Orienteering race 2:00:18  *** 16.4 km (7:20 / km) +495m 6:22 / km
Total distance, actual: 11.67 miles
I went out pretty fast after the mass start, wanted to get ahead of the pack early and see who would come along (AKA Peteris, maybe Louise?). First to 1, although Peteris was right behind. He took a slightly cleaner route to 2 and got there first. Holding hands to 3 and 4, without seeing anyone else.
Heading to 5, we were together until I went low into the reentrant and he stayed high. I felt good about my route and it turned out to be faster by 30ish seconds. Thus I was ahead through 6, 7, and 8 without seeing Peteris at all, not sure whether he was close at that point or not.
Hesitated a bit on 8, then 9 was probably my worst control - made two or three small bobbles which allowed Peteris to catch up. Together to 10, 11, and tiptoeing across the dam toward 12. Peteris went up the bluff earlier than I did and got ahead by half a minute or so - must have been a better route. He got out of sight on the way to 13, I caught back up by 14.
At this point I was thinking about skipping 20 and 21, but I still hadn't firmly decided. Then Peteris took off SW from 14 back toward the creek crossing, and I got distracted. I lost contact with my map, then stopped for at least 30 seconds trying to reestablish and also looking at 15. I ultimately decided to skip it, as I wasn't confident of my position and Damage Creek didn't look easily crossable.
At that point Peteris had gotten ahead by as much as a minute, so I pushed it pretty hard back to the main crossing. He took the water stop near 11 which allowed me to regain the lead going into 16 by 20-30 seconds.
Coming down the hill, I made an extremely dumb choice which ended up costing me the race. The marsh directly ahead did not look extremely wet, and so I thought I could save some distance by crossing it. Bad idea. Long story short - not dry, water up to the waist for a couple hundred meters, very exhausting. Peteris went right around the marsh as I was still floundering.
What made that choice worse was that, once out of the marsh, I had to contour around the next rock face anyway, so I didn't even end up saving much distance, if any at all. It took a minute or two to recover strength, by which time I figured Peteris was way ahead. Clean to 17, 18 and 19, and saw Peteris ahead on the way to 19 and then 20.
He went left to 20, so I deliberately went right, figuring that if our speed was about equal I would need to make up time some other way. Same idea from 20 to 22 - saw him ahead for the last time on the way around the east side of the lake. After 17 I estimate that I was behind by about two minutes, and that I lost another minute or so from 19-22 based on route choice.
Slow and all alone to 23, small bobble on 24 - I was off right and proceeded too far down the intermittent cliff line. Uneventful to 25, 26, 27 and the finish.
The good news: I ended up just 3:04 back at 2:00:18, which I was pleased about, both because it was less than I was thinking and because my goal had been two hours. In 2012 I finished the course in about 2:16, which means I was in the neighborhood to a minute per k faster this year (with skipped controls, I measured the course at 16.4k).
In 2012 Nikolay and Peteris ran away from me fairly early on, but this year I was able to run with Peteris pretty easily, and at times take the lead and put pressure on him while also navigating cleanly and crisply (for the most part). I only followed for one leg, 13-14. If not for my poor route choice across the marsh after 16, I think it would have been a close race throughout. I like to think I could have outkicked him, but who knows.
Things to work on:
1. Deciding earlier on which controls to skip, and not being distracted/swayed by the choices of others. Having a firm plan and sticking to it.
2. Don't outsmart yourself and cross uncrossable marshes.
Fitness-wise, I'm encouraged by the results. As with most other local repeat areas, I'm seeing at least a 1:00/k improvement from 2012 to 2013 (or, in the case of the 2012 Interscholastics at Fort Ebey compared with this year's classic race, 2:00/k). Just gotta keep training - it's not too long until the Tahoe A events in late July.
As always, Fishtrap was a great weekend. I think it's the best O' terrain in Washington, and some of the best I've ever orienteered on. Already looking forward to next year!