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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: iansmith

In the 7 days ending Dec 3, 2011:

activity # timemileskm+mload
  Orienteering5 4:47:40 22.16(12:59) 35.67(8:04) 54277c145.6
  Running6 2:59:16 20.15(8:54) 32.43(5:32) 881c41.1
  Strength training1 15:007.5
  Total9 8:01:56 42.31 68.1 63078c194.2
  [1-5]9 7:49:49
averages - sleep:4

» now

Saturday Dec 3, 2011 #

10 AM

Running (Warmup) 12:00 [1] 2.0 km (6:00 / km)
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

The weekend's events were great fun despite my mixed performance. I was concerned about my physical condition, but apart from some breathing problems from cold air, it was not limiting. More problematic was the lack of sleep; due to poor planning, I only got four hours of sleep before departing Saturday morning with Giovanni and Katia. I was noticeably tired during the Night-O, and my mental and physical inadequacy contributed to a disappointing race on Sunday. I need to prepare more effectively, and I must get much stronger technically and physically to be competitive. Over the past few months, my physical improvement has outpaced my technical and mental, which I will amend.
11 AM

Orienteering 15:52 [4] 2.54 km (6:14 / km) +69m 5:30 / km
13c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

The short sprint at Cemetery Hill. I had three exciting legs in the first five - a poor choice to run high on the trail to control 3 (20 sec loss), an intelligent choice running low to control 4, and a big error in the circle at 5 where I was too high and got confused by nearby features (1:10 loss).

After my error at 5, I had a hodgepodge of legs - slow to 6, good on 7-9, too far to the right on 10 (-15 sec), and stuck in the green at 12 (-10 sec). Blegh. While I was running acceptably fast, I made sufficiently many poor decisions to turn a good effort into a disaster. I started slowing down near the end, according to comparative results in the splits. Nemesis'd, and fourth behind Boris, Giacomo, and Ali. Unlike Alex, I really enjoyed running across the corn field. Quickroute

Orienteering 22:51 [4] 3.1 km (7:22 / km) +66m 6:39 / km
18c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

I didn't start my GPS at the start, so my data for the long sprint is incomplete. After some mistakes on the short sprint, I resolved to run more intelligently. During all three races, I ran comparatively well on the long trail legs and less well actually navigating - an area in which I need to improve.

I lost some time on the short legs - 5-10 - as a combination of hesitation and poor orienteering. At control 15, I met disaster - I ran up to the trail, then horribly botched my traversal of the green. I drifted quite far to the right and punched out into the clearing west of the control. I didn't realize it and ran farther up the ride to try to locate. I punched across the green into the correct clearing and turned to discern the features only to see Tim punching the control - 1:15 lost. Quickroute.

Orienteering 20:41 [4] 3.9 km (5:18 / km) +76m 4:50 / km
17c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

In a highly improbable result, I finished the two preliminary sprints two seconds ahead of Ali, despite her respiratory difficulties. While not quite Disney movie plot quality, it would have been hard to contrive a more interesting scenario. We were over 3 minutes behind Boris and about a minute ahead of Giacomo, so interacting with anyone else was unlikely. There were some modestly entertaining jests from the spectators, but I was really looking forward to the showdown.

While I think staying with Ali and kicking in the afterburners at the end would have been a viable strategy (as I think I'm faster over short distances), I wanted to race on my own merits and avoid tactics in favor of finishing as quickly as I could. After flipping over my map, I pushed hard to put a little distance between us. I ignored Ali for the first three (easy) controls, though I don't think she ever lost sight of me. I elected to run out to the field to the east of control 4; I glanced behind me to see Ali running left of the line. I think my route was good, though I did get stuck briefly cutting trail corners. She lost time due to barbed wire, and I punched a few seconds ahead of her. I doglegged out of 4, and put on more speed to 5 and 6 to try to break away. I was scared of overrunning 7, and I slowed somewhat. With the excellent visibility, there was no way I could get away from Ali, though I did gain some distance.

