Running warm up/down 8:03 1.17 km (6:51 / km) +2m6:48 / km ahr:145 max:172 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
Warmup around the field. I'm trying to be more disciplined about doing this regularly, and treating each race seriously. I taped my laces, for example. I think today was a good day to treat as a fun day, especially with the vegetation and map challenges. My preparation was adequate, and I did have a pleasant time in the woods. My face hurts from Needham vegetation smacking areas that Pawtuckaway left sensitive.
Orienteering43:18 5.92 km (7:19 / km) +61m6:57 / km ahr:164 max:174 16c slept:5.0 weight:81.6kg shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
The green course at the NEOC Needham Town Forest meet, set by Jeff Schapiro. I felt somewhat tired from Pawtuckaway. I did not orienteer very well, though I fortuitously managed to avoid substantial time loss. I completely lost contact on the way to 5, and lost two minutes. Just after I spotted the bag at 8, a stick removed my left contact. I did grab it before it fell to the ground and reinserted it before punching and charging off. I drifted right on my way to 9, was wide at 10, and made a small parallel error at 11 before correcting. I inverted the contours at 12, though I did go to the center of the circle without loss of time. I again inverted the contours at 13, and lost about 30-45 seconds in the circle trying to figure things out. On 14, I took the second best route choice, and I was largely clean until the end. I suspect my body is in need of a rest day, and as soon as I finish with the Traverse preparations, I will treat it well.
Brendan crushed me today, beating me on most of the splits, including the finish split by a second. I did find the map oversimplified and difficult to interpret at times; while some of that is from map printing and my inability to get Jeff Schapiro a current version of OCAD to make updates, I am seriously considering having the map redone. Turnout was excellent - something like 120 people showed up for a gorgeous day. Kudos to the organizational team - Jeff, Andy McIlvaine, Pete Lane, Jim Paschetto and anyone else who volunteered at registration - and thanks to the control pickup crew of Ali, Lori, Stephen, and Jeff Schapiro.
Orienteering27:16 4.1 km (6:39 / km) +46m6:18 / km ahr:161 max:172 12c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
In an effort to reinforce good habits and set up a clean run, I went out on orange. My navigation wasn't fantastic (again), but the course was sufficiently easy that I had no trouble plowing through it. I was definitely tired by the end, but I did get my money's worth from my free entry to the meet.
I kicked it up on the finish split, and beat my green time by 2 sec and Brendan's by one. Still, I am sluggish, and I need to do some serious speedwork this winter. For now, I am content to continue my gradual base buildup, as it has reaped some observable fitness benefits. Weight down to 178 after the meet, though dehydration is a likely culprit.
Quickroute. Some obvious hesitations. The twiddle in my route to 4 is an effort not to run into someone's yard.
Running warm up/down 4:26  0.62 km (7:09 / km) +1m7:06 / km ahr:103 max:147 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
Cool down. I would have run longer, but Ali finished and we talked about the courses.
Orienteering (Control pickup) 16:41 1.82 km (9:10 / km) +19m8:43 / km ahr:149 max:170 9c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
I drove to a southern access point and picked up a set of 9 controls and two water stops. Uneventful. Remarkably, I did not find any ticks on my person when I returned home.
Orienteering39:52 3.01 km (13:16 / km) +55m12:09 / km ahr:141 max:177 6c shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212
Setting streamers before the Pawtuckaway exercises.
I presented the idea of a Pawtuckaway training day last month because I wanted a cathartic day in the woods after so many organizational responsibilities. Enthusiasm was high, and we were a group of 13: Giovanni, Katia, Andrew, Giacomo, Ali, Brendan, Ben, Alee, Stephen, Lori, (Presto), Vadim, and me. Alex joined us at lunch.
Ali and Brendan graciously took charge of designing exercises, and Stephen printed maps. We started at about 10 AM by dividing and setting streamers for the day, and finished the first exercise around noon. The temperature was initially about 4 C and peaked at 10 C. The ground was damp from the snowfall last weekend, but only open fields had retained any snow.
