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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: iansmith

In the 30 days ending Sep 30, 2011:

activity # timemileskm+mload
  Orienteering11 14:54:15 57.7(15:30) 92.86(9:38) 1447135c322.5
  Running12 6:25:31 43.93(8:46) 70.71(5:27) 91128.2
  Biking3 2:47:40 37.7(13.5/h) 60.67(21.7/h) 18058.0
  Team Sports2 2:00:00 1.86 3.045.0
  Canoeing1 57:32 3.59(16:02) 5.77(9:58) 6113c28.8
  Strength training3 30:409.5
  Swimming1 30:00 0.93(32:11) 1.5(20:00)3.0
  Bowling1 40.0
  Total28 28:05:42 145.72 234.51 1779148c595.0
  [1-5]27 26:32:31
averages - sleep:7.3 weight:85.4kg

» now

Friday Sep 30, 2011 #


While I am reluctant to use my log for commentary on anything except specific remarks on my training, this article, "The Orienteering Elite Unite against WOC program", deserves mention. In summary, an illustrious group of elites totaling 111 names from the Liberec World Cup races signed a petition to the IOF Council expressing their disapproval for the IOF Council's proposal for a modified WOC program. The elites decided to take this approach because "the [national] federations do not listen to us." This is a mighty band of the greatest orienteers in the world (including Thierry, who supports the petition though he didn't sign it at Liberec), and I hope their voice is heard by the IOF.
7 PM

Swimming 30:00 [1] 1.5 km (20:00 / km)

I went to the War Memorial Pool for lap swimming. A very slow old guy occupied the fast lane, and I kept running into him. He didn't seem to want to defer to me, and I didn't ask, so by virtue of the pigeonhole principle, I shared a "slow" lane with Jess.

Tonight's workout consisted of 500m freestyle, 250m kickboarding, 750m freestyle, and five or six jumps off the diving board. The limiting factor was my pain tolerance for chlorine in my eyes rather than fitness; I need to get goggles. Fins would also improve the workout. Time is a guess.

Thursday Sep 29, 2011 #


Today, as an exercise, I modeled my bowling score in a game as a function of three statistics I regularly record: number of strikes, first-ball pins (average pins felled by the first ball in each frame), and spares. I used a simple linear regression, and while the input statistics aren't wholly independent, it's a good first model. The model is pretty good, with r2 = 0.88, and a standard error of the predicted score of 7.70 pins/game. The residuals were normally distributed.

Here's the weird thing: while a strike is more valuable in a bowling game, the coefficient for the number of spares in a game was actually higher than that for the number of strikes. According to the (admittedly simple) model, I earn 12.4 points for each additional spare I hit and only 10.1 for each additional strike.

I suspect the reason for this is that the number of spares is a better indicator of how well I am bowling. I haven't bowled more than 5 strikes in a game, and even on my best days, strikes occur somewhat randomly (apparently with 17.6% probability on average). A strike is satisfied by a single criterion - placing the ball in a relatively small area in the position-momentum space that characterizes the impact. A spare requires two events - an initial hit, then a successful subsequent hit. The probability is maximized if both hits are good, though non-zero even for really bad first shots. Consequently, the variation in the number of spares I hit is more strongly correlated with competent bowling than the variation in the number of strikes.

This exercise is somewhat pointless, since calculating bowling scores is not a difficult process from the raw data. I'm sure that if I focused on training a particular technique, the regression model would also change; this model is only valid for the data I have collected over the past year, and would probably be better modeled by a piecewise regression as my technique has changed.


On the SLOC Relay champs:
The high density of parallel features typical of flood plain terrain coupled with mass start and relatively high visibility suggest that mispunching will be a fairly common mistake. To completely disqualify a team for such an error seems a bit draconian. Therefore, a team may negate a mispunch by running a penalty loop subject to the following restrictions:

It seems easier to just have people check their codes. While it might be charitable to include a penalty loop, it vastly complicates the process. When you finish a leg, you need to download quickly to check for MPs, then quickly run a penalty loop while the race admins bust out a ruler to see if the mp'd control is within 250m of the correct control (not crossing bank lines).
11 PM

Running 40:00 [1] 7.7 km (5:12 / km)
weight:84.4kg shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

My office building was evacuated late Thursday evening due to reports of a gas leak, so I went home and went on a run. In my haste to evacuate, I forgot my 305 in its cradle, charging in my office, so the distance and time are less precisely measured than usual. Legs felt good.

I ran at a deliberately easy pace to the river and ran an Eliot-Western Ave loop, crossing the Harvard and Weeks bridges twice. I estimated the time by glancing at the clock on my phone in my apt before and after the run. I felt acceptable, apart from a bout of weakness and jitters halfway through the run. I continued part 5 of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and I'm entering the military strategy section, with which I'm vastly more familiar than the political maneuverings of the 1920s and 1930s. Sucks to be General Gamelan and the poorly coordinated military commands of the Dutch and Belgians in the aftermath of the conquest of Norway and Denmark. The allied commanders were two decades behind the Germans in their grasp of military tactics, and adhering to notions of guaranteed neutrality from a megalomaniacal warlord with 136 infantry and armored divisions standing on your border is not good strategy. For not the first time in European history, the English channel saved Western civilization from cultural and social cataclysm. It's much easier in hindsight to identify errors, but I'm still incredulous at how badly the democracies of Western Europe played both the peace and the first year of war with the Germans. Despite his debacle of the British naval intervention in Norway, Churchill was the first leader to effectively stand against Hitler and adequately understand how critical the situation was, as early as the Anschluss of Austria. I suspect the modern stereotype of the French as lackluster in war stems from their defeat in essentially five days by the Panzer divisions under Guderian and Rommel in the Ardennes, though it was probably exacerbated by de Gaulle's obstinacy.

My second favorite warship, mostly for all that she represented in the twilight of the British Empire (as opposed to her tremendously flawed armor design) is unquestionably the HMS Hood. There is some symbolism to be found in her catastrophic demise at the hands of the Bismarck; the massive and senseless loss of life in her sinking is a testament to the insanity of war, particularly the war that only Imperialistic Europe seems to know how to wage. What a beautiful ship.

