O Log - Sebago

[16-May-04] 

    Here is my Harriman/Sebago '04, M21 Day 1 map.

    Here is my Harriman/Sebago '04, M21 Day 2 map.

    This was a high quality meet. The courses were physical and technical. Day 1 seemed more so on both counts, where we had to contend with blueberry, laurel, rock, hills, heat (89F/32C by my car's thermometer), and what I thought was an onslaught of technical navigation. Day 2 was cooler, went thru less laurel, seemed less hilly, seemed technically easier, and the blueberries seemed more benign. Over all tho, this was the fiercest crop of blueberry bushes I have encountered. My legs are all yellow from the pollen. One thing that was odd about the map was that they mapped the blueberry bushes as light green, where on the old map I have they were mapped as green slash. As viz was fine thru them, I'm not sure why they changed symbols. It was a bit confusing at first but I got used to it. Ironically, I got in a couple of patches where there was no viz, and they stuck with the slash in those cases. Perhaps someone made a mistake.

    Some people were complaining that the courses were too long on day 1, but I felt the M21 course was of ideal length. It was the first course this year where the WT was within the proscribed USOF range. I didn't stick around for the day 2 results, but the course felt a touch short, and I imagine the WT will come in low (but not absurdly low).

    I finished about 6th or 7th on day 1, in a typical east coast M21 field, which isn't too bad, tho nothing to write home about. I simply did not have it physically at all. I did approach the race with a different game plan -- most of my races I've been making one 4 minute boom, but I tend to be pretty aggressive and take that chance. For this race, I knew the navigation would be more difficult than usual, and poor mobility and difficulty relocating would increase penalties, so I decided to come with a slow and cautious game; I decided I wasn't going to sit around afterwards regretting a 4 minute boom.

    My boom total was about 1:30 - 1:45, which I don't think is too bad for this terrain, but I just had no speed at all. I was playing not to lose rather than playing to win. So I sat around after the race regretting not being aggressive and pushing it harder. In my defense, I found it difficult to push it due to the various physical factors, and the difficulty of the navigation. I did try on occasion, but either rock, blueberry, etc., held me back. You can't win. (Tho I think one thing that can be done is to train histepping, or train alot in this sort of terrain). I actually did bonk a bit near the end, at least according to split comparisons. I've changed my training cycle this year, and perhaps that is leading to a Saturday nadir, but I have not experienced such except for this weekend and two weeks ago.

    Day 2 I felt alot better, ran alot better, and navigated with more confidence, but I also thought the course setting was easier and less physical. I did boom #2, but my boom total was 60 seconds or less for the race. (So a total of 2-3 minutes for a weekend at Sebago isn't too bad, I suppose). I don't know where my result is, but my time wasn't particularly fast. I felt like I had a better race than my time indicates. I know I lost some time near the end on route choice, but probably not a ton.

    And route choice is I guess where I'm at now. While I certainly don't feel I've mastered navigation, I feel ok with it if I can get thru that day 1 course at Sebago without being out there for a week (under the physical circumstances). I'm certainly worlds better than similar stuff at the team trials last year at this time. But I'm still one of these guys that is happy to see controls, and I've got to get over that.

    In other words, rather than think about navigation constantly, I have to learn to work on route choice somehow. Where route choice mattered this weekend, my routes were dreadful. Admittedly, its not something I really have worked much on, but I have to find a way. The problem is, you can look at two routes, but how do you know the better one without running both of them

    (These pages will not be updated again until early June).

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