Orienteering race (Foot) 2:10:49  14.63 km (8:57 / km) +622m 7:22 / km
39th Annual Billygoat at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, NY. I flittered back and forth with different people and had a fun run. I was pretty tired and feeling like I was struggling early on. My quest for speed got me into a lack of concentration and loss of time in a few places. Several decisions were influenced by others being nearby and I wonder if I'd gone my own direction then, if I'd have been better off. Sometimes on my own, it helped. I did mess-up the long leg on my own, by missing a trail intersection that I was generally aiming for, coming off the first ridge. At least 3 times however, where I'd lost precise navigation, others being near me helped me out. Overall, I placed 32 in good company with better navigators nearby, ahead and behind. I had at least one fall, and after the race my upper body was feeling it without localizing it very clearly--it's my right shoulder and it makes it painful to lift my arms. The pain is tolerable.
S-1 - I read ahead on the map and identified #4 and #10 as possible skips. Later I overheard the suggestion of skipping #14 so I kept that in the back of my head for a look as I chased a group. I felt confident climbing past the rock walls that we were getting to #1.
1-2 - I was still chasing the crowd through a lot of this and checking off some things. Getting close on the climb, I wondered about the lower rocks which were less prominent on the map than they appeared to me in reality. I noticed that people were climbing better than me. Carrying 10 lbs. too much will do that as has my weakened right leg.
2-3 - Bernie was just behind me and Stephan not far ahead as I dog legged a very short bit to get out of #2. There were a lot of people around.
3-4 - This was a straightforward leg. I just felt weak going up. Some were going in from the right side but I saved a bit going straight.
4-5 - I found myself amongst Stephan, Glen Tryson, Bernie, and a few others. We moved well following the green to get near the marsh, then through it before we got too low. Mainly we followed the big cliff line into a reentrant and to the control.
5-6 - People started pulling away a bit. I made my way to the trail and started gaining some ground on Stephan. I left from the bend to the reenrant, and went right to the nice boulder.
6-7 - I was passing some slower runners and wondered how they'd gotten ahead. They probably skipped an earlier control. On the downslope, I felt much better so I got ahead of others and led a group around the green to the control.
7-8 - I was impatient and let my momentum into #7, carry me down around more of the green. In retrospect, dog-legging it is what I should have done, but I was too excited. I went through the green with others not far behind, including Izzy. Stephan caught up from further below and crossed my path behind me. I spiked the control but I could see Stephan come in from above on my left a few seconds earlier.
8-9 - I went down the reentrant, crossed the stream and took the trail briefly. I saw Stephan on the trail. I thought to save time cutting left contouring across the white woods. I climbed a bit too. I could see Izzy running faster on the trail below. Dropping at the end through some light green, Izzy went by ahead of me. I did see her chasing Stephan and leaving the trail where the marsh started. I stayed on thinking I'd be faster on the trail this time. I crossed the marsh quickly in a narrow spot but I don't think I made up much ground. It turned out to be farther than I thought it would getting to the control so I was glad to still have Stephan and Izzy in sight.
9-10 - I started reading the leg from #10 to #11 and climbed north, almost like I was skipping #10. I realized what I was doing and stopped. Bernie came up behind me and we'd already talked about skipping #14. We went straight and got sight of a young guy (Max's age?) doing some excellent navigation. Bernie said the kid was in his first year of orienteering! As we got to a trail, we could see him go straight up and we concluded that we needed to do that too. I came in a little from the right.
10-11 - I left #10 going straight since others were doing that. Stephan wasn't far ahead and moving downhill I was gaining. Suddenly a foot caught on a root or a vine and I fell forward. It didn't seem to be that bad of a fall. I got up quickly partly to ensure myself and others that I wasn't hurt. Only an hour or 2 after the race would this come back to me as a good bit of pain around the neck and shoulders. Moving again, I got across the marsh and to the long marshy reentrant with cliffs on the east. I stopped thinking about going down the linear marsh but visual inspection showed too many un-mapped trees fallen across it. I thought about running along the west side of the reentrant and before I finished, Bernie was caught-up. I laid out options and went with his veteran navigation to go across the reentrant and straight up the rocks. We could see others going south to get around them where it was less steep. Bernie was climbing better than I but we were moving pretty close to the same. Over the top we got on the trail just after Alex Jospe-- I was surprised to still see her at this point but she'd been gaining since #5 where she'd made a big error. The other people who'd gone south were still coming up the hill behind her on the trail and they'd lost time to Bernie and I. On the trail and moving downhill, I was feeling better. Alex went past a bend and I could see the control from there. I made up a few seconds catching her at the control.
11-12 - I was feeling energized by the run down to #11, so I carried that on up toward #12. It felt like cycling or when I run up the escalator after work. I went around the spur and thought it'd be closer.
