Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Urban Rogaine


This Saturday I completed my longest orienteering event yet: a 3-hour urban rogaine through the streets of Victoria! It started at the University of Victora, my home campus, and spanned three separate maps: the UVic orienteering map at 1:10 000, and street-O maps of two adjacent neighbourhoods (Gordon Head and 10 Mile Point) at 1:15 000.
The first part and the last part of my route were on the UVic map
Instead of using SI, each participant carried a sheet of questions to be answered at control locations, such as giving the registration number of a fire hydrant, or “When are beach fires permitted?’ (“Not at any time,” according to a sign above the beach access). At times this was frustrating if I had trouble finding an answer, since I am used to big orange flags and a control description saying the exact location. But it was also fun to have different tasks at each control. It was fun to explore some new parts of the neighbourhood too – there are lots of hidden trails and beach accesses throughout 10 Mile Point that I had never been to before. 

The ocean!

It was a gorgeous day: a little chilly but the sun was sparkling off the ocean, and lots of walkers and joggers were out. (At one point I had a middle aged couple ask me if I was volunteering – I guess they saw me making notes – and then try to direct me to the park… I told them I was “racing” and kept going…)

There were 86 controls, of which I got to 49 (compare to the winning score of 56). I didn’t even get to Gordon Head, but I am happy with my race anyway – there were a lot of controls, and a lot of ground to cover! I don’t have a GPS, but according to Google maps, I ran about 21 km. By the end, my body was feeling pretty worn out, but I think as continue to train I will be able to run for longer with more ease and grace. The biggest technical challenge was definitely route choice (and I can always benefit from some route choice practice!). It took some planning ahead on the way out to the point, to decide which central controls I should go to, and which ones to leave for the way back.
Almost got them all!
I'll have to do this part another day :)

I'm looking forward to doing a self-organized rogaine on the Gordon Head map sometime soon. It's nice to be able to train with a map, even a simplified one, and it makes training more exciting!

The results are available from the VicO website: http://www.orienteeringbc.ca/vico/

Monday, November 12, 2012

The 5 Stages of Orienteering Grief

There is no such thing as a perfect race in orienteering. We all make mistakes of varying sizes, but it can be hard to come to grips with them. You may experience denial about your mistakes, anger at the course setter, bargain about what could have been if only… wait this may sound familiar. The five stages of grief, usually applied to major life changes, are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. These stages can occur in any order and be applied to other things, such as sports injuries (for instance, at first we often deny we are injured)! Perhaps a better understanding of these stages can help us deal with our orienteering hang-ups?

While making a mistake orienteering you might deny the error, bargain about still being where you wish you were, be angry with yourself for making a mistake, and be depressed about the amount of time you have lost. The main thing is that to recover in the best possible way from the mistake, and to most effectively continue the rest of the course, you need to accept that you made the mistake.

You may also experience the five stages of orienteering grief after an orienteering race that went south. You might be angry with yourself, the course setter or mapper. You might comb through the splits analyzing how things could have gone better, or be depressed at coming up short of your expectations in the results. Again, you need to get past this so that these thoughts are not bothering you during your next orienteering race. You need to get to the point of acceptance where you have learned what you can from your race but are no longer dwelling on it.

The question is, how best to do this?

For fun, and for further understanding of the 5 stages: a giraffe in quicksand.  

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Sport psychology strategies?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Season Ends with NAOC's

I am finally able to give everyone an update about my experience at the NAOC’s after being busy with school and my short track speed skating. It has almost been a month since the NAOC’s that were held in the Delaware Water Gap, PA. The NAOC’s was a great event to attend, great competition, great atmosphere and good organization. I was happy with my races considering the lack of orienteering I did since the COC’s in August. The middle was held on some awesome terrain that I really enjoyed, my result was almost awesome as well but made a poor route choice decision and paid for it really bad. The long was a very physically tough race; I did not have the speed at all and combined with small mistakes here and there made for a mediocre result. The sprint was fast and furious and I am the most happy with this race despite learning a new lesson, if you know you’re at the right control don’t bother checking the code because if you compare it to the wrong code you will lose over 1 minute and lose what could have been a medal for sure and possibly a gold. The relay was a great opportunity to practice a relay race since there are not many opportunities to race them. It was great fun until I could not find one of my controls, it turned out after running by it a few times within meters it was on the ground and that’s why I could not find it. It is really is too bad that it happened that way but it did. Overall the NAOC’s was a jammed packed weekend of great orienteering, great maps and tons of friendly Canada/USA competition.

