Friday, August 27, 2010

COC Long analysis

If you aren't an orienteering nerd, this post will be pointless and long and boring. I went through the long course and analyzed my route, mostly because it was some of the most unique terrain I've ever run on, but also hoping to learn something from my multiple mistakes. Consider that your warning, read on at your own risk.

Start - 1: When I flipped my map, I immediately saw the trail run to 1, and decided that would give me a nice chance to read ahead and feel speedy. Unfortunately, the trail was basically an overgrown snowmobile trail, so it was neither speedy nor good enough footing to really read ahead, and to complicate matters, I didn't really have a good attackpoint for leaving the trail. This was also the point where I discovered that the map was 1:10,000 scale (this information had not been in the course notes). Luckily I saw the finger of lake that came next to the trail, and attacked from there, and although I was hesitant I was clean. Alex = 7:04; winner = 5:02.

1-2: Its a little tough to tell on this bit of map, because my route from 9-10 goes through here too, but there is a lot of wandering about in the control circle. I was pretty speedy getting to the edge of the circle, but then for whatever reason I couldn't find the middle, and checked out a couple extra cliffs before I found the one I was looking for. That was frustrating. Alex = 4:10; winner = 2:10.

2-3: This one actually went pretty smoothly, I had discovered how awesome the open rocks (yellow parts of the map) were for running, and so I bopped from one hill to the next, but then walked the last bit in to the control just to be safe. Alex = 4:39; winner = 3:47.

3-4: This wasn't very pretty, I started out to the right of the line and then realized that was very thick, so wiggled back over to the right of the line, and then went slowly through the green to the control. Alex = 3:41; winner = 2:27.
4-5: Finally a clean leg. Busted north to the road, which meant I didn't need to pay much attention to the map, then tried to use the good footing on the road as time to read ahead, and got as far as #8 in planning routes. Hit my attackpoint and followed the open rocks to spike 5. Alex = 4:27; winner = 4:11.

5-6: Leaving 5, I had my nose buried in my map, and ran headlong into a branch. It knocked me backwards and hurt my right eye, which was then blurry for about ten minutes. I also couldn't keep my balance after this, so even though I was mostly clean and in contact from 5-6, I was walking a lot, and fell off the stupid beaver dam a couple times because my balance was just shot. I debated dropping out but by the time I found 6, my vision had cleared, now my eye was just watering a lot, so I figured I was good to keep going. Dropping out is for wusses. Alex = 12:18; winner = 7:35.

6-7: First major mistake, and actually I was a little panicked from it. Started out nice and clean, actually running again, following the hilltops. I skirted around the lake/marsh thing and then headed north next to the attackpoint marsh, but for whatever reason, I got really confused, and thought I was somewhere else, didn't check my compass, and shortly thereafter found myself off the map and hoping and guessing that features I was seeing were actually on the map. Eventually I re-found myself, and wandered over to get the control, but that just really sucked. In this terrain I didn't even know what to relocate on, or how to re-attack, since all the marshes sort of looked the same to me. Ugh. Alex = 18:19; winner = 4:15.

7-8: At this point I knew out I was totally out of the picture, but I was still running hard on the hilltops. Went past the marsh I'd already visited in my wanderings, then skirted the big one and crossed through some nasty thick vegetation, falling off more beaver dams in the process. I was a little off at the end, but in contact, so found the flag no problems. Alex = 10:08; winner = 6:44.

8-9: This was a long leg, and I hadn't checked out the route ahead of time. I ended up heading for the road, then running the long way down between some marshes, actually a nice clean leg. But then I got to the control circle and I think my brain was completely turned off, I couldn't find the right reentrant to save my life. I think I probably spent 6 minutes wandering in circles in the right vicinity. Just didn't read my clue sheet well enough, I guess. Alex = 18:18; winner = 11:04.

9-10: At this point I was done racing. It had turned into a survival contest. I was at almost 1.5hrs at this point, with nothing to eat, and barely past halfway. I stumbled along to 10, luckily there wasn't much route choice involved, and I fell off another beaver dam next to a pond I shouldn't have even been near, then got sopping wet again crossing a "crossable" stream that was actually quite deep and mucky. At least the control presented no problems, but I was physically pretty done by now. Alex = 14:20; winner = 9:51.

10-11: I chose to go up around on the road for this one, I just didn't think I had either the mental fortitude or the physical power to push through thick vegetation anymore (all that light green stuff from 10-11). It probably would have been faster to go straight, but bailing to the road was pretty quick since I could just follow hilltops going in generally the right direction, loosely in contact. Spiking the control was easy from that approach, too. Alex = 7:24; winner = 6:00.
11-12: At this point the map and terrain were more traditional forest, and I know how to do that sort of orienteering. I went back out to the road to get to 12, used the cliff as an attackpoint, and spiked the control. Alex = 3:35; winner = 3:03.

12-13: On the road-run to 12, my blister ripped completely open, and was now even more painful. I did a lot of walking on the way to 13, just because it was easier to control how I put down my foot so as to not make the stupid blister hurt anymore. The nav was clean though. Alex = 3:02; winner = 2:10.
13-14: I tried to run a little more, almost done, how bad is a blister anyway? I walked a lot anyway. Sigh. Slight overshoot to the west of the flag, but otherwise clean. Alex = 7:01; winner = 5:00
14-15: This was a disaster. I was truly hovering on the edge of a bonk, and the brain power goes first, I think. I attacked from the wrong marsh, and got to a little depression that I thought could be my reentrant, with a flag, but not my flag. I checked out a couple things in the area, nope, this is not right. Went back to the trail, and went further along it, attacked from a ridge this time. Ended up at the same stupid depression. I punched the control this time, just in case the numbers were mixed up, and then headed towards #16, just too wasted to care anymore. Along the way, I stumbled into a little open marsh, which had been my original attackpoint for my control. So, ended up at the right control in the end, but it took fucking forever. Alex = 14:51; winner = 2:41.
15-16: I messed this up too. I was basically just tripping over myself, couldn't move very well at this point, and I ended up to the north of my line, near the parking lot. That would have been embarassing, so I sort of backtracked and eventually got to my control. At which point I could hear them announcing that I was finishing, and had taken 2:16 to run the course, which is also fairly embarassing. But I stumbled down the chute, punched the finish, and headed straight for the food. Alex = 2:54; winner = 1:35.

So I obviously lost a lot of time on every leg to whoever won the split for that leg. I think part of it is hesitation, even when I was moving quickly over the open rocks, I would pause a lot to try and get my bearings, just very unsure of myself. And for many legs, I was making boneheaded mistakes - I think a lot of that was related to low blood sugar near the end, but in the beginning? lack of focus? Not sure. After control 5 its tough to compare anything anyway, since I was just hurting so much, physically. Definitely should have brought a gel or two with me (what was I thinking??), that course ended up beating the pants off of me, and I was not nearly tough enough to fight back.

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