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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: blairtrewin

In the 31 days ending Aug 31, 2010:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run26 25:55:37 163.55(9:31) 263.21(5:55) 1900164 /190c86%
  Swimming4 2:24:00 2.49(57:56) 4.0(36:00)
  Pool running1 46:00 0.43(1:45:45) 0.7(1:05:43)
  Total31 29:05:37 166.47(10:29) 267.91(6:31) 1900164 /190c86%

» now

Tuesday Aug 31, 2010 #


Looks like things might get a bit more interesting in Boothby:

I think there's a fair chance that the High Court will order a by-election if there is a legal challenge (although I'm not sure there will be - such challenges tend to rebound on the party that makes them, voters generally taking a dim view of such things).

If it happens this will obviously be a by-election of some significance. Boothby readers (and I know there are quite a few of you) are invited to post your pork wishlists here.
7 AM

Run intervals 20:00 [4] 3.2 km (6:15 / km)

8x400 (81-87) on a 2.30 cycle, at the Clfton Hill track. First speedwork I've done since returning and a bit of rust in the system but no injury issues. Quite a windy morning, but in a 400s session on a windy day there are worse places to hit the headwind than the first bend.

Someone else was doing what looked like 1k reps at about the same pace as my 400s; I thought chasing him might speed me up but it appears to have had no discernable impact. No dogs today.

Run warm up/down 19:00 [3] 4.0 km (4:45 / km)

Going to and from the track; quite a bit faster going back but that might have been because I was running late.

Monday Aug 30, 2010 #

8 AM

Swimming 35:00 [3] 1.0 km (35:00 / km)

Got a dream run to Fitzroy: only one red light between my place and the pool (and not a huge number of vehicles on the road either: must have been a builders RDO). The swim itself was a reasonably routine one. Probably won't have many more cold mornings here this season.

The pool gives one time to ponder (it's not as if there's anything else to look at). On this occasion I was pondering election results, and a particular aspect which had puzzled me: why, when outer suburban Sydney and Brisbane swung strongly against Labor, did outer suburban Adelaide swing strongly to Labor - and why is it that the boats which seem to excite Sydney and Brisbane's bogans so much don't seem to draw any interest amongst Adelaide's bogans? One clue as to the answer was an analysis today which reported that Kingston, which had the biggest swing to Labor in Australia, also has Australia's highest percentage of atheists (this surprises me - I would have expected it to be Sydney, Melbourne or one of the ACT seats), and that numerous seats in outer suburban Sydney and Brisbane have a high percentage of fundamentalist Christians - fertile ground for hostility to Islam, and through that hostility to boat people. Adelaide and Melbourne don't do religion in quite the same way.
7 PM

Run 44:00 [2] 8.0 km (5:30 / km)

Monday night at my place with the usual small turnout. Very slow early on, but sped up a bit in the second half after we broke into two pairs. Achilles a little touchy at times but otherwise running reasonably well. Warmest night for a while.

Sunday Aug 29, 2010 #

11 AM

Run ((orienteering)) 38:02 [4] *** 7.61 km (5:00 / km) +150m 4:33 / km

First leg of the Victorian Relays at Woodlands Park. This was a really good hit-out; after several races of slogging around and often struggling to get under 10 minutes/km, it was nice to get onto a fast area (with a bit of rock to keep it interesting) and a good head-to-head race, to get some intensity into my racing. I wasn't sure how I would handle the intensity but as it happened handled it pretty well, and with no hint of soreness for the first time in a few weeks (although strength up hills still wasn't great). Didn't miss a thing.

Map pick-up was a bit messy and I emerged from the graveyard 50 metres off the front end of the bunch. Troy and Kez had a short split early and I found myself battling with Toph and James Robertson, with Tim Hatley trying to hang on (and more or less succeeding for the first half). Toph and James missed 3 slightly giving me a chance to get onto them; they pulled away a bit on the fast and mostly downhill 4 and 5, but I kept in touch (helped by noticing which side of the ruin 5 was on). Toph, who as it happened was coming off an XC race, slowed on the climb between 6 and 7; that left James on his own. I thought there might be potential for a miss there and there was. That gave me a useful 100-metre lead going into the final loop, which then stayed intact more or less to the end. Never saw Troy and Kez but they came in about a minute ahead.

Yarra Valley was never likely to challenge MFR and Bendigo's two teams over three legs, but we hung in there better than I thought we might thanks to Russell Bulman's impressive (for an M55) 43, and ended up a respectable rather than distant fourth. The reason I still run for Yarra Valley in these is mainly in the name of preventing monopolies. MFR won, Bendigo were second and third.

This run will do a lot for my confidence, which was at a pretty low ebb on Monday - it seems at this stage that the massage was indeed a turning point, something to be noted for future reference. I probably won't get many more chances to orienteer between now and the Australian Champs - missing Kooyoora next weekend will be a pity, although a long run on Dartmoor (the present plan) is not the worst of substitutes - so it was good to get this one on the board.

The use of the extra decimal point in the distance is intentional; it makes the difference between me getting under 5s or not.

There is enough rock in the pocket we used that it could make an interesting sprint area; given its proximity to the airport, it would be well suited to an NOL weekend (if it was the March long weekend you could reasonably run it on Friday night with, say, a 6pm start).

