Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An interesting comeback


For the last few months I've run 1.5 hours four times a week. Obviously that's nothing compared to those who are in the national team. I train based on what I can tolerate and how much time I've got.

That's a roughly translated quote from Karolina A. Hojsgaard in a Swedish newspaper story. After having retired from competition, she's planning to run the first Swedish elite series race in about a month. She's now 36 and hasn't competed for a year and a half. It'll be quite interesting to see how well she races.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:22 PM


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lazy = post some links


After a long day at work, I'm too lazy to write...instead I'll just post some links:

Ultimate Orienteering's article on the Canadian sprint training camp.

Aspleaf's Tio Mila T-shirt design.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 10:00 PM


Monday, February 25, 2008

Why walking is good


A comment on my experience walking a course last weekend raised a question:

Is walking a course like watching a sports performance in slow motion and you can see learn about things that don't show up in regular speed?

Not really. To me, walking a course is more like the sort of drill you might do when learning to hit a backhand in tennis or to run a set play in basketball. You do everything you would do at race pace, but you do it slowly and precisely. There is probably some benefit to walking courses now and then (not just when you're so sick or injured that you can't run).

One thing I did quite well while walking was to keep looking far ahead. Because the terrain was so open in Arizona and I was looking far ahead, I was once able to pick out the location of a control on the next leg.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:29 PM


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Walking around


I'm sick enough that I decided to skip today's race. I was going to just hang out, maybe take a few snapshots. But Sandy planted the idea of walking the Brown (M60) course. That's what I ended up doing.

Walking a course is more fun than it might sound. You realize that if you can't afford to make a mistake (not because of the time, but because someone will see you making the mistake and then give you grief - "You were walking and still couldn't find the control"). You also realize that if you work at it, you can shave seconds here and there and over the entire course, those seconds add up.

Walking the course was fun...but not as fun as running a course.

My plan is to walk tomorrow's course, unless I feel a whole lot better by the time the start rolls around.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:15 PM


Friday, February 22, 2008



A combination of stress, too little sleep, travel (a special form of stress), and exposure to some sort of cold virus = sick. Yuck.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:33 AM


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

QuickRoute from Texas


Here is my QuickRoute track from the second day of the Texas A-meet:

Yellow indicates the faster speed, with orange/red a medium speed, and the dark colors a slow speed.

The track shows which controls I was able to take at a decent pace (i.e. running relatively fast right up to the control). Check out controls 1, 2, 5, 8, and 11 for examples. All of these controls were easy.

The track shows which controls I took at a slow pace. Check out controls 4, 6, and 9 for examples. I lost a little time when I got off line to 4 and 6. I think most of the slowing at 9 was due to thick vegetation.

Look at the long leg, 4-5. In the middle of the leg, there is a stretch where I moved quite slowly. I was following an indistinct trail through a green area (a trail with a few places that were difficult to get through because of Greenbriar). Later in the course (leg 12-13) I ran under a power line that goes roughly parallel to the indistinct trail. Under the power line, I could keep a good (yellow) pace. The yellow is around 4:30/km and the dark shades (mostly blue) are more like 8:00/km. I probably would have saved some time on 4-5 if I'd run under the power line and then cut back on the trail.

It is interesting to see how long it took me to get back up to speed after running up a hill. Leaving 4, I climbed a few lines, then didn't get back up to speed until a good 100 meters of flat terrain. The same thing happened on leg 10-11. Once I topped the hill, it took me a good 100 meters of flat (and a bit green) terrain before I hit the road and was able to pick up the speed. It'd be interesting to see if I was able to get back up to speed quicker as my form improves (I'm in pretty lousy shape these days).

The track between 7-8 doesn't fit with the route I actually ran. I don't know if that was because the GPS didn't get good reception or because I screwed up the track when I was aligning it with the map in QuickRoute.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:27 PM


Monday, February 18, 2008

4 thoughts about the Texas races


My first four thoughts from the weekend's A-meet in Texas...

NTOA put on a great event - really fun. From a competitor's point of view, everything seemed to go off without a hitch.

