Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Today's race at Blue Springs


Here is the course I ran at Blue Springs today. Typical east-Kansas City terrain. The map was at the very unusual scale of 1:10,500 (apparently to fit the map on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper).

It might not look interesting, but this leg was fun. The best way to run the leg is to ignore the vegetation detail and just run the hill looking for the control and counting on the road to stop you. But, I thought it'd be more fun (and better practice) to read the vegetation detail along the leg. There aren't many opportunities around here to run and read lots of features along the entire route.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:17 PM


Friday, March 30, 2007

"explain your wins"


One of the themes that I write about over and over again is the idea that orienteers spend too much time and energy thinking about why they boom and not nearly enough time thinking about why they don't boom.

When we finish a race, we start talking about the time we lost. When we look at the map after a race, we spend more time looking at the controls we missed and trying to diagnose the problem.

We tend to take finding controls well for granted.

I think we ought to spend at least as much time trying to understand what was going on when we found a control. Afterall, the goal is to find controls well, so you really need to understand what is going on when that happens.

I was thinking about this topic (again) because I came across a blog entry by Robin Hanson called "Explain your wins."

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:07 PM


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Orienteering videos


If you haven't done it yet, check out the woO-TV online O' videos. The basic idea is simple. Get as many O' videos as possible put in one place. Encourage people to produce content. See what happens.

Jan Kobach, the guy who runs World Of O, sent me a press release a few days ago and dropped me a line suggesting I write about woO-TV. Since I'm a huge fan of World of O', I'll gladly do what I can to publicize woO-TV. Jan is hoping to get video content from around the world.

Some of the best stuff on woO-TV right now are the Tero Follow Me videos at woO-TV2 - very cool stuff.

One of the most interesting ideas is:

As a part of the way towards a more spectacular TV future for orienteering, woO-TV has got an agreement with Greg Walker, the man behind the computer game Catching Features, to develop software for 3D route choice visualization for orienteering races based on the Catching Features engine and the OCAD converter built into Catching Features.

If you've been watching Nascar races this year, you'll be familiar with the idea. Each car in the race has a GPS system that sends location information into a video-game like simulation of the race. What makes it useful for TV coverage is that they can use the simulation to replay events that might not have been captured by the TV cameras. If two cars in the middle of the pack bump, the simulation can show what happened even if the TV cameras were focused on the front of the race.

The high-tech, high production value stuff is interesting, but I think the most interesting videos on woO-TV might turn out the be the amateur videos. If you've got a video camera, why not take it with you to a meet, interview the winner or walk around in the terrain. Load the video up to woO-TV and share with the world. Or create your own Follow Me video. It is very quick and easy to put together something rough, like this video from last year's sprint race in Lawrence.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:23 PM


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kansas City is Funky Town


It is hard to relate local politics to orienteering. But, I'll try.

Back in 1992, I was hired by the city auditor, Mark Funkhouser, to work as a performance auditor. I've been at the same job since then. Last November, Mark announced that he was retiring as city auditor. Just after retiring, he announced he was running for Mayor of Kansas City.

Funk was a long shot. He had no background in electoral politics. He was getting a late start in the race, which would make raising enough money for the campaign difficult. His goal was clear - to become mayor.

It is fair to say that he worked hard. He surrounded himself with people who could help him. He learned as much as he could and as quickly as he could. He wasn't affraid to try new approaches.

And he won. Kansas City's next mayor is Mark Funkhouser. He won yesterday's general election with a narrow margin of just over 1000 votes (of about 90,000 votes cast).

To relate this to orienteering is easy. Set a goal, work hard, surround yourself with people who can help, and learn as much and as quickly as you can. Try new things. Good things will happen.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:18 PM


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Gagarin Tape


Damon Douglas gave Peter Gagarin a tape recorder and asked him to run a course while talking about what he was doing. It was a great idea. The result - The Gagarin Tape - was fascinating. Peter narrated his race, describing what he was thinking and seeing.

