Possum Trot VIII, Camp Naish, December 5, 2004

Comments by Nadim Ahmed

At the Possum Trot, I felt the terrain was going to be similar enough to Quantico maps and that I was in shape enough that I could run more confidently. In reality, it was a little greener and w/another 3m (not 5m) contour map so perhaps this wasn't really true. Remembering last year's race, I didn't just want to follow Mike. I though I might be able to pull ahead enough to not be distracted by others and then staying in contact with the map, I could run my pace instead. Starting leg 3, I hesitated crossing the creek and watched Mike who had just passed me at #2, lead ahead to the right; headed toward the trail. I thought I would go a straighter line climbing to the top of the ridge. Mike says I was going too far left. With everyone following him, I felt like I was settling in to reading the map like I wanted. Mike and everyone else seemed to me to be somewhat contouring around. If Mike was right about me, I corrected coming down the ridge dropping into the reentrant. I didn't expect to see him and the others coming around so soon on my right. Seeing everyone distracted me at a bad time. Being a step or two ahead I felt I should try to stay ahead. I've made this error many times before. Running away, I forgot where I was and didn't read my map carefully enough. Going on memory I thought I should be going down the reentrant and passing a reentrant on my left before climbing up to the left. There was a reentrant like this at the edge of the map before the control so I must have been remembering seeing that. I ran quick down the reentrant as everyone else crossed it up to the control. Passing the next reentrant on my left, I cut up and saw houses to my left but no control; I was about +200m past the control. Coming back quickly enough upon realizing what happened, I punched #3 a little behind Jan. I'd lost somewhere around 3:30 minutes and was discouraged/winded.

It was not a big error for me in the scheme of things but it broke my contact with the +M40 crowd (Jan got injured behind me somewhere after #6) which I wanted to finish in or ahead of. Behind, I felt more rushed to make-up distance and in the process I compounded my problem by making more errors. With a race as long as this, 3:30 minutes is nothing that couldn't be bourne out by one's endurance if good and a cleaner run. I knew this and should have remained calmer. I had several small errors of the 30 second nature. My larger errors were on #8 (which I thought to skip w/#9 but unwisely chose to do so I could skip something else later), #15 and #17.