O Log - End of the Season


    My 2005 season ended last week at Nockamixon. Not much to write about that race, I was mildly sick, I hate the venue, and was on my way to a training class in Cambridge, MA. I still gave it my best, but was a bit sloppy and slow. Not a great way to end the season. Everything even a meter off-trail at the place is miserable with a botanist's field guide of every Mid-Atlantic species of thorny plant -- but I think the place could be saved by mapping it ISSOM and making it a sprint venue. It really is interesting enough for sprints, I think.

    I should write about Cambridge. Great place, but it needs a crosswalk law. The local sport seems to be to speed up if you see a pedestrian (i.e. me) in a crosswalk. I guess these things vary state to state. Of course, Boston IMO is the most difficult American city to drive in (even trumps Manhattan and Queens), but I didn't realise the craziness swam across the Charles River.

    Cambridge is a great place, tho, and the best thing about it seems to be the multitude of ethic restaurants. Must visits go to Helmand (Afghan), Oleana (Aegean/Turkish), and Baraka (Tunisian). Worth considering goes to Addis Red Sea (Ethiopian (in Boston)), if you enjoy the unique game of attempting to drive and park legally and free in downtown Boston (yes I should have walked across the river, but it was bitter cold). Having an off day when I visited where Rangzen (Tibetan) and Portugalia (Portuguese).

    Well, back to the O. What should I write about this season? I'm a geek and keep stats, and this was the first season ever where my stats declined from the previous year. That sucks, but at least I was better than in 2003, putting in my second best season statistically. Why did things get worse? Burnout in the beginning of the year, random minor injuries and equipment failures, and I think a too much over-confidence and too much speedwork. I know there was a point where I was not concentrating enough, because I figured "I get it". But no matter how long you've been doing this, you always have to be at peak concentration, at least it seems that way for me. I suppose some people get to a point where they can do it automatically, but I found I could not, and my results were better when I knuckled down.

    As for the speedwork, I did get faster. But my booms and injuries increased. I'm not geeky enough to attempt to correlate the injuries and errors to the speedwork, but when I cut back, my speed when down, but my results improved. Its weird, because in my case, I don't think there is all that much speed change. But there was something. For next season, tho, I want to get back to the speedwork, and see if the same thing happens. Of course, I'm getting naturally slower, and that sucks.

    I did come very close to meeting my weight loss goals, which for someone who hasn't seen a restaurant or bottle of wine or other exotic booze he doesn't want to try at least once, was a major miracle.

    So, it was a good, but disappointing season. Highlights of the year have to be winning the Texas Shootout A meet, orienteering in Portugal (which could possibly become my favorite O destination) and Turkey, 6th and 2nd in the Billygoat and Stumble, and only dropping one place over the past 2 years in the US Champs. And of course, Cervara in Italy.

    Looking ahead to next year, I'm not sure about beating 2004's results, but that has to be the ultimate goal (such that I make them). It will be disappointing to not at least improve from 2005. I'll probably be cutting back on the exotica (passing on Madeira, Mongolia, and Tenefre), but there are a few good-looking O trips in the hopper, finances willing.

    Spike once wrote wondering if courses are getting shorter. Since I started running M21 on a regular basis (2001), my geeky stats show average course lengths (in km) as follows. The third number is average number of controls per course, with the 203 control world record course in 2005 taken out (with it, that number jumps to 22.24).

    • 2001: 8.98 17.55
    • 2002: 8.81 17.14
    • 2003: 9.58 17.68
    • 2004: 8.30 17.58
    • 2005: 8.08 19.80