Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Factoid from the WOC


I was going to look at WOC results today. After writing about Andersson and Skogum yesterday I wanted to take a look at how the Swedish team performed.

I got out O-Sport and planned to look at the results. But then I noticed something else that I thought was interesting...

Two of the Swedish medalists -- Hakan Eriksson and Karolina Hojsgaard -- were recently left of WOC teams.

In 2001, Hojsgaard wasn't picked (the Swedish coach at the time was Anders Tistad, not Marita Skogum). If I remember right, she won one of the Swedish selection races. After the selections Hojsgaard was PO'd and made her thoughts known in the newspaper.

Last year, Eriksson won the sprint selection race. Then he got left off the WOC team. I don't remember reading any newspaper interviews with Eriksson after the selections, but I've got to think he wasn't happy.

Interesting...at least I thought so.

posted by Michael | 8:22 PM


Monday, November 29, 2004

New contracts for Swedish coaches


The Swedish O' Federation extended the contracts (or maybe entered into new contracts) with Goran Andersson and Marita Skogum. Andersson and Skogum have been national team coaches for three years. The reports I've read about the new contracts note how successful the Swedish teams have been at this year's WOC.

I started thinking -- how would you know if you've got a good national team coach? Is looking at results the best way to judge them? How much worse could Sweden's results have been last summer for the Swedish Federation not to want to keep Andersson and Skogum?

I don't know anything about the contracts for Andersson and Skogum, so I don't presume to be able to say anything about how they've done or how the Swedish Federation decided to extend their contracts. That's not what I'm interested in. But I am interested in the idea of how you measure coaching success.

It seems to me that holding coaches accountable for results alone is dumb. How coaches get results -- the process -- matters, too. My sense is that process matters more than results.

I'm convinced a coach can have a good process and the team can get bad results. A coach can also have a bad process and get good results. But over the long run, the good process will tend to get good results and the bad process will tend to get bad results. If that's true, a federation would want to "buy" the process not the results.

The same would be true for an owner of an NFL team or the athletic director of a university or the owner of a NASCAR team.

Getting back to orienteering...how do you know if you've got a good process? The first step would be to figure out how to measure the process. How do you describe the different approaches to leading a national team? What are the key decisions a national team leader makes?

I could probably go on like this for pages, writing questions I'd like to answer but can't. But, it is almost time for the Jayhawks basketball game to come on TV, so I'll stop.

posted by Michael | 7:24 PM


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Report from Hawn race


We had three hours to get as many points as possible. Controls had values of 1, 2, 3 or 4 points. We drew the maps from master maps and had up to an hour of time to plan our routes.

I'm not good at figuring out the best route for a score course. But I figured my goal was to get a good long run in the forest on a nice map. I didn't really care if my route wasn't optimal. Still, you don't want to pick a stupid route. I spent maybe 5 minutes deciding how I'd take the controls.

After the race, I looked at how Eric Buckley and Dave Frei planned their routes. Both were much more systematic than I was. Eric, for example, marked where he expected to be at specific times (e.g. one hour into the event). He'd check his progress at those points and might revise his plan. I think he measured his route and estimated his expected kilometer time.

I just picked a route that would get me most of the control, then kept an eye on my watch and adjusted my plan on the fly. I suspect a careful approach pays off.

I was happy with my race. I felt like I was running fairly well in the forest. Maybe I could have run harder. On the other hand, it is probably better to finish with the idea that you could have gone a bit harder the first hour than go too hard the first hour and really drag the last hour.

I sucked down some Hammergel and drank some Gookinaid on the course. That helped.

posted by Michael | 3:59 PM



I started by heading on the west side of the map. Click the image for higher resolution.

posted by Michael | 3:58 PM



I took the controls on the east side of the map at the end of the race.

posted by Michael | 3:57 PM


Saturday, November 27, 2004  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 5:06 PM


Friday, November 26, 2004

Tomorrow's event at Hawn


I'm heading off to run the 3-hour score event at Hawn State Park. Fritz and I leave Kansas City in about two hours. The race begins tomorrow morning at 11. We'll run three hours then drive home. Looks like about ten or eleven hours of driving for three hours of running. It should be fun.

