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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: iansmith

In the 7 days ending Sep 14, 2008:

activity # timemileskm+mload
  Orienteering2 2:31:11 9.19(16:27) 14.79(10:13)9 /10c90%104.8
  Running1 1:10:14 7.18(9:47) 11.56(6:05)18.6
  Total3 3:41:25 16.37(13:31) 26.35(8:24)9 /10c90%123.3

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Sunday Sep 14, 2008 #

Orienteering race 1:15:49 [4] 8.0 km (9:29 / km)
shoes: 200803 NB MT800

The NEOC Great Brook Farm National Orienteering Day meet. It was at the orange course at this event exactly one year ago that my orienteering career really began. Because I have had the opportunity to orienteer at such a wide range of excellent parks, I realize how simple Great Brook Farm is.

The red course today weighed much more heavily on distance than on technical difficulty. One control was far to the south and isolated; the legs to and from it were each over a kilometer. Great Brook Farm is full of linear features, so the courses won't be as difficult by necessity, but I felt that about a third of the legs were completely trivial.

Control placement is challenging in Great Brook Farm (also considering the map quality); there do not exist many good locations for advanced controls. I would characterize the course as about a 3-4 km easy brown course interspersed with 3-4 km of trail running. I ran on trails about 60% of the distance (and I believe in most cases it was the optimal route).

That noted, I did break 10 minutes/km for the first time on an advanced course. Ian Finlayson crushed me (winning time of 60 minutes and some seconds), but he's a superior orienteer and runner (he beat me on all but one split and the finish).

Finally, while I have improved almost monotonically (for sufficiently large time scale), I still am an intermediate orienteer in the frequency of my mistakes. Compared to Ian F.'s or Phil Bricker's relatively immaculate runs, I had 4 controls on which I made errors of a minute or more. I recovered fairly well (not like that's difficult in Great Brook), and I am pleased with my run, but I must make fewer errors if I hope to run under 10 min/km with any degree of consistency.

Orienteering race 34:56 [2] 3.7 km (9:26 / km)
shoes: 200803 NB MT800

After running the red, I decided to go out and do another course. The controls on the green course (5ish km) were a proper subset of those on the red course, including the two long, uninteresting legs. The orange course, at first glance, looked more interesting, so I opted for that. However, it turned out that all but one of the orange course's controls were on the red course (though the order was different).

Anyway, I was more fatigued from the red run than I expected (oddly enough, I felt not weak throughout the red course and was able to keep going at a good pace). While I planned to burn through the orange as fast as I could, after the water control (#2... what's up with that?), I took it relatively easily. I ended up winning the course, but not by much (and most of the competitors were boy scouts, etc).

I have a tendency or 'tradition' of running as hard as I can on the finish leg. The argument is two-fold: I can't navigate as quickly as I can book it on in advanced terrain, so while orienteering I seldom get the chance to "kill it;" also, I don't stand much of a chance of finishing first on any legs but the finish leg. It's worked pretty well - I had some best finish legs at the Canadian champs. If memory serves, Ross really likes killing it at the end as well, so while my finish leg is easily my best leg (relative to the field), I rarely win the leg in a broad group.

I dream of being in a situation where I'm on a relay team and I have a chance to sprint in to the finish for victory (a la Jason Lezak). Perhaps the opportunity will come some day.

Thursday Sep 11, 2008 #

Orienteering race (Night-O) 40:26 [3] *** 3.09 km (13:05 / km)
spiked:9/10c shoes: 200712 NB Absorb EX 11.5

CSU Night-O in Hammond Pond set up by the illustrious Ross Smith. I do not often Night-O, but I really enjoy the format; while Hammond Pond isn't the most difficult orienteering environment (my past experience there to the contrary), I find Night-Oing somewhat more intuitive than day-O because the central problem is acquiring information, not deciding what information to use. On a typical day-O course, there are so many ways to navigate and fix your position and course - compass, contours, features, vegetation, linear features, prominent elevations around you, and so on. During a night-O, you have the local gradient, your compass, any immediately visible features (i.e. if you're looking for them), and any linear features you are traveling along.

The particular Night-O was best accomplished - in my opinion - by using linear features extensively. I at times strayed from the path because of a silly notion that "good orienteers do not run on trails," when in at least one of those situations, the trail was by far the best route.