You don't often get to say "pleasant terrain" and "Texas" in the same sentence...but we ran in pleasant terrain in Texas! February is the right time of year to run in the Texas forest. The particular terrain had a few thorns, but no (or very little) other unpleasant pointy vegetation. The course setter seemed to make an effort to keep us in the finest areas. That is a lesson a lot of course setters might learn (in my opinion). Thanks.

The meet was crowded with junior orienteers. I don't know the number of competitors, but the junior classes clearly dominated the event. It is fun to see good turnout among juniors. It feels hopeful.

I was on the competition jury where we considered a couple of protests, which resulted in two "sporting withdrawals." As best I can tell, we interpreted the USOF rules correctly and our decision was acceptable under the rules. But, it sure felt weird that two orienteers who didn't punch at the correct controls didn't suffer the consequences (i.e. they don't get lousy ranking points from the race).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:05 PM


Thursday, February 14, 2008

What will orienteering look like in the year 2025?


What will orienteering look like in the year 2025?

Aspleaf has an idea...he's seen the cover of the first issue of Skogssport (Sweden's national O' mag) for the year 2025...

Rough translations of the headlines:

Map or Not: Are we ready to throw away the map? It is already in the way!

Cutting the Grass: Should we have 10 or 15 milimeters as the maximum depth of grass in the competition terrain?

Get rid of the Forest: With out next issue Skogssport (i.e. Forest Sport) will become Park Sport.

World Champs - More and More Often: Beginning in 2026, the WOC will be arranged every 3rd months; with 14 disciplines.

Nostalgic or Idiocy? We meet two veterans who stubbornly insist that orienteering should be done in the forest and orienteers should wear full-body cover.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:42 PM


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How to get more training and better results


Imagine you're advising an ambitious young orienteer. You want to encourage some more training and ultimately get better results.

You can pick what to say:

If you don't do some more O' training each week, then you won't have a good chance to make the relay team.


If you do some more O' training each week, then you'll have a better chance to make the relay team.

Which of those two options has the better chance of encouraging the orienteer to train more? Which has the better chance of getting a better performance?

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:11 PM


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1984 (?) in Austria


Back in 1984 I ran this course just outside of Hartberg, Austria.

I like how they started us at the top of the mountain and the course wound around and down - keeping the total climb reasonable. I only remember a few of the legs, but I seem to recall being pretty satisfied with my race. I wasn't a very good orienteer and avoiding big booms was quite satisfying.

The event was called something like "European Junior Meeting" (though it was open to those of us from non-European countries, too). If I remember correctly, I was the only non-European at the event.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:49 PM


Monday, February 11, 2008

Quick note - Spanish O' page worth a look


Worth a look - Juan Antonio Laguna Esteban's web page - some nice maps and interesting videos.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:41 PM


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Today's QuickRoute


I was going to post today's sprint training with my QuickRoute...then I remembered that the map might be used for a future event (like a pre-Trot race) and it'd be best to keep it from the eyes of potential competitors at that race. Instead, I put my QuickRoute over a blank image.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:05 PM


Saturday, February 09, 2008

More tests with QuickRoute


Check out the QuickRoute view of a bit of today's training at Shawnee Mission Park.

From the start triangle, I ran at an "honest effort" to 14, 13, 12, 11 and 10. The colors on the route indicate my speed. The colors show:

Yellow = fastest (I set it at sub 5 min/km)
Orange = not quite as fast
Red = fast
Blue = slow
Black = slowest (I set it at over 8 min/km)

Basically, you see that I slow down going up hill. In some places, I slow down for no obvious reason (some of the flat terrain about half way between 14 and 13). Some of those slow spots are from the forest getting a bit thick. You'll also see that I slowed down a lot going down the steep hill just before I reached the 10th control. That was because the hillside was a bit rocky...and because I'm a lousy downhill runner.

I've used QuickRoute a few times. The best feature seems to be how simple it is to use (i.e. adjusting the GPS track to fit the O' map, and adjusting the color scale).

Anders Tilnes has been using QuickRoute and posting some maps on his page (see January 6 and February 9). Tiltnes' GPS also has a heart rate monitor. QuickRoutes can also be set to show heart rate using a color scale.

