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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: iansmith

In the 30 days ending Nov 30, 2011:

activity # timemileskm+mload
  Orienteering21 27:39:04 114.37(14:30) 184.06(9:01) 4311284c997.8
  Running17 9:23:45 68.7(8:12) 110.56(5:06) 326396.7
  Strength training5 57:0066.0
  Bowling2 70.1
  Unspecified1 10.0
  Total37 37:59:57 183.07 294.62 4637284c1460.6
  [1-5]37 37:54:34
averages - sleep:4.5 weight:81.1kg

» now

Wednesday Nov 30, 2011 #


I have had a very successful fall season. My training since September 1 has included:
  • 60 hours, 380 km, and over 700 controls of orienteering (some course setting included)
  • 26 hours of running - a paltry 293 km
  • A disappointing ten hours of strength and cross training of various types
  • 11 games of bowling

November has been my highest volume month, with nine days and 17 hours of orienteering. Counting course setting, I have spent 37 hours running and orienteering, with a total of 300 km. Even ignoring the course setting, with a sustained year-round effort, this would amount to 200 hours of orienteering.

My races have been steadily improving. I began September by losing to PG at Pawtuckaway in my debut from stress fractureland, and I finished November with a competitive time on the 2002 Billygoat. I wimped out at the September camping weekend, and this Thanksgiving pushed hard through nine hours of hard activity in three days. I have won six races - three NEOC local meets, and three races at the St. Louis meet (including Corn Maze and the Green Relay leg, which don't really count).

I have so much farther to go even before I become competitive in the US, to say nothing of how far I am from the top North Americans. Nevertheless, I am encouraged. My body is growing stronger, and I have been careful in how much stress I apply to it. I will increase my cross training over the winter with skiing, swimming, and cycling even as I try to add to my running base and spend more time on maps. I will set some goals for 2012, but my primary focus is to train as well as I can without hurting myself. I will listen to my body and take breaks as needed. I have much ambition for the year ahead, and with care and discipline, I can attain it.

I continue to learn how to organize a club, and I will apply the (painfully learned) lessons from 2011 to my approach. My primary objective is to build up infrastructure and train others to accomplish tasks rather than trying to shoulder them myself. While my involvement with NEOC will likely continue into 2013, I will gradually step down my commitments to organization so I can focus on training and other aspects of life.
8 AM

Running 54:08 [1] 10.6 km (5:07 / km) +5m 5:06 / km
shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

After two rest days to recover from a hard weekend, I went out on an easy run this morning around the river. I meant to start earlier; it is pleasant to run in the unseasonably warm morning air with the sun on your face. I mean to start running more in the mornings so I can comfortably read a map while on easy runs. Today, I brought a Hogencamp exercise, the WOC 2011 Men's Middle qualifier A, and the WOC 2011 Men's Long Qualifier A. I warmed up on the Hogencamp map, then switched to France; all three maps were tricky. Figuring out the orientation of the contours while moving was hard, especially on Harriman. I had printed the middle at about 1:11.5 and the long at 1:18 on my lowly inkjet printer, so the reading was extra challenging. Train hard, race easy. I mislaid my heart rate monitor in my apartment yesterday while collecting my laundry, so no HR data today. While I was out, I passed a woman with prosthetic feet and probably calves. She was happily cruising about with headphones, and her doughty black labrador was marching along beside her off leash very indifferently. They were a charming pair. I finished with the usual stretching regimen.
WOC 2011 maps:

Pictures from the weekend:
Study in Steam I
Study in Steam II
Thanksgiving om nom nom
Thanksgiving crew
Food coma
I am the chosen one
Friend from across the sea
Our friend the Kiwi, and her Kiwi pants
Death throes of a cookie (I like the bokeh on this one)
Ye Olde Irish post-training recovery
A beautiful day at Rockhouse, with everyone and their mother
Surebridge at Twilight

Strength training 15:00 [3]

Thirteen minute core + pushups: leg lifts, cherry pickers, oblique bicycle, flutter kicks, 2x single leg bridge, situps, plank, kayakers, tuckups; 2x side plank, supermans. Finished with a sluggish 32 pushups.

I am considering spending an entire strength workout on a particular exercise, like 5 x 2 minutes side plank, or 5x 1 minute kayakers.

Sunday Nov 27, 2011 #

8 AM

Orienteering 1:00:00 [1] 6.0 km (10:00 / km)
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

I arrived at Harold Parker at 8 AM, and Mika and I directed our little army of three boy scouts and two leaders to divide up the controls. The leaders and one scout went to set the white course, Mika took remote advanced controls, and I led two scouts on an intrepid expedition to set six flags. The woods were thick in places, and I left them briefly to bust across a knee-deep stream and set one flag.

After the first loop, I set out alone to set a further 8 yellow and orange controls, and finished up at 9:45.
12 PM

Running 5:46 [1] 0.93 km (6:12 / km) +2m 6:08 / km
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Warmup; it was slightly longer than this, but not much.

Orienteering 58:32 intensity: (15 @0) + (2 @1) + (8 @2) + (6:18 @3) + (51:44 @4) + (5 @5) 8.89 km (6:35 / km) +69m 6:20 / km
ahr:161 max:183 14c slept:4.0 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Quickroute. I didn't run off the map, but I dropped my red course during control pickup, and only cropped copies were left.

I put Harold Parker on the schedule when I was planning the fall calendar primarily because the map looked interesting and I wanted to run there. I expected that on November 27, there would be snow on the ground, temperatures would be 30 F, and thirty people would come.

Instead, the high temperature today was about 60 F, and orienteering was heavily publicized over the past week with a story on NPR and an article in the globe. A total of 193 competitors came out today, many of whom were beginners. Fortunately, a crew of boy scouts had contacted me about three weeks ago expressing interest in volunteering at a meet to help earn their orienteering merit badges. One of the scouts, Dan O'Leary, has run green and red courses at past meets. Their assistance was indispensible today, and everyone worked hard to keep the crowd flowing and people heading out.

Mika Latva-Kokko set fun courses, and while the map vegetation and trails are substantially outdated, I found the contours and rock features pretty accurate. The map is interesting, though the runnability varies; the vegetation and bike trails should be updated, but the terrain is technical and challenging.

After working registration and mingling with the crowd, I set out on red. I had set controls 1, 2, 13, and 14, but I started out navigating very poorly through 3. There were a few long legs - 4, 5, and 13 - on which I gained a bit of time. I struggled with green near the circle at 13, and 14 was a challenge. I'm disappointed with how few splits I won, but I put a solid effort. I'm pleased to see 4 minute kms charging up the road en route to 13; I had a little bit of spunk left in my legs after the weekend.

Yikes - ernst really killed it on the finish split; I also was bgallup'd. Apparently I need to raise my game.

Update - after some analysis, I'm less displeased with my performance. I finished first or second on all but three splits, each of which was an error - 3, 4, and 7. I'm upset that I navigated 1-3 so badly, but particularly given that I had a hard weekend, my performance is satisfactory. I was 3:17 behind superman. I can't help but think that Ross would have run sub 50.