I was getting tired to 8, though I knew Ali was just behind me; I was clean, though probably slightly high going into the marsh. I misread the trail intersections on the way to 9, and almost went down into the reentrant before doubling back to connect to the trail. We ran to the field and attacked 10 down the green hillside. We saw the flag from a good distance and fought through green; I got caught by a vine across my chest and ripped to a stop with a strangled yelp. Apparently Ali also met a similar fate with similar sound effects, but I didn't hear it. I punched 10 a few seconds ahead of her, and ran cleanly to 11, again trying to gain some distance. Unfortunately, I misread the vegetation on the way to 12 and drifted far to the right. By the time I had figured out my mistake, Ali was punching 12 and took a small lead.

I considered running to the left to get to 13, but when Ali went right, I quickly decided to stay with her to avoid the risk of losing her entirely. I was really fighting to keep up, and adrenaline coursed through me. I punched 13 a few seconds behind her, and we diverged on the way to 14. I had decided to run out to the field and haul - the green was a fight, and the frisbee golf basket was a perfect attackpoint. It turned out that I was exactly on the line to 14, and I hit the boulder quite accidentally just ahead of Ali. I ran right along the trails to 15, and I noticed she wasn't behind me. I got caught in some green briar for some expletive-loaded 10s when I tried to cut the trail corner, but I saw her a few seconds behind me when our routes intersected.

I ran hard to 16 - though not quite kicking - along the trail, and I was momentarily distracted after leaving the trail by a boulder. I noticed the golf basket, and punched the control 2 seconds ahead of her. As soon as I made it out to the field, I started kicking, though she was apparently 1s behind me. The finish chute was short and downhill - my best conditions, and I ran at maximum effort in the off chance that she was making a move.

The race was very exciting; while we only diverged twice, it was a very tense and demanding race. I could not have been as physically aggressive and mentally focused had I been running alone. A friendly nemesis can drive you to extraordinary effort. I wonder what would have happened had I not been so lucky at 14. I think the last legs played slightly to my strengths - the navigation wasn't tricky, and there were lots of trails. I would probably still have taken the trail to 15, but coming from behind running into the last controls would have been tremendously climactic. Quickroute
1 PM

Orienteering (Control Pickup) 31:45 [1] 2.67 km (11:53 / km) +27m 11:19 / km
7c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Grabbed seven controls. We apparently started pickup a bit too early. I saw Marek, who was running the final sprint, as I was heading to pick up control 14 from that race. He was looking for 13, which I had just picked up.

I tried to replicate my route to 14 without success, even at a walking pace. I have no idea how I managed to get to 14, as the vegetation was impassable in places. I suppose either I was very fortunate to find a suitable line, or threat of nemeses can drive me to absorb more vegetation punishment than I would ordinarily.

Running (Control Pickup) 11:44 [0] 2.34 km (5:01 / km) +16m 4:51 / km
1c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Running out to pick up the one control that had been overlooked.
6 PM

Orienteering (Night-O) 46:57 [2] 5.62 km (8:22 / km) +203m 7:05 / km
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Night-O at Mt. Tom, set by Ali with easy controls (1-4) progressing to intermediate controls (5-6) and then advanced to the end. Boris loaned me Becky's light (thanks, Becky!), which was much brighter than my pitiful headlamp - I really need to upgrade.

After some concern at the gate that we might be found by police who were coming to rescue a car that was still in the park when the gate was locked, we parked elsewhere and ran to the start. Everyone was milling around for instruction, so I started and passed Dean before the first control.