Hawn is a great place for orienteering -- nice terrain and a good map. To see the terrain, take a look at Peter's maps from the last spring's A-meet: day one and day two.

I've never been very successful at score orienteering. I don't have much success picking good routes. I don't really like the format (I much prefer point-to-point orienteering, solving the course setter's problems). But, three hours of running around in a nice forest with a good map and finding controls will be fun.

I'll try to update the page tomorrow from my phone.

posted by Michael | 1:12 PM


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Training in the snow


I ran through a snowy forest at Wyandotte today. Running in the snow is a blast. On the south slopes much of the snow had melted (the start triangle picture shows a south facing slope). But there was enough snow to make the footing a bit sketchy. North facing slopes had enough snow to make the running a bit tough without being a real slog (snow just covered my shoes). Really fun training today.

posted by Michael | 1:51 PM



At the start triangle.

posted by Michael | 1:50 PM



On my way back to the car.

posted by Michael | 1:50 PM



Mook's day 1 at Kentucky Camp near Tucson, AZ. Click on the image for higher resolution.

posted by Michael | 7:59 AM



Mook's day 2 at Kentucky Camp near Tucson, AZ.

posted by Michael | 7:59 AM


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Some links worth a look


No inspiration to write tonight. But here are a few noteworthy links.

Larvik OK had a night O' training where one of the route choices was to go for 600 meters through a tunnel. Check out the three routes for leg 4 to 5. The route labeled "c" goes through a tunnel.

Last winter I spent some time in Tucson. Mook and I did some O' training on a basemap. The terrain was quite pleasant and fairly interesting. You can't say that about most of the O' terrain around Tucson. Last weekend, the Tuscon club hosted a two day meet at the area. Check out Mook's routes on day one and day two.

The video coverage of last summer's world champs was great. I got up at 4 a.m. to follow some of the races and really enjoyed it. Through the Swedish web page Alternativet, you can now download about five hours of video coverage from the WOC. Go to the download page and save the files to your hard drive. The files are big and the downloads take a lot of time, but when you see the video I don't think you'll be disappointed. Do it. Do it now.

posted by Michael | 7:20 PM


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What's the terrain in Japan like Goran?


Goran Andersson, a Swedish national team coach, talked about the terrain in Japan:

It will be very demanding. The hills are both long and steep and even the orienteering will be tough, it is easy to make a mistake. In short, it is very complex orienteering. But I think we have a good idea of everything.

You can read the whole interview (i.e. if you can read Swedish).

posted by Michael | 1:25 PM


Monday, November 22, 2004

5 thoughts on O' fashion


Some discussion at Attackpoint inspired me to come up with 5 thoughts about O' fashion:

1. There is no perfect fabric for O' gear. You can't find fabric that is comfortable and durable. It just doesn't exist. Some fabrics might be a bit better than others, but nothing is going to survive an encounter with a barbed wire fence.

2. What ever happened to brown O' suits? When I started orienteering HVO's club suits were brown and yellow. Dan Meenehan always wore brown.* You don't see brown O' suits anymore. That's a good thing, 'cause those brown O' suits looked awful.

3. I think gaiters are ugly and worthless, pockets are useful. Maybe I run differently than others, but I never bash the front of my leg in a way that gaiters would protect. Pockets, on the other hand, are useful. I like having a little pocket to carry a Gu packet.

4. Google "orienteering fashion" and you'll find a page reporting that Diyijia "was granted the title of special - grade Brand - orienteering fashion designer in China."

5. Does the fashion make the runner or the runner the fashion? Does the French national team suit look cool?

For what it is worth, I think the next time OK orders O' suits, we'll try Axisgear.

*Dan was also known for wearing an especially strange pair of goggles when he orienteered, setting a unique fashion statement (and pre-dating the Oakley-shades look so popular these days).

posted by Michael | 7:36 PM


Sunday, November 21, 2004  

Sprinting to the finish at the middle champs in California a few weeks ago.

posted by Michael | 7:49 PM


Another golf story


A few months ago I wrote about Bill James' Law of Competetive Balance. James' idea is a way to think about motivation and improvement in sports.

