Monday, June 21, 2010

More Pawtuckaway

The CSU orienteers had decided at some point that we wanted to hold more training camps, but a general lack of time makes setting aside a whole weekend pretty difficult to do, so we experimented with a micro-training camp. Basically a training day. It worked well, pretty low-key, just two training sessions, but a pretty high ratio of social and training time to travel time. Of course, Pawtuckaway in the summer means deerflies, and they were just as annoying as in the past, driving each of us to the point of insanity by the time we got out of the woods. I'm not sure you can really understand the severity of deerfly season until you've experienced it, but just try imagining a constant buzzing sound around your head, with flies occasionally landing on you and taking bites, occasionally flying into your mouth, nose, or eyes, and constantly buzzing. Its the buzzing that leads to the insanity. Of course, there were a couple mosquitoes thrown in for good measure, too. Honestly, this park is not all that much fun in the summer. But living in Boston makes you forget that deerflies are out there, just waiting for a hot-blooded mammal to wander into their territory.

Presto before running - all excited to go out. Every club needs an o-dog.

The first course was a route planning activity - we sat down with a partner before running to talk about each leg and come up with the best route. Then the idea was to go into the woods and run your route perfectly. In theory, this will minimize the amount of time you spend standing staring at your map, and therefore minimize the amount of time the slow deerflies can eat you. The fast ones will keep up with you no matter how fast you run. I had trouble getting my head into planning the routes, and then I headed into the woods, and I had trouble getting my head into orienteering, and it took me 18 minutes to get to #1 (for reference, other people took 4 minutes). I'll take the easy out and blame the going-away party I'd had last night.

After #1, things got better and I was able to run away from most of the mosquitoes. I even had fun at times, despite the constant deerfly activity over my head - I had tried wearing a baseball cap, and it was working to keep the buggers out of my hair, although it didn't do much to prevent sweat from pouring into my eyes. I'm not really making this sound fun, am I? Anyway, I did pretty well following my routes and got back to the parking lot with a cloud of deerflies in tow, luckily they didn't like the water when I jumped in the lake, and mostly left us alone during lunch.

The second training session was a partner memory-o. I teamed up with Ali, and the way it works is that for one leg, she would lead, without looking at the map, while I memorized the route to the next control. Then I would lead, without looking at the map, while she memorized the next leg. Its a great way to get better at reading on the run and synthesizing information quickly, and picking out the important features to get you there. We didn't hang any streamers this time, because we didn't want to pick them up, or spend any extra time with the deerflies than we had to, but at least with two people you could verify if you were at the right feature or not.

Leading the memory legs was great - when you don't have a map, all you have is the memorized map in your head, so you can ignore all those pesky little extra features, and move a lot quicker than you would normally. Of course, this sort of sucks for the person following, but that's part of it. I definitely found myself wanted to take a look at the map as I approached the control circle though, just to verify things.

We worked as a team until the 8th control, and then Ali decided that she wanted to redo a control, and there was no way I was running extra - it was hot, I was dehydrated, and the deerflies were driving me mad. I sort of walked to the next control, hoping Ali would catch up, but she didn't, so I jogged the rest of the course on my own. Quite a useful training session, and despite the deerflies, super fun.

Then we got back to the cars (and the lake) and taught Presto how to swim. He isn't what I'd call a natural, and definitely did not enjoy the water as much as the humans. He also did not enjoy the watermelon, but he was quite interested in the ice cream we got later on.

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