Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, October 16, 2003

The second day in Canada


I had a strange race on the second day of the GLOF in Canada. I was close, very close, to having a good race. Instead, I missed a control, stressed and tried to make up time, missed another control and finally got my act back together. By then it was too late to have a good race.

The second day course was short (4.2 km) with a lot of controls (17). Here is a bit of the course:

I lost time at 5 and 7.

On the way to 5 I caught sight of another runner. When I spotted him, I thought, "I should be able to catch him by the control."

What I should have thought (what I probably would have thought on a good day) was, "ok, so there is a guy ahead of me, pay attention to what you are doing...."

When I came over the saddle I dropped into the wide depression and looked around. I spotted a depression and ran over to check it out. It was distinct and deep. But, there wasn't a control in it. I looked at the map and realized where I was. So I headed off in the direction of the control, looking for either the depression, control or the boulder. I must have run right by it without seeing it. I saw a trail ahead of me, stopped, saw where I was and turned around and ran back to the control.

I ran hard to 6. I was mad about losing time at 5. I shouldn't have been. Once you've lost time it doesn't usually make sense to try to make it up. In fact, I should have taken a few seconds and taken it a bit easier on the 6th control. It worked out ok, I hit 6 without any trouble.

But, then I headed off toward 7, still trying to make up time. I missed the control by just a bit, then had to stop to figure out what was going on. The map was a bit hard to read (the map wasn't offset printed) and I spent a few seconds figuring out what was going on before I realized where I had to go.

When I found 7 I realized what I was doing. Trying to make up time wasn't going to work. What I needed was to slow down and get my mind back on what I was doing -- read the map and let the terrain and navigation set the pace.

The rest of the race went well.

I ran well from the start to 4, then from 7 to the finish. But, I'd lost enough between 4 and 7 to lose the race.

In retrospect, I probably should have spent some more time before the race thinking through what I was going to do. Even after 20+ years of orienteering, I don't seem to be able to race well without spending a few minutes before the race thinking about what I'm going to do.

posted by Michael | 7:05 PM


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