Saturday Aug 28, 2010 #

8 AM

Run 1:10:00 [3] 14.0 km (5:00 / km)

Saturday morning run from my place, initially along the Banyule Flats singletrack (muddy in places, as expected), then out to the Finns Reserve bridge and back through the lower end of Bulleen - a few hills but not as many as there can be here - I'm still a bit tentative about that.

This was a very nice run at times, especially through the middle, although not as fast as I would have liked. Achilles not beyond the annoying-niggle stage, but how would it cope with more serious work? I don't know; the first hint will come with the Victorian Relays tomorrow.

In the name of distance-extending I went a slightly different route to usual and found the, seemingly new, premises of Kerrigan's Accident Repairs. Surprised they don't make more use of the Castle connection in their advertising (I'm sure you can think of some pertinent slogans).

I also saw Craig Langdon as I finished off through the Ivanhoe shops, but didn't stop to tell him that I was disappointed with his actions this week. It is a bit mystifying to hear claims that his demise was orchestrated by the faceless men of the factions; had such been the case one might have thought that the local branch secretary might be the sort of person that said faceless men (or representatives thereof) might want to have a word with. As it was the only people I heard from in the run-up to the preselection ballot were the candidates themselves (not that I was exactly the easiest person to track down in mid-2009).

Friday Aug 27, 2010 #

8 AM

Pool running 46:00 [3] 0.7 km (1:05:43 / km)

First pool running session since returning, in colder conditions than I've done this in before; thought it might be uncomfortable doing something which involves my head staying out of the warm water but it wasn't too bad. Took a while to get into it but working pretty hard by the end.

Fitzroy pool is hemmed in by houses which overlook it (which must make for some interesting views at times, in both directions). Someone has taken advantage of this location to put an election poster up on their balcony to be viewed by the assembled multitude at the pool. Like every other candidate poster I've seen since polling day, it featured the smiling face of an unsuccessful contender (this time the Labor candidate for Melbourne).

Thursday Aug 26, 2010 #

6 AM

Run 1:46:00 [3] 21.0 km (5:03 / km)

Something closer to a traditional Thursday long run, though staying on the flat to the extent I could, which meant some not-always-inspiring suburban traverses to the west. Felt good at times but a bit slower than I thought it might have been. Some nuisance-level soreness, generally better than the last couple of days but flared a bit later on, a slightly worrying sign (although it hasn't tightened post-run).

The only election posters I saw were for the Greens, which may indicate they ran a particularly active campaign in Batman, or that they're less efficient at taking their posters down. (I'm pondering how to get rid of some not-easily-recyclable posters myself; if anyone feels like turning Julia Gillard or Jenny Macklin into some event direction signs, let me know).

Wednesday Aug 25, 2010 #


Election update: Hasluck and Boothby look unlikely now, but Brisbane is becoming more of a possibility. Despite what you may hear, Denison is not yet settled either; what we know now is that if Labor and Wilkie are the final pair Wilkie will win, but it's still plausible that Wilkie might be eliminated before getting to the final pair.

That said, the Liberals don't seem to be going out of their way to woo the independents at the moment (complete with blatantly-Liberal-sourced hatchet job on Bob Katter on the front page of today's Herald-Sun), and I've heard it suggested that they may actually prefer to go into opposition and hope that whatever government emerges falls apart. A rather courageous strategy if you ask me.

And we get to go back to the polls an extra time in our part of the world: the local state member who lost pre-selection by one vote (as noted before, I missed the ballot, otherwise he would have lost by two votes) has decided to spit the dummy and resigned, on the last possible day before a by-election wouldn't have to have been called before the general state election. This means a by-election sometime, probably in October (or on Grand Final day if the State Government wants to minimise the media exposure). Still, in 1996 we got to vote three times (federal, council, state) in the space of four weeks.
7 AM

Run 1:00:00 [3] 12.1 km (4:58 / km)

Felt lively on an invigorating morning. Still confining myself to the flatter areas, this time through Banyule and up into Macleod (with the nice long descent through the Rosanna Parklands to finish). Feeling a bit better again than yesterday, although still some way short of 100% still.

There wasn't a lot of surface water where I was (although I avoided the traditional skating-rink bits of the Banyule Flats). It was a different story elsewhere. One of my colleagues remarked that going through the puddles she wished she was a five-year-old with gumboots; I couldn't resist pointing out that the last time Victoria had a month this wet she was almost a five-year-old with gumboots (she's 24). For the record, it's the first time since September 1993 that the statewide average for a month has reached 100mm; it says something about the last 17 years that prior to 1993 the average frequency of such months was almost one per year.

Tuesday Aug 24, 2010 #

12 PM

Run intervals ((fartlek)) 16:00 [4] 3.8 km (4:13 / km)

I probably sounded a bit down in yesterday's entry (and certainly would have seemed a bit down to anyone who was there post-run). I did note there that I have good days and bad days, and today was much better. I've come to a theory that calf tightness may be contributing to my Achilles problems (since I haven't been having my regular massages when travelling, and the soreness often surfaces during/after travel - soft ground may be a factor, but it was also happening on last year's road trip). If so this morning's massage may have helped; will have to wait and see whether it had a lasting impact.

Whatever the reason, I felt good enough for a 250 on/250 off session on the Tan at lunchtime - not 100% right but not struggling as I have the last few days. Not particularly stellar as a speed session but that wasn't really the point today. Doubt I could have kept pace with the 3.20 kilometre that Bruce had just done when I saw him.