12-13 - I moved okay at first, but slowed. I was expecting the control to be in the reentrant but I wasn't reading a small ridge right before it. Alex Jospe passed me and went right to the control.
13-15 - I started out of #13 pretty quickly. I only had a general idea of wanting to use the trail on the other side of the ridge I was on; the one that didn't go over the big hill near #1. Getting over the ridge, I wasn't disciplined. I ran north to get past the cliffs and cross without having to climb much. I needed to turn right more than I did. When I dropped to the trail I was past the intersection I wanted, but I didn't know it. I knew something was wrong when I hit a second trail soon afterward but I was really running to get away from others at that point. I stopped dead with the low vegetation in front of me, but I still thought I was south of the trail intersection I had aimed for. Glen Tryson came up from behind and assured me we were okay. I figured going straight I'd hit the hill near #1, but I didn't want to go that way. Unconfident of where I was, I did it anyway but pushed right a bit to reduce the climb. Glen was on my left and we diverged as we both got within sight of #1. I tried to correct my earlier error by getting on trails taking me due south of #15 and executed that well. I ate some endurance beans, ones I'd never used before, along the way. However, this involved more climbing along with more distance. When I finally got to the control, Glen, Bernie, and Daniel Schaublin were converging. I figure I lost about 3-4 minutes.
15-16 - We started mob orienteering leaving #15. I finished my endurance beans (sugary, and they jelled in my mouth tasting pretty good). I knew Glen, Bernie, and Daniel were all better navigators and in my current physical shape, they were climbing better than me too. Instead of taking the trail, I followed them down the cliffs and probably lost some more time. As it flattened out, I moved ahead and punched #16 first.
16-17 - I drank some kind of power aid twice and ate something before rushing out ahead of Daniel. I was a little torn between trying to leave the group behind, and running with a pack that I knew would do well. I pushed ahead, pausing right before getting to the control. I think Daniel almost passed me there.
17 - 18 - I went left around the knolls and felt like I knew what I was doing. I saw the control 50m ahead but had to cross some wet spots right before it. Daniel, Bernie, and Glen got there just behind me.
18-19 - I went straight at it but got a little to the left. I realized it and corrected after the marsh.
19-20 - I ran straight out thinking initially to go left around the knoll and along the marsh. That didn't make sense a few seconds later. I was still focusing too much on the group right behind me as I got to the intermittent trail. I even left that trail too early, at the first reentrant and apologized as I came running back. I still led going up but I wondered if I needed to be on the left or right side of a spur. I went left. Glen and Bernie came w/me but they realized very quickly it was to our right and higher up. Daniel had taken a more direct route so he got there first.
20-21 - We went around the rim of a reentrant and that got us slightly off line. Daniel led. I was thinking to take a straighter route so when we went down a rocky reentrant, I got confused and said so. I didn't realize we were much further right--just brain dead and racing more than navigating. We cut left but could see others below to our right. We ended up dropping too low and getting too close to the marsh before coming back up at Glen and Bernie's recommendation.
21-22 - All 4 of us had thought going straight (the left leg of the fork) would be best. Daniel and Glen led. Daniel was pulling right a bit, especially near the top. Glen and I got very close to the marsh tip after getting over the ridge. I moved ahead from there but once again stopped just before seeing the control. Daniel came in from my right and punched ahead of me. Bernie and Glen had drifted further left a little more behind.
22-23 - We were headed downhill through some really nice open woods. It seemed that Daniel had picked up the pace a little. I initially chased but somewhere along the way, I went faster and pulled ahead. I felt like I was reading things okay but I wasn't careful about it. This time at least, it worked. I got in sight of the control just before Jeff Saeger was leaving it. I felt a bit guilty leaving others but mostly, I was trying to make up for lost time and just do the best I could. I figured Daniel was close by at least, and would keep up. It reminded me of many other races in years past, running with Daniel and Bernie. It was nice to have Glen in the group too.
23-24 - I thought there was a chance to catch up to Jeff so I pushed on. This was not a good way to go about things. I couldn't settle my head on reading and seeing very much. I thought to stay high, thinking that what were rock walls on the map, might be trails--my eyes wouldn't focus that well. I ended up going south along the rock wall like Jeff did. Daniel passed me briefly, until I cross the wall. We ended up on the trail along the stream. Jeff could be seen further ahead than he was before, crossing on a bridge, and I wasn't reading that so well. At least once across, I could get myself up the hill to the right place. At the end I seemed to make up some time on Jeff and Daniel was close by.
24-25 - We ran along the wall as Jeff disappeared. I contoured a little and hit the trail. This was confusing since it was so much like the finish from the US Champs, but in an entirely different place. Once to the road, I could see the control, with Jeff being uncatchable.
25-F - I ran with some pushing but didn't go all out. I didn't see the finish and was distracted by people in the parking lot; just me rushing too much.