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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: PG

In the 7 days ending Sep 17, 2009:

activity # timemileskm+ft
  orienteering1 3:30:20 7.2 11.59
  trail running3 3:10:59 8.71 14.01
  run/hike3 2:51:14 3.5 5.63
  yoga1 45:00
  Total7 10:17:33 19.41 31.23
averages - rhr:48 weight:136.5lbs

» now

Thursday Sep 17, 2009 #

yoga 45:00 [1]

Made it to yoga class. Hand was just good enough to tolerate all the downward dogs and other stuff, so glad I went.

trail running race 20:54 [4] 5.0 km (4:11 / km)
weight:137lbs shoes: x-talon 212

Holyoke 5K XC just for the hell of it. Ran about what I expected, 20 seconds worse than a couple months ago but still perfectly fine. And the 20 seconds, well, I weigh maybe 3 pounds more than then, and I was talking with a friend after the race and he happened to say that the formula he'd heard was 2 seconds per pound per mile. Which sounds just right if you do the math.

Perfect evening, low 50s, clear. Maybe started a little too fast, the start was a bit later than expected and I'd been standing around for 15 minutes, and then 90 seconds into the race I was breathing way too hard. Backed off just a little, but then ran a good hard pace the rest of the way. Probably could have pushed a little harder, but no need to.

Had Kevin Teschendorf along, he's here a couple of days, ran about 19:30.

trail running 15:00 [3]
shoes: x-talon 212

Before and after.

Wednesday Sep 16, 2009 #

run/hike 39:27 [2] 3.5 mi (11:16 / mi)
weight:135lbs shoes: saloman

Feel quite battered, lots of aches, thought about going out on the bike but it was rather gloomy, so just a short outing up to the power line and back. Walking on the way up, very quick (24:50), running back pretty slow (14:36).

Swelling slowly going down in my left hand, now it just hurts. At least I haven't taken any falls the last couple of days.


Ultra Tales part 4 -- Not a whole lot of oxygen

The DNF at Wasatch didn't seem to curb my interest in ultras, though I wasn't in a rush to start another right away, and things had to be worked around the orienteering schedule.

Next came a very short ultra in February 1983 called the Tanque Verde Loop, 28.5 miles, in the hills just east of Tucson. Don't remember much about it except that it got real hot towards the end. That was all for 1983. And then in May 1984 I showed up for the Ice Age 50 Mile in southern Wisconsin, remember even less about it other than I had a good run, 13th of 148 in 7:47.

I do remember a lot more about the next one 3 months later -- Leadville.

This was the second year for Leadville, and it had already gotten a reputation. To have any chance of finishing you had to live at altitude. The first year only 10 of 44 starters had finished, and all 10 lived higher than 5,200'. If you were a "flatlander," forget it.

The reason, of course, was that Leadville's low point was about 9,000' and it's high point was 12,600' Hope Pass (aka No-Hope Pass). It was an out-and-back course so you got to go over Hope Pass twice.

So there were trails, and hills, and the long night, and no air. I remember standing on the start line with 50 other starters at 4 am feeling quite apprehensive.

I had done my best to get acclimated. The race marked the end of a three-week trip out West. The first week was in California where I was controller for the California 5-Day (how many know that ever happened?), with a quick trip to the top of Mt. Whitney squeezed in the middle.

Then a drive to Colorado Springs, staying there with Bob Ellis at nearly 9,000'. Saturday Bob did the Pikes Peak ascent, we drove our rental car to the top to pick him up, almost killing the car in the process and getting a good altitude headache. Up (and down) Pikes Peak again the next day, this time on foot, as I was running the marathon, maybe not the best tapering program 6 days before Leadville, but even back then life was short.

Then spent the next 3 days with a friend in Aspen, 9,500', by Thursday my quads no longer hurt. And then the last couple of days in Leadville, 10,200', checking out the course. All of this didn't add up to anything close to living out there, but it was a whole lot better than just flying out the day before.

So the race started. It got light in an hour or two. The course went up, the course went down. By midday I was heading up Hope Pass for the first time, walking of course, but also breathing as hard as possible just to get enough oxygen.