Wednesday Sep 28, 2011 #


Particularly if you live in New England, please consider donating platelets. Apparently Irene depleted the blood supply, and platelets are particularly useful without depleting athletes of red blood cells.

Read more at the Red Cross.
11 PM

Running 43:21 [2] 8.75 km (4:57 / km) +5m 4:57 / km
shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

Evening run. My legs felt well rested after such a long period without road running. While much of my time vetting was not spent running, I did run hard on trails, apparently without debilitating effect.

Since I was feeling good, I pushed a little harder today. Breaking under 5:00/km pace is much harder than it used to be eighteen months ago (at least without a suitable nemesis to drive me to excel). One I have built up enough base, I will start doing intervals to get my top speed up.

I felt a twinge in the front of my left leg near the end of my run, but it didn't seem to be anything serious. In the aftermath of the run, my legs are pain free - just slightly sore from running. I find it absurd that 40 minutes of running can wear out my legs, but c'est la vie. I'm almost done with part 5 of 7 of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I followed the run with the usual stretching.

Tuesday Sep 27, 2011 #


All this course setting and course vetting has me on track for the most training I have done in a month since my fracture in August 2010. It would be nice (of course) if the activity were actual O-training rather than just woods time, but I will take what I can get. I find myself tempted to take up Ski-O simply because all the mosquitoes are dead, but I ski like a duck.

Some performance goals:
- Sub 19:00 5k by Dec 31
- Sub 1:25 New Bedford half (6:30-ish/mile)
- 200+ bowling score by March 31, 2012

The top men in the World Cup long race in Liberec ran at sub 4:00/km pace (absolute speed, not leg distance/split) for the first leg of the race. So fast!

The Final Countdown, performed by the German brass, with gratuitous amounts of style. Note the impressive chops on the trumpet at 2:30.
7 AM

Orienteering 1:27:19 [1] 6.71 km (13:01 / km) +114m 12:00 / km
shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Vetting controls at the Fells. I don't own a car, though I had one this weekend for the Night-O and a visit to IKEA. Route 2 is usually my standard for miserable commute traffic, since I witness it occasionally. However, Route 2 is dwarfed by the cesspool of gridlock and inefficiency that is Interstate 93. The commute into Boston was bad even at 8:45, when I drove home. I am quite certain that biking would have been faster.

Orienteering in the early morning is exhilarating. I will report statistics on control counts after the meet, but it was not a small number. I am considering making a "course setting/planning" category, because I have spent considerable time in the woods over the past year doing just that. While it's beneficial, it's not nearly as constructive as focused training, and my current logging inflates my O-time. Today, for example, I would often spend a minute or two in the control circle checking out features around me. I only ran at speed to "commute" between controls.

I weighed in at 185.6 after the session and some rehydration, though I imagine my current average weight is around 188-190.

One nice aspect of the Fells is that there is no poison ivy. The green briar found it and killed it all.

Control count = 129

Monday Sep 26, 2011 #

(rest day)

Currently thinking about:

I woke up very late today after my adventures yesterday, so I aborted my plan to vet the Fells in favor of errands to Kinko's, the New Balance Factory Store, and IKEA. I purchased three pairs of one particular running shoe, which I will use for general daily life - walking about, work, and so on. I might allocate one of the pairs to running, but I want to keep my training shoes and regular life shoes separate. The more specialized, expensive shoes will be used for running (e.g. the Mizuno Waverider 14s I have been hoarding).

After IKEA, Jess and I went to Texas Roadhouse.

Sunday Sep 25, 2011 #

Bowling 4 [1]

After a tiring weekend, I went out for some bowling catharsis (also motivated by my access to an automobile). I had two rough games, but made some adjustments to my stance that really help in the last two games. In particular, I moved the ball from the initial position in my right hand further about 10-15 cm to my right away from the centerline, so it starts at about elbow height in front of my shoulder. During the second and third step of my approach, when I wind up my shot, the normal plane of the ball is perpendicular to the lane, so I don't have to apply so much torque at the release. I haven't quite worked out the kinks on the shot, but it's much more comfortable and consistent. The frames in the second game when I couldn't convert after 9-pin and 8-pin shots were heartbreaking.

Game 1: -3 31 X 63 7/ X 4/ 8- 35 6/X = 129
Game 2: 9- 8- 1/ 16 72 -8 71 42 X 9- = 94
Game 3: 7/ 17 X 6/ X 63 9/ 9- 72 9- = 133
Game 4: X 18 X 6/ 6/ 5/ 9- 8- X 9/X = 155

Strike percentage: 10/42 = 23.8% :D
Spare percentage: 11/32 = 34.4%
9-pin spares: 2/7 = 28.6% :(
First ball pins: 6.7
3 PM

Orienteering 2:00:24 intensity: (1:00:12 @1) + (1:00:12 @3) 9.14 km (13:10 / km) +165m 12:05 / km
shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Vetting controls for the CSU A-meet at Lynn Woods. After eating dinner, rehydrating, and showering, I weighed in at 185 lbs. Soon, I will be svelte, fast, and able to fit into Ali's pants.

For the Night-O yesterday, I drove to Kinko's to print the maps. I only had one quarter (= 15 minutes) for the parking meter, so I tried to print the documents quickly. It ended up taking 23 minutes, and remarkably, during that 8-minute window, I got a parking ticket. I'm rather impressed by the efficiency of the Cambridge Department of Parking. I need to carry more quarters.

Saturday Sep 24, 2011 #

5 PM

Orienteering 1:30:00 [2] 8.89 km (10:07 / km) +200m 9:06 / km
shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Please let me know if you would be willing to send an e-mail to the Nobscot administrators to thank them for letting us have a Night-O there.