Run warm up/down 31:00 [3] 6.5 km (4:46 / km)

To/from the Tan. Full marks for stupidity to the person who drove through the red light outside the police headquarters.

Monday Aug 23, 2010 #

8 AM

Swimming 35:00 [2] 1.0 km (35:00 / km)

A sunny, cold morning at Fitzroy. Gradually got into the swing of it as it went on and finished off quite well, in advance of a day looking closely at temperatures from Merredin and votes from Hasluck and Boothby.
7 PM

Run 48:00 [3] 9.1 km (5:16 / km)

MFR Monday night from Dion's. At the moment I have good days and bad days with the Achilles and this was a bad day. Hopefully I haven't gone back to where I was last November - if I have my season will be more or less over. Did loosen up as the run went on but never comfortable, which was a pity as it was a nice run on a nice night from the ankle upwards.

Sunday Aug 22, 2010 #


Since people seem to think I have some level of special insight into election numbers (judging by the number of questions I got asked on the subject last night), my take on the situation:

- Labor is pretty much guaranteed 70 seats.
- Labor is highly likely to win Lindsay and Corangamite, although the ABC computer is saying both are very close - they are assuming the postal votes will behave as they did last time, but both seats were Liberal seats going into 2007 and Labor going into 2010, which means Labor should do better on postals this time than they did last time. (Incumbents normally have a bit of an advantage on postal votes because they have the benefit of an office to send the applications out; otherwise postals and prepolls tend to be a bit more conservative than the electorate as a whole, because a higher proportion of them are elderly).
- to get to 73 (which is what I think Labor will need to form a government), Labor will need to win at least one of Boothby, Hasluck or Brisbane (in decreasing order of probability). I think Boothby is the best chance of these. Labor are currently ~700 votes ahead there, though last time the Liberals won the postals by more than that. (The ABC computer factors this in, which is why they are currently showing the Liberals ahead).
- the fate of Denison is anyone's guess and anyone who tells you otherwise is either being premature or don't know what they're talking about. At the moment the Liberals, Andrew Wilkie and the Greens are within about 3% of each other, but the Greens will probably bridge at least some of that through the preferences of a socialist who got a couple of percent, and postals/prepolls (which the Greens normally do very well on in Tasmania, although as this is colloqially referred to as the 'bushwalker vote' there may not be as many of them in August as there are in November). If Wilkie doesn't come fourth he will probably be elected on some combination of Greens/Liberal preferences, if he does come fourth I think it will be Labor versus Greens (a wild card is that I suspect a reasonable number of Liberal supporters voted tactically for Wilkie so there may be more Wilkie 1 Liberal 2 votes than one might otherwise expect). None of this makes a huge difference to the big picture as I am fairly certain that either Wilkie or a Green would support Labor on confidence and supply.
- the final Senate seat in Victoria is also interesting - it's currently being called for the DLP but could go to any of the DLP, Family First (yes, this means Steve Fielding getting back), Labor or Liberal. The DLP and Family First gave preferences to each other and are only slightly apart at a key point in the count; whichever one stays in the count at that point will probably end up getting elected on major-party preferences (the Greens were only just over a quota so their second candidate, who would otherwise have got Labor preferences, will be out of the count by then).
- while on the subject of Senate votes, below-the-line votes are not counted on the night. From my experience about 20% of Greens voters vote below the line but only about 5% of others do, so the final Senate figures will be stronger for the Greens than their current ones are. This won't affect their own result (except for the outside chance of getting a second person up in Tasmania) as they've clearly won one seat in each state, but could affect preference flows elsewhere.
8 AM

Run 2:01:00 [3] 24.4 km (4:58 / km)

The late Andrew Olle used to say on ABC election night coverage that "whichever way you voted, the sun will still come up tomorrow". This morning provided plenty of evidence for this - it was a lovely morning to be out. I wasn't feeling as shattered as I thought I might have in the circumstances, perhaps because of the realistion that minority government will stop an Abbott-led government, if that is what materalises (and I think it's maybe a 60% chance), from doing anything outrageously ideological (like reintroducing Workchoices after promising not to, or purging climate scientists with unsound views).

The run was steady for the most part, heels still not feeling not quite right but manageably so (and no worsening with greater distance). Started to feel stronger in the final half-hour, and particularly the last 10 minutes, the best part of this run. Happy with the way I lasted the distance, still not confident that I'll handle rougher terrain (this run was pretty flat).

Saturday Aug 21, 2010 #

10 AM

Run 1:01:00 [3] 12.0 km (5:05 / km)

Election day run after an early morning session on the booth, a bit earlier than I thought because we had more people on than we needed. This was a bit of a relief after a 6am start to set up and get all the prime banner-hanging spots (not usually a major challenge at Rosanna Golf Links, where I have yet to see a Liberal before 7.30 in four elections).

As is traditional for me, my election-day run took in as many other polling booths as I could fit in (mainly in the name of greeting the comrades stationed there). It also took in the Yarra Flats trail with quite a few people (Lisa Weightman among them) going at a somewhat greater speed in the opposite direction.

Not the most brilliant of runs - I still don't feel as if I've properly settled back in. Struggling a bit on the hills today.

