Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Babler O by Scott Shaw

2015 SLOC Babler O by Scott Shaw 01/25/15

I thought that TeamBOR was going to race this event together and I almost left my compass at home, but something told me to pack it anyway.  Dave C. and I arrived and started debating on whether we would race as a team or race individually.  We heard that Kevin and Reanna were racing together and Neil was running late and had to leave early.  I then thought a huge team would be fun and we found Mickey, SuperKate, Dave B. and Amanda and I suggested a fun big group adventure but smack talk ensued and it ended being pretty much everyone for themself. 

We started about a minute apart and all pretty much had the same plan to get to CP1.  I took off out the door and down the road to follow power lines to a dry ditch.  Kevin and Reanna and Dave B. were close together going downhill and as I went to pass Kevin tried holding me up.  I then zipped Dave B’s pack up so he didn’t lose anything and continued on my way.  I hit a swampy area and made my way around it and to the trail under the power lines.  I started looking for a ditch and started worrying about passing it but I found it relatively quickly.  I then took off towards CP2 but overshot and saw the road in the distance, so I turned around and started back tracking and looking for the fence line.  I found the fence and was trying to back track to the break in the fence and turn to find my cut in, but I didn’t see it.  I see Dave B. across the reentrant and turn back around back to the fence.  I start looking for a ditch or small reentrant and just don’t see it.  I see Mickey and SuperKate heading in the same direction.  I start heading farther down and see Neil punching the CP.  Dave C. is with him and I think how the heck did they get here so fast.  I see that they are going to bushwhack and I remember the road and think I am going to the road and run.  I turn to head to the road and Kevin and Reanna are there.  I think man I lost a lot of time looking for this CP.  I start to get that sinking feeling that my navigation is off and try to shake that from my mind and make it to the road.  Once on the road I try to hammer down and run the road to a trail and take the trail to another road that is near CP3.  I am working hard to get in front of another team that I have notice have accurate navigation skills.  I think I am going to hit the road earlier for more speed, but they bushwhacked and still beat me to the CP.  So from CP3 to CP4 I decide to bushwhack as it is the most direct route.  I now decide to get to a trail and run to the road via the classroom building grove.  I take the road up to where it doubled back on itself and cut in and whacked to CP5.  I stopped before I cut in to make sure I was in the correct position.  I had been shooting bearings at every CP so I didn’t get side tracked and whacked to the road and came out exactly where I wanted.  I was amazed.  I continued my course to CP6.  I whacked to the road and had to make a decision on which way to get to CP7.  A nearby racer is making a right and everything is telling me to go left.  I even yell to him that I didn’t think that was the short way.  He yelled back that he was going to try it.  I took down the road and found the nearest asphalt trail.  I took this back to the road where there were houses and other structures.  At the end of this road was a trail and a structure at which I had planned to cut in on.  I kept looking for this trail and just didn’t see it and then realized it was a mark I had made on the map.  I bushwhacked up to the CP and up to a trail that I took as far as I could to CP8.  Here I was with two other racers and one went on bushwhacking and another went back to the trail.  I first started to go to the trail for speed but noticed the trail was going out of the way so I actually turned around and had to sideway bushwhack back to my bearing and took that to CP9.  I felt like that was a good decision and continued to whack to CP10.  I loved CP10 because I could see it way off in the distance.  I bushwhacked to CP11.  On the way I started worrying about overshooting it, but stayed on my bearing.  I got snapped in the eye by a thorn and I thought it ripped my eye out.  I kinda started freaking out a little as I couldn’t see out of that eye.  I stopped and gently started clearing my eye.  I regretted taking off my glasses again, but the rain made it impossible to see clearly.  My eye was extremely sore but I could see so I carried on.  I finally found the structure I was looking for and turned in to the CP.  I double and triple checked my time here and was out of breath and energy but decided to run to the road.  I cut back into the woods to whack to CP12 and see the structure to my right that I was looking for.  I headed down the ditch to the CP.  I try my best to run to the road and run up the hill to the next road, but I just couldn’t keep up any speed, so I walked to the top and ran to the finish. I cleared the course in 2 hours 13 minutes (I think).  I get back and think, “I bet everyone already finished and went to get margaritas without me,” so I snuck a peak through the finishers punch cards and was happy to know margaritas was still in my future.  I then realized I had to stand around in wet cold clothes for a while.  Neil then called to harass me and tell me he is already home and showered, but he cheated and cut out early.

