Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Even more spring orienteering!

The weekend after the billygoat, Ed and I headed to the Hudson Highlands to race at the annual West Point A-meet.  Typically hilly, long, and rocky, we weren't disappointed in any of those regards!  In the first of three races that weekend, the middle distance, I did pretty well, finishing closer to Ali than I normally do, and beating all the mortals who are all competitive with me.  I almost beat all the men on my course, too, but got nipped by a 19yo boy.  Despite making a few mistakes, it was exciting to do well in the results!  

That afternoon we had a sprint, and apparently, I went harder than I'd thought in the morning's race.  My legs were pretty exhausted, and I struggled to find any speed.  I ended up 3rd in that race, but much further behind Ali than usual.  She's obviously my standard, here.  After a delicious barbecue and some good socializing that night, we were ready for the last race - the long!  This was one of the tougher races I've done recently.  
Ali the alligator, with parental units.

I blame most of the navigation mistakes on my coffee-free morning (I mean, if you regularly performance-enhance yourself on a weekday morning, it's not a great idea to un-enhance your performance by not taking said performance-enhancing drugs before an actual race), but things totally broke down around #5, and Becky caught up to me (from 12 minutes back), and found me blubbering on a rock.  She convinced me to eat a [caffeinated] gel, get my s*** together and keep running, and then we ran the rest of the course pretty much neck and neck - fun times.  It was tough going, though, with lots of loose rock, massive quantities of head-high blueberries to bash through, difficult visibility (due to said blueberry), and just a long time to be out there under the sun.  A challenge, and I didn't rise to it particularly well.  Luckily for me, everybody else was suffering, too, and I ended up in third, while Becky won (by quite a margin).  Based on the results, this was probably my best West Point weekend yet, so that is quite encouraging.  It was also Ed's best West Point weekend, so despite being utterly shattered physically, we were in pretty good spirits coming home.  

Results; you'll find me on the red courses.  

I remembered to bring my camera to the park-o race on Thursday, by which point we were both recovered from the weekend to be ready to attack the hills at the arboretum, so there are a couple shots below.  

The hill - yes, it is this steep!

Ed cresting the hill to the final control.

The view!

Ed heading back down the hill.

Pia dancing her way down the hill - she looked way too happy to have just crested that huge hill!

Ari and Andrew, in less of an action stance.  

I did well enough in the results, winning the park-o (wooo!), but didn't feel like I had a very clean run out there.  Lots of goofmuppeting around attempting to make sense of the out-of-date map.  At least I went fast enough, though!  To add icing to the cake, Ed came in second, about a minute behind.  I'm starting to get worried that he'll be catching up to me soon... uh oh!  But our speedy young Italian has gone back to Italy, so I guess I had a little less competition than normal. 

Sunday we headed back out into the deep woods, this time at Rocky Woods, in Medfield MA.  The course was more practice bashing through thick blueberry and going up and down hills, and pretty much everyone who finished the blue course agreed that it kicked our collective asses.  Nice of Jeff to set a long, tough, course, but oof!  Tired now.  Results.  

The orienteering craziness doesn't stop - next weekend, Ali and I are hosting a US Orienteering Team fundraiser meet, at Breakheart.  NEOC is donating all the proceeds from that meet to the US Orienteering Team, so hopefully lots of people will show up.  And the weekend after is the Western Mass. 5-Day, which is five races crammed into two days.  This one is a fundraiser for the US Ski-O Team, and since we made two of the races into A-meets, we have good attendance, so will hopefully raise oodles and oodles of money to help us get to Kazakhstan next winter.  

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