2003 (most recent are listed first, so to read in order you need to start at the bottom)

45. NEOC local meet at Mt. Tom (Nov. 29). 7.6 km, 320m, 72:36. The usual post-Thanksgiving day at Mt. Tom, get all the controls but in any order. Starting to feel like winter, with a mix of sun, rain, snow and then back to sun in the course of little over an hour. Runnning a little better, surprised myself a few times by keeping running in places where I felt like walking, leg soreness mostly OK. Ran in running shoes for the second straight week as I still have a sore place on the botton of one foot that the stud on the O' shoes just aggravates. The traction, especially on side slopes, isn't as good, but more cushinging helps my legs.

Only one bad control, #14 (acutually the 8th control I went to), misread the map and ran down the road 50-100 meters before turning left, and then got stuck in some laurel. Should have just gone straight across the road and it would have been right there.

44. WCOC local meet at Sessions Woods (Nov. 23). 6.4 km, 300m, 61:50. Nice day, nice area, nice course (by Gari Williams). Felt much better than last week. Not a great deal of energy, but no sore muscles, which made it a whole lot more fun.

Comments: #1 - should have gone straight north , then west on the road all the way. #2 - OK route, just didn't see the control when I popped out of the green even though I was right above it; did a little circle before I spotted it. #3 - stayed on the NE side of the stream for 100 meters and then took some time finding a place to cross without getting my feet wet (I had a bone bruise from the Traverse and was wearing running shoes for more cushioning, managed to get around the whole course with dry feet!). The rest was clean. Energy level (i.e. walking/running speed) varied from real slow going up the hills to 4 and 5, to to only moderately slow on the more gentle terrain to the north.

43. Blue Hills Traverse (Nov. 16) (East part | West part). 13.8 km, 510m, 2:24:45. A long struggle, both calfs cramping, the right one starting in the first 15 minutes, the left one about halfway, plus a sore back. Have to try to see if I can do something over the winter to get my muscles working a bit better. I had company most of the way, though usually struggling and eventually failing to keep up. Only real mistake was at 22, where I went a little too far along the trail and didn't recognize the trail heading straight up the hill. Just slow and painful and discouraging...

Terrain, by the way, is rocky and brushy, I don't know why I keep going there. Actually, I guess I do, it more a social event. Mass starts are usually more fun, even if I relatively do much worse. The maps are still lousy - the East one is 15 years old and never was any good, but it's offset printed so it's easy to read. The West map has been redone recently, but a color-copied 15,000 version is very fuzzy. The black in particular looks all smudged. Would be nice too have good maps there. On the other hand, the course (east part by Jeff Saeger, West part by Michael Hughes) was fine.

42. DVOA A Meet, Return to the Water Gap (day 2) at Spackman Creek (Nov. 2). Red course, 8.1 km, 285m, 70:13. Faster woods in general and more gradual hills meant there was no excuse not to run more aggressively today. Put out a good effort, even though I was fading in the last 15 minutes. Small error on the way to 3, ran a little too far near the end of the leg before taking a right turn to the control. On 4, I was 50 meters to the left, but corrected easily. On 6 a route one notch to the east over the second half of the leg was faster (better woods). And 13-14, well, I just diddled around trying to avoid climb and green instead of just heading north as fast as I could to what is a very easy control. Overall, maybe 2 minutes lost, but I ran harder than yesterday so in a way it was more pleasing.

Another great weekend. I've been to a lot of really excellent meets this year, only exceptions have been the relay, individual, and rogaine champs. You would think that, if any, those would be the ones we would do right. Hopefully next year will be better.

41. US Team 1 Km Challenge (Nov. 1). 1.0 km, 30m, 6:29. Back at the Pocono Environmental Education Center. The course was right there, so why not try it. Turned out to be both fun and an intense workout, and also proof of the old saying that even an easy course can be hard if you just run a little faster. Excellent training and an easy way to make a small contribution to the Team; hope they can set up more of these next year. Results.

40. DVOA A Meet, Return to the Water Gap (day 1) at Stuckey Pond (Nov. 1). Red course, 7.4 km, 390m, 71:22. Back to the Water Gap, where I have pleasant memories from the US Champs in 2000. Still a fine area, even though today's course was a lot more work - longer, hillier, hotter day - than the Green courses I was running 3 years ago. No mistakes of any significance, and it was a fun and well-designed course except for 8-9, which was an interesting leg, just not much fun. My legs were pretty wobbly by the time I got to 9, and only the view of Tim Good off in the distance kept me moving the rest of the way. Apparently he was feeling even worse, as my slow jog was still faster than what he could manage. No calf problems, hooray.

