Tiomila! NSK 2, leg 2, 7.8km, forked. QR
Long write-up follows!
Someone ordered up summer in Sweden for today and the terrain looked like a ton of fun, so I was excited to run around. Second team meant low nervousness and less pressure, despite being on a team with a world champion and two Tiomila winners.
First runner for us was a Latvian who ran for us last year, Madara, and though she seemed to start out strong I think she made some mistakes later in the course. By the time she came in our first team was out, as was Sam, but I was not entirely alone, of course. I didn't kill myself on the ridiculous run to the start triangle and beyond because the last thing I needed was to lose brain functioning on the first control. Looking at the leg it didn't seem like there were any tasty options, so I decided on mostly straight. When I turned to go through the saddle after the first climb there was only one other girl with me, so I guess the rest had the other forking. I had intended to take the next trail all the way to the left to approach safely, but I was impatient to get to the control and jumped off the trail... and soon found myself completely alone and without perfect contact. Already. On the first control! I had a mini-panic (3 seconds) that I had done something totally wrong. But then I remembered that I had known exactly where I was less than a minute earlier, and that clearly I hadn't overrun it, and I should just keep going. Sure enough, a few seconds later I saw the boulders coming down the hill and punched my control. Phew, crisis averted! (I lost some time due to the hesitations, but Winsplits shows more error because of the first leg runners, who had a shorter run to the start.)
Second leg decided again to go basically straight. I should have used the trail more early in the leg and maybe I shouldn't have gone straight through the boulder field (which was my AP, basically). I was being careful and thus not super fast. I was basically alone for the leg, a couple of women weaving around nearby, but a whole bunch showed up as I punched.
To three was just straight. Winsplits thinks I lost 30 seconds on this 2 minute leg. I got stuck in the marsh (the others near me found a better crossing place) and I suppose should have taken the road a bit?
Fourth looked like a good miss candidate -- straight and keep up with where you are. First the edge of the hill with the cliff, then the yellow hill just right of the line. Right about there I felt like people and the elephant path was going too left, so I jumped off. I think some were going to the other forking, but I also went a little too right. Thankfully I could see the hill hiding the control from where I paused. Felt and looks like a real mistake to me, but I didn't appear to lose significant time.
Five was a piece of cake. Compass, check things off, hit the big hill, run to the reentrant at the far edge. Again, people weaving around, but still mostly alone. It was motivating to have others around because usually I *could* run faster, so it was a good push to try to read the map faster, too.
To six it was a straight shot, and there were others in front of me. On the next leg I tried to stay on the faster/drier stuff and everyone else went right, so once I again I was alone. I was confused coming over the final hill and ended up having to run back around to punch. All of the women who had disappeared during the leg were now leaving the control. Oh hai! Definitely lost some time (30s?) doing that, though no error shows on WS.
In my attempt to avoid the cliffs on the way to 8 I ran a bit more right than I needed to, but the hills were obvious, and some others were running that way for the added push. On the way out of the control I passed all but one of the women around me going down the hill. Decided to go left and through the saddle rather than right, as did this other girl. She jumped off the trail and over the hill before I did, so then I was alone again. Tried to keep good direction to the top of the hill and the small hill before the control was visible. Went around to punch at the bottom of the cliff and a horde of women got there at the same time coming straight over the hill.
To 10 was just a matter of good direction and checking off. Everyone went more left than I wanted, except this older Finn that showed up. We hopped on the ride and then ran just left of the boulder field. Then she ran off to punch the control on the giant boulder, which was so huge it shocked me into stopping and checking the map. Once I realized what it was it was no problem to hit the gap with the control in it.
Led a couple of people around to the right to 11, and there were a lot coming in from the left. We all headed down the hill together in a fury, and it appears none of us was actually reading the map or checking our compass, because we all missed and had to climb back up. Probably about a minute lost there.
Now we were a big horde crossing the field, but only two of us jumped the fence early to head up the ridge. I passed the other one by staying lower on the left side and hopping rocks better. From there I remembered seeing people running really fast on the side of the hill nearest the arena/exchange area, so I decided that was the plan and gunned it. Punched the last control and then willed myself to continue running through the S to the exchange. Handed off to Stina and caught my breath.
Fairly satisfied with my run when I finished. As usual, not quite as satisfied after looking at the map again and talking about my run, but it was good. Not great, not a disaster, but solid. I moved us up a few places (from 212 to 196) and most of my time loss is from hesitating/being really careful. Very fun terrain. The others on my team were also satisfied, I think finishing 196th was okay.
A bit of time loss thinking: let's assume that I am 7 minutes slower on a race of this length in just pure running speed. Let's also say that I made 3 minutes of measurable/actual mistakes. That leaves about 6 minutes more time loss that can be attributed to running/reading more slowly, stopping/hesitating, micro-routes, and terrain running speed. That's a lot! But, this was already a lot better than it has been, and both the raw speed and reading/running speed are improving. For the first time in a while I feel both that I am improving and that I have the potential for much more.