Fall 2002

NEOC local meet at Townsend SF (Dec. 15). "Long" course, 4.3k, minimal climb, 37:28. 1-4" snow, not bad to run in other than a little slow. A couple of sections of trail (on the way to 2, and also to 6) were temporary ponds, and very cold. Fairly ordinary run - a minute of two of mistakes, only moderate inspiration, but not bad.

Last O' meet of the year. Not a bad year. A number of very good runs, especially APOC, North Americans Day 1 (Day 2 was ok, just one sloppy control), both days at the US Champs at Quantico, and the Short Champs at Mt. Penn, all days when it mattered. My run at the Relay Champs was clean, but my energy was so low it didn't feel like a good run even though we won. It would be nice if the legs weren't such a problem, but that will likely only get worse as the years go by. Need to be thankful for being active this long.

Plans for 2003. No idea yet, will have to think about it over the winter and come up with a program.

WCOC local meet at Five Ponds in Litchfield (Dec. 8). Red course, 6.1k/260m, 75:45. 8-10" of snow, still pretty light, but made the going a good bit slower and every time I fell I got up all coated with snow. Not a good run, not too bad either.

NEOC local meet at Mt. Tom (Nov. 30). Get them all, 5.8k/225m, 46:59. 40 degrees, about 3-4 inches of snow, a little bit slippery but not too bad. Good run, good route (better than the other direction since I could run up the road). Felt ok, though left calf muscle acted up in the last couple of minutes, much to my dismay.

Over to Phil's afterwards for a fine lunch of Thanksgiving leftovers!

WCOC local meet at Paugussett (Nov. 24). Red course, 6.77k/245m, 70:20. Note: map is 1:15,000, but I scanned it larger on the computer to make it more readable. As it is, it's hard to read, especially on the run. (For comparison, here's the map from a score O' last year at this time, only other time I've been on this map. This scan is more like1:15,000)

A slow trip around the course. Not much energy, various sore places, lots of falls (it was slippery on the leaf-covered hillsides). Only a couple of minor misses at 2 and 4.

Blue Hills Traverse (part 1, part 2) (Nov. 10). 13.2k, 590m, 2:12:47. Not a good day. Not awful, but definitely not good, even though I got off to a good start by being the first one to the first control. Unfortunately I followed that mini triumph by botching the second (3+ minutes, worst mistake this year other than skipping a control completely). At that point I was too far behind to catch up to my frequent "companions" at the Traverse, Tim Parson and Ernst Linder, unless they botched up, which they didn't. Had JJ for company until he missed #8, and then I was on my own the rest of the way.

Also a bit warm for my liking (mid 60s). Ran out of gas on the second half, a lot of walking, orienteering mostly OK except for a bad route to #13 (should have gone straight). Ended up 7th, about as far behind Will as last year, 7-8 minutes behind Ernst, Tim and 3 others.

US Champs at Quantico Day 2 (Nov. 3). Green course. 6.5k//240m, 47:39. Had a huge lead from Day 1 as everyone else had screwed up something, but I still ran and orienteered aggressively (as opposed to taking cautious routes), except for 5 to 6, where I took some extra time to stay on the line I wanted. Another good run, just one small miss (20-30 sec.) at #7. Felt good running up the hill to the last control, a pleasant surprise.

Overall, a fine weekend - great job done by Quantico, saw a bunch of old friends, perfect cool weather, saw the new junior video, and did some good orienteering. This was where Gail and I started regular orienteering, May 1973 at a beginner clinic at Turkey Run Ridge where the day 1 start/finish was. The map was made in 1972 by a bunch of Swedes; it was wonderful compared to everything else we had.

Also, for comparison, my routes from Day 1 (part 1, part 2) and Day 2 of the 1992 North Americans, same area as used this weekend.

US Champs at Quantico Day 1 (Nov. 2). Green course. 5.75k/290m, 45:54. A good run with just a couple small mistakes: #5 (30 sec.) - Over the spur before the one the control was on, dropped down a bit to catch the trail but didn't see it when I thought I should, so beat a quick retreat back up the spur to make sure I was where I thought I was. #9 (15 sec.) Ran by just above it, wasn't looking. Turned back almost immediately.