I tested my new headlamp (Energizer, from Target) at this Night-O to great effect. It's quite bright, and there were no ergonomic difficulties with its use.

I estimate that at my present proficiency and speed, I could have finished the course about 5-10 minutes faster had I not made several errors. Admittedly, my current level of orienteering is error prone because of lack of experience and suboptimal strategy, but there you have it.

I erred at 1 (60-90 seconds) by sticking to the trail for too long and choosing a poor attack point. Reading my map more carefully would have revealed this error. Alternatively, I could have followed Ross and Brendan - who were immediately ahead of me at the mass start - but I wanted to ignore everyone else as much as possible.

At 7, (90 seconds - 2 minutes) I ignored what were obviously cliffs and my attack while running along a trail, and ran ahead for perhaps 75 meters before realizing my mistake from the contours. I just needed more confidence here.

At 8, (1-2 minutes) I diverted far and wide around on a trail because I wasn't sure the smaller breakoff trail was in fact the one I wanted. I should have just taken a bearing from that point and ran to 8 by contour.

At 9, (2+ minutes) I left the trail because I felt I should. It was a poor strategy, both with poor route and a less than optimal choice of attack. After forcing my way slowly through some green, I diverted back to the trail and attacked from the obvious (and best) attack point.

Overall, I was pleased with my contact and performance, but it's easy to count the seconds (or minutes, in my case) lost. Brendan sprained his ankle, both injuring himself and removing one of my usual benchmarks. I'm reasonably sure Ross finished in under 30 minutes, but he also set the course. Once I learn his time, I will treat that as an "optimal" run.

Monday Sep 8, 2008 #

Running 50:14 [2] *** 8.77 km (5:44 / km)
shoes: 200712 NB Absorb EX 11.5

A road run with a river loop. I started rather late in the evening, and prior to starting, I was less than enthused about running. I probably wasted about ten minutes as a result, but once I started moving, I was content. I ran with my headlamp (to become comfortable with it and experiment with various positions) and the COC Long Course 9 map.

While running along the river, I saw about two dozen small rabbits; they were particularly visible because their eyes reflected the light from my lamp, and as I approached, they scattered.

My goal for this session was to run for 40 minutes at a leisurely pace - about 9 minutes/mile, but no faster than 8 minutes/mile. At the end of the run, including 3x30 strides, I felt sufficiently good that I believed I could have repeated the workout (though I didn't).

While on my run, particularly while running past homeless people sleeping in Harvard Square, I deliberated the social merits of a purely capitalist system (you are rewarded for your work uniquely) and a purely communist system (you are maintained and your needs are met regardless). All practical systems are some sort of compromise between the two, and while I recognize the merits of hard work and the pressing need for impetus to excel. Yet, I was saddened that these, my fellow human beings, had fallen to such dire straits; they have lost their dignity and their ambition.

In such instances, I am reminded of Jesus healing the sick man in front of the Jewish temple in John 5. Specifically in John 5:6, Jesus asks a man who has been sick for many year if he wants to get well. At first glance, this question seems ridiculous; who would not want to get well after such misery? Yet the suitability of this question is evident in our cities, where the homeless subsist off the charity (deliberate and accidental) of others, but they do not seek to improve their lives. They only seek to continue to exist. I do not believe this is an adequate goal; resources should be provided for people to get back on their feet, not for people to subsist indefinitely. Right now, if for whatever reason I were suddenly without means or home (or friends or family, etc), I would have to turn to someone for help, but I would seek that help not to exist but to recover. It is easy for me to think from such a perspective, since I have known a life of relative privilege and safety, but my point is that removing the danger of languishing as a motivation to be responsible, to work hard, and such results in stagnation. I weep for our race.

Running 10:00 [1] 0.8 mi (12:30 / mi)
shoes: 200712 NB Absorb EX 11.5

Cool down.

Running (Stretching) 10:00 [3] 1.5 km (6:40 / km)
shoes: 200712 NB Absorb EX 11.5

Including 5 minutes to get dressed and 15 minutes of showering and changing, I spent 1:30 to run for 50 minutes, yielding an efficiency score of 0.56.

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