Damon gave me a copy of the tape and the map with Peter's course. Unfortunately, I have no idea what I did with the tape. Maybe it is in a box in my basement. Maybe I gave it to someone and never got it back. Maybe I threw it away.

If anyone out there reading this has a copy of the tape, please let me know. I'd love to get a copy. I'd also love to get the audio and map on the web.

World of O News

The latest from WorldofO.com is embargoed until 8:00 central European time on March 28 (which is, I think, a bit over 4 hours from right now). I won't reveal the news...but I'd suggest that once that time has past, you head on over to WorldofO and look for the news yourself.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:28 PM


Monday, March 26, 2007

Meniscus musings 2


Hammer managed to keep training for quite a while after he hurt his meniscus. I've never hurt my meniscus (it is the only part of the knee that I haven't hurt), but it seems as if Hammer's experience is fairly common. The meniscus gets damaged, the orienteer keeps training a bit (hoping the injury will get better), eventually the orienteer is forced to stop and seek treatment.

Fortunately, it seems like a meniscus injury can be treated successfully in most cases.

Thinking about meniscus injuries brings up an interesting problem for anyone who trains - it is tough to know when to train through an injury.

If I had to guess, I'd think that most orienteers with some sort of injury train when they'd be better off stopping and getting the injury fixed. It isn't because orienteers are stupid. It is because orienteers tend to be tough on themselves. The wimps don't face the problem of training when their injured. The wimps don't train and they don't get injured.

If Hammer were a wimp, he probably wouldn't have a bad meniscus.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:43 PM


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Meniscus musings


Hammer's knee injury finally got diagnosed - torn meniscus.

In some discussion over at Attackpoint, a really interesting theory came up. Could a meniscus injury be related to running with an ankle brace? The meniscus is a bit of padding between the femur and tibia. Meniscus injuries seem to be related to how the knee moves. Maybe an ankle brace changes how the knee moves. And maybe that can increase the probability of a meniscus injury.

I've got no idea if the theory makes any sense. But, the principle that a change (like wearing an ankle brace) can have unintended consequences (like added stress on a different joint) is worth keeping in mind.

For years I never ran with glasses to protect my eyes because I was worried about an unintended consequence. I figured that if I got used to running in the forest with glasses I'd stop protecting my eyes when I got in thick vegetation. I'd probably be able to run a little faster through thick stands of pines with glasses than without. But what would happen when I was in a race and broke my glasses? I'd probably run through a thick area and get a scratched cornea. I worried about the unintended consequence enough that it has only been the last few years that I began to run with glasses.

Let's hope that having a diagnosis is the first step in Hammer's recovery.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 3:53 PM


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Not a good day


Felt awful running today, had to cut it short.

Watched the Kansas basketball team fall short against UCLA.

Checked the "spring cup" results for my Omanager team and was disappointed in the results.

Not a very good day.

But, those are the worst of my troubles I don't have much reason to complain.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:46 PM


Friday, March 23, 2007

Studying splits?


Russell Robinson looks almost like an orienteer studying his splits.

Actually, he's a basketball player looking at the stat sheet after last night's game.

Russell is probably pretty satisfied with his performance...but tired. He played 32:21 of the 40:00 game, more than any other Kansas player. He had a nice game, and Kansas won.

Russell is probably studying a "normal" stat sheet. He'd probably find a "high definition" stat sheet a bit more interesting. A regular stat sheet is like getting your own splits from epunching. An HD stat sheet is like having winsplits open in your web browser - much more to see and analyze.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:25 PM


Thursday, March 22, 2007

More from CWK on French training


My plan was to translate Carl Waaler Kaas' second article on French orienteering training....But, he beat me to it.

Check out The Way of France (summary in English). Good stuff.

The article gives you an idea of how the French orienteers are training. But Carl Waaler Kaas leave one important question unanswered...Does Thierry Guergiou reward himself after training with a plate of pomme frites?

