Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, May 31, 2007

How often does Simone look at the map?


Last week, I counted how many times Marianne Andersen looked at the map. Today, I counted Simone Niggli's L.A.M. ("looks at the map"). The video below shows a little bit of Simone running a sprint O' race.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

It is a bit difficult to count the L.A.M. because of the camera angle, but it looks to me like she has about 12 over about 70 seconds of orienteering. So the average is about one look every 6 seconds. That's close to how many times Marianne Andersen looked at the map in another sprint race.

A few months ago I wrote about frequently looking at the map and then I did a little experiment.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:40 PM


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

City Cup


Boris ran Stockholm City Cup earlier today. Reading his training log inspired me to check out the Stockholm City Cup web page. Stockholm City Cup is a series of sprint/park races in the city. The series seems to have started back in 1997. They get a lot of people. Boris ran the open men's category and was one of 219 official finishers in that class.

I poked around the web page (click "historik" then "tidigare hemsidor" then poke around on some of the old pages to find lots of maps). I came across the map below of the old part of Stockholm.

I wonder if Aspleaf has ever run a Stockholm City Cup race?

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:41 PM


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sprint O' training camp


Mary and I are planning a weekend trip to St Louis to do some sprint O' practice (and some tourist stuff). I figured we'd get some maps and run a few courses and re-run some of the courses to testing different route choices.

There must be some good ideas out there for practicing sprint O'. If anyone has some ideas, please post them as a comment or send me an email.

Flash Earth

Need to kill some hours? The Flash Earth web site is a great place to spend some time.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:45 PM


Monday, May 28, 2007

Mook's Marsh


A map named for my OK team mate, Mook. There is probably some story behind the name of the map. I don't (yet) know the story.

Looks like nice orienteering.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:27 PM


Sunday, May 27, 2007

"One has no talent"


One has no talent. I have no talent. It's just a question of working, of being willing to put in the time.

It sounds like good advice for orienteering training. But the quote is from, Graham Greene, the author, and it is about writing.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:42 PM


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Starting to think about Boris' question


Boris posed a question:

The Texas orienteering program with its junior camps has been thriving for a number of years now. It looks like one of the best things to have happened to US junior development in ages. Why, then, have no US Team-caliber seniors have come out of it?

I spent a little time this morning sipping a cup of coffee and thinking about Boris' question. For starters, I decided to try to get a handle on the results of the efforts to improve orienteering in Texas. I looked at U.S. JWOC teams beginning in 1999. I wanted to see who had made US JWOC teams and how many of them came from the Texas Junior O' Camp. (2001 was the first year I went to a TJOC and it was probably another year or so before the camp really hit its stride).

I started with two questions: How many different men/women have made US JWOC teams? How many different men/women from Texas have made US JWOC teams?

It turns out that 3 of the 18 JWOC men and 2 of the 16 JWOC women came from the Texas programs (covering 9 JWOCs over the period of 1999-2007). That seems like a pretty good record.

Ashley was the first Texan on a JWOC team. She made the team in 2002. Robbie was the first man from Texas on a JWOC team. Robbie made the team in 2003.

The other Texans on JWOC teams have been Francesca Worsham, Frank Worsham, and Michael Norris. (And if Dylan were a bit less lazy, he'd have been on the teams in 2006 and 2007 rather than an alternate).

But Boris' question is really about having impact at the senior team level. So far, none of the Texas juniors have made the move to the senior WOC teams. That needs to be put in context. So, I looked at how many people have moved from JWOC teams to WOC teams.

Only one man - John Fredrickson - has both made a JWOC team in 1999-2007 and a WOC team (that is out of 18 different individuals on US JWOC men's teams). On the women's side, things are a bit different. Six (of 16) women have made both JWOC teams and WOC teams. Those six are: Erin Olafsen, Samantha Saeger, Hillary Saeger, Sandra Zurcher, Suzanne Armstrong, and Viktoria Brautigam.

So, no Texans have made the move from a JWOC team to a senior WOC team. But, keep in mind that most JWOC team members don't make the move either.

