Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, November 03, 2003

"Wrong Thought"


Randy wrote about a race he ran this weekend (the complete report, including maps, is on Mapsurfer.com). Among other things, he wrote:

I felt the ability to "turn on" the 100% concentration like I wrote about after Pond Mountain. I don't remember feeling that before except after a really bad race, but I guess its possible. I just figured you can't control your thoughts, but I believe you can, I guess. Three races in a row. I had the ability to force out irrelevant thoughts, like is this pace fast enough to beat so and so or whether or not I should buy another Iced Earth album. I would just say "wrong thought" to myself....
The problem will be remembering how to do this next year....The cost of 100% concentration/contact is not free.

Randy describes something that I've noticed when I'm orienteering well -- as soon as my mind wanders, I notice that it wandered and I'm able to immediately think about what I'm doing again. When I'm orienteering really well, my mind doesn't wander. But, orienteering that well doesn't happen so often. On the other hand, orienteering nearly that well -- where you say "wrong thought" to yourself -- hasn't been so hard to do. It just takes practice and remembering that feeling.

I can't remember when I first figured out what Randy wrote about. I'm sure it took me several years. When I first understood what was going on I developed a little habit. Instead of telling myself "wrong thought," I told myself to look at the compass. Looking at my compass did two things. First, it was a trigger to get my mind back on what I was doing. Second, since my mind had begun to wander, looking at the compass kept me from doing something really stupid (like a 180 mistake).

I think what Randy describes is very close to what the Scandinavians call "Flyt."

posted by Michael | 8:25 PM


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