Thursday, August 30, 2012

Race Techniques

Over the past 7 months during my travels I had some race techniques that have really come in handy during races and real life. I have also practiced them a lot that it is really easy to do them now. I have a pre-race technique which is relaxation and during my race I have to key words to help me focus and stay on course.

I have been practicing my pre-race relaxation for about a year now. Before race I use to get really nervous and feel extremely nauseous but I am better now I still get a little nervous. The relaxation I started out with was you would take a deep breath and clench the muscles in one body part, hold for 5 seconds and breath out I start with my forehead and work down to my toes. Over time I didn't need to clench I could just breath and slowly relax and now I just have to say my key word and breath to relax. I have used this technique at all my races and even in a lot of stressful situation during my travels.

During my race I have to key words that I use, focus and compass. Focus is because I use to get really distracted during my races and lose contact with the map. Now when I feel my focus slipping or see someone else running I just tell myself focus and I snap back. My other word compass goes along with focus. When I tell myself compass it reminds my to check that I know where I am on the map and that my barring is right. It also helps when I fall or if I am swatting at bugs right after I just think compass and go through the steps to make sure I am going the right way

My race techniques have really helped improve my orienteering and have also helped in my everyday life. Relaxation has helped me in lots of stressful situations and I can focus a lot more on projects at work and not get distracted as easily.

Emily Kemp on CTV Ottawa

CTV Ottawa featured Emily Kemp and her bronze medal last night. It's a pretty sweet clip. Thanks to Emily, Jeff Teutsch, and James Richardson for making this happen! Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

Friday, August 24, 2012

O-Races as a competitor and as an organizer

I was tired after the Canadian Championship races last weekend near Edmonton in Alberta. It was a challenging bunch of races with the heat, the tall grass and the mosquitoes. I was also tired from the couple of weeks before when I was doing a lot of planning for the Ontario Orienteering Championships. My club the Stars are hosting the Ontarios this fall in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Things are coming along nicely, but organizing an orienteering event takes a lot of energy and effort. I am responsible for the course setting of two of the three races that weekend and along with all the other technical aspects organizing an event definitely takes a toll on my training. On the other hand, I know how much effort goes into hosting an orienteering event with planning, mapping, course setting, dealing with registration and lots of other issues. It makes me grateful to the organizers of all the other events I participate in each year.
As competitors we want to be successful, and as event organizers we want success as well. That means many happy competitors. As an organizer I think about what I want as a competitor from a race and try to offer a nice challenging course. That’s what I am going to do for the Ontarios. Our club will do our best to give our competitors good orienteering challenges, and we hope we have lots of participants to make it a good event.
Register (, plan your trip, train hard and come out and compete. Use this event as your last test before the North American Orienteering Championships and then treat yourself to a beer at the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany happening in Kitchener that weekend. We have a brand new area for the middle distance, a nice campus map for the sprint, and a tough technical terrain on an updated Hilton Falls map, which Golden Horseshoe Orienteering has very kindly allowed us to use. This technical terrain is adjacent to the site of the NAOC 2006 and will be very challenging.
I promise not so much heat, not so much tall grass, and definitely no blood donations to the mosquitos! And all three  races are part of Canada Cup where you can score more points. For you and for your club .

Train hard, stay healthy

Nick Duca

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Canada Cup Elite Series ~ Another Update!

Well we warned you last week that this Elite Series would go right down to the wire, and we weren't wrong! Forget what you read last week ~ it's all change at the top of the standings! For those of you who aren't aware, the Canadian Orienteering Championships were held this past weekend in Edmonton, AB. That meant there were 3 more races to run hard and score some good points.

In the women's standings, Pam James has taken the lead with 108 points, with Carol Ross moving up in to second place with 95 points. Emily Kemp is right behind Carol with 94 points, with her sister Molly trailing in fourth place with 83 points.

Top 5 women scorers at the COC's:
5. Jennifer MacKeigan (YOA) ~ 30 points
4. Kendra Murray (YOA) ~ 40 points
3. Pam James (OANS) ~ 53 points
2. Carol Ross (ONB) ~ 70 points
1. Emily Kemp (OOC) ~ 86 points

On the men's side, Will Critchley has taken the lead from Eric Kemp by only 1 point! Will and Eric have pulled away from the rest of the pack now; Eric has a 72 point lead over third place Graeme Rennie of North Vancouver.

Top 5 men scorers at the COC's:
5. Brian May ~ 49 points
4. Damian Konotopetz ~ 53 points
3. Eric Kemp ~ 61 points
1. Mike Smith ~ 80 points
1. Will Critchley ~ 80 points

In the club standings, Ottawa OC have taken over GVOC, and now lead with 495 points over 431. Can GVOC come back to clinch the club crown once again?! Here is the full list of standings to date.