I had also discovered just prior to that I was in third place, despite having had at least 10 folks in front of me earlier in the race. I found out later that once again not all ultrarunners are good at staying on the course, and a group of guys had missed a turn and blindly followed each other a long long ways off course. I really was in third.

Down Hope Pass, the turnaround at 50 miles was not long after, I got there in 10:38. Stop for a minute, get weighed, and head back. The goal still was just to finish, the time limit was 30 hours, with buckles given to anyone under 25.

Over Hope Pass again, lucky that the thunderstorms kept their distance. On the way down I remember several times feeling really faint, and then I realized that I hadn't been breathing enough. Several deep breaths made an immediate difference.

Back through Twin Lakes, then a long trail section on the eastern slopes of Mt. Elbert, the day was getting on and I hustled along as fast as I could, wanting to get off that section before dark. Which I did, 70 miles done in 15+ hours, 30 miles to go, I was ecstatic. And after having been so psyched to get through that last section as fast as possible, I crashed, big-time. Left the aid station, now on a gently sloping downhill dirt road at 10,000', time to start running again, but my feet hurt and my legs hurt and my energy was low. And my psyche, well, it crashed too. Think about it -- it feels like you've been going forever, and now if you can't run here, the easiest possible place, you're not going to be doing any more running, so you've got 30 miles to walk. Including up and over Sugarloaf Pass. Realistically 3 mph. Do the math. 10 more hours to go. Depressing, isn't it?

Nothing else to do, I just kept walking, fast as I could though it wasn't very fast. At some point, maybe 80 miles, I happened to see a light behind me, and it closed pretty quickly, the guy was running. At this point I was still in third, and both guys in front of me, way in front, were from altitude. The guy came by.

How you doing? I asked

OK. You?

Real tired. Where you from?


Way to go....

I had heard all I wanted to hear. I was still the first flatlander. But I still had hours to go.

Headed up Sugarloaf Pass. Real tired, sleepy, too. Long climb. Passed a boulder just the right height to sit on. I sat. Really sleepy, but still thinking. Turn off your flashlight, save the battery. Now sitting there in the dark. And a little voice said, if you don't get up right now, you'll fall asleep here. And I reluctantly flicked the light back on and trudged onward.

Over the pass, Gail and the car were parked on the other side at a road crossing. Maybe 2 am. She was asleep, I woke up up for about a minute of assistance, then onward again, endlessly it seemed. 3 am, 4 am, 95 miles done, finishing was certain now, just the doing was left, and then with two miles to go a light way behind in the distance. I sent Gail back to find out where he was from. Chicago. Shit. Picked up the pace. The last long hill up into Leadville, sky starting to lighten for the second dawn, 25:42. First flatlander by 15 minutes. You take pleasure where you can.

Everything hurt, of course. But if you had asked me at any time, from right after I finished to now, if I was glad I did it, the answer, of course, would have been "Absolutely."

Tuesday Sep 15, 2009 #


So, the maps and a few comments from Pawtuckaway --

First, the horror show, and this was during the daytime.

1. I don't like making excuses, but the map is flaky here, the boulder is a good bit south of where mapped in relation to the end of the spur, and it's all thick woods with low visibility. Spent a couple of minutes....
2. The clue was depression, of course I didn't look at it. Perfect to the boulder, did a full loop around it, no control, a loop around another small boulder nearby, and then looked in the middle of the depression and there it was in plain view.
3. OK
4. Dropped down to the flats, didn't see the boulder in the young pines, circled, eventually ventured a little farther in the right direction.
5. OK
6. Hmm, the plan was to go to the right of the marsh partway, nice compass work. And nice compass work on the final approach too.
7. OK, caught Alexei here, he'd started a minute ahead of me, wonder what fun he'd been having.
8. OK
9. Meant to go left of the pond/marsh, more nice compass work.
10. OK, very thick, caught Alexei again.
11. OK
12. OK until the end, more nice compass work from the pond. What was I doing?
13. OK, Alexei on the way out when I was on the way in.
14. OK
15. Off line at start, but OK. Caught Alexei again, last I was to see of him.
16. Off line again at the start, too far left. Then sailed right past the control, visibility not so good.
17. Somehow I thought I was right on the line, so I turned left when I saw the water. Oops.
18. Just about gave up here, quite disgusted with myself. Just sort of mentally sauntered the last bit from the hilltop, so when no control showed up in front of me, I wasn't sure which way I was off. Back up to the knolls on top, figured it out, rest was easy.
19. OK, even though my line at the start was off.
20. OK, except I crashed halfway and did bad things to my left hand.
21. Just didn't read the terrain right, don't know what I was thinking.
22. Spiked it!
F. Spiked it too!