Orienteering 31:02 intensity: (8 @0) + (4:29 @1) + (14:11 @2) + (12:07 @3) + (7 @4) 2.95 km (10:30 / km) +32m 9:58 / km
ahr:130 max:156 8c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Picking up the loop of 8 yellow and orange controls I set earlier. I was really tired near the end. It turns out I had banged my right shin on a rock or tree pretty hard, and I have a bruise. My bones seem to be intact, though.

I was told today that I have strong physical resemblance to teen heartthrob Justin Long.

Saturday Nov 26, 2011 #

10 AM

Running 15:20 intensity: (47 @1) + (3:51 @2) + (7:27 @3) + (3:15 @4) 2.01 km (7:37 / km) +64m 6:34 / km
ahr:144 max:164 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Orienteering 33:00 intensity: (3 @0) + (17 @1) + (54 @2) + (6:09 @3) + (25:37 @4) 4.1 km (8:03 / km) +107m 7:08 / km
ahr:160 max:173 19c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212


We reran the 2010 Team Trials Red Middle at Rockhouse. I started first, and had some trouble choosing intelligent routes through the green. I messed up six by focusing too much on the (extra) marsh south of the mapped marsh and not paying enough attention to the contours. Brendan, who started three or four minutes behind me, passed me before 6. I picked up speed to 7, then took a different route to 8. I had a safe attack, but when I saw him below me, I aborted and followed him; apparently we then went to a location that was quite far from 8. Yay navigation. Nine was confusing because we had come from not 8, so we spent a bit of time standing around trying to make sense of things. I took the lead leaving 10, and held it until I chose a suboptimal route to 13. Brendan put on some speed leaving 13, and was almost out of sight when I hit 16. I didn't see him after that until the finish.

Orienteering 11:51 [1] *** 1.58 km (7:31 / km)
ahr:143 max:163 2c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

After the run, I revisited controls 7 and 8 with Neil.
2 PM

Running 11:55 intensity: (4 @0) + (3 @1) + (44 @2) + (4:30 @3) + (6:34 @4) 1.82 km (6:33 / km) +59m 5:38 / km
ahr:155 max:171 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Orienteering (Line-O) 28:06 intensity: (39 @1) + (11:41 @2) + (13:28 @3) + (2:18 @4) 2.24 km (12:33 / km) +27m 11:50 / km
ahr:139 max:171 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Orienteering 1:03:52 [2] *** 6.28 km (10:11 / km) +243m 8:32 / km
ahr:146 max:172 6c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212


I designed the afternoon's exercise at Surebridge. I have always found the terrain difficult, so I started with a line-O to really pay attention to technical details. I drew the line-O by hand, so everyone's was slightly different.

The second part of the exercise was supposed to be a set of short/long pairs of legs. The idea was to plan your route for the long leg while running the short leg, then concentrate on clean execution of that route. With the substantial technical detail of Surebridge, and the dumbness and difficulty of some of the short legs I set, it would have been better to plan routes in advance. The exercise wasn't actually about route choice so much as it was about executing long, tricky legs well. I need to think about ways of refining this exercise.

I ran ahead to hang streamers, and it turns out that I was in the wrong spot for 2. Oops. Leg 3-4 was unquestionably the highlight of this outing; that ridge is gorgeous. We parked up at Tiorati Circle, so we bailed after 6.

Friday Nov 25, 2011 #


"It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one's own body." - 1984

After some deliberation, I have concluded that I am unhappy.
10 AM

Orienteering 1:01:40 intensity: (3 @0) + (17 @1) + (2:47 @2) + (8:21 @3) + (32:28 @4) + (17:44 @5) 6.49 km (9:30 / km) +214m 8:09 / km
ahr:166 max:189 12c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212


Jagge very kindly designed an exercise on Blue Mountain with contours only - form lines and dot knolls had been deleted - and an area in front of each control blanked out. The idea was to navigate with contours alone and then pinpoint the feature based on the terrain behind it. It was an extension of an exercise I have seem where you broaden the control (like Thierry's simplification) to make it easier to find at full speed.

Apparently I rely heavily on the information in front of the control, because I was off by a reentrant at 1, had some difficulty at 5 (largely due to the big hill south of the line from 5-6 not existing on the map), and self-destructed at 12. It was an interesting exercise - I certainly enjoyed the contour only part, but I found the control broadening very challenging. I will have to attempt similar exercises another time, preferably with streamers.

Orienteering 14:56 intensity: (1:02 @2) + (5:39 @3) + (7:22 @4) + (53 @5) 1.49 km (10:01 / km) +31m 9:04 / km
ahr:157 max:180 2c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Dissatisfied with my performance at 12, I ran out past 1 to reattack and figured out what I had done wrong.
2 PM

Orienteering 1:33:58 intensity: (7 @1) + (8 @2) + (8 @3) + (40:44 @4) + (52:51 @5) 12.96 km (7:15 / km) +495m 6:05 / km
ahr:177 max:191 19c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Quickroute. We reran the 2002 Billygoat. I skipped control 16. Course distance: 11.2 km.

One area of my orienteering I want to particularly develop is long races. I had been looking forward to the rerun of the Billygoat for over a week, and I rested my legs on Wednesday and Thursday, both because I was concerned I had injured myself and to be fresh for the Billygoat. Sergei and Greg graciously hung streamers in the morning, which substantially improved our experience. We left Neil's sluggishly after our morning training, and Neil, Anna, Ali, Brendan and I mass-started at about 3 PM. I decided early to run aggressively and exploded out of the start to the front of the pack. I decided to get creative, and didn't execute my route to 1 very well. I saw Brendan approaching as I tagged the streamer.

I was in the lead for the entire race; Brendan and Ali were perhaps 0:15 - 1:00 behind me for the first three controls, then Brendan fell back. I was intermittently in sight of Ali for four and five, and I lost her busting up the hill to six. I took a somewhat suboptimal route to 7 and was sluggish climbing the hill, and we caught sight of each other converging on the control. I was perhaps 0:20-0:30 ahead of her at 7, and I ran hard on the downhill into 8 and exited quickly to try to lose her. I made a 1 minute error to 10, and she apparently saw me at the circle, but we didn't see each after that until the end of the course.

The race was exhilarating. My heart rate was above 180 for the first thirty minutes, and didn't start to fall off substantially until 54 minutes in. I reached 11 at about 4:00, and the sun was setting. Since I felt confident I could navigate back even in the dark, I pressed on, and finishing before it grew completely dark was my main motivation. I didn't realize Ali was still running behind me, though I didn't have much stamina left in reserve. The last loop had about 4.7 km of running, but with the skip at 16, 15 to the finish was essentially all trail running.