I was reminded of the Law of Competetive Balance when I was reading an article in today's NY Times about golf. Why would I be reading about golf? I'm not sure, but someone once told me orienteering and golf are the same sport.

Karrie Webb used to be the best golfer. She was ranked number 1 in 1999 and 2000. But then Annika Sorenstam took over. Not being the best motivated Sorenstam. The NY Times quoted Sorenstam:

She [Webb] was a great motivator for many reasons. First of all, I wanted to be the best player out here, and she was for a time. I looked up to her, trying to figure out how I can get better, and what do I need to do to beat her. That's really when I started to analyze my game a lot more in detail. I started to work out. I started to work a little harder. So I have a lot to be thankful for, to Karrie and her sucess.

posted by Michael | 7:35 PM


Saturday, November 20, 2004

More notes from folks getting home from Japan


I spent some time this afternoon looking at web pages from Emma Engstrand and Pasi Ikonen (both just returned from training and racing in Japan). If I get around to it, I'll probably translate all of Engstrand's article. But, I'm not getting around to it today.

Emma wrote about, among other things, the hills, the soft footing, the slow forest (though she expects faster forest in the WOC), the Japanese food (which she doesn't like), and jet lag.

I have to say there is something satisfying about the European nations having to deal with jet lag.

Pasi writes in English. So you can -- and should -- go over to his page and read the training logs. One of the sessions Pasi wrote about include a note, "In this training I learned that you really have to push it when running on the slopes. Also downhill running plays quite an important role."

I'm interested in running down hills. I'm a slow runner going down hills, but I've improved. Or I should say, I improved a lot until I tore my leg up a few years ago. Post-injury, I became slower than ever on the down hills. This fall I've started improving again. This winter I plan to get back to where I was in 2001.

posted by Michael | 5:34 PM


Friday, November 19, 2004

Lowegren at a training course


Fredrick Lowegren wrote about his debut as a teacher at a training course organized by the Swedish O' Federation. I thought one of his observations was interesting:

Sunday was devoted to O' strategies. We spend a lot of time on setting up technique training for our runners but do we ever think about how we use what we learn? Are we using our orienteering knowlege correctly? The participants worked in groups to discuss which strategies would be required in different types of terrain, using maps from up coming championships.

posted by Michael | 7:51 PM


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Cool maps


Just a couple of quick links...

Check out the terrain for the 2005 Junior WOC in Switzerland. They've uploaded PDF files of the areas, you can print them out, set some courses and think about what the JWOC will be like.

Also, take a look at Emma Engstrand's maps from Japan. She just returned from a pre-WOC visit.

posted by Michael | 9:09 PM


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A couple of questions


Think about how you prepare for orienteering.

1. If you had to reduce the amount of preparation you do by one hour a week, what would you cut out?

2. If you had to add to your preparation by one hour a week, what would you add?

I can answer the first question easily. I usually ride a bike trainer in my basement once or twice a week. I usually do 30 minutes at a time. In a half hour I get warmed up, break a good sweat and get in a little work. It is better than doing nothing. It is much better than sitting in front of the TV and eating chips. But if I cut it out, I wouldn't lose much.

The second question is a lot tougher for me to answer. It is tougher because there are so many possibilities. I could add ten minutes a day to what I'm doing now. Or I could add another one hour session. Or I could spend another hour driving to maps for technique training. I could add stretching or strength training. I could play field crumpets. Or I could spent an hour a week mapping, or studying maps, or playing Catching Features.

I like asking myself these sorts of questions. It forces me to think about what I'm doing; to question the decisions I make about training.

posted by Michael | 7:22 PM


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Word from Japan


A bunch of top orienteers have been training and racing in Japan and are just returning home. Two of them -- Jorgen Rostrup and Kalle Dalin -- wrote a bit about their experiences on their web pages.