39. Western Connecticut A Meet (day 2, part 1 | part 2) at Pond Mt. in Kent (Oct. 26). Red course. 6.6 km 180m, 59:10. Dreary day, there had been a shower overnight, so the rocks and fallen logs were wet but the underbrush, what little there is, didn't feel wet at all. Better effort (left calf was really sore after yesterday, but a few Advil worked their magic....), still can't run uphill any more, but I didn't feel so beat as yesterday. Started 2 minutes after Alar, thought/hoped I might see him but never a sign, and 4 minutes after Dan Meenehan, who I caught at 5, trudged up the hill together with on the way to 6, and then was surprised to see him head off on the trail in the direction of 7 when things flattened out. I, of course, was too polite to say anything.... One mistake of any consequence, at 12, misjudged the control site in relation to the contours and climbed more than needed, and then took a while to figure out what I had done. Highlight of the day was almost holding off Fast Eddie on the run in from 13 - even if he passed me in the last 20 meters, it was still a moral victory.

Just as last weekend, a fine meet.

38. Western Connecticut A Meet (day 1) at Pond Mt. in Kent (Oct. 25). Red course. 6.7 km, 250m, 1:05:22. Beautiful day, beautiful forest, fine course. But a stuggle nevertheless, mostly physically. Probably didn't pace myself well, a little too energetic on the first few and then a bit of a death march thereafter. May have something to do with my lack of training over the last month! A couple of silly mistakes at 3 and 11, in both cases I wasn't sure enough where I was a hundred meters before the control. Lost the most time, however, on the way to 5 - planned to cross the marsh, but the mountain laurel got thicker and thicker, it was dark, dark green and I was beginning to fear I would never get out, so I beat a retreat.

37. Rochester A Meet (day 2) at Mendon Ponds (Oct. 19). Green course. 4.95 km, 180m, 43:03. Cold and a little damp, another day better to run than stand around, even though there was a nice warm shelter.... Another good run and good effort. First third of the course was mostly a trail run, since the staight routes were unappealing, the rest was very interesting. (Actually there were choices on the first part, it just seemed that the best choices were always trail routes...) Only mistake was leaving #7 - came out to the trail further west than I thought, took the next left, heading south, and thought I was heading out the dead-end trail, but right away I hit another junction. A quick change of route. Then up near the control, I first started to go right over the knoll (control was on far side) but got hung up in the vegetation. Beat a retreat and circled around to the right. Not much time lost anyway.

Overall a fine meet and a fine weekend.

36. Rochester A Meet (day 1) at Letchworth SP West (Oct. 18). Green course. 5.25 km, 155m, 38:27. Good run, good effort on a cool fall day, just right for running but a little brisk for standing around. One small error on #2, went to the reentrant just to the east, could see the open area beyond it and knew what I'd done - probably could have seen the control to my left as I went by if I'd really been looking. Overall, course was too easy, but it was fun nevertheless. And the Rochester club's super-friendly style of meet organization was present again.

35. US Rogaine Champs (Oct. 11/12). Clark SF, Indiana, a little north of Louisville (parts 1 and 5 | parts 2 and 4 | part 3). (split times)

I haven't done a rogaine since May, 1999, but last spring JJ Coté asked if I wanted to do this one with him, and in a moment of fuzzy thinking I agreed. After all, I had a few months to get fit. But in the last month at least, my training had been almost nil, just not motivated. I would normally have figured I would at least be "well rested", but the Highlander last weekend had beat me (and lots of others) up pretty badly. Came close to suggesting to JJ that we bag it, but by Thursday all the soreness from the Highlander was gone and there was really no excuse not to head off to Indiana.

The plan -- The course had 53 controls splint into 3 areas (and three map segments) connected by narrow corriders. The hash house was in the south end, and all the high point controls were in the north, so it was clear you had to head north. Plus, a rough calculation of the straight line distance, about 60 km, has us planning to get them all. The other consideration in planning was that darkness would last a full 12 hours, with about 7.5 hours of daylight the first day and 4.5 the second. Our plan was to get the controls on the east side of the middle map and on the west side of the north map before dark, then clean up the rest of those two maps on the way back south. This left the west part of the south map to do mostly in the dark, with hopefully enough time left at the end to pick up the low pointers around the lake.

What happened -- Actually, for a long time, the first 12 hours at least, things went just about as planned. There was, of course, the usual learning curve: (1) there was poison ivy all over the place, just ignore it, (2) there were briars on most of the ridgetops, try to ignore it, (3) even if the contour interval was just 10 feet, the hillsides were really steep, (4) there were areas with lots of fallen trees and thick undergrowth, impossible to predict where, (5) the map, like most rogaine maps, was sufficient, but it was missing a few major trails, and (6) three or four controls were misplaced.