In part, that's because the moving from junior to senior is a pretty big leap. While Sandra Zurcher ran a WOC as a junior, she's an exception (and she ran her first WOC race in 1999 and didn't run another until 2003). Here is how many years between a first JWOC team and a first WOC team:

Erin 4 years
Samantha 6 years
Sandra ran a WOC as a junior
Suzanne 6 years
Hillary 4 years
Viktoria 4 years
John 5 years

I think this gap between a first JWOC and a first WOC reflects both the big jump from junior to senior, and that the juniors who are most likely to make an impact at the senior WOC level run their first JWOC when they are relatively young and have a chance to run several JWOCs (John, as an example, ran his first JWOC in 2003 when he was 17).

My main conclusions after looking at some of the info:

1. If you measure success by getting runners on the JWOC team, Texas has done pretty well, with 5 different runners (and if Dylan were a bit less lazy, they'd have had 6).

2. If you measure success by getting runners on to the WOC team...you've set a high bar and the odds are against you. So far, the Texas program hasn't put anyone on a WOC team.

Ashley probably has the capacity to make a WOC team, but I'm not sure she has the drive or is in the right orienteering environment to give herself a good shot at the team (last I heard she was studying at Rice).

And thinking about the "orienteering environment" is something that might explain some of the reason that juniors (both throughout the US and in Texas) have (or haven't had) impact at the senior team level. That is a topic for another day.

An aside...as I was looking at the JWOC teams, I was struck by how much two families (the Saegers and the Walkers) have made an impact on the JWOC teams. Out of the 34 different people who made JWOC teams, those two families have 4 of the individuals (nearly as many as the entire state of Texas) and they have a bunch of teams among them (Samantha 4, Hillary 3, Greg 2, Dan 4).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 10:47 AM


Friday, May 25, 2007

Too lazy to write


To lazy to write tonight. But not too lazy to point you to an article about a psychologist who is interested in performance. Worth a look and clearly relevant to orienteering.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:20 PM


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Missing TJOC


For the first time in years, I'm not going to be at the annual Texas Junior Orienteering Camp. It feels tough to miss it. I can assure you that each morning next week, I'll wake up wondering what they're doing in the hot, humid, thorny, Texas forest.

TJOC is always one of the highlights of the year. Working with the kids is rewarding. Working side-by-side with the leaders is inspiring. I'm hoping things work out so that next year I can be at the camp.

To get a sense of the camp, check out something I wrote a few years ago - A Typical Day at the TJOC part I and part II.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:39 PM


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How often does Marianne Andersen look at the map?


How often do you suppose Marianne Andersen looked at the map during the sprint champs?

Thanks to the woO-TV video I posted earlier today, it was pretty easy to find out.

I counted how many times Andersen looked at the map when she was shown on the video. I also kept track of how many seconds she was on camera. I could see her well enough to count how many times she looked at the map for 1:45. During that time, she looked at her map 24 times. That's roughly a look every 5 seconds.

Watch Andersen carefully and you'll probably notice two things. First, she looks at the map a lot. Second, she runs fast. Actually, you might also notice a third thing...those orange number bibs make the orienteers look like fast moving deer hunters.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:09 PM


woO-TV at Norway's sprint champs


From WoOTV, a very cool video of the women's course at the recent Norwegian sprint champs.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:20 AM


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A new old sprint area


I've been thinking about a mapping project for the summer. One option is to expand Orienteer Kansas' map of the KU Campus (you can find a link to the current map). But, another option occurred to me. Maybe we could map the Haskell campus. A long time ago, we had a black and white O' map of part of the Haskell campus. I don't remember ever running an orienteering competition on the map (though I'm sure there were a few), but I remember carrying the map with me when I ran (often) on the cross country trails.

The main part of the Haskell campus, which is north east of the map above, would make for an interesting sprint mapping project. It'd be a great place for a sprint race. I think Orienteer Kansas mapped the main campus around 1989 (?) and used the map as part of a park orienteering series.

Before mapping the campus, I'll need to get in touch with someone at Haskell and discuss permission to use the campus for an orienteering event. Given that we've been able to orienteer on the KU campus recently and have used the Haskell campus (though it was a long time ago), I'd be hopeful that we could use the area for a small competition.

As I was poking around the internet looking for information about the Haskell campus, I came across the university's GIS lab, with several maps of campus (including the cross country trails). I also found a collection of 3d models of the buildings on campus that you can open in Google Earth (very cool).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:59 PM


Monday, May 21, 2007

Chatting about map quality


I came across some interesting discussion about map quality over on Jon Pedersen's page (all in Norwegian). He posted three examples of parts of the map that he had trouble with.