...and speaking of good stuff, I spent a couple of nerve wracking hours watching the very exciting, hard fought Kansas-SIU basketball game. The good stuff is that Kansas managed to pull out a narrow win.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:25 PM


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Carl Waaler Kaas on French training


The Norwegian Carl Waaler Kaas spent some time training in France and is writing up his comparison of French and Norwegian orienteering training approaches. If you can get through the Norwegian, read the whole article.

If you can't read Norwegian, you're not entirely out of luck. Here is my rough translation of a bit of the article describing a typical winter training week for the French elite group:

Monday: Recovery day. Easy, long run.

Tuesday: strength circuit training, "spenst" and speed. Some short, fast running intervals, often with "dry" orienteering technique training between the intervals or when cooling down.

Wednesday: O' technique, often night orienteering. Intensity can be high or easy.

Thursday: O' technique, often intervals. The intensity is usually the opposite of Wednesday.

Friday: strength circuit training.

Saturday and Sunday: often intensive O' technique training [something I don't quite understand] often sprint, middle distance, night and long distance. A lot at a high intensity and some competitions.

I should add a couple of notes. First, I'm a bit unsure of some of the translation. I think (hope) I got it right, but I'm not sure. "Spenst" is a kind of training for speed/strength. It usually involves things like jumps and hops. I think "dry" O' technique training is probably doing things with maps, like memorizing some control locations and then recalling them later.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:41 PM


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mind wandering


Think about how often it happens that you're in an orienteering race, having a good race and suddenly you catch yourself thinking of something else. If you're lucky, you catch yourself and regain concentration. Sometimes you're unlucky and you realize you aren't exactly sure where you are. You lose time.

Michael Kane and Jonathon Schooler, both psychologist, have been studying how peoples minds wander. Some of their research was summarized in today's NY Times. It struck me as very relevant to orienteering.

One experiment involved having people take a little survey at random intervals. Basically, an alarm would go off and the subject would have to answer some questions about what they'd been doing and thinking immediately before the alarm rang.

The researchers found that people's minds wander a lot. No surprise. Even when they were doing a fairly concentrated task, like reading, people's minds wandered 15-20 percent of the time. They also discovered that people's minds often wandered without knowing. Again, no surprise.

Here is a quote from the news story:

''The mind is always trying to wander, every chance it gets,'' Schooler said. In his view, the mind has not only the goal of achieving whatever task we're focused on, but also personal goals simmering outside of our immediate awareness. These are things like making plans for the future, working out everyday problems, and better understanding oneself. Sometimes, one of these goals hijacks our attention. And so our mind wanders.

The research sounds interesting. I'll have to try to poke around the web pages of Kane and Schooler and see if I can find more information.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:12 PM


Monday, March 19, 2007

Why orienteers practice


An interesting quote I read in the New York Times yesterday:

The automatic mind generally takes care of things like muscle control. But it also does more ethereal things. It recognizes patterns and construes situations, searching for danger, opportunities or the unexpected. It also shoves certain memories, thoughts, anxieties and emotions up into consciousness.

It is from an Op-Ed article by someone named David Brooks.

Brooks was talking about how baseball players are developing the unconscious mind by, for example, doing lots of practice. Here is more of what he wrote:

Over the decades, the institution of baseball has figured out how to instruct the unconscious mind, to make it better at what it does. As we know the automatic brain only by the behavior it produces, so we can instruct it only by forcing it to repeat certain actions. Jeff Kent is practicing covering first after all these years because the patterns of the automatic brain have to be constantly and repetitively reinforced.

I guess that is why orienteers practice.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:27 PM


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fun terrain


I spent some time today in the nicest terrain (by far) anywhere around Kansas City - Knob Noster. The map gives you an idea of the terrain.

And parts of the forest are very, very open and pleasant. I took a couple of snapshots of the area around controls 4 and 5. Nice stuff.

