Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, June 29, 2010



...Balance is a combination of four things:

1. Skill (that mix of talent and hard work).
2. Confidence (that certainty that you can do exactly what you are trying to do).
3. Focus (the ability to think only about what matters in the moment).
4. Perspective (the capability to neither make the shot too important or not important enough).

...balance can come crashing down if your skill fades, your confidence is shaken, you don’t learn from your experiences or if the moment overwhelms you (or in certain cases underwhelms you).

That's Joe Posnanski describing golfer Tom Watson's ideas of balance. Posnanski is a sports writer. A good one.

I thought it was a nice framework for thinking about orienteering and what it takes to perform at your best.

Posnanski's blog is always worth a look, especially if you're a baseball fan.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:05 PM


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Today's training - folding and orienting the map


If I were running along a trail like this in a race - going from the bottom of the map toward the top - I'd probably fold and orient the map once and then just turn the map a bit in my hand as I followed the trail bends.

Today's training was a trail run. I decided to try to add some orienteering relevance by working on folding and orienting the map. I folded and oriented the map at each bend in the trail. Something like this:

This time of year the forests around here are just awful - thick, full of spider webs, lots of ticks, poison ivy all over the place. So, I look for ways to get some orienteering relevance without actually going into the terrain. Today's training - working on folding and orienteering the map - was the sort of thing I do to get something out of a trail run. It felt like useful training. I'll do it again.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:15 PM


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lappis terrain


From Mattias Muller's web page sprint courses from the World Cup in Stockholm:

This was my home terrain when I lived in Stockholm and it is really fun to look at the maps and remember the place.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:19 PM


Monday, June 21, 2010

Home field...and the prescient Aspleaf


The Nordic Tour continues tomorrow with races in Stockholm, including the qualification races on my old home field. I lived near the university in Stockholm and spent many hours running in the forest that will host the race. I'm looking forward to seeing the courses. Here's today's model event.

The format for the races is a bit special (as described by WorldofO):

The qualification race in the morning for all runners will be a normal sprint (12-15 minute winning time) with a 1 minute start interval. The top 30 athletes qualify for quarter finals, of these 12 qualify for semi finals and 6 runners will run the finals. The quarter/semi/finals are mass-start events with 6-8 minute winning time. Note: There is no gaffling in the semi-final and final heats! The 6 runners in the final will get bonus seconds 120-90-70-60-55-50. All other runners in the semi/quarter finals also get bonus seconds, counting down to 1 second for the slowest time in the quarter finals.

It sounds interesting and I'm glad to see experiments with different formats. That said, I can't help but think about Aspleaf's prediction about orienteering in 2025 and his vision of Olympic orienteering:

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:39 PM


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Heartland sprint


I ran a sprint at Heartland yesterday. Conditions were tough - warm and humid. At this time of the year the forest is essentially impenetrable. The course was designed to keep you out of the forest.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:31 PM


Friday, June 18, 2010

Some notes on map reading frequency


Samantha did some technique training yesterday that included some experimenting with different frequencies of looking at the map. Here's what she wrote:

Ross set up a course at Franklin Park. The first park you tried not to look at your map much, and the second part you looked at it constantly. I found the first to be easier than the second, but I approached each exercise differently. When I had to count how many times I looked at the map, I stopped at the beginning of each leg and planned it and memorized it as best i could before heading out. Then I had to look at it between 1 and 3 times when running the leg. Trying to look at it every 5 seconds caused me to look at it quickly each time, but not really get any information from it. I also felt like I wasn't spending enough time with my head up, looking around the woods.

I've learned a lot about my own orienteering by experimenting with my map reading frequency. I'm always interested to see other people experimenting.

It also inspired me to dig up a couple of things I've written about looks at the map.

The video of Patrick G. on a sprint course with, as best I can tell, 6 quick looks at the map in 20 seconds of video.

One of several experiments I've done with map reading frequency.

(Some of the comments on the last two posts are worth a look).

A translation of something Johan Ivarsson wrote about map reading frequency.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:37 PM


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

O' video from Poland


Cool O' video from Poland. I especially like the beginning with the town map.

Orientacja Sportowa from PZOS.tv on Vimeo.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:11 PM


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Athletes and twitter


Jan at Worldofo commented on the European Champs and part of that commentary caught my eye:

Is Twitter finally coming to elite orienteering?...I have tried to get the top runners to use Twitter before, but still only a very few have taken it up. During EOC, Eva Jurenikova (Czech Republic) and Christian Bobach (Denmark) gave us some insight into what was happening “behind the scenes”. I hope more will follow...And if you are a Top Elite Orienteer: Twitter is a good and little time-consuming way to share your thoughts with the community.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my hope that more elite orienteers would start to use Twitter.

Hammer posted a few of his thoughts on Attackpoint (and in a discussion that has generated, to date, one response...while in the same period of time a tedious discussion of NEOC club politics genearted 34 responses!).

It surprises me a bit that orienteers don't make more use of Twitter. In general, oreinteers are technically savy. But, I wonder if what is happening is that, in general, orienteers don't appreciate the value of communication, even such simple communication as Twitter. More likely, orienteers are part of such a small community that there aren't many who would see a value in Twitter and take the time (and it isn't much) to use the tool.

PBS Mediashift has story about athletes and Twitter that might be worth a read.

posted by Michael | 4:21 PM


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Some inspiration from Billy Mills


Billy Mills spoke at Haskell today, and I had a chance to attend his presentation. Mills had a lot of interesting things to say. He covered everything from his up bringing to his training to his Olympic medal winning race to budgeting for sports at Haskell.

One of the stories he told was about a summer when he was in high school. He had a summer job in Valentine, NE, working construction. He was working 12 hour days. He was living in a junked car that a nearby farmer had offered as a place to sleep. He was bathing in a stream. And, he was putting in 45 minutes a day of running.

That's the kind of story that provides a good reminder of how cushy most of us have it.

Here's a video of Mill's Olympic 10K race...always inspiring to watch:

Mills' life story inspires. He's a great speaker. If you get a chance to hear him speak, take it.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:22 PM


Saturday, June 05, 2010

Courses from today's sprint races in Lawrence


We hosted two sprint races in Lawrence this morning. The first one was on the Mount Oread map on a course set by Mary:

I set the course for the second race on the West Campus map:

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:38 PM


US WOC team age


I took a look at the ages of WOC team runners. I've been doing this most years going back to 2003. I'm not certain, but I'm thinking that this year's team might be the oldest I've seen.

The average age is 33.4 and the median is 31.

For comparison, before this year the oldest US WOC team that I'm aware of was 2004, when the average age was 32.4 and the median was 31.5.

This year's team is a very experienced team. That's despite having 3 runners who haven't run a WOC before. Using maprunner's WOC database, I see a total of 119 WOC races for the team (and that doesn't count the WOC races Pavlina ran before she was running for the US).

I looked at the ages based on a list of WOC team members that I found at the Orienteering USA (or is it USA Orienteering?) web page.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:12 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