Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thursday's sprint race


I ran a sprint race at Bonner Park on Thursday evening. With the warm and humid conditions I decided to start a bit easy and pick up the pace as I went. That seemed to work out ok.

The map is a bit sketchy. The GPS track around 6-7 and 10 reflect some of that.

I was moving slowly on the way to 9 because the grass is knee deep on that leg.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:15 PM


Monday, July 26, 2010

"A mistake is a mistake even if you get away with it"


"A mistake is a mistake even if you get away with it."

That's why I've been trying to come up with a good way of counting "near misses" - mistakes that don't cost any time. So far all I've come up with is sitting down with the map and going over my route trying to remember any near misses. Maybe there's a better approach, but I haven't figured it out yet.

The quote is from Ed Viesturs, a mountain climber. Here's the full quote from an interview with Viesturs about making mistakes:

...a mistake is a mistake even if you get away with it. Even though we succeeded, I don't ever want to do that again. I felt on the way down that the conditions were pretty desperate. We could've gone down in an avalanche at any minute. We just got really, really lucky. There were moments I was convinced we weren't going to make it down, when I said [to myself], "Ed, you've made the last and most stupid mistake of your life."

I think a lot of people, when they survive a situation like that, they're willing to do it again. They're like, "Well, you know I got away with it one time, I can probably get away with it again." You do that too many times and sooner or later, it's not going to work out.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:01 PM


Sunday, July 25, 2010

MTBO video


The video is from the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Champs sprint race (see Stodge-blog for more). I'm not sure if we could bet permission to host a mtb O' event in an urban environment in the U.S. I can think of places that would work. JCCC on a weekend is an example. The terrain is interesting enough. The campus is mostly empty. That said, I'd think organizing an event and getting permission might be a bit of a chore.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:25 PM


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sprint at JCCC today


I ran a sprint course at Johnson County Community College today. The heat and humidity made this a tough effort.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 2:27 PM


Friday, July 23, 2010

This week's night orienteering


My course and most of my route from the night orienteering a few days ago. It is always tricky to run night orienteering when you haven't run night orienteering for months. I was a bit cautious throughout the course.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:30 PM


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Map That Came to Life


The Map That Came to Life is a book that teaches map reading. You can find the entire book online.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:35 PM


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Orienteering in Iceland


I was psyched to see an active orienteering club in Iceland (thanks for Patrick for the discovery). Iceland is one of my favorite places.

When Mary and I visited a few years ago we visited a couple of orienteering maps but never made contact with any local orienteers. We tried, using an email address acquired from a Swedish mapper.

Now that there's an active club, I'm starting to day dream about another visit. It is important to visit new and different places. As Havamal (words of Viking wisdom) points out:

The traveler must
train his wits.
All is easy at home.
He who knows little
is a laughing-stock
amongst men of the world.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:14 PM


Monday, July 12, 2010

Not strictly ISSOM


I've never noticed this way of mapping sports fields before. Notice how the mapper used "contour lines" to show the tennis courts and soccer fields. I don't think that's strictly ISSOM, but it is an interesting way of showing the detail.

By the way, the map is from Allesio Tenani's blog.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:07 PM


Sunday, July 11, 2010

JWOC and a quick look at peer nations.


I spent a few minutes comparing JWOC results for the US and the "peer nations." I don't have my notes in front of me, but the summary is that this year's results are almost exactly the same as last year.

One of the reasons I like making comparisons with peer nations is to get a chance to look a bit more carefully at the results outside the top 10. New Zealand impresses. I know next to nothing about orienteering in New Zealand...maybe I should learn something about it (or better yet, plan a trip!).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:56 PM


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Today's sprint at Jesse James


Today's sprint race was a good chance to test my new orienteering map reading glasses. They worked fine. As you can see from the map, the terrain wasn't tricky or difficult to read. It was, however, fun. More fun that you'd guess from just looking at the map.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:20 PM


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Looking at some US JWOC splits


I spent some time looking at splits for the US women at JWOC. I was particularly interested in Hannah Burgess' races. I look at her training on AP now and then, but I've never met her. Hannah was the best US woman in the sprint and the worst in the long. But, what caught my eye was that she was the steadiest in both races. If you look at her split graph you'll notice that her line is the most consistent.

