Archive for September, 2011


September 19, 2011

Yesterday I went orienteering again, and did my third RED course (about 6.5 km), this time at Sweet Water Creek State Park near Six Flags of Georgia.  It was not the most beautiful of parks.  But once I got in the woods, it got better and more scenic!
After 6 targets, I felt pretty good and I was making great time.  Then Lucky #7 struck.  I got lost.  VERY LOST!  I thought I was on my way to another DNF (Did Not Finish).  But I eventually got back on course, managing to find my way by taking my time and thinking.  And I was able to finish the course in 2 hours 54 minutes.

I had lost about 45 minutes on stupid mistakes.  And that was just the quantifiable stuff.  The hit I took to morale was noticeable.  My energy levels were low due to forgetting about eating and drinking, and disregarding changes in elevation too many times.

So after performing below expectations , I knew I needed to have a plan for the next one.  So since I was up late last night and thinking about the orienteering event, I had to start writing it all down.  I decided that I needed a guideline for approaching each and every target…  and I came up with this…


My mnemonic device for remembering this… Proceed Ever Vigilantly, Punk!  But it really stands for the four steps I need to consider…

Path – If there is an easy path, take it.  It will give you time to plan ahead for the next targets while on a clear and easy trail or road.

Elevation – Avoid the changes as much as possible.  This is what drains me of my energy the most.

Vegetation – More than once I have been slowed to a crawl because of vegetation, and maybe lost my bearing, because of not wanting to take a path 100 meters outside of my direction.

Preservation – This really means, Don’t Get Lost!  When a target doesn’t a great catching feature, really focus on the path that will not get you lost.

Additionally, dehydration and food energy are two major issues that always catch up with me after the two-hour mark.

And two secondary problems:
(1) I tend to drink a lot of water at once… which just jostles around in your stomach (not a good feeling).
(2) Food takes about 45 minutes before the glucose levels hit the bloodstream so, if you don’t eat early in your race and up through about the one-hour mark, all that food is coming too late to help you during the race.

So my new process:
For Water:  Sip 2 oz. of water at every target, refilling along the route.
For Fuel:  Eat one hour prior to the race.  Eat a couple of nuts at each target (followed by the water).  And have a banana about 30 minutes into the race.

I’m looking forward to testing out the theory in October with my brother, Gene!