This was my first individual forest race, and although I was initially really nervous when I found out I’d be running a WOC long, I knew that I had put in a lot of physical training over the past year and that I was as prepared as I was going to be. I started the race excited to run in the forest again and to hopefully be cleaner than in the relay. My goal coming in to this race was to take my time: the long is a long race, it’s worth spending a few extra seconds to pick the best route, and feeling rushed in the relay had led to mistakes. My first 8 controls went really well: I was navigating mostly cleaning and picking good routes. Unfortunately, I over-simplified at control 9 and lost track of any estimate of distance while going through green. I lost a lot of time going out of the way to a similar feature, but I figured out what I had done and got going again. It’s always hard to get that same motivation back after a big mistake, and I had a few more small bobbles, but no other big problems for the rest of the race. I didn’t take one round-a-bout route that I should have taken (9-10), but I did take a similar round-a-bout route at the end of the race (15-16) and gained a couple of minutes compared with other people of similar speeds. I ended in 61st place, and although I’m frustrated by my mistake, I’m happy with the rest of the race.
This wasn't a good long for me, but it wasn't a bad one either. I was perhaps a bit too conservative at the beginning, aiming to avoid hills, forest running, and green as much as possible. The forest was much more runnable than the training maps and I should have adjusted to be more aggressive. However, I was still concerned about hitting the wall after the spectator passage. So I shot for a medium-hard pace and routes where I could run fast but not get as tired.
In hindsight, I likely could have taken straighter routes and come out fine. A significant problem is still my Achilles tendon and heel. It began to hurt midway through and I was a bit apprehensive about running up and down the hills the whole way. I've got to take time to let it rest. I've been pushing that off for too long.
For now, I've just got to make it through NAOC with solid performances and then I can give my body a break.