Taking the east part of the middle section (44-45-50-46-52-51) early on worked well, as we got more use out of the daylight hours. Lost some time at 52, it was a couple hundred meters too far NW and we looked to the SE first, and a little more at 51, all our own fault. Up to the north map, next problem was 80, it was placed a couple hundred meters too far NE. In both cases, 52 and 80, any doubt as to it being wrong was erased on exiting the area, as we popped up well off of where we should have been. Next problem was 90, partly our fault, partly not. Missed the direction a bit coming down from the top of the hill and had to cut back to the right across a steep reentrant. And when we got there, several teams were milling around and no control in sight. Various discussions of what to do. We checked a couple of nearby areas, and then all agreed to move on. (Platt and Poole found it, I gather about where I've marked an "X", but everyone that went to the area got credit for it.)

Leaving 90, we picked up a nice trail at the top of the hill that went just where we hoped it would go, to the two lakes and the firing range between them. It got dark about 70, but we'd done what looked like all the hard ones in the north and middle sections. Good progress, although my feet were started to complain and JJ was getting tired (I was getting tired too, but he seemed to be suffering more). In the dark sometimes we got lucky (a faint trail led from 72 to 60), sometimes not (terrible deadfall on the spur heading down to 64. Seemed to take forever to get to 53, and then it was hung too far south, and we looked NE first and lost 15 minutes or so. More long walks to get to the water point above 36, where the nasty SW section started.

"Nasty" in the sense of really steep hillsides, sometimes crappy vegetation in the bottoms, and tough orienteering at night. From 36-35 looks easy - down the valley, up the spur, follow the trail to the knoll - but it took a lot of concentration to get up the right spur in the dark, the trail was hard to spot and not at all as mapped, and the knoll hardly existed. At some point I remember saying, "It should be over there," and fortunately it was. But any sense of confidence vanished a coupled of controls later when we totally botched 41. JJ was not enjoying the climbs (they were "all fours" at times, and barely climbable even at that), so he suggested going down and around from 48 to 41. I'm sure up and over was better (mainly because it was easier navigation in the dark), but he sounded like another hill like the one just finished would leave him quite finished. So down we went. Problem #1 was horrible thick vegetation where we went along the north side of the main valley; problem #2 was we turned north a renentrant too soon. It became apparent that what we were in was way too steep, and we cut across the slope around to the next one, but we probably lost 20 minutes compared to the direct route.

It got light coming up out of 42. A couple more climbs, but the navigation in the daylight was easy. And we were going slower and slower. I had originally hoped to finish the west section (at 25) by 8 am, then by 9 am. We got there at 10. Clearly not enough time to go around the lake. We stopped at the Hash House for some food and went and got 10 and 11 and called it a day. Two teams got them all (Platt/partner and Bone/partner) and Dave Frei/partner got a few more points than we did, so we were fourth, first masters. Pretty good, also a little disappointing. But JJ was pretty wiped and my feet were terrible, so any better wasn't in the cards. And bad as my feet felt, it was really a fun/interesting/adventurous 24 hours.

34. Hudson Highlander (Oct. 5) (loop A | loop C | loop B | loop D). Four loops on Hogencamp Mountain (formerly Surebridge Mt., now 1:10,000). 26.3 km, 1100m, 5:22:31, 16th place. Fortunately it was a perfect day, cool and dry, for what seemed like the hardest (physically at least) Highlander yet. I survived, but as the race progressed I was going slower and slower, a combination of just being tired and also some very sore feet from all the rocks. I spent the first loop and about half the second in company of others (Dan S., Erin, Nadim, Scott P., also Greg B. a little), usually struggling to keep up. After #21 I had to let that group go, and I was by myself the rest of the way except for a few glimpses of Vlad as he passed me a couple of times on the third loop.

An excellent and demanding course, though perhaps too difficult for some in the field (there were a higher than usual number of DNFs, I believe). Many thanks to Alexei and Boris and all their helpers for reviving the event on such short notice.

33. US Champs day 2 (Sept. 14). Fallen Leaf Lake, west part. 6.0km, 180m. 56:50. Didn't know if I would even start, but 8 Advils spread out over the 3 hours before my start dulled the pain in my quads to just a moderate ache that never went away but never was too bad either. Ran as hard as I could, though not as hard I would have liked. Thin air had something to do with that.

A rather poor run, mistakes on 3 (a minute or so) and 9 (3 minutes?), both the result of not being disciplined enough (attack point, etc....). Gained back 5 of the 11 minutes I lost to Ron Hudson on day 1, but still not close overall as he ran well enough to win.