Whenever I run at Knob Noster, I wonder when PTOC will get around to hosting an A-meet there.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:11 PM


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pomme frites


Does Thierry Guergiou reward himself after training with a plate of pomme frites?

After today's training, Mary and I shared a plate of Warrensburg's finest pomme frites.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:35 PM


Training plans for the weekend


I plan to spend a few hours this weekend looking through my magnifier. Today's training will be a control picking course and tomorrow I'll run a regular course. It should be fun.

The photo is from the end of a run at Wyandotte. That's my car parked on the left side of the road just past the intersection.

Iceland web cams

I came across a collection of web cams from Iceland - some nice scenery, some grim weather.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 11:53 AM


Friday, March 16, 2007

Thoughts while watching tonight's basketball game


Imagine it is 2005. You're running the first leg at Tio Mila for a team that ought to finish in the top 10 and has a chance to win.

You're in the middle of the first leg, running well....and boom. Not just a boom, but a huge boom. You finally relocate. You find your control. Now you're on your own, maybe catching up with some of the slow teams. You finish the 1st leg and your team is out of it. Your team struggles through and finish just outside of the top 100.

Now is it 2006. Once again, you're on a strong team. Same goals.

Near the end of the first leg...boom. Another huge mistake. Another wrecked start to Tio Mila. Again.

Now it is 2007. Your team is, if anything, even stronger than the last two years. But everyone remembers the last two years. You know it. You're team knows it. The press knows it.

Imagine how it is going to feel as you start off on that first leg.

If you were running on that team or coaching that team, what would you're approach be? Would you downplay it? Would you try to forget the previous years? Would you use those last two failures to motivate the team?

It is an interesting question to think about.

I was thinking about this because the situation I've described above is parallel to the Kansas basketball team's NCAA tournament record performance over the last 2 years.

Based on radio interviews I've heard with the Kansas coach over the last few days, he took the approach of using those two years of failures to motivate and focus the team. They didn't ignore the history. They knew they'd be judged harshly if they didn't win. They must have felt that they absolutely had to win this first round game.

The competition, Niagara, wasn't very strong. You almost wondered if Kansas would feel extra pressure because Niagara wasn't very strong.

Kansas it worked out well (at least for the first round game). Kansas beat Niagara 107-67. Rock Chalk!

Kansas' next game is on Sunday.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:26 PM


Thursday, March 15, 2007

10 at an "honest effort"


One of my training staples is "10 at an honest effort." I warm up for a bit (at least 20 minutes and as much as 90), then run at an "honest effort" for 10 minutes, and then jog a bit.

An "honest effort" varies a bit. Usually that means a bit under a normal race effort (about 5 bpm below my avg. h.r. for an O' race, sometimes a little easier).

I run in the terrain, on trails or on roads. It is portable.

Ten minutes is enough that you've got to pay careful attention to your pace. If you go out too hard you suffer. If you go out too easy, you're h.r. monitor will warn you that you're loafing. It isn't so long or hard that old legs feel bad the next day.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:19 PM


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cool training toy


I spent some time looking at Marten Bostrom's page. For anyone unfamiliar with Bostrom, he's a world class Finnish orienteer who is living in Arizona and running track and cross country.

His latest news entry includes a graph of a recent interval session. I took a look at the graph and noticed some numbers that I didn't recognize. His EPOC for the session was 152.3 and his training effect was 3.7. I had no idea what EPOC or training effect meant.

Fortunately, a minute with Google and I came across the Firstbeat Technologies web page where I could read about EPOC (turns out it means "Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption") and training effect.

It looks interesting. I suspect having the chance to track and play around with these measures would be fun and motivating. If you paid enough attention to the data, you could probably learn a thing or two.

