Orienteering race 58:05  *** 3.5 km (16:36 / km)
ECOC Short Distance. There isn't much that went right for the first 8 controls (out of 13). It was my first real race since spraining my ankle six days ago, and I was very cautious. The Active Ankle worked well, but the terrain was rocky, and I took my time picking my way through the forest. I'd decided not to wear my aging Ice Bugs, since I'd been wearing them both times when I turned my ankle. This turned out to be a dumb move. I went out in my favourite adventure racing shoes, but I don't do a lot of running on slippery rocks in adventure races, so I didn't realize how out-of-control I would feel in them - like tap dancing on an ice rink. As if that wasn't enough, it rained so hard that I could barely see through the clear glasses I wear for eye protection, so I had trouble seeing places with good footing and reading the map.
Oh yes, the map. I heard several more experienced out-of-town orienteers say the same thing - it took a few controls to get the feel of this map. Nothing wrong with it (that I noticed), but it took awhile to expect orange areas to be big expanses of flat rock rather than fields, even though NevMonster had warned me about it. And at junctions, trails sometimes disappeared into the rock for a distance, then you had to find them again. None of this would have mattered if I had been sharper, but I just wasn't on my game.
It was pretty much a disaster for the first 3/4 of the race, then the last 5 controls went fine - my time was 13:30 compared to 11:00 for the winner. When I realized how cautious I was being in the woods, I started choosing longer trail routes where I wouldn't worry about my ankle, and that helped a lot. Although things went badly, I stayed calm. I guess I wasn't expecting much because of my injury - and also because I had entered F-Elite to get a longer race course, so I definitely wasn't racing to win. As it turned out, I came 2nd of the 5 racers who finished, but a long way behind the winner (Cherie).
Orienteering race 23:45  ***
ECOC Sprint. After skidding around so much in my first race, I bought real orienteering shoes at last - Jalus Olways. Probably 1/2 size too big, but there wasn't much selection, and I was desperate. I ran about 100 meters of warm-up in them, then did this sprint race as a test run. They rock!! I had much more confidence in my footing in this race, and thus was somewhat less cautious with my ankle. My nav was good, with one bad route choice that took an extra minute, and one misread control description that sent me to a hilltop instead of the base of the cliff below the hill. Not perfect, but much better than this morning - about 5:30 behind the winner.