O Log - West Point

[ 3-May-04] 

    [I don't have the time to scan my maps (Day 1 Round Pond (Lake Popolopen and something else); Day 2 Long Mountain), and most likely will have very little time to update these pages over the next month].

    I didn't really enjoy myself at this meet. This will probably be a skip in the future if the calendar is as crowded as it was this spring. It is a shame, as it is so close and in such excellent terrain. A solution may be to take it as training right from the getgo, rather than think of it as a race, and do the controls, terrain, and routes I feel like doing.

    Day 1 I lost about 20-30 minutes. Day two I lost about 1 minute. The third control on day 1 was mishung. Most of my competition said "I found the flag, but there really wasn't a distinct dot knoll there". I say, "I found the distinct dot knoll, but there really wasn't a flag there". It was a huge glacial erratic, streamered, and in the contours as mapped. I relocated, found it again, and still no flag. I only found it when I noticed another runner in the laurel, quite some distance from this large glacial erratic, punching. Why he, and apparently no one else in the field, had no trouble with this control bothered me. I was pissed, and had a bad race from then on.

    When this happens, you start to think about the wrong things. You think -- should I protest? No, probably not, not politically correct at West Point. Should I ask for an SPW?, Well, no, I've never done that, and it will look like I'm just trying to get a bad race thrown out. You think about these things rather than navigation. You end up thinking -- "I have to make up time", and that is never the right thought. I blew the next control by my own fault, and it was all over.

    But it does something else. You lose confidence in the course setter, especially given the reputation of the meet. You start to wonder, is there really a point to working hard, when you have no idea where the flag will be anyway? You look at some legs -- down 15 lines, up 20 lines, down 15 lines, up 20 lines, in physical, rocky terrain, and you say "geez".

    I never really gave up, but certainly did not have it mentally. I'll take the blame for a bad race, except for the actual time lost on mishung controls (and differing reports gave a different number of those). Certainly what it was a case of in other instances -- were steep hillsides with tons of cliffs, some mapped, some not, all basically looking the same, with a flag on one of them, perhaps the right one, perhaps not.

    I tried to do all the right things. I didn't feel I was able to force success, despite being careful from strong attackpoints, which seemed to be the indicated strategy. While I didn't give up, I did not work particularly hard at thinking the right thoughts, and that is something I'll have to work on in the future. I also wasn't in shape for the distance (the WT day 1 was long, I believe the WT day 2 was too short).

    Also, the vetter said -- "were they in the right place?". I didn't really say much. Then she said -- "they were in the circle, weren't they?". Apparently. It just wasn't my day.

    Day two I did much better -- I was happy with my relative placing and time, but again didn't particularly enjoy the course. Sidehilling at least 75% of Long Mountain (that's "Long" mountain, not "Short" mountain), and its sundry companion hills (tho I was lucky enough to find an unmapped trail on LM) -- it was another one of these looking at the map and saying "geez"). I think one of my legs is longer than the other now, as all the sidehilling was the same way. There were trail run options, but that was a case of go down tons of lines, then back up, where you look at all those lines and the wet rocks and say "geez".

    Well, what I can take away from this is -- I'm not in as good a shape as I thought I was (or need to be), and I need mental work when the course setting isn't to my liking. OTOH, since it is amateur sports done on my time and money, I can say "forget it" if I'm not having fun. This would bring up the question of proximate and ultimate goals again, the proximate goal being to do well and have fun, the ultimate goal being perhaps to suck it up and learn and build character for the future. Tho I'm a proximate goal person, I hope at least the latter was accomplished.