Terrain and course were better than yesterday, though I didn't like the choice of 3 and 9 (perhaps because I missed them....) - 3 seemed too high, but I would have to revisit it to be sure, and 9 was one of those where you find the control and then have to be pretty sharp to find the feature (a 0.6 meter stone). But it was still my errors....

By the way, Monday the legs were much better, Tuesday (today) they are just a little sore. Very strange.

32. US Champs day 1 (Sept. 13). Fallen Leaf Lake, east part, South Lake Tahoe, CA (part 1 | part 2). 6.1km, 190m. 75:47. Just a terrible day physically. In the space of about 200 meters coming down the hill from #1, both quad muscles went from feeling fine to starting to hurt, to hurting a lot, to excruciating pain. This had happened once before, about a year ago at a trail run, also without any warning, brought on by running downhill and actually relieved somewhat by running uphill. Why it happened, I have no idea.

Once on the flat heading for two it eased up enought so I could run somewhat. But the hill down from 4 to 5 was terrible, had to walk very slowly down the trail, and from then on any running was just a shuffle, about like I used to run in the last half of a 100-miler, and this was not good terrain to try and run through without bending the knees. Barely got down the hill after 8. Finally got done, actually pleased to make it in about 75 minutes, at one point I had been figuring 90 was a more realistic goal.

The orienteering was another matter. To #1 I took the "easy" route, straight up from below, and even then it was hard to read the vegetation. Missed #2, not paying attention, my mind was on my legs, lucky to find it without too much loss. #3 caused grief for many. I knew where I was leaving the last trail, but once again matching the vegetation on the map with the terrain was difficult (things looked precise on the map, in the terrain they were much more vague). I was saved by a bit of stony ground just below the control, and even then finding the control in the bushes took some skill/luck (see blow-up of map). To #4 you could actually orienteer properly - past the thickets, drop down a couple of lines to the bottom of the steeper slope and then past a small spur. To #5, down the trail to the bottom of the steeper slope, then across through the "clearings" - I knew exectly where I was, but it still took some skill/luck to spot the control. And so it went.... Overall probably lost about 3-4 minutes.

It should be clear that the orienteering as presented left a lot to be desired. Several controls (2,5,7,8,9,10) were misplaced (vertically) -- they should have been hung a couple of feet higher. Controls 1 and 3 should have used different (more distinct) features. Some were fine (4,6,11,12,13). Overall, it was not, as I often heard, satisfactory for a US Champs.

On the other hand, like it or not, the basic rule of orienteering is that they say Go, you get a map, and the task is to do the course as fast as possible. Some days it's very easy, somedays it's very hard, some days it's unfair. But the basic rule doesn't change. The challenge is to adapt to the situation and figure out the best tactics. And for much of this course, the tactics were very basic - pick good attack points and always know where you are.

It just would have been nice to be able to run more. And I was so distressed when I finished that I forgot to pick up my splits, and later the computer crashed....

31. Intercity Cup day 3 (Sept. 1). Pawtuckaway. Relay (brown, though was longer than the green), 4.5km, 36:07. Very good run, just some hesitation coming into #6. A mix of fast campground terrain and some interesting but rather thick forest on Big Island. Ran hard, though still places where the will was lacking. Second best on leg, 20 seconds behind John F., 2nd team (with Suzanne and Will) behind a NYC team of John, Boris and Sergei. Courses by Karen, once again just fine.

30. Intercity Cup day 2 (August 31). Pawtuckaway (part 1 | part 2). Classic course (red), 7.1km, 69:30. Beautiful morning, sunny and cool. Good run, just one mistake, at #4 where I misread where I crossed the stone wall (thought I was a little farther east) and ended up on the wrong piece of high ground. Corrected pretty quickly. Speed varied a lot, sometimes moving well (2-3, 5-6, 10-11) and sometimes struggling (8-9, 9-10), not coping well with the rough/rocky parts. But it was a fun run. John F. was best, about 58, Katarine 60, Alar 67, then me. Courses by Kenny, excellent.

29. Intercity Cup (August 30). Pawtuckaway SP, Nottingham, NH. Day 1 was a mass start to seed the field and then one-on-one elimination races. Ran in the Red course group (women and old guys). Mass start - 1.6km, 14:10, finished 4th behind Katarina Smith (Wil's recent bride and the class of the field), Erin, and Pavlina. Should have been behind Sandra too, but she was DQ'd for sloppy/faulty punching, perhaps due to my tackling her at control #2 (well, I actually just did one of my usual falls and she happened to be right in the line of fire...). A little sloppy (missed #3 to the right), a little frantic, feeling tired.