In an unfortunate oversight, I left my O-pants hanging on my closet doorknob, but Giovanni generously loaned me a set while he ran in running tights. Apparently there were a few people with extra pants of approximately my size, but I am chagrined that I forgot such a critical piece of equipment. I tried to make up for it with hummus, tortillas, and goldfish.
While I put in both contacts, the left one was somehow jettisoned - probably from an encounter with vegetation. My worsened depth perception coupled with dense sticks on big island led to many blows and scrapes to the face and body.
Ali designed a control pick on Big Island - an area I seldom visit. While waiting at the start for the group to incrementally start, the topic of my propensity for cheering came up. Especially since Ross's cacophonous voice departed for Scandinavian shores, I have tried to escalate my own cheering. Perhaps it has been obnoxious, but Stephen elected to follow me out of the start, assaulting me with positive encouragement and whooping. I figured he would stop after a short distance, but he stuck with me for the entire course. I did my best to ignore him.
Excepting small bobbles at 1 and 9, I had a fast first 9 controls. I missed low to the right on 10 and the density of the vegetation discouraged me from my initial effort to correct. I relocated and reattacked, but lost about 3 minutes. I didn't see control 14, which was in a vague reentrant, until pausing and moving around in the circle. I hesitated at 16. At 18, I ran down the correct spur just ahead of Lori, but missed the low hung streamer by about 10 meters. A quick scouring of the spur revealed nothing, so I relocated to reattack and saw it the second time. Perhaps I was tired, but I went one hill too far at 19; I figured things out, but Brendan and Andrew had caught up. I kicked into a higher gear into 20, and punched with Brendan. I hesitated for a few seconds at 21, and took a slower route to the finish through a marsh than did Brendan.
In general, I had good flow, though the inexcusable number of errors I made interfered. I should have run the pick slower and more cleanly to really focus on reading ahead, flowing, and pinpoint navigation. It was nevertheless a pleasant run.
Orienteering (Contour-only) 45:54 4.92 km (9:20 / km) +106m8:25 / km ahr:163 max:184 15c shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212
Brendan's contour-only exercise. After a short social lunch with scrumptious soup by Giovanni and Katia, the group set out on the two afternoon exercises. I started just ahead of Ali, and I departed with a parting shot that I would see her "at the start of the second exercise" (as opposed to in the woods). The boast proved false, though I did finish just ahead of her.
I felt tired after the morning; I had eaten only a banana for breakfast, and I lacked energy. I became completely disoriented on the way to 3 when I had trouble reconciling the contours with the apparent distance I had traveled. Ali caught me at three, and after we punched four together, I put on a burst of speed to five and six to separate us. Brendan caught up at 8, and we ran essentially together until 10; we arrived in the circle simultaneously, but while I saw the streamer and moved on, he somehow overlooked it and doubled back to relocate. I ran alone and acceptably until the leg to 14, where I again had difficulty reconciling apparent distance. I thought I had traveled at least as far as the control, but the features I was expecting had failed to materialize. I was pushed slightly south of the line, but it turns out I just hadn't gone far enough. As I heard Ali approach, I saw the streamer and increased my speed to stay ahead.
The contour-only exercise is excellent in an environment as rich with subtle features as Pawtuckaway.
Orienteering44:23  4.45 km (9:58 / km) +90m9:03 / km ahr:157 max:174 shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212
The third exercise was a pairs O-tervals course designed by Brendan on Big Island. Only four people ran the exercise: Ali and Andrew ran the first three O-tervals, and Giacomo and I elected to run all eight.
I foolhardily reset my Garmin after each interval, and while I have combined them into a single entry for logging, I somehow jettisoned the splits. I might rectify this, but probably not.
