Orienteering race 3:24:15  *** 11.2 km (18:14 / km)
spiked:12/23c shoes: 200803 NB MT800
DVOA Chasing the Star Long. I had a very poor course at the West Point classic (10.4 k), and ended up not finishing due to exhaustion. For this course, I was prepared with two Gus, but I still regarded it with much trepidation. I'm not really ready for this distance, and protracting the time with navigation and errors only makes it worse. In that sense, I'm glad I'm finished. My mood about and during the course was further improved by events.
My route from control ten to eleven was fairly straight - I went up onto the campus hill between rather than contouring around. However, when planning through the parking lot on the northeast side of the hill, I conveniently overlooked the ten foot cliff. Upon my arrival, I started sliding slowly down the bank towards the cliff because of all the leaves. The cliff itself was built up with a manmade wall about ten feet high. I decided to descend anyway; I found a tree growing out of the side and used that to get a grip on a column of the wall. I then fell about three to four feet onto a thick bed of leaves. Unfortunately, during my fall, my e-punch was clipped off of my finger by the column.
I could not find my e-punch. The leaves were very thick, and because the area below the cliff was inclined, I slid down and disturbed many leaves on landing. Because the e-punch flicked off (the potential energy of stretch the elastic around my finger released), I wasn't really sure how far it went. After a cursory search, I twice climbed the column and simulated the event with a stick. I became convinced that the e-punch had fallen near me and been buried. Given that the leaves were up to eight inches deep, this wasn't all that helpful. I reasoned that finding the e-punch was a far better recourse than going on without it; I wanted my splits from the first ten controls, I'd probably be DQ'd if I showed up at the finish without the ten controls, and I didn't want to replace my $60 e-punch. I tried many search efforts while contemplating what course of action to take, but just as I was about to give up, I saw its yellow tip poking out of the leaves. Words cannot convey the euphoria I felt at finding it; I had all but given up hope. I climbed down the cliff 1:23 after my start, and I found the e-punch at 2:07. I lost 45 minutes in my search.
At that point, I wasn't especially worried about my time, but I wanted to finish as quickly as possible, and the euphoria from finding my e-punch encouraged me to take some chances. Controls 12, 14 and 20 to the end were shaky. I took my GUs at 9 and 15, but felt exhausted from control 19 to the end. I made minor errors on 8, 9, 12, 14, 20, 21, and 22, and a major error on 10. Some of my route choices, while solid, were slow - 6 in particular.
While I wish I had been faster and more accurate (even if I hadn't lost 45 minutes looking for my e-punch, my time would still have been 2:40), I was satisfied with my race. I've struggled with long courses, and this was about as good as I could have expected at my current performance level. I need to run much longer distances if I expect to compete in such courses.
Congratulations to Ross and Wyatt in particular for making the US Team, and all the US Team members. I met quite a few people at this meet - Gerald Yip, Leif Anderson, Christoph Zurcher, Nikolay Nachev, and (briefly) Eric Bone. Most people with whom I do not interact regularly or at great length in the orienteering community do not know my name; that's not terribly surprising, but I mean to change that over the next year.