Now for the details from day 3...
It was another chilly morning but at least there was no frost on the ground when I woke up! This morning got started a little earlier than yesterday since today was the Ultralong distance plus the start was in a remote location that required us to go on a 10 minute bus ride from the parking lot. Thank you to all the volunteers who picked up our warm clothes and brought them back to the parking lot after the start so that we didn't have to stand at the remote location and freeze while waiting for the other buses to arrive. I shed a fleece jacket, fleece pants and a down jacket plus gloves with hand warmers... I was toasty warm while waiting for the start.
Today's start was a mass start meaning everyone received their maps at the same time and started after the countdown. On the "Go" we all flipped over our maps and went running in all directions! This is not my favorite type of start but I did ok. I decided to take a little longer getting to the first control, by way of a trail, which gave me a little time to study the map. The map was double-sided and man there were some long legs... they weren't kidding with this whole Ultra-long thing... Yikes!
The first three controls went ok and then there was number 4... I still can't figure out how I got so lost... oh well... better pay closer attention to my compass and pace counts when following long re-entrants next time! I slowed down a little after getting so lost at 4 and knowing I wasn't even halfway done. 5, 6, and 7 went well and then number 8 was almost as bad as number 4 except this time I knew I was in the correct area and I just couldn't find it:( I finally walked back to the power-lines and attacked it from a different angle... found it. I did ok on the rest of the course and even tried to pick up the pace. I'm not sure how I managed to sprint to the finish because I was beat. This was probably the hardest orange course I have ever done and not because of the length... I think I took a total of 2 trails which means mostly navigating through the woods which is still difficult for me. I'm not ready for the next level course was all I was thinking as I crossed the finish line.
But... to my surprise, as I checked the electronic score board, I was in 1st PLACE!!! It truly was a difficult orange because several of my competitors had DNF next to their name which means, Did Not Finish. 1st place was officially mine even though not all runners were finished... I guess that is the one benefit to the mass start... If you are the first to cross the finish then you are the winner! I quickly snapped this handstand picture on the podium before awards:)
~1st Place on the Ultra-long Course at Fountainhead