Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June 8 event in the Umstead Park (Report)

It was deadly hot on Sunday. Literally. 101 degrees, not a laughing matter. It looks like at least one runner fainted on the course and I saw many people in the state beyond normal exhaustion at the finish. It came to no surprise to me, as I was one of them.

We arrived about 11 AM (which was quite late) and it was already very hot. Tanya and Michael decided to go on Orange and I chose Green with a possible shortcut to Brown in mind. Jumping ahead, I did end up using this Brown shortcut and I am very grateful to Ken and Terese for designing the courses that way.

Anyway, I started up pretty good. I even ran for a while!
#1 - down to the creek, then noticed a re-entrant and walked up the hill.
#2 - compass bearing intentionally aiming slightly west of the control, so I knew where to go after I crossed the big creek.
Then the heat started to affect my thinking. I usually don't get tired so early on the course, but with 101 degrees in the air I started to loose concentration while looking for the control #3.
I went down to the creek to avoid an extra re-entrant, then went up using the right one, over the saddle and then I got lost for a few minutes. The forest was quite dense and somehow I ended up in a wrong re-entrant. I went down to the creek, checked my compass and realized that I am further north than I was supposed to be. Corrected the error and took the control #3.

At that point heat totally broke my defenses. I felt dizzy and nearly blacked out. Not a good feeling. I realized that I won't be able to keep running and thought about going back to the finish, but decided to slowly walk toward #4 and see how it goes. Since that point I did not run at all. Instead I walked while carefully choosing routes with less elevation, clear ground and more shade (yes, I noticed that I was indeed trying to avoid any kind of open space out there).

From #3 I went uphill, followed it to the trail bend and shot from there to #4.
#5 - compass bearing to the trail bend and over the hill.

I decided not to go straight to #6 as I was feeling very weak at that point, so I went along the creek and, when I gathered some strength, cut to the north till the control. And there was WATER! I spent 3-4 minutes there, resting and drinking. Then took compass bearing to #9 and with renewed strength set off for it.

Reached the road, noticed the curve and took another compass bearing. Reached the point where the control was supposed to be, but didn't see it. So I stood there in doubt. I could go further and double-check my position, but I was afraid to loose too much elevation by doing so. Fortunately, Josef appeared and pointed me to the control, as it turned out, I was in 15 yards from it.

Then I cut to the road, caught up with Josef and we walked together to #10. There was an urge to go and swim across the lake, but in the condition I was, I knew, I would definitely drown.

After #10 Josef went to finish his Red course, while I took full advantage of the Brown shortcut to the finish. But even with this shortcut it wasn't easy. While going uphill from #10 I had to rest three times before I reached the top. Michael told later on that he actually crawled there, well, I didn't, but I also came kind of close to it.

Then there was a slow walk to the finish. The whole Brown course took only 1 hour and 20 minutes for me, while I felt like I was in the wood for at least 2 hours more than that.

Sometime I think that all orienteerers are crazy...

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge. Blue - mostly running, yellow-brown - mostly walking, red dots - resting.

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