I just came across some more info about EPOC in an article by Arja Liinamaa.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:20 PM


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Swedish club training culture


Boris wrote:

As I am a member of OK Linne's "training group", I am supposed to occasionally go to meetings where we discuss and plan club training for the next few months. Yesterday was my first such meeting, and it was an interesting experience. It was interesting that the training schedule is decided by consensus, not really according to any training plan or anything written up by a coach but, more or less, according to the desires of the person "responsible" for a given week. Of course, there is a framework within which we make these decisions: in the spring, tuesdays are usually intervals and thursdays technique trainings. Most weekends have races already scheduled, and so on. I made two suggestions, both of which were adopted: one was to have a couple of interval sessions on the track (seems like a no-brainer) and the other was to continue our Wednesday mini-races past Tiomila (before, they used to be replaced by circuit training) and all the way till Jukola. This was approved on a bi-weekly basis.

While it was undoubtedly very cool for me to participate in such a meeting and get to help plan my club's training, it also struck me as very strange that a club as large and successful as OK Linne relies on a group of amateurs, selected based on volunteering and not on any qualifications, to plan the whole season's training. How does this work in other Scandinavian clubs?

I thought Boris' comments were interesting. A few disjointed thoughts:

Boris' experience is similar to mine. I ran for three clubs in Sweden and my impression was that each had a different template (what Boris calls a framework) for training. Each seemed fairly set in their template. I didn't sense a lot of innovation. That's not unique to Swedish O' clubs. It's pretty much par for the course among organizations.

I think there is a strong "O' club training culture" among Swedish clubs. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is, but I suspect it is pretty important for how well the clubs function. The different clubs develop different cultures, which then appeal to different types of orienteers. A club might focus more on developing juniors, or competing at big relays, or having a nice environment for post-training socializing. Different focus would lead to different training templates.

Well, those aren't very clear or well thought out ideas...I guess that reflects some fuzzy thinking on my part. It is an interesting topic.

Scandinavian Culture

I picked up a collection of Icelandic sagas a week or two ago. I'm slowly working my way through the brick-sized book. I figure that if I'm going to visit Iceland, I'll take a bit of time to read some of the sagas. I'm in the middle of Egil's Saga. It is quite interesting to read about the Viking culture.

No study of Scandinavian culture would be complete without spending some time following the Eurovision contest. Sweden's entry is....well...I'll let you decide yourself:

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:46 PM


Monday, March 12, 2007

short intervals


I'm thinking I might do some short intervals. Really short, like 60-100 meters. It seems like it might be fun.

When I was at my best, I did a lot of short intervals. It was fun.

Now, 15 years later, I'm wondering what it would feel like. Will it still be fun? Will it lead to injury? The only way to find out is to try.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:39 PM


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Control-in-the-forest snapshots


I spent a couple of hours picking up controls at Bluffwoods today. I carried my camera and took a few control-in-the-forest snapshots.

If you're really inspired, you can match up the control locations with the snapshots. If you're not inspired, just check out the terrain and snapshots and day dream about a great day to be out in the forest.

Bluffwoods is one of the tougher local areas. Those contours are 5 meters. So the hills are big. The forest is mostly quite open and easy to run through.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:26 PM


Saturday, March 10, 2007

A boom from a loooong time ago


I was looking at some old maps today and I came across one of my all-time most annoying booms. I missed the second control when I ran a "direct" course at a race organized by OK Denseln back in August 1988.

As you can see, I made a parallel error and missed 2. I headed way too far down the hill before I recognized what I'd done, turned around and took the control. It must have cost a good 30+ seconds.

It wasn't a huge boom. I've certainly made much bigger mistakes. But it was a memorable mistake. Not that I didn't make other mistakes on the course. Take a look at the map and see, for example, my mistakes at 3 and 9.

But that mistake a 2 still sticks in my mind for two reasons. First, it was a really stupid mistake. I just wasn't paying attention. I was hoping to find the control, not trying to find it. Second, it dropped me into 2nd place on the "direct" course. Not that I really care about my result on the direct course at a little meet...except, that without that little mistake I'd have finished ahead of Micke Wehlin. And that would have been cool (even if Wehlin must have just jogged around the course).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:52 PM


Friday, March 09, 2007

Some good advice from the Big Aristotle


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

That's really good advice for an orienteer. Find lots and lots of controls. Run a lot. Run in the forest. You'll develop the habits that you need to reach your best.

