Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, January 31, 2005

Orienteering and bowling?


Some people say orienteering and golf are similar. I can see that. But I wonder if anyone can see similarities between orienteering and bowling.

I used to share an office with a co-worker, Bob, who was a very good bowler. We spent a lot of time sitting at our desks talking about orienteering or bowling. But I don't remember ever trying to find similarities. There must be some.

I remember Bob describing things like how the oil on the lane affected the ball and how he used to travel with over a dozen different balls for different conditions. In a way, talking to Bob was like talking to a very good orienteer. The level of understanding of the sport and the understanding of seemingly small things is a bit like reading something Bjornar Valstad would write about an orienteering race.

There must be a better way to compare bowling and orienteering. I guess a serious bowler who also orienteered would have some ideas.

Check out an interview with Bob from today's Lawrence Journal World.

posted by Michael | 8:27 PM



KU beat Missouri tonight. KU had a rough first half, scoring 28 points on 36 possessions (see the top graph). Missouri was ahead by 8 at half time. KU's offense was much more efficient in the second half, scoring 45 points on 30 possessions. The second half was enough to win the game.

posted by Michael | 8:25 PM


Sunday, January 30, 2005  

Kansas beat Texas 90-65 last night. The graphs show Kansas' scoring on each possession. For each possession, Kansas could score 0, 1, 2 or 3 points. Kansas scored 43 points on 36 possessions in the first half and 47 points on 36 possessions in the second half. That is quite good.

posted by Michael | 8:18 PM


Getting tired


I put in a long trail run at Clinton State Park today (check below for a bit of the map). I took it easy but still got tired.

For the last 30 minutes of the run I decided to try to observe myself as I was tired. I had an idea that I might learn something. I didn't.

As I got tired: my concentration wandered; I stumbled on rocks, roots and icy spots; and I slowed down. No surprises. I didn't learn anything.

posted by Michael | 4:56 PM



Bald eagles like to sit in the trees along the shoreline overlooking the marina.

posted by Michael | 4:55 PM


Saturday, January 29, 2005

KU - Baylor defensive scoresheet


I know some people who read this page are basketball fans. Some of those are KU fans. Maybe a few people will find my defensive scoresheet for the KU-Baylor game interesting.

If you're looking for orienteering, don't bother with this entry.

To create a defensive scoresheet, I record which KU player defended each shot and whether the Baylor player made or missed the shot. If KU double teams a player, I award half of the shot to each of the defensive players. If Baylor gets an unguarded shot or if more than two KU players are guarding the shooter, I award the shot to "team."

For each player: I list the 2-point shots made/missed; 3-point shots made/missed; and free throws made/missed. The second list shows points made/missed.

To see how the scoresheet works, look at Giddens' line. Baylor didn't make any 2-pointers against Giddens, but they missed two. Baylor took, and made, one 3-pointer against Giddens. Baylor made 4 free throws on fouls by Giddens. Baylor didn't miss any free throws on fouls by Giddens. Looking at the second list tells you that Baylor scored seven points when shooting against Giddens. They also missed 4 points against Giddens.

Team: 2/0 1/3 -/-
Miles: 1/2.5 3/3 1/0
Giddens: 0/2 1/0 4/0
Langford: 0/1 0/2 2/0
Simien: 3/3 0/3 4/3
Moody: 2/5 0/1 6/0
Lee: 2/0 0/0 1/1
Kaun: 0/0 1/1 3/1
Hawkins: 1/0.5 0/1 1/0
Galindo: 0/0 0/0 2/1
Jackson: 0/2 0/0 2/0
Bahe: 0/1 0/0 0/0

Team: 7/9
Miles: 12/14
Giddens: 7/4
Langford: 2/8
Moody: 10/13
Lee: 5/1
Kaun: 6/4
Hawkins: 3/4
Galindo: 2/1
Jackson: 2/4
Bahe: 0/2

Vinson and Niang played by didn't defend any shots.