I guess the whole run was a mental saunter. Unreal, mistakes on 11 controls/legs. Don't think I've ever missed that many on a course, even at JJ's mega.


And now the easy stuff, JJ's Wicked Hard Night O'. The rules were simple, mass start, get as many as you want in whatever order you want. Results based on the most and then the fastest.

No reason not to go for all of them, even though I was going to be walking almost all of it (I fell down enough as it was, just walking, running would just be insane, don't have the balance and coordination any more).

2. It seemed like every one had disappeared out front by the time I got there, though I guess there were some behind me too. Got to the second marsh, looked and there was the control (reflector tape on a dowel) lit up like a full moon. My new headlamp is nice.... :-)
1. In touch all the way. Almost all alone, saw Jim Arsenault briefly but we drifted apart.
3. A little shaky on the approach, never saw the big boulder, but guessed correctly where I was.
4. Tough approach because the visibility was very low, but read the boulders right. A couple lights off to the left.
6. A bit to the right going up the hill but read the big boulder and thickets right. Fredrickson (he lives!) and Andrew Childs arrived just after me, they may have been the lights at 4.
5. A little farther left initially than I meant, so was left of the marsh instead of between it and pond. But hit the east tip of the next pond just right, then the marsh, then up to the control, John and Andrew coming up from behind (I'd seen them part way, running the wrong was on the bike trail). A crowd there including Phil and Charlie, checked the knoll on the left first, not there, then the one on the right.
7. Down to the marsh, then east, don't know why I stayed on the hillside when I needed to be up top. Went too far, hit the steeper downhill, turned back. Alone again.
10. Nice, no problems.
14. Also no problems, except almost totally submerged in the marsh,
15. No problems, in this marsh only waist deep. Barb and Dave at the control when I got there.
11. Barb said it was time to follow me and watch how I did, so the pressure was on. Picked up the pace (very fast walking). Spiked it nicely.
8. Picked up Charlie and Phil for the train. Spiked it nicely.
9. Really trying to drop them, but it's hard when you're just walking. But at least spiked it nicely once again.
12. Spiked it nicely.
F. And pleased to be done in 2 hours and a few seconds, I'd been expecting a little longer. Maybe 5 minutes lost, not bad. And would gladly have had a longer course, I was really enjoying it, very little of my normal high anxiety at night. Nothing like a really good light.

trail running 1:43:15 [3]
rhr:47 weight:137lbs shoes: x-talon 212

Tuesday Mt. Toby run with Dave, Donna, and Sarah. Couldn't decide between this and the Northampton 5K XC. My legs were sluggish, so the XC would probably have been not so satisfying, though this choice meant I got to enjoy sluggish legs for an hour and three-quarters. The hope is that a very easy week next week will have me fully loaded for the 50.

Getting dark the last 20 minutes. Just took a small light, but in a couple of weeks it will be worth taking the big guy.

Gate - 3:12
Power line - 25:20 (22:08)
End of Muck - 32:20 (7:00)
Bottom - 45:09 (12:49)
South Mt. pass - 59:33 (14:24)
Hairpin - 1:23:55 (24:22)
End - 1:43:15 (19:20)

Monday Sep 14, 2009 #


Ultra Tales, part 3 -- And why did you think you could do this?

With two 50-milers under my belt, it seemed time to try something a little longer and a little more challenging. Well, maybe a lot longer and a lot more challenging. Namely, the Wasatch Front 100 Mile in the mountains immediately east of Salt Lake City, Utah. My guess is that Fred suggested we go do it, and I wasn't smart enough to refuse.

