2004 (most recent are listed first, so to read in order you need to start at the bottom)

Fall season

71. Training at Pound Ridge, Dec. 13, 2004. Started to re-run Red course from an A meet there in November 1995, but right calf seized up between 2 and 3, so I called it quits. Map is harder to read than it used to be!

70. DVOA local meet at Iron Hill, Dec. 12, 2004. 6.1 km, 150m, 47:35 (7.8 min/km). A decent run technically (except for #12!), but just didn't have it physically. Ran about an hour after the sprint, hadn't eaten or drunk anything (not that it may have mattered much), and was really dragging. I think the error at 12 was caused at least in part by an unwillingness to go uphill!.

The course had more dog-legs (1, 5, 8, 9) than I have ever seen in a course, but it didn't really seem to matter. I'm not sure why, but it seemed ok. And with e-punching there was no need to worry about anyone getting any advantage by going out of order.

Overall a very fine weekend, except of course it all took place in one morning. Which in a way made it even cooler.

69. DVOA sprint at Iron Hill, DE, Dec. 12, 2004. 1.95 km, 40m, 12:57 (6.6 min/km). A very good run, just a small miss at #4. And a very fun event, produced by Sandy Fillebrown.

I had been talking to Eric Weyman a bit recently about the failure of most orienteers to do a proper warm-up before an O' race, so today I thought I should follow his advice. I didn't warm-up that long (10-15 minutes), but I got my heart rate up in the 150s and worked up a good sweat. So after a minute or two of the race, I wasn't feeling oxygen debt as I normally would, even though the pace was as quick as I could manage. The error at 4 was just being a little left. I actually saw the control before I turned to it, but thought it was sitting on the near side of the big trail and therefore not mine, and only after I got up to the trail did I realize that that was where I needed to go.

Otherwise a good race at max effort, heart rate in the 170s the last half peaking at 179. And I think I had the best route from 5 to 6 -- I was only 8 seconds off the best time for the leg, and some of the youngsters are moving a lot faster.

68. UNO local meet at Sargeant Center, Dec. 4, 2004. Blue course, 9.3 km, 200m, 92:40 (10.0 min/km). Lots of mistakes, plus wasn't moving well. Was having a very hard time reading the map, contours seemed very faint. Problems -- to 1, didn't feel like plunging into the ice covered wet areas (it was sunny and about 30 degrees), so kept moving to the right until I ended up by the yurts, would have been a lot easier just to run down the main trail a ways (but hindsight is 20-20!). To 2, was a little to the right and couldn't read on the map that there was a narrow ridge with a narrow depression just where I was heading, so it took a while to guess where I might be (it took a while studying the map afterwards before I understood what the map was saying). To 3, had the sense that the control was at the base of the hill, when it was really up a bit, so I first checked out a huge boulder/knoll. To 4, again hard to read the contours, pulled up just a little right of where I wanted to be, but corrected quickly. To 5, got even with the corner of the marsh and really wanted to head more to the right, had to force myself to follow my compass north over the little hill (visibility in the area was poor). To 6, again couldn't really understand the contours, just headed a little to the right of east, up one hill, then down to the little one, low confidence again, couldn't see far ahead.

So I was starting to do a little better, not really smooth but more hesitation problems than mistakes, so I fixed that by heading off to number 8, thinking I was leaving from 7. Down a bit, across a wet area angling NE, up past a stone wall, where's the road, what's this extra stone wall doing here, boy the map's really lousy here, that must be the road ahead where it's opening up, no that's just a clearing, huh? And I looked and was not pleased to discover #7 still sitting there and as yet unvisited. I've done this more than once in recent time and it's a bad trend.

The rest of the way wasn't too bad, though it was hard to totally forget how much I'd already screwed up. And when I'd get off a little I wasn't correcting well. Like to 9, just sailing along, what's this stone wall doing here, oh, glad it was or who knows when I would have stopped. On the other hand, I had my first practice in a very long time at crossing a rope bridge (actually two cables, on for the feet, one for the hands), just before 18 and just after 19. My technique definitely needs some improvement!

67. Training at Quabbin, Dec. 2, 2004. Ran Blue course from day 2 of the 1979 New England Champs (results from back then if you're curious), a course I set 25 years ago, 8.7 km, 320m, 74:30 (8.6 min/km). Haven't been on the map for perhaps 10-15 years and there have been a few changes -- a couple of new trails (no big deal), some logging (also no big deal), and in places a lot of new growth, especially white pine saplings 4-8' high (and that made a difference, even though the new growth wasn't as widespread as I feared).

Had a nice steady run around the course. The woods were fine through 3, though I was a bit startled approaching 3 when 3 gunshots rang out from what seemed like not so far away -- there is no hunting in this section of Quabbin, but the property line is right at the edge of the map, so maybe they were legal. Climbing up from the pond on the way to 4 I hit the first of the new growth and there was more around 4 (therefore the round-about route), but nothing so bad that it couldn't be dealth with. The rest of the run brought back pleasant memories, and the mapping of the contours and the rock didn't embarrass me after all the years. Even scared up about a dozen turkeys on the way from 11 to 12, but they were moving NW and were clearly going to miss the control.

66. WCOC local meet at Trout Brook Valley (part 1 | part 2), Nov. 28, 2004. Blue course, 9.5 km, 360m, 82:00 (8.6 min/km). Pouring rain but a fine day nevertheless, helped by the fact that it was in the low 50s and therefore not really cold as long as you kept moving. Had a good run, though better at the start than at the end. And the start up though about 5 was very good, running well and almost no hesitation. By which point my legs were starting to feel a little wobbly....

A few little mistakes the rest of the way -- missed my intended route to 10 when my concentration wandered just as the indistinct trail I was on veered left, and I didn't, and I ended up one more valley to the NW than intended where the footing was very boggy; to 16 I was just sort of winging it down to the second wall and ended up too far right and had to go back up to the control; to 17 I ended up at the stone wall bend just to the east of where I wanted to be and it took me a bit to correct; and to 18 I wasn't very efficient at getting on the trail. All seemed to be lapses in concentration, or maybe just mental laziness, not getting a really good picture in my mind of what the terrain ahead should look like (and not just the point I was looking for but also the surroundings). If you're getting a good mental picture, any needed course corrections come quickly and easily and with no standing around. Mainly it just takes some discipline, the whole way around the course. 95% of the time doesn't do it.

A very fine day and course, thanks to Greg and Boris and Sergei.

65. HVO local meet at Baileytown, Nov. 27, 2004. Blue course, 7.2 km, 300m, 69:06 (9.6 min/km). I hadn't been to Baileytown (part of Harriman SP) for a few years, so I dug out the maps from my first visit there, the US Champs in 1990. That brought back some nice memories, especially the second day, where I had a really good run (10.2 km in 76 minutes). Sure seems lie a long time ago....

Had a decent run today, no so good up to #4 and then better thereafter. The first couple were ok, but to 3 I was having a hard time connecting the map and the terrain -- on the way down the first hill it was just hard to read the map on the run, while on the last hill I wandered around a bit on what should have been simple (especially when I'm walking a bunch and have lots of time to look at the map). And in the middle I got caught in some terrible briers, wasn't sure I could get through and only did so by doing a low crawl for about 30 meters. I suppose I should train in culverts some....

And then to 4, I was again having a hard time correlating map and terrain, mainly looking out at the terrain and not translating it well to what I should see on the map. Very distressing, because it's usually easy. Several times I wasn't really sure and stopped to figure things out. Not good at all! But after that things got better, I seemed to be looking out farther ahead (visibility was very good even if the running was rough) and keying in on the big features, and that made the orienteering pretty simple.

64. Blue Hills Traverse (part 1 | part 2), Nov. 21, 2004. Mass start, 11.65 km, 490m, 1:50:02 (9.5 min/km). An interesting and fun day, despite some shaky orienteering at times. The course was shorter than it has been in recent years, which I didn't mind at all since my legs at the start were feeling the effects of yesterday's run.

Got off to my usual slow start and then missed 3 of the first 5 controls (stopped too short on 1, came off the hillside in the wrong direction just before 3, and was a little too far west coming into 5), and then later missed 14 (too low) and the exit from 17 (got caught up in some terrible briers trying to get to the road), but overall I felt reasonably pleased. Are my standards getting lower (perhaps after last weekend)? But I also did some good orienteering and put out a pretty good effort.

Or perhaps it was just thinking back to last year's Traverse, a rather dismal effort where lots of body parts hurt and I wrote, "Just slow and painful and discouraging..." That was actually the day that turned things around. I was angry at myself for trying to run these events without doing the training, and feeling terrible as a result, and the choice was to quit doing them, or do some training. The answer seemed clear. And with regular training (an average of just about 7 hours per week in the last 12 months), the injuries have been fewer, with only a hamstring problem in late September/early October causing any real problems. At the end of today's Traverse I still had some energy, my legs didn't hurt, and my back didn't hurt (they may tomorrow...). And at age 60 that's not so bad.

On the other hand, I'm certainly not getting any smarter. There were several times when I thought to myself, boy, the map isn't good, the feature is a lot farther than it shows on the map, but it wasn't until long after I was finished that I discovered the maps were 1:15,000, not 1:10,000 like I thoguth, and then even later discovered courtesy of JJ that the scale was 1:16,375. Seems like I could use a bit more mental preparation.

63. Little Blue Hills Traverse, Nov. 20, 2004. Mass start, 3.65 km, 115m, 30:54 (8.5 min/km). Brand new area, a mix of hills and rocks (Little Blue Hill), some very flat land, a few McMansions, the rements of an abortive attempt several decades ago to start constructing I-95 right through downtown Boston, and a beautiful bit of clean forest in the NW corner. And a very nice course set by Samantha Saeger!

I started off at what seemed like a fast pace, and it was amazing how far behind I was after just a couple hundred meters. Oh, well. Had company all the way -- following JJ and Jeff Shapiro early on, traded JJ for Jon Campbell at 6, and was with them the rest of the way. Took pleasue at spiking the last control with them right on my tail, and even more pleasure at staying upright on the rocky plunge to the final trail.