This race I tried to focus on road and trail running as much as possible.  I also focused on my clue sheet, contours, and I relied heavily on shooting bearings.  The time it took me to shoot a bearing was well worth the extra time.  I noticed my weakness is that I have a difficult time reading contours.  I also get flustered easily and start to freak out, so I have to stop and calm myself and remind myself to stay the course and not to follow or worry about what other racers are doing.  After the race we had a fun dinner at El Maguey.  I can’t wait for another one.  – El Capitan Ahab…margaritas! - Ahab.

Friday, January 16, 2015

2014 SLOC Queeny O by Scott Shaw

2014 Queeny O by Scott Shaw

In this O meet (Farsta) we were given the same map but different clue sheets with different routing through the course.  They warned us from the beginning to pay attention to the clue sheet and make sure to get the correct CPs in order.  Because of my track record of ignoring the clue sheet and missing CPs I was slightly nervous.  I also knew that this would be perfect training for me.

                 The race kicked off with a mass start and Jeff Sona, Mickey, SuperKate and I headed in the same direction as the rest of the fleet went opposite directions.  I was trying my best to keep up with Jeff and Mickey and then remembered to not follow and to check my clue sheet.  As I did, I noticed SuperKate took off in a different direction.  My first CP was 1A on the East side of a depression.  I found it quickly and moved to CP2 in a small erosion gully.  I ran back into Jeff and Mickey here and Jeff had lost his E-punch.  I trail ran to CP3C in another small erosion gully off the side of the trail.  From here I bushwhacked to CP4, but I missed it and had to go back to CP3C to shoot a bearing and track to CP4.  I finally found it and moved to CP5E. Having my confidence restored in my bushwhacking abilities I made a long but easy field traverse to CP6.  I continued to bushwhack to CP7G.  I took a look at the next CP which was a long way to bushwhack so I made my way to the nearest trail and ran to a trail junction near the CP and bushwhacked to #8.  I continued bushwhacking to CP9I.  I had to then bushwhack to the nearest flat trail and run back near the start to CP10.

                Now back by the start I had to start the second leg of the race by repeating the course but picking up opposite CPs.  So now I had to find CP1B, which was nearby and I thought would be easy to find.  I started looking for a trail junction and got on a deer path and passed the CP.  I realized I went too far and headed back and spooked up some white tails and found the CP near a man-made object.  From 1B I had to go back to CP2 where I ran into Jeff and Mickey again.  Jeff was looking for his punch.  Next I had a long distance to 3D.  I decided to trail run as much as possible to this CP.  I then had to bushwhack to CP4.  I ran in to Mickey and Jeff at this CP also.  Here I did a combo bushwhack trail run to 5F.  I noticed Mickey cut into the woods much earlier than me.  I then realized I overshot and started heading back as I saw Mickey also started heading back.  The CP was so close to private property I was worried that I wasn’t in the park any more, but then I saw Mickey pick up the CP.  Shortly after I hit it.  I then used my same route to CP6 that I had used previously.  I then realized that Mickey was relying heavily on trail running.  I also noticed that Jeff was bushwhacking more like myself.   As I jumped the creek at CP6 I snapped something in my leg that hurt so bad something in my head snapped and I fell forward on my face.  Luckily I didn’t fall backwards into the cold creek water.  I mustered my strength and bushwhacked to CP7H.  This seemed like a long bushwhack and I feared losing my way but I held my bearing right to the point.  I then bushwhacked to CP8 and found it much faster than the first time.  I dropped out of the woods onto CP9J and decided to take the same trail run as I did previously to the finish, which avoided any hills.  My leg was in severe pain but I finished shortly after Mickey.  This was probably the most fun I have had at a SLOC event.  I was challenged being on my own and without a team, I was challenged to pay strict attention to my clue sheet, I was challenged to not follow other racers, and I enjoyed the constant path crossing that Mickey, Jeff, and I had been doing the entire time.  My leg didn’t feel very good at all but I had a great race.  This race also made me want to memorize the O symbols.  Oh I forgot to mention there was no significant defecation...sorry my loyal poop fans.  - Ahab. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

2014 SLOC Turkey O

11/29/14 SLOC Turkey O 2015 by Scott Shaw

                It has been awhile since this O meet, but I will try to recall some highlights.  Kevin Minton and I made our way to Grafton IL to Raging Rivers and looked forward to racing in new terrain.  The maps were handed out with a clue sheet that had to be plotted at race start.  You had to choose to run either to an area to plot or run to a pre-plotted map and copy it over to your map.  Kevin and I were going to use this as training for him to learn how to plot, but as we ran and sat in the grass to plot Kevin noticed most everyone was running to copy the pre-plotted map.  Kevin says, “David Frei just ran to the pre-plot.”  I jump up and say, “I will teach you later.”  We run to the pre-plot and start copying.  I have a red sharpie and the map is extremely red so I have a hard time plotting.  I start on the left hand side of the map and pay less attention to the far right side of the map thinking I will never make it that far. 

