Here is my Water Gap '03, Day 1 map.
Here is my Water Gap '03, Day 2 map.
Last year I needed a pair of good races at the end of the season. I had two
turkeys and spent the whole winter living with it. This year I needed two
good races at the end of the season and did it. 7th place in a strongish
M21 field. 45 sec booms day 1, 2 min or so day 2. I guess that's
improvement. My improvement is so gradual I have to compare year to year,
but I still feel that leap of improvement since day 1 of the Scottish 6
I felt the ability to "turn on" the 100% concentration like I wrote about
after Pond Mountain. I don't remember feeling that before except after a
really bad race, but I guess its possible. I just figured you can't control
your thoughts, but I believe you can, I guess. Three races in a row. I had
the ability to force out irrelevant thoughts, like is this pace fast enough to
beat so and so or whether or not I should buy another Iced Earth album. I
would just say "wrong thought" to myself.
The problem will be remembering how to do this next year. The next A meet
isn't 'til March. At local meets, where I know the maps and the course
setting and terrain seem to demand less concentration, I can get away with
much less than 100% focus. I think it will be important to do
this 100% thing in the off-season, even if it isn't necessary. It will also
be important to find maps I have not been on with challenging course setting
until this becomes a habit, but that is easier said than done.
I guess there are some observations about these races. The cost of 100%
concentration/contact is not free. If I can make it automatic, perhaps it
will be nearly free someday. I was not happy with my routes in
many cases. I felt less capacity for route planning. I generally took
safer, more expensive routes, I think. For me, going over or thru terrain
obstacles seems safer than going around them. For some reason, I often
lose it going around things -- I'm not sure why, topic for another day.
But in this terrain, hills are expensive to go over. The green, tho, is
not bad, and worth going thru rather than around, I think. I guess if there
is a regret, I have to feel I was playing not to lose, rather than playing
to win, as football announcers say. But I would not have been able to
live the off-season with a race ruining boom. My bobbles were all tiny.
I imagine I would have been 5% faster if I were more aggressive, assuming
no booms because of this. I won't sweat it.
There was a route choice problem on the first leg of day 1. I think
that bothers me, but I think it shouldn't. I got it wrong, seeing
the trail and taking it, since I like trails on the first leg to
get in sync. But straight was better for me. Oh well. Leg 8 day 1 I
could not find the trail I wanted. That pissed me off. The map was
3 years old, the trail was mapped faint, and it was leaf season, so
nothing to complain about, but I lost some time recovering. At least I
recovered. I may have lost anywhere from 3-10% on route choice. Good,
areas for future growth.
I did some other things right. I did a cool down run after day 1. The
team had a 1K sprint course. I'm not sure if 1K counts as a cool down
distance, but that coupled with stretching and stretching before day
2 helped with my day 2 speed problem. Its the strongest I've felt on
a day 2 after a long, physical day 1. It is amazing how little I
know about running physiology. ONA should have articles on this rather
than things irrelevant to the sport of orienteering. But who am I
to complain? I'll have to find time to learn about this stuff also.
Part of me is glad the season is over. I can try to get over my leg
injury completely. Doctor offered me steroid shot today. I declined,
this sort of thing spooks me. He said re-evaluate at end of year. He
doesn't think it is necessary or indicated. I guess that is good. He
says stop racing and training and it gets better. Duh, I guess, but
that is so hard to do. I don't know whether to ease up or train harder
in the off season. I think I'll take it easy for 2 weeks, hope I'm 100%,
then start cranking it up gradually. I dunno. Where are the ONA articles?
And Mary, if you're reading this -- here's to a quick recovery.