While I started faster than I probably should have, I strong physically for most of the run. It would have been helpful to have water during the course and more light, but the forest was very runnable. I'm disappointed I didn't have more stamina to sustain an hr of 180 for longer, and that my performance climbing hills was so deplorable. My legs felt fantastic despite my concerns, and I'm optimistic that I will be able to build on my performance. The mass start was great fun, and having Ali appear at various times on the course was tremendously motivating. Had I run this time in 2002, I would have finished in sixth, eight minutes behind ken.

Tuesday Nov 22, 2011 #


Recorded a HR of 51 min-1 while sitting at my desk. I don't usually have a heart rate that low; perhaps my fitness is improving. My body feels surprisingly good right now, though I am well aware of how quickly that can change. I have resumed my calcium + vitamin D3 supplements.

Plan for the week:
- Tuesday: 50-60 minute easy run with some 85-90 sec 400 meter track laps for speed calibration
- Wednesday: rest or 25-30 minute easy run
- Thursday: 3k. My old mile PR is 5:20; 3k PR is 11:13. I'm hoping to run sub 10:45, but no speedwork recently suggests 11:00 would be good.
- Friday: Billygoat and Blue Mountain Training
- Saturday: Harriman training
- Sunday: Harold Parker local meet
6 PM

Running 57:12 intensity: (33 @1) + (51 @2) + (41:54 @3) + (13:54 @4) 11.35 km (5:02 / km) +40m 4:57 / km
ahr:150 max:165 shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

Easy run around the streets of Cambridge. It was cold and windy, so I avoided the river. In a break with my typical pattern, motivated by hunger, I stopped for a burrito immediately before my run. My lower legs started hurting near the end of the run, and I stopped to stretch my calves. Based on the sensations in my leg, I eschewed running 400s tonight. My right achilles (?) in particular is tight and discomforted.

I will take a rest day tomorrow in anticipation of a tough few days ahead.

Monday Nov 21, 2011 #

(rest day)

The 2011 Blue Hills Traverse is done, and the event was largely a success. The weather was fantastic - even warm, with a high temperature of 66 F and an average of 58; the average wind speed was 15 mph.

I designed the course with the intent of making it differ from last year's course. My objective last year was to minimize time spent on trails; I wanted the optimal route to be through the woods. The density of trails in the Blue Hills puts a soft upper bound on the length of a leg given the trail minimization criterion, so the distribution of leg lengths was very narrow. While I was happy with my design, I was disappointed to find that there was very little route choice on the course; the route gadget data and glancing at people's gps tracks revealed that everyone generally took the same routes. (E.g. Neil's route; basically straight on every leg. Boring.)

So, I decided to expand the leg length distribution and incorporate more route choice, even at the expense of trail running. My assessment is that the result is a much more interesting course, with considerably more variety. While there is more unavoidable trail running than I would have liked (especially on the competitors' loop, which I think is silly), there are many more possibilities. Controls 8, 10 and 15 were the most interesting choices, with minor decisions at 2, 9, 22, and 24. While there exist possible Traverses that are more interesting, I'm satisfied with my effort. I interspersed control pick-esque technical sections with the longer legs, and I experimented with loops.

Leg length distributions (lengths are convolved with a gaussian)
2010 vs 2011 - note the cluster of legs from 2010 with mean 450 meters
Comparison of 2010-2011 (Ian) with 2008-2009 (set by Ross)

YearAvg Leg LengthStdev of Leg Lengths
2011513 m368 m

I began planning the course in earnest in October - later than I had intended, primarily due to the stresses of the CSU A-meet. I designed three drafts for each map (west and east). While the west drafts used similar areas of the map, the east designs were widely varied. I spent a few days vetting in November, and based on that discarded some of my drafts and refined the legs and control locations further. Alex Jospe kindly agreed to design the recreational courses, so I was able to focus entirely on the Traverse. I solicited Ross and Neil for course critiques, and Jeff made some changes (including the addition of the 'competitors loop' - controls 12 and 13).

The course was basically completed on Friday 11 Nov - later than I had hoped, but with some margin for error. Jeff and I discussed a few other modifications, and I sent the final courses to Ed on Tuesday. He sent the data to the printers the next day, and we picked up the maps on Friday.

My familiarity with the Blue Hills after setting the event last year greatly simplified the work this year. While I would have preferred to be done at least two weeks in advance, everything was prepared with time to spare. Jeff and I set the Traverse controls on Saturday afternoon, which had all been streamered in the preceding weeks. I had hoped to run the Traverse early on Sunday to wake up controls and experience the course, but I needed to set a few rec controls and be at Houghton's Pond at 9 AM to deliver the cache of equipment I was carrying. With a little more foresight, it would have been achievable.

Unspecified (German) 1 [1]

I haven't been very consistent about logging this, but I suppose inconsistent measurements are more informative than none at all. Read about cases - accusative and dative in particular. Currently on Level 1, Unit 2, Lesson 2.
8 PM

Running 33:15 intensity: (3 @1) + (1:19 @2) + (24:56 @3) + (6:57 @4) 6.38 km (5:13 / km) +50m 5:01 / km
ahr:148 max:170 shoes: 201104 Mizuno Waverider 14

While I had planned to take a rest day, I felt restless, so I went out on an easy recovery run this evening. Something in my lower right calf - possibly the Achilles tendon - hurt yesterday, though I don't recall any trauma. It still feels tight as I rotate my ankle, but it felt fine while I was running. The temperature was 5 C, and I ran in long sleeves and shorts.

I pondered social contracts as I ran in silence, as I have completed all the audiobooks I was reading. I considered the problem of social contracts that interact - instances of three or more people entering into a contract. My proposition is that all interactions can be modeled as contracts between two parties - two individuals, or an individual and a group entity (e.g. an individual and society). Conflicting social contracts resolve almost trivially; one contract must supercede another, and that hierarchy must be codified. Coupled social contracts are somewhat more complicated, but I still think pairwise modeling is possible - sort of an Ising model of society.

Sunday Nov 20, 2011 #

7 AM

Orienteering 18:37 [2] 2.14 km (8:42 / km) +51m 7:47 / km
8c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Setting the remaining 8 recreational course controls from the set I allocated to myself on Saturday.

Orienteering 9:02 [2] 1.71 km (5:17 / km) +24m 4:56 / km
3c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Waking and verifying Traverse controls 12-14.

Orienteering 21:32 [2] 3.37 km (6:24 / km) +82m 5:42 / km
3c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

After streamering the walk to the start, I woke and verified Traverse controls 1-3. It is delightful to run without carrying a bunch of stands.

Orienteering 22:04 [1] 1.9 km (11:38 / km) +88m 9:27 / km
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Hauling four gallons of water and cups to Traverse control 8.

Orienteering 13:28 [2] 2.08 km (6:28 / km) +13m 6:16 / km
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Setting five rec white controls.
11 AM

Orienteering 35:00 [3] *** 6.0 km (5:50 / km)
11c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

After starting the Traverse runners, I drove to a road crossing and ran into coach, who was doing the same. We saw Ali run by in the lead, with Dancho about a minute behind and Andrew in third. Dancho shouted to us as he passed that "Ali was too fast!"