                Kevin I take off for the closest check point in our direction plan.  We hit it after crawling through a thicket and then hit our second (check point 8) after crossing a nasty little creek.  We bushwhack to the trail and run to CP#1, then to CP#14 and somewhere we hit #9 but I never plotted it on my map so I still don’t know where it is.  Kevin was able to pick it up on his map.  From here we back tracked to CP#1 and then we decided to split up and hit CP#12.  I decided to bushwhack and Kevin decided to trail run.  What was wild is that I barely beat him to the CP…within seconds.  I then ran to CP#13 and tried to gain more ground between myself, Kevin, Mickey and SuperKate.  I tried to bushwhack some so they couldn’t see me and then from CP#13 I trail ran to CP#11.  I think I remember this CP was marked wrong and I ran back some to check my location and ran into Kevin and told him I thought it was marked wrong.  I ran back to the CP and punched it as Kevin ran to CP#10.  I then ran back to CP#10 and saw Kevin making his way to #11.  From 10 I wacked to the trail and ran around this hellacious hill that CP#11 was on top of and watched out of the corner of my eye to see if Kevin was wacking down that hill.  I also knew Mickey and SuperKate weren’t that far behind Kevin.  Not seeing them I ran to CP#7 and #2 quickly.  Then I lost a ton of time trying to find CP#3.  I bushwhacked up the creek through the worse thicket I have ever seen and it stopped me dead in my tracks.  I had to back track to the trail and then run in and out of the woods and creek and back to the trail and back to the creek until I found the man-made object that had hidden the CP. 

                I sensed people coming so I ducked down and waited a second and then bushwhacked as quickly as I could up the hill to the trail above.  I picked up CP#5 and then went back and bushwhacked to CP#33.  From here I hit CP#4, then went to CP#30, which I had marked wrong.  Here I ran into Mickey and SuperKate and we compared maps and I noticed I had mismarked my map’s right side since I hadn’t planned to make it this far.  I also had decided not to use a map case and was constantly folding my map and the middle of the map wore off.  Looking at it now to remember the race is even difficult because portions of the map are worn away…lesson learned.  From here I am searching for #23 and know I need to turn back soon if I want to make it back in time before point deductions.  I learned at Cliff Cave to never lose points again due to time penalties.  So I am searching for 23 and notice Mickey and Kate pass the area where I think it is.  I think they are on to something and follow them to a CP which is way farther than what I was thinking.  To my horror it is CP#27 and I turn tail and run as fast as I can back towards the finish.  I pass CP#25 and am worried I am going to turn on the wrong trail that would take me way out of my way, so I stop gather my wits and direction and hit the correct trail.  I keep an eye on the time and realize I can snatch CP#15 on the way back to the finish via a nasty little hill wack.  I drop into the parking lot and stupidly stop to make sure I didn’t miss any nearby CPs.  I don’t see any and I cross the line with 15 minutes to spare.  I get beat by a few seconds by someone who has the same amount of CPs because of that last minute stop.  Kevin finishes a few minutes later.  We then find out that a racer was hurt and medevac’d by ambulance.  As we stand around receiving awards I notice that everyone’s butts are covered in mud so much so that they look like they pooped their pants.  I think I was the only one that didn’t butt slide down a hill that day.  I finished at 12:47pm with 18 points.  Kevin finished at 12:50 with 15 points.  Cliff Cave redemption!  This is the best I can remember now that it is January 12, 2015.  Apparently I snatched another one because my math is not adding up, I think CP24, but my map is destroyed so I am not sure.  - Ahab.