The quote is from Aristotle. I came across it when I was reading up on Shaq. Shaq reportedly gave himself the nickname - The Big Aristotle - because he like the quote.

I was reminded of the ideas about deliberate practice that I've written about before.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:21 PM


Thursday, March 08, 2007

OT in the mailbox!


I smiled when I checked the mail box in front of my house today. The new issue of Orienteering Today was sitting there.

I'd been holding my breath in hopes that last year's distribution problems would be solved. I thought they'd been solved. But, I wasn't sure. Actually, it'll probably be a few more issues before I'm sure the problems are a thing of the past. But, I'm optimistic.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:13 PM


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Home court advantage in orienteering


Some discussion over at Attackpoint touches on the idea of a "home court advantage" in orienteering.

Neil wrote:

Choosing a good line and similarly learning to run efficiently in a particular terrain type are technical (mental) skills which need to get wired... I think this might be a reason home advantage is so great.

And Boris wrote:

Yeah, I keep noticing this in Sweden. Very often, I will lose time to home-grown Swedes who 'magically' (that is, as far as I can tell, there is no scientific way to do this) always pick really good lines through terrain, even when the visibility is really low. It's like the forest just parts, ala Moses and the Red Sea, for the Swedish orienteer.

I guess I've noticed the same thing. If you train in a specific type of forest, you get better and better at moving through it efficiently. Nothing surprising, but still worth remembering.

Reading about these comments reminded me of an article that I've skimmer on home court advantage in, of all things, speed skating. You wouldn't really think there would be much of a home court advantage in speed skating. And you'd be write. But there does seem to be some home court advantage. The author concludes:

Even though the home advantage effect exists, it is very small when compared to variation in skating times due to differences of rinks and individual abilities.

In the intro to the paper, the author notes that home court advantage is usually attributed to four factors: crowd support, familiarity with local conditions, reduced travel time for home athletes, and the rule factor.

How would you expect these factors to affect orienteering?

Crowd support should make little to no difference. There just aren't enough opportunities for crowds to support orienteers.

Familiarity with local conditions should make a difference. That's what Neil and Boris are talking about.

Reduced travel time should make a difference. On the home court, you don't have to deal with the stress of travel or the differences in living conditions. You can sleep in your own bed. That level of comfort and lack of stress is bound to help you perform.

The rule factor shouldn't make a difference because orienteering doesn't involve rule judgements or local rules. While there may be differences in course setting or mapping styles, those aren't really rules, those are local conditions.

Another related issue is how performance varies with the importance of the event. The paper finds that speedskaters tend to do better at major events like Olympics and World Champs:

We also see that both men and women skate significantly faster at the major tournaments: the Olympic Games and the World Distances Championship. The effect is of the order of 1%, both for men and for women for both types of events. The existence of this effect could be caused by national selection of skaters participating in these tournaments: only the very best of the best qualify for such events. Also, these tournaments attract a lot of media coverage, which makes it important for skaters to perform as good as they can. Miserable performance during these two tournaments can have dire consequences for future sponsor deals and access to training facilities and new materials...

I still haven't read the whole paper, but I think I probably will. You can find a PDF of Home Advantage In Speedskating: Evidence from Individual Data by Ruud Koning.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:21 PM


"At One With Nature"


John Sickels spotted a cougar in Lawrence (apparently near 6th an Kasold). Here is a photo.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:46 PM


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Orienteering photo scavenger hunt


I came across a NY Times' photo scavenger hunt. The idea is to "seek out scenes and objects intrinsically New York and capture them with your camera." It seems like a good idea and an idea that could transfer to other topics...like orienteering.