The appeal was undeniable. Great scenery, an adventurous course, a chance to enjoy the mountains both at day and at night. But I think the main attraction was that this was only the second year for the race, and in the first year there had been 7 starters, and no finishers. Tell me that's not irresistible.... :-)

The race was in mid-September, be we were actually committed to going back in March when we got our plane tickets, just $196 each, so what if the routing was Hartford to Baltimore to Houston to Denver to Salt Lake. We talked Dave Southworth (an orienteer in the early days, ran in the first Billygoat) into coming along as our crew.

The course was just brutal. 24,000' of climb (and 24,000' of drop). A mix of jeep roads and trails and a few places where there was no trail at all. As much as 20 miles between aid stations. You started out with a 5,000' climb. The course was barely marked, instead you got several pages of directions (and of course we had the topo maps)..

Were we in over our heads? Absolutely. But so was most of the field of 19 who showed up at the start line. The best of the bunch was a fellow who had run the Western States 100 in 18 hours. He was moving way faster than us, running up some serious hills, but he was directionally challenged -- he must have expected the course to be marked. He passed us at 35 miles, after some long detour, passed us again at 60 miles after another detour, and was waiting for us at 65 miles so we could show him which way to go.

By then it had long since gotten dark, and cold too, below freezing, and snowing on and off. We had a stretch from 67 to 71 miles on an open ridge near 10,000' and Fred couldn't keep warm. I was warm enough, but my ankles will killing me, and knees starting to act up too. We finally dropped off the ridge down to the Brighton ski area, where Dave was waiting for us with hot soup and sandwiches.

73 miles done. What lay ahead was about a marathon, two more mountain passes about 10,000', cold and windy and accumulating snow. One more pass, maybe another 10 or 15 miles, I think I could have done. But not this. We climbed in the car, maybe 2 in the morning, enough was enough.

The fast guy finished in just over 30 hours (the time limit was 36), and two other guys paced themselves well and finished in 35.

Was it fun? Of course. How could it not be? I would be back....

The course, very approximately, leaving out lots of turns and switchbacks so the distance looks way short. But it wasn't. Course went north to south.


The absolute high point of the Pawtuckaway weekend was the debut of my new Lupine Tesla X at the night-O'.

That's a headlight (Lupine is the name of the German company that makes them, Telsa X is the model). It is the least powerful light they make, and it still puts out 700 lumens at the high setting. I had it at the middle setting, at which the battery is supposed to last all night, and it was awesome.

A whole lot of money to spend for a light, but I hopefully have some more rogaines in me, plus our Tuesday evening Mt. Toby running group will start needing lights within the next week or two, plus whatever else may come along. And I already got a whole lot of pleasure out of it.

trail running 51:50 [3] 5.6 mi (9:15 / mi)
rhr:48 weight:137.5lbs shoes: saloman

Mill River to Juggler Meadow (27:06) and back (24:44). Legs very tired starting out, got a little better after a while. Not pushing it, just a bit of junk mileage.

Sunday Sep 13, 2009 #


I will put something up later about the Pawtuckaway weekend -- disasters, defeats, and triumphs, plus something about my dire short-term outlook for any activity with either yoga or golf -- but the most important stuff needs to be taken care of first.

It was clear as could be on the drive home this afternoon that it has been a very bad weekend for raccoons. Nocturnal though they be, they were out in broad daylight in significant numbers, and unlike possums, these fellows seemed to be really dead. So what's going on?

Is this just normal, that any Sunday drive will reveal the carnage from too much Saturday night partying among the masked and furry set?

Or is there a segment of the human population (Republicans, one assumes) that, after a bit of partying themselves, head out on the roads to see who can nail the most raccoons?

Or maybe it's just the fact that in this era of budget deficits and furloughs, the local highway departments are no longer doing their roadkill patrols?

Who knows. But I couldn't help wondering if somewhere in here was a fine subject for a Masters thesis, possibly even by someone in a geography department somewhere (you would have to have maps showing geographical distributions), and based on what I know about geography departments, I assumed the one at Kansas University would most likely be involved.

So I Googled "raccoon roadkill data" and top of the list is a study from the University of Nebraska -- I wasn't far off.... :-)

And it seems like there are all sorts of academic types are studying raccoon road kill. Hmm, maybe it's not so bad after all to be a philosopher or a taxman....

run/hike 1:31:00 [2]
shoes: mudclaw 270

No orienteering today, as I was tired (didn't sleep well), but mainly I didn't want to fall on my hand, as it was objecting to most everything I tried to do with it.