Friday Aug 20, 2010 #

8 AM

Swimming 37:00 [2] 1.0 km (37:00 / km)

First trip since returning to the windswept winter wilds of Fitzroy, still reasonably well-populated. Faded away a bit later on after a reasonable start. Slept poorly, which may or may not have had something to do with seeing the results of Newspoll just before going to bed.

I was supposed to be having a massage after this but it turned out he'd changed his schedule while I was away and the message hadn't got through to me, so it will have to wait until Tuesday (I wonder if my post-trip Achilles issues are partly related to calf tightness). Did get to traverse Fitzroy on the bike and saw more election posters than would usually be the case, now that it's contested territory; the quirkiest of which was "A fairy dies every time someone votes for Tony Abbott'.
1 PM

Run 46:00 [3] 9.0 km (5:07 / km)

Lunchtime run around the Tan. Loosened up OK after an awkward start and handled the hill pretty well. Slower than normal for this circuit but I suspect traffic may have had something to do with that. This time the building works are on the (slower) inner track, and look like they may be for some time.

In my absence a new business of interest has opened next to our building (a branch of the Degani bakery, who were excellent when they were just a Clifton Hill and Fairfield operation but have lost a little of their quality through expansion). It seemed that another local-ish business was on its way out but South Wharf hasn't gone bust after all, at least for now (DFO is normally of no interest to me, but it also hosts the only reasonable bookshop within lunchtime walking distance of the office). The tramline relocation in Docklands Esplanade which was supposed to be finished six weeks ago isn't.

Thursday Aug 19, 2010 #

6 AM

Run 1:30:00 [3] 17.7 km (5:05 / km)

I lasted until 10.15 last night (with some help from Gruen Nation and the Chaser), but my timezone isn't quite right yet because I woke up at 5.20 without assistance from an alarm.

I won't object too much if that persists until Saturday as I will have an early morning festooning as much as I can of the fence of Rosanna Golf Links Primary with political propaganda before the Liberals do (not usually too much of a challenge at this particular booth). Jagajaga is a seat that the Liberals might win in a very good year once Jenny Macklin retires, but they're certainly not putting much effort into it this year - their candidate, not selected until a week into the campaign, is a student from the other side of town and the pile of mail I collected from my next-door neighbour last night didn't contain any Liberal flyers. (It's possible but unlikely that my address is on a "known enemy - don't let them know what we're doing" list, slightly more plausible that my neighbour knows my leanings and didn't keep the Liberal stuff).

Anyway, once the run started - a truncated version of a traditional Thursday in deference to injury issues, up through Bundoora - it was reasonable but nothing too special. A bit sore at times but warmed up OK, and didn't seem to get any worse through the run. Hopefully this is a repetition of what's come up after past European trips and will disappear after a week or two on hard ground, and not a repetition of October 2009; it does feel more like the former than the latter. It could be worse; one of my work colleagues turned up today with a ruptured Achilles.

In the act of adding a bit of distance at the end to take it up to 90 minutes without doing any more major road crossings, I found myself in a street 1km from home which I'd never been in - fun while it lasted.

Wednesday Aug 18, 2010 #

6 AM

Run 1:04:00 [3] 13.0 km (4:55 / km)

The run more or less straight off the plane is something of a tradition of mine (if only to wake myself up a bit more before spending a day in the office clearing out 2000 emails). This one was based from the office - a bit of an extension of the traditional Tan loop, with smaller bits around Docklands and the Tennis Centre. Not a bad one as the sun came up, and a pleasant running temperature (a bit cold for anything else). Achilles loosened OK on the flat but still a bit awkward on some of the climbs.

Not for the first time on such a run, my insides haven't adjusted to the time difference as well as other parts of the body, resulting in a pitstop with 10 minutes to go.

I'm now back in Australia for a whole 16 days (possibly plus or minus one) before heading to the other side of the world (this time Exeter, for work).

Tuesday Aug 17, 2010 #

(rest day)

In the air. Not too bad a trip with about 3 hours' sleep on each of the two main legs.

As always seems to be the case in Europe, there was a mixture of results; France, which I had planned as the prelude, turned out to be the competitive high point. I certainly need to be a lot stronger to be really competitive in the soft ground, particularly of the Nordic variety. Also a little concerned that the Achilles didn't really last the distance.

Monday Aug 16, 2010 #

9 AM

Run 53:00 [3] 10.0 km (5:18 / km)

Felt better today so decided to go out for an easy session from Cassie's place in Oslo. A track run but still reasonably rough in places (at least compared to Australia); did my best to stay out of mud patches given the need to get my shoes through quarantine. (The fact that one of the metal studs was starting to come through the sole gave me a good excuse to leave my orienteering shoes in Trondheim and get a new pair). Achilles still not brilliant when climbing or on rougher ground but OK elsewhere.

The route circumnavigated a prison; unlike most Norwegian prisons, this one actually contains serious criminals (the others are devoted to those doing the few weeks of time which is standard for drink-driving in Norway). It didn't look especially big but then I suspect Norway doesn't have that many serious criminals.

On the way home this afternoon; back on Wednesday morning unless something goes wrong with the connections. My route choice is Frankfurt-Singapore; other variations I have heard include Helsinki-Bangkok, Amsterdam-Singapore, Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur, Frankfurt-Tokyo, and something involving Shanghai.

