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Training Log Archive: Matej

In the 7 days ending Oct 13, 2014:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Orienteering4 2:24:03 11.99(12:01) 19.3(7:28) 22573c
  Orienteering Training1 1:07:15 3.34(20:09) 5.37(12:31) 48
  Trail Run1 55:30 7.64(7:16) 12.3(4:31) 249
  Total6 4:26:48 22.97(11:37) 36.97(7:13) 52273c

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Monday Oct 13, 2014 #

10 AM

Orienteering race (Arnprior) 18:23 [5] *** 4.1 km (4:29 / km) +25m 4:21 / km
22c shoes: Adidas Thrasher TR M

Map link

NAOC Sprint. Of all the races I've run in the past year, this one has to count as the most frustrating. In the first 21 controls, I ran an efficient sprint race, avoiding the tricky traps early in the course and pre-reading legs effectively. My route choices were sometimes barely suboptimal, but I lost no time hesitating or making up my mind. During the arena segment at the end, I tuned out the announcer's voice and kept hitting controls effectively. I was in 3rd place at control #21. And then came control #22.

I came out of #21 with a simple plan involving two things: an accurate compass heading, and the knowledge that I was looking for a tree at the end of a finish chute. The problem was that the same tape used for the finish chute extended far north of where the control actually was. This was to block the food stand off from errant runners, but it confused me and I veered right of my original heading. I immediately saw the stairway and ran back south, but I somehow managed to miss the control and hit #20 instead. From there, I just took a straight compass heading north and saw it immediately, but the damage had been done.

Altogether, I lost a full minute at the GO control to a silly mistake that never should have happened. If I'd just followed my heading straight to the tree and ignored the tape, I would have hit #22 cleanly. Lesson learned: never rely on finish chutes for navigation.

I finished 8th out of 24 juniors.
12 PM

Orienteering race (Robert Simpson Park) 16:49 [5] **** 3.0 km (5:36 / km) +10m 5:31 / km
16c shoes: Adidas Thrasher TR M

NAOC Relay (3rd leg). I started the course alone, with the rest of the teams several minutes in front of me, so I wasn't really expecting to catch anyone. The first part of the course had some tricky compass-heading controls through flat forest with low visibility, and although I found #2, #3, and #4 without a problem, I missed #5 to the east and lost ~40 seconds relocating. From there, I hit #6 straight-on and took an extremely conservative route choice to #7, approaching it by trails from the southwest. The rest of the course was relatively easy.

The real story of the day was Isabel, who made up almost 5 minutes on the last leg to secure a comeback victory for our A-team. Congrats to Katrina, Will, Ethan, and Izzy for an amazing relay race!

Sunday Oct 12, 2014 #

11 AM

Orienteering race (Carp Ridge) 1:12:02 [5] ***** 7.9 km (9:07 / km) +115m 8:30 / km
17c shoes: Icebug Spirit2 OLX (2)

After a Middle distance gold the day before that somewhat shocked me, I had to prepare myself for the next day's race: a Long that I knew was going to involve more mental than physical endurance. Hours after I finished the Middle, I talked with Peter Gagarin, who once again told me what I needed to hear: my success in the Middle did not guarantee any future success, and tomorrow was another day. However, I knew that I had discovered an effective navigational strategy while running the Middle, and my goal was to run the Long the same way, taking trails when possible and otherwise compass-chaining features along a straight route.

Map link (part 1)
Map link (part 2)

Unfortunately, my pre-race plan failed to deal with more complex issues of route choice, such as the race-defining leg to #2. I barely had time to look at this leg while navigating to #1, mostly because I was still getting used to the map scale (this is only my third course this year at 1:15,000). As a result, I never saw the northern trail option that went past #4, which turned out to be the optimal route choice.

I knew I had chosen badly as soon as I crossed the beaver dam underneath the power line west of #1. Ahead of me was a long, painful slog through forest much thicker and slower than the paths and forest to the northeast. I followed the power line northwest for as far as I could and then veered west at the large pylon between #2 and #5. I misread the marshes east of the control, briefly got disoriented, and almost wandered off the map before relocating off the cliffs south of #2. Judging from relative split times, I could have saved over 4 minutes by going north. At that point, I knew that I had some serious catching up to do.

