O Log - Last A Meet of the Season


    Here is my Water Gap '03, Day 1 map.

    Here is my Water Gap '03, Day 2 map.

    Last year I needed a pair of good races at the end of the season. I had two turkeys and spent the whole winter living with it. This year I needed two good races at the end of the season and did it. 7th place in a strongish M21 field. 45 sec booms day 1, 2 min or so day 2. I guess that's improvement. My improvement is so gradual I have to compare year to year, but I still feel that leap of improvement since day 1 of the Scottish 6 days.

    I felt the ability to "turn on" the 100% concentration like I wrote about after Pond Mountain. I don't remember feeling that before except after a really bad race, but I guess its possible. I just figured you can't control your thoughts, but I believe you can, I guess. Three races in a row. I had the ability to force out irrelevant thoughts, like is this pace fast enough to beat so and so or whether or not I should buy another Iced Earth album. I would just say "wrong thought" to myself.

    The problem will be remembering how to do this next year. The next A meet isn't 'til March. At local meets, where I know the maps and the course setting and terrain seem to demand less concentration, I can get away with much less than 100% focus. I think it will be important to do this 100% thing in the off-season, even if it isn't necessary. It will also be important to find maps I have not been on with challenging course setting until this becomes a habit, but that is easier said than done.

    I guess there are some observations about these races. The cost of 100% concentration/contact is not free. If I can make it automatic, perhaps it will be nearly free someday. I was not happy with my routes in many cases. I felt less capacity for route planning. I generally took safer, more expensive routes, I think. For me, going over or thru terrain obstacles seems safer than going around them. For some reason, I often lose it going around things -- I'm not sure why, topic for another day. But in this terrain, hills are expensive to go over. The green, tho, is not bad, and worth going thru rather than around, I think. I guess if there is a regret, I have to feel I was playing not to lose, rather than playing to win, as football announcers say. But I would not have been able to live the off-season with a race ruining boom. My bobbles were all tiny. I imagine I would have been 5% faster if I were more aggressive, assuming no booms because of this. I won't sweat it.

    There was a route choice problem on the first leg of day 1. I think that bothers me, but I think it shouldn't. I got it wrong, seeing the trail and taking it, since I like trails on the first leg to get in sync. But straight was better for me. Oh well. Leg 8 day 1 I could not find the trail I wanted. That pissed me off. The map was 3 years old, the trail was mapped faint, and it was leaf season, so nothing to complain about, but I lost some time recovering. At least I recovered. I may have lost anywhere from 3-10% on route choice. Good, areas for future growth.

    I did some other things right. I did a cool down run after day 1. The team had a 1K sprint course. I'm not sure if 1K counts as a cool down distance, but that coupled with stretching and stretching before day 2 helped with my day 2 speed problem. Its the strongest I've felt on a day 2 after a long, physical day 1. It is amazing how little I know about running physiology. ONA should have articles on this rather than things irrelevant to the sport of orienteering. But who am I to complain? I'll have to find time to learn about this stuff also. Sheesh.

    Part of me is glad the season is over. I can try to get over my leg injury completely. Doctor offered me steroid shot today. I declined, this sort of thing spooks me. He said re-evaluate at end of year. He doesn't think it is necessary or indicated. I guess that is good. He says stop racing and training and it gets better. Duh, I guess, but that is so hard to do. I don't know whether to ease up or train harder in the off season. I think I'll take it easy for 2 weeks, hope I'm 100%, then start cranking it up gradually. I dunno. Where are the ONA articles?

    And Mary, if you're reading this -- here's to a quick recovery.