This session of setting controls for the NEOC Night-O. I started setting later than I planned, after departing my home at about 2 PM. I arrived at Nobscot at 5, 2 hours before the start, chatted with the ranger, and set out. I set 12 advanced controls by 6:40, and then spent way too long helping with registration set up before bolting out to get the last 4 controls. I set advanced control #1 in dark twilight, and I seriously struggled to see anything (time 1:13-1:20 in my track).

I was surprised at the magnitude and enthusiasm of the response, particularly among beginners. According to NEOC, 30 people went out on the beginner course, many in groups. Thanks to those who copied their courses onto blank maps and to Ed who rushed to save the day with the printer and make additional copies of the beginner map. Since everyone seemed to enjoy Night-O, I plan to schedule two or three next year at the parks that might be persuaded to allow us to hold them. We owe much to the BSA people at Nobscot who graciously allowed us to hold a night event. Ali crushed the competition, and I doubt I could have beaten her time even with my foreknowledge of the course. More training to do!

It turns out that Flashlight is really bright - bright enough to compete with some of the serious Night-O headlamps. I doubt it can keep up with the $400+ Petzls and similar lights, but I'm proud of Flashlight nonetheless. I loaned it to Jenny, an OUOC member Brendan ran into only a few hours before the event and invited to Night-O. Jenny and Alee ran together, and did very well. This is Alee's third orienteering race, and she is advancing very nicely.

Much credit must be given to Pete Lane and Jim Paschetto, who manned registration and handled the throng today. I enjoy setting courses, and I put much thought into their design. However, I really struggle when I'm trying to run a meet all by myself, or even with a few helpers. While I plan to put on more events of ever increasing quality and polish, my focus will be shifting ever more toward training, because competition is far more important to me than organization.

Control count: 129/2000

Friday Sep 23, 2011 #

4 PM

Biking 1:13:30 intensity: (3:46 @1) + (11:00 @2) + (32:33 @3) + (26:11 @4) 29.2 km (23.8 kph) +6m
ahr:148 max:174 shoes: Trek 7.1 FX

I planned to go kayaking to give my legs a break, with an objective of maintaining a constant, low intensity effort (140-150 bpm). The weather was drizzly and overcast, however, and Charles River Canoe and Kayak was closed. Instead, I hopped on my bike for a cruise with the objective of maintaining a quick, light, high cadence. I spent most of my time in gear 2x6 rather than the more comfortable 3x6. At two points in my ride, I came across cyclists who were slightly faster than I, and a chase ensued. I listened to the Braveheart soundtrack for part of the time. Given the number of times I had to stop and the state of increasing disrepair of my bike, I am not displeased by my speed and performance today. Also, as I write this, I'm slightly jittery and weary - I pushed long enough to tax my energy reserves. I assert that this has similar fitness benefits to long-ish runs with less stress on my neophyte legs.

Thursday Sep 22, 2011 #

7 PM

Orienteering 53:58 [4] *** 10.35 km (5:13 / km) +122m 4:55 / km
ahr:168 max:190 23c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Today's activity was an excellent sprint on the Tufts map sandwiched between two street-O legs set by Brendan. I should have reset my watch between legs, but I didn't want to stop.

The first leg of the street-O was basically a warmup, and I cruised it at 5:00/km. While I was running aggressively on the sprint, my average speed slowed to 5:28/km - measured by actual distance, not race distance. I started alone, spotted Stephen charging to 7 while I was running to 3, and caught up to him after he made a mistake at 13. The leg to 15 was a long straightaway, and he blazed past me. I had him in my sights until I passed him at 20, when he slowed to a walk for some reason for a few moments. He started up again and beat me to the point, but was delayed when he ran into Lori after charging down the hill to 22. I got ahead and stayed in the lead until after the finish, when we passed Ali stretching. The spike in my speed at 39:25 - when I accelerated briefly to 3:06/km, was my desperate but futile effort to stay ahead of him. My sprint time was 25:22.4 or something (and I was apparently nemesis'd).

I gingerly cruised around on the second street-O until I heard Ali closing from behind. She has a much quieter step than Stephen, Ross, or the usual suspects, so I didn't realize how close she was. I immediately kicked back into high gear - not because I'm so blindly competitive that I can't tolerate the thought of Ali beating me, but because competition with peers is exhilarating. I stayed ahead of her, and we ran into Stephen at 47:45 in my track. He grabbed on to us, then the three of us kicked it up another gear. I am quite sure Stephen was being playful - that he could have bolted away without much effort, but I was fighting as hard as I could to stay up. Those two minutes that we charged up Summer St were sublime; nothing mattered, nothing was real to me but the three of us and our mutual goal. As turbulent and tiring as it was, there was a stillness, a moment free of thought or feeling. Had I resources to spare in that moment, I would have thought of the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire. It was beautiful. This is the purpose for nemeses, for peers of the shoe, for the challenges we set ourselves: to motivate us to excel. (Naturally, it would have been great to excel at faster than 4:00/km, but speed will come.)

Running with Ali and Stephen in that moment was a delight, the magnitude of which was matched only by my catastrophic demise moments later, as we turned onto a steep incline on Porter St. I had nothing left; my pitiful fitness had been stretched to its limit, and with my waning strength, I could only flail in vain at the edifice of concrete before me. Just as my heart rate inched past 190, I failed. Stephen and Ali cruised ahead, and the moment was gone. I scrambled up the hill, then ran back down to the finish.

Brendan had prepared a scrumptious dinner, and Alex joined Lori, Stephen, Presto, Ali, Dean, and I for food, company, and good cheer.
Control count: 113/2000

Wednesday Sep 21, 2011 #

7 PM

Running (Treadmill) 49:30 intensity: (24 @0) + (1:43 @1) + (3:21 @2) + (8:55 @3) + (34:56 @4) + (11 @5) 8.66 km (5:43 / km)
ahr:160 max:173 shoes: 201003 Nike Lunarlite

At the gym at my office, I hopped on the treadmill for a 45-minute, controlled pace run (threshold, I guess). I ran for 5 minutes at 5 mph, 6 mph, 7 mph, and 7.5 mph, 20 minutes at 8 mph, and finished with 5 minutes at 7 mph, all at 1% incline. The spike in my heart rate is due to an experiment trying to tuck my headphone cord into the strap, not some physiological problem. I also started the garmin about thirty seconds late and forgot to stop it for a few minutes after the workout. It looks like the contact of my HR strap was poor, especially after I took off my shirt at 15:00. The strap slipped somewhat during the workout, so I am unsurprised.

