Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Video re-run of leg in hilly terrain


I spent a few minutes playing around with a video re-run of a leg from some hilly terrain - more a test of concept than a finished product.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:51 PM


Saturday, August 28, 2010

O' fashion?


Orienteering fashion, lifted from Aspleaf's page. I like the part about being like the old "gubbar" and using the retro-style rain visor.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:41 PM


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Relaxing before the big race


From a NY Times article on research about music and exercise:

Just how music impacts the body during exercise, however, is only slowly being teased out by scientists. One study published last year found that basketball players prone to performing poorly under pressure during games were significantly better during high-pressure free-throw shooting if they first listened to catchy, upbeat music and lyrics (in this case, the Monty Python classic “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”). The music seemed to distract the players from themselves, from their audience and from thinking about the physical process of shooting, said Christopher Mesagno, a lecturer at the University of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, and the study’s lead author. It freed the body to do what it knew how to do without interference from the brain. “The music was occupying attention that might have been misdirected otherwise,” Mr. Mesagno said.

It reminds me a bit of Carl Waaler Kaas' description of his pre-race smile:

The smile. A lot of people have commented my smile at the start line. I have been told that when they saw the smile they knew I would perform well. That the smile and my attitude made me look confident and calm. But was it planned? Yes, the smile was planned. This race was my most important individual race this year, the one race I had been training for for a long, long time. When entering such a race you have (in my opinion) two possibilities: To be afraid of spoiling this single opportunity or to enjoy the race and the opportunity that you have been given. In my mind this choice was quite simple. I knew that if I did not manage to enjoy the race, I would not be calm enough to take the right choices during the race. If the word mistake came to my mind the most possible outcome was me doing a mistake. By “forcing” myself to smile at the start I gave myself the signal I needed: I am here to enjoy a race for which I have prepared for and dreamed of for (at least) 4 years!

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:46 PM


Sunday, August 22, 2010

How to find 2000 controls in a year


Ali and Boris have both set goals of finding 2000 controls over the next year. I'm a big fan of control counting and it'll be fun to see how they do. 2000 controls is a lot. If I were trying to find 2000 controls in a year, I think I'd:

Go to a few training camps. Training camps are great ways to get a bunch of controls in a short period of time.

Run more than one course at local events.

Try to avoid junk controls. A junk control is one you find but you find without really focusing. Junk controls are great for the count, but the purpose isn't just to find 2000 controls, it is to use the goal as a way to improve your O' technique and running in the terrain.

Do one 31-day challenge.

Use a headlamp. Being able to run night orienteering makes it a lot easier to get in technique work in the winter.

Live on or near a map. Ideally, you'd live right next to a huge, well mapped, forest. For most of us, it is more likely to mean you've got a sprint map nearby.

Have fun.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 3:45 PM


Saturday, August 21, 2010

A taste of Norwegian comedy


I finally got around to finishing the Norwegian TV coverage of the WOC relays. Among the highlights of the coverage were a couple of short comedy sketches about orienteering.

Even without understanding the Norwegian you can probably get a sense of what's going on. The first gives an idea of orienteering as a spectator sport.

The second is like a movie trailer for an orienteering-based thriller.

I like Tormod. He looks at the map just once.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:07 PM


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First notes on watching Norwegian TV WOC coverage


I've watched about half of the Norwegian TV coverage of the World Champs. Five thoughts:

1. This was the best orienteering coverage that I've seen.

2. I liked the use of pre-recorded interviews. The coverage included a segment on university student orienteers in Trondheim and an interview with Francios Gonon about training in Trondheim. Both were interesting.

3. I liked the use of live interviews. It was cool to see Egil Johansson talking about the old days, when the WOC participants didn't know exactly where the race would take place (compared to the current WOCs where people have existing orienteering maps to study).

4. Having Elise Egseth and Anne Margrethe Hausken on camera while they followed Marianne Andersen on the final leg was cool. The excitment and nervousness was palpable.

5. GSP tracking has come a long way since the early days. The coverage made great use of it. It'll be interesting to see what develops in the next ten years.

6. A bonus, 6th, comment....with the combination of GPS tracking and more cameras in the forest (which must be getting cheaper and easier), it would be possible to have great coverage without sacrificing course setting.

I've still got a couple of hours worth of coverage to watch. I'm looking forward to it.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:44 PM


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Quick look at a training log


I spent a few minutes looking at Samantha's training and comparing what she's done this year versus last year. Since I look at her training most weeks, I was confident I knew what I'd see.

Check out the volume by training type for the 210 days prior to July 31, 2009. Now compare it to the same time period for 2010.

Two things will stand out. She's done a good bit more total training (210 versus 168 hours) and a good bit more orienteering technique (69 versus 55 hours).

A few years ago I took an overall look at how Samantha trains.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:15 PM


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

USA v Canada - a quick look at WOC results


I spent a few minutes comparing recent (2005-2009) US and Canadian WOC results. I was inspired after reading this on Attackpoint:

USA closes the gap with Canada.... winning the Kjellstrom Cup at the NAOC.. and now in WOC qualifying heats... USA Women 6 Canada Women 3... USA Men 5 Canada Men 4.... Overall 11-7 in favor of the USA!!!

"Closes the gap"?

Over the years, I've used various measures of the US WOC performances and never really noticed a gap between the US and Canada. I decided to take a quick look at a very simple way of comparing the two nations. I counted the number of WOC finalists and compared the relay results. I looked at the period of 2005-2009 and found:

Canada has had 8 WOC finalists versus 7 for the US.

USA has 6 relay wins against Canada, while Canada has had 4.

Canada performed much better than the US in 2008. Canada had 4 final qualifiers while the US had none. But then in 2009, the US had 3 qualifiers and Canada had just one.

I don't see much of a performance gap between the two nations. At a quick glance, the biggest gap is at the very top end. Canada has a top ten placing through Sandy Hott's 2005 middle distance race in Japan. The best US result is a 29th place.

This year, the US has 4 final qualifiers compared to just one for Canada (unless I'm missing someone, I'm not actually looking at the results list).

As an aside, I'm not a big fan of using qualifying for the final as a performance measure. It is a bit rough. It treats finishing a few seconds out of qualifying the same as missing the final by ten minutes. To some extent, it diminishes the results of people who may have had good runs that didn't qualify them for the final. On the other hand, it is a quick and easy measure and "qualifying for the finals" seems to be a common goal of runners from Canada and the US.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:01 PM


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Today's sprint in Parkville


I ran a local sprint race at English Landing in Parkville, MO, this morning.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:47 PM


Friday, August 06, 2010

Downtown sprint map update


I did a little bit of fieldchecking on the downtown sprint map. I hadn't worked on the map in quite a while and, in fact, I was really more interested in testing out a new mapping tool than making much progress on the map.

I'd mapped the area show below as open with scattered trees. But showing the individual trees seemed like a better approach. I had a few minutes over my lunch hour to make the changes.

I fired up my Iphone and opened the orienteering map CAD program.

I've been lucky enough to have an early test version of an orienteering mapping app from Biggins. It is an early test version and comes with essentially no instructions (which is good, apparently, as it helps identify aspects of the program that aren't intuitive). I zoomed in on the area I wanted to work on, which you can see below:

I opened the symbols and picked the one I wanted.

I started by adding a large tree. You place the symbol by touching the screen. As you touch the screen, a little close-up circle opens. The close-up circle makes it a little easier to place the symbol precisely. If you don't get it quite right, it is easy to move it, too.

I spent a few minutes adding a row of large trees, then changing symbols to small trees and adding a row of small trees.

Then I went and had a bit of lunch.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:02 PM


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