Orienteering race (Long) 1:41:37  **** 13.5 km (7:32 / km) +330m 6:42 / km
spiked:19/21c slept:5.0 (sick)
US Team Trials Day 3 - Long distance at Hawn SP.
Ah, this was the day that was so close to being great. I again felt a bit sick before the start and hadn't slept well the night before, but I wanted to get out there and get the job done.
I had no real illusions about being able to run a top pace today - I knew it would hurt and that I would just have to battle through somehow. In the US Long Champs I faded after about 105 minutes - with this week of illness I wasn't sure how far I'd make it this time around but I'd give it a go.
In the end, it went really, really well except for one control, which went really, really badly.
Bad news first: we were told beforehand that some sections of the map had grown up and were greener than mapped. Well, on the way to number 4, I managed to go though one of these sections and my rough compass was sufficiently sloppy that I missed the target, and ended up on a parallel feature. Looked pretty similar, so I searched around - nothing. Searched the next one up - still nothing. Then looked more closely at the map - couldn't actually decide what it was the circle was supposed to be on - still can't really decide even now sitting still and looking carefully. I hope they upload the maps - if they do check out Blue #4. Anyway, I then decided that I should be looking beside the reentrants that I had already searched. So back again - still nothing. Another look around (it's a little bit thick - maybe I missed it - "it's on some kind of vague nebulous feature, or else my circle is off" was my line of thought) - still nothing. Bail out south and lo and behold, there's the flag hanging high in a kind of bland area. One of those locations that if you hit it directly or get led in you think nothing more about it, but if you miss it, you're a very unhappy camper....
Turns out, after looking at splits, that I lost a remarkable 8 minutes there - can't believe how fast the time flew by! Haven't made a mistake like that since August 2004. I guess there's still a lot of learning to do!
But the good news: made a great recovery from there and except for a little bobble on the next control (again through greener-than-green), took the rest of the race very cleanly. Even better, the pace I ran actually would have put me in amongst the leaders. Was able to maintain a good pace right through - although I did have to force myself to run up the hills in the end - it was starting to get tempting to walk a few steps....
My time was 101:37 - the winner (a crafty Swampfox) ran it in 91:11. Without the 8 minutes of blundering and dashing around on number 4, I figure I would have actually had a decent shot at the title today. Excellent news considering the past week. On a great day, maybe 85 was do-able. Today, 90 was in reach. But I'm satisfied with my 101 as well - a painful mistake (compounded by unusual control location), but I'll fix that for next time, not to worry. And the legs are there - with some rest and a little more sharpening I'll be "fit for fight" on the long distance at trials, too.