I was tired from the day's activities, so I intended to treat the course as a fun jaunt in the woods and not a race. I glanced behind me as I was climbing the trail to 1 and beheld a picturesque chain of bobbing headlamps running across the bridge by the lake. I saw an intermittent headlamp on my way to 4, but was quite alone until 10. I was surprised how long the march to 7 took after leaving the trail, but despite my insecurity, I was where I expected to be. I walked much of the way to 8, more due to difficulty matching features than to climb and fatigue; I was quite confused, but 8 was on the far side of a hill, so it wasn't too tricky. I was too far to the right, but I corrected. I started to see headlamps on my way to 9.

As I was leaving 10, I saw a fast moving headlamp bust down the hill, so I abandoned my "not a race" plan and picked up the pace to 11. I had a 20-30s lead when I tagged 11, but I lost all of it fumbling on my exit down to the road. I attacked 12 poorly, and was far too high in the reentrant. The fast light - which turned out to be Boris - and I paused to look around, and I saw the reflector first. Boris ran down to the road to get to 13, and I saw him below me as I scrambled on the slope. We intersected and wandered among a confusing set of knolls before we saw the flag; I got to it slightly ahead of him. Fourteen seemed safe, so I charged across the reentrant monitoring my compass and again punched just ahead. On the exit from 14, the cable from the battery (which was strapped to my wrist) to the light was disconnected by foliage, and I was plunged into darkness. I reconnected it after some groping, though it might have been faster to pull out my backup light.

Boris and Brendan crushed me by over five minutes. I'm not thrilled about my navigation - the controls were visible from as far as fifty meters, and that extreme visibility encouraged bad orienteering habits. I think for short legs, less visible controls are better for training purposes, though on long legs, the high visibility flags are really helpful. I didn't take full advantage of the exercise, though I was quite tired. It was great fun running around in the woods; thanks to Ali and Boris for setting it!

Friday Dec 2, 2011 #

10 PM

Running (Easy/Recovery) 37:32 [1] 6.86 km (5:28 / km) +65m 5:13 / km
shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

After a lethargic day, I went for an easy evening run. I felt pretty terrible - I might be getting sick, and my work on Thursday was more demanding than I planned. I was also much hungrier and thirstier than I realized. Running has a normative effect on my life; it regulates and stabilizes some of my chaotic tendencies.

I avoided looking at my watch during the run; my plan was to run slightly longer than 30 minutes at any pace that felt comfortable. It was chill - 8 C and clean, and I ran in shorts, long sleeves, and gloves. I don't think I'm in the best condition for tomorrow; I just don't feel well. A good night's sleep and some burrito action might help.

I have not given much thought to how to deal with multiple runs in a short period of time. I have historically done worse than most blue runners when there are two races in one day, e.g. a middle and a sprint. These conditions are unavoidable at major races, though - WOC has an absurd density of races, e.g. Ali's great adventure last year. What is the best way to train for such arduous experiences - except replicating that circumstance in training? What is the best way on the day of the event to optimize performance? Suppose, for instance, there were efforts comparable to two 5k time trials on one day followed by a half marathon on the next; is it optimal to rest, eat, drink, and stretch as much as possible, or are there actions that will further improve performance?

Thursday Dec 1, 2011 #

6 PM

Running 20:00 [1] 3.0 km (6:40 / km)
shoes: 201104 Mizuno Waverider 14

Warmup with Magnus around the track followed by drills with the group.

Running 38:06 intensity: (21:48 @1) + (4:25 @3) + (11:53 @5) 6.7 km (5:41 / km)
shoes: 201104 Mizuno Waverider 14

The first of thirteen CSU indoor track workouts at BU. I reacquainted myself with Terry, Jonathan, John, Kevin, and Tom. Magnus, Brendan, and Stephen were there, and I introduced myself to Patrick, a guy who started running in Fall 2009.

After a jaunt around the track with Magnus to warmup, we did drills with Mike, a BU guy who works at the facility. John planned a workout of reps - 2x200, 4x400, and 2x200 with 200m rest after each lap. Terry decided to lead the more ambitious people to double that workout, for 4800m of reps. After the first set, I felt strong, and so finished up with half a set - 2x200 and 2x400 - before joining the stretching and cool down group. I felt comfortable tucking in behind Jonathan, Tom or Kevin, but Terry and Stephen were a bit too speedy. I hope to catch up, but I intend to be conservative and cautious.

