O Log - Balderdash '03

[13-Aug-03] 

    Boulder Dash

    Here is the day 1 with my routes.

    I ran 12min/k day 1, and came in 4th in what I feel is a rather strong M21 field. Hammer didn't break 10min/k. Excepting the New Zealand champs, I think this was the hardest course I've been on.

    Why was it hard? Shinny woods. I'm glad I figured this concept out in Scotland; I think it helped alot. I think it will help in the future also. If there are degrees of shinny woods, these were pretty high degree. I wasn't clean by any means, but I think I lost much less time in booms than the field.

    My only regrettable boom was on 4. Careful orienteering allowed me to spike the first 3. I knew it was hard. I was going very slow. On the way to 4, I planned a safe route along the gorge with the cliffs, but found an unmapped trail which allowed me to run along the hill. But I ran into no-man's land and paid with a 4 minute boom. I would have gotten away with this in French Creek or most mid-Atlantic woods, expecting to figure out the contours on the approach, but not here. But I knew that -- I just got out of my game plan on one control. I was frustrated at the slow speed that was required. I stayed in my game plan the rest of the race. (The woods should have been mapped light green. The problem with relative mapping, where white just means like all the other white on this map, even if it is light to med green in an absolute sense, is the codes you load for white woods indicate different approaches than the codes you load for green woods. And looking at the map loads the more aggressive white woods codes unless you think about it. I forgot to think about it here -- this feels like another minor insight).

    I think it was also hard because the map was a bit dubious. I wasn't the only one who felt that way, so there is probably something to that. For example, the lake between #11 and #12 was runnable. Mihai ran across it and saved some time. It is hard to believe that neither the vetter, setter, nor field checker saw this. Mihai found it by luck as he was hot and wanted to take a dip. An unskilled runner who was lost would find it and save time. There were trees growing in it. It was more runnable than the marsh to the north of #11. It confused Eddie who lost some time. It created luck, and either should have been in the CS notes, or that leg should not have been set altogether. Fortunately, I am in the habit of always reading contours no matter what, as I have been burned by dubious maps before.

    No one I talked to was able to sort out the map from #5 to #6. Perhaps it was ok, but four runners who are pretty good could not figure it out (well, three and me). #14 was on the hill, not in the reentrant as mapped. I think something was also funky with #13; others attacked as I did off the marsh/cliff/cliff and boomed low as I did. Magnetic anomaly? Something in the wrong place? I also encountered several unmapped marshes in my travels, and lost time between #10 and #11 because of them. Others I ignored. There was also unmapped green on the approach to #10 which creates a parallel situation with the mapped green and both mapped cliffs. I believe Ross lost alot of time on this one. I lost some, but sorted it out.

    I made 8 minutes of booms. I believe 4 minutes of that was unavoidable. My game plan saved a ton more. I didn't talk to a single individual who was happy with their run. The best red runners did not break 14min/k, except John F, who I think was around 12 also. It was tough.

    Day 2 was sort of an orange course with tons of trails. Unfortunately, I was again unhappy with the map. Mapped trails missing, unmapped trails there, trails at wrong angles, and trails at different numbers (meaning two trails mapped as #1 could look completely different. I gave up on the trails and used contours the whole race. It was slower, and I was running in the forest when trails were available, but I did not trust them. I was ok, but slow, until I made a parallel error that was my fault near the end. I don't think others had as many complaints about the map as I did on day 2, however.

    On both days, my brain bonked. I'm not sure why, the courses where short, and physically I was fine. Perhaps it was the heat. I train in heat, so I'm ok there, but don't do mental training in heat (not much O in heat). So that is perhaps what it is, I dunno.

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