Orienteering 51:50  4.26 km (12:10 / km)
shoes: Vavrys - studded rubber cleats
OMG. I had a senior moment. Not that that is unusual, but I generally have not noticed them during an Orienteering event.
I returned, today, just to take part in the Orienteering after serving all day yesterday as a TROL camp instructor. I probably shouldn't have; my fitness level, injury status, and overall wellbeing are metering low. Nonetheless, I went out on the Green course.
So as an avid pace counter, I aligned my tick marked thumb compass edge along the route of my first leg. It was three ticks from trail head to stream junction. "what's the scale?" Unfold map - hmm - 1:5000. "What did Mike say yesterday?" I recalled something about the shorter courses being 1:5000 and the longer ones were 1:7500. "did he say something about them being marked 5000 when they were in fact 7500?"
I don't know. 5000. 7500. let's see. 3 ticks... that's 100 meters, so 40, maybe 45 paces...
Right away I ran into trouble. I was confused about the map scale and under ran many of the legs. First control was a direct shot down the spur to the junction. It was a LONG 100 meters. Oh well.
Number 2, same thing, seemed long, but then I nailed it so, what ever.
Number 3, went too far left. I could not understand why. But it substantially increased the distance. I was struggling to figure out my pace. "Was it 5000 or 7500?" I don't know. My mind is not working.
Number 4, trying to think... I lost track of distance and time. Hit the reentrant. Saw nothing. Ran a little left and up stream. Turned back down stream. Nothing. Saw a sewer cover off through the woods. Huh?
I was in the wrong reentrant. What the heck is going on here?
Later, I would figure out that my mind had replaced my current tick value on my thumb compass with a previous one. Early this year I bought a new ultra cool Moscow Compass. It is 1:10000 scale. My previous compasses for 25 years were 1:15000 scale. I was using a factor of 3 in my quick calculations instead of the correct 2. Thus, under measuring every leg by 50% on top of being confused by the map scale.
Errors continued. Time was lost.
On a less sour note I saw lots of kids. Not just those that had been at the camp on Saturday, but many of the others who have a year or two of experience and some who have just started. Every leg I ran I came across individuals and groups of two.
I had blown controls 3 and 4, and committed a minor hiccup on 5. Disappointed and physically beat, I trudged hard up a steep winding spur to my number 6 as fast as I could. I was feeling it and going "Brain dead".
As I was about to surrender and walk the remaining climb up to a shallow knoll I notice a crowd of folks through the trees. It looked to me like a large family or scouting group on a hike. Realizing my route was going to take me directly where they were, I continued to run to avoid the shame of walking right through them.
The situation became odd as I noticed they stopped walking themselves and all turned and faced me. There were 8 maybe 10 of them. By the time I started to crest the hill I was in severe oxygen debt and suffering a substantial reduction in mental capacity. Yet I was able to see that they were on the East side of the knoll, well away from the trail, in the middle of medium green. I began to notice some of them may have had maps. (This is when my mind was storing the data I would later process to realize they were indeed orienteers.)
With me leveling off and still running, I picked speed. They stood still, only moving slightly to open a small gap for me to pass. As I did so, some recognition began to solidify. I did not identify anyone but I knew they were at the camp the day before.
One of the dads and I were eyeball to eyeball, however, I could not think of who he was. He said nothing, although I’m sure I uttered something I thought would be humorous, and was no doubt understood as nonsense.
As I passed them all I heard a familiar voice say, “We can’t find number 3”. I think it may have been Sophie Ratermann. I was now 20 or 30 feet beyond them. Contrary to every fiber of my being, I stopped. I snapped my map to see the control descriptions and hollered, “What is the control code?” Someone repeated “number 3”. Finally I heard, “31”. I looked down the list I had and seeing no 31 I told them I didn’t have it. I did, though, assume that it would be nearby.
By this time I began to recognize faces as people I should know. They were kids and parents from the TROL camp from Saturday. Someone said “Sophie, show him your map.” In retrospect it seems odd that I did not run back to them. They probably wonder the same. But I was in a great deal of pain.
My instincts were countering every thought. I did not want to stand still, I could not afford to lose ground I had already earned. And so, without thought or any other control in the matter, I watched as Sophie and Ella Egan jogged over to me. Taking the map, I looked for their number 3. Expecting it to be nearby on this very same ridge. I looked at their 3 and could not find the knoll we were alongside. I became confused. More so than I already had been prior to the encounter. I glanced back at my map and tried to refind my location. Then I held the two maps together.
They were a whole ridge north of the one they were looking for. I put my finger on their map and said, “You are here.” I pointed south and said, “You want to be over there.” Unfortunately for them I was still not completely clear in my own mind what was going on. I did not understand why 8 or 10 people would cluster together so far from a control. It was not until much later, I began to realize what may have happened. And only after the fact did I begin to think of better ways to have handled the situation. Unfortunately, my limited consciousness was satisfied that I had conveyed their location and destination. There were several adults, several trained TROLs, they would recover shortly now. Of this I was confident.
I did not think about it again as I continued to complete a failed effort to do well myself. Upon finishing I went straight to my car to change. There I saw Sophie and maybe her aunt and cousin walking across the lot in front of me. She hollered, “We never found number 3”. "Oh my!", I responded. Only then did I begin to think about what I had seen, heard, and said. I'm saddened that I did not successfully get them back on course.