Rostrup felt the terrain was simpler than he'd expected beforehand. He found reading the contours and making route choices easier than expected.

Dalin wrote that you had to concentrate the whole time, keeping track of the spurs and reentrants. Making a map reading mistake could cost you 5 contours of climb.

I wouldn't call Rostrup and Dalin's comments incompatible. But it is interesting that Rostrup seems to have found the orienteering easy while Dalin seems to be noticing the difficulties. Since they are both describing the same thing, I'd guess the differences reflect different mentalities.

Speaking of Japan, check out the first English translation of Bjornar Valstad and Hanne Staff's series on orienteering in Japan.

posted by Michael | 7:50 PM


Monday, November 15, 2004

Technique versus physical training


From Randy's description of his race last weekend:

...I ran against Nadim in the mass start. Nadim is a stronger runner than me, and that was clear on the trail running portions of the relay. But in the forest, I could hold my own, and really for the first time confirmed a theory with observation that I have some strength at running thru the forest (which I guess is why I come off as disdainful of new formats and course setting styles that emphasize running on trails and otherwise out of the forest, and other talk of emphasis of physical training on roads and tracks). Not that that stuff doesn't seem important, but I get the sense that the technique vs physical training thing may be a false dilemma -- as I've speculated before, running in the forest itself is the skill to go after, probably as a line O, but even volume work should be in the forest, or at least on crappy trails/XC. Perhaps even intervals in the forest, rather than on a track, I dunno. I guess I'll stop before I drift farther into the speculation zone.

A couple of thoughts spurred by Randy's writing....

I think there are big differences in ability to run in the terrain. Those differences get magnified when you throw in some map reading.

In my experience, when my training includes a lot of running in the forest several things. First, I become much more comfortable running in the terrain. I don't think (or worry) about how to move through the forest, I just do it. Second, I feel like my speed through the terrain increases even when the effort remains the same. Third, my running on a road feels different. I start to feel like my running form changes (that change disappears after just a week or so of non-terrain running).

Different terrains require different running techniques. Running through the thorny, sapling dense forests around Kansas City isn't the same as running through the rocky terrain at Harriman. I have some sense of the different techniques required by different terrains. But, I wish I had a better understanding of the demands of different terrains. I'd like to figure out how, for example, to prepare for Harriman terrain without leaving Kansas City.

splitting orienteering training into two things -- physical versus technical -- is a natural way to think about training. But, it is worth remembering that the split isn't what the sport of orienteering is about. It is more a reflection on how people have historically trained.

posted by Michael | 8:06 PM


Sunday, November 14, 2004

A look at the first leg


I thought I'd compare the results from a few races to the results of the first leg.

To make the comparisons, I'm looking at split times. I'm assuming that the split times are right.

WOC sprint race

The medals went to (in order) Niclas Jonasson, Hakan Eriksson and Yuri Omeltchenko and Simone Niggli-Luder, Karolina Hojsgaard and Elisabeth Ingvaldsen.

In the men's race Mamleev, Brickhill-Jones and Harju were tied for the lead at the first control.

In the women's race Hojsgaard was in the lead at one, followed by Nigli-Luder and Engstrand in a tie for second.

WOC middle race

The men who medaled were Gueorgiou, Novikov and Nordberg.

At the first control Nasman was in the lead, followed by Gueorgiou, then Omeltchenko.

The women who medaled were Staff, Ryabkina and Jukkola.

At the first control Ryabkina was in the lead, followed by Niggli-Luder, then Jukkola.

WOC long race

The men who medaled were Valstad, Karlsson and Hott-Johansen.

At the first control Haldin was in the lead, followed by Lakannen, then Horst.

The women who medaled were Hojsgaard, Staff and Mikkola.

At the first control Hojsgaard was in the lead and Mikkola and Kauppi were tied for second.

So what?

I don't know what, if anything, to make of the first control results.

I got interested in it when I was thinking about starting races (thanks mostly to an email message I got last week from Mike Waddington). Have you ever watched a start? Some people turn over the map, located the fist leg quickly, and take off. Others turn the map over, struggle to orient it and figure out where they are going, then take a few tentative steps, maybe even heading in the wrong direction for a few steps.

