Orienteering (Foot) 2:17:00  10.0 km (13:42 / km)
QOC: Combat Village, Quantico Marine Base. It was a pretty nice day to be out--sunny and in the 60s F. Excellent even, compared to the 2 1/2 weeks of rain days we've had. I had an awful day navigating but at least I got a good run in.
I knew right away after glancing at the map before running, that it was going to be hard for me to read it. The contours were printed very thin. That would have been okay but they were also very light. A darker brown was needed to show up over the green. Even with contours on white woods, just looking while at my desk writing this, I have trouble reading them. The problem was that this is a very old map and it was scanned. No one was at fault for this--we're lucky to be able to run here and areas are being re-mapped. Sitting at home wiith a magnifier I can see not a solid contour line, but a raster (dots). What I was thinking were form lines were just contours. That is even more remarkable in a way because the terrain was more subtle than the map made it appear to me. One other problem with the map, which wasn't evident until later, was that the point features and ditches were small--like what a 1:10,000 map that's been shrinked-down to 1:15,000 map might have looked.
I took the safer route over toward #1 but already started feeling weak on the run. That got better but it took much longer before finding any controls was easier for me. For #1, attacking from the road bend, I thought I hit the correct reentrant. Others attacking from a water stop on the road, to a pit, to a ridge, to an added rootstock, found #1. When I'd gotten there it seemed a flat area, not a reentrant like I had hit further out. After my run, I compared a Red course map with my Blue course map. Both were the same scale but the rootstock added to the map was not in the same place.
For #2, I had more trouble. I followed a stream until it started curving away from the control. I ran over a spur. I crossed a marsh stream, climbed a ridge with a sort of spur forming a reentrant on my left. All of this looked correct to me. Once over the ridge, I found a nice reentrant on the other side matching the feature, but no control. I did a loop, then a wider one, then got into an unmapped logged area. The logging was old so it was somewhat more like a scattered open area. I took a trip up to the road through these scattered trees, and on an indistinct trail to relocate. Successful at that, I attacked again missing it. Eventually back at the marshy stream between #1 and #2, I tried to find a side stream in a side reentrant that I couldn't see before on my first attack at #2. I never found any of the mapped un-crossable ponds along that stream; just some marshy bits. If I found the side reentrant, it was much less distinct than it was mapped. Assuming I was in the side reentrant anyway, I found the control, but not where it would have been in relation to the side reentrant--was this another dumb luck find? I read the contour that the control was placed on as a form-line but again looking at the map while writing this, I can't be sure it was a formline. The "reentrant" the control was in, was again, a somewhat flat area.
Going straight on a short leg toward #3, I went out quickly since someone was behind me (he would have missed #2 if I hadn't given it away). I couldn't make sense of the contours on this leg. With a magnifier at my desk, I think I'm seeing 2 formlines within the same contour interval. I ended up passing the control, hitting the road, relocating and following a stream a little way back to spike it on my second attack. If #2 was in the wrong place, it'd explain why I missed #3.
Things got better for a while after this. I was not too tired. The contours were steeper though still not easy to read. I stayed on-track to spike #4, #5, #6, #7, and #8. I was careful on leg #4. I went around the hill to the left on #5 and almost didn't correct enough--a pit near the stream helped me correct.
After #8, I thought it silly not to take the long straight trail toward #9, at the north of the map. I could have imagined going straight first and probably should have. As it was, I came off #8 badly, turning left along the stream that was due north. I corrected quickly enough. On the trail, I wasn't that fast. I was too tired on the steeper climbs so I walked. Less than half-way there (2.6K leg), it had gotten flatter. I ran the last half fairly strong. I came off the long straight trail at a stream crossing, then got onto a ridge. I didn't find a mapped intermittent trail at first. However, I was able to read reentrants left and right of the ridge that told me I was on-track. I came off the ridge soon afterward, to find the long skinny reentrant that the control was to be in. All of the shapes were as I'd have expected, but I didn't see a control again. :( I knew I was running out of time. I went on over a saddle and dropped into another skinny reentrant. This only further confirmed to me that I'd been in the right place. I turned back but when I still didn't find it, I figured I'd just better head in so that I wouldn't be out past course closing time. It was a sad choice--perhaps my first DNF ever? Everything else that I technically didn't finish was a mispunch.
I ran well going back, just enjoying the woods and feeling the movement. I got on an intermittent trail SW of #11, then on roads. I figured I had time so I stopped-off at #14 and #13. To reiterate, it was a bad navigation day for me but not a bad day for a much needed good workout. I am disappointed in my performance, especially with this being 3 bad races in a row.