I then drove to Houghton's Pond and visited controls 15-26, waking them up and confirming their presence - that they were in the right spot and had not been disturbed overnight. I moved three flags a short distance (< 3m) to make them more visible, and probably should have moved the deviously hung 26. I had given Ali my garmin for the race, so I ran without data. The leg to 21 was very hard, though I knew this, as I had run it twice before.

Saturday Nov 19, 2011 #


Calm mornings with a hot mug of tea invite reflection, and I find my thoughts wandering at length this morning.

  1. While I haven't made up my mind, I am considering stepping down from the NEOC Board of Directors when my term expires in June. I have accomplished some of my policy goals, but the Board functions as an oversight body. I believe I can accomplish much more personally and as a club member if I focus on the VP Events role. I'm even looking towards stepping down from that after another year or two, but there isn't infrastructure and training in place to compensate for a sudden change in leadership. This deadline will make more acutely aware of my policy goals and what I mean to accomplish before I'm done.
  2. What I really need as VP Events is a second person just like me - to whom I could confidently delegate any number of tasks. The problem with delegation is that it rapidly increases communication costs. I think there is a lot of advantage to centralizing much of the responsibility - e.g. for permit applications, scheduling plans, insurance data, and general awareness of the club machine. With a second copy of myself, the workload for each of us would become manageable. It's unlikely that a club member would be amenable to investing fully in the role right now, and I'm not good at recruiting. I will start training a replacement, and figuring out the optimal way to distributing the tasks among many rather than one or two. For the "Events department", I really think a group of three superstars is preferable to decentralizing the responsibility among ten or twenty.
  3. It turns out that I have difficulty sleeping past about 8:30 or 9 in my new apartment; the windows let in much sunlight to my bedroom. In general, this is good - it's harder to oversleep, which is a cause of difficulty. Conversely, this requires me to be more disciplined about when I go to bed, because otherwise I will just break down as my sleep deficit increases without the relief valve of oversleeping. This is a good exercise.
  4. The military industrial complex is a fascinating system that has existed in this country for more than sixty years. While there has been considerable effort to make the system more efficient - e.g. the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer consolidates five or six warship classes from thirty or forty years ago; the F-35 in principle provides a single solution to the multi-role fighter needs of the armed services - the military system is constrained to a minimum size by a vast set of requirements, including some cyclical requirements. One of the reasons stated in this NPR article for avoiding cutting weapons programs is that it's costly to restart them, and in the absence of a continuous flow of cash and acquisitions, industries like nuclear submarine production will be unsustainable and fail. I find this interesting because other capable navies, like the Royal Navy, have instances of classes of specialized weapons systems, like nuclear submarines, in smaller numbers than the US considers unsustainable. I haven't studied the economy of scale problem, but the claim that the defense industry cannot be sustainably shrunk seems spurious. I have long advocated, e.g., that an eleventh supercarrier is unnecessary. The US's eleven supercarriers are more than half of the twenty in the world, and the most powerful and capable.
  5. I refuse to live an ordinary life. "You can settle for a less than ordinary life. Or do you feel like you were meant for something better? Something special?" "I dare you to do better."
2 PM

Orienteering 20:49 intensity: (5 @0) + (8 @1) + (4:11 @2) + (3:01 @3) + (13:24 @4) 2.61 km (7:58 / km) +45m 7:20 / km
ahr:154 max:174 18c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 X-Talon 212

After getting some work done this morning, including resetting the NEOC e-punch units, updating the codes on the recreational controls, and typing up course notes, I set out to meet Jeff Saeger to set controls. There are 60 total controls distributed among the Traverse and recreational courses, and I took 26. After finishing the Traverse controls, I started on the recreational controls, but decided to retire after setting four in the dark. I have eight to set tomorrow morning, and I need to put out water at two controls and streamer the walk to the start. If I finish everything in time to my satisfaction and am feeling strong, I will run the Traverse - ostensibly to wake up controls and ensure they are all there, but really just because I want to run the Traverse.

I spent considerable time doing what bgallup refers to as "prospecting" - jamming the stand into the ground hoping to find purchase in dirt and not rocks. I usually had to spent at least a minute finding a stable location for the flag. I brought out my brand new pair of X-talons for this outing, primarily because the severe degradation of the 201006 X-talons coupled with the severe rockiness of the Blue Hills hurts my feet. I want to save my Orocs for races, and the new X-talons felt delightful. My shins hurt at the very start of the outing, but after a few minutes of running in the woods, they improved considerably. I may cut back my road mileage in favor of trail running as I ramp up my base during the winter.

I felt a little lonely at the end, wandering through the dark with my pitiful headlamp in search of recreational streamered locations, but I found solace in the tender and thorough embrace of a stand of green briar at the bottom of a rocky hill.

Orienteering 34:26 intensity: (44 @1) + (8:16 @2) + (5:25 @3) + (17:14 @4) + (2:47 @5) 4.46 km (7:43 / km) +145m 6:38 / km
ahr:155 max:179

Orienteering 41:36 intensity: (3:20 @1) + (5:39 @2) + (13:11 @3) + (18:43 @4) + (43 @5) 5.14 km (8:06 / km) +142m 7:07 / km
ahr:150 max:178

Orienteering (Night-O) 17:58 intensity: (3:02 @1) + (6:53 @2) + (6:04 @3) + (1:59 @4) 1.53 km (11:45 / km) +35m 10:33 / km
ahr:135 max:163 0c

8 PM

Strength training 12:00 [5]

Eight minute core + supplemental exercises. My emphasis today was on obliques.
Leg lifts, cherry pickers, 2x oblique situps, kayakers, plank, kayakers, tuckups; 2x side plank, 2x supermans.

Thursday Nov 17, 2011 #

9 PM

Running 1:04:35 intensity: (2 @1) + (52 @2) + (46:41 @3) + (16:27 @4) + (33 @5) 12.69 km (5:05 / km) +12m 5:04 / km
ahr:151 max:179 shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

Easy run around the Charles. I ran much further than I expected; I underestimated the distance of the route I selected. I stopped for a burrito at Anna's near the end of the run, as Chipotle in Harvard Square had already closed. At around minute 45, a girl gingerly riding her bike passed me, and I deliberately increased my effort to keep up. She must have turned shortly after I retook the lead, because I didn't see her afterward.

Conditions were cold, with a temperature of 4 C and a 20 kph west wind. Near the end of the run, it started to drizzle, and I was grew quite cold. A sauna would have been delightful when I returned to my apartment.

I reflected on the need for balance in life. An individual must work hard and diligently at tasks and goals but balance that drive with consistent rest. Self-sufficiency must be balanced with interdependence for a romantic relationship or a team context to function. A need for introspection and self-awareness must be balanced by the ability to focus entirely on a task at hand. Ambition must be balanced by restraint, and discipline with fun. My life is less balanced than I deem necessary for the personal progress I seek in the near future, and I must address this.