My legs felt good this morning after a day of rest, and they didn't feel particularly bad after the exercise. I did note a small pinching sensation in my lower left calf which seemed to subside after stretching.

Currently thinking about scalability of orienteering. I have many thoughts about the three A-meets CSU has organized in the past three years, some of which I may record publicly in my log soon.

Also, are you @&#$ing kidding me?

Strength training 19:40 intensity: (3:40 @1) + (10:23 @2) + (5:37 @3)
ahr:128 max:149 shoes: 201003 Nike Lunarlite

I only had time (barely) for one circuit of:
3x10 squats, +60 lbs barbells
3x10 calf raises, +60
25 tuckups
3x10 one legged leg press, 40 lbs (IMA of < 1/2)
3x10 seated leg curl, 80 lbs
3x10 seated leg extension, 80 lbs
1:00 plank
3x10 dead lift, 60 lbs

Tuesday Sep 20, 2011 #

weight:86kg (rest day)

Registered for the SLOC Night and Relay Champs. I worked on the 2011 Traverse course today. I am considering running the 2010 course this Monday to get perspective. While I have spent much time in the Blue Hills over the past few years, running a Traverse before designing the next one should give insight.

In looking at the routegadget data from last year, there was insufficient route choice. My course design leans toward short to intermediate length technical legs rather than long legs. I find it challenging to set long legs in the Blue Hills that I don't think are stupid, but having more long legs is one of my goals for this year.

On the WHNO: I came across this amusing criticism of my disastrous run out of the start at Pawtuckaway.

I like that the first video hit for "Kikkan Randall" is her victory at the Sprint Final in Liberec. Pro. She's a tank in the finish chute. Also, consider the difference between competition in the US and world, as reflected in Kikkan's results.

I also stumbled across Alex's blog (how is AP not good enough???), and found a picture of canoeing team Gimpy Giggles. Also, behold the hotness.

Monday Sep 19, 2011 #

12 PM

Team Sports (Soccer) 1:00:00 [3] 3.0 km (20:00 / km)
shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212

Soccer with CRA. We only had 7, so we rotated teams at halftime. We played on a short field (maybe 50m) with small goals and no goalie, so while the distance was not substantial, there was lots of short bursts of speed and sudden changes of direction. Sarah Noel and Ross Eaton in particular are very good. Someone planted a cleat on top of my right foot during the game, and it turns out Inov-8 skimped on the protection for the top of the foot against spikes when they designed the X-talons. I might get a bruise, but it's nothing serious. Fun times.

Running (Warmup) 7:30 [1] 1.5 km (5:00 / km)
shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212

Running to the soccer field.
11 PM

Running 36:19 [1] 6.18 km (5:53 / km) +19m 5:47 / km
shoes: 201003 Nike Lunarlite

Easy late night run to clear my head. I felt a twinge in my right leg, so I will take it easy for the next few days.

Sunday Sep 18, 2011 #

(rest day)

I had planned to go out to Lynn to vet, but I ended up waking up late, and I had some work to do in my office. I would like to get more running in, but I want to resist the temptation to ramp up my training rapidly as I find some physical success. While I have only run 38 km this month, 100 km is a very reasonable goal for the month. I need to sustain this level of effort without breaking, and my target is still 7 months away.

Saturday Sep 17, 2011 #

12 PM

Orienteering 1:04:07 [4] 9.41 km (6:49 / km) +125m 6:23 / km
20c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

The Red course at Great Brook Farm, set by Tim Parson. Since SGB, Brendan, and I had volunteered to pick up controls, we arrived at about 11:30. Ali, Magnus, and PG had already finished their races, so I knew what time I had to beat. I set out with a race mentality - trying to pace myself early on, and push hard in the latter half of the course. I won the race, and this is my first local meet victory (helped by Ross's departure). The first nine controls had some challenging legs, 10-13 had lots of trail running, and the last seven were again technical. It was a good mix of legs and a challenging course given the terrain. GBF has a dense trail network and some sapling-rich woods that make it challenging for course setting.

Tim had provided an inset with the area bounded by controls 5, 15, and 6 at 1:4000 to supplement the 1:7.5. That area was tricky, and I made a 45-sec mistake at 4 stopping too short at the wrong boulder. I found I had the most success when I focused on the contours and not the rock features and trails.

I ran aggressively, but I am still slower than I would like to be. Consider that 10-11 was a trail leg except for the last fifty meters, and I ran a 5:40 pace. I suspect Ross or Jordan would have run 4:00/km. Nevertheless, apart from the error at 4 and small hesitations, I had a clean race. AP doesn't think I made any mistakes relative to the field (maybe everyone struggled at 4). However, I only won two splits; I lost eight minutes to superman, and was 16% back on average. I'm thrilled to have won (beating Ali and my British alterego, IanF is especially sweet), but it was something of a fluke. The race was a tossup among the top 5 or 6 runners, and I had the cleanest race. Even still, my orienteering wasn't that great. Brendan is injured, and Ali lost a contact. I hope to claim victory when they have good races, too.

Alee Perkins, the daughter of Tim Parson's college roommate, joined us for her first orienteering experience. She graduated from Harvard in 2010 and works at a solar panel company. She ran white and yellow well, joined us for dinner, and seems interested in joining our merry band. I also met Sarah Bjorkman, Magnus' other half; she seemed like good fun and should join us for CSU activities.

Thanks to Tim Parson and all the NEOC volunteers for making this a great event.

4 PM

Orienteering 20:00 [1] 3.0 km (6:40 / km) +15m 6:30 / km
3c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Ali, Brendan and I picked up the controls in the sectors that Bill Pullman and Stephen hadn't visited. I accidentally pressed "stop" instead of "lap" when I got to the second control, hence the truncated track.