62. WCOC local meet at Paugusset SF in memory of Gari Williams, Nov 14, 2004. Red course, 6.4 km, 280m, 68:25. I was thinking on the drive down that it would be nice to put a little more effort into the running and not just slow to a walk every time I started breathing a little bit harder. So I actually ran ok, a couple of inches of snow in some places notwithstanding, but I seemed to leave my O' skills at home.

Got off to a good start anyway, ran all the way up the hill to 1 although it was awful slow. To 2 the plan was south past the end of the pond; at least I recognized that I was going by the wrong pond, it just didn't look right. To 3 I thought a right swing would get smoother terrain, but I didn't execute it well, and straight would have been better anyway. To 4 I came down the hill, stopped too early, spotted another knoll down to my left, checked it out, scatched my head for a while and finally headed over to the correct one. To 5, a good route most of the way, but should have dropped lower before the line of cliffs. As it was, got caught uo in the logged stuff, plus I was higher than I thought I was and first checked out one reentrant too far north. At this point the score is 1 good, 4 bad....

6 was pretty much ok! To 7 I thought I was doing it right, but crossed the intermittent stream about 50-75 meters right of where i thought I was and had to climb up a bit. To 8 I was again fine most of the way, but not really in control as I approached the control, so when I saw a big boulder too early I wasn't sure and had to check it out. Now the score is 2 good, 6 bad....

9 was good despite no plan, just headed SW, but picked up on a couple knolls and then the big reentrant falling off to the right, and then careful compass from there into and through the open depression. To 10 it was hard to find/follow the small trail midway, but the last part was fine, except for getting whacked by a branch in the right eye, which removed the contact I wear for distance vision. Now that I couldn't see much I actually started orienteering better -- no mistakes the rest of the way. And I had the pleasant surprise of finding the contact securely tucked in way up in the corner of my eye. But overall, right up there with my run at the 2nd day of the North Americans in Ohio for the title of worst run of the year! But a good effort physically!

Had both a nice and a very sad and also a very fitting walk out into the woods afterwards with Tina Williams and a bunch of others to scatter some of Gari's ashes. Paugusset was the first place he orienteered in the U.S. and he had remapped it last year. It will be impossible to go back there, in fact it will be impossible to go to any WCOC meet, without thinking of him. He was really something wonderful.

61. Training at Mt. Tom, rerun of Billygoat (part 1| part 2) from April, Nov. 10, 2004. 13.3 km, 505m, 2:25:30. Hanging streamers for Leif, starting at parking lot instead of the actual start, but not a big difference. Got up the first hill (through 4) ok but I was already feeling beat on the climb to 6. The last part after 13 was real slow. But my orienteering was right on. Mostly the same routes as in April. The exceptions were a nicer approach to 3, and around to the right on 4 which was probably no better, no worse. (map from April, part 1 | part 2)

60. Northeast Individual Champs at Thatcher SP near Albany, Oct 31, 2004. GreenY course (M60), 6.45 km, 190m, 59:46 (9.3 min/km). Another good run, though there were periods of sloppiness. But I coped pretty well with a forest that was very rough and rocky in places and hardly fell down at all. And the hamstring was ok.

An interesting course, with lots of variety in both terrain and the type of skills called for, even though I could have done without the lousy footing (eroded limestone, with lots of little crevaces in places). Some points weren't easy, but the only one that scared me was 6 -- well, I said to myself, time to see if what I've told other people about how to use a compass was something I could actually do myself. Hit it right on, but there's still an element of luck involved....

But then the next few legs were a bit sloppy. I think I was right above 7 but didn't see it, so I went a bit left to check my position relative to the stone wall, and then back again to right where I'd been, but this time I saw it (maybe you look a little harder when you're sure you're in the right place?). 8 was ok, just slow as I seemed to be low on energy. To 9 the forest was just thick enough that I was having trouble with both map reading and running, and I failed to execute the fastest line along the top of the slope. 10 was ok, but to 11 I got down in the stream bed/gully and then it took about three tries to get out up the muddy slope, and only then did I notice that the control was down at the road and I should have just gotten down to the road as quickly as possible. The rest of the way was fine, and I had fun watch one of the juniors (Josh White from Fort Union school) as we ran the last three legs more or less together -- he was doing pretty well.

I also had a chance afterwards to talk to a visitor, Sven Jacobsen from Norway, who was in the U.S. on a business trip. He was second in M50 at the Masters Champs in Italy, and in an earlier lifetime 3rd at the World Champs in 1976. He got me by a couple minutes on Saturday, but I returned the favor today....

59. Northeast Relay Champs at Gilbert Lake SP in Central New York, Oct. 30, 2004. GreenY course, 3.53 km, 110m, 25:16 (7.2 min/km). On a CSU team of Victoria, me, and Jonathan Campbell, finished 2nd after good runs by all of us.

Course was a lot of fun, but hard work too. Started just after Bob Lux, but caught him by going straight to 1 while he went up to the edge of the parking lot and came in from above. The challenge was then to get away from him, and I managed to open enough of a gap going up to 3 and then 4 that he was no longer in sight, but I was suffering. But I was clean all the way, even if I did have to walk a bit on the little slopes up to 7 and 10. Hamstring was ok -- I ran harder on the bit from 10 to the finish and it didn't object, either at the time or later. Certainly felt the best it's been since Maine.

58. U.S. Championships (Day 2) at Telemark in Cable, Wisconsin, Oct. 17, 2004. RedY course (M45), 6.9 km, 240m, 1:00:16. Another cold day, but no snow; still wearing an extra shirt and gloves. Was two and a half minutes behind Kevin Teschendorf on Day 1, so I figured I needed to move a little faster today. Goal was one hour, which I thought would be good enough if I could do it.

Once again, an easy start. Started running a little harder and the leg still felt ok, but I was still trying not to do anything stupid, especially on the downhills or in the woods, where jarring the muscle would be more likely. 3 was an interesting leg, big choices and some little ones too, don't know if my route was the best, but I executed it ok and it wasn't bad. No problems to 4, got there in just under 30 minutes, figured I needed to be at 6 by 40 minutes and 10 by 50 if I was to do an hour.

5 went fine, had some company from Syd Reader who was on Blue and moving a little faster. On the way to 6 (got there in just over 40) got passed by Mikell Platt, also on Blue and moving a lot faster. 7 and 8 were ok but slow, lots of hesitations (to 7 it looks like a knoll on the map just before the control, but the tick mark is covered by the circle and it's really a depression). Got to 10 in just over 50 minutes, but I was getting tired -- no mistakes the rest of the way (I'm good at keeping my concentration even when I'm tired), but I wasn't moving so well. But I ended up just a few seconds over an hour and was pretty pleased -- until I saw Kevin's time and saw that I needed to be about 30 seconds quicker. Oh, well, I was still happy to have finished both days, and he had run well.

57. U.S. Championships (Day 1) at Telemark in Cable, Wisconsin, Oct. 16, 2004. RedY course (M45), 6.2 km, 250m, 1:02:48. Various things swirling through my mind, matching the snow that was blowing around on a cold October day. I was the first starter (needed time to set up the course for the sprint in the afternoon, if I was still physically able), I didn't know if I was dressed right, I had no idea how my hamstring would hold up, and I had my concerns about the map. Finding the controls seemed like the least of my concerns.

The course turned out to be fine, not too difficult as long as you kept in touch with the map and kept an eye on the compass. It certainly started out in a friendly way, very easy to 1 and 2. To 3 I was planning on going pretty straight, but where I wanted to turn off the first trail the forest looked very uninviting, so I just ran around. 4 and 5 were straightforward. I had moments of uncertainty on the way to 6, 7, 8, and 9, but just kept on my line and things worked out. I think in each case I was seeing more in the terrain than was reflected on the map, and was concerned that things didn't match up. The last few controls were again pretty easy.

My leg held up well, but I really held back, especially on any roads/trails. At the end I kept telling myself, "Careful, careful," and ran really slowly -- Gail almost beat me in the chute! But I had another day left and didn't want to do anything stupid.

56. Model event at Telemark, Oct. 15, 2004. Went to a few of the controls, just walking.

55. Maine and Maratime Champs, Sept. 25, 2004. Green course, 4.64 km, 130m, DNF. Hamstrings, especially the left one, had been sore since Pisgah Mt. Trail Race (23K) last Sunday. Things were ok for about 15 minutes, and energy felt pretty good, but I started to stretch out my stride after the top of the hill after #3 and within 100 meters I was getting twinges in the hamstring, and within another 100 meters it hurt so bad I wasn't sure if I should keep going, and within another 50 meters I could hardly walk. Fortunately this all happened right on the route the buses used to take us to and from the start/finish, so I just waited for the next bus and hopped on.

The hamstring was really sore -- took me about 10 minutes the next morning to figure out how to reach down far enough to tie my shoe! And out the window were any thoughts of participation in the night O', or the relay the next day, or the DVOA meet at Harriman the next weekend, or the Highlander the weekend after. And running in the U.S. Champs at Telemark didn't seem too likely either.

54. Camping weekend at Pawtuckaway (day 2), Sept. 12, 2004. Blue course, 7.1 km, 260m. 80:19 (11.3 min/km). Not so good. A little tired, about three small mistakes and one big one. The small mistakes: A little after 3 I went through a saddle at the top of a hill and thought I had to go right a little to keep on my line, and went way too far right coming down the hill. Checked my compass, found I was going NE not N, and saw I was already starting up the right side of a marsh. Ooops. The second one was coming into 11, came to the N end of the marsh just before the control, planned to run out through the gap on the SW side and drop into the depression, seemed so easy, but I ran too far and stopped overlooking the marshy area below. Oops again. The third one was at 16, crossed the road, must have been too far west on the curve and got into the flat area with somewhat restricted visibility and didn't see the control. Guessed correctly that it was to my left, but very uncertain and slow.

Those weren't bad. The mistake at 13 was. In control most of the way until about 200 meters short of the control, when I went by a boulder and mistook it for the cluster of boulders a little further north. Went up the hill, supposedly by a little marsh, and then things stopped making sense. And I couldn't figure it out. Thought I might have been too far left, but nothing matched up. Never gave any serious thought to being too far right, don't know why. Stood on the high ground for a while trying to figure out where I was, finally decided I had no idea, beat a retreat back where I had come from, and saw I had misinterpreted the rocks. After that, no problem. But probabaly lost 4-5 minutes. Not good thinking. On the other hand, the one good thing was that I could remember where I had been and retracing my steps wasn't hard. That (being observant and remembering stuff) is a good sign.