Overall a bit of strange run. I felt like I was moving too slowly, not because I was tired but because I was at a relatively high level of anxiety and was doing even more checking than I normally do to make sure I was going where I wanted to. Seemed like I was looking at my map and/or compass a zillion times. But if the result is almost no mistakes...

On the way to #8, trning left onto the last spur, I saw Dennis Wildfogel coming up from behind and moving very quickly. I remember thinking that I better get moving so I picked it up and was full speed into the control and for the rest of the course. Meanwhile, Dennis had suddenly disappeared. It turned out he had concluded my faster running to mean I had just left #8, so he did a u-turn to go back and look for it. The strange things we do...

Training on day 1 Red course from the Troll Cup (Oct. 23). Parallel error on #4 (and I thought I was doing it right! - but the small knoll part way down didn't look right and it was clear what I had done). Too far out of the way on #11. Otherwise ok, ran pretty well, not great. 6.6k/340m, 69:43.

Western Connecticut A Meet, day 2, Trout Brook Valley (Sunday, Occt. 20). Red course. 6.7k/300m, 58:05. JJ said afterwards he figured I'd have a good run because I'd be pissed, and I always run best when I'm pissed. Actually I wasn't pissed, just determined. Unfortunately also a bit more tired. But a good run. One bad leg, 9-10, got caught in the laurel coming out to the trail and again leaving the trail. A good effort and moving pretty well (the cool weather probably had a lot to do with it), but a little less energy on the uphills than yesterday. Best time of the day on the Red course.

Note: This is a great area and a fine map. Go there if you get a chance. I expect a Billygoat will be there before long.

Western Connecticut A Meet, day 1, Sessions Woods (Saturday, Occt. 19). Red course. 6.9k/340m, a bogus 61:35. A day of mixed emotions. Started like an idiot, missing the first point. On the way down to #2 my left quad that had frozen up on me at a trail race last weekend started to act up again. But it never got worse, and I was actually running well, even though I missed little bits on the next 4 controls. But then got into the better woods and was really moving well, better than I have all year, hard effort all the way to the finish. Best time on the course (Red) by a minute. But 5 minutes later, reviewing routes with others, I occurs to me that I skipped #7. Bummer. Last, and I think only time I ever did that was day 2 of the 1985 US Champs in Michigan (never saw #11 on the map). Comparing splits with Ernst, I saved about 1:30 skipping #7, so he would have had me on the day.

Training on day 2 GreenY course from Troll Cup. Small misses at #6 (too low) and #8 (too far right). 5.2k, 270m, 52:45.

Gay City local meet, Green course (Sunday, October 6). 4.95k, 37:48 plus 1:13 at master maps. Pretty good run. Actually a good effort, ran better than I have for a while, whereas concentration was a little off: (1) Missed the turn to the bridge on the way to #4, saw the ford, didn't feel like getting my feet wet so ran back around to the north and the bridge - and of course there was a rock crossing at the ford which I would have seen if I'd just run another 10 meters. (2) Thought the clue for #7 was north side of the boulder, was actually reading part of the clue for #8 (north side of knoll), so checked out the north side of two boulders first.

Nevertheless, felt good physically for a change and run was a lot of fun. I'm sure the pleasantly cool weather (50s?) had something to do with it.

Vermont day 2 - U.S. Relay Champs (Sunday, Sept. 22) Had our original "Young and Beautiful" relay team (Samantha, Hilary, and Jeff Saeger and myself) back together for the second time (won the 8-pt. race at Valley Forge in 1999, in 2000 Jeff was the mapper, last year we didn't make the trip to LA). Everyone had very solid runs, but we still needed the break we got when WCOC's fourth runner headed from #6 to #1 instead of to #7. An unexpected win in the 8-point class.

No mistakes, but by the time I reached the start triangle I knew I had started with an empty gas tank. Some days are like that. Nowadays, actually, too many days are like that!

