After 6 days of tough orienteering at the Scottish 6 Days it is time to review my orienteering style and decide what I need to work on.
I’m going to use my maps and Splitsbrowser as my main tools. I spent some of each evening reviewing my day with Rob Lee, who came 3rd in my class (M50L), so I have already thought about route choices etc.
Day 1 – Lossie 48th 65.54, 18.36 behind the leader
There are too many cliffs on my Splitsbrowser graph, showing too many mistakes, and the angle is too steep, showing a lack of speed (which I knew about).
For the first few controls I was nipping on and off the path, usually quite well. The first significant error came at 9 when I overshot as I wasn’t distance judging, but relying on seeing some vegetation to my left. The next difficulty came when I ran into 13 and 14 in torrential rain. It was dark and the contour detail so fine I couldn’t read it. Even with my glasses on now I can’t read the detail. Workon Improve sight
Day 2 – Ardesier 31st 65.59, 15.11 behind
The contours were easier for me to read. I was hesitant on the first 2 controls, turning the wrong way on the ridge at number 2. I was hesitant on occasion up to 17, especially on 14 where I wanted to make sure I hit a knoll in a flat area. 18,19 and 20 went well in the open. From there back I was steady, but not fast, probably making little errors on most legs. These were probably due to poor running on a bearing. There were far fewer opportunities to path run, but there were lots of elephant tracks. Workon Running on a bearing
Day 3 – Culbin 75th 75.51, 28.46 behind
I spent too much time struggling through the terrain today. Shouldn’t have listened to Rob! The paths had to be the better option. It also took too long to realise that the yellow rides were indistinct and I should rely on them (mistakes at 13 and 20 because of this). The contours were easier to read than Lossie.
Day 4 – Loch of Boath 35th 70.26, 15.40 behind
Off the dunes and into “normal forest”. 1:10000, 5m contours. Lulled into a false sense of security by 1, so messed up 2. Then OK for much of the rest of it, but off bearing some of the time. I was much more able to run in the right general direction, keeping contact with the major features. Sometimes hesitant in the circle (as with the previous courses) Workon Running on a bearing
Day 5 – Roseisle 47th 77.36, 25.05 behind
This was an awful first half. I couldn’t visualise or run on an accurate bearing for the first half (up to about 13 I was in 71st). After this the shapes became clearer and I was able to pick out the shapes as I was running. I would expect to be able to work all this out quite easily if I was walking, so should probably have slowed down when getting close to make sure I didn’t mess up in the circle. Workon Running at the speed I can navigate at
Day 6 – Coulmony 30th 83.02, 25.06 behind
I really enjoyed the block before the road crossing. Even so, there were a few mistakes due to my compass work and a route choice mistake going to 11 (path would have been quicker). 29th at the road crosing I then slowed a little, but only dropped one place by the finish. The long legs, 20 and 22 were challenging physically and demanded different tactics. 20 I was just too sluggish running and got confused on distance, checking out a control much earlier on (wishful thinking). 22 I didn’t read the contours and ended staying too high, relocating on the boundary fence corner. 25 I executed poorly, coming out of 24 too far to the right and not using my compass from the marsh. All in all a run that suit my closer contact style more than the dune areas as I could read the details and the contour shapes were bigger. I was pleased to come in not too tired on the day, although my running time was long (as was the winners). Even the M21E times were longer than they should have been.
So, I am happiest when running in areas with more obvious, and more readable contours. I like to run with reasonable map contact, orientating mainly by features. I struggle when the features are very detailed, partly because of my poor eyesight and partly as I am trying to go too fast. If I was walking I am sure I could navigate without too many problems. My fitness needs to improve, especially running through rough heather and undergrowth. My workons are:
- Improve sight
- Running on a bearing
- Running at the speed I can navigate at