I nailed #3, a tricky control, mostly because I followed a precise compass and managed to read all of the little hillocks correctly. To #4, I essentially went straight again, relocating off the pylon and hitting the surprisingly distinct vegetation boundary in the woods west of the control, which I used as my attackpoint. I ran along the trail and over the hill to #5. At this point, I also caught sight of Addison, who would hang on to me for the next third of the course.

To #6, I chose the optimal, straight route that followed the small trail to the beaver dam between the two lakes. Unfortunately, I got a little disoriented after coming out of the green, headed too far right, and lost some time in the intricate trail network north of #6. To #7, I once again veered off course, this time to the left, and ended up at the trail junction just south of where the road entered the field. At #8, I continued my NAOC trend of making strange mistakes around streamered chutes; I took the wrong (southern) trail out of #7, realized my mistake, thrashed through some underbrush, and ran the wrong way down the spectator chute to punch the control.

#8 and #9 were streamered, with no room for mistakes, and I picked up my new map at the map exchange at #9. My first instinct was to pick a trail route to #10 so I could pre-read the rest of the course, and running out to the road along the power line would have been fine if I'd had a clear approach into the control. I didn't; my plan was basically "contour along the hillside from the pylon on the rocky hill", and it didn't work. I missed #10 to the west and lost 3 minutes on my only technical navigation mistake on this course; I finally managed to relocate off of the trails southwest of the control.

#11 was straightforward, but instead of following the trail to the southeast of the control, I should have probably gone straight. To #12, on the other hand, I went for the straight, steep, green route when a southern one would have entirely avoided crossing all of the narrow, parallel ridgelines. I hit #13 using precise compass and identifying the clearing south of the control. To #14, I went straight again, again using the clearing close to the control to relocate. #15 was a long track run, and I hit #16 with another straight compass heading. Needless to say, I paid very close attention to the finish chutes when approaching #17 and ran down the right one without mishap.

A lot of the strategies that worked for me on the Middle were much less effective on the Long. On the Long, going straight was rarely the best option, except for short, technical controls like #3, #11, or #13. In my two races, I never really figured out what effective route choices looked like in this kind of terrain; I had learned how to navigate safely and precisely, but not quickly or efficiently. In the Middle, route choice never had massive implications; the issue was always running to the right spot, not figuring out how to get there the fastest. Here, route choice mattered in a huge way, and I wasn't really prepared to deal with it.

I finished 3rd out of 25 juniors.

Saturday Oct 11, 2014 #

12 PM

Orienteering race (Carp Ridge North) 36:49 [5] ***** 4.3 km (8:34 / km) +75m 7:53 / km
18c shoes: Icebug Spirit2 OLX (2)

Middle distance at the North American Orienteering Championships. My strategy was to make the individual legs as simple as possible by relying on clear linear/point features (vehicle tracks, thick patches of forest, small knolls with clearings on top). I guess it worked...

Some of my route choices looked pretty silly in retrospect, but I managed to keep an eye on my compass at all times while staying in close contact with the map. My running speed through the thick, deadfall-strewn forest was atrocious, but taking straight compass headings when there wasn't a trail paid off a lot of the time (rounabout routes were usually slower and increased the chance of making a mistake). My only mistake came at the end of the course, on the last control, when I saw a taped chute and mindlessly ran through it; it turned out to be the chute leading to the spectator control, not the GO control.

I was quite surprised when I learned that I had won, mostly because I have very little experience orienteering on anything that looks remotely like this. Tomorrow is another day, and again, I'm not used to Longs with less than 300 meters of climb... (-;

Friday Oct 10, 2014 #

3 PM

Orienteering Training (The Barrens) 1:07:15 [2] ***** 5.37 km (12:31 / km) +48m 11:59 / km
shoes: Salomon SpeedCross 3

NAOC model event in some truly complex terrain. After experiencing firsthand the various challenges that I knew were coming (thick woods, low radius of sight, invisible paths, vague contours), I think I figured out a navigational strategy that might work... We'll see tomorrow. Game on!

Tuesday Oct 7, 2014 #

5 PM

Trail Run (Don Castro) 55:30 [3] 12.3 km (4:31 / km) +249m 4:06 / km
shoes: Adidas Thrasher 2 M (2)

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