Sunday Aug 15, 2010 #


Still not brilliant so decided to give it a rest. Calves also very tight the last couple of days, possibly through over-compensation, possibly through six massage-less weeks.

I know just enough Norwegian to be able to work out what the front page of the paper is about most of the time (although sometimes it doesn't require much translation, an example from my last visit to these parts in 1998 being: "Monica: Jag Hadde Sex Med President Clinton 12 Gange"). This enabled me to ascertain that there was some sort of scandal relating to building delays at the ski jump where the WOC arena is. Rumour has it that it will not be ready in time for winter: catastrophe!.

Off to the WOC relay soon.

Saturday Aug 14, 2010 #

10 AM

Run 29:00 [3] *** 3.2 km (9:04 / km)

Disappointing end to the competition part of this trip. The Achilles wasn't good in the warm-up; I decided to give it a couple of controls to see if it improved. It did, sort of, to the point that in a race that mattered I would have been prepared to keep going on it, but I didn't think it was worth taking the risk for a race that didn't matter. Jogged home the rest of the course (cutting from near 2 to 14), getting to see a bit of the WOC terrain and probably confusing the chasing start midfield as to why someone going so slowly was in amongst them.

The succession of races on soft terrain has clearly been more than my body is able to handle at present. I'm definitely hoping I haven't gone back to where I was last November, and suspect I haven't (if only because the injury does appear to warm up). I won't be in terrain again for a while which may settle it down. Will wait to see how it feels tomorrow before deciding whether to attempt to run in what's left of the trip or take a break until I get home.

Friday Aug 13, 2010 #


IOF Congress day. Achilles very tight today, although that may have been related to the shoes I was wearing.

Not surprisingly there has been a bit of discussion of long distance event following in the last 24 hours. Looks as if I might have (some of) the responsibility of trying to do something about it - I'll be nominating for the Foot O Commission. Should be interesting; the people I know there are good value, but none of them have experience in international elite competition* in the last 20 years, so hopefully I'll be able to provide something of a fresh perspective on problems like this. For what it's worth, I think if there is going to be a solution it is going to lie in course-setting (the butterflies yesterday were so short as to be largely pointless) rather than the creation of rules which are either unfair or unenforceable in practice.

(* - this is assuming that describing me as an "international elite orienteer" is not in breach of relevant consumer/trade description laws).

There are posters up around town for A-Ha's "farewell tour", although I am reliably informed by the locals that A-Ha have had as many farewell tours as John Farnham.

Thursday Aug 12, 2010 #

9 AM

Run 1:01:00 [3] 12.0 km (5:05 / km)

Road/track run in Trondheim in the morning before the long final. Feeling a bit better this morning than I was yesterday, but still not brilliant for running, in a sluggish-not-inspired sort of way.

Urban exploration was the name of the game here (although following unknown lines on city maps can sometimes take you to unappealing running destinations, like industrial areas or the city dump). At its nicest up around the university and in the more elevated suburbs.

The route to the university did take us on the route used for the 1998 World University Championships opening ceremony march, a desultory affair even by the usual standards of such occasions. At one point everyone sat down on the road to try to get a Mexican wave going, and someone asked "what are you protesting against?". (There had been a number of sit-down protests in that year's Tour, if I recall correctly mainly because the French authorities had had the temerity to start busting people for drugs). This was also the route back from the post-event party, the only time (to my knowledge) that I've been the subject of any international-event gossip (involving a well-known Eastern European who has run in a great many WOC finals and who may or may not be a relative of someone mentioned in these pages a few days ago).

Wednesday Aug 11, 2010 #

1 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 19:44 [4] *** 2.6 km (7:35 / km) +100m 6:22 / km

Came down with a bit of a cold overnight and was lacking a bit of enthusiasm for today's sprint, but wasn't too bad once I started moving. Not much strength on anything resembling a hill. An annoying 30-second mistake at 7, and a more annoying route choice miss on 16 - earlier in the course I'd noticed that there were no controls in the fortress and assumed they hadn't been able to get permission to use it for the public race, but didn't contemplate the idea of a route choice through it. Probably another 20 seconds there.

Closer to the lead in percentage terms but further down the list, and I was Honked.

Frederic Tranchand won bronze in the WOC sprint and was 7th today, so our field must be stronger :-).

Tuesday Aug 10, 2010 #

11 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 1:28:45 [4] *** 8.8 km (10:05 / km) +390m 8:15 / km

I hadn't originally planned to run today because I didn't think I'd be able to get back in time for an IOF meeting at 2 without my own transport, but in the end decided to take a punt on being able to find a ride (which I did, albeit through the thumb-at-carpark-exit method in the company of Sebba). Another nice area on the whole, almost subalpine in places, and a bit hillier than yesterday. Still struggling, though, with strength in the terrain - even at my current level of fitness I'd expect to be able to run a nine-contour hill early in the course on the harder ground at home without too much trouble - and felt as if I was really pussyfooting around on the steeper downhills. Tired in the last 20 minutes - back-to-back 90-minute races is a challenge in this terrain.

Technically it was a little better than yesterday with nothing bigger than 45 seconds or so, probably 2-3 minutes of mistakes all up, most of them in the second half of the course. The first error, at 6, was annoying - a pack went through me at 5 and I made the mistake of assuming they knew what they were doing. A little closer to the lead than yesterday but a couple of places further down.

