Todd and I drove out together to Indiana to run in the Flying Pig XXI last week, and had a great time. Courses were well laid out, fair, and fairly technical with lots of navigational change on the fly. In addition, we got to see a few new control locations like pits that we don’t have much in the Cuyahoga Valley. Here’s a breakdown of each race.
TLDR: Went orienteering at National level event; took home 2 gold, 1 silver medal!
Friday | Middle Distance M35+ RED
Map Distance: 5.2km / 17 controls
Actual Distance Ran: 7.43 km
Elevation Gain: 63 m | Elevation Loss: 52 m
Time: 1:07:28 / Pace: 9:05 min/km
Friday’s Middle Distance was located in the Eagle Creek area, which looked covered with water as we pulled in! Luckily for us, the MID was set in the northern part of the park, and we didn’t experience much water on the ground, although a few creek crossings were sprinkled throughout.
The course was flat to the point of having to compensate extra with compass bearings and pace counts as there was not much in terms of reentrants to catch you, or any other major elevation to speak of.
I made a mistake (sort of) right from the start since the whole starting gates system, with walking up to check finger stick, then to next station to get clue sheet, then mark your map, and then start – where I rushed straight out without taking 5 seconds to orient my map. I recovered quickly, and found control 1 with no issue. My other mistake was from 4-5, where I shot out on the wrong trail (see it above in the southernmost tail!) in order to separate myself from another runner on RED, and had to backtrack using a road for a bit. Probably cost me about 3 minutes extra.
The park was full of exercise equipment on trails which was super helpful in attacking since they were marked on the map with a black X. A fence created some havoc, but I was able to find an opening, and used it twice for an in/out attack, then took a trail down to the next control instead of exploring the dark green areas in the woods.
From 15-16 we had to cross a major creek, with knee-high water. I hesitated, and shouldn’t have, looking for a way to cross without getting feet soaked. None to be found, I leaped in, and enjoyed it very much! It added to the rush of actually competing in a Nationally sanctioned orienteering event for the first time!
Somehow, I ended up with Gold for M35+! The results screens didn’t work on the day of the event, so when it was announced on Saturday during the dinner, it was quite a nice surprise.
Saturday | Long Distance M-GREEN
Map Distance: 6.2 km / 14 controls
Actual Distance Ran: 8.80 km
Elevation Gain: 339 m | Elevation Loss: 384 m
Time: 1:35:52 / Pace: 10:54 min/km
The long distance was set at Yellowwood State Forest, with lots of elevation visible arriving at the start / finish area. I had re-classed myself to run GREEN instead of RED here due to the distance. RED had a mapped distance of 8.9 km, and I wasn’t ready for that just yet…
Few trails led to great navigational opportunities, and I ended up following lots of natural handrails like streams and tips of reentrants along the way. The map was very well done, and matched reality precisely, so it was easy to even contour effectively. The pits feature still got me on control 11, and I had to search around a bit.
Essentially, most of the pits we saw were about 2-4 meters in diameter, and about 1-1.5 meters deep. With the control sitting inside, you had to be right on top of it to see it. Like it should be.
Longer legs offered good challenges, especially towards the end where a few ridge crossings took a lot of effort, having to scale up and over, then down the next side – easily climbing 50-70 meters in one go.
I feel I ran fairly clean, with only one mistake, again from 4-5, but other than that, right on for the most part. I was 20+ minutes ahead of the 2nd place finisher, and got gold here too!
Sunday | Urban & Park Sprints M35+ RED
Map Distance: 2.8 km / 21 controls
Actual Distance Ran: 4.13 km
Elevation Gain: 3 m | Elevation Loss: 2 m
Time: 0:25:10 / Pace: 6:06 min/km
So much fun! With no real need for using the compass, rather thumbing my way through downtown architecture-rich Columbus, IN punching controls in alleyways and at the bottom of staircases, the urban sprint was a rush, and the best part of the weekend!
I should probably brush up on the sprint map symbols, though, as I learned the hard way what some of the colors meant… From start to 1 (see below NW corner) I could have avoided the first turn in and around a nice little pond, and attacked properly! I loved running through parking garages and narrow alleys, though!
Map Distance: 2.9 km / 16 controls
Actual Distance Ran: 3.55 km
Elevation Gain: 9 m | Elevation Loss: 13 m
Time: 0:24:26 / Pace: 6.55 min/km
The park sprint was like a short course in a park setting. The times from both sprints were combined, and it was a close call between gold and silver of about 40 seconds! I hesitated from 8-9, and wonder if that made all the difference?
Ended up with silver for M35+ RED on the combined urban|park sprints.
Overall, 2 golds (MID + LONG) and 1 silver in sprints!