Category Archives: Sports

Setting orienteering course for Sunday May 6th

Just got back from setting the long course for Sunday.

I waited for the rain to stop, but by 5:30 it was clear it wasn’t going to. So half of the time I was in the rain, and even though I had a plastic map cover, the water still got in. To the point where the top side of the map was so wet that the ink was getting smudged (yes, I only have a deskjet at home).

And for extra fun, I had to set the last 5 controls in the dark. Night orienteering is not easy at Umstead, when you’re looking for tiny orange ribbons.

Mud Run

Today I ran my first first 5K mud run. I was part of a 4-person co-ed team from the Raleigh Trail Runners meetup group.

The obstacles were numerous and challenging, but we all had a blast. It is definitely not your typical 5K run. The run itself was actually the easy part. I am very curious how long it took us to finish the course, I know the start time but none of us paid attention to the finish time. Results will probably be posted over the next few days.

20 of the 32 obstacles were featured in these short video clips on YouTube before the race, but there were some surprises (like obstacle 21, The Weaver, where you had to go over a log and under the next one (for a total of probably 16 logs) without touching the ground. This Google Map has a description of all obstacles and links to the video clips above.

Damage: $32.50 (not bad at all for a race!), a scraped and bumped knee, a few minor scratches in addition to a rather large one (most of them from The Weaver).

For the low-end cost of the race, the race was incredibly well organized. Building that course must have been a huge volunteer effort.

The beginning of a new Orienteering year

For Backwoods Orienteering Klub, the month of September is the beginning of a new year. In part because membership is paid from September till next year’s September. But also because during the summer the only events are advanced and sprint ones, so this month does mark the return of regular events.

Today’s course was beautifully chosen. I got very tired very fast, I think I managed to kill my legs yesterday when I ran as a preparation for today. So it was a constant struggle to keep the appearance of running while on the course, but overall I am very pleased with the result. I made two minor mistakes which costed probably a few minutes each – I can blame the rest only on my slow pace.

Overall, between yesterday’s 6 mile run at Lake Bond and today’s 88 minutes of pain, I think I got over the goal of running 26 miles per week. (I ran 3.5 miles on Monday, a very fast 6+ on Loblolly Trail on Tuesday, a slow 6 on a combination of Company Mill, Graylyn and Sycamore Trail on Thursday) Props to the Raleigh Trail Runners group for giving me motivation to wake up early.

Sycamore Scramble

The local orienteering club, BOK, is organizing an A-meet (i.e. a national event), February 20-21. I’ve signed up to be one of the setter/vetters.

It’s very interesting how we decided to make sure we minimize the risk for mistakes when setting up controls, and in a way it’s an OCD-er’s dream. There are at least three setters that will go out and hang ribbons where the controls are placed. Then, two other persons (the vetters) have to go and vet (approve) the location chosen by the setter. Setters have the liberty to move the control from where the course designer suggested the location to be, for example if a feature is missing or is too dangerous to get to; vetters should try hard not to move controls, unless they were set wrong.

This gives you triple accountability for a control’s location, not to mention that some of the club members will have a practice run of the courses the week prior to the meet (which happens to be next weekend).

Today I spent more than 4 hours vetting. Now I am barely moving. Probably getting into the warm house after all that time in the balmy 34-36°F (1-2°C) did not help much. However, this is exactly what I need, hopefully the small injuries I’ve been accumulating over the past couple of months will eventually go away to let me go back to running on a more regular schedule.

I’ve also worked on a solution to download data from an Sportident box on a Linux computer (it might work on Windows too, since it’s written in python, and I believe pyserial does work on Windows. It has sound to alert users if their download was unsuccessful (more about that in a future post), and generates a PDF for the splits and total time; I think the printing part is going to be the one that will cause most of the problems, I seem to have bad luck with printers in general. (The printing part would definitely not work on Windows). At some point I will publish the code, maybe someone else has a use for it.

Fall activities

A quick update on my non-work related activities.

A lot of orienteering lately:

  • Quick white course at Lake Bond with my daughter a few weeks ago.
  • A very eventful Birkhead Wilderness run. You can read the report in the comments – I don’t think there was one single participant to get all the controls right. I messed up the first two and had a relatively clean run after that, especially after I started to pace count.
  • A quick Bond Park sprint. I kind of had the home field advantage, and I was still slower than the fast runners.