In this clip, Pedersen wonders if there should be more yellow on the map and if there should be a "soekk" on the map (I don't know what that is, but I'm thinking it might be a little marsh).

In the next clip, Pedersen speculates that the cliff actually is oriented directly east/west.

In the last clip, Pedersen wonders if the relationship between the two dot knolls is off.

Mapping is really hard. I try not to complain too much about maps. But I think it is interesting to see the sort of problems Pedersen picked out. Pedersen writes (and I did translate this part!):

Is this just another way to draw a map?
Do I just have to learn to find the controls when the map is like this?
Is the map just rough or is it "slurvete" [which I think means "sloppy"]?
Or maybe I'm just annoyed because I boomed in the beginning of the course...

Going over the comments on Pedersen's article, I came across a link I've been meaning to point to for a few weeks...a very cool comparison of different fieldcheckers. Also worth a look (if you can read the Norwegian) is Haavard Tveite's comment. Tveite is a very serious orienteering map geek.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:06 PM


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yesterday's sprint race


Here is the map from yesterday's sprint race in Kansas City (click on the map to get a larger version).

Fast, fun orienteering. Not much more to say.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:01 PM


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Just Say No to Bingo Controls


Kent Lodberg, a judge for Denmark's course setting competition, put together a set of bingo controls and explanations for the problems with each control. You can find the map and Lodberg's explanations here. Click on "eksempler pa bingoposter - kortet" for the map and "bingoposter kommentarer" for Lodberg's notes.

I'm not going to translate Lodberg's comments. But he comes back to several common problems with control locations (you need to have the full map to see the specific examples I listed):

The feature continues so the feature is really a line. Placing the control can't be done with precision (e.g. control 33).

The edge of the feature is large enough that you can't precisely place the control (e.g. 52 is on the east side of the clearing, but the east side of the clearing is 40 meters long).

The feature is indistinct, which by definition means it can't be a precise location (e.g. control 37).

In analyzing control locations, Lodberg frequently notes that orienteers are going to have to hunt for the control.

When I looked at the map and Lodberg's comments, I thought he was a tough, but fair, judge. Many of the control locations look ok to me. Certainly, I wouldn't be mad at the course setter if they used many of the locations. But, I think Lodberg's point is that a course setter should set a very high standard for control locations.

As a course setter, you often compromise with a control location. If I wanted to put a control at 52 - the 40 meter edge of the field - I would. I might even tell myself "the visibility is fine, as soon as an orienteer reaches the field, they'll see the control marker." I think Lodberg wants course setters to take a very critical look at each control and to set a high standard. That is a good thing.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:43 AM


Friday, May 18, 2007

Almost two different sports


I was looking at maps from Eric and Aspleaf. Both are "orienteering" but it is almost like two different sports.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:49 PM


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Long-term thinking


At work today I was thinking about how much trouble governments have thinking long-term. Governments face short-term v. long-term trade offs all the time. Let's say a budget can afford to maintain a bridge or build a new swimming pool in a park. It is easy to put off maintaining a bridge and build the new pool. Voters and elected officials can see the new pool. But they don't see that maintaining the bridge means it will be in good shape for 20 years instead of 10. But that benefit isn't so obvious, in part because voters and elected officials can't see it. Governments facing this sort of decision typically build too many swimming pools and don't do enough to maintain bridges.

A few months ago I was thinking about long-term thinking and orienteering training. See one entry and another.

Governments try, sometimes, to improve how they make long-term vs. short-term decisions by having more analysis and long-range cost estimates. It doesn't work very well. In part, that's because having a bunch of numbers on a sheet of paper is still so abstract that it doesn't really register among voters and elected officials.

A better way might be for governments to have some people who are paid to advocate for long-term thinking. These people would have the same sheets of paper, but would have the responsibility of making a fuss.

Maybe something similar would work for orienteering training decisions. A club or a national team could have someone who was assigned the job of advocating for long-term thinking.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:59 PM


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Toy


You know you're getting old when you get a new toy...and then you realize that new toy is a magnifier for reading your map.

A few weeks ago I bought a pair of sports reading glasses. The glasses look like any other pair of sports glasses. But, the lower part of the glasses has built in magnifying. You can see a pair at OrienteringsSpecialisten.

As my eyes get older, I have more and more trouble reading the detail on an O' map.
I've been using a magnifier that attaches to my thumb since 2001. The sports reading glasses are the next step.

Yep...my cool new toy is a pair of reading glasses...sad, isn't it?

