Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Vision 365" - getting older


From Vision 365 for the 16-19 year-old age group:

I want to travel a lot and gain experience in different types of terrain. I can also do "inner travel" from the armchair; I find maps from around the world on the web and I can visualize courses in different types of terrain and take different maps with me on other workouts.

That's me! Now I've aged from under-13 to 16-19.

Vision 365 doesn't cover the 40+ age group. I'll have to give that some thought and write it myself (one of those times when I really miss Aspleaf).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:57 PM


Forest > Allen Fieldhouse?


Orienteers' stadium is the forest. A great venue for sports. A close second is Allen Fieldhouse (here's a snapshot from the game Mary and I went to on Friday night)

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 11:36 AM


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vision 365 from the Swedish elite plan


I spent some time this morning sipping a cup of coffee and reading the Swedish O' Federation "elite plan." One of the themes of the plan is:

Vision 365 - We will improve and train following a holistic approach. The fire burns every day, year round. Every year we have 365 days to be better orienteers.

Within the document, the authors describe a "Vision 365" for different age groups, beginning with under 13. Here is what they wrote (roughly translated) for the under 13 age group:

Orienteering should be fun and something I can do every day that I want to. It is about playing and training with maps. I'm interested in maps. Maps are accessible. They are at home, on the kitchen table and under the bed. There are maps of different types of terrain in the areas near by. So I am able to play with maps and make up my own "competitions" and "treasure hunts" after school and on the weekends.

I've begun to draw courses on different maps, but I also like to draw my own fantasy-maps. I'm beginning to be able to visualize how the terrain will look when I look at a map. The forest maps can be difficult with the contours and all of the other details. If the area is more defined and concrete, I see concrete features that are on the map. I can make maps in small scales - like 1:500, 1:1000, or 1:2000 - using my own symbols in nearby areas. I'm already learning about what the contours mean, what a reentrant is, what a spur is, etc.

In some ways, I guess I'm like an "under 13 year-old." I'm sitting at my couch. I can see maps on the shelves on the other side of the room. There are maps in the cabinet next to the television. If it weren't for the house being unusually tidy (we're in the process of trying to sell our house, so it is always ready for a showing at a moments notice), it would be even easier to find some maps.

I'm planning to go out to play with maps in the forest this afternoon. I'll draw a long-ish course on a nearby map and run around in the woods (and in the rain/snow mixture that is falling right now).

I spent a little time yesterday drawing my own map. But, I was using the ISSOM instead of my own symbols.

Yep, I'm an under 13-year-old.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 11:58 AM


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Positive and negative emotions among elite orienteers


I spent some time this morning reading interviews with elite orienteers up for the Orienteering Achievement of 2008 award. World of O and Ultimate Orienteering have been running short interviews with the nominated orienteers.

I plugged the text of 14 of the interviews (7 men and 7 women, no juniors) into some software that counts and categorizes words. The idea is that "the ways that individuals talk and write provide windows into their emotional and cognitive worlds."

I took a quick look at the results for words coded as "positive emotions" and "negative emotions." You can see a spreadsheet with those results. The spreadsheet shows each of the 14 orienteers (I didn't include the names), the median and average for those orienteers, and averages for "personal" and "formal" texts. If I understand the software correctly, the numbers are percent of words coded as either "positive" or "negative" emotions.

A few things caught my eye:

1. The orienteers generally used similar frequencies of positive emotions as are found in both personal and formal texts.

2. The orienteers use relatively few words coded as negative emotions. In fact, 6 of the orienteers had no words coded as negative emotions. The interviews reflect a positive event - being nominated for an award. I would expect a lot of positive emotions.

3. One orienteer (number 13 in the spreadsheet) is an outlier. They use a lot more words coded with negative emotion compared to the other orienteers. They don't use a lot of negative emotion words when compared to either personal or formal texts. If, "the ways that individuals talk and write provide windows into their emotional and cognitive worlds," maybe this one orienteer thinks a bit differently than the other top orienteers. Of course, the sample size (both number of elite orienteers and amount of text) is too small to make much of it.

Here are the orienteers nominated for the award (I looked interviews with all of them except Vroni Konig-Salmi, Tero Fohr, Merja Rantanen, Dimitry Tsvetkov, and Francois Gonon).

Just to give you a sense of how the software rates text, the preceeding text I've just written has 2.9 percent of the words coded as "positive emotions" and 0.58 percent coded as "negative emotions."

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 11:34 AM


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Klas Karlsson's model of orienteering technique


I downloaded a copy of the Swedish O' Federation elite plan and have been working my way through it. The document includes a summary of Klas Karlsson's model of O' technique. Klas is a guy who has done some careful thinking (and writing) about O' technique. Here is a rough summary of his model.

The model is built around 5 processes:

Translation ability - the ability to translate from terrain to map and map to terrain.

Establishing position
- placing yourself in relationship to the structure.

Tool - the ability to use different O' techniques - simpliying, extending, rough and fine map reading, following a compass.

Optimizing - the ability to pick the right technique for the situation.

- planning a race, leg, route choice, and control taking.