Learned a new Spanish word: la llovizna - a drizzle or light rain.

Wednesday Nov 16, 2011 #

(rest day)

I have a task for the NEOC Board concerning club policy on which I seek the input from the broader O community, or at least that component which reads my log.

At the August 2011 Board meeting, I was charged with proposing a specific plan for the club to make donations to the US Teams (specifically WOC and JWOC) for 2012 to be discussed at the January meeting. I haven't given the proposal much thought, since I have been preoccupied with the fall schedule. NEOC is among the larger clubs, with over 250 members. As we are a 501(c)(3), much of our financial information must be made available for public disclosure and copying. You're welcome to request any of those documents from our treasurer, Jim Paschetto. NEOC's annual revenue is approximately $15k - $20k, and the net profit is usually about a third of annual revenue. Due to lack of spending over the past decade, the club has accumulated more funds than it really needs.

The board is working to address this - chiefly by spending more on mapping (Andy McIlvaine and I are tackling this), equipment, and educational programs. Nevertheless, the club is not hurting for resources, especially given that our main expenditures are maps, equipment, and OUSA dues.

According to my figures (a bit buried in loads of paperwork) and memory, NEOC has given $2575 in stipends. Club and JWOC/WOC team members Carl Underwood, Meg Parson, and Samantha Saeger received grants, as did CSU members Alex Jospe and Ross Smith. In 2010, I made a motion to donate $500 to each JWOC and WOC teams to take advantage of the QOC matching campaign; this didn't pass unanimously (as was required), and $100 per team was given. In 2011, partly reflecting our increasingly comfortable financial situation, $250 per team was donated with unanimous support.

While I think that NEOC in the past has been more concerned with looking after it's own interests - a reasonable proposition, especially given all the "fiduciary obligation" language in 501(c)(3) law, the board members have grown much more receptive to the idea of NEOC contributing to the O-community and supporting the US teams in that regard. As VP Events, I have discretion to schedule team fundraiser meets - events at which the profits will be donated to the US Teams, though it's generally recognized that US team members need to organize such events. The US Senior team has already made plans for such an event in the spring, and I am contacting the juniors in our neighborhood to arrange a corresponding junior event.

I support the US Team because I think that elite orienteering is the pinnacle of the sport. Recreational and enthusiast orienteering is the lifeblood of any national organization; we participate in this sport because it is fun and has benefits. Elite orienteering is the apex of what is possible, and I want to support those athletes and the elite community with the resources available to the club, including map access, training camps, publicity, and money. At the same time, NEOC exists to educate and cultivate the sport in New England. Whatever donation policy NEOC establishes must be sustainable and consistent with the stated objective of the club.

New England has the advantage of much higher density of orienteers than many other regions of the country. There are several individuals who have earned US team apparel and wear their regalia at local events. Their presence alone has a tangible effect; what club member hasn't seen Ross or Sam blast by in the woods? I plan to advance the interface between club and team by promoting training camps, US team events, and generally encouraging sharing of information between the two groups. I assert that the club benefits from the successes and advancement of US team members, and the team benefits from the support and encouragement of the club.

What is the appropriate mechanism and quantity of donation from NEOC to the US Team? Should the club make a regular, constant donation, or should it incentivize certain reciprocated behavior (like training camps, local meets, general appearances to psych everyone up about orienteering)? Conditioning a donation to the US team on a presentation by team members to the club, e.g., is helpful to everyone - apart from the money, the interaction with recreational orienteers and added publicity is of great benefit to current members and to recruiting new elites.

All thoughts welcome.

Tuesday Nov 15, 2011 #

11 PM

Running 1:05:47 intensity: (11 @1) + (3:14 @2) + (17:51 @3) + (29:53 @4) + (14:38 @5) 13.35 km (4:56 / km) +33m 4:52 / km
ahr:160 max:191 shoes: 201104 Mizuno Waverider 14

Track workout, 8x400 reps, at "11 PM." I failed to partition the gps track into the warmup/cooldown runs and the track component, but the two logged types are sufficiently similar that I don't care to fix it.

I deliberately haven't been to a track since my stress fracture in May; I wanted to build up my base to strengthen my muscles and bones before attempting high intensity training. I have been partly successful - in the past 75 days, while I have only run a miserly 150 miles, I have orienteered over 200. My base and fitness are inadequate, but I deemed myself ready for some speedwork today.

I was also motivated by word of a 3:10 km interval and my own aspiration for good races at Cemetery Hill. I considered running 5x1000 to mirror Ali, but I decided reps were the next logical step given my current state. I felt pretty good, but my recoveries grew longer, with the first at sub 5:00/km, and the seventh at a walk. I also ran faster than I planned; I calculated a 1:18 400 rep for an 18:00 5k. I focused on running fast and easily, not hard, with good form. By the end, I was quite tired, and the last two reps were a struggle. I ran the first six counterclockwise and the last two clockwise. I listened to my pre-race playlist during the reps to psych myself up. My legs felt good, though I did note some minor pinching in my lower calves at the end.

400 rep/400 recovery:
1:18.7 (stopped watch about 3s late)

Note that 191 is the highest non-spurious HR (I think) that I have recorded on my garmin to date.

Monday Nov 14, 2011 #


I weighed in at 177.4 lbs after the races yesterday, drinking over a liter of water, and munching on cookies and goldfish. In an exciting turn of events, I have lost about sixteen points in 3 months, or shortly after I resumed running and O after my stress fracture. My volume has substantially increased over that period as a combination of the race season and lots of course setting. I mean to add more variety to my food intake to ensure I'm getting enough nutrients for recovery, and I'm still eating about 2 yogurts per day to get lots of calcium. (As I write this, I'm munching on potato chips, calling into question my entire diet.)

I think this confirms my hypothesis that my weight gain was a response to the substantial changes to my lifestyle from months of inactivity (and crutching) from my fractures. My lifestyle has changed during O-season, and my body has equilibrated at a different point. I'm curious where I will settle; I weighed 165 my freshman year of college, but I have grown more muscular since then. I need to increase my strength training anyway, so it's plausible the trend will reverse.

I'm also excited that my attackpoint ranking has gone above 80 points for the first time. While it's buoyed by some non-traditional races, like the corn maze-O in St. Louis, it is an encouraging sign of progress.

On an entirely unrelated note, I like the movie Moulin Rouge. A number of its songs have shown up in my mental soundtrack lately; my favorites are the reprise of "Come what may" and "El Tango de Roxanne."
9 PM

Running 44:59 intensity: (22 @1) + (1:19 @2) + (23:12 @3) + (20:06 @4) 9.1 km (4:56 / km) +6m 4:55 / km
ahr:153 max:173 shoes: 201108 Asics GT-2150

Easy-ish run around the river. I found myself pushing at times, and tried to restrain it. I felt some discomfort in my shins at times. Conditions were clear and comfortable with a temperature of 14 C. I have a lingering mild cough that only seems to bother me before or after races. After the first kilometer, I stepped in a hole concealed by leaves and turned my right ankle pretty hard. I yelped and walked for a few moments, but the pain abated quickly and I continued.