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:21 PM


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

5 ideas for getting Better


1. Ask an unscripted question.
2. Don't complain.
3. Count something.
4. Write something.
5. Change.

These are Atul Gawande's suggestions for becoming a "positive deviant" (which is, basically, a way of saying "becoming better").

Gawande wasn't writing about orienteering, but I think his suggestions can easily be used by an ambitious orienteer. A few examples illustrate:

Ask an unscripted question. Find someone after an O' race. Don't ask - how did it go? Ask them something different. Ask about their job or studies. Ask about their family. The idea is to make a connection with the person. Listen. Learn something you didn't know before. You'll make some connections. Making those connections makes orienteering more fun.

Those kind of connections aren't going to immediately result in becoming a better orienteer. But they don't hurt and as you make more and more connections, you're more and more likely to learn and to find people you can help or who can help you.

Peter G. once told me that he often makes a point of meeting someone at every event who he has never met before.

Count something. Count how many times you train orienteering. Count how many times you run up and down a hill during training. Count how many controls you find in a year. You'll find that by counting something, you learn something.

A few years ago, I read an interview with Bjornar Vlastad where he described how many controls he'd found in the 6 months leading up to winning a WOC. I started counting controls I found in training. Two things happened. First, because I was counting, I started doing more and more O' training. Finding more and more controls sharpened my technique. Second, I learned (though this took a bit longer) how much technique work it took to get in good technique form.

Write something. After each race, write a sentence or two about each leg on the course. Write about what you did or what you saw or who you saw or how you felt. Write about what you'd do differently if you had the chance. Just write something. Write notes on the back of your map. Or write them on your training log.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:54 PM


Monday, May 14, 2007

Another medical book with relevance to orienteering


People underestimate the importance of diligence as a virtue. No doubt this has something to do with how supremely mundane it seems. It is defined as "the constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken." There is a flavor of simplistic relentlessness to it. And if it were an individual's primary goal in life, that life would indeed seem narrow and unambitious.

The quote is from Atul Gawande's new book Better: a surgeon's notes on performance. The theme of the book is performance. The setting is medicine. But the ideas are applicable to different settings...like orienteering. You should have no trouble recognizing the idea that diligence as an underestimated virtue applies to people who train for orienteering.

You can learn more about Gawande at his web page and by checking out his appearance on Booktv.org. Better yet, go to the library or bookstore and pick up the book.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:23 PM


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Watching the bike races


I spent a few hours watching the collegiate cycling national championships in downtown Lawrence. Watching endurance sports is always a bit inspiring. After the races, we headed out for a trail run.

I took a few snapshots during the races. This shows the lead pack on the last lap. A group of about 10 riders got a lead in the last 15-20 minutes of the 70 minute race. I don't know who won (we were watching about 300 meters away from the finish line).

Downtown Lawrence - old buildings and tree lined streets - is a nice location for a race.

Crashing on a bike hurts. In this snapshot, a group of riders had slid out going around the corner and were just getting back on their feet.

When you crashed or had a flat, you got a free lap. The next time the pack came around, the organizers would put you back in the race. One official stood in front and told you when to go. Another pushed to help you get up to speed. I'm not sure why, but one of the officials was wearing a blazer (and a nice straw hat to keep the sun off). In this snapshot, the riders are waiting for the lead pack to come around.

And in this snapshot, the rider is getting back up to speed to rejoin the pack.

In this shot a Kansas rider rejoins the pack. The guy right behind the rider - the one who looks like he is about to tip over - was giving the rider a push to help him get back up to speed.

Watching the races was a nice way to spend the morning. It was inspiring to watch the college kids racing hard. It also reminded me of how far orienteering has to go before it would be anywhere near as good as cycling as a spectator sport.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:37 PM


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Some nice map collections on the web


I came across three blogs with lots of maps. Looking at maps is always fun. Check out:

Chris Wrigtht
Andy Hyslop

Looking at some of the maps of small areas inspired me a bit. I need a sprint map project for the summer. Last summer's mapping project was part of the KU campus. I'm thinking that expanding the map would be a good project.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:24 PM


Friday, May 11, 2007

New job


No orienteering today.

I've just finished my first week at a new job. After working as a performance auditor for almost 15 years, I'm now "director of policy analysis" in the Mayor's Office. I'm a bit unsure about exactly what the job will entail. I expect it will develop over the next couple of months. If I had to guess, I'd expect my days to be filled with reading, writing, talking and going to an occasional meeting.