So I went for a trail run, which I suspected would include some walking, as the goal was South Mountain, still in Pawtuckaway SP but west of the O' map.

As it turned out, though, I never got there. I decided to go out via the Woronoco bike trail, took me about 30 minutes as opposed to the 10 it would have taken to go down the access road. And by the end of 30 minutes I was feeling quite wiped, sweating a lot, feeling weak. Plus I'd already fallen once, such that my left hand was going down first, and I had to do quite a contortion to take most of the impact on my thumb, not so comfortable but a whole lot better than on the outside of the hand.

So I stopped for a moment, then decided to carry on, just walk for a while. Walked for 30 minutes, briskly, up to where the trail up to the firetower starts, the sign said 0.9 miles. And I looked at the time and thought, enough is enough, better just to head back. Actually ran all the way back, 30 minutes via the road at the end, and certainly felt better than the first 30 minutes. So not so bad. And certainly a reminder that you can feel like crap and still carry on for quite a while.

Maps and other stuff will have to wait until tomorrow....

Saturday Sep 12, 2009 #

orienteering 1:30:00 [3] 7.2 mi (12:30 / mi)
weight:136lbs shoes: x-talon 212

Pawtuckaway camping weekend. Ran a rather short Blue course with lots of controls. As bad as I've orienteered in a long time, and not much I can blame on anyone else.... :-)

Raining, not that that mattered a lot. Just kept being off. Don't know where my head was. 22 controls. Mistakes on more than half of them. Left the finish determined to forget the run as fast as possible, so the gold star for the afternoon goes to JJ, who came up to me quite apologetically with a tax question regarding his mom, and perhaps was surprised to see how eager I was to talk about it right then, or anything else in fact other than my run. So we chatted some about possible strategies for her, and by the time we were done I was in a much better mood. That's what friends are for....

The worst part of the run had nothing to do with my bad orienteering, rather a fall about 5 minutes before the end. Went down, my left hand hit on a rock, not very hard at all, the only problem was that three fingers went one direction and my little finger went quite a different direction, and a direction it really has no experience going. So the knuckle and the area a little upstream from it are not looking so good....

It may be a while before I am swinging the D1 again or doing any downward dogs.

orienteering 2:00:20 [2]
shoes: x-talon 212

JJ's Wicked Hard Night O' at Pawtuckaway. Beautiful conditions, at least compared to last year when a hurricane was passing by and it poured all night. Though in reality it wasn't much different -- the all-day rain had stopped but the woods were still soaked, as we all were within the first minute.

A different format this time -- score O', 14 controls, get as many as you want but please be back by midnight (we started at about 8:30 pm). I think my route to get them all was 7+ km.

A whole lot of fun. In all honesty, I would have gladly done a longer course. The orienteering was challenging but doable.

I'll post more later, and JJ will put up the results. But I do believe I won, the individual competition that is, there were a couple of faster teams. Another CSU triumph.... :-)

Only downside was that of my many falls, half a dozen or so involved my left hard hitting the ground pretty hard, and each time it took a little longer for the pain to subside. The hand looked significantly worse by the time I was done.

Note that I do not count as something negative the time when the only parts of me above the surface of the swamp were my head and my map hand. That just added to the experience.

Friday Sep 11, 2009 #


Here's the course for my first ultra. Pretty exciting!


Finished Flickan som lekte med elden, 630 pages in Swedish. Certainly not great literature, but a good story and a fun read. And of course there is still the third volume in the trilogy (the first one I read in English), 700 pages for it. At least I got one done in time to pass it on to Lisa at Rochester, though it seems unlikely that I'll get the second one done by then too.

Thanks again to Per Nyström (Erik's dad) for sending over the two books.

run/hike 40:47 [3]
rhr:49 weight:136lbs shoes: mudclaw 270

From the gate, over to the start of the power line power climb (6:28), then up it (800', 0.8 miles) in 15:48, back down in 6:49, then checking out a couple of extra trails on the way back to the car. Light rain and cool. Didn't want to do too much in advance of tomorrow's night O', though I may make a short outing tonight to check out my new light.


