Monday, November 7, 2011 11:16:27 AM
I've finished mapping the second part of Odem forest, and all is ready for a two-day event in two weeks time. Here is a map sample:
The timing of the event has caused me to do some thinking. The terrain is unique, probably the best in Israel, and definitely attractive for foreign orienteers. My original plan was to use it for the Israeli Championship, which is traditionally held in the second half of February and attracts 50-100 visitors from abroad, but the weather in that period is too risky (at 1000m above sea level...) so it would have had to be moved to March, but then the foreigners might not have come because their season has started, so the ISOA (our federation) decided to have the championship somewhere else. At least now I can participate!
Our second two-day event is the Winter Cup, usually held in late December - again, not an option because of the weather. So this year there is no Winter Cup, and the Odem event in mid-November is called the "Middle-East Championships". However, Odem is far away from most parts of Israel, so nearly everyone needs lodgings between Friday and Saturday, all the camping sites close at the end of October because it's too cold, and there are very few other cheap options.
Problem - we have this fantastic terrain, and we want to use it. Solution - next time, hold a two-day event (or three?) in the summer. Our season usually runs from October to May because of the heat, but Odem is much cooler, so we can hold an event in September or June and still enjoy it. There are various camping grounds in the area, and you can also just pitch a tent in the forest (I always find someone doing it when I arrive in the morning for mapping). And between the races there's sightseeing in the Golan Heights. But the foreigners, I fear, will come only for training during their off-season. Or maybe not...
Sunday, October 30, 2011 8:25:23 PM
Yesterday's national event was the first time I had raced (as opposed to running for fun) since February, and it was an opportunity to see how competitive I can be this season. I did quite well, finishing third in H40, 3 minutes behind the winner, but I don't have the split times yet in order to analyse the performance of my competitors, so I'll try to give an honest analysis of my own situation:
1. I'm back at competitive fitness and running uphill very well, but I'm still too slow in general and in order to overcome that I have to work hard on my anaerobic capacity.
2. I need to practice my rough compass work.
3. My orienteering is good, when I make a technically sound plan and execute it, which is most of the time. Once in a while I just throw myself in the direction of the control (lack of concentration?) and waste time unnecessarily. Controls 12 and 19 are good examples of this.
4. I may not win the rankings this year, but whoever does will have to work very hard in order to do so. In my opinion there are 6-7 of us who can win H40 on a given day, and that makes for a tough category.
My route, on a very well planned course, is here. I lost some time due to my own mistakes, but more because control 7 was hidden in a pit (the map shows a rather large cliff) and control 13 was both in the wrong place and in a badly mapped area (3 minutes at least). I don't know how my competitors did at these controls, but Roni was running the same course in D21A and lost time at 7 for exactly the same reason.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 11:10:16 AM
My training has changed a bit since I moved house to Ramat Yishai - there are less opportunities for road running, but more for running in the fields, and a lot of orienteering maps nearby. The closest map (Alonim) is still a bit too far for getting there on foot - 4.5km.
The best running sessions are on the MTB single-tracks in the area - they are usually hilly and rough, partly simulating running in the terrain, but also measureable so I can track my times. The best one is at Alon HaGalil - 10km with another 10km extension that I haven't tried yet. There's also a 12km course at Shimshit with a 6km next to it, and a new 10km loop around Kiryat Tivon, which is steep but much less technical.
All of these are within 15 minutes drive from home, but now that we've moved back the clock (a month ago) I can't run on them on work days. My goal is to train on a single-track at least once a month in winter, and more in the spring and summer, when I can just stop there on the way back from work.
Saturday, October 22, 2011 8:24:05 PM
Just as the orienteering season around Europe is winding down due to the chill of winter, the temperatures here in Israel have become bearable and our season is beginning in earnest next weekend with the first national event in Ben-Shemen forest. Most of the events until now were park and bike-O, so I haven't competed recently, but my training is going well and I'm fit and ready.
This season, unlike last year, I intend to compete properly and have a go at both the national rankings and the Israeli championship in H40. I'll be at a slight disadvantage because I'm organising two events out of eleven (in Odem forest), but only 6 or 7 count in the end, so this will just add to the challenge.
Roni is back as well - running and biking 5 months after Alon was born, as if nothing had happened over the past year. She'll be running D21A, and I hope she can motivate the other women there to work hard and make the category more competitive.
Note: No-one at all sent a solution to the video-o from my last blog post, so I'll just wait until someone tries to solve it - and when I have time I'll try to prepare a better one.
Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:57:54 AM
I'm trying out something new, and everyone is invited to participate.
I've created a Video-O puzzle. Below are links to an empty map, with only the start and finish marked, and a video (in two parts) made while running a course on the map with a headcam. Your mission is to mark the whole course correctly on the map, using the video to locate the controls.
Video part 1
Video part 2
1. It's more difficult than I intended, because the headcam is pointed slightly lower than it should be.
2. There are 9 controls, not including the finish. The video is split at control 6 because of the 15 minute limit in YouTube.
3. There's a light blue watermark on the map for copyright reasons.
4. The north lines on the map are 250m apart - it's exported from Ocad at 300 dpi.
5. The length of the course is 1860m.
6. I got lost at control 7.
7. The sun is in the east.
8. The map is not perfect, but there are no significant errors along my route.
9. Thanks to my lovely wife for running after me and collecting the controls.
You can send the solutions to my e-mail (dchissick[at]yahoo[dot]com), in picture format of course. Extra marks for adding control descriptions, and for entries from abroad (all the Israelis have orienteered on this map and have an advantage). Deadline for entries: September 30th - I'm away on vacation until the 25th.