After a week on the job, my main impression is that this is going to be a fun job. Reading, writing and thinking about city government is what I've been doing for the last 15 years. So that isn't really different. But the environment is a bit different than performance auditing. The office has a different feel to it - more different ways of thinking and a quicker pace.

Eurovision Song Contest

Tomorrow is the Eurovision song contest final. It is hard to really appreciate how weird the contest is. Poke around the official web page and you can listen to the songs (if you want to).

I have strong memories of a weekend around 1989 or 1990. On Tio Mila weekend, Sweden won the hockey world champs (after some incredibly bad sportsmanship on by the US team); a ping-pong world championship (doubles, I think); and the Eurovision song contest. Carola sang the winning song and, like any Eurovision winner, the song could get stuck in your head in an instant. So consider yourself warned before you hit the "play" button below:

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:01 PM


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sprint and climb legs give time bonuses


At a race in Norway the course was designed with several "sprint" and "climb" legs. If an orienteer had the best time on those legs, then they earned a time bonus. It is a bit like the time bonuses cyclists can earn in Tour de France stages.

On the map below, 3 is a sprint leg and 7 is a climb leg.

In the Norwegian race, the top 4 splits on the legs earned bonuses of 60, 45, 30 and 15 seconds. There was also a 10 second bonus for the fastest time from the last control to the finish.

Check out the article on OPN.no for a couple more map clips and details (if you can read Norwegian).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:59 PM


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Selecting a WOC team


After any selection, some discussion always crops up. You can read the discussion about the US selections over at Attackpoint.

I don't have the mental energy to read the whole thread. So, I won't comment on the specifics. But, let me suggest a thought experiment.

Imagine that someone has given you a chunk of money - maybe $15,000 - and assigned you the task of picking a WOC team. Further, you've been told that you'll have the same job for the next 5 years. Finally, you've been told that the guy with the money expects better performance at the WOC each year.

How are you going to pick your team? When do you pick them? How many runners do you pick? How far into the future do you think?

It is the sort of problem general managers in sports like baseball, basketball, and football face. They've got some money, they've got some goals, and they have the freedom to decide how to make their decisions.

I like to go through this sort of thought experiment as a way of trying to understand the sort of problems selectors face and the range of solutions they can consider. In the US, the selection procedures have evolved incrementally over time. There are a lot of good things about incremental changes, but an incremental process often misses some opportunities to consider some more innovative ideas.

So, spend a few minutes thinking about the thought experiment...and maybe you'll have a different view of the problems and solutions to WOC team selections. Or maybe not.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:22 PM


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"I choked, I caved under the pressure..."


I choked. I caved under the pressure, so I started to collect data from Olympians. What they were telling me was a lot different than what I thought. I was trying as hard as I could on every shot to get it in the 10 ring. I was very outcome oriented, and the Olympic champions were telling me not to be outcome oriented, not to try to win. They said you should try to execute. The process is more important than the outcome.

The quote is from a guy named Lanny Bassham. He's talking about his experience in the 1972 Olympics where he competed in shooting. At the next Olympics, he won.

I came across the quote in a NY Times article about Bassham's work with professional golfers. The quote struck me as relevant for a lot of situations, including orienteering - the idea of focusing on process rather than outcome.

I Googled Bassham and came across his web page where he sells his ideas in a wide range of applications, from shooting to golf to "dog sports" to beauty pageants.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:18 PM


Monday, May 07, 2007

Measuring course quality


Here is a partial quote of something Eric W. posted at Attackpoint:

...I think there is far to much emphasis on nailing winning times at all events, including WOC. I think this subject generates much more heat than light. Winning times happen to be a convenient, easy to measure, objective criteria, but it tells almost nothing about the quality of course design. I put acute angle doglegs in the same category, as easy to observe and measure, but not as important as other issues.

Course quality is of course quite subjective, and difficult to quantify, but ultimately more important. It also takes a little more insight to comment on....

On my flight home yesterday, I spent some time thinking about these same issues - how to measure the quality of orienteering courses and how the current measures (things like distance, climb and winning times) don't always lead to very good courses.

I have a few thoughts on how to measure course quality. They need a bit more thought, maybe something for another day. Until then, if anyone has thoughts, feel free to leave a comment.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:20 PM


US WOC selection race - long distance


Nice course. Nice terrain. You don't see four long route choice legs on the same course very often.