53. Camping weekend at Pawtuckaway (day 1), Sept. 11, 2004. Blue course, 7.7km, 290m, 80:00 (10.4 min/km, based on distance as the crow flies, shortest possible route was probably 8.5-9 km)). Good run, felt pretty good the whole way and always knew where I was.

52. Training run at Mt. Norwottuck (orange is original route, blue is this time where different), Sept. 8, 2004. 6.5 km, 340m, 76:47 (11.8 min/km). Red course from day 1 at the Troll Cup in September, 2002. Ran it once later that fall for training, time was 69+ but leaves were mostly down by then. This time went out with Leif Anderson (who is spending a semester at UMass). I hung streamers at each point, he started a few minutes later and picked them up.

It was a dark/wet/gloomy day, and very slippery. I went down several times, including do a number on my "bionic" toe, but fortunately to the first joint, not the second one (where I had surgery and a plastic joint put in 24 years ago). It's a bit swollen but not too bad. Energy level also seemed very low, or maybe I was just lacking willpower. But it was good to get out, and I sure wouldn't have done it if Leif hadn't been around.

Only mistake was at 10, wasn't sure if I was at the correct reentrant or not, stood there for a bit before I decided I was too far east.

51. WCOC local meet at Sessions Woods, Sept. 5, 2004. Red course, 6.5 km, 350m, 66:49 (10.3 min/km). Quite a change from Laramie back to New England with the vegetation still up. Actually the deciduous vegetation wasn't so bad. The north half of the map is still pretty nice, just some ferns in places to deal with (they slow you down a little, more importantly they hide rocks and fallen logs...), and the south half is, how do I say this politely, not much worse than it is when the leaves are down, because the mountain laurel doesn't really change. I've never been fond of mountain laurel. You need a lot of strength to run through it, and these days it seems to beat me up even more than ever.

But I had a good run. Been doing a lot of training this week, so the plan was to try to keep running but not push too much, partly because I figured I'd be too tired, partly to experiment with how solid my orienteering was at a certain level of exertion. But I also wanted to see if I could run up most of the hills. The first part (through #7) went real easy, running along at a comfortable pace, and even 8 and 9 weren't so bad (dropping down and taking the trail and attacking 9 from below was definitely the best way), but then I headed straight to 10 since it seemed a long detour to go back to the trail the way I'd come in. But going east to the trail was awful, no maybe worse than that..., probably a minute or two slower, and hand-to-hand combat with the laurel all the way. Next bad spot was coming to 14. I don't think it mattered too much taking the road vs. cutting across the hillside on the first part of the leg, but then the last bit was a mess of logged stuff and thick young white pines. The kind of place where I lose a lot of time by just not being aggressive (or strong) enough, although sometimes I think the battle is mostly won or lost between the ears. And today the willpower was only so-so.

Rocky Mountain 1000 Day in Laramie, Wyoming

50. Day 5 of the 5 Day, Rattlesnake Hill, August 8, 2004. Red course, 9.2 km, 400m, 77:50 (8.5 min/km). An uninspired run, highlighted (or lowlighted?) by going in up to my armpits in a beaver pond 100 meters NW of 4, an area that was dry when the map was made. The annoying thing was I could have crossed about 200 meters sooner and it was dry. Oh, well. Most of course seemed to be large chunks of just getting there, and then little bits of orienteering. Or maybe I was just tired....

Overall, though, it was a great week, some really fun orienteering, and a lot of fun hanging around the rest of the time. I could see why lots of folks I talked to had been there several times.

49. Crystal Relay, Diamond Bay, August 7, 2004. Leg 3, 3.24 km, 100m, 20:06 (6.2 min/km). Easy course, hard effort. Team was Boris, Victoria, me, Alexei. Had several teams starting 1-3 minutes ahead. Closed up enough by 4 so that I could follow the train to 5 and 6 and send Alexei out with the second pack (SVO was about 5 minutes ahead). Team finished a close 5th..

48. Beer Chase (loop 1 | loop 2), Happy Jack, August 6, 2004. 2.6 km, 19:40 (7.6 min/km). Interesting experience -- breathing hard and burping the whole time! This was followed by the Culvert Crawl....

47. Day 4 of the 5 Day, Happy Jack, August 6, 2004. Red course, 7.0 km, 265m, 60:12 (8.6 min/km). Quite different from the last couple of days, bigger hills and more forest. Decent run despite several small problems (a little too high at 1, missed the gap at the stream crossing on the way to 7, wandered a bit coming into 8).

46. Day 3 of the 5 Day, Pelican Bay (also the F21 course, Team Trials Day 2), August 4, 2004. Red course, 9.5 km, 210m, 70:40 (7.4 min/km). A good run, although my legs didn't feel so lively (maybe it was just the longer course). Another first-rate map/terrain/course. I set off at a pace I thought I could hold for an hour and a quarter, and although there was more sage than I expected and therefore the running was a little harder, things went uneventfully until nearing 4. There I picked up Small Eddy Hellebuyck, a very, very fast runner (2:12 or so for the marathon), and very small (even from my perspective) -- he's done some orienteering, but not much for a long time and his skills need sharpening. And also Tapio, who can also outrun me but also decided I could use some company. I did pretty well at dealing with the distractions, except for on the way to 9 when Tapio said he was impressed by how well I navigated and then I proceeded to miss 9, and then leaving 11 when Eddy said something to the effect of how well I had spiked 11 and then I was most of the way to 12 before I had a clue where I was. But overall a really solid run, just got real tired the last 10 minutes and struggled to keep running.

45. Day 2 of the 5-Day, First with the Most (also the F21 course, Team Trials Day 1), August 3, 2004. Red course, 4.85 km, 190m, 37:18 (7.7 min.km). First day of the Team Trials, and I was curious to see what the map/terrain/courses were like. All were first-rate. And my orienteering was pretty good, too, almost. One thing I was doing for sure was checking every leg that I was holding the map in the right direction!

Actually I probably started a bit too quickly, and up the hill to 6 and 7 was a struggle and real slow, as was the hill up to 9. But I hung in there and ran well on the climb up to 11, and then pushed the pace down to 12 (catching Charlie Shahbazian) and zipped off to 13 with him on my tail. Well, I showed him. I had in my mind that I wanted to follow the thicker forest (aspens) on my left until there was a gap, and then go to the left of the next grove of aspens, and I sort of did that without looking at the map much more (but I was moving!), but here was a marsh and a road, and nothing looked right, and well, brain dead for the second day in a row. Back up the hill, but enough time lost to let about 3 others in ahead of me. Arghh! And it had been a good run....

44. The Sprint, Twin Boulders, August 2, 2004. 2.7 km, 70 m, 20:38 (7.6 min/km). A "tradition" at the 1000-Day, or so I gather, the Sprint was, well, a sprint. One-minute start intervals, and Nadim was starting just ahead of me, so as soon as I popped over the spur on the way down to the map box I was scanning the sage for signs of him and therefore which way to go. But he was already out of sight, temporarily as it turned out, because he was doing an extra loop near 1 and when I got there he was just punching in. I followed him to 2 and 3 (I suppose I should say that he was just ahead of me to 2 and 3), and would have to 4 but I couldn't keep up. Plus it was my turn to go brain dead. I was going the right direction, was even pace-counting just for the hell of it, but I was doing a 180 in terms of holding the map, thumb firmly on 4 and reading the terrain as if I was going to 3. Things didn't quite match up -- the shallow reentrant partway seemed to be dropping in the wrong direction, but I just figured it would rectify that once it got out of sight in the trees. About 500 meters gone, look for the high point with some rocks, well there was some rock, not quite shaped right, but just beyond it should be a reentrant and the control (I'm still looking at 3 on the map). And I go around the rocks and there is no reentrant and no control, but there is a control on a cliff a little further ahead. Hmmm, I stop and take a closer look at the map and discover my error, and turn the map around, and look at it a bit longer and decide that must be 5 I see in front of me and 4 must be off to the right. And I go and get it, not a bad recovery even though a minute or more is lost and Nadim is long gone. The rest of the run goes pretty smoothly, but you can't recover time lost.

In the afternoon was prairie golf. I've posted the map of the course because many years from now when course designer Eric Weyman is a famous golf architect, people will look back on this as one of his first creations. It was a fine course with a nod to St. Andrews with the crossing fairways at 4 and 5, though it must be said that 3 and the last part of 5 were brutal due to the sage. Our foursome (Charlie DeWeese, Peter and John Goodwin, and me) made it though with only 2 lost balls, but that was only because we had 8 spotters (forecaddies), including Randy, whom we almost beaned once. Nevertheless, it was definitely a huge improvement over the rather ratty courses that Dominie et al had playing in previous years.

43. Day 1 of the 5-Day, Middle Crow's Toe, August 1, 2004. Red course, 7.25 km, 255m, 60:55 (8.4 min/km). A mix of hilly, mostly forested terrain (the first part, new map and terrain), then cross the road and back on the NE part of Plutonic Pleasures (see the Stampede). Had a very late start and spent an hour or so at the water stop at the road crossing watching people come down the hill (and depending on their route choice, having previously just climbed up it). Mikell was pretty quickly going up but it seemed like Brian May was even quicker; would have been nice to see how fast Big Eddie was but he took the control from above and I only saw him coming down.

After a bit in the open to 1, the Red course was in the trees for a while and it took a bit of adjustment to get used to the lower visibility. Almost really blew the route to 3, starting to turn east up the reentrant just past 5, but if nothing else that reminded me I had a compass with me and I might try using it. The rest of the first half was clean, including dropping into 6 perfectly (the map was good!), then across the road and the hard work started, especially the long and mostly uninteresting leg to 11. To 13 I took the high route; slow as it was climbing, it was really quick thereafter and splits show it to be a better route. 60 minutes had been the goal and I almost made it (I know I ran harder having the goal -- on the road going to 11 I amused myself by setting desired arrival times at each of the remaining controls, and then it was fun to measure my progress).

