The two days were located on a new and extended Odem forest map (For two previous posts on the map see: when-is-an-almost-perfect-race-simply-not-enough, national-squad-training-camp-middle-distance-training).
Map: Odem North
Mapmaker: Dan Chissick
My first day went well and the weather was ideal. My plan was to run fast and straight, by locating my position all the time using the clearings and the stone walls (very small in this terrain, mostly 2-3 rocks high). I lost some time on my way to control 4 because of deviating from the line, but at least I ran fast. On the way to control 8, I got swept away by the lovely clearings and found myself almost at control 12. I relocated and climbed up to control 8. What I discovered during this race, is that focus doesn't mean accuracy. I was totally focused, but my orientation wasn't good enough. I wasn't running towards the correct directions, although I knew exactly where I was all the time (2-3 is a good example). On this terrain you don't win if you're not accurate.
My biggest problem was fitness. I felt tired from some stage of the race and I felt I'm losing my sharpness towards the end. On control 19 (one control to last) I ran to the first orange prism I saw, which was obviously not mine. This would never have happened to me at the rest of the course.
In general, I felt good with my race, although my pace wasn't all that good. The results were almost identical to last year, with Eran Segal beating me again by 4 minutes. At least this time, I can rest on the fact that it was not a perfect race for me (which doesn't take away any of the well deserved credit for his great win).
Map: Odem South
Mapmaker: Dan Chissick
The second day was a whole different ball game. The ground was stonier and steeper. The weather was rainy, cold and very foggy (especially around the eastern controls). I ran a much slower pace, due to the given conditions, but much closer to the line. I can find lots to criticize myself for: slowing down on the uphill (11 and 18), messing up around the control (7, 10, 16, 17, 24 and 19, which can be excused by the extreme fog). But all of these are part of the game. What I did on the way to control 8 is inexcusable. I was so frightened of running through that little crater, that I detoured around it and almost lost my way. It still surprises me, how much fear is a factor in this sport: Fear of contours, of green terrain, of a detailed terrain, of a non-detailed terrain, of animals etc. There are so many things to analyze, that many times our decisions are based on some past trauma and not the actual situation. I made the little crater into a mountain to climb, and forced a much longer route based on this ill-assumption.
My conclusion from these two days: Focus is good but it has to be accompanied with accuracy (first day) and rational thinking (the second day) in order for it to provide great results.