Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, November 30, 2009

Running technique


My brother in-law gave me a book about running technique. I Googled "Malcolm Balk" - one of the authors - and came across this video of Balk running on ice.

Does his running style remind you of anyone?

The video reminds me of Mikell Platt...except for the sliding on the ice part.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:54 PM


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vote. Do it now.


Vote for the Orienteering Achievement of 2009.

I think it is pretty hard to decide who to vote for. You can read about each nominee on the link above and make up you're own mind.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:48 PM


Saturday, November 28, 2009

New mapping project


Mary and I spent a bit of time working on a new mapping project. It isn't an orienteering map. Instead, the club is mapping trails in local parks for the Parks Department. It isn't a difficult mapping project and we won't use the maps for orienteering. But it is a good thing to do for the community.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:57 PM


Friday, November 27, 2009

Unselfish effort


I could probably come up with some way to relate this short Bill Self interview to orienteering. But, I am having trouble coming up with a quick way to do that.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:02 PM


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Prototype of Kansas orienteering terrain


Here is a map from yesterday's local race.

In many ways this is a perfect example of Kansas orienteering. The area is largely old farm fields with wooded fields. The forest is a bit thick, a bit unpleasant. But you don't have to spend much time in the forest. The trail system largely reflects se by mountain bikers and horse back riders. The yellow includes some areas of deep grass. Deep enough that an open area can be worth avoiding.

The QR track shows that my race was pretty clean. Leaving number 4 I had to walk in some of the open area. Deep grass explains it. I lost a little time near 9 when I was a bit unsure of how the hillside and cliff would look. If I'd stuck along the stream I'd have seen the flag and saved a few seconds. Leaving 9 I took a big swing. I heard a few blasts on a whistle and decided that it might be an injured orienteer. So, I ran towards the sound and found a group of orienteers - high school kids - who had been playing with a whistle. No injury.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:36 PM


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another indoor orienteering course


An indoor orienteering course from omaps.worldofo.com.

I need to figure out a place to set up an indoor orienteering course in Lawrence. The obvious places are all on the KU Campus. I'm guessing I couldn't navigate the university bureaucracy to get permission. Maybe there is another location?

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:24 PM


Monday, November 16, 2009

Time in the ring


Via Dan Chissick's blog I discovered a tool for measuring time in the area immediately surrounding control locations based on GPS tracks and split times.

In the past, I've played around a bit with measuring the time spent in the control circle using QR and creating splits by hand. But the GPS tool Dan links is a much better way to collect the data. The program creates an image file that includes a text summary of the time in the ring and a "dot map" summary of the same information.

Here is a bit of the dot map.

And here is a bit of the text summary.

I wrote a bit about time in the ring earlier this year:

My first experiment measuring time in the ring

Adding a bit more data

Hammer's time in the ring at West Point

My time in the ring at West Point

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:37 PM


Sunday, November 15, 2009

A couple of notes on terrain types


While I was mapping yesterday I had a few thoughts about characterizing orienteering terrain types. These aren't well thought out, but I thought I'd get them down as notes for the future.

You can get a lot of information about the terrain from just looking at a map. If you were to categorize terrain types, most (maybe all) of the information you'd need could be pulled from a map. But, there are a few things that you can't always be sure of.

Footing. Around here, the ground is hard. Not as hard as running on a road, of course, but hard enough that you don't give up a lot of extra energy to run. In contrast, lots of Swedish terrain is soft. It is like running on a mattress. You have to expend a lot of energy to push off. The firmness of the footing isn't apparent from just looking at a map (though you can make educated guesses). Hudson Valley terrain looks Swedish on the map, but the footing is a lot firmer.

Height of thickness. Around here we have lots of thick terrain. But there are different kinds. Some of the thick stuff is mostly low brush at about knee height. Some of it is young forest where the thickness is higher, mostly above waist height. You use different running techniques to get through these types of thickness. In the lower stuff you just stay upright and light your knees (actually, a bit like running in soft Swedish terrain). In the higher stuff, you run a bit bent over at the waist, shuffling a bit and often pushing aside branches with your hand.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:01 AM


Process versus outcome - college basketball


I came across a report of the first Kentucky basketball game of the season and coach John Calipari's reaction to it. He wasn't upset about 26 turnovers and 15 missed three point shots. He was upset with not playing hard on every possession.