Orienteering (Control pickup) 13:49 [3] 2.68 km (5:09 / km) +33m 4:51 / km
2c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

After we returned, it was discovered that there were two controls still out in the woods from white and yellow, so I ran hard to get them. Ali had to get on a plane at 11 PM, so haste was critical. Our posse returned to Cambridge, showered at our respective apartments, and gathered for Indian food at Chez Granger-Bevan.

Control count: 89

Friday Sep 16, 2011 #

11 PM

Running 33:18 [1] 5.6 km (5:57 / km) +7m 5:54 / km
shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

I had already taken a rest day this week (Tuesday), so I decided to go out for an easy run. I seem to have tweaked a muscle on the outside of my right knee/thigh - possibly from not stretching Thursday night, so I was careful. However, once I started running, my leg seemed to loosen up. It didn't bother me at all. There were some aberrations in the tracking of my position; the speed and location data for the GPS track don't make sense. I kept my pace slower than 5:00/km for the duration.

Thursday Sep 15, 2011 #


I don't Night-O often - almost exclusively Pawtuckaway and the occasional CSU training, but I may compete more often. My headlamp is a cheap Energizer headlamp that I bought at Sears for about $15 five years ago. It's convenient - takes 3 AAA batteries, has long runtime, is small, and I don't especially care if it gets destroyed or damaged. However, it's a bit weak for Night-O. Energizer advertises it as 56 lumens; amazon lists it as 36 lumens.

I feel a bit ridiculous paying $400 when I only Night-O competitive two or three times per year (e.g. for a Petzl Ultra), but I am interested in an upgrade - preferably something that would be capable for a night leg at a major European relay.

I followed the discussion on Sam's thread, but her needs are somewhat more demanding than mine. At present, I'm considering two headlamps by a company that makes some hand flashlights that looked attractive:
Fenix HP11 - ostensibly 277 lumen, 4xAA
Fenix HP20 - ostensibly 230 lumen, battery pack; $100 on amazon

The Fenix HP10 225 lumen (claimed) 3xAA received high reviews on amazon. I will probably buy the Fenix PD31 and TK35 handlamps because I really like flashlights, and these seem to be brighter than comparably priced Surefires.

The Childs Bros (Mario and Luigi?) and feet all seemed to have good lights, so I will probably investigate those, too.
6 PM

Biking 20:00 [2] 8.15 km (24.4 kph) +99m
shoes: Trek 7.1 FX

Cycling to Hammond Pond. I forgot to start my GPS until a few minutes after my departure from work, but I was only interested in obtaining the track to sate my curiosity, rather than accurate logging. I stopped a few times to check my phone, as I don't know the route that well. Cycling up Comm Ave is very difficult. I arrived about five minutes early.

Orienteering (Night-O) 1:08:42 [3] 6.05 km (11:21 / km) +124m 10:18 / km
19c shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212

This session is a lesson in how not to Night-O at Hammond Pond, and is brought to you by the letter e and the color 'fail.'

A set of challenges:
Challenge 1: It was cold enough for breath to condense, obscuring lights.
Challenge 2: My headlamp isn't that bright.
Challenge 3: It was drizzling.
Challenge 4: The vegetation is thick in places in Hammond Pond.

These were compounded by two errors:
Error 1: I ran in running shorts, exposing my legs to abuse as I pounded through vegetation (especially the prickly kind).
Error 2: I ran in glasses instead of contacts. This was the root of my problems, because my headlamp's flood illuminated my glasses, bouncing light into my eyes. My breath condensed and fogged my glasses, and the rain further complicated visibility. The net result was that I could barely see what I was doing.

I had so much trouble even seeing trails that I started to take longer, really safe routes - e.g. to 7 and 12. I persevered and struggled through the course, but entirely due to my own lack of preparation, I was barely orienteering. The course was interesting and a good opportunity to get out; I just botched it horribly. Thanks to Alex for taking the time to set a legitimate course (with controls)! Keith, Brendan, and I went out to Texas Roadhouse afterward and talked about stuff.

Control count: 64

Wednesday Sep 14, 2011 #

7 PM

Running 41:22 intensity: (12 @1) + (24 @2) + (6:05 @3) + (34:41 @4) 7.89 km (5:15 / km) +5m 5:14 / km
ahr:158 max:168 slept:13.0 shoes: 201003 Nike Lunarlite

Evening easy run about the Charles before hanging out with the Jester. My legs felt a bit wobbly at times, but generally good. I still need to stick to this type of intensity and distance until it becomes easy and comfortable. Adjust, body, adjust.

Tuesday Sep 13, 2011 #

slept:0.0 (rest day)

A rough day getting important things done. I decided to eschew training in favor of sleeping and recovery. My body probably needs a little extra down time anyway after the punishment I gave it at P-way.

3k time trial is scheduled for today, but I have nothing to gain by running it. It would be extraordinary if I could break 12 minutes. Once my base fitness is built up and I have started interval training, I will worry about time trials. I am chagrined; races are fun. My PR of 11:13 is shoddy and demands improvement.

Goals are nothing; action is everything.

An aside: my peeps look so happy!

Monday Sep 12, 2011 #

8 PM

Running 31:47 intensity: (24 @1) + (34 @2) + (30:49 @3) 5.89 km (5:24 / km) +5m 5:22 / km
ahr:156 max:167 weight:85.7kg shoes: 201003 Nike Lunarlite

I decided to go out on an evening run after spending a vacation day catching up on some work and miscellaneous tasks. My legs felt good at the start of the run, though I tired near the end. I continued The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; I'm on Part 4/7.

Virtually any competition I enter will require fitness far greater than what 30 minute runs can offer. I doubt I could run a 5k much faster than 21 or 22 minutes right now. I might start running longer long runs - gradually inch my way up to 1 hour runs, but for the present, my standard run will be about 30 minutes until they are easy at about 5:30/km pace. Today's effort was taxing, and I had to push harder than I initially intended.