42. The Chase, Pitcher Hill, July 31, 2004. 7.0 km, 220m, 49:49 (7.1 min/km). A chase start in the hottest part of the day based on the results of the prologue. I was not looking forward to it. Started out about 30 seconds after Gari Williams (a frequent competitor of mine from WCOC) and Jonathan Campbell, and a few seconds ahead of Rich Kelly (course setter for the second day of the Team Trials) and Nadim. Within a couple hundred meters Nadim had gone tearing by. I was trying to go as fast as I could without overdoing it, mainly to keep someone ahead in sight to point out where the controls were. By the time I got to 2 Nadim was long gone, but I had closed on Gary and Jonathan, who were apparently feeling no better than I was. And I was actually starting to feeling better, perhaps inspired by the fun course, longer legs separated by clusters of short legs in interesteing areas. By the time I got to 8 no one was visible in front and Gari, Rich, and Jonathan were all slowly drifting off the back.

Actually, Nadim was suddenly visible in front as I approached 9, but he was going very fast and in the wrong direction -- only later when I talked to him did I realize he had missed 8 and was on his way back to it. 9 though 13 went fine, then a long stretch to 14, 15, and 16, all into the wind (the wind is not trivial!), taking a right route to 14 to stay out of the sage. By 15 I was closing on 2 or 3 others ahead of me, and on the painful uphill slog to 16 I looked back and there were Nadim and 2 or 3 others coming -- well, I would really rather have had no one around and been able to take it easy. But no one else was real fresh either, and I staggered in close to the front of the crowd, thanking Mikell silently that the course wasn't 100 meters longer or Nadim and some others would have had me.

Overall, a surprisingly fun event.

41. The Prologue, Gates of AMT Hell (yup, that's the name of the map), July 31, 2004. 2.7 km, 100m, 25:30 (9.4 min/km). Another warm-up event, this time a short course in the morning and a chase at mid-day. Fine area -- I was quickly revising my opinion that all the orienteering in Wyoming was easy and uninteresting. Starts were at 30-second intervals, and all it took was go one cliff too low and I was caught by the next starter, Jonathan Campbell. I struggled to stay with him through the sage to 2 and back to 4, and then botched 5, looking to my left when I should have been looking to my right. Only when Dasha came zipping past did it occur to me to look back where she had just come from. The rest was ok, caught back up to Jonathan towards the end and came in just after him. This, by the way, was as close to a downhill finish as we got, though it kicked up at the end. Some of the finishes (such as yesterday's Stampede) were brutal....

40. The Stampede, Plutonic Pleasures, July 30, 2004. 6.0 km, 325m, 51:27 (8.6 min/km). The stampede is a mass-start event to welcome all of us to Wyoming and induce some serious oxygen debt at the same time. We started off and it was amazing how far behind I was after a couple hundred meters. Have I gotten that slow? Lots of people ahead of me to 1 and 2. On the way to 3 I stayed high and didn't have much company, and was regretting it, thinking that there must have been a cow path along the low route. But as it turned out, lots of folks crossed the stream before the junction, not after, and so ended up wandering a bit on the hillside to the north. So I was now in the company of folks like Nadim and Ted Good, and I spent the next 3 or 4 legs slowly losing sight of them. But not so bad overall, about 15th I think, best was Big Eddie Bergeron (formerly known as Fast Eddie) in a little under 40. It does pay to spike the controls!

39. Training run, Bisbee Hill, July 29, 2004. 3.95 km, 195m, 34:31 (8.7 min/km). First time orienteering in Wyoming, but more of a concern what what the altitude would feel like. We had flown out a couple of days earlier, and a visit to Rocky Mt. National Park (up to 12,000') had gotten the requisite bad headache out of the way, but the deep breathing at any effort was still there. Started off jogging to #1, and after a couple hundred meters of mostly flat I was exhausted. But then a funny thing happened -- I kept running anyway and a few minutes later I was feeling much better, still breathing hard but in control. And I was really enjoying the orienteering. Spent the run checking the vegetation and the mapping (excellent!). Quit partway through because I didn't want to overdo it, but was actually feeling pretty good.

Thereafter, I decided to do a 5-10 minute warm-up before every run (and drink a couple bottles and eat something right after). Don't know if it helped, but it certainly didn't hurt.

Trip to Europe late June and early July

38. World Masters Orienteering Champs, Final at Marcesina Nord, July 9, 2004. 5.73 km, 160m, 42:02 (7.3 min/km).

5th place. A day of disappointment and of pride. I was 42:02 on a 5.7km course, best was 39:32 by a very fast Norwegian, third was 41:02 so I was just a minute off a medal, all on a day that seemed quite a bit off my best. Had something in the range of 2-3 minutes of mistakes, and didn't have good legs (one of those days, still hadn't got my appetite back after Monday....), but I ran as hard and as smart as I could. Some days everything doesn't work out. But 5th is still pretty good. And I take a good deal of satisfaction in arriving at the starting line having done the training and the mental preparation. A year ago I would have been lucky to make the top 25. The only thing missing in the preparation, perhaps(!), was enough really tough competition. I was as nervous beforehand as I have been for a long time, and while I kept it pretty well under control, there is no better way to prepare for competitive stress than repeated practice at dealing with it. And that has been a bit lacking the past few years.

I had a noon start, exactly. Just like running Boston (the marathon), I thought, a place that brings back positive memories of a day 10 years earlier when I broke 3 hours for the first and only time. Run like you ran Boston, I thought, negative splits, go out under control, float, have something left at the end. And by doing so, taking it a little easy at the start, you will know where you are and where you are going the whole time. But some things don't happen as planned.

I was really nervous. Not the nerves I felt many years ago at World Championships that were more a fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, but nerves from knowing I had the potential, and the opportunity, to win. Over and over I thought - go out slow, know where you are, careful/accurate with the compass. I had no doubt I could do it -- I could run just about as fast as anyone in the field and I felt my orienteering was better -- but there is a big difference between thinking and doing.

The time finally ticked down and I was off. The instant plan to 1 was NNE to the big open area, off the right corner of it, over the spur, straight to the boulder, 2 is straight beyond it. Down the hill weaving through the trees, following the tracks from earlier runners, I reach the flats and there is no big open area and the thought hits me -- I've been out here just a minute or two and I'm already lost. Panic is knocking on the door. Keep going, it's uphill ahead, there's a bit of clearing on top, the contours don't look quite right and I didn't see the big clearing, but I must be on line, keep NE to the control. And then all of a sudden there's a fence (thank you, fence!), I hadn't even seen it on the map, but now I'm about 75% sure where I am and I take a hard left and head up the spur, please, please be up here, I've already screwed up this run, don't make it any worse,and there's a control and thank you, it's mine. What a disaster of a start. Maybe only a minute lost, but major psychological damage. And I wasn't even running that hard....

Off to 2, over to the strip of yellow. The ground is really rough and bumpy, tough to read the map on the run, plus now I'm a little freaked out and running harder. But fortunately the leg is easy and I angle off the yellow just right and drop right onto the control. 3 is back up the hill, no walking today, and I'm breathing pretty hard by the time I reach the road, but by then Ive had a decent look at how 3 sits and a brief look at 4. 3 is between a couple boulders, but they're on a little terrace, and after 150 meters or so contouring along another rough and bumpy hillside the terrace appears and I shoot right up the littlle reentrant to the control. And I am breathing really hard....

By the time I reached 3 I still didn't really have a plan for 4 other than to start by going down the hill into the clearing. Down I go. A quick look says go right, trail to the road and then back through the clearing and up the renetrant, another look says go straight. I can't seem to decide and I manage to do neither, which wouldn't be so bad, but I take a long time doing it, stopping on the first knoll (is this really where I am?), rounding the hill (how come I don't see the road?), finally into the rentrant and there is the control up ahead in plain sight at the foot of a little cliff. Another 30 seconds gone, hesitations. Damn.

Off to 5, have to get moving even though I don't know what my route is. I stay on the road instead of cutting the corner partly to get some quality map reading time, partly because of a nagging thought that it's safer if I stay on the road (total breakdown of confidence...). Through the clearing, I decide at the last moment to go up through the gap and straight to the control. Should have been obvious. By the top of the hill I am really working, glance at my heart monitor, 173, well over threshold pace, and I feel a little wobbly heading down the reentrant. Across the yellow strip, I spot the little clearing the control is in, but there is all sorts of deadfall and it's hard getting there and hard reading the map to plan for 6.

But for 6 the route is obvious, straight, though the execution looks difficult. Partway up the hill I walk for about 20 meters, thinking what I lose now I'll make up by recovering faster on the other side. Down the other side, trail to tthe junction, across the reentrant, read the spurs just right, down into the next reentrant, there's a little rentrant on the far side and right up from it to the control. Perfect. Now get moving to 7.

Out to the clearing, keeping to the ridgetop, vault the barbed wire fence (no climbing through today, it's too slow). It seems forever, and incredibly hard, running across the field, all little bumps and dips, and try as I can, I can't do much map reading. But back in the forest a quick look picks out an easy line, knoll, little knoll, high ground, angle across the reentrant to the boulder, always a touch right of east. Perfect again. And I already have most of my line to 8 -- just left of south, slope above the depression, knoll, down through the depression, pop out the other side. Perfect again, but I'm still have trouble reading on the run and a couple of quick stops were necessary. To 9, another right turn, but a good line is hard to find. I think I'm ok even though I'm slowing down to keep checking, but then here's the knoll and no control. Damn. I look to my right and there it is just below me. Damn again, could have seen it earlier if I'd just been looking. Another 20-30 seconds lost.

To 10, no plan, just get out to the field and then decide. Think for just a moment about taking the trail south of the fence, but decide to just follw the north side of the fence. Really having trouble reading the map. Past a boundary stone, then a dip, than a short sharp rise, whoa, I'm just about there, time to turn away from the fence. But I'm not 100% sure, and I go a little and stop, and go a little and stop, and then get it, but a few more seconds are gone.

A hair left of south to 11. Across the fence, supposed to be two depressions not one, keep moving, what's this trail, oh, I see, here are the two depressions, through the last bit of trees, perfect. Off to 12. I'm really hurting but there's not much left, just go as hard as you can and follow the crowd. I'm really struggling to keep up with the map reading, but there is a little piece of fence that stands out and then a couple of little trees, and then my control should be right here, and where is it? And I can't figure it out. It's a pit, I'm looking for low spots and I don't realize until I look at my map much later that it's at the SE corner of a bit of high ground, not low ground as I thought. And I probably stand there for 30 seconds, lining up the hill ahead of me, trying to figure out what's going on, fighting major panic again, when suddenly someone about 10 meters behind me says something and runs about another 10 meters and drops into this pit. And about 5 others including me converge on it.