These processes range from unconscious to conscious. For example, the translating ability is - or should be - unconscious. Strategy is a conscious ability.

Karlsson sees the different orienteers as having more or less unconscious ways of thinking. A World Champ accomplishes most of the 5 processes unconsciously. A beginner has to think consciously about most of the processes.

More from Klas Karlsson

Years ago I translated an article Karlsson wrote on "systematic orienteering." If you haven't seen it before, it is worth a look.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:32 PM


Monday, November 24, 2008

First Impressions of the Lupine Tesla


I've put in a couple of runs with a Lupine Tesla and thought it'd be worth noting my initial impressions. My point of reference is my other headlamp - a Silva 10/20 watt halogen lamp with a 7ah sealed lead acid battery (i.e. mid 1980s technology).

The light from the Tesla is a good bit stronger (i.e. brighter and travels further) than the 20 watt halogen. It makes it a little bit easier to move through the forest at speed, but I've never really felt like the 20 watt halogen light was holding my running speed back. The Tesla lets me see a bit further, which makes it a bit easier to pick out a good micro-route through rough vegetation.

The light from the Tesla travels further. I noticed this when I was crossing a field. With the old Silva, I'd have had to take a quick look at the compass to keep my line, but with the Tesla I could pick out a feature on the other side of the field to use as a guide.

The Tesla has three setting. The Silva has 2. The lowest setting on the Tesla seems to be just a little bit less than the Silva at 20 watts. Supposedly, the Tesla with the 4.5ah battery will run for 24 hours at the lowest setting. The Silva will run for just over 2 hours at 20 watts with the 7ah battery.

The Tesla gives the impression of being very well made. It seems more like a fancy bit of technology, while the Silva feels a bit more like a cobbled-together tool. That said, my Silva has been incredibly reliable and sturdy. I've been using it since 1989 and had no real problems with it.

The most striking difference between the 1980s technology and the Tesla might be the battery. The battery that comes with the Tesla is small and light. The 7ah seal lead acid battery I've been running my Silva with is big and heavy. The Tesla battery is much easier to carry.

There is something special about the Silva. It is a classic. I've got to think that some of best orienteers of all time have run with one of those on their heads. I can imagine seeing Oyvind Thon or Kent Olsson with a Silva sitting on their heads. Of course, Thierry Gueorgiou runs with a Lupine. Probably more Tio Mila winners have used the old Silva 10/20 watt lamp than any other model. The Silva is a great bit of gear. The Tesla is new and cool. It is better than the Silva. But, it just doesn't have the same classic feeling to it. Aspleaf probably wouldn't be seen with a Lupine.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:42 PM


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Snowy night O' video


Night O' in the snow in Finland. This really looks fun.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:47 PM


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today's race at Tall Oaks


Here are my routes from today's race at Tall Oaks.

The Tall Oaks area has been used for orienteering since about 1981. But this map was brand new. Paul C. did a good job. The contours are Lidar-based and quite good. Paul mapped a lot of the underbrush and I found it useful (on the old Tall Oaks map the forest was all mapped as white forest).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:13 PM


Sunday, November 16, 2008

An old scheme to motivate orienteers to train


Brent wrote something about motivation that reminded me of something I wrote a long time ago (well before the web...maybe back in the early 1980s) about a scheme to motivate runners in an O' club. I don't have what I originally wrote, but the idea was something like this:

Everyone "enters" the training season by paying an entry fee. The fee would cover the cost of maps and a bit extra. It could be set to give juniors a break (and maybe soak those over 35 a bit more). Ideally, the club also puts in some cash and/or a little bit of sponsor cash (or gift certificates or something). The idea is to get a pool of resources that will cover the basic costs of printing maps and have something left over.

The club puts together a schedule of training events - maybe 2 a week for 3-4 months. The training events would focus on O' technique.

The club budgets for the costs of maps and for printing up some T-shirts. There should be some money left over.

Everyone who entered, earns points for attending or organizing a training session. Maybe you'd get a point for attending a training and 2 for organizing a training.

Everyone who gets at least X points, gets a T-shirt (a bit like Dog Days).

If you set the entry fees correctly and matched some of that with money from the club and/or some sponsorship, then there is some leftover. The leftover would be divided among the people who entered and got at least X points. Basically, you'd divide it based on how many points everyone earned. So, if the group of people earned 100 points, a runner who earned 25 points would get 25 percent of the leftover. The leftover earnings could be used to enter O' meets or buy O' gear.

I've no idea if this scheme would actually work. The idea is to reward people for training, without spending much money. It is supposed to reward process rather than performance, and to encourage people to organize training sessions.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:19 PM


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Downtown sprint map status


My fieldchecking pace has slowed a bit. I generally fieldcheck on my lunch hour. As the new sections of basemap get farther away from my office, the amount of time I can devote to fieldchecking shrinks. It takes 20 minutes to walk to/from new terrain. That doesn't leave much time, especially because I need to grab a bite to eat, too. Colder weather doesn't help.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 2:31 PM


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Orienteering in packs


Analyzing Pack Dynamics in Orienteering is worth a look.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:20 PM


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Orienteering and fish tacos


Inspired by Google's method of forecasting flu, I played around with Google trends a bit.

