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Training Log Archive: iansmith

In the 7 days ending Sep 6, 2015:

activity # timemileskm+mload
  Biking1 1:32:42 15.98(10.3/h) 25.72(16.6/h) 4269c46.3
  Running2 1:30:53 10.38(8:45) 16.7(5:26) 4510.9
  Orienteering2 43:53 4.54(9:40) 7.3(6:01) 452c21.9
  Elliptical1 25:00 2.49(10:04) 4.0(6:15)6.3
  Strength training1 15:007.5
  Total5 4:27:28 33.38 53.72 47561c92.9
averages - weight:87kg

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Sunday Sep 6, 2015 #


The Corn Maze champs were a little bittersweet; I won all three races against competitive fields but finished 22nd in the Trail-O. My carmates, Keith and Ben, finished 3rd and 7th respectiively. As a result, my placing total of 1+1+22+1 = 25 was behind at least Ben and Joe, who tied for the overall title. I'm really competitive - so this definitely disappoints and bothers me, but to put this in context, I would have been much more disappointed to not win one of the three races. I'm now 11/11 in individual corn maze races (though finishing third in the 2012 relay was wholly my fault). Still, Corn Trail-O is a challenge and a math problem, and I should be able to solve it. Next year.

Congratulations to Joe and Ben for their victory and for their consistent performances. :) Penalty to Joe for the unprovoked shoulder check during the classic that I forgot about.

Saturday Sep 5, 2015 #

10 AM

Biking 1:32:42 [3] 25.72 km (16.6 kph) +426m

Jim Crawford's Belmont Wanderings; because of the corn maze races this afternoon, I elected to compete in the 90 minute bike category. My speedy bike was recently repaired, so I used that despite pothole concerns. I hadn't yet installed my clipless pedals, but I figured that running shoes and standard pedals would be advantageous for a race like this.

I had misread the course notes; I knew that visiting the 7 controls that were multiples of ten conferred a bonus of 210 points, but I overlooked the part where the value of any particular control was ten times its first digit. I thought it was simply the first digit, so I overvalued the bonus set by a factor of ten. The strategy was clearly not optimal because of this, and I could have scored more by just going for standard controls.

Still, it was a fun event, and I especially enjoyed the challenge of biking while navigating, because as it's very hard to safely read your map while moving, road bike-O requires a memory-O skillset and building a good mental picture of the area. Punching is very slow - you have to stop your bike, locate the sticker/feature, and write it down on the control card. My process could likely be improved.

I went to nine controls - the multiples of ten and two bonus controls on the way. It turns out one of the controls on the course, though not one I visited, was at Magnus' house. I ran into Andy McIlvaine, Gabe Bronk, Phil, Kelly Guarino, and Jonathan Soo at different points. Gabe is a particularly enthusiastic competitor who I see at lots of events - I will try to get him more involved in the broader O-scene.
4 PM

Running 12:00 [2] 2.0 km (6:00 / km)
shoes: 201410 Inov-8 Oroc 280s

Warmup jog around the parking lot while reading last year's map to engage my corn navigation routines.

Orienteering 14:18 [3] 2.4 km (5:58 / km) +2m 5:56 / km
20c shoes: 201410 Inov-8 Oroc 280s

Corn Maze Classic, Alice in Wonderland map. I had studied this year's map for about an hour, drawing hypothetical routes, identifying highways and choke points, and considering possible barrier locations. Peter had planned to add complexity to the race by putting barriers, and they were almost certainly going to block parts of the keyhold superhighway. Still, I underestimated the maze.

I was the last starter, and I set out a minute behind Joe. Controls 1-3 were straightforward, though I was still getting into the mindset. On control 4 - the first tricky control - I fell into three separate traps and blew about 30s. I shook it off and settled in; at control 6, I started to pick up the disjointed group of Joe, Andis, and Michael Laraia. I had moved to the lead of this group by 10 and escaped from the last straggler, Joe, by 13.

It took me about half the race to settle into it and get comfortable. I think I did a good job with my prerace routine; I ignored finishing times, concentrated on my own state and preparation, and warmed up my brain and body. I guess corn maze happens so fast that if you're not in the total zen state, it can overwhelm you. The keyhole actually contributed, because transitioning from intense reading to running fast and back was tricky. Joe shoulder checked me once, but I didn't really remember it until he mentioned it during course review.

Besides 4, I lost 20s poorly executing 14, lost 5s on 16, and some time near the end as I started to get tired. Surprisingly, I was only 1:20 behind Superman; I felt a lot worse about my race when I finished. I like to entertain the idea of what is possible, and I think sub 12 minutes was attainable on this course for someone of my speed with perfect execution and moving at speed. Bgallup put up a great showing and edged Joe and Giovanni. Barb edged me out for the smallest error according to AP, and newcomers Roine, Isak (Swedes both), and Mike's Maze newbie Michael all had good showings. Patrick's mp was heartbreaking, as he had raced really well.

