Swiss Night-O Champs
Pfaffenweiher 9.1km + 75m 27c
9th/11--- Mass start.
The start went well. I was running with the top girls to control number 4. Coming from the south into the control made this control pretty hard, and we all searched around in the green for 2’30”. I didn’t find the control with any other elite women, so I am not sure if they all found it before or after me. It’s hard to keep track in the dark. Anyway, I had a different forking to the next control. I managed to switch gears into orienteering alone to number 5 well, but then became over confident to number 6. I wasn’t far off, but lost 5’30” trying to relocate in the dark. Most of this mistake was due to not having my night-O shoes on yet. Later in the course, I saw the features much better and judged distance correctly, but at this point I wasn’t yet able. Leaving number 7, I came up onto the road just next to the control. For some reason I thought I was on the trail directly south of my control and dove into the woods to cut the corner to the next trail. This led me, obviously, very wrong. I managed to relocate at a trail junction, but I certainly stood there for a while trying to figure out what had gone wrong and where I could be, lost 10’ in the process.
At this point I was pretty disappointed with myself and completely unmotivated. Luckily as I was coming into control 8 (finally) I saw another DE runner, this gave me some new motivation. I stayed with her and even passed her on my way to the map exchange. Here, when I looked at the next map I thought, oh no, I have so much more. Seeing that there weren’t many maps on the wall left was also a bummer. But I should have expected that after such big mistakes.
Anyway, I kept going and noticed that I had a total different first control than the other DE runner and at this point my brain really switched on and I told myself to concentrate. I made a little mistake to the second control on this loop, but after that I finally got into a good rhythm and flow. The whole experience was saved by these last 14 controls. I am happy that I could concentrate and get through the course on my own without any more major mistakes.
Night-O is really an experience if you don’t do it very often (this was my first night-O of the year). I had to pull myself together and concentrate on a much higher level than during the day. O-ing in the day allows your ability to see far enough to check your direction and distance. At night, your compass has to become your very best friend, and estimating distance has to come from a feeling. This I find very tough, especially because running in the dark also feels different, so estimating the speed you are running is also a challenge.
I am certain that last nights race was a great training and I am happy that I made the best out of it.
Map part 1
Map part 2