Running 5:00  0.75 km (6:40 / km)
shoes: 202205 X-Talon 212
Warmup. Katie and I left Toronto about fifteen minutes late, and I stopped twice for around 30 minutes because I was a bit sleepy. As a result, we missed my assigned start. We changed and sauntered over to the start, where the O-Fest start crew were kind enough to give me a new start.
I registered for M35 for the first time because Boris had done the same, though it turned out that our courses were identical to M21. This seems silly, as the only reason to register for M35 is to avoid running M21. I was not feeling great at the start, operating on not enough sleep and basically no training.
Orienteering 1:37:18  *** 4.7 km (20:42 / km)
19c shoes: 202205 X-Talon 212
This was my first time orienteering since November of 2022, and with the dearth of physical training in 2023, my expectations were very low. I planned to take the first control carefully to get into the map, then chug along at my best speed. I chose to attack control 1 from above, which was a poor choice - there were about a half dozen cliff features in the circle, and while I passed within a few meters of it on my attack, I didn't see the flag. I also doubted myself despite knowing exactly where I was, so I lost about six minutes questioning everything. Running low initially through the reentrant would have been smarter.
I settled in for 2 and 3, which I executed as cleanly as I can expect right now. Control 4 was a slog, especially on the last third, and I was very tentative on my ascent. I was smoother on controls 5 and 6. I took the easier but probably slower route right to 7, going up the river gorge. The footing was slow, and I was also sluggish. I felt quite checked out even at 7, and I just plodded my way through the rest of the course. The climb to 8 was painful, and I was a bit sloppy on 9 and 10. 11 and 12 were clean but slow, and 13 was probably my best control. I doubted myself attacking 14, and ran around to 16 on a trail rather than climb 10 lines on the 400m straight. The last three were fine, but slow and uninspired.
Obviously my result was disappointing. Today's course was brutally physical, and the footing and undergrowth were also slow. The winning time was 27% over expected, and no one was moving especially fast. My tendency was to overestimate how far I had traveled and stop short, and I struggled to make sense of the contours and marshes. It has been rainy recently, and many small dips in the terrain are wet, giving the appearance of marshes. Both my technique and fitness are trash at the moment, which is a natural consequence of total lack of maintenance of either.
That said, I did enjoy getting out into the woods and pushing myself into discomfort. I remember what it was like to be effective, and I hope to return to form.