It occurs to me that food can be crudely decomposed into three component vectors: calories, nutrition, and flavor. This decomposition is interesting because there foods that almost exclusively lie along one of the components - eigenfoods, if you will. While spices do have some nutritional value, they chiefly provide flavor. While pasta, grains, and even some meats have flavor and nutrients, they are used predominantly for calories. Some ingredients exist which have negligible flavor and calories, but add key nutrients. I am considering beginning a cooking campaign to improve my conspicuous deficiency, and an understanding of the nature of food is instructive.

Sunday Nov 13, 2011 #

8 AM

Orienteering 36:22 intensity: (6:14 @1) + (14:59 @2) + (12:57 @3) + (2:12 @4) 3.24 km (11:13 / km) +88m 9:53 / km
ahr:131 max:173 8c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Setting controls with bgallup and mgb for the meet. Magnus divided the controls such that I wasn't setting any green controls, so I didn't visit any of the sites before the race. Traveling through the woods was still informative, of course. I stopped my Garmin when I came upon a downed tree, and didn't restart it until the first control.

Magnus was the most organized event director I have observed so far; we were completely ready by 9:15. I was very impressed with his thoroughness, and it was delightful to have a totally relaxed morning as all concerns had been addressed well in advance.
10 AM

Orienteering race 38:20 intensity: (56 @2) + (1:07 @3) + (33:16 @4) + (3:01 @5) 5.3 km (7:14 / km) +229m 5:57 / km
ahr:166 max:197 11c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

As I had planned to go to the Blue Hills today, after I finished setting, I changed and went through an abbreviated pre-race routine before setting out on my course. I warmed up for a few minutes, but my muscles felt good after the course setting, downed tree removal, and hauling water to the water control. I taped my laces, procured and checked all my equipment, and loaded my description holder. Unfortunately, I left my contacts on my dresser at home, so I was forced to run in glasses.

Magnus set a tough course, on which serious consideration had to be spent on route before trying to execute. I chose poorly on 1 and 4, and messed up 5 and 9 on my own. I wasn't overly happy with my race, though the result was acceptable.

1) I began the race with a "hero" (i.e. bad) route choice, charging straight up the hill. I considered the road briefly, but I realized my error about thirty seconds into the leg, at which point the best alternative was to keep going. On my rerun, I was about 25s faster, and it probably could have been 35s had I not messed up again.
2) I took an ok route, though I didn't see Dancho's flatter route to the right. I lost a little time fighting through the vegetation, but spiked the control cleanly.
3) Straight. Some of my best compass work, as evidenced in the track. I was a little low, but the wide reentrant caught me.
4) Bad route choice: I executed my plan to stay low and bust up the hill at the end, but the running in the low-lying area was bad. I think high to the right, primarily on the trail, is best; on my rerun, I saved 30s despite fatigue.
5) Possibly exacerbated by instantaneous fatigue from charging up the hill just before 4, I really screwed up on this control by drifting too low. I lost at least 2:30 from confusion. Even on my rerun, Ali crushed me by 20s.
6) After considering straight and the road to the right, I decided to run left along the shelf below the green. I popped out by the trail, and ran in cleanly.
7) Down the hill and into the control. Won the split! Ironically, on the rerun, I lost 45s.
8) Decided to run left and attack the hill from the SW. Apparently this was slower than using the little trail to go straight.
9) I drifted low coming out of eight, but I attacked too low on the hill, and lost time in my confusion. The track suggests I lost about thirty seconds, so I was still crushed decisively by Ali. Not sure how.
10) Driven by my folly, I charged into ten, but was still tentative. I killed it on the rerun by 15s.
11) Meh. Tied Ali on the finish split.

12 PM

Running warm up/down 5:17 intensity: (7 @1) + (1:23 @2) + (1:23 @3) + (2:24 @4) 0.83 km (6:21 / km) +4m 6:13 / km
ahr:147 max:166 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Orienteering 33:50 intensity: (2:22 @0) + (1 @2) + (19 @3) + (17:25 @4) + (13:43 @5) 5.36 km (6:19 / km) +181m 5:24 / km
ahr:177 max:213 11c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

I decided to rerun the green course because I made many mistakes out on the course, I wanted to have a clean race, and I tend to do poorly when there are multiple races in one day. Two separate high intensity efforts is good practice for A-meets and the Western MA sprint championships. When Ali makes mistakes, she tends to repeat the leg until she gets it right; the benefit of this practice is apparent, though the foreknowledge of the terrain diminishes the benefit.

I was tired, and I couldn't push as hard on flat-out-running as I had when I was fresh. I modified my routes on 1 and 4, and changed my attack to correct for 5 (still lost the split). A line of people - mostly boy scouts - ahead of me in the finish chute spurred me to kick in the afterburners to acceptable effect. Definitely want to look good for the kiddies.

In a sad twist, I messed up 2 and 7, when I had executed both well on the first run. On 2, I got caught in vegetation early on the leg, overshot the control by about 30-40 meters, and lost 14 seconds to my first run. On 7, I ran in too confidently, ran above the cliff that had the control, and took about 45 seconds to rectify my mistake. I think 30 minutes was possible on today's course, but I lacked the cleanliness and oomph to make it a reality.

The rerun soundtrack was Coldplay's Speed of Sound followed by "Think of Me" from Phantom of the Opera. Dunno.

Orienteering (Control pickup) 14:39 intensity: (1:54 @0) + (12 @2) + (28 @3) + (9:16 @4) + (2:49 @5) 2.45 km (5:59 / km) +45m 5:28 / km
ahr:173 max:231 6c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Motivated. HR data is spurious, probably caused by the strap flopping around as I blasted down a hill.
5 PM

Strength training 13:00 [5]

10-minute core, because I like pain.
Tuckups, kayakers, plank, situps, flutter kicks, oblique bicycle, 2x single leg bridge, cherry pickers and leg lifts. Finished with 2x side plank (no SJJs) and supermans. Tuckups are demanding; I really struggled with the kayakers.

My legs were noticeably fatigued from the weekend, e.g. during the leg lifts.

Saturday Nov 12, 2011 #


BSO tonight with Ali and Brendan; we ran into Keith. Program was Von Weber's Overture from Der Freischutz, Barber's Piano Concerto, and Tchaik 6. Tchaik... le sigh.
8 AM

Orienteering 50:00 [1] 4.5 km (11:06 / km) +84m 10:10 / km
8c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Setting controls for the Breakheart meet. I slowed to thoroughly check two of the eight controls.

Orienteering 15:26 [1] 1.51 km (10:14 / km) +12m 9:51 / km
6c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Setting controls.