The disappointment of the day was that I couldn't find a ride back from the IOF meeting to the long qualification and had to watch it on the internet like the rest of you. Still, there are bonuses to being an IOF delegate, one of them being a free meal tomorrow night at the expense of the Trondheim City Council (and a free meal in Norway, a country where even pizzas go for $40, is definitely not to be passed up).

Monday Aug 9, 2010 #


A few of the things noticed at WOC outside the headlines:

- the Warwick Capper shorts have made their first appearance on a sporting arena since the early 1990s, as worn by Olli-Markus Taivainen in the sprint final.
- there's a substantial Brazilian contingent and the men are not completely hopeless (i.e. their three middle distance runners were clustered around the sort of time in the qualifiers that I would have expected to do myself). There's also a North Korean here (I'm intrigued by the thought of what the North Korean domestic O scene might be like)
- Beata Falk, whose name will be permanently ingrained into the head of anyone who had anything to do with the 2008 JWOC selection appeal, made her senior debut for Sweden here, coming 18th in the sprint.
- Ireland, Croatia and Kazakhstan all have middle finalists. As far as I can tell it's a first for Kazakhstan and a second time for Croatia. Ireland have had a few sprint qualifiers but nothing in the other distances since the finals were reduced to 45 runners (they used to be 60).
10 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 1:33:27 [4] **** 9.7 km (9:38 / km)

First foray into Nordic orienteering on this trip. Very tentative through the first couple which were a bit green, then got into a bit more of a technical rhythm, although really felt my lack of strength (something that has definitely gone downhill this year with interrupted training), in the often very soft ground. Eventually worked out that marshes were often the best running option here (they're often good for navigation, not so good for running). A nice, if tough, forest, and really enjoyable to be out there in it, especially in a race where the pressure wasn't really on.

Technically I made an annoying one-minuter in the circle at 4 after successfully executing 95% of a tricky long leg, with other minor losses at 10, 12 and 13 (probably about 3 minutes across the whole course), but for the most part I was navigating with a reasonable degree of confidence, which is more than can be said of my last visit to Norway where if I found a control it was by more or less stumbling across it by accident. Had people around for quite a bit of it in the form of those who started 1 and 2 minutes ahead and 1 minute behind, which was tangible evidence that my performance wasn't totally embarrassing. I'm not really competitive in international elite races any more (especially ones which feature a bronze medallist from yesterday), but ended up about 3/4 of the way down.

Not for the first time in this part of the world, I don't think my shoes will be going home; the metal is starting to come through the sole.

Unfortunately I don't think the logistics required are going to allow me to partake in all three of tomorrow's activities (the event, an IOF meeting and the WOC long qualifying), and the event looks like it will be the one to go by the wayside. Before today I thought that may not have been such a bad thing but the Achilles, which was very ordinary when I got up this morning, was fine on the run.

And, entirely predictably, the WOC song was running through my head for most of the run (it didn't help that they played it just before I went to the start). As noted yesterday it is as bad as previous examples of the genre. (One oddball member of the genre was the one from JWOC 2006 which everybody seemed to assume was a JWOC song - it was certainly bad enough - but was actually Lithuania's entry in that year's Eurovision Song Contest).

Update: just saw the splits. I thought I was fading away at the end, but in fact my best splits of the race (by some margin) were on 19 and 20, the two uphill legs on the final loop in the green. Obviously the others were tiring more :-)

Sunday Aug 8, 2010 #

8 AM

Run 41:00 [3] 7.4 km (5:32 / km)

A problem which sometimes afflicts WOC qualification events in the more developed countries is that they assume nobody would want to watch the qualification races because everyone of interest is going to get through anyway. In 2010 this manifested itself through the sprint qualification starting at 9 - which isn't a problem in itself except that Trondheim's public buses don't start on a Sunday until 9.30 or 10, and the qualification was 7km away from where I was staying.

For me there was an obvious solution to this problem (not sure it would have suited all the spectators, though). It was slightly awkward running with a pack and again it took 10 minutes or so to loosen up, but not too bad after that. Perhaps I was thinking this way because it was City To Surf day, but the climb out of town was remarkably similar to the Rose Bay hill in terms of length, gradient, orientation of slope and windiness. I just didn't have several tens of thousands of other people to share it with.

The WOC performances themselves were reasonable without being brilliant; not sure if any of the finalists were especially happy with their final runs. It was fairly remarkable that only 4.5 seconds covered the men's top six.

And WOC was a minute old when the first blast came from a vuvuzela. Whether it sounded any better than the official WOC song is left as an exercise for the reader.

Saturday Aug 7, 2010 #

8 AM

Run 41:00 [3] 8.0 km (5:08 / km)

Recovery run from the Zurich youth hostel. The plan was to go along the lake but there isn't a path along the lake so it was mainly a road run. Stiff as expected early on but loosened reasonably as it went on; at no stage was it stellar but it could have been worse and will do me some good. Very nice morning for it.