Middle finish in the pouring rain.

Long finish.

Train on,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ahh graduation is approaching! hmmm maybe I should make a plan...

A couple years ago I was lucky enough to be able to go to JWOC and compete as part of team Canada. It was a great experience and was amazing to be able to be part of that atmosphere of intense competition.  However, I myself was not at that level and although it was a lot of fun I told myself that I didn't really want to compete internationally again until I had done significantly more training! Unfortunately, there is no orienteering team or maps in Kelowna (where I am going to school, studying nursing) and my motivation for training everyday dwindles when I don’t have people to train with, sad I know, but after 3 years here, I have to admit it as the truth... So in attempt to gain some speed, I joined a local triathlon group this past summer and this fall trained with the varsity cross country team.

Training exclusively for running was interesting as it was something that I had never done, but just reinforced to me how I would love to be in a place where I could meet every night with an orienteering specific training group!  I then began to think of the areas within Canada that have established orienteering programs and thinking of reasons that I would move there. This thought process coincided with the idea that I had been toying with of doing my masters (which seems to me like a really good way to put of deciding what ‘I am going to do with my life’, something I seem to have to know when I graduate in June...)

After looking more into different places I could take my masters and what programs were offered within Canada, I began to consider international options.  Mainly Europe... and seeing as my Mum’s from Scotland I thought it would be neat to be there for a year or so. There are a couple schools that I am looking into and one that looks promising is the University of Edinburgh, which not only has an appropriate nursing masters program, but also has an orienteering club that practises 4 times a week! :D I am in the process of investigating the program further, but am very excited about the possibility of being able to train at an appropriate level for someone of my skills (the club level, no French national teams for me! :P) but also at being so close to the many European competitions held every year.

After much discussion I decided that it was essential to work for a year before doing my masters, *sigh* Scotland you will have to wait another year... In the meantime I am hoping to keep up some of the speed I have gained running with the cross country team and hopefully get out to as many meets as possible this summer! Well that’s the plan, hopefully not too much of a pipe dream!

Head HPP Coaches Announced!

Orienteering Canada's High Performance Committee (HPC) are delighted to announce that Brent Langbakk has once again accepted the position of Head Junior National High Performance Program Coach. Brent did not think that he would be able to take on the coaching role this year, but has arranged his schedule so that he is able to work with the junior HPP athletes. Brent brings a ton of experience to this role, including 5 years as head coach of the successful Yukon Junior Program, and coaching Team Canada to the best ever results at the 2012 Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC).

This year, Darius Konotopetz will work alongside Brent as Assistant Coach. Darius has represented Canada twice at JWOC, has a degree in education with a major in kinesiology, and has experience coaching a wide variety of sports, including soccer, ultimate frisbee, and cross country.

Although not completely finalized, the 2013 coaching structure for the High Performance Program will look quite different to 2012. The HPC are actively recruiting regional mentors to work with local HPP athletes. Mentors working with junior athletes would have support from Brent and Darius, and would work one on one with a small number of juniors to develop training plans, as well as some technical coaching. If you are interested in volunteering with one or two juniors in your area, please email Brent at brent (dot) langbakk (at) gmail (dot) com. 

The HPC was not successful in engaging a coach for the senior High Performance Program athletes. The HPC is currently working on a plan to compensate for this vacant position, and details will be released shortly.

We're still looking for Team Leaders to assist at WOC and JWOC. If you're interested, check out the details and email Alison at alimcalison (at) gmail (dot) com by November 15th.

Please join us in congratulating Brent and Darius!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Little Sunday Morning Fun

As most of you know, here in Vancouver we do a fair bit of sprint training. Once a week we have our trainings on a different city park map at a one to four, five or seven point five thousand scale, however in GVOC we also have a series called 'Why Just Run?' Once a month we put on a bigger, electronically timed, race on one of our "forest maps". Here's the map from this week.
Okay so it's a sprint map. But it is actually one of my favorite sprint maps I've ever run on. The reason I love this map is simple - it gets me every time. I'm starting to get the hang of it now that I've run there a couple times but I still can't make sense of parts of it unless I'm standing completely still. I certainly do not have it memorized as well as some areas that I've only ever run in once.This section:
The main area of the SFU Campus is actually made of three different levels - all mapped onto one flat piece of paper. It is mapped well and when you study it now it makes perfect sense how one area is below the other because of that small staircase over there. And how that area must be the middle level because it has grey over it and the tunnel symbol under it. Unfortunately however as the rule in orienteering generally goes, the faster you move the harder it gets. As soon as your sprinting around it becomes a whole different story.