Running to 13 and the finish is just painful, physically and mentally. Now I've really blown it. But at least I hang in enough mentally to not quit trying. My pulse is now pushing 180 (I had thought until this trip that 174 was my max...), but all I'm focused on is trying to pass the person in front of me, and then the next one, and then punch the last control as quick as possible, and just don't fall down, and then punch at the finish, and then, oh what an awful run, how could I make such a mess of it. And I stop my watch, and then go to stop my heart monitor watch and realize I never even started it so there will be no data. But I've been done for 30 seconds and it is still 179. And I see Gail and she doesn't have to ask, it's obvious I haven't had a good day.

The next part is really hard, just an overwhelming feeling of having blown it. I download. There is already one time better, a full minute better, and 25 of the best still to come. I go sit by myself, not fit for any company, and every couple minutes I look up at the electronic scoreboard that is regularly cycling through the top 5 times in each A final. Ten minutes go by, and then 20, and I am still second. At least make the top ten, I think, I don't know why, I guess it just sounds better. It is getting close to the time when the last 10 will start coming in, all wearing special numbers to show when they started, and I wander over to where I can see both the chute and the scoreboard. And then just as #10 (the starter tenth from the end) comes in -- too slow! -- up goes a time better than mine from a slightly earlier runner and I'm now third. A couple more come in, too slow, and I start to feel better, top ten is suddenly sure. Another arrives 5 seconds slower than my time, another 7 seconds slower, thank goodness I kept trying, and then boom, #4 arrives, about 30 seconds faster and I am down to 4th, still only a minute and a half out, and oh, I could be first so easily. #3 and 2 are both too late, and then all of a sudden, way too early, is the last starter, in with the clear best time, a win by almost a minute. And maybe it helps to lose by a little more, because it would have taken a really clean, hard run to win, not just a good run, and maybe it hurts a little less.

I look around at some of the other times, and Gail is 37th, better than expected, Sergey is a fine13th, and the remarkable Sharon is 3rd, plus Ted de St, Croix and his mom are both 4th, and I think, as a group we've done real well. And I slowly get my head together and decide 5th is just fine

And there is always next year....


37. World Masters Orienteering Champs, Qualifying day 2 at Marcesina, July 7, 2004. 4.75 km, 115m, 34:10 (7.2 min/km). Well, I didn't feel great but it was a whole lot better than yesterday. Didn't really eat anything much, but got a lot of fluids in so at least I wasn't dehydrated today. Ran a lot better, still walking up the hills but moving ok otherwise. And a good smart run -- the one time I had any doubt as to where I was (on the way to #3, crossing the last couple trails) I stopped long enough to figure it out. Hit all the controls right on, even though most of them seemed to be pits. The course actually was pretty easy, or should I say, easy to do at a faster pace because the topography was pretty uncomplicated. To 1, for example, it's made a lot easy by the ruin along the last trail, right on the line, telling you just where to go; to 2, the first 2/3 of the leg goes through good terrain, but the bends in the road are so distinct that you can just head west and know that it will be easy to tell where you are on the road. And the end of it was just a long run in from #7. Perhaps it left me a bit overconfident.... I knew I would have to run harder in the final, but I was sure I could handle the orienteering.

I ended up in 3rd for the day, moved up to 6th overall in my heat. I'd be starting the final with 54 in front of me, 25 after. I figured I ought to be better than the ones starting around me. At least I shouldn't worry about being caught by the one behind me....

Meanwhile, I had to get my strength back, and that wasn't progressing as well as I hoped. I kept down everything I ate, but my stomach was perpetually queasy and I just couldn't eat much. We went to the WMOC banquet that night. For once they served more than enough food, course after course kept coming, and I would take a nibble of each (a little piece of cheese, one pice of pasta, a couple miniscule gnocchi, one sip of the bean soup, on and on). I left more food on my plate that night than I normally do in a month.

36. World Masters Orienteering Champs, Qualifying day 1 at Campolongo, July 6, 2004. 4.95 km, 175m, 50:33 (10.6 min/km). Talk about a day that wasn't fun. Woke up in the middle of the night feeling bad, then throwing up, then just feeling awful. No breakfast, managed to drink just a little water before the start. By the time I reached the start triangle I was exhausted, felt like I was at about 70 miles of a 100-miler, and that is not usually a good/strong feeling. Walked even the slightest upgrade and even had trouble just walking up the last couple of hills. But hung in there mentally, missed nothing. That was the plan and nice to actually do it.

It was a day when experience helped, both from the late stages of ultras and rogaines (you are capable of more than you think you are if you just hang in there mentally), and from once 10 or 15 years back at a 5-day in Germany when under similar circumstances I made it through the day and then recovered enough to run really well the last three days. I hoped that would repeat itself.

After I finished I felt so bad I just wanted to lie down under the table where they were downloading times. Staggered off to the car, slowly drank a little, lay on the ground shaking and panting for about an hour while first Randy and then Gail tried to take care of me, and then threw up everything all the way back to the first course for dinner last night (a salad with lots of shredded carrots, if you want to know the forensic evidence....).

At that point Gail suggested we head off to the first aid tent to see if an IV was possible. It was, and after an hour there I felt a touch more human. As the day went on I slowly managed to get in a reasonable amount of fluids, but food was not so eagerly received - probably took in about 500 calories for the day, but at least it was staying down. Meanwhile the plan for orienteering was just the same: no mistakes, hopefully moving better. I sure didn't want to have another run feeling like I did today.

The course seemed pretty good, though I still can't figure out why they used #3 (edge of the clearing, right at the fence). Leaving it out would have been better. And at 6 and 7, they had no hesitation to put controls in bomb craters - it sure was nice if someone was leaving just as you were approaching. I got helped at 6, found 7 all on my own!

By the way, the format for the WMOC is two days of qualifying, then a day off, then a 1-day final. The qualifying determines whether you get in the A or the B final (or in M60, the C or the D or the E final!). Your place in the qualifying determines starting order, best last. First priority was to get into the A final. With about 350 in M60, there were five heats and the top 16 in each heat would go to the A final. I was 10th on day 1 (just amazed me, was hoping to be no worse than 20-25...), about 8 minutes out and about 3 minutes ahead of 17th. If I felt better the next day I was sure I could qualify, but I wanted to move up some to get a later start, since in a big event a course almost always gets faster as the early starters make tracks.

35. Model event #2 (the "unofficial" one) at Marcesina Est, July 5, 2004, on the east side of the competition area for the second qualifying day and the final. After a bit of lunch, we drove an hour each way on narrow/steep/winding roads (I'm amazed that our car survived the trip with no major damage) for this? If they had made the maps available at the event center we would have skipped it without a moment's hesitation. Seemed like a shoolyard map, albeit a big schoolyard. Well, we were there, so we might as well do something. Walked up to the start, planned to do 1-4 and 11, decided 1 and 2 was enough and came in. It was nice woods, it was easy, it sure as hell was different from the other model. So were we due for something in between? As it turned out, yup.

34. Model event #1 (the "official" one) at Campolongo, July 5, 2004, right on the south edge of the competition area for the first qualifying day. Nasty, again. Rockier than shown, hilly, rough footing, hard to read the map, walked around for quite a while trying to get a feel for the map and thinking about tactics (in particular, that round-about routes that avoided the rockiest areas might make good sense).

33. Training at Campomuletto, July 4, 2004. An afternoon walk with Gail on one of the WMOC training maps. Very difficult in places. Tough to read the map (and it is 1:10,000, like all maps on the trip), gnarly woods, nasty trench mazes. At least the open was ok. With this and the next day's model event at Campolongo, I thought we were going to get much tougher orienteering than we ended up getting.

32. Highlands Open, day 1, Kaberlaba-Törle, July 4, 2004. Men Blue 1, 3.83 km, 165m, 38:58 (10.2 min/km). The first day of a 3-day public race held in conjunction with the World Masters O' Champs (WMOC), run by lots of masters (including me) as training. Took it a little bit easy, but not much, physically, and also it seemed a little bit easy mentally, as I had several bad spots. The first, not obvious from my route on the map, was leaving 5. My mind seemed to go elsewhere, so when I crossed the first trail I wasn't sure whether I was at the first one or the second one. Thought about it a bit, went on, hit the second one, now knew how far I'd gone, but didn't know how high I was. Thought about it a bit more, looking up and down trying to judge the curves and quess how far down from the quarry I was, went on, started to hit clearings, figured them out and spiked the control. The route looks fine, but the orienteering and the speed was not. That woke me up, spiked 7 real fast, then misread the contours going into 8, thought the line of cliffs was higher on the hillside and the trail beyond them was at the bottom of the reentrant. By the time I had accepted that both those conclusions were wrong, a couple minutes of searching had already passed. And then 10 -- all I had in my mental image going into the control from the trail was the pit. When I saw a ditch (old trench) and no pit it wasn't that hard to figure out where to go, but another 10 or 15 seconds was wasted in doing it. Should have had a mental image of the lay of the land of the whole area around the control, I sure had plenty of time on the trail to do it.

So a sloppy day. Not good. I've always felt that getting good at orienteering is a matter of building good habits by always being 100% present mentally and always doing it right, and then getting confidence from that. Just the opposite of what this day was... but at least the second objective was achieved - don't get hurt.

31. Euregio 6 Day, day 6, Vezzena Est, July 2, 2004. M60. 4.05 km, 130m, 31:09 ( 7.7 min/km). Back to normal distance, all of 30 minutes.... Last day of the 6-day, strange in that it didn't matter how I did, I would end up second (only 5 days counted). A decent run, finished second, 2:22 behind the Frenchman and maybe a minute or two ahead of third. Could have been a minute or a minute and a half faster, but not more. Anyway, a good week. Got a huge assortment of fresh berries for winning day 5, and a wine/cheese/sausage etc. food basket, all local products, for 2nd overall. Very fine prizes.

