4.72 miles 218 m climb per FR910xt
Fork Union Military Academy's orienteering team was putting on their annual meet today. When possible, I like to attend this meet to support the cadets, though that hasn't been possible the last few years. They usually do an excellent job, making the long drive worth the trip, and this year did not disappoint. However, not wanting to drive down alone, I called Amy a couple of nights ago to see if she was up for a road trip. She said yes with no hesitation, even though she didn't even have the event on her radar until that moment.
OK, the fact that my foot is still painful when I do anything on it should have nixed the idea of this road trip, but I figured I would at least walk around the beginner course while Amy did the Advanced course. Of course, I was barely in the car when I decided that I may as well do the Advanced course as well, so that is what I did, figuring it would be a good test of whether swimming was improving my general fitness, the heck with the pain. I tell Amy that I am not going to run at all. We are almost there, when I realize that I forgot my O shoes, and going out requires sacrificing a clean pair of shoes to the cause. The fact that I only have trainers with no traction doesn't deter me from doing the advanced course. I figured it would at least force me to be conservative.
Advanced course map - click on it for larger image:
Map with tracks - click on it for larger image:
Turned over the map and saw that the first few controls were around the campus building and smiled to myself. I like these sprint type controls to start courses.
S-1 (3:17): Laughing at myself now, but I got myself totally confused by trying to navigate through the buildings. I should have noticed the location of the control by the field and headed that way. Instead I spent too much time going the long way around. Started 1 minute after an AR duo and get there just after them.
1-2 (1:53): OK, now I am seeing things better and use the three curved buildings on the right to aim off of and head over to the thicket. Of course, I Start Running! :) Get there just as the AR team is crashing in from the north. They take forever to punch their two punch cards. Punch and go, punch and go.
2-3 (1:49): Run in a straight line it to 3 beating them to the punch.
3-4 (2:13): Careful here so that I am not confused by the buildings but stay ahead of the other team.
4-5 (4:55): Take the line parallel to the road and through the break in the vegetation to avoid the green in the field and then into the control. The green is mean in this area with even the innocent looking trees having teeth. Punch just ahead of the AR team and just after the father/daughter QOC members who started five minutes after me [they finish 30 minutes ahead of me in 3rd place].
5-6 (8:42): Head directly for the row of houses choosing the route in front of the houses vs. through the backyards like the other team does. Use the power line to the road to the trail and into the control punching just ahead.
6-7 (25:30): Oh, long leg! NOT my most favorite thing, mostly because I don't do them very well. This was a good route choice leg - take the road or not? The foot pain is less in the terrain then on the road, so I discount the road choice right away. I make a tentative plan to take the trail to the stream, then straight to the dump, and then go straight to the control. Well, I can dream, can't I?! :) I execute plan to the dump flawlessly, leading the AR people there, and they take off over the side of the dump, and I have to backtrack and find a safe way down. This is the last time I see the AR duo, and I figure that I will lose to them on fitness, not on navigation. The competitive beast inside of me is a little sad.
Coming off of the dump to the side threw me off a bit, and my rusty skills had me doing the thing where I am 45 degrees off to the left, thus ending up at #10. I think I right myself, but I end up at #9 next. So, I adjust my route plan and decide to stay along the stream until it forks and head to the control from there. A long, slow walk, but I was enjoying every minute of being in the woods at that point, and I nail the control, though it seems a long way up the reentrant [just my feeling, not actually].
7-8 (8:02): Plan is to straight line it to the control. I was a little off to the right, hitting the fence corner before the stream, so that was good. Walked slowly on compass, hitting the green to the right of the reentrant. A good feeling to find this control right where I expected it to be.
8-9 (12:00): Going to #9, I had that vague thought that I would find this one easy since I had been there before. I really didn't have a good plan except that I was going to cross the water just out of the control, and then I was going to go straight to it. No plan = dumb plan, and I lost confidence when I was so close to going into the correct reentrant and headed right to the stream instead. I was lucky to sort things out when I got close to the stream and headed back up into the reentrant with the control.
9-10 (2:31): Straight to it, though was thinking that this was in a saddle.
10-11 (9:27): Head back to the dump, which is pretty impressive from below, and skirt around it, climbing up through the reentrant, and taking a steeper ascent then the outgoing trip. Trail, cross road, through break in the fence and into the deep, dark, pine forest. Three AR guys are coming out of the control, which really confuses me, because I haven't seen them before now, but it turns out they are maybe not doing the course exactly in order since they head right on the road out of 11, not left to 12. Got to love pin punching for that.
11-12 (12:09): Oh, now I am in lots of pain, I have to admit it, finally. Walking up the road is brutal, because pushing off is like a stabbing pain up my left foot with each step. A modified jog actually feels better.
Back to the road the way I came in and up the road to 12. This is so painful at this point that I leave the black trail as soon as possible and would rather walk through the weeds just to cut off some distance. Think that the control is in a reentrant, but I look at the clue and see boulder and realize it is on the top of a spur, so I don't waste anytime visiting the adjacent reentrant. Yeah for me!
12-13 (5:53): There is an expression - start off the way you want to finish. In this case, that was bad advice...messed up the first control, really wish I hadn't messed this one up. Go straight and get my shoes wet and muddy after keeping dry the rest of the way. Then I was messing around looking for the control on the wrong side of things. Agh! Finally took a deep breath and sorted it out. Whew!
13-F (2:32): Really?! I took 2:32 to get to the finish from the last control? Brutally slow. Just wanted to get there and take my shoes off!
I liked this course. A good use of the campus and the nearby forest making course setting reasonable for these middle and high school students. It is a little thorny in spots, and I had an impressive bloody wrist to show for it, but it was not unreasonably green in the white woods.
I was also pleased with my fitness. It was hard, but I didn't feel like I was struggling to breath, and I could have gone further if my feet weren't so painful.
After hobbling from the finish to the event center, I had some great potato soup, and was supplied with a huge bag of ice to put my feet on.
The predicted bad weather held off, and it was a beautiful day in the woods. Thank you to the Fork Union cadets, as well as the Moore and Muench Families for hosting the event and providing the food concession after. I hope it isn't another five years before I can attend another event at Fork Union.
Thanks also to Amy L. for being a wonderful road trip buddy.
P.S. I was 6/22 in the final results, and I finished ~50 minutes ahead of the AR duo. :) I guess navigation can trump fitness after all.