Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sprints at Crab Tree Lake

In short summary: excellent courses, great day, new forest, it is so nice to be able to run sprints from time to time! No long legs :-)

Tanya and I arrived at 11.30 hoping to start earlier as Tanya was required at Raleigh Little Theater for 3 PM play (meaning she had to be there by 2 PM). By the way, if you haven't been in this theater before, I would highly recommend it - the plays they stage there are always very good. It is cheap too, comparing to big ticket arenas and stages.

Fortunately for us, Terese, Ken and Josef were already there and ready. So we went right ahead. Tanya took the east course while I started the west one. How did it go? I think pretty good for myself, though, I made a few mistakes and looking back could probably have saved about 60-90 seconds. It's funny how I consider 15 seconds delays to be mistakes on this course while on regular courses 2-3 minutes long walks are totally acceptable. Sprint - what can I say!

One important decision I made before the start was to ignore the trails on both courses. Similar to Schenck Forest bike trails, trails at the Crab Tree Lake park are also multiple, confusing and NOT straight. So during the courses I was ignoring the trails as much as I could and used compass and elevation contours instead.

West Course

I was totally alone out there.
1. #51 (1:15). Pretty much a straight shot, I used the second parking lot as an attack point.
2. #52 (1:47). Again straight run, counting re-entrances (one, two, in the third). I liked how I could run straight there and at the same time cross re-entrances in their top parts. This way no elevation is lost, which is very important when physical condition is not that good.
3. #53 (1:25). Compass bearing and counting re-entrances, easy.
4. #54 (2:00). Minor mistake, as I went down the hill a little bit early. Lost 5 seconds :-)
5. #55 (1:59). Initially I was going to run along the creek, but crossing it by the control wasn't looking very inviting to me, so I took advantage of the trail there. Probably, not the optimal way to go... Lost another 5 seconds, maybe.
6. #56 (0:50). Compass bearing over the hill. Ideal.
7. #57 (0:39). Hmm, stepped up and looked around :-)
8. #58 (2:46). Got confused by the terrain and lost time (30 seconds). If you look at the #58 from #57 it appears that #58 is on a hill, while it is NOT! Looking from other side, you can see that it is in a re-entrant. I think the map is really confusing there.
9. #59 (2:58). Lost another 30 seconds. Don't have an excuse this time. My tired brains decided that the control must be invisible from the trail (LOL), so I went into the forest 30 yards before the control and had to navigate through underbrush and fallen trees only to return back to the trail with the control right by. While I was beating bushes I also saw someone running there, got surprised as I was supposed to be the only one on the course, but then saw two beautiful deers running toward the control. I wish I could jump over the trees like they did...
10. #60 (1:23). Trail.
11. #61 (1:15). Road and parking lot. Thankfully, no thinking was required on the last few legs.
And finish in 0:43 for a total of 19:00.

(click on the picture to see it all)

After half an hour of rest, I was ready for the second course. I thought it will be longer, but I was proved to be wrong, the East course was easier for me with just one 30 seconds mistake.

East Course

1. #62 (1:03). Trail and parking lot.
2. #63 (1:49). Compass bearing and trail.
3. #64 (1:50). Again compass bearing, I was also looking at the shape of the hill, which helped.
4. #65 (0:56) Compass bearing, keeping an eye on my elevation.
5. #66 (1:20) The same. Both controls were visible from far away.
6. #67 (1:01) Took advantage of the western trail, again, avoiding any extra steps up.
7. #68 (1:51) Compass bearing, re-entrance, hill, control.
8. #69 (1:07) Went down and used the trail.
9. #70 (1:00) Along the creek, nothing to add.
10. #40 (1:27) Compass bearing, over the tip of the hill, into re-entrant and up another hill. Was kind of slow coming up there...
11. #41 (2.39) My 30 seconds mistake... As usual, my tired brains decided that I hadn't had enough distance, so they decided to take control #1 instead #11. Yeah... I recognized the error when I hit the road and "corrected" it by running toward the NUMBER 11 on the map instead of the control #11... Well, I successfully took the NUMBER 11 and only then understood that I am supposed to chase CIRCLES, not NUMBERS!
And then finish in 0:29 for a total time of 16:32.

All in all I was pretty happy with the results.

I drove Tanya to the theater and there we remembered that we forgot our jackets in the park, so instead of going home, I went back to the park and helped with the controls pick up. It was a pleasure to sit at the finish and chat with fellow runners. I should try and stay after the finish more often.

(click on the picture to see it all)

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