I planned to look at some race results and split times from races in the U.S. to get a sense of the differences in first legs. But I didn't really have time (I'm trying to finish writing in time to watch the second half of the KU basketball game on TV). It was quicker to look at the WOC results.

Now, back to the basketball game.

posted by Michael | 8:08 PM


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Italian visitors!


I took a look at the site stats for this page and discovered a few visits from an Italian web page. I discovered a reference to this page in a discussion at IFK Bombarda's discussion. Now I can't read Italian (it has been 35 years since I lived in Florence), but I put the Italian text into the google translation tool and this came out:

You council http://okansas.blogspot.com/is of an American who has lived also in Sweden and writes every day something more or less relating to the orienteering, to times being based on other situated ones who translate. Beyond seeing that to short also in the USA they will have papers made more better of ours (but this he is not relating to the off-topic), you will notice from the news of 2 November - and in particular from the comments it connects you to it - than the community of the orientisti reasons everywhere more or less in the same way... even if from we it seems here is Moscow white woman... however task that we can more be fairs of one correspondence or little grip than ideas. We are all a Pò played sennò we would not make what we make and we would not be like we are, but in our madness the brain seems to more work a Pò regarding the medium citizen. An other that bare it never sopportato (and I do not speak about Dipa!) I return to the thesis

That doesn't look great, but I think I get the gist of what they wrote.

Welcome to all Italian visitors!

posted by Michael | 4:01 PM


Today's first race


Possum Trot O' Club hosts two races today. The first race began this morning at a place called Landahl. You can see the map with my routes below (click on an image to get higher resolution).

I like orienteering at Landahl. The forest is fairly thick and thorny. The stream banks are steep and slippery. The map is good. The park is full of mountain bike trails. A few new trails show up every time we orienteer there, which you have to remember when you come across an unexpected trail.

Landahl has a shooting range in the middle of the map. When you orienteer you hear gun shots. It is a bit strange, but you get used to it quickly.

I mentioned that PTOC hosts two races today. The second race is a night race at a park near Landahl. I'll be heading over there in an hour or so. It'll be interesting to see how my legs feel after running hard at Landahl for 55 minutes.

posted by Michael | 3:45 PM



The first part of today's course.

posted by Michael | 3:44 PM



The middle part of today's course.

posted by Michael | 3:44 PM



The last part of today's course.

posted by Michael | 3:43 PM


Friday, November 12, 2004  

The run in at the middle champs last weekend. You can see that last control in the background as Andrew Komm punches at the finish line.

posted by Michael | 8:17 PM


Team building


The CSC cycling team will head off for their annual "team building" training camp in a few weeks.

I don't know exactly what CSC will be doing at their camp, but I guess it'll be some of the sort of team building that corporate (and government) training consultants push.

B.S. Christiansen organizes the camp for CSC. He's got a military background and apparently makes a living as a consultant. Here's a bit of what he said on the CSC web page:

It's very important, that the participants are unprepared for what's in store, and also that it's an outdoor camp, where no one can escape from the various assignments. In this way people get to know each other in a completely new way, which at the end of the day will create a team spirit, as it's about sticking together, when the going gets tough. You evolve as a person when put under pressure.

...when a rider is under a lot of pressure, he reacts very selfishly, and that's where I have to work with them. Cause when you're in the middle of the Tour de France, it's very important to keep up the team spirit, even when things aren't working out, the way you thought they would.

I'm not a big fan of "team building" activities. But, I'm quite interested in how groups work. The idea of paying attention to interactions and how people think and work seems important (or maybe not important, maybe useful?).

posted by Michael | 7:55 PM


Thursday, November 11, 2004  

Mary after our O' training session at Big Basin State Park.

posted by Michael | 2:17 PM


Some interesting club training


I usually take a look at a couple of Swedish club web pages every week or two. I look to see what's going on. Sometimes I get an idea or two.