I expect that as the season goes along, a college basketball coach becomes more concerned with outcome. But in developing the players, the focus begins with process.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:52 AM


Friday, November 13, 2009

Tonight's sprint training


I ran a night sprint training this evening.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:30 PM


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Behavior training


I've been meaning to write up a bunch of thoughts about making the most of technique training on familiar maps. This isn't that. But, I will touch on one of the ideas that would be on the list. I call it "behavior training."

The idea is to pick a specific behavior that you do when you're orienteering well and use a technique session to focus on it. By "behavior" I mean things like always looking at the compass when you leave a control or cross a handrail. Other examples could be looking at the map frequently or keeping your head up and looking far ahead. These are all things that are pretty easy to practice even when you are running on a map you a very familiar with (like a map that you made).

I usually draw a simple course, pick one specific behavior to work on, run the course, then grade myself on how well I did. I haven't really done enough of this or controlled it very carefully, but it seems to work pretty well.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:22 PM


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Translating the Urb-O Cup to Kansas


I was looking at a map from the Urb-O cup and thinking that this would be a good sort of event to set up on some of the maps I've been working on around Lawrence. I think the format would work well with smaller areas, would be relatively easy to set up, and would be suited to a wide range of orienteering experience.

If I understand the format correctly, they set up several short courses that start and finish at the same place. Runners run as many courses as they'd like. Runners score points based on the results for each course and the points (1000 for a win, 800 for second...1 point for 79th place). You can start 5 runners at the same time. So you can run a lot of orienteers through a fairly short start window.

Here are some of the maps from one of the races in Norway.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:16 PM


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Map reading frequency


A rough translation of something Johan Ivarsson wrote:

Both Pasi [Ikonen] and Jörgen [Rostrup] must have an amazing ability to read the map and to read the map at full speed in the forest. I think they can do that because they take many looks at the map each leg.

At a training camp with the Norwegian team before the 1999 WOC, they did a simple study of the number of times each runner looked at a map on a leg. The best men in the world that year -- Petter Thoresen and Bjørnar Valstad -- read the map more than 20 times on a 400 meter leg. Hanne Staff, who has been the best woman the last few years, read the map 15 times, while the worst of the women in the test read the map just 5 times.

Jörgen and Pasi probably take a lot of looks at the map. They get it. Read the map a lot and you won't miss much. And they're able to read the map at full speed!

You've got to get out and train and, as Bjørnar says, "it will pay off!"

I found this in the archives and thought it was worth a repeat.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:11 PM


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Getting lazy


I went to one of the nearer maps today - Clinton Overlook. Google maps shows it as a 12 minute drive. The nearest map, the West Campus sprint map, is a 1 minute drive.

That got me reminiscing about Stockholm. I lived on a map. But, I frequented maps on Lidingo. It was a bit of a trip to get there. I walked from the University to the T-bana, maybe 10 minutes. I took the T-bana and then a bus, 28 minutes according to the SL web page. Finally, I walked the last 800 meters or so, call it 10 minutes. Roughly 48 minutes. As a round trip, it was a good 1.5 hours.

I often traveled farther. Most Wednesday nights we ran night orienteering "off the island." For me that usually meant a walk, riding the T-bana, then getting a lift. I'm guessing the average was about 45-60 minutes each way. As a round trip, 1.5 to 2 hours.

I traveled a lot to get to training in Stockholm. Now, as I get lazier and lazier, a trip to Shawnee Mission Park would feel like a chore. Google maps shows it as a 40 minute drive.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:19 PM


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Night cyclocross


Night cyclocross. Crazy. The video has a bit of a Tio Mila feel to it. It almost makes me want to put on my headlamp and go for a ride.

Fifth Street Cross 2009 Week 2 from Dan K on Vimeo.

I came across this on Stevetilford.com.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:46 PM


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

O' technique on my way to work?


I ride my bike to work most days and I pass through three orienteering maps. It seems like I ought to be able to come up with a way to get some O' technique training on my commute.

One possibility is to draw a few control circles on the map - along the route but not necessarily on the route - and catch a glimpse of each location as I pass. I could see how soon I could spot each control location. I've done that for technique training in the past and it seems useful (good at training to picture isovists) and is a good way to make use of an area that you know pretty well.

There must be some other (probably better) ways to get some O' technique training out of my daily commute. I'll have to give it some thought.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:35 PM


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