Orienteering 1:12:57  9.6 km (7:36 / km) +350m 6:26 / km
US Champs - Day1 After having to deal with a nagging hamstring injury I had no realistic goals for this meet and simply hopped not to screw the hammy even more. This was my only thought on the way up early in the morning. I had no goal, no pressure, and no other competitive interests for this meet.
After a long walk to the start, I ate my GU, and off I went. The first three bags didn't seem to present any navigational challenges so I stuck with my compass aiming off a bit as not to overshoot the controls. I would guess that I started getting into the race somewhere along on the 4th leg. Legs didn't feel bad, slow, but not terribly so, and after spiking #4, the race was on. Had a good stretch until #9 where I kept waiting for the big marsh to show up before me and wasted bits of time trying to read some things in between. Then had a little bobble on #13 by going around the first cliff and too early just to end up back on the hilltop. There I saw Nick who started 6 min ahead of me so this was a good sign I thought. But he got hit by branch and spent some time walking and shaking up before I caught him. Then from #9 through #17 we ran together, taking mostly different routes but still meeting at the controls. I began to weaken on the way to #16 and lost sight of him, but had a better route to #17 and was ahead of him there may be by ~10 sec. or so. I started running downhill towards #18 aiming to stay roughly on the line and after ~250m or so things stopped making sense. I saw a huge cliff facing the hill in almost perpendicular direction that I could not find on the map. The hill was littered with broken rocks and I could not find that neither. I began to sense danger and stopped to try to sort things out. Then, with the corner of my eye, I caught Nick going down may be ~100m away, and I took after him. He basically led me to the bag while I was still trying to figure out what the hell happened. I was right behind him till #22, where I climbed the hill to stay on the trail while he went down into a re-entrant, and finished just ahead of him.
I was really glad that I saw him at the right spot and at the right time, which saved me from a sure disaster. I was fading fast and my brain could not keep up with my running. I simply got lucky.
After I got back to the parking lot and looked at the results, my reaction was a bit of a disbelieve. "Really!?" And then, Ross is a beast!