Friday, April 19, 2013

April O' week

I decided that one of my weaknesses in orienteering, compared to people who live in a country that actually does this sport, is that I don't spend enough time in terrain or looking at maps.  Since I can't actually take multiple training camp weeks every year, I figured maybe this spring I'd try a once-monthly stay-at-home training camp, fondly referred to as "O' week".  How hard could it be?

Well, March's O' week didn't quite go as I'd hoped - it was too big a jump in running miles straight off of ski season, even though those miles were soft and squishy, and I ended the week with a mild calf strain.  Thankfully, I left wisdom dictate my actions and took a day off, but as a result, it was a six day week.  It was a nice kick-start to my orienteering, though, and I was feeling confident in the forests.

April O' week started with a weekend of local training.  Normally I start my week (mentally) on a Monday, but somehow these O' weeks have been kicked off with a training camp, so far.  So last Saturday, I headed to Pawtuckaway, with Ian, Izzy, and Dave, and we did a solid 3hr day in the woods, on a truly glorious early spring day.  No bugs!

We started with a corridor training:

I only blatantly left the corridor once, and had two mega mistakes when I lost contact with the map.

Next up was a window training, which is an excellent exercise working on relocation, distance estimation, and direction.

The last exercise was a control pick, and I had to cut things a little short to make it back in time:

Sunday, Giacomo and Brendan hosted a one-day training camp at the Fells, and we had a really decent attendance, with maybe 30-40 people coming by for the morning activities. I helped put out a couple extra streamers, and then started out on the line-o. It was neat to see so many people out in the woods, mostly looking around trying to puzzle things out, but otherwise looking like they were having a good time. Cool! My line-o went pretty well, though I did lose the line once or twice. After that, I did the "o'tervals" session, which was meant to be an orienteering interval session. Again, I made two really bad mistakes, but I had a great time out there, occasionally racing Kristin Hall. Upon getting back from that, I started out on the control pick, but discovered that actually I was tired and hungry, so I gave up on that idea and ate lunch instead. Post lunch was a relay, and Ed and I teamed up. This was fun, and definitely a good time to be out in the woods with so many other people!

Above, left to right: Line-o (follow the line), interval session, control pick, relay leg 1, relay leg 2.

With the weekend over, I decided that even O' week deserves a rest day, and worked from home to avoid the general chaos of the Boston Marathon. I spectated a little on Heartbreak hill, then went home and heard the terrible news about the bombing at the finish. Of all places to kill and maim people, the finish of a marathon is the most cruel, and the place you'll find the most resilience. I've read so many stories of bravery and heroism, large and small, from people near that finish line. I've heard the stories of people who were nearly blown up, but for the wall of bodies taking the blast instead. I've heard the stories of "well I would have been right there, but...". It's sickening, but if there is any city that will rebound, it's Boston. This race, this city - as tragic as those deaths are, people will be back to run this race again. People are already out and about again, driving like massholes and living their lives. We haven't forgotten, we haven't moved on, but we won't let the selfish act of a crazy idiot hold us down.

Geez, I started thinking about that guy with his legs blown off, and I'm not sure I want to write about o' week anymore.

Tuesday is workout day, so that meant hills at Prospect Hill park.  It was a cool exercise, with a long leg up the hill, and then some short legs coming back down the hill to stress your brain while in oxygen debt.  I ran myself thoroughly out of oomph, then got on my bike and headed to work.

Wednesday I was working at home again, since everyone else in the office was out and about or working at home, and that meant I could take a loooong lunch break, heading back into the Fells for some training exercises that Boris had designed.

Thursday was the first CSU park-o of the year! I was excited, even though it was on a boring map, in Danehy Park. I was feeling pretty good and moving pretty well, until I mis-read the clue sheet, and navigated my way to the wrong side of an uncrossable fence. This was a 2.5min mistake, which isn't actually acceptable in a 14min race. Oops.

One final day in O' week, and I jogged over to Hammond Pond on Friday morning to do a control pick, designed by Alexei, before catching the T to work. Of course, just as I was finishing that up, my phone starts ringing, and apparently, I was supposed to check the news before going out, because the city is in lockdown, and there's a manhunt going on in Watertown. Eep! I scurried home, and thankfully didn't run into any crazy armed wackos.

Tomorrow is the Speedygoat, out in Amherst, and Sunday is the Billygoat, also in Amherst. I'm excited, because the Billygoat is one of the most awesome races ever! Hopefully all this orienteering this week will have sunk into my brain, and I do smart things and beat all the M45s.

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