There are only 5 Canada Cups left to go ~ BC Championships Sprint, the Ontario Championships, and the New Brunswick Long distance. Looks like it'll be a nail biter to the last race!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canada Cup Elite Series ~ Standings Update

The latest tally for the Elite Series is in, and we have a new leader in the women's standings! Molly Kemp has overtaken Louise Oram for the top spot, with Kerstin Burnett now tied with Louise for second place. In the men's race, Eric Kemp is still at the top of the standings, with Eric and Will Critchley now pulling away in points from the rest of the field. There are still a few races left to go this season, so make sure you stay tuned! You can view the full standings as of August 13th here.
In the group standings, Ottawa OC is creeping up towards GVOC's dominant position. GVOC is determined to hang on to the "Best Club in Canada" crown, and won't give up without a fight! It'll be tough though, given the lack of GVOC representation at the elite level at COC's this year...

Stay tuned for updates as the season wraps up... it'll be one to watch!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thank-you to our support team!

I have a friend who is a huge movie lover and every year she watches the Oscars without fail. Not only does she sit through the presentation for best film, best actress, and so on, she also makes sure to watch the presentation for Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, and Best Editing. She firmly believes that it's important to not only acknowledge the actors and actresses, but also the talent and expertise of the background personnel that go in to making a motion picture. It's the same with any great sports team, and I want to take a moment to acknowledge those in the background who assisted our athletes who competed in Europe this year.

Team selection is one of the toughest jobs around, and the selection committees this year worked long and hard to choose the best representatives for Canada. The WOC and WUOC teams were selected by Magnus Johansson, Brian May, and Magali Robert, and the JWOC team was selected by Brent Langbakk, Katarina Smith and Nina Wallace. Selection is never an easy, nor a unanimous task, so thanks to all of you for your time and contribution!

Pam James took on the role of team leader at WUOC; going to meetings, organizing the logistics, and making sure everyone was in the right place at the right time. Thanks Pam!

Brent Langbakk has been working closely with all the HPP junior athletes this year; spending time on the phone with each athlete individually, creating individualized training plans, and kicking ass motivating athletes to train. The 'to-do' list to get those 8 athletes to JWOC was about 4.5 pages long, with Brent doing a good chunk of that work. Brent raised the level of professionalism and dedication among the junior athletes this year. Thank you Brent!

Also at JWOC was Team Leader Stefan Bergstrom. Stefan took care of a lot of the admin tasks both before and during JWOC; allowing Brent to focus on coaching. He went to the team leader meetings, made sure the athletes were on the right buses, and met them at the finish. Stefan also acted as reporter and photographer, sending daily athlete interviews and photos to the communications team for the Team Canada Blog. Thank you Stefan.

A huge thank you must go to Magnus Johansson, who has coached the HPP for many years now. Magnus has spent countless hours assisting with training plans, coaching athletes, and clamoring through with all the crazy paperwork involved in getting the team to WOC. At WOC, Magnus attended daily team leader meetings, ensured everyone was in the right place at the right time, and still found time to kick ass at the spectator races. Thank you Magnus!

Special mention also to assistant Team Leader Andrea Balakova. Andrea ensured the athletes were on time and on track, attended team meetings when Magnus wasn't available, and played an important role in helping with registration and accommodation logistics. You might also have noticed her excellent interviewing skills in some of the WOC videos this year! Thanks Andrea!

To Adrian and Charlotte, who attended many long IOF meetings, took photos, interviewed athletes, and spent time each night to email quotes, videos, and photos for the Team Canada blog. Your expertise, insights, and dedication does not go unnoticed!

Also in the background, Dave Graupner keeps track of the finances and writes the cheques. Thanks Dave for your work on this!

Over the 3 weeks of European races, Meghan Rance was up every night following the races online, and providing her insights for the blog. During the week of JWOC, Meghan Rance did an excellent job writing the Team Canada blog posts. Thanks Meghan!

Alison, the communications guru for the high performance program, did a great job this year to improve communication around Canada’s elite orienteering program. Alison has been instrumental in making sure that we’ve had consistent communication both within and outside the orienteering community. Alison wrote the communications plan this year and has been instrumental in implementing it. Thanks Alison!

It's also prudent to acknowledge the High Performance Committee (HPC), consisting of Magnus Johansson, Brent Langbakk, Adrian Zissos, Charlotte McNaughton, Patrick Goeres, Eric Kemp, Mike Waddington, and Alison Price. These guys meet once a month, and can be credited with the development of initiatives that assist the growth of elite orienteering in Canada. The HPC is always looking for technical and non-technical (such as the Team Leader position Stefan took on) volunteer assistance to develop elite orienteering. Email if you think you'd like to help out.

Lastly, thank you to our athletes: Louise Oram, Will Critchley, Patrick Goeres, Robbie Anderson, Jeff Teutsch, Eric Kemp, Damian Konotopetz, Trevor Bray, Alex Bergstrom, Emily Ross, Emily Kemp, Kendra Murray, Molly Kemp, and Kerstin Burnett. It's your commitment and drive to compete at the elite level that motivates us to help you get there.

Alison and Patrick