Orienteering race 1:24:11  3.9 km (21:35 / km)
shoes: Vavrys - studded rubber cleats
I hadn't Orienteered since summer. I have not run in years. Today I was going to walk the Brown course: M-Brown at my favorite event - The GNC.
CedarCreek wished me luck as I left the car, heading to the start. He suggested that I not make any mistakes and just enjoy myself. I chuckled and mentioned that it is hard to make mistakes when you are walking. How ironic that comment is now.
I did take it very slow, and was overly cautious on selecting physically easier routes. I often repeat a saying I learned from my sage, Peter Plunket-Cole. After having Orienteered together, once or twice every weekend for 4 months, met every Wednesday for training sessions, and of course, physically trained, individually, all of the other days, Peter, I and other OCIN fanatics met, after a four week lull of zero Orienteering, to travel to the USOF relay championships in PA. He greeted me by saying, "I have forgotten how to Orienteer."
At first I missed his meaning, waiting for the rest of the joke. But I soon realized what he meant, and it has stayed with me for 25 years. Our sharpest abilities are like artifacts in a pristine home, each clean, glistening, and in excellent repair when properly attended to and maintained. But unperceptively and immediately the luster is lost and tarnished from a single missed day. The patina builds, the neglect compounds, until it is obvious that a negative change has occurred. There wasn’t a moment in time it happened, it just does, a process, which is countered only with effort.
Peter taught me that not just our physical ability but our mental skills deteriorate quickly without regular attention. Mistakes measured in seconds could now easily double in time due to our lack of training, making us each 100% worse than we were when we last met.
And here I am in Georgia, an Orienteer for over 42 years, nothing left to learn, and yet no luster to be found.
On my first control I took the bent leg lines to be a mandatory route (it bent passed a detailed deep gully), I followed it, it wasn’t a bad route, but I wondered why it was mandatory. I believed the mapped feature for the control, a gully symbol (it was all squiggly and bent) to be a contour line. I was looking in vain for small parallel reentrants when I finally found the gully and it’s many bends. I was misinterpreting the information provided. The tone for the day was set.
On control 5 I completely misread the map, due in part to the mapper’s style, but the fault is mine, the mistake was large, and the day is lost. I attribute a good 10 minutes to that one error. I stand about 16 minutes out of first place. Tonight I wonder, can I, tomorrow, walk faster and benefit from what I now recall about this thing called Orienteering.