Course was better than day 4 (which used same finish and some of the same terrain), except they should have skipped 12 and 13 and added more in the forest. I started a bit shaky, not sure what route to take to #1 (and still not sure what is best). Stopped a little short of 2 (10-15 seconds gone), 3, 4, and 5 were fine, and then I spotted Stig Berge, a Norwegian who was world champ in 1970 and 2nd in 1972, who had started two minutes ahead of me (and who, like everyone in the class, is much older and much slower than they used to be). Enjoyed watching him as I just about caught him by 7 and was very impressed by how he punched 7 without stopping. Turned out his brain gets as fuzzy sometimes as mine does and he hadn't realized until 40 meters later that that was his control. Hit 8 ok, but then just took off to 9 without good direction control. The forest was a mix of little clearings and thickts and within a couple hundred meters I had no idea where I was, but I was moving well! Finally got back in touch on a trail going north up a reentrant -- didn't lose any time looking for the control but sure did on the route. 10 was another pit, even coming from above it was hard to see the pit or the control, but easy to see the person just leaving it....

30. Euregio 6 Day, day 5, Altipiano della Vigolana, July 1, 2004. M60. 3.2km, 90m, 23:16 (7.3 min/km). Another really short course, but at least this one was supposed to be short. Better run today. Pretty much perfect for the first 2/3 of the course, then a little hesitation and a questionable route, but still a good run overall. First by 1 second over the French guy, third was about 50 seconds back. Very nice to be 1 second faster than 1 second slower! The funny thing is that he is faster than me but I beat him in the chute by 2 seconds. And I remember busting my tail all the way in. You never know when it is going to make a difference.

All the days seemed to start with a marked route uphill to the start point (distance/climb part of your time, but not included in the course length/climb), and this day had a nice 5-line jolt to get the heart going. The course was on a big hillside at a lower altitude than other days, and mostly beech forest with very good runnability. Very fun orienteering and very hard work. Had it going good until leaving #7, when I looked at the hedgerow and decided it was too thick to get through and went back around the way I came in. Should have just punched through. And then stopped a couple of times on the way to 8, again lack of oxygen to the brain, and just wanting to be sure I was going where I wanted to. Actually the whole end of the course was tricky, bits of trails, clearings, and thickets all coming at you -- easy to make a wrong turn and hard sometimes to see immediately what the best route was. In fact, the only reason I won, having given it away on #8, was that the Frenchman gave it back on #10 when he tried to cut through the buildings and got blocked by a high fence.

29. Euregio 6 Day, day 4, Vezzena Ovest, June 30, 2004. M60. 3.8km, 160m, 30:12 (7.9 min/km). Not a bad run, but pretty easy course, actually very easy in places and a bit tricky in places (1, 2, 6, 10). I didn't seem to be pushing hard enough or thinking clearly enough. Fourth, 1:51 off the lead. There are now about 95 in my class, a few left after the first 3 days, but more arrived for just the last three and the the World Masters next week.

It was very weird at the start -- you could stand on knoll SSE of the start and watch the first minute or two of the varous courses, or turn around and contemplate the ruins just across the road of an Austrian fort from World War 1 (we were right on the old Austria/Itlay border). The first control was one of those on a big hillside that you really don't want to miss and have to relocate. I nailed it, but then stopped short of number 2 (there was another little unmapped green area) and I peered around for a while before moving on to where it really was. 3, 4, and 5 were simple, just hard work, then 6 was in a pit, but I was lucky to spot someone coming out just as I was getting close (and I was a bit unsure of exactly where I was). No problems the rest of the way, but I was a bit lazy climbing up to 9 and 10. One of the benefits of good competition (and split times) is that it becomes very clear if you are dogging it a bit.

28. Euregio 6 Day training, June 29, 2004. Two free days before days 4-6, time to drive down to Trento, Italy, see a few sights (some very old and cool castles), and fit in a little "training" -- just a map walk with Gail on a map northeast of Trento. It had a zillion pits/depressions (I have only scanned about a quarter of the map), from when bombs were dropping. Map was pretty good, actually, mappers much have spent a good bit of time on it. Boulders were hard to see (dark, mossy, just didn't stand out well), pits were big enough to hide both a control and an orienteer punching it, and over the rest of the trip they didn't hesitate to use them for control sites.

27. Euregio 6 Day, day 3, Seefeld-Gschwandtkopf, June 27, 2004. M60. 3.26km, 120m 23:40 (7.3 min/km). Day 2 was supposed to be a short day, day 3 was supposed to be "normal" length, but we got offered something that was short and also pretty simple (4, 5, 6, and the first half of 7 were the onlg legs that needed much thought). Pretty good run. No mistakes, but lots of hesitation on the way to both 4 and 5, probbaly standing still for 45-60 seconds, and on a short and pretty easy course, you can't do that. On 4, when I crossed the trail it didn't look right (in relation to how it was mapped), and then when I hit the ditch, pretty much at the bottom of it, I couldn't see the control (there was a little pocket in the terrain that hid it from view from below, plus the stand itself had fallen over and was on the ground). I climbed up and got it, but only after convincing myself I wasn't elsewhere. And on 5, I crossed the last trail and thought I would be closer to the right height, and again, it took me some time to convince myself that I needed to climb. Neither was a "mistake", but wasted seconds add up. Second for the day but 1:25 behind. Comparing splits shows I was also just getting outrun.

26. Euregio 6 Day, day 2, Seefeld-Kirchwald, June 26, 2004. M60, 3.2km, 90m, 24:17 (7.5 min/km). A short course, more interesting/fun course than yesterday. A real good run, first by just over a minute! No mistakes, pretty much max effort the whole way, but there was still time lost on the way to #7, where I needed a bit more willpower, both physically (I was staggering a bit the last 150 meters along the marshy hillside and definitely not moving well) and mentally (at the same time, stopping/slowing too much to check the map). When the footing is a little rough and/or the effort is high and not enough oxygen is getting to the brain, it's always a gamble -- how much to slow/stop to check the map to be sure the route is right vs. just keep moving as fast as possible. You always want to do option 1, but to win you have to do more of option 2 than you want. Or, I could just get better at reading the map while going flat out in rough terrain..... a skill that I would wish I was better at at the World Masters final a couple of weeks later.

25. Euregio 6 Day, day 1, Seefeld-Mösern, June 25, 2004. M60, 4.5km, 320m, 44:28 (9.9 min/km). Not a good run. Actually ok except for #8, a little teeny renentrant, which I think was higher than mapped. Lost 2-3 minutes. The little trail along the hillside was rough to run on, full of roots, rocks, and holes left by the cows' hooves in wet weather, and it was very hard to read the map on the run. So when I got to the vicinity of the point, I was only marginally sure of where I was. Sometimes you get away with it. This time I didn't.

Overall 2nd out of about 75 in the class, but 5-6 minutes behind first (a Frenchman, Gerard Venon, always fast, now a better orienteer...), and just in front of Ivar Helgesen, a Norwegian who has made many base maps used in the U.S. Link to results for the 6 day.

Course was advertised as 4.5 km, 150 meters climb. Seemed like they were having a 2-for-1 sale on contours -- I did 320 meters on good routes. The course was also, as would be true for the next two days, a mix of some good orienteering and some really easy orienteering. Of course, as the saying goes, when the orienteering is easy, you just have to run harder. And it sure wasn't flat.

24. Euregio 6 Day training, June 24, 2004. The Euregio 6 Day consisted of three days in Seefeld, Austria, and after a couple of days off, 3 days near Trento, Italy. Best five of the 6 days counted. The meet was scheduled to mesh with, and perhaps provide training for, the World Masters Championships, which were in Asiago, Itlay, the following week.

Seedfeld is near Innsbruck and is where the nordic skiing events were held each time the Winter Olympics were in Innsbruck. Lots of sports activity going on, mainly hike/walking in the mountains and mountain biking, and the orienteering was definitely not hidden away in some distant forest -- one day the walk to the start went right through the middle of town, and the finish each day was right on the edge of town. If you wanted a coffee beforehand or a beer afterwards, any number of places were available within a couple hundred meters. All very civilized!

Gail and I just took a slow walk around the training map, which was down in the Inn valley in Telfs (elevation about 700 meters, Seefeld was 1,200). The vegetation (mostly pine forest, undergrowth often minimal) and topography were a good match for what was to come. In general, "white" woods in central Europe are really open. You don't get the stuff in your face the way you do in New England. But the ground was also a little hummockly, and it definitely was not flat.

Spring season

23. WCOC local meet at Five Ponds, June 12, 2004. Red course, 5.35 km, 280m, 58:23 (10.9 min/km). Not a good run, but somehow it didn't bother me much on the drive home. Though of course it gave me a few things to think about.

Course was not a "fast" course -- the woods are a little slow under the best conditions, with leaves out they are a bit slower still; and George Walker had set a course with lots of controls (really fun and good training!) and short legs, so there had to be a lot of careful orienteering. Plus I was beat from a hard couple of weeks of training. But it was a beautiful day.

A couple of bad controls -- #4, within 50 meters of leaving 3 I knew I didn't have the map contact I wanted, but I winged it anyway and paid for it. Took longer than I should have to relocate. #16, misread how far down the spur I'd gone and came back way too far before convincing myself where I was.

Things to work on: (1) Need to check my contacts. Was using an older one and my vision seemed not so good, was having a hard time spotting controls in a number of cases. Got a couple new ones last week and need to test them. (2) Need to work on discipline. Was trying to work on map reading on the run and was managing pretty well, but didn't have the discipline to also be doing everything else. Like on 16, absolutely should have been pace counting, absolutely should have been looking beyond the control, either would have told me I couldn't have gone too far.

On the other hand, despite tired legs I ran up a number of hills. Certainly wasn't doing that last year.

22. NEOC local meet at Gay City SP, June 6, 2004. Blue course, 8.1 km, 210m, 66:28 plus 2:45 at master maps (8.2 min/km). Pretty good, certainly a lot better than last weekend, despite small mistakes at 6 and 12. Plan was to keep running without pushing the pace (I'd run hard at a trail race the day before), while at the same time always being in control and simplifying the orienteering. OK most of the time, and at times got it just right -- stretch from 7 through 11 was perfect (reading ahead, always knew where I was going). In a way 14 was the best leg -- took an extra moment leaving 13 to carefully check my direction -- just the opposite of the kind of sloppiness that has being showing up recently. It's an easy leg, but easy to lose time on, too. One not so good route, to 15, got hung up in bad vegetation between the ponds, but even that was more bad luck then bad orienteering.

