Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chasing and being chased


I spent a lot of time this weekend chasing or being chased.

On Saturday, I made a couple of mistakes in the first part of the course and Randy caught me. I'd lost two minutes and didn't think I had much of a chance of getting those two minutes back. But, I thought I could get away and might have a chance. I thought I'd be running stronger than Randy. No way. I could barely keep up with him.

On Sunday, Robbie made a big mistake early on and I caught up to him. I figured there was no chance I could hang on to Robbie. He is faster than me. But, I managed to keep even with him, running similar but not quite the same routes. At one point I had to stop twice to get a thorn out of my foot. I was sure Robbie would be gone, but I chased and caught back up fairly quickly. In fact, I was able to get a bit of a lead and ran a good bit of the course being chased by Robbie.

It is strange that my perceptions were completely wrong. I thought I'd out run Randy, and I couldn't. I thought I'd have no chance to keep Robbie in sight, and I managed to get ahead and hold a bit of a lead.

Given the choice I'd much rather be chased than chase someone. When you get a small lead, it feels like it is easy to work hard. But, when you're in back, it feels like a fight to stay in touch. There's no drafting in orienteering.

Randy wrote a bit about his experience being chased by me:

While I was happy with all my races, the middle at FLO has to stand out as one of my better races ever. It certainly was a PR by a wide margin in terms of WRE points, if that means anything. But more to the point was that I was in a zone and doing everything right, even the little things. All at a pretty high speed for me. 5:30 per K, not too bad. I boomed #5 for about 10 seconds, and that's about it. Finished 4th in a decent field. I think starting behind Spike, and catching him, and ahead of Ted, and not wanting to be caught, had alot to do with focus. One thing I tend to do when ahead of a better orienteer is be cautious about leading. I feel nervous about being watched. But I was able to put that out of my mind and ignore everything but the map and terrain and pushing myself. I think pushing myself in this race left me a little weak for the long, but I imagine my competition was also pushing themselves.

posted by Michael | 9:00 PM


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