Round 1 (1.27km, 12:42) of the one-on-one's against Dennis Struble. OK run even though I was out of touch with map on the way to #4, perhaps distracted by watching JJ trying to shake his shadow (he eventually hid behind a tree!) and Mihai and Greg dashing hither and yon at a very high rate of speed.

Round 2 (1.31km, 12:27) against Suzanne. Struggled to keep up with her, but then she left #3 in the wrong direction (going NW, perhaps too hurried, fearing I might tackle her?) and by the time she corrected in 75 meters I had enough of a lead. Ran the rest very clean.

Round 3/semi-final (1.34km, 11:57) against Katarina. No hope, I assumed, pretty much correctly as it turned out, even though she showed a moment of weakness by pulling up short of #1, letting me catch up, and then following me in the wrong direction down the hill. After that, no mistakes by either, but I couldn't keep up with her, even though my legs were feeling better if anything as the afternoon progressed. Probably came in between a minute and two behind. (She beat Erin in the final. Closest to beating her was actually Sandra in the first round.)

Overall, a very fun afternoon, courses by Will Hawkins.

28. TGoIF (NEOC) A Meet (August 15). Baldwin Hill, Ashburnham, Mass. Red course, 7.2km/250m, 74:01. Great terrain. Had to contend with a moderate fern growth this time of year but still pretty runnable for summertime in Massachusetts. No mistakes, but not moving very fast (hot and humid, mid 80s - my favorite tempature for competing is about 40 degrees). Despite feeling pretty feeble physically, orienteering was a lot of fun.

27. Boulder Dash day 2 (August 10). Oak Hill - Storrs Pond north of Hanover. Red course, 5.9 km/225m, 51:03. Totally different and much more fun in mid-summer. Haven't run in much terrain like this in the USA, but it brought back memories of various places in central Europe (places I've run well and enjoyed). So I had a positive and confident attitude from the start. No mistakes at the controls, though I'm not sure if a couple of routes were the bast -- #4, where the upper trail at the end would have been quicker, and #8, where a left route climbing immediately and going by the large building must be faster, but I didn't see it until I was already to the route to the right. Had much more energy today (of course, it was much easier running) and the legs held up pretty well.

26. Boulder Dash day 1 (August 9). Burnt Mountain south of Hanover, NH. Red course, 6.6km/260m, 95:33. Real good area for orienteering, but not necessarily in early August and not necessarily with the existing map. The map isn't bad (and in places the terrain would be extremely hard to map well), but maybe I've gotten spoiled by some of the really good maps I've been on.... Or maybe it was just the tough terrain and the heat/humidity that left me with enough energy for about 1 km of decent orienteering and 5.6 km of a modified death march. Another factor may be that I'd guess there was about twice as much climb as advertised if you count the constant 1- and 2-meter little ups and downs. They aren't trivial.

Errors on #4 (couldn't locate myself all the way but stayed on my bearing and eventually identified the knoll in the bottom of the reentrant about 75m south of the control), #7 (kept misplacing myself on the map, got too far right, and then was one cliff lower than I thought at the end and had to climb back), and #12 (didn't care for the map or the location of the control). Otherwise not bad, just really slow.

Western Trip, June/July

25. Ash Fest day 4 (July 6). The New, New Blue Mountain, overlapping yesterday's map. Green course, 5.4 km/300m, 41:40. Really nice area, as were all the Ash Fest terrains. I can see why so many people are return visitors to these meets. I had thought the orienteering would be too easy (wide open spaces, could see each control from the previous one,...), but it was challenging (legs such as 6-7) and fun, and you could run in shorts! Clean run, decent effort.

24. Ash Fest day 3 (July 5). The Map Formerly Known as Blue Mountain (yup, that's it's name, we're in Mikell Platt country....). Green course, 6.4km/250m, 53:06.

Another screwy day. #1 was misplaced, actually on a boulder about 70 meters west of the one (sort of) at the center of the circle. Checked out the correct rock first, then spotted a flag to the east that turned out not be be mine, then was lucky to see mine well up the hill. Rather pissed, picked up the pace, totally blew #3 (isn't this exactly what I've always said not to do....). Clean the rest of the way and worked pretty hard too, but the calf was cramping by #8 and from there in it wasn't much fun. Took a very slow walk out to #1 afterwards to confirm where it really was and also to observe some really good mapping by Mikell.