I ran for the first time with the Raleigh Trail Runners. I knew I signed up for pain, and pain it was. 2.5 miles at a slow speed, 6 uphill sprints on the Graveyard Hill at Umstead (off of Old Reedy Creek), and back 2.5 miles; last 2 miles were 7:50 and 6:50 minutes respectively. Maybe we were trying to make it back before it got too dark. As I said to the other (3) runners, it’s no surprise so few people sign up for hill sprints.

My daughter started to take piano lessons, so a piano had to be acquired. We got a digital piano which seemed like a good compromise of quality vs. price.

Between fixing stuff up around the house I’d like to get back to some recreational programming (picking up Flex would be nice).

Prize for trash

One of the novel ideas (at least for me) for the Gleneagles Challenge Adventure Racing was a prize for the most unusual piece of trash one can collect from the course. I think it was a great way to encourage us to clean up the courses, but even more so to become painfully aware of the price of littering.

It is not fun running with a wheelbarrow :-) I kept seeing it in a ditch at Lake Bond for the past couple of weeks, and was wondering who’s going to pick up; my teammates decided to break it in two pieces (the cup and the handles – there was no wheel), and we took turns carrying the parts. That was enough to earn us the prize :-)

My First Adventure Race

Today I participated in the Gleneagles Challenge. I must say it was a lot more fun than I expected from an event that takes 4.5 hours and requires you to be constantly on the move.

About 20 minutes of running, 30 minutes in the kayak, an orienteering course and a lot of bike riding. The bike’s odometer showed 19.33 miles when I got back home (that included about 3 miles to get to Lake Bond and back).

Thanks to Bryan, Rob and Justin for letting me join them. Overall I think we did pretty well, second place when we only aimed to finish the race in one piece.

Vote for Cary as the best place to play tennis

Please vote for Cary!

The winner of the 2009 Best Tennis Town award will take home $100,000 to be used for community wide programming or facility enhancements that the winning entrant endorses, and the community will be recognized during the 2009 U.S. Open.

According to the town of Cary:

To support tennis, the Town of Cary constructed the Cary Tennis Park with 30 championship lighted courts, later converting one court to four permanent 36-foot QuickStart courts, making the Tennis Park the largest in North Carolina and one of the largest in the Southeast.  The Town also boasts 25 other tennis courts at four parks — Annie L. Jones Park, Harold S. Dunham Park, Robert V. Godbold Park, and Middle Creek School Park.   Furthermore, the Town has assembled top notch staff charged with operating the tennis program with a team based philosophy.

In addition to the Town’s tennis facilities, there are more than 200 tennis courts in Cary including public courts, private clubs, schools, businesses, and HOA facilities.  There are more than 20,317 people participating in organized tennis activities in Cary including Town programs, Western Wake Tennis Association tournaments and leagues, private club programs, corporate leagues and adult social leagues.  Many of these organizations work together to provide adult league play, junior league play, charitable organization fundraiser events, QuickStart tennis programs with local elementary school PE classes, Bridge II Sport’s wheelchair tennis program and local public and private high school teams.

27-mile week

Yes, I ran more than a marathon.

Unfortunately, spread over 6 different days.

Last week I ran 24 miles (4 days 4.5 miles each, a longer weekend 6-mile run), and this week I wanted to increase the distance by 10%. That was 6 days with 4.5 miles each – tomorrow is rest day.

I am not training for anything at the moment, so I am pretty happy, especially after coming from a 3-week vacation where the only running I did was a 15-minute downhill Tâmpa in Bra?ov. I will probably try to keep it at this level, I have no interest in increasing the weekly distance at this point.

Sprained ankles

Thankfully, the title is not about me.

I was running my usual trail course today and found a lady who sprained her ankle so bad, the pain almost made her pass out. I helped her hop on one leg to a house less than 100 yards away, where a very nice gentleman drove her home.

She mentioned that she doesn’t want to go to urgent care because she recently got laid off and has no medical insurance. This is so sad on so many levels. Silly economy. Stupid medical system.