I've always found the biggest challenge in sprint maps is multi-level areas. I'd love to see how the pro's work through knowing what goes where. Have a look at the map, see if you can figure out what up and whats down. Anyways, I just thought it'd be fun to share a favorite map of mine! And don't forget there's plenty more where that came from... I hear the Vancouver Sprint Camp is a good event :p. Results and other courses from this mornings race are on the GVOC page at http://gvoc.whyjustrun.ca/events/view/754

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elites Series 2012 ~ and the winners are.....

It's been an exciting year for 2nd Canada Cup Elite Series! We've had many different leaders and stiff competition over 23 races throughout 2012. But in the end, there can be only one winner... well two actually, but you know what I mean!

In the men's standings; in third place with a grand total of 150 points is Graeme Rennie of the Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club! Second place is Will Critchley of the Edmonton Overlanders Orienteering Club. In first place, with a very decisive 84 point lead, is Eric Kemp of Ottawa Orienteering Club! Congratulations to Eric on a strong season, with a great finish!

In the women's standings, up and coming junior Molly Kemp (Ottawa Orienteering Club) secures third place! Second by a mere 5 points is Carol Ross of Orienteering New Brunswick. Winning for the second year in a row, despite an early season ankle injury, is Louise Oram (Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club). Congratulations to Louise!

In the club challenge, the Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club once again gained the most points, and retains “bragging rights” as the best club for elite orienteering in Canada!

Here are the full final standings!

Louise and Eric both win $300 for their achievement. This year the High Performance Committee is extending cash prizes to second and third places. Carol and Will will receive $150 each, with Molly and Graeme receiving $50. Nice!

What did our winners have to say? We interviewed them both! Check out the videos below. A big Orienteering Canada CONGRATULATIONS to Louise and Eric!

Please join us in wishing a huge Orienteering Canada THANK YOU to the Canada Cup race organizers from coast to coast. There were 23 Canada Cup races in 2012! We're definitely looking forward to the 2013 Canada Cup season!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Balancing Act

Hi Everyone!

It has been a long time since I last wrote a blog, but it has been a busy fall! I am back at Carleton University for my second year studying law. The struggle this year has been to balance an even higher amount of training than last year with a more intensive work load at school. So, I thought I would share my thoughts on this with everyone else out there that has to balance training with school or work!

Here are my thoughts:

            I think of it this way: there are three categories in my life that I must balance: training, school (or work), and all the other little requirements of life. Most people only have to balance two categories, and find that hard enough! Unfortunately (or fortunately,) high-level athletes must add a third category that takes up A LOT of time: training. For me, the two main categories are school and training; however, it does not seem to be any easier balancing these two categories than the full three. School and training take up enough time that it seems logically I should only do one at a time. For most people (myself included) doing one at a time is not a feasible option, so the question remains, how are you supposed to balance the two so you can succeed at both?

           My answer is to prioritize . You must decide what is most important and focus mostly on that. First time management is key, you must not spend your time wholly doing one thing. If school is important one week, sure focus on it, spend more time on it then you would usually, but remember that going for a run or out training every day will still add to your productivity rather than waste time.

            On the other side, if you have a week where your training plan and lack of schoolwork meet up, take advantage of it! Enjoy this week and get that hard training in, or big hours or even just go a little farther afield to train to add to the enjoyment of it. These weeks are truly precious.

However, the realist in me recognizes that really even with prioritizing and amazing time management skills, most of the time for 8 months you and I will be scrambling to keep up with the workload of school and training combined. This is the time when you wonder is it all worth it? Is the stress of it getting to be too much? When this happens to me, all I have to do is take a break and go for a long run in beautiful conditions.  Or out on a truly wonderful map. These excursions make me realize that the stress is worth it. My life would not be complete without training, and its hard to get away from the requirements of life! School keeps the brain occupied and training keeps the enjoyment in life. Balance is key.

And always remember the enjoyment you get racing and training! For me, North Americans was one of those races, it revived in me the enjoyment I get from orienteering and of course hanging out with the people you only see a couple times a year at the big meets! Have a good fall and winter everyone :)