Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26 at camp Lapihio

It was indeed one of those extremely hot events we seem to have every year at the end of April and in May. Last year I nearly blacked out on a course, so this time I decided to be extra cautious, walk more and monitor my condition all the time.

Artem offered both regular and Score-O courses and I was in serious doubt which one to choose (Score-O or Green).

Score-O pluses were:

  • 1 hour time limit
  • possibility to run only short legs
But Green had pluses too:
  • Though it was unlikely that I could finish it in 1 hour, I would not have to think as much during the run, as I would have to in case of Score-O. In such hot weather simplicity was very desirable.
  • The course had several challenging long legs, but not in sequence, which was good for me. And I really liked the way the course was designed.
So in the end I chose Green, mainly because my anticipation of slow thinking at the end of the course.

My strategy for the run was as following:
  • I knew I wasn't going to run all the way and would have to switch to a walk sooner or later. I wanted to do it later, so I decided to avoid hills at all cost. Heat was enough to battle through, I didn't need hills to add up to the challenge.
  • I was going to walk up every hill I couldn't avoid - no running up, even at the beginning of the course.
  • I was going to monitor my condition in order to switch to a walk before it gets too bad.

Here is how I ran:

#1: along the green vegetation to the clearance, then used compass bearing to get to the re-entrant and used a small gully as an attack point

#2: down to the creek and ran along it switching sides till the big creek. Crossed it carefully and walked up hill to the trail. Used the trail to get to the road, crossed the power line. Went down to the re-entrant and used its northern slope to get to the clearance. The problem was that I didn't see this clearance on the map - I thought it was all white around the control. So when I reached the clearance I thought that it was the one north from there and instead of taking the control I went south east looking for it. Naturally, I didn't find it and stopped to assess the situation. And only then I noticed that the control was actually inside a clearance. Ouch... Returned back and took it.

#3: went down to the creek and walked up hill to the control watching re-entrant on my left along the way.

#4: was very difficult to get to. The area between #3 and #4 was so flat that the only choice I had was to take a compass bearing and hope for the best. So I took compass bearing to the top of the big re-entrant and fortunately hit it right where I wanted. From there it was an easy run to the control.

#5: crossed the re-entrant to avoid green and ran down to the creek. Ran along the creek and used its curve as an attack point.

#6: no way I was going up that hill, so I went around. Along the creek, used trail for a short while, then along another creek between two hills. As soon as the left hill ended I tuned west and ran on the same elevation till yet another creek, crossed it and went right to the control.

#7: walked up and across the power line and met Michael there. Together we ran west looking for the re-entrant but saw the control first.

#8: went down to the big creek, crossed it and walked up hill. That was my "switching" point. From that moment I pretty much walked all the way except for the final stretch. Anyway, after I crossed the second trail I went across the hill to the re-entrant with a small creek and swamp and used it as an attack point. Also saw the opening on my left when I was walking to the control.

#9: took compass bearing and walked uphill, then down to the re-entrant with the control

#10: with big difficulties (because of fallen trees and greens) went down to the trail. Used the trail to get closer to the control and cut north from the curve. Counted creeks and took creek #3 to go alongside to the control. Used rocks on the right bank as an attack point.

#11: walked up north and reached the trail. Then used the trail a little bit and went down to the control aiming for the cabins.

#12: ran all the way to the finish spending whatever strength I had left.

Ended up spending 74 minutes on the course - not bad for such weather.

Michael finished Orange and liked it very much. Thank you, Artem! Great courses.

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge. Blue - mostly running, yellow-brown - mostly walking.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Summer has come

Went to set ribbons to the Schenck forest today. After two hours walk hanged about 70% - will finish on Tuesday.

It was hot today. After a walk I surely felt like after a long hilly run. Tomorrow event will be tough. Maybe I should walk it too? I still remember how I nearly blacked out in similar conditions a year ago. We'll see.

