O Log - To Write?

[14-Dec-03] 

    Last race of the season was snowed out. I showed up, of course, got a map from the course setter, and ran anyway. Map got destroyed by the elements on the way to first control, a 2.5K leg. Did some memory O, bumped into the course setter at the second control, who gave me a new map, and at that point I decided to just help with pickup at race speed. Second map got destroyed also, but I still got in about 90 minutes of running until my toes got numb. What an unsatisfying way for the year to end, but better than nothing. Its a shame, because a race could have been held had the park opened the place and if we had decent map cases.

    I've been thinking about whether or not I should continue this exercise of writing, especially during a time of no races. The question is, does it help? There needs to be a return on investment of all time spent, or I'm better off just doing some laps around a track instead. The answer is, I don't know.

    I do think that some European elites do this, and elites are not the type to waste time.

    I do know I've been improving since doing this, and I do know my improvements in the sport have been mental, as my core running speed has declined, I think, tho my endurance has improved. After the last race of the season, I always query my races for the year to see if I'm getting faster. These queries are based on physical dimensions of the course (length and climb), and as these don't account for variety of vegetation, trails, rock, technical difficulty, course setting style, and whatnot, may not be valid. I like to think that all that evens out thru a full calendar year of races because I've always gotten faster year over year, but they probably are not. It will be sad when they start to decline, but I think I'll be faster next year.

    I was 3.3% faster this year than last, on courses that were 12% more physical than last. Both years had 1 injury of about the same severity and effect. I think I should be happy with that, tho my goal was a 10% improvement. I'll never give up on it. These are my year over year improvement stats --

         speed gain   course difficulty change
         ----------   ------------------------
    1999    39.0%             50.0%
    2000    21.0              10.0
    2001    12.0              12.0
    2002     2.7              (3.0)
    2003     3.3              12.0
    

    Well, I don't think these numbers mean much, tho I feel better at the end of this year than I did at the end of last. I am a better orienteer, at least subjectively. I felt '02 was my worst year, based on improvement, and at the time felt I could never get better.

    So, we don't know if writing helps, but it probably doesn't hurt. I guess I've gotten better because I practice and work hard. Once in a while, tho, it leads me to think of things. So I probably will continue to once in a while, very sporadically. It may get USOF political from time to time, tho despite what some who read my page may think, I try to keep most of that inside. It is a distraction.

    The thing I really love, semiotics and O, I probably will not write much about. I read many books on neurophysiology, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, genetics, perception, consciousness, and all that, and am absolutely certain there is something valuable here that can make people better orienteers, but I feel like a clown writing about it. It needs to be treated as serious science, if at all, and I am not qualified to do that. I do enjoy the antecdotal experience of it, tho, it is a cool discovery, and the process of O has actually allowed me to clarify my thoughts about how the mind/brain work, another of my hobbies.

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