WMOC is a place you see some people you haven't seen for a long time but one unexpected sighting yesterday was Eniko Fey, who I hadn't seen since 1996 (she now lives in Switzerland and her father was running). As those of a certain age will recall, she won three gold medals at JWOC 1996 but injured her knee in the closing stages of the relay, and has never run seriously since - one of the great lost talents of orienteering history. The most unfortunate thing about it is that it sounds like it was the sort of ACL tear that happens on an AFL field every second week; if she'd done it in Melbourne, reputedly the best place in the world to have your knee rebuilt, she would have been out for 12 months and then would most likely have made a full recovery. (It sounds like by the time it was properly diagnosed it was already too badly damaged to be able to be fixed properly),

Friday Aug 6, 2010 #

12 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 1:32:33 [4] *** 10.1 km (9:10 / km) +475m 7:25 / km

WMOC long final, 37th. A very disappointing result from a disappointing run. Started off reasonably well - once again it was apparent that track running at all costs was the way to go. The first mistake was at 6, a short low-visibility leg to a small cliff. I thought I'd lost about 1.5 minutes there but it was more like 3. Settled a bit after that, but then smaller errors at 11 and 12 (11 mistaking an elephant track for a real one, 12 just careless) sent the run backwards again. The navigation was better after that, but I was struggling for strength in the soft ground by then and didn't have it in me to put up any sort of a fight when a pack came through at 19 - by then it was just a slog. Over the last few it was all I could do to keep up with one of the W35s.

About the only positive to be drawn from this dismal effort, something which belonged more to my sequence of less-than-stellar 1990s international performances, was that my Achilles lasted the distance, not something I was especially confident of in the warm-up.

Next stop is Norway but the racing is only a minor priority then; after that the next major target is the nationals week. I knew I wasn't going to repeat my 2009 result here, given the stronger field and my interrupted season - had been hoping for top 10 and would have been satisfied with top 20 (the edge of which is probably where I'd have been with a decent-but-not-brilliant run).

Thursday Aug 5, 2010 #

12 PM

Swimming 37:00 [2] 1.0 km (37:00 / km)

My swimming gear wasn't completely wasted luggage on this trip; Biel has a pool, and I was a bit stiff after the qualifiers and thought I could use this session. Felt rather out of practice and took a while to get into it, partly because the pool didn't have lane ropes and I wasn't sure what the local customs were (it soon became apparent that they were "pick a line that no-one else is using and people will stay out of your way").

The toenail that suffered fatal damage on the Wilsons Prom run in March finally gave up the ghost today, but I think what's underneath is now solid enough that it shouldn't give me any trouble. More concerning has been the tightness in my Achilles today. The last few days it hasn't been a major issue running but has taken the length of the walk to the station to loosen up in the morning; today it took most of the day.

Biel gets a less-than-glowing review in the Swiss Lonely Planet for its ugliness. I can only assume that the author turned right out of the station and the swimming pool building was the first thing he saw. The rest of the town is pleasant if unexciting, and because of its good transport links it's been a reasonable base for WMOC; the only negative is that no-one else I know is staying here. I have been trying to find out what has been going on with one of the big local news items, which was on the front page of the national tabloids for days: it involved the death of a young woman on the Bielersee after a boating incident, which as far as I can tell was a marine hit-and-run. Still not sure why it got so much national coverage unless either there is a severe shortage of news or either the victim or the alleged captain are famous for other reasons.

Spent the rest day afternoon wandering around Bern, a pleasant city. Most unexpected sight of the day was a flyer with a picture of none other than General Peter Cosgrove (standing in front of Australian flag). It turned out to contain a transcript of an ABC interview of his (as far as I can tell, about how shooting rabbits as a kid sparked an interest in a military career) and was being used in a campaign against tougher gun laws in Switzerland. I wonder if he knows about it?

Bern's football fans will have been happy after the local team, Young Boys Bern (quite a few Swiss teams have quirky English names, a legacy of Switzerland being the first place that the British exported organised football to), had a win in a Champions League qualifier last night against Turkey's Fenerbahce (a game which featured the rare event of someone being sent off for diving). Their home ground is in the suburb of Wankdorf; when their early-season home games were moved a few years back because of stadium building delays, Soccernet's headline was "Young Boys Wankdorf erection woe".

Wednesday Aug 4, 2010 #

1 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 1:21:56 [4] **** 8.5 km (9:38 / km) +290m 8:14 / km

A strange sort of day, as a second qualifier can be. The word was that this area was pretty tough and this was borne out by the times of the early finishers (or lack thereof) on other courses. This settled me on an ultra-conservative race strategy on a day when avoiding disaster was the only thing that really mattered, using a lot of track options (where they existed) and generally being very cautious.

The strategy achieved its objective, particularly in the first half of the course where I was very clean indeed, without going flat out. Started to struggle a little for concentration in the third quarter, which was pretty thick and rocky without many track options - hesitated quite a bit but was still hitting the controls. My two mistakes, neither of them bigger than 15 seconds, were in the final loop at 22 and 25. Felt fairly tired by then but some of that may have been above the shoulders - had started to have enough of this by the last kilometre or two. I'd be interested to see how the splits from the first and second half compare, but no splits have (yet) appeared on the web; the final is, at least in part, on the other end of the same ridge as the first half which is one good omen.

Ended up 12th over the two days of qualifying, with a few having blowouts today (and sufficient DNFs today that someone who was a minute behind me yesterday was over 2 hours today, and still scraped in). Hard to know what to make of the results as you don't know who was trying how hard. The talk around is that ours is the easier heat, but the same things were said in 2008 and the results of the final disproved them (and 2008 winner Petri Noponen is in our heat, and not winning it). The other heat was significantly faster today, but this is an area where apparently slight differences in course structure can make a big difference to winning times through opening up (or closing down) track options. (It was certainly easier to qualify in our heat, thanks to all the DNFs).