I'll be keeping a defensive scoresheet for tonight's KU-Texas game.

posted by Michael | 5:58 PM


Race at Monkey Mountain


I ran a local race at Monkey Mountain today. The maps below show some of the course (click the images for higher resolution).

I felt strong and made my way around the course well except for two legs. On the way to seven I was thinking about running. I wasn't reading the map. I wasn't looking at what I'd be seeing. I made a parallel error. To eight I just headed in the right direction, followed a little linear marsh and hoped I'd see the flag. I ran by the control and caught sight of it behind me.

The terrain at Monkey Mountain isn't all that interesting. The open areas full of thickets can make for some interesting map reading (and some running through thorns).

posted by Michael | 5:53 PM



The solid red lines to 7 and 8 show my route during the race. The dotted lines show my route when I re-ran these two legs.

posted by Michael | 5:52 PM



posted by Michael | 5:51 PM


Friday, January 28, 2005

Strange terrain


I spent some time looking at Osteen Kvaal Osterbo's maps from a training camp in England. I don't think I've ever orienteered in terrain anything like this stuff. (Which is apparentely relevant for the up-coming World Cup races in England).

When I look at a map like Blackdown I wonder -- Where did all those depressions come from? I also wonder how you orienteer in this stuff.

posted by Michael | 8:02 PM


Wednesday, January 26, 2005  

Z is also for Zyhk.

posted by Michael | 9:01 PM


Z is for zoooooom


Ever had an orienteer pass you in the forest so fast that they just zoooooomed by?

I can think of three times an orienteer zoomed by me.

1. I was moving down a gentle hill through some thick forest at Fahnstock Park in New York when Jorgen Martensson went by. I heard Jorgen crashing through the forest behind me. Zoom. He went by at a pace I couldn't have held for a hundred meters.

2. I was running through a flat section of forest just outside Stockholm at a training camp. The forest was a open but a bit junky. The footing was rough because of lots of cuttings from forestry work. I looked over my shoulder and saw Lars Palmquist coming up behind me. While I seemed to be stumbling and struggline, Palmquist looked like he was somehow floating above the cuttings. He went by, I took a few steps, I fell down. I looked up, he was floating away. Weird.

3. I was running down a steep hill through a felled area. Rough terrain. I took it careful, worrying about getting hurt. To my left a runner -- no idea who it was -- went storming down the hill as if it was smooth grass. I walked the rest of the felled area.

posted by Michael | 7:20 PM


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Y is for "Yes!"


Damon Douglas once told me about an idea he had. When you spike a control, give yourself a little reward. Say, "Yes" and give a quick Tiger-Woods-style fist pump.*

I guess the idea was that giving yourself a little reward would make you feel successful without losing concentration.

*Actually, Damon didn't refer to Tiger. We were talking back in 1986, so Tiger was only about 11 years old.

posted by Michael | 8:39 PM


Monday, January 24, 2005

X is for ????


X? X? What could X be for?

Then it hit me, X is for Xylander. Anke Xylander, the German national team orienteer.

I went over to the IOF world ranking list and found out:

Anke Xylander is ranked 49th. That makes her the second best ranked German (behind Karen Schmalendield, who is currently ranked 15).

She's ranked 49th in the world, but since she runs for a Swedish club (Soders SOL Tyreso), I thought I'd check her Swedish ranking. In Sweden, she's currently ranked 91 in F21.

A google search turned up some O' videos that include shots of Xylander. By the way, if you go to the O' video page, check out the last one on the page showing the photo finish between Hanne Staff and Gunilla Svard in the 2001 relay.

posted by Michael | 6:51 PM


Sunday, January 23, 2005

W is for waterstop


When the Philadelphia Eagles won their football game today, they poured a bucket of Gatorade over the coaches head, reminding me of my own worst waterstop experience.

I was running a three day competition in Denmark in 1984. It was warm as I approached the waterstop. The table was covered with cups, I a cup in each hand, starting sipping one and poured a cup of sport drink over my head. Yuck.

Waterstop is also Thewaterstop.org a web site for juniors.

And for something completely differnt, check out some O' videos from Portugal, I think. Watching the videos makes me wish I understood Portuguese (or wish my brother was sitting here and could tell me what they were saying).

posted by Michael | 5:42 PM


Saturday, January 22, 2005

V is for Villanova


I write something about orienteering nearly every day. Today I'm writing about basketball. If you want to think about orienteering, check out Kim Faggerud's route on a night O' in Finland.

Now, on to basketball.

I watched Kansas lose for the first time this season. Villanova smoked them.

I've been watching the Kansas defense closely the last few games. I've been keeping a defensive scoresheet (roughly based on an idea described in Basketball on Paper). For each shot the opposing team takes I record the outcome (missed or made) and assign the shot to a Kansas defender. If the player was double-teamed I assign half of the shot to each of the two defenders. If the player was guarded by more than two Kansas players or if the player was not guarded by any players, I assign the shot to the team as a whole.

Keeping a defensive scoresheet forces me to watch the game a bit differently. I see things I might not have seen otherwise. I learn things about the game that I might not have learned.

Here are a few observations about today's game based on what I saw (and compared to what I've seen over the last few games):

CJ Giles didn't play today. That probably hurt. Teams tend to take a lot of shots against Giles, but they miss a lot of those shots.

Moody's defense (as measured using the approach I've been using) is steady and good.

Simien was scored against more than I've seen before. Villanova took, and made, several 3-pointers with Simien guarding the shooter. I haven't seen teams try many 3-pointers against Simien before.

Miles was scored against more than I've seen before. By my scoresheet, Miles gave up 12 points.

Giddens seems to catch a lot of flak from fans for bad defense. In the games I've watched he doesn't give up many shots or points. Maybe that's because he isn't defending against good offensive players? I wonder if Giddens gets a bad rap because of how he looks when he's playing defense?

Villanova scored 22 points that I charged to the Kansas team. Villanova only missed three 2-point shots and one 3-point shot that I charged against the team. I've never seen a team shoot so well in that situation.

I could go on and on. But I won't. I think I'll go watch the Kansas women's basketball game on TV.

posted by Michael | 6:43 PM


Friday, January 21, 2005

U is for U.S. Team


I look at the U.S. Team's yahoo discussion group every week or so. Recently the team has been discussing the size of the WOC team. How many people should the U.S. send to the WOC? 4 and 4? 5 and 5? Something else?

I glanced through a bit of the discussion. It reminded me of a little analysis I've been meaning to do. I don't have time to do that now, but let me describe what I was interested in.

The question: How well do the selection races predict WOC performane?

I'd like to look at a bunch of U.S. WOC teams. Check how often the best orienteer at the selection was also the best at the WOC. What about the worst runner at the selection -- how did they do at the WOC?

Ideally you put together a team and the individuals on the team perform exactly as selected. The first person you picked is the best at the WOC. The last person you picked is the worst at the WOC.

The ideal selection process looks like this:

Selection/WOC performance
2nd/Next best
3rd/3rd best
4th/4th best

The worst selection process looks like this:

Selection/WOC performance
2nd/Next worst
3rd/Next best

I took a quick look at the 2004 team trials results and the WOC results. I didn't do anything systematic, but I'd say the selection process did a reasonable, but far from perfect, job of predicting WOC performances.

For example, Brian May was the first pick and had the best performance among the men. The process worked quite well in Brian's case.

But, James Scarborough only made the team as the first alternate (when Eric Bone declined a spot) and he was probably the best among the men in the middle qualifying.

If you looked at a bunch of U.S. WOC teams and WOC results you'd get an idea of how well the selection process predicts WOC results.

Why would you care? Well, if your interested in having the best possible results at the WOC, it'd be useful to know how well your selection process works.

posted by Michael | 7:41 PM


Thursday, January 20, 2005

T is for Training


Several readers took a look at my training and training questions and sent me responses. I haven't yet read them all.

Here is Peter Gagarin's analysis of my training:

Spike's training - easiest to answer

Training volume? even year round or lots of up-and-down? If the volume is uneven, is it because of periodization or something else?

Spike's training is reasonably even, looks like a bit more during the cooler months when the KC woods are more runnable. Doesn't seem to be any periodization -- no definite base period, no period of higher intensity.

(I'm eyeballing Spike's weekly/monthly bar chart on AP, massaging the actual numbers is beyond the scope of this. :-) ) Some short weeks have been due to sickness.

He does do a lot of longer runs in the terrain, much more so than most orienteers.

Spike seems to include a lot of technique training into his higher volume months, though not with high intensity.

But it is hard to draw too many conclusions because Spike is a bit guarded in the comments he makes in his training log, and it is hard to tell what the intensity level is of most of his workouts.

Cross training ? does the orienteer use other sports in training? Do they compete in other sports?

Spike does some training on his bike trainer, and some outdoor biking, both on roads and trails. One gets the impression that this is all low intensity but it is hard to tell. He doesn't seem to compete in other sports (including running races of any sort).

O' technique ? Does the orienteer practice technique or do they get their technique through competitions?

Spike does a lot of technique practice, more than most orienteers, including a good bit of night O'. But it is hard to know how effective some of it is due to his familiarity with the maps/terrain.

Injuries and illness ? Does the orienteer have problems with injuries and illness?

Yes and no. Spike injured his knee badly in 2001 and it took some time to recover from that physically (and a lot longer mentally). Other than that, few injuries. He seems to get sick more often than he should. Perhaps his diet could be improved, or he might consider a flu shot each year.

Spike's training - possible to answer, but easy to get wrong

Does the orienteer have clear, known goals?

Only to a very limited extent. Spike may pick one or two events a year that he is targeting for a peak performance, but he doesn't appear to have a range of smaller/intermediate/larger goals, or a sequence of goals that would be building towards the main goal of the season. He may have such goals, but they aren't apparent.

Does the orienteer work with a coach?

He did when he was in Sweden a long time ago, though it was more a club coach than an individual coach. In the USA he has worked just a little with a coach, and not recently.

Does the orienteer's approach seem to be scientific and detail-oriented or more intuitive?

Spike seems to have a scientific approach, though he is willing to modify or cancel what he has planned if he is not feeling well or if conditions are unfavorable. He seems to take an intelligent approach to his training.

Spike's training - hard to answer, probably wrong

Does an "attitude" come through? Does the orienteer come across as having apositive approach? Do they whine a lot?

Spike seems to have a positive approach. What strikes me is that his approach seems to fit his occupation -- he puts a lot thought into what he is doing, but sometimes the focus on numbers (how many feet climbed, how much time training) seems too much, while the passion (or zeal, or competitive juices) seems not to get enough attention.

Does the orienteer seem to be experimenting or following a template?

It looks like he is doing similar to what he has done in past years (but not
following any sort of standard training template).

What sort of background does the orienteer have? Do they make maps? Have they competed at a high level in another sport? Did they start at a young age? Have they lived in Europe?

He has orienteered for over 20 years, starting in his late teens. He has lived in Sweden. He has not competed at a high level in any other sport.

Does anything seem striking or unusual?

It looks like Spike is getting a little more serious for 2005. Perhaps he is thinking of going to the WMOC in Alberta?

posted by Michael | 8:48 PM


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

S is for Sprint Orienteering


I ran a sprint course in Alabama on Monday. You can see the map, with Peter Gagarin's routes, below (click for higher resolution).

Some thoughts about sprint O':

Nearly everyone at the event ran the same course. It was nice to be able to talk with anyone -- from a top M21 to a middle of the pack F16 -- and have run the same course.

I liked having a map that was so easy to read. I've gotten used to using a magnifier, but it sure felt good to be able to read the map without any help.

I liked the feeling of running a sprint. There wasn't much margin for error. A small miss (and I drifted on two legs, losing maybe ten seconds on each of those legs) hurt. Take away one of my small misses and I finish ahead of Tom Carr. But, you can't take away the misses, so I finished 5 seconds back of Tom. That feeling of "seconds matter" isn't something you get at most races in the U.S.

I'm looking forward to running more sprints. Maybe I'll even get around to organizing one for Orienteer Kansas.

posted by Michael | 9:25 PM



Sprint course with Peter Gagarin's routes.

posted by Michael | 9:24 PM


Tuesday, January 18, 2005  

Boris approaching the last control at yesterday's sprint race.

posted by Michael | 7:46 PM


R is for Reading


I like reading books and thinking about how they relate to orienteering. I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Blink.

Blink is about making decisions, fast decisions in particular. From the inside cover of the book:

Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant -- in the blink of an eye -- that actually aren't as simple as they seem.

That sounds like orienteering doesn't it?

Gladwell covers a lot of ground. Among other things, he writes about what he calls "the locked door." Gladwell makes the point that the way people explain decisions they've made isn't really the way they make decisions. People aren't good at explaining the way they think.

That is an interesting idea in the context of orienteering decisions. After races we all stand around talking about how we orienteered. But when we talk about what we were doing and what we were thinking, are we getting it right?

I suspect two types of orienteers are good at explaining what they are doing: orienteers who are very systematic as they race (maybe someone like Kent Olsson or Peter Gagarin?) and really lousy orienteers.

I'll keep reading the book and might write a bit more about it.

Gladwell maintains a web page full of his writing (mostly New Yorker articles). Poking around Gladwell.com, reading his published articles, can be a great way to spend some time. If you like what you see in his articles, pick up a copy of Blink or The Tipping Point.

posted by Michael | 7:13 PM


Monday, January 17, 2005  

Peggy punching at the last control on today's sprint race.

posted by Michael | 9:10 PM


Sunday, January 16, 2005  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 4:52 PM


Friday, January 14, 2005

Next planned update on Tuesday, January 18


I plan to update this page on Tuesday, January 18. I might post an audio update or two before then.

posted by Michael | 1:09 PM


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Q is for Questions


How about a reader participation project?

Checkout my training at Attackpoint,* answer some (or all) of the questions below, and email me (meglin@juno.com) your answers.

* Note: right now (as I'm posting this) Attackpoint seems to be down. So you can't see my training. I'd guess it'll be back online soon.

I'd be interested in seeing how different people answer the questions.

And I'll probably get some really interesting analysis of my training. This page averages about 115 visits a day. Let's say that represents 30 regular readers. Those readers are bound to have tons of orienteering experience and different points of view. If even just a few of the readers take a look at my training and send me their comments I'll certainly learn something very interesting.

Answer as few or as many of the questions as you want. Spend as little or as much time as you want looking at my training. Then send me (meglin@juno.com) your comments.


Here are the training questions:

1. Training volume ? even year round or lots of up-and-down? If the volume is uneven, is it because of periodization or something else?

2. Cross training ? does the orienteer use other sports in training? Do they compete in other sports?

3. O' technique ? Does the orienteer practice technique or do they get their technique through competitions?

4. Injuries and illness ? Does the orienteer have problems with injuries and illness?

5. Does the orienteer have clear, known goals?

6. Does the orienteer work with a coach?

7. Does the orienteer's approach seem to be scientific and detail-oriented or more intuitive?

8. Does an "attitude" come through? Does the orienteer come across as having a positive approach? Do they whine a lot?

9. Does the orienteer seem to be experimenting or following a template?

10. What sort of background does the orienteer have? Do they make maps? Have the competed at a high level in another sport? Did they start at a young age? Have they lived in Europe?

11. Does anything seem striking or unusual?

posted by Michael | 7:36 PM


Wednesday, January 12, 2005  

P could also be for "Pictogram." This is the IOF's pictogram for "Foot Orienteering." Notice that the runner doesn't have a foot.

posted by Michael | 8:08 PM


P is for PR


Is orienteering the only running sport where you can't set a Personal Record? I can't think of any other running sports where you can't have a PR, but I haven't really spent much time thinking about it.

As I get older and slower I suppose I should be glad I can't compare my races to PRs. It might be quite demoralizing to see how much slower I've become.

Half time in the KU basketball game is almost over. So, time to post this and go sit in front of the TV.

posted by Michael | 7:58 PM


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

O is for Oringen 2006


I'm thinking I ought to go to Oringen 2006 in Halsingland. It would be a good goal -- far enough in the future that I've got a good shot at being well prepared, yet not so far that it seems remote.

One selling point for the race is that the center camping area, Mohed, is "walking distance" from each day's race. That probably means the walk is a bit long and they've compromised a bit on the terrain. But not having to drive or ride buses is appealing.

I've run at Mohed before. I pulled out a map from May 1991 when I ran Halsingekavlen on a map called Enmyra. I had a strong race. But our last leg runner mis-punched.

posted by Michael | 6:03 PM


Monday, January 10, 2005

N is for Night O'


I like to think night orienteering makes you tough.

Tonight's night O' session was short. I ran the course in just over 35 minutes. But, it was tough. The temperature was just barely above freezing. A steady drizzle fell. It was foggy.

Does it help to run in rough conditions? I don't know, but it sure doesn't hurt.

posted by Michael | 8:48 PM


Sunday, January 09, 2005

First race of the year


PTOC hosted the year's first race at Shawnee Mission Park.

Today was the first day since the ice storm that the temperature went above freezing. At the beginning of the race, the forest was still coated in ice. But as we ran the ice melted. Bits of ice broke off the trees and came crashing down as you ran along. Ice cold water dripped from the limbs. It was chilly, but fun.

The terrain at Shawnee Mission Park is nothing special. You can see a couple of legs on a bit of the map below.

The A-meet season begins next weekend. Today's race gave me a bit of a rehersal. I got a couple of reminders. I need to pay attnetion to navigation, not running. Today I spent a lot of time thinking about running. That didn't cost me much. But if the terrain were a bit tricky, it would have. Begin slow. When I haven't raced recently I have a tendency to run too hard, then have to slow and recover, then run too hard again. I struggle to find the right effort.

It'll be fun to see how it goes next weekend.

posted by Michael | 7:26 PM



The ice covering the trees melted during the race. It felt like cold -- icy cold -- rain.

posted by Michael | 7:26 PM



posted by Michael | 7:25 PM


Saturday, January 08, 2005

M is for Meenehan's training


Dan Meenehan was one of the best U.S. orienteers in the mid 1980s. He ran a couple of WOCs and won a U.S. M21 championship.

I don't have enough data to go through my usual set of questions for Dan's training. But I've got a few observations based on how Dan trained back then.

Dan did a lot of 5K runs. I tagged along on a couple of these. He'd go out the door and take off. He'd run hard. The 5K course was flat and paved. I don't really remember how fast we ran that 5K, but I'm sure it was under 20 minutes. I think Dan did a couple of these a week.

In addition to the 5K runs, Dan did a long run in the forest. I tagged along on one of these. We ran at a place called Rockwoods. We ran up a hill, then down, then up, then down, and we kept that up for nearly two hours. The whole run was in the forest and on hills. We ran at an easy pace, but it was tiring because of all the climb.

Here is a topo showing the terrain at Rockwoods.

A couple of times I year, Dan would do a week-long training camp. Often the camp would be in Hudson Valley terrain. Dan also spent a bunch of time in the summers in Europe. In Europe, he ran in both continental and Scandinavian terrain. I think he liked Czech beer.

If he wasn't in Europe during the summer, Dan ran a lot of road races. The St Louis Track Club had (maybe still has) a race series in Forest Park. You predicted your time and the winner was the person closest to their predicted time.

The thing that stands out with Dan's training was that he didn't train much, but he trained effectively.

posted by Michael | 5:34 PM


Friday, January 07, 2005

L is for Lazy


I'm feeling lazy today. I didn't train. I don't feel like writing.

If you're desperate for something about orienteering, take a look at Oystein Sorensen's collection of maps.

posted by Michael | 8:29 PM


Thursday, January 06, 2005

K is for Kool Gadget


The Garmin Forerunner 301 GPS/heart rate monitor looks like a kool gadget.

posted by Michael | 9:04 PM


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

J is for January 1


Most articles about how people train take one of two approaches. The author looks at how one specific individual trains, perhaps describing a week or a year, or they write about how they think you should train. Pick up a running magazine and you'll usually see both types: Joe-Champ-Runner's "typical" training week and "how to shave 2 minutes off your 10K PR in just 8 weeks."

Maybe you can learn something by taking a different perspective. I decided to take a look at how a bunch of people trained on a given day -- January 1.

I put together a list of 20 orienteers. They are all people who record their training on the internet. I look at all 20 of these people's training at least every week or so. Some of them I look at every day.

All 20 are orienteers. They cover a wide range of ages, nationalities and abilities. Most I know personally. But I've also got some national team members from Scandinavian nations.

I checked each person's log and looked at how they trained on January 1.

The type and amount of training varied. Three people rested (including two of the absolute best on my list; Pasi Ikonen and Emma Engstrand). Two people trained for over two hours (curiously, both from GHO in Hamilton though they didn't train together). I see running, orienteering, skiing, biking and using a Nordic Track.

The average amount of training was 65 minutes (median was 58.5).

I didn't list Nadim as resting. I probably should have. His training on January 1 was two minutes of calisthenics.

Only one of the 20 was obviously injured. Peggy is recovering from a broken toe and spent 25 minutes on a Nordic Track.

Two of the 20 orienteered. I was one of them. Tom was the other.

I was a little surprised to see only one person who used two different forms of training. Kurt Huber went for a run and rode a bike on a trainer. Huber has an interesting looking web page. I can't read German, but I poke around now and then and see some interesting maps on his page.

Mike Eglin's training on January 1 looks fun. He was hiking at the Grand Canyon.

Did I learn anything? I don't know, but it was fun to see the variety of training.

posted by Michael | 7:36 PM


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I is for Ice storm


I planned to write about injuries today. But at about 3 this afternoon it began to rain. The rain began to freeze. I is for ice storm.

I left work a bit early with the idea of getting home before the streets got too slick. I made it. At home there was only about 1/8 inch of ice on the trees, grass, bird feeder...well, everywhere.

Ice storms are beautiful. Orienteering through an ice covered forest is a special experience. But, if too much ice accumulates on the trees the trees start falling. A couple of years ago we had a major ice storm that made some of our local O' terrain really difficult to run through.

posted by Michael | 6:38 PM



When I got home the ice had just started to build up. The bird food was already coated in ice. I broke up the ice so the birds could reach the food, but I'm sure it was ice coated a few minutes later. Being a bird in an ice storm must suck.

posted by Michael | 6:37 PM



Ice beginning to build up on a railing at the school.

posted by Michael | 6:35 PM


Monday, January 03, 2005

H is for H-towns


Part of the fun of working my way through the alphabet A-to-Z is getting stuck. What should I do for H. Harriman seemed obvious. But, obvious isn't always the most fun.

Driving home a few minutes ago, watching a cold drizzle fall and wondering when the ice storm will hit, I came up with an "H" -- H-towns: Halden, Hamilton and Houston.

Halden. Wouldn't it be great to live there? Great terrain and maps surrounding the city (and here are some more maps). The strongest elite club in the world, at least for the last few years.

Hamilton. If I were a young and ambitious orienteer and wanted to reach my best, but didn't want to move to Europe, I'd try to move to Hamilton. It looks like the best place for a serious orienteer in North America. Take a look at the GHO "High Performance Program." Do any other North American clubs take training this seriously? The club looks well organized and active. The terrain is varied and interesting (take a look at some samples here).

Houston? What is Houston doing in this list? Aside from beginning with the letter "H", I think Houston has something else in common with Halden and Hamilton. A well organized O' program. The La Porte High School program is, as far as I can tell, the best organized high school program in the U.S. (and probably one of the best organized O' clubs in the U.S.). The La Porte program's success is remarkable given the complete lack of decent terrain. La Porte has demonstrated, I think, how much organization and effort matter.

posted by Michael | 7:54 PM


Sunday, January 02, 2005

G is for...


...Game. During the WOC last summer a small group of us played a game -- Fantasy World O' Champs. I put the rules together just for fun. Then Boris picked up on it and a few of use put together teams for each event. It gave something extra to following the WOC results.

I remember putting together my team for the middle final. Gunilla Svard? She ought to feel good in this terrain, it is a lot like Lunsen, just a stones throw from her house. She's got a chance to win. What's the worst that could happen? Tenth?

If there is interest we should set up a Fantasy WOC for Japan.

Or Gagarin. If Peter's web page isn't on your list of favorites, it should be. Peter has put together a great collection of maps and comments, plus some gems like unusual first legs.

Or Good weekend of training. I try to take advantage of the weekends, and with a three day weekend I wanted to get in some decent training. I'm pretty satisfied with how it went.

Friday - First thing in the morning I put in 30 minutes on the bicycle trainer in the basement. In the afternoon I ran an O' course, 20 controls of control picking at an honest effort (just below race effort). Add the warmup and jog back to the car and add another 50 minutes of running.

Saturday - Start the new year right with 100 minutes of control picking (75 controls) at the best area around here for orienteering (Knob Noster). Add 20 minutes of warming up and jogging back to the car and I've got a 2 hour day.

Sunday - 90 minutes of easy running, most of it in the forest. Add in 30 minutes on the trainer and I've got another two hour day.

For the three day weekend I got in some hard running (40 minutes), a long run (2 hours), plenty of O' training and even some light cross training.

Or Gookinaid. I like Gookinaid -- my favorite sport drink. I prefer the lemonade and orange flavors.

Or the Giants. Mary wanted to make sure I mentioned the Giants. They've had a disappointing season. Let's hope the beat Dallas tonight.

posted by Michael | 6:53 PM


Saturday, January 01, 2005

F is for Food


How do you know you've gone on a long run? Maybe it is when you're running along and can't get the thought, the image, of pasta out of your mind.

I didn't reach that point today. I guess it wasn't a true long run. But I think it was close.

On the way home from Knob Noster (a map with a bit of today's training is below), Mary and I stopped at "Hero's" in downtown Warrensburg. On the drive from the park to Warrensburg I could feel that I was beginning to lose focus. I was hungry. When we got the menus, everything looked good.

I ate, I perked up. My focus came back. Food is cool.

Helping Out

It has been about week since the Tsunami hit.

I've been writing about orienteering and feeling almost guilty about it. I guess writing about orienteering gives me a mental break. I think about orienteering and not about what's going on in the world.

Anyway, I'll put in a plug for helping out. Send some money to help the relief efforts. The main Yahoo home page has links to several organizations (Red Cross, UNICEF, AmeriCares, Oxfam and Network for Good).

posted by Michael | 7:18 PM



The first 14 of 75 controls on today's training.

posted by Michael | 7:17 PM


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