I had my first ever JWOC race yesterday!!! I had so much fun despite how nervous I was before running. It was amazing to be competing against girls who orienteer at such a high level. I went as hard as I could and noticeably slowed down near the end, but the spectator control and the idea that I was almost done sped me up again! Everyone did an amazing job, even Meg who cheered for us all :-).
Today was the long distance race. I have done very few long courses in the past. I ran the billygoat a few years ago and a lowlander last year, but few "normal" length long courses. Therefore, I was really worried going in to this race. I was mainly anxious because I had no clue what pace to set for myself. Starting out I was going pretty slowly to adjust to the terrain and scale and to hit control one cleanly. After that, my pace fluctuated much more than I would have liked. I had many mistakes, especially in the field part of the map, but I finished so I've decided it was successful! Tomorrow we have a rest day and I will go explore some caves!
The sprint: the chute to the start felt long, like an Erin walk to the start. [At many of the trainings there was a *really* long walk to the start -Editor]. When I got the map, I quickly turned it over and tried to fold it. But it was hard to fold; I finally got a good crumple fold when I got to the start. The sprint was fast. It was hard keeping track of which path to go down. I did OK; there were a few bobbles, like going down a dead-end path or almost missing my turns. Besides that it was a good race. My dad told me to keep my eye out for this piece of artwork, and I saw it, and I thought to myself, darn, he's always right about that stuff. I ran into somebody at #18 and almost hit two people riding bikes on the way to #19. It was my best city sprint because I didn't mess up, at all.
Today on the long: Everything was going OK at first. But around #6 I started losing my bearings easily. By the time I got to #7 heading for #8 I noticed myself slipping in concentration. It started raining around #4, and it was raining hard. When I was going for #10, I had to relocate 5 times, and it took me 33 minutes. I went back to #9. I was a little happy, but pretty mad. I cleared my head and continued. The butterfly route took me back to #8/12, which I bobbled a little. Once I got past #12, I was able to read the map better and hit the controls. When I was on my way to #18, I wanted to hit a big trail, and found a clean way there. From there on out the navigation was flawless. When I got back I was absolutely drained; my ankle was hurting.
Sprint: for the sprint race I was a little nervous going in about how I would feel physically after not having had any real rest from WUOC but I was able to push myself a lot harder then I thought which I think was due to the 5 m climb compared to the over 100m climb in the WUOC sprint!!! Overall I felt like I had a very clean race. I made one 5s error on the first control but other than that was running very smoothly in and out of controls. It was an awesome race for me!
The long: my goal was to have smooth clean race rather than a fast one with many errors. Starting out I took my time on the first two controls since I had not been on the long model maps, or this type of negative terrain, and I think it paid off. I slowly got into it until halfway to #4. I was at a bunch of trail intersections when a deer came out of the bushes and about scared the life out of me and at which point I bolted a ways then relocated (I thought) on a good trail. With all of the elephant paths, indistinct trails, and random intersections, who knows where I explored until finally getting back on track. Though frustrated, I got my head back in the game and had a more focused run after that. My accomplishment of the day: letting go of my frustration after getting control #4! It was a long race but I learned a lot about the terrain that will assuredly pay off for the middle races!!!!