Ultra Tales part 2 -- The Rocky One 50 Miler

Yup, that was the name of the race. The name seemed justified. About half the course (this map is only vaguely accurate) was on the Appalachian Trail, which in Pennsylvania is just a long narrow rock field. The rest was a mix of jeep roads plus about 6 miles along an abandoned railroad bed, the rails were gone but the big chunks of gravel were still there. One thing the name didn't seem so good for was drawing a big crowd. There were just 11 of us at the starting line in late November, 1981.

It had been a year since my first ultra, and apparently I'd been in no rush to do another. Though I think another consideration was not wanting to do one in the middle of orienteering season when events were beckoning. It took a while before I learned that you could race quite well just a week after a 50, if you did it right.

I don't remember a whole lot about this one. It went up, it went down, it was a bit hard to follow at times (some folks got lost a little), it was cold, there wasn't a lot of daylight so we started at dawn. But I do remember a couple of things.

One was that this was one of my first exposures to coming back from the dead, meaning you've bonked -- and I don't mean that in the Australian (or is it British?) sense -- and can hardly keep going, and then you get a little something sweet in you, and then 5 or 10 minutes later you are just ripping along. You go from feeling just awful to feeling quite wonderful, and you haven't even taken any controlled substances.

In this case I'd been doing quite well through 40 miles, but then started to die, and then by 45 miles died big time. Got something to drink and a couple cookies at the last aid station, and when the sugar kicked in in a few minutes I was off to the races. Caught and passed one guy (the race director and winner the previous year), finished strong (8:24), and would have won the race except for the fact that I'd made the mistake of talking Eric Weyman into coming. And Eric, with a 2:38 marathon to his credit, had dusted everyone with a 7:49.

Now second place is pretty good, but all it really did was move you up in the pecking order for claiming your award (Eric got first choice, me second, Damon Douglas 5th, among others, Fred got lost and was a DNF at 42 miles). The awards were all roughly the same -- big chunks of anthracite coal, hard coal. It's still sitting on display, a source of energy for heating the house I suppose if times get really bad. I do look at it once in a while and it always brings a smile.

Second place is actually real good, because my list of triumphs in running races is really really short, meaning 2, and each has a certain amount of bogusness associated with it.

The first was quite early in my running life, October, 1980, a trail half-marathon, one-way along the M&M trail from where it crosses the Mass Pike north to the tower on the top of Goat Peak (which is on the Mt. Tom O' map). Rocks and hills, rocks and hills. I think 9 of us lined up at the start, a motley crew as might be expected. The clear favorite was Roland Cormier, very good local runner, did some orienteering too including the Billygoat.

Roland was a lot faster than I was, but he had one problem, he was scared of heights (even more than I am). Where the trail winds along the top of the Mt. Tom cliffs, Roland was bushwhacking 50 yards in the woods the other way, just to be safe. Even with that, he was still out front all the way, past Mt. Tom, past the top of the ski area, past Whiting Peak, and right past Goat Peak too, missing the turn for the last 50 yards up to the tower, going quite a bit further north and showing up at the tower quite a bit later.

Meanwhile, I was the best of the rest on that day. This being an early Fred Pilon race production, the amenities were slim and the organizational support none. The instructions were to take you own time at the tower and he'd compile the results afterwards. I got to the tower, no sign of Roland, son of a gun, I'd won, not a soul there to witness it. I swear, really, I won....

The other win was much more recent, and it too smelled of bogus, it was the Soapstone Assault, put on by Clint Morse and his club, the Shenipsit Striders in NE Connecticut. The course was once around the loop trail circling Soapstone Mt., interrupted each time there was a side trail up to the top for a quick up and down. Five times up and down (vertical maybe 200 feet), and then on the last side trail at the end of the loop we just had to go up, finish at the top of the lookout tower.

Maybe 30 of us lined up at the start. What was bogus was that it was handicapped based on age and gender, so those of us rather old got big head starts. It was a big enough lead to hold on and be the first one up the tower. The crowd this time? I believe it was one guy taking times.

So really second place was the best I've ever done. And in just my second ultra. There were possibilities in this ultra stuff.... :-)

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