Orienteering 4:44 [3] 0.8 km (5:55 / km)
6c shoes: 201410 Inov-8 Oroc 280s

Corn Maze Sprint; I started 30s in front of Joe, and 30s behind Evalin. The first controls made perfect sense, and I caught up to Evalin a bit before 2. I made a bad route choice to 3, scooting out to the keyhole. My route to 4 was fine - though I almost lost contact in the cat, but I overran my attack on the keyhole and elected to just keep running north and attack from behind. I was not happy to see Evalin at 4, as I thought I had passed her; she executed that leg well. My mistake fueled me with rage, and I put on some speed to finish a mere ten seconds in front of the talented Roine from Sweden.
8 PM

Orienteering 24:51 [3] 4.1 km (6:03 / km) +2m 6:02 / km
26c shoes: 201410 Inov-8 Oroc 280s

Night-O! Peter modified the rules from last year - where instead of the maximum possible score coming from doing all the controls in numerical order, the max score required doing the odd numbers in ascending order, then the even numbers in order. As the control locations were identical to the classic and sprint, playing splits and reviewing the previous courses paid dividends.

I was spotted the best start position, and I eagerly took off into the maze. I was running really well - I'd built up a 50s lead by control 7 (43), but I blew a full minute on control 8 (45) losing contact and struggling to piece things together. I briefly saw Ben there, but put on some speed in the keyhole to pull away. I ran alone for the rest of the race. I made a 30s error on control 17 where I did an extra lap of a heart. Isak, a fast 17 year old Swede, closed to within 22s on 18 (not that I knew), but I gradually pulled away and held on to a 32s victory. A great event.

Thursday Sep 3, 2015 #

10 PM

Running 1:18:53 [1] 14.7 km (5:22 / km) +45m 5:17 / km
shoes: 201507 Mizuno Wave Inspire 11

Easy river run; there was a strong headwind on the Esplanade.

My thoughts now turn to the Corn Maze Champs this weekend: arguably the biggest event of the year. While I eagerly hope to defend my overall title, the Trail-O is very uncertain and adds considerable uncertainty to the outcome. For that reason, I care much more about winning all three individual races than I do about the overall title. I'm undefeated in individual corn maze races, but I'm not feeling particular fast right now, and there are many new challengers - Isak, Michael, Kseniya, and the indomitable Joe - in addition to the usual set of challengers. I will devote more attention to mental simulation, including reading previous mazes, to practice achieving oneness with the corn.

I'm expecting this year's maze to be very fast - even with artificial PG barriers, there are numerous fast, safe highways to get you around the maze. The challenge this year will be that the intersections are complex, nuanced, and unexpected. Unlike the alphabet soup (which I'm devastated I missed), you won't have the problem of parallel errors, but recovering from small navigation errors will require mental gymnastics to build a correct picture of where you are. Also, the optimal route choice is less obvious this year than in some previous mazes.

Anything but total victory is a disappointment. As an accompanying process goal, I will have a clear plan for the next control, stay in contact, and run within my navigation. I don't know if achieving corn zen qualifies as a process goal, but I will do that, too.

Wednesday Sep 2, 2015 #


This article about the French training methods on world of O is quite interesting:

Certainly Thierry is a unique luminary and talent in the sport, and his rise was accompanied by Francois Gonon, Philippe Adamski, and others. But the French team has also had meteoric ballistic ascent, culminating in Lucas Bassett's silver in the middle and the French bronze medal in the men's relay. I know a little about the St. Etienne training center because of Kempster and Giacomo, and it led me to thinking what it would take to do that in the US.

Certainly the US is geographically large - which has always been a prohibitive challenge, especially with the low density of orienteers. However, the elite local community can self-select for some period of time. What might a training center look like? The US Olympic center in Colorado Springs came to mind, but this isn't ideal for a long term solution. We don't require the extensive facilities of the center, and Colorado Springs is fairly remote. Still, because it's at altitude, it might be worth a field trip now and then.

Instead, I think there are three requirements for an OUSA training center:
- Lease or purchase a house with enough space for a number of athletes to reside with a coach (say Schirm)
- Proximity to maps and diverse, quality terrain (obviously)
- Proximity to a city with a number of universities, grocery stores, and the usual set of facilities

Perhaps interested up-and-comers (probably high school and college students) might apply to stay for a season or year - or multiple years, if an attractive location could be offered with opportunity to enroll at nearby universities. Residents of such a training center would probably pay some rate for living there, which could be covered by OUSA or clubs.

Tuesday Sep 1, 2015 #

11 PM

Elliptical 25:00 [2] 4.0 km (6:15 / km)
shoes: 201507 Mizuno Wave Inspire 11

After a pleasant catch-up phone call with Dana, I headed to the gym for a session. While I somewhat preferred to be running, I haven't been to the gym in quite some time with my recent travels. I first warmed up on the elliptical.

Strength training 15:00 [3]

A small circuit:
- 3x10 clean and press, each side, 30 lb
- 3x10 squats, 135 lb
- 3x25 kayakers with 10 lb medicine ball

The squats felt unfamiliar.

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