I was mentally motivated, as evidenced by some apparent energy before the third interval, but my energy and water were depleted, and my performance suffered. I tried to run the O-tervals hard, but they were sluggish at times. It was still good practice, and Giacomo and I managed to avoid any substantial navigational errors after the first set. We alternated who started first, and the chaser followed 30s behind, but the lead only changed on the first o-terval when we both erred on the first control and buoyed by enthusiastic cheering, I pulled ahead.
I'm glad we finished, but I lacked the stamina for more activity than I did today. Perhaps in a few months, I will be stronger. On the plus side, despite considerable abuse, my legs feel ok.
Running7:38 1.44 km (5:19 / km) +2m5:17 / km ahr:157 max:167 shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212
Candlepin game with the CSU crowd. Due to excessive self-reliance and overconfidence in my ability to prevail against Boston rush hour traffic, I was late and missed the first game. I bowled very poorly, consistently pulling to the left on my release. Magnus easily destroyed me; I bowled a 54. As much as mocked candlepin, it is an interesting challenge. I may test myself against it again soon, though to compare candlepin to ten-pin is to compare drunken college foosball to professional soccer. In principle the former can be approached with skill, but in practice, it's a pitiful, chaotic imitation of the beauty of the latter.
Everyone departed quickly after the game. While I considered returning to the alley to play some ten-pin strings, I was dissuaded by the 90 minute wait time, so I walked back to the T station and went home.
Running41:43 8.9 km (4:41 / km) +5m4:41 / km ahr:156 max:170 shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150
Easy-ish run around the river. I ran with some haste, as I needed to drop off NEOC e-punch equipment with Jeff Schapiro before bowling.
For much of my life, I have sought to maximize my individual competence, aptitude, and ability to accomplish objectives, endure hardship, and excel - more generally, strength. Such a goal follows naturally from an enthusiasm for challenges, and competition is a tool for honing and developing strength. I wonder now how I arrived at this goal, at this purpose. I have a habit of observing attributes, behaviors, and nuances in others that I find admirable and synthesizing them into my own life. That doesn't explain why I found strength admirable.
There are many examples of heroic characters in literature who exhibit resilience and so overcome hardship. Strength is at times exemplified in mental acuity, physical or emotional resilience, stamina against hardship, discipline, and so on; strength is the ability to overcome stresses, resistance, or obstacles to a goal. Consider Frodo from Lord of the Rings, who perseveres on his journey to destroy the ring. Consider Jedi Knights, the swiss-army-knife of heroic characters, able to resolve any conflict or face any adversary. Consider Howard Roark or Dagny Taggert of Ayn Rand's works, the embodiment of her ideal human, driven to excel by force of will against a society resistant to exceptionalism. Jean Valjean from Les Misérables, a man of both prodigious physical strength, immense discipline, and moral fortitude to grapple with his inner demons. Neo from The Matrix. Herb Brooks from Miracle, who drives his team by force of will. Hiccup and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. The hero from Ein Heldenleben.
For much of my life, I have wanted to be the hero, the champion, the crusader who prevails against the appropriate set of challenges. As a musician, that meant being the best horn player able to nail clutch solo parts. As a student, that meant mastering any test, any intellectual problem or challenge, and helping others through their difficulties. As a friend, that meant being a pillar on which my other friends could rely for aid in times of hardship and camaraderie in general. We do not in general choose the sequence of events that constitute our lives; all we can do is choose how we act given those events. A hero has the strength to absorb any sequence of events and still achieve great things.
While I think this approach has potential - preparedness and resilience maximize our utility given the inevitable hardships of life and the challenges we face, the folly is obvious if this propensity for individual strength incurs excessive or obsessive self-reliance in lieu of getting help. It is more admirable to lead and to consolidate a team to achieve a goal than to battle to the point of exhaustion against almost insurmountable goals. There is a time for heroics, but particularly when challenges can be anticipated, they must be met with suitable allocations of labor and attention, usually from more than one person.
This is not a great revelation to me, but seldom has my pursuit of individual strength backfired so completely as it has in recent months. Given the potential negative utility costs of soliciting help from the unwilling, I'm not overly surprised I have found it easier to rely on my own abilities rather than be a nuisance seeking aid. But this solution is untenable; I must find balance.
