Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sep 19, 2010 in North Umstead

North Umstead is my favorite "half" of the park. It's less hilly comparing to the "south", relatively open, thus it's usually a pleasure to run there. It would have been a pleasure today too - Artem and Holly set awesome courses - but right after the second control I got poked in a eye by a small twig and lost one of the contact lenses... That changed everything. Suddenly the course gained elements of a "survival" game. Double vision was no fun... A mixture of blur and perfect picture was quite unnerving, misleading and even dangerous. I actually felt better with one eye closed, but simply couldn't keep it shut. I could still see the map and read the forest and terrain, but observing my immediate surrounding became a challenge. Jumping over trees and ditches was tough - my brain refused to judge distance properly and I ended up falling a few times while attempting to jump over dried creeks. Also it became hard to avoid low branches and cobwebs as well as noticing the actual controls (fortunately Holly set them pretty high, thank you!). Finally I had to take into account my vision deficiency when choosing the routes.

But despite all that, I did rather good. No big mistakes, maybe two or three 1 minute ones. Orienteering was mostly easy with only a few hard legs. Of course, I didn't run uphill at all and also slowed down considerably at the end, but 64 mins on 5.3 km was decent. As far as choosing direction of the run, I picked the one which offered longer run before Red/Green decision point.

Here is how I ran:

#1: south-south-east, carefully watching for the re-entrant to start forming on the other side of the hill. When it was there, simply ran down.

#2: along the creek to the road and continued on the other side along the dry ditch but about 15 yards to the left on the slope. Got to the control, but couldn't spot it for a few seconds.

#3: south-east-east to the road, immediately crossed it and reached the trail. Used the trail thinking about cutting down from the first turn, but saw how many fallen trees were in the green area and continued on the trail until the next turn. From there went across the road and down to the control. Got poked in the eye and lost the lens... Spent some time trying to find it, couldn't and continued further down. Crossed the creek, up the little spur and went south on it looking for the control.

#4: south along the creek, crossed it and went up the hill bearing to the left, so I would be definitely to the left of the control. On the other side went to the right and took the control.

#5: down and long the creek for a bit but quickly went across the hill, re-entrant and up the slope. Then continued on the slope until the dry-ditch with the control.

#6: east, down the slope, crossed the creek, didn't see creeks crossing but could see the re-entrant, used the left slope to get to the control.

#7: tried to reach the road by going up the hill south-south-east, but ended up to far east and reached the road about 100 yards further than I wanted. Used the road until I saw the sharp bend and cut to the control.

#8: to the trail. I didn't even think about going uphill there, so used the trail as much as I could and when I reach the distinct bent went south-west carefully looking for the re-entrant to start forming, It was very flat and quite challenging, but I got there anyway.

#9: went down to the big creek without getting into the side re-entrant and reached the creek right at the junction. That was nice, I simply went up the slope and to the control.

#10: I was getting tired, plus my vision problem, so I decided to stay on Green. Walked up to the west and reached the opening with ruins. There I realized that barbed wire is somewhere in the area. I wouldn't be able to see it in my condition, so I decided to so a bit south so I could definitely avoid it. Then continued west, reached the road, crossed it and continued further west aiming to the hill between two re-entrants around the controls. Crossed the power line and went down the hill to the control.

#11: to the trail and used it as far as I could. However, I didn't realize that the trail is supposed to go away from the creek at the end and continued along the creek, over the rocks to the very dead end by the dam. There I finally realized what happened, but I didn't have much choice and had to literally rock clime out of there. That climb did me in... I was walking most of the way after that. Anyway, after I climbed up I immediately saw the re-entrant and went to the control.

#12: over the hill, crossed the re-entrant, over the next hill aiming a bit to the left, then went to the right to the control.

#13: up north, reached the big building, across the field. Decided to go around the green area from the south, so cut north right after the little building at the end of the field. Missed and reached the creek almost at the opening. Corrected the mistake and went east to the control.

#14: north-west carefully looking for the re-entrant to start forming. Finally reached it, but further north than I wanted. Had to return south a bit to the control.

#15: down to the road and to the control on the other side

and then up the hill crossing everything to the finish. It took me 63 mins 58 secs.

Here is my route (blue - mostly running, brown - mostly walking). Click on the image to enlarge.

Huge thanks to Artem and Holly for the great event!