Here is the sprint graph with the 3 US runners:

And here is the long graph:

One of the interesting things about Hannah is that she's considered a new-comer to orienteering. Valerie wrote, "Hey, congratulations, Hannah! First off, making the team after such a short time orienteering is quite an accomplishment."

What people might not realize - or might realize but don't quite remember - is that Hannah hasn't been orienteering for many years, but she's orienteered quite a bit. Since the beginning of 2009, she's logged 205 hours of orienteering on her log on Attackpoint. To put that into context, Sandra Z - one of the top US seniors - has logged 129 hours of orienteering in the same period; and Samantha S - another of the top US seniors - has logged 143 hours.

So, while Hannah hasn't been orienteering many years, she's put in a lot of specific practice.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:22 PM


Monday, July 05, 2010

Watched all 4 videos from Nordic O' Tour...


I finished watching all of the Nordic Orienteering Tour videos today. A few general comments...

To make good TV, orienteering needs to show more going on and less shots of the forest or the town (for the sprint in Stockholm). I guess that's obvious. The problem is that showing more action takes more cameras. More cameras make the production more expensive.

What's the easiest way to make the broadcasts more interesting? I think including some interviews with the orienteers. I think it'd be inexpensive to interview a bunch of the top runners in advance, edit those interviews down to short clips, and then play the clips back during the broadcast when the action wasn't on the screen.

Check out the WorldofO article and comments for some interesting impressions.

The race in Stockholm was most disappointing. Maybe I was disappointed because my expectations were high. Or maybe it was just not so interesting.

The race in Norway was the most interesting. Maybe that's because the Norwegian broadcasters are prepping for the world champs broadcasts.

Jerker Lysell looks light on his feet. I hope he gets selected for the WOC team as it is always fun to see new names and young runners (Jerker is 21, I think). In English, Jerker is a strange sounding name....

Maja Alm is another runner who will be fun to follow. Like Jerker, she's young.

I like to see expirements with different formats. I think the most successful experiment for a TV broadcast is the chase start format with good GPS tracking. It helps when the runners start orienteering poorly. It makes it more exciting.

For a U.S. audience, the way to make orienteering work as a TV sport is to shoot a lot of video during an event, shoot a bunch of interviews of the runners, then edit the whole thing down to 30 minutes and tell a story. That's what they do with events like the Ironman and it makes pretty good TV.

Watch Simone Niggli when she crosses the finish line of a race. Count how many seconds it takes before she starts looking at her map. It is interesting.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:02 PM


Saturday, July 03, 2010

"I will" versus "Will I?"


Some psychology researchers suggest that asking "will I?" rather than declaring "I will" can improve performance. I'm always a bit skeptical of psychology papers, but I thought the idea was interesting. It reminds me of Kent Olsson talking about beginning to prepare for a World Champs by starting with a bunch of questions.

The concept makes sense to me intuitively. You're better off asking yourself "will I run well at the big race?" than saying "I will run well at the big race." Asking the question encourages you to think about what it will take and plan what you need to do. Saying "I will run well at the big race" makes it seem like a conclusion that takes no more effort.

I think that's why encouragement like "I know you can do it" isn't nearly as meaningful as "I know you can do it because you've been doing a lot of running in the hilly terrain and the big race is in hilly terrain."

You can find a newspaper article about the idea and if you're really interested the academic paper (PDF) is available too.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 2:25 PM


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Swedish expirement with maps for kids to play with


Here's an article about trying to encourage kids to play with orienteering maps. Even without reading the Swedish, you can probably figure out what they're doing.

It is hard for me to figure out what a kid would like. But, when I was in grade school I'm pretty sure I would have had a lot of fun with orienteering maps.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:07 PM


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