Orienteering 17:57 [1] 1.94 km (9:16 / km) +59m 8:02 / km
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Hauling water out to the water control. I double-checked the location when I arrived.
11 AM

Running warm up/down 1:47 intensity: (7 @2) + (31 @3) + (1:09 @4) 0.37 km (4:50 / km)
ahr:156 max:167 shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

I started to warm up for my race, but Jeff stopped me to discuss Traverse details, and I didn't finish.

Orienteering 52:15 intensity: (22 @3) + (28:21 @4) + (23:32 @5) 7.78 km (6:43 / km) +181m 6:01 / km
ahr:175 max:194 23c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

NEOC Breakheart Red Course, set by Lori and Stephen. I ran aggressively, and won, though as I set several of the controls, the race wasn't entirely objective. I'm curious to see whether the splits are biased towards the sites I had already visited. It's fair to say that Giacomo effectively won the race, but I'm happy with my performance.

This morning, I set controls 8, 9, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23, though I had no idea they would be on my course, and didn't study the legs. I won 7 of the 8 controls I set; Giacomo crushed me on the last control.

1) Down the trail
2) Back to the trail and in, a little wobbly on the attack, distracted by another boulder
3) Compass fail; didn't read my map clearly enough. 0:30 lost.
4) After the mistake, I was filled with resolve and ran hard into an easy control.
5) Used the stone wall as a handrail after the road, cleanly in
6) The hillside and reentrant had difficult footing, after punching down to the road, I used the stone wall as a handrail. Passed a few people going up into the control.
7) Around to the left to dodge some of the green. I startled two people walking a course at the flag.
8) Bit of a dubious route choice; I didn't want to climb, so I ran around on the right. The footing was ok, but it was a slog, and probably lost 0:30 to route choice. I did have the benefit of a great attackpoint - up the reentrant and over the hill. Didn't stop to drink.
9) In and out.
10) The woods were great here; I descended two trails and dragged myself up the reentrant. The control was visible from the road, but the climb was tiring.
11) Followed the line of cliffs on the hill to the left, ran over the bare rock, and was momentarily confused by lots of little cliffy gnolls. Took a second to decipher the map inside the circle.
12) Upset by sluggishness, I charged down the hill to the road without much regard for my direction, as I knew the road would be fast and easy into the flag. The descent in the circle was awkward, as the flag was nestled among some rocks. Ran past some civilians on the road.
13) Clean, but maybe getting tired.
14) I hesitated leaving 13 regarding what route to take, and chose poorly. I didn't really know where I was as I descended the hillside, and popped out further north than expected. 0:30 lost; I should have stuck to the trails.
15) I went straight, which was difficult in the thick vegetation. I was counting on the trails serving as collecting features, as negotiating the green required lots of microroute choice. I didn't notice the route to the left along the hill, which I think is best. The control was visible from far off, just tricky getting past the swamp.
16) Busted out to the road and kicked it up. I passed Dean as we left the road to run into the flag.
17) I decided to ignore the trails and charge over the little hill, but I didn't watch my compass closely enough and drifted right. Easy fix, but some time lost (0:10?).
18) Getting around the hills was a little tricky, but the route was very safe across the green-briar strewn bridge. I passed two older people walking to the same control.
19) Blasted down the trail, attacked via the line of big boulders. Clean.
20) I decided to go straight, and saw the cliff high and slightly to my left.
21) Busted down to the road and ran around. Passed a few people.
22) I was a little sluggish getting over the first hill, but once I hit the trail over the large hill, I started kicking and flew past a few people. The descent was steeper than I expected, and my quads burned trying to control my fall.
23) My legs were smoked, and I unsteadily hauled myself down the trail. Crossing the marsh was probably better, and I should have attacked the control north of the cliff rather than south.
F) Nemesis'd.

3 PM

Orienteering 1:11:21 intensity: (2:22 @1) + (14:47 @2) + (23:10 @3) + (29:27 @4) + (1:35 @5) 7.84 km (9:06 / km) +101m 8:33 / km
ahr:149 max:201 7c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280

Running around Blue Hills East making last revisions to control sites. HR spike is spurious. My legs feel so much better in the Orocs than in my decrepit X-talons.

Friday Nov 11, 2011 #

(rest day)

My right calf felt unpleasant today - possibly from traipsing about the Blue Hills in disintegrating O shoes, so I took a rest day instead of going out on a run. The volume from the coming weekend will be high enough, and almost all in terrain.

I am weary. Even as the busiest month of the O-season has ended, I find my fatigue unceasing. The weekend looks to be restful and will have two races with few responsibility, two days to finish the Traverse revisions, a concert, and dinner with a friend. I have few responsibilities left to discharge before the fall NEOC season ends. If I can get the spring schedule completed and meet with the various committees quickly, I might be able to take December off entirely from organizational responsibilities. Sometimes after so much communication and logistics, I find solitude welcoming. I'm still working on balancing my life in a sustainable way, but even as I tire, life goes on.

I had dinner with a friend tonight and explained my worldview - an atheistic mix of modified utilitarianism and absurdism. I think she though it bleak, and I can sympathize with that interpretation, though I think it realistic.

My next major project will be to coordinate a series of training camps among the northeastern clubs into a coherent schedule. CSU and DVOA regularly have training camps, and the US team has intermittently been to Harriman. My proposal is to get a number of clubs - tentatively DVOA, HVO, EMPO, WCOC, CSU, and NEOC - to each take charge for organizing one training camp open to the public during the year. DVOA already has its Hickory Run camp. I envision primarily using three day weekends outside of the busiest A-meet calendar, with two or three exercises each day. I want to minimize the energy barrier for attendance and for organization - attendees can help with control pickup, all exercises can be advanced level, and hopefully basic housing can be arranged. It's still considerable work, so persuading the clubs to organize may be difficult. But even if there were only four weekend training camps presented as a series, it would be a big step in the right direction.

The morrow comes, and new challenges await.

Thursday Nov 10, 2011 #


I took a few pictures of the moon last night with my 70-300mm L F4-5.6 lens. Greg's howitzer could get in closer (of course) with that extra 100m focal length. Most of the shots came out overexposed, but you can make out some of the details and impact craters on the lunar surface. I need to both get a remote shutter and learn more about my camera.

A link to a 100% crop of the moon:

Link to original.

(rest day)

My body is weary after all the running about in the Blue Hills. Last year, my leg was three months recovered from fracturing, and so I mostly walked while setting the Traverse. This year, I can (ostensibly) run, and the hours of punishment have worn me down. I decided to take a rest day; while my legs are a little tired, my core is aching. My feet also hurt from getting poked and prodded by rocks.

Stuff I apparently need to make my apartment more civilized:
- Bathmat
- Carpet for the living room
- Coffee Table
- Microwave
- A second pot for cooking stuff
- Salt and pepper
- Window blinds
- Supersoaker

Wednesday Nov 9, 2011 #

8 AM

Orienteering 2:25:20 [1] 10.4 km (13:58 / km) +438m 11:33 / km
shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

I have removed about a dozen ticks from my person in the past two days, most of which were crawling around on my tights, and none of which had bitten into my flesh. Most of them then died gruesome deaths.