23. Ash Fest day 2 (July 4). Round Mt. near Lake George. Green course, 5.5km/130m, 34:46. Calf was better but my psyche was irritated at how slow I'd gone the day before, so today I reversed things. Ran hard (and clean), and by the last ten minutes the calf was hurting pretty good. But it was downhill.... The O' was tricky in places (small featues but great visibility) but I was in touch at all times.

22. Ash Fest day 1 (July 3). Manitou Lake in Woodland Park, west of Colorado Springs, altitude for all days of the Ash Fest about 8,500'. Green course, 4.5km/180m, 42:40. I'd zapped my calf again in the middle of my relay leg, and three days of rest had revived it enough to make me consider running, but not running hard. Not that the altitude was going to allow any hard running anyway -- set off at a gentle jog up the slight incline to #1 and after 200 meters was going anaerobic and reduced to a walk. Ran/walked carefully the whole way, still screwed up 3 and 6. Guess the brain was short of oxygen as well as the muscles. A pretty bad day, but I'd done no more harm to my calf and so was quite pleased.

Terrain was fine, lots of contours and not much else, very open forest.

21. U.S. Relay Champs (June 29). Ponderosa State Park in McCall. Yellow/Orange 2nd leg, 3.5km/65m, 29:31. Running for one of two CSU teams -- changed from NEOC because the club seems to have lost interest in competitive stuff, with the exception of my regular teammates from the Saeger family, and they were in different parts of the world -- with Karen first, Kenny third and Boris fourth. The other team was Dan, Suzanne, Ross, and Will. The sense was the other team was thought to be better, which was good incentive for our team, of course.

Went out in 6th place, came back in 2nd, about half a minute after Suzanne. A good effort on the roads/trails, but in the bits of (thick) forest I didn't have the required "fighting spirit" and I could feel time slipping away around #'s 3, 4, and 6 and on the way out of #7. Team ended up 2nd, about 5 minutes after DVOA and a minute ahead of the other CSU team. DVOA did what's needed in a relay and which neither CSU team did -- run 4 clean legs.

Map was not good. Without going back out to check, my sense was that #2 was a good bit farther east, #4 was farther south, and #8 was farther east (and the contours around #8 were terrible). For a U.S. Championship, it was not adequate. That's not to say it wasn't interesting. The doglegs at 5 and 6 (and 2 if you went back to the road as I did) gave a view of who was ahead or behind and and affected tactics (I ran as hard as could on the road from 5 to 6 to get there in time to see just where Suzanne was popping out of the woods). But overall the thick woods and poor map were not a good combination. Curious that this weekend was sanctioned and the Team Trials (superb maps, forest, and courses) was not.

20. Huckleberry Hillside Hunt (June 28). Bear Basin in McCall, Idaho, about 100 miles north of Boise. Green course, 5.3km/170m, 51:55. Took it quite easy to avoid straining calf any more (I had problems with both calf muscles over the last ten years, and two to three weeks of no running is usually what's needed). Terrain was not very interesting -- no contour detail -- and most of the navigation was by the vegetation. Map was mostly adequate. It's the kind of terrain/vegetation that is very hard to map, especially without a good base map (USGS was used). But most people were quite happy with it because it was a lot better than the map/terrain from the day before (the "Sprint" which I passed on) and also a lot better than the next day (the Relays) would turn out to be.

19. The Great Northern Goat (June 24). Riverside Park outside Spokane. 19.2km/575m(before subtracting for skips), 2:37:59. A fine race, lots of variety. First three controls were on the O' map (10:000), #s 4-8 on a USGS topo (24:000), #s 9-12 marked only on aerial photos (6,800!) -- you still has the USGS map, but the controls were only marked on the photos -- and finally #s 13-24 back on the O' map. You could skip one on the O' map and one not on the O' map. O' map part 1 | O' map part 2 | USGS | photo

Control #2 look like the obvious skip on the O' map, but a close look on the way to #1 show 18 was better as you saved a buch of climb and had a nice route from 17 to 19. But I was in the minority as most skipped 2 (and it was a little dicey finding #2 by myself). The USGs part was fun -- I've spent lots of time orienteering on such maps -- except I can't really say 4-5 was fun. It was nearly vertical getting down to Coulee Creek, then a long scree slope going up. Took me 12:43 for a 450-meter leg. #s 9 through 12 were only marked on the photo, and very hard to see. But with the USGS to get the general lay of the land, and the photo to read the vegetation, it worked well. The last part on the O' map was a mix of very easy and sometimes tricky stuff.

Had good energy, finished 2nd about 15 minutes behind Eric Bone and just ahead of Bill Cusworth. Only bummer was straining my right calf, which would bother me for the rest of the trip.