Mountain bike night O'

IF Thor is having a series of mountain bike night O' events on Wednesday evenings. Cool.

Lidingo's technique project

IFK Lidingo has a series of training sessions as part of their "technique project 2005." They're setting up about 15 technique training sessions, all with good maps and pre-printed courses. Five of those sessions are night O'. To participate in the project, you've got to complete all 15 session; draw in your route choices; discuss them with a someone (who will be assigned to help you plan, complete and discuss the training); keep a technique notebook with all of the training sessions in it; and analyze your current technical abilities.


I usually find it inspiring to read what other clubs are doing, as long as they are doing something active and interesting, that is.

Maybe it'll inspire me -- and other OKers -- to set up some low key training throughout the winter.

posted by Michael | 1:48 PM


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Am I so slow?


At the U.S. Champs in Telemark my splits for the run-in were slow. I didn't quite jog from the last control, but I didn't push myself either. That's just lazy and dumb. So at the middle champs last weekend I decided I work hard on the run-in.

I looked at the split times. Mary ran the finish chute in 18 seconds. Jennifer Knowles, who won F21, took 20 seconds. Sharon Crawford, who finished 2nd in F21 and who is known as a slow sprinter, took 24 seconds. A couple of M21s ran it in 14 seconds. Brian May, who won M21, took 16 seconds.

My split time was 30 seconds. 30 seconds?!

I looked at the splits for maybe 10 different classes and didn't see any other split that slow. The closest was Martin Kunz, who won M40, with 29 seconds.

Am I really that slow? I don't think so. I hope not.

The split time must be wrong. I think Sportident has a clock in each punch unit. Maybe the unit that Martin and I punched had the wrong time. That would explain the strange splits. But as I looked through the split times it looks like Martin and I are the only ones with such slow times. Could Martin and I be the only ones affected?

If I remember correctly the last control had two SI units. Could it be that Martin and I were the only two who used a particular unit? Mary asked me if I used the unit on the left or the right. I don't remember. It seems strange that everyone except Martin and I would use one unit.

Martin and I were both early starters and among the earliest finishers. Could the unit have somehow changed (i.e. gotten on the right time) after we'd finished? That seems a bit far fetched.

I guess I'll never know how fast I ran the finish chute.

posted by Michael | 7:12 PM


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

First part of the middle champs race


I posted the map with the first part of the red course from the middle champs below.

The race was at a place called Morgan Territory. Morgan Territory is east of San Francisco and a bit north of Livermore. The section of the map we used was quite nice.

The area we used was relatively flat. We didn't have any legs that required a lot of climb (though late in the course we had a big downhill run).

Visibility was good except for the green areas. As you can see, there aren't many green areas. I often saw the control from a decent distance despite the markers being hung low.

Footing was good in the rocky areas. I suspect that rocky areas on steep hillsides might be rough, but the rocky areas on top of hills was quite easy to run through. During the race I didn't notice the difference between boulders, rocky ground and boulder fields. That's not a complaint about the mapping. It was just that you didn't need to draw those distinctions are you orienteered.

The course was -- as advertised -- built around lots of short legs with direction changes. We didn't have any significant route choice problems (though there were lots of small route choices to make).

posted by Michael | 7:31 PM



Click on the image for higher resolution.

posted by Michael | 7:30 PM


Monday, November 08, 2004  

Orienteering in the Redwood forest at Big Basin State Park.

posted by Michael | 8:35 PM


Saturday, November 06, 2004  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 7:09 PM


Friday, November 05, 2004  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 8:21 PM


Thursday, November 04, 2004



In a couple of hours I'll be sitting in an airplane on my way to California. I'll visit some in-laws and even get in a day of orienteering. I'm running the U.S. middle champs on Saturday. It should be fun.

I expect to have a few chances to update this page while I'm away from home. At the very least I can post some notes from my phone. I might not quite manage to post something every day.

Big in Japan?

Bjornar Valstad and Hanne Staff are beginning a series of articles about orienteering in Japan. Nearly everything on their web page is written in Norwegian, but they've promised that the Big in Japan series of articles will be translated to English also.