Splits below are only for the reps:
2x200: 39.3, 38.8
4x400: 82.0, 83.9, 80.0, 81.2
2x200: 36.7, 37.2
2x200: 36.2, 36.4
2x400: 81.4, 80.0

After I asked about Ross's cheering patterns and then did a little whooping, it was decided that I am Ross's understudy for track workouts until he returns. On an unrelated note, I'm considering purchasing a loofah for superior exfoliation.

Wednesday Nov 30, 2011 #


I have had a very successful fall season. My training since September 1 has included:
  • 60 hours, 380 km, and over 700 controls of orienteering (some course setting included)
  • 26 hours of running - a paltry 293 km
  • A disappointing ten hours of strength and cross training of various types
  • 11 games of bowling

November has been my highest volume month, with nine days and 17 hours of orienteering. Counting course setting, I have spent 37 hours running and orienteering, with a total of 300 km. Even ignoring the course setting, with a sustained year-round effort, this would amount to 200 hours of orienteering.

My races have been steadily improving. I began September by losing to PG at Pawtuckaway in my debut from stress fractureland, and I finished November with a competitive time on the 2002 Billygoat. I wimped out at the September camping weekend, and this Thanksgiving pushed hard through nine hours of hard activity in three days. I have won six races - three NEOC local meets, and three races at the St. Louis meet (including Corn Maze and the Green Relay leg, which don't really count).

I have so much farther to go even before I become competitive in the US, to say nothing of how far I am from the top North Americans. Nevertheless, I am encouraged. My body is growing stronger, and I have been careful in how much stress I apply to it. I will increase my cross training over the winter with skiing, swimming, and cycling even as I try to add to my running base and spend more time on maps. I will set some goals for 2012, but my primary focus is to train as well as I can without hurting myself. I will listen to my body and take breaks as needed. I have much ambition for the year ahead, and with care and discipline, I can attain it.

I continue to learn how to organize a club, and I will apply the (painfully learned) lessons from 2011 to my approach. My primary objective is to build up infrastructure and train others to accomplish tasks rather than trying to shoulder them myself. While my involvement with NEOC will likely continue into 2013, I will gradually step down my commitments to organization so I can focus on training and other aspects of life.
8 AM

Running 54:08 [1] 10.6 km (5:07 / km) +5m 5:06 / km
shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

After two rest days to recover from a hard weekend, I went out on an easy run this morning around the river. I meant to start earlier; it is pleasant to run in the unseasonably warm morning air with the sun on your face. I mean to start running more in the mornings so I can comfortably read a map while on easy runs. Today, I brought a Hogencamp exercise, the WOC 2011 Men's Middle qualifier A, and the WOC 2011 Men's Long Qualifier A. I warmed up on the Hogencamp map, then switched to France; all three maps were tricky. Figuring out the orientation of the contours while moving was hard, especially on Harriman. I had printed the middle at about 1:11.5 and the long at 1:18 on my lowly inkjet printer, so the reading was extra challenging. Train hard, race easy. I mislaid my heart rate monitor in my apartment yesterday while collecting my laundry, so no HR data today. While I was out, I passed a woman with prosthetic feet and probably calves. She was happily cruising about with headphones, and her doughty black labrador was marching along beside her off leash very indifferently. They were a charming pair. I finished with the usual stretching regimen.
WOC 2011 maps:

Pictures from the weekend:
Study in Steam I
Study in Steam II
Thanksgiving om nom nom
Thanksgiving crew
Food coma
I am the chosen one
Friend from across the sea
Our friend the Kiwi, and her Kiwi pants
Death throes of a cookie (I like the bokeh on this one)
Ye Olde Irish post-training recovery
A beautiful day at Rockhouse, with everyone and their mother
Surebridge at Twilight

Strength training 15:00 [3]

Thirteen minute core + pushups: leg lifts, cherry pickers, oblique bicycle, flutter kicks, 2x single leg bridge, situps, plank, kayakers, tuckups; 2x side plank, supermans. Finished with a sluggish 32 pushups.