18. PNWOF day 3 (June 23). Fishtrap Lake, SW of Spokane, 10:000 map. Red course (short-O'), 3.95km/100m, 30:47. Great area, despite the warning about possible encounters with poison ivy and rattlesnakes (I had thoughts of falling headfirst in a patch of the former in which the latter were lying in waiting). Really fun. Elis Eberlein had done a lot of work to improve the map, and it was just fine. If you ever get a chance to go there, go.

17. PNWOF day 2 (June 22). Lick Creek, site of US Relay Champs in 1998. Green course, 5.6km/265m, 47:59. Better run (ran harder), though sloppy at #s 1 and 8. Roundabout route to #6 was no slower and much easier. Course was harder than yesterday, controls a little less obvious, and times were spread out much more.

16. Pacific NW O' Festival day 1 (June 21). Teanaway Forks near Cle Elum, Washington, about 90 minutes east of Seattle on the dry side of the Cascades. Map was used for the US Champs in 1998. Green course, 5.2km/180m, 43:14. Ran ok, but wasn't picking good routes through the terrain (especially 3 to 4, should have gone due west to trail at start of leg, cut in sooner at end). Controls were hung high and easy to see, but I kept stopping short anyway....


15. Inter-city relay (May 26). Rockhouse again. Steady rain, wind, and a little cold (50 degrees). Running Brown leg for a Boston team with Kenny Walker (Green leg) and Will Hawkins (Red). 4.0k/80m, 31:09. Good run, no complaints, only fell down once. Team came in second by about 2 minutes to Hamilton (Canada) team of Hans Fransson, Pam James, and Mike Waddington, most of which was the minute and a half I lost to Pam. Can't keep up with the women any more.... but we were ahead of New York.

14. Team Trials day 2 (May 25). Classic course at Rockhouse, map used for WOC93 relay, 1:15,000. 11.3k/395m, 1:46:40. No rain, still wet in the forest. A lot better. No mistakes to speak of, about as good as I can do these days, nailed all the controls and while a couple of routes may not have been the best (2-3, 3-4 in particular), I executed well what I intended. Another dozen or so falls, including slicing my thumb and getting a slight tear in the map case, hence the blood spots on the maps near #3, followed by one on the way to #7 that was not fun -- a three-point landing on face, ribs and pubic bone, the last of which had me screaming until things calmed down a bit and I determined nothing was broken. I'm not sure it's really safe for me to be orienteering any more....

13. Team Trials day 1 (May 24). Short course in SW part of Surebridge, map used for WOC93 classic, but reprinted at 1:10,000. 4.3k/215m, 51:16. On and off rain, very wet forest. Not a good day. Not really sharp, not really a good physical effort, five or ten falls including one bad one, plus botched #7 badly -- was right on, then the map didn't seem to make sense and I lost my confidence, tried to relocate on a marsh but wasn't sure which one it was, finally backed out of the complicated area and did it again, even though still had issues with the map (mapping of the green, and the contours on the knoll just west of the control -- both put just enough doubt in my mind, but I ought to be able to deal with it....). Very discouraged afterwards.

12. Billygoat (start/finish | middle) at Trout Brook Valley (May 18). Full course 12.7k/550m, as run (skipping #6) about 11.8k, 1:53:10, 22nd place. A good run, close to being very good, decent energy. Lots of company up to #5, then about 2/3 by myself, 1/3 sporadic company the rest of the way. No more than about a minute of errors. Very nice that the weather stayed cooler as we were'nt far from the coast (on the way home, temperature was 63 a couple of miles from the meet site, 75 in Hartford, 79 in Springfield). I think skipping #6 was the best choice for me. Ended up 3 minutes behind Kris Hall, who was 15 seconds ahead of me at #5, but I don't think I could have kept up to her. And I probably enjoyed it more with a mix of solitude and company than if I'd been in a group all the way.

11. Training in Conway State Forest (May 7) (about 10 miles west of home, using USGS blown up to about 1:18,000). Not much laurel, some areas with young saplings, overall a lot of fine terrain. Orienteering was mostly right on, even though there was usually more going on than the map would indicate. Would have gone a little more east going to #3 but the woods looked thicker. One bad control was #4, didn't have the right feel for the map scale and turned up too soon. Low energy after a while, maybe the warm day was a factor (my weight was down 5 pounds from the outing).

10. Long O' champs at Winowna (May 4). GreenY course, 8.74k/130m, 71:02. Was not looking forward to today, but the legs were a little better. Navigation was right on, no mistakes and good routes. Actually spent a lot of the run focused on my running, talking to myself ("relax, run gently, don't thrash") and trying to find the optimum line through the woods (micro route choice). Even so, I was fading in the last 15 minutes.