Three points of note:
  1. I was bitten by more mosquitos and deer flies in Cambridge today (2) than at Pawtuckaway this weekend (0).
  2. The only injury I appear to have sustained from Pawtuckaway is pain in my left shoulder. Raising my arm to my side while my elbow is bent causes pain in the back of the shoulder; it's not severe, but I find it amusing that I suffered an arm injury. I can't recall a specific trauma; the source might be as simple as sleeping awkwardly.
  3. Before Pawtuckaway, I weighed in at about 193 lbs; when I returned on Sunday afternoon, I was 186 lbs. I must have been substantially dehydrated on Sunday, which might explain my fatigue.

Strength training (Core) 8:00 intensity: (33 @1) + (6:19 @2) + (59 @3) + (9 @4)
ahr:125 max:152

After I stretched, I did two circuits of:
- 25 tuck ups
- 45s plank
- 25 oblique crunches (each side)
- 45s superman

I took breaks during the plank because I am a pansy. I found the labor very tiring, but I haven't done much core strength (or strength training of any kind) lately. I plan to integrate more as I gradually ramp up my training.

Sunday Sep 11, 2011 #

10 AM

Orienteering (Map hike) 1:32:47 [0] 6.25 km (14:51 / km) +105m 13:42 / km
8c shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212

While I held up well yesterday, I found that I had no stamina today. I warmed up for about fifteen minutes and felt ok (though sluggish compared to my peak performance in Spring 2010), but I ran out of gas almost immediately out of the start, and decided to hike some of the controls before bailing for the DNF.

The course was more typical for a blue - 9.2 km compared to yesterday's 7.5; before I started, I thought to myself that I was being foolish, and a shorter course would be better for me. However, I had already copied the map, so I went with blue anyway. I ran on the trail en route to pt 2 until it became indistinct, then did my best to decipher the contours. I was paying attention to fine details on the way to 3, and spent some time reflecting on the need to notice small scale features even while simplifying. This is particularly relevant at night, when the largest scale features (like big hills) are often not apparent. After crossing the stream and hitting the pond, I somehow got confused by the knolls around 3 - not enough visualization of the area around the control, I suppose.

On the way to 4, even though I was walking, I was actually completely lost. My plan was to run lower - hit the peanut hill and pond right of the line, run down the broad reentrant on the line, over the saddle, and into the control, but I couldn't figure out where I actually was (apart from to the right of the broad hill). When I realized I was contouring while going east, I broke away and relocated off the small hill and marshes.

While chugging along to 5, just north of the capital "B" in Big Island on the map, a distressed woman hailed me and explained that she was lost. She was running orange, which passed through the Big Island area, and apparently had been wandering around for about 45 minutes. At my request, she showed me her atypical compass technique, and I took a moment to refresh my captive audience about orienting the map. She was very grateful when we hit the trail by pt 5, and we parted; I also saw Izzy "The Yellow Dart" Bryant at 5.

After the woman and I parted company, I continued my map hike to 8 and bailed. Examining the features at a slow speed was helpful, though there is no substitute for practicing race conditions. I messed up my route on the way to 7, in particular at the pair of marshes midway from 6-7 near the big boulder. I'm disappointed that I lacked the stamina to run today, but my body hasn't been exposed to the stress of high activity density. Running that much is out of the question, so I mean to do some long bike rides and kayaking to try to build up my stamina and recovery speed.

I talked with Magnus after his race, his first at Pawtuckaway. His reaction to Pawtuckaway was something to the effect of "I had no idea the Northeastern US actually had maps that correspond to the terrain!!" P-way has forever ruined Estabrook Woods for him. He had a very good run through some tricky terrain. I also met Carol Ross for the first time, who seems to fit the mold of small, happy, fast Canadiannes I have met, eh?

45/2000 (I do not count Canoe-O)

Saturday Sep 10, 2011 #

12 PM

Orienteering race 1:25:24 [3] 8.72 km (9:47 / km) +187m 8:51 / km
15c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212


Day 1 Blue of the 2011 UNO Camping weekend. I felt spry and excited to finally be orienteering. I traveled up to the event with Brendan and Alex, and we ran into Giggly one II and lots of other great O-peeps. The course length was 7.5 km, and I felt it within my capabilities.

I started with a fast first leg on the road (where I ran into Alex), and then a spectacular five minute error en route to 2. I was overconfident, and not reading my map clearly. After absorbing Pawtuckaway's punishment for my hubris, I actually started orienteering. I had a few bobbles after that, but the flaws tended to be with my plans rather than with my execution. I intended to attack 3 high because I thought the boulders above it would make a visible attackpoint, but the vegetation was very thick, and while I knew where I was, getting to the control was costly.

At 4, my route was fine, but I somehow confused the hills within 100 m of the control and lost a minute deciphering the problem. Pt 5 was clean, but trivial. Pts 6-8 were all straightforward. My plan to 9 was fine - run down the spur, hit the hills, go around the vegetation and hit the control from the river bend to the north, but I drifted pretty widely getting around the veg, and I didn't know exactly where I was when I hit the river.

I didn't have a good plan to pt 10; I meant to basically follow the line, but immediately drifted right and hit the marsh. After that, I decided to stay high and try to pick up the saddle. The hillside was indistinct with poor visibility, so I hit the control ok, albeit slowly. Maybe going higher and attacking over the spur would have made more sense. Pt 11 was fine, but I was wary descending the large featureless reentrant. I did read the spurs correctly and spike the control, but I was tentative. I then accidentally started navigating to pt 9, and realized my error about 100m south of 9. I probably would have run faster right of the line and picked up the long reentrant to the river; I was otherwise clean into 12. I meant to go north of the marsh to 13, but I exited 12 at the wrong angle, and hit the marsh much too far to the south. I hit a marsh prematurely at 14, too; it would have been faster to go a bit wide to the north to pick up better running terrain. I didn't have any problems to 15 or the end.