The big question now for Friday is whether I have the ability to change gear from ultra-conservative to aggressive without coming unstuck. The last part of today's course didn't fill me with confidence on that score, but that area may not be representative of what we'll see in the final. (I may also be more aggressive on Friday towards human traffic jams, of which there were a few).

The starts were put back an hour today because of transport issues (mainly because the shuttle buses couldn't pass each other on the last part of the road up the hill, creating a bottleneck). They probably didn't need to go back as much as an hour but better to be safe than sorry. (We ended up about 20 minutes later than scheduled, not an unfamiliar experience for regular customers of CityRail/Metro/Connex). This did unsettle my routine a little (especially with respect to eating), although not as much as it did for people like Tracy who found herself with a 2.30 start.

Tuesday Aug 3, 2010 #

11 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 1:06:51 [4] *** 10.5 km (6:22 / km) +230m 5:44 / km

If I was going to have a bad day this wasn't the worst day for it to happen, and it wasn't as if it was really that bad, but I will certainly want to do better than this on Friday. Dropped about 3 minutes over the course as a whole, mostly through carelessness in an often vague and flat area, and never really felt as if I had much running rhythm in the terrain, perhaps because most of the area was very soft underfoot. I've often struggled in flat terrain and hopefully the steeper country in the days ahead will be a bit more to my liking.

Last results I saw were 16th at the back of a close bunch, and 6 minutes down which is a bit closer than I thought I might have been with this run. Certainly in no danger of missing the cut barring disaster tomorrow. Achilles better than I thought it might have been given how it felt in the model events, but not a lot of strength climbing in soft ground.

At the sprint final our gathering place (although it wasn't entirely obvious from the outside) was next to the Nauchatel football stadium. It turned out that Neuchatel's footballers were having an interesting day on the road in Lucerne: 2-0 up after 60 minutes, they contrived to lose 4-2 and their coach was sent from the touchline for abusing the referee.

Monday Aug 2, 2010 #

11 AM

Run ((orienteering)) 37:00 [3] 4.6 km (8:03 / km) +210m 6:33 / km

Original plan was to do the model event in the afternoon after spending the morning attending to laundry and other such mundane matters, but I quickly revised this after looking at the hourly forecasts on (an excellent site for Europe, and not bad for Australia either) and seeing that heavy rain was expected between 12 and 6. I didn't miss the rain altogether, but did get the run out of the way before most of the heavy falls arrived.

This was billed as the 'fast Jura', with the map having a fair bit of yellow. It wasn't as open as the map suggests and the white areas had fairly low visibility, but there was very little undergrowth and if tomorrow is similar it should be nice running. Pinpointing point features could be a challenge. The yellow is readable if one stays in control but mostly couldn't be used for relocation. Still not happy with the way the Achilles is handling climbing in soft ground, but tomorrow is likely to be flatter than today was which will defer the day of reckoning.

By the way, there was no repeat yesterday of the massive download queues of Saturday - for the simple reason that the organisers had replaced their own software with the SI software which takes about a quarter of the time to process each person.

Sunday Aug 1, 2010 #

2 PM

Run race ((orienteering)) 16:19 [4] *** 2.4 km (6:48 / km) +55m 6:06 / km

WMOC Sprint Final, 25th. Had hoped for a better place than this, but couldn't have done much more, and was quite pleased with the competitiveness of my time, 1.56 down on the leader, less than 1.30 from 2nd, and less than a minute from 7th. The long distance is the main game for me this week and those times are close enough to think that a top-10 on Friday is still a possibility, although it will need a very good run and perhaps a bit of help from others blowing up.

The area was easier than I'd hoped - a bit in the Neuchatel old town but nothing intricate. There were a few traps to avoid in the form of apparently good exits into dead ends, and some decent route choices, but on the whole it was a running race. There was a castle section at the end but that wasn't as complicated as the equivalent in the 2008 Portugal qualifier - its main function was to set up a route choice leg (which I thought was a no-brainer but the splits suggest it may not have been so obvious to others). Happy with my mental intensity, and with the way my running was going. No Achilles issues during the race. Nick Barrable won with 14.23.

Other major Australian results for those who missed them from elsewhere: Jenny and Hermann won, Tash was 2nd and Warren was 3rd. Carsten won M40. Tracy was 12th which I don't think she'll be especially pleased with.

The evening has had some natural fireworks to add to the artificial ones (it doesn't seem to have deterred the artificial ones).

My choice of eating places in Biel this evening was a bit of a Canberra throwback; next door to each other are Ottoman Cuisine and the El Rancho. In Canberra the former is a well-reputed place which has been host over the years to more than one episode of numbers-crunching; the latter is (or was) a somewhat more downmarket establishment which was a favoured haunt of Grammar Year 11/12s with questionable IDs, things which were easier to come by in the late 1980s because ACT drivers licences didn't have a photo in those days. (In Biel the situation is reversed - the El Rancho is a decent (if very slow) Mexican restaurant and Ottoman Cuisine is a dodgy-looking kebab joint). I have yet to see any trace of a Private Bin.

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