Some information about the May 3 event.
It will be a Score-O with 32 controls, but only 23 of them will be shown on the map. For the remaining 9 controls only the legend will be present.

Points distribution:

  • 5 points - 4 controls
  • 10 points - 12 controls
  • 15 points - 4 controls
  • 20 points - 2 controls
  • 25 points - 1 control
  • And all 9 "hidden" controls will be for 20 points each - a big bonus.
I am thinking about setting 1.5 hours time limit - a straight line with all controls on it is more than 7 km. Or maybe we'll do both 1 and 1.5 hours like Artem did in Birkhead.

Because of the absence of white and yellow courses, expect somewhat more difficult controls than you usually see in Schenck, though it is virtually impossible to make it too hard out there.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Orienteering in Birkhead Wilderness, Apr 12

Orienteering event was the last "point of interest" in our 5 days journey to South Carolina and Georgia. Tanya, Michael and I spent the last week on a "half-organized" family road trip, driving wherever we wanted, staying in cheap hotels, visiting all kinds of places and doing all kinds of activities (including getting into golf ball size hail). The orienteering event on a way back home capped it nicely.

Artem set up a Score-O event with an extra complexity twist. The sun was shining, the air was cool, the forest was quite open - simply beautiful. Plus I was able to draw a course avoiding big hills and ended up actually running most of the time. Tanya and Michael had a great time too. Thank you, Artem!

My overall strategy was:

  • take easy #18, 17 and 16 at the very beginning in order to warm up and get a feel for the forest and the "complexity twist"
  • go all the way to the 50 pointer #10, taking some controls on the way there
  • then return back taking the rest of the controls on that route
  • take #5, 4, 3 and 2 if time permits (ended up taking only #5 there)
  • don't go over 1 hour

I think the strategy worked very well, especially taking in account that I was able to avoid hills by choosing this route.

Here is how I ran:

#18: simply using trails to get there

#17: ran back to the trail, then turned into the forest right after the re-entrant

#16: went north east till the re-entrant with the dry ditch and used it to get to the control. Found the control, but thought that it was too quick, so went around the pond, found the decoy control; stopped and thought, went back to the correct control and punched it

#15: used the trail until I saw big rocks on the right side, then cut to the control

#14: went over the hill, but didn't see the control - it was well hidden; took another bearing from the small re-entrant and eventually found the pit

#12: went down the hill and continued to the creeks junction, crossed the creek and ran north west to the control

#11: ran along th slope without loosing elevation, noticed re-entrants in a right and left, then went up the hill to the control

#9: decided to go for #9 before going to #10, as it looked easier than going to #10 directly. Simply ran north (north east and then north west) crossing two big re-entrants till I reached the control.

#10: ran east, watching re-entrant on the left, then north east and eventually reached the trail, used trail to get to the control and used trail/re-entrant crossing as an attack point

#8: simply ran south west and then west, avoiding gaining/loosing extra elevation (not much thinking was needed there as I had a good catching feature ahead - the creek), then went down to the creek and continued west along it, crossed the creek and ran along it toward the control, used a bend in the slope as an attack point.

#13: crossed the creek, ran till the green, then crossed the creek again to go around a cliff; after the cliff crossed the creek again and took the control

#7: crossed the creek back and used low ground to go around the hill; had to cut the north spur because of the unmapped green area and went south west; again crossed the creek to go around a cliff, but this time didn't see the control from the other side. Stopped for a few seconds and double-checked everything - everything seemed to be correct. So crossed the creek and immediately saw the control - it was very well hidden.

#6: walked up the hill, then ran along the slope counting re-entrants till the control

#5: went south east, then over the hill, noticed the small re-entrant, but didn't see a control at the rock piles close by, so continued to the next cluster of rocks, didn't see the control there either, spent some time looking then decided to double-check the first cluster and sure enough there was the control.

After that I had only 5 minutes left so I ran to the finish avoiding the re-entrants and using the trails to full advantage. Still ended up 4 minutes late... (with total time of 1:04)

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge.