Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, January 31, 2006



Some discussion over at Attackpoint inspired me to (a) translate a bit of Mats Troeng's description of his map pointer, and (b) make my own map pointer and try it out at tonight's night O' session.

You can see Troeng's map pointer (i.e. kartpekaren) not quite halfway down on his description of his gear.

Here is a rough translation of a bit of what Troeng wrote:

The compass wouldn't be complete without the map pointer -- an idea I got in the winter of 2000, I think. I felt that I was still looking for perfect map contract, but couldn't put my finger (!) on what was missing. I realized that the thumb was too broad to exactly mark my position on the map. My first run with the mappointer gave me an "aha" experience. Everything came together. In the beginning I used on of those plastic covered bits of wire that you tie around a plastic bag, but I soon changed to a cut up plastic card with a point colored red and a rubber band on the thumb. At the world cup in Dresden in the fall of 2005 I took a fall and broke the point on the pointer during a qualification race. I felt naked and unsure the rest of the race. So, it is important, my map pointer. Skoggsport paid attention and wrote about it in 2001. It has been cool to see people with their own home made pointers on their compasses at races.

I made a little map pointer of my own today. I began with a plastic lid from a coffee can. I cut it and made a little point at one end. I used rubber bands to hold it on my thumb.

I began by running with just the pointer on my thumb. It worked ok. But, I run with a thumb magnifier which I use frequently. So, the real test would be using the pointer and the magnifier.

The pointer didn't work so well with the magnifier. When I race, I put the magnifier on sometimes and take it off sometimes. With my map pointer, pulling the magnifier off my thumb also pulled the pointer off.

So, I changed my pointer. Instead of attaching it to the thumb, I attached it to the magnifier. That worked fine.

I had no trouble adapting to the pointer. But, I didn't have an "aha" experience.

Of course, I was running in simple terrain. The pointer might be much more useful in complex terrain (say Lunsen, for example). I think I'll keep experimenting with the map pointer (or maybe I'll call it "kartpekaren").

posted by Michael | 8:47 PM


Monday, January 30, 2006

One link


Some days it is hard to come up with something to write. Today, I just don't want to spend much time at the computer (I'm writing during a commercial break in the Kansas basketball game on TV). So, here is a link worth a look (I found this linked at Yep sport):

Orienteering Sport Now features what Yepsport calls the world's first orienteering podcaster.

I can't recommend the podcasts (they are info about upcoming events), but the idea of an orienteering podcast is good and maybe Orienteering Sport Now will develop some audio that is more interesting to a general audience.

Now, back to the game...it won't be long before we can start the Rock Chalk Chant.

posted by Michael | 9:25 PM


Sunday, January 29, 2006

4 minute mile barrier?


Over at Sandra and Marc's web page, I read a quote about the 4-minute mile. You can read What you believe you will achieve!.

I understand that the idea is to provide some motivation -- you can achieve something you didn't think possible if you believe you can achieve it. But, the quote struck me as sloppy thinking.

I wonder if it is true that 45 runners broke 4-minutes in the next 18 months? It sounds a bit far fetched, but it is possible, I suppose. I'm not sure how to check. If I assume it is true, is it suprising? How many runners would be expected to run that fast in 18 months? I don't know.

...the entire sports world believed that it was humanly impossible to run a mile in faster than four minutes.

Well, that clearly isn't true. Certainly Bannister, Landy and Santee thought it was possible. So when the author says, "the entire sports world," they probably mean something more like, "a bunch of newspaper writers, some scientists and grad students, and a bunch of regular folk."

I suspect that all those runners who've broken 4-minute miles after Bannister did it because they trained hard, had some talent, and (a lot of them) had some pacing help. Their times had less to do with a "barrier" than with the normal progression you tend to see in athletics.

I found a web page with mile records and plotted the record time for 1931 through 1966. The chart below shows it. The y-axis shows seconds away from 4 minutes (i.e. negative numbers are sub-four).

If you just drew a straight line to fit the data points, you'd expect the 4-minute mile to be broken around 1947 or 1948. Bannister didn't break the record until 1954. Could it be the mental barrier? Maybe. But, might it also be the fact that the world was recovering from World War II? I'd think the war probably had a bigger effect in delaying the record than some sort of mental barrier. It seems reasonable (maybe even obvious in retrospect) that we'd expect the four minute barrier to be delayed while the world recovered from the destruction of the war.

If you take a few years out of the graph to try to account for the way (remove, for example, 1948-1952), the world record progression looks linear. If there was some sort of barrier, you wouldn't get a linear progression.

I could go on and on, but I won't.

I really believe stuff like motivation, goals, organizational culture, leadership and so on matter. I think they matter a whole lot. I just don't think the "4-minute mile barrier" illustrates the importance of that stuff.

When I was searching for record times to make my graph, I came across an interesting collection of articles about the 4-minute mile at the Times Online.

Note: I realize I forgot to credit the authors of the text that I don't like. According to SaMa, the quote is from Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch.

posted by Michael | 5:57 PM


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Data acquisition


I ran today's O' race with my GPS. It seems like there must be something interesting to do with the data. But, I can't think of what. Still, it is kind of fun to look at the tracks.

The below image shows my speed. The color scheme is based on light, in order from slowest to fastest: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

The below image shows the slope. Red is flat. Violet would be very, very steep.

Maps from Fontainebleau

If you find yourself in Paris, you should make the trip down to Fontainebleau and explore some of the O' maps. Here is an Estonian blog with some scans of Fontainebleau maps to give you an idea of the terrain.

posted by Michael | 5:38 PM


Friday, January 27, 2006

A wierd experience


Here is the background. I hurt my ankle a few months ago. It is improving, but still not normal. When I run I feel some discomfort, in particular when the terrain puts pressure on the ankle. That happens when I run along a hillside with my right foot on the uphill side.

Now that you have the background, you can get to the wierd experience.

I spent some time carefully studying a map today. I'd just finished lunch (some chicken noodle soup, if you're curious) and was carefully studying the map. I was concentrating and really looking at each leg, picking routes, thinking about the route and what I'd see. I was looking at a leg where my route was along a steep hillside where my right food would have been on the uphill side. Without conciously thinking about it, I thought that my ankle hurt. I quickly revised my route, climbing more and getting to the flat top of the hill (which would ease the discomfort).

That's weird. My ankle obviously didn't hurt. I was just sitting at a table. But, as I was concentrating on the map and imagining the terrain, I became aware of my ankle. Strange, if you ask me.

GPS track from last night

Here is the track from last night's O' training. You'll note some bad orienteering (especially in the first bit (control 4, for example). If you're comparing this track to the map I posted yesterday, note that I had a different "fork" last night than is shown on the map I posted (i.e. I ran from the control labelled 1 on the map to the control labelled 6, then 7, then 4/8, then back to 1/5...)

posted by Michael | 8:14 PM


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tonight's training


We ran a short night O' training at SMP tonight. I designed the course to have simple control locations (we didn't have any markers out) and lots of direction changes. It was fun.

posted by Michael | 8:55 PM


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Advantage to armchair O'


I'm doing some night O' practice tomorrow night. I've got to print out the maps. That'll take a few minutes. Then I've got to pack my bags with clothes and my headlamp. That take another few minutes. After work, I'll drive to the park (more minutes), change (more minutes), and run. When I'm done running, I'll change again (a few minutes), drive home (more time), unload all my junk and put some of it in the washer (more time), and get a shower.

The time adds up. I'll probably spend almost as much time getting ready and getting home as I do running. It is worth it, of course, because it is such good training.

But, you know what? Armchair orienteering isn't like that. I'm never much more than a couple of steps away from a map of some kind. It takes just a few seconds to pick up a map and start studying it. Nearly every minute devoted to armchair orineteering is spent looking at a map.

Of course, armchair orienteering isn't as good a way to train as night O' is. But, the fact that it is such a time effective way to train is nice.

posted by Michael | 7:56 PM


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Discussing goals


Kristiansand OK has been talking about goals for 10-Mila. Here is a bit (roughly translated):

"It is important that we don't set too high a goal, because that won't work. We have a goal of being among the top 5, and that's what we should focus on. But, the runners also have a dream of winning," says Holger Hott-Johansen.

Jon Duncan, who has won 10-Mila three times with Halden supports Hott-Johansens opinion. "It is important that we don't feel pressure that we have to win 10-Mila [warning: very roughly translated and I might have gotten it a bit wrong], because that can have negative consequences. We have to focus on the task and building up a good team together. That will have positive consequences and results," says Duncan.

Asle Kregenes is a new part of the clubs trainer-team and he thinks Kristiansand can't be too defensive. "We have to dare to talk about winning 10-Mila, otherwise we won't."....That opinion is supported by Jack Bjornsen [also a club trainer, I think], "we can't be afraid to set too high a goal."

The discussion and the tension between outcome and process goals is fascinating. Personally, I prefer process goals (which is what I think Duncan is talking about). I like having goals like, "do x, y and z to make sure we are prepared to do our best at 10-Mila." I also like combining process goals with a "story." The story being concise answers to three questions:

1. Where have we been?
2. Where are we now?
3. Where are we going? (and I'd focus on process descriptions to answer this last question).

But, that is just me.

Tonight's training

posted by Michael | 7:34 PM


Monday, January 23, 2006

A few quick notes


Ski O' training

OPN has a short report on some ski O' training in the ski tunnel in Finland. Apparenlty it was too cold to ski outside, so the Norwegian ski orienteers did some technique/intervals indoors.

Take a look at the OPN story for a picture of the tunnel and the O' course. Notice how they've incorporated some map reading into an interval session in the tunnel.

Earlier this year I experimented a bit with some technique training on a very simple (and not especially accurate) trail map. I'm not sure if it was worth doing, but it made some workouts a bit more interesting. I guess that's the idea with the indoor ski O'.

Randy's photo O'

If you haven't seen it already, check out Randy's Photo O' post.

Orienteering with the stars?

As I type, Fox is showing "skating with the stars." The premise is that they've paired up professional skaters with celebrities for a ice skating competition. Wacky. (Mary just changed channels on the TV, so I guess I'll never know how it went).

Maybe we need an "orienteering with the stars" show. Actually, it might be kind of fun (maybe even interesting TV?) to try to teach some celebrities how to orienteer and then have a race.

Peter Gagarin could teach Mary Lou Retton how to read a map. How would Mary Lou stack up against, say, Justin Timberlake (having been instructed in the sport by Peggy)?

Jayhawk Basketball

is a web page about college basketball that I read most days. Today's comment about Kansas is interesting:

For those of you whose life is ruled by the RPI, you are missing what Kansas is doing. With an RPI of 112, they are not showing up in anyone’s “season ended today” bracket projections. But that’s precisely why those projections are of little value two months before the season really ends. I dare say were it not for four bad minutes (the last three against Kansas State and the last one against Missouri), more than a few people would be thinking that KU could challenge Texas for the Big XII title. Their defense is among the best in the land, and though their offense is wildly inconsistent, when it’s on, it too is among the best. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say they’ll be a top five team next season if everyone stays.

Last season Kansas won a number of very close games right at the end. Their record might have lead you to believe the team was better than it was. This year's team is different. They've lost a number of very close games right at the end. Maybe they play better than their record. In other words, if you just look at their record to predict how well they'll play in the coming games, you might be surprised.

At least I hope so.

posted by Michael | 7:32 PM


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Playing with the GPS


I spent some time exploring some new trails at Wyandotte Lake yesterday. I ran the new section of trails four times (out and back, twice). The image below shows the GPS track on the USGS map.

Overall, I'd say the track is pretty good. Actually, the track is quite a bit better than the USGS contours. This particular section of contours is not very well done (bad photogrametrist?). The shape of the hill at the top of the map bit is really screwy (e.g. that reentrant that runs NE under the spot where the GPS track doubles back on the north section of the map clip -- there isn't a reentrant there).

posted by Michael | 7:27 PM


Perfect way to spend a Sunday


Brew a cup of good coffee (I'm leaning towards Peet's Ethiopian Fancy). Sit in a comfortable chair with a nice view out a window. Read the Sunday paper. Relax.

Now, you can improve on that in a few ways.

First, start out with a long run with a map (or even finish with a long run with a map).

Second, drop that newspaper and read some of the presentations by Tarnopolsky and Holger and Sandy HJ from the training camp in Hamilton.

posted by Michael | 8:06 AM


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Video of the Maze at Anza-Borrego


I took some video at the maze at Anza-Borrego. I spent a bit of time last night and this morning editing the clips. It ended up becoming a music video. It'll give you a sense of what some of the terrain was like.

Video from the Maze at Anza-Borrego.

posted by Michael | 11:44 AM


Friday, January 20, 2006

Orienteers' VO2Max


Some of the runners from Kristiansands OK had VO2Max tests and reported the results on their web pages.

Jorgen Rostrup's measured VO2Max was 86 ml/kg/min

Arild Nomeland's measured VO2Max was 74 ml/kg/min

posted by Michael | 8:01 PM


Thursday, January 19, 2006



One of the best things about training is the feeling of being tired after a run. Feeling tired after a long day at work doesn't feel good. But, feeling tired after a run does. I wonder if it is because training tired is somehow different or if it is because being tired after training is satisfying? Or maybe something else.

Some Estonian Maps

I came across an O' blog with a few interesting maps. Markus Puusepp posted his location on my "guest map" with a link to Marksu Bloog. Poke around the archives and you'll find a few interesting maps from Estonia. Marksu Bloog is written in Estonian, which looks a bit like Finnish and is absolutely unfathomable to me.

Poking around Marksu Blook, I came across another Estonian O' blog with more interesting maps in the archives. Check out Saue Tammede kohuleht.

posted by Michael | 8:06 PM


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mike Waddington's comments on the North American O' Champs terrain


At the training camp in Hamilton, Mike Waddington gave a short talk on the terrain you can expect at the North American O' Champs in 2006. I made a video of Mike's talk.

I made the quality of the video file quite low, to make it take up less space. It doesn't look pretty but you should have no trouble following the discussion. You'll also notice a strange blue tint, that's because I had the white balance set wrong on the camera.

If you want to see a map of the area adjacent to the competition area, take a look at what I
posted a few days ago

posted by Michael | 8:31 PM


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Learning from what went right


Cristina wrote something on her training log that I thought was interesting.

The run on Sunday going well actually convinces me even more that I can do much, much better. It's hard to explain, but a good day seems to reveal areas to improve better than a bad day does. I guess on a bad day the focus is on big mistakes. I definitely made mistakes on Sunday, but they were far from disastrous. The key is probably that I can compare my mediocre legs to good legs and see that there's a difference between "not making a mistake" and really running a leg well. Plus, I know that I can move faster. Just gotta keep working on that reading the map while running thing.

"Interesting" usually means something you'd never thought of or something you already believe or agree with. Well, I found Christina's note interesting because her main point -- that you can learn a lot from good races -- is something I believe.

I remind myself to look at booms, but spend at least as much time trying to understand what went well. When I first started orienteering, I forced myself to study what went right by writing notes about every leg I did. That forced me to look at all of my orienteering, not just the mistakes.

One of the things that makes orienteering tricky is that someone else can't really watch what you've done and give you feedback. When I was a fairly serious tennis player, a coach could watch a match, keep notes during the match, and then give me reasonably objective feedback. That's much more difficult (but not impossible) in orienteering. For an orienteer, the job of providing feedback falls more heavily on the orienteer. It is worth spending some time thinking about how to get the best feedback.

posted by Michael | 8:18 PM


Monday, January 16, 2006

some video from the weekend's race


After the more serious orienteering, we ran a "maze O" course in a area of deep and intricate canyons.

Check out this video of Clem on his way to the finish to get a sense of some of the terrain. Peter and Biggins provide some commentary (and the wind howls in the background).

The map below shows Peter's route. Clem is running from control 198 to the finish line. To help orient the video, I was standing right at the edge of the finish circle and the video begins with my camera facing northwest.

I shot some more video in the maze and I'll post some of that in the next week or so.

posted by Michael | 8:57 PM



this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 1:31 PM


Sunday, January 15, 2006  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 8:18 PM


Saturday, January 14, 2006  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 6:46 PM



this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 9:04 AM


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Baseball!? What?


No orienteering today...instead, I'll point you toward one of my favorite baseball web pages -- The Hardball Times.

My sister-in-law sent me The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006, which I am gradually working my way through. If you're a baseball fan who like reading about the game and looking at statistics (of if you wish the old Bill James Baseball Abstracts were still around), I can recommend the book.

San Diego next

I'm heading to San Diego tomorrow for the year's first A-meet. I'm running M21 (what was I thinking?) and will also run a sprint race on Saturday.

I've been struggling to get "flyt" recently. I've got to work on that this weekend. My plan is to take it a bit easy and really focus on "orienteering 100 meters in the future."

I'll try to update this page while I'm traveling (perhaps just audio updates).

posted by Michael | 9:21 PM


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A big advantage?


At the training camp, Sandy and Holger HJ presented some simple formulas for what it'd take for a Canadian (or American) to make the WOC team, qualify for an A-final, or finish well in an A-final. Without going into details, the formulas were basically X hundred hours of physical training + X high quality O' training and racing.

You could make a similar formula for what it'd take to make a WOC team in Norway.

But, there is a big difference (and not just in the number of hours) -- in Norway you could do what it takes and still not make the team because the pool of talent is bigger. In other words, the relationship between training and results is simpler in North America.

That is a huge advantage for an orienteer thinking about their goals. At least it seems like that to me.

There are a lot of disadvantages to being an orienteer in North America. But, I bet there are more advantages that we realize.

posted by Michael | 8:57 PM


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Some notes on the North American O' Champs terrain


We did some training on a map adjacent to the area where the North American O' Champs will be held in October 2006.

Here is Peter's map of the area.

While I was sitting on an airplane waiting for bags to be loaded, I looked at my copy of the map and jotted a few notes. Tonight, I recorded some of those notes over at Okansas at Odeo.

posted by Michael | 8:15 PM


Monday, January 09, 2006

First thoughts from the training camp in Hamilton


I'll probably write more in the coming days, but I thought I'd start by just listing a few thoughts.

Night O' in the Westdale area of Hamilton was a blast. The course was a mix of street and park O' terrain (with a couple of steep ridge and valley controls). You can't get much more fun that running night O'. I ran with a GSP and you can see my track at motionbased.com.

Sandy and Holger Hott Johansen both talked about their training -- very inspiring. They each described their training by telling a story, beginning with how they started orienteering and training, describing their most recent couple of years in more detail, and talking a little bit about what might be next.

By far the most surprising thing I heard was that Holger HJ seems to be able to turn his concentration on/off during a race. He said he wasn't one of those people who gets a song stuck in his head and can't get it out. That ability to turn concentration on/off must be a very useful skill for an orienteer.

Of all of the activities at the camp, the one I looked forward to the least was an after dinner presentation on nutrition. But, it turned out to be really good. Mark Tarnopolsky presented the info and managed to mix detailed research with practical advice.

As I was writing this, I Googled Tarnopolsky's name to make sure I got the spelling right. One of the hits was to a web page where students can rate their professors. Here is what a student had to say about Tarnopolsky:

He has really high standards for his students and himself... you should see his six pack!!He's hot. Smokin' hot!

I came away from the training camp even more convinced that Hamilton should be considered the Halden of North America. It seems like GHO has a great mix of folks and Hamilton provides good opportunities for O' training (like lots of nearby and varied terrain).

I left the camp with a good feeling about top level orienteering in North America. The people at the camp seemed positive and interested in getting better. It was good to see that the orienteers from the U.S. included a number of the younger orienteers who we'll probably be seeing at the next few WOCs; people like Samantha and Hillary Saeger, Suzanne Armstrong, John Fredrickson, Leif Anderson, and Viktoria Brautigam.

As I said, I'll probably write more over the next few days. But right now I'm tired after the training and the travel home.

posted by Michael | 7:31 PM


Sunday, January 08, 2006  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 5:06 PM


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Next update planned for Monday, January 9


I don't plan to update this page while I'm at the training camp in Hamilton.

posted by Michael | 5:55 PM


Kill Creek route test results


A couple of days ago I put out a route choice test from Kill Creek. The map below shows the results.

Straight (B)was fastest at 6:30. The C route took me 7:20, and the A route took 8:30.

The time differences were bigger than I expected.

I think if you look carefully at A, you'll see how much extra distance I did. You might be tempted to say that I loafed, but I don't think I did. I ran with a heart rate monitor and the average heart rates were comparable. Actually, I might have lost a little time on A when I pushed a bit too hard up the last hill and had to slow down the last 100 meters to the control.

B might be a bit faster than it looks on the map because I got a very good line through the light green forest up the hill.

posted by Michael | 5:48 PM


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More uninformed musings about orienteering in Canada


Walking from my office to my car afterwork, I spent some time thinking about the question, where is Canadian orienteering now?

A few more-or-less random thoughts:

Sandy Hott Johansen's result in the middle distance in Japan is really inspiring. Orienteers in Canada (and the U.S., too) can look to her result and see that a North American -- with enough work and the right situation -- can put in world class results. That was the case with Ted's 1985 result, but much as I like to think about O' in the 80s, it is so far in the past that it won't have the same inspirational effect.

The internet is a great thing -- orienteers all over Canada can keep in touch with each other and see what others are doing. It is practical to have a coach keep in close contact with an orienteer without living nearby.

Canada has great terrain and maps. Of course, the nation is huge so competing regularly in all the variety of terrain takes a load of travel.

My impression is that Canada has a special sport-culture. I might be wrong; but compared to the U.S. it seems like Canada has a stronger appreciation for athletes even if they aren't getting paid millions and appearing on TV all the time.

I think there are several cities in Canada with some pretty active orienteering groups. Hamilton is one (and the one I've paid the most attention to).

It strikes me that there are some good opportunities for top Canadian and top American orienteers to work together.

To answer the question, "where is Canadian orienteering now?" you might conclude that: except for Sandy, the level is quite close to the U.S., but both nations are at a point where they could put in some thought and organization and leave the other behind. Or, both could put in some thought and organization and both could improve. Or, both could miss an opportunity to take advantage of some favorable chances and stick and the same level. As an interested observer, it will be fun to see what happens over the next few years.

For something compeltely different

As a Christmas present for my mother-in-law, I put together a calendar of photos from our trip to Mongolia. I also recorded short commentaries about each month's photo. You can find the audio version (which includes small versions of the photos) at the Okansas Mongolia calendar 2006.

I've got a lot to learn about making audio comments (and a better microphone would probably help).

posted by Michael | 7:21 PM


Monday, January 02, 2006

Another tiny map


Another fine effort.

posted by Michael | 11:49 AM


Uninformed musings about Canadian orienteering


One of the sessions at next week's training camp is a brainstorming on how to further elite orienteering training and racing possibilities in Canada.

That got me thinking about approaches organizations and people take to thinking and planning. One thing that seems to work is to think through some simple questions:

1. Where have I/we/Canadian orienteering been?
2. Where am I/we/Canadian orienteering now?
3. Where do I/we/Canadian orienteeting want to go next?

Basically these questions force you to think about the past, the present and the future. By doing that, it seems like you develop a good background for setting some goals and then thinking about how to reach them.

I really like two things about this sort of a approach. First, it keeps you from leapign straight to a discussion of "what should we do?" Those sorts of discussions tend to devolve into disagreements about the right approach. They also easily turn into conclusions like, "we need sponsorship money"; which tends to lead to discussion about how a sport might appeal to big corporate sponsors. That isn't necessarily a waste of time. But, until you've got a good sense of goals (and history) it is premature. Second, it works in almost any context. You can use those questions to go over your own training, or your club's activities, or almost anything.

I don't know enough about Canadian orienteering to answer the first two questions. The third question is really a choice -- it is whatever Canadian orienteers decide. But, not knowing enough isn't enough to stop me from throwing out a few thoughts.

Where has Canadian orienteering been?

I think orienteering got going in Ontario in the late 1960s early 1970s.

By far the best orienteer in Canadian O' history is Ted De St Croix. He has loads of great results, but he is best known for finishing 10th (or 9th?) in the WOC in 1985.

I remember a lot of excitement soon at the 1985 WOC. Everyone wondered if this was a breakthrough result that would inspire lots of training and good results throughout North America. Everyone wondered how much better Ted could be.

As far as I can tell, Ted's 1985 result didn't turn out as hoped. North American orienteering didn't take off. I think Ted either overtrained or got sick and didn't perform as well in 1987 or 1989.

I'm very much an outsider to Canadian orienteering. I never paid careful attention to the situation in Canada. But, if memory serves, the relationship between the Canadian federation and the top orienteers in the late 1980s early 1990s seemed strained. I had the impression that the best orienteers didn't always go to the WOCs. I think the federation made a decision to send orienteers if they met a certain standard, even if that met Canada wouldn't have a full team.

There are a lot of other things to look at in answering the question "where has Canadian orienteering been?" How have mapping, course setting and event organizing developed? What big events has Canada hosted (a couple of World Cup races and the WMOC, for example)? What about the junior team? Has the sport lost some promising juniors? Has the sport kept some promising juniors?

For the Canadians at next week's session, they'll know the answers to these sorts of questions and they'll have the background to help move forward. I don't have the answers, but it'll still be interseting to follow the discussion.

That's enough writing for now. Maybe I'll bit off another question "where is Canadian orienteering now?" another day. But now, I should go out and train.

posted by Michael | 11:28 AM


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Today's cross country race


I ran a cross country race today. The course was at Clinton State Park and Gene drew the course on the O' map. Thanks, Gene.

I carried the map and read it as I ran. That makes it a bit more interesting.

Running races like this is good. It is a good thing to do; something I should do more often. Maybe this year I'll run a few races.

Compared to the runners near me, I lost time on the uphills (no surprise); ran even on the flats; and gained time on the downhills and especially on the stream crossings.

I ran the race with a GPS. You can see the track below overlayed on the U.S.G.S. map. I'm impressed with how accurately the little GPS unit tracks a runner.

posted by Michael | 7:11 PM


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