Orienteering race 2:08:48  **** 12.48 km (10:19 / km)
spiked:10/20c shoes: Vasque Velocity
Big day - 1st A-meet since the surgery, and not the easiest one to take up either! And what tremendous scenery, terrain, etc - absolutely loved being out there. Helped that it was a nice high 70's breezy run. Interesting that despite living at ~6,000' now the altitude was still noticeably tough on the lungs. Overall I was happy w/ my improvement though -- this was by far the longest and climbiest run I've done since the surgery, and since I'm feeling really good in the hips several hours after the run, I'm counting this as a personal victory. Its also nice to look back to 2008 or 09 when I first came to this Medicine Bow area for an A meet... I arrived the night prior from Michigan, and I was so out of breath and exhausted I thought I was going to die. My finish time was overtime--I was out there for more than 3 hrs!! And here I am now w/ a better result despite the terribly frustrating and time-sucking process of recovering from the hip surgery. In some ways I feel this is a turning point for me for the recovery...although I admit I am fearful to say such a thing in case it is a jinx...this process has been a frustrating roller coaster to say the least.
That all said, some analysis. Definitely not where I want to be, but closer than just a couple months ago. I had some pathetic moments and some shining moments during this course. It seemed to take me a while to make sense of the map in the beginning... I was interpreting it so badly at first it was as if I was reading some geospatially-foreign map or something. I'm chalking poor map reading up to the sloppiness and sluggishness on controls 1 through 5. I think I need more time w/ these western US-type maps... good thing I live in the western US now! That should come w/ time out here.
6 was good. I started realizing that looking farther out for major landmarks can help. I saw the big cliffs on the east side of 6 from almost from #5. Kind of reminds me of Thierry's map simplification / major landmark use process. I should probably use that more often as it obviously helped me on the way to 6.
Used trail to #8... I think that was the long way. The weirdness of how everything looked in front of me if I was to take the more direct way east of the huge boulder hill scared me off. 9 was a cinch but I should have ran faster. Had the energy, just kept doubting myself, reading map too much, etc. Kinda liked me route to 10, but again speed was a bit sluggish. Lost contact w/ bearing on the way to 11 so got discombobulated and had to sort that out mentally.
I liked my route to 12. Took advantage of an awesome small trail that took me down a narrow reentrant all the way from almost 11 to the narrow north-south opening and aspen groves, used the huge boulder hill east of the opening as an attack point, spike, felt like a pro... although pros would have run faster. :)
13 should have been faster. I think I was just getting tired at this point--the extracurricular running for the 1st 5 controls probably mostly at fault for that, but also better preparation could have helped.
And then there was 14 - a colossal disaster. Should have been easy but in retrospect I see now what happened. I mistook the open hilltop east of 14 for the one wast of it. So I ended up just going to 15 and then backtracking, which explains why I had a pretty decent time to 15 -- already been there!
Found a nice spot to cross water on the way to 16--used that open/wooded area between the two lakes. Sunk in the mud a bit but only just above the ankles. Was very careful on the way to 16 so I walked but spiked it. 17 was slow due to fatigue. In retrospect I should have used more major landmarks than the ones I was using to help me speed it up. 18 was no problem, nor was 19 or the finish.
I found the course to be a good challenge and of course very scenic. Wonderful day, wonderful turning point (knock on wood), and looking forward to improving my bouldery map reading skills now that I live here. Really thankful for RMOC was such a great event and also looking forward to joining their ranks soon.
Wife & kids & I went for a short little orienteering outing after my race and my son loved it. Perfect day for some family time too. Happy Independence Day!