I decided to volunteer to help out at this event and got scheduled to do the time keeping for the afternoon shift. I got there early to get started on the red course and finish before my shift. I thought that running all summer was going to put me in good shape to run the course, maybe get a better time than last time, but the truth is that this course kicked my butt. Compared with the last event at Blue Spruce Park this course was longer, hillier, and I think the navigation was more difficult. I only got half way through before I was going to be late, so I bailed and came back.
I made two small navigational errors right away, and then a big one. On the second leg, a long leg up a big hill, I didn't watch the compass and in trying to not drift downhill I overcompensated and ended up too far uphill and at the wrong control. Then, a couple of controls later, I didn't notice a powerlines right of way on the map that should have been a big landmark. Instead, I guessed on where to head downhill off the trail, and ended up below the control. The big mistake I made was coming up on the sixth control, which I could see was on the side of a very steep knoll. I got to the knoll, but I didn't check which direction to go down and ended up in very rough terrain with poor visibility looking for a control in a pit that I couldn't see until right on top of it. That cost me a lot of time.
The next three controls were fine, and more or less downhill, but when I came to the ninth control (at the bottom of a steep hill) I found I had lost my control card! These are supposed to be stapled to the map inside the plastic bag, and punched through the plastic, but I had been carrying mine in my pocket. In my other shorts this was never a problem, but in the running shorts I wore that day the pockets rode up and ejected the control card. Demoralized, I walked back up the hill and found the control card not too far up the trail. I went back down, punched the control, went back up, and determined that I couldn't finish the course in time. Jogging back on the most direct route I lost the control card again!
The error was embarrassing, but I reminded myself that I had gotten some good exercise and gotten out in the woods, so it was still worthwhile. It was also good to work as the time keeper and to help pick up controls afterwards. I got a better sense of how the event was run, and I had a chance to talk to the other participants.