The NEOC Board met today, and among the usual updates elected to implement a modified membership system for next year that will alter the pricing hierarchy for meets. Details will be announced soon.
If you are unaware, in addition to my responsibilities as a board member, I am the Vice President of Events for the club. My primary task is to plan and oversee the schedule of events, including local meets, A-meets, and novelty races like the Traverse. At present, I am preoccupied with ensuring the remaining events of the year go well and planning the 2012 schedule. I liaise with the local event directors, obtain insurance certificates, contact landowners to check on permit status, recruit directors and volunteers to work events, and serve as the point person for all event related inquiries, equipment checks, and information distribution. There are many advantages to centralized oversight, but I do need to improve my delegation. I have many ambitions for the event calendar, and this year, I relied too heavily on my own abilities to make it a reality when I was unsuccessful recruiting sufficient help.
I used to have oversight of mapping, equipment, and technology, but those three tasks were separated into a co-VP role, the Vice President of Resources. Andy McIlvaine has assumed that role, though I continue to serve on the mapping committee with Andy and Bob Dangel. Since our two domains overlap substantially, we collaborate on many tasks. The resources VP is focused primarily on infrastructure and maintenance of capital, while the events VP is more actively involved with the execution of club activity.
My current specific tasks, roughly ordered by importance and urgency:
- Finish the 2011 Blue Hills Traverse; vet control sites
- Support remaining Fall 2011 events
- Construct 2012 schedule; recruit directors and coordinate with other clubs
- Apply for permits for 2012
- Meet with the mapping committee to prioritize mapping work for 2012
- Meet with the A-meet committee (currently recruiting!) to formulate future A-meet schedule
- Plan the NEOC 40th anniversary celebration banquet
- Procure prizes for the 2011 club champions
- Submit proposal to the Board for NEOC US Team donations; how often and in what quantity and manner should NEOC contribute?
- Assemble a group to set trainings at local meets on a rotation
- Implement permanent courses; find setters, obtain permission, and buy equipment
- Figure out better ways to disseminate pertinent information to the community (e.g. regular reporting on the NEOC website, in my AP log, etc)
- Solve the volunteer recruitment problem; make it easier for event directors to recruit meet helpers
- Devise tools to better coordinate activities and regional events
- Improve publicity
Running57:09 11.49 km (4:58 / km) +6m4:58 / km ahr:160 max:198 shoes: 201104 Mizuno Waverider 14
Easy run before the NEOC Board meeting. I listened to The Warded Man, a book I have listened to previously. I didn't want my mind too distracted, as there is much that requires its attention. Homeostasis sucks.
Buoyed by 8 hours of setting for the NEOC Norwottuck and 14 hours for the A-meet in October, I set my highest training month with 41 hours. While the time is generally accurate, logging course setting time as orienteering is an unnecessary generalization.
As my strength and resilience seem to be waxing, I have three goals for the remaining two months of the year:
- Run at least 240 km, or 27 km/week, to finish the year with 800 km of running. At 5 min/km pace, this is 20 hours of training.
- Orienteer for at least 21 hours, or 2.4 hours/week to finish the year with 100 hours of O.
- Run a sub 12:00 3k. This should be readily attainable even now, but I haven't done any speedwork since my right tibia stress fracture in May. PR is a pitiful 11:13.
I was recently asked why I enjoy bowling, as it's superficially a mundane and uninteresting activity. I replied that there is something richly cathartic and entertaining about the repetitive challenge. I think I find it so compelling because as the initial conditions are essentially unchanging, it is I who change from game to game. Bowling is as a mirror, reflecting my own state, and it is an exercise in mastery and self-control. To excel merely requires perfect control of one's own faculties. Also, knocking stuff down with a ball is fun.