I am considering spending an entire strength workout on a particular exercise, like 5 x 2 minutes side plank, or 5x 1 minute kayakers.

Sunday Nov 27, 2011 #

8 AM

Orienteering 1:00:00 [1] 6.0 km (10:00 / km)
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

I arrived at Harold Parker at 8 AM, and Mika and I directed our little army of three boy scouts and two leaders to divide up the controls. The leaders and one scout went to set the white course, Mika took remote advanced controls, and I led two scouts on an intrepid expedition to set six flags. The woods were thick in places, and I left them briefly to bust across a knee-deep stream and set one flag.

After the first loop, I set out alone to set a further 8 yellow and orange controls, and finished up at 9:45.
12 PM

Running 5:46 [1] 0.93 km (6:12 / km) +2m 6:08 / km
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Warmup; it was slightly longer than this, but not much.

Orienteering 58:32 intensity: (15 @0) + (2 @1) + (8 @2) + (6:18 @3) + (51:44 @4) + (5 @5) 8.89 km (6:35 / km) +69m 6:20 / km
ahr:161 max:183 14c slept:4.0 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Quickroute. I didn't run off the map, but I dropped my red course during control pickup, and only cropped copies were left.

I put Harold Parker on the schedule when I was planning the fall calendar primarily because the map looked interesting and I wanted to run there. I expected that on November 27, there would be snow on the ground, temperatures would be 30 F, and thirty people would come.

Instead, the high temperature today was about 60 F, and orienteering was heavily publicized over the past week with a story on NPR and an article in the globe. A total of 193 competitors came out today, many of whom were beginners. Fortunately, a crew of boy scouts had contacted me about three weeks ago expressing interest in volunteering at a meet to help earn their orienteering merit badges. One of the scouts, Dan O'Leary, has run green and red courses at past meets. Their assistance was indispensible today, and everyone worked hard to keep the crowd flowing and people heading out.

Mika Latva-Kokko set fun courses, and while the map vegetation and trails are substantially outdated, I found the contours and rock features pretty accurate. The map is interesting, though the runnability varies; the vegetation and bike trails should be updated, but the terrain is technical and challenging.

After working registration and mingling with the crowd, I set out on red. I had set controls 1, 2, 13, and 14, but I started out navigating very poorly through 3. There were a few long legs - 4, 5, and 13 - on which I gained a bit of time. I struggled with green near the circle at 13, and 14 was a challenge. I'm disappointed with how few splits I won, but I put a solid effort. I'm pleased to see 4 minute kms charging up the road en route to 13; I had a little bit of spunk left in my legs after the weekend.

Yikes - ernst really killed it on the finish split; I also was bgallup'd. Apparently I need to raise my game.

Update - after some analysis, I'm less displeased with my performance. I finished first or second on all but three splits, each of which was an error - 3, 4, and 7. I'm upset that I navigated 1-3 so badly, but particularly given that I had a hard weekend, my performance is satisfactory. I was 3:17 behind superman. I can't help but think that Ross would have run sub 50.

Orienteering 31:02 intensity: (8 @0) + (4:29 @1) + (14:11 @2) + (12:07 @3) + (7 @4) 2.95 km (10:30 / km) +32m 9:58 / km
ahr:130 max:156 8c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Picking up the loop of 8 yellow and orange controls I set earlier. I was really tired near the end. It turns out I had banged my right shin on a rock or tree pretty hard, and I have a bruise. My bones seem to be intact, though.

I was told today that I have strong physical resemblance to teen heartthrob Justin Long.

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