The New York photo scavenger hunt identified topics like:

Most unusual-looking fruit or vegetable for sale: If it can get through customs, it's somewhere in this city.

Cheesiest Statue of Liberty-related tourist souvenir.

Pedestrian triple-tasking: Someone doing at least three things at once, one of which is walking down the street — plus eating and talking on cellphone; listening to iPod and reading magazine; or knitting and screaming at friend.

Most unusual piece of refuse: A city that collects the strangest things also discards the strangest things, and they don't all fit in a trash bag.

Ideas for O' photo scavenger hunt?

What should be on an orienteering photo scavenger hunt list?

A few possibilities come to mind:

1. Best and worst dressed orienteers
2. Line at the port-potty
3. Group huddled around a map talking about booms
4. Orienteers eating Peeps

There must be some more good ideas. If you've got some, leave them as comments. If I can come up with a good list, I'll put it to use at the next A-meet I go to.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:24 PM


Monday, March 05, 2007

Answering a couple of emails


I described Saturday's course as "a classic Peggy Dickison course." This morning I had an email message wondering what I meant.

Peggy has a consistent course setting style. She likes to set legs where you have to cross over a hill and then enter the top of a reentrant or ditch. It can be tricky because you can easily get off line a bit and come into the wrong feature or be unsure if the feature is to your left of right.

Controls 4, 6 and 9 on the map above are good examples.

NCAA basketball

I also got an unexpected email wondering about NCAA basketball picks.

My favorite team is, of course, the Kansas Jayhawks. I'll pick them to win it all.

My favorite source for college basketball info is kenpom.com. Kenpom.com has lots of great stuff - check out the ratings and stats. The page has loads of interesting stuff and it'll take a while to make sense of the different stats. But spend a bit of time poking around and reading the explanation of the stats and the preview of the Big 12 season (PDF) to get an idea of the information you can find on Kenpom.com.

You could do a lot worse than picking your NCAA brackets based on nothing more than the Kenpom.com ratings.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:25 PM


Sunday, March 04, 2007

M40 course from North Carolina


Today's M40 course in North Carolina.

Vlad set the course. I liked it.

I'd planned to run M21. That didn't quite work out. I was happy to get a good run in and my first M40 day of the year.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:10 PM


Saturday, March 03, 2007

North Carolina WRE M21 map


The maps from today's WRE M21 middle distance race in North Carolina. My wandering routes are shown.

The orienteering was more interesting that it looks at first glance because the forest was a bit rough. Apparently a hurricane came through the area years ago and knocked down a lot of trees. You've got lots of deadfall to step over. That gets tiring and it makes the running tougher. And that makes the orienteering more interesting.

My race was a bit rough - lots of running and reading the map instead of reading the map and running.

One of the nice things about today's middle distance race is that I was finished in time to grab some lunch and get back to a TV where I was able to watch the second half of the Kansas-Texas basketball game. Kansas fought back, gained a lead, then hung on to win. The win give them the Big 12 season championship.

Rock Chalk!

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 1:34 PM


Friday, March 02, 2007

Today's sprint race


Today's sprint race went...for me it didn't go at all.

I had some bad luck with an airline connection (apparently related to bad weather in Toronto). My connecting flight arrived too late to make the event. But at least I made it to my destination, unlike my luggage.

Fortunately, my luggage arrived a few minutes ago and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's middle distance race.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:46 PM


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Snapshots from training in Arizona


On a work trip to Phoenix last month I managed to get out to for a run. Mook (see photos) and I shuffled around South Mountain Park on a foggy, rainy day.

What should I do in Iceland

I'm planning a trip to Iceland. Someone who is reading this must have visited Iceland. If so, any suggestions for things to do, places to see, guidebooks to buy, etc. Please let me know.

I'd love to try some orienteering in Iceland. An old issue of O' Today (or it might have been O Sport) described some orienteering in Iceland. I've poked around the web trying to find info about orienteering in Iceland...no luck. Anyone have any suggestions?

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:00 PM


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