If you're planning to run the WOC, you'll want to read their articles. If you're planning to follow the WOC, you'll want to read their articles. In fact, if you're interested in orienteering at all, you'll want to read what they have to say.

Check out www.staff-valstad.com and look for the articles (they haven't yet posted anything beyond an introduction, which is in Norwegian only).

You can take a look at some photos and maps from their visit to Japan a few years ago. The article is entirely Norwegian, but the maps give you a good sense of the terrain.

posted by Michael | 8:21 AM


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Interview with an O' trainer


I read an interview on Alternativet with the new O' trainer at Sandviken's O' school in Sweden. Sweden has a system where students who are good at different sports can attend schools where they get some extra time and help to prepare for their sports. The schools function a bit like "magnet" schools in the U.S. with a focus on a specific sport, though the schools themselves are regular schools with lots of regular students in addition to the sports students. They've got these schools for lots of different sports.

Bjorn Ljunggren was hired to be the new trainer, replacing Grant Bluett, the Australian WOC runner who'd been the trainer.

Here is an extract from the interview:

You went to Sandviken's O' School. Did you think it worked well or is there something you especially want to change when you get the chance?

I developed a lot by going to Sandviken, but of course there are some things that could have been better. I think a lot has already changed since when I went there. Something I think is very important is for the students themselves to be involved in planning the training. When I went there we had everything served on a silver platter. When you finished school you suddenly had to do everything for yourself. You'd learn a lot but hadn't learned how to take responsibility for how you should train. Really all you had to do was show up at the arranged time and with the right gear and you got good training.

posted by Michael | 6:24 PM


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Snapshot and the election


Check out one of the winners of the Norwegian O' Federation's photo contest. The caption reads, "Summer race in O' land (June 20)." It is the top photo on this page.

Today's election

If you read this page you probably fit in one of these groups:

1. You know me well.
2. You know me casually. If you see me at an A-meet, we exchange a few words.
3. You've never met me, all you now about me is what you've read on this page.
4. You've visited this page once. You probably got here from a search engine (I used to get a distressing number of visits from people who Googled "Jeff + Boschee + naked")

If you're in group 1, you probably know how I voted in the presidential election.

But what about groups 2 and 3. Do you know -- based on casual interaction and reading this page -- who I voted for? As far as I can remember I haven't ever written about politics.

If you're in group 4, especially if you're looking for "Jeff + Boschee + naked", I trust that you don't care and couldn't guess who I voted for.

Take a guess. Who do you think I voted for?

To get the answer, check the comment.

posted by Michael | 7:24 PM


Monday, November 01, 2004

How fast do you have to be to qualify for the sprint final?


How fast do you have to be to qualify for the WOC sprint final?

I don't know. But as I was looking at Brian May's maps and splits a couple of days ago I wondered how fast Brian was. A quick google search gave me some info.

Here are Brian's running times from 2003 (a year when Brian ran at the WOC):

5Km 17:22
8Km 29:21
Half marathon 1:15:27 and 1:17:02
25Km 1:34:47
Marathon 2:48:13

I don't know anything about these races. Where the courses flat or hilly? Where the conditions good? I don't know. But I was struck by a couple of things:

1. The times are decent, but not great. Those aren't the times of a runner with a lot of natural talent (unless they are running on very little training). Brian's times look like what you'd expect from someone with a bit of talent and some preparation.*

2. In 2003, Brian did a good bit of road racing -- two half marathons, one 25 km race and a marathon.

I looked up Brian's training entry for his marathon. Here is what he wrote:

Started too fast (1st half in 1:17:19), crashed and burned. It felt good early on (was running with a couple of friends), but should have done my own thing and backed off earlier than I did. Hit the 20 mile mark still on 6-minute pace (2:00:17), but was toast by then. 48 minutes for the last 10k ... ouch! Oh well ... live and learn.

* I realize it might sound like I'm not impressed with Brian as an athlete. Actually, I am. I think he's done quite well, especially given that he works and has a family.

posted by Michael | 7:14 PM


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