(Map lifted from mapsurfer.com).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:31 PM


Sunday, May 06, 2007



The 2007 US WOC Team:

Samantha Saeger
Pavlina Brautigam
Viktoria Brautigam
Hillary Saeger
Sandra Zurcher

Susanne Armstrong and Kris Beecroft are alternates.

Boris Granovskiy
Eddie Bergeron
John Fredrickson
Eric Bone
Clem McGrath

Wyatt Riley and Ross Smith are alternates.

The teams look pretty strong. It is fun to see some youngsters (Viktoria, Hillary and John). Interesting to see that two families make up 4 of the 5 women.

Today's long distance selection race was tough - challenging navigation and route choice and some thick forest to fight through. I'll try to post the map in the next day or 2).

Southern Michigan O' Club hosted the selection races and deserves a huge thanks. They did a great job.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:10 PM


Saturday, May 05, 2007

US WOC team trials - middle distance


Today's M21 course. Fun stuff.

Some good orienteers did some bad orienteering in today's race.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 2:30 PM


Friday, May 04, 2007

US WOC team trials - sprint


Here is the course from today's WOC selection sprint race.

Michael Sandstrom and Samantha Saeger won. I don't have the results, but when I last checked, each of them had clear leads.

The course was fun. I had a decent race - steady but slow. "Slow" is really my only speed these days.

Tomorrow is the middle distance race.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:01 PM


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Simone's reminder


I'll be running a sprint race tomorrow. Simone Niggli reminded me of one of the keys to sprint races - go to the first control, then go to the second control, then go to the third control, and so on.

At today's Nordic O' Champs in Denmark, Simone had an uncharacteristic result. She finished 25th. Here is what happened. She was on her way from 8 and didn't see the 9th control on her map. So she ran straight to 10. She didn't discover what she'd done until she was on her way to 13. She may have looked at the route choice options for 12-13 and spotted control 9, realizing she'd never been there.

Simone went back to 9 and then did 10-11-12 again.

To see someone as good as Simone make that sort of mistake is a good reminder as I think about tomorrow's sprint race.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:40 PM


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A day in the life of an elite athlete


I had a chance to spend a day observing a young athlete. It was an interesting experience. The whole day was built around training.

The day began early. The first "workout" of the day was a short one. The pace was easy. He takes the same route every day, rain or shine. It isn't much of a workout, but it is a nice routine and a great way to start the day.

After most workouts, the elite athlete does some stretching. Often he has a bite to eat (always nutritious food) and maybe even takes a nap.

The afternoons are harder training. On the day I observed, the weather was great and the athlete did an interval-like session. He alternated harder efforts with easy efforts.

After the intervals, he moved on to some technique work. In this case, he worked on a fairly simple technique. At the beginning, the technique was rough, but the athlete was getting feedback (basically doing "deliberate practice") and was concentrating carefully on what to do and how successful it was. With further practice, he'd mastered the technique.

The rest of the day went to another good, nutritious meal. The athlete went to bed early, falling asleep immediately and getting the rest you need to recover and improve.

Sounds like the life of an elite athlete...but, in fact, it was my 10-month-old nephew.

This snapshot shows him doing "intervals":

And in this spanshot he seems to be doing some light post-workout stretching:

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:11 PM


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Scary, but interesting, story from Tio MIla


Oskar Axelsson, "I was in a good position on the first leg when I ran into a stick. It went right into my thigh. I was afraid because it was just above the knee I'd hurt before."

At first, Oskar thought he'd be able to keep running. But then he caught sight of his bloody leg.

"It hurt a lot and I decided not to continue. I could support myself on the leg but the muscle hurt. I called for help."

Two runners stopped. Halden's Anders Johansson adn Lasse Torpo from the Finnish team Delta.

"The wound was very open and the Finn took off his shirt and used it to stop the bleeding while the Halden runner talked to me to keep me calm," said Oskar.

Lasse Torpo also took off his GPS tracking device, which runners in the top teams carry so that the spectators can follow the race. Torpo left the GPS with Oskar before continuing the course.

"He did that so that the medical personnel would have an easier time finding me."

If you can read Swedish, check out the whole article from Nerikes Allehande.

You can see how the Delta runner's GPS track stops moving when Torpo left the GPS with Oskar about a minute into the WoO TV video.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:49 PM


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