Vermont day 1 (Saturday, Sept. 21) Very, very fine A meet thanks to Mike and Vivian Fritz. I was helping at the finish, so started early at 8:02. Very quiet in the forest. Rough woods in a lot of places, plus ferns that were still healthy because of the lack of the normal frost by this time, made for slow going. I took a lot of around-about trail routes. May have been a little slower, but not much. No mistakes, but moving very slowly in places. 5th on the Red course, 2nd in M45 to Ernst Linder.

Pawtuckaway day 2. (Sunday, Sept. 8) Another good run, never out of touch with the map, even in the section near controls 6 through 13. Terrain was a little slower/thicker than yesterday. Main problem was catching a stick in my right eye that flipped my contact out, but luckily it was still hanging from my eyelashes. Took a minute or two to get it back in. Otherwise I would have been running quite blind. A little more tired today. Had already done a vigorous hour-long canoe-O' (with Gail, got 13 of 14 controls and were a couple minutes overtime), and was probably quite dehydrated.

Pawtuckaway day 1. (Saturday, Sept. 7) UNO's camping weekend. Pawtuckaway is complicated enough, and I don't run there that often, so I rarely feel like I benefit from prior runs. One thing that has changed is they revised the map last year and printed it at 1:10,000. I skipped the A meet last year (Achilles tendon problems), so this was my first time with the new scale. It's much easier (I didn't say that makes it easy, just easier than it used to be), in particular for reading the map on the run.

No problems, generally good routes, ran non-aggressively so felt good at the end.

Alberta - July 2002 (all in M55). For results and other info: http://www.apoc2002.com/

Canadian Champs, day 1. (Saturday) Crappy forest (tall grass, lots of fallen timber). Best strategy was to have a late start, which I did. Orienteering was a matter of choosing the right elephant path. 3.85 km, 35:52, maybe a minute of errors. First by a 20-30 seconds. Hot, modest effort.

Canadian Champs, day 2. (Sunday) Nice terrain. The yellow was substantially faster than the white (the white was OK, but the yellow was really well groomed). 4.17 km, 35:12, a couple of minutes of errors. Second to Anders Buhre (Swedish, we've run about the same over the years, last year at the O'Ringen he was 7th, I was 8th, 50 meters apart in the final chute). First for the weekend.

APOC relay. (Monday) Had a 12-point team with Gail, Judy Karpinski, Jeff Saeger, and me (and our team is still "Young and Beautiful"). Fine courses and terrain, lots of forking (which we could use at our relays, even though it makes life much more complicated for the organisers). But one control on leg 2 was off and it cost Judy several minutes. I missed a minute or two, not so good. Team was 8th in original results, 2nd in final modified results (throwing out the splits for the one leg). Cooler, overcast, heavy downpour after most everyone was in.

APOC individual. (Wednesday) Goal #1 of the trip. Strange terrain - I thought it was much too easy and rather uninteresting for a championship, but lots of people thought it was great, and lots others made some awful mistakes. What do I know? As a model, they let you check out the area fenced in between the start and finish (with a copy of the map) before you started, and it was clear that you wanted to be in the yellow as much as possible since the wooded areas were rather crappy. Plus, I had an early start and there wouldn't be any tracks.

Had a good run, ran as hard as I could, didn't miss more than a few seconds. 4.87 km, 34:39. Won by about 25 seconds over Michael Wood from New Zealand. A pleasant surprise, since I thought tracks would make the course a minute or two faster as the day went on. As it turned out, the one leg I really gained time on was 5 to 6, where going right of the straight line gave me a better flow though the terrain (Michael went straight and was 50 seconds slower).

At some point, and I don't remember when, I caught a log or something on the lower end of my left shin muscle, maybe 3 inches above my ankle. Hit it pretty hard, but when you're moving, you don't really notice. But afterwards it swelled up as bad as I've ever done, even though I'd spent (under Gail's orders!) a very pleasant hour icing it in the shade of the first aid tent.

