Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, June 07, 2004

Racing to beat someone


In the recent final for the Swedish elite series, Simone Niggli-Luder and Jenny Johansson had chances to win. Simone won the final race. In a newspaper interview she talked about the race between her and Johansson. A reporter asked Simone what she thought about before the race:

I wanted to concentrate on my self and not the duel between me and Jenny. That is tough in this environment where you run through the finish area two times and hear the announcer and the spectators...

It seems like Simone used the competition with Johansson to help her focus and concentrate.

In my own orienteering this spring, I've had my best races when I've been thinking about beating a specific person. In fact, the good races have come when I've been a bit annoyed at having finished behind someone on the first of two days. The second day I've been determined to beat someone (it has been different people at different races) and I've managed to concentrate pretty well when I've been doing that.

I was thinking about this way of motivating myself after reading an article from the North Texas O' Association newsletter. Inspired by my time in Texas, I poked around the NTOA web page and came across this report from Robbie Paddock on the Great Lakes O' Festival last October.

Robbie is one of the top U.S. juniors. He's a strong orienteer. It has been fun to see his improvement over the last three years or so.

Here is what Robbie wrote:

On the first day of competition I had a couple of mistakes but an OK race. I was trying to beat Mike Eglinski but I was 4 minutes behind him....On the second day I ran a short course of 4.2 km. The runnability of the forest was good, better than the first day, which was very rocky, with no footing. I had a 3-minute mistake on the number one control and two more 1-minute mistakes, giving me a time of 34:45. I didn't beat Mike
again; he was a minute ahead of me. On the third day it was a one-man relay course with a mass start and a map exchange. On the first leg I had a 10-minute error, which put me behind. But on the second leg I had a good race. My time was 54:11 and I finally beat Mike.

Robbie was trying to beat me! I guess it had never occurred to me that Robbie would have beating me as a goal.

If I'd known, I wonder if I could have run better. (I have to point out that I was sick on the third day and walked the course).

At TJOC this past week I was no match for Robbie. I don't think I can beat him anymore, at least not in Texas. But, maybe being beat by Robbie will inspire me to train a bit better this summer with the hope of racing Robbie in the fall.

posted by Michael | 8:24 PM


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