There are no prizes, but of course I'll mention the best (or fastest) solutions.
I don't think anyone has tried anything like this before, and I certainly haven't encountered any examples, but maybe I'm wrong. In any case, this is only a first attempt, and I'm planning to improve in the future...
Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:39:04 AM
During the summer I finished the updated map of the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) - behind schedule, due to both my health problems and the complexity of the terrain.
The map is an update of my previous map from 2000, but my mapping standards have obviously changed since then, and I had to add a lot of detail in addition to mapping all the changes in the area. The OCAD work took more time than the fieldwork, and was finished during my lunch breaks at the office. Basically it's a university map on an area of only 0.8 km2, but because it's on a steep slope everything is very complicated, and it can be used for sprint orienteering at the highest level.
I'm glad this project is behind me, because I enjoy sprint mapping much less than forest mapping. I'll keep updating the map incrementally once in a while, so that I don't get stuck with it again in 2022!
Sunday, September 4, 2011 7:52:21 PM
Yesterday's local event at Tel Hadid was nice - low-key organization, mostly comfortable terrain, no pressure to perform, and not too hot. My strategy was to run carefully (my ankle still feels fragile at times), and orienteer correctly, which is easier said than done in our terrain, which sometimes invites you to just rush into an area and hope to hit the control.
Before the race I said that 45 minutes would be a good result in my current form (on a 4.6 km course), and I finished in 44:20. There were lots of complaints about the map, which is quite old, but I found that if you read the map properly (before the terrain) there was no problem finding any of the controls, except for 6 and 7 which were in an under-mapped area and should never have been used. I'll have tougher challenges later on, when I start running faster.
My route is here. It's interesting to compare it to Zeff's route (at the bottom of this post) - obviously he runs much faster than me (just returned from WOC), and he seems to be favoring the straight-line technique. He finished the course in 35:58 - I'm usually much further behind him, and I'm nowhere near competitive fitness yet.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:53:12 PM
Most of my running training is done in the evening, after work (I hate running in the mornings). Usually that means running on roads near home, so I have a running map of every place I live in. From that point of view, moving from Carmiel to Ramat Yishai is a serious downgrade:
Apart from what's obvious from the map, there are other issues:
1. Carmiel is in the hills, so the training is tougher and better suited to orienteering. Ramat Yishai is in the plains, though not totally flat as it's built on a small hill.
2. Carmiel is a large town, with wide roads and well-kept pavements. Ramat Yishai is small and stuffy - the streets are narrow, the pavements are in bad shape, and the lighting is terrible.
3. I still work in Carmiel, so I get home half an hour later each day.
4. The temperature is on average about 5° higher (and I'm not taking into account the humidity), which makes a real difference in summer - there's no way you can run here before the sun sets.
Obviously there are solutions - run in Carmiel after work, or run in the fields (on weekends, or if I get home before dark). Meanwhile I'm just running the roads near my new home and trying not to complain. Today I managed to bang my head on a tree while running and came home covered in blood, but I'll be OK. And I'm slowly getting back in shape for competition.
Monday, August 29, 2011 7:21:52 PM
I'm back, and so is my blog. End of vacation.
We've moved house to Ramat Yishai, which is small (the town, not the house), hot, expensive, and a few other things - but is close to my parents, my daughter, Roni's studies, the centre of the country, and lots of orienteering maps (see below). I'll be complaining about stuff, but not about the location.
Anyone who has moved with a 2 month old baby knows why I wasn't around for a while. But now life is back to normal, and so is our orienteering. The house is organised, I'm running regularly again, Roni is running and biking, there's mapping work, and the season is about to begin.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 7:54:56 PM
I haven't done much over the past month (from the orienteering point of view) - mainly getting used to having a baby at home, and some mapping; so I'll look forward...
I'm training regularly again after my ankle sprain, and building up stamina again from scratch, but I'm still careful with my right foot and I won't do any fast running for a while. Roni is also running regularly, but we can't run together any more .
My training volume for the past season looks like this:
This is the off-season here (too hot), but there's a short distance "Family league" starting this weekend, on Friday evenings, where the sum of our results will count in each race. We'll practice our split starts in these events (with Alon cheering us on from his camping crib), in preparation for the serious stuff later on.
I lost some weekends when incapacitated, but now I'm back mapping again as often as possible. The map of the Technion is nearly finished - way behind schedule, but it's going to be a great sprint orienteering map. I'll write about it in detail separately. Odem forest is also being enlarged, for a two-day national event in November.
We're moving house at the end of the month - mainly because of the children and Roni's studies, though I'll be further away from work. Our new (large) home will be in Ramat Yishai, which is about 30km south of Carmiel. From the orienteering point of view, we'll be closer to most events, and to more maps. However, finding running routes for training, especially at night, will be much tougher.
I've decided to put an emphasis on my club for the next season - we've been deteriorating gradually, it's my responsibility as chairman, and it's time to give the club a boost by example. I have a plan, and after we move house and settle down I'll start putting it in motion.
Nothing happening, but there are thoughts about opening a coaching course next year, so I'll have to be involved.
2011 will probably be the first year since 1992 in which I didn't orienteer abroad even once. But that was part of the plan, and I hope that next summer we'll be able to travel somewhere as a family.
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