Nevertheless, can't really complain because I've only been training for the last three weeks. And six weeks ago one hamstring was so bad I didn't know if I'd be doing any orienteering this spring. So I guess I need to count my blessings....

Another fine weekend of O', thanks CNYO. SVO last weekend was also first-rate.

9. Short O' champs at Winowna (stage 2) (May 3). GreenY course, 2.95km/35m, 22:08. Not a good run. Dead legs (probably weren't too lively in the morning, since I was feeling tired by the time I was halfway to #2, but the course was short enough). Plus some sloppy orienteering -- swung too wide to #4, spotted another control E of #6 and went there first, and shaky on #7. Not a fun run, struggling the whole way. Brad Whitmore (started 2 minutes behind me) caught me at 6.

8. Short O' champs hosted by CNYO at Winowna (stage 1) (May 3). GreenY course, 1.29km/30m, 8:33. A little hesitation on the last 100 meters into #3, otherwise no problems.

7. CSU Park-O at Menotomy Rocks (April 30) in Arlington (Boston suburb). 3.34km/90m, 21:10. Energy not bad, but botched a couple of legs (7 and 8), careless in both cases. But very good fun. Map is 1:5,000/10 ft; I've blown it up some. Got too confusing to mark my route from 14 to the finish, took the trail, then east of the pond.

6. SVO day 2 at King's Gap (part 1 | part 2) (April 27). Red course, 10.0km/290m, 84:30. Much better day. At least I had enough energy to keep plugging away, even though the uphill walks to 5, 8, and 10 were still on wobbly legs. Nice course. A bunch of good legs, and even though a lot of the terrain was bland, there was enough detail so that combined with the excellent visibility, you could orienteer right to the point (if you were paying attention, which I wasn't on #6). Was feeling very beat-up afterwards, but nothing serious as far as I can tell.

5. Susquahanna Valley A Meet day 1 at Hammonds Rocks (April 26). RedY course (M45), 4.5k/150m, 42:10. Not a good day. Actually not so bad orienteering but just no energy. A nice area, very nice map. Lots of rock detail, almost no contour detail. Missed #5 (here's a blow-up of the area, including leg 1-2), which was really tucked in a tiny reentrant between a couple of cliffs. I just didn't see as I went by above it. Later in the day, they tossed out #5 (we were using e-punching), so my final time was 37:19 for 4.1km.

4. Training on Harvey Hill (April 24) (just north of Stoddard Hill), using the USGS blown up to 1:12,000. Very nice. Not much laurel, mostly mixed and reasonably runnable forest, a little thicker (young hemlocks) near #'s 8 and 9. And like Stoddard Hill, a few cliffs and boulders around, but generally not rocky underfoot.

Started off on the Robert Frost Trail which I was surprised to find re-routed up away from the stream. Followed it most of the way to #1. Generally orienteeered pretty well and ran a little better than last time, though never trying to run fast. Just a nice outing, and really fine to finish without some muscle crapping out on me! (And on the way back from #1/11, I cut off the trail a bit and twice just spotted an old barbed wire fence before I nailed myself.)

3. Training on Stoddard Hill (April 19) (just the other side of Mt. Toby) using the USGS blown up to 1:12,000. Good outing, put in a good effort, good orienteering. Woods ranged from great (75%) to some laurel (20%) to terrible laurel (5%, on the last leg, starting to think I was never going to get out). Just a fine place for training, not real rocky, though it's a bit hilly. Robert Frost Trail goes through the area. I followed it up to #1, then it continues up the ridge to Stoddard Hill (937) and then north steeply down to N. Leverett Rd. No other trails to be seen, no recent logging, just the old cairn at the town line junction (#13).

2.West Point A meet day 2 at Popolopen (April 13). Better than yesterday. No mistakes with the orienteering, and I put out a decent effort. I think I was sort of annoyed at being 7 minutes behind Jeff Saeger yesterday, when he was 10%-plus faster on every leg. Today our splits were just abount the same until he botched the last one.

The weekend was good motivation to do some training. If the legs will just behave themselves...

1. West Point A Meet day 1 at Bull Pond (April 12). Mostly an OK run, just moving very cautiously (especially going downhill) as I'd had problems with my left hamstring over the past 7 weeks that had limited my running in that time to a total of about 60 minutes, and none in the past 3 weeks. A pleasant surprise that it stayed under control, even though various other aches and pains made it clear how bad my conditioning is.

Surprised to miss #5 when I knew where I was coming in. Actually I was lucky I saw it off to my right from 40-50 meters away as I could have spend a while there in all the mountain laurel. My guess is that it was more in the NE part of the circle than the center.