2015 SHITR

2015 SHITR by Scott Shaw – note my blog theme holds due to title of run!
The 2015 SHITR (Shivering Icy Trail Run) started up the Mound around the bench and back down the steps and then into the Lost Valley woods.  Kevin and I made it up the stairs in good time, but when we descended the stairs there was no way I could keep up with him.  When we started the stairs I was only 3 people behind him and when I finished the stairs he was an entire group in front of me.  I was already huffing and puffing,but I managed to catch up.  We got in a fast pace on the double-track, which was too fast for me to maintain so I told Kevin to go without me; he refused, but kept his pace. I felt like I wasoverheating, but didn’t want to stop, so I took off my hat and my gloves and unzipped my jacket. I slowly started to fall behind and started to lose sight of Kevin as the sun settled behind the horizon.  As I entered the woods he was waiting for me.  I told him to get going and stop waiting for me.  
On single-track we cruised along, but I knew I could not hang with Kevin so again at around 3 or 4 miles in I told him to race his race and I would race mine.  Kevin took off and the herd of headlamps in front of me disappeared.  Now alone in the dark I tried to take a selfie and laughed when all I got was my headlamp, but I wasn’t going to stop running for anything.  Just as I looked up I noticed the markers heading into the bush so I made an immediate left and started following the markers and rabbit trail to the cemetery.  As I was heading down, the herd was heading up and I got to see that Kevin had made his way from the back of the herd to the middle.  I knew he was going to make way better time without me.  I made my way to the cemetery, read the sign, but not the tombstone, and made my way back up to the single-track.
I heard someone coming from behind and struck up a conversation with Pete from Team Noah.  He gets to see me stumble and catch myself many times.  I tell him that I am an extremely clumsy runner and a technical rider.  I start slowing down after a while and tell him to pass.  I tell him to tell Emily and the rest of his teammates, Hi.”  I also tell him that I will be ok since I have a teammate in front of me and teammates behind me.  I keep running into the night.  
I hit some double-track and I remember to drink, set a comfortable pace, and settle in for the long haul.  I hear a runner catching up behind me.  Their light keeps getting brighter and their steps louder, but it is taking a long time for them to overtake me, so I know our paces are close.  I start going downhill as the runner passes me and I fall head first, somersault, land on my back pack, and roll to my feet in one fluid motion.   I actually remember to pull my hands in and to not try to brace and save my hands completely.  The runner stops to make sure I am ok, but I am already up running and tell her I am fine and repeat my previous conversation at how clumsy I am.  We run together on the gravel and then make our way back to single-track.  
On the single-track I stay just a few feet behind her and I am amazed at how sure footed she is.  I keep rolling my ankles and I trip and nearly fall again.  I definitely solidify my statement of how clumsy I am.  During the rest of the run I only see her stumble a hand full of times.  She says she is a little unsure of the course and I tell her that I am not worried since I have been spotting all the markings and if need be I have my compass on me and will find my way back to the start.  We decide that since we are about the same speed and that we are all alone, that we will run the rest of the race together.  We start climbing a hill and I think, “Well, if we are finishing this together we may as well exchange names.”  So it was a little comical as we climb the single track trying to tell each other our names.  I am hard of hearing and we are both breathing hard and she has trouble getting her name out and I can’t understand until she spells it; “R.U.T.H.”  I stay behind Ruth studying her foot placement and searching the trees for markers so we don’t miss a turn.  I notice we have different techniques to climbing hills and I feel like I can pass on a hill, but when the flats and downhills come there is no point because I can barely keep up.  She tells me there were some guys peeing in the woods that caused her to miss the cemetery and I was supposed to remember the name of the place.  I tell her it started with an “M” and Cemetery but can’t remember the name and that I didn’t know I was supposed to.  She tells me we get a prize if we know it and I try my hardest to remember it.
We run at a consistent pace for many miles as my phone reads them off.  They seem like they are ticking away nicely.  We only have to walk one short steep uphill and continue our pace.  I try to remember to drink and blow my water back into my camelback bladder.  I am making some seriously strange noises blowing back into my hose and I think, “I wonder what Ruth thinks I am doing back here.”  Later on I tell her what I have been doing when she tells me her water hose is frozen.
We hit the double-track and Ruth kicks it up a notch.  I start having trouble keeping up.  I know that without her I would be pacing slower and walking more hills.  She is giving me a reason to try harder and I am glad she is with me.  We actually start passing people and I am pretty happy until I notice that a tall guy is walking almost as fast as I am running so I speed it up some and get directly behind Ruth.  We get to this incredibly nasty uphill and run as far as we can and then walk the rest of the way up.  It was hard just to walk.  We get to the top and make a left and take off running again.  Somewhere at about 9-10 miles my hip started hurting from the fall and I told myself I had only a 5K left and I could hang in there.  Now I don’t know how many miles we have left and my hip is killing me.  We see a guy on the trail that knows Ruth and he says there is only one mile left.  I can see the mound and the parking lot.  Ruth and I grab hands, hold them up high, cross the finish line, and grab our prizes.  We exchange information, I start shivering like crazy, and Kevin comes up and we take off for Mexican food and Margaritas.  Kevin finished in slightly over 2 hours, Ruth and I finished in slightly over 2-1/2 hours.
At the restaurant I change into warm clothes, eat, drink, and have a great time with great friends and athletes, but that is an entire other story! - Ahab.