Apart from my noob self-destruction at 2, I had a reasonably clean race. Speed will come. The course did have many easy legs, and the broad contour details on the western part of the map are easier to navigate on then the confusing mess in the middle. My terrain running is slow right now, and that's easy enough to remedy - spend lots of time in the Fells running courses. I need to practice making plans under race conditions. Unfortunately, newly promoted (happy, fun, adorable) nemesis #1 "The Aligator" destroyed me on today's course, and PG beat me (including victories on many of the legs). I will have to redeem myself at the Boulderdash, where I will face Irish nemesis ndobbs.
3 PM

Canoeing race 57:32 [3] 5.77 km (9:58 / km) +61m 9:28 / km
13c shoes: 201104 NB 759

Alex and I went out on the Canoe-O after our runs earlier in the day. The race was a 60 minute score-O, with a penalty rate of 1 control per minute. Our main motivation was to beat Team Ali + Brendan, but we both wanted to get all the controls and win outright. I find it easy to underestimate how long it will take to pick up a control in Canoe-O, so I probably should have realized that picking up all 16 controls was out of our reach. Alex and I debated picking up 13 and 14 (the obvious skips), but when we reached control 16 at minute 20, we decided to go for it. We lost a few minutes looking for 14 (which was missing), but even under the best of conditions, I don't think we could have picked up all 16 without some canoe practice together. At point 8 at minute 40, we agreed that trying to pick up 9-11 risked tardiness, and we bailed. It turned out that while Ali and Brendan picked up 15 controls, they were three minutes overtime, so we narrowly won.

We went out in a clunker boat with long paddles; we would have been somewhat faster with short racing paddles and racing technique. I am more accustomed to racing (e.g. with Keith) with the faster technique, so trying to blend long paddles and racing style was awkward for me. I struggled with steering early on, as my stroke had a bit more power and leverage than Alex's in the bow. In the second half of the race, we got things together with reduced power and negligible loss of speed. You can tell periods when I struggled with steering from the speed fluctuations in the QR. I am somewhat curious how our performance would have differed if Alex had rowed stern and I bow.

8 PM

Orienteering (Night-O) 1:59:02 [2] 6.91 km (17:14 / km) +103m 16:02 / km
14c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

I was much more confident on this, my second WHNO. In 2009, I ran two or three controls alone, but running alone in Pawtuckaway in the dark terrified me. I ran into Brendan, Boris, and Kat at a control, and followed them for much of the course. It should be noted that my Garmin didn't start recording until around pt 3.

This year, while the course was much easier, I was alone for much of the time, and found it generally within my abilities. Brendan led the charge out of the start, and I followed. I glanced at my map, but I didn't have a great plan - I meant to run left of the marsh and run on the line I eventually took, but I completely overlooked the trail. When Brendan intrepidly charged into the swamp, I stayed with him, though apparently everyone was deterred by our plunk-plunking through the water. Will remarked to Alex and Ali during the first leg about our idiotic route choice.

By the time I reached the first control, the leaders had passed far ahead. I started picking off the people in front of me and caught up with Phil Bricker and PG at control 2. I was still adjusting to navigating at night for control 3, and stayed with them. Control 4 was through the "here be dragons" zone, and I didn't have a better plan than to go straight. If I had been alone, I might have tried to bounce off the water features right of the control or the stone wall left of it, but I just followed PG and Phil, and Phil led me right to it after PG got too far ahead of us.

Phil and I parted company at 4, and I ran solo until 7, where I caught up to Ernst and Alar Ruutopold. I was somewhat lucky at 5, but I reasoned that the stone walls would catch me if I missed; I ran using the contours and trying to avoid climbing too much after passing over the hill. Pt 8 was a bit tricky, and I slowed to make sure I hit the boulder cluster. I ran with Ernst and Alar to 9 and punched just ahead of them. I tried to break away on the trivial linear navigation to 10, but the marsh density was much higher before the trail than the map indicates, and I was confused. I led after the trail, but I overshot the boulder and Ernst found it first. We diverged slightly en route to 11, but we converged in the huge reentrant and I punched a few seconds ahead of the two of them. We deviated on the way to 12, and I didn't see them again.

I'm not happy with my route to 12, and I wasn't happy when I made the plan, but I stuck with it. The idea was simple - run along the trail, follow the cliff/marsh line to the eastern tip of Incredible Pond, then stay south of the water features into the control. I ran into the sea of huge boulders on the tip of the Incredible, and drifted south to get around them. I ran into Alex going to 13 at the choke point south of Incredible, but then confused the hilltops and drifted NW. At the boulders N of 12, I beheld a spectacular sight: Will, navigating solo, with a headlamp no brighter than a few candles - perhaps 3-5 lumens. It was remarkable; he ignored me entirely and charged off toward 12. After I relocated on the boulders, I followed him, and punched 15-20 seconds behind him.

I had a confusing adventure leaving 12; I wasn't quite sure where I was until I almost fell off the cliff at the choke point south of Incredible (probably a 5-10 meter fall). I didn't have difficult en route to 13, and I ran with cautious confidence knowing that the stone walls would catch me. I hit the wall junction and went into the control. On the leg to 14, I was feeling very comfortable with Pawtuckaway and navigating respectably. I aimed for the northern tip of the long marsh, missed by perhaps 25-50 meters, and attacked between the two ponds. I passed three or four others who were exploring the edge of the long marsh.

Running from 14, I hit the northern edge of the marsh just south of the control and saw Will. I pushed hard to try to get away from him, and I'm pretty sure I reached the road first. Unfortunately, I stupidly chose to go straight rather than running around on the parking lot, and (de facto blind) Will beat me by about 30 seconds. I was slow - about 30 minutes behind the Childs and Ali, but my race was a big improvement over my past experience in Pawtuckaway at night. I'm also very happy that I was able to push through 4.5 hours of activity in a single day, even though fatigue undoubtedly contributed to my sluggishness during this race. Finishing the Night-O uninjured, even given its numerous easy controls, is itself a victory. My GPS track corresponds to my drawn track pretty well. A hallmark of Pawtuckaway's high map quality is that very few QR points are needed to make the track conform to the map.