Today, I lacked mastery of my own faculties; the entire session was a disaster. If bowling is a mirror, then I have beheld my turmoil. There were glimmers of potential, but for whatever reason, I kept pulling to the right very consistently, and none of my usual stance modifications seemed to have much effect. My right thumb would sting during the release for the first few games. Despite the pitiful effort today, I did have fun.
I wonder if bowling and orienteering are orthogonal goals; bowling cultivates asymmetry and unevenness, and its dexterity is almost useless for O. I don't seem to be improving, and I am seriously considering taking an indefinite hiatus. I really dislike giving up, though, so perhaps when I have equilibrated and am stronger, I will find greater success.
Game 1: 1/ 71 6/ 7- 5/ X 63 7- 72 8- = 121
Game 2: X 71 9- 36 72 3/ 63 41 71 -6 = 97
Game 3: 61 61 45 9/ 8- 7/ -8 6/ 9/ 35 = 107
Game 4: 71 X 7/ 9- 81 3/ 81 1/ 61 X61 = 132
Game 5: 8- 9- 8- 7- 63 X X 5/ X 71 = 132
Game 6: 72 8- 6- 9- 63 54 9- 61 X 5/9 = 105
Strike rate: 8/62 = 12.9%
Spare rate: 13/53 = 24.5%
First ball pins: 6.66
Single pin spares: 2/7 = 28.6%
Running38:04 7.0 km (5:26 / km) +22m5:21 / km ahr:150 max:179 shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150
Easy run around Cambridge much later than I planned. I am tired.
I used to know how to play Chopin's Prelude Op 28 No. 20, but now I have no memory of the hand patterns. I guess I didn't practice it enough. I still remember Revolutionary Etude, though the practicing was proportional to its technical difficulty.
Running46:41 10.49 km (4:27 / km) +13m4:25 / km ahr:165 max:190 shoes: 201104 Mizuno Waverider 14
This evening, I went to the BSO performance of Strauss' Ein Heldenleben with Keith. Tuesday nights seem to be good times to go; the crowds are much reduced. Ein Heldenleben, or "A Hero's Life", is a vast work detailing a life cycle of the Hero, from introduction to "retirement from the world." I know the piece well, and a recording pales compared to a live performance by a world class orchestra. The piece cannot be fully appreciated in part; the contrast of the entire tone poem is necessary.
I ran at "11 PM"; while I am aware that deviations in my circadian rhythm are heralds of my doom, I had much on which I wanted to reflect. I contacted several DCR parks, requested some insurance certificates, and pondered the Spring 2012 schedule today. Since Strauss seemed to reflect my current mood well, I listened to the entirety of Alpine Symphony. I suspect that part of the allure of the arts is that we find insights into ourselves, into the human condition through expressive art. I found a musical depiction of an alpine summit mirrored my own mind.
I went on an evening run without audiobook or music. I was alone with my thoughts, though my mental mp3 player kicked in with sections of Holst's Venus, the Bringer of Peace from the Planets. Conditions were clear and breezy, with a temperature of 6 C and a dew point of 0. I ran harder than I planned, partly because I was initially cold despite my tights, long sleeves, gloves, and short sleeved top. It was a satisfying run, and one I would not have been capable of a few weeks ago. The jersey hanging on my wall is a constant reminder of why I train.
This was the debut run of my Mizunos, and I am pleased so far. They feel lighter and more minimalist than some of the other running shoes I have used, though they pale in comparison to the Orocs and X-talons.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
Probably still dehydrated from yesterday, but I'm at my lowest weight in quite some time. Feeling strong-ish, though my feet are sore in places from too much Oroc and X-talon action. I went 2/4 in races against Ali, but I won the least important races. I am still excited to have the victory, as I think that puts me at 3/5 for the fall, though I was thoroughly pwn'd on the Night-O.
While I considered going for an easy run today, I chose to err cautiously and let my body recuperate. In lieu of that, I all but finished Xenocide and finished the first Unit of German Level 1. I think this constitutes the first 5% of the German Rosetta stone set I have.