O Log - Halloween Howl '04

[31-Oct-04] 

    Here is my Relay (middle), M21 Day 1 map.

    Here is my Classic Distance, M21 Day 2 map.

    This was one of the best meets of the season. It felt like what a middle day 1, classic day 2 (for USOF) might (or ought) to feel like (I didn't look at results, and while the courses were certainly short by IOF standards, and probably a touch short for North America, it seemed to feel like it should feel -- my big fear with this middle/classic thing (in USOF) is getting a middle day 1, and an old-style USOF classic (WT 50-70) day 2). (Of course, the middle wasn't set in a technical area -- that's another concern, people interpreting middle/long just in terms of WT -- but this course was never promoted by the organizers as a middle, so these comments are general, and don't really apply here).

    Anyway, back to the meet. Day 1 was actually a relay, but I ran interval starts because I wasn't running my age class. The idea was that the WT for each age class would be the same (well -- not exactly, in North America there are less courses than age classes, so each course was supposed to have the same WT, but that's the idea), so there would be no need for handicapping or point systems in the relay and teams could be truly open. I'm not sure if it worked or not, not having looked at the results. I'm sure there will be plenty of discussion of it, tho.

    As for my race, they tell me I had a good run. It felt good except for a large boom on #3. I remember thinking at the time that the contour interval seemed wrong, that is, perhaps 3m instead of 5m. The problem turned out to be form lines -- they make the area look less flat than it is, and I did not pick up on it at the time, and got confused and doubted where I was, because it looked dead flat going into #3. The form line on the hill from #2-#3, and the form line in the reentrant where #3 is seem totally useless to me. I guess I'm not sure what a form line halfway between two other lines is supposed to signify in the first place. IMHO, the information conveyed by the form lines is less valuable than the misleading factor. The vegetation was trashy -- lets be reasonable -- not many people are going to read what that form line is showing in trashy veg while running 6min/k (well, at least I'm not, I guess I should speak for myself, tho I read the form line reentrant into #4, which is how I found it safely ... (but I didn't realise it was an FL at the time either).

    Alot of people had problems on this course -- except for that boom, I was fairly clean. In any case, despite possible controversy on the rankability of the race, and the idea of setting precise WTs, it was a fun format.

    Day 2 was one of the better displays of course setting that I've seen. It seems like a difficult area to set courses in. It was extremely demanding physically -- not only stacked climb and difficult footing over rocky fissures in the terrain, I think the veg is a half shade greener than mapped, tho some of patches of the white were sweet. It was also wet.

    The course setting presented a variety of orienteering problems, and seemed mentally demanding at all times, and seemed like a lot of change of pace. And while some trail running was in play, it wasn't too much -- it seemed like the right balance -- and a nice change from what I see as a trend to more trail running in classic distance courses. This course just kept coming at you -- mentally and physically -- but in a good way -- it wasn't too much and felt appropriate.

    My run was somewhere in the mediocre family -- may have been decent, may have been an under achievement. Had basically the same time as Wyatt. I had no speed, so was in compensation mode, which generally isn't good. I was happy I was able to run that thing at capacity or close to it, and not boom anything too bad (#11 and #19 are the only booms I remember, but both were sort of aim off/circumstantial/I know where I am things). I lost less than a minute or so, on booms. Route execution was another kettle of fish, however, not great on a few controls, which should be obvious from the map. #17 was a case of banging my head on a tree branch really hard, and getting disoriented. I was thinking about the injury, not the execution. Not good at any time, certainly not good in flat, trashy veg.

    I felt burnout for the first time since I've been doing this. Not on the course, but on the season. Sometime after leaving the 19th control, I thought about the fact that this was the last competitive race of the season, and I felt relief. I felt glad the season was ending in a few controls. I thought -- I wonder if I should just take a week off from training when I get home and let my thousands of injuries heal. Well, that's how my mind wanders during a race, not good, but at least it wasn't as bad as when I was trying to remember who the running mate of a past presidential candidate was a few races ago.

    Other notes -- I saw alot of fast kids in the forest on the second day. I don't know what courses they were on, but I imagine at least green based on where I saw them. These kids were running like deer thru difficult terrain, I mean sprinting uphill on slippery slopes with tricky nav and seemed to know where they were going. I wasn't terribly fast, but I'm not a total snail either -- but these kids smoked me good. I think they may have been some of the GMWS kids, but they weren't ones I know. Hopefully the USOF environment will be one where they can grow into elites. Also, at control #8, there was this really nice guy (another runner) who took the time to hand me water, seeing as I suppose I looked like the intense ultra-competitive type. I didn't recognize who this was, but thanks, I appreciate it.

    mapsurfer.com is dying (specifically, the server that runs it is on its last legs (for the geeks out there -- its not good when fsck cannot fix your disk)). I'm not sure how long it will last, but this may or may not mean no updates, no connectivity, whatever. I'm just not sure. And I'm not sure what the future is when it dies -- its not really a problem I have time to deal with, since it was never meant to be anything other than a mail server/router in the first place. And the parts that are failing cannot be replaced -- the thing is ancient (think pre-pentium -- think linux before anyone heard of it, much less before it was fashionable). So, we'll see. Hopefully it will hang in there for a few more years until I can sort out what to do about it.

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