O Log - Rochester A Meet

[20-Oct-03] 

    Here is my Rochester '03, Day 1 map.

    Here is my Rochester '03, Day 2 map.

    This was a high quality meet. Possibly the best sanctioned meet I've been to this season. Complaints include the usual suspects of laser printed maps and cheap map cases, and an unusual complaint that that I thought day 1 was a bit too easy. But these complaints are minor (especially these days when we just have to accept laser printing and worry where the bags will be, I guess. At least it was at 1:10). Everything seemed fair, in the right place, and I thought day 2 was especially challenging, interesting, and enjoyable, despite cold, rain, and a good bit of green.

    I figure about 30-45 seconds of bobbles/booms on day 1. I'm not sure I lost much, if any time on route choice either -- the woods were super white in some cases, indicating straight even on some long legs, and where they were not, it was obvious. The green didn't slow running really, it simply indicated some shin high plant life that the deer hadn't eaten.

    I didn't find myself thinking too much about the orienteering. I suppose this is bad, but everything seemed easy, like an orange course. I was thinking about running hard and about my sore leg. I ran 7.3 min/k. I figure flirting with 7 was in the cards if my training and leg were 100%. Oh well, 10 min behind the winner. I'm not sure how I could have done much better, but I'm sure there are ways.

    Day 2 was a different kettle of fish altogether. Lots of kettle/moraine type stuff. More green (and it was real), and the white woods were slower. I've never had a good run in that sort of stuff, in fact, they have usually been disasters, tho Loch Vaa in Scotland this summer showed some progress. I had a decent run, tho, this time. I really only blew two controls (#10, distracted by others, mistook unmapped trail for mapped trail, did not observe the contour features, panicked on relocation, lost 2-3 mins; and #8, again mapped/unmapped trail parallel, and three parallel errors afterwards en route -- pine trees, a cairn, and a spur, losing about a minute).

    Losing only 4-5 minutes in that stuff is really good for me. But my time wasn't especially good (10 min/k, 20 min behind winner), but not a disaster either. The woods certainly were slower and more physical; 9 min/k was probably best case possible. I think it came down to several things. I had to stay within my abilities, which meant a slower O speed in the technical stuff. This was a pre-race decision -- I'm not sure if it was a good one or not -- I should have been spot perfect at the slower speed, but I got out there and just didn't have it mentally, so I probably would have lost more time if I were more aggressive. Although the terrain was bracketed by tons of trails, the constant ups and downs hurt mobility and visibility, indicating a safer strategy.

    I also spent alot of time worrying about finding controls and maintaining contact. That left less mental capacity to think about route choice, I guess. I think route choice in this sort of terrain is very important, and very difficult. It is easy to get on the wrong side of a kettle or moraine if you are not careful, and lose time going up/down or around. I'm not sure my route choices were very good, and a couple were awful. But I was happy to maintain contact and find controls.

    I did not have it physically, either. I felt it in the warmup. A month of weak training and pushing the day before added up. And the green in the beginning of the course added to the toll. It was cold and wet, which doesn't help me either.

    But overall it was a decent race, I guess, considering everything. This would have been 110 min a year ago, and was 89 today. It feels good to be making some progress after what seemed like a year and a half of getting nowhere. I ended up having the best time of all Americans for this race and the two day -- I think USOF needs a rule that only citizens of countries that start with vowels can win medals -- seems to make as much sense as the silly which-visa- do-you-have eligibility rule that they wouldn't let me fix (I needed one last venting so I can let it rest ...)

    Well, I thought the day 2 course setting was very interesting and enjoyable. And I think I have to give Mark Dominie general credit as a mapper -- I find myself often and excessively whining about maps, but I rarely seem to find myself whining about one of his maps.

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