21. North American Champs, day 2 at Kendall Lake, May 30, 2004. Green course, 6.0 km, 190m, 66:04 (11.0 min/km). Just a bad day. Only about 4 legs that I did right (2, 7, 10, 17), a few others where I just wasn't smooth (and a lot of feeling "The control ought to be, or might be, over there" rather than knowing "The control is over there"). And then 5, 11, and 15, missing and then taking a long time to be sure in my mind what I'd done and losing 2 or 3 minutes at a time instead of 30 seconds. I don't know why. I certainly had time on the drive home to think about it. I know I was having a hard time all day relating to the contours, something which is usually my strength. In a couple of cases I know the lines weren't right, but I wasn't adjusting, and that's the bigger problem. Certainly my worst run in some time. The only satisfaction was putting in a good effort from 16 to the finish.But overall, it was not a good way to finish off the spring season.

On the other hand, sometimes a kick in the rear is just what's needed for motivation for the future.

20. North American Champs, day 1 at Ritchie Ledges (just south of Cleveland), May 29, 2004. Green course, 5.7 km, 200m, 60:28 (10.6 min/km). An unusual run, both good and bad at the same time. The key moment was just after leaving #2 when a branch raked across my right eye, neatly removing the contact I wear for distance vision, so I now had two eyes both perfect for focusing about 6" away while everything further away was increasingly blurry. (The odd thing is, on the way to the start I'd remembered that I'd forgotten to bring my spare contact, which I've taking to carrying over the past year or so and never had to use.)

The immediate reaction, after I checked to make sure the lens wasn't just hiding in the corner of my eye, was one of total dismay -- I'm screwed, no way I can finish this. I'd only had this happen twice before, both times towards the end of courses where I'd managed to finish but felt quite helpless. For the next couple of minutes there was an ongoing internal battle, part of my mind feeling sorry for myself, planning all the excuses, etc., the other part almost screaming at myself to forget about it and just concentrate on the orienteering.

The battle was slowly won over the next few controls around the cliffs, and particularly on legs 8, 9, and 10, which I managed to get through with really precise orienteering and good tactics (much more careful compass work, slight adjustment of routes to aim off), even though at #10, having gone past the first vague knoll and slid off the right edge of the second, I found myself looking out at at a blurry landscape hoping that what was in front of me was the form-line depression. It seemed right as I stood there checking my map ... and then I caught a sense of orange, and there was the control about 10 yards in front of me! 11 through 14 went well, 15 was a problem because I didn't see the flag on the west side of the boulder (really a cliff), and the clue didn't say which side, so I first went looking at things that looked more like boulders. Not so bad, but then sloppy mistakes at the last two when in a rush to get in, I seemd to let my concentration lapse.

So as I said, some good orienteering, but also my concentration was really weak at times. And the problem with the eyesight -- no doubt it made the orienteering harder, but it's still no excuse. There are lots of different stresses that may appear -- rain, fog, snow, heat, altitude, the map, the terrain, tiredness, other people -- but none of them are any reason to stop paying attention.

19. WCOC local meet at Pond Mountain, May 23, 2004. Red course, 6.1 km, 250m, 55:10 (9.0 min/km). Not a bad run, but still a little lazy mentally, perhaps due to the fact that we copied the course ahead of time and could look at it in advance as much or as little as we liked. I didn't look much, other than the route to #1. But it seemed as I was getting to lots of points without knowing which way I wanted to head to the next one. No big time loss, but there was a sense of not being in control. And I don't like to practice bad habits.

One badly executed leg (11 to 12), thought I was climbing too high, far from it in fact, so when I corrected down I was soon seeing the hillside on the other side of the stream. But a few good legs, too. Physically a decent effort on a warm and humid day, though I walked a couple of modest ups that I shouldn't have and I also need to work on running faster when the land slopes down (i.e have to spend more time in "aggressive mode", less time in "just hanging on" mode).

18. HVO A Meet at Lake Sebago, Day 2, May 16, 2004. Green course, 4.65 km, 250m, 49:07 (10.5 min/km). Having spent some time at dinner the night before pontificating on how easy the orienteering at Sebago was, I proceeded to make a fool of myself right out of the start. Michael Sandstrom, one of many promising juniors, had run early in a time of 46:37, so I figured I needed to get moving. So I focused on moving, and when I finally woke up I was well past the control and not particularly happy. The rest of the course was ok, but it felt like I was in the thicker vegetation much more of the time. But a good effort, and even if my orienteering left something to be desired, it was a good workout.

Compared to West Point a couple of weeks a go, the map and courses this weekend were much better, but the forest was thicker. Overall a good weekend hosted by HVO.

17. HVO A Meet at Lake Sebago, May 15, 2004. Green course, 5.5 km, 300m, 62:42 (11.4 min.km). Decent run on a interesting course, even though the time is awful slow, but then it was thick, hilly, and hot. Ran the Green course because I figured I'd be tired from the weekend before. Maybe I was. Looking at my routes a couple of days later I can't figure out why it took so long; there wasn't that much green that we had to go through. Only shaky orienteering was from 7 to 8, wasted a lot of time stopping in the first half of the leg to try to keep track of where I was on the hillside, should have just keep moving.

16. 6th World Rogaine Champs, Big Lake, Arizona, May 8-9, 2004 with Fred Pilon. 37 out of 64 controls, 2470 out of 4020 points, first place men 55 and over ("Super Veterans"). Came in at 22 hours, 7 minutes.

This was the third World Rogaine Champs Fred and I had been at. We went to Australia in 1992 for the first one, the only team there from North America, and in a field of about 200 teams, mostly Australian, we finished 4th overall and won the Men over 40 class ("Veterans"). An article I wrote afterwards included the following;

The event certainly provided a championship test. The map covered an area of over 275 square miles at elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 feet. The course was huge, 57 checkpoints with a theoretical maximum score of 2,620 points. It would have taken us anywhere from 60 to 72 hours to do the whole thing. Our run was not perfect, but pretty close to it. We covered about 70 miles, climbed about 15,000 feet, and were running well right to the end. For two people who are basically scared of the dark, our night orienteering was terrific, especially when considering the steep and thick terrain. We ended up with 1,250 points, the winners had 1,330. It was an unforgettable experience. And a thrill to beat almost all of the locals (and all the old locals) on their home turf.

But times change. When Canada hosted the champs several years later, we were there, but didn't even start as Fred had torn up his knee a few days earlier. By the time this year's event got close, our team had been in retirement for about 6 years. But with both of us well over 55, and eligible for the Super Veterans class, it seemed like a good idea to resurrect the old team and see what we could do, even if running much was going to be out of the question.

So we took a long walk, with just a few minutes of jogging early on. Even at a slow pace, Fred suffered from the altitude (8,300-9,300 feet on our route) and a lack of training due to a couple of injuries, but he hung in there pretty well. We were out all night as planned, and only in the last three hours did he say that it was time to quit (or perhaps he said it earlier and I just refused to hear it....).

By the time we reached our third point I had a good feel for the map and the terrain and how they would affect our tactics -- the map was excellent in the three main areas (mapping of roads/trails, mapping of open spaces, and contours); the forest was very open, no need to worry about running into any significant amount of thick vegetation; the combination of 1:40,000 and a 20' contour interval made the terrain look steeper on the map than it was in reality; and the only real obstacles were areas of rocky ground that were scattered throughout the area and we avoided as best we could.The combination of these factors meant that the orienteering seemed very easy as long as you kept your mental focus. And that is something that I can still do in a rogaine -- day, all night, and the next day -- no matter how tired I am or how much things hurt.

The night was more challenging, and probably more fun because of it, except for the regular stumbling on the rocks. Our orienteering, as it had been in the daytime, was pretty much perfect. I can't recall any mistakes of more than a few seconds. For much of the second day we were out in the open country where the orienteering was simple and it was just a question of keeping moving. We kept up a good pace until #72, but that was it. We still had time to get 70, 41, 40, 32, and 30 had we kept moving at the same pace, but it was not to be.

As I said, we stayed out all night, only returning to the Hash House at the end. I don't like to carry any more gear than necessary. Food was 7 energy bars, each with a good bit of fat and protein to slow down digestion and keep the blood sugar more stable. Clothing was an O' suit during the day, long sleeve and long pants to protect against both the branches and the sun. For the night, and it was cold, probably mid to upper 20s, I had a Tyvek jacket and a thin pair of gloves to add. I was cold much of the time, but that just served as motivation to keep moving. For lights, a Petzl duo (LED and halogen) with 4 C cells in a battery pack that I kept inside my jacket to keep the batteries warmed. One set lasted all night. Shoes were ordinary running shoes.

I'm not sure if our overall plan was the best. I could tell right away that there was no way we were getting them all, or even most of them. A half-dozen points in the SE corner of the map seemed not worth the trouble. The 7 points in the SW were doable, but when decision time came at 80, it was clear that there was too much risk of not getting back in time. In past rogaines I have found that navigating at night was not as hard as I had feared, so I gave almost no consideration to trying to find easier controls or easier sections of the map to do at night. The only thought was to get as far as possible in the daylight, then as far as possible at night, and then as far as possible the next morning. When we were done I was pretty disappointed in how we had done in a physical sense but delighted in our orienteering. Winning our class was a surprise, but we were a long ways behind teams in other classes. Old age is taking its toll.

One last comment. The Tucson O' Club, led by John Maier as mapper and course setter, did a superb job as host. There were a lot of rogainers there from other countries, and I'm sure they will be going home with very positive memories of rogaining in the USA.

15. West Point A Meet, Long Mountain, May 2, 2004. Red course, 5.75 km, 340m, 63:40 (11.0 min/km). Another rough and hilly course, but foggy and misty and everything wet, which was better than Saturday's heat. Another ok "run/walk", though I had a mistake this time, overshot #2 by about 75 meters and probably stood still for 20 seconds deciding which way I had missed. All the rest I was right on, including #7, which was hung on a very small boulder west of where it was supposed to be (note there there are no boulders in the circle -- is that better or worse than #5, where there are 10 cliffs in the circle and the clue was just "cliff"?). But I could see the control from the trail junction so I didn't lose any time or give it much thought at the time. But I do remember reaching the ridge top above it further south than I expected to be.