Canadian Short Champs. (Friday) Left ankle was now really ugly - swollen and black and blue and purple - but it didn't hurt much, and since I had't sprained anything, there was no instability. So I ran in the short O' after thinking I would skip it. Bad choice. Lousy run. Very hot, marshes were terrible unless you got on a track. Three bad legs, lost 2-3 minutes in all. 2.67 km, 25:11, fifth I think by about a minute. All of which I could deal with. Pisser was that I must have been running different because of my ankle because the top of my left calf knotted up with about 200 meters to go. Not cramped, just hurt. I've done that before and it's meant a month or so off to really let it heal. (Of course, I once did it 3 days before I was scheduled to run a 50-mile trail race in Texas. Thinking it would get better, I made the trip anyway and started the race. As I told Gail later, it only hurt for the last 49 miles....)

Back to the first aid tent for ice to ankle and calf, and this time there was more action -- Linda Kohn had been stung by a bee, and she's allergic. She'd already had an epi shot, but her face was still various shades of pink, and swollen, and she was bouncing around like a hyper teen-ager. And then M-C Bruno passed out about 100 meters from the finish (she was OK, just dehydrated, it turned out). Other than feeling like shit, the first aid tent was the place to be.

North American Champs day 1. (Saturday) Goal #2. Left calf was very sore, but the combination of medicine (8 Advils) and new biomechanics (it hurt less if I ran with my left foot pointed out - hey, if something works, try it), got me to the start. Really enjoyed the terrain, was focused and running OK. Note that the trails were pretty much pure sand; often the woods next to the trails were faster going. 4.94 km, 43:00, first by 3 seconds over Anders, but 10 or 11 minutes over the next North American.

At some point in the run, maybe halfway, I caught a branch in the face, and it felt like I had been speared in my left eye. Checked my vision and it was OK, but it still felt like I had something in the corner of my eye. Back to the first aid tent again. Yup, the guy saw a little something. It wouldn't come out though, until finally, with Gail helping to hold my eye wide open, he got hold ot it, and pulled out a twig just about an inch long that had gone into the socket just to the side of the eyeball. Unnerving, to say the least!

Just as we're leaving, the first aid people are yelling again, this time about someone going into shock. This time it's Jeff Saeger who's been stung, and pretty soon he's on his way in the ambulance to the nearest hospital.

North American Champs day 2. (Sunday) Calf was no worse, so the goal was to just get through the course without doing anything stupid. 5.14 km, 42:44, third on the day, 2nd for the weekend, but first North American. One bad leg, 6 to 7, was trying all day to stay out of the marshes. Took a round-about route, executed it badly, and found out afterwards that straight was just fine. Lost a couple minutes, plus 30 seconds on #4. But made it through the day.

The only thing stupid was the course, especially the first couple of legs ....

But overall a really fun trip! Also got a chance to play golf several times in the mountains, some spectacular courses.

Oh, almost forgot, Sunday was Judy Karpinski's day for a visit to the first aid tent, elevated heart rate, chills, feeling faint. Gail was just as glad that was the last day, because she figured she was next.

Spring 2002

Pagoda (red) (5-19-02). Had lively legs for once. Screwed up the first one, but not too bad after that, and nice to have some energy.

Mt. Penn reminded me of orienteering in Switzerland, particularly the first day of 1980 Swiss 5-Day. Here's my route in M35. Map is 1:15,000, hard to read, just as it was then on a dark and rainy day. Far from a perfect run, but everyone had problems and it turned out to be the best time by 2 seconds, with third place one more second behind. First win in Europe! (finished 5th overall for 5 days)

Short O' Champs (greenx), Mt. Penn (5-18-02) Some good orienteering (route to #1, for example, much better -- just as fast and much easier -- than straight) and some bad (last long leg, no plan at all).

Beech Hill (4-27-02) Junky woods, low energy and motivation. But a nice day with lots of old-timers around for the club's 30th anniverary party in the evening.

Billygoat (4-20-02) A struggle. Should have skipped #1, but couldn't make myself do it. Busted my compass on the way down the hill to #15. Didn't matter much, I think I orienteered better without it. Hot in the morning, started to rain on way to #4, quite cold and much nicer for running by the end.

West Point, day 2, Bull Pond (4-7-02)