To start, yes, I raced this on a back-to-back weekend, with Saturday being Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Run (7.5 miles of elevation and high heart rates), and Sunday being my first attempt at the Possum Trot. Much like PMETR is to trail running, the Trot has turned into an institution of high-caliber orienteering, drawing talent from across the midwest (Minnesota, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, and Ohio, among others), all vying to win the coveted Dead Possum. Who wouldn't throw down for the chance to win a stuffed animal? Not this girl. I drove over to Kansas City with another SLOC orienteer (and also Pere Marquette finisher) Eric B and his daughter. The company makes the drive go quickly and soon we are eating pizza with other orienteers at the PTOC Christmas Party. We crash for the night at the home of the race director and I don't sleep particularly well since my hamstrings are threatening to seize at every move.
Morning brings a pot of my favorite breakfast, steelcut oats, which I devour and start getting my gear together. My mind isn't really functioning so I just throw everything in my bag and take the whole thing as we drive to the park for the race. There, I spend more time reading my clue sheet and less time warming up than I should have, and pretty soon it's 8.45a and I don't even have my shoes on. Yikes! I half-listen to the pre-race announcements as I arrange my gaiters/gloves/hat/HR monitor/compass/hydration tube/etc and pretty soon we are in an open field with maps, face down, on the ground in front of us.
The race director yells "GO!" and 50 orienteers flip over their maps and start jogging, and then almost 90% of the field turns around and sprints the other way.
|I'm #48 with the yellow CamelBak. Photo by Bill L.|
|First 9 controls of PTXV.|
|Middle 7 controls of PTXV|
|The next 6 controls (remember I'm skipping 20) of PTXV.|
|towards the end of PTXV.|
|A shot from earlier in the race at #17. Photo by Bill L.|
|The final controls of PTXV.|
|Immediately post-race. Legs up, re-hashing route choices. Photo by Bill L.|
|The coveted dead possum is mine! Photos by Bill L.|
|Erin, me, flag, Molly. Photo by Bill L.|
If you've made it this far, congrats! I'm almost as exhausted writing this as I was racing. I'm still a little shocked that my result was as high as it was. I tried my best to self-sabotage my race with the two fake skips and last-control brain melt-down. It's clear I need more experience running in packs and in open field terrain. I also need to come to terms with following during a goat event. Throughout the race I would see people ahead of me within easy reach, but stubbornly and pridefully stuck to my own navigational storyline. That's fine for a first goat attempt but in the future I will need to use my competitors more to my advantage. And quit second-guessing my skips already! Pin It