Ribs were pretty sore, hurt to cough or sneeze but deep breathing was ok (which was not the case the times I've done ribs more around to the front). Four Advil kept things under control for the most part, even though in retrospect I was glad most of our contouring was on slopes falling down to the right (going to 5, 6, and 9) -- the opposite slope, like on the way to 10, was pretty uncomfortable, though in that case it forced me down to the road, which was a better choice anyway! And I had to take the downhills a bit more gingerly. But overall my running was ok.

14. West Point A Meet, Round Pond, May 1, 2004. Red course, 8.25 km, 410m, 90:12 (10.9 min/km). Warm day, hilly and slow course. I usually don't like hot weather and today was no exception. Felt tired right from the start, walked all hills of any consequence, but actually hung in there better than I might have -- the old mental game, "it's just as bad for everyone else," kept me plugging away even though I felt really drained. No water at any of the water stops didn't help either. And, as the times would show, it was just as bad for everyone else.

But at least I had no navigation errors, plus I was doing a lot of looking way ahead to pick the best line through the roacks/deadfall/bushes. For example -- to #1, stayed on the road under I could see a non-rocky line over to where the control would be; to #4, spotted the flat area and knoll (somewhat obscured on the map by the circle) just below/beyond the control long before I could see the control, so I knew right where to go; to #5, could see the gap in the cliff line and less steep slope from 100-150 meters away; to #11, saw the control from about 75 meters, and could have seen even earlier if I'd looked up sooner. Even to #14 it was not trivial picking the right line through the camping area. (Sorry that the contours are a little hard to read on the scan -- they are hard to read on the actual map too.)

Only bad thing was a fall while I was dropping down from #10. Slipped on a rock on the steep descent (the spikes tried to hold on but didn't), not a particularly bad spill, but I couldn't get my hands down to break the fall and all my weight came down on a sharp rock which got me on my right side, just at the lower part of my ribcage. Hurt pretty good, not so bad i couldn't keep going, but increasingly sore as the day and evening went on.

13. Billygoat Weekend, 26th Billygoat Run at Mt. Tom (legs 1 and 11-20, legs 2-10), April 25, 2004. 13.1 km (skipping #5), 465m, 2:02:41 (9.4 min/km). Didn't have good legs, and a bit short of "fighting spirit" as well, except for right at the end trying to stay ahead of Clint. No mistakes, just slow getting places. Really interesting course, a good example of how allowing skipping a control makes a big improvement. More comments with the splits on AttackPoint.

12. Billygoat Weekend, Short O' at Mt. Tom, April 24, 2004. Red Course, 3.67 km, 70m, 31:25 (8.6min/km). Good run, just a small miss at #7. Had home-court advantage, having made the map in the spring of 1978, but I've competed/trained there very little over the years and most of the course seemed like new terrain.

11. Training run, Conway SF, April 21, 2004. 7.32 km, 260m, 72:45 (9.9 min/km). Similar to a training run last May (see item #11 in the 2003 log). Interesting forest, runnability often pretty good, less so with some laurel on the way from 5 to 6, a bunch of young saplings between 8 and 9, and a lot of young saplings and deadfall from halfway to 10 through 12. Mostly OK orienteering, though the map was shaky at 10 and I'm not sure I was at the right spot -- was ok at the knoll just before it, but then the map didn't make sense -- but the point was physical training, so I didn't have any need to spend a bunch of time looking around. Felt weak getting to 11 (but the forest was pretty rough) and up the last hill to 14, otherwise not so bad.

10. WCOC local meet at Brooksvale, April 18, 2004. Orange Course (blue line on map), 3.6 km, 130m, 33:15. Did the orange after a short break. Tired, especially from #3 to the trail just after 4. No mistakes at least.

9. WCOC local meet at Brooksvale, April 18, 2004. Red Course (pink line on map), 5.9 km, 180m, 52:10 (8.8 min/km). Another warm day. Not a bad run, but I was lacking the will to push (moving very slowly from just before #3 to #5), and also not reading the map well on the run (too many looks extracting too little information). The forest was a bit junky in places, but that should mean just bearing down a little harder. Missed a minute or two on #2, master maps had different versions of which boulder it was on and I picked the wrong master map. On the plus side, I had good flow (no hesitation) going into a bunch of the controls.

8. Rogaine training with Fred Pilon, Savoy SF, April 17, 2004. Mostly just hiking. Very warm, plus lots of underbrush, prickers, and rocks, but at least our navigating was fine. Not worth a return visit (off-trail, that is -- the Savoy 20 mile trail race starts and finishes at North Pond, have run it many times and hope to again).

7. WCOC A Meet (Intercollegiates), Ansonia Nature Center, day 2, April 4, 2004. Red course, 7.46 km, 285m, 57:07 (7.65 min/km). My legs were tired, but my orienteering was really good, especially in taking advantage of the good visibility to look way out ahead of and around me, in many cases really simplifying the orienteering. Nailed all the controls, only mistakes (?) were a couple of minor route choices: taking the trail around midway to #6 (at that point my legs were dying but I could keep moving on the trail, but it seemed like a big detour), and on the approach to #8 (where I read the control as being a little lower and therefore taking a route below the cliff and having to climb back up more than I expected -- these things happen, the real mistake was in deciding on the lower route without taking a good look at the upper route to see if there was a clear path though the rocks -- if there was, and I'm pretty sure there was, it would have been faster). But as was the case yesterday, good planning, good thinking, good looking around, good execution. And physically the weekend was a reward for all the good training I've been doing this winter.

Another great meet by the Western Connecticut OC folks. These guys have a knack for it.

6. Team relay to raise funds for going to the World Orienteering Champs (WOC) in Sweden in September, Osbornedale, afternoon of April 3, 2004. 2.5 km, 120m, 19:00 (7.8 min/km). Nadim and I teamed up and purchsed Mihai in the auction to run anchor leg (he didn't let us down, pulled us up from 4th to 2nd). I had an ok run, again working hard all the way. A little mistake at #1, then clean, although I got hung up in the briars just below #6 and almost couldn't get out. The event, organized by Sergei and Bors with help from Greg and Joe, was really fun, with the auction a highlight.

For anyone reading this who is so inclined, a donation to the Team would be greatly appreciated. Cost of sending a team to WOC this year is about $9,000-10,000 (and that still leaves team members paying their own way over and back), and we're currently about $4,000 short. Checks payable to U.S. Orienteering Federation and a note that it is a donation for the U.S. Team should be sent to USOF, PO Box 1444, Forest Park, GA 30298. Every donation helps.

5. WCOC A Meet (Intercollegiates), Osbornedale, day 1, April 3, 2004. Red course, 3.75 km, 140m, 31:22 (8.35 imn/km). Real good effort and a real good run. I had a late start and saw the best times so far were 30 minutes, so I thought 33-34 was about what I was capable of. But I ran as hard as I could and had only one small mistake, came up the hill a little above #7. The rest of my orienteering -- planning ahead, looking around, reading the map on the run, route choice major and minor, compass/pace, reading the contours -- was all good. And it was really cool to come in in 31+, not so far behind.

4. Training run, re-running Billygoat 2001 (most of course | legs 12-15) at Gay City. March 28, 2004. 14.2 km, 300m, 1:49:12 (about 7.7 min/km). Much better than first time (when time was 2:06:11), but there were several reasons -- cooler day (about 50), leaves not out yet (race was first weekend in June in 2001), I'm fitter, I was nursing a bad hamstring in 2001, and I'd run the course before. But still a good outing. Took mostly the same routes. Original route is shown in orange, this time where different is shown with a blue dashed line.

3. St. Louis A Meet, Hawn SP, day 2, March 21, 2004. Red course, 7.9 km, 290 m, 61:56 (about 7.8 min/km). Several mistakes. Must have not been concentrating because there were about three times when I found myself stopping when I realized I wasn't where I wanted to be, and I didn't know where I was. Not good thoughts. First was on the way to 3, from the clearing on I was unsure, thought I might be short/left, spiked a control on the Green course; at least I corrected quickly. Then on the way to 5 the plan was to go straight, right through the green, and the next thing I knew I was pulling up in front of a stream and nothing looked right. Had to go back to basics (yup, it's definitely a stream, it's going NW/SE, there's high ground with some rock to the south, yup, this is where I have to be), but there was definitely a bad feeling of not knowing for sure where I was, and of course also for having screwed it up in the first place. One more on the way to 10, just couldn't convince myself which spur was which, mainly because I'd been on cruise control since the trail junction, not paying enough attention.

Funny thing is, the control I feared, #6, I did just fine, focused real well.

Running was pretty good, much cooler weather, though from 6 to 11 I lost a bunch of time to Spike, just on speed. But still pretty pleased with the weeked.

Meet was a lot of fun. Saw a bunch of old friends. And the orienteering was fine (especially the second day).

2. St. Louis A Meet, Hawn SP, day 1, March 20, 2004. Red course 8.8 km, 265m, 67:12 (about 7.6min/km). A good smart run, all things considered. It was warm -- you can't really call 70 degrees hot, even though it felt hot -- and I probably spent as much time thinking about my running (what pace, focusing on being efficient, micro route choice) as on the orienteering, as most of the orienteering was pretty straightforward. No mistakes other than a slight diversion before #12 when I spotted a control at the cliff on the other side of the stream and took a while to talk myself out of going over to take a look. But in retrospect my orienteering was a little shaky -- not really in solid touch with the map, trouble reading the contours at time (last half of the leg to 5, also last half of leg to 7, I wasn't 100% sure I was doing it right, turned out I was....). Sloppiness/overconfidence would get me the next day.

On the other hand, fitness was pretty good, certainly better than last year. Put out a real good, well-paced effort, including running up a bunch of hills I would have walked last year.

1. St. Louis A Meet, Hawn SP, model event, March 19, 2004. Usually I just go out for a walk, but I've been doing some decent training and I figured I might as well run the course to see if I remembered how to orienteer. Ran into Charlie and Spike at #9 and walked in with them. Nice run up to there (2.56 km, 20:30). Woods very nice, even the green stuff.