Thursday Sep 8, 2011 #


Unplanned rest day. But then, let there be a rule that you only have to train on days that you sleep.

Wednesday Sep 7, 2011 #

11 PM

Running 33:51 [1] 6.29 km (5:23 / km) +6m 5:21 / km
shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

Easy run. While it's frustrating to run so slowly, over the past few sessions, I have felt inklings of the power and speed I used to have when I ran. I will be patient. Also, I will try to vanquish the giggly ones.

I have updated my injuries; I concluded my respiratory viral(?) infection abated in mid August, as did the stress fracture. At least on paper, I am currently uninjured. I hope to maintain this status for at least a year with judicious regimented training, plenty of rest, good nutrition, regular stretching and strength training, and copious badassness.

Tuesday Sep 6, 2011 #


It occurs to me that with Ross (and Sam, lol) out of the country, the top spot at local O-races is up for grabs. The Aligator is a perennial threat, but she both lives far away and needs to be beaten (though in a friendly, happy way). Speedy local M21s include Audun, Giovanni, Brendan, Giacomo, IanF, and a few others; a goal of winning some fraction (half?) of local races I enter would be an attainable and worthy bar to surmount. The Traverse will probably be the deepest field among races here, apart from the A-meets. Since I'm setting the Traverse and vetting the SML Champs, my only major race will be the Boulderdash. I am sad that there will be fewer Canadians, and I will not get a rematch on my crushing defeat two years ago.
11 PM

Running 28:13 [1] 4.78 km (5:54 / km) +18m 5:48 / km
shoes: 201104 NB 759

This evening, after persistent requests from the Red Cross and their vampiric overlords, I donated platelets. I slept through most of the donation, and they didn't take any whole blood.

I went on an easy run after picking up the last bit I needed to move from my old apartment to the new (food, cups). I felt pretty good, though my legs have clearly been stressed by my activity over the past two weeks. Sunday devastated my body; it was so much more than I was prepared to absorb. I may ease off some of the bonus activities at Pawtuckaway this weekend, in the interest of prudence.

Strength training (Core) 3:00 [3]

After my usual stretching (quad, hamstring, calf, adductor, ankle rolls), I did 25 tuckups, 25 oblique crunches (each side), and 25 pushups. It's barely worth logging, but I intend to get into the habit of doing short bouts of core work after running. Logging will help motivate me to that end.

Monday Sep 5, 2011 #

4 PM

Running 30:20 intensity: (27:20 @1) + (3:00 @3) 5.47 km (5:33 / km) +26m 5:25 / km
shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

Easy run about the neighborhood, with a clockwise circuit of Fresh Pond. I jogged about a kilometer on the way home to loosen up. My left calf felt tight, but some stretching and rest helped considerably. I live about equidistant and between the Danehy and Harvard tracks, which will provide much opportunity for speedwork.

I finished the run with 3x 1 min on, 1 min off. The reps felt excellent.

Sunday Sep 4, 2011 #

9 AM

Biking 1:14:10 [1] 23.32 km (18.9 kph) +75m
shoes: Trek 7.1 FX

To Horn Pond for the NEOC event. I forgot to record the return trip, so I doubled the time and distance. I had to stop twice en route to pump up my leaky rear innertube (which I have since replaced).
1 PM

Orienteering 33:43 [3] 5.32 km (6:20 / km) +37m 6:07 / km
9c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

The 3.8 km sprint course had a technical difficulty of an easy orange course. Bill Pullman had put the best time of the day with 38 minutes after losing some time at one control. After getting to the 7th control (of 9) at 15 minutes, I thought I had a solid win. Unfortunately, we had run out of maps, and I copied the course incorrectly. I spent about 7 minutes looking for the control before bailing. It was fun to get out, despite the DNF. I didn't have the physical stamina to push as hard as I would have liked; most of the course was on trails. As some might say, holy dugabugawug.

This was a prototype event - the courses offered were WY and the sprint, and the objective was to target beginners and newcomers with an accessible event with instruction. Several NEOCers were out in force in our snazzy new uniforms - including Peter Frykman (and Wheezy the dog), Jim Crawford, Joanne Sankus, Bill Pullman, and Bill Binnette. Marketing these sorts of events is really important; I mean to start each season with 2 or 3 such events.

Afterward, I met a young woman with her mom who is getting her Ph.D in physiology in Toronto and has some association with TOC. She has run a few adventure races, and knows Mike Waddington. We chatted a bit, and they both expressed interest in getting the Middlesex Fells map. With a little effort, I might be able to recruit her for some CSU activities.

Orienteering (Control Pickup) 15:00 [1] 2.75 km (5:27 / km) +2m 5:26 / km
8c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Picking up the white course. I was running as aggressively as I could until I hit the sixth control, at which there were two gallons of water.

Orienteering (Control Pickup) 30:00 [1] 6.68 km (4:30 / km) +115m 4:08 / km
14c shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Actual time out was 1:05, but I was probably running for only thirty minutes. I picked up the remaining controls and garbage from the other water control. Once my payload became too heavy to really run with, I slowed to a walk. I really punished my body today - commuting to and from the race, running the race, and spending an hour picking up controls was more than I was ready for. Also, I didn't eat breakfast, so until a Chipotle burrito at 4:30 to revitalize myself, my only sustenance was a dozen-ish meet cookies. Tired.

These controls were trivial, so I won't count them in my running total for the year (apart from the race controls).

Control count: 8/2000

Friday Sep 2, 2011 #

slept:9.0 (rest day)

Rest and recovery. I need to sleep more.

Thursday Sep 1, 2011 #

12 PM

Team Sports (Ultimate Frisbee) 1:00:00 [2]
shoes: 201104 NB 759

Frisbee at work; 7 vs 6. My team (of 7) won decisively.

Running 10:00 [1] 2.0 km (5:00 / km)
shoes: 201104 NB 759

Run over to the field and warmup.

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