I started by looking at the trend for orienteering. I was a bit surprised to see a general downward trend for "orienteering" in searches. I noticed a general upward trend in news stories about orienteering (which, I suppose, might represent more newspapers going online?).

I decided to compare two terms - orienteering and fish tacos. Looks like the terms have an inverse relationship. More searches for fish tacos, fewer searches for orienteering. I'm not sure what to make of that. But, I like both fish tacos and orienteering.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:09 PM


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Old Kickers in the NFL


I came across an article about football kickers in today's paper. Apparently this season has been especially good for older kickers in the NFL. Here's a quote that caught my eye:

Older kickers, he said, “stick to a plan that works for them and they don’t deviate from it.”

He added, “They plan their work and they work their plan.”

The trick is to be smart (i.e. to know what works), disciplined (i.e. plan the work and work the plan), healthy, and strong.

1. Smart
2. Disciplined
3. Healthy
4. Strong

Get those 4 things right and you'll probably do well in just about any sport. The trick is to get all 4. It's pretty easy to get 2 out of the 4. Lots of older orienteers are smart and disciplined, but injured and weak. Lots of young orienteers are healthy and strong, but not smart or disciplined.

Most of the exceptions are, I suspect, the older orienteers who manage to stay healthy and strong or the young orienteers who manage to be smart and disciplined.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:47 PM


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Trail Race at Wyandotte


I ran a race this morning put on by the Trail Nerds. The course starts on the south edge of the map and goes clockwise. Most of the course is on fairly narrow trails and there's a fair amount of climbing (the contours are 3 meter).

My main conclusion from the QR is that I should stop eating so much food if I want to be able to run up the hills a bit faster.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:17 PM


Friday, November 07, 2008

An obvious observation.


An obvious observation...If you look at how people train in the two weeks before a big race, you can fit them into one of three patterns:


I measure the quality of the week using my scoring system, then compare the two weeks. So, a High/Low means that the first week had substantially more points than the second week before the big race. Basically, you get a lot of points if you run orienteering races and/or do a lot of training.

So far, I've looked at 4 logs of people who ran this year's WOC. I wasn't sure what I'd see, but I guess I expected the High/Low pattern to be most common. High/Low would happen, for example, if you trained (or raced) a bit two weeks before the WOC, then used the week before the WOC to take it pretty easy. Of the 4 I've looked at, only 1 fit the High/Low pattern. 2 fit the Even pattern. 1 fit the Low/High pattern.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:03 PM


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Worth a look


Even if you can't read Norwegian, this blog (with lots of maps) is worth a look. Check out the 100 control training (which took just 40 minutes).

It looks like a lot of fun stuff is going on in Vancouver (the Hamilton of British Columbia?).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:40 PM


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What do runners do in the weeks before a big race?


From a discussion at Attackpoint:

How do you prepare for an important race that you have been looking forward and training hard for months? What do you do in the last 1 - 2 weeks for an important sprint, middle or long orienteering race?

This seemed like a good opportunity to spend a few minutes looking at training logs for WOC runners to see what they did in the weeks just before the WOC. I didn't have much time, so I used my grading system to look at the training for two WOC runners.

Both runners I looked at had scores of about 30 points over the period of July 1-12 (July 13 was the first WOC race). The points reflect, to some extent, the quality of the training. A 15 point week is a decent week of training. You would usually need to do some high intensity work and some O' technique. But 15 isn't exceptionally high quality. It isn't, for example, like a good O' training camp (where you might easily hit 5-10 points a day).

One of the runners had the points spread evenly, with about the same number of points in the first 6 days of July as in the second 6 days. The other had a very different pattern, with over twice as many points in the second 6 day period (i.e. the 6 days immediately before the WOC).

The sample size - just 2 runners - is obviously too small to draw any conclusions...but it was pretty clear that the runner with more even training over the pre-WOC period had a much better WOC than the runner who put in the highest "quality" in the week immediately before the WOC. Again, not enough sample to draw a conclusion, but an interesting hint at a possible conclusion.

I should take a look at some more WOC runners' logs and see what I find.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:24 PM


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dark night O'


I had headlamp problems at last night's race. About 25 minutes into the course, a wire pulled out of the plug to my battery. One minute I was running along a little trail. The next minute I was standing in pitch black. Fortunately, I wasn't standing in the pitch black for long. I had a little Petzl lamp with me. I spent a few minutes diagnosing and trying to repair my main headlamp (a Silva 10/20 watt halogen light I bought in 1989). No luck.

I continued orienteering with the Petzl, but moved a good bit slower. The Petzl gives enough light to read the map and to see the trail. But, once I left the trail, my pace dropped.

I repaired the plug this afternoon. Hopefully my trusty old Silva will be good as new. Though I think it might be time to shop for a new headlamp. LED seems to be the way to go. There are a lot of options and I'm not sure which option will work out best. I guess a little more research is called for.

Downtown map update

Here's the current version.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:48 PM


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Quickroute from today's race at Blue Springs Lake


Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:38 PM


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