The technical details

I ran with a Garmin Forerunner 201. I downloaded the data to Garmin's Training Center software and exported the route as a tcx file. I then combined a jpeg of the O' map and the tcs file using QuickRoute.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:18 PM


Friday, February 08, 2008

Dim memory of an old race


I was looking at some old, old maps and came across this one (click on the image for a larger version).

My strongest memory of the race is that I took some very conservative routes, like running all the way around on the trail from 52 to 54. The plan was to be extra safe.

Another strong memory is the post-race satisfaction of beating Canada.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:22 PM


Thursday, February 07, 2008



Atul Gawande writes about medical performance. His latest New Yorker article discusses the use of checklists. Worth a read if you're interested in ways to manage performance.

I suspect there are some useful ways to use checklists in helping orienteers perform. And if I weren't feeling a bit sleepy, I'd try to come up with three or four examples.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:23 PM


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What maps would we use if orienteering was invented today?


What maps would we use if orienteering was invented today?

My guess is that we wouldn't be using the super detailed, carefully field-checked maps that we use (like the map from a training camp in Norway shown below). I bet we'd be using government topo maps updated with aerial and satellite photos from sources like Google Earth.

With that sort of map, courses would probably involve long route choice legs with relatively simply control placement.

I've speculated before that if orienteering were invented today the normal format would be mass start events.

I wonder if mass start events on non-fieldchecked and slightly-sketchy maps would last or if the sport would then develop toward more detailed maps (which allow for more fine navigation).

Oh well, no point in speculating when you can study a map and picture the terrain...

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:05 PM


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Today's non-O' news


February 5, 2008

Auditor joining the city

(LAWRENCE, Ks) - Mayor Sue Hack announced today that Michael Eglinski will join the city as City Auditor. As auditor, Eglinski will report directly to the City Commission while conducting performance reviews of city services and programs.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:33 PM


Monday, February 04, 2008

Pay Per View


How much would you pay to watch 10-mila on the web?

The organizers haven't (as best I can tell) set the price, but they are going to charge something. Here is a news item from www.10mila.se:

The internet TV coverage of 10MILA 2008 is going to be worth watching....To broadcast internet TV to thousands of viewers demands a generous bandwidth, and such a bandwidth has already been purchased....With this platform as the base for the internet TV broadcast, many thousand viewers will be able to follow the competition throughout the world....In order to cover the costs for a high quality service, access to the internet TV service will be dependent on payment of a small fee. Viewers can use their VISA- or Master-card in a secure way to get access.

I know a lot of people like video and GPS tracking. But, I think 10-mila works best as radio coverage. My ideal version of 10-mila coverage would be audio coverage, with plenty of interviews and cheesy European pop music (The Ark, for example...Warning! Follow that link and you'll be listening to "The Worrying Kind"), and a chance to see the courses. I'll have to decide whether or not to put up some cash and test the pay-per-view this year. My initial thought is to just skip it and read about 10-mila after the fact....but I might change my mind.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:34 PM


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Canadian in Sweden


I came across A Canadian in Sweden blog. There's some orienteering and a lot of observations of life in Sweden. It looks interesting.

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl kicks off in about 90 minutes. I'm looking for the Giants to win 31-24. That's not a prediction, just a hope.

If I had to predict, I guess I'd go with the Patriots. But, it is hard to support the Patriots. They are good and all - you can admire that. But rooting for the Patriots is a bit like supporting Duke Basketball or the New York Yankees (or DVOA?).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 3:47 PM


Saturday, February 02, 2008

First test of QuickRoute


I ran with a GPS today and loaded my track on top of a digital photo of the map.

The different colors indicate different paces.

The software - QuickRoute - seems quite good. Putting the track on top of the map was simple. I'm a big fan of simple.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:48 PM


Friday, February 01, 2008

Ultimate Orienteering


Ultimate Orienteering looks promising. Check it out.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:50 PM


March 2002April 2002May 2002June 2002July 2002August 2002September 2002October 2002November 2002December 2002January 2003February 2003March 2003April 2003May 2003June 2003July 2003August 2003September 2003October 2003November 2003December 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007June 2007July 2007August 2007September 2007October 2007November 2007December 2007January 2008February 2008March 2008April 2008May 2008June 2008July 2008August 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009January 2010February 2010March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010August 2010September 2010October 2010November 2010December 2010January 2011February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013July 2013September 2013