Every moment I spend on I-93 is unspeakable torture and a clear violation of my basic human rights.

Orienteering 13:53 [1] 1.25 km (11:05 / km) +52m 9:11 / km
shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Orienteering 1:22:12 [1] 5.95 km (13:48 / km) +145m 12:19 / km
shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212


I acquired two pairs of X-talons in the spring of 2010 (my second and third pairs) - size 11.5 and 12. While I was incapacitated with my broken tibia from August - October 2010, I would gaze fondly upon them and imagine running in the woods again.

The two pairs have essentially withered, after about 300 km each. I discarded one pair after Pawtuckaway as it had lost enough structural integrity and gained enough holes that ubiquitous New England rocks would occasionally stab through and poke my feet. It turns out that I threw away one size 12 shoe and one size 11.5 shoe.

I have used the remaining pair of shoes for running about in the Blue Hills, but the inner part of the right shoe has disintegrated, and I have developed a mighty callous by the ball of my foot to compensate. I have a pair of Orocs that I use for racing, and a new pair of X-talons waits in my closet for the winter.

Tuesday Nov 8, 2011 #


From a letter from OUSA requesting donations:

"Finally, on the field of competition, our national teams have carried our country's flag proudly. We have competed in four world championships, highlighted by Ali Crocker's sixth place finish in the World Ski Orienteering Championships. The best finish by any American ever at this event."

This bothers me for two reasons: first, that Ali finished in eighth on the Ski-O long, and second that OUSA has done absolutely nothing specifically to support any of the national teams. This point has been raised, but receiving a letter lauding the "exciting year for Orienteering USA" is particularly insulting.

The national teams are a conspicuous component of orienteering in the United States, and publicizing their achievements has many uses. However, to implicitly associate their successes with the national federation and its strategic plan when the teams have been hung out to dry by the federation is frustrating. I would like to see OUSA direct at least a token amount of the general operating budget to the US Teams. Even two or three thousand dollars would send a message that while this is a rebuilding year, the board is committed to supporting the teams and is willing to contribute and not simply take credit for others' achievements. I know PG and Eddie, among others, have made points to this effect.

I'm not sure if this letter went to all the membership or just to donors.

2011 OUSA Budget Proposal (couldn't find the passed version)
2011 OUSA Budget Memo - page 2-3 explicitly addresses the US Team finances


"You can't be common, the common man goes nowhere; you have to be uncommon."
"Great moments are born from great opportunities."

Perhaps somewhat less motivational:
"You guys are getting bent over and they're not using Vaseline."
2 PM

Orienteering 2:19:08 [1] 13.44 km (10:21 / km) +410m 8:59 / km
shoes: 201006 Inov-8 X-talon 212

Running around Blue Hills East. I spent some of the time wandering around the map, checking out features and some of the time vetting control sites. I was rather tired at the end, probably exacerbated by insufficient lunch in my haste to get out before the sun set. I continued until it was too dark to see.

During the Pawtuckaway training camp, I had the fourth movement of Mahler 9 stuck in my head. I don't remember what was playing during the Needham, but there was a soundtrack. Today had a hodgepodge of classical music, some of which I was unable to identify; Alpine Symphony, Strauss' Don Juan, and the second movement of Rach Piano No. 2 featured prominently.

Monday Nov 7, 2011 #

9 PM

Strength training 15:00 [3]
(rest day)

10-minute abs:
Tuckups, kayakers, plank, situps, flutter kicks, oblique crunches, two minutes of single leg bridge, cherry pickers, and leg lifts. I finished up with 2x side plank, an additional minute of plank, and two minutes of supermans. I did the extra supermans because my back felt weak after crouching through Pawtuckaway's branches.

My body is tired after all the activity this weekend, so I took a rest day. The legs feel good.

Sunday Nov 6, 2011 #

11 AM

Running warm up/down 8:03 intensity: (7 @0) + (1:10 @1) + (46 @2) + (3:40 @3) + (2:20 @4) 1.17 km (6:51 / km) +2m 6:48 / 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.

Orienteering 43:18 intensity: (7 @1) + (50 @2) + (1:59 @3) + (40:22 @4) 5.92 km (7:19 / km) +61m 6:57 / 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.

Quickroute. Errors apparent at 5, 11, and 13.

Orienteering 27:16 intensity: (4 @2) + (2:47 @3) + (24:25 @4) 4.1 km (6:39 / km) +46m 6:18 / 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 [2] 0.62 km (7:09 / km) +1m 7:06 / 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 intensity: (4 @0) + (19 @1) + (3:19 @2) + (5:19 @3) + (7:40 @4) 1.82 km (9:10 / km) +19m 8:43 / 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.

Saturday Nov 5, 2011 #

10 AM

Orienteering 39:52 intensity: (7:22 @1) + (9:24 @2) + (11:14 @3) + (11:48 @4) + (4 @5) 3.01 km (13:16 / km) +55m 12:09 / 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.

Orienteering (Control picking) 39:28 intensity: (10 @1) + (17 @2) + (2:01 @3) + (23:48 @4) + (13:12 @5) 4.96 km (7:57 / km) +66m 7:27 / km
ahr:170 max:182 21c shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212


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.
2 PM

Orienteering (Contour-only) 45:54 intensity: (13 @2) + (5:52 @3) + (38:39 @4) + (1:10 @5) 4.92 km (9:20 / km) +106m 8:25 / 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.
3 PM

Orienteering 44:23 [4] 4.45 km (9:58 / km) +90m 9:03 / 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.

Running 7:38 intensity: (3:15 @3) + (4:23 @4) 1.44 km (5:19 / km) +2m 5:17 / km
ahr:157 max:167 shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212

Run back with Giacomo. Tired.

Friday Nov 4, 2011 #

Bowling 1 [1]
shoes: Dexter Ricky II Bowling

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.
5 PM

Running 41:43 intensity: (6 @1) + (38 @2) + (14:00 @3) + (26:59 @4) 8.9 km (4:41 / km) +5m 4:41 / 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.

Thursday Nov 3, 2011 #


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
5 PM

Running 57:09 intensity: (14 @1) + (54 @2) + (11:41 @3) + (40:26 @4) + (3:54 @5) 11.49 km (4:58 / km) +6m 4:58 / 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.

Wednesday Nov 2, 2011 #


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.
9 PM

Bowling 6 [3]
shoes: Dexter Ricky II Bowling

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%
11 PM

Running 38:04 intensity: (17 @0) + (12 @1) + (31 @2) + (25:23 @3) + (11:38 @4) + (3 @5) 7.0 km (5:26 / km) +22m 5:21 / 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.

Tuesday Nov 1, 2011 #

11 PM

Running 46:41 intensity: (1 @0) + (7 @2) + (17 @3) + (45:28 @4) + (48 @5) 10.49 km (4:27 / km) +13m 4:25 / 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.

Strength training 2:00 [3]

After lengthy stretching, 2x32 pushups.

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