Orienteering race (Foot) 53:35  6.6 km (8:07 / km) +195m 7:04 / km
This was a surprisingly good day for me. I went into the race with low expectations since I hadn't trained much over the +1 month (many demands of life). I thought about just keeping a steady pace. The map was new to me but it played to things I like such as subtle features and contours, plus open forests without a whole lot of rock detail. I thought Francis did a great job with the mapping and I'm used to his style--I had even course set just a few miles away 2 weeks earlier in Prince William Forest (steeper but similar terrain). I enjoyed Tom Strat's course too, having run many others he had set before.
S-1 - I ran on the trail until the saddle, then dropped to the stream. On the run, I hadn't been able to read the formline for the small dam that I went across on but it did confuse me with expecting the mapped pond to be further up (it was further up but was not visible). I paused briefly, then went on with a good feel of what to expect from the small reentrant.
1-2 - I ran straight, reading the contours pretty well. I felt I was a little left and was losing contact where the map flattened-out. However, hitting blue and yellow streamers surprised me. I cut right to go around them and presumed I was rounding the mapped out of bounds area. Attacking and seeing a reentrant on my left that was deeper than expected, I stopped and cut right. I relocated in a small reentrant with the only green in the area and proceeded on to hit it with no further trouble.
2-3 - I went straight at it on bearing and saw it upon cresting the hilltop.
3-4 - I ran straight and my bearing was true. I did see other runners going over the ridge in different places but did well ignoring them. There were some that I followed coming from other directions, into the reentrant.
4-5 - I dropped down, then climbed the hill long the stream.
5-6 - I stayed somewhat high to the road, crossed the creek and cut in from the trail intersection and a small reentrant since that was a good attackpoint.
6-7 - I was a little left of the line initially but just kept my bearing. I think I first saw AJ Riley pass me on this leg. AJ had gone around to the right but we converged with him a little ahead of me.
7-8 - I again went fairly straight. I converged with the stream as it gently bent but I didn't see a boulder I was looking for. I spiked it.
8-9 - I thought about bouncing off the road and even aimed that way. However, I found myself right of the mapped open ground which was straight-on the line; I kept going straight and spiked it.
9-10 - This time I did go to the road. I was moving slowly so I counted the road bends easily. I left from a bend to avoid climbing as much as possible. I did go over a small knoll and caught a guy. After that I cut right without losing any time at the first reentrant.
10-11 - I ran fairly straight along the hillside and expected to see the trail. I could see it briefly before I got to it but where I'd converged, it wasn't visible. I crossed without really knowing it and dropped to the stream. I paused briefly and a fast young woman closed in before doing the same. I ran along the stream and paused again to debate crossing. I chickened out and went the way the young woman had (she decided faster than me) up a hill and around some green to the bridge. From the bridge I ran the trail and crossed again at a bend. I was aiming straight at it initially but thought I might be faster staying low and going around the left. It was further up to the right than I anticipated.
11-12 - I went straight-ish, dog-legging my way in. After crossing the stream I threaded between the deadfall well. I stumbled on the man made objects near the top and knew to go down and around the spur from there. I ran straight at it this time, and hit just above the control, still close enough to call it a spike. The green in the area was thicker than expected.
12-13 - A few had found #12 just before me, including Evelyn Brautigam, coming from other directions. They all seemed faster than me but I chased them to the trail. I was able to pass all but Evelyn by staying on the trail, though I had to pass one guy twice who'd gone straight.
13-F - I was tired from the climb to #12. A West Point runner whom I'd just passed when going to #12, out-sprinted me easily.
As I said, I was pretty surprised to be leading the M55+ field as I knew many had been running faster lately, and I anticipated that they would beat me. The courses didn't seem that hard to me but it was basically home terrain. Additionally, there were other M55+ runners who competed in other age groups or weren't able to travel to the competition.