Orienteering race 1:58:00  **** 7.5 mi (15:44 / mi) +150m 14:49 / mi
Up to Bear Brook, last minute, with Alex, Dave and Izzy. Not sure how legs were going to feel, but I didn't want to copy down a red map so took a blue, and went off to the races. Goal was to go slow, not get injured, come back early if necessary, and get back in to the swing of orienteering—I haven't done foot O since the Blue Hills Traverse!
1. Up reentrant and over hill. Wound up at 3. Whoops? Went over to the big depression, but wound up on the east side of it, wandered around for a while, finally reoriented back to the white, since I was at the wrong hill. Well, it is the first foot control in five months.
2. Up the hill, a slight hesitation at the long depression. Still nice to spike it pretty well after 1.
3. I've been here before, but from a different direction. Pretty green, and wound up south of where planned.
4. Followed the reentrant pretty well, but wound up southeast of where I wanted to be. But I figured the control I found that wasn't mine was on a certain feature, and used that and the contours to get mine.
5. Running, using the vague green gradient and the vague landforms to take me towards the control. Got passed by Giovanni but stayed uphill from him to the control. Legs feeling Monday.
6. Ran with (followed?) Giovanni to the control.
7. Needing a break from navigating and bashing, I found the trail, cut to the other trail, and attacked off of that. Wasn't necessarily faster, but pretty clean.
8. One depression, two depression, three depression, Prozac!
9. On the trail I'd read ahead, and decided to take the long way around to 9. I'd otherwise have to run through a maze of little hills and reentrants, and there was no good catching feature. And I'm probably worst at estimating distance off of a map and by foot (mainly because I've never practiced). So I figured I'd trade the potential for a lucky spike with a better plan and some open running. Which worked well, down the road, down the trail to the trail junction, then really easy compass-following (I'm getting better at this) past some properly-placed rocks to the three little hills and the control.
10. Another long leg. Here I took a similar approach. I headed back to the trail junction and down a trail. At a stone wall I followed it south, then compassed perfectly to another trail, which gave me an easy attack over a hill to the control. It's nice when things work well like that.
11. Over the hill, and the next hill, and then to a big rock. Whoops, wrong rock.
12. One cliff, hesitation, second cliff.
13. First half navigated cleanly, I found the second dot stream and the big cliff and the dot hill and navigated off to the control and found … a stone wall. There is no stone wall on my map. I looked around for a while and found nothing. So I went back to the dot stream, took a better compass bearing in a slightly different direction and found the control. A couple lessons: 1) that stone wall should be mapped, even though it's only 20m long, it's very distinct and visible. 2) I need to get better at following a compass bearing, but at least I was able to reorient well.
14. Nice spike.
15. Navigated the first 2/3 of the control well, but got a bit confused on the fine stuff in the green. Helped by other people.
16. Followed the cliffs well, and overran the control because I thought the huge rock was the first big rock when in fact it was the second. Only took a second to recover.
17. Here the plan was to run until the rocks went away and hill went down, then attack. Unfortunately I didn't run in the right direction and wound up 100m or so east of where I should have been. But like most of the day, I was able to make the map line up with reality and regain contact, and then had a good run over to the control. This is good!
18. Overran this "reentrant" by just a bit, so I saw 19, almost visible from 18, then went back to 18, then to 19.
19. See 18.
20. Again I decided to take the road. This was maybe a more specious decision, since there was a lot to be caught by just bashing in about the right direction. I should have gone just south of the line, hit the trail, run to the road, and then attacked off the little trail from the clearing in the green. But I ran back to the trail, back to the road, and then attacked off of there. Lots of time to read ahead so I was able to attack pretty cleanly, and I saw 21 on the way so that made 21 pretty good.
21. Almost took the best route but got sucked a little low/from whence I came.
22. If I spiked it, I'd finish in under 2 hours. Which I did, despite lots of green. Then to the finish, which I could sort of see but not remember quite where the finish was.
So, all in all, a good training race. It took some time to get my legs and head back in the game, but pretty quickly I was able to remember how the game was played, and I was very glad that the few times I did totally lose contact I was able to quite quickly get back to the map. So that's good. Also, the terrain today was so much nice than the last time at Bear Brook: no horrible flat vague green with random rootstocks, no horrible logged areas which just aren't fun, and no horrible rockfields of doom. Good running: some terrain-based, some feature based. Fun!