring injury in 2007.
When I was doing the calf raising/lowering, Stacey pointed out that my right side was a lot stronger and more stable. I hadn't noticed that, but it was obvious once she pointed it out. I've always had some imbalance, but this was dramatic. I guess I've really been favoring the injured side. Just think how fast I'll be running once I'm using both legs!
In the evening, I did some crunches, back raises and push-ups.
Running - Trail / Grass (trail, with backpack) 1:30:49  8.35 mi (10:53 / mi) +260m9:55 / mi ahr:138 max:155 slept:2.0 shoes: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8 - 2
I ran to pick up course markings after the NWTR event. I ran more briskly than I had the night before, and my ankle continued to feel completely fine, until I had a minor turn inward after about 6 miles, at which point it hurt just a bit, not significantly different than it would hurt if I turned an uninjured ankle. Still, I was a bit nervous about it, and I redoubled my effort to concentrate on my foot placement. I twinged a tendon/ligament near my heel at around mile 7.5, and I decided to call it quits a bit after 8 miles, because my legs were already very tired, and I didn't want to risk another injury due to running while my muscles weren't strong enough to protect my injury area.
The logged time includes several minutes of stops to remove course markings, so maybe the running time was around 1:20.
Walking (trail, with backpack) 30:51  1.8 mi (17:08 / mi) +40m16:02 / mi ahr:106 shoes: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8 - 2
Fairly brisk walking from mile 8.25 to the finish.
Walking8:00  0.55 mi (14:33 / mi) +35m12:09 / mi shoes: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8 - 3