O Log - Year End Review

[ 7-Jan-05] 

    I remember one proximate goal from the beginning of last year, and that was to lose weight. I lost some, but not as much as I wanted. Another proximate goal was probably to increase training. I failed to do this, as I noticed a correlation with injury -- particularly tendinitis behind the knee, which, at least in my case, is debilitating. When I tried to increase, I felt some tenderness. Perhaps just an excuse. I'm quite skittish about this injury recurring, as it knocked me out a good six weeks or more last time. I can never know if "listening to the body" is real or just an excuse, but I was able to have basically an injury free year by being cautious. Perhaps I also underachieved because of it. How does one know? I'm old, and recovery is harder than for younger people, so the goal of increasing training is tough. I was able to increase the quality of training, by adding speed work on a regular basis.

    Proximate goals for next year remain the same, tho I am not sure how to get there.

    I orienteered much better this year. My average time per K declined 3.34% over last year, and this was the best improvement since the large scale improvements of the learning curve era before what seemed like those endless plateau years. I don't know how much time per K means, but over a large number of races, the anomalies should average out. More importantly, I felt more like I understood what was going on out there at a near capacity pace in the forest. The Dallashyle Effect carried thru from the end of last year, which was a proximate goal. So I get to keep running 21, as my rule is that as long as my time per K improves year over year, I get to do this. Looking ahead, there is still improvement potential on the mental side (booms), tho I don't see it on the physical side. Its really depressing to get older and older, tho it remains an interesting challenge to see if more optimization can be wrung out of the economic problem of O.

    My place ranking is about the same, tho I think my time rank is better. I think the 21 field is more competitive, so I have to be happy with holding place. Unfortunately, the rankings were miscalculated, and this hurt me, tho I'm not sure by how much or if it would show up in the math (a mass start race was included that I did poorly in, while a race I ran intervals in which I did great was not). It is something I would let pass except for the fact that rankings affect WOC team selection, and we had a selection decided by 4 seconds one year. There is actually a whole blog topic here, but I'm hesitant to explore it further as my judgement is obviously biased. I smashed my PR in the world ranking system, getting into the low 300s. Nothing to get excited about, but a far cry from when I started, which was wondering if I would ever even run a red course.

    I orienteered 106.7 hours this year, by my counting system. That faster pace per K prevents a more gaudy number, I guess. Other training comes out to 125 hours trail/XC; 0 hours road (I can aspire to be the highest ranked orienteer that has never in my life trained or run a road race), and about 50 hours of aerobic cross training. Also a decent amount of upper body weight training, which I highly recommend. I don't understand the biomechanics, but for some reason, upper body weight work improved my running performance. In any case, pathetic numbers, but we play the cards we're dealt.

    Best performances of the year were middle distance APOC race, 15th place M21, 4th place Hudson Highlander, and winning the Mid Atlantic championships over a strong field. The latter was especially sweet, and the best race of all time, I think. Fortunately, it was only two months ago, which I hope bodes well, but I feel so old sometimes. All of these were over-achievements that show a glimpse of what is sometimes possible, tho there never seems to be a way to force success to get there. You really do have no control. When I'm in hopeless decline, I'll remember these three races, if nothing else. I really believe that all races are training, even major championships. Training for what? Training for the next race, of course, even if its a club race, and that chance to experience that peak feeling, that zone, that glimpse, which, at least for me, only occurs in a handful of races each year.

    Best US A meets of the year (and I don't count DVOA or SVO meets), and this is based on organization, maps, terrain, course setting, and not my performance, were --

    1) Devil's Lake, Wisconsin 2) HVO Harriman meet 3) Telemark US Champs

    There were alot of other great races this year, and it is a shame to leave them off the list.

    Best international meet I attended was Euregio 6 days, Austria/Italy. Jackass award goes to WMOC, how such stupidity could abound at one of the largest events on our sport amazes me.

    It also occurs to me that I competed in championships (national or continental), on 4 different continents this year. I wonder if that is a world record?

    Looking ahead, I will probably travel less. I did alot. I thought it was important to at least once, try a little immersion (how's that for an oxymoron). I learned so much, and certainly